Confederate Cuba - realistic?

Susano

Banned
Okay, I think we all know this Clichee: The CSA sucessfuly secede, and eventually they conquer and outright annex Cuba (and Puerto Rica). But my question is, isthat really feasible?

The CSA would have been centralised then the USA. Would it even have enough standing forces in times of peace?
Wouldnt a revanchist and newly armed up North only wait on a chance for reconquest - something that woul dbe obvious to the CSA leadership?
And wouldnt Cuba be a constant source of Guerilla warfare, so that even if it won a war against Spain, also the CSA might decide to simply vassalise instead of annexing it?
 
The CSA doesn't have to conquer Cuba, but merely supply and foster a rebellion, through free-booting or other means, that is pro-confederate annexation. In the terms of annexation, rather than be a territory be a state with all the rights and privellegdes of a state.
 
Wouldnt a revanchist and newly armed up North only wait on a chance for reconquest - something that would be obvious to the CSA leadership?
I think a sucessful "Second War for Independendce" would not leave the US Armed and hungrary of revenge, the US would disarm, like it did Historicaly, and engage the CSA diplomatically, and ecomonically.
The CSA would have been centralised then the USA. Would it even have enough standing forces in times of peace?
Whe have had plenty of debates on this Board about how centralized a sucessful CSA would be. Concenus, A lot looser than the North.
The CSA sucessfuly secede, and eventually they conquer and outright annex Cuba (and Puerto Rica). But my question is, ?is that really feasible?
The post ACW is to late, Starting in the 1830's the Spainish Governor-Generals began enforceing a Cuban v Spainish, Identity on the population depending if born in Cuba.
Prior to this, Most Cuban Born were considered Spainish just like those Born in Spain.
By the 1870's and the First Cuban Revelution, a true Cuban identity had emerged.

For the CSA to get Cuba requires the US to aquire the Island pre ACW, and the CSA to inheirt it during/after the War.
And wouldnt Cuba be a constant source of Guerilla warfare, so that even if it won a war against Spain, also the CSA might decide to simply vassalise instead of annexing it?
A earlier Vassalization, say CSA help in the 1870's Rebellion. would work also. This avoids the 50% of Blacks in Cuba were Freemen, problem, for the CSA
 

Susano

Banned
The CSA doesn't have to conquer Cuba, but merely supply and foster a rebellion, through free-booting or other means, that is pro-confederate annexation.
You have played too many Civilisation-esque games, it seems to me. Why would a nation that deems itself independant have a revolution that seeks annexation to another country? That isnt logical!

/E:
Duquense, you didnt understand my point. IOTL, you have the ACW in the 1860s, and the US-Spanish War 1898. Now, in many TLs where the CSA secedes in the ACW, it, instead of the USA, conquers Cuba from Spain. But is that feasible? I dont ask you for ways how that could be sucessful, I ask if that, with those fixed circumstances is any likely!
 
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You have played too many Civilisation-esque games, it seems to me. Why would a nation that deems itself independant have a revolution that seeks annexation to another country? That isnt logical!
Its happened before. Hawaii for one, and Texas for anouther. West Florida doesn't qualify, but in the short time they were indepedant they also asked for annexation. Its usually a one to two decade process.

Nor should we forget the orginal Cuban pleas for annexation stopped after the USA abolished slavery. Even then there were people that where pro-US annexation factions during the Cuban War for Independance of OTL, the first President of Cuba for one had been a propent for it in the attempt before that...
 
You have played too many Civilisation-esque games, it seems to me. Why would a nation that deems itself independant have a revolution that seeks annexation to another country? That isnt logical!
As Othniel points out, and Stephen Kinzer wrote a whole book about, you are describing the United States. See Kinzer's "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq".
 
Its happened before. Hawaii for one, and Texas for anouther. West Florida doesn't qualify, but in the short time they were indepedant they also asked for annexation. Its usually a one to two decade process.

Nor should we forget the orginal Cuban pleas for annexation stopped after the USA abolished slavery. Even then there were people that where pro-US annexation factions during the Cuban War for Independance of OTL, the first President of Cuba for one had been a propent for it in the attempt before that...
Those are completely different cases. Hawaii was annexed to the USA by white American settlers against the will of the militarily helpless natives, for example. In Cuba, while a white ruling class may have had some desire to maintain their way of life by joining the CSA, the very large population would have been incredibly against it and revolted forever, opening the door to all sorts of intervention. Most likely the USA would support its independence and Monroe it rather than leaving a seething mess just inviting European intervention - or even worse, permanent control by the CSA.

Beyond that, all the anti-slave states, meaning all states of consequence, would never allow Cuba to be taken from Spain and added to the territory of an avowed slave state. Since the British could prevent CSA control of Cuba with one ship, I don't see this happening short of Confederates developing superpowers.

I have noticed this cliche as well and I would have to rate CSA control of Cuba as super, incredibly unlikely.
 
There's always the Dominican's Republic attempt during the Grant administration to voluntarily become an American state.
That was actually the attempt of some few warlords/dictators (Báez, Santana and little more) to maintain their absolute power over the country through foreign support. In the 1850s they asked for annexation to the French, who refused, then to the US, who refused also, and finally to the Spanish, who re-annexed the country during three years (1861-1863) till they left it because they had more important problems to solve at the same time, and they gained nothing for free support to a bunch of banana dictators in a poor island. That was the same reason because the French and the Americans refused it. The Dominicans (some few Dominicans actually) wanted to be a protectorate if it granted their position, but never a real US state. Why? Because that would mean to grant equal rights to all Dominicans, and then to destroy the political game of the upper dictorial class. Moreover, the Dominican population of the time was in the end quite nationalistic after being more than 20 years occupied by the Haitians, so they strongly opposed any incorporation to another country. That was the reason because Báez finally died in exile in Puerto Rico, although he did it as a wealthy man.

For Cuba, the main questions still are:

- Is the Cuban case similar to Hawaii, Texas or even California?
The clear answer is no. In those cases there was a hughe population of recent inmigrants/settlers from the US who took the government or revolted against it, and then asked for annexation to their real fatherland, the United States. That was never the case of Cuba.

- Were the Cubans pro-annexation to the US?
There were many tendencies among the Cubans of the time. I don't doubt that some landowners or sugar cane planters who had their source of money in the US wanted an US annexation, but they were always a tiny minority. The Cuban mass chose to elect their own destiny, firstly through massive liberal reforms and from the late 1870s as a whole independent nation. They didn't want to be "gringos", less to be ruled by "gringos". Cuba wasn't a big version of Puerto Rico, whose inhabitants simply didn't care really about the owner of the island.

- Would be the Cubans pro-annexation to the CS?
Second or third class citizens in a country divided in racial castes? No, thanks.

- Would Spain voluntarily sell Cuba to the US, the CS, or any other country?
Never! Cuba was the Spanish province/colony/territory with more merchant traffic in the late 19th century. Havana was the second most valuable city for Spain after Barcelona. There was a good reason for the Spanish to invest in Cuban industries (for example, the first rail in Cuba was built more than 10 years before than the first in mainland Spain), and that was because all the money invested there could be taken later multiplied. In the late 1890s, when most Cubans were clearly pro-independence (even including the ones born in mainland Spain), the Spaniards had 200.000 permanent troops in the island hunting guerrilleros (more than the British Empire in the whole Indian Raj at the same time) and spent hundreds of thousants of pesetas each year in that activity. There were other reasons like the national pride in the age of Imperialism, of course, but the main reason was still the same. Even the biggest spending in Cuba would be compensated in the future. None country in the world could buy a place like it.

- Would had the CSA enough money to even attempt to purchase Cuba?
I say no, at least no in her first years as an independent nation. Even in the case of the easiest possible war of independence she would need all her money to rebuilt her economy after the war. That without the money of the North, and most likely with the boycott of the North. Turtledove use a little trick to avoid it giving total French and British support to the CSA in the place of the USA, but I doubt it. In any case, the British could support commerce with the CSA, but not the territorial expansion of a state based on the use of slaves in the Americas, specially if that expansion is violent (as it is needed to be in this case). And there is an important crisis of her main resort coming in 1873 (as other 'Forumer' said in other thread)... that surely delay even any wish of Cuban CSA for some decades. And after that, there is always the typical questions... Has the CSA enough money? Has enough troops to launch an invasion of Cuba and stablish a permanent occupation against the wishes of the population? Has even the CSA the capacity to build enough ships to fight, and then transport those troops? Again, I think that this isn't possible for the CSA in the late 1800s or even later. I think that, for the late 19th century, the CSA is more likely to use her troops to securing her dominion over the Apache lands in her wild west, or even to obtain a port in the Sea of Cortez from the Mexicans (who, by the way, I don't think that they are going to sale any inche voluntarily... not after the lose of half of the country in the Mexican-American War. The Gadsen purchase was ludicrous compared to the initial ambitions of Gadsen and Davis, but its sell costed the government to Santana anyway).

- Why is this cliché so recurent among US authors?
Well, this is a personal opinion, so you don't need to take it seriously. In my opinion many Americans use to consider Cuba as a sort of "rebel province"... I mean, they wanted it for several years (from the 1850s at least), they even took it in 1898, but they never couldn't annex it really for whatever reason. Moreover, in 1959 that island "chose" to cut any relation with the US in order to follow her own real way. The Americans have Cuba in their minds as a treasure lost and use this stories about easy sellings or invasions in which the population receive it with flower bunchs as a form to lie themselves. That is the sensation that I have when I read, for example, that Turtledove wrote about a confederate Cuba since the 1870s in How Few Remain but he never wrote a line in the entire TL-191 series about what is the situation in CSA Cuba or even why was Cuba successfully purchased. There is none explanation. Cuba is confederate simply because it needs to be American in some form. The rest isn't really important.
 
Obviously the CSA and Cuba both need to change in order for the annexation of Cuba to work. Given enough time, and the right events this can easily be engineered. (Look at Cuba after indepedance until Machado y Morales, it fits with the pattern of Hawaii in many ways.)

The CSA needs to have things devolp outside of slavery. Tourism, industry, the railroads, all bring social changes that would change how they would approach this situation. The Confederacy needs to bypass trade through Spain with Cuba. They need investments in Cuba, as well as other people sympathtic to their cause. The CSA needs to work at a Populistic level with poorer farmers, and other indepedance fighters. It needs ways to continue stressing the realtionship between Spain and the Cubans. It needs to reach all landowners in Cuba, poor or rich, as well as the poor in the cities.

Lets postulate that the Cubans win indepedance on their own accord in late 1870s, early 1880s. Immeadiately afterword Confederate money starts flooding into the island's economy. Cuban Elites are fleeing pretty good right now, however this takes a turn for the worse, and a coup is launched by someone or other, prehaps a General. The country soon turns bankrupt, owning the CSA a bit of debt. Soon a rebellion takes place replacing the general with confedracy sympathysising elite...
 
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Obviously the CSA and Cuba both need to change in order for the annexation of Cuba to work. Given enough time, and the right events this can easily be engineered. (Look at Cuba after indepedance until Machado y Morales, it fits with the pattern of Hawaii in many ways.)

The CSA needs to have things devolp outside of slavery. Tourism, industry, the railroads, all bring social changes that would change how they would approach this situation. The Confederacy needs to bypass trade through Spain with Cuba. They need investments in Cuba, as well as other people sympathtic to their cause. The CSA needs to work at a Populistic level with poorer farmers, and other indepedance fighters. It needs ways to continue stressing the realtionship between Spain and the Cubans. It needs to reach all landowners in Cuba, poor or rich, as well as the poor in the cities.

Lets postulate that the Cubans win indepedance on their own accord in late 1870s, early 1880s. Immeadiately afterword Confederate money starts flooding into the island's economy. Cuban Elites are fleeing pretty good right now, however this takes a turn for the worse, and a coup is launched by someone or other, prehaps a General. The country soon turns bankrupt, owning the CSA a bit of debt. Soon a rebellion takes place replacing the general with confedracy sympathysising elite...
Whether plausible or not, it would definitely diversify the Southern economy, which it desperately needed. Assuming the South can't Industrialize, I see this as the next best thing. Sugar, molasses, rum, new markets for thier goods, its a win for them as long as it doesn't become a money pit, or even worse, quicksand for its military.
 
Duquense, you didnt understand my point. IOTL, you have the ACW in the 1860s, and the US-Spanish War 1898. Now, in many TLs where the CSA secedes in the ACW, it, instead of the USA, conquers Cuba from Spain. But is that feasible? I dont ask you for ways how that could be sucessful, I ask if that, with those fixed circumstances is any likely!
I did Answer Your point
The post ACW is to late,
Starting in the 1830's the Spainish Governor-Generals began enforceing a Cuban v Spainish, Identity on the population depending if born in Cuba.
Prior to this, Most Cuban Born were considered Spainish just like those Born in Spain.
By the 1870's and the First Cuban Revelution, a true Cuban identity had emerged.
The Cubans sucessfully revolted against Spain in the 1870's,
They would have done the same to the CSA if it had Tried to take over. the CSA didn't have the Resoures needed to supress the Cubans
 
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In my TL the conquest of Cuba is eased by a new Carlist War in Spain, would this work out better? It takes place in the 1870s but the Panic of 1873 is delayed* by butterflies. The Confederates present themselves as the Cubans' salvation from the rebellious slaves on the island (armed by France and Haiti).

In any case, the British could support commerce with the CSA, but not the territorial expansion of a state based on the use of slaves in the Americas, specially if that expansion is violent (as it is needed to be in this case).
But there is already slavery in Cuba, this would be just a change of ownership. I can even see them playing Spain and the CSA against each other and "selling" their support to the highest "bidder".

*Or diluted, I'm not too sure what to do with it. Was it really unavoidable?
 
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- Why is this cliché so recurent among US authors?
In my opinion, it's not that everyone is using it but rather one person started using it and a lot of people copied the concept. I am of course speaking of Harry Turtledove. Now once he picked it up, other CSA victory timelines started throwing it in (after all, HT brought many AH buffs into the genre) in the same fashion that we started seeing Mormon rebellions everywhere. No scientific analysis on it, but that's my thoughts.
 
themselves as the Cubans' salvation from the rebellious slaves on the island (armed by France and Haiti).
But there is already slavery in Cuba, this would be just a change of ownership. I can even see them playing Spain and the CSA against each other and "selling" their support to the highest "bidder".
In the 1830's the Spainish Government started trying to stop the Smuggling of Slaves onto the Island, in violation of the Anti Slave Trade Laws.
Even here Slavery was Dieing. By the 1870 Slaves made up 80% of the Black population [up from only 50% in tthe early 1800's. Blacks made up only 40% of the Islands population.

And in the 1870's one of the Rally point's both Whites and Free Blacks in the Rebellion could agree on , was the Abolishsion of Slavery.
 
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