Cuban Rebel Leader Assassinated By Government Forces
Cuba’s first war of Independence took place in 1868 and ended 10 years later with the Pact of Zanjón. In 1880 Spain regained control of the island. Slavery was abolished in 1886. Under the leadership of the writer José Martí the revolution was resumed in 1895. Successful invasion campaigns along the length of the island by Cuban rebels took place in 1896 and the Spanish are essentially confined to coastal cities.
The US protested against Spanish controlled concentration camps and after the explosion of the battleship USS MAINE in Havana harbor and the commencement of the Spanish American War the US invaded Guantánamo Bay with rebel Cuban forces. The US installed a provisional government in 1899. By 1902 the Cuban republic is instituted under the presidency of Tomás Estrada Palma. An uprising against Palma brought US troops back to Cuba in 1906. Jose Miguel Gómez won the 1908 election as a candidate for the Liberal Party.
In 1908 the Partido Independiente de Color (PIC) was founded by Pedro Ivonet, composed almost entirely of African former slaves who were war veterans of the Cuban War of Independence. The PIC took votes away from the ruling liberal party. President Gomez ordered the party disbanded under laws which outlawed political parties based on race. These laws favor white Cubans over Afro Cubans. In May 1912 General Jose de Jesus Monteagudo suspended constitutional rights and attacked black Afro Cubans. The PIC rebels were centered in Oriente province. Troops of the US, Britain, Spain and France are sent to the island to protect their business interests, mainly sugar mills and plantations. Foreign governments believe Cuba pronouncement of “racial Inssurection” while white Cuban militias or “rurales” backed by the government seize, detain and murder Afro Cubans at will. Massacres started taking place and it is said that as high as 5000 people have been killed, many of those unarmed Afro Cubans who did not take part in the fighting and were lynched by mobs. Just having black skin color was reason enough to be under suspicion. In June 1912 Evaristo Estanoz was killed during a battle with Cuban troops at Bellabellaca, Cuba. The founder of Partido Independiente de Color, Pedro Ivonet takes over control of the rebels.
On July 18, 1912 Perdro Ivonet and others are captured and arrested. Before he could be sent to Havana Ivonet is assassinated.