FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cuba And The U.S.

“The need to possess Cuba is the oldest issue in U.S. foreign policy.”

– Noam Chomsky

As we contemplate the latest news about a possible shift in U.S.-Cuba relations, a little historical context can go a long way…

“Eyeing Cuba for almost a century”

Feb. 15, 1898, was a muggy Tuesday night in Havana Harbor. Some 350 crew and officers settled in on board the USS Maine.

“At 9:40 p.m., the ship’s forward end abruptly lifted itself from the water,” writes author Tom Miller. “Along the pier, passersby could hear a rumbling explosion. Within seconds, another eruption — this one deafening and massive — splintered the bow, sending anything that wasn’t battened down, and most that was, flying more than 200 feet into the air.”

By the time the sleeping giant was jarred into alertness by the Maine explosion, Cuban and Filipino rebels were already fighting Spain for independence in their respective lands. The Maine was in Havana Harbor in 1898 on a purportedly friendly mission. “Yet,” writes Miller, “the visit was neither spontaneous nor altruistic; the United States had been eyeing Cuba for almost a century.”

“At a certain point in that spring, McKinley and the business community began to see that their object, to get Spain out of Cuba, could not be accomplished without war,” historian Howard Zinn adds, “and that their accompanying object, the securing of American military and economic influence in Cuba, could not be left to the Cuban rebels, but could be ensured only by U.S. intervention.”

American newspapers, especially those run by Hearst (New York Journal) and Joseph Pulitzer (New York World), jumped on the Maine explosion as the ideal justification to drum up public support for a war of imperialism.

When Hearst sent artist Frederick Remington to Cuba to supply pictures, he reported that he could not find a war. “You furnish the pictures,” Hearst replied, “and I’ll furnish the war.”

Spain was easily defeated, the legend of Teddy Roosevelt was manufactured whole cloth, and the Cubans (and Puerto Ricans) found themselves exchanging one colonial ruler for another.

“Of transcendent importance”

Today’s mainstream perception of Cuba has little to do with the fabricated heroics of one of the faces carved on Mount Rushmore (As TR once declared: “Democracy has justified itself by keeping for the white race the best portions of the earth’s surface.”) Since 1959, it’s mostly about Fidel Castro, the Cuban Revolution, the ensuing U.S. blockade, and events like the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis.

We hear much less and thus know much less about the relentless low intensity U.S. assaults on Cuba. For example, the Cuba Project, a.k.a. “Operation Mongoose,” was initiated by the liberal (sic) Kennedy administration in 1962 with the stated objective of helping the “Cubans overthrow the Communist regime from within Cuba and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace.”

“What has happened is a level of international terrorism that as far as I know has no counterpart, apart from direct aggression,” explains Noam Chomsky. “It’s included attacking civilian installations, bombing hotels, sinking fishing vessels, destroying petrochemical installations, poisoning crops and livestock, on quite a significant scale, assassination attempts, actual murders, bombing airplanes, bombing of Cuban missions abroad, etc. It’s a massive terrorist attack.”

The U.S. aggression toward Cuba since 1959 denied the world a chance to witness what that revolution may have become. But, in reality, Cuba has never stood a chance. As far back as the American Revolution, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams announced that U.S control of Cuba was “of transcendent importance.”

“The need to possess Cuba is the oldest issue in U.S. foreign policy,” Chomsky concludes.

Postscript: The event that set all this into motion, the alleged bombing of the Maine, was investigated by Admiral Hyman Rickover of the U.S. Navy in 1976. Rickover and his team of experts concluded that the explosion was probably caused by “spontaneous combustion inside the ship’s coal bins,” a problem common to ships of that era.

Once again, I have two words for you, comrades: Pattern. Recognition.

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here

 

More articles by:

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here. This piece first appeared at World Trust News.  

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail