Lawless Liberators

Political Banditry and Cuban Independence

Lawless Liberators
Book Pages: 308 Illustrations: Published: February 1989

Subjects
Caribbean Studies, History > Latin American History

Among the forces that took the field in the 1890s in an attempt to overturn the Spanish colonial regime in Cuba were a large number of rural bandits. The alliance between outlaws and more respectable separatists was not accidental, nor did it prove peripheral to Independence strategies. Thieves, extortioners, kidnappers, and killers who cast their lot with veteran insurgents emerged from and contributed to, a century of social and economic upheaval; the reasons cited by many bandits for their outlawry were the same as those that appeared as complaints in revolutionary manifestos. Ransom and extortion money furnished by bandits also often replenished the bankrupt coffers of the rebellion.
Manuel Garcia, a hero-villian of Cuban folklore to this day, was the most notorious of the brigand-patriots and led a gang that spread terror throughout Havana province, contributing to the breakdown of rural order that preceded full-scale rebellion in 1895. Lawless Liberators examines the origins, actions, and ends (often sudden and violent) of the bandit groups such as Garcia’s that paved the way for the revolution and offers a reasoned and balanced analysis of their role in those dramatic events.

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