The Spanish War and San Pedro


One hundred and fifteen years is enough. It was 115 years ago that the United States launched it’s first overseas, some say, imperial war, the Spanish-American War.  Besides giving the U.S. military control over the Philippines and several Pacific islands, the war assured U.S. military, political and economic domination over Cuba as well.

Within a few years, the U.S. military occupied Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay on the island’s southeastern coast. U.S. taxpayer dollars built a military base on Cuba’s waterfront land in order to control the island, and to serve as a military launching pad for the rest of the Southern Hemisphere. Over 100 years later, we are still occupying this land.

To me this is a “Pedro issue”.

The inability of Cubans to use Guantanamo Bay is the equivalent of the United States not having access to the Los Angeles Harbor Area for economic, recreational and cultural development. This is an issue of justice-Port to Port. An injury to one is an injury to all…
And here’s the kicker: This weekend hundreds of locals will “celebrate” this imperial war at the Old Fort MacArthur Days. Along with celebrating other wars and carnage, performers will trounce around in weekend warrior garb and “re-enact” those ol’ Glory Days of the Rough Riders storming up San Juan Hill in Cuba.

The problem for this San Pedran? I’ve seen San Juan Hill, and it’s in a country that is not ours, and we invaded it, and this weekend we are celebrating that invasion as if history weren’t still alive and breathing.. And I’ve been to Guantanamo Province, full of 100,000’s of Cubans, working everyday to develop their country, and wishing they had their beautiful, productive bay back. (Alas, we all know what is being “produced” there now, for shame.) This is happening today, and every day, Pedrans. And we celebrate the invasion and occupation this weekend. What is wrong with this picture?

How can I not be in solidarity with Cuba? They want Guantanamo Bay returned to them, and they can’t do much about it, lest the Empire Strike Back. So I write this simple letter. And I will pay my $10 to see what the “celebration” is all about, and to put my 2 cents in.

Coincidentally, we are holding a Cuba Cultural and Information Night Friday July 12 from 7-9 PM at the Random Lengths offices. If you are interested in learning about peace rather than war, you are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Rachel Bruhnke

Witness for Peace/Southwest
Harbor Area Chapter



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