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From a Letter by President Tomás Estrada Palma

The private letter was published the following month in Cuban newspapers.


October 10, 1906

The course of making a pact with the insurgents in arms was the worst which could be considered. Even supposing that the different rebel leaders and the directors and instigators of the movement arrived at an understanding among themselves and that they agreed with the Government upon the fundamental bases for terms of settlement, the secondary problems which would afterwards arise would be so many and so difficult to decide, in view of the weakened if not lost moral force of the legitimate authorities and in the absence of other authority that might settle differences, these problems would, I repeat, be so many and so difficult that they would cause the country to remain for many months in constant agitation with results as pernicious as war itself.

From the moment the Government treated with the rebels it placed itself on an inclined plan of interminable concessions, initiating an era of successive insurrections, and putting the stability of future governments on a frail basis. I could never consent to be an accomplice in such evil in exchange for being permitted to continue to occupy the Presidential chair of the Republic.

When I saw the insurrection take serious proportions my soul was overcome with profound disenchantment, contemplating the patient and glorious work of four years overthrown; and I irrevocably resolved to resign the Presidency, to abandon completely public life and to seek, in the bosom of my family, the certain refuge against so many deceptions. But before carrying out this intention, so grateful to my desires, it was absolutely necessary to make a last sacrifice on the altar of my country. It was not possible that I leave the Government in criminal hands; in the hands of those who had dealt a fatal blow to the credit of the Republic and the good name of the Cuban people. The conscience of a superior duty, one of those duties which cause the heart to breed and give rise to unpopularity and hate, imposed upon me as the only measure of salvation, the necessity of acquainting the Washington Government with the true situation of the country, and with the lack of means of my Government to give protection to property, and to say that I considered that an occasion had arisen for the United States to make use of the right granted them by the Platt Amendment. I did so, consulting few people, since it was not a time to expose myself to contradiction in order to seek partners in this responsibility, but to assume the responsibility [sic] entirely, with the firmness of a legitimate conviction and the courage which always accompanies acts inspired in the most sterling patriotism. I have never feared to admit, nor am I afraid to say aloud, that a political dependence which assures us the fecund boons of liberty is a hundred times preferable for our beloved Cuba to a sovereign and independent republic discredited and made miserable by the baneful action of periodic civil wars.


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Related:
Ten Year War | Little War | War for Independence

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