José Santos Zelaya.

The revolution of Nicaragua and the United States online

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my journey to the capital where I arrived on the 29th in the morning
being received there also with the kindest demonstrations of esteem both
from the Central American Colony and the citizens of the noble country
of Juarez.

During my stay in that magnificent capital I was the object of nume-
roiis demonstrations of sympathy and esteem on the part of the upper
and lower classes in general, to whom I here fulfil my honourable duty
in expressing my profound and lasting gratitude especially to the
worthy and venerable President of the Republic to whom that prospe-
rous nation is indebted for its present greatness and the glorious pros-
pect of a brilliant future.

After remaining a month in the city of Mexico I left for Europe and

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on my arrival in Spain the press referred to me in courteous and noble
language. It is in Spain that I have chosen to publish this work, a
document intended to elucidate the events in Nicaragua during the re-

. Is it now necessary to ask to whom the famous note of the secre-
tary of State of North America, has been most prejudicial? Whether to
myself who have made all manner of sacrifices, quitting Power to avoid
the continuance of the war and especially the profanation ot the soil of
my country by the North American soldiers or to the obstreperous poli-
cy that could launch forth a document unknown to the Diplomatic
world, and that demonstrates if not a thorough incompetence of states-
manship, a spirit of arbitrariness and a tendency which is entirely fn
contradiction with the democratic teachings of the founders of the great
American nation.

Bearing upon this argument let the following sentences just written
by the pen of an eminent literary and political Hispano-Arnerican writer
Sr. Vargas Vila be borne in mind: In his paper Nemesis under the title
of Gloomy balance*:

Is it a man that falls? No, it is a flag that is lowered; a party that is
destoyed; a nation that is outraged; it is Zelaya that retires from Power
after his glorious march of victory. Before whom, before what? before
treachery? No; he overcame it... Before invasion? No; he checked it
at various points; before what then? Before intervention... his formida-
ble duel was with the United States and the United States have beaten
him... doubtless I do not express myself aright; it is he who has beaten
them by his self-sacrifice after having beaten them with the sword; it
was he who knew how to add to the virtue of Heroism the virtue of dis-
interestedness and after having made the adventurous yankee bite the
dust in battle with the power of his valour and strategy he has made
the yankee diplomacy bite the dust, confounding it solely by the power
of his virtue...

A11 the dreams of the yankee have fallen to the ground with the
resignation of Zelaya, that last battle of Civismo (Patriotism) in which
the victorious chief retires in order not to provide for the Invader a pre-
text for crushing the country in his hands...



As to the case of the extraordinary note of Mr. Knox in so far as it
relates to the rights of nations, nothing can be more to the point than
the words of an important French organ published in the capital of Me-
xico: Le Courrier du Mexique:

The circumstances in which General Zelaya has had to abandon
Power and exile himself from his country under not only the moral but
also the material pressure of the United States raise important questions
as to the Right of Nations or International Law. Indeed, those circums-
tances are in flagrant contradiction with the three axioms of the Right
of Nations and which up till now it has never been necessary to discuss:
1 No nation has any right to interfere in the internal affairs of ano-
ther country.

2 No nation has any right to judge the chief of the State of ano-
ther nation by his acts as ruler.

3 Foreigners who take part in the internal struggles of a people
have no right to the protection of their own Government. (This was
the case of Cannon and Groce.)

The good relations between civilized countries depend essentially
upon the observance of these three points. It is thus easy to conceive
how the precedent created in Nicaragua has caused and still causes so
much commotion in Latin America.

And as regards the agressive pride of yankee Imperialism we may
conclude by quoting from the important Mexican journal Mexico Nuevo,
dated Dec. 11 of last year: .

U. S. A. Against all Rights! Although it may have to be against
International Right and wanting in respect to a nation's sovereignty the
never sufficiently exalted Uncle Sam wishes that Spanish America shall
understand once and for all that the United States will do just as they
choose, relying on their power and without caring a jot for the injus-
tices caused by their policy. The free nations of Latin America from
Rio Bravo to cape Hornos should be on their guard against the attitude
of the yankee Colossus and in defense of Justice and their Race should
ally themselves and thus form a dike against the ever increasing guar-
dianship which the United States endeavours to exercise over them in
the face of the whole civilized world.-*

J. S. Zelaya.



of General J. S. Zelaya to the Nicaraguan people.


Fellow citizens: In fulfilment of a high duty of patriotism, I have
given over the office of President of the Republic and Commander in
Chief of the Nicaraguan Army to the person designated by the National

Although for a long time I have been announcing to my correligio-
nists and political friends the firm resolution of separating myself from
the authority which I have exercised for several years with the support
of the Liberal Party, I have thought it advisable not to await the close
of my last term, hoping that thus Nicaragua might be spared the humi-
liations and outrages of a colossal power bent upon exerting a decisive
influence over the destinies of the country, a matter which I could not
and ought not to tolerate while I. remained at the head of the Go-

And since my resistence to accepting that undue guardianship and
my firmness in maintaining very high the dignity of the Republic have
come so to provoke the ill will of the imperialist government which la-
bors to convert into feudal dependencies the Latin nations of this Conti-
nent that it makes my permanency in the Government of Nicaragua a
pretext for disembarking troops on our territory, I resign willingly my
authority and separate myself from the management of the public affairs,
convinced that thus I avoid calamities and insult for the country.


You are already well acquainted with the fact that, favored by infa-
mous treason for the act of the military chief who revolts against his
superior will ever be treason, whatever the pretext which he invokes

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there broke out in Bluefields, in the month of October last, a revolution
composed of liberals and conservatives, their ostensible object being to
bring about my removal from power.

When the Government had notice of the criminal enterprise, in which
were involved not only Nicaraguans but also others who were foreigners
and adventurers, it was able to organize and equip considerable forces
to suppress the movement as well on the north as on the east. For the
great majority of Nicaraguans, rendered indignant by that scandalous
affair which put in peril the national sovereignty through the cutting
off of the Atlantic coast, where there is no lack of elements adverse to
Nicaragua, rushed to take up arms with the most noble and elevated pa-

Thus in a few days the rebels were repulsed and beaten in all parts,
and had to withdraw to their first positions, as a last refuge for their
ephemeral power.

When the day was at hand on which Our army should have crowned
its work of repair, reestablishing order and peace, there arose an unex-
pected and unheard of incident which obliged us to pause and seek ano-
ther course in order to save the great interests of the country, suddenly
menaced by a power which, abusing its strength and the predominence
which it exercises through the lack of union of the Latin American Re-
publics, had come to intrude itself into our internal affairs, using as a
pretext offenses falsely alleged to have been committed against it by

In effect, the Government of the United States of America, without
asking any explanation from that of Nicaragua, without making any re-
clamation, and when our relations with it had been friendly up to the
point of the two government's having recently come to an adjustment
of the claim of George Emery against us, for which we were complimen-
ted, sent our Charge d' Affaires in Washington a communication which
was harsh and highly offensive, breaking off diplomatic relations with
Nicaragua and, finally, enclosing his passports.

The Department of our Government to which it corresponds to take
note of this letter has already given it due appreciation in the circular
which it directed to the Latin American nations, but I think it advisa-
ble also to refer to the matter here in order to refute with all the energy
of my soul the unjust, violent and superficial accusations which are made
against my person and my government.

Before all else, as a Nicaraguan, as a Central American, as a son of


Latin America, I protest before the world against the unjust intrusion
of the American Government into the internal affairs of our country,
reaching the extreme of judging our politics with the passion of a sec-
tarian; I protest against the threat which is insinuated there, and which
afterwards has been manifested specifically and categorically, of having
American forces disembark to change the administration in Nicaragua
and place at the head of the Government a person in the friendship and
confidence of the United States.

The American Government, lacking all right and the most trivial no-
tion of international courtesy, has inflicted upon us an outrage which
the sensitiveness of that people, inspired with equity and justice, will
reprobate severely when later they know the facts, disfigured to-day by
the passions and intrigues of my enemies.


The Cabinet at Washington holds me responsible in its note for Ink
of consideration toward its Government and for indignities which obli-
ged the retirement of the American diplomatic Minister who resided inA
this capital.

Nothing could be more inexact than such a charge.

All the world knows how a diplomatic Minister is received in Nica-
ragua, especially in from the United States, and how he is treated and
entertained in order to make more agreeable his stay among us.

The last American Minister whom we had here was Mr. John Gard-
ner Coolidge, who expressed in his farewell note his satisfaction for the
courteous treatment of which he had been the objet, doing so in a man-
ner so expressive that no one could doubt the sincerity of his words.

Here is the note of Mr. Coolidge:

American Legation. Managua, Nicaragua, November 21, 1908.
Your Excellency: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that, iny
Government having accepted my resignation from the diplomatic servi-
ce of the United Sates, I have to-day placed the Legation in charge
of Mr. John Hanaford Gregory, Jr., who will act in the quality of
Charge d' Affaires.

I avail myself of this occasion to offer sincere thanks to Your Excel-
lency and to Your Excellency's Government, for the constant courtesy
with which I have been treated since my arrival in this country, and I
desire to renew to Your Excellency the assurance of my high esteem.


John Gardner Coolidge, American Minister. To His Excellency Eodol-
fo Espinosa, Minister of Foreign Relations, etc., etc. National Palace.

If anyone has had the right to complain, it has been the Gorvern-
rnent of Nicaragua (1): first Mr. Merry, in connection with the Emery
claim, sent notes which were rather harsh and hardly friendly, and,
later, the Charge d' Affaires, Mr. Gregory, actuated by unfounded com-
plaints, reached the point of insolence. All this was known to the Ame-
rican Government, which not ever deigned to notice the complaint pre-
sented. That same Government even menaced us with the rupture of
our relations because we resisted signing a protocol of arbitration con-
cerning imaginary injuries.

In spite of the fact that my Government has complied strictly with
the obligations stipulated in the Conventions of Washington, the Ame-
rican Government accuses me of having attempted to violate them from
the time when they were signed. It brings forward no proof, however,
which justifies its assertion. What indeed is notorious is that the exe-
cutives of Guatemala and El Salvador were the first who failed to abide
by the Conventions, promoting or tolerating the revolution which bro-
ke out in the Republic of Honduras. They were acquitted, it, is true, by
the Court of Cartago, but the public conscience has condemned them in
a manner from which there is no appeal.

The Government of Washington -makes harsh comments upon my
conduct in the management of the internal affairs of the country. It
has viewed matters through the prism of the passion of my enemies, who
have succeeded in perpetrating a deception.

I confess that, as a human being, I may have commited mistakes in
my administration, but I have always proceeded with fair intentions' and
have tried to regulate all my acts according to the impulses of a spirit
of calm and ample justice.

Leader of a political party of progress and innovation, I have never
departed from its principles, but in my administrative labor. I have
been seconded by men of all circles, including the Conservative Part} 7 ,
which likewise has come to my support in the reestablishment of peace.
In a word, I have governed by taking advantage of all elements. These,
then, are sharers in the responsability, if such exists, and in the honor,
if honor we merit.

(1) Documents are inserted at the close which prove this assertion, demonstrating the pro-
priety of the 'Government of Nicaragua and its good will towards the United States.

- 125 -

prisons spoken of by the Government of Washington have only
been demanded by the necessity of preserving public order. They are
the consequence of numerous abortive conspiracies, of criminal plans for
extermination opportunely discovered, and of wide-reaching revolutions
kindled throughout the country, in which even the American consuls
participated, under the cover of dissimulation.

These facts have been proved patently, and never, for political moti-
ves, have I used all of the means which the law placed in my hands to
punish severely the transgressors. And, to justify me fully, the guilty
ones, when placed at liberty, confessed their wrongdoings, and often I
was applauded by all for the magnanimity with which I treated my



The death of the filibusterers Cannon and Groee, which is imputed
directly to me by the American Government, is the result of a trial in
which a full hearing was given to the defendents and no legal formalit}^

These men were revolutionists, as the American Government offi-
cially affirms in the note of the Secretary of State, and figured as prin-
cipal chiefs of the movement to which they lent the efficient combina-
tion of their activity and intelligence, directing the scientific operations
of drafting topographical and fortification plans, and being, besides,
fine shots and the only ones charged with arranging infernal apparatus
for explosive mines, which did such damage in the manoeuvers of the
Government forces.

Therefore Cannon and Groce expiated their crime in the manner in-
dicated by our military code: with the penalty of death.

Besides having been important revolutionary chiefs, there fell upon
them the criminal responsibility of a most grave and horrible act: the
blowing up with dymanite of our vessels filled with troops, which would
have succumbed, in their greater part, amid the moving sandbanks of
the San Juan River, if, by a casual happening and by great skill in the
movement of one of the steamers, it had not been made possible to cross
rapidly the spot where the mine exploded.

Those individuals could not be compared to prisoners of war, which
are captured from the enemy in an international conflict: they were fili-
busterers in the service of an internal revolution, paid to bring about
ruin and death; foreign mercenaries who came to augment our misfor-

- 126 -

times, not for love of a country which was not their own, but to win a
recompense from the rebels and traitors who came drenching with blood
the national soil.

The sentence which the court martial pronounced against them was
in accord with the prescriptions of our military laws; the def'endents
confessed their guilt and also manifested clearly and in Writing that
they had been treated in their prison with the greatest care and consi-

My only part in this painful affair was to deny the indulgence which
the dependents petitioned, for that right is invested in the President of
the Republic, and I believed, and still believe that the sentence was
just and ought to have been executed, the enem} 7 being in front, and
that extreme measures were necessary in judging two confessed and
convicted culprits, that the order and moral attitude of the army might
be maintained.

Since Cannon and Groce were revolutionists, they lost all right to
the protection of their Government, according to the American laws,
and, such being the case, the United States have no right to feel offen-
ded. In any event, the Government of Washington might have filed
the corresponding reclamation before declaring that its relations with
Nicaragua were broken off.

The strong, in dealing with the weak, have two sets of weights and
two sets of measures.

At the time of the blowing up of the Maine no wires were found, not
even the smallest circumstance which could warrant the conviction
that a crime had been commited. But the sole fact of the ship's being
in Cuban waters was enough for the American Government to declare
war upon Spain, hundreds of victims perishing as a consequence.

In Nicaragua two revolutionary chiefs are captured in open war.
The mine is found, as well as the apparatus for its working. The de-
fendents are taken in flagrante delicto and confess their guilt. Never-
theless, the American Government considers it unjust that they are
punished according to the laws, doubtless because the affair concerns
two Americans.


For some time I have been informed that certain Central American
rulers, feeling themselves powerless to overthrow me, and with the ob-
ject of assuring themselves in the offices which they occupy against the

- 127 -

will of the majority of their fellow citizens, believing me a hindrance to
their designs, have turned to Washington with false complaints and a
contemptible attitude of supplication to ask of that Government its pro-
tection; that it lend its support to a revolution in this countiy, which
would have as a consequence American intervention.

The last note of the American Secretary of State confirms these de-
grading and criminal machinations.

May there fall upon those unpatriotic governors, those traitors to the
cause of race and Latin American independence, all the opprobrium of
History and the anathema of free peoples!

The rebellion of Blue-fields has received the support and sympathy of
the American Government to such an extent that it has not only tolera-
ted the sending of war supplies for the revolutionists, but has also, in
an official document, characterized as truly representative of public
opinion in Nicaragua a mere dissenting tumult of a few unknown and
traitorous citizens; and, finally, availing itself of the pretext furnished
by the shooting of two adventurers, it has broken off relations with us
and threatens us with the power of its forces.

In the face of this situation, patriotism imposed upon me the duty
of renouncing the presidency of the Republic, and thus I have done in
order to detain in his advances the foreign conqueror, since it would be
insensate to oppose with our small resources a power which is, for us,

But let the world know that if we lack material forces, we- have in
exchange patriotism to spare, and that the knowledge of honor and right
is on our side.

May my worthy successor, when calm has once more been established
in all spirits, bear well upon his shoulders the weighty charge of bringing
to the. front the dignity and independence of the Republic, offered unto
a foreign power with imprudence as well as lack of patriotism by per-
sons who did riot comprehend the future development and solidarity of
the destinies of Central America.

As for myself, I return calmly and tranquilly to private life. I un-
derstand well that, since I have left the Supreme Command, those who
tried in their impotence to overthrow me with revolutions, and even
with the aid of foreign powers, will lift up their voices to reprehend and
malign me in all the tones of their unbridled passions. But I shall be
able to front with resolute soul that tempest, which is the obligatory lot
of those who, like myself, descend from a high place after a long and

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persistent struggle in which ambitions have dominated and carried off
victoriously the standard of a party.

I repeat my solemn protest against the outrage of which we are vic-
tims, and submit without fear my cause to the criterion of honorab'e men
and the inflexible rectitude of Histor}*.

Fellow citizens: I separate myself from you leaving the country in
the middle of the broad ways of Reform and Progress.

Let there remain as monuments to my administration the new rail-
roads which have increased the commerce, the agriculture and the pros-
perity of the country; the superior primary schools, elevated to a high
standard, and the elementary schools, disseminated through all the towns
and villages. The principles of modern law have been incorporated into
our system of legislation, our boundary dispute with Costa Rica has been
adjusted, and the exact definition of our limits with Honduras is about
to be fixed. The country is crossed by telephone and telegraph lines,
the public credit has been raised, and the army has been established in
such a manner that it constitutes a true guarantee for our institutions
and a powerful element of defense for the integrity of our territory.

And if this be little, there is the reincorporation of Mosquitia, which
is the highest blason of my government and a true glory to Latin

It fell to me to exercise my activity in a period of laborious and dif-
ficult transition, when it was necessary to demolish and build at the
same time. If I was unable to do all that I wished, I am reconciled with
having laid the foundations of Reform, hoping that my illustrious suces-
sor will know how to direct his efforts and energies to crowning the work
which has been begun.

I declare that I shall always preserve the highest memories of the
worth}', industrious and honorable sons of the people, in which nucleus
I found the strongest and most disinterested support, and I am also
pleased to make public my gratitude toward the army, which always
hastened to the call of the Government for the defense of the country
and its institutions, and which was able, by its abnegation and heroism,
to conquer victory on the fields of battle and maintain aloft the glorious
Banner of the Republic.

I desire for my dear Nicaragua days of peace and of fortune after
the sinister shadows which have darkened her clear and beautiful hori-
zon; I long to see always the Red Banner of Liberalism floating over the
public administration; and if, by ill fortune, our independence and sove-


reignty be upon the eve of ruin by the invading torrent of conquest,
know that I will be with you in the hour of proof to dedicate my ener-
gies a.nd my life to the defense of the Country!,/. 8. Zvlaya. Mana-
gua, December 22, 1901).


American Legation. Managua, Nicaragua, F. 0., n. 41. Ma-
nagua, February 2 ; 1909. Excellency: Referring to a note directed by
the Secretary of State the 31st of last December to the Minister of Ni-
caragua in Washington, relative to the prolonged discussion and seem-
ingly unnecessary delay of the Government of Nicaragua in submitting
to arbitration the claim of Emery against the Government of Your Ex-

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Online LibraryJosé Santos ZelayaThe revolution of Nicaragua and the United States → online text (page 11 of 15)