“THIS DAY IN CUBAN HISTORY – Platt Amendment”

Platt Amendment.  An amendment to the Army Appropriation Bill of 1901 to qualify the Teller Amendment passed by the U.S. Senate, making Cuban independence conditional on Cuban undertakings (1) never to enter into treaties that would impair its independence or permit any foreign colonies or military bases on Cuban soil; (2) not to incur any public debt beyond the capacity of the island’s ordinary revenue to meet, after defraying current government expenditures; (3) to permit the United States to intervene “ for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property and … liberty and discharging… the obligations.. imposed by the Treaty of Paris”; (4) to ratify all actions of the first United States intervention and rights acquired thereunder; (5) to continue appropriate public health measures; (6) not to exercise sovereignty over the Isle of Pines; and (7) to sell or lease to the United States any land it might require for naval bases. An eighth clause obliged Cuba to include the amendment as part of its Constitution of 1901.  The U.S. Congress was divided on including a provision about trade relations and this was dropped from the original draft.  The amendment was duly incorporated into the new Cuban constitution and remained in effect until the Platt Amendment Repeal in 1934.

*Jaime Suchlicki is Director of the Cuban Studies Institute, CSI, a non-profit research group in Coral Gables, FL. He is the author of Cuba: From Columbus to Castro & Beyond, now in its 5th edition; Mexico: From Montezuma to the Rise of the PAN, 2nd edition, and of the recently published Breve Historia de Cuba.