Espinosa, Nicolas, Arzate, Eusebio and Albures, Francisco, La Asamblea restaurada a los pueblos del Estado de Guatemala, 26 de april 1829 (Guatemala: Union, April 26, 1829)
Fellow citizens, the happy end has finally come to our suffering. An almost uninterrupted series of victories has satisfied the desires of the free. The capital, in which the usurpation was organized, where followers of this tyranny had once again gathered, is now under the rule of the restorers. The citizen destined by providence to trample down aristocratic pride and reestablish the holy code that proclaimed equality, liberty, and federalism– [values] hated by the enemies of the homeland, whose ruin was the objective of the bloody revolution in which they submersed us– has obtained the laurels of a most complete triumph, the civil war has ended, and [...] the military force to civic duties, it has provided a huge and rare example in which conquest reestablishes the law, and triumph returns order.
He has convoked the constitutional authorities who exerted a legitimate and tranquil power that emanated from you, when President Arze, carried away by ambitious intentions and, in accordance with the enemies of the constitution, dissolved them by force, and sparked a Republic-wide fratricidal war. He has replaced these legislators– ripped out of their seats by the fatal hand of ambition– with men who, lacking the mission of the people, would have all the oligarchic intentions necessary for a system change.
All constitutional order (disturbed since then) will appear with the same officials who were removed from office, imprisoned, and exiled before the conclusion of the term that was designated by the law, in which they were to carry out their important job. These same representatives of the people must be the ones to reorganize the Republic, since no other legitimate authority exists who can petition the nation in this unusual call, to give itself new representatives, a new government, and recover its first liberty and its laws.
This sovereign act can only be executed by an authority imbued with popular representation. The government could neither remain in the hands of those who usurped it, nor be governed by any authority other than those who obtained it by the constitution.
The General Liberator, so imbued by these principles, free from all intentions of domination, has employed his triumph in the reestablishment of the constitutional law and in the repositioning of its authorities. Lover of liberty, victim for some time of tyranny, he made himself the homeland’s soldier and the regenerator of order. Providence filled the wishes of the oppressed people through him. The tyrannical usurpation disappeared like a maleficent fog in the sun’s pure light. Anarchy’s work has concluded. The constituted authorities are already in their posts and three years of desolation and ruin have ended through the grandiose scene of liberty’s triumph.
Peace already announces public prosperity and social guarantees: the law will heal the painful wounds that pour blood everywhere, open because of civil discord; the constitution will reign over the disorder and chaos, which was introduced into the Republic by the liberticides who oppressed it since the year twenty-six. Public credit, trust, security, domestic rest, farm work, commerce, and the arts– which disappeared from our soil because of the domination of those who sustained the war against the rights of man with inaudible humiliation across all social classes– will now be reestablished. The calm citizen will not see himself torn away from his family, nor restless as he works to go perish in liberticidal rows or to be abandoned to misery– injured and hungry. The usurpers’ treasure will not increase at the cost of public disgrace. The stranger will be considered and will have a constitutional guarantee. The cultured will not be desecrated by a bloody ghost, nor will they serve ambition’s means. The free shall not be outraged or dead to the voice of religion, nor will the legitimate authorities, assassinated in temples for satisfying aristocratic intentions hidden behind religious veils, be happy. The State of Guatemala will no longer present itself in a hostile manner against the other States and, well-united in fraternal lassos as before, will walk through the paths of the law in shared happiness.
People of Guatemala: you who have profoundly felt all the horrors of anarchy, of usurpation, and of civil dissent in which you were involved for three years due to your oppressors’ passions, such as the occupation of primary offices and the scandalous infraction of your laws; the end to your worries is here; cooperating strongly with your representatives, you will hurry to reestablish constitutional order. Any attempt to seduce you with talk of religion and artificial prestige– voices which disguised your oppressors– will be made in vain. Terrible lessons have taught you not to listen to the enemies of the constitution and the people. You have been the sad toy of their ambition and greed.
Where are your children who were taken into the battlefield? For whom has the innocent blood of our families been spilled? For who have you remained in desolation and misery? For those who lit your villages on fire, for those that broke into your homes and trampled on your local laws, for those who raided treasure even from your churches, corrupted your customs, and reduced you to the most atrocious and despotic military regime ever seen since the centuries of barbarism. Where are the damages or the desecrations of religion that the constitutionalists were accused of? Where are the impieties and the violations of the most sacred objects? You saw them. In the usurpers’ regime, in the fatal combination of both equality’s and the constitution’s enemy classes. All their decrees were of depredation and of extermination: all their proclamations of blood and terror: all their procedures inquisitorial and sinister. All their strength was focused on absolute domination. A vain simulacrum of constitutional forms and of a legislative body stubbornly occupied in redressing a man with sovereignly destructive State powers, and in giving certain families authority over the Republic. An army of forces destined to set villages on fire and to proclaim inquisition and despotism. The most ferocious enemies of independence, the most sanguine Spaniards commanding this army and
taking their revenge against the free States of the Republic after having chained and destroyed the free people of Guatemala. The sacred minister of religion– profaned and compelled to excite the fury of the degraded masses– calling the friends of the constitution and equality “imps” and “heretics” and adding the most flagrant insult to murder and to the most ignominious yoke. Blood still spills from the Republic’s open wounds due to this outrageous regime of devastation and death. The ashes of Flores, of Pierson de Merino, and of thousands of patriots– victims of its barbarity– are still warm. Smoke still rises from the villages in El Salvador, in Honduras, [and] in the same State of Guatemala, which were set on fire by hordes of slaves and usurpers that aborted this land in disgrace. We will not continue to sketch the horrible picture that you have before your eyes….
Compare this to the constitutional government’s peaceful regime, which was destroyed. Compare those civil servants’ failures with the rage and licentiousness of those who were expulsed from their seats. What insults, what offenses have been committed against the enemies of the constitution’s and patriotic liberties’ parties to excite such violent furies? Tolerance, indulgence, the efforts to attract them with appointments of distinction, the same State government surrounded by them; such was the spirit that prevailed in that period, and it was replaced with a deposition, prohibitions and war to the death, which began during the day in Malacatán, killing prisoners and the exhausted, and finished in Misco with atrocious acts and with taunts and insults of humanity. Eternal praise to the valiant allies and the free of Guatemala that fettered the monster of usurpation! Undying laurel [belongs] to the victor who, with a firm hand, chained the furies and has retrograded the period of tyrannies and made the day of law shine once more!
See the men that you elected when order and tranquility reined reestablished in their posts. The usurpers incited the war to destroy them and dominate them: we have already proclaimed peace to wipe away the broken peoples’ tears. They have presented you as irreconcilable enemies to the rest of the States, your brothers: we link ourselves again with the sacred bond of the same constitution and of peaceful social relations. They loved and incited the war, devastation, and fanaticism because they took pleasure in and lived off those monsters’ prey: we toasted domestic rest, the gentle calm, and the liberty to occupy yourselves with your trade and labors; because we were creations of peace and law; and because by themselves they could not reestablish tranquility and order; because victory which has been replaced does not subside except under the sweet olive [branch] and it cannot be employed, but rather cultivated. – They fought for usurpation and for absolute centralism: we [fought for] restoration and federalism; they [fought for] disorder and tyranny: we [fought for] liberty and law. Their interests are now in reactions, in rebellion, and in tumults; ours [are] in order, in obedience to legitimate authorities, and in the reestablishment of the constitution.
Fellow citizens, you have suffered through such a disastrous tempest caused by the aristocracy and those ambitious for power, the likes of which you never experienced in the greatest periods of the Spanish independence or during the Mexican independence: this
severe lesson will arm us against the suggestions of the agitators, who, covered in a hypocritical zeal, once again preach assassination and rebellion against your authorities; they want to evoke strong feelings in you again in order to hurl you against the free and receive chains, desolation, and death. Liberty does not die: the rights of man are inalterable, but despotism is an old tree, which barely blooms when its weak sprouts wither. It is rarer and sicklier in America. This condition of regeneration is not convenient for them. See the tyrants fall everywhere and their foolish institutions die. See prodigious men, adored by the people, wane and annihilate themselves as they place a profane hand upon the altars of liberty. – A general combustion scorches the world in order to regenerate it; and in Central America, the dark and devastating tyrants’ fire is going to produce the pure light of law and of triumphant equality. The peoples are immortal and the free always win.
The calumnies against the constitutionalists, proclaimed at the same time as the despotism that oppressed them, have disappeared. Now you see them triumphant, respecting the holy cult, and sustaining the sacred religion protected by the constitution, which is their emblem. Now you can see them occupied with the reestablishment of order, and cleaning law’s path, which had been obstructed by the revolution. – Where are all the insults hurled toward the altar and the abuses of the educated, and the frightening disorder imputed to the free by the intrusive government, which only occupied itself with imposture and tricking the public?
The objective of the Assembly and the allied army is the great task of constitutional restoration. Giant difficulties must be overcome; and the triumph over the obstacles, which are present everywhere as an effect of such an atrocious revolution, is no less large or necessary than that of the armed constitutionalists that marched from victory to victory, and that marked each step with free and heroic blood. A vast field of rubbish and ruins has been left by the war and the ferocious tyranny. Hate, depopulation, distrust, general misery, demoralization and rebellion are the objects that we must now combat to raise our social structure once again.
This Assembly will take the first step: it will instantly convoke a new one [Assembly], which will take the second [step]: it will replace all the popular and governmental civil servants at once; it will occupy itself with lifting the political machinery onto new wheels so that it can function; it will employ the law, as much as possible, in every capacity in which it has not been broken or disabled due to the usurpation.
A large amount of energy and incessant action in the government are required: wholehearted cooperation amongst the people is required so that the restoration can be effective, and so that inevitable bumps, which arise from new creations and new political struggles, can less lasting and painful. The less citizens present themselves at the reestablishment of the constitution, the more obstacles will be posed, the more reactions the depressed faction will attempt, the farther away the reign of the constitutional guarantees, the longer the populations will have to suffer. – Strong and violent measures are being employed against the rebels and the supporters of the usurpation. The constitution will not protect its implacable enemies; and the authorities will bear the weight of employing the rigor to save our homeland, and
The Assembly yearns for the moment in which the beneficial law gathers all the inhabitants of the State under its tutelage and in which the liberty of security, property, and equality can march united and wipe away tears and heal the wounds of a revolution; but while its germs continue working; while the authorities do not have the tranquil exercise of their functions, while the alarm against the free gives itself and combines open or deafly, it is not possible to protect in all the extension of the guarantees [against] public enemies: it is not possible for the beneficial law to reign completely in protective forms, and public rest and social happiness are distanced and slowed.
You, who have greatly felt these truths during the hard experience of three years, come immediately to the aid of the constitution; raise it in accordance with its authorities, support it against the efforts of tyrants and aristocrats. Keep watch over the conspirators and the fanatics that corrupt morals and alter public order. Our emblem is the constitution and liberty: we take pains to rebuild its temple. Virtues and morals are the foundation of republics: listen to their always-secure voices; lift up a pure heart, worthy of liberty, to the God of order and peace and close your ear to bloodthirsty superstition and the voiceless clamor of revolution that lifts up the dethroned tyranny. The tempest has passed; but agitated elements have not yet ceased to roar and evoke strong feelings. The calm and serenity returns to your homes and execration and death to he who dares to perturb them.
The glorious forehead of the free is already adorned with laurels, which crown the cart of virtue and morals, and guide their journey to public prosperity. That constancy in patriotic efforts and submission to law complete the work of the restoration. It is already in our hands. Let us reunite around the constitution to strengthen it, no embarrassment and all justice is the principle that destroys civil discord and assures the triumph of institutions.
Fellow citizens: now, more than ever, we can forget that in America tyranny has been ephemeral and liberty is immortal. The sanctuary of the law is now open to the people: their representatives want to identify themselves with it and annihilate, if possible, even the very memory of the aristocratic usurpation and its fratricidal war.