By Alberto N. Jones
A US-Brokered “Cuban Independence”
On Tuesday May 20, President George W. Bush commemorated what most Cubans describe as our pseudo independence, when after four years of occupation by the United States Army, they wrote a constitution and selected a President, both of whom were completely subordinated to the United States Congress.
The Platt Amendment imposed on Cuba as a precondition for ending US military occupation serves as an example of what many in the American government understands as “Independence, Freedom and Sovereignty.” This law forbade Cuba from entering into international agreements without prior approval by the US Congress. Only after thirty years of street battles and once the US had virtual economic control of the Island, were the Cuban people able to remove this disgraceful stranglehold from its constitution.
Many important aspects of the 50-year struggle of the Cuban people against Spain were re-instituted in favor of the United States. The Cuban Army of Independence was disbanded and replaced by a rogue Rural Guard that was nothing more than a gang of thugs and murderers. The best industries and lands fell into the hands of American enterprises, political corruption, graft, coup d'état, stealing of ballots, gambling, prostitution, gangsters, illiteracy, hunger, unemployment and all other social ills, became an integral part of that nation.
Occupation Forces Re-introduced and Strengthen Racism
Perhaps the worst legacy of the US occupation of Cuba lies with the re-introduction and strengthening of racism. José Martí struggled most of his life to create a nation free of prejudices. His views are best described when he said, “More than Black, More than White, More than Mulatto, say Cuban!”
When Teddy Roosevelt invaded Santiago de Cuba in 1898, he was shocked to find a fully integrated Cuban Army, many of whom were led by seasoned Black Generals, who had defeated repeatedly in the battle field many of Spain’s most decorated generals.
During the following four years of occupation by the US Army, Teddy Roosevelt wrote numerous laws, regulations, resolutions, among which, Blacks, even generals that led triumphant armies, were not allowed in the newly created police department and those allowed into the Rural Guard, could not rise beyond the rank of lieutenant.
Blacks were not allowed to work in office settings, department stores or large industries except in the most menial occupations. Education and neighborhoods were segregated and General Quintín Banderas, among others, was only able to secure a job sweeping streets in Havana.
A Renewed US Occupation and Massacre
When Blacks organized a political party to confront these rampant abuses in 1912, once again, the United States Army occupied the country and provided support and logistics to the Rural Guard, who in turn, was able to massacre over 6000 Blacks in Cuba.
And now, President George W. Bush, showing his ignorance of Cuba’s history, is horrified by the drastic measures that the Cuban government has implemented to stem a rash of well orchestrated plans that are part and parcel of the Torricelli Bill, geared to destabilize the Cuban government, through groups of so called “dissidents”, that have been created, directed, financed and sent into battle by USAID, CIA, DIA and tens of legitimate US-based front Think Tanks, Foundations and Associations, in order to create social unrest, chaos and thus serve as a pretext to invite the United States to once again, invade and occupy Cuba.
Celebrating a Day Subjugation
This day of subjugation, dependency and neo-colonialism is celebrated with the Bush Administration by a select group of well known Cuban-American corrupt politicians, some on parole, furlough or just released from the judicial system for depleting the municipal and county funds, for the never-ending construction of the international airport or for being part of the lucrative asphalt business, that enriched and is controlled by the Mas Canosa family.
Others, who have made millions through their AM radio stations and newspapers filled with hate messages, mix with well known murderers and torturers from the Batista regime and terrorists who openly brag about placing bombs in airliners in mid-flight, who were part of the Bay of Pigs invasion, mercenaries in Africa and/or have tried on numerous occasions to kill Cuban leaders.
Egging on the President for “regime change” in Cuba is an under class of aspiring crooks who have ripped-off millions of dollars from the Miami School Board, Medicare and tens of thousands of senior citizens, through hundreds of hours of “Health Talk Shows,” which instill fear and false life expectancy in this vulnerable community, leading them to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars in bogus natural health care medications.
Layered with vitriolic speeches by “local” and national “leaders” of the Cuban-American community, there is a chorus of demands for an immediate Iraq-type Blitzkrieg invasion and destruction of Cuba. Ironically, this American invading force will be predominantly Black and Hispanic, both of whom are openly despised by these upper class Cubans.
Navigating on a Triumphal Wave -- A Specter of Aggression against Cuba
Upbeat and navigating on a triumphal wave resulting from the Afghanistan and Iraq adventures, President George W. Bush spouts a threatening laundry list to the Cuban people and government, which may, as in the case of Iraq, include a timetable to comply or else.
The US powerful armada equipped with World War III high-tech killing machines, especially when aimed against small nations deemed weak and incapable of striking back, as experienced recently in Grenada, Panama or Bosnia, is an ominous reminder to all, that his words must be taking seriously.
As dangerous as the Cluster Bombs, Cruise Missiles, Thirty Thousands Pounds Bombs, Spent Uranium Explosives and the F-117 and B-1’s, are the evil-minded political ideologues and religious bigots driven by delusions of a divine mandate for a New World Order.
Their insistence in keeping Cuba on their self-created and managed “Terrorist Nation List,” is just another argument repeated ad nauseum in order to carry out destructive actions against Cubans who have done no harm to the American people.
For some, especially those on whom the administration has not focused their ire on as yet, these assumptions may sound ludicrous. Suffice to remind ourselves a few months prior to the invasion of Iraq, in which, a cacophony of lies saturated the airways, leading masses of duped people and partisans, to believe in such far fetched theories as weapons of mass destruction, long range missiles, etc.; none of which have been established one month after having that nation under our control.
Another of the best sold lies, was how the invading forces would be received with open arms as liberators. Very few think so anymore. The sad truth is quite different. The occupying forces have constantly been under fire, the country is in chaos, basic institutions do not exist, violence, looting, carjacking and all sort of social ills are rampant.
Is that what I wish for that country or any other? No, absolutely not! What I know is our blatant denial of sociology, history and human behavior. Sadam may have being the living devil, just as we have had ours; but nothing gives anyone the right to come in and trample other peoples right, demoralize them, occupy their shrines, in the name of creating a better life for them.
Who, or which country could have claimed the right to invade the United States in order to free millions of slaves held as beasts for over 200 years?
The Building of the Cuban Nation – A Life or Death Struggle
A brief look at Cuba’s history reminds us that they fought the Spanish occupying forces for 55 years. After the United States intervened, occupied and granted the so-called independence with hundreds of strings attached to it, again the Cuban people fought for 57 years, until the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. Since then, they have opposed all machinations of the United States government to weaken, divide, invade, kill or overthrow that government for the past 44 years.
If a historical analysis of Cuba may serve any purpose, I would strongly suggest President George W. Bush make his pick, as to which of the numbers above suit him best, whenever he decides the unthinkable, of invading that small, dignified and courageous country, that holds one of the most brilliant histories in defense of its independence, sovereignty and self determination in this hemisphere.
Hatuey and Guarina, Indian chiefs in the XVI Century, preferred to be burnt alive, rather than renege on their struggle for independence! José Martí, the greatest Cuban ever, warned his people of the dangers of such a powerful neighbor and of its geographical fatalism!
Mariana Grajales, the Black heroine, unofficial mother of the Cuban nation, who gave the life of her entire family to the cause of independence, was first seen crying, not because of the news of the death of her most beloved son, but because at her age, she knew, she was unable to bear any more children for her country!
General Antonio Maceo said it best in 1896:
Whoever dares to invade this country, will gather the soil of this land saturated in his blood, if he does not perish in the struggle!
Dr. Alberto N. Jones is the President of the Caribbean American Children Foundation, an organization that fosters bonds of friendship and support with the Afro-Caribbean English speaking Communities of Cuba. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Cuban American Alliance Education Fund.
The Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, Inc. (CAAEF) is a nonprofit [501(c)(3)] national network of Cuban Americans that educates the public at large on issues related to hardships resulting from current United States/Cuba relations. The Alliance is a vehicle for the development of mutually beneficial engagements that promote understanding and human compassion. CAAEF calls for a reassessment of U.S. policies that may be outside the best interests of the American people and cause undue harm to Cubans and Americans. Visit our website at www.cubamer.org