Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Cuban National Anthem: A History

The Cienfuegos Choir, Cuba

El Himno de Bayamo (The Bayamo Anthem) is the national anthem of Cuba. The anthem was first performed during the Battle of Bayamo in 1868. Perucho Figueredo, who took part in the battle, wrote and composed the song.  Officially adopted in 1902, the anthem was retained after the revolution of 1959. 

The Cuban War of Independence was the last of three liberation wars that Cuba fought against Spain, the other two being the Ten Years' War (1868–1878) and the Little War (1879–1880). The final three months of the conflict escalated to become the Spanish–American War, with United States forces being deployed in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands against Spain.

To combat, run, Bayamesans!
For the homeland looks proudly upon you;
Do not fear a glorious death,
For to die for the homeland is to live.

To live in chains is to live
Mired in shame and disgrace.
Hear the sound of the bugle:
To arms, brave ones, run!

Fear not the vicious Iberians,
They are cowards like every tyrant.
They cannot oppose the spirited Cuban;
Their empire has forever fallen.

Free Cuba! Spain has already died,
Its power and pride, where did it go?
Hear the sound of the bugle:
To arms, brave ones, run!

Behold our triumphant troops,
Behold those who have fallen.
Because they were cowards, they flee defeated;
Because we were brave, we knew how to triumph.

Free Cuba! we can shout
From the cannon's terrible boom.
Hear the sound of the bugle,
To arms, brave ones, run!

A brief history of the causes and methods of U.S. intervention in Latin America from the Spanish American War to the era of the Good Neighbor Policy.

The Monroe Doctrine effectively expressed the U.S. conception of the “Western Hemisphere idea” ... that notion which predicates a special relationship between the countries of the Americas that sets them apart from the rest of the world. Largely ineffectual when pronounced the Monroe statement eventually came to delimit relations between the Western Hemisphere and the rest of the world; and served as a constant referral point in the development of U.S.-Latin American policy.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

The Phoenix Lights (1997)

On March 13, 1997, Arizona experienced one of the largest mass UFO sightings in history, the so called Phoenix Lights. Lights of varying descriptions were seen by thousands of people during a three hour period, over a distance of three 300 miles stretching, from the Nevada line, through Phoenix, to the edge of Tucson. There were two distinct events involved in the incident: a triangular formation of lights seen to pass over the state, and a series of stationary lights seen in the Phoenix area. The United States Air Force identified the second group of lights as flares dropped by military aircraft.  The initial sightings remain unexplained.

The first call came from a retired police officer in Paulden, Arizona, a small town about 2 hours north of Phoenix at approximately 7PM.  After that calls began pouring into television stations and the police.  The reports were unanimous on several key points: there was a triangular craft that was enormous (some witnesses described it as a mile wide), it was totally silent, it moved slowly, and it often stopped to hover.

An eyewitness reported to the National UFO Reporting Center, “…. I looked and what I saw was what looked like, at first, a pattern of 5 lights in a half oval on its upside. I thought it was a blimp with lights on it. It seemed to be floating but I noticed it was coming directly in our direction. My son went in the house and got my wife, my 13 year old grandson and my 18 year old daughter, to come outside. We all watched these lights approach. Whatever it was it was moving rather slowly. As it came close it no longer had an up-oval shape, but began to look more like a "V" of 5 lights, with one light in the center lead point and two lights on each side. The angle of the "V" was not very sharp, maybe 60 degrees. As we stood there watching we were completely flabbergasted because it was going to pass directly over our house. And it did. It passed directly overhead maybe a thousand or so feet overhead. Our house is up on the side of a mountain in the Northeast part of Phoenix and we can see pretty far to the northwest and southwest. When it passed overhead we all were looking at it and talking. For one thing, it seemed to float over us and it made absolutely no detectable sound at all. We were trying to imagine what it was. It certainly couldn't be a group of aircraft flying in formation, because the lights remained absolutely fixed in relationship with each other. As we looked up we could see through the middle of the "V" but each arm seemed to be flat shaped like a ruler, and rather long from the first lead light to the tip lights, maybe a couple of hundred feet or more. It was huge…. My background: I am 54 years old, in perfect health. I have a Master’s Degree from Columbia University Teacher's College. Formerly worked for IBM as a systems engineer. More recently worked in the electronics repair industry in management. Presently executive in a manufacturing firm. My wife is a secretary at St Mary's Catholic High School. My one daughter is an honor student at the High School. We live up on the side of this mountain and are always looking at the sky, so if we're outside not much is going to go by without us seeing it. And we all have never seen anything like this.”

The Governor’s office was besieged with calls, especially after a USA Today article in June brought international attention to the incident.  To stem a mounting sense of panic in the state, Governor Fife Symington, held a press conference during which he claimed to have “found who was responsible” for the lights.  Symington then brought in his chief of staff dressed in an alien costume, handcuffed and looking contrite.  Crisis averted.  Ten years later, however, Symington confessed before the National Press Club, that he had pulled this stunt only to avert public panic.  He said that he himself had seen the object and that it was, “enormous and inexplicable.”

What is the truth behind the Great Secret? Unidentified Fly Objects (UFOs), where do they come from? Why are they here? What do they want? Here are six original short stories dealing with First Contact:
(1)The Vatican’s Dilemma (Is there a Vatican conspiracy?)
(2)Mountain Mist (Does a parallel universe exist?)
(3)Earthly Arrogance (Pity the poor Aliens)
(4)An Intelligent Idea (Is this the end?)
(5)Change and Hopelessness ( The great Civil War)
(6)An Answer on the Moon

Monday, October 07, 2019

The Skeleton Cave Massacre (Arizona)

The Skeleton Cave Massacre was the first principal engagement during the 1872 Tonto Basin Campaign in Arizona conducted by the U.S. Army. On December 28, 1872, elements of the 5th Cavalry under the command of Captain William H. Brown, together with thirty Apache scouts took up positions around the Yavapai stronghold at Skeleton Cave in the Salt River Canyon. The soldiers approached the cave before dawn and surprised the defenders when they tried to leave.  The warriors refused to surrender and the soldiers opened fire. Some of Brown's men aimed for the roof of the cave, causing the deaths of women and children, as well as warriors, within the cave by ricocheting bullets. Others soldiers rolled rocks and boulders down from the cliffs above.

“… (Captain) Brown ordered our fire to cease, and for the last time summoned the Apaches to surrender, or to let their women and children come out unmolested. On their side, the Apaches also ceased all hostile demonstrations and it seemed to some of us Americans that they must be making ready to yield, and were discussing the matter among themselves. Our Indian guides and interpreters raised the cry, ‘Look out! There goes the death song; they are going to charge!’ It was a weird chant … half wail and half exultation—the frenzy of despair and the wild cry for revenge.” So wrote Captain John G. Bourke, U.S. Cavalry.

The warriors counter-attacked to buy time for their women and children to escape. The soldiers stopped the counter-attack, and the surviving Indians were driven back into the cave where they resumed their death chant. At this point, the soldiers were ordered to fire “as fast as the breach-block of the carbine could be opened and lowered ... into the mouth of the cave,” where, according to Captain Bourke, “lead poured in by the bucketful.”

The battle continued, with cries of wounded women and children becoming ever more desperate. “It was exactly like fighting with wild animals in a trap,” observed Captain Bourke. The massacre lasted most of the morning and about seventy men, women, and children were killed. The survivors were taken prisoner. The dead were left unburied.

The cave was rediscovered in the 1890's. Jeff Adam's found the cave again in 1906 and reported it to newspapers. Walter Lubken was guided to the cave in 1908 where he photographed the bones and artifacts within the cave. Around 1920, the bones were removed and buried by some Yavapai Indians. Nothing remains in the cave now.  This site is located on the north shore of Apache Lake, about 1/2 mile northeast of Horse Mesa Dam.

Whatever else George Armstrong Custer may or may not have been, even in the twenty-first century, he remains the great lightning rod of American history.