N.Y. Volunteers 17th Regiment in Puerto Rico, July 1898.
This is an important week in Caribbean history. One hundred and thirteen years ago yesterday, the United States invaded Puerto Rico as part of the military transfer of colonial possessions from the dying empire of Spain to the expanding empire of the United States. On July 25, 1898, U.S. troops landed in the bay of Guánica, on the south coast of Puerto Rico. They were led by General Nelson Miles, who headed the first U.S. military government of my country. (Miles played a leading role in almost every U.S. campaign against the Native peoples of western North America, including the Lakota, Nez Percé, Kiowa, Comanche and Apache.) On August 13, 1898, Spain signed a treaty handing over the last of its American possession to the United States.
by Ricardo Levins Morales
During the same years that Simón Bolivar was warning the newly independent nations of Latin America that the greatest threat to their sovereignty was U.S. imperialism, and urged a strategy of unity and cultural independence in order to prevent a reconquest, the great Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa were warning the indigenous people of North America of the same dangers, and built a Pan-Indian alliance to unify the Native nations, restore indigenous cultural and spiritual values, and oppose U.S. expansion.
Two hundred years later, U.S. capitalism and imperial domination continue to be the greatest threats to sovereignty, democracy, economic, social and environmental justice inside and outside its borders, in Latin America and the world. The revolutionary processes now taking place in Latin America represent the most successful opposition to that threat, and have made it the most hopeful place on earth in a time of tremendous danger. The support and defense of an integrated, independent, egalitarian Latin America capable of withstanding U.S. domination is in the highest interests of all people, but especially of the people of the United States, whose liberation has always been deeply entwined, whether we knew it or not, with that of all of America. At the same time, everything we are able to do to weaken U.S. imperialism has impact around the world, but especially in Latin America.
Aurora Levins Morales is a disabled and chronically ill, community supported writer, historian, artist and activist. It takes a village to keep her blogs coming. To become part of the village it takes, donate here.
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