The Day Peace Broke Out

Generation Y*, Yoani Sanchez, 25 March 2015 – “Peace broke out!” the old teacher was heard to say, on the day that Barack Obama and Raul Castro reported the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States. The phrase captured the symbolism of a moment that had all the connotations of an armistice reached after a long war.

Three months after that December 17th, the soldiers of the finished contest don’t know whether to lay down their arms, offer them to the enemy, or reproach the Government for so many decades of a useless conflagration. Everyone experiences the ceasefire in his or her own way, but the indelible timestamp is already established in the history of the Island. Children born in recent weeks will study the conflict with our neighbor to the north in textbooks, not experience it every day as the center of ideological propaganda. That is a big difference. Even the stars-and-stripes flag has been flying over Havana lately, without the Revolutionary fire that made it burn on the pyre of some anti-imperialist act.

For millions of people in the world, this is a chapter that puts an end to the last vestige of the Cold War, but for Cubans it is a question still unresolved. Reality moves more slowly than the headlines triggered by an agreement between David and Goliath, because the effects of the new diplomatic mood have not yet been noticed on our plates, in our wallets, nor in the expansion of civil liberties.

We live between two speeds, beating on two different wave frequencies. On the one hand, the slow routine of a country stuck in the 20th Century, and on the other, the rush that seems disposed to mark the whole process of the giant of the north. The measures approved this last 16 January, which relax the sending of remittances, trips to the island, the collaboration in telecommunications and many other sectors, suggest the idea that the Obama Administration seems willing to continue making offerings to the opposing force. Obliging it to hoist the discrete white flag of material and economic convenience.

The feeling that everything can be accelerated has made some within Cuba reevaluate the price per square foot of their homes, others predict where the first Apple Store will open in Havana, and not a few begin to glimpse the silhouette of a ferry linking the island with Florida. The illusions, however, have not stopped the flow of emigrants. “Why should I wait for the yumas to get here, if I can go and meet them there?” a young man said mischievously, as he waited in line for a family reunification visa outside the United States consulate in the Cuban capital at the end of January .

The fear that the Cuban Adjustment Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1966 and offers considerable emigration benefits to Cubans, will be repealed has multiplied illegal migration. Those who don’t want to leave, are preparing to take advantage of the new scenario.

A few years ago emigration fever led thousands of compatriots to dust off their Spanish ancestors in hopes of obtaining a European Union passport, and now those who have family in the United States sense an advantage in the race for Cuba’s future. From there can come not only the longed-for economic relief, many think, but also the necessary political opening. Lacking a popular rebellion to force changes in the system, Cubans pin their hopes on conditioned transformations from outside. One of the ironies of life in a country whose political discourse has so strongly supported national sovereignty.

Those who have more problems dealing with what happened are those whose lives and energies revolved around the conflict. The most recalcitrant members of the Communist Party feel that Raul Castro has betrayed them. Eighteen months of secret conversations with the adversary is too much time for those stigmatized by a colleague in their workplace because they have a brother living in Miami or because they like American music.

Just outside the United States Interest Section in Havana (SINA), the government has not replaced those ugly black flags that used to fly between the anxious gazes of Cubans and the well-guarded building. No one can even pinpoint the moment in which the billboard boasting, “Gentlemen Imperialists, we are absolutely unafraid of you” was taken down. Even TV programming has a vacuum, now that the presenters don’t have to dedicate long minutes lambasting Obama and the White House.

Miriam, one of the independent journalists who is slammed by government television, wonders if now they are no longer demonizing anyone because of the rapprochement with American diplomats, or in order to cross the feared – but seductive – SINA threshold. Many wonder the same after seeing Cuban officials, like Josefina Vidal, smiling at Roberto Jacobson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere.

In a house in the Cerro neighborhood where they have opened a pizza stand, a man in his 50s turned off the radio so he didn’t have to listen to Raul Castro’s speech on that Wednesday. He clicked his tongue angrily and shouted at his wife, “Look out, afterwards we get screwed!” Santiago, as he is called, couldn’t graduate as a doctor because his whole family left in the Mariel Boatlift in 1980 and he was declared “unreliable.” Although, since the mid-nineties he’s back in touch with his exiled siblings, he still feels uncomfortable because now what was previously forbidden is applauded.

Twenty-four hours after that historic announcement, all around the capital’s Fraternity Park it was like an anthill. Old American cars that operate as collective taxis in Havana converged there. The owner of a 1954 Chevrolet pontificated on a corner that now “the prices of these cars are going to go through the roof.” Surely, the man concluded, “The yumas are going to buy this junk like it’s a museum piece.” A country “for sale” waiting for the deep pockets of those who, until yesterday, were rivals.

This feeling that the U.S. will save the island from economic hardships and chronic shortages underpins an illusion clung to by millions of Cubans. We have gone from Yankee go home! to Yankee welcome!

The blacker official propaganda painted the panorama in the U.S., the more it helped to foster interest in that country. Every attempt to provoke rejection of the powerful neighbor brought its share of fascination. Among the youngest citizens this feeling has grown in recent years, supported also by the entry into the country of audiovisual and musical productions that celebrate the American way of life. “Sometimes, to annoy my grandfather, I put on this scarf with the United States flag,” confesses Brandon, a teenager who greets the dawn on weekends sitting on some bench on G Street. All around him, a fauna of emos, rockers, frikis, and even vampire imitators, who gather to talk loud and sing together. For many of them, their dreams seem closer to materializing after the embrace between the White House and the Plaza of the Revolution.

“We have a group of Dota 2 players,” says Brandon about his favorite pastime, a videogame that’s causing a furor in Cuba. He and his colleagues spent months preparing for a national tournament, but after 17 December they have begun to dream big. “The international championship is in Seattle in August, so now maybe we can participate.” Last year, the Chinese team was crowned champion, so the Cuban gamers haven’t lost hope.

The first Netflix user in Cuba was a foreigner, a European diplomat who rushed to get an account on the well-known streaming service, just to know if it was possible. It costs him just $7.99 a month, but the broadband necessary to reproduce video required him to pay the Cuban Telecommunications Company another $380.00 a month for an Internet connection. Now in his mansion he enjoys the most expensive Netflix in the world.

Baseball games with major league teams; famous rock bands coming to the island; Mastercards that work in ATMs all over the country; telecommunications companies that establish direct calls to the US; Colorado farmers willing to invest in the troubles of Cuban peasants; made in USA TV presenters who come to film their shows in the streets of Havana; and attractive models – weighed down by their own scandals – taking selfies with Fidel Castro’s firstborn. Cuba is changing at the speed of a tortoise that flies by clinging to the legs of an eagle.

Despite everything, the Plaza of the Revolution does not want to acknowledge its failure and has surrounded the reestablishment of relations with the United States with an aura of victory. It claims to have won through surviving for more than five decades, but the truth is that it has lost the most important of its battles. It doesn’t matter that the defeat is now masked with cocky phrases and boasts of having everything under control; as a jaded Santiaguan says, “After so much swimming they’ve ended up drowning on the shore.” Seeking that image of control, Raul Castro has not reduced the repression against dissidents, which in February reached the figure of 492 arbitrary arrests. The Castro regime extends a hand to the White House, while keeping its boot pressed on the non-conformists in its own backyard.

However, the disproportion of the negotiating forces between the two governments has been noted, even in popular jokes. “Did you know that the United States and Cuba broke off relations again?” one of the incautious mocked in December. Before an incredulous, “Noooo?!” the jokester responds with a straight face: “Yes, Obama was upset because Raul called him collect.” There is all the material poverty of our nation contained in that phrase.

While no one believes that the Castro regime will end up crushed by McDonald’s and Starbucks, the official propaganda occasionally revives a cardboard anti-imperialism that no longer convinces anyone. Like that in Raul Castro’s bombastic speech at the 3rd CELAC Summit in Costa Rica, in which he made tough demands for the reestablishment of relations with Washington. Pure fanfare. Or like Fidel Castro’s latest message to Nicolas Maduro, offering him support “against the brutal plans of the U.S. Government.” Or like the calls to defend the Revolution, “before the enemy that tries new methods of subversion.”

The truth is that on December 17 — St. Lazarus Day — diplomacy, chance and even the venerated saint of miracles addressed the country’s wounds. We needed a half century of painfully crawling along the asphalt of confrontation on our knees to bring us a little of the balm of understanding. Nothing is resolved yet, and the whole process for the truce is precarious and slow, but on that December 17th the ceasefire arrived for millions of Cubans who had only known the trenches.

*Translator’s note: This is the longer version of this article originally published in El País Semanal.

37 thoughts on “The Day Peace Broke Out

  1. Humberto: Venezuela primarily pays China with oil exports….with 500 billion barrels …..China can count on the oil pipeline for a long time. Diversification into natural gas production and increasing domestic gasoline prices need to take place. Selling more oil to India could help . China also has many projects in Venezuela besides the oil trade.


    FINANCIAL TIMES: Venezuela’s economic collapse owes a debt to China Ricardo Hausmann – by January 20, 2015

    Every economic catastrophe brings soul-searching. When Argentina collapsed at the end of 2001, the International Monetary Fund was forced into a critical assessment of its involvement in the country. Similar processes were triggered at the World Bank after unsuccessful development projects in Africa. The coming implosion of the Venezuelan economy should prompt similar introspection — not at the IMF, which has been absent since its “expulsion” by President Hugo Chávez in 2007, but in China.
    How did we get here? Venezuela used the period of high oil prices to quadruple its public foreign debt, in order to fuel a domestic spending boom. By 2012, when Venezuelan oil averaged $103, the country was spending as if the price was $194, running up a fiscal deficit of 17.5 per cent of gross domestic product. That is why the economy went into crisis in early 2014, when the oil price was still $100. The recent drop has just made a hopeless situation worse. Who gave the country the rope with which to hang itself? Mostly China.

    China started to lend massively to Venezuela in 2007. Since then it has lent more than $45bn, of which about $20bn is still outstanding. After a visit to Beijing on January 8, President Nicolás Maduro said he had won further “investment”.

    What makes China unusual is not just the amount it is willing to lend but the way it lends. First, Beijing has chosen to be opaque: we know neither the terms of the loans nor the uses of the money. The debt is repaid in oil, making Wall Street bondholders junior to China.

  3. Venezuela’s economic woes….
    The constraint that developing countries face in pursuing expansionary fiscal policy during a recession is that they must maintain an adequate level of foreign exchange to avoid a balance of payments crisis. This is different from the United States, which can pay for its imports in its own currency. Venezuela needs to have economy diversify away from oil.
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration is projecting that world oil prices will rise fairly steadily to $98 dollars per barrel by 2020, although such long-range projections are uncertain. Venezuela is sitting on what are now acknowledged to be the largest oil reserves in the world, an estimated 500 billion barrels. The IMF projects that the price of crude will average $51/barrel in 2015. China’s economy has slowed and needs less oil. Venezuela cut deliveries in half to PetroCaribe.

  4. Venezuela: China Could Lend $10 Billion

    The government of China reportedly plans to lend around $10 billion to Venezuela in the next several months, an anonymous PDVSA official said, Reuters reported March 19.


    MIAMI HERALD: Poll: Cuban-Americans less favorable than other likely voters to favor Obama’s Cuba policy; Rubio trails Bush, Clinton – A slight majority of likely voters nationwide favor President Barack Obama’s policy to normalize relations with Cuba, while a majority of Cuban-American voters think just the opposite, according to a survey to be released Monday by a Republican pollster. The survey, carried out March 17-20 by OnMessage Inc., found that 51 percent approved of Obama’s Cuba policy. But only 41 percent of Cuban-Americans surveyed approved the president’s policy toward the communist island nation; 54 percent opposed it.

    Similiar polls show that most Americans favor Obama’s Cuba policy, while there is less support among Cuban-Americans.

    The poll of 700 likely voters nationwide included an oversample of 300 Cuban-American voters, most of whom lived in South Florida.

    Interestingly, Cuban-Americans ranked the economy (20.1 percent), unemployment (6.3 percent), terrorism (6.6 percent), immigration (5.6 percent) and health care (4.3 percent) among the most important issues facing the United States. Only 2.3 percent of those surveyed deemed U.S relations with Cuba as an important issue. Among all voters surveyed, 26 percent said economic-related issues were at the top of their list of concerns.

    When asked if they would vote for a Democrat or Republican in 2016, 50 percent of Cuban-Americans said they would vote for a Republican; 29 percent a Democrat; and, 19 percent said they were undecided. Among all voters, the opinion was more divided. About 35 percent said they would vote for a Democrat; 39 percent for Republicans; and, 24 percent were undecided.

    Among a list of seven potential presidential Demoratic and Republican candidates, respondents were asked who would “best represent the United States in the world and strengthen our nation’s security. Cuban-American respondents gave the nod to Jeb Bush (29 percent) followed by Hillary Clinton (25 percent) and Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio garnered 12 percent. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, each garnered lower percentages. More than 18 percent declined to answer the question or found none worthy of leading the country.


    “When the Cuban economy opens we will be facing the largest bankruptcy of the 21st century, 90 miles off our shore,” Kelly says. “So we need to be creative about how those claims go away.”

    NEWS.COM: Americans face uphill battle to reclaim confiscated property in Cuba

    Soon after Fidel Castro won control of Cuba in 1959, his government began confiscating the property of thousands of US citizens and companies. For Edmund and Enna Chester, the losses included an 80-acre farm, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stock, and a brand new Buick that, who knows, may still be plying Havana’s streets.

    The confiscation of American property, valued today at $7 billion or more, was wrapped up in the retaliatory back-and-forth that led to the trade embargo, which remains in place. In 1996, Congress passed a law insisting Cuba repay Americans for what was taken before the embargo can be lifted.

    That demand went unmentioned in President Barack Obama’s December announcement that the US and Cuba would resume diplomatic ties. Given Cuba’s frail economy, some experts say companies whose property was taken might gladly settle for rights to do business there today and move on.

    US law, though, demands that the government try. The embargo began with a presidential directive. But in 1996, with tensions inflamed by Cuba’s downing of two planes flown by exiles dropping leaflets on the island, politicians passed the Helms-Burton act, which, in part, made the embargo a part of U.S. law that could only be lifted by Congress.

    “It is the sense of the Congress,” the law says, “that the satisfactory resolution of property claims … remains an essential condition,” for the full resumption of relations between the countries.

    “When the Cuban economy opens we will be facing the largest bankruptcy of the 21st century, 90 miles off our shore,” Kelly says. “So we need to be creative about how those claims go away.”


  7. The Obama administration concessions to the Castroit regime supposedly were unilateral without asking anything in return. They wanted something in return, except it has nothing to do with the freedom of the Cuban people.

  8. ARTNET NEWS: Cuban Government Brands Tania Bruguera a Criminal – by Christian Viveros-Fauné – On Wednesday, March 11, artist Tania Bruguerarevealed the existence of a secret media campaign against her orchestrated by Cuba’s Culture Ministry with the aid of the regime’s intelligence services. The purpose of this campaign, say the artist and her supporters, is to build an “institutional case” against her and brand her a “counterrevolutionary.” A criminal charge akin to treason in the U.S., conviction for this crime in Cuba carries a minimum sentence of three years in jail.It appears that rather than back off from arbitrary civil charges it has leveled against Bruguera, such as “resisting arrest” and “inciting to riot,” the Cuban government has taken an even harder criminal line against the artist. (See Tania Bruguera’s Arrest Slows the US-Cuba Thaw.

  9. THE GLOBE AND MAIL: How powerhouse Venezuela has turned into a pauper – by JEFF LEWIS — Today, the country is in the midst of economic and political chaos. Oil prices have fallen by more than 50 per cent since last summer, and so much crude is sloshing around in global markets that even subsidized oil from Venezuela looks relatively expensive. President Maduro is scrambling to meet billions of dollars in debt payments due this year, while struggling to quell violence and manage an increasingly disillusioned population of about 30 million. Meanwhile, Cuba is re-establishing ties with the United States, once a shared foe.At the same time, years of central planning and rigid price controls have gutted domestic production of many goods, leaving Venezuela completely dependent on imports it can no longer afford. Shortages of food, medical supplies and other staples are widespread and getting worse. Those once-beneficent medical clinics are closing, grocery-store lineups last hours, and violent crime – already among the worst in the world – is on the upswing. The abrupt skid in oil prices and resulting unrest have rapidly transformed the former Latin American powerhouse into a pauper, undermining its regional influence. It is also further weakening a key competitor to Canada’s oil sands.As conditions deteriorate, Mr. Maduro is lashing out in paranoid fits. In recent weeks, the government has stepped up arbitrary detentions, jailing political opponents on conspiracy charges, and business executives for allegedly hoarding supplies. The aggressive moves have cast doubt on the timing of parliamentary elections set for later this year. They have also stoked fears that Venezuela is in the twilight of an unlikely experiment in democracy. Under the sway of Mr. Maduro, there are fresh anxieties that the country is careening toward some place much darker.‘Without national industry, we don

  10. Pingback: Yoani Sánchez: The Day Peace Broke Out | IMPOLITIKAL

  11. Cuba is the only country in the Western hemisphere where political opposition is illegal and the regime sanctions political dissidents with years in jail, and where there are still rules enforced by the Castroit regime that prohibit Cubans going where they want to go in their own country.

    A global oversupply of oil is set to rise as China pauses in the build-up of its strategic reserves and Asian refineries slow crude imports ahead of the spring maintenance season, putting more downward pressure on prices.

    China’s purchases to fill its strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) had been one of the main drivers of Asian demand since August of last year, with the No.2 oil consumer taking up cheap crude to fill its tanks despite slowing economic growth.

    Yet China could pause its reserve purchases soon as tank sites reach their limits and new space only becomes available later this year.

    Little is known about China’s SPR levels. The government seldom issues data, but its plan is to reach around 600 million barrels, about 90 days’ worth of imports. Most estimates put the SPR stocks currently to be 30-40 days’ worth.

    “I don’t think there is much (SPR) space left to fill,” a Chinese storage executive said under the condition of anonymity.

    In the Zhoushan area of Zhejiang province – site of two SPR bases and major commercial storage facilities – tanks are brimming, the executive said. “They are so full that one VLCC tanker owned by a state refiner has had to wait for almost 15 days to discharge,” he said.

    Adding to downward pressure is the expectation that Chinese refiners could process less crude oil in the second quarter as demand is dented by tax hikes and an economy growing at its slowest in 25 years.

    Thomson Reuters data also shows that Asian imports overall have fallen 5 percent since peaking in December, when China’s purchases hit an all-time high at 7.2 million barrels per day.

    In India and Japan, crude imports for the most recent month are down 20 percent and 11 percent from a year ago, respectively, mainly due to the approach of the spring refinery maintenance season.

    “Asia-Pacific oil … balances remain in surplus with pressure peaking in April/May from rising crude stocks,” consultancy PIRA Energy said in a research note.

    Benchmark Brent futures have climbed off of a six-year low hit in January but are still down more than 50 percent from June last year at around $53.50 a barrel.

    Oil prices started slumping from mid-June 2014 as U.S. shale oil production soared while demand slowed due to higher energy efficiency and deepening economic trouble in Europe and Asia.

    U.S. crude stocks are now near 450 million barrels, the equivalent of over two months’ worth of Chinese crude imports, and the highest they’ve been in more than 80 years.

  13. The U.S. citizens with their big bucks looking for bargains in Latin America and our government centuries long track record of intervention in the internal affairs of Latin American government is the real danger to the sovereignty of Latin American countries. The Cuban government is at a disadvantage in any negotiations with the U.S. (diplomatic or economic). The United States today is using its oil production capacity to keep the oil supply in the World greater than its demand forcing oil producing nations to keep producing oil or run the risk of loosing market share to the United States. This is hurting countries that depend on oil exports for their governance. The sanctions on Russia plus flooding the oil market continues to “push” the Russian economy into greater dependence on China and straining or outright breaking trade Russia historically has had with Western Europe. This is how the United States protects the more and more economy. Europe represents 40% of all the exports we make. Japan also buys an important share from the U.S. Venezuela is the recipient of this aggression also. A large portion of the World is under U.S. aggression camouflage by the foreign policy of expanding democracy and champion of Human Rights….

  14. Humberto: the people making claims of restitution for property they lost in Cuba, if restitution becomes a condition for lifting the embargo may only get 3/4 cents for every dollar they lost. The big enterprises that lost property will be “repaid” by being allowed to set up their institutions back in Cuba. Hopefully with Cuba in an equal partnership of ownership to avoid a repeat of U.S. citizens dominating the Cuban economy.

  15. VENEZUELA CUTS IN OIL TO CUBA HURT, BUT, THE RISK OF ECONOMIC CONTRACTION IN CUBA ARE EXAGERATED. (Cuba does not need all the oil from Venezuela for internal consumption. Some of the oil is refined in Cuba and use for export elsewhere.)
    There is a slight disequilibrium in its trade in oil. The crude oil imports are refined in a facility run by the State and the Venezuelan company PDVSA, with the volume in excess of domestic requirements then re-exported. Half of the oil (100,000 barrels/day) comes from Venezuela under the PetroCaribe initiative, which includes payment through a low interest rate loan and the supply of qualified personnel (30,000 people), namely doctors and teachers. In addition to the supply of qualified workers, who also work in Angola and, more recently, Brazil, the balance of trade deficit is financed by tourism income, mainly from Canada and Europe, and by remittances from the Cuban diaspora in the United States, estimated at over 3% of GDP in 2013. There are also plans to boost income from medical tourism. The current account deficit is very small and is matched with the low level of direct inward investment and the very restricted access to foreign finance.

  16. ABC NEWS: Who Claims What Property Seized in Cuba? Facts and Figures – By ADAM GELLER

    But a look at long-unsettled claims for what was taken shows that many of the Americans who lost out were individuals and families rather than corporations. And much of what was seized, while of limited value in dollars, was sometimes dearly prized.Nearly 90 percent of the Americans who filed claims for confiscated Cuban property were individuals, according to a Creighton University study commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development.”They left behind all kinds of stuff — stock, life insurance policies, artwork, cars,” says Michael Kelly, a Creighton law professor who participated in the study, released in 2007. “Those ’57 Chevys driving around? You know, one out of three of those probably has a claim attached to it….That’s going to be a huge problem to unwind.”About 5,900 American claims for confiscated property were certified by the federal Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. Though originally valued at nearly $1.9 billion, adjustments for inflation in the years since mean they are today worth $7 billion or more.
    But about eight in 10 of the claims for lost property were valued at $10,000 or less by the FCSC, which over the years has also fielded Americans’ petitions for property seized in Iran,Vietnam and the Soviet Union. Such claims are covered by international law, which is generally understood to bar governments from taking the property of foreign citizens or companies without compensation.


  17. Republic of Cuba: Power Sector Infrastructure Assessment – Dr. Manuel Cereijo, P.E.
    University of Miami – December, 2010

    Executive Summary
    After almost 52 years, the Castro’s socialist experiment has exposed Cuba to the economic turmoil and decay that are the hallmarks of a command economy: stagnation, heavy debt burdens, and inefficient industries, deterioration of the infrastructure, declining standards of living, and shortages of basic goods. In order to better prepare the conditions for a successful transition it is absolutely basic to have comprehensive and detailed information about the state of the Cuban economy and infrastructure. That is, the new government and private investors will need a feasibility study, an assessment, of the country, including such areas as: present state of the main industries, availability of skilled labor, communication systems, conditions of roads, airports, seaports, railroads, water and sanitation, and, of course, the electrical energy infrastructure. We believe this study will be one of the greatest contributions, prior to the transition, to assist in the economic recuperation of Cuba.

    The study has been divided into three parts or periods of time, that define clearly the
    stages that the electrical system in Cuba has gone through:
    (a) 1959-1989
    (b) 1990-1997
    (c) 1998-2010

    The emphasis on the report is on the last period, since it is the period of interest for the purpose of the study. The last decade has been one of mixed results. From 1998 to approximately 2004, there was some progress in the electrical energy system. However, the continuous use of domestic oil, the age of several units, which has produced breakdowns in some of the major plants, have created a crisis in the system, and the government has tried to solve it by purchasing small diesel and fuel oil plants, as well as the use of gas for fuel, in what they call Energas.

    There are only seven main plants, out of the 17 plants that are mentioned as part of Union Electrica, with a capacity above 50MW. They are:

    1. Antonio Maceo, formerly Rente
    2. Antonio Guiteras, Matanzas
    3. Lidio Ramon Perez, Felton
    4. Maximo Gomez, Mariel
    5. 10 de Octubre, Nuevitas
    6. Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, Cienfuegos
    7. Este de La Habana, Santa Cruz del Norte

    Click to access Cereijo_2010a.pdf

  18. •In an effort to diversify its energy portfolio, Cuba has set a goal of producing 24% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. To meet this goal, Unión Eléctrica, the state-owned power company, is planning 13 wind projects with a total capacity of 633 MW. In addition, Cuba plans to add 755 MW of biomass-fired capacity, 700 MW of solar capacity, and 56 MW of hydroelectric power

    PANAM POST: Venezuela to Impose Social Media Restrictions

    On Thursday, March 26, Venezuela’s attorney general announced a forthcoming bill to “regulate social media,” amid rumors of kidnappings of children across the country which the opposition claim are staged by the government.

    “Human behaviour in society must be regulated,” said Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz, but denying that the initiative sought to “restrict free speech.”

    On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro asked government communication officers to observe media outlets for erroneous reports on the alleged kidnappings.

    Communication Minister Jackeline Farías said on Thursday that there are no open investigations against any media outlet for disseminating false rumors. According to unidentified social media reports and telephone tip-offs, criminal groups are kidnapping children from school areas.

    On Wednesday, hundreds of drivers blocked the streets of Caracas to protest against the alleged kidnapping and murder of children in the slum of Petare, one of Venezuela’s most violent areas. Both national and local government officials denied any kidnappings.

    President Maduro pointed the finger at opposition members for “sowing rumors” to create a “psychological war” as part of a “coup” against his government.

    He blamed the rumors on Carlos Ocariz, mayor of Sucre township in Caracas where Petare is located, and political advisor Juan José Rendón, who, according to the president, manages a Miami-based campaign against his government.

    “All the guilty people should be jailed, they’re already under investigation,” he said


  20. Venezuela cutting oil daily supply to Cuba in 1/2 will require Cuba to look elsewhere for oil imports. Africa may be a backup source for oil. Oil from Central America may also be imported.
    According to Cuban analysts, six years more of a Chavista government would be essential to allow Cuba to seek out new suppliers of oil on terms similar to those provided by Venezuela – possibly Angola or Algeria; make progress in developing its own oil industry; and expand on reforms that have already begun to be implemented.

  21. Human Rights -United Nations
    Article 30.
    •Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
    1. The Monroe Doctrine
    2. The Platt Amendment
    3. Helms Burton Law
    4. Treaty of Relations in 1934
    5. U.S. Intervention in Cuba’s war of independence from Spain
    6.The Ostend Manifesto (deny Cubans their sovereignty by buying it from Spain)
    7 The Bay of Pigs invasion
    8. Opening page of the Platt Amendment
    Despite recognizing Cuba’s transition into an independent republic, United States Governor Charles Edward Magoon assumed temporary military rule for three more years following a rebellion led in part by José Miguel Gómez. In the following 20 years the United States repeatedly intervened militarily in Cuban affairs: 1906 – 1909, 1912 and 1917 – 1922. In 1912 U.S. forces were sent to quell protests by Afro-Cubans against perceived discrimination.

    HAVANA – Cuba and the United States will debate human rights at a meeting in Washington on Tuesday in another sign of the thaw between the countries trying to re-establish normal diplomatic relations after a 50-year freeze.

    The discussions seem unlikely to lead to short-term changes in the way either country views rights issues. The U.S. is expected to press Cuba to allow its citizens greater freedom of speech, assembly and political activity. Cuba likely will respond with its own critiques of poverty, insufficient health-care coverage and excessive police force in the United States.

  22. NOTES FROM THE CUBAN EXILE QUARTER: Second survivor in events surrounding July 22, 2012 activists’ deaths confirms car was violently forced off the road – In the Spanish newspaper DiarioYA on March 26, 2015 in the article titled “Jens Aron Modig confirmed that the car was forced off the road violently” the following new information was published:The Swedish activistJens Aron Modig who on July 22, 2012 wasin the passenger seatin the car driven by theSpanish politicianAngel Carromero and in which Cubandissidents Oswaldo Payá  and HaroldCepero were killed has confirmed that the vehicle was forced off the road violently by another car when they had the accident.Although initially the Swedish activistclaimed to have norecollection of the alleged involvement ofanother vehicle in the accident, thus denyingthe criminal nature of the event while AngelCarromero wasdetained in Cuba, and he obtainedpermission from theCuban authorities toleave the island, justrecognized on NationalRadio of Sweden the existence of SMS (text messages) that he sentthat recounts how a vehicle forced them off the road. Thiscontradicts the version of the communist government about the crash being due to aspeeding driver.

    MIAMI HERALD: Venezuela slashes oil shipments to Cuba, Caribbean in half By Antonio María Delgado
    Venezuela has cut in half its subsidized shipments of crude oil to Cuba and Petrocaribe member nations to 200,000 barrels per day, down from 400,000 shipped in 2012, a Barclays report says.

    Also, the British investment bank’s report considered it “ironic” that Venezuela would ship any oil at all, highlighting that while the country is going through extreme difficulties, it continues to subsidize oil sales to countries that have healthier economies.

    Because of the cuts in oil shipments to the Caribbean, the firm reduced its deficit forecast for Venezuela to $22.6 billion, down from more than $30 billion predicted for 2015.

    “The oil agreements have been a heavy burden for Venezuela. These deliveries reached 400,000 bpd at their peak in 2012, though Venezuela only received payment for 200,000 bpd,” said the Barclays report, citing figures from Petrologistics, the firm that follows tanker movements. “In the last decade, the agreements have cost Venezuela up to $50 billion,” added the report, titled Reducing Generosity.
    Surprisingly, Cuba, the most important ally of Nicolás Maduro’s regime, has not been exonerated from the cuts, which deepened after August 2014, when crude-oil prices began to drop.

    “Cuba has received about 55,000 barrels per day since September, nearly half of what it received in 2012,” the report says.

    The cuts in deliveries to Cuba are more important than those of the other countries benefiting from Venezuela’s generosity, because unlike member countries of the Petrocaribe program, which at least pay a portion of the deliveries, Havana’s regime does not make cash payments for the exchange.

    Under the cooperation agreements in place between both countries, Cuba pays for oil with the services of doctors and sports trainers for the social programs launched by the Venezuelan government, as well as with the island’s intelligence services.


    VIDEO: The Wall Street Journal’s Joel Millman reports on Cuba’s program of sending doctors abroad as missionaries—and the doctors’ attempts to stay abroad for good: The video tells the story of one Cuban doctor working in Gambia who took nine months to escape and now lives in Florida. His wife and child are still in Cuba and she lost her job at a hospital as a result of being blacklisted for five years because of his defection. Another downside is that, without their medical records and certifications (held by the Cuban government), Cuban doctors in the United States can only work as nurses or surgical assistants. Cuba has been sending medical “brigades” to foreign countries since 1973, helping it to win friends abroad, to back “revolutionary” regimes in places like Ethiopia, Angola, and Nicaragua, and perhaps most importantly, to earn hard currency. Communist Party newspaper Granma reported in June that Cuba had 37,041 doctors and other health workers in 77 countries. Estimates of what Cuba earns from its medical teams—revenue that Cuba’s central bank counts as “exports of services”—vary widely, running to as much as $8 billion a year. Many Cubans complain that the brigades have undermined Cuba’s ability to maintain a high standard of health care at home


    N.Y. TIMES: Editor Who Wrote of Racism in Cuba Loses His Post, Colleagues Say – by RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD – April 5, 2013

    MEXICO CITY — The editor of a publishing house in Cuba who wrote a critical article in The New York Times opinion section about persistent racial inequality on the island, something revolutionaries proudly say has lessened, has been removed from his post, associates said on Friday.

    The author, Roberto Zurbano, in an article published March 23, described a long history of racial discrimination against blacks on the island and said “racial exclusion continued after Cuba became independent in 1902, and a half century of revolution since 1959 has been unable to overcome it.”

    On Friday, The Havana Times blog reported that Mr. Zurbano had told a gathering of Afro-Cuban advocates that he had been dismissed from his post at the publishing house of the Casa de las Americas cultural center, leaving the implication that the dismissal was connected to the article. Other associates said Mr. Zurbano told them he had been removed but would continue working there.

    Reached by telephone in Havana, Mr. Urbanism would not comment on his employment. “What is The New York Times going to do about it?” he asked. He angrily condemned the editors of the opinion section for a change in the headline that he felt had distorted his theme.

    The article’s headline, which was translated from Spanish, was “For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun,” but Mr. Zurbano said that in his version it had been “Not Yet Finished.”



    NEW AMERICA MEDIA: ‘Obama Effect’ Highlights Racism in Cuba – Louis E.V. Nevaer Posted: Dec 15, 2008

    The European Union recently dispatched anthropologists to study racism in Cuba. Their findings were shocking: Not only was racism alive and well in the workers’ paradise, but it was systemic and institutional. Blacks were systematically excluded from positions that involved coming in contact with foreign tourists (where they could earn tips in hard currencies), they were relegated to poor housing, complained of the longest waits for healthcare, were excluded from managerial positions, received the lowest remittances from relatives abroad, and were five times more likely to be imprisoned.

    The report, “ Race and Inequality in Cuba Today,” by Rodrigo Espina and Pablo Rodriguez Ruiz, published in the anthropological journal TEMAS in 2006, infuriated Cuban officials.

    But the findings were irrefutable, and they reflected an acceleration of racism in the 1990s. The collapse of the Soviet Union only exacerbated the problem, particularly as Cuba now competed with Cancun and San Juan for European vacationers. As Democracy Now! reported in 2000, Cuban officials continued to exclude blacks from tourist-related industries.

    When Maria Carrion of Democracy Now! interviewed a black Cuban identified only as Victor, he told her that the only jobs black Cubans have access to are in construction and cleaning. Blacks are randomly stopped on the street by police, he said, and are unable to denounce racism in Cuba for fear of going to prison for being anti-Communist.


    SWISS INFO NEWS: Cuba proposes quick start to human rights dialogue with U.S – By Daniel Trotta
    HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba on Thursday proposed that a pending human rights dialogue with the United States begin on Tuesday in Washington, parallel to ongoing negotiations about restoring diplomatic ties that were severed in 1961.
    “These conversations about human rights constitute an example of Cuba’s disposition to approach any topic with the United States, despite our differences,” Pedro Luis Pedroso, a foreign ministry official specializing in international law, told reporters in Havana.
    The proposal came at a time when progress towards restoring diplomatic relations between the longtime adversaries appears to have slowed. U.S. officials had no immediate comment on Cuba’s proposal, which would put the human rights talks on a separate track from ongoing discussions aimed at re-establishing diplomatic relations.


  28. Yoani…you are right …..the relations between Cuba and the United States have not changed much….what has changed is that Cuba for the first time since it was a Spaniard Colony, is a sovereign and independent nation making contributions that have been recognized by the countries of the World. Cuba help defeat the racial apartheid system in South Africa. Cuba provide doctors to poor countries around the World.

    The U.S. continues to operate a naval base at Guantánamo Bay. It is leased to the United States “for the time required for the purposes of coaling and naval stations”. The U.S. pays Cuba annually for its lease, but since the revolution, Cuba has not accepted any payments. The Cuban government strongly denounces the treaty on grounds[citation needed] that it violates article 52 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, titled “Coercion of a State by the threat or use of force”. However, Article 4, titled “Non-retroactivity of the present Convention” of the same document states that Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties shall not be retroactively applied to any treaties made before itself.

    The acquisition of Guantánamo Bay was part of the Platt Amendment, conditions for the withdrawal of United States troops remaining in Cuba since the Spanish–American War.


    Tightening embargo

    Relations deteriorated again following the election of George W. Bush. During his campaign Bush appealed for the support of Cuban-Americans by emphasizing his opposition to the government of Fidel Castro and supporting tighter embargo restrictions[39] Cuban Americans, who until 2008 tended to vote Republican,[40] expected effective policies and greater participation in the formation of policies regarding Cuba-U.S. relations.[39] Approximately three months after his inauguration, the Bush administration began expanding travel restrictions. The United States Department of the Treasury issued greater efforts to deter American citizens from illegally traveling to the island.[41] Also in 2001, five Cuban agents were convicted on 26 counts of espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and other illegal activities in the United States. On June 15, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of their case.

    Following his 2004 reelection, Bush declared Cuba to be one of the few “outposts of tyranny” remaining in the world. Tensions heightened as the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John R. Bolton, accused Cuba of maintaining a biological weapons program.[42] Many in the United States, including ex-president Carter, expressed doubts about the claim. Later, Bolton was criticized for pressuring subordinates who questioned the quality of the intelligence John Bolton had used as the basis for the assertion.[43][44] Bolton identified the Castro government as part of America’s “axis of evil,” highlighting the fact that the Cuban leader visited several U.S. foes, including Libya, Iran and Syria.[45] Cuba was also identified as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the United States Department of State.[46] The Cuban government denies the claim, and in turn has accused the U.S. of engaging in state sponsored terrorism against Cuba.
    Cuban propaganda poster in Havana featuring a Cuban soldier addressing a threatening Uncle Sam. The translation reads: “Mr. Imperialists, we have absolutely no fear of you.”
    In January 2006, United States Interests Section in Havana began, in an attempt to break Cuba’s “information blockade”, displaying messages, including quotes from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on a scrolling “electronic billboard” in the windows of their top floor. Following a protest march organized by the Cuban government, the government erected a large number of poles, carrying black flags with single white stars, obscuring the messages.
    On September 8, 2006, it was revealed that at least ten South Florida journalists received regular payments from the U.S. government for programs on Radio Martí and TV Martí, two broadcasters that support an opening of Cuban society and multi-party elections in Cuba. The payments totaled thousands of dollars over several years. Those who were paid the most were veteran reporters and a freelance contributor for El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language newspaper published by the corporate parent of The Miami Herald. The Cuban government has long contended that some South Florida Spanish-language journalists were on the federal payroll.

    On September 12, 2006, the United States announced that it had created five inter-agency working groups to monitor Cuba. The groups were set up after the July 31 announcement that the ailing Cuban leader had temporarily ceded power to a collective leadership headed by his brother Raúl. U.S. officials say three of the newly created groups are headed by the State Department: diplomatic actions; strategic communications and democratic promotion. Another that coordinated humanitarian aid to Cuba is run by the Commerce Department, and a fifth, on migration issues, is run jointly by the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security.

    On October 10, 2006, the United States announced the creation of a task force made up of officials from several U.S. agencies to pursue more aggressively American violators of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, with penalties as severe as 10 years of prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for violators of the embargo.

    In November 2006, U.S. Congressional auditors accused the development agency USAID of failing properly to administer its program to for promoting democracy in Cuba. They said USAID had channeled tens of millions of dollars through exile groups in Miami, which were sometimes wasteful or kept questionable accounts. The report said the organizations had sent items such as chocolate and cashmere jerseys to Cuba. Their report concludes that 30% of the exile groups who received USAID grants showed questionable expenditures.

    After Fidel Castro’s announcement of resignation in 2008, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said that the United States would maintain its embargo.

    Some veterans of CIA’s 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, while no longer being sponsored by the CIA, are still active, though they are now in their seventies or older. Members of Alpha 66, an anti-Castro paramilitary organization, continue to practice their AK-47 skills in a camp in South Florida.[34]

    In January 1999, U.S. President Bill Clinton eased travel restrictions to Cuba in an effort to increase cultural exchanges between the two nations.[35] The Clinton administration approved a two-game exhibition series between the Baltimore Orioles and Cuban national baseball team, marking the first time a Major League Baseball team played in Cuba since 1959.[36]

    At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, Castro and Clinton spoke briefly at a group photo session and shook hands. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan commented afterwards, “For a U.S. president and a Cuban president to shake hands for the first time in over 40 years—I think it is a major symbolic achievement”. While Castro said it was a gesture of “dignity and courtesy,” the White House denied the encounter was of any significance.[37] In November 2001, U.S. companies began selling food to the country for the first time since Washington imposed the trade embargo after the revolution. In 2002, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter became the first former or sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1928.[38]

    As state intervention and take-over of privately owned businesses continued, trade restrictions on Cuba increased. The U.S. stopped buying Cuban sugar and refused to supply its former trading partner with much needed oil, with a devastating effect on the island’s economy, leading to Cuba turning to their newfound trading partner the Soviet Union for petroleum. In March 1960, tensions increased when the freighter La Coubre exploded in Havana Harbor, killing over 75 people. Fidel Castro blamed the United States and compared the incident to the sinking of the Maine, though admitting he could provide no evidence for his accusation.[25] That same month, President Eisenhower quietly authorized the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to organize, train, and equip Cuban refugees as a guerrilla force to overthrow Castro.[26]

    Each time the Cuban government nationalized American properties, the American government took countermeasures, resulting in the prohibition of all exports to Cuba on October 19, 1960. Consequently, Cuba began to consolidate trade relations with the USSR, leading the U.S. to break off all remaining official diplomatic relations. Later that year, U.S. diplomats Edwin L. Sweet and William G. Friedman were arrested and expelled from the island having been charged with “encouraging terrorist acts, granting asylum, financing subversive publications and smuggling weapons”. On January 3, 1961 the U.S. withdrew diplomatic recognition of the Cuban government and closed the embassy in Havana.

    Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy believed that Eisenhower’s policy toward Cuba had been mistaken. He criticized what he saw as use of the U.S. government influence to advance the interest and increase the profits of private U.S. companies instead of helping Cuba to achieve economic progress, saying that Americans dominated the island’s economy and had given support to one of the bloodiest and most repressive dictatorships in the history of Latin America. “We let Batista put the U.S. on the side of tyranny, and we did nothing to convince the people of Cuba and Latin America that we wanted to be on the side of freedom”.[27]

    In 1961 Cuba resisted an armed invasion by about 1,500 CIA trained Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs.[28] President John F. Kennedy’s complete assumption of responsibility for the venture, which provoked a popular reaction against the invaders, proved to be a further propaganda boost for the Cuban government.[29] The U.S. began the formulation of new plans aimed at destabilizing the Cuban government. These activities were collectively known as the “Cuban Project” (also known as Operation Mongoose). This was to be a coordinated program of political, psychological, and military sabotage, involving intelligence operations as well as assassination attempts on key political leaders. The Cuban project also proposed attacks on mainland U.S. targets, hijackings and assaults on Cuban refugee boats to generate U.S. public support for military action against the Cuban government, these proposals were known collectively as Operation Northwoods.

    A U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee report later confirmed over eight attempted plots to kill Castro between 1960 and 1965, as well as additional plans against other Cuban leaders.[30] After weathering the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuba observed as U.S. armed forces staged a mock invasion of a Caribbean island in 1962 named Operation Ortsac. The purpose of the invasion was to overthrow a leader whose name, Ortsac, was Castro spelled backwards.[31] Tensions between the two nations reached their peak in 1962, after U.S. reconnaissance aircraft photographed the Soviet construction of intermediate-range missile sites. The discovery led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Trade relations also deteriorated in equal measure. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy broadened the partial trade restrictions imposed after the revolution by Eisenhower to a ban on all trade with Cuba, except for non-subsidized sale of foods and medicines. A year later travel and financial transactions by U.S. citizens with Cuba was prohibited. The United States embargo against Cuba was to continue in varying forms and is still in operation today.

    Relations began to thaw during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s tenure continuing through the next decade and a half. In 1964 Fidel Castro sent a message to Johnson encouraging dialogue, he wrote:

    I seriously hope that Cuba and the United States can eventually respect and negotiate our differences. I believe that there are no areas of contention between us that cannot be discussed and settled within a climate of mutual understanding. But first, of course, it is necessary to discuss our differences. I now believe that this hostility between Cuba and the United States is both unnatural and unnecessary – and it can be eliminated.[32]

    Through the late 1960s and early 1970s a sustained period of aircraft hijackings between Cuba and the U.S. by citizens of both nations led to a need for cooperation. By 1974, U.S. elected officials had begun to visit the island. Three years later, during the Carter administration, the U.S. and Cuba simultaneously opened interests sections in each other’s capitals. In 1980, after 10,000 Cubans crammed into the Peruvian embassy seeking political asylum, Castro stated that any who wished to do so could leave Cuba, in what became known as the Mariel boatlift. Approximately 125,000 people left Cuba for the United States. Without advising the U.S. government, Castro included, among those political and economic refugees, mental patients and criminals released from Cuban prisons.

    Poster in Bay of Pigs
    In 1977, Cuba and the United States signed a maritime boundary treaty in which the countries agreed on the location of their border in the Straits of Florida. The treaty was never sent to the United States Senate for ratification, but the agreement has been implemented by the U.S. State Department.

    In 1981 President Ronald Reagan’s new administration announced a tightening of the embargo. The U.S. also re-established the travel ban, prohibiting U.S. citizens from spending money in Cuba. The ban was later supplemented to include Cuban government officials or their representatives visiting the U.S. In 1985 Radio y Televisión Martí, backed by Ronald Reagan’s administration, began to broadcast news and information from the U.S. to Cuba.

    U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially recognized the new Cuban government after the 1959 Cuban Revolution which had overthrown the Batista government, but relations between the two governments deteriorated rapidly. Within days Earl T. Smith, U.S. Ambassador to Cuba, resigned his post to be replaced by Philip Bonsal. The U.S. government became increasingly concerned by Cuba’s agrarian reforms and the nationalization of U.S.-owned industries. Between April 15 and 26, 1959, Fidel Castro and a delegation of representatives visited the U.S. as guests of the Press Club. This visit was perceived by many as a charm offensive on the part of Castro and his recently initiated government, and his visit included laying a wreath at the Lincoln memorial. After a meeting between Castro and Vice-President Richard Nixon, where Castro outlined his reform plans for Cuba,[23] the U.S. began to impose gradual trade restrictions on the island. On September 4, 1959, Ambassador Bonsal met with Cuban Premier Fidel Castro to express “serious concern at the treatment being given to American private interests in Cuba both agriculture and utilities

  34. Until Castro, the U.S. was so overwhelmingly influential in Cuba that the American ambassador was the second most important man, sometimes even more important than the Cuban president.

    — Earl T. Smith, former American Ambassador to Cuba, during 1960 testimony to the U.S. Senate

    Relations 1900–1959[edit]
    The 10th United States Infantry Regiment – The Army of Occupation in Havana circa 1898
    The Teller Amendment prohibited the outright annexation of Cuba. The United States agreed to withdraw its troops from Cuba provided that Cuba agreed to the Platt Amendment, an amendment to the 1901 Army Appropriations Act by Connecticut Republican Senator Orville H. Platt, which would allow the United States to intervene in Cuban affairs if needed for the maintenance of good government, and committed Cuba to lease to the U.S. land for naval bases. The Cuban-American Treaty leased to United States the southern portion of Guantánamo Bay, where a United States Naval Station had been established in 1898. The Platt Amendment defined the terms of Cuban-U.S. relations for the following 33 years and was bitterly resented by the majority of Cubans.

    Opening page of the Platt Amendment
    Despite recognizing Cuba’s transition into an independent republic, United States Governor Charles Edward Magoon assumed temporary military rule for three more years following a rebellion led in part by José Miguel Gómez. In the following 20 years the United States repeatedly intervened militarily in Cuban affairs: 1906 – 1909, 1912 and 1917 – 1922. In 1912 U.S. forces were sent to quell protests by Afro-Cubans against perceived discrimination.

    By 1926 U.S companies owned 60% of the Cuban sugar industry and imported 95% of the total Cuban crop, and Washington was generally supportive of successive Cuban Governments. However, internal confrontations between the government of Gerardo Machado and political opposition led to his military overthrow by Cuban rebels in 1933. U.S. Ambassador Sumner Welles requested U.S. military intervention. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, despite his promotion of the Good Neighbor policy toward Latin America, ordered 29 warships to Cuba and Key West, alerting United States Marines, and bombers for use if necessary. Machado’s replacement, Ramón Grau assumed the Presidency and immediately nullified the Platt amendment. In protest, the United States denied recognition to Grau’s government, Ambassador Welles describing the new regime as “communistic” and “irresponsible”.

    The rise of General Fulgencio Batista in the 1930s to de facto leader and President of Cuba for two terms (1940–44 and 1952–59) led to an era of close co-operation between the governments of Cuba and the United States. The United States and Cuba signed the Treaty of Relations in 1934. Batista’s second term as President was initiated by a military coup planned in Florida, and U.S. President Harry S. Truman quickly recognized Batista’s return to rule providing military and economic aid.[10] The Batista era witnessed the almost complete domination of Cuba’s economy by the United States, as the number of American corporations continued to swell, though corruption was rife and Havana also became a popular sanctuary for American organized crime figures, notably hosting the infamous Havana Conference in 1946. U.S. Ambassador to Cuba Arthur Gardner later described the relationship between the U.S. and Batista during his second term as President:

    “ Batista had always leaned toward the United States. I don’t think we ever had a better friend. It was regrettable, like all South Americans, that he was known—although I had no absolute knowledge of it—to be getting a cut, I think is the word for it, in almost all the, things that were done. But, on the other hand, he was doing an amazing job. ”

    As armed conflict broke out in Cuba between rebels led by Fidel Castro and the Batista government, the U.S. was urged to end arms sales to Batista by Cuban president-in-waiting Manuel Urrutia Lleó. Washington made the critical move in March 1958 to prevent sales of rifles to Batista’s forces, thus changing the course of the revolution irreversibly towards the rebels. The move was vehemently opposed by U.S. ambassador Earl T. Smith, and led U.S. State Department adviser William Wieland to lament that “I know Batista is considered by many as a son of a bitch… but American interests come first… at least he was our son of a bitch.” (NIETO OF MEXICO AND LOPEZ OF VENEZUELA ARE ALSO AMERICAN OWN SON OF A BITCHES)

    Independence in Cuba

    1900 Campaign poster for the Republican Party depicting American rule in Cuba
    As Cuban resistance to Spanish rule grew, rebels fighting for independence attempted to get support from U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. Grant declined and the resistance was curtailed, though American interests in the region continued. U.S. Secretary of State James G. Blaine wrote in 1881 of Cuba, “that rich island, the key to the Gulf of Mexico, and the field for our most extended trade in the Western Hemisphere, is, though in the hands of Spain, a part of the American commercial system… If ever ceasing to be Spanish, Cuba must necessarily become American and not fall under any other European domination.”

    After some rebel successes in Cuba’s second war of independence in 1897, U.S. President William McKinley offered to buy Cuba for $300 million. Rejection of the offer, and an explosion that sank the American battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor, led to the Spanish–American War. In Cuba the war became known as “the U.S. intervention in Cuba’s War of Independence”. On 10 December 1898 Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris and, in accordance with the treaty, Spain renounced all rights to Cuba. The treaty put an end to the Spanish Empire in the Americas and marked the beginning of United States expansion and long-term political dominance in the region. Immediately after the signing of the treaty, the U.S.-owned “Island of Cuba Real Estate Company” opened for business to sell Cuban land to Americans. U.S. military rule of the island lasted until 1902 when Cuba was finally granted formal independence.

    The British occupation of Havana in 1762 opened up trade with the British colonies in North America, and the rebellion of the thirteen colonies in 1776 provided additional trade opportunities. Spain opened Cuban ports to North American commerce officially in November 1776 and the island became increasingly dependent on that trade.
    After the opening of the island to world trade in 1818, trade agreements began to replace Spanish commercial connections. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson thought Cuba “the most interesting addition which could ever be made to our system of States” and told Secretary of War John C. Calhoun that the United States “ought, at the first possible opportunity, to take Cuba.”

    John Quincy Adams, who as U.S. Secretary of State compared Cuba to an apple that, if severed from Spain, would gravitate towards the U.S.
    In a letter to U.S. Minister to Spain Hugh Nelson, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams described the likelihood of U.S. “annexation of Cuba” within half a century despite obstacles: “But there are laws of political as well as of physical gravitation; and if an apple severed by the tempest from its native tree cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly disjoined from its own unnatural connection with Spain, and incapable of self support, can gravitate only towards the North American Union, which by the same law of nature cannot cast her off from its bosom.” In 1854 a secret proposal known as the Ostend Manifesto was devised by U.S. diplomats to acquire Cuba from Spain for $130 million. The manifesto was rejected due to objections from anti-slavery campaigners when the plans became public.
    By 1877, Americans purchased 83 percent of Cuba’s total exports. It was during this period that English traveler Anthony Trollope observed that “The trade of the country is falling into the hands of foreigners, Havana will soon be as American as New Orleans”. North Americans were also increasingly taking up residence on the island, and some districts on the northern shore were said to have more the character of America than Spanish settlements. Between 1878 and 1898 American investors took advantage of deteriorating economic conditions of the Ten Years’ War to take over estates they had tried unsuccessfully to buy before while others acquired properties at very low prices. Above all this presence facilitated the integration of the Cuban economy into the North American system and weakened Cuba’s ties with Spain.

Comments are closed.