Spanish colonists in Cuba were raking in the sugar dough in the wake of the Haitian Revolution.
While Spain was getting richer (via Cuba), we got tired of making Great Britain richer (via America). So we decided to break away from the Brits by fighting & winning our American War of Independence.
Happy 4th of July, America! 🙂
Victor said that by 1825, all of Spain’s colonies in the Americas were independent except for Puerto Rico & Cuba — which Spain held onto with both hands because the sugar industry was way too profitable to give up.
But eventually, Spaniard landowners in Cuba got tired of sharing their sugar profits with Spain. So, in 1868, a Spanish sugar mill owner in Cuba named Cespedez challenged Spain’s chokehold by leading a Cuban War of Independence – which would later become our Spanish-American War.
Cespedez also did something else.
He freed his slaves.
In America, slavery had already been outlawed in 1865, but it was still in practice without much change at first. There was hope by plantation owners that, in time, the free-slaves thing would eventually blow over and we’d get back to our profitable system of slavery.
So, Cespedez freeing his slaves did not sit well with us.
Cespedez was killed, but Antonio Maceo picked up the baton and became the ‘Bronze Ttitan’ of the Cuban slave freedom revolution.
He was a brown Cuban who encouraged the practice of Cuban Whites & Blacks fighting together against the Spanish colonists who were enslaving them.
Obviously, we didn’t like Maceo either.
Here’s what we thought of Maceo…
José Martí, a Spainiard, became the White Cuban leader of this freedom revolution. He fought right beside Maceo, and had a famous slogan “Cuba for Cubans!” which created a unity throughout the island that had nothing to do with the color of a Cuban’s skin.
For Martí, it was all about Cuban-ness & freedom.
Victor said this Cuban unity instilled by Martí made racism an abomination against individuals, and against the nation at large. To these freedom fighters, freedom came first. Race nor color had any ranking.
Following this new creed (to the dread of Spanish colonists, and the U.S.) Cubans were becoming colorblind.
Under the leadership of Martí & Maceo, brown Cubans & white Cubans were uniting, shunning the color separation instituted by Spanish landowners.
But as popular as Martí became among Cubans, he was a big, Spanish thorn in the side of America’s White supremacy.
We despised José Martí.
Even half a century after his death, our soldiers peed on his statue.
We had already lost slavery – which we blamed Haiti for starting that ball rolling nearly a century ago. Those inept French had let those Black Haitians beat them, and in the process brought deep humiliation to slaveowners everywhere. Worse, they had unleashed the spread of a Black freedom virus which had, by now, spread across the Americas.
All we had left was White supremacy.
However, this Martí guy, fighting on the side of nearly a million Black slaves in Cuba, was now a threat to that. If he won, this new racial equality virus might spread, just as the Haitian Black freedom virus had done.
“Cuba for Cubans!” indeed.
Our fears were realized when Maceo & Marti’s multi-colored unity enabled Cuban slaves to finally wrench their freedom from the tight fists of Spanish slave masters by 1886.
But America was watching.
And we refused to accept the intermingling of Blacks & Whites so close to our border.
Even 30+ years after freeing our own slaves, we were still an intensely racist society that puked at the idea of Blacks intermingling equally with Whites.
Cuba was a threat to our continued Western world order of White supremacy – which we were keeping alive & thriving in America.
Worse, Cuba was threatening our racist status quo right off the coast of Florida. A much closer threat than Haiti had been.
And so we turned our high beams on Cuba.
Something had to be done…
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“Diary of An American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land”