“THIS DAY IN CUBAN HISTORY…- Evaristo Estenoz (18-?-1912)”

A publication of the Cuban Studies Institute

Evaristo Estenoz (18-?-1912) former soldier in the Independence War, 1895-1898 who became the leader of the Agrupación Independiente de Color, and who, on May 20, 1912, led several bands of Blacks in an uprising against the white-dominated government, although – Afro Cuban apologists have claimed the revolt was provoked either by the annexationist Frank Steinhart (hoping for another intervention by the United States) or by President Juan Miguel Gómez y Gómez.  Estenoz’s ill-organized forces roamed around Oriente province but received little support.  Even distinguished Black leaders such as Senators Martin Morúa Delgado and Juan Gualberto Gómez criticized the rebels.  When the United States got alarmed and landed marines in several parts of the island, President Gómez, fearing a full-fledged intervention, moved swiftly and harshly to put down the rebellion.

Estenoz killed himself to avoid capture (June 27), his lieutenant Pedro Yvonet died July 17, and most of the minor leaders and their families were captured and executed in the so-called Black Massacre of 1912, and by August the uprising was crushed. It would be the last time a revolt along strictly racial lines would occur in Cuba.

*Jaime Suchlicki is Director of the Cuban Studies Institute, CSI, a non-profit research group in Coral Gables, FL. He is the author of Cuba: From Columbus to Castro & Beyond, now in its 5th edition; Mexico: From Montezuma to the Rise of the PAN, 2nd edition, and of the recently published Breve Historia de Cuba.