“The greatest achievements of Communism are health care, sports, and education. The greatest failures of Communism are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” (via Cuba in a Time Warp – The Atlantic Food Channel).
Poverty in Cuba
The biggest reason for Cuban economic stagnation is the 100 year proxy war that the US has been waging against the former slave colony – which it ‘bought’ from Spain. Cuba’s problems started a 150 years before Fidel Castro.
Tales from the Caribbean
Almost unknown today are the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. These were slave islands – and part of the Caribbean group of islands which were used by the British Navy to run their slave colonies. These were ‘salt colonies’ – not as well known as the ‘sugar colonies’ of Haiti, Cuba, Demerra, Trinidad and other West Indian Islands.
After the original Native ‘Red Indian’ tribes were annihilated in forced labour camps, mines and slavery, these Caribbean islands were peopled by millions of slaves that were imported and subsequently died.
Apart from the momentous slave revolts of Haiti and Cuba, about 200 slave uprising and revolts in the USA before the Civil War, cleared the way for end to slavery in the the Americas. Similarly, more than 20 slave uprisings in the Caribbean, made slavery impractical – and not the Anglo-Saxon concern for human rights or the oozing milk of human kindness. It was this determined Black struggle for overthrow of slavery, the more than 20 slave rebellions between 1789-1833, in the Caribbean – one every 2 years, that ‘persuaded’ the West to abolish slavery.
Afraid that US slaves will follow the Haiti example, US did not recognise Haiti, till November 1864 – 60 years after Haiti declared Independence. Moreover, in 1826, at the Congress of American States, under US pressure, Simon Bolivar did not invite Haiti.
The British search and seizure of colonies enriched them – at the cost of the native populations. A significant benefit of the English language to the Anglo Saxon Bloc is the convenient white wash of history in English language media – and tarring of competitive economies and nations.
For roughly 250 years, the Iberian Empires were the most powerful. The slave rebellion of Haiti triggered a collapse of the Spanish colonies in South America. Simon Bolivar, aided by the Haiti’s rulers, initiated decolonization movements across South America – leading to the demise of Spanish Colonialism. The last nail in the Spanish colonial possessions was Cuba – which they lost after the Spanish American War. After the loss of Cuba, Philippines and the American colonies, and the end of slavery, the Iberians imploded much like other slave societies.
A little over a century ago,
125 years after Independence, USA by 1890 was developing colonial ambitions and had acquired a taste of colonialism. On the other side of the Atlantic, earlier the Berlin Conference, sparked of the scramble for Africa. After the Brussels and Berlin conference carved up Africa, there were few places left for America to colonise.
America, then created the ‘Monroe doctrine’ – supposedly an anti-colonial doctrine, a policy to create colonies in the American backyard. ‘Yellow Journalism’ was invented to whip up public sentiment. On April 25th 1898, the US Congress declared war on Spain. For the next 4 months, the US fought The Spanish-American War. On August 12th, 1898, Spain signed the peace treaty. On December 10th 1898, the treaty of Paris was signed.
As a part of the Paris Treaty between Spain and USA, the USA ‘bought’ Philippines from Spain, maintains Puerto Rico as a colony also Guam – and paid Spain US$2,00,00,000. Cubans were nominally declared free but with many conditions. The Cubans refused to honour this ‘purchase’ – for which the USA has waged a war against Cuba for the last 100 years. Of course, the ‘inferior’ populations of these countries – Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico were unfit for inclusion in the Paris negotiations about their future.
In 1915, again the Monroe doctrine was invoked to invade Haiti.And these interventions have continued. Haiti has been invaded many times. In the 1960s-70s, Chedi Jagan and his struggle to break from US domination (in the Caribbean) was sabotaged.
Having paid US$2,00,00,000 of the ‘US taxpayer money’, the US believes that they ‘own’ Cuba – and even today, continues to eye Cuba. It was such thinking that led to the ’sale’ of Cuba, Philippines and Puerto Rico by Spain to the USA. After the purchase, came a century of pain in Cuba, many hundreds of thousands of lives lost in Philippines and the forcible accession of Puerto Rico into the US. Of course, some of these islands have become colonies, of the USA, Britain and the people there continue to serve the interests of these Western nations.
Countries which wished to follow their independent future, like Haiti, Cuba, Granada have been made an example of by Britain and USA. For trying to make a country of themselves. A lot of such places would be quite happy without the Western attention they received – and subsequent ruin that they faced.
US antagonism …
The hostility of the US has its roots in this struggle – when US refused to recognize Haiti for a 60 years after the overthrow of the colonial French Government, which used the Haitians as slaves. US ‘bought’ Cuba from Spain – and hence this hostility. The US feels that they ‘own’ Cuba – and, of course, other and large parts of the world.
After Haiti independence, restrictions on slavery were discussed all over Europe and USA. The US placed restriction on import of slaves – which increased the price of existing slaves in the trade market. But slave traders like Jean Laffitte soon ran rings round this by smuggling slaves from Cuba.
For more than two centuries now, the US has been actively working with an agenda of ‘racial superiority’ which has resulted in slavery and then repeated interventions and manipulation in South America. They have used force and power to derail economies and politics of emerging countries. The example of Haiti’s failure and Cuba’s desperate struggle to survive drove Fidel Castro into the arms of Soviet Russia.
The US record against the growth and stabilisation of Cuba does not bear repitition. Having ‘bought’ Cuba from Spain (like Puerto Rico, Guam and Philippines), USA believes and feels that they ‘own’ Cuba.
In 1904, the US pressured Tomas Estrada Palma, a ‘puppet’ Cuban President, to sign the Platt Amendment. This allowed US intervention in Cuban affairs, if ‘vital’ US interests were at risk (meaning at at US will) – finally modified only in 1934. Under this ‘new deal’ ‘Cuba would be allowed to export 22% of the sugar the US imported, by paying 0.09¢, a pound tariff duty. In return, little or no duty would be levied by Cuba on goods imported from the USA.’
When the freed slaves of Cuba, led by Fidel Castro, tried to overthrow American-foisted dictator Batista, the US used the American Mafia, to attempt assassination of Fidel Castro.
Elephants in the room …
Western media and academia today glosses over Western record of slavery and colonialism. This ‘collective amnesia’ about the past is widespread and blatant. Other writers forget about the causes leading to abolition of slavery. Seminal events in Haiti, Cuba, Caribbean are ignored, white-washed or brushed under the carpet.
The USA and the West has been at war (or by proxy) with the Black Republics of Haiti, Cuba, Greneda for the last 200 years. Fuelled by a desperate desire to show White superiority. By a need to white wash history. To hide the origins of their misbegotten wealth – built on the foundation of the skeletons of dead and surviving slaves.
Haiti gave the world freedom. Not America – which claims itself to be a land of the free (as long as you are white).
A recent article in the British Guardian is a case in point. Richard Gott (the writer of this post) claims that he is a history student … which makes this post very remarkable. In the entire post of 1150 words, he mentions the word slave only once – while the entire history of Cuba for the last 200 years has been about slavery.
He is surprised by the number of Blacks in Cuba – which was the largest slave colony in the Spanish Empire – after the fall of Haiti. The Cuban revolution began in Haiti more than 200 years ago – and Fidel Castro has but been one, in a long line of revolutionaries who tried to break free from their enslaved past. For a history student, can this be ignorance or a more likely attempt at ‘whitewash’ …?
Exactly why is the presence of so ‘Blacks’ so surprising, Mr.Gott …?
Why is Richard Gott so surprised …
It is the ‘white wash’ of history – and the ‘tarring’ of protagonists which is a matter of concern. Haiti’s (and also Cuba’s) crime – they refused to accept the racial agenda of the US. They (including a ‘White’ like Fidel Castro) wanted to build a ‘free society’ for people – without colour being a factor. Perhaps all Whites are not like Richard Gott.
And that is, perhaps, why Richard Gott is so surprised.
Cuba according to Gott
Fidel Castro (L) with Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara in the 1960s
The Cuban revolution began 50 years ago … with its charismatic and bearded leadership descending from the hills, young men in their 20s brandishing guns and seizing the cities, and calling for land reform …
Castro began his epic quarrel with the United States – through the US abolition of the sugar quota, the arrival of Soviet oil, the CIA invasion at the Bay of Pigs, and the missile crisis of 1962 … Faced with the implacable hostility of the United States, Fidel decided that he had no alternative except to ally himself with the Soviet Union.
What struck me most was to find an island full of black people. The revolutionary leadership could hardly have been more white … Fidel’s enlistment of the black population was his astutest move, being echoed in the United States (where he stayed in Harlem on a visit to the United Nations) … The only political movement in Cuba that had enrolled black people … was the Communist party, and Fidel (long before his move towards the Soviet Union) had turned to the local communists for help in reaching out to the urban population, both poor and black. The white racist element in the Cuban population had tolerated a black president such as Fulgencio Batista, who had kept the black population under control; they were alarmed by a white man like Fidel who appeared to be mobilising the black people against them. (via Richard Gott: It’s time to let Cuba in from the cold, and Obama is the perfect man to do it | Comment is free | The Guardian–ellipsis mine).
The Future Of Oil Is The Caribbean
Bretton Woods-II, based on oil-dollar anchor, worked for another 35 years (1973-2008) till now. Oil exploration is a 5-10 year investment. Oil should be made another commodity. An easy option is to create a Republic of Pacific Islands – Haiti, Cuba, Grenada, and other West Indies. These islands can become vast oil production centres – that will help them raise their economies and can feed Asia with oil, peacefully.
Reeling under the curse of history, Western intervention and poverty, the Caribbean islands have been dealt a bad hand. Third World countries are paying through their nose to the OPEC cartel and for a dollar hegemony. Cuba, Haiti and the various Caribbean islands have been hit by poverty and Western intervention.
Oil can break this vicious cycle. Oil exploration in the Caribbean has been negligible. These are promising exploration blocks. A joint venture between ONGC (India), Petrobras, and the various islands could kick-start oil exploration and production – which will change the future of the world.
For one, it would immediately reduce Saudi funding of terror.
What happens to Russia if a new Pacific Republic (Cuba, Haiti, West Indies, etc) were to start drilling for oil? In 5 years, the world would be awash with oil – and Russia’s mineral earnings could evaporate.
Brazil takes the first step
On October 14, 2008, 2ndlook had proposed a BRICS-Caribbean accord for oil exploration in the Caribbean. Brazil has also taken the first step. ONGC was already in the game. As is Russia. With India, Brazil and Russia working on Cuban oil exploration, it is a promising first step to a prosperous Caribbean.
“I don’t understand why it took so long to sign this agreement,” said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who presided over a signing ceremony for the deal with Cuban President Raul Castro. That makes two of us, Mr.President!
Next stop, Haiti?
Europe wants to stay relevant
Europe which has a major say in the IMF and World Bank, after the USA, obviously wants to increase its role – and decrease US importance. To gets its way, it has gone on a major diplomatic offensive – to the extent of restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba.
Is that a sign of times to come?