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department, choosing him out of three candidates proposed by the civil governor of the cities where the prisons are located after ascertaining their fitness for the place.
The overseeing and final approval of the jails estimates, as well as of the improve. ments, repairs and alterations made in the buildings, are also within the province of this bureau. The system which is employed by this department to designate the places where the sentences imposed by the courts have to be served is very simple. The court sentencing sends, through the civil governor, a certified copy of the judgment. This copy is the basis for the proceedings which are drawn up in the bureau. The jail to which the convict is to be sent is then chosen, according to the provisions of the penal code and to the royal decree of April 15, 1886. The civil governor is duly notified of what has been done, that he, in turn, may advise the warden of the jail designated.
All this is done, bearing in mind that the jails of the island are divided into two classes-first, "cárceles de audiencia” (jails of a court of appeals district), and, second, " cárceles de partido judicial” (jails of a judicial district). The former aré situated in the capital cities where the respective court of appeals is located. Their expenses were defrayed out of both the niunicipal and the provincial funds, share and share alike. The jails for judicial districts are supported exclusively by munici, pal funds, or, rather, by funds of several municipalities conjointly, and are located in the capital of the judicial district. The place of residence, the nature of the funds applied to their sustenance, and the character and degree of the punishments form the basis for the aforementioned classification; it being worth mentioning that in cities where there is a “cárcel de audiencia” there is no jail of judicial district, the former taking the place of both.
The abolishment of the provincial chamber of deputies made it necessary for the state to provide in their stead for the needs of the " cárceles de audiencia.''
Schedules Nos. 17 to 21 give an idea of the labors performed by this bureau. The penitentiary bureau bas exactly the same duties and powers regarding ponitentiaries as the bureau of jails has in reference to these latter establishments.
The penitentiary of Habana is governed by the laws and regulations dated March 31, 1851. These rules and regulations declare that the penitentiary depends directly on the captain-general, and direct that the management of same shall be in charge of an inspector.
By royal decree of July 20, 1878, it was ordered that the rights and duties of said inspector should devolve upon the governor-general of the island, who has since intervened in the management of the penitentiary, because of the general character of the institutiou.
The bureau of public order and police is charged with the daily recording of all important events that take place in the whole island and which are reported by the civil governors. These reports are transmitted to you whonever they contain anything worthy of notice.
It keeps a detailed account of the rural municipal government and private police now existing in the island of Cuba, and will keep that of the new police which may be created, modified, or reorganized in the future. It is now working on the preparation of a complete plan for policing the whole island.
The superior inspection and direction of such an important service is exercised by means of this bureau, and all efforts are directed toward having a picked body of police, familiar with the locality and not in excess of actual requirements, to be managed with as mach decentralization as possible, constituting a guaranty of pablie peace and good order and deserving the confidence of all the Cuban people.
Schedules Nos. 24 to 27 show the actual conditions of the municipal police, which is in process of reorganization in all the island; of the special police of Habana; of the government police, and of the municipal secret service.
The bureau of public health is intrusted by the legislation in force with extensive and varied functions, being the means through which the general government exercises its own functions in the matter of public health on land, as it ought to exercise jurisdiction over the marine hospital service.
This bureau is in charge of all that concerns the appointment and removal of sur. geons for watering stations and cemeteries; of the appointment and removal of the inspectors of medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary of the judicial districts of the whole island; of the health inspectors, and of the committees for special studies in hygiene and health matters in cases of epidemics. It has also among its duties to authorize the creation of cemeteries, to supervise them, to intervene in matters concerning their management, disinterments, and transfers of cadavers; besides, it has under its charge everything pertaining to the vaccination dispensaries, keeping a record of the persons that have been vaccinated and revaccinated, statistics of births, tables of vital statistics, etc. The department of state is also in charge, through the bureau in question, and
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by virtue of laws still in force, of all matters relativo to the marine-hospital service, which is at present out of its province.
Among the different ends accomplished by this bureau worthy of special mention is the work done in connection with the administration of cemeteries, the compiling of statistics of births and deaths registered in the island of Cuba from January 1, 1896, to January 1, 1899, and the project of a general center of vaccination.
Statements Nos. 23–25 make reference to matters of greater importance.
The bureau of charities has charge of matters that can be divided into two parts; first, all that refers to the management of the charitable institutions, and, second, what pertains to the keeping of their accounts.
The first part embraces all the faculties attached to the supervision that the government has on all charitable institutions, according to the law on the subject; the second, the faculties inherent to the right of inspection vested in said government.
As to the first, it rests with this bureau to determine upon: First. The creation of provincial and 'municipal boards of charities. Second. The organization of the board of trustees of those institutions whose supervision belongs to the government, and the appointment of the trustees of those institutions which have a smaller number than prescribed by the founder. Third. The appointment and removal of councils for charitable institutions. Fourth. The examination and approval of the rules, statutes, and regulations of charitable institutions. Fifth. The appointment and removal of the head surgeons, superintendents, and high officials thereof. Sixth. The following duties which, in the private institutions, the government exercises by means of this bureau: (A) To see that the will of the founders is carried out; (B) to enforce the rendering of accounts and, in those cases where this duty is dispensed with by direction of the founder, obtain the sworn statement of the parties in charge as to their having complied with tho founder's will; (C) to see that the moral laws are enforced and the health requirements complied with. Seventh. To make a search for and to claim the property belonging to charitable institutions which is unlawfully held by other parties. Eighth. To create charitable institutions; to modify and abolish those already existing when such arbitrary action is not limited by restrictions imposed by the founder. Ninth. To give the necessary power to perform the acts relating to the administration or to the property of charitable institutions.
In reference to the right of inspection, the following matters come within the province of this bureau: First. To examine, reform, and
approve the budgets of the institutions that are under the protection of the government. Second. To examine, reform, and approve the accounts rendered by the managers of the institutions which are required to do so. Third. To supervise and, whenever it is found to be necessary, modify the method of accounts employed by the charitable institutions.
This bureau is now preferably engaged in collecting the necessary data for establishing a special investigating office for the search of property belonging to charitablo institutions, and also in preparing reliable and complete statistics embracing all the charitable institutions of the island.
To this end a laborious and exhaustive investigation has been made in connection with the legislative and economic history of charities in this country.
Schedule No. 28, which contains the first attempt ever made in this island on the subject, gives a clear idea of the work accomplished, and serves as an indication of the success with which the endeavors in this connection may be crowned.
The importance of the subjects corresponding to the department of charities, their scope and nature, the need of special knowledge to handle them properly, and the display of good will which they demand compelled the subscribing secretary to appoint a consulting board of charities that would help him in his labors, same being composed of highly honorable persons who, with no other remuneration than the satisfaction derived from fulfilling a duty, give daily proofs of their ability, solicitudo, efficiency, and disinterestedness in the numerous acts which, as intelligent counsellors of the department, they are wont to perform.
The foregoing relation affords proof of how many important matters are dispatched by the military governor through this department. Some of them are under its immediate and direct control; others are considered and resolved upon on appeals filed against the resolutions of subordinate officials; and, in the rest, a general supervision is exercised. But in one form or another there is hardly an item concerning social, governmental, or political relations on the island of Cuba to which the action of the authority in whom the supreme power is vested does not reach within a certain compass.
This explains in itself the obstacles that had to be surmounted during the first period of the military occupation. The centralization, which was the characteristic of the system under which the island was ruled, was the cause that, on the evacuation of the Spanish authorities, the bond of union which existed among the different administrative organizations was sovered. As a consequence of this, public affairs were thrown into a turmoil, highly increased by the gradual form in which the occupation of the territory was effected, as well as by the divers measures and resolutions which, with the best intention but without a prearranged agreement, were adopted by chiefs and officers of the army of occupation. The necessity of restoring order in governmental matters and bringing public affairs to a normal condition was felt, so that the complete transformation of all the service, and the reorganization of the institutions that intervened and should intervene in the government and direction of the country could be carried out gradually, cautiously, but at the same time with firmness and progressively. This paramount necessity was attended to by appointing a governor-general for all the island, whose purposes were defined in the proclamation of January 1, and whose essential powers were made public by the order of February 1 of this year. The order of January 11 (creating the four secretaryships) and that of the 24th of same month (organizing this department) completed, in regard to the latter, the plan announced in the proclamation alluded to. Article 5 of this latter order provides that the department of state and government shall be governed by the laws that were in force on December 31 last, in so much as they be consistent with the present régime and until they shall be modified by the proper authorities. This declaration gave us a point from which to start; it established a legal status which, although antiquated in many ways, obscure in others, absurd and deficient in most, was after all a legal order which served to counteract the confusion and disorganization which was spreading all over the island.
Shortly afterwards the civil governments for the six provinces of the island were oreated, and the governors gradually assumed the
functions that belonged to them as per laws declared to be in force (in so much as they did not conflict with the military occupation), by virtue of the circular-order of February 21, regulating the military control and establishing the form in which the military commanders were to exercise the right of supervision in civil affairs within their respectivo spheres and so long as they were not specifically exempted from their jurisdiction.
Before this department bent its main efforts toward the organization of municipal affairs which demanded careful consideration and immediate attention, it proposed to you (with the idea of renoving difficulties), the abolishment of the presidency of the council of secretaries of the old general government, the abolishment also of the provincial chamber of deputies and of provincial boards of health, charitable institutions, and public instruction, which was resolved upon accordingly on February 24 and March . None of these bodies met the live necessities of the situation, it being unnecessary for me to dilate on matters of which you are already cognizant and in regard to which you have been presented with an exhaustive report prepared by my learned colleague, the secretary of finance, a report that leaves no room for further explanations and reasonings in regard to the origin and reaching effects of the several resolutions and orders already quoted, and of those I may be called upon to quote hereafter.
In my communications of February 20, 21, and 24 I informed you of the most feasible plan which, in my judgment, should be adopted in order to accomplish in a gradual manner, step by step, the complete reorganization of the public service, the restoration of administrative affairs, and the establishment of the stable, definite, and independent government which was proclaimed for the island of Cuba in the joint resolution of April 19, 1898. The first steps had, necessarily, to be given toward the reorganization of the municipal affairs which must form the basis for the future constitution of the country.
The municipalities of Cuba were passing through a most trying financial crisis, partly due to the imperfections of the system then employed, partly to the vices inherent to Spanish administration throughout, and due also, in no small measure, to the natural consequences of the war. The department of finance directed its efforts to the economic side of the problem, to which this department lent its help. The order of February 25 established new fundamental bases for the economic affairs of municipalities in Cuba, and in order to carry its provisions into practicestudying at the same time the scope of their effectiveness-a carefulexamination of the financial condition of the municipalities in Cuba was imperative. But prior to all this it became indispensable to remove the constant danger which threatened their economio existence by suspending all kinds of claims that might be instituted against them on account of obligations that had matured before December 31, 1898, until the municipal corporations were organized, at which time a solution would be arrived at in reference to said obligations.
The study now being made by this department of the amount, character, and kind of all the municipal debts and, besides, of their actual receipts, extent of their expenditures, and a comparative examination of the old and the new system of taxation, serve as a complement to these resolutions.
The municipal deficits being temporarily covered, it becomes feasible for this department, working in conjunction with the finance department, to prepare a system of taxes and accounting by which the difficulties at present surrounding the municipalities would be effectually surmounted, laying the foundation for their final economic-legal status, and, as the crowning effort of all these labors, this department has prepared a project for the reform of the municipal law now in force, and which is now being considered by my confreres. As soon as said project of municipal law is finished and approved, the one referring to the organization of the services intrusted at present to the provincial administration-announced in the order of February 24, already mentioned-shall be submitted to you for your consideration.
Both these works aim at simplifying the administration, improving the service when necessary, and reinstating the institutions and local bodies in their several rights by means of an ample and rational descentralización.
After making the efforts implied in the investigation of everything pertaining to the municipal affairs, in the construction of almost all the municipal councils which the relinquishment of Spanish sovereignty called for, inasmuch as life in its normal condition was paralyzed in most (a task that was rendered possible and, in a measure, feasible by the fact that the municipal corporations which we found were not of elective character, but creatures of the will of the superior governmental authorities), after studying and preparing, in short, the projects which are to be the culmination of all that has so far been accomplishod, this department was considerably relieved, and found it possible to devote its attention advantageously to the many important subjects relative to public charity.
For months past a careful examination has been carried on in regard to the financial situation of the charitable institutions, and the facts so far obtained offor a vast field for governmental action in behalf of said institutions, and bear proof of what may be accomplished in Cuba in favor of the needy.
It was necessary, first of all, to provide for the immediate support of many establishments which lack at present means of their own; then to complete in some, and to change in others, the personnel on whom the management thereof devolved.
This department is at this moment engaged in two works of the utmost importance. The first one is the study and modification of the charity laws now in force with the purpose of doing away with defects which experience has revealed to exist in them and of shaping them after the pattern set by modern science, and as practiced in the most enlightened countries. The second is to regulate and carry into execution a conscientious search of all the property rightfully belonging to charitable institutions and which is withheld from them at present.
I deom it unnecessary to enter into further explanations with regard to the other topics embraced in the first part of this report. I beg, however, to be allowed to make a special, though succinct, mention of some of them.
The system according to which the Spanish police was organized and the manner in which the evacuation of the Spanish troops and the present inilitary occupation took place were responsible for the truly hazardous situation that during the first months of this year was created in what referred to public order and personal safety. Many towns were left entirely without police protection and even without officials with enough prestige and means to make themselves respected. Luckily, the detachments of Cuban forces, ably distributed of their own accord over the whole territory as mere auxiliaries of the powers that were, aided by the good senso which, as a rule, predominates in the Cuban people, afforded the means to promptly give the assistance required for such pressing needs.
The organization of the rural police in Santiago, Puerto Principe, and Santa Clara provinces, the municipal police afterwards created in the whole island, and the permits granted to keep private (or sworn) police, has restored to the country the peace which, for a moment, was thought endangered by frequent acts of pilfering, and has reestablished the normal conditions which such radical changes in public affairs had either shaken or destroyed.
It is the purpose of this department to suggest to you such final measures as will complete the establishment of the local police all over the island in such a manner that those primarily interested in maintaining order in their respective districts may be charged with the duty of preserving same.
The problem concerning the management of the cemeteries was a most delicate one, because of the traditional customs of the country. This service must be eminently civil in a country that re gnizes no religion as official. But a series of events—the enumeration of which would be very tedious and of no purpose to our object-brought about that the control of the cemeteries was placed in the hands of tho Catholic Church, having no right therefor in most cases. Once the municipalities found themselves freed from the onerous and ancient tyrrany which about this matter was exercised through influences and pressure which no longer exist, and empowered in some cases by American chiefs and officers, they took possession in many places-on their own account-of the cemeteries to which they believed themselves entitled, dispensing with the usual formalities.
At the suggestion of this department you saw fit to issue the order of April 12, which, mindful of the rights entitled to protection, arrived at a general decision on the matter, turning over to the secular authorities the management of the cemeteriesas far as practicable-and establishing the manner in which theclaims of the church and of the municipalities could be speedily settled, leaving untouched the question about ownership, which is to be settled by the courts.
Schedule No. 23, annexed hereto, gives a clear idea of how the church had taken hold of the management of the cemeteries, and how a problem-which always was in this country a very annoying one and considered practically without solutionis being now solved without difficulty.
Ahother delicate subject, and one attended with great difficulties, was the consular relations, which were virtually severed on the relinquishment of the Spanish authorities. The well-directed efforts of this department, realized in the prudent manner in which these matters can alone be handled, bore the result indicated in schedule No. 6, by which it is seen that the greater number of established nations have recognized the present condition of affairs and maintain their representatives in this country amidst the most perfect cordiality.
The establisbment of the general consulate of Spain, of the consulates, viceconsulates, and honorary consulates throughout the island marks the most important event that has taken place in connection with this matter, and in compliance with what is provided in the treaty of Paris.
in accordance with said treaty, the special register for the Spaniards who wished to retain their nationality was created as per order of July 11 last, affording the greatest facilities, free of all cost, for the fulfillment of this indispensable requisite within the period fixed in Article IX of the treaty of Paris above mentioned.
The monthly statements which I have had the honor to send you, and schedules Nos. 7, 8, and 13 attached hereto, clearly show the unhampered manner in which this matter is being attended to.
The fear that this report might be too lengthy restrains me from going into the examination of all or the greater number of the regulations, measures, and orders issned at the request of this department, and of the questions that have been resolved upon by same. Schedule No. 1 shows the extent of the work accomplished; the enumeration at the beginning of this report completes that exposition; the report of the secretary of finance, to which I have previously referred, serves to form a high idea of the whole, and the remarks herein contained complete the examination of what may be deemed most important.
I can not close this report without calling your attention to the extraordinary work done by the employees under my chargo, which can only be appreciated when one thinks of the disorder, confusion, lack of fixed standards and the want of sufficient means with which they have had to contend in the development of their ideas and in performing their tasks, bringing matters at the same time to an orderly basis. By the great number of affairs intrusted to the care of this department you will be able to estimate that the personnel of this office is very inadequate, and their salaries do not appear to be proportionate to the labors required of them. I have thought it my duty to acquaint you with these facts, that you may resolve as you deem best.
The writer is expecting more valuable information with which to complete the data contained in the attached schedules, and, as soon as it is receivod, you will be furnished with additional statements in reference to those subjects that require it. Respectfully,
Dr. DÓMINGO MENDEZ CAPOTE.
Lawr, decrees, regulations, etc., that are in force and are of the direct concern of the
department of government.
1. Powers of the Governor-General, as per royal decree of June 9, 1878.
4. Charity law, as per instructions of April 27, 1875, extended to Cuba by order of
8. Contracts for public service, royal decree of January 4, 1883, extended to Cuba by royal order of July 31.
9. Theatricals and public shows; decree of Governor-General of January 30, 1891, reorganizing this matter.