In keeping with the comments I posited several days ago regarding the normalization of relations with Cuba, I would like offer another bit of history of the island nation.
On this date in 1898, President McKinley petitioned congress for a declaration of war against Spain. This was quite an unusual request, but given the proximity of Cuba to the US and the tensions raised in recent months, Cuba was ripe for revolution. The Spanish military had moved into Cuba and the US in a strong statement had decried the actions as unjust. The US voiced support for the Cuban revolution and subsequently entered into a 4 month battle with Spain, over the occupation.
Several years later, an embroiled Cuba under the control of Batista, was the target of Castro, bent on returning Cuba to the people. What happened, while historically unchallenged, is perhaps not so dissimilar to what is happening in the US today.
Castro, after having spent several years in prison over his plot to oust Batista, returned with a vengance and subsequently siezed power after a particularly deadly guerrilla style war against the Cuban government. Castro then assumed the role as the Commander in Chief of the Cuban military forces. Within a few months of Castro’s rise to power, he consolidated the powers of the government and began the move to a socialist form of government. The first course of action was to appropriate private businesses through legitimate government functions which ultimately led to the expulsion of foreign investors in the Cuban economy. Next, Castro developed and instituted a form of government that was keen on the redistribution of wealth and properties held by individuals and investors. During this time some $850million in property od US citizens was confiscated and appropriated to the Castro led government.
Of course the masses, of which most were poor, low income families, loved the move by Castro as he decried imperialism and capitalists across the world as evil. Soon however, the middle and upper income people were complaining about the governments actions and sought relief that would never come. Instead, these people were often labeled as extremists, anti-government and anti-Castro. Thousands of these Cuban patriots were subsequently jailed and summarily executed for crimes against the Cuban state.
This brings us to where we are today. Cuba is a country that once enjoyed freedom, that through a series of government actions and dictatorial leaders with huge followings from the poor and mostly uneducated, was brought to the brink of being a failed nation-state. The Castro-led government has consistently decried other coutries actions while failing to handle the problems in their own backyard. While this is not news to many people, it is uncanny the parallels that can be drawn between the love of Castro the Cuban people once had, and the certain fear he now instills in his subjects. Our government is quite possibly right where Cuba was in that fateful period during 1959. The common themes I can see are:
- George Bush was hated and decried by the masses and Barack Obama was seen by the masses as the person who would save the country. Batista indeed was hated by many and Castro did indeed garner the love and admiration of the masses in Cuba.
- Obama is seeking to allow government to take control of US businesses under the guise that their failure would harm American citizens. Castro took control of private businesses under the guise that their failure to operate as dictated by the government would cause harm to the Cuban people.
- Congress is seeking to increase taxation on the middle and upper income, and redistribute this wealth to the poor. Castro confiscated private holdings and properties of Cubans and foreign investors alike, and subsequently distributed portions in government programs designed to gain favor with the poor masses.
- The economic promiscuity of the Cuban government ultimately led to the near failure of its economy, the economy of our country is teetering on the brink of serious decline.
- Cuban nationals that spoke out against the government actions were jailed and many were executed. Last week, our own Department of Homeland Security issued an edict that returning war veterans and conservative “right wing” extremists should be classified as potential domestic terrorists.
I am quite fearful of the direction this president and congress is taking this country. I can only hope and pray that these recent actions by our government can be undone by the patriots of our time, so that we may return to a land of freedom and opportunity. Remember that those who give up a little freedom for a little security, deserve neither security nor freedom. Can we prevent this government from becoming a tyrannical state in the similar fashion of Cuba? I pray we are not in a similar situation to Cuba in 50 years. Only time will tell.