02 January 2015

Cuba and the U.S.

"I candidly confess, that I have ever looked on Cuba as the next interesting addition which could ever be made to our system of States. The control which, with Florida Point, this island would give us over the Gulf of Mexico, and the countries and isthmus bordering on it -- as well as all those whose waters flow into it -- would fill up the measure of our political well-being. Yet, as I am sensible that this can never be obtained, even with her own consent, but by war; and its independence, which is our second interest (and especially its independence of England), can be secured without it, I have no hesitation in abandoning my first wish to future chances, and accepting its independence -- with peace and the friendship of England -- rather than its association, at the expense of war and her enmity."

These are the words of Thomas Jefferson in 1823 during a period of discussion about the idea of the U.S. annexation of Cuba. The quotation, from a letter to President James Madison, is here taken from Cuba: a new history by Richard Gott (Yale University Press, 2004) which I am reading in anticipation of going to Cuba on a College Art-sponsored trip during the Havana Bienal. I am very much looking forward to Cuba being in peaceful association with the United States.
Just a reminder of relative distance between Florida and Cuba and the relationship to the Gulf of Mexico (screen shot from Google Maps)

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