Thursday, June 6, 2013

How "Indecent" Is America's Cuban Policy?

Answer: "Very"
      The New York Times has long been America's best and most influential newspaper, and it remains so today both in print and online. Back on June 15, 1992, the New York Times published a famous and scathing editorial when it realized that the U. S. democracy was about to be shamed by yet another self-serving Cuban exile-directed congressional law, in this case the infamous "Torricelli Act." That New York Times editorial included these exact words: "This act is dubious in theory, cruel in its potential practice and ignoble in its election-year expediency. An influential faction of the Cuban-American community clamors for sticking it to a wounded regime. There is, finally, something indecent about vociferous exiles living safely in Miami prescribing more pain for their poorer cousins." {New York Times editorial; June 15, 1992}.
                 "dubious" "cruel" "ignoble" "indecent" "vociferous" "exiles" "pain"
      In the three decades prior to and in the two decades after that 1992 New York Times editorial, the seven words above aptly define America's Cuban policy as a shameful and anachronistic failure.
     And that simple, undeniable fact begs this question: Why...for over five decades...have two generations of Americans allowed their democracy to be portrayed as the quintessential bad guy {see above} when it comes to the neighboring island of Cuba? The answer has its genesis way back with America's revered Founding Fathers in the burgeoning 18th and 19th centuries.
         To comprehend America's "indecent" fetish for Cuba, one must study U. S. history. In 1823, for example, John Quincy Adams {above} was President James Monroe's Secretary of State when he advised President Monroe: "The annexation of Cuba to our federal republic will be indispensable to the continuance and integrity of the Union itself." That view permeated the United States government at the time.
John Quincy Adams in 1825 became the 6th President of the United States, expanding his fetish for Cuba.
       In fact, John Adams {above} -- the father of John Quincy Adams -- had instilled in his son's heart and the bowels of America's young democracy that it "is totally essential that these united States take hold of Cuba for our own purposes." John Adams was America's 2nd president, from 1797 till 1801, and he advised both his son John Quincy Adams and his pal Thomas Jefferson  to "take hold" of Cuba.
      The freckled-faced, sandy-haired Thomas Jefferson {above} succeeded John Adams as America's 3rd President. Famed as the author of the Declaration of Independence {from England}, Mr. Jefferson also penned infamous "Manifest Destiny" proclamations in which he maintained that the United States had the right -- manifest destiny, you know -- to annihilate the Indians to clear their western lands for occupation by white Americans for the purpose of "populating" his vast Louisiana Purchase land. Mr. Jefferson's Manifest Destiny also applied to Cuba: "Cuba is ours by location and by whatever means is necessary."
          Thomas Jefferson was President, and thus Commander in Chief, from 1801 till 1809 but he still could not do whatever was "necessary" to put Cuba in America's web because all the other imperialist powers -- especially Spain, France, Portugal, and England -- similarly coveted Cuba. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, by the way, both died on July 4th, 1826, when the United States was still competing with other imperialist powers to own Cuba, which Columbus discovered in 1492 when he also discovered America.  
        But by July 4th, 1826 -- the day both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died in the United States -- an Afro-Cuban woman named Mariana Grajales {above} had just turned 18-years-old in Santiago on Cuba's eastern tip. By then, Mariana craved independence for Cuba even more than the imperialist powers, including the U. S., craved conquering the island. She fought fiercely as a guerrilla against Spanish occupation and was still fighting as a soldier against Spanish armies in Cuba's first War for Independence starting in 1879. She was still fighting, as were all 13 of her children, when she died on November 23, 1893.
      The most famous of Mariana's children is Antonio Maceo Grajales, a key General in Cuba's second War for Independence against the Spanish in the 1890s. His fierce patriotism matched his mother's.
       General Antonio Maceo {portrait abovedied on the battlefield on December 7, 1896. Earlier his brothers Miguel and Jose had died in his arms while fighting the Spanish on Cuban soil. In Cuban lore, the handsome Antonio is known as "The Bronze Titan" because he personified Cuban strengthBoth General Antonio Maceo and his mother Mariana Grajales today have airports and other memorials named in their honor on the island of Cuba. They died fighting unsuccessfully for Cuban independence but they had weakened Spain's over-extended imperialist army to such an extent that America took notice and yearned for a "pretext" to declare war on Spain for the purpose of, at long last, gaining sole domination of Cuba!
         The U. S. sent a warship, the USS Maine, from Key West, Florida, to Cuba in January of 1898. Was the purpose to pick a fight with Spain? A friendly visit? Create a pretext for war? In the above photo, that is the USS Maine entering Havana Harbor on Jan. 25-1898 with the old Morro Castle Fortress on the right. 
          On Feb. 15-1898 an explosion {aboveblew the warship to bits in Havana Harbor, killing 261 sailors! It was quite a convenient catastrophe for the warmongers in the U. S. government, such as Naval officer Teddy Roosevelt, and in the U. S. media, such as newspaper moguls William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, both of whom longed for the domination of Cuba and for Teddy Roosevelt to be President!
        But Teddy Roosevelt was still a young man in his thirties without presidential credentials although, when portrayed above in 1895, he had been named a Police Commissioner of New York City, where his friends included Hearst and Pulitzer. By 1897 Teddy was Assistant Secretary of the Navy but even Hearst and Pulitzer realized that was not a stepping-stone to the presidency. But, hey! A nice, easy little war with Hearst and Pulitzer writing the headlines and their photographers and artists providing the pictures would fill the bill perfectly! "REMEMBER THE MAINE! BLAME IT ON SPAIN!" became the ubiquitous battle-cry although everyone knew the last thing a very weak Spain wanted was a war with the U. S. in Cuba. But as Hearst and Pulitzer took care of the war fever, Colonel Teddy Roosevelt went to Texas to recruit and train a bunch of cowboys into the Rough Riders who would avenge the USS Maine! With that backdrop, America embarked on its easiest foreign war, known to history as the Spanish-American War.
This is the horse Teddy Roosevelt took with him to capture Cuba.
 So Teddy Roosevelt rode off to war in Cuba as the leader of the Rough Riders!
      The above portrait by Frederic Remington saturated U. S. newspapers and magazines depicting Teddy Roosevelt leading the charge up San Juan Hill. The very expensive Remington had been sent to Cuba by William Randolph Hearst, the powerful owner of the New York Journal, and by Hearst's friend and competitor, New York World owner Joseph Pulitzer, to paint heroic images of Teddy Roosevelt's capture of Cuba. However, when he first got to the island Remington wired this message back to New York: "There's no war to paint so I'm coming home." But Hearst famously wired back: "Stay in Cuba. You provide the pictures and I'll provide the war." So, Remington stayed and Hearst provided the war. The gullible American people accepted such lies as depicted by the famed painter and the newspaper moguls who wanted Teddy Roosevelt to be President of the world's imperialist power, imperialism that would start with CUBA!
So, Teddy Roosevelt led that famous "charge" up San Juan Hill!
     Of course, San Juan Hill was no more than an ant hill as far as Spanish resistance was concerned. But after Hearst, Pulitzer, Remington, and the rest of Roosevelt's friends in the publishing world had finished with their uncontested lies, Americans believed that Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders had won a justified and monumental war for the United States. Justified it wasn't but monumental it definitely was!
           The Treaty of Paris...that's John Hay signing for the United States...concluded the Spanish-American War, which ended Spain's rule of Cuba and gave it to the U. S. No Cuban, of course, was allowed to be present at the treaty signing. But the expansionists who controlled the U. S. government said, "HEY! Cuba is fine but let's don't stop there!" So, the U. S., via the Spanish-American War, took other very valuable Spanish colonies -- Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, Wake Island, the Marianas, and the Philippines! Spain's long reign as an imperialist power was over! America's had just begun, altering the world order forever! 
         The above photo shows the heroic "1st Kentucky Volunteers" taking charge of Puerto Rico as one of the many U. S. prizes derived from the Spanish-American War that originally was intended to only capture Cuba from Spain. Puerto Rico, unfortunately, was merely one of the aforementioned after-thoughts!
        Till the end of his life {he died in Beverly Hills, CA, on Aug.14-1951}, the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst called the Spanish-American War his own "splendid little war." And, of course, it was.
         On the eve of the Spanish-American War rival newspapers ran cartoons like the one above to mock the more powerful newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer for so obviously championing a war to capture Cuba from Spain. That's Hearst depicted above on the right and Pulitzer on the left supposedly jostling to see which one would get the most credit for starting a war they both knew would be easily won. You might note that Hearst is telling Pulitzer, "This is my war. I bought and paid for it and if you don't stop bothering me..." History indeed gives Hearst the most credit for buying and paying for the start of the war but, of course, the U. S. government paid for the rest and many duped men also paid for it with their blood. Rich men often start wars and reap the rewards but poor people actually fight wars. 
       While keeping posted on his "splendid little war" and making sure his vast newspaper and magazine empire saturated America with its slanted and make-believe coverage, William Randolph Hearst leisurely and confidently played croquet on one of his favorite estates, as reported in America by Life Magazine.
         The Hearst Castle in California has always been William Randolph Hearst's most famous estate, befitting a man who could get the U. S. government to fight his own little war. Of course, the 261 sailors who died on the USS Maine and all the other victims of the "splendid little war" probably deserved better.
       And...oh, yes...the "splendid little war" fulfilled both of William Randolph Hearst's prime desires -- capturing Cuba and putting his own man in Washington as President! The Spanish-American War elevated Teddy Roosevelt {aboveinto the White House as the President of the United States from 1901 till 1909. He became, at age 42, the youngest President, one year younger than John Kennedy was in 1960.
       Not surprisingly, many of the people who did not directly benefit from William Randolph Hearst's "splendid little war" expressed shame and outrage that the United States would do such a thing as fabricate the Spanish-American War for the purpose of stealing colonial land from Spain, which at the time was in no position to fight back. For example, the Philadelphia Press, which was not one of the Hearst newspapers, featured the above cartoon showing the U. S. eagle, or buzzard, spreading its wings over 10,000 miles of captured territory -- from Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean to a cluster of island nations in the Pacific Ocean. But the obscenely greedy William Randolph Hearst, and men like him, did, in fact, use the Spanish-American War to make the United States a true world power for the first time. And, yes, the two main imprimaturs of men like Mr. Hearst -- self-indulgence and greed -- are etched like precarious plateaus into the soul of the U. S. democracy, with the island of Cuba its shining example.
Thus, from 1898 until 1959 the U. S. alone dominated Cuba.
    The Cuban Revolution's victory over the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship in January of 1959 ended the U. S. domination of the island. And in the decades to come the astounding victory over Batista in Cuba encouraged other nations in the Caribbean and Latin America to try to overthrow other U. S. - backed dictators. No other revolution matched Cuba's success but it produced movements that, by the 1970s and 1980s, were eliminating the most ruthless U.S.-friendly dictators -- such as Trujillo, Pinochet, Somoza, Videla, etc. -- with democratic elections. In June of 2013 three Latin American nations are holding trials of former dictators that American leaders Nixon-Reagan-Bush-Kissinger thought were wonderful chaps. Even more astounding, the combined might of the United States, the world superpower; the Mafia, the world's most renowned criminal organization; and the furiously revengeful and powerful Cuban exiles has amazingly been unable to overthrow Revolutionary Cuba in all the years since 1959! And you know what? Mariana Grajales...remember her?...remains a major reason for the Cuban Revolution's triumph and longevity!
         Mariana Grajales is the legendary Cuban woman who lived from 1808 until 1893. All her life, beginning when she was a teenage girl in Santiago de Cuba, she fought for Cuban independence. After her death, her three famous sons -- Antonio, Miguel, and Jose Maceo -- died fighting for the same thing. So, Spain's dominion over Cuba out-lived Mariana Grajales and all of her children. But their sacrifices had weakened Spain, which in 1898 was in no position to resist America's long-standing desire to control Cuba. But when America's dominance of Cuba was ended by the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Mariana Grajales was a prime factor because an audacious young lawyer from eastern Cuba idolized her fighting spirit!
       In the 1950s rebel leader Fidel Castro did not have nearly enough resources to threaten the Mafia and certainly had zero chances of defeating a modern U.S.-supplied-and-trained Batista army. THAT IS...until he recognized that half the island's population -- THE FEMALE HALF -- hated the Batista-Mafia dictatorship with a do-or-die passion, reminding Fidel of Mariana Grajales! Thus, Fidel Castro's revolutionary fame is based on that insight or stratagem! Beginning in 1953 Fidel Castro based his revolutionary life on fiercely motivated and awesomely capable women such as Celia Sanchez, Haydee Santamaria, Melba Hernandez, Vilma Espin, and...THE LATE MARIANA GRAJALES, who was Fidel's all-time favorite Cuban patriot.
     The Fidel Castro-named Mariana Grajales Women's Platoon, led by Tete Puebla, emerged as a legendary fighting unit in the Sierra Maestra Mountains of eastern Cuba in 1956 and earned a reputation as the fieriest and bravest anti-Batista warriors until the end of the war that beat the "unbeatable" Batista.
      At the above testimonial for General Tete Puebla, the unwell Fidel Castro reached across the table to shake her hand. Moments before, while standing before the microphone, he said, "Without Tete Puebla and the Mariana Grajales Women's Platoon, we would not have won the Revolutionary War. You have heard facts, exaggerations, and lies about the revolution. Tete Puebla and her platoon represent facts."
Tete Puebla is still a General in the Cuban army.
General Tete Puebla adores Cuba's children.
    Tete Puebla was a teenager when she led the Mariana Grajales Platoon in some of the deadliest fighting during the Revolutionary War. Her inspiration is as vivid today as it was then: Batista's enforcers, the infamous Masferrer Tigers, had come to her village and burned some of her friends alive in gas-soaked sheds and gunny sacks. After the rebel victory at Santa Clara in the last days of December in 1958, Tete hoped Fulgencio Batista and Rolando Masferrer would stand and fight in Havana. They didn't. Batista's getaway airplane, which included the last actual gold from the Cuban treasury, took him to Dictator Trujillo's Dominican Republic and Masferrer's getaway boat, which included $10 million in U.S. cash, took him to the safe haven of Miami.
         Rolando Masferrer was a rich and powerful leader in South Florida. {"en el pais de los mitos" means "in the country of myths"} In Miami Masferrer founded two of the first paramilitary and terrorist units -- 30th of November and Alpah 66 -- that fiercely tried to assassinate Fidel Castro and overthrow the Cuban Revolution. Masferrer was among a trio of powerful Cuban exiles with aspirations of returning to Cuba as the island's leader. But an internecine bomb killed Masferrer on Oct. 31-1975 when he turned the ignition in his car outside his home in Miami, which had become the bomb/terrorist capital of the world.
        The U. S. government supported Rolando Masferrer's vicious activities first in Batista's Cuba and then as an exile in Miami. Does that mean Rolando Masferrer was a more "decent" person than, say, Tete Puebla? In 2013 that's still a politically incorrect question. But it's also a pertinent and relevant question!
       General Puebla in June of 2013 remains on active duty in Cuba in hopes of preserving the Cuban Revolution from imperialist powers or foreign-backed Batista/Masferrer-type leaders. That's why references to Rolando Masferrer and Mariana Grajales in June-2013 are relevant and pertinent. If it were not for the patriotic Mariana and the fiendish Masferrer there would not have been a General Puebla.
     Cuban women like General Puebla and her friend Nidia Sarabia, as well as their views, are supposed to remain unknown to Americans and the U. S. media. But other prime sources know who they are and what they think. The BBC used the above photo to illustrate a documentary about Celia Sanchez. Nidia talked about helping Celia keep meticulous revolutionary records; Tete talked about fighting at age 15 alongside Celia in the Sierra Maestra. The history of Cuban women like Mariana, Celia, Haydee, and Vilma as well as the memories of Cuban women like the still-living Tete Puebla, Nidia Sarabia, Melba Hernandez, and Marta Rojas are fascinating and important in the Cuban-U. S. conundrum. To mandate or pretend that they never existed or don't exist or that their opinions don't count shames the U. S. democracy...and helps explain why the New York Times correctly defined the American Cuban policy with those seven accurate words:
"Indecent" "Ignoble" "Cruel" "Dubious" "Vociferous" "Exiles" "Pain"

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