Cuba and the United States

Courtesy Reuters

CUBA'S propinquity and its highly strategic position in the Caribbean have inevitably produced an unusually intimate connection with the United States. It is the nature of this connection, subsequently confirmed by formal arrangements and strengthened by economic penetration from the north, which the Cubans now find irksome and which they would alter so as to obtain greater freedom of movement. In addition to the fortuitous circumstance of geographical proximity -- the brief ninety miles that separate the two countries -- three outstanding factors affect the relations between Cuba and the United States. These are the Platt Amendment, the Reciprocity Treaty of 1903, and the large American investments in the Island.

The Platt Amendment, which was originally passed as a "rider" to an army appropriation bill in the American Congress, was incorporated into the Cuban Constitution against the bitter opposition of most of the higher political class in Cuba. The circumstance that the Island was still under the military government of the United States made its acceptance obligatory in the Cuban Constitutional Convention. Four of the provisions of the Amendment seemed to the Cubans to limit the national sovereignty of their nascent republic. The first forbade the making of treaties with third powers which might compromise the independence of the nation. The second limited the debt contracting powers of the government to obligations within the scope of the ordinary revenues. The third provided for intervention by the United States to maintain orderly government and all its accessories. The fourth required the cession to the United States of sites for coaling or naval stations.

The treaty of commercial reciprocity between Cuba and the United States was signed December 11, 1902, and has governed the trade relations between the two countries ever since. The special concessions embodied in the treaty were specifically confirmed by the United States Tariff Act of 1917, at which time the reciprocity arrangement with Brazil was discontinued in accordance with the new tariff policy of this country. The reciprocity treaty admitted Cuban goods into

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