U.S. intervention during the 1912 "Race War" in Cuba
Conditions in Cuba were poor for the black inhabitants, most of whom were employed in the sugarcane industry. Evaristo Estenoz led a movement to better these conditions which had begun in 1895 during the war for independence from Spain. Veterans of that war, primarily officers, organized the Independent Party of Color in 1908. Under the leadership of Estenoz, the party quickly gained the support of a large number of Afro-Cubans in opposition to Cuban President José Miguel Gómez. Gómez ordered the party disbanded under the Morúa law, which outlawed political parties based on race. By 1912 the Independent Party of Color had regrouped to stage another armed rebellion.
In early 1912, the United States government sent a detachment of 688 US Marines, officers and enlisted men, to Guantanamo Naval Base, while, Estenoz and his followers were preparing an armed rebellion. Though they were lightly armed, the rebels numbered several hundred men, mainly peasants.