The events of 1919 in Matanzas.

    (it Belongs to the article the girl's death Cecilia)

    The poet and writer matancero Luis Marimón Tápanes, speculates with the police plot that wraps to the girl's disappearance Cecilia in an unpublished book that titles the girl's seven deaths Cecilia" (Marimón, 1984). Next to Marimón played me to revise many periodic matanceros of the time during study sessions in the Biblioteca Eusebio Guiteras and the Provincial File of Matanzas.

     Didn't go until after the publication in Cuba of the book the girl's crime Cecilia of Ernesto Chávez Álvarez (Chávez, 1987) that to the historian's of San Carlos' cemetery instances, Mario Vitier, decided to return on the topic. In 1995 the forensic doctor Ercilio Garcia Vento who is at the moment Vice-president of the Sociedad Espeleológica of Cuba, proceeded to open Cecilia's tomb and to examine its remains with objective of determining the identity and the circumstances in that the girl died.

     Vento counts us that when retiring the sepulchral flagstone of the vault it constituted a remarkable surprise to find two raíls of railroad line crossed traversely, below the bricked construction of the sepulcher. To about 15 centimeters the grave was sealed by a thick iron iron, also placed below the masonry; in other words, it leaves of the funeral construction it was manufactured after having placed these obstacles with the evident purpose that under any circumstance any eventual investigation could not descend to the interior of the tomb."

     When cutting with acetylene an end of the iron, so that you could descend to the interior, a new surprise awaited the investigators: the three caskets were buried under a thick earth layer, unusual procedure being a vault."

     The wall on the vault conserves the following inscription:


"Here the girl Cecilia Dalcourt lies
 killed for the sorcerers

June 22 of 1919 to the

3 year-old age and the brave

young that clamored exactly

I punish for their victimarios

José Guerra and Armando Arbelo

of 23 and 25 years respectively

that they covered from glory to the one

to be died by the garnish of the Castle San Severino

the unfortunate night of June 29

of 1919.

Gloria to the heroes!"

     The Impartial   published on Tuesday 24 of June of 1919 in Matanzas that all the inhabitants of this learned city are exactly alarmed, being feared that it can be a tremendous crime perpetrated by the sorcerers, since Matanzas (it is) unfortunately favorable burrow for this unworthy mob of the African underworld." (The Impartial one, 1919)

    Luis Marimón mentions numerous sources to illustrate that that clearly seems to have happened for agreement between the police authority and the press: the hunt of sorcerers and persecution of the Bantu town council of the family Kings in Matanzas.

     Two men orchestrated the public opinion until the climax of the amotinamiento:  Captain Tomás F. you Harden, boss of the Secret Police of Matanzas and Ovidio Santana, journalist of The Impartial one whose articles the front page holders headed on the case of the girl Cecilia.

     A correspondent of the newspaper The Discussion of the Havana reported that the Captain's persistent and skilled work Hardens, it has culminated in a frank success, the discovery of the horrendous murder made by the black sorcerers in the girl's Cecilia  Dalcourt person being achieved finally."  

"The black José Claro has admitted of plane his crime and overdraft to the accomplices of the crime that are Benito Oliva (alias) Chacho, Luis Gálvez, Francisco Parra, Marcos Rodríguez and Ricardo Villegas.


According to the confession made by the black José Claro, Luis Gálvez it was the one that the victim needed to cure a midwife that was for time sick. This Gálvez, que  is the boss of the sorcerers of Bolondrón, it commissioned to the Vine, which captured the girl (...) Inside a sack it drove her to the place of the fact, undressing it on a table, where between Vine and Gálvez, they opened him the chest and they extracted him the viscera, placing them in a Tartar, in which you/they seasoned them with garlics, onions and ajonjolí. Seasoned they were served this way to the table, where took place a cannibal banquet, of which participated besides those mentioned, the mother's midwife of Clear, call The Conga and the mentioned mother that calls himself Facunda" ( The Discussion, Saturday 28 of June of 1919).

     During the ceremonies of the Rule Palo Monte that we have witnessed it is common that they are carried out sacrifices of animals to the animist deities that brings the dead that lives in the foundation (nganga) that the tata nkisi (priest of Stick) or the yayi (mother nkisi) they should feed with menga (it bleeds).

     When concluding the ceremonies is habit that all the engueyos (initiate siblings) they join with other companies and eat the meat of the animal ofrendados during the ritual. In the versions that we find documenting the police and journalistic investigations of the time, the town council of the family Kings seems to have been making traditional ceremonies of Stick it Mounts in its house-temple of the streets Velarde and San Gabriel. The only difference among these rites and those that we have witnessed in Matanzas resides in attributing to a girl like supposed offering.

    The town council of the Kings seems to have belonged to the branch Brillumba that has its geographical origins in Matanzas. This way can find elements of the old variants: Kimbisa or Mayombe in sincretismo with elements of the Rule of Ocha and the Crossed spiritism. The guide of the brillumberos is Sarabanda (Oggún/San Pedro) to the one whothey only offer male animals.

     Although the traditions speak dramatically of the destructive power that possess the ngangas (pans) Jews and the sorcerers that work with the forces endoke, of the wrong (Goatherd, 1954); what we have observed is that oneself Christian pan that channels the forces of the good, can be good to make or to undo " damages ", going according to its owner to Nzambi (God / Christ) it is for well or to Lukankasi (Lucifer) to work with the wrong (Bolivar & Gonzáles, 1998).

     According to the article that we mention the unhappy girl's body was locked in a drawer of candles and buried to about five meters from the entrance door to the house."

"The Captain Hardens it took to the witness to the place of the fact, so that it showed the exact place of the burial. José Claro could not determine the exact place of the burial, affirming that in the night of the fact it was drunk, the same as his accomplices. But it asked him to be taken to the property Ricardo Villegas that he received the box of candles with the girl's body to bury him in union of Vine."

 "Villegas, of knees in the place, declared that it was innocent and it ignored everything. But José Clearing's stability that threatened it as man to that said the truth, since everything was known, forced him to admit their participation in the fact. As this test it was made at six in the afternoon, and there was no longer light to make an excavation, remembered to continue her tomorrow 28 at first hour" (Weekly publication The Discussion. Havana, Saturday 28 of June of 1919).

     But the following day the cadaver that appeared was that of the presumed accused Ricardo Villegas hung with its own belt in the Castle of San Severino (Newspaper The Day. Havana, Tuesday 1 of July of 1919) (Newspaper The Impartial one. Matanzas, Saturday 28 of June and July 1 1919). It is necessary to score as they didn't take in this occasion the elementary cautions of routine that consist on retiring any detainee their belt and the cords of their shoes to avoid any suicide intent.

     During these days The Impartial one didn't stop to publish news on about 17 frustrated intents of white children's kidnappings at the hands of black. "Last night, with a boy's reason del  frustrated kidnapping in the Beach, the town of Matanzas discharged its indignation on the guilty fellow. They mangled the criminal, on their body they fell bumps, kicks, leńazos: all the anger of the lash" (Newspaper The Impartial one. Matanzas, Wednesday 25 of June of 1919).

     The hauls in the town councils of Stick Mount they continued for the whole city. Under the holder of THE WITCHCRAFT IN SLAUGHTERS. DETENTIONS TO BULK", The Impartial one congratulates to the police for the moralización task that has carried out when leveling the home number 95 of the street San Juan of God in the neighborhood of New Town and to confiscate cult objects, heads of rams and recipients with blood. The newspaper publishes the names of ten detainees so that these good fellows are known" ( The Impartial one. Matanzas, Friday 27 of June of 1919).

    The girl's disappearance Cecilia was an ignominy blemish for the matanceros if colds remain and indifferent before the sanguinary African paw that collapses with voluptuous deleitación in the meat of white" ( The Impartial one. Matanzas, Friday 27 of June of 1919).

     The Discussion, of the Havana, publishes June 28 that the savage and repellent negrada will be able to continue making crimes unpunishedly because the town doesn't still have the enough anger to apply the wise and avenging Law of Linch."

  THE IMPARTIAL one IN NAME OF THE TOWN ASKS THAT THE CAPTAIN HARDENS he doesn't STOP to ACT A SINGLE MOMENT IN THIS CAUSE, it published the periodic matancero June 26; while other sources wrote down the irregularities of the process where the Captain Hardens he had not given bill of the detentions made to the Judicial Power, in spite of the fact that the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba 1901  establishes that all detainee will be put in freedom or given to the Judge o  competent Tribunal in the first 24 following hours to the detention act."

     The Marina Newspaper published June 30 correspondent Santiago Gonzáles's article affirming that the investigations carried out up to now, they have not been satisfactory in spite of the public rumor (and this doesn't pass of being rumor) that José Claro was admitted joint author of the hideous crime. Until these moments, neither José Claro neither none of the detainees as presumed authors of the fact has lent declaration officially some. The Judge of instruction Doctor Sousa only knows Francisco López's detention (to) ' Pelota', processed yesterday without one has antecedents neither performance some of those carried out by the Captain you Harden of the Army."

     But the Captain Harden it continued to cargo  of the investigation and after bootblack Villegas's suicide in their cell of the Castle of San Severino the police-journalistic investigation recaptured the course of the boy's initial declarations Octavio Antolín Reyes nine years old.

      Octavio, according to the Captain Hardens, had observed as its uncle, the registered José Claro,  it participated in the infanticide and then it buried the body of the crime among the remains of children buried in the well-known area as Choir of Ángeles in San Carlos' Cemetery, where José Claro worked as gravedigger.

     Octavio was grandson of Facunda Reyes, José Clearing's mother. With them three also lived in the town council The Conga, María of the Cruz Rodríguez that was then 99 completed years old and had been born in the Congo, of where they brought it to Cuba like slave.

     Knew Octavio later 56 years, when he become the Testimoniante number one of the book that Luis Marimón prepared. He had a dray with which loaded furniture in the movings of the neighbors or it cleaned of garbages the lots, he spoke compulsive and incoherently and next to the junks that it loaded for the city it also dragged the terrible memories of those days when their declarations finished condemning to their own family.

    Amid the tumult of people congregated in the cemetery a quick and moving ocular inspection served so that the victim's father, Casimiro Dalcourt, recognizes its daughter before breaking in cry next to the mother and requested to the concurrence that was dispersed to be able to proceed with the autopsy of the cadaver.

    So that doctors Filomeno Rodríguez and Antonio Font, they recognized the remains, checking that had the tied hands, the parietal bones ripped to blows, the occipital one removed and the divided frontal", lacking the language, the brains and the heart, according to the columnist of the Marina Newspaper (Havana, Monday 30 of June).

     The Captain Hardens he offered a press conference there same, in the cemetery, after they were the remains. It left to glitter a white robe where he wrapped up the cadaver and that supposedly it belonged to Josefa Toledo, relative of Villegas also detainee, to which had been wanted to cure with the ceremonies that wrapped the ritual homicide.

     For the city rotated comments and anonymous steering wheels then affirming that Cecilia's sacrifice had been good to save the sister of the mayor of the city, Armando Carnot, and that the letters embroidered in the marras robe had the initial J.C. by Juana Carnot. If the initials were " J.T ". or they were " J.C ". and if the robe could have come from the trousseau of an or another woman is something that gets lost in the land of the conjectures.

     Mayor Carnot was a politician of grateful honesty in his public position, the respect of the masses was won until being recognized popularly as The Doctor of the Poor by its habit of not charging to the needful when it offered its medical services and the critic of its political enemies won for its apparent liberalism toward the Afro-Cuban citizens. Benito (Chacho) Olive, one of the detainees in connection with Cecilia's disappearance, era Porter of the City council of Matanzas and fungía like driver peculiar of the mayor. José Claro took care of his horses.

     The events of June of 1919 became a political offensive against mayor Armando Carnot's public administration and against their liberal politics since it was elect in 1916.

Following page