No. 71.
Mr. Hall to Mr. Bayard.

No. 729.]

Sir: On the night of the 27th instant Col. Don Vicente Castañeda, Constitutional Vice-President of Guatemala, at the head of an insurgent force of about two hundred men invaded Huehuetenango, an important town near the frontier of Mexico, and attempted to seize the military quarters; after two hours’ firing the insurgents were repulsed. Castañeda was captured the next day at the neighboring town of Chiantla, and yesterday morning was shot, as also were four of the principal officers that accompanied him.

Almost simultaneously with the affair at Huehuetenango another insurrectionary movement was frustrated near the frontier of Salvador; four of the leaders were captured and have since been shot.

It appears that these revolutionary attempts were intended to have been made two months ago. It is said that the affair at La Union, [Page 88] Salvador, the night of the 5th of September, reported in my No. 703, of the 13th of that month, was a part of the plan.

After the failures referred to, the insurgent organizations have broken up and the forces have dispersed; it is believed that no more attempts will be made, as it is evident that the movement has met with no popular response or sympathy.

The inclosures herewith contain the official and unofficial reports published by the Government and, I have no doubt, are trustworthy.

I have, etc.,

Henry C. Hall.
[lnclosure 1 in No. 729.—Translation—Supplement to “El Guatemalteeo,” 28th October, 1887.]

Public tranquillity assured.

The public is already aware that a party of bandits, led by Mariano Pineda, Jorge Zepeda, José Arzú, and Juárez, have been scouting through different places of the departments of Guatemala, Santa Rosa, and Jalapa, closely followed up by the forces of the Government, meeting with no sympathy in any of the villages and hamlets through which they passed; but, on the contrary, finding that in those same localities the inhabitants were arming with the purpose of capturing them, they were compelled to disperse; some went in the direction of Alzatate to reach from thence the Soledad Mountain, others presented themselves to the chiefs of the Government forces sent in their pursuit.

Among those who fled to the mountain were the above-mentioned four chiefs, but the Indians of Alzatate pursued them closely and captured two; the others were compelled to leave the neighborhood; the chiefs, considering themselves lost and being destitute of all resources, decided to take refuge in the territory of Salvador; with that object they fled in the direction of Jutiapa and, in passing Tasajera, were captured by the commandant, Pedro Cambara.

Last night they were conducted to headquarters at Jutiapa, where they will be tried according to military laws.

While the Government was giving its orders in regard to the foregoing a dispatch came from the telegraph operator of Huehuetenango reporting that the garrison was attacked and that a lively firing against the military quarters was going on. A few moments later he amplified his dispatch stating, that Colonel Don Vicente Castañeda, with forces of Chiantla, a neighboring town, was the attacking party; an hour and a half later the following telegram was received:

Huehuetenango, October 27, 1887.

To the President:

“At 7 p.m. Don Vicente Castañeda invaded this place, was repulsed by the twenty-five men of the garrison, and retired after two hours firing; we lost on our side, killed, a lieutenant and two soldiers. The insurgents left a sublieutenant and three soldiers, killed, and carried away others of their dead; they also left two wounded soldiers. We had three soldiers wounded.

“It was impossible to estimate the number of the force. Mariano Casteñeda, a relative of the chief, and two officers named Castellanos accompanied him.

Francisco Fuentes.

Telegraphic orders were given immediately to the commanders of Quezaltenango, San Marcos, and Quiché, to march with their forces of upwards of two thousand men to the aid of Huehuetenango; order was re-established there, as in Chiantla, when Casteñeda with fifteen other persons were captured.

Casteñeda’s treason has the double stain of having been false to his military duties, inasmuch as he was in the active service of a Government which had treated him with hall kinds of consideration, and of having reciprocated with base ingratitude the social importance and the promotions which General Barillas had given him.

The affairs of Palencia and Huehuetenango demonstrate once more that the towns of the Republic will not now rise up as in former times at the voice of the first ambitions leader who would make them the instruments of his ignoble designs. The Government applauds the conduct of the several chiefs, the troops and inhabitants of the Orient and Occident, who have contributed to the maintenance of public order and have severely punished those who attempted to subvert it.

[Page 89]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 729.—Translation.—From “E1 Guatemalteco” of 30th October, 1887.]

Execution of insurgent chiefs in Guatemala.

[Telegram from General Pimental to President Barillas.]

To the President:

After having made the required investigation, in conformity with the requirements of the law, I ordered the insurgent chiefs, Mariano Pineda, Jorge Zepeda, José Arzú, and Antonio Juárez, belonging to the band of which you are already informed, to be shot.

S. Pimental.

To the President:

At this moment, 6 a.m. ex-Col. Vicente Castañeda, ex-Lieuts. Ismael Diaz and José Muñoz, and ex-Sublieuts. Matias Cifuentes and Francisco Alonzo, convicted of military sedition, have been executed with the formalities of the law.

Luis Molina.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 729.—Translation.]

Proclamation of President Barillas.

Manuel Lisandro Barillas general of division and President of the Republic of Guatemala, to the Guatemalans:

Fellow-citizens: In assuming the unlimited powers given me by the decree of of 26th June, my purpose was to make use of them with so much moderation and forbearance that not a tear should be shed for political causes. In pursuance of this purpose the gubernative action was so directed that there was no imprisonment expulsion until the moment when for powerful reasons, of which you are all well aware, it became necessary to expel Archbishop Ricardo Cazanova from the territory of the Republic.

On the 1st of October the constituent assembly was installed. I gave account to it of all my official acts, and in the naration is to be found no other act of severity than the indispensable expulsion of Señor Cazanova.

The constituent power approved on that same day, by acclamation, the decree of the 26th of June, and was pleased also to extend a vote of thanks to the executive power. I awaited the happy moment when the new fundamental law should be placed in my hands to enter upon a constitutional regimen, without any Guatemalan or inhabitant of this Republic having undergone molestation.

But fate had proposed for Guatemala a situation that was not in my peaceful, lenient, and mild programme. There are persons and political circles to whom alternation in power is not acceptable; they consider themselves designated by special privileges always to command and never to obey. It is of no importance to them that their estates are secure, that in their persons they enjoy the most ample guaranties, that they enjoy tranquillity, unless they have absolute power, unless they have the people subject to their order like a flock of lambs; and if they do not guide so that not a ray of the light of modern civilization can penetrate, they will always be making efforts to place themselves at the head to dominate so that the country may return to the dark night of those thirty years. I shall present you proofs of all this.

On the 28th of September the Government had notice that on the frontier of Salvador a party of insurgents had risen up, and, led by Salvador, Sandoval, José Aguilar, and one Tinoco, said to be a Nicaraguan general; it knew very well that the movement had been planned and was directed by some of the strongest reactionists of the capital of Guatemala who also supplied it with resources.

I abstained from proceeding against them and even from making investigations which might result in a punishment which was not in accord with my adopted programme, and I devoted my efforts solely to breaking up the faction. The result was a happy one, due to the energy of General Pimental, commandant at Jutiapa, to the activity of the commandants of Chiquimula Jalapa, Zacapa, and Santa Rosa and to the officers under them, and to the loyalty and good sense of the inhabitants of the towns which, though in contact with the insurgents, resisted their persuasions.

Thanks, also, to the Government of Honduras, which manifested its desire to cooperate [Page 90] in the extermination of the insurgents, and to the good offices of the Government of Salvador, which, like a true friend, has been a loyal sentinel of tranquillity and order, this moment was not isolated.

Proceeding from Palencia, a party led by Mariano Pineda, Jorge Zepeda, José Arzú, and Antonio Juárez scoured several points of the departments of Guatemala, Santa Rosa, and Jalapa. It was closely pursued by the forces of the Government, and found no sympathy whatever in the hamlets through which it fled. Instead of support, they met with persecution. The inhabitants spontaneously took up arms to capture them, and in this situation they were compelled to disperse, some taking the direction of Alzatate to reach the Soledad Mountain, while others presented themselves to the chiefs sent in their pursuit and solicited protection. The Indians of Alzatate followed up closely those who went in that direction.

The insurgent chiefs, destitute of resources, and believing themselves lost, attempted to reach Salvadorian territory through the department of Jutiapa, and at a place called Tasajera were captured by the commandunt, Pedro Cambara. Orders were given immediately to conduct them to headquarters at Jutiapa, where, after the regular trial, Pineda, Arzú, Zepeda, and Juárez were shot.

This is not all what happened in the Republic. On the night of October 27, the post commander of Huehuetenango notified the commander of the department, Francisco Fuentes, that there was a group of armed men near the city. The garrison was placed under arms and the militia was called together; but before the corps of guards could arrive the insurgents penetrated into the principal square; they were led by Vicente Castañeda (vice-president of Guatemala), who harangued his men with shouts, crying that he was going to be President of the Republic. Fuentes defended the place bravely during two hours of firing, several dead and wounded on both sides remaining on the field.

The routed insurgents were captured and tried with the formalities of the law, and to-day at 6 a.m. ex-Col. Vicente Castañeda, ex-Lieuts. Ismael Diaz and José Muñoz, and ex-Sublieuts. Matias Cifueutes and Francisca Alonzo suffered its extreme penalty.

When the news of the attack on Huehnetenango was received orders were sent to the commanders of Qnezaltenaugo, Quiché, and San Marcos to send aid, and I am very satisfied not only with the activity with which these forces were mobilized, the enthusiasm of the chief in command, the celerity with which they repaired to the point indicated under the orders of General Molina, bat with the loyalty manifested in deeds by the peoples of the Republic, both in the Orient and Occident.

Compatriots: The blood shed in battles is to be regretted, and still more when shed on the scaffold, but the responsibility of such effusion falls not upon the Government acting in self-defense, but upon the insurgents who combat it in all possible ways without excepting the most execrable of all, treason to the Republic.

Guatemalans: Whatever may be my own ideas in regard to the inviolability of human life, the military laws which have been placed in my hands to be enforced, and which I have promised faithfully to observe, impose the penalty of death upon those who, with arms in their hands, attempt to pervert public order.

Inhabitants of the Republic: I have been placed under the necessity of exercising acts of severity which are not in harmony with my sentiments, but it is not possible for me to witness with indifference the public peace menaced, and our dearest interests in danger. I shall continue, to my great regret, the course of severity, in which unfortunately I have been placed, if the acts of justice accomplished at Jutiapa and Huehuetenango should not suffice to insure order and progress, institutions which are of the first and greatest necessity of the country.

M. L. Barillas.