Although geopolitics as a field was not born until the end of the 19th century and the early 20th, in Europe, beginning with its ” crusades” and “discoveries,” and the conquest later, capitalism and the European kingdoms expanded, taking over more and more territory, which they appropriated by brutal force, in the name of God, from the people living there.
Along the same lines, but this time for purely “religious” reasons, the Mayflower pilgrims reached what is now Virginia, in the Anno Domini of 1620, the date recorded in history as the birth of a nation. Ten years later, a missionary would affirm that, by a special design of heaven, if the natives acted unjustly, the newcomers would have the right to legally wage war and subdue them.
Then the great property owners, slave holders and traders, gave themselves a Constitution that would create a republic, a government and institutions capable of serving those who held the wealth; that expanded their power stealing and massacring the native population and those they enslaved under the disguise of a model of democracy, adopting a name that explicitly expressed its destiny: the United States of America.
By 1845, the “divine mandate” bequeathed from the days of the Mayflower, would include the idea of Manifest Destiny for the country born in 1787, which did not include among its citizens either Indians, or slaves, the poor, or women, but assumed the right, the obligation, to expand, to bring freedom and progress to the entire continent, as a New York magazine columnist would affirm at the time, to become a symbol and a principle repeated generation after generation, to this very day.
Control of the Caribbean Sea, south of the North American continent – and Cuba, located at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico – were critical to ensuring security and a connection with the world. And although the concepts of geostrategy and geoeconomics had not yet been formulated either, John Quincy Adams understood them well, writing metaphorically about “the ripe fruit” and, with no metaphor whatsoever, stated: “…Cuba almost in view of our shores, from a multitude of considerations, has become an object of transcendental importance for the political and commercial interests of our union.”
When in 1823 the fifth President of the nation announced the Monroe Doctrine (America for the Americans), and the intention of the United States to not tolerate European intervention on the continent, an imperial republic was established in the Americas with its consequent imperial Presidency, and a few years later, the dictatorship of two imperial parties that would take turns in office.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the U.S. intervened in the Spanish-Cuban war, making it what Lenin called “the first imperialist war.” Opening the door to imperial expansion beyond the continent, the country’s intervention in this war, conveniently renamed the Spanish-American War, was justified by deceptive manipulation of the explosion of the U.S. battleship Maine.
Political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski characterized this conflict as the first U.S. war of conquest outside its territory. The country’s claims of special status as the sole guardian of the security of the American continent – previously proclaimed in the Monroe Doctrine and later justified by America’s alleged manifest destiny – was firmly established with the construction of the Panama Canal, he noted. Brzezinski only overlooks the fact that the construction of the canal was made possible by Panama’s independence from Colombia, which was also very “convenient” for the United States.
Once the war was concluded – due to the decisive success of the Mambises – the conditions were created for the empire, through the Platt Amendment, to implement measures that would later be defined as neocolonialist, imposed with Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘big stick’ policy, and his amendment to the Monroe Doctrine, the so-called “corollary” according to which, if a Latin American or Caribbean country threatened or endangered the rights or properties of U.S. citizens or companies, the government must intervene to restore these rights. To achieve the same objective, with other means, another Roosevelt (Franklin Delano) would follow the Good Neighbor policy, in the second decade of the century.
Thus, regardless of the party that would govern the United States (seven Republicans and three Democrats, from 1898 to 1958), their representatives and ambassadors, acting as proconsuls, kept Cuba under the empire’s thumb: 25 years with two military interventions (1898-1902, 1906-1909); a Constitution (1901), mutilated by an amendment; short periods of formal democracy in which the people asserted their participation to win a progressive Constitution (1940), and two brutal dictatorships run by Gerardo Machado (1925-1933) and Fulgencio Batista (1952-1958), which, under U.S. protection, were able to take control of the country and its economy, massacring the people when it was necessary to “restore order” for the empire and surviving on the basis of widespread corruption throughout the country and its institutions – although never succeeding in subduing the people or their rebellion.
Once the dictatorship was overthrown in 1959, independent Cuba would launch a Revolution in the mare nostrum of a strong empire, which considered Latin America and the Caribbean its backyard. Since the beginning of the Cold War, the United States had guaranteed absolute control of the region with the Truman Doctrine and McCarthyism, creating mechanisms and institutions like the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) and the Organization of American States (OAS), the infamous School of the Americas (1946), specialized in the training of Latin American military in techniques that included torture and, of course, the CIA.
The Cuban Revolution triumphed in what the empire considered its hemisphere, a radical change made behind its back, without consent, in a country where the economy was dominated by U.S. corporations which owned everything from the electric and telephone companies to the hotel and sugar industries, the banks and oil refineries, where they tried out everything that would later employ around the world, where they came to drink when prohibition reigned in their country, to play when gambling was forbidden, to have their women abort, to spend weekends away from prying eyes in clinics, hotels or luxury brothels; where the Marines landed to trample the dignity of Cubans.
After 1959, U.S. policy toward Cuba took a hostile turn, regardless of the party that ran the government in “the giant of the seven league boots” and, during the terms of 12 imperial Presidents, since January 1 that year to date, five Democrats (Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama) and seven Republicans (Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush – father and son – and Trump) planned and executed 681 acts of terrorism, carried out by their own agencies or paid hit men under their protection, including the invasion of Playa Girón, the bombing of a Cuban airliner over Barbados, and the recent attack on our embassy in Washington, with a toll of 3,478 deaths and 2,099 disabling injuries.
In March of 1959, a Republicans administration began covert operations and, on the basis of the Trading with the Enemy Act (dated October 6, 1917) initiated the vicious economic, commercial and financial blockade that every year all U.S. Presidents since then have reactivated.
They have orchestrated campaigns to disrupt normalized relations with Cuba, ranging from inventing a Soviet nuclear submarine base in Cienfuegos Bay to “sonic attacks” on U.S. diplomatic staff. They have financed, encouraged or allowed terrorist organizations to attack Cuba, including one created in 1981 by the CIA, the Cuban American National Foundation. They approved legislation to promote “democracy” in Cuba, the Torricelli Act, proposed by two Democrats, making clear that this is the country’s state policy toward Cuba, not a partisan issue. And now, current President Donald Trump has escalated the conflict and expanded the use of political coercion against allies and friends, as well as adversaries.
The Democrats, during their turns in office, executed Eisenhower’s plans for the invasion of Cuba, which ended with the defeat of mercenaries at Playa Girón. They officially initiated the blockade with Executive Order No. 3447; they exacerbated tensions that led to the so-called October Crisis, putting the world on the verge of nuclear war; they secured OAS approval of a resolution to end diplomatic relations with Cuba; they provoked the Camarioca and Mariel mass migrations, and even signed what, at the proposal of the Republicans, was called the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, better known as the Helms-Burton, which reaffirms the fundamental state character of the country’s Cuba policy. Although Obama, in 2016, asked us to leave the past behind and “look to the future,” he could not hide or disguise his administration’s objective: to achieve the longed-for “regime change,” which he explained to the Cuban counterrevolution in Miami saying: “It’s time to let Cuban-American money make families less dependent on the Castro regime.”
Regardless of who becomes President of the United States in the November elections, one thing remains clear: The solution to the U.S.-Cuba conflict will only be possible when the empire recognizes that our island is a free, sovereign and independent nation.
This article was originally published by Granma