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The Platt Amendment wr.s immediately imp...

The Platt Amendment wr.s immediately imp... image
Parent Issue
Day
20
Month
January
Year
1969
OCR Text

The Platt Amendment wr.s immediately implemento. J.: Guantanamo Bay was leased as a U.S. naval bas at a rent of $2,000 a year (and remains a U.S. base to this day). The Marines remained in Cuba until 1902, then rcturnc:! the same year to "prot private property and pacify" when a revolt ajainst Cuba 's first president brokc cut. Troops occupied Cuba until 1906, and return ! to put down rebellions in 1912 and 1916. American corporations dominatcd not nly su-.r production 'ut also service industriestelephonc, electricity, raiiways, buseó, banks, etc. Cuba was naw an American property in the world game of imperialism. The U.S. military followed the U.S. dollar. And the :;un ensured the safety of the dolar. Whereas in 1896 10% of Cuba 's total sugar production camc from American-owncd milis, in 1914 35% cf the total was in American hands, and by 1926-63%. A faithful protector of that property wr.s Fulgencio Batista, Cuban president and president-maker for two decades. Batista carne to power in 1933, through seizing control of the army, and through the army, the government. The U.S. recognized his regime, and Batista ruled Cuba for the next 10 years, his power stemming from his control of the army and his mantle of American approval. Batista went into exile when his designatcd successor was defeated in the elcctions of 1944, but returned in 1952 and again took over both the army and the government. The only outcry was made by a lawyer, 25-year-old Fidel Castro Ruz. He submitted a legal brief before the Urgency Court in Havana showing that Batista and his cirele had violatcd six articles of the Code of Social Defense, which addcd up to 108 years in jail. He demanded that the judges eithcr carry out theirr duties and punish Batista or "hang up your robes". Fidel, the son of a sugar plantation owner, had been sne of the leaders of the anti -government student movement while at the University. After graduating aw school in 1950, he was a "radical in the professiuns" fcr two years, defending workers, farmers o.ná political prisoners. In 1952 he ran fcr Congress, but Batista's cop d'cta that year disillusioncd him about the efficacy of electoral struggle. Aftcr losing his legal fight against Batista in the Urgency Ccurt, Fidel was convinced that there was only one way to free Cuba from corrupti.n, economie inequality and dictatorship. That way was rcvolution. The small army Fidel raised-165 young men and two women- planned to attack Cuba's second largest military fortress, Fort Moneada in Santiago de Cuba, at dawn on July 26, 1953, following the excesses cL the Carnival celebration the night before. Thcy expected to surprise the 1,000 soldiers quartered there, capture the heavy military equipment and ammunition, and then seize the radio stations and cali upon the Cuban people to risc up against the Dictator. But despite perfect security, their plans were defeated by bad breaks and errors. The rebels lost seven men in the attack, and Batista's army tortured and killed more than 70 rebels who later surrendered or were captured. In addition, Batista's pólice massacred men, women, and childrcn in Santiago. Shockcd by the general bloodbath, Cuban liberáis and clergymen persuaded the army to grant trials to the rebels if thcy would give themsclvcs up. Soon afterward, Fidel was captured and Raul and his men came down from their mountain hideout and surrendered. The mass trial of Fidel and 121 others opened September 21, 1953 in the Santiago courthouse with 1000 soldiers on guard outeide the courthouse and armored cars blocking all roads. Fidel proudly admitted his attack on Moneada, stating that no other way was open to change the Cuban government. The prosecution tried in vain to tie up the rebels with one or another opposition leader or even with the Cuban Communist Party, since thcy could not understand the independent and re volutionary nature of the rebel program. Fidel said he was fighting in the name of the people against dictatorship, tyranny and injusticc. He spoke of thousands of Cubans without work, farm laborers who worked four months during the sugar harvest and starved cight months a year, industrial workers who were chcated out cf their full wages. He talked about agrarian and educational reform, scientific farming, better housing, lower rents, rcduced impurts from the United States and a new kind of government with justice and equality for all Cubans. Whcn he finished he said: "Sentence me. I don't mind. History will absolve me." continued next issue, watch tor it.