It is notable that more than a million and a half Cubans in the United States, not all of them entitled to vote, have two Senators and four Congressmen in Washington, leaving behind Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, who should have more Representatives, the former because they far outnumber the Cubans and the latter because of their colonial status.
The Cuban-Americans have more representatives in Congress than the citizens of the states of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, North and South Dakota, Utah, Alaska, Rhode Island, Maine, Hawaii and New Mexico.
Much like the pro-independence movement, the roots of annexationism in Cuba stem from the Cubans’ rejection of Spanish colonialism. Both currents competed with reformism, which settled for a not-so-tight colonial yoke.
By the time all of Spain’s other possessions in America had become independent, Cuba and Puerto Rico were still forced to remain "ever faithful."
What the Cuban annexationists who went to North America in the 19th century have in common with the economic elites who left in the 1960s is their disagreement with the pro-independence ideas of the Cuban revolutionaries.
In 1959, hundreds of crooked officials at the service of Fulgencio Batista’s tyranny arrived in Miami, their suitcases full of dollars stolen from the Cuban Treasury, alongside other hundreds of army officers, torturers and murderers.
Some were fleeing from the law and others from social justice, but they all had blood in their hands. Both groups planted the seed of what eventually became Miami’s Cuban mafia, whose role has so negatively marked the relations between the United States and Cuba for over half a century and under eleven U.S. presidents.
Using their vast criminal experience and training skills learned from the CIA to carry out military and terrorist missions against the Revolution, these bandits imposed gang-like rules to control Florida-based Cuban Ã©migrÃ©s to get their vote and, therefore, underpin their illegitimate grip on the local economy with the kind of political power that the two parties in the U.S. have long fought to hold.
Threatened by the revolutionary leadership’s decision to take real charge of the country on behalf of its people and in favor of its most strategic and pressing needs, U.S. hegemonists chose violence to have the upper hand again in the island. To that end, the experienced repressors trained by the Pentagon’s advisors in Batista’s time were more useful than the bourgeois factions who demanded the United States recover their large estates and properties, nationalized by the Revolution.
However, the repeated failure of their violent actions led hardcore right-wing elements in the U.S., especially under Bush Sr. and Jr., to opt for murky schemes to endow their Cuban counterparts in Southern Florida with a political power blown up all out of their proportion in the population.
Most U.S.-based politicians of Cuban extraction Â many of whom were descendants of government officials or police officers under Fulgencio Batista (1952-1959) Â took their first steps in politics either within the framework of Washington’s aggressive Cuba policy or in anti-Cuban groups armed by the CIA and other agencies engaged in espionage and subversion, mainly in Miami and New Jersey.
Disapproval of any contacts with Cuba is still the prevailing attitude among the Cuban-Americans in Congress and the top dogs of the Cuban community in the U.S.
However, much as the media prefer to look away, significant changes are already visible at grassroots level among Cuban-Americans.
A recent exchange of letters between Hillary Clinton and annexationist Ileana Ros-Lehtinen showed the "pro-Batista" Congresswoman is less in favor of her fellow countrymen than the Secretary of State.
Nevertheless, we must bear in mind that annexation has very rarely been on the Cuban community’s agenda, and only a relatively small number of those Ã©migrÃ©s have ever given up their identity or are willing to do so in the name of personal ambition and taking advantage of the U.S.’s centuries-old hunger for Cuba.
JosÃ© MartÃ in the past and Fidel Castro a little more than fifty years ago were capable of promoting pro-independence ideological movements among the U.S.-based Cuban Ã©migrÃ©s, whose roots have proven to be impervious to any hate or smear campaign.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.