File No. 837.00/1068
Minister Gonzales to the Secretary of State
Habana, February 12, 1917—11 p.m.
There exists organized revolution against the Government in two, probably three, provinces. There has been no communication today with Camaguey, all lines cut and wireless not working. The assumption is that two battalions of troops there have joined insurrectionists and the capital of province occupied by them. Tonight Consul Griffith telegraphs that a major, supposed to be [Page 355] favoring liberal party’s cause, took over command of troops in Santiago and placed colonel of regiment and governor of province in prison.
In numbers of towns in Santa Clara Province where the partial elections were set for Wednesday the mayors and part of police with some rural guards and numbers of civilians variously estimated at five hundred to one thousand have gone to the woods. In the most important encounter in Santa Clara the insurgent mayor and chief of police of one town were killed by troops. Tonight perfect quiet is reported in Habana, Pinar del Rio and Matanzas Provinces.
It is believed in Government circles that former President Gómez who left Habana a week ago in his yacht landed today in Camaguey Province. If he leads the revolution it will become most serious.
Menocal is evidently deeply disappointed at disloyalty of portion of troops. He attributes it to the fact that he retained officers in the army as it was organized by his predecessor Gómez.
This afternoon the newspaper Heraldo de Cuba edited and owned by Ferrara, Speaker of the House, was suppressed on charge of persistence in seditious publications.
The plan for army disaffections and that against life of the President are considered by officials as perfectly connected. No statement has been made by Government but President is preparing proclamation tonight.
None here understand policy of liberals in beginning revolution before the elections. The contention is they were not to be permitted to vote. Had this been sustained by events they still had the courts that had already decided in their favor and then revolution as a last resort. As the case stands the revolution is based on the allegation of proposed frauds or force.
Latest accounts are that Government is sending gunboat to retake Santiago. Most of the soldiers were absent in country districts when coup was effected.
Cuban Government is naturally desirous of having expression of moral support from the Government of the United States. British and American interests are already expressing belief that visit of a few war vessels to Cuban ports would have calming effect. Military attaché requests that facts given above be furnished the Chief of Staff.