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el maestro
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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Platt Amendment: degrading Cuba's independence

EE.UU. "marca' su propiedad", el pueblo de Cuba

In 1898, when the heroic Mambí Army had virtually defeated the colonial power of Spain, the United States of America, loyal to a 'tradition' they would apply again and again in the future, deliberately sunk its own USS Maine, making it appear as an act of sabotage. The battleship had intentionally been dispatched to the Bay of Havana on January, and on the evening of February 15 a huge explosion destroyed the ship in the harbour killing 260 marines.

It was the perfect excuse. The US Government immediately blamed Spain, and consequent with its plans declared war on the colonialist Spaniards, intervened militarily in the armed conflict that Cubans waged against the European metropolis to gain their independence, and occupied Cuba for several years.

“Protecting US citizens and property” in the island was the official argument Washington used to unleash the Spanish Cuban American War, as it is known in history. The truth behind the blowing of the USS Maine was its burning desire to take possession of Cuba, because of its privileged geographical position in the Caribbean and the resources the emergent power needed badly to feed its incipient imperial ambitions.

Senator Orville H. Platt

Immediately Washington, exactly as it does today, began taking steps to “legalize” its intervention.  On March 2, 1902, and following efforts to give Cubans a “republic”, while keeping a grip on its sovereignty, the US Congress approved the Platt Amendment, introduced by Senator Orville H. Platt, and sanctioned shortly afterwards by the US President.

That ignominious amendment, against the will of the people of Cuba, was annexed to our Constitution hindering our sovereignty until 1934, but Cuba did not regained control of its destiny until the next generation of mambises, the Rebel Army, did enter Santiago de Cuba and Havana in 1959.

The Platt Amendment allowed the US Government to intervene militarily or otherwise in Cuba whenever it deemed convenient to its interests, while it tarnished our independence and sovereignty.  

Un grabado de la época refleja el sentir sobre la Enmienda Platt


Platt Amendment

Article I. The Government of Cuba shall never enter into any treaty or other compact with any foreign power or powers which will impair or tend to impair the independence of Cuba, nor in any manner authorize or permit any foreign power or powers to obtain by colonization or for military or naval purposes, or otherwise, lodgment in or control over any portion of said island.

Article II. The Government of Cuba shall not assume or contract any public debt to pay the interest upon which, and to make reasonable sinking-fund provision for the ultimate discharge of which, the ordinary revenues of the Island of Cuba, after defraying the current expenses of the Government, shall be inadequate.

Article III. The Government of Cuba consents that the United States may exercise the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty, and for discharging the obligations with respect to Cuba imposed by the Treaty of Paris on the United States, now to be assumed and undertaken by the Government of Cuba. . . .

Article V. The Government of Cuba will execute, and, as far as necessary, extend the plans already devised, or other plans to be mutually agreed upon, for the sanitation of the cities of the island, to the end that a recurrence of epidemic and infectious diseases may be prevented, thereby assuring protection to the people and commerce of Cuba, as well as to the commerce of the Southern ports of the United States and the people residing therein....

Article VII. To enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the Government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations, at certain specified points, to be agreed upon with the President of the United States.

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