Fateful treaty for the birth of the Republic of Cuba

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In view of the impossibility of the United States government to annex Cuba after the Spanish-American War of 1898, after defeating the Spanish colonial forces almost annihilated by the Cuban insurgents, it had to recognize the status of republic of the island, and the Cuban flag was hoisted for the first time on May 20, 1902.

However, everything was planned to curtail the freedom of Cuba anyway, and on May 22, 1903, the government of the United States and that of the newborn republic signed the Permanent Treaty in Havana, which indicated how the relations between the neighboring country and Cuba would be. This was the condition for ending the U.S. military occupation.

The Permanent Treaty reproduced the first seven articles of the Constitutional Appendix, Platt Amendment of 1901, giving the United States the right to intervene and to own naval and coal bases in Cuba.

For all revolutionaries, both those who led the 1922 university reform and those who led the workers’ and communist movement in the 1920s, the abolition of the Platt Amendment and the Permanent Treaty, two neocolonial mechanisms, became a major task.

On May 29, 1934, the governments of Carlos Mendieta (actually led by Ambassador Jefferson Caffery and former Sergeant Batista) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt conveniently repealed the 1903 Permanent Treaty. To replace it, the Treaty on Relations between the Republic of Cuba and the United States was signed, and it was ratified two days later by the US Senate.

Although the new agreement eliminated the power to intervene in Cuba when the northern neighbor deemed it necessary, it ratified the acts carried out during the first U.S. occupation and validated the permanence of the Guantanamo naval base without setting a deadline for the occupation.

This did not mean that Washington would stop trying to keep Cuba under its control or to intervene when it considered it necessary. An expert on Latin American affairs, William Castle, said in those days: “The repeal of the Platt Amendment does not mean that the United States will not intervene in Cuba again. (…) There may be times in the future when the United States will be forced to intervene in Cuba or in another nation”.

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