By Mike Zaman, CRWENewswire Correspondent
Cuba has been an island that has been on America’s radar since the early 19th century. As far back as 1820 Thomas Jefferson had remarked that Cuba was on the colonies “to take list” The thought of annexation had been in open discusses as far back at the Jefferson administration, but became more vocal after his term of office had ended
It was in 1820 that Thomas Jefferson had ventured to say, Cuba is "the most interesting addition which could ever be made to our system of States" and told Secretary of War John C. Calhoun that the United States "ought, at the first possible opportunity, to take Cuba."
The US government tried twice, unsuccessfully, to buy Cuba from Spain, offering in 1897as much as $300 million dollars. Spain rejected the US offer.
An explosion that caused the American battleship USS Maine to sink while in the Havana harbor was believed to have led to the beginning of the Spanish–American War, although it was determined that the explosion was actually caused by a mine. This event had nothing to do with the US involvement in Cuba’s affairs. The involvement of the US was to rid Spanish dominance over Cuba which had become an important US trading partner, but even more, it was a period of American Empire building, or imperialism, as America sought to expand its territorial claims to include Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Hawaii.
On March 29, 1898 the US issued an ultimatum to Spain to terminate its presence in Cuba, Spain in its reply of April 1, 1898 ignored the US warning.
By April 4, 1898 the Hurst publications were calling for war with Spain. And the US congress authorized War against Spain on April 19, 1898. A state of war was declared on April 25, 1898.
The war was actually part of US foreign policy of Empire or imperialism as evidenced by two actions: one on May 4, 1898 when A joint resolution was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of President William McKinley, calling for the annexation of Hawaii. And on May 10, 1898 Secretary of the Navy John D. Long issued orders to Captain Henry Glass, commander of the cruiser U.S.S. Charleston to capture Guam on the way to Manila.
On May 18th 1898 U.S. President McKinley ordered a military expedition, headed by Major General Wesley Merritt, to complete the elimination of Spanish forces in the Philippines, and to occupy the islands.
During this period there were numerous discussions regarding taking the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico.
By July 18, 1898 the War with Spain was already over. Spain sought a cease fire. Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Guam were now American controlled.
But of all the US possessions Cuba is the most interesting because of its future, a haven for America’s crime families, and gambling, but what is even more surprising is the involvement of Batista with the syndicate.
Between 1898 and the early 1933 American carpetbaggers were acquiring land in Cuba, and America was importing some 95 percent of the Cuban crops.
In 1933 Batista rose to power by over throwing Gerardo Machado. Batista was a US Puppet, and a friend of organized crime,
Batista was a close ally of Meyer Lansky; they formed a friendship and business relationship that flourished for a decade. It all began during a stay at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York in the late 1940s, it was mutually agreed that, in return for kickbacks, Batista would give Lansky and the Mafia control of Havana’s racetracks and casinos. And it went even further.
Under Batista Brothels flourished in Cuba, and a major industry grew up around them; government officials received bribes, policemen collected protection money. Prostitutes could be seen standing in doorways. One report estimated that 11,500 prostitutes were in Havana. Beyond the outskirts of the capital, beyond the slot machines, and the glitz and glamour was one of the poorest and most beautiful countries in the Western world.
American mobster Lucky Luciano ran a number of casinos in Cuba with the sanction of Batista, though the American government eventually succeeded in pressuring the Batista regime to deport Luciano to Italy.
Batista encouraged large-scale gambling in Havana, announcing in 1955 that Cuba would grant a gaming license to anyone who invested U.S. $1 million in a hotel or $200,000 in a new nightclub - and that the government would provide matching public funds for construction, a 10-year exemption from taxes, and impose no duties on imports of equipment and furnishings for new hotels.
From each casino the Batista government was to receive U.S. $250,000 for the license and a percentage of the profits. Batista waived the background checks required for casino operations in the United States, and opened the door for casino investors with illegally obtained sources of funding. It was rumored that besides the U.S. $250,000 to obtain a license, an additional fee was sometimes required under the table.
Lansky became a prominent figure in Cuba's gambling operations, and exerted influence over Batista's casino policies, because Batista was actually Lansky’s partner in several projects. Lansky associate Chauncey Holt described Batista as "always in Lansky's pocket” Lansky and Batista had turned Cuba into an international drug trafficking port. The Mafia's Havana Conference was held on December 22, 1946 at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, owned by Lansky with Batista as a secret partner.
American multinational businesses made large profits from Batista’s regime; corporations such as ITT were allowed “excessive” telephone rate increases, which Batista had granted at the insistence of the US government. It is believed that the CIA was also involved in some capacity. We do know from History that Sam Giancana was introduced to drug trafficking through his CIA contacts.
When Senator John F. Kennedy began his bid for US President, he denounced the US support for Batista, US aid had been in the form of arms to support the Batista dictatorship while Batista had murdered over 20,000 of his own people.
It was this corrupt system that brought Fidel Castro a young attorney, to prominence, and in 1959, he over through the Batista government, and ousted the US because of the Cuban public sentiment that the people lived in poverty because of the US influence and that we supported the corrupt Batista regime. Batista fled Cuba with $300, million US, and another $700 million in art.
When Castro nationalized US corporate holdings in 1960, the US began a boycott of Cuba.
But it is time now to reopen trade with Cuba completely. Since 2000, some trade has been allowed, but it’s time to take down all trade barriers. The US was the actual cause of Castro coming to power, we supported a crime syndicate, and a dictatorship.
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