José D. Poyo had always argued for a self-sufficient revolutionary movement dedicated to Cuba’s absolute independence. When the war commenced in 1895, the rapid movement of Cuban forces from east to west across the island and the energetic expeditionary organizing in the United States created optimism that the liberation army would soon defeat the Spanish. Cubans joined the army in sufficient numbers but lacked arms, munitions, uniforms, and other supplies. Key West Cubans and exiles struggled mightily for three years to send expeditions with weapons and supplies and though most reached Cuba, their cargoes never fulfilled the need. After three years of uncompromising and bloody warfare, Cubans had still not yet defeated the Spanish army and many exiles lost confidence in a near-term victory. The United States government prepared to intervene and the best Cubans could achieve was to persuade Congress to adopt the Teller Amendment guaranteeing eventual Cuban independence. Poyo had qualms, but recognized the reality of the situation and hoped the United States would honor its commitment to Cuban independence.
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