I’ve been reading books about the lives of people in Cuba during the 10 Years War, leading up to America’s involvement in the Spanish-American War. It was a time of unthinkable atrocities and death for anyone who resisted the Spanish army. Men were hunted down like animals, women and children were forced to move into cities where they begged for bread and starved to death. Hundreds of thousands died of yellow fever and disease from walking sometimes in ankle deep human feces.
They were given eight days to make their move from the country to the city…leaving all their possessions, home and property behind. Previously, laws were passed to prohibit gun ownership, leaving the people with no option to protect their property.
Local “volunteer” police force, made up of Spanish Loyalists, helped round up the “Insurgents.” Local farmers who resisted Spain’s tyranny became outlaws, living in the jungle, using guerrilla warfare to create havoc and organizing attacks on Spanish Forts. Those who owned land or businesses were allowed to keep their business as long as they paid their taxes and dues to Spain. Spanish Army officers came like henchmen and collected the taxes directly from the farmers or business owners, cut a large portion for themselves and sent the rest to Spain.
And if they didn’t pay…they’d meet the machete and would end up chopped into pieces and drug back into the cities for everyone to see. Afterward, the Spanish Army would lay waste to the farm and kill the entire family. This was everyday life in Cuba.
In 1896, America sat and watched…benefiting from the war. As the President talked about the atrocities out of one side of his mouth, the nation profited from exporting raw materials, weapons, ammunition and supplies to the Spanish Army…the same people who used those weapons to kill the innocent.
In Mexico, the unwilling participants find themselves in the same situation as those poor Cubans who faced the Spanish Army. But now, they face their own corrupt government, police and drug warlords. Mexicans are fleeing their homeland, leaving everything behind. They are coming to America to survive…just as countless thousands of Cubans came to Florida during the nineteenth century.
Are we capable of learning from the past? Can’t we as a Nation do better for immigrants who not just want to come to America, but need to? If any of us were in the situation as those freedom loving Mexicans living in a lawless land, where people are decapitated for resisting the corruption, we would leave. We would do anything necessary to protect our family.
We in the Republican Party have a golden opportunity to capture the hearts and minds of the Hispanic people, creating a synergy between those who are searching for prosperity in America and those who already enjoy that opportunity.
All we need is a working plan…