CHAPTER XX
DETERIORATION AND AN ILL-ADVISED INTERVIEW

WHILE TRYING TO set matters straight again, we halted two or three conspiracies uncovered at Camp Columbia. In one it was planned to advance upon the President's residence at night on Sunday, Dec. 27, four days before I, as fate had it, was to turn over the Government. The plotters knew that we were accustomed to dine with the principal chiefs and ministers and Congressmen between 10 and 11 o'clock. They would take us prisoners. That Sunday afternoon they met to consider what to do with us. The conspirators split into two camps; one wanted to ship us out of the country that same night and the other wanted to shoot us in order to forestall future influence by my Presidential authority.*

Since mid-November I had been fulfilling my Presidential duties under very precarious conditions. The unstable environment and constant secrecy brought to an end a responsible and democratic government and paved the way for a bloody tyranny.

In the afternoon of the 29th, the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Rodríguez Avila, told me that an X-4 had just informed him that Gen. Tabernilla Dolz, his son Carlos, Chief of the

____________________
*
At Columbia, this plot was called the "Conspiracy of Cowards." It was planned by a half-dozen officers who had become "sick" in the presence of the enemy and had been observed by their men running away or hiding in the underbrush. One of them was the nephew of the wife of a Government minister, and he had deserted his wife, and the wife of Lieut. Col. Marcelo Tabernilla--all of whom had been wounded, when Lieut. Col. Blanco Rico was murdered one night as they were all leaving a Havana night club together. Others were the son of a former Presidential aide and the son of an ex-minister. They all had similar backgrounds.

-120-

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