Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 30)

“It makes the water come to my mouth when I think of the State of Cuba as one in our family.”

— 1895 An American politician & financier

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Cuba remained hostage to the United States, while U.S. companies and investors took control of the major sectors of Cuba’s economy. By 1905, 60% of Cuba’s rural land was owned by U.S. citizens or companies. U.S. investors also controlled 90% of Cuba’s tobacco trade, the country’s iron, copper, and nickel mines, its railroads, and its electricity and telephone systems.” — Historian & Author Aviva Chomsky

So, as we are wont to do, we occupied a nation & called it “freedom.”

We hijacked Cuba’s postal service and customs, in order to control what came and went, and make sure anything valuable found its way into our own government coffers.

And in 1903, we allowed Cubans to draft a Constitution.

But we wrote it.

We controlled the terms of their Constitution, making sure it protected U.S. interests. In violation of international law, we forced Cuba, under military threat, to include clauses in their Constitution which would keep us in control of their island.

These collective clauses made up the Platt Amendment. The amendment which allows us, to this day, to have the Guantanamo naval base/prison on their island.

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Photo: Sylver Blaque/Habana, Cuba
Billboard referencing Guantanamo prison & the U.S. torture of Arab prisoners.

Our Platt Amendment also stipulates that Cuba must allow the U.S. to purchase & lease Cuban land, and allow us to intervene in their affairs any time we think we need to “protect” their “independence.”

Translation: we can step in & squash anything Cubans want to do if it threatens U.S. interests.

You know, like the shockingly awesome Constitution we’re “helping” oil-rich Iraq draw up under our “freedom” occupation right now.

shock-and-awe-operation-iraqi-freedom

After forcing Cuba to write a Constitution in our best interest, we then forced them to include a codicil saying that our added provisions are “a permanent treaty with the United States.”

Like, forever.

“Imperalismo yanqui!” someone in the Cuban group spat.

Yankee imperialism? Huh? Yankee? Who’s a yankee? I just knew he wasn’t talking baseball. Whatever it was, judging by that Cuban’s tone, it didn’t sound well-loved.

Victor said that after writing their Constitution, we held the first of many rigged elections in which we put an American-puppet president into power. Our first puppet, Thomas Estrada Palma, paved the way for decades of threatened or well-paid Cuban presidential puppets who allowed us to do whatever the hell we wanted in Cuba.

But Cuban citizens revolted.

In 1906, nationalist Cubans rose up in violent protest against America’s racist & imperialist actions in Cuba.

Our American president was violently pissed about this.

president-theodore-roosevelt

September 1906 quote from U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt: “I am so angry with that infernal little Cuban republic that I would like to wipe its people off the face of the earth! All we have wanted from those people is that they would behave themselves and be prosperous and happy so that we would not have to interfere. And now, lo and behold, they have started an utterly unjustifiable and pointless revolution and may get things into such a snarl that we have no alternative…”

How dare those Cubans revolt against our democratic White supremacy. How dare they reject the white Cuban puppet-president we put into power on their island. After all we’d done for them. Ungrateful Brown bastards!

President Teddy, in a not so cuddly bear-like rant, raged against Cuba & vowed to “wipe its people off the face of the earth.

In fact, Haiti’s successful revolution against slavery was still frighteningly fresh in the minds of our White supremacist government. Our biggest fear was that brown Cubans would band together & form a nationalist government that would inspire surrounding Brown islands to join forces, rise up, beat us down & kick us out of the Caribbean.

In addition to the profits we were making from other Brown islands we’d colonized after kicking Spain out, we had more than $200 million worth of investments on Cuba — in sugar and tobacco, utility and mining companies, cattle ranching, transportation, and other Cuban geese laying golden eggs for us.

The hell if we were going to allow Cubans to re-claim their profitable island, and in the process inspire other Brown islands to follow suit, upending the American way.

Brown foreign geese.

Our golden eggs.

cuban-sugar

Naturally.

Luckily for Cubans, President Roosevelt — rather than “wipe its people off the face of the earth” — settled for using the Platt Amendment on them (hehe! how smart are we? we knew this amendment would come in handy. hehe!). Roosevelt sent an over-kill number of American troops into Cuba for the purpose of “restoring law & order.”

Our law. Our order.

Their country.

Naturally.

As we would continue to do, right up until this very day, we squashed Cuba’s attempt at sovereignty like a bug.

SPLAT!!! (rhymes with PLATT!)

Our imperialism managed to wipe out Spain’s imperialism & Cuban independence in one fell swoop.

Iraq would be smart, right now, to excavate some Cuban history for a play-by-play of what they can expect next…

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Diary of An American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land

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15 thoughts on “Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 30)

  1. Brilliant post. We Brits still have trouble getting over the fact that we’re no longer in a position to exercise our brutal imperialist ambitions directly. Nowadays we just follow along happily with you guys! The Bush/Blair ‘special relationship’ was ridiculed by the British press at the time who loved to portray Tony Blair as Dubya’s pet poodle!
    You’ve highlighted a really interesting topic for me here as I previously knew nothing of Cuban history.

    • Lol! We’re still wrangling with that reality, as well – though Dubya did his dictator-y best to revert back to our colonial terrorism. 😐 I’m so glad you’re finding Cuba’s history as fascinating as I did! 🙂

  2. Great job as always, Sylver! I loved the Teddy Roosevelt quote and your discussion of the Platt Amendment helped me better understand something that has thus far escaped me: how-in-the-hell did we manage to come by “Gitmo?” I never was able to figure how we got it and how we keep it. Again, great job on the series!

    • Thank you, George. Yes, the “forever” Platt codicil is what allows us to continue to operate Gitmo in Cuba. Even Castro’s sweeping nationalization on the island could not stand up to Platt!

  3. Politics is not something I like to discuss because I often feel as though I am wasting my time discussing something that most of us only know of on a very superficial level. From my own biased and limited opinion, you have outlined this beautifully and I couldn’t agree with you more. (:

    • Thank you so much, Mari. And I agree with you – most of us know only superficially about politics. We know the selective portions our schools choose to teach. We know the soundbites our media chooses to emphasize. We know the carefully culled info our governments choose to reveal. However, what we don’t know could fill a galaxy…

  4. and it saddens me that the US is not alone in this…every country has in some point in its history exhibited such cruel behavior. India has been doing similar things with its neighbors, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Its one case where what the government does is not a reflection of what the people want.
    You’ve presented a relevant subject in a beautiful yet simplistic manner. Love that!

    • Thank you, Raunak. And thank you for pointing out that many governments engage in such atrocities. I learned a little bit about India’s actions toward Sri Lanka on a trip there, but I don’t know about Nepal & Bangladesh. Going to keep an eye out for posts on your blog about this…

    • Thank you for reading, Samir. It was shocking to discover all the historical info we don’t get here. Nearly every day of this trip, I was astounded by historical truths I had no knowledge about…

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