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Maceo Vs. Weyler: `The Banana Campaign`
Cuban Liberation Army
by
Pinar del Rio 1896
Finding that the Spaniards had been contained, and no longer fighting, Maceo, on impulse, decided to penetrate the encircling Spanish lines in the direction of the Linea, which he would have to cross if he were to heed Maximo Gomez`s summons. Maceo returned from his scouting expedition convinced that he could make the Linea crossing safely. He also found that Weyler had returned to Havana, after the embarassing and unpleasant experience of getting lost with his men in the mountain forests because of his lack of knowledgeable scouts. The harassment of General Rius Rivera, whom Maceo had left with forces high in mountain top positions, would continue to repel the enemy effectively. The great number of casualties suffered by Weyler`s forces would serve to discredit the latter. If Weyler did not learn to become more effective, Maceo predicted total failure for Weyler`s efforts to crush the revolution. He added that his men, derisively, called Weyler`s operations `the banana campaign` because it was known that a shriveled banana field had been charged by soldiers under Weyler`s orders. In that letter of November 17 to Lacoste, Maceo commented on the presidential election in the United States, predicting good fortune for the rebel cause as he assumed the new president would follow a different approach from that of the `fatal, for us, conduct of the Spain-loving Mr. Cleveland`; he hoped for United States recognition of Cuban belligerency. Meanwhile Maceo continued to become visibly depressed after reading Maximo Gomez`s summons and other letters from members of the government, who threatened to resign if their differences with the Dominican chief Gomez were not resolved and he were not restrained from acting independently of the council. At his distance from the controversy, Maceo could not judge whose position was more beneficial for his beloved Patria. It disturbed Maceo to read suggestions by those antagonized by Maximo Gomez and President Salvador Cisneros that he, Maceo, assume all power--military and governmental. If this were their judgement, Maceo believed it to be a grievous blow to the future republic. Maceo, thus, did not reply to any of the dissidents; he limited himself to writing that heartfelt letter of November 22 to Manuel Sanguily requesting that he come to the aid of the Republic as the only means of endowing the revolution with respected leadership.
by Magdalen M. Pando
Article ID 159
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