Sunday, May 20, 2007

May 20, 1902: Cuban Independence Day

Today marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of the Republic of Cuba. It was not born under happy auspices though amid much happiness. The imposition of the Platt Amendment and the lease "in perpetuity" of Guantánamo Naval Base were unavoidable limitations on our sovereignty which the dignity and resolve of the Cuban people eventually overcame in the case of the first and would surely already have overcome in the case of the second except for Fidel Castro.

What the Cuban people won in 1898 and finally received in 1902 was not "nominal independence" nor was Cuba a "pseudo-republic" or a "neocolonial" republic. The independence achieved on May 20, 1902 was real and irrevocable, not a "legal fiction" but an incontrovertible fact. That Fidel Castro remains in power to this day perversely proves the very fact that Communists deny. If Cuba had not been granted independence on May 20, 1902, there would have been no Fidel Castro, just as there has never been a Puerto Rican Fidel Castro. Yes, the U.S. could and did intervene practically at will in Cuba before the abrogation of the Platt Amendment in 1934, but it couldn't and didn't stay precisely because Cuba was an independent state, which meant that it could be raped and ravaged but never wedded to the United States.

Even the greatest U.S. intervention of all, which did not involve a single U.S. Marine or larcenous provisional governor, but the imposition of Fidel Castro on the Cuban people through U.S. meddling and his perpetuation through U.S. treachery, did not rob our country of its independence, which is an inherent condition under international law which it would be impossible to usurp or renounce and which will insure that whatever Cuba is in the future, it will not be a colony or province of any other country. No less than Switzerland, no less than Spain, no less than the U.S., or any other sovereign nation, Cuba is and will always be an independent state. That was the legacy to us of the men of 1868 and 1895 and the reason that Máximo Gómez, the only one of the triad of epic liberators who lived to see that day, proclaimed with no hint of doubt or irony: "I think we have arrived" as the U.S. flag was lowered and the Cuban flag raised over the Palacio del Cabo.

The Cuban Republic lives though not in the farce of the Castro regime. It lives in our flag, our coat-of-arms, our national anthem and the Constitution of 1940; it lives in our heroes and martyrs past and present, and it lives in our people, who are the heirs of that legacy and who shall some day re-claim it when Cubans shall not only be independent but free as well.

May we all live to see the day when we can repeat the Generalissimo's words: "Creo que hemos llegado."

¡Viva Cuba libre!

¡Patria y Libertad!

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