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REPUBLIC OF CUBA.
The interest that American students of history andpublic law usually take in Cuba is fully warranted by the facts, preeminent above many others, (1) that Cuba was the first country of importance which the Spaniards discovered in the New World, (2) that it was from the beginning and continued to be for a long time thereafter, by its ethnical composition, its municipal institutions, its peculiar customs, and other features exclusively pertaining thereto, not only the most Spanish, but the most purely and intensely Castilian, social structure ever founded this side of the Atlantic, and (3) that of all the Spanish possessions in America it was the last to yield to the inevitable action of time and circumstances and dissolve the political bonds that for about four centuries had connected it with Spain, starting an entirely new life as an American Republic under the Constitution and its Appendix, the text of which follows these notes.
The Spaniards did not find in the island the slightest vestige of a preexisting civilization. The natives with whom they had to deal were still in a tribal condition, and in less than forty years, partly through ill treatment, and partly, perhaps chiefly, through pestilence, completely disappeared. The work therefore of turning the island into a thoroughly Spanish country was rapidly accomplished.
As observed by an eminent Cuban scholar of the present day, Cuba became in reality a kind of prolongation of Castile in America, retaining in regard to the mother country and to all other Spanish countries afterwards founded in the New World, a peculiarly distinctive character, that is preserved to a great extent up to the present day. A field of investigation, absolutely unexplored, or approached only in a spirit of prejudice and bad faith, broad and rich in promises of intellectual enjoyment, is opened on these lines to the student.
Cuba owes its independence from Spain to a joint resolution passed by the Congress of the United States of America, approved by the President on April 20, 1898, couched in the following language:
a The smallpox introduced in Cuba from Jamaica in 1512.
Dr. Don Francisco Carrera y Justiz, in his monumental work just published in Habana, in two volumes, entitled “Introducción á la Historia de las instituciones locales de Cuba” (Introduction to the history of the local institutions of Cuba).
“JOINT RESOLUTION for the recognition of the independence of the people of Cuba, demanding that the Government of Spain relinquish its authority and government in the Island of Cuba, and withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters, and directing the President of the United States to use the land and naval forces of the United States to carry these resolutions into effect.
“Whereas the abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to civilization, culminating as they have in the destruction of a United States battle ship, with two hundred and sixty-six of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, and can not longer be endured, as has been set forth by the President of the United States in his message to Congress of April eleventh, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, upon which the action of Congress was invited: Therefore,
“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, First, That the people of the Island of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free and independent.
“Second. That it is the duty of the United States to demand, and the Government of the United States does hereby demand, that the Government of Spain at once relinquish its authority and government in the Island of Cuba, and withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters.
“Third. That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, directed and empowered to use the entire land and 'naval forces of the United States, and to call into the actual service of the United States the militia of the several States, to such extent as may be necessary, to carry these resolutions into effect.
"Fourth. That the United States hereby disclaims any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island, except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its determination, when that is accomplished, to leave the government and control of the island to its people.
The period of “more than three years” to which the foregoing statute refers began on the 24th of February, 1895, when a revolutionary movement in favor of independence was started in Cuba.
The "abhorrent conditions” which the same statute invokes in justification of its precepts had been enumerated in the Presidential messages of December 2, 1895, December 7, 1896, December 6, 1897, March 28 and April 11, 1898, in the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, submitted April 13, 1898, and in the debates to which this report gave occasion in the Senate, as well as in the House of Representatives of the United States of America, between the date last mentioned and the date on which the joint resolution was passed.
They were recapitulated under the headings of: “Anarchy in the island," "The cruel policy of concentration initiated on February 16, 1896," "The abuse of the rights of war,” “The failure by Spain to perform her treaty obligations and other international duties toward the United States," "The seizure and imprisonment of American citizens,” “The destruction of about $50,000,000 of property in the island of Cuba belonging to citizens of the United States," "The fact that much of that destruction had been by the acts of Spain, and that the destruction of the remainder she (Spain) had been unable or unwilling to prevent," "The miserable condition to which the entire population of Cuba had been reduced,” and “The impossibility for the United States to consent upon any conditions that the depopulated portions of Cuba should be recolonized by Spain any more than she would be allowed to found a new colony in any other part of this hemisphere or island thereof."
For the enforcement of this statute the United States went to war with Spain, and the war ended on August 12 of the same year by the peace protocol, signed at Washington by accredited representatives of the two countries. The provisions of this protocol in regard to Cuba were preserved in the formal treaty of peace concluded at Paris on December 10, 1898.
Article I of that treaty reads: “Spain relinquishes all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba.
“And as the island is, upon its evacuation by Spain, to be occupied by the United States, the United States will, so long as such occupation shall last, assume and discharge the obligations that may under international law result from the fact of its occupation, for the protection of life and property.
Cuba was militarily occupied by the United States on January 1, 1899. This military occupation lasted until May 20, 1902, when the United States withdrew from Cuba and left the government and control of the island to its own people, upon the conditions stipulated in the compact usually known as "The Platt amendment.”
LIST OF IMPORTANT BOOKS TO BE CONSULTED IN REFERENCE TO THE
CONSTITUTION OF CUBA.
Diario de sesiones de la Convención constitucional cubana, 1900–1901. Habana.
SEDANO Y AGRAMONTE, JOSÉ RAUL. El libro del ciudadano cubano. Derecho político recopilado. Habana, 1901.
(February 21, 1901.)
Nosotros, los Delegados del We, the delegates of the people pueblo de Cuba, reunidos en Con- of Cuba, in national convention vención Constituyente, á fin de assembled for the purpose of redactar y adoptar la Ley Funda- framing and adopting the Fundamental de su organización como mental Law under which Cuba is Estado independiente y soberano, to be organized as an independent estableciendo un gobierno capaz and sovereign State, and be given de cumplir sus
obligaciones inter- a government capable of fulfiling nacionales, mantener el orden, its international obligations, preasegurar la libertad y la justicia serving order, securing liberty and y promover el bienestar general, justice, and promoting the general acordamos y adoptamos, invocando welfare, do hereby ordain, adopt, el favor de Dios, la siguiente Cons- and establish, invoking the favor titución:
of God, the following constitution:
DE LA NACIÓN, DE SU FORMA DE
THE NATION, ITS FORM OF GOV-
ARTÍCULO 1. El pueblo de Cuba ARTICLE 1. The people of Cuba se constituye en Estado indepen- constitute themselves into a soverdiente y soberano, y adopta, como eign, independent State and adopt forma de gobierno, la republicana. a republican form of government.
ART. 2. Componen el territorio ART. 2. The island of Cuba and de la República, la Isla de Cuba, the islands and islets adjacent así como las islas y cayos adyacen- thereto, which up to the date of tes que con ella estaban bajo la the ratification of the treaty of soberanía de España hasta la rati- Paris, of December 10, 1898, were ficación del Tratado de París de under the sovereignty of Spain, diez de diciembre de mil ochocien- form the territory of the Republic. tos noventa y ocho.
ART. 3. El territorio de la ART. 3. The territory of the República se divide en las seis Republic shall be divided into the provincias que existen actual- six provinces which now exist, mente, y con sus mismos límites, each of which shall retain its precorrespondiendo al Consejo Pro- sent boundaries. The determinavincial de cada una determinar sus tion of their names corresponds to respectivas denominaciones.
the respective provincial councils. Las Provincias podrán incor- The provinces may by resoluporarse unas á otras ó dividirse tion of their respective provincial para formar nuevas provincias, councils and the approval of Con
a The Spanish text is given as officially published and certified by Gen. Leonard Wood, military governor of Cuba, in the Habana Gaceta April 14, 1902.
mediante acuerdo de los respecti- gress annex themselves to other vos Consejos Provinciales y apro- provinces, or subdivide their terribación del Congreso.
tory and form new provinces.
DE LOS CUBANOS.
ART. 4. La condición de cubano ART. 4. Cuban nationality is acse adquiere por nacimiento ó por quired by birth or by naturalizanaturalización.
tion. ART. 5. Son cubanos por naci- ART. 5. Cubans by birth are: miento: 1o. Los nacidos, dentro ó fuera
1. All persons born of Cuban del territorio de la República, de parents whether within or without padres cubanos.
the territory of the Republic. 29. Los nacidos en el territorio 2. All persons born of foreign de la República de padres extran- parents within the territory of the jeros, siempre que, cumplida la Republic, provided that on becommayor edad, reclamen su inscrip- ing of age they apply for inscripción, como cubanos, en el Registro tion, as Cubans, in the proper correspondiente.
register. 3o. Los nacidos en el extranjero 3. All persons born in foreign de padres naturales de Cuba que countries of parents natives of bayan perdido la nacionalidad cu- Cuba who have forfeited their bana, siempre que, cumplida la Cuban nationality, provided that mayor edad, reclamen su inscrip- on becoming of age they apply for ción, como cubanos, en el mismo their inscription as Cubans in the Registro.
register aforesaid. ART. 6. Son cubanos por natu- ART. 6. Cubans by naturalizaralización:
tion are: 1o. Los extranjeros que habien- 1. Foreigners who having served do pertenecido al Ejército Liber- in the liberating army claim Cuban tador reclamen la nacionalidad nationality within six months folcubana dentro de los seis meses lowing the promulgation of this siguientes á la promulgación de constitution. esta Constitución.
2o. Los extranjeros que estable- 2. Foreigners domiciled in Cuba cidos en Cuba antes del primero prior to January 1, 1899, who have de enero de milochocientos noventa retained their domicile, provided y nueve hayan conservado su do- that they claim Cuban nationality micilio después de dicha fecha, within six months following the siempre que reclamen la naciona- promulgation of this constitution, lidad cubana dentro de los seis or if they are minors within a like meses siguientes á la promulgación period following the date on which de esta Constitución, ó, si fueren they reach full age. menores, dentro de un plazo igual desde que alcanzaren la mayoría de edad.
3o. Los extranjeros que, después 3. Foreigners who after five de cinco años de residencia en el years' residence in the territory of territorio de la República, y no the Republic, and not less than menos de dos desde que declaren two years after the declaration of su intención de adquirir la naciona- their intention to acquire Cuban