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Fri Aug 2, 2019, 01:45 AM

Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the Unravelling of US Empire

August 1, 2019

To be a law-abiding nation, the U.S. must grant self-determination in areas it has stolen, write Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

The results of centuries of U.S. empire, which began with Manifest Destiny that crossed the North American continent and grew into a global empire, are coming home to roost in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

Puerto Ricans had an important victory in July with the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló after more than one million people protested to demand his removal. This was a powerful display of people power, but changing the head of state does not confront the real issues for Puerto Rico: ending colonialism and ensuring self-determination.

There is confusion after Rosselló’s resignation. The next in line has already resigned and Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez, who is in line after that, does not want the job. Puerto Rico’s economy is a mess after Hurricane Maria, Wall Street theft and domination by a federal financial control board. The Control Board, known as la junta, is seeking to expand its power with the support of The Washington Post editorial board, to further dominate the island. This is the opposite of the next essential steps, which require decolonizing the island and empowering the people of Puerto Rico.

Hawaii, which was an independent nation that became a state in 1959 after the U.S. stole it, is facing protests against a telescope on its tallest mountain, a sacred area. While the telescope is the focus of the protests, the real issues are much deeper and point to a growing demand for independence. This is not being reported in U.S. media or noted by U.S. political leaders.


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Reply Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the Unravelling of US Empire (Original post)
Judi Lynn Aug 2019 OP
tirebiter Aug 2019 #1
Judi Lynn Aug 2019 #2
PETRUS Aug 2019 #6
Judi Lynn Aug 2019 #7
PETRUS Aug 2019 #8
Ghost Dog Aug 2019 #3
Judi Lynn Aug 2019 #5
Judi Lynn Aug 2019 #4

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Aug 2, 2019, 02:58 AM

1. We may have interests but the US is not an empire

If we were the Philippines would at least be a territory for starters. In fact even more Pacific islands would be. Africa and the Middle East would have been ripe for picking after WWII but it was the policy of FDR, Truman and Eisenhower to just make sure that England did not get to restore their empire. Short of anti communist conflicts that was also the policy with France. In fact we went to war with England and France over the Suez Canal. We wanted a govt that was more western oriented but would not allow England to regain Iran. The Shah was supposed to be their SOB. At least that was their plan.
As far as Hawaii, didn’t the previous president of the US come from there? The one who has 97% approval of the party and Maize Hirono who was put forth Daniel Inouye a Japanese American war hero serves in Congress. Japanese Americans far outnumber Hawaiins and they are not leaving. Neither are the Chinese Americans and there are more of them.
Puerto Rico will become a state in a shorter time than Republicans would like and they will go back and forth between being a Democratic state and a swing state.
The Consortium article is wishful thinking by a Marxist lightweights.

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Response to tirebiter (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 2, 2019, 03:30 AM

2. Finding out the actual history involved would do you a world of good.

An honest understanding works far, far better, in the long run, but you must invest your time, your energy, and your consciousness. Sacrificing something less productive will bring important results.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 2, 2019, 05:11 PM

6. Yeah, that poster has no idea what they're talking about.

I recommend "How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States," by Daniel Immerwahr (I read it myself a couple of months ago). There are facts in that book that will dispel at least some of their illusions.

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Response to PETRUS (Reply #6)

Fri Aug 2, 2019, 10:03 PM

7. After seeing your comment, looked up a summary of the book, and it sounds excellent.

It covers material we just didn't get in public schools, and it's all totally important to anyone who realizes the need for an accurate grasp of what has happened.

Wanted to mention that for a long time, the U.S. saw Puerto Rico in exactly the same light as Cuba, and it was assumed the U.S. would control Cuba forever, just as it has with Puerto Rico.

It sounds as if "How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States" could reward a reader with some important information which could go a long way toward putting together a much more accurate foundation for understanding the US and Latin American policy.

Thanks for the recommendation.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #7)

Fri Aug 2, 2019, 10:39 PM

8. Thanks, Judi!

I thought it was great. Some parts of the book provided detail about things I had some small knowledge of, other parts had information that was totally new to me. Now that I've read the book, the other poster's ideas about what was behind US policy post WWII - not to mention the claim that the US isn't an empire - is laughable. There's so much so many people don't know. Maybe the other poster will take the time to do some studying. I'm glad I did.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Aug 2, 2019, 03:43 AM

3. Officials in the Canary Islands are ready to build the telescope,

the TMT (Thirty Metre Telescope) on La Palma if it comes down to it.

'Twould be another nice small diplomatic victory for Spain... without lifting a finger.

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Response to Ghost Dog (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 2, 2019, 04:08 AM

5. Hadn't heard a word about that, yet. Thanks. n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Aug 2, 2019, 03:55 AM

4. This history is so accessible, it's everywhere:

The Annexation of Hawaii Previous Next
Digital History ID 3159

After a century of American rule, many native Hawaiians remain bitter about how the United States acquired the islands, located 2,500 miles from the West Coast.
In 1893, a small group of sugar and pineapple-growing businessmen, aided by the American minister to Hawaii and backed by heavily armed U.S. soldiers and marines, deposed Hawaii's queen. Subsequently, they imprisoned the queen and seized 1.75 million acres of crown land and conspired to annex the islands to the United States.

On January 17, 1893, the conspirators announced the overthrow of the queen's government. To avoid bloodshed, Queen Lydia Kamakaeha Liliuokalani yielded her sovereignty and called upon the U.S. government "to undo the actions of its representatives." The U.S. government refused to help her regain her throne. When she died in 1917, Hawaii was an American territory. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state after a plebiscite in which 90 percent of the islanders supported statehood.

The businessmen who conspired to overthrow the queen claimed that they were overthrowing a corrupt, dissolute regime in order of advance democratic principles. They also argued that a Western power was likely to acquire the islands. Hawaii had the finest harbor in the mid-Pacific and was viewed as a strategically valuable coaling station and naval base. In 1851, King Kamehameha III had secretly asked the United States to annex Hawaii, but Secretary of State Daniel Webster declined, saying "No power ought to take possession of the islands as a conquest...or colonization." But later monarchs wanted to maintain Hawaii's independence. The native population proved to be vulnerable to western diseases, including cholera, smallpox, and leprosy. By 1891, native Hawaii's were an ethnic minority on the islands.


~ ~ ~

SEP 22, 2017
Puerto Rico’s Complicated History with the United States
Over a century ago, the U.S. prevented Puerto Rico from gaining autonomy.

In February 1898, Puerto Ricans had a lot to celebrate. After centuries of Spanish colonial rule, they had just become an independent part of Spain, complete with a Constitution and voting rights. But within only a few years, the U.S. would throw all that asunder, paving the way for Puerto Rico’s nonvoting territory status today.

It all started with the Spanish-American War, which began in the spring of 1898, when Puerto Rico was a Spanish territory. The U.S. invaded Puerto Rico not only because it was a Spanish territory, but also due to its interests in developing a sugar market there, says Lillian Guerra, a history professor at the University of Florida.

“When the Americans arrived, General [Nelson] Miles issued, very famously, a decree manifesto in which he promised to protect the life, liberty, and happiness of Puerto Ricans, and their property,” she says. “A lot of Puerto Ricans who were poor, who were working-class, who were peasants, took this as an invitation to side with the Americans in what was still a war against Spain.”

To support the U.S., Puerto Ricans began to attack Spanish-owned businesses and property. But “to their great shock and awe,” Guerra says the Americans did not keep their promises after they won the war, when Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the U.S. in the Treaty of Paris. The U.S. ignored the new, democratically-elected local parliament of Puerto Rico in favor of creating its own colonial system.

With the westward expansion of the 19th century, the U.S. established “incorporated territories” that could and did become formal American states—like the Colorado Territory. But in 1901, a series of legal opinions known as the Insular Cases argued that Puerto Rico and other territories ceded by the Spanish were full of “alien races” who couldn’t understand “Anglo-Saxon principles.” Therefore, the Constitution did not apply to them, and Puerto Rico became an “unincorporated territory” with no path forward to statehood.

In addition, the U.S. disrupted Puerto Rico’s coffee industry, implementing a sugar economy and creating massive poverty among the population. “Within the first 10 years of the U.S. occupation of Puerto Rico, U.S. sugar interests had pretty much taken over, and the Puerto Rican coffee class has been displaced entirely,” Guerra explains.

Puerto Ricans were outraged after the war. Instead of becoming citizens, Puerto Ricans were in limbo. “They didn’t even have a passport; they didn’t have any legal standing in the U.S. system until 1917.”

That year, Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens under the Jones-Shafroth act—this way the U.S. could deploy them as troops during World War I (similar to how the Emancipation Proclamation legalized the Union’s use of black troops). The federal government believed that white people weren’t suited to fight in tropical climates because they didn’t have immunity to the diseases found there. Instead, the U.S. sent Puerto Rican “immunes,” as they were called, to defend the Panama Canal.

Although they were now U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans could not vote for president or elect voting senators or representatives to the U.S. Congress. In fact, they still can’t.


These links are superficial. The deeper you bother to look, the more painful it was for the citizens.

A quicky book for people who don't want to spend much time reading, covers material superficially but clearly a damned sight better than many US citizens seem to realize:

Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq Paperback – February 6, 2007
by Stephen Kinzer

Can be purchased in the twinkling of an eye online. Superficial, of course, as is anything which can be read quickly, but it's still far, far better than imagining things which never happened, courtesy of whitewashing through popular mass perception management by the powers who don't want anyone asking real questions.

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