The policy of reconcentration imposed in Cuba by the Spanish military Valeriano Weyler during the Spanish colony, may have inspired fascism of the twentieth century. In just over a year and months after the end of the war against Spain, more than 300,000 Cuban peasants were killed.
The Mallorcan Valeriano Weyler and Nicolau arrived in Havana in February 1896 to take office as captain general of the Island, replacing Arsenio Martínez Campos, who had been defeated and humiliated by the Liberating Army. Weyler arranged that in an eight-day term, all residents in the fields or outside the fortification line of the villages would be concentrated in the towns occupied by the Spanish troops. William J. Calhoun, a civil servant of the US Government in Cuba, described in a report the difficult situation:
“I have traveled by rail from Havana to Matanzas. The field beyond military posts is practically depopulated. Each house has been burned, the bananas cut, the cane fields swept by the fire and destroyed every thing that served as food … I didn’t see a sign of life, except for an occasional vulture or a flying crow. The field was wrapped in the calm of death and the silence of desolation. ”
Hunger, misery, the proliferation of diseases and epidemics, make up a disaster scenario that causes high mortality in Matanzas and throughout Cuba. In just one quarter of 1897, the death toll rose to 3 312, the main causes being: hunger, malaria, dysentery, tuberculosis, vascular conditions and black vomiting.
The City Council of Matanzas faced with this critical situation, determined to give work to a part of the people concentrated on the beach of the Jews, in the dissection of swamps; At the same time he built some shelters on the grounds of Palmar de Junco and distributed more than a thousand daily rations of food.
But this did not solve the problem, as peasants continued to arrive constantly, even from other municipal terms, thinking that here they can better mitigate hunger. In addition, war and food shortages grew. Between January and October 1897, about 2,000 people died of hunger in Matanzas city. Contrary to the effects of the barbaric political, only compared to the Nazi concentration camps, the people’s support for the Liberating Army could not be eliminated.
On the contrary, the Cubans continued to support their liberators and join the insurgent forces; that they had defeated Spain, as they had in fact already achieved in 1898, when in an artful, treacherous manner, faking allies of the Cuban people, the Yankees intervened in the war, snatching away the sovereignty that so many children had cost Cuba.