CAMAGÜEY.- This April 10 we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Constituent Assembly and of the Constitution of Guáimaro. Adelante proposes a trip to that seed of the nation. We come to three historians who shared their points of view for a documentary produced by the Provincial Center of Cultural Heritage of Camagüey, with the script of Ricardo Muñoz Gutiérrez, the photography of Norlys Guerrero Pi and the direction of Alberto Santos Casas.

Desiderio Borroto Fernández, investigator from Guáimaro: "The founding act of the Constituent Assembly turned the Cubans from subjects into citizens of the new Republic”

In the decade of 1860, Guáimaro was a town stretched in the Camagüey´s savanna, moved from the commercial point of view. Some historians recount that here the best Vuelta Arriba tobacco was twisted. Two annual fairs were done that they were attracting to the elites of Port-au-Prince, Bayamo and Holguín.

Those years, a public clock had been installed in the tower of the church. It was also marking the time of the cattle chore. The whole week, the town was practically desert, with the men being employed at the household chores, and on Saturday and Sunday it was blooming again like a city. This was one of the motives for which the pro-independence ones chose on Saturday, April the 10th to meet, to discuss and to sign. The people was concentrated and there could be a major democratic contact.

The tinajón (big earthenware jar) is the most important museum piece of the House of the Constitution. It was work of the potter Luciano Martínez and it was done in the decade of ‘60 of the 19th century. It is located in the environment of the museum, ancient house of José María García, the patriot who gave his house to turn it into the first acropolis of the Cuban nation. Of this tinajón they took water Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Ignacio Agramonte, Salvador Cisneros Betancourt, Francisco Sánchez Betancourt, José María Izaguirre and the defenders of the constitution.

The events of April, 1869, the Constitution, the emergence of the Republic, can still say very much to the Cubans of today. The historiography has a challenge in searching for the details, in not gloating over the differences but over the contributions that it did. Since Martí recounts, in that Constitution there can be a form that spare, but there cannot be lack of freedom. There is still a need to unite more this historical event to the course of history, together with the work of Martí and of the Cuban revolutionaries until reaching our days.


Ricardo Muñoz Gutiérrez, president of the Historians' Union of Cuba in Camagüey: "There are different forms of how to do the Revolution, but there is faith that with the unit it is possible to achieve the victory”.

The upraising surprises fundamentally the Spanish. Spain begins bringing men and arm to Cuba, and the forces interrelation begins to change. The strategy is to finish the revolution where it was born, in East, and therefore the Valmaseda offensive occurs there. The fighters from the East of the country have to leave Bayamo, burn it, suffer defeats. In April it turns out to be a pressing need to look for the unit of the military forces to save the revolution.

From December, 1868 began the relation between the Camagüey´s patriots and eastern ones to search this unit. When one checks the record of the Assembly, it could be seen little debate, except two or three essential points. It is impossible that Antonio Zambrana and Ignacio Agramonte have prepared the Constitution project in hours. There was already a consensus.

The union of the Cuban revolutionaries, of the departments in the struggle for the independence, had reasons to be achieved in the political and military area. It was very important to join the fighting forces and the resources to conquer the Spanish; and in the political plane it would allow to achieve the recognition of other countries.

Often it has been spoken about the political contradictions between Eastern and Camagüey’s fighters. There were no ideological discrepancies, because it was independence or death, but there were differences in how to do the revolution. The Camagüey’s patriots, for a liberal and democratic tradition, wanted a democratic republic. Céspedes, considering the needs for the war, believed that a centralized and individual power would facilitate the contest.


Elda Cento Gómez, National Award of History: "We have to look at Guáimaro even more, with eyes of his contemporaries, and think not only about what was achieved, but about what was avoided”.

To go so far as to think about the unity of all it was necessary to think about the unity of each of the regions in war. It was demonstrated that with interviews between the parts the problem was not solved. It was necessary to sit in a place.

Guáimaro was in possession of the Cubans since a hundred or so days because the brothers Arango and Juan Majín Díaz took it on November 4. The forces interrelation was in favor of the mambises in Camagüey, another of the reasons of why the Assembly in Guáimaro and then later in Jimaguayú, La Yaya and Santa Cruz del Sur - that one travels up to the Cerro - were carried out in the always sure flatness of Camagüey.

Guáimaro is a denial to the counterfoil of opinion that kept on making Spain believing that this was a criminals' sheaf without law, without order. That's why there seems beautiful to me the emphasis of those men on the swamp so that the republic already began to walk of the hand of the soldiers.

It had spaces for reunions, public discussions, tribunes. There were not only the elected representatives to the Assembly. There were the most important leaders, like Vicente García Aguilera, and who can imagine that he did not speak in any of the reunions. In one of these spaces there comes the message of the Cuban woman in the voice of Ana Betancourt. The most curious detail is if she did the speech or if Ignacio Agramonte did it. There are testimonies of the two questions. It constitutes a debt of the historiography.

The civil officials of the Republic in Weapon were not in palaces, but in the mambisado (place where the mambí fighters rested), suffering the same rigors and being a particular object of pursuits of the Spanish companies, that is to say, how much has put Cuba for the freedom and the sovereignty. This way had one of the highest levels in Guáimaro.


On April 10: The first meeting (morning): The Assembly is constituted with the election of the president Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. The second meeting (evening): Reading of the project, discussion of the articulated one, consensuses, propositions of amendments or additions, and approval of the Constitution.

On April 11: Third meeting (evening): Debates on the national ensign and culmination of the Constituent Assembly.

On April 12: Meeting of the House of Representatives. Investiture of Céspedes (President of the Republic) and Manuel de Quesada (General in Chief).

Source: War of 10 years, of Ramiro Guerra.

Translated by Linet Acuña Quilez