Wednesday, August 22, 2007

RCAB News: The British Are Coming!

Before Goo-Goo went Gaa-Gaa this morning — that is, before Google shut down Blogger for maintenance — the Review of Cuban American Blogs was honored by a visit from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). If ever any people on earth were misinformed about Cuba and Castro, it would be the sons and daughters of Albion (not to call them anything else). There is no lie about Cuba which they have not swallowed, especially of the kind that demeans the Cuban people and our history. By their lights, Castro introduced both fire and toilets to Cuba, and the Cuban people have the "government" that they have always needed and deserved.

The British have kept their notion of the "White Man's Burden" long after they ceased to be burdened by it. "Colonials" to them, whether theirs or anybody else's, are at best noble savages to be led along the paths of civilization by whatever means necessary, even the most uncivilized means; for in their minds, civilization follows the flag, not the other way around.

When Winston Churchill was 21 he was attached to the Spanish Army in Cuba as a correspondent for an English newspaper during Cuba's War of Independence (1895-1898). In a report sent to The Saturday Review, Churchill wrote: "They [the Cuban rebels] neither fight bravely nor do they use their weapons effectively. They cannot win a single battle or hold a single town. Their army, consisting to a large extent of coloured men, is an undisciplined rabble. The rebel victory offers little good either to the world in general or to Cuba in particular. Though the Spanish administration is bad a Cuban Government would be worse, equally corrupt, more capricious, and far less stable. Under such a Government revolutions would be periodic, property insecure, equity unknown."

Not only did he write "pestes" about the Cuban rebels and the population in general and sympathize completely with the killers of Marti and Maceo and 300,000 other Cubans, Churchill even fired his rifle at those fighting for Cuba's freedom and was awarded the Military Cross by the Spanish government. Imagine: there was still a place on earth where you could hunt humans like animals! Jolly good show!

Churchill returned for a visit to Cuba after World War II, and we Cubans, of course, being the hospitable and forgiving people that we are — or were then — put out the red carpet and feted him as the savior of civilization and a national hero. Perhaps we impressed him, or he did what a polite "guest of honor" should do: praised Cuba to the skies. Of course, there would have been no Cuban Republic to praise if Churchill and his Spanish allies had prevailed 50 years earlier.

The British have never outgrown their bias for imperialism, not even when they outgrew their empire. Today they are more racist, xenophobic and insular than at any other time in their history, because now they must tolerate the presence among them of millions of dark-skinned peoples from their former Third World colonies. In the heyday of British imperialism, Her Majesty's subjects  could afford not to be overt racists in their own country (just in their overseas colonies). That made their hypocrisy a lot easier to perpetrate at home. Now their innate racism festers at home as it never did anywhere else in the 400 years of British colonialism. In fact, this is the very heyday of British racism. The more inferior they become in the world, the more superior the British feel at home.

So, yes, welcome BBC! There is much for you to learn here. I can't teach you not to abhor Pakistanis or West Indians, but I can teach you why you should abhor Castro.


Vana said...

Wow! Manuel, wonderful post as usual impecable writing.
I have always admired Churchill, you have shattered all my illusions about the man, he fired on my people, unbelievable! I feel sick to my stomach, now I will detest that man

Charlie Bravo said...

Churchill, Vana, was the first modern "embedded" journalist in the first modern conflict, he was on an asignment to report of the use of machine guns (the Gatlin and the Maxim) by the Spanish forces. He was never at reach of the American forces, was asigned to places where the rebels were easily outnumbered by the Spanish Crown forces.

Vana said...

Thanks Charlie, for adding to the info, I have been digesting these news all morning, still feel sick to my stomach

Angel said...


Not to be a pest, because I love the stuff you do on this site, but aren't you painting the British with a wide brush here.

You can't generalize the British like or you come of like BUCL people and their attack on all things Spanish.

Aside from that I just want to say you are doing a great job and you are one my must read sites on a daily basis.

Gracias por todo mi hermano y a ver si recibimos buenas noticias aqui pronto. Un abrazo

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Thank-you for your kind words and loyalty to this blog; both are greatly appreciated by me.

The difference between BUCL and me is that I am not calling on anyone to protest or boycott Great Britain. I have no argument with the government of Great Britain. I am just pointing out a certain tendency that I find inexcusable among the English. I could have written in the same vein about other European countries as bad or worse than Great Britain. Spaniards are certainly not exempt from criticism either. What I object to is blaming Spain or any other country exclusively for the situation in which our country finds itself. If somebody is unwilling to blame the obvious culprit and his U.S. facilitators, then I find it unacceptable that they should focus their anger and condemnation on a minor player. There is, of course, blame enough to go around; but the quantity of blame due to each is not equal and the scales do not tilt towards Spain.

Charlie Bravo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Bravo said...

They say here that Churchill left before the Americans arrived. Which makes sense, since his "observations" were in fact over the "method and strategies" and the "tactical designations on the field". The article suggests that Churchill's experience in Cuba was crucial to crush the Boers' revolt in South Africa.
Valeriano Weyler invented the concept of "concentration camp" in the infamous "reconcentracion" in Cuba, where thousands of families were uprooted from their land and sent to guarded camps, to prevent them from helping the Cuban rebels. It was applied with the same criminal results in South Africa.
Do not miss the comments on Antonio Maceo. They are very revealing, indeed.
The website doesnt' mention his "journalism" but suggest that he was embedded by orders of the British Army. He was even proposed to be the recipient of the Red Cross of the Spanish Crown by the Spanish top brass in Cuba.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


At the time Churchill was on official leave from the British Light Calvary (Hussars) and had become embedded in the Spanish Army to study the tactics of guerrilla warfare, which he never understood and had no respect for. Three years later, when the Boar War erupted in South Africa, these tactics pioneered in Cuba were used to great effect by the white Afrikaaners against the invading British Army. Churchill could have been the "hero" of that war if he had assimiliated anything from his year in Cuba, which he did not. A brave force of a new thousand Afrikaaners fought the British almost to the point of defeat before they overwhelmed them with sheer numbers and Britain's unlimited matériel. In a sense the Boar War was to the British what Cuba's War of Independence was to the Spaniards, but not as devastating to the national psyche since they managed pull through a victory at the end.

As a strategist, Churchill was perhaps the worst in modern history. In the World War I, when Churchill was in charge of the Navy, he engineered Britain's greatest defeat at Gallipoli.

It is a good thing that when he was prime minister in World War II he left the planning to his generals.

Churchill himself was guilty of one of the greatest crimes against humanity in the annals of warfare when he agreed to the deportation of 2 million anti-Communist White Russians in Allied-occupied territories to the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. Stalin shot most of them immediately and the rest were sent to gulags in Siberia for more protacted deaths. None is known to have survived. Churchill did not even mention this "incident" in his ghostwritten memoirs.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Churchill wrote for several British newspapers as a war correspondent while in Cuba (1895-1896). His published remarks about Cubans were outrageous; one can't even imagine what he said about us in his confidential reports to the British Army. In fact we can do nothing but imagine because they have never been released.

Cari said...


What are some of the things he said about Cubans?

I don't know much about him.

Charlie Bravo said...

I just did a quick search Manuel, to illustrate your point on his "presence" in Cuba.
Politicians have never been known for being good strategists, and he was no exception to that rule of (smashed?) thumb.
As per "being in leave" we all know that the British Army had him on an assignment to see the performance on the battle field of the piece of equipment that they would use so profusely in South Africa and WW1, the machine gun.
The Battle of Gallipolli ended the times of Britain as the Empress of the Seas, in a rather embarrasing manner. Naval warfare included the deployment of infantry, and some artillery on the peninsula as well, and soon it was trench warfare for which the British were not properly equipped. The Turks had more casualties, but Gallipolli was a lost cause and case, and the allies had to retire.
The British Army has relied ever since on units like the Ghurkas in order to slaughter the enemy whenever they faced irregular or asymmetrical warfare, the last conflict in which the Ghurkas slaughtered a large amount of enemy soldiers was in the invasion of the Falkland Islands, or Malvinas, where there were no shows of gentlemanship in combat from the part of the invading army.

Charlie Bravo said...

Google "Churchill, Cuba" and you will see.
In the link I provided there are some, like accusing Maceo or trying to promote the "negro element" to create a "negro republic".

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Many Cuban whites at that time also feared the rise of a "black republic" in Cuba, including the president of the Republic-in-Arms, Salvador Cisneros Betancourt (marqués de Santa Lucia). The fate of General Quintín Banderas well illustrates this.

Charlie Bravo said...

"La guerrita de los negros" (started on May 20th 1912) was indeed a dark page in the history of the newly established republic. The country had been independent for a decade, and there was a sublevation in Oriente that ended up with a massacre of about 3000 black men....

Cari said...

Thanks Charlie...I see what you mean.
So the Master didn't think that the black rabble could run the country and that the only hope was the Americans.

I can see that he was "un equivocado"

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

The Churchillian quotation which I cite in the body of the text continues as follows:

"A graver danger presents itself. Two-fifths of the insurgents in the field, and by far the bravest and most distinguished part of the rebel forces, are pure negroes. These men, with Antonio Maceo at their head, would, in the event of success, demand a predominant share in the government of the country. Such a claim would be indignantly resisted by the white section, and a racial war, probably conducted with bitter animosity and ferocious cruelty, would ensue, the result being, after years of fighting, another black republic, or at best a partition of the island, as in Santo Domingo."

Of course, Maceo did not just command black troops and his officer corps consisted mostly of white men such as Loynáz del Castillo who served beneath him. Most importantly, Maceo did not identify himself as "black."

Charlie Bravo said...

Loynaz del Castillo even rose to the arms with his black brother in arms Quintin Banderas. He, the white man, suffered a lot but his Congo brother was killed in a horrible way, he was shot, and then whacked by a rabid posse with coups of machete.
Loynaz del Castillo was the first dissident of the Republic of Cuba.

Albert Quiroga said...

Excellent post! Lately I find the Brits rather irritating - perhaps it has to do with some of the pseudo-interpretative nonsense and other batty folderol about Cuba regurgitated here and there by Brit "pundits" and such, whether in print, the Internet, or via youtube, etc.

When it comes to the Brit self-proclaimed pundits and Cuba, from the perspective of this side of the pond, one can only conclude that never have so many said so much regarding a subject about which they knew so little, with the notable exception of Hugh Thomas. Sincere apologies to the late Winnie I suppose are in order. Now then,! now then,! disrespect is not meant to be elicited heah!

The points made are, shall we say, "spot on." Perhaps this is tangential, but in terms of what is going on in the Middle East today, and the effects the culture and politics in that corner of the Earth is having on our country, it is illustrative to learn how much our British friends (?) had to do with mucking up aforesaid corner - recommended reading:

"A Peace to End All Peace," by David Fromkin.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Hugh Thomas has made great progress in his knowledge of Cuba since his famous history of the island was published in 1971. It was as good a history as any foreigner could write about another country. Replete with errors of fact and interpretation, real barbaridades at times, and giving altogether too much importance to the British occupation of Havana in 1762 as the pivotal event in Cuban history (surprise!), it remains, withal, the most authoritative and sweeping history of Cuba available in English.

During the 1980s the Cuban American National Foundation adopted Hugh Thomas and broadened his perspectives on Cuba. I believe at one time he even served on its board of advisors. Since then he has been a consistent and vocal opponent of the Castro regime.

Another popular historian, Paul Johnson, is also pretty good on Cuba.

All the British academic authors and pseudo-academic journalists are a disaster when it comes to Cuba (and everything else).

It was not always so.

The greatest thinker and greatest writer of the 20th century was a Briton — G.K. Chesterton.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

P.S.: Alberto, I enjoyed very much your personal history of the gallegos in Cuba, and urge my readers to visit your poignantly nostalgic blog, one of the best authored by any Cuban, which derives its inspiration from the Havana of the 1950s as seen through the eyes of a precocious little boy and the man he became. It is really sui generis among Cuban blogs:

Albert Quiroga said...

Mr. Tellechea: Your compliments are well and truly appreciated. Which reminds me, need to get the next post finished, which hopefully will please at least as much as "gallegos."

Precocious? To some it may be more like "obnoxious," but as no doubt you well know, if everyone is happy with everything you say or do, you're not doing something right.

I learn much from your writings and hope the experience will continue unabated.