The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 31, 1901, Page 10, Image 12

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The Commoner.
A Congressman's Opinion.
Congressman Slaydon of Texas made
n visit to Cuba after congress ad
journed. After his return lie wroto an
artlclo from which the following ex
tracts arc taken:
When I was in Cuba there was just
one absorbing topic. It was printed
about in the newspapers, debated in
the convention and eloquently dis
cussed in the shopB and on the streets.
Nearly all American visitors to Cuba
had come back and reported that the
Cubans were virtually unanimous in
their eagerness to accept the Piatt
amondment and end the military con
trol. I found that they wore practic
ally unanimous, but tho unanimity was
for tho rejection of the conditions im
posed by tho extraordinary amend
ment to tho army appropriation bill.
These conditions may bo Anally ac
cepted; out it will never bo done by
tho free will of the Cubans. They wero
perplexed and distressed at tho situa
tion. They feel that thoir great, strong
northern neighbor who rendorod them
invaluable aid in an hour of need is
menacing that which as a people they
hold most dear. They aro profoundly
Tho charge of Ingratitude against
the Cubans Is not well founded. They
aro keenly alive to tho obligations they
owe tho United States and covet the
opportunity to discharge tho debt.
Thoy have not forgotten that it was
through the intorvontion of the 'mili
tary forces of this country that the
Spaniards were driven out of the isl
and. Nor will thoy bo permitted to
forgot, for there is a type of American
now traveling in Cuba who constantly
bawls from every street corner that
the Cubans are ungrateful, that thoy
aro nothing but a lot of negroes and
half breeds., that they are unfit for and
incapable of self-government and that
for their own good thoy should be annexed.
All this irritates tho Cubans. It
would exasperate a less sonsitivo peo
ple. It makes tho work of our officials
there even more difficult than it would
bo and at best tho problems to be
solved aro delicate and perplexing.
It has been so often and so general
ly stated by returning tourists that
tho conservative commercial classes of
Cuba desired annexation that I hesi
tate to put on record the directly con
trary conclusions at which I arrived.
Of course there are annexationists in
Cuba, but they aro few in number.
Among them are to bo found sugar
planters who want access to our mar
kets without the vexatiou intervention
of custom houses, land owners who
-look to the United States for buyers
and Amoricans who have investments
in the island and for both business and
sentimental reasons desire the protec
tion of our flag.
I heard of one American who has a
splendid sugar plantation in the pro
vince of Santa Clara. He is said to
have been violently opposed to the war
for independence and, through power
ful friends in the United States, to
have exerted influence with Mr. Cleve
land's administration for tho benefit of
the Spanish government. Ho had no
sympathy with struggling patriots un
der Gomez and Garcia and has none
now with thoir efforts to set up a gov
ernment. What he wants is a market
for his crops. His whole theory of
government revolves about his plan
tation. His judgment aB a man of
business is good, but his views on
policies of government are entitled
to no respect. Freo sugar markets
would reconcile him to the rule of an
There is a small and rapidly disap
pearing element which desires annex
ation for political reasons. It is what
remains of tho old autonomist party.
They wore really content with tho
government of Spain, butrorlizing that
tho majority of tho islanders did not
share thoir sentiments, they sought a
middlo ground between dependence
and independence which would have
loft tho island a colony of Spain with
just onough self-government to keep
the Cubans quiet. The loading auton
omists of 189G-1897 are now members
of tho republican party of Cuba and
earnestly working for absolute Cuban
Another element in Cuba which de
sires annexation, or preferably a con
tinuance of tho military occupation, is
made up of those Cubans who for the
first time in their lives are on a pay
roll, the obligations of which are reg
ularly met. They aro unimportant in
numbers and void of influence.
Salvador Cisnoros y Betancourt, who
was the Marquis of Santa Lucia, is
ono of tho most interesting and pic
turesque figures in Cuban history. Heir
to great wealth and a patent of nobil
ity, ho sacrificed both for the cause of
freedom. Those American patriots who
in 1776 pledged their lives, their for
tunes and their sacred honors to the
cause of liberty offered no greater price
for independence than did this fine
old Cuban gentleman.
Mr. Cisnoros was educated in Phila
delphia and has been a close student
of American history and institutibns
throughout his long life. After the un
successful war of 18G8 he became a citi
zen of our country and worked as
earnestly for annexation as he now op
poses it. "Could I have shown in any
better way," he said to me, "my re
spect for the government and people
of the United States? If I am not to
be a citizen of the' froe republic of Cu
ba, certainly I prefer to be a citizen of
your country." He voluntarily relin
quished his title and has spent a for
tune fighting, for the freedom of his
beloved isfarid. ? Tto'r fifty-three years
he has been an insurgent. His distress
over the turn of affairs is almost piti
ful. All his struggles and sacrifices
and the labors of a long and unselfish
life are to be cheated of their last re
ward by the resolutions of a lot of
He said, In substance, that the pre
tense of tho annexationists, plantation
owners and others, that the Cubans are
incapable of self-government, is not
well founded. There is no danger of
friction between the Cubans and Span
iards. Thoy are one in religion and
language, and these aro ties that make
for social harmony. There were not a
few Spaniards in tho patriot army.
Many Spaniards wanted to cut loose
from tho prejudices and tyrannies of
tho decaying Spanish kingdom and
they were willing to fight for it. Tho
Spaniards do not fear the future of
Cuba. Spanish immigrants by the hun
dreds come to Cuba every month and
go into the country, where they begin
the cultivation of tho soil. Thoy are
rapidly absorbed in the body of the
Cuban people and help to still further
widen the disparity in numbers be
tween the whites and blacks. Mr. Cis
noros does not look upon tho negro
question as being a serious menace to
tho tranquility of Cuba. Ho says that
slavery was a curse to both his and our
country, but he believes that the vex
atious social problem growing out of
it Is working itself out even more rap
idly in Cuba than in the United Statos.
The negroes were loyal Cubans during
the war for independence, and Maceo,
tho negro, was a brilliant military
chieftain whose talent was freely recognized.
From my notebook I will now try to
quote his exact language: "I am op
posed to the Piatt amendment, and as
a delegate in tho convention shall vote
for its rejection. I feel sure that the
people who sent me here will indorse
my position. Whatever sentiment for
annexation we hac in tho island is rap
idly dying out. Some people think
that wo will have a history like that
of Texas, a few years of indopondenco
and then admission to the American
union. I do not think so and I do not
believe it should be so. The domi
nant element in Texas ' was Anglo
Saxon. It spoke the same tongue and
was of the bone and flesh of tho Ameri
can people. Union under such circum
stances was natural and proper
"But here the case is differont. We
speak a different language and are of
tho Latin blood We are using the
government of the United States as a
model upon which to shape ours. We
desiro the closest possible trade and
social relations with the United States.
We are willing, indeed we are anxious,
to make commercial treaties with your
government which will De entirely sat
isfactory to your people. We will go
as far as possible in our concessions to
the United States, merely stopping
short of offense to other governments
witli which we wish to live on peaceful
"Our people are overwhelmingly
against the Piatt amendment. Even
the majority of the Spaniards aro with
us in opposing it. When a Spaniard
advocates annexation his opinion is
claimed to be that of all Spanish resi
dents. When they make a demonstra
tion of free Cuba it is said to bo due to
enmity growing out of the war."
Mr. Carlos Zaldo, who was educated
as a lawyer, but is a merchant and
banker, said: "I think the people of
Cuba should be allowed a government
to meet their own views. They have
earned this right by their labors and
sacrifices and it was solemnly pledged
to them in the Teller resolutions. The
people of Cuba are conservative. "Cer
tainly I am and I believe that the con
stitution which we have prepared in
sures it. I am in commerce and com
merce demands stability and conser
vatism. The Cubans who wish inde
pendent government are land owners
and long for tranquility.
"The Piatt amendment takes away
from us the very essence of sovereignty
and undertakes to treat us as children
and incompetents. Certainly we desire
complete sanitation and will secure it
as rapidly as our resources will permit.
We need no guardians to warn us
against the dangers of filth and dis
ease. "The claim to the Islo of Pines is
preposterous. It is a part of Cuba,
and a subdivision of the province of
Habana, The people there are Cubans
and in sympathy with us. It has been
recognized as a part of Cuba since the
discovery of the island and has in fact
been so recognized by the American
government. Elections were held there
for delegates to the constitutional con
vention and with the consent of the
United States these delegates, so chos
en, now sit in tho convention.
"The claim of tho United States to
this island is, I fear7 a mere pretense,
the purpose of which is to have a mili
tary station near Cuba.
"Wo had nothing to do with the
making of the Monroe doctrine and
will not be consulted as to its con
tinuance. But it does exist and will
not, I apprehond, be abandoned, and
while it exists no country in Europe
will daro to meddle with Cuba. We
do not fear trouble in that direction.
We will only have commercial rela
tions with Europe and even these as
England does in the case of Portugal
will be largely influenced and shaped
by the United States.
"I would like to see absolute freo
trade with the United States, but
Good Road Waeons, $24.
for our
Montgomery Ward & Co., Chicago
WAUTCnRoHablomcnor womon to soil our
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best by test 74 Years. We DA V CASH
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Hlim,5 dUU milling Brokor3t Loadvillo, Colo.
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A porfect maohino containing improvomonts
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Hoover, Pront & Co., Avory, Ohio.
WANTED First-class "salosmon for staple
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T. S., P. O. Drawor C, Iowa City, Iowa. '
msrw-r m& wtssuN
200 genuine Smith It Wesson Rovolvcrs, 7 inch
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100 Leather Holsters for ditto, nt PQVi
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Established JR2G.
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For cataloguo and dis
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email profit wo 1
ine consumor.
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