The Maceo Colony in Costa Rica. A model of cooperativism at the end of the 19th century!?

Cooperativismo y Desarrollo, May-August 2021; 9(2), 486-508
Translated from the original in Spanish

 

The Maceo Colony in Costa Rica. A model of cooperativism at the end of the 19th century!?

 

La Colonia Maceo de Costa Rica. ¿¡Modelo de cooperativismo de fines del siglo XIX!?

 

A Colônia Maceo da Costa Rica. Modelo de cooperativismo do final do século 19!?

 

José Antonio Navarro Alvarez1; Nileidys Torga Hernández2

1 Universidad de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". Departamento de Historia. Pinar del Río, Cuba.
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8086-1529
navarro@upr.edu.cu

2 Universidad de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". Facultad de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades. Departamento de Derecho. Pinar del Río, Cuba.
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5270-8375
nileidys@upr.edu.cu

 

Received: 1/03/2021
Accepted: 15/07/2021


ABSTRACT

There is a need to deepen in the economic studies on Antonio Maceo, during his stay in Central American countries due to the few works developed in this line of thought. The objective of this article is to analyze Maceo's main economic ideas during his stay in Honduras and Costa Rica, those that gave rise to the foundation of La Mansión and could contribute to the birth of Cuban cooperativism. The theoretical methods used in the present research were: the logical and historical, the analysis and synthesis, as well as the inductive and deductive, and as empirical methods the analysis of the precedent bibliography and original historical documents were used. The searches allowed affirming that Antonio Maceo projected novel economic ideas that would favor the search of resources for the independence of Cuba and the practical application of the economic culture of Cuban emigration, mainly in La Mansión, for the economic, social and juridical achievements that he reached, which could be contributions to the emergence of Cuban cooperativism at the end of the 19th century. It was considered that the study of his economic ideas constitutes a contribution to the analysis of his revolutionary thought. In Honduras, Maceo's economic projections went beyond the internal problems of the country, they extended to the field of international economic relations and in relation to Costa Rica and the establishment of La Mansion. It is shown that these ideas need further research by scholars, as they are a little-known aspect of his thought.

Keywords: Maceo; economic ideas; Honduras; Costa Rica; cooperativism; La Mansión


RESUMEN

Existe la necesidad de profundizar en los estudios económicos sobre Antonio Maceo, durante su estancia en los países centroamericanos debido a los pocos trabajos desarrollados en esta línea de pensamiento. El objetivo del presente artículo es analizar las principales ideas económicas maceístas durante su estancia en Honduras y Costa Rica, aquellas que dieron lugar a la fundación de La Mansión y podrían aportar al nacimiento del cooperativismo cubano. En la presente investigación, se utilizaron como métodos teóricos: el lógico e histórico, el análisis y la síntesis, así como el inductivo y el deductivo y como métodos empíricos el análisis de la bibliografía precedente y de documentos históricos originales. La pesquisa permitió afirmar que Antonio Maceo proyectó novedosas ideas económicas que favorecerían la búsqueda de recursos para la independencia de Cuba y la aplicación práctica de la cultura económica de la emigración cubana, principalmente en La Mansión, por los logros económicos, sociales y jurídicos que llegó a alcanzar, los que pudieron ser aportes al surgimiento del cooperativismo cubano de fines del siglo XIX. Se consideró que el estudio de sus ideas económicas constituye una contribución al análisis de su pensamiento revolucionario. En Honduras, las proyecciones económicas maceístas fueron más allá de los problemas internos del país, se extendieron al campo de las relaciones económicas internacionales y en relación con Costa Rica y el establecimiento de La Mansión. Se demuestra que estas ideas necesitan de nuevas investigaciones por parte de sus estudiosos, por ser una arista poco conocida de su pensamiento.

Palabras clave: Maceo; ideas económicas; Honduras; Costa Rica; cooperativismo; La Mansión


RESUMO

Há necessidade de aprofundar os estudos econômicos sobre Antonio Maceo, durante sua estada nos países da América Central devido aos poucos trabalhos desenvolvidos nesta linha de pensamento. O objetivo deste artigo é analisar as principais ideias econômicas de Maceo durante sua estada em Honduras e Costa Rica, aquelas que deram origem à fundação de La Mansión e podem contribuir para o nascimento das cooperativas cubanas. Na presente investigação foram utilizados os métodos lógico e histórico, a análise e síntese, bem como os métodos indutivos e dedutivos, como métodos teóricos, e a análise da bibliografia anterior e documentos históricos originais como métodos empíricos. A investigação permitiu afirmar que Antonio Maceo projetava novas idéias econômicas que favoreceriam a busca de recursos para a independência de Cuba e a aplicação prática da cultura econômica da emigração cubana, principalmente em La Mansión, devido às conquistas econômicas, sociais e jurídicas. que chegaram a alcançar, aquelas que poderiam ser contribuições para o surgimento do cooperativismo cubano no final do século XIX. O estudo de suas idéias econômicas foi considerado uma contribuição para a análise de seu pensamento revolucionário. Em Honduras, as projeções econômicas maceístas foram além dos problemas internos do país, estendendo-se ao campo das relações econômicas internacionais e em relação à Costa Rica e ao estabelecimento de La Mansión. Mostra-se que essas ideias carecem de novas pesquisas por parte de seus estudiosos, pois são uma ponta pouco conhecida de seu pensamento.

Palavras-chave: Maceo; idéias econômicas; Honduras; Costa Rica; cooperativismo; La Mansión


 

INTRODUCTION

The work presented below is the result of a research project that has been developed for 26 years. It is aimed at studying the revolutionary political thought of Antonio Maceo Grajales and the activities he projected in the context of Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States of America. However, the presence of scientific articles related to the economic ideas in Antonio Maceo's revolutionary thought is minimal, the antecedents of the present thematic are very scarce; therefore, it constitutes a subject that has had insufficient research and updating by its scholars.

It is a content that appears generally included in texts that constitute biographies of Antonio Maceo. One of the books that has greater projection in this area is Vargas (2001), published in Costa Rica. In that brother country, two novel articles linked to the economic theme in Antonio Maceo have been elaborated by Barboza (2013) and Núñez and Marín (2014).

In Santiago de Cuba, the book "Two Titans in Cuban History and Culture" was published by the coordinators Escalona and Torres (2016), they compiled 28 articles in relation to Antonio Maceo; of these, only three, those of López and Cobo (2016), (2016), "Antonio Maceo y la comunidad de emigrados cubanos en Honduras" (1881-1884); of Pérez (2016) "Antonio Maceo y los holguineros en la Guerra de 1895" and the one of Núñez (2016): "Apuntes sobre el pensamiento político-militar del mayor general Antonio Maceo Grajales durante la Guerra de Independencia" contain some references on Maceo's economic ideas, but without analogies to the Mansion. The other 25 articles among which could be, those of: Torres (2016), Cuba (2016) and Pacheco (2016), do not present correspondences with Antonio Maceo's economic or financial ideas.

Subsequently, Duanny (2018) published: "Pensamientos de Antonio Maceo". The author exposed a selection of thoughts, in which brief references to his economic ideas appear. On the other hand, the journal "Abra", of Costa Rica, published the article: "Antonio Maceo en Costa Rica a fines del siglo XIX: ¿Un intelectual orgánico de su época?", by Álvarez (2019), with contributions in the historical and philosophical facets, but without relating the economic ideas in his thought.

Until now, there has not yet been a study that directly addresses the legal and economic analysis of the "Lizano Maceo Contract", with the purpose of identifying in the content of the legal business the principles of cooperativism. Therefore, the present work has as its objective: to analyze the main economic ideas of Maceo during his stay in Honduras and Costa Rica, mainly those that gave rise to the foundation of La Mansión in the Nicoya Peninsula and what these could contribute to the birth of Cuban cooperativism at the end of the 19th century.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The research conceived the use of different methods and techniques that are fundamentally based on the methodology of historical research. The theoretical-methodological foundations of the Materialist Dialectic take relevance as a universal method of the reality knowledge to interpret the social and historical conditioning of Antonio Maceo's activities in their evolution and interrelation in the historical contexts that are analyzed, as well as his system of activities and economic ideas.

Theoretical methods were used for the elaboration of the system of scientific knowledge and in the approach to the problems of historical science. Among these, the logical and historical, analysis and synthesis, as well as inductive and deductive methods stand out.

The historical method allowed the objective study of Antonio Maceo's presence in Honduras and Costa Rica and the understanding of the different activities he developed, linked to the events in which he participated. With the logical method, it was possible to analyzed the historical links to which he was related, revealing that the study of his ideas and economic activities constitutes a historical necessity.

Through the method of analysis, the economic activities and ideas of Antonio Maceo in the historical contexts of Honduras and Costa Rica were studied, highlighting their relationships and components; with the synthesis, the components and relationships of those activities and ideas in Antonio Maceo with respect to Cuban emigration and Cuban independence were integrated.

The inductive method was applied to establish generalizations and comparisons on the activities of the hero and some theoretical ideas on the subject of study were inferred. By means of the deductive method, the general elements are presented in order to particularize the economic activities and ideas, in the historical contexts in which he participated.

Among the empirical methods used were bibliographic and document analysis. With respect to the bibliographic analysis, a search of the Maceo's historiography was carried out with regard to the analysis of documentary sources, the most general bibliographies containing references to the subject were selected, and primary documents were included, especially the Lizano-Maceo Contract.

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

On the presence of Antonio Maceo in Honduras

The presence of General Antonio Maceo in Honduras is located between the years 1881-1884. With his arrival, on July 17, 1881, he will have the first direct contacts with the Central American region, which presents characteristics that differ from the Antillean situation that he had known. Here the doors were opened for him to participate in a historical reformist process, which was developing under the intellectual light of Minister Ramón Rosa during the government of Marco Aurelio Soto, the Honduran Liberal Reform of 1876-1883.

The recommendations of General Máximo Gómez, who was already in the country, plus the international repercussion of his revolutionary struggle in Cuba, made it possible for the government of Marco Aurelio Soto to confer him the rank of Major General of the Army of Honduras on September 20, 1881:

"...A good soldier. As of Tuesday of the present, Don Jose Antonio Maceo1, with the rank of Major General, is part of the Honduran Army. The fame acquired by General Maceo in the Cuban revolution is well known throughout the world. His courage, his morality and the great qualities he possesses for the art of war elevated him to the high position he held in the heroic struggle of the beautiful antilles. A particular friend of President Soto, he has wanted to give him a proof of sympathy and appreciation, offering him his sword and his heart. With the chiefs and militiamen that the Government counts on today, there is no doubt that the order of Honduras is perfectly assured..." (Navarro Álvarez, 2020, p. 117).

The main activities he developed can be seen through his entry into the Army General Staff on September 30, 1881: "...He assumed, at the same time, the military command of Tegucigalpa...". (Franco, 1989, p. 223). On May 31, 1882 he received the appointment of Alternate Judge of the Supreme Court of War until July 31 of the same year. On that day he was appointed Commander of the Ports of Cortes and Omoa, where he remained until December 24, 1883 when he resigned..." (Navarro Álvarez, 2020, p. 118).

The primary source states:

"...General Dn. José Antonio Maceo came to Honduras, coming from Panama, in July 1881, as was said here, called by the Cubans residing in the country; there is no memory that his stay among us had any relation to politics; if there were diplomatic steps in favor of the independence of Cuba, they must have been known only to the ruler of that time and of the few Cuban patriots who initiated them."

On September 20 of the same year, he joined the General Staff of the Army, according to No. 202 of the newspaper "La Paz":

"...On May 31, 1882 he was appointed Alternate Judge of the Supreme Court of War, a position he served until July 31 of the same year, when he was assigned to the Command of Puerto Cortés and Omoa, where he remained until December 24, 1883, when he resigned and was replaced by Jesús Soto...."

Decree appointing General José Antonio Maceo, Alternate Judge of the same court:

"...Marco Aurelio Soto, Constitutional President of the Republic of Honduras. Considering: that due to the fact that Colonel Leonidas Lardizábal, Alternate Judge of the Supreme Court of War, is in other services, it is indispensable to appoint a suitable person to replace him in the exercise of his judicial functions; therefore, Decrees: Sole Article. In substitution of Colonel Lardizábal, General Don Antonio Maceo is appointed Alternate Judge of the Supreme War Tribunal...Given in the Valley of the Angels on the 30th and first day of the month of May 1882. =Marco A. Soto. = The Secretary of State in the Office of War Ramón Rosa. = And by disposition of the President, publish and comply. = Rosa".

From Gazette No. 163, corresponding to June 8, 1882. Agreement appointing General José Antonio Maceo, Commander of the ports of Puerto-Cortés and Omoa. Secretary of State in the Office of War =Tegucigalpa, July 31, 1882. In consideration of the good public service, the President agrees: To appoint General Don José Antonio Maceo, Commander of the ports of Puerto-Cortés and Omoa, with residence in the first port. Be it communicated and registered. Signed by the President. = Rosa (Navarro Álvarez, 2020, p. 118).

From his responsibility as Military Commander, it must be understood how the framework of his social relations expanded with the entry into the country of numerous visitors through the ports, together with the protagonists of the country's politics and the links he maintained with certain businessmen such as J. F. Debrot and S. A. Mc. Lean, North Americans; Mc. Lean exposed him there:

Mr. General Antonio Maceo.

"...I received your attentive letter of March. 4, together with the concession which You has had from the government. I have read it with attention and I enclose a concession in which I have formulated all that, according to my ideas, constitute the bases under which one could take the contract to build the F.C.J.O. I do not doubt that there are many persons ready to make proposals for the F.C., offering to settle the matter of the Bonds..." (Navarro Alvarez, 2020, p. 138).

With General Bográn, economic issues and new business projects were discussed; in particular, the railroad that would link Puerto Cortés in the Caribbean with Amapala in the Pacific, linking the main sources of production in the country. This project would make it possible to employ dozens of Cubans, some who were already in Honduras and others who would come later. Maceo's letter states:

Mr. General President Don. Luis Bográn.

"Fulfilling the offer that I had the pleasure of making to you yesterday, I will now inform you of the course that, in my humble opinion, must be followed to redeem the nation of its foreign debt and ...the inter-oceanic railroad. With the object of settling the foreign debt of Honduras and of constructing the Railroad..., the government appoints a commission with said aims to be constituted in Europe and to proceed to those ends. The commission should be formed by three...; the Representative of Honduras in London, an individual of full confidence of the Government and the undersigned your humble servant..." (Navarro Álvarez, 2020, p. 21).

Together, the exchanges between Antonio Maceo and Máximo Gómez were frequent; they both conceived the idea of founding an agricultural colony to promote the planting of tobacco, which would be a means for dozens of compatriots to settle down. The efforts for the agricultural colony resulted in Decree No. 32 of March 12, 1883 (Franco, 1989, pp. 239-240); issued by President Marco Aurelio Soto and General Enrique Gutiérrez, Secretary of State in the Office of Development. This decree facilitated their agricultural plans. Subsequently, the National Congress approved the agreement of the Executive Branch, giving full satisfaction to its proponents.

The community of criteria with Máximo Gómez and the highest leaders of Honduras evidences the political ascent that the Hero of Baraguá reached. This is evidenced not only when he contributed with his effective action to solve the problems under his jurisdiction, but also when he made judgments on Central American affairs and the Cuban reality.

At the same time, in his residence in Puerto Cortés, he received numerous correspondence from emigrants and friends from other lands. The value and affection that the Honduran authorities felt for Antonio Maceo are corroborated in the epistolary exchange and in other documents between General Antonio and those governors. Navarro's text (2020) records about 30 of these primary sources.

General Antonio, as a participant in the transformations that were taking place, not only ratified his support, but also understood the historical necessity of the changes that his rulers had to carry out; this shows that he was aware of the liberal and progressive ideas of Latin America in the second half of the 19th century and practiced an unprecedented variant of solidarity with the peoples and governments of the Central American area, by joining the Honduran reformist process and occupying important political-military responsibilities, gaining the support of the authorities and the people.

The principled and cooperative attitude in the internal affairs of Honduras is ratified in Maceo, (Navarro Álvarez, 2020, p. 22) when he responded positively in a telegram to General Bográn, in view of the possible internal disturbances in the country due to the holding of presidential elections. Subsequently: "...President Bográn received Maceo...Three were the main topics they discussed...The first of the treaties was about the President's interest in redeeming the nation from the enormous weight that weighed on it because of the Anglo-French debt...The other two referred to the relations with Guatemala and Central American unity and the question of Cuba, for which liberating Revolution Maceo requested the cooperation not only of Honduras, but also of Guatemala and El Salvador..." (Franco, 1989, pp. 253-254).

However, historical circumstances did not allow him to organize the agricultural colony he was granted in the region of Choloma; the need to explore for economic support to fully dedicate himself to the independence of Cuba made him return to the railroad project, which would facilitate progress for the Central American republic. He thus began with Mr. S. A. Mc Lean the agreements that would be sent to President Bogran.

Some of Maceo's ideas, expressed in letters to the President of Honduras in relation to the international debt of this country, with the England and France, should also be highlighted: "...as you told me that the great question was to redeem the Nation from that enormous load that weighs on it and to reestablish its foreign credit, I have not hesitated in continuing to deal with the matter...". (Navarro Álvarez, 2020, p. 23). For Antonio Maceo, the foreign debt owed by Honduras should be negotiated in London, related to the construction of the railroad, through an official commission created by the government to guarantee the agreements: "...The commission should be formed in the indicated manner, because in this way the confidence of the Government as a guarantee of its interests, its financial position in London and work begun are reconciled..." (Navarro Álvarez, 2020, p. 21).

The Maceo positions went beyond the solution of the internal problems of the country, they extended to the field of the international economic relations when trying to reestablish the external financial credibility of Honduras, gesture that places it in the antecedents of the Cuban economic thought, in what refers to the payment of the external debt with England and France, plus the idea of founding an agricultural colony for the promotion of tobacco and the relative one to the construction of a railroad that links the main productive zones with the coasts of the Pacific and the Caribbean, by means of financial negotiations in London, related to the payment of the debt. In short, the North American businessman Mc Lean did not fully accept the proposals of the concession, taking into account the aforementioned purposes.

In unison, Generals Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo increased preparations to leave Honduras and organize the new revolutionary epic, while receiving confirmation that emigration would economically sustain the new plans for independence. Regarding Honduras, the authors found some 16 correspondences between Antonio Maceo and foreign businessmen.

Finally, on August 2, 1884, the Gomez and Maceo families embarked via New Orleans, United States, with a stopover in Belize. But Maceo's historical footprint remained in Honduras.

From the Costa Rican period of Antonio Maceo. La Mansión or The Maceo Colony

In Costa Rica, Antonio Maceo would experience a new political-economic conception for the liberation of the homeland. He arrived in this country in February 1891. The objective was to establish a productive economic base that would favor the dozens of Cubans scattered throughout the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and the United States. Towards this he directed his steps, to the search of the union between the revolutionary emigrants to incorporate them to the independence struggle. So he decided to go to Central America, where a policy of agricultural promotion was being developed and the selection fell on Costa Rica.

How was the Costa Rican historical panorama? From the second half of the 19th century, the liberal government of Tomás Guardia (1870-1882) promoted capitalist relations of production and undertook works of material progress; in 1871, a new liberal constitution was approved, which expanded the economic development of the country, railroad works were built, loans were arranged with England, and great advantages were granted for the development of commerce and agriculture, producing an intellectual flowering of the country; together, important measures were taken against the clergy, new codes were promulgated and a notable impulse to popular education was made possible. The whole system of educational and political measures that took place at the end of the 19th century is known as: The Liberal Reform of '84.

During the decade of 1880-1890, there was a boom of liberal ideology in the country and, from the economic point of view, the penetration of foreign capital was favored. By 1884, the Soto-Keith Contract was signed, whereby the North American investor had to pay off the country's foreign debt and build 52 miles of railroad that were missing from previous concessions; all in exchange for exploiting the railroad for 99 years and could have the following advantages: the exploitation of 324,000 hectares of land -eight percent of the country's total land area-.In addition, two lots to build docks in Limón, with rights to have warehouses and stations, as well as the freedom to import without having to pay duties (Kepner & Soothill , 1957, p. 50).

In 1886, Minor Keith organized the Costa Rica Railway Company, Ltd., which grew economically stronger by dedicating itself to the banana business. Subsequently, the banana business became the main economic activity of the North American capitalist. By 1890, Costa Rica was exporting almost three million bunches of bananas. That same year, the United Fruit Company was formed in the United States, a company that would significantly increase its penetration in Central America and the Caribbean, in which the Keiths were the main shareholders. Between 1892-1894, the economic and financial penetration of new North American monopolies in the country accelerated and they carried out beneficial contracts in mines, lands and railroads.

Therefore, the arrival of Antonio Maceo on February 15, 1891 (Calderón Fernández, 2017, p. 35) was welcomed by the country's leadership. Without wasting any time, Antonio Maceo appeared before the highest authorities of the government and tried to obtain the concession of land for colonization. In San José, he had to face not only the bureaucratic procedures, but also the prohibition of black immigration.

The initial problems were solved and he was given the lands in the Department of Talamanca, on the Caribbean coast, between Puerto Limón and the Colombian limits of Panama. But the Spanish government, aware of the matter, sent a claim to the Costa Rican authorities and the Costa Rican commanders corresponded to the peninsular request and General Antonio was given land on the Pacific coast, in the Nicoya Peninsula.

The bases of the agreements appear through the Lizano-Maceo Contract, made public on December 21, 1891, signed by the President of the Republic, José Joaquín Rodríguez.

The authors of these lines have in their possession a photocopy of the book Maceo in Costa Rica, by Ulises Delgado Aguilera (1969), who was a teacher at the "Antonio Maceo" School in La Mansión. Text published in 1969. In the mentioned photocopy, in pages 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21, appears the original contract that would be submitted to the approval of the Constitutional Congress in its first sessions, according to article XVI. It records that both grantors, Joaquín Lizano and Antonio Maceo, signed it in San José, at the National Palace, May 13, 1891. Inserted further: Approve the above contract. Signed by the President Lizano.

On the other hand, the journal Universidad de La Habana, in its number 246, January-December 1996, in Homage to Antonio Maceo in the Centenary of his Fall in Combat, published a whole set of valuable articles and one of them appears with the following title: "Unpublished Document: Contrato Lizano-Maceo", whose author was the outstanding journalist and researcher Nydia Sarabia -now deceased-, who exposed among her many ideas: "...the faithful text of the "Contrato Lizano-Maceo", which is published in its entirety here for the first time" (Sarabia, 1996, pp. 57-65). This Contract, when approved by the Constitutional Congress of the Republic of Costa Rica, contains modifications with respect to the previous document.

Therefore, the legal economic analysis of "La Mansión" will be based on the latter document. It also takes into consideration, in the first instance: "Cooperativism, Management and Social Development" (Rivera Rodríguez et al., 2012, p. 32); in which the Cooperative Principles have been systematized, based on the Rochdale experience, restructured by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995, at the Manchester Conference.

The Lizano-Maceo Contract

The analysis of the "Contrato Lizano-Maceo", from the legal point of view, allows to develop that: it was signed in the National Palace of San José, on December 17, 1891. According to its legal typology it can be denominated: Contract of Foundation of Colony.

The personal elements of the contract are: The Government of Costa Rica, represented in this act by Joaquín Lizano, Secretary of Development, authorized by the President, and Antonio Maceo Grajales, who is attending in his own name as a natural person.

As accidental elements: Resolutory term, the efficacy of the business is subject to the occurrence of a future and certain event such as time. According to the contractual clauses, the effects of the business cease after four years, counted from the approval of the Contract by the Legislative Power. It is an effective business as from its approval and for a term of four years, at the end of which it is terminated, that is to say, it is extinguished.

Its formal elements: Solemn contract, for its validity the agreement of the parties is not enough, but the approval of the Legislative Power is required, which conditions its existence and entry into force.

The classification of the Contract: Bilateral, both parties are reciprocal creditors and debtors, one contracting party is taxed for the benefit of the other; Onerous commutative, both parties receive utility or benefit; Solemn, an additional requirement to consent is required for the existence of the contract, such as ratification by the Legislative; Principal, the contract supplies by itself a contractual purpose, without the need to resort to or depend on another contract; Immediate execution, since the execution is contextual to its constitution; Atypical, it lacks specific and particular regulation in the legal system; Intuito personae, the condition of the contracting parties is determinant for the conclusion of the contract; Successive tract, the effects of the performance, of the benefit, are prolonged in time.

Of the obligations of the parties: Maceo, general obligation to provide the population of the colony and to work for its creation and benefit. Government of Costa Rica, general obligation to provide all the material resources necessary for the foundation of the colony.

Regarding credit guarantees: a real and solemn guarantee is granted, as a means to reinforce the credit of the Costa Rican government, numeral 8, of clause II, which consists of the mortgage on the land given as property to the colony in numeral 7, of the same clause.

Termination of the contract: Clause XIII establishes a typical case of termination of the contract for breach of contract.

On the resolution of conflicts: In Clause XIV, it establishes the body in charge and the law applicable to the resolution of conflicts between the parties, in this case the Tribunal and the Law of Costa Rica. This element is of value since it is a Private International Law Contract.

From all this it is derived that the objectives of this project are aimed at: To promote an agricultural colony integrated by families of the Cuban emigration in the canton of Nicoya, whose results would favor their economic subsistence, revolutionary unity, solidarity, mutual respect among peoples and the Cuban liberating process against Spain. This type of analysis represents a contribution to legal-economic research in Antonio Maceo.

More general characteristics linked to the principles of cooperativism

1st. The foundation of La Mansión begins with an official contract, with obligations between the parties, between Antonio Maceo and the Government of Costa Rica, so legal rules governing the activities that are developed, sanctioned by the state were established. That is to say, its economic and social relations with the Costa Rican State will be regulated in order to maintain its interests and the economic, political and social order of the Colony.

2nd. The members that form its hard or central nucleus are Cuban agricultural families, revolutionary emigrants; they were not required to have capital for their participation in this project. In addition, one of Maceo's achievements was the acceptance by the government of black migration, an aspect that until then was limited in the country. "The government granted each family the expenses of passage, transportation and food from their country to the place of the colony" (Sarabia, 1996, p. 60). Among them, a strong social commitment was achieved, therefore, the idea of associating, of joining, was a democratic principle in La Mansión. The incorporation to the colony is voluntary and the requirements to join were minimal and indispensable, basically related to the attitudes to carry out the agricultural activity that was intended, which values the dignity of individuals, without discrimination for any condition. Multiple economic and social ideas that led to the progress of La Mansión were contributions of democratic criteria, as well as in the decision making of the partners, which facilitated the management, productive activity and organization.

3rd. The establishment of the Colony was conceived from the initiative of its main manager, Antonio Maceo, together with the State, where the cooperation among its members would have a main role; Maceo proposed to forge an economy based on the obtaining of benefits between the partners and the State. "Exemption for the term of four years of the import duties on the merchandises that are introduced for the use of it, in the quantity and quality necessary for the use and personal consumption of each family" (Sarabia, 1996, p. 61). They aim at the constitution of a production cooperative society, insofar as a transformation activity is developed to obtain products destined for commercialization, so they proposed the conformation of a collective economy or common property company that would mean a step forward in the socialization of production.

4th. The Maceo Colony groups a group of families knowledgeable in the same trade or profession, skilled in the cultivation of tobacco, sugar cane, cocoa, cotton and coffee, they do it voluntarily, obtaining from them common benefits, assimilable in some terms to work cooperatives that marked the emergence and development of cooperativism in other countries. "Maceo commits himself: ...To construct two buildings suitable for the deposit and elaboration of tobacco, for the deposit of tools for common use and for blacksmith and carpentry workshops" (Sarabia, 1996, p. 60).

5th. The Mansión would be self-sustainable, would also have a regulation in the established time and should create financial funds for the payment of the contracted obligations. Legal norms were established for self-sustainability, based on its economic results and efficiency. "The food and clothing allowances for the settlers, the value of the cow and horse, of the oxen...are understood to be made by the Government as an advance and will be reimbursed by each family" (Sarabia, 1996, p. 62). In addition, workers were trained, acquired skills and attitudes for their performance. Technological innovations were introduced, which led to new learning.

6th. This Colony is related to a collective good, to a social, family spirit for its sustenance and, at the same time, to support the independence movement. "The Government will provide for the common use of the Colony five yoke of oxen and two carts, objects that will be increased to one hundred for the first and twenty-five for the last, as needed, four large furrow plows, eight small furrow plows, a mounted iron mill..." (Sarabia, 1996, p. 61). (Sarabia, 1996, p. 61). It was a response to the social and economic problems of patriotic emigration. Therefore, its members were organized not only in terms of the economy, but also for political purposes, the independence of Cuba.

7th. In the deed of the Contract, there is a concern and projection towards the community, as the obligation to teach the Costa Rican families established in its surroundings in the cultivation and benefits of these and any other items that are exploited in the Colony is conceived. An "elementary school for both sexes and a doctor would be established after the first twenty-five families were established" (Sarabia, 1996, p. 64).

8th. A growing, systematic and open solidarity responsibility was established between the State, its main manager and the Cuban community. Antonio Maceo would maintain a notable political and social influence in Costa Rica. "...Maceo, who is obliged to take care of them and to indicate the use that each colonist must make of them, except for the ox teams that will be given to Maceo so that, at the beginning, he will make them be used in common by the Colony and later distribute them in property among the colonists that need them..." (Sarabia, 1996, p. 62).

Based on the above, the following final considerations are made: The article is the first approach to the study of Antonio Maceo's economic ideas in Central America, related to the principles of cooperativism.

With respect to Honduras, it should be noted that Antonio Maceo's economic projections were oriented towards three fundamental ideas. First idea: The creation of an agricultural colony, which would give employment to part of the Cuban emigration, scattered throughout the Caribbean, Central America and the United States. This colony would have a collective direction in which would be: Máximo Gómez, the North American businessman Federico Debrot and Antonio Maceo. Second idea, Antonio Maceo would have direct participation in the project to build a railroad, which would link the main economic zones of Honduras with the ports of Cortes in the Caribbean and Amapala in the Pacific. This would also have the presence of the North American investor S. A. Mc Lean. If this construction was carried out, it would provide employment for part of the Cuban revolutionary emigration. Third idea: Antonio Maceo discussed on several occasions with the highest authorities of the republic the need for Honduras to eliminate its foreign debt with the England and France and presented a project to the Honduran government on how it would be carried out, with the financial support of the North American businessman S. A. Mc Lean. In this project, Antonio Maceo would be part of the negotiating commission that would go to London to solve the problem of Honduras' foreign debt.

About Costa Rica, the arguments expressed in the development of the work allow to assert that La Mansión or Colonia Maceo of Nicoya can be considered as an example of 19th century cooperativism, as it constituted a social economic project with wide repercussions. Nicoya, from then on, went from a mainly cattle raising economy to an agricultural region, in which sugar cane, tobacco, cacao and coffee predominate. In addition, there are productions of rice, corn, beans, bananas, yams, rubber, sweet potatoes and tiquizque. In addition, a sugar mill was built by importing machinery from the United States. There was a growth of the mercantile economy and of the population in function of the local and regional economy. The economic contributions of La Mansión contributed to the expansion of the Cuban productive culture in Costa Rica. With La Mansión, a new economic and social model was established in Nicoya, very different from what existed in previous times. The transformations that were established diversified agricultural production and enriched social life, with an innovative, productive and prosperous spirit; all on the guidelines of a Contract, whose members or community could make "common use" of the benefits granted by its legal bases. So, would you agree that all of the above corroborates that Antonio Maceo's permanence in La Mansión constituted a contribution from the economic and legal point of view for the principles of cooperativism in Cuba and Costa Rica, at the end of the 19th century? In addition, it is significant that Antonio Maceo during his stay in Costa Rica, according to the Documental Registry of Antonio Maceo (Navarro Álvarez, 2020), wrote about 45 letters or documents; 17 of these contain economic-financial references and 13 were sent to José Martí. In addition, he received about 70 letters or documents and of these, 30 were of José Martí's authorship and it can be corroborated that in the Registry 1855 primary sources related to Antonio Maceo appear and that in the research carried out by the authors of the article, they consider that 132 of these contain economic-financial information.

 

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Notes

1 In the primary sources issued in Honduras he appears as José Antonio Maceo, but his real name is Antonio de la Caridad Maceo Grajales

 

Conflict of interest:

Authors declare not to have any conflict of interest.

 

Authors' contribution:

José Antonio Navarro Alvarez worked on the conception and design of the study and carried out the critical review of the article.

Nileidys Torga Hernández was involved in the search for previous information.

Both authors carried out the bibliographic and documentary analysis and analyzed the data obtained. They elaborated the draft and made the critical revision of the article with the approval of the editor's corrections. Both approved the final version sent to the journal.

 


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