July 12, 2005

Cuban History Rocks!

Faster than Star Wars!

More action than a Jerry Bruckheimer movie! With more unique characters than a collaboration between David Mamet and Robert Altman!

More left turns than San Francisco and more right turns than Salt Lake City.

All in a country smaller than a medium state, and a span of time longer than half a millennia.

Here are some early trailers:

1511. Cuba’s first guerilla warrior, Hatuey, is tied to a stake and burned alive. He’s given the choice of going to heaven if he accepts Christianity, but he turns it down once he discovers that he’s likely to find other Spaniards there.

1762. Havana is attacked by a large British force that takes control of the city, but doesn’t venture far beyond it, leaving the rest of the country free from Empire control for the first time in 2-1/2 centuries. (This is when Cuban-born merchants immediately realized they’d rather sell their goods on the open market, than through the “closed” system forced on them by the Spanish empire.)

1868. A rich white landowner (Carlos Manuel de Céspedes) frees his slaves and declares war on Spain. The war lasts ten years and ends in a stalemate, but Cubans learn that they can fight for their freedom, and the ideology of a race less nation takes root.

Early 1895. The Cuban rebels reorganize under the visionary umbrella of José Martí’s Cuban Revolutionary Party. The 2nd War of Independence begins, reasserting the influence and commitment of Ten-Year War heroes Maximo Gómez, Calixto Garcia, the Maceo brothers and many others. This time, the rebels will not settle for a stalemate.

Late 1895. Maximo Gómez (the fox) and Antonio Maceo (the lion) begin the now historic invasion of Cuba’s Western provinces. With a combined column of 2,500 men, the fox and the lion are able to play hit and run with the vastly larger and better-equipped Spanish army. At each encounter they outfox and out roar the empire, including the famous “false retreat” in Las Villas (late December) in which the Liberating Army heads towards Havana and the pursuing Spanish Army “follows” them in the wrong direction, so that on the first day of 1896, as the Spanish papers show headlines claiming that “Maceo Turns Back,” the Mambises march into Havana, leaving a trail of fire and destruction behind them. The Western Invasion is still considered one of the military highlights of the 19th century.

Stay tuned for Act 2: The 20th Century!


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