CHAPTER 11 | SUMMARY!

What I found most interesting about Chapter 11 (Gibson, 2019) was the authors description of events that led up to the Spanish-Cuban war, particularly as current events are unfolding in Cuba; protests are taking place with groups of people who are in opposition with the Cuban socialist regime. Senators in the United States of America particularly from Florida have voiced their support for the people of Cuba, and also led to taking this voice to Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. I wondered if the 1901 Platt Amendment was in Place today, which historically gave the right for the United States to intervene, to protect, preserve and maintain Cuban freedom, what would be the effect today? How would such amendments create ease to assist Cuba?

Cuba was a Spanish territory, the Spanish held onto this territory and did not give into U.S. demand or offers for the selling of the island. The United States (U.S.) were especially unsettled with rumours of German interests. This motivated President McKinley to substantiate military action as to why the call to war was necessary (p. 270). The history includes the destruction of Warship Maine, from the war that was declared in April 25 1898. The U.S. blamed Spain for this destruction but from this reading I found that it was never proven (p. 270). The battle took place in the Philippines, entitled as the Battle of Manilla Bay (p. 271). The U.S. annexation to the Hawaiian Island took place also with the possession of: Danish West Indian Island, St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas, known as the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Caribbean, St Thomas US Virgin Islands. Panoramic view.

President Theodore Roosevelt was the first to arrive in Cuba as Spain surrendered. Cuba did not sign the Paris Treaty, as Cuba wanted a free liberated island, thus; even with the War the U.S. did not acquire Cuba. However, eyes of the U.S. remained upon Cuba, to assess Cuban behavior and to see if they actually did deserve this liberty. Puerto Rico was not left without a war, this territory was also ceded by the U.S. The difference with Cuba was that the U.S. appointed a Governor and Council in Puerto-Rico. Whilst military war and interventions were sought as necessary, I thought about the territories and the potential weakness that the island faced without the strength of Spain backing the island.

The taking of Spanish territories began to be known as American Imperialism, where the U.S. wanted to reveal that they were stronger than the Spanish (p. 271). I reflected upon President Theodore Roosevelt’s philosophical reflection of the act of war. Where he felt that a nation will go to war, not only for the concern of humans, but a nation also possesses interest. A purpose and a gain to desire war (p. 280-281). Anti-Imperialist movements began to form as people wondered how the U.S. would begin to take care of all the people acquired with the territories, particularly because of skin tone, individuals such as W.E.B. Dubois critically reflected upon this American Imperialism (p. 272).

A U.S. military presence emerged in Cuba which was justified for the stability of the island. The U.S. also stipulated the ability to lease land from Cuba, this is also where we hear of Guantanamo Bay today. Trade and economic reciprocity deals with the U.S. and Cuba began to emerge, such as agriculture and the sugar crop. Sugar companies were set-up in the island with the known Domino Sugar (p. 276). Individuals from the U.S began to migrate to Cuba, points of unification between the island and the U.S. can be found.

Within this time frame publications continued to emerge, which allowed for voices of concern to be spread publicly. Whilst it is difficult to comprehend harsh histories, I appreciated Roosevelt’s philosophical reflections. For the desire and his vision of the United States he aspires: ” ‘ to see neighbouring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon a hearty friendship. ‘ ” (p. 281). Of the Cuban and Panama war Roosevelt wrote: ” ‘ we have acted in our own interest as well as in the interest of humanity at large. ‘ “ (p. 281). Themes of reforms rather than conflicts emerged only after the wars had taken place. Roosevelt’s words were an addition to the Monroe Doctrine which became known as the Roosevelt Corollary.

Publications:

  1. La Gaceta – The only trilingual newspaper in Tampa Bay, Florida, America, published in English, Spanish, Italian.
  2. Baseball -Havana newspaper dedicated to sports.
  3. Puerto Rico Herald – Newspaper
  4. New York Journal and New York World – papers which published the Cuban struggle for liberation within the United States.

Baseball – I don’t think that a summary / reflection is complete without the mention of Baseball. The United States is linked to Cuba with Baseball. Nemesio and Ernesto Guillò established the Havana Baseball club (p. 267). The sport became symbolic for creating and building a nation. The sport of Baseball was spread in Latin America, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. I found it interesting that the Cubans requested African-Americans to impersonate them for a baseball game, I wondered what the intentions were? As a form of integration or ridicule? However, the baseball players gained great recognition as the Cuban Giants (p. 267-268).

Padre Felix Varela – a Cuban priest, spiritual and intellectual who became a civil rights leader, defender of human rights for Cubans within the United States. Padre was a Cuban exile who sought refuge within the U.S. He served as the Cuban representative to the Spanish Cortes. He translated Thomas Jefferson’s manual from English to Spanish (p. 260-261).

Nascent was the name of a Spanish / Cuban community (p. 263).

Nativos – was a term linked to U.S. citizens of Mexican descent with Spanish Lineage and roots. I wondered if there could be indigenous links found to people who claimed Nativos?

José Marti – Political activist and poet. He was important for Cuban Liberation and Latin American Literature. He founded what became known as the Cuban Revolutionary Party and clearly was known for much more.

Languages Act 1902 – English became an equal language to Spanish, this because problematic because not everyone spoke English, individuals in Puerto-Rico needed time to adjust.

Politics – The historic control of New Mexico and Arizona was Republican

Further thoughts – I think that the Spanish were relentless to give-up Cuba as well as the fight for Puerto-Rico because Puerto-Rico was the landing territory of Columbus’ second expedition voyages in 1493. Puerto-Rico was known as San Juan Bautista (p. 14). Columbus had named Cuba as Juana, in honor of Princess Joanna during his first expedition, which later was changed to Cuba. Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar was named as the Spanish Governor of Cuba, this island is where the earliest Spanish settlements were formed (p. 16).

Reference: Gibson, C. (2019). EL NORTE The Epic and Forgotten History of Hispanic North America. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.

Helpful Links

  1. HISPANIC AMERICANS’ Puts Faces on over 500 Years of History
  2. RECIPES | Domino Sugar

Related Blog Posts:

  1. Image Link
  2. Image Link – El Morro Castle, Havana, Cuba. (Spanish) Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro, fortress that guards the entrance of the Port of Havana. It was build by the order of the King of Spain.

Notes: These thoughts were originally hand-written on July 29th 2021. Please note that these are my thoughts and views upon my reading to gain an understanding of American history of what interested me within this chapter, there are many more points that have not been discussed within my writing. Please note that I have referred to the nation of America as the U.S. within the contexts of this writing the accumulated territories were known as the United States – U.S.

With Love & Kindness! 🙂

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