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Los Voluntarios  •  1929  •  pg 3
a failed counterinsurgency experiment of the us marines & la guardia nacional
  TO 31 MARCH 1929 1-24 APRIL 1929 25 APR-JULY 1929 PHOTOS

     This is the THIRD of FOUR MAIN pages housing materials relating to the fascinating case of the Voluntarios, a counterinsurgency experiment that the US Marines undertook from January to June 1929 to augment the native Guardia's limited military capabilities in the fight against Sandino & the EDSN.  Photo: Liberal & Voluntario General Juan Escamilla in Jinotega, 1929.

      This final page of documents on the Voluntarios continues with the patrol & combat reports of Lt. Hanneken & General Escamilla, followed by memoranda, letters & reports of other leading officials and newspaper accounts that contribute additional revealing details.  The collection concludes in late July, about a month after the disbandment of the last of the Voluntario forces, with several reports on the "local native situation" on the outskirts of Yalí, where hundreds of campesino men, women & children had sought refuge from the relentless violence & intimidation of Hanneken, Escamilla, Lee, and other key actors in the counterinsurgency campaign in the hills & valleys of rural Jinotega.  One such report, from the Managua newspaper El Comercio, ironically and inaccurately blamed the Sandinistas, especially General Pedro Altamirano (or Pedrón) for the "pitiful scenes of misery & hunger" across Jinotega, and especially among "los reconcentrados" in Yalí.  All the other documents in this collection make abundantly clear that these "pitiful scenes" were the result of the terror & violence inflicted on the rural populace by Hanneken, Lee, Escamilla, and other US Marines & Nicaraguan Voluntarios.

      Tacked on at the end are two documents from November 1931 that show an effort to revive the Voluntario program, and its complete rejection by the Marine-Guardia brass.  By this time, the counterinsurgency forces had learned their lesson.  Grateful acknowledgement is extended to volunteer transcriptionist Mr. Brandon Ray, Summa Cum Laude college graduate from Ashford University in Iowa (with a B.A. in History and a minor in Political Science) for his exacting transcriptions of these final two documents.

April 26, 1929.
"Report," Lt. Hanneken, Guapinol, p. 1.   
"1. Lt. Hanneken, 10 marines, General Escamilla, and 30 Volunteers cleared La Pavona at 0630 for Guapinol, on 25 April.  ¶  2. Lt. Jordan Paige, 18 Marines, 1 Navy enlisted, and Colonel Pancho Estrada with remaining Volunteers and all pack animals cleared La Pavona at 0800 for Guapinol on 25 April.  ¶  3. Lt. Hanneken patrol arrived at Guapinol at 1400, 25 April. Plane made message drop at about 1430 re – Relief Marine Patrol at Yali.  ¶  4. Lt. Jordan’s Patrol arrived at Guapinol at 1800, 25 April – No Contact.  ¶  5. At Guapinol is the Finca of one MATEAS VASQUEZ, who is a brother of JESUS VASQUEZ, who was executed at La Pavona, and Mateas is the cousin of SANTOS VASQUEZ, Bandit jefe. Mateas Vasquez reported on his own account to me at about 1600, stating he had just returned from SAN ANTONIO. Vasquez led patrol to a large champas about one half a mile NORTH of Guapinol, where his family is at present living and hiding. Present at this champas were his wife, 2 young sons, and three grown up daughters with 6 small children. . . ."

April 26, 1929.
"Report," Lt. Hanneken, Guapinol, p. 2.   
" . . . Vasquez had an excellent recommendation from the Jefe Politico of Jinotega dated August 1928 and also a notation thereon by Captain Shaw, U.S.M.C. to the effect that he, Vasquez, had acted on several occasions as guides for Marines in area of Guapinol. Vasquez stated that SANTOS VASQUEZ before he went with Pedron had always lived with him at Guapinol and that Pedron forced SANTOS to go with him. That the last time he saw Santos and Pedron was last August. On the other hand I have definite and reliable information that Pedron with Santos and band had camped at Guapinol at the house of Vasquez for 24 hours on or about March 10, and that Pedron often passes at Guapinol. It is my belief that Mateas Vasquez has protection from both sides. His finca has 3 houses and about 30 beef and his family does not appear to have been molested.  ¶  6. Mateas Vasquez and his family and the family of FILADELPHIA RIVERA are leaving on April 27 for Jinotega to report to Jefe Poltico.  ¶  7. Entire patrol will clear Guapinol on April 27 for LOS CEDROS, will camp there over night and on the 28th.  ¶  8, This patrol has rations to May 1st. Volunteers have rations to about May 10.  ¶  H. Hanneken  ¶  Copy to Area Comdr. Southern Area."

April 26, 1929
"18 Capturados," La Tribuna  (Managua).  
"De Jinotega, el Jefe Político coronel Pedro López, trascribe al Ministro de Gobernación un telegrama del jefe Expedicionario [Escamilla], en el que da cuenta que después de haber recordrido todas las montañas de Yalí, se encuentra sin novedad y con 18 rebeldes capturados."

April 28, 1929.
"Report of Contact," Lt. Hanneken, Los Cedros (typed copy), p. 1.   
[NOTE:  This is a 2-page typed copy of the 5-page handwritten original that appears immediately below]    "1. Lt. Hanneken 10 Marines, Gen. Escamilla and 30 Volunteers cleared GUAPINOL at 0630 April 27, 1929 for LOS CEDROS.  ¶  2. Lt. Jordan Paige, 18 Marines, 1 Navy Colonel Estrada and all remaining Volunteers and all pack animals cleared GUAPINOL at 0730 for LOS CEDROS.  ¶  3. About midway between GUAPINOL and LOS CEDROS, the combined forces of bandits under Jose Leon Diaz and Pedron Altimirano apparently had arranged a neat ambush for us, but due to the alertness of our point their expectations were not realized. The ambush was laid in a ravine where the trail was entirely open and a large force therein could be plainly seen from surrounding hills. The bandits had it covered from three hills, 2 to the front and one to the rear, but when our point with Capt. Miguel Sanchez of the Volunteers in charge arrived on the threshold of the ravine he espied several men with red and blue hat-bands [p. 2 handwritten original] moving about in one of the hills to the front and passed word back to that effect. When I received the word, the bandits who were occupying the ground, (which was meant to be in our rear for the ambush, but which now was on our immediate right) opened up fire, with one machine gun and rifles. Three bombs were thrown from same locality in a period of about 5 seconds. Had marines take cover and opened up on position where fire came from. Could see no bandits. Although the two other bandit groups could not see us they opened up fire also. During the first burst of fire Miguel Sanchez, volunteer, was shot thru left upper arm, near shoulder, a flesh wound and not serious. After one minute of firing had men cease firing and sent detachment of Volunteers into position where bandits had fired from. Organized other volunteers and placed 3 Brownings and riflemen in position covering the other 2 hills to our front and advance by firing upon 2 positions of bandits to the front. Bandits returned fire spasmodically and by the time the Volunteers reached the 2 hills all firing ceased. Reorganized patrol and reconnoitered ground and found that bandits had two known [p. 3 handwritten original] wounded, one of whom had apparently been shot thru the mouth or jaw as we found some teeth and a trail of blood, and the other wounded was apparently bleeding freely, these being two separate trails of blood. Bandits took off in all directions, leaving some of their small bags with some rations, going in the directions to the west toward the PANTASMA VALLEY or toward BILAN. About 5 minutes after contact, planes passed about a mile away toward GUAPINOL and from later information worked Lt. Jordan’s patrol. Burned smoke bomb to attract attention of planes but they left. Lt. Jordan who was at that time about 3 miles away did not hear any firing. During period while my patrol was reconnoitering . . . "

April 28, 1929.
"Report of Contact," Lt. Hanneken, Los Cedros (typed copy), p. 2.  
" . . .  Lt. Jordan's patrol arrived.  Jordan received message by drop that Yali Marines would be in Guale on April 28.  Entire command proceeded to LOS CEDROS where we arrived at about 1400. Patrols were sent out and rounded up everybody in area, which brought us about 30 women and several men. [p. 4 handwritten original]   From information gathered it was learned that Jose Leon Diaz and Pedron Altamirano have consolidated their bands, giving them about 50 or 60 men. They have been together for at least 5 days, and had been camped at the finca of Inez Rodriguez at LOS CEDROS for three days, leaving at 0500 on April 27. Mrs. Rodriguez states that Pedron’s men did not have much ammunition but that Diaz men did. That everyone around area prepared food for them. That Pedron was out for revenge for the execution of the spies we caught and the clearing out of LA PAVONA Area.  ¶  4. Will send all natives in this area into JINOTEGA. Pedron has been known to come thru here very often and always camped at Inez Rodriguez finca. The whereabouts of Rodriguez is not known.  ¶  5. Have several patrols out today and sent a messenger to GUALE for YALI Marines Relief patrol to proceed to LOS CEDROS.  ¶  6. Miguel Sanchez, Volunteer who was wounded, has been sent to JINOTEGA this morning.  ¶  7. Believe bandits have gone into the PANTSAMA VALLEY and upon reporting of relief patrol, the present patrol will proceed up the PANTSAMA VALLEY.  ¶  8. No Marine casualties.  ¶  9. Contact took place at about 0900.  ¶  H. HANNEKEN  ¶  Copy for C.O. Northern Area."

April 28, 1929.
"Report of Contact," Lt. Hanneken, Los Cedros (handwritten original), p. 1.  
[Transcribed immediately above]

April 28, 1929.
"Report of Contact," Lt. Hanneken, Los Cedros (handwritten original), p. 2. 
 [Transcribed immediately above]


April 28, 1929.
"Report of Contact," Lt. Hanneken, Los Cedros (handwritten original), p. 3. 
 [Transcribed immediately above]

April 28, 1929.
"Report of Contact," Lt. Hanneken, Los Cedros (handwritten original), p. 4.  
[Transcribed immediately above]

April 29, 1929.
Telegrama de G. Morales C., Jefe de Policía, Jinotega, al Ministerio de Gobernación, Managua.   
"Let me inform you that yesterday Mr. Mamerto Martinez, a priest student, came to this city and told us that while being with his family in a farm near Santa Fe, of this jurisdiction, where he had gone to spend a vacation, he and his family were captured by a force of about 250 men, well armed, who had with them four (4) machine guns of different makes, and were under command of Jose Leon Diaz, Francisco Estrada, Pedro Irias, Sebastian Conteno, Pedro Altamirano and some other jefes who names he was not able to learn. After the semmarist [seminarian] and his family had been captured their house (the one at their finca) was robbed and they were led into the heart of a mountain where the night was spent. This occurred last Tuesday and, he adds, on behalf of his supplications, his father and brothers did not get killed, and all were released Wednesday morning, that is, the following day. That he was told they would not cease fighting as long as there are Yankees in Nicaragua and Moncada is in office, and that they were expecting an armament that was to come from Mexico in order to take up a strong offensive attacking cities. Hours after Semmarist Martinez had informed the above, an express postman came, sent by General Escamilla, bringing with him Captain Miguel Sanchez who had been wounded in the arm. General Escamilla informs that yesterday, between nine and ten a.m., coming from La Pavona and El Guapinol with an idea of reconnoitering all these mountains in search of bandits, he was attacked by a group of them at the place called El. Ventarron, near Los Cedros, about nine leagues from this city. The attacking group of bandits was composed of about 80 men, well armed and under command of Pedron himself and Jose Leon Diaz. That he repelled the attack, which lasted for about half an hour, dispersing the bandits, who according to traces they left in the woods they were fleeing through, were carrying many wounded, and also left over twenty-give packages with clothes and provisions, which were taken by his (Escamilla’s) soldiers. He is chasing them closely. That in the said place of Los Cedros where they keep their largest camps according to reports he has received, said camps will be searched until he destroys them. As soon as I have some more information I’ll communicate same to you. ¶ (s) G. Morales C. ¶ Director of Police."

April 30, 1929.
"Encuentros militares," La Tribuna  (Managua).  
"Las fuerzas que comanda el general Escamilla, en el punto denominado La Pavona tuvieron un encuentro con un grupo de rebeldes bien armados y como en número de 80.  ¶  Dice Escamillas, que en ese encuentro los alzados dejaron en su poder treinta bultos de mercanderías, fruto de sus correrías. Un seminarista secuestrado y que fue puesto en libertad, asegura ser como 200 hombres los que operan al mando de Pedrón, José León Díaz y otros, ya juntos."

April 30, 1929.
"Report," Lt. H. H. Hanneken, Los Cedros, to Northern Area Commander, p. 1.  
"1. Various patrols out in the Los Cedros area on April 28 reported back with no news of any bandits. Planes were not sighted.  ¶  2. Aeroplanes passed thru Pantasma Valley April 29th and I burned three smoke bombs to attract their attention without result.  ¶  3. Lt. Hanneken, Jordan and Paige and 28 Marines, one Navy enlisted cleared Los Cedros at 1400 April 29 and arrived at Guale at about 1830. Lt. Troxell and Yali Marines had arrived at Guale at about 1530 same date. Camped at Guale. General Escamilla and Volunteers remained at Los Cedros. No contact.  ¶  4. My patrol was relieved by Lt. Troxell and Yali Marines at 0700 April 30. Lt. Troxell and 30 Marines cleared Guale at about 0730 for Los Cedros. Lt. Troxell is going to Corinto Finca on May 1st to obtain rations as he had only 4 days rations when he left Yali. . . . "

April 30, 1929.
"Report," Lt. H. H. Hanneken, Los Cedros, to Northern Area Commander, p. 2.   
" . . . Cleared Guale at 0730 for Las Piedras on the Coco and Quilali. Arrived at Las Piedras at 1330 and established camp for the night. Lieut. Hanneken 6 marines cleared Las Piedras at 1330 and arrived at Santa Cruz at 1400. No contact. Sent several messages to Area Commander. ¶ 6. Had Inez Rodriguez, who happened to be across Rio Coco near Santa Cruz, arrested. I have been trying to locate this man for the past month. He is Pedron’s Quartermaster and spy jefe in Los Cedros Area. Pedron has camped on his finca about 6 dozen times in the last year and Rodriguez was in the camp the majority of times. This being proven by Manuel Matute, who had camped at Los Cedros with Pedron and also by various other people around Los Cedros. Have requested that Escamilla send patrol to Santa Cruiz to get this man. When confronted with Manual Matute, Rodriguez confessed to above allegations. ¶ 7. Manuel Matute, ex bandit, will remain at Santa Cruz and work for Guardia."

April 30, 1929.
"Report," Lt. H. H. Hanneken, Los Cedros, to Northern Area Commander, p. 3.  
" . . . He knows the entire area in vicinity of Santa Cruz and also all natives residing therein and will be of valuable assistance in locating bandits (individually). He has rendered valuable assistance to us so far. Manuel Matute returned to Gen. Escamilla’s column on May 1st.  ¶  8. Cleared Santa Cruz at 0730 on May 1st and arrived at Las Piedras at 0800 and proceeded with entire patrol to Quilali where we arrived at 1330. No contact.  ¶  Lt. Hanneken"

May 2, 1929.
"Operations Report," 2nd Lt. Walter H. Troxell, Jinotega, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 1.  
"1. A patrol consisting of Lieutenant Troxell and 30 enlisted with 4 days rations cleared Yali at 0630, April 28, 1929, for Guali, for the purpose of relieving First Lieutenant H. H. Hanneken’s patrol.  ¶  2. The patrol took the trail to Santa Fe, via Coyolar. I made camp at 1630 at La Paz which is almost 3 miles east of Santa Fe. Natives along the trail were questioned concerning bandit activities. They stated that they had neither seen nor heard of bandits.  ¶  3. The patrol cleared La Paz at 0630, April 29, 1929. Arrived at Santa Fe at 0800. There the natives were questioned also in regards to bandits. They reported that a small group had passed thru there, going north, on or about April 16, 1929. They did not know who the jefe of the bandits was. We arrived in the Santa Maria Valley about 1230. Saw two small planes flying about Guali. Could not work with the planes. Arrived at Guali at 1600 April 29, 1929 and made a camp. Distance covered about 20 miles. No contact. . . . "

May 2, 1929.
"Operations Report," 2nd Lt. Walter H. Troxell, Jinotega, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 2.  
" . . . ¶  4. Lieutenant Hanneken with his Patrol (Marines only) arrived at Guali about 1800 and also made camp. Reported to Lt. Hanneken as relief for his patrol. Lieutenant Hanneken told me that he had contact with Pedron Altamirano and Jose Leon Diaz and about 50 men between Los Cedros and Guapinol at 1000 April 27, 1929 and that he (Lieutenant Hanneken) would make an official report of it. That the above Jefes probably moved into the Pantasma Valley or back into the La Pavona Area. That General Escamilla and his vigilantes are camped at Los Cedros, and for me to go and join the General the following morning. Lieutenant Hanneken gave me the information concerning patrolling and working with the Vigilantes. ¶ 5. At 0700 April 30, 1929 Lieutenant Hanneken and his patrol cleared Guali for Quilali. I cleared Guali at 0700, April 30, 1929 for Los Cedros to join General Escamilla. Los Cedros is about 4 miles east of Guali. When I was within 500 yards of Los Cedros, two small planes were seen flying over us. But they could not see my panels, due to the heavy thick brush and woods I was in at the time. About ten minutes later as the patrol came out into the open on top of the mountain, we heard short bursts from the planes machine guns, followed by two bombs. I proceeded . . . "

May 2, 1929.
"Operations Report," 2nd Lt. Walter H. Troxell, Jinotega, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 3.   
" . . . into Los Cedros, and arrived there in time to see the planes leave the area flying south. I met General Escamilla, and asked him whether he saw where the planes dropped the bombs. He said he didn’t, but pointed and said they had been in the direction of Guali. I did not go to Guali to investigate because I thought that if the planes had sighted bandits they would have returned to Los Cedros and dropped a message to Escamilla giving the information and location. I did not know where it had been that the bombs were dropped either. ¶ 6. I am basing at present at Los Cedros. When I arrived there, I still had two days rations for 30 men left. Figuring that two days rations for 30 enlisted would be sufficient for 15 enlisted for four days, I cleared Los Cedros at 0700, May 1, 1929 with 15 enlisted, 40 vigilantes, and 12 pack mules for Jinotega to draw 10 days rations. I left 15 enlisted in Los Cedros with General Escamilla and rest of vigilantes. I arrived in Jinotega at 1630, May 1, 1929. Distance covered about 24 miles. No contact.  ¶  7. Expect to clear Jinotega for Los Cedros not later than May 3, 1929.  ¶  8. Before I left Los Cedros for Jinotega, General Escamilla told me that he expected to receive some information regarding the bandits. He said he . . . "

May 2, 1929.
"Operations Report," 2nd Lt. Walter H. Troxell, Jinotega, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 4.  
" . . . expected to receive the information in the next two or three days. That he had a messenger up or around Guapinol. If he hasn’t any information by the time I return, I will keep my base at Los Cedros and work around there for several days. Or unless I get information concerning bandits that will force me to leave Los Cedros and move and make another base, I will notify the Area Commander by pick up, before doing so.  ¶  9. At present I have only 9 pack mules. Should I have to move, at once, the whole outfit of Marines, it would be impossible for me to move 31 packs (blanket rolls) and 10 days rations with only 9 pack animals. Therefore, I request that I be furnish with 10 more pack animals with complete pack saddles as soon as possible.  ¶  10. It is also requested that another officer or a Gunnery Sergeant be furnished. Because then the whole patrol can be split into two different patrols and work separate for two or three days. As it is now, the patrols cannot be split, unless I send a patrol (that is Marines and vigilantes) with a Sergeant in Command.  ¶  11. I do not have a corpsman with the patrol. It is requested that I be furnished with one as soon as possible.  ¶  W. H. Troxell  ¶  2nd Lt. U.S.M.C."

May 3, 1929.
"Abusos de las tropas en el Norte," La Tribuna, reprinted from La Noticia  (Managua).  
"‘La Noticia’ acaba de publicar el dato de que en la zona del Norte se están cometiendo irregularidades de gran trascendencia por las tropas del General Escamilla, como la de fusilar a varios hombres que posiblemente no estaban compremetidos en los trastornos del orden público en aquella región.  ¶  Nosotros tenemos conocimiento de que además de los injustos fusilamientos que se han efectuado tras un consejo de guerra formado por hombres analfabetas, completamente irresponsables, las tropas del General Escamilla cometen actos de verdadero salvajismo en gentes indefensas.  ¶  Las familias de aquellas regiones se ven acosadas por uno y otro lado; no son pocas las doncellas que han sido víctiimas de las bestialidades de las tropas del Gobierno siendo después despachadas a Jinotega en calidad de prisoneras.  ¶  Por otra parte se nos informa que las tropas del General Escamilla no han sostenido ningún encuentro con gentes de las que andan por aquellas montañosas regiones del país, pues si es verdad que han buscado a los hombres armados de Pedrón y demás descontentos, nunca han tenido la oportunidad de encontrarse con ellos.  ¶  Nuestro informante ingora sí, todo lo que se refiere al último encuentro de que se habló en los diarios de esta capital, que se dice tuvo efecto entre El Cedro [Los Cedros] y Guapinol, que bien puede ser cierto, como también puede ser falso, igual que los informes anteriores.  ¶  Este grave asunto reclama una urgente investigación del Gobierno, pues no es posible que esos hechos bestiales perpetrados en pobres e indefensos nicaragüenses queden cubiertos por el velo de la impunidad.  ¶  Precisamente, el error y la responsibilidad del Gobierno y del interventor están en haber puesto al trente de las tropas nicaragüenses a aventuros extraños, sanguinarios e irresponsables."

Notes & Comments:  One of the frustrations about Nicaraguan journalism during this period is the lack of specificity:  names, places, dates, events, individual stories, none appear here.  Instead we see generic descriptions of "salvajismo" in the "zona del Norte" against the "gentes pobres e indefensas".  Despite this lack of specificity, the allegations are entirely consistent with everything else presented here and suggest the extent to which narratives about the violence of Hanneken & Escamilla were circulating in the country's major cities at the time.

May 14, 1929.
"Notas — El 2º de Escamilla," La Tribuna  (Managua).  
" . . .  Miguel A. Esquerro ha sido nombrado 2º del jefe expedicionario Escamilla para acompañarlo en el norte."

May 18, 1929.
"Memo for R-3, 11th Regt" [Captain Buse, Ocotal], Major Hans Schmidt, Managua.  
" . . . MEMO FOR R-3, 11TH REGT:  ¶  The JINOTEGA AREA did not keep me very well informed on the Volunteer situation, with what results you already know.  ¶  Now that Esquerro is in SOMOTO and probably gathering some men and in view of the fact that Hanneken does not want any more, I am in doubt as to what to do. Anything you do will be O.K. Either let him take what few men he has and go to JINOTEGA to eventually replace some of Escamilla’s men or disband them and send Esquerro back here.  ¶  I had been told that only 30 men would go with Escamilla and therefore the mixup. It appears now that he cleared with 50.  ¶  The President of course thinks that he should have more but I have pointed out that those things should be left to Colonel Dunlap for his decision.  ¶  If you can use the Esquerro men for a short while do so, if not let them go.  ¶  H. SCHMIDT, Major, USMC B-2"

May 20, 1929.
"Memo for B-2," Captain K. I. Buse, Ocotal (Response to Hans Schmidt Memo of 18 May).   
" . . . REFERENCE: Your Memo dated 18 May 1929.  ¶  1. Upon receipt of Brigade’s dispatch 8618-1253, Esquerro, who had arrived in Somoto on the 17th. instant, was instructed not to commence recruiting for the Voluntarios and returned to Ocotal yesterday.  ¶  He was sent to Managua this morning and has probably reported to you for further transportation the Hanneken-Escamilla column.  ¶  2. Colonel Dunlap is of the opinion that a group of fifty (50) Voluntarios is sufficient for Escamilla.  ¶  K. I. BUSE.  ¶  Captain USMC. R-3"

May 22, 1929.
"Memo: Brigade Commander," Guardia Nacional Captain H. Hanneken, 2 miles N.W. of Corinto Finca (in coffee zone east of Jinotega).   
" . . . 1. General Escamilla has several recent telegrams from the Secretary of War, Nicaragua telling the General to go ahead and recruit the Volunteers to a strength of 100 men. General Escamilla has gone head and recruited 15 men and has 64 men at present. He also received a telegram today that Colonel Esquerro with about forty (40) recruits from Somoto would arrive in Jinotega tomorrow May 23 to join him.  ¶  2. While I was in Jinotega I was told that Escamilla Volunteer strength was limited to 50 men.  ¶  3. Please advise.  ¶  4. Radio message will get me at Corinto Finca on the 23rd.  ¶  H. Hanneken Capt., G. N."

May 23, 1929.
"Manos Libres a Escamilla," La Tribuna  (Managua).  
"Leemos en el Diario Moderno de fecha de ayer la siguiente noticia que no puede ser más alarmante:  ‘Escamilla con plenas facultades. Se dispuso ayer por el Ejecutivo que el general Escamilla tenga en lo sucesivo plenas facultades para proceder como mejor convenga para perseguir y destruir las cuadrillas de bandoleros que infectan las Segovias’.  ¶  Semejante paso es de suma gravedad, desacreditará al gobierno actual dentro y fuera de Nicaragua y llenará de pavorosa alarma a los desgraciados habitantes de los departamentos del Norte a quienes se deja a merced de la ferocidad de un aventurero para cuyas matanzas al por mayor, desde antes de tener ilimitadas facultades, pedía un freno de órgano de reconocida importancia del partido liberal, La Noticia.  ¶  Escamilla, que no es nicaragüense sino un desalmado guerrillero extranjero, no tiene arraigo ninguno en Nicaragua, no conoce la gente de los lugares de donde lo acaban de nombrar señor de vidas y de haciendas y no tiene otro interés en nuestras luchas que el que puede inspirarle su propensión anímica a la matanza y a todas las atrocidades de la guerra.  ¶  El gobierno de Nicaragua, a nuestro juicio, hace una ofensa a los militares nacionales al no escoger de entre ellos el director de la pacificación de las Segovias. Militares nicaragüenses honorables, de la completa confianza del Ejecutivo, valiente, amantes de su país, conscientes de que los sublevados son tan nicaragüenses como los que ocupan las curules gubernativas, podían ponerse al frente de las fuerzas pacificadoras y alcanzar un éxito perfecto, inesperado quizá. Pero enviar un soldado de aventuras, que se imagina que con diezmar campesinos y aterrorizar campesinas concluirá prontamente con un movimiento crónico que requiere el estudio de los hombres de pensamientos como lo requiere un verdadero problema de estado, nos parece un error de lo más funesto, de lo más deplorable.  ¶  Ojalá que los hombres de consejo del liberalismo influyen en el mandatario para que éste se ocupe del asunto del Norte con la debida medicación, y que sus resoluciones sean basadas en el parecer de los ciudadanos importantes de aquellos departamentos, a quienes sin duda les atañe de modo más directo este negocio y que conocen más a fondo que los del interior las peculiaridades de aquellas regiones, en todo sentido."

May 24, 1929.
"Notas — A Jinotega," La Tribuna  (Managua).  
"Salió en avión para Jinotega el 2º de Escamilla, coronel Miguel Ezquerro, quien capturó a las 45 mujeres de a famosa cueva y correspondencia del General Sandino, de la cual se apoderaron soldados americanos, que no hand dado cuenta a las autoridades del país."

May 24, 1929.
Memorandum from the Commanding General, 2nd Brigade, USMC (Geo. T. Hall, by direction), to Jefe Director, Guardia Nacional.  
" . . . 1. For your information and return.  ¶  Capt. Hanneken has been informed that Escamilla will be authorized to retain the fifteen recruited, but not allowed to receive or recruit more. He has been informed that Esquerro went to Jinotega by plane on 23 May, but does not have Somoto recruits with him.  ¶  GEO. T. HALL, By direction . . ."

June 1, 1929.
"Se fue el Ministro Caldera," La Tribuna  (Managua).  
"El general Augusto J. Caldera, nombrado Ministro residente de Nicaragua en Honduras en sustitución de don Francisco J. Moncada que regresó hace pocos días de Tegucigalpa, tomó el tren para Chinandega. Se había dicho que el general Caldera iría a la citada república en misión especial, pero a última hora el Presidente Moncada resolvió investirlo con el carácter de Ministro residente.  ¶  Acompaña al general Caldera su hija Ella María. Dentro de pocas semanas saldrá para Tegucigalpa la esposa del general."

Notes & Comments:  General Caldera, dismissed from the Voluntarios, is appointed "Resident Minister of Nicaragua in Honduras" by President Moncada -- another plum job.

June 13, 1929.
"Notas — 25 Voluntarios," La Tribuna  (Managua).  
" . . .  ¶  25 voluntarios  ¶  El coronel Isaac Solano llegó ayer a esta capital conduciendo 25 voluntarios para prestar sus servicios en las tropas al mando del general Escamilla.  ¶  Vinieron a pedir órdenes; y es posible que mañana salgan para Jinotega. Son de Chichigalpa."

June 19, 1929.
"Gran gentío en Yalí," La Tribuna  (Managua).  
"Yalí, 17 de Junio de 1929.  ¶  Sr. Presidente de la República:  ¶  La gente que ha salido de la montaña que estaban apoyando al bandolerismo son como 500 hombres; hoy se les habló en la plaza a todos, dándolos a comprender que estaban engañados por esos malos elementos que existen en la montaña; que tenían obligación todos los ciudadanos honrados de proteger y ayudar al gobierno constitucional. Se reunieron 2.000 mujeres y 500 hombres. Toda la gente quedó convencida y con voz fuerte gritaron protegerían al gobierno; se les explicó que quedan reconcentrados en este pueblo hasta que quede limpia la zona.  ¶  Todos están entusiasmados por las escuelas en este pueblo. Se cree que con rapidez irá tranquilizándose esta zona. Se repartió entre la gente, carne de seis vaca y treinticinco sacos de maíz."

Notes & Comments:  This is a weird letter — unsigned and addressed to President Moncada — that makes some outlandish claims and seems pure counterinsurgency propaganda.  The figure of 2,000 women & 500 men is more than 10 times the number cited elsewhere in these documents.  The notion that this "crowd" in the "plaza" of Yalí would be unified in proclaiming their support for the government against the "bad elements in the mountains" is completely at odds with the reality described in all the other documents housed here.  Given these many problematic claims, the last sentence describing an abundance of food among "la gente" suggests the opposite:  growing food scarcity among the refugees in & around Yalí.  Its author was probably Gen. Escamilla, who made similar claims in a signed letter to El Comercio (Managua) a month later (July 19, below).

June 28, 1929.
"Eso desprestigia al Gobierno," La Tribuna  (Managua).  
"Las últimas medidas tomadas por las fuerzas de pacificación que operan en el norte, tanto de parte del ejército de los Estados Unidos como del Gobierno, están dando funestos resultados en aquellas regiones apartadas del centro activo de la República.  ¶  Principiaremos por decir que el Gral. Plata a su llegada a la zona invadida por las fuerzas de la rebelión, empezó por capturar a personas pacíficas e inocentes que fueron inculpadas, sin pruebas verídicas, de estar conspirando contra el gobierno del general Moncada. Compelió a los campesinos a reunirse en determinado punto, en la suposición de que en esa forma el movimiento sandinista se adormecería y extinguiría finalmente. Obligó a los pobres campesinos a seguirle llevando enfermos que fueron a orir a los caminos y a niños que se agotaban de cansancio en el duro trayecto. También ordenó algunos fusilamientos. Reconociendo, sin embargo, que no estaba obrando con justicia, quiso ser más humanitario entonces, pero sin duda sus jefes le obligaban a otra cosa y él dispuso retirarse del servicio del gobierno.  ¶  Las gentes reconcentradas por el general Plata volvieron a sus casas después de cierto tiempo; pero últimamente el general Escamilla ha obligado a los campesinos a concentrarse en Yalí, población de unas cuantas viviendas solamente, que no resiste la aglomeración de gente constreñida a vivir en calidad de prisionera. Esa aglomeración sin las condiciones necesarias de higiene y de vida normal, puede ser al fin de resultados contraproducentes para el gobierno que debe buscar la forma más humanitaria para restablecer la paz en los departamentos de Jinotega, Matagalpa y Estelí.  ¶  Las cárceles de Jinotega están repletas de prisioneros que . . . [error de redacción] . . . [re]gimen su desventura, quizá acusados por simples presunciones, como resultado de la acción de jefes inexpertos a quienes el gobierno les ha dado plenes poderes para hacer y deshacer de las vidas, honras y haciendas de aquellos desventurados hijos de los departamentos del norte.  ¶  El general Escamilla va dejando un reguero de sangre por donde quiera va pasando. Hace unas tantas semanas algunos diarios de esta localidad dijeron que el sanguinario militar mejicano había fusilado algo así como doce personas, sin que para ello hubiera justicia; pues bien, ese número ha subido al de 22 víctimas que según sus propios hombres han sido sacrificadas sin necesidad alguna por el general Escamilla. Sus soldados y aún los de la fuerza de los Estados Unidos que se encuentran en aquella región, pasan por las haciendas de los posedores de tierras arrasando con todo cuanto hallan a la mano. Y eso no es justicia; así no se consigue la paz, así se logra la desesperación de los hombres aún cuando ellos sean analfabetadas; así caerá el desprestigio sobre el Gobierno Liberal."

July 3, 1929.
"Viene el General Escamilla," El Comercio  (Managua).  
"El General Juan Escamilla, jefe de las fuerzas voluntarias que operan en la zona del [norte] llegará próximamente a [---] capital.  ¶  [---] a conferenciar [---] señor Presidente sobre el movimiento del bandolerismo del Norte.  ¶  También se decía que el General Escamilla se regresará a Jinotega."

July 7, 1929.
"Es Espantoso lo que Continúa Ocurriendo en los Departamentos del Norte  —  Por Dondequiera se Ve la Destrucción, la Miseria y el Hambre," El Comercio  (Managua).  
"Pedrón merodea a 3 leguas de Jinotega  ¶  Personas de resonsibilidad que acaban de llegar a esta capital, han proporcionado informes que revelan con claridad la espantosa situación que continúan sufriendo los Departamentos del Norte, en donde — hacia cualquier lugar que se dirija una mirada — tan sólo se contemplan cuadros de destrucción, escenas lastimosas de miseria y de hambre y de obras calamidades, que los los frutos dolorosos de asesinato y del pillaje que viven soportando aquellos moradores.  ¶  A 3 leguas de Jinotega, poco más o menos, merodea con su gente el célebre Pedrón. Pocos días hace que pasó por Saraguasca, cogiendo hacia el Norte, por el lado de Tumayunca. A su paso, las haciendas quedan saqueadas, las casas quemadas y reinando por doquiera la desolación y el espanto.  ¶  El último asesinato: un anciano  ¶  Pocos días hace también que asesinaron por esos lugares a un anciano de apellido Blandón, a quien dieron muerte de la manera más cruel, sin prestar oidos a sus quejas y súplicas lastimeras, pidiendo que los dejasen con vida e implorando misericordia en el nombre del Cielo y de Dios.  ¶  En el indefenso anciano se cebo la furia pedroncista, que en estos últimos días ha continuado con más fuerza su obra de exterminio, sembrando de cadáveres aquellas regiones.  ¶  Pero nadie sale a batirlos  ¶  Se sabe positivamente que Pedrón cuenta con no menos de doscientos hombres bien equipados, una parte de los cuales permanece en el valle de Los Cedros, situado en aquellos mismos alrededores.  ¶  Lo anterior lo saben bien los americanos y la guardia. Pero nadie sale a batirlos, por miedo o por lo que sea.  ¶  Esa actitud incomprensible da alas al bandolerismo, que sin sufrir persecución se multiplica alarmantemente, de tal manera que, si esa inferencia persiste, la ola del crimen se levantara amenazante sobre otros departamentos.  ¶  Son reconcentrados en Yalí  ¶  Son gentes pobres en su casi totalidad, campesinos que antes disfrutaban de una relativa comodidad y que ahora permanecen reconcentrados en Yalí, donde se les ha dejado abandonados a su propia suerte. Sus propiedades fueron aniquiladas, sus ranchos incendiados, sus graneros deshechos; y ahora ambulan sin pan, sin abrigo y sin hogar.  ¶  Han sido reconcentrados por las fuerzas que comanda el general Escamilla, sin que el gobierno se preocupe de la suerte de esos desgraciados.  ¶  Es horroroso todo lo que por allá esta ocurriendo. Nada esta seguro: ni la honra, ni la vida, ni la hacienda.  ¶  Quien nos daba estos informes, nos decía por último:  ¶  —Es muy seguro que el señor Presidente Moncada desconozca la verdadera situación de aquellos departamentos. De otra manera, ya habría dado pasos seguros para remediarla, como buen militar y ciudadano de honor, que es."

July 8, 1929.
"Conditions of Natives of Yali," Lt. A. T. Lewis, Yali, to Northern Area Commanding Officer, Ocotal, p. 1.  
" . . . 1. Referring to my 1103-1109 dated July 3, 1929, this recommendation was based on inspections of the houses in Yali by the Alcalde, Lieutenant Levis, Lieutenant Troxell, and myself and the local Hospital Corpsman, and also by the number of people applying for food and medicine to this office.  ¶  2. On July 4th Doctor Marchand and Lieutenant Harris (with a patrol) arrived in Yali and immediately went to the homes of the natives who were apparently in the most need of medical attention. The doctor found that the woman whose case was diagnosed as appendicitis by the local corpsman was not the correct diagnosis. In the case of the man with a bullet hole thru the left shoulder joint and left thumb and left index finger shattered by a bullet, the doctor decided that it would be only necessary to operate on the thumb and finger at this time, without removing the arm. The wound to this man’s arm occurred on May 25th and has not healed up yet. The doctor administered general anesthetic to this native and removed the shattered portions of the thumb and finger. The doctor also removed a lead bullet from the right cheek of Miguel Salgado.  ¶  3. Approximately two hundred natives have applied for treatment since Doctor Marchand has been in Yali. Lieutenant Harris, who accompanied Doctor Marchand has acted as interpreter and has assisted Doctor Marchand in diagnosing the applicants.  ¶  4. Six deaths have occurred since July 4th. Four of these were examined by Doctor Marchand and two were not reported to him previous to their deaths. Two of these were young children of the same family, another small child and a woman all of whom the doctor stated were dying at the time he first observed them.  ¶  5. To date I have endeavored to have the natives that had food donate to those without food to avoid issuing food to the general public. Twenty-five dollars’ worth of medicine has been purchased from a local merchant upon the recommendation of the Battalion Surgeon. . . "

Note:  On Dr. John Louis Marchand of Bluefields, and his vigorous public opposition to the US intervention, see the East Coast pages, or search "Marchand".

July 8, 1929.
"Conditions of Natives of Yali," Lt. A. T. Lewis, Yali, to Northern Area Commanding Officer, Ocotal, p. 2.  
" . . . 6. In reference to my radio 1108-1039, recommending employment for former bandits now in Yali, I believe it would be more advisable for these men to be employed by the Nicaraguan Government building roads than to allow them to return to the Pavona Area and rejoin the bandits. Several men have applied to me to work for the marines for food for themselves and families and have stated that they had formerly worked picking coffee in the San Antonio-La Rica-La Pavona area during the season but now had no other means of providing food for their families except as bandits. One native ISABEL CASTILLO, formerly a bandit, how in Yali with his wife and five children applied for work. His wife died last night of malnutrition. She stated she hadn’t eaten for four days. This case had not been brought to our attention until yesterday afternoon and although we fed her it was too late to save her life.  ¶  7. The area to the Northeast of Yali, including COYOLAR, RIO ARRIBA, SAN ANTONIO, and etc., is practically deserted at present. The women from those places now in Yali state they will not return to their homes there as they are required to make a hundred tortillas at a time for bandit bands or they will be beaten by the bandits passing thru. Several men from those areas state they will not return to their former homes because they have given testimony to Captain Hanneken and General Escamilla regarding bandits and have been notified they will be killed by the bandits if they leave Yali.  ¶  8. I believe the visit of Doctor Marchand to Yali a treat the natives has had a very beneficial effect on all of the natives of this vicinity, who have heretofore been hostile to Americans. The natives are still hostile to the Nicaraguan Government stating that their Government has never done anything for them, except to collect taxes, has never furnished them any doctor or schools, etc. There has been no priest or minister of any religion in this area since I have been here and the natives state they can’t afford one as a visiting priest assesses them too much.  ¶  9. General Escamilla stated to me that he had reported to the Jefe Politico at Jinotega and also to President Moncada the conditions existing in the Yali area and has recommended a school and also work on the roads for the ex-bandits in this area.  ¶  A. T. LEWIS."

July 12, 1929.
"Treatment of Natives in Yali, Nicaragua," Battalion Medical Officer, 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Pueblo Nuevo, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 1.  
"Reference: (a) Telegram from Area Commander, Northern Area, Ocotal, Nicaragua, 1103-1711.  ¶  1. In compliance with Reference (a), myself, Second Lieutenant Harold D. Harris, U.S. Marine Corps, and a patrol of eight marines and Chief Pharmacist’s Mate Young, cleared Pueblo Nuevo, 6:30 a.m., 4 July, 1929, for Yali Nicaragua, arriving there at 5:30 p.m.  ¶  2. Upon arrival at Yali I examined a few of the more serious cases including the reported operative cases that night. The woman reported having appendicitis and requiring operation I diagnosed as having a mild case of dysentery. She had a mild diarrhea without blood, had generalized abdominal pains and a slight elevation of temperature. No vomiting, no history of previous attacks. She was treated as a dysentery case and on the third day she was out of bed walking around and feeling much better. Goyo Perez [Gregorio Pérez], the man reported as requiring amputation of the shoulder joint was examined that same night. He had been shot about a month ago in the left shoulder and a second shot injuring the finger and thumb of the left hand. The bullet injuring the shoulder had evidently entered from the posterior passing through the infraspinatous portion of the scapula and exiting in the anterior about two inches below the external end of the clavicle. The wound of entry was healed at the time of examination but the wound of exit was still discharging a small amount of sero-sanguinous fluid. I do not believe the bullet penetrated the shoulder joint. However the upper third of the humerous had evidently been fractured, but was well knitted and in fair position at this time. As there was a fair amount of abduction, rotation and amount of infection, shoulder joint amputation was not considered necessary. However, the left thumb and phalangeal joint was badly injured and infected, amputation was advised and finally consented to by the patient, and performed distal to the metacarpal phalangeal joint under ether anesthesia. . . . "

July 12, 1929.
"Treatment of Natives in Yali, Nicaragua," Battalion Medical Officer, 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Pueblo Nuevo, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 2.   
" . . . ¶  3. On the morning of 5 July, 1929, the unoccupied house of the padre was opened and used as a dispensary to which all sick natives who were able to come reported for medical treatment, having been summoned by the Alcalde. Lieutenant Harris, Chief Pharmacist;s Mate Young and Pharmacist’s Mate third class Bannister assisted in the dispensary. During my stay there I treated 190 cases that were brought to my attention. These illnesses were divided roughly into three large groups:  ¶  (a) Intestinal disturbances, including dysentery, diarrhea, constipation ascariasis (many of the children had the later) 145 cases.  ¶  (b) Fever (calenture) 21 cases  ¶  (c) Miscellaneous, including ulcers, skin infection, headache, syphilis, etc. 24 cases.  ¶  Drugs, including castor oil, santonin, quinine sulphate, bismuth, subnitrate, and tincture of camphorated opium, were purchased from a native store to the value of twenty five dollars. Other material such as gauze, cotton, bandages, legerature, material, etc., were used from the Medical Department here.  ¶  4. During my stay there of four days and five nights six natives died, four of which I had seen and treated and two of which I did not see as they did not report to the dispensary and their illness was not reported to me.  ¶  5. Another minor operation was performed on one Miguel Salgado, who had been shot two years previously. The bullet had entered the face at the right lateral aspect of the nose and had lodged just under the skin, anterior to the right superficial temporal artery and superficial to the zygomatic process of the right malar bone. The wound of entry was healed nicely, no infection present at site of entry or at site of extraction. Bullet extraction and wound sutured with catgut.  ¶  6. The cause of the sickness in Yali, Nicaragua, is believed to be due to the unhygienic living conditions and insufficient food and shelter at the time of the concentration there. The natives are gradually building new thatched houses, some few have left the village so that the living conditions are slowly being altered. The food supply seems to be adequate in . . . "

July 12, 1929.
"Treatment of Natives in Yali, Nicaragua," Battalion Medical Officer, 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Pueblo Nuevo, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 3.  
" . . . quantity for the most part of the present. The native men are appealing to the Marines for work. As the death rate had definitely decreased, medication had been instituted to the sick, and still is available, my presence there was no longer deemed necessary. Our patrol cleared Yali at _:30 a.m., 9 July, 1929, arriving Pueblo Nuevo at 4:00 p.m. same date.  ¶  7. Recommendations:  ¶  (a) That the natives refugees be encourage to return to their farms as soon as the bandits situation permits . ¶  (b) The native doctor be furnished Yali during the concentration.  ¶  (c) That no subsequent concentrations occur without previous provision for adequate food and shelter."

July 12, 1929.
"El Gral. Plata ya tomó posesión," El Comercio  (Managua).  
"Don David Pereira, Director de Comunicaciones, recibió un telegrama del General Alejandro Plata, participándolo haber tomado posesión del cargo de Gobernador de San Marcos de Colón."

Notes & Comments:  Seven months after his initial commission by property owners of Jinotega, the Honduran General Plata is appointed by the Honduran government as "Gobernador" of San Marcos de Colón west of Somoto.  Now Plata & Caldera both have jobs in Honduras.

July 15, 1929.
"Local Native Situation," Commanding Officer Lt. A. T. Lewis, Yali, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 1.  
"1. On Tuesday July 9, 1929, Lieutenant Troxell and myself made an inspection of houses in Yali and temporary thatched shacks occupied by native refugees. We found many of these shacks occupied by women and children. Some of these families had a little corn to make tortillas with but we found no other food. We purchased rice and beans from local merchants of Yali and had the Alcade, the Telegraph Operator and the Chief of Police issue this corn and rice, under the supervision of Lieut. Troxell and myself to refugee families of women and children, who had no men to provide for them.  ¶  2. We have kept a record of the names of all families to whom we have issued rice and beans, the total number of women to whom we have issued food is 48. The total number of women and children issued food is 219. Our records show these families to be from Pavona Area, Rio Arriba and Coyolar, mostly and a few from Achotales and Quebrada Arriba.  ¶  3. We questioned all these women with children, who had no men folks with them as to the whereabouts of their husbands and we were unable to get any definite answers except in one case. This case is three women with six children living in one small thatch hut, who claim to be from La Pavona Area. They all claim they are not married and have no “Matrimonies”. We enquired if the fathers of their children were bandits and these women claimed they didn’t know, but possibly. This case, I believe, illustrates the type natives we have in this area.  ¶  4. To date, we have purchased medicines amounting to twenty-five dollars ($25) and issued to sick natives of Yali. The amount does not include any U.S.M.C. supplies, such as gauze, Aspirin and etc. which were issued by Dr. Marchand and also Medical supplies of the U.S. which were used by Dr. Marchand in his operations. Only five natives had died since July 8th. (One woman and four children.) We are still issuing castor oil from the supply originally purchased to sick natives. As the majority of natives were dying from an epidemic of Diarrhea and malnutrition, I believe the visit of Dr. Marchand and Lieutenant Harris (who was very valuable as an interpreter) has stopped the epidemic before it spread to this detachment. (We have no cases of diarrhea among the marines.) . . . "

July 15, 1929.
"Local Native Situation," Commanding Officer Lt. A. T. Lewis, Yali, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 2.  
" . . . ¶  5. To date, we have purchased and distributed rice and beans amounting to $45.50 and including the medicine ($25.00) have spent a total of $70.50 from the Allotment of $200.00 authorized.  ¶  6. On Wednesday July 10th, I observed a stranger coming in to Yali from the North, riding one mule and leading another. As he proceed direct to Sra. Carilda P. Chabarria’s house (the wife of Pedro Blandon) and spoke to her a few minutes, I suspected he might be a messenger from Blandon so interviewed him and he claimed to be Juan Aguilar from Las Guayavas and had a passport to that effect. The Alcalde and the Chief of Police of Yali identified him as Juan Aguilar. As I have not this man’s name on my list of Bandit suspects in this area I had no reason to apprehend him. He immediately left Yali, to the West. I am reporting this incident in case the Regimental Intelligence Officer may have this man’s name listed.  ¶  7. To date two hundred (200) men have registered for work. All of these men keep inquiring as to when they will be able to start work and how much they will be paid a day. Of course we have been unable to answer their questions.  ¶  8. On Friday, July 12, 1929, Lieutenant Levie, with a patrol, proceeded on a mapping detail of the Coyolar-Rio Arriba area. He reported the area deserted but that at one house in PACOYAL, (a group of houses between Coyolar and Rio Arriba) he found a hot native stove, showing that someone had been there and had fled on the approach of the marines.  ¶  9. Natives of Yali who have formerly volunteered information when bandits were operating in this area, claim that there have been no bandits in this area since the Hanneken-Escamilla patrol left on June 20th.  ¶  10. There are still about 200 refugees (including men, women and children) located in the refugee camps outside of Yali. One camp is a mile and a half North of Yali and the other camp extends East from Yali to the Sugar Mill. I questioned many of these refugees as to why they did not return to their own homes and their answers were about evenly divided, some said they were afraid of bandits and the others said that General Escamilla would not let them go back. The Alcalde who was with me when I questioned these natives, stated to me that General Escamilla did not want certain of these natives to return to their homes.  ¶  A. T. LEWIS"

July 18, 1929.
"Hay un Nuevo Plan Para la Pacificación de los Dptos del Norte  —  Hará Levantado un Ejército de Voluntarios Nicaragüenses  —  Los Marinos Americanos Serán Reconcentrados a las Ciudades  —  La Guardia Nacional será Objeto de Una Reducción," El Comercio  (Managua).  
"De un momento a otro será puesto en ejecución.  ¶  En fuente suficientemente autorizada se nos informó ayer, que entre el Gobierno y los jefes principales del ejército norteamericano de ocupación, se ha convenido en un nuevo plan para proceder a definitiva pacificación de los Departamentos del Norte, [--]ciada por el bandolerismo. Los detalles de ese plan es- [--] iendo ultimados y de un momento a otra será puesto en ejecución.  ¶  Ejército nicaragüense de 2 a 3 mil hombres  ¶  La esencia del plan es dejar el campo a los nicaragüenses, para que ellos impongan la [---] en aquellos Departamentos.  ¶  Será levantado un ejército de dos mil o tres mil voluntarios, según sean las necesidades, que irán con la con [---] a de acabar con el bandolerismo, persiguiéndolo y [---]iéndolo hasta en los más [---]riados rincones de las montañas norteñas.  ¶  También los jefes serán nicaragüenses  ¶  El jefe principal, así como [--]os los demás, también de[----]n ser nicaragüense. Su [--]gencia será hecha entre [---] militares caracterizados [por] su valor y hombría de [---]n, a fin de asegurar el éxito de la campaña, al mismo tiempo que la tranquilidad de que son acreedores los ha[---] antes de aquellas regiones.  ¶  A eso se debe el regreso de Escamilla  ¶  En nuestra Ultima Hora de ayer informamos que llegaría de un momento a otro a Managua, en un avión de ejército norteamericano, el General Juan Escamilla, jefe que ha sido de las tropas expedicionarias que han actuado en Jinotega y Nueva Segovia.  ¶  El regreso de Escamilla ya es parte del plan a que nos venimos refiriendo, pues no siendo él nicaragüense, no le podrá ser confiada la jefatura del nuevo ejército que será levantado.  ¶  La reconcentración de los marinos  ¶  Al mismo tiempo que las columnas de voluntarios vayan llegando al Norte, los marinos americanos irán evacuando los distintos lugares ocupados, reconcentrándose a las ciudades principales de aquella zona, o al interior de la República. . . .  ¶  Fue el resultado de la conferencia con el Admirante Campbell  ¶  Lo que ocurre es que los jefes norteamericanos han llegado al convencimiento de quela permanencia de los Marinos en el Norte resulta ineficaz para exterminar al bandolerismo. Su modo de operar es completamente distinto al nuestro, mientras que el soldado nicaragüense conoce naturalmente todas las artimañas del connacional.  ¶  Sabemos que este punto de vista fue contemplado durante la conferencia habida en la Legación Americana, a la que concurrieron el Almirante Campbell, los generales Williams y McDougal y otros jefes importantes, tomándose la determinación de dejar el campo libre a los nicaragüenses para que ellos hagan la pacificación.  ¶  La Guardia será reconcentrada y reducida  ¶  También las compañías de la Guardia Nacional, que operan en el Norte, serán reconcentradas al interior.  ¶  En dicho cuerpo se hará una importante reducción, en compensación de los gastos que ocasionará el ejército de voluntarios.  ¶  El jefe más probable  ¶  Se citan los hombres de varios generales ya quienes pueden ser confiada la jefatura del ejército; pero el que figura con más probabilidades es el General Carlos Pasos, en quien se consideran reunidas todas las condiciones para el caso presente."

Notes & Comments:  A mostly accurate prognostication of the end result -- a Nicaraguan army led by Nicaraguans -- but a garbled interpretation of how US policymakers hoped to get there.  The article was occasioned by the big "conference" in the US Legation in Managua among the chief strategists of the US intervention (Campbell, Williams, McDougal & others).  It is not known whether the reporter was fed the wrong information, or did not understand what he was told.  In either case, the story reveals a deep uncertainty about the role US policymakers envisioned for the Guardia Nacional, even among the lettered & informed classes.   Notably, Escamilla was active till now (mid-July), but these were his last days as a Voluntario general.  Soon after he was appointed to supervise road construction projects in Jinotega.

July 19, 1929.
"La Reducción de que Será Objeto la Guardia Nacional," El Comercio  (Managua).    
" . . . El número de guardias será reducido a mil doscientos.  Actualmente hay cerca de dos mil. . . .

Notes & Comments:  We see here a continuation of the core dynamics that led to the creation of Los Voluntarios in the first place:  the fiscal incapacity of the national state to adequately fund the Guardia Nacional (and in part as we see here, the US intervention) at the level needed to counter the Sandinista rebellion.

July 19, 1929.
"El General Juan Escamilla se Dirige al Pueblo de Jinotega," El Comercio  (Managua).  
"Teniendo informes que en esta población existen algunas personas que se han llegado a la persona del Señor Presidente, diciendo que soy más temible que el bandolero Pedrón. No sé cuales sean las causas que tengan esas personas, para denigrar mi honra, ya sea personal o militar; pues todo lo contrario, deste que he pisado las tierras de este Departamento, cosa que no deben negar, se ha sentido un algo de tranquilidad, no sentida antes de mi arribo a este lugar.  ¶  Así, pues, señores, no sé cuales sean los hechos que tanto os horrorizan, talvez sean las garantñas que por todas partes he venido impartiendo, por cuya razón señores, espero sean más justos y equitativos en sus aseveraciones. ¶  También les hago saber a esas personas que se han declarado enemigas mia o de mi columna, que lejos de estar haciendo viajes a Managua con chismes infructosos, les recuerdo el deber como patriotas y buenos nicaragüenses, de poner todo su contingente para llevar a feliz término esta pacificación y no gastar su tiempo en inútiles lamentos.  ¶  Esas personas que han mal gastado su tiempo en ir hasta Managua a dar unos informes que son de todo punto falzas; como no dijo ese señor que por espacio de 13 días en Yalí fueron socorridas las familias reconcentradas, con el dinero que el Gobierno autorizó para gastos de los voluntarios, y que ha sido gastado para socorrer dichos reconcentrados.  ¶  Si tanto sienten la suerte de esos desgraciasos ¿por qué no corren a socorrerlos? Pero con hechos y no con palabras; ues estas no sierven para nada que sea material, que es de lo que más necesitan esos desgraciados. Esto refiriéndome a un artículo que aparece en ‘La Noticia’ del siete del corriente, y que también informa diciendo son todas esas familias muy pobres, eso es verdad; pero no dice la necesidad que hay de hacerlo así, pues en su mayor parte son las familias de los bandoleros y los que no son, ayudan con proveer de alimentos a los bandoleros ya sean con su voluntad o sin ella, y por cuya razín hay que hacer general dicha concentración.  ¶  En otra parte de este artículo he hablado que son varias (son cuatro) las personas que se han ocupado de mis actos, pero ya son de mi conocimiento, y vuelo a decirles que lo mejor que pueden hacer es unirse a las autoridades para ayudarles y no declararse enemigas de ellas.  ¶  Jinotega, 13 de Julio de 1929.  ¶  JUAN ESCAMILLA."

Notes & Comments:  Escamilla's self-defense here rings hollow, but another indication that these were his last days as a Voluntario general.

July 19, 1929.
"La Pacificación" La Tribuna  (Managua).
   "Preguntámos al doctor Bernardo Sotomayor, si era cierta el rumor de que el gobierno levantaría un ejército de tres mil hombres para la pacificación de los departamentos del Norte, contestó que hasta la fecha no se había dispuesto nada sobre el particular; que posiblemente la Guardia Nacional será la encargada de la completa pacificación de aquella zona."

July 21, 1929.
"Los Agricultores de Matagalpa Pidieron que se Levante un Ejército," El Comercio  (Managua).   
"En aquella ciudad tuvieron una reunión los siguientes agricultures: señores Carlos Potter, Juan Danies, Agustin Franemberger, Francisco Somarriba, Eudoro Mantilla, Roberto D. Amort, Rubén Jaen, Francisco Navarro, Otto Kühl, Félix Pedro Aráuz, Hernán Delgado, Agustín Montes, José Vita, Vicente Morales, Raymond Hawkins y James Haslam. Después de deliberar sobre la amenaza de bandolerismo, acordaron dirigir un telegrama al señor Presidente Moncada, del cual son los siguientes conceptos. ¶ ‘Tal como van desarrollándose aquí las cosas nos será imposible atender nuestros haciendas y llevar a cabo los trabajos indispensables para la preparación y recolección de la próxima cosecha de café, lo que ocasionará la ruina de Matagalpa. Los suscritos agricultores rogamos a Ud. muy encarecidamente dictar enérgicas medidas, no tomadas hasta ahora, que nos salven de tan terrible situación y nos permitimos insinuarle la conveniencia de autorizar al Jefe Político de este Departamento para que levante un pié de ejército, en número suficiente, para proteger las zonas bandoleros, o disponer de cualquier otra medida eficaz que esté a su alcance y pueda poner término a la situación por que atravesamos. Ofrecemos a Ud. franca y leal cooperación. Confiamos en que Ud. se dará cuenta de la justicia que nos asiste y accederá a nuestra petición.

Notes & Comments:  Included here to illustrate the same pressures that led to the creation of the Voluntarios to begin with:  rebels' "patriotic plunder" of property holders -- especially large coffee growers -- prompting property holders to petition the national state to protect their properties. 

July 24, 1929.
"Escamilla y el pueblo de Yalí," La Tribuna  (Managua).   
"La población de Chinandega con toda propiedad ha sido calificada en general como el pueblo mártir de la Revolución. Yalí lo será también como el pueblo mártir de la Pacificación, con la diferencia de que Chinandega volverá a ser lo que fue, será reconstruida y tal vez con más esbeltez, con más armonía. El pueblo de Yalí perecerá en masa y desaparecerá irremisiblemente del mapa de Nicaragua. Yalí es un pueblo esencialmente agrícola, laborioso, humilde, con vida propia y sus labores agrícolas de preferencia son el cultivo de maíz, trigo y arroz que se cosechan admirablemente; pero con especialidad sus habitantes se dedican al cultivo de caña y el café que en ciertas regiones se desarrolla con prontitud y da muy buenos rendimientos. Se calcula su cosecha anual en no menos de seis mil quintales de café. Las malas vias de comunicación con que cuenta han sido la causa principal de que no hay progresado lo que debera. Sin embargo, puédese afirmar sin temor a equivocarse que es el pueblo más rico del departamento de Jinotega.  ¶  Este pueblo laborioso y humilde, en otro tiempo contento y satisfecho con la alegría que produce al labriego el cultivo y recolección de los frutos que da la tierra a manos llenas, hoy se encuentra sumido en la mayor desgracia y desesperación, reconcentrados todos sus habitantes, mejor dicho, hacinados en ese pequeño pueblo con treinta y dos casas de población, con clima lluvioso, húmedo y frio, sin alimentación suficiente, faltos de abrigo y expuestos a la intemperie, no es de extrañar que se cuenten por centenares los que han muerto especialmente niños y sin duda alguna perecera toda la población si no se pone pronto, inmediato remedio a situación tan crítica y dolorosa.  ¶  Nunca hemos crído – contra el sentir del elemento oficial – que la pacificación de las Segovias llegara a ser efectiva con la reconcentración de los campesinos a los pueblos. Llevamos ya cuatro meses de reconcentración iniciada por Plata, ¿qué resultados prácticos se han palpado? ¿Qué se ha adelantado tocante a la pacificación? Nada absolutamente. Sus resultados han sido más bien contraproducentes. Las filas de los bandoleros se han engrosado, pues unos huyendo de la persecución sistemática y ciega de que han sido objeto y otros al ver sus casas incendiadas, llevados de odio y la indignación por verse en la miseria, han optado por el bandolerismo creyéndose también más seguros con el rifle en la mano.  ¶  Pero si la reconcentración se considera indispensible, necesaria para la pacificación, ¿porqué no haber dado un tiempo razonable a esas pobres gentes para haber trasportado a otra parte sus familias, sus viveres, sus animales, etc. Etc., lo poco que posee un pobre, pero que sin ello es más desgraciado fuera de su hogar? ¿O acaso se cree que en breve tiempo se pacificará esa zona? Error crasísimo. ¿Qué harán esas familias en año entrante con sus cosechas de maís perdidas, sus fincas acabadas por la acción del tiempo sin cuido alguno, pastando el ganado en sus cañales, etc.? ¿Con qué elementos de vida podrán de nuevo volver a sus hogares – muchos de ellos incendiados por Escamilla – y volver a trabajar el día de mañana sin nada de lo indispensible para la vida?  ¶  Al pueblo de Yalí lo consideramos imposibilitado para rehacerse. Y pensar que tan brutal proceder se intente llevar a práctica con otros pueblos da horror y lástima solo el pensarlo. Quien hubiera presenciado ese éxodo de familias con sus pequeños hijos, sus pobres ajuares, sus enfermos y hubieran visto a una madre inconsolable que tuvo la desgracia y necesidad imperiosa de enterrar sobre el camino real a uno de sus hijos y otro gravemente enfermo que lo llevaba en un caballo muriósele también en el camino teniendo ya difunto que amarrarlo a lo largo en el caballo y en esa actitud cayéndose los brazos y cabeza a uno y otro lado del caballo, desencejado y lívido su rostro entró con él al pueblo de Yalí, quien hubiera presenciado repito este y otros casos pudiera medir la gravedad de una reconcentración y sus desoladoras consecuencias.  ¶  Ahora bien, quién es el responsable de tantas desgracias? Pudiérase culpar a Escamilla por el simple hecho de la desocupación? No. El pueblo segoviano sabe muy bien que Escamilla es el medio de que se ha valido el Interventor para llevar a cabo estas y otras hazañas. Pero las Segovias enteras le acusan de cruel y inhumano por el proceder con que las ha llevado a la práctica. Es un militar mercenario que por un vil puñado de plata es muy capaz de sacrificar no digamos la Segovia sino el país entero si se lo ordenaran! Y que le puede intercaer, extranjero irresonsable como es, de que el país perezca, sufra y se vea sumido en desgracia irreparable; con tal de tener contento a su amo y protector, no le importa a él que el país se hunda.  ¶  Dice Escamilla en un su panfleto dirigido al pueblo de Jinotega que son cuatro las personas que se han ocupado de criticar sus actos ante el señor Presidente Moncada diciéndole que Escamilla es más bandolero que Pedrón, etc. etc. Se ha quedado muy corto Escamilla en el número y la comparación no puede ser más exacta. No son cuatro los vecinos de Jinotega que le han puesto en evidencia y declarado como es en sí, es el pueblo todo, es la Segovia entera que tiembla ante el solo nombre de este militarote sanguinario, déspota, cruel e inhumano. Ricos y pobres lo consideran todos en general como una amenaza. Qué hablen las cárceles de Jinotega llenas de seres inocentes sacados de sus propias casas para llevarlos como trofeo de sus viles victorias, acusándolos de delitos imaginarios, seres desgraciados que aun están sufriendo como míseros esclavos trabajando como bestias de carga bajo el látigo amenazador del interventor.  ¶  Que hablen la Iglesia de Yalí y sus santos en cuyas soleras fueron colgados muchos inocentes apaleados y martirizados con lujo de crueldad. Que hablen los soldados de la columna de Escamilla y digen cuántos han sido fusilados combardemente en las montañas de Yalí y Jinotega sin formación de causa, por simples suposiciones o denuncias, gratuitas. Nosotros sabemos por ellos mismos que el número de fusilados asciende a vienticinco. Veinticinco viudas llorando inconsolables. Cien niños en la orfandad. He ahí la obra pacificadora de Escamilla! Cómo no va a ser más temible y comparable a Pedrón si le supera en crueldad y la riqueza destruída por Escamilla es incalculable, habiendo dejado en la orfandad y la miseria a miles de familias? No, no son cuatro los que claman contra el feroz Escamilla; es Jinotega todo, es la Segovia entera que considera la presencia de Escamilla en el país como un bochorno para el gobierno teniéndo a su servicio y como una vergüenza para Nicaragua.  ¶  Y que diremos de las grandes victorias de Escamilla contra los bandoleros los verdaderos bandoleros portadodres del rifle! El contaba con gran énfasis que ha matado a centenares, que ha visto incrustados los sesos de bandoleros hasta los árboles de las montañas más oscuras (por la misma oscuridad no podrá comprobarse). Que ha dejado reguero de sangre de los heridos por todas las montañas que se ha perdido hasta ocho días consecutivos en una áspera montaña, salvándolo la proximidad del río Coco y el aparecer alegre de los inocentes avianes que le pusieron en el buen camino.  ¶  Estas y otras farándulas son alegremente referidas por él mismo, mas la verdad, la pura verdad es, que está por comprobarse la muerte del primer bandolero portador de rifle muerto en combate y el primer rifle arrebatado como botín de guerra. Escamilla se ha lucido pero con la inocencia, la gente desarmada, la gente humilde y trabajadora, pero qué lucidez tan negra y apetecida solo por el que ha salido del hampa y la basura.  ¶  Señor Presidente Moncada, para llevar a buen fin la pacificación del país lo primero que se necesita es contar con un General responsable, valiente y de honor, mientras tanto le pedimos ponga en libertad a tantos desgraciados que tienen recluidos en la cárcel obligándonos a trabajar todo el día brutalmente, sin sueldo y pésima ración, faltos de ropa y caizado y más que todo porque son a todas luces inocentes, arrebatados de sus propias casas o trabajando en sus labores.  ¶  Es una injusticia que se sacrifique al pueblo de ese modo. Si el interventor quiere hacer mejoras en Jinotega sobran operarios pagables para hacerlas. Valerse de subterfugios viles para llenar las cárceles y tener esclavos disponibles es impropio del siglo XX.  ¶  Un Segoviano, Jinotega, 20 de julio de 1929."

Notes & Comments:  This long but vague set of accusations is essentially accurate, as we see in the surrounding Marine-Guardia documents, but offers little specific evidence in support of its claims, in keeping with the norms of Nicaraguan journalism during this period.  It is noteworthy that neither Hanneken nor Lee figure in this catalog of victimization.  

July 27, 1929.
"Local Native Situation," Commanding Officer Lt. A. T. Lewis, Yali, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 1.  
" . . . 1. Enclosed herewith is copy of telegram received from Managua requesting that we issue orders preventing families of bandits from leaving Yali. The Alcalde of Yali also received a similar telegram, and as all persons are required to secure passports from the Alcalde no members of bandits families have been permitted to leave Yali since General Escamilla was here on June 20, 1929.  ¶  2. This office has expended, from the $200.00 allotted, for the relief of sick and starving natives, $25.00 for medicine and $97.50 for corn, beans and rice, or a total of $122.50 to date. I have discontinued issuing food at present to the poor families as I believe the number of men now employed on road work and receiving pay will be able to help out the families who have no men working on the roads. The total women and children to whom we have issued food is 219. These were divided daily by the Alcalde and Chief of Police under the supervision of a Marine Officer who recorded the names and former residences of these natives. Since the visit of Fr. Marchand and the medicines given, instead of an average of five deaths per day there have only been three deaths during the past week and there is presently no dysentery or diarrhea in Yali at present. The new roads starting out of Yali have drained the street toilets.  ¶  3. The families of Pedro Blandon and Centeno did not apply for food to us as they have had credit established for them at Gonzales store.  ¶  4. In making my inspection of the quarters of native refugees I enquired why they did not go back to their homes or to Esteli or Jinotega as I had no orders then to hold them, and their answers were invariably that General Escamilla directed them not to leave Yali until he notified them. Lately men that served with General Escamilla’s volunteers have been disbanded and returned to Yali and notified the natives that Escamilla is no longer in the field. The bandit class in this area fear General Escamilla more than they do any one else in Nicaragua and the good citizens respect him. I believe it would have a good morale effect for General Escamilla to make another patrol thru this area, but would recommend his escort to be GUARDIA instead of VOLUNTEERS. . . . "

Notes & Comments:  My emphases.  It appears that Escamilla's last visit to Yalí was on June 20, and that his Voluntario army was disbanded after the big conference at the US Legation in mid-July. The legacy of fear he left behind seems palpable. He was soon appointed to supervise road construction projects around Jinotega.

July 27, 1929.
"Local Native Situation," Commanding Officer Lt. A. T. Lewis, Yali, to Northern Area Commander, Ocotal, p. 2.   
" . . . ¶  5. An unreliable rumor is current in Yali, that as the bandits families are not allowed to go back to the La Rica and La Pavona area, the bandits plan to explode bombs on one side of Yali which will be the signal for families of bandits to leave Yali and the bandits will then attack the Marine garrison. Judging from their past experiences in attacking a Marine Garrison it does not seem reasonable for them to want to commit suicide, therefore I have discounted this rumor.  ¶  6. From information received of ex bandits and road workers it appears that bandits that did not go with Altamarino (July 15th) or go to Honduras as directed will not be wanted when the bands reorganize after the rainy season. Men working on the road with me state that more ex bandits will quit banditry and come in to work, when they find out that they will not be molested for their former acts. I have promised no one amnesty, and have issued no passes to natives, so that any known criminal will not be exempt from arrest. Some of my present road workers may be wanted for crimes, but it so, have probably given fictitious names. General Escamilla might be able to identify some of these road workers as men wanted for crimes, should he again visit this area.  ¶  7. Road workers were paid for the first time on Saturday July 20, 1929, and as expected, a Priest arrived from Concordia on Monday, July 22, 1929 and has been here since that date. During the period when deaths were averaging five a day and we had about three hundred sick natives, no priest ever visited Yali. This is the first time one has been here since I have been stationed here. I believe that if a competent Priest were to win the confidence of the natives here and then explain the situation as General Escamilla did, it would have a good moral effect, as these natives have only received their information from Sandino’s representatives in the past.  ¶  8. The men working on the roads are hard workers and work right thru the rain and mud. They can dig ditches faster than the ordinary American laborer. With necessary tools, wheelbarrows and blasting powder and two hundred laborers I believe a road for automobiles or bull carts can soon be cut thru to San Rafael. At present only oxen can carry loads between Yali and San Rafael on account of the mules floundering in the mud.  ¶  A. T. LEWIS"

November 10, 1931.
Letter from Mr. J. A. Willey to Capt. D. A. Stafford Proposing Revived Voluntario Program in the Jinotega-Matagalpa Coffee Districts, p. 1.   
"Matagalpa Nov. 10 1931. ¶ Capt. D. A. Stafford ¶ Department Commander G. N., ¶ Matagalpa. ¶ Dear sir;- ¶ I have your letter inclosing a copy of the letter written by Gen. Matthews about “Civicos en finca.” You have asked me several questions which I will endeavor to answer. ¶ I. Q.--How many growers who have not guardias will be willing to pay “Civicos en finca.” ¶ A.--So far I have not found any except Mr. Hawkins who has four guarding his house at La Garita. Possibly Chas. Potter who is on the way from England now might be willing to pay for “Civicos en Finca.” ¶ Q.--How many growers who now have guardias will agree to the reduction of their guardias and replace them man for man by “Civicos en finca,” with a view of using the guardias released. 1st. for forming a (50) man guardia post in the vicinity of Guasaca for the prosecution of aggressive warfare against the bandits. 2nd. for nuclei of other finca guards composed of guardias and “Civicos en finca.” ¶ A.--So far I have not found one who wants to relinquish one of his guardias on his hacienda. They seem quite willing to aid in the payment of a force of sixty men but without interferring [interfering] with their finca guardias. ¶ Q.--Express your opinion of the plan in general. Please advise your opinion of the advisability of establishing small outposts of “Civicos en finca” in the Department of Matagalpa. ¶ A.--I believe that outposts of “Civicos en Finca” if they were not very much in the majority Guardias, would be very dangerous, as the bandits would most likely watch them and attack them when least prepared in order to get more arms and ammunition. This plan might work well in other parts of the country where only a few men could well guard a place on account of no big armed groups working in that vecinity [vicinity], but in the department of Matagalpa and Jinotega, I think the outposts as they are today are not any too large, and that they are just about as small as they could be and not be in great danger. . . . "

November 10, 1931.
Letter from Mr. J. A. Willey to Capt. D. A. Stafford Proposing Revived Voluntario Program in the Jinotega-Matagalpa Coffee Districts, p. 2.   
" . . . ¶ If only say about two or three or possibly in some cases four were replaced, I personally do not think the situation would be weakened much if at all, providing the men replaced were real loyal men to the hacienda. I think most growers could easily put out 3 men they could depend upon. That would release some 35 to 40 men, [what appears to be “guardias” is handwritten here] who would be properly trained, and that the other 20 or 25 could be taken forom [from?] plazas or other places and civicos substituted in small numbers, and thereby release the proper number of men who would be well trained guardias. ¶ I believe that leaving the ourpsts [outposts] as they are, and sending out 60 well seasoned and well trained guardias with the very best officers available to keep out north of the Tuma river ALL the time, not come in at all until the crop was over, and keep on the move ALL the time, that the Bandits would either have to mass in large numbers and crush that patrol or be in constant movement themselves to escape contact. ¶ In conjunction with this, the radio at Los Placeres should be installed and kept in first class order. Then runner communication should be kept between the big patrol and the nearest radio station. Also the officer with the big patrol should have a real good intelligence system even tho [though] it cost him quite considerable [considerably]. He also must be a man who can gain the confidence of the innocent people and be able to descriminite [discriminate] at once as to who are bandit sympathizers and who are not, and not persecute unarmed people who may be of invaluable assistance to him in his mission. The officer in command of this big patrol should be the very best there is in the service now for that work. For I believe that he is liable to have quite some action, and he may find that the60 [the 60] Guardias are none to many of he gets a real contact with a real big force such as Pedro Altamirano has been able at times to muster and put in the field against his enemies or to loot a town. ¶ One of the points taken by the growers in objection to furnishing the men, to replace the guardias, and assuming the entire responsibility for them, is that they do not now, trust their men as they did some years ago, and really do not know just what men to pick out for this duty, ALSO they are very much against the impression getting out that they are arming their men and are the men behind the guns of their own hand picked men, for they doubt that the small forces would cope against the bandits if they actually made up their minds to attack a “Civico en finca” outpost. They are loud in their praises of the guardias[’] ability to fight, BUT THEY complain a lot that the gurdia [guardia] officers do not keep their men on enough patrol. This may be without reason or maybe with reason. The growers probably do not understand the movements of the gurdias [guardias] or the reasons, sufficient to understand the motives or character of same. . . . "

November 10, 1931.
Letter from Mr. J. A. Willey to Capt. D. A. Stafford Proposing Revived Voluntario Program in the Jinotega-Matagalpa Coffee Districts, p. 3.   
" . . . ¶ I have talked with a good many people and had their opinions, and most of them, over 90%, seem to have the opinion, that if a force of volunteers was put out after the Bandits that the results would be much more successful than with guardias, BUT, they all agree that this force would have to be hand picked in many ways. ¶ 1. -- They would have to be volunteers. ¶ 2. -- Each man would have to have a letter of reccomendation [recommendation] from some one of considerable importance as to his merits to fit the job in every way. ¶ 3. -- These men would have to be officered by a Guardia officer of special qualifications. Also a Nicaraguan officer of special qualifications. Two men who would work together. ¶ 4. -- These men would have to be under the direct supervision and disciplin [discipline] of the Guardia, or they would soon get tired of the work and possibly desert, or get slack as soon as they saw they were getting paid whether they got results or not. ¶ 5. -- Tihis [This] patrol should not be used outside of its own territory, that is, the country with which they are familiar. If they were sent to a strange district or area, they would be of very little value on account of not knowing the roads, people etc., and not having had suffering brought on their own in that particular region. ¶ With all the talk about this MYSTERY [what appears to be “native” handwritten here] FORCE THAT COULD EXTERMINATE the bandits, I think it would be well to give it a trial. A patrol of picked men for this work, I believe, with the conditions as outlined above given to each man before enlisted, and then KEPT OUT CONTINUALLY NORTH OF THE TUMA RIVER excepting unless they were in contact and fighting the bandits south into the lines of the outposts now stationed there, would sooner or later get a serious contact with the bandits and force them to show their force or keep them scattered or outside of the present crop activities. ¶ I would say put a few active guardias in among them as the trained automatic weapon men. That would give a security to those in command that they might not feel with only the CIVICOS. I would not consider for a moment that this force was to go out under the command of some Nicaraguan who might turn POLITICO and commit all sorts of indiscretions which would be charged up against the American officers. However the officer in command of this force shpuld [should] have all the powers given to one generally who is sent to accomplish a military objective. Not to be hampered by formalities. He could be amply protected by the “Martial Law” which now exists . . . "

November 10, 1931.
Letter from Mr. J. A. Willey to Capt. D. A. Stafford Proposing Revived Voluntario Program in the Jinotega-Matagalpa Coffee Districts, p. 4.   
" . . .  in the Departamento of Matagalpa. ¶ I know that something similar was tried before with Gen. Escamilla and is said to have resulted in personal, political, and unnecessary persecutions, and very expensive. This plan is somewhat different. He picked up his men from Leon, Chinandega, Posaltega, Chichigalpa, and there about. I saw him when he was gathering those fellows who were his soldiers in the past revolution of 1926-27. The class of men to be used in this case would be picked ONLY from this area. Men vouched for by responsible parties. Men mostly who have suffered from the bandits. If this force failed, also officered by the most competent Marine officer you have for that, and a picked Nicaraguan officer with him. If this force failed, I fear that there is not any immediate solution. Personally I feel that this sort of a force will demonstrate conclusively several things;- ¶ 1.--If a force of volunteers of the districts infected are any more effective than the trained guardias. ¶ 2.--If the Bandits have any real organized ARMY. For in this case I think that the officer in charge of this patrol will smoke them out and sitir [stir?] up a hornets nest for himself as well as for the Bandits and get a real battle with them. ¶ 3.--If exceptional [what appears to “and reliable” handwritten here] information will be brought in to this force as it has been said long ago. ¶ 4.--If there is any hope at all of Banditry being exterminated in the near future. For I believe that the success or failure of such an expedition would determine many points of the future. ¶ In conclusion I do not think this force should be less than 60 men, with replacements available, and I would much rather see it 100 men. If the Matagalpa people would finance 60 of them, I think the Nicaraguan Government should finance the other 40. ¶ Hoping this letter is not too long and answers the questions you have put to me, and that something will develope [develop] which will help out the present bandit situation in the Departamento of Matagalpa, ¶ I am, ¶ Yours respectfully, ¶ J.A. WILLEY."

November 16, 1931.
"Increase in Guardia strength for the Central Area," Central Area Commander Col. Julian C. Smith to Jefe Director, Managua, p. 1.   
"3rd Endorsement ¶ 16 November, 1931 ¶ HEADQUARTERS CENTRAL AREA, GUARDIA NACIONAL, JINOTEGA, NICARAGUA. ¶ From: The Area Commander. ¶ To: The Jefe Director, Guardia Nacional, Managua. ¶ Subject: Increase in Guardia strength for the Central Area. ¶ Enclosures: 5. Letter from Mr. J.A. Willey. ¶ Letter from Mr. Guillermo Huper. ¶ Letter from Senor F. Somarriba. ¶ Letter from Senor Ernesto C. Salazar. ¶ Letter from Chamber of Commerce, Jinotega. ¶ 1. The subject of the employment and use of “Civicos en Finca” in the Central Area for the purpose of furnishing protection to isolated fincas, or releasing guardia now so employed, for offensive operations against bandits has been given careful consideration and the proposition has been laid before the Jefe Politicos and prominent finca owners of the Departments of Matagalpa and Jinotega, as well as before the Chamber of Commerce of Jinotega. ¶ 2. The opinions received were unanimously opposed to placing armed Civicos on the Fincas in the Central Area. ¶ 3. The reasons given are as follows: ¶ (a) The utter impossibility of selecting from the rural inhabitants of this Area men who can de depended upon to remain loyal to their employers and to the Government. ¶ (b) Due to the proverty [poverty] stricken condition very few finca owners are able to bear the expense involved. ¶ (c) Small groups of armed Civicos even if loyal would invite bandit attacks for the purpose of securing their arms. ¶ 4. The Area Commander is of the opinion that if the owners of Fincas which now have guards were willing to cooperate to the extent of employing five civicos each, to be guartered [quartered], fed and trained by the Guardia that about fifty guardia would be released for other purposes. However these finca owners are unanimous in their refusal to cooperate in this manner. In dealing with the foreign finca owners, who now have guards, consideration must be given to the fact that one is a woman and all but two of the others are men past sixty years of age, who are naturally very much concerned at the possibility of losing their only means of livelihood. ¶ 5. For the Department of Jinotega it is not believed that “Civicos en Finca” are practicable for the reasons given in paragraph 3 and also for the addition reason that even though reliable men could be secured proper leadership would be necessary to inspire them to resist attacks by superior forces of bandits. Such leadership is lacking in this Department as none of the larger finca owners or managers live on their property and none are willing to do so even during the coffee season with anything less than the protection afforded by regualr [regular] guardia posts. . . . "

November 16, 1931.
"Increase in Guardia strength for the Central Area," Central Area Commander Col. Julian C. Smith to Jefe Director, Managua, p. 2.   
" . . . ¶ 6. The attached statements are typical expressions of the feeling of influential residents of this Area. ¶ Julian C. Smith."


End of Page 3 & document collection on Los Voluntarios.