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Political affairs: insurrection; closure of ports; measures to protect American interests; request for asylum at American Legation and Consulate; attitude of the United States; succession of Provisional Presidents Freile Zaldumbide and Baquerizo Moreno; election and inauguration of President Plaza

Introductory note. During an uprising against him, August 11, 1911, General Eloy Alfaro, President of Ecuador, took refuge in the Legation of Chile; from there he sent his resignation to Congress. (See For. Rel., 1911, pp. 186187.) On August 31, 1911, in a letter to the Diplomatic Corps at Quito, he promised to depart at once for Panama, remain in exile “at least a year,” and keep entirely aloof from Ecuador’s affairs while absent. On this understanding the Government of Ecuador consented, September 13, 1911, to his departure.

His successor, Emilio Estrada, died December 21, 1911. On receipt of this news next day at Esmeraldas, a port near the Colombian border, the insurrectionists there organized a provisional government for the province of Esmeraldas, and also cabled General Flavio E. Alfaro, nephew of General Eloy, that they had elected him Supreme Chief of the Provisional Government of Ecuador. Both the Alfaros were at Balboa, Panama. Flavio sailed December 23, made landings at Tumaco, Limones and other points on December 26–28, and on the 29th at Esmeraldas, where he completed his military preparations for that region.

On the 30th Flavio’s agents at Guayaquil notified him of the organization, on the 28th, of a rival provisional government of which the Supreme Chief was General Pedro J. Montero, who, ignoring Flavio, had sent for Eloy, under whom he had served during Eloy’s presidency, and to whom he still deferred. Eloy Alfaro arrived January 2, 1912, and Flavio on the 5th, at Guayaquil. The two provisional governments were consolidated by the submission of Flavio, who on January 8 was made commanding general, Montero retaining his title of Supreme Chief; Eloy, the real leader, had no office, but, in a manifesto addressed to the people, gave himself the character of mediator, though without mentioning any question at issue.

Flavio left Guayaquil on January 11 to take the field and soon met the Esmeraldas troops, who had been defeated on January 9th at Huigras. Flavio was defeated at Yaguachi and at Naranjito, January 17–20, in the course of which engagements he was wounded, a circumstance that gave Montero a pretext for relieving him of the command, which he transferred to General Eloy, January 19. Flavio next day severed his connection with Montero’s command. The Government forces under General Leonidas Plaza Gutiérrez and his second in command, General Julio Andrade, had defeated the rebels in every engagement, and on January 22 articles of capitulation were signed by Generals Plaza and Montero, and witnessed by the British and American Consuls General, whereby in exchange for [Page 392]surrender General Plaza granted safe conduct (“amplias garantías”) to all persons, civil and military, who had directly or indirectly taken part, for any reason, in the “political movement of December 28, 1911,” excepting common criminals.

But the populace, both at Guayaquil and Quito, demanded the persons of the rebel leaders with such fury that the Government overruled General Plaza and ordered them to be tried for treason. On the 25th the trials accordingly began, the Minister of War, Navarro, presiding; Montero was the first to be tried and he was sentenced to sixteen years in jail: the maximum penalty. This was immediately made known to the people, thousands of whom, demanding the delivery to them of the prisoners, had for hours been crowded before the courtroom; they entered, overpowered the guards, and lynched Montero in the most brutal way.

General Plaza now received orders to transfer the other prisoners to Quito for trial, but he demurred because he believed he could prevent a recurrence of violence in Guayaquil, whereas at Quito not one of the prisoners would escape the mob. Again ordered to send them to Quito, he obeyed, vehemently protesting. On the 28th all the prisoners were lynched, immediately after arrival in Quito.


[569] Doctor Chávez Franco to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.002/13.]


[570] The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/184.]


[571] The Secretary of State to the American Consulate at Guayaquil.

File No. 422.11G93/420.]


[572] The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/193.]


[573] [Untitled]

File No. 822.00/197.]


[574] The Secretary of State to the American Minister.

File No. 822.00/184.]


[575] General Montero to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/202.]


[576] The Chargé d’Affaires of Ecuador to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/210.]


[577] The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/215.]


[578] [Untitled]

File No. 822.00/223.]


[579] [Untitled]

File No. 822.00/268.]


[580] The American Consul General at Guayaquil to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/224.]


[581] The Secretary of State to the American Legation.

File No. 822.00/224.]


[582] The Secretary of State to the American Minister.

File No. 822.00/197.]


[583] The Secretary of State to the Chargé d’Affaires of Ecuador.

File No. 822.00/210.]


[584] The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/239.]


[585] [Untitled]

File No. 822.00/266.]


[586] The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/252.]


[587] The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/269.]


[588] [Untitled]

File No. 822.00/276.]


[589] [Untitled]

File No. 822.00/287.]


[590] [Untitled]

File No. 822.002/18.]


[591] The Chargé d’Affaires of Ecuador to the Acting Secretary of State.

File No. 822.002/16.]


[592] The American Chargé d’Affairs to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/292.]


[593] The American Minister to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/280.]


[594] The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.00/299.]


[595] The Acting Secretary of State to the American Chargé d’Affaires.

File No. 822.00/292.]


[596] The American Chargé d’Affaires to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.032/9.]


[597] [Untitled]

File No. 822.001 P69/1.]


[598] The Chargé d’Affaires of Ecuador to the Secretary of State.

File No. 822.001 P69/3.]