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

**********************************************************

u.s.-cuba

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.

Continue reading

Harem Habibati: Queen Mama III

valide-sultan1You, devetlu, are queen of the harem.

You are the Valide Sultan.

As the absolute sovereign of the harem, everything is regulated by you and implemented according to your design.

Since harem women cannot interact with the public, all contact with the outside world shall be conducted by harem eunuchs.

However, within the harem, your enormous staff is made up of women.

Your kethuda usta (head of administrative affairs) carries out your orders related to state, and your haznedar usta (personal assistant) sees that your orders are carried out within the harem household. Beneath these two women are at least a hundred other workers of varied capacity.

You wonder if that will be enough…?

Your resources are bountiful, now.

In fact, dear ippetlu (‘she of highest dignity‘), your salary as Valide surpasses that of the Sultan’s — an indication of the reverence your son holds for you, as well as a sign of the importance of your position.

Moreover, after the Sultan’s war conquests, he showers you with new lands and castles, making sure you always receive the most valuable real estate before gifting less choice real estate to the men in his administration.

You, in turn, parcel off this real estate to these very men for favors, information, and whatever other needs you and the harem may have.

Such are the means of power over men for a Valide, and her harem. Continue reading

Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 25)

cuban-flagWhy would we not let Cubans fly their own flag in Cuba?

Their island. Their flag.

I don’t get it…

Anyway, we declared Cuba a free nation. Or not.

Whatever. We beat Spain and took over.

Cubans, newly free from Spanish colonists, had new colonists to oppress them.

Americans.

We staged public ‘elections’ for Cubans to ‘vote’ for our choices of dictator puppet presidents who would cow-tow to U.S. interests on the island…presidents who would not interfere with our control over the island, who would in no way prevent us from doing whatever we damn well pleased on their island — regardless of Cuban outcry against it.

The first thing we did, of course, was to impose laws of segregation.

We needed to undo the damage Maceo & Martí had done by uniting Blacks & Whites. We needed to restore our American value system of White supremacy.

To that end, Cuba — in a mirror image of America — became a sea of “WHITES ONLY” signs.

Continue reading

Harem Habibati: Queen Mama II

You have a new home.

It’s a palace, really.

Topkapi palace.

topkopi-palace-istanbul-turkey

Topkapi Palace / Istanbul, Turkey

This is where you live now, in grand splendor.

And, as mother of the new ruling Sultan, you shall be his confidant, his supreme advisor, his personal herald and protector. Because you, ippetlu, are the most treasured object of his unconditional love & devotion.

You are the Valide Sultan.

Your now-royal son escorts you ceremoniously through gilded palace doors into your new harem home.

It is resplendent.

Continue reading

Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 23)

hearst-newspaper-war-headlines

Hearst newspaper.
“Patriotic citizens advocate recourse to arms, to wreak vengeance upon Spain for the cruel and cowardly destruction of the Maine.”

 

Ahhh! Sweet sugar.

With those Cuba Spaniards gone, their sweet sugar profits would be alllll ours. 🙂

So, what did we do?

We cooked up a big bowl of victim soup to pour across news wires around the world.

Pre-invasion media prep!

 

We cried and raged stories about our blown up soldiers on the USS Maine. We threw pie charts in the world’s face depicting our invested sugar millions that would be lost to Spain if we didn’t step in. We created horror stories about how those Spanish colonists in Cuba were torturing and killing poor Cubans.

Of course, we didn’t give a damn about those racially-integrating Cubans who posed a too-close-for-comfort threat to our White supremacy. ‘Poor Cubans‘ was just the guild on our image to coat the tarnish of truth.

What truth?

That factions of our government/wealthy, powerful business interests saw millions in invested sugar profits to be lost, and billions to be gained by snatching Cuba from Spain’s clutches. And in the process, we could put a stop to the racial integration occurring so threateningly close to our shore.

With a pre-war media blitzkrieg, we succeeded fantastically in inflaming American patriotism into a national mania, while spoon-feeding acceptable justification to the rest of the world for our war against Spain.

mission-accomplished

“Mission Accomplished!”

 

Wait…where have I heard this story before?

Oh. Right.

I lived it.

Except the USS Maine was the Twin Towers, the “poor Cubans” were “poor Iraqis,” and the sugar was oil.

(cue Twilight Zone music) 😯

 

Continue reading

Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 22)

cuba-sugar-cane

Sugar cane.

It wasn’t just our American fear of Cuba’s racial equality practices that made us shine our imperialist boots in preparation for a good ass-kickin’.

We wanted Cuba’s sugar money.

Cuba was the top sugar producer in all the world.

The world.

That’s a lotta sugar dough.

 

We had tried to buy Cuba from Spain, but our first offer was so low it slapped ‘em in the face with insult, and showed those Spaniards just how little we thought of them.

Then we came to our senses and grudgingly upped our offer to a more realistic number.

laughing-miceBut by then Spain was like, are you serious? Why would we sell the goose that lays the golden eggs to you, of all people? Hahahaha! You Americans are funny!

So, we had to settle for investing in their sugar industry on the island. But, though we invested millions, we were only getting a comparatively tiny amount of sugar dough return.

Spain was the one swimming in the juice.

Which stuck deep in our craw. (Not real sure what a ‘craw’ is, but this is a well-known expression. And I like saying ‘craw.’)

So, with our craw all bent (since I don’t know what a craw is, I’m pretty sure I can bend it ), we were like, why should Spain get all that Cuban sugar dough? We’re closer. In fact, we’re so close that, rightfully, Cuba should really belong to us – along with all the other tobacco, coffee, citrus, and other profitable products-producing islands colonized by Spain.

Those island geese should be laying golden eggs for us.

Not Spain.

Something had to be done about that…

imperialism-rocket

Continue reading

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-Céspedes

Carlos Manuel de Céspedes

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.

Continue reading