José Santos Zelaya.

The revolution of Nicaragua and the United States online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibraryJosé Santos ZelayaThe revolution of Nicaragua and the United States → online text (page 1 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

J. St.







rU-1 tiar.-nail


,, .




J. S







Calle del Barquillo, 8.

1 9 1 O


Bancroft Library




The events of recent occurrence in Nicaragua that obliged me to
come to Europe after having resigned the Presidency of the Republic,
which I had held for sixteen years have given rise to various comments
some of them unfavourable to myself. This fact renders it incumbent
upon me to explain matters that the truth may be known in order that,
the judgment past upon me by the public may be a just and fair one.

It would be in vain to deny the influence that the now famous note
of the Secretary of State of the United States may have brought to bear
upon the mind of the public in Europe, especially in those countries
where information is gathered from despatches sent by North American
agents. Such undoubted influence is what induces me to appeal to the
serious minded and impartial public that might not have an exact
knowledge of the events referred to. This and no other is the reason.
Nicaragua, through the efforts of the Government which I directed for
so many years was following a peaceful and progressive course acknow-
ledged by all and in spite of the incessant machinations of the enemies of
liberal professions thwarted more than once, no one expected to hear the
cry of a revolution in our midst, nobody had the least suspicion that
without any warning the spirit of discontent would suddenly take the
form of a rebellious movement.

The Government was carrying out without the slightest obstacle its
vast democratic policy together with the material improvements on the
strength of the loan arranged for with the Bankers MM. Ethel burgo
of London in order to realise the consolidation of our External Debt;

for the organisation of the brandy and tobacco Companies, that had
given rise to murmurings and suspicions on the part of the enemies of
the administration and for the conclusion of the railway from Monkey
Point Harbour in the Atlantic to San Miguelito in Gran Lago, an under-
taking of incalculable advantages, for besides facilitating the exporta-
tion of native products it would develop the wealth of the important
districts of Jerez and Zelaya and would free the national commerce of
being tributary to the Panama railway; the Commission entrusted to
Sr. D. Joaquin Pasos for the renewal of paper money already deteriora-
ted for one of excellent quality manufactured by the well known Ame-
rican Bank Note Company of New York, a paper impossible to counter-
feit and of which the emission was also to be increased to five millions
of pesos, to meet the Emery claim and to provide for the necessities
of commerce deficient in monetary circulation, and for the. providing of
school buildings as it was the desire of the Government to put into prac-
tice its wishes to foment and place on a firmer basis Public Instruction.

The coming coffee harvest which was foreseen to be an exceptionally
good one, was delighting the hearts of the growers both on account of
the abundance of the crop and of the attractiviness of its price.

Commerce that had been somewhat paralyzed in consequence of the
war of 1907, had alreadg considerably extended its markets, thus pro-
portionately increasing business.

The Emery affair, which owing to the exigencies of the North Ame-
rican Government in its negociations with that of Nicaragua had con-
tributed to unsettle the public mind, a rupture was even feared, had 'just
been arranged in a satisfactory and definite manner, a good understan-
ding being again established, as was manifested by Mr. Knox himself at
a farewell banquet given by the special .Representative of Nicaragua
the illustrious Dr. D. Pedro Gonzalez. Even the election of the future
President of Costa Rica, which successful candidate was a friend of the
Government of Zelaya, had just been realized in a manner favourable to
the interests of Nicaragua, bearing out in a practical way the proof of
the good relations existing between Zelaya and the neighbouring Repu-
blics of Costa Rica and Honduras.

Nothing therefore presaged a near revolutionary movement. In spite
of all this Zelaya had to contend with two powerful enemies each of
whom had tried on various occasions to force him to abandon the helm
of state. Primero Estrada Cabrera ever waylaying the President of Ni-
caragua and who was unable to make him fall in 11)07 in spite of the

cooperation of other influences of central America and towards the dis-
credit of whom he had carried on campaigns in the press both in Ame-
rica and Europe and secondly the Government of the United States whose
duplicity and ill-will were manifest when France was by them induced
not to recognize the circulation of the shares of the Nicaragua loan
'at the very time when the Secretary of State Knox at the banquet to
which I have referred, raised his glass congratulating the envoy of
Zelaya in Washington. ,

The United States, whose imperialism is already too will known,
had for sometime past been trying to exercise a protectorate and ende-
avour to appropriate part of the isthmus of the Canal on the territory of

Nicaragua, for which purpose President Zelaya offered no facilities sin:

ce he exacted before all that the sovereignty of Nicaragua should be
guaranteed and moreover a sum of money equivalent to the importance
of the concession, they hastened to accept the proposals of Estrada Ca-
brera and naturally they afforded him all kinds that he might on his own
account and in their name bring about a Revolution in Nicaragua. To
this end they induced the Governor of the Department of Zelaya General
Juan J. Estrada to treacheiously accept the Presidency of the Republic
and provide as indeed they have done all the necessaries, money arms '
and men to ensure success.

Moreover they had already tried to create au ill-feeling to bring about
a rupture with the Republic of the United States. This may be easily
seen in the Emery affair, which they favoured violating the protocol
of the first agreement and enforcing new conditions contrary to justice
and detrimental to the interests of Nicaragua. The Government of Ni-
caragua benig naturally unable to accept such conditions and desirous
of settling the matter in the best possible manner, seut to Washington
as special Envoy the renowned jurist Dr. Pedro Gonzalez to treat of an
arrangement with the Government of White House, or if this were impos-
sible to come to a direct understanding with the Emery Company and
take no account of the claims put in by the Secretary of State Knox.

Therefore with no other reason the Revolution broke out on the 10th
>f October of the following year.

The first news received was the following telegram:

Handed in at Bluefields at D,30 p. m. Oct. 10. Commander in

chief. I have been informed from Barra Colorado that a band of revo-
lutionaries have seized a boat and have left for this town. I have orde-
red troops to be recruited. Acting Governor, Juan J. Estrada.*

The Chief of the Nation could not possibly doubt the authenticity of
this telegram, knowing as he did the antecedents of Estrada, belonging
to a family of liberal ideas, aud of loyalty to the Goverment of Zelaya,
to whom he was indebted for his well-being and social position. Never-
theless the bad faith of the Governor Intendant was not long in re-
vealing itself. The Chief Telegraph Clerk of the Republic noticed in
the station of Managua that the subsequent telegrams did not answer to
the signs agreed upon between him and his subordinates and he con-
cluded that the stations of Rama were already in the hands of the

Immediately afterwards the telegraph clerk of Chile confirmed the
fact that communication was cut off with Rama and that his last mes-
sage from the telegraph clerk of the said place did not answer either to
the telegraphic signs agreed upon.

As has already been stated my relations with General Juan J. Es-
trada were well founded and of old standing, seeing that they dated
from the friendship that united our parents, companions and fellow-
workers in the cause of the liberal party. I, on the other hand had lent
my entire personal and political support to Estrada who from humble
artisan occupations gradually rose to filling important political posts.
Those who were most surprised at his unexpected rebellion, were his
own brothers, both worthy officers and faithful to their Chief and who
from the first moment showed in word and through the press, their dis-
approval of his disloyalty. So unexpected and blameworthy a forgetful-
ness of duty could only be attributed to a mental weakness, made capi-
tal ont of by those who awakened ambitiousness and hankerings after
power-and wealth in one who, through acts of kindness and confidence
on the part of Zelaya had just been appointed to the most important
post of Governor and Intendant of the Atlantic Coast, that, is of the
Department of Zelaya, after having held no less a charge than the Mi-
nistry for War.

Severe and condemnatory judgments and opinions might be quoted
of impartial private persons or of the local press, but-nothing can be
more eloquent than the telegram addressed to General Juan J. Estrada
by his brothers and intimate friends all of whom are men of note in the
political circles of Nicaragua, as belonging to- the liberal party.

Here is the telegram:

General Juan J. Estrada. Bluefields. Nicaragua as one man
reproves your ungrateful criminal and treacherous, conduct. Dead for
ever. You will never conquer hoivever liberal. Julidn Irias, Aurelio
Estrada, Jose D. Estrada-, J. Santos Ramirez, Felix P. Zelaya R.,
Francisco E. Torres, Ileliodoro Rivas (hijo), Federico Sacasa, Juan
J. Boddn, Nicasio Vazquez, Jose D. Gdmez, Clodomiro de la Rocha, Ma-
riano Espinosa, Francisco Uriarte B., David A. Fornos, Isidro A. Ra-
mirez, Jose D. Gdmez, Rafael C. Medina, Claudio Saravia, Leopoldo
Ramirez Mairena, Jose Perez S., Joaquin Sarson, Jenaro Lug<>, Maxi-
miliano Sacasa, Santiago Callejas, Gabriel Rivas , Roberto Gonzalez.*

Independently General Aurelio Estrada, of his brother the one held in
the highest esteem, and one of the chiefs who most contributed to the pa-
triotic and democratic labours of Zelaya, sent to the press the following

To my followers and friends: Deeply disappointed by the conduct
of my brother General Juan Estrada who has abandoned his cause throw-
ing himself into the arms of the conservative party, by the fact of his
heeding its machiavelic suggestions and rushing into a revolution under
a very different flag from the one it was his duty to uphold, both by
reason of his political antecedents and his family connections, the red
ensign of the liberal party for whose sake he had shed on another occa-
sions his blood arid for the sake of which we his kith and kin have risked
our lives and are ever ready to do so. I address my political partisans,
friends and comrades in arms, to tell them with the candour which
belorige to me, that I sorely regret my brother's error as a misfortune
for him, for his country and his family that I disapprove of the same
with all the energy of my character and that I have no connivence,
direct or in direct, in the movement into which he has in an evil hour
plunged through his inexperience and the perfidious advice of those
who would be his ruin.

To me the matter is clear and leaves no room for doubt as I know
the genesis of this act: the flag hoisted to-day at Bluefields is one of reac-
tion, the identical one which, overthrown in 1893 by the glorious revo-
lution of July that brought into power the illustrious leader General
J. Santos Zelaya has endeavoured in vain to be flown in spite of its de-
feats of 1894, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1903 and 1907. This being the case my
post and that oF my followers is unmistakably the one we have ever
occupied and in which we shall conquer or die.

- 10 -

Friends and companions: You who have ever followed me to the
rield of battle you who have fought with determination for the principles
of liberalism, you who have encircled with your enthusiasm our illus-
trious chief General Zelaya, go and occupy your posts in the loyal and
valiant army that has ever been ready to defend so noble a cause in the
assurance that I shall always remain by you in the accomplishment of
my duty.

To my mind ties of blood should yield to principles and over and
above principles should be ranked loyalty and consistency.

^Managua, Oct. 14, 1909. Aurelio Estrada.

Besides what has already been stated, the impression of partisans
and the grievous surprise of all the supporters of my Government was
given expression to at the outset of the uprising in many publications;
we. might quote in the first instance paragraphs from an article, the
work of a political notability of the country, known to advantage in the
intellectual world of America and Spain, Dr. Santiago Argilello, editor
at the time of the Gaceta Oftcial Amongst other things the article re-
ferred to stated:

0ne fact alone is evident, sadly irrefutable, that GeneralJuan Jose
Estrada has gone over to the conservatives, that he is militating with
them against us and that his every endeavour is to raise up what he
formerly tried to overthrow.

The conservative party has lured him with their siren song. This
party thas has ever sought to cut its way at all hasards by the sword,
bribery or intrigue; a party tenacious indeed, but ever condemned by
public opinion, artf'ully dazzled the eyes of General Estrada with the
fascinating prospect of the presidential chair, and General Estrada fell
a victim to the illusion, to fall afterwards from the illusion into a crime
and to pass later on from the shadows of crime to disappointment and
despair, yes to disappointment for the siren that at present holds him
lulled to sleep by the fallacy of a dazzling promise will tomorrow des-
troy all his hopes as it, has now destroyed his good name.

General Estrada owes to the present ruler of Nicaragua all that he
is at the present time. Who is it that ignores the fact that to him he is
indebted not only for his elevation to office, bat that as a private indi-
vidual the support of General Zelaya has served him as a means to the
making of a considerable fortune. Would, a father have done more for
his son?

For this reason one common voice was raised in protestation; for


this reason popular indignation and a national desire for making amends
for past errors were felt. To fail in one's oath as a soldier is treachery;
to fail in one's promise to an intimate friend is disloyalty and to forget
the hand that has raised him from promotion to promotion to the highest
rank is indeed ingratitude.

But even worse may be said. Worse than betraying one's Chief than
deceiving one's friend, than forgetting the debt owing to a benefactor is
to deceive and betray one's party, for that amounts to deceiving and
betraying oneself. The forsaking of one's Chief may be understood
because although a sad and darksome act it implies something of a per-
sonal nature but it is not easy for one to understand the forsaking of
one's paity. the falling away from the idea that has been the rule of one's
conduct and that constituted the sacred ideal of one's life as a public

General Estrada has joined in nefarious union, in a base understan-
ding with the shreds of a lifeless party his eternal enemy, the eternal
enemy of his family, of his Government, of his political aspirations, to
attack the very standard under the folds of which he girt the military
sword, whenever he had to defend his political ideals and under the pur-
ple mantle of which his lifeless body should have been borne when on
the shoulders of his comrades under arms he was carried to gloriti-

We will now subjoin the telegrams and demonstrations of support
and offers of men and money for the upholding of authority and liberal
principles. Bear witness ihe following documents:


In the city of Managua on October 18, 1909. The nationalist Libe-
ral Club of this city holding an extraordinary sitting in geneial Assem-
bly under the Presidency of Sr. Colonel D. Jose Dolores Estrada and
with the attendance of the other undersigned members:

Considering that General D. Juan J. Estrada, Governor and Inten-
dant of the Atlantic Coast, by his unusual and unjustifiable conduct, has
committed three acts of high treason, exposing his country to the dan-
ger of being swallowed up by foreign powers to whom he tries to make
the people of Nicaragua appear as an ungovernable hord; traitor to the
Government, to his Chief and friend who had confided absolutely in his


loyalty, entrusting him with the administration of the most important
department of the Republic; and finally traitor to the liberal party who
counted upon him in her ranks as one of the principal upholders of the high
principles of liberty, of that boundless liberty that irradiates throughout
the whole planet, revered by all men of worthiness, throwing moreover,
on the heroic city of Managua the Blessed the blemish of infamy:

Considering that it has always been the liberal party that has tried
to raise this valiant nation either by raising to important administrative
posts modest artisans and humble sons of the people, or by promoting in
every sense the moral and material progress of this capital, as it has
also elsewhere in the country extended its protecting hand, bringing
enlightenment to ev*ery mind and pushing forward at all ha sards the
wheel of progress; and as being our neighbour it is our duty beyond
that of any other town, to send forth our anathema against the black
crime that General Estrada has committed:

Considering that General Juan J. Estrada in his unbritrled ambition
for power event went so far as to seek for the support of the conserva-
tives our implacable enemies, those who have spared no means, however
infamous, such as the blowing up of the barracks, putting into the hands
of Emiliano Chamorro the poison to kill our loyal soldiers and who,
would have believed it! even to trying to deliver us up to the power of
the foreigner, having found the support of other Governments useless
for them, such as the expedition of Pinzon and other facts it would be
weary to enumerate, agrees:

Firstly. To censure with all the force of our honourable convictions
the most criminal conduct of the said General Juan J. Estrada.

Secondly. To hold General Juan J. Estrada responsible for all the
fatal consequences of his treachery, all the ills that befall the country
all the blood that is shed, and all the interests that may be sacrificed, for
we of Managua can never be held responsible for the falsehoods, envious
and treacherous acts with which unfortunately our country is plagued.

Thirdly. To make a patriotic appeal to all faithful citizens of Nica-
ragua to come and swell the ranks of the defenders of the existing Go-
vernment. At so solemn a moment hesitancy will be equivalent to com-

Forthly. To defend to the utmost, as unconditional liberals our ho-
nourable banner and support with our substance and our lives our illus-
trious and invincible: chief General D. Jose Santos Zelaya in Victory
or in death

- 13 -

Thirdly. To Commission Colonels D. Francisco E. Torres and don
Jose D. Gomez and D. Heliodoro Rivas, son, to hand to the President
these minutes this very day.

This motion being approved the meeting was adjourned. Jose

D. Estrada, President; Aurelio Estrada, Manuel Obando, Francisco

E. Torres, J. Andres Garcia E., Manuel Zamora, J. Leocadio Cajina,
Vocales; Heliodoro Rivas (hijo), Treasurer; Felix Pedro Zelaya R., Se-
cretary; Mariano Espinosa, Second Secretary.

Following these signatures are those of numerous partisans of the


Fellow countrymen:

In a fatal hour for the Republic, and still more so for him, who
would separate himself from the communion of men of honour be they
military or civil, General Juan J. Estrada, Governor and Intendant of
the Atlantic Coast, treacheronsly took up arms ou the 10th of the pre-
sent month against the constitutional Government presided over by Ge-
neral J. S. Zelaya, trampling upon the high and sacred duties of an
officer in active service, of a public functionary, of an important mem-
ber of the liberal party, and failing in the friendship and gratitude to
the chief of his party and in political consistency as regards his own
past and that of his family.

This ignominious proceeding on the part of General Estrada that
falls so undeservedly on the liberal party and people of Managua, obli-
ges the latter to express energetically their profound indignation at the
degrading act committed, and against the author of a treachery the like
of which has never been seen in any of the sons of this city.

The bitter and disappointing truth forces us to acknowledge that he
has belonged to the liberal party and is a native of the capital of the Re-
public, the ill-advised Governor who did not hesitate to throw upon the
story of his politcal career the saddest stain of opprobrium that can spoil
the reputation of an officer a public functionary and a citizen.

Managua does not deserve such a dishonour; for disloyalty, per-
fidy and dishonour have never soiled the laurels that she has gained bi
her patriotism heroic constancy and supreme self-denial.

The military campaigns have always been for Managua proofs of

- 14 -

valour discipline und self-sacrifice, a tournament of fidelity the touch
stone of good faith and firmness with which death itself is preferred to
an ignoble deception.

But just as Sparta had an Ephialtes to betray his country, handing
it over to foreign pillage, in like manner Managua has had a Juan
J. Estrada capable of bestowing upon her the first sad note by hoisting
the flag of rebellion. And just as Sparta ever cursed the betrayer of the
Thermopylae so Managua proscribes with abomination and opprobrium
her ungrateful son, who has placed himself ut the head of the enemies
of her peace her tranquility and her glory.

The liberal party and people of Managua therefore solemnly decla-
re that the}' condemn most energetically the rebellion carried out by
the military and civil chief of the Atlantic Coast and whom they pros-
cribe once for all from their ranks without the possibility of any ulterior
circumstance being able to reinstate him, either entirely or in part out
of consideration for the party or sympathy with his fellow citizens.

It is simph- a question of a member deeply injured by political gan-
grene and the limb has been amputated in proper time cauterizing the
wound so that the evil may entirely disappear from the social body.

General Estrada has already disappeared from the scene of public
life for the liberals, for the people of Managua; he lies in a tomb, deeper
than that prepared for the dead because he has been plunged into the
same by those who were his whilom friends and partisans now divided
by the darkness of oblivion.

Managua in acting thus stands out as an upright and implacable
judge who acknowledges no restraint but that of justice itself even
though itbe under the form required by the circumstances; of the sharp
and deep cutting though healing edge of the sword.

In this we do not follow the conduct of other cities, where the traitor
of to-day under the ban of the curse of honourable men, appears on the
morrow as a converted apostle, as an honoured chief as a champion of
liberty and order whom a blind and unscrupulous crowd, as ready to
blame an apostate as to raise him to the throne of abject idolatry,

No Managua, will make no compact with dishonour, breach of
faith or high treason to the fatherland the government the political
party, the native town, the family, the bosom friend.

And in accordance with its high principles of political morals
pronounces its inexorable sentence of refusing to acknowledge him as a

~ 15 -

fellow partisan and citizen in the hope that her example may serve as.
a salutary expiation of the scandal which is raised b}^ the clamour of
reprobation in the whole of the Republic.

As long as the liberal party and people of Managua. continue ful-

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryJosé Santos ZelayaThe revolution of Nicaragua and the United States → online text (page 1 of 15)