Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 21)

American-Revolutionary-War-soldiersSpanish 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.

Carlos-Manuel-de-CĂ©spedes

Carlos Manuel de CĂ©spedes

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.

Antonio-Maceo

Antonio Maceo, the “Bronze Titan” of Cuba

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…

american-racist-depiction-of-antonio-maceo

American depiction of Antonio Maceo.

JosĂ© MartĂ­, 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 MartĂ­, it was all about Cuban-ness & freedom.

Jose_Marti

José Martí

Victor said this Cuban unity instilled by MartĂ­ 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 MartĂ­ & 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.

us-marines-urinate-on-statue-of-jose-marti

U.S. Marines urinating on statue of Jose Marti.
Havana, Cuba. March 11, 1949.

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 MartĂ­ 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.

US-Imperialism

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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14 thoughts on “Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 21)

  1. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 25) | Sylver Blaque

  2. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 24) | Sylver Blaque

  3. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 22) | Sylver Blaque

    • Thank you, George! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the read. History is so fascinating to me that everywhere I go, I always delve into it & fill my journals with the stories, especially when our history is intertwined with theirs. Good or bad, it’s always eye-opening & puts modern day goings-on into perspective…

  4. First of all, congrats — once more!

    Second, I have to say, there’s something that bothers me about those generic pronouns “we” “you” “they” etc. I mean, that was back in mid 19th century, you certainly weren’t alive then!

    Okay, I understand — “we” as “US citizens” may very well refer to the collective consciousness of a people. On the other hand, a people of some hundreds of millions is by no means homogeneous, even though some preconceptions and prejudices are very-very-very common among the population.

    Why I mention this? Well, for the last couple of years I’m experience the economic, political and social turbulence of Europe and its “crisis” — I see Germans speaking of “you Greeks are… do…”, Greeks speaking of “you Germans are… do…”, British speaking of “you French”, others speaking of “them Italians” etc.

    “We” are not “this” or “that”; “we” do not act “like this” or “like that”; “we” have not made “this” or “that” choice. I assume my own responsibilities and I definitely refuse to assume my next-door neighbor’s responsibilities for his/her choices. This “we” thing makes people feel guilty for actions and attitudes that are not necessarily their own. Don’t give in!

    • I get what you’re saying & it makes sense. But, this is how I wrote it in my journal. In fact, now that I think about it, this is how I usually speak about Americans. I say “we,” I guess, because I’m American. But, yeah, I totally understand what you’re saying about this. I guess I feel the responsibility of not separating myself because doing so may relieve me of blame, but it also relieves me of the responsibility of doing something about the problem. And, no matter who caused the problem, I definitely want to be part of the solution, you know?

      • Yes, I totally understand. I’m with you.
        Just wanted to point out that little trap in the use of a generic pronoun, as
        we know very well that words may form outlooks and attitudes. 😉

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