Returning to the United States from Cuba always feels like time travel to me. I've been to a different century, and when I come back and try to explain my experiences to people, to tell them what I saw, how I interacted with the people of another time, no one understands or believes me.
The fragments of the story may register: no ads on tv or on the streets, universal health care, free higher education, but what they mean in people's lives, what they add up to, what it feels like to take that for granted, doesn't. And without the visceral understanding of what Cubans have gained, there's no truthful context for the hardships, the mistakes, the struggles of daily life.
When the final version is ready for print, proceeds will benefit the campaign to free the Cuban Five.
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.
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