End of the Occupation

May 20, 1902

The press has always played a part in creating drama; it could possibly be said that the Spanish American War would not have taken place had Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst had not been competing for popularity among their readers. This fierce competition among New York’s journalists caused the American public to sympathize with Cuba in the late 1800’s, comparing the “fierce and dominating” Spaniards conquest of Cuba to the Revolutionary War and the American fight for freedom.

Spain had already handed the Philippines and Puerto Rico over to the United States, and it was not long after the US invaded Cuba that the country was “liberated” and power was handed over to John R. Brooke, Cuba’s first American governor. Because of prior agreements, Cuba could not be “annexed” in the same way the Philippines and Puerto Rico had been, but that did not stop the government from capitalizing on their opportunities while the pickings were ripe.

President McKinley was quick to cut tariffs on American goods that entered Cuba (although the tariffs on goods leaving Cuba remained in place), government payments were required to be made in US dollars, and quickly the Cuban economy was dominated by American investors. Which sounds fairly reasonable…with the exception of the fact that American investors had been prohibited by the Foraker Amendment.

Americans worked quickly to ensure that Cuba could not transfer land to anyone besides Americans, that they could not negotiate treaties with anyone but America, that no foreign government (besides America) could have any control over any portion of Cuba, and that we could place a naval base on Guantanamo Bay.

With these (among many other) stipulations set, America handed over control to a Cuban government, and on May 20, 1902, Cuba was declared independent.

Moros y Cristianos
(Black Beans and Rice)

2 cup instant rice
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

4 (15 oz) cans black beans
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 ½ lb ham hocks, diced
2 tsp paprika
3 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 cup chicken stock

Using a large stock pot, combine all ingredients for the beans (ensuring that there is enough liquid to cover the beans; add water if needed). Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Take the ham hocks out, remove the bones, and return the meat back to the pot. Allow the beans to continue to simmer while the rice is cooking.

Add the water, salt, and olive oil to a saucepan; bring to a boil. Add rice and cook for 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, fluff the rice and serve the beans over the top.

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