The Ambassador in Cuba (Guggenheim) to the Secretary of State

No. 1532

Sir: I have the honor to report that there have been a number of occurrences during the past fortnight which may be regarded as symtomatic of the increasing state of unrest prevailing in Cuba.

Beginning on February 13, when the police arrested two lawyers and three other employees of the firm of Rosales and Lavedan, attorneys [Page 273] for the National City Bank of New York and other American enterprises, and a group of seven young men alleged to have been surprised at a secret meeting in a down town office building, the authorities have shown increased diligence in the apprehension of persons suspected of conspiring against the Government.

February 24th being a national holiday, the customary precautions were observed from the 23rd to the 25th for the maintenance of order, and with the exception of eight bomb explosions on the night of the 23rd, the seizure of supplies of arms and ammunition in the building formerly occupied by the local Y. M. C. A. and numerous arrests of alleged conspirators, the day passed off quietly in Habana.

It is understood that the “A. B. C.” or the left wing students organization, or possibly both, had announced their intention of creating disturbances in various parts of the city, but, with the exceptions mentioned above, their plans failed to materialize. It was also reported that the same groups had called upon all opponents of the Government to restrict their expenditures, beginning February 24, to the necessities of life and especially to refrain from purchasing gasoline, thus depriving the Government of essential revenues. There is no sign that this appeal has met with any response, nor is it reasonable to suppose that it could have been otherwise in view of the wellrecognized fact that the impoverished condition of the Cuban people has long since forced them to adapt their lives to the most stringent economies.

Reports from the interior are somewhat less reassuring. Disregarding rumors, of which there have been some of a disquieting nature, mention may be made of the following incidents the authenticity of which has been confirmed by official sources.

During the past week four trains were derailed in different parts of the island, two on the lines of the British-owned United Railways of Habana and two on those of the American-controlled Consolidated Railways of Cuba.

On the night of February 23 a switch and a culvert at Colorado, a small town in Camaguey Province, were destroyed and a train was derailed. On the same night a train was derailed between Puerto Taraf a and Ciego de Avila, also in Camaguey Province. Two nights later a bomb caused the derailment of a train in Matanzas Province. In none of these cases was anyone injured. However, on the night of February 26, the engineer and fireman of a United Railways freight train were killed when their locomotive and five cars were derailed when passing over a switch that had been torn up.

On February 23 and 24 telephone and telegraph wires were cut in several places, principally in Camaguey Province, but the Embassy is informed that this damage has since been repaired.

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The Embassy’s Military Attaché has been able to obtain confirmation of a report that on February 23 a group of about 7 men attacked the Rural Guard post at Central San Antonio, Oriente Province. Only two of the guards were in the barracks at the time. One of them jumped out of the window and succeeded in driving off the attacking party, wounding at least one of them. These men came from the city of Guantanamo and are known to the authorities who are now endeavoring to round them up.

A party of about 20 men, described by the General Staff as a marauding band, is operating near the boundary line between the provinces of Santa Clara and Camaguey, with headquarters apparently at Guadalupe. These men have been burning canefields and destroying other property. Detachments of the Army are said to be closing in on them and their capture is expected within a few days.

Respectfully yours,

Harry F. Guggenheim