I send greetings to all those celebrating the 105th anniversary of Cuba's Independence.
The longing for justice, freedom, and human rights is a desire that can be delayed but never denied. The United States remains committed to extending the full blessings of liberty around the world, and on this important milestone, we stand united with freedom-loving people of all nations in the conviction that Cuba's future must be one of dignity, liberty, and opportunity.
This day is also an opportunity to recognize the generations of Cuban Americans who have made contributions to our society. Your hard work and high ideals reflect the best of America and enrich our Nation.
Laura and I send our best wishes. May God bless the people of Cuba and all the sons and daughters of Cuba who call America home.
GEORGE W. BUSH
This is of course very funny for all who know the history of Cuba's independence. Yes, on May 20th 1902 Cuba won its independence... from the United States. The United States invaded Cuba under the pretense of liberating Cuba from Spain, landing in July of 1898 and by August of 1898 the war was over. The US then stayed occupying Cuba [pictured] for almost four years until the Cuban Congress agreed to the demands of the McKinley Administration. Demands made clear through the forced adoption of the Platt Amendment to Cuba's constitution:
Whereas the Congress of the United States of America, by an Act approved March 2, 1901, provided as follows:
Provided further, That in fulfillment of the declaration contained in the joint resolution approved April twentieth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, entitled "For the recognition of the independence of the people of Cuba, demanding that the Government of Spain relinquish its authority and government in the island of Cuba, and withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters, and directing the President of the United States to use the land and naval forces of the United States to carry these resolutions into effect," the President is hereby authorized to "leave the government and control of the island of Cuba to its people" so soon as a government shall have been established in said island under a constitution which, either as a part thereof or in an ordinance appended thereto, shall define the future relations of the United States with Cuba, substantially as follows:
"I.-That 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, lodgement in or control over any portion of said island."
"II. That said government 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, after defraying the current expenses of government shall be inadequate."
"III. That 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."
"IV. That all Acts of the United States in Cuba during its military occupancy thereof are ratified and validated, and all lawful rights acquired thereunder shall be maintained and protected."
"V. That 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."
"VI. That the Isle of Pines shall be omitted from the proposed constitutional boundaries of Cuba, the title thereto being left to future adjustment by treaty."
"VII. That 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."
"VIII. That by way of further assurance the government of Cuba will embody the foregoing provisions in a permanent treaty with the United States."
Well after recognizing Cuba's transition into an independent republic, United States assumed temporary military rule for three more years between 1906-1909 following a rebellion led by Jose Miguel Gomez. In 1912 U.S. forces returned again to Cuba to quell protests by Afro-Cubans against perceived discrimination. By 1926 U.S companies owned 60% of the Cuban sugar industry and imported 95% of the total Cuban crop, and Washington was generally supportive of successive Cuban Governments. However, internal confrontations between the government of Gerardo Machado (1925-33) and political opposition led to a military overthrow by Cuban rebels in 1933. U.S. Ambassador Sumner Welles requested U.S. military intervention. President Roosevelt, despite his promotion of the Good Neighbor Policy toward Latin America, ordered 29 warships to Cuba and Key West, alerting U.S. Marines, and bombers for use if necessary. Machado's replacement, Ramón Grau assumed the Presidency and immediately nullified the Platt Amendment. In protest, the United States denied recognition to Grau's government, Ambassador Welles describing the new regime as "communistic" and "irresponsible". [adapted source from wikipedia article]
I can only assume that President Bush wasn't referring to that period of Cuba's struggle for independence. Instead he refers to the current Communist period under Fidel Castro, under which the United States maintains Cuba under the longest and most stringent of embargoes which maintains Cuba in a state of poverty. He's definitely not referring to American support of Fulgencio Batista, the American backed dictator who ruled by sheer fascist oppression of the Cuban people and beggat the necessity of Castro's rebellion to overthrow him in 1959. He's definitely not referring to his administration's increased restrictions on Cubans who wish to visit their family members in the island, nor is he referring to the 80 million dollars earmarked for the overthrow of the Cuban Government by Bush's own Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba which doesn't include a single Cuban.
Feliz Dia de la Independencia Cubana. Even if I'm a little late, and even if no one except President Bush celebrates this day.