As has already been said, the U.S. declaration of war
against Spain took place behind the Cuban
’s back, a deceit supposedly mitigated by the interventionist power’s unfulfilled promise of the “humanitarian aims” of the Joint Resolution.
The United States struck a deal with Spain. Cuba was ignored and did not take part in the Treaty of Paris. The Cuban
Government Council, presided over by Bartolome Maso, was not recognized by the North American occupation, that is why the Assembly had to head the government. The Assembly – also chaired by Bartolome Maso – would deal with everything related to the mandate conferred by Art
icles 40 and 41 of the aforementioned La Yaya Constitution. It met at Santa Cruz del Sur – hence it is known as the Santa Cruz Assembly -, and succeeded in perceiving the U.S. treachery. The alleged “humanitarian aims” of the Joint Resolution appeased numerous Cuban
s, even some of the most illustrious. This is shown by the naïve thinking of Bartolome Maso, the president of the Santa Cruz Assembly, in the massage dated October 24, 1898, from which I quote the following excerpt:
The concrete and expected agreement with the U.S. government could not be reached, but the solemn statements of the U.S. Congress about the fact that the Cuban
people is and should be free and independent by law; Spain should renounce its sovereignty over the island; that U.S. maritime and terrestrial operations are aimed at expelling the Spanish troops from Cuban
soil and waters; that the U.S. government will not exert its sovereignty, rule or administration over Cuba, restraining its actions to the pacification of the island in order to subsequently hand over to the Cuban
people the free management of its affairs, obviously unveiled the end of armed intervention and naturally pointed out the only course the Cuban
s should take in the battle waged between the United States and Spain on our behalf.
The time when the United States wanted to seize Cuba to turn it into its colony
had been left behind. The emerging strategy was based on this thesis of the protectorate and neo-colony
, more subtle and subduing domination mechanisms to allow it to exercise its incipient imperial policy.
At the time, Cuba’s situation, placed between two armies – one of them defeated and the other, a self declared winner – was somehow relieved when finally, on January 1st, 1899, the Spanish colonial government withdrew and the last captain General, Alfonso Jimenez Castellano, handed over power to the North American Military Governor, General John R. Brook. Spain left behind a devastated country, entire families killed and other brutally mistreated. A new struggle against a new enemy – U.S. military occupation – began for the Cuban
people, from which it would emerge victorious.
La Yaya Constitution had established the procedure for the organization of the country once the war
was over – the aforementioned Art
icles 40 and 41. That Constitution was still in force; so much so that, in keeping with Art
icle 48, only a new constitution could repeal it.
Thus, completely ignored by U.S. occupation forces, the Santa Cruz Assembly first met in the province of Camaguey province, subsequently moved to Marianao
, a town near Havana, and later to Calzada del Cerro, in a neighbourhood in Havana proper. Since then, it came to be known as the “Asamblea del Cerro”. On April 4, 1899 it closed down due to illogical divisions that mislead the Cuban