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Churchill`s Experiences in Spanish-Cuban-American War, part 2
Cuba 1896
Barely a month after Churchill had taken leave of Marshal Martinez Campos the unfortunate Captain General was dismissed. His friend the Duke of Tetuan resigned in sympathy and the Marshal`s place was taken by General Weyler, who had acquired a reputation for ruthlessness in ending the insurrection in 1878: the mere threat of his arrival had been sufficient to bring to an end rioting among the students of Barcelona.
Churchill formed clear and decided views about what he had seen in Cuba. But these did not help him to come down on one side or the other. He had a natural sympathy for people trying to shake off an oppressor, a natural distaste for the high-handed and often stupid actions of the colonial administrators. He saw, moreover, that `the demand for independence is national and unanimous.` In his very first despatch he had written: `The insurgents gain adherence continually. There is no doubt that they possess the sympathy of the entire population.`
On the other hand he was frankly contemptuous of the ill-organized, ineffective, destructive and often cruel manner in which the rebels conducted their campaign. `They neither fight bravely nor do they use their weapons effectively.`

Churchill later wrote in the Saturday Review on 7 March 1896. `They cannot win a single battle or hold a single town. Their army, consisting to a large extent of coloured men, is an undisciplined rabble.` What he saw of the rebel forces and of the havoc wreaked by them on the economy and administration of the country did not inspire in Churchill any confidence that the insurgents would provide a better alternative for Cuba than the Spanish colonial power. `The rebel victory offers little good either to the world in general or to Cuba in particular,` he wrote on 15 February 1896 in the Saturday Review. `Though the Spanish administration is bad a Cuban Government would be worse, equally corrupt, more capricious, and far less stable. Under such a Government revolutions would be periodic, property insecure, equity unknown.`

by Randolph Churchill and Larry Daley
Article ID 195
First Article 195 of 815 Last
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