“When a market for African slaves shall no longer be furnished in Cuba… Christianity and civilization may gradually penetrate the existing gloom.”
President Ulysses S. Grant stated, December 2, 1872:
“Slavery in Cuba is…a terrible evil… It is greatly to be hoped that…Spain will voluntarily adopt… emancipation… in sympathy with the other powers of the Christian and civilized world.”
In 1868, a Creole farmer in Cuba began a revolt. Cubans drafted a “10th of OctoberManifesto”:
“When rebelling us against the Spanish tyranny we want to indicate to the world the reasons…
Spain governs us with iron and blood; it imposes…taxes at will; it prevails us from all political, civil and religious freedom;
it has put us under military watch in days of peace, that catch, exile and execute without being subject to any proceedings…it prohibits that we freely assemble…
Spain loads us with hungry employees who live from our patrimony and consume the product of our work…
So that we do not know our rights it maintains us in the ignorance…
It forces us to maintain a expensive army, whose unique use is to repress and to humiliate us…
To the God of our consciousness we appealed, and to the good faith of the civilized nations…
We want to enjoy the freedom for whose use God created man…
We want to abolish slavery…We want freedom of meeting, freedom of the press…”
The Spanish Government crushed the revolt in “The Ten Years War,” killing thousands. Under international pressure, Spain issued a Royal decree in 1886, ending slavery.
In 1879, the Little War took place, and in 1895, a final rebellion broke out.
Spain sent Governor Valeriano Weyler to Cuba to smash the anti-government protestors.
Weyler took the U.S. Government’s idea of interring Cherokee during the 1830’s Trail of Tears Indian Removal and developed it into notorious “concentration camps.”
He rounded up hundreds of thousands of Cuban civilians from their rural farms and marched them into crowded camps – an example that Hitler and Stalin followed.
Ultimately, between 1896-1897, over a third of Cuba’s population was in concentration camps, with over 225,000 dying from starvation, exposure and yellow fever.
Pleas for help reached the United States.
The USS Maine was sent to Havana’s harbor, but it blew up under suspicious conditions on February 15, 1898.
Newspaper publishers William Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer stirred the public with “yellow press” journalism into demanding President McKinley intervene militarily.
McKinley finally approved the Resolution of Congress, April 20, 1898:
“Whereas the abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders,
have shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to Christian civilization, culminating, as they have, in the destruction of a United States battle ship, with 266 of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, and cannot longer be endured…
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives…that the people of the island of Cuba are and of right ought to be free.”
Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, resigned and organized the first volunteer cavalry, made up of polo riders, cowboys and even Indians, helping to win the Battle of San Juan Hill.
Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders charged up Cuba’s San Juan Hill and captured it on JULY 1, 1898.
After eight hours of heavy fighting there were over 1,500 American casualties.
The wounded were cared for by Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.
When thousands of soldiers died from yellow fever, Army physician Walter Reed confirmed it was spread by mosquitoes.
After the Spanish-America War, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines were no longer controlled by Spain.
President William McKinley wrote, July 6, 1898:
“At a time…of the…glorious achievements of the naval and military arms…at Santiago de Cuba, it is fitting that we should pause and…reverently bow before the throne of divine grace and give devout praise to God, who holdeth the nations in the hollow of His Hands.”
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Spain conquered the New World in the early 1500’s and set up a system called encomienda or repartimiento, which was similar to feudal France’s Corvée “unfree labour.”
Slavery in Cuba began earlier and lasted longer than anywhere else in the Americas.
When indigenous Indians died from harsh treatment and lack of immunity to diseases, Spain replaced them with Africans bought from Muslim slave markets.
Priests like Bartolomé de las Casas, Franciscan Friars, Papal Bulls, and Christian missionaries, such as the Moravians, were a voice of conscience against slavery, but Colonial governments largely ignored them.
A notorious trade triangle developed with Havana, Cuba, at its center: SLAVES from Africa to SUGAR from the Caribbean to RUM in England.
Importation of slaves to the United States ended in 1807, but in 1839, an international incident occurred.
A Portuguese ship from Sierra Leone sold 53 slaves to Spanish Planters on the Cuban shipAmistad.
On July 1, 1839, the Africans seized the ship and demanded to be sailed back to Africa.
Instead, the captain misdirected the ship to Long Island, NY, where the slaves were arrested.
The Amistad Case went to the Supreme Court, with 74-year-old former President, John Quincy Adams, defending the Africans.
Adams stated, “By the blessing of God, I will argue the case before the Supreme Court,” and writing in his journal, October 1840:
“I implore the mercy of God to control my temper, to enlighten my soul, and to give me utterance, that I may prove myself in every respect equal to the task.”
Francis Scott Key offered Adams advice. Adams shook hands with Africans Cinque and Grabeau, saying: “God willing, we will make you free.”
Wining the case, JQA, known as “Old Man Eloquent,” had argued:
“The moment you come to the Declaration of Independence, that every man has a right to life and liberty, an inalienable right, this case is decided. I ask nothing more in behalf of these unfortunate men than this Declaration.”
In Cuba, a Creole farmer began a revolt in 1868 for racial equality, freedom of speech and freedom of association.
Spain killed thousands putting it down in the Ten Years War.
A Royal decree finally ended slavery in Cuba in 1886.
In 1895, another rebellion began and Spain sent 200,000 soldiers to Cuba.
Tens of thousands were put into concentration camps where they suffered from starvation, disease and exposure.
Yellow Press journalism excited the American public, who demanded President William McKinley intervene.
The U.S.S. Maine was sent to Havana, and on FEBRUARY 15, 1898, it blew up in the harbor under suspicious conditions, beginning the Spanish-American War.
President McKinley approved the Resolution of Congress:
“Whereas the abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to Christian civilization,
culminating, as they have, in the destruction of a United States battle ship, with 266 of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, and cannot longer be endured…
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives…that the people of the island of Cuba are and of right ought to be free.“
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While the Obama administration is cutting off our energy, other countries are taking every opportunity to increase theirs. If we don’t wake up, we will be the poorest nation on earth instead of the richest. What do you want?