Tuesday, September 25, 2007

US-Cuba Conflict: Who threw the first stone?

By Angel Rodriguez Alvarez

AIN Special Service

It seems to many that all this began with Washington's response to the measures against US properties adopted after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. First, we must make it clear that the White House began its hostilities against the island long before the approval of the first Agrarian Reform law in May of 1959. But there is much more. Before the triumph of the Rebel Army headed by Fidel Castro, the Eisenhower administration did all it could to stop the popular victory on the island. We must point out that the dispute between both sides has its origins over two centuries ago, when in 1767 President Benjamin Franklin expressed interest in the annexation of Cuba through negotiations with Spain. In 1805, Thomas Jefferson was more explicit when expressing: "In the case of war between Britain and Spain, the United States would take control of Cuba for strategic reasons to defend Louisiana and Florida."

Later these desires would take shape in the Ripe Fruit Doctrine, formulated in 1823 by the then US Secretary of State and later president John Quincy Adams who thought that later on the island would fall into the hands of the United States by means of gravity. Almost at the end of the 19th century, 1898, the words were put into practice. As a defensive response to the mysterious and suspicious blowing up of the vessel Maine in the Bay of Havana, the US intervened in the war that the Cuban people were carrying out against the already weakened Spanish army. After the Spanish defeat on December 1st, 1898, the occupying force signed the Treaty of Paris with Spain without any participation of the Cuban people. Madrid then resigned to its rights over the island and the United States occupied it as a so-called temporary measure. The Republic was born on May 20th, 1902, with the Platt Amendment, imposed by the US Congress in to the island's Constitution, by which the US would dispose of, among other prerogatives, the right to intervene in Cuba's internal affairs whenever it deemed necessary. In a letter addressed to Theodore Roosevelt dated October 28th, 1901, Leonard Wood recognized: "There is, of course, little or no independence left Cuba under the Platt Amendment. The only consistent thing to do now is to seek annexation." At that time, American big business controlled the sugar production, the principal and almost only source of national income for the island, owned the best lands, had their hands on the basic public services, as well as mines, banks, foreign trade and all of the island's economy. Cuba's total dependency on the US was such that in 1934, Washington took the luxury of abolishing the Plat Amendment. That control still lasted for 57 years, 1902-1959, without any setbacks.

On January 1st, 1959, the US embassy in Havana, in agreement with high ranking officials of the Batista dictatorship, attempted a coup to smother the triumph of the Revolution and stop the creation of a revolutionary government. During the early days of January 1959, dozens of assassins and thieves fled justice and were welcomed with open arms in Miami. None of them were returned to Cuba, nor was the 424 million dollars stolen from the public treasury by the Batista gang. On January 28th, 1959, barely four weeks after the victory, those fugitives would make public, without any hindrance, the creation of the first subversive organization against Cuba. During the first five months of that same year, the United States adopted the initial measures of its economic war: - In February they denied a modest credit requested by the National Bank to sustain the Cuban national currency affected by the stolen millions of dollars from the public treasury. -For the first time, in March, they reduced the sugar quota due to official pressure from the American Foreign Power; they cancelled a financing of 15 million dollars applied for by the national electric company. -US pressured Britain into stopping the sale of 15 planes and other weapons to the island.

-The Agriculture Department withdrew all officials that inspected the root vegetables, fruits and green vegetables for the US market from Cuba and prohibited the entry of mangos to the country. -The license to sell helicopters destined for Cuban agriculture was revoked.

-Considerably reduced the entry of US vessels to the island. On June 29th, 1960, months before the nationalization, in August and October of that year, the oil firms, Texaco, Esso and Shell were pressured by the White House not to supply oil, and prohibit the use of their refineries to process Soviet oil. Only two weeks later, on July 6th, Washington reduced the quota of Cuban sugar by 700,000 tons. On December 16th, the quota was totally abolished. An explanation of this early hostile conduct against the young Revolution can be found in the memoirs of the then President Eisenhower: "Just weeks after Castro entered Havana, we, the government, began to examine ways that would be effective to crush Castro." A confession that, in a way, reveals the proof.

Source: Cuba News Agency

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JG: in my opinion the quarrel is driven by typical Yankee imperialist greed. Cuba is a very valuable piece of real estate (stratigically located) and they would like to get their hands into it. Just the same way that the Iraq war was driven by the greed for the oil resources of Iraq.

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