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Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

Would Cubans Choose Annexation or Independence?

January 21, 2014 | Print Print |

Erasmo Calzadilla

HAVANA TIMES — In recent years, the citizens of Puerto Rico and the Falkland Islands (a.k.a Islas Malvinas) were consulted regarding the status of their respective territories. Both preferred annexation or integration to a First World country over independence. If Cuba were granted the possibility of choosing, what would its citizens decide?

More than half a century of “socialism” has eroded Cubans’ sense of belonging to a territory and culture. In Cuba, “homeland” is a word about to become extinct. No dictatorship, no blockade, not even US neo-colonialism was able to achieve this.

A good part of Cubans living on the island, particularly the young, longs to escape. Preferably towards the north, but Ecuador, Chile, China and other destinations will also do. The point is to leave for any corner of the planet where there’s at least some hope of getting ahead, even at the cost of enormous sacrifice.

Illustration by Manuel Herrera

I myself am a good example of an uprooted citizen: I am not proud of a people who acquiesce to dictatorship. The symbols of the homeland disgust me. If it weren’t for my folks, I would have picked up and left a long time ago.

This, however, doesn’t make me blind to the perversity that surrounds the issue of annexation. Of course the inhabitants of a country saddled by chronic poverty long to “become integrated” into any rich neighbor willing to open its doors to them, but that’s only part of the story.

The responsibility of the rich for the chronic and structural poverty of the poor is the other. Evoking the first without recalling the second would be highly unjust.

Uncertainty

In less than twenty years, fossil fuel shortages and climate change will unleash a global crisis. We’ll have wars, massive exoduses and shifting national borders. Some analysts believe that, as a result of this, small nations will fuse into larger blocs and lose their sovereignty in the process.

If that were to happen, what bloc would Cuba gravitate towards? Towards the north or towards the south? The current trend points toward the south, but who knows what will happen tomorrow.

In any event, civil liberties and individual rights will be hard to preserve in the midst of the coming social upheavals. We’re already experiencing this.

This is the end of my predictive, geo-strategic analysis of annexation.


What's your opinion?

  • Griffin

    Beware of apocalyptic forecasts of impending doom for the world. People have been talking like that for millenia, and yet the world stumbles on.

    Puerto Rico was annexed by the US over a century ago. Recently, the people of Puerto Rico have voted for statehood with the US, not for “annexation”. It’s unclear how most Americans feel about that, but sooner or later, Puerto Rico will become the 51st state.

    The people of the Falkland Islands are British by decent. They have no connection to Argentina, which has no serious territorial claim on the islands. The Falklanders voted overwhelmingly to remain part of the UK, and not to be annexed by Argentina. To claim that Argentina is the rightful owner of the Falkland Islands is as absurd and illegal as claiming the USA is the rightful owner of Cuba.

    There is zero political will in the USA to annex Cuba. I doubt more than 1% of Cubans would vote for such a thing anyway.

    How about independence, sovereignty, freedom and democracy for Cuba? That would be nice for a change.

    • John Goodrich

      Do you not feel a bit strange advocating for democracy when you support capitalism -which cannot be described accurately as anything but a top-down dictatorship – and the U.S government form which is an oligarchy: rule by the ( few) wealthy over the majority and also a totalitarian form in function ?
      Do you not see the contradiction in what you say you believe and what you actually believe ?
      But then, if you can believe that the Malvinas, located off the coast of Argentina, logically belong to Britain simply because they colonized them and hold them by force, I suppose you can believe anything.

      • Informed Consent

        you really do live in your own fantasy world. .,…a world of one.

        I mean who else thinks of the ‘nuclear family” as a dictatorship and believes capitalism is somehow the antithesis of a democratic government. You even have your own damn fool definition of communism.

        • John Goodrich

          I.C.,
          Since you seem to have some difficulty in understanding the meaning of a dictatorship , I’ll take a few minutes to explain it in more depth.
          On the nuclear family: traditionally and before capitalism’s failure for the working class, the nuclear family in the U.S consisted of the father as head of the family because of both his physical strength and his economic power as the only wage earner in the family.
          The father , in most families , wielded and still wields dictatorial power over his wife and children.
          His world is law and in the overwhelming majority of homes was not to be questioned.
          That is a fair description of a dictatorship and cannot by any stretch of the term be considered a democracy.
          On capitalism:
          Let me preface the explanation with DUH!
          Go up to your boss tomorrow and tell him you’d like a say on the kind of work you do, how much you will be paid, the hours you’d like to work , pension, time-off , pension etc.
          Let me know how that works out .
          That capitalism is not only a dictatorship as far as each persons workplace goes , is magnified enormously in the running of the country’s government because it takes the enormous contributions from mega-corporations and wealthy individuals for any candidate for national office to get elected.
          Once elected,those government officials must do what the mega-corporations and the very wealthy want them to do or not be funded for the next election.
          On the definition of communism:
          Go to any institution of higher learning wherein such subjects are taught and inquire of those teaching what communism is .
          You could also just go to the internet and read how communism is defined in the classic sense of the philosophy and not in the ignorance-based popular understanding of it such as you exhibit.
          Then perhaps you’ll see just who is doing the “damn fool” thinking.

      • Griffin

        Argentina, and all the rest of South, Central and North America, and the Caribbean were all colonies. Are you saying that fact makes all of the existing countries of the New World illegitimate? The Falkland Islands are no different, except that there were no indigenous people on the island before the Europeans came.

        Just as the Falkland Islands are off the coast of Argentina, so Cuba is off the coast of the USA. So are you arguing that Cuba belongs to the USA?

        Twice in the last century, France held onto it’s land by force, against invaders from Germany. Does that make France an illegal country?

        Argentina briefly occupied parts of the Falkland Islands, just as the USA briefly occupied Cuba. So are you saying that Cuba therefore belongs to the USA?

        The British established the first colony in the islands and have maintained the most consistent presence there since then. The people who live on the islands voted overwhelmingly to stay part of the UK. That makes the Falkland Islands British, no matter what a fascist general or a limousine socialist might say. Just because the Argentine government needs a distraction to their domestic troubles is no basis for asserting sovereignty over another land.

        By what possible basis are the Falkland Islands to be considered as part of Argentina?

  • Moses Patterson

    Given the unspoken basis to resistance to immigration reform legislation, it is clear that a powerful minority of US voters have no desire to make Puerto Rico the 51st State of the Union any time soon. To do so would take 2/3 of the 50 State legislatures to vote yes. Therefore, it is not worth mentioning the possibility of making Cuba a part of the US. Given the lack of natural resources, the historically low productivity rate and the longstanding ‘welfare’ mentality of the Cuban people, there is simply no attraction held by moderates and conservatives in the US for Cuban statehood. My wife was taught all her life growing up in Cuba that the ultimate goal of the US was to “annex” Cuba. She was indoctrinated to believe that the US was dying to get our resource-grubbin’ hands on Cuban nickel mines in Moa. It was not until she came to the US that she learned that most Americans couldn’t find Cuba on a map, and beyond singers Pit Bull and Gloria Estefan, couldn’t name a single Cuban. Most Americans don’t know AND don’t care if Fidel Castro is still alive. Annexing Cuba is less important to Americans than … well, just about everything.

    • Fig Figueroa

      Sir, the Constitution does not require the states vote to admit new states. In fact, as far as I know, it has never been done. The Constitution grants Congress that right. And Congress can enact and enable legislation to admit a new state. Let’s keep in mind that, unlike Cuba, Puerto Rico became a US territory in 1898 and it’s residents became Americans by birth in 1917 (several years before citizenship was extended to Native Americans), and in 1952, Congress passed a law that created the Commonwealth’s constitution. The island is organized like any other state of the nation.

  • PeterOliva

    We are not ripe apple at all to gravitate towards USA. Thanks for the bad idea thinking!