Who was General Valeriano Weyler and who where some of his enemies?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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General Valeriano Weyler was the leader of the Spanish forces in Cuba during part of the Cuban rebellion against Spain.  He became infamous for his policy of putting civilians in concentration camps to prevent them from helping the rebels.

Wyler was appointed Governor of Cuba in January of 1896 as previous governors had failed to crush the rebellion.  Wyler was seen as a strong military man who would be able to solve the problem of the rebellion.  Once there, he realized that the rebellion was going to be very tough to defeat because of its ability to function as a guerrilla army.  He realized that the rebels gained power from the support of the people in the countryside.  Therefore, he instituted a policy of putting civilians in concentration camps so they could not help the rebels.  The camps were not supposed to be for punishment, but they ended up as brutal and unhealthy places where hundreds of thousands of people died.  This earned Weyler the nickname “Butcher.”

Weyler’s main enemies were the Cuban rebels.  They were the ones against whom he was actually fighting.  Weyler was also opposed by the Liberal faction in Spain.  The ruling Conservatives approved of his tactics but the Liberals did not.  You could call them his enemies as well.  Finally, Weyler was castigated in the American “yellow press” for his actions.  These journalists clearly disliked him, so you could potentially call them his enemies as well.

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