Skip to main content

Demystifying Alexander Nahum Sack and the doctrine of odious debt

Eric Tousaint’s study of the odious debt doctrine

by Eric Toussaint

Part 11 - What were the arguments advanced by the United States?

  1. Spain had issued Spanish securities in Europe with French and British bankers in the name of Cuba. Spain was guarantor of the issuance of these securities and they were backed by revenue from the Cuban customs and other taxes. The majority, if not all, of the bonds issued by Spain in Cuba’s name and the wealth they generated remained in Spain.

  1. Strictly speaking, there was no such thing as a Cuban debt because Cuba, as a colony, did not have the right to issue securities on its own initiative or in its own name. The island’s finances were controlled exclusively by the Spanish government.

  1. There was no proof that the Spanish bonds secured by Cuba’s revenues were actually used for projects that were beneficial to Cuba. Quite to the contrary, the history of Cuba’s finances as a colony showed that revenue from the island was absorbed by Spain’s national budget. In fact, until 1861, Cuba produced revenues well above the expenditures made by the Cuban government put in place by Spain. The revenue in excess of those expenditures was transferred in large part to Spain. Then, when Spain mounted costly military expeditions in Mexico, in Santo Domingo and against the independentists in Cuba, Cuba’s finances began to go into the red. In other words, Cuba had begun to run a budget deficit because Spain was using Cuba’s revenues to finance colonial wars both outside Cuba and within Cuba itself. The Spanish military expeditions into Mexico and Santo Domingo used Cuba as their base.

  1. Based on arguments 1 and 3, the United States’ position was that Cuba’s debtor status was a fiction since the so-called Cuban debts were in reality Spain’s. The United States argued that Spain’s budget absorbed the surplus produced by the island while saddling it with loans which in fact served its own interests and not Cuba’s.

Only after having used the preceding arguments did the United States add the well-known moral argument: “From the moral point of view, the proposal to impose these debts upon Cuba is equally untenable. If, as is sometimes asserted, the struggles for Cuban independence have been carried on and supported by a minority of the people of the island, to impose upon the inhabitants as a whole the cost of suppressing the insurrections would be to punish the many for the deeds of the few. If, on the other hand, those struggles have, as the American Commissioners maintain, represented the hopes and aspirations of the body of the Cuban people, to crush the inhabitants by a burden created by Spain in the effort to oppose their independence would be even more unjust.[…] [The instances of state practice adduced by Spain] are conceived to be inapplicable, legally and morally, to the so called ‘Cuban debt’, the burden of which, imposed upon the people of Cuba without their consent and by force of arms, was one of the principal wrongs for the termination of which the struggles for Cuban independence were undertaken.

In light of these arguments by the United States, Spain changed its tactics in the negotiations. It proposed that the Cuban debts be submitted for international arbitration in order to determine what share had actually been used in Cuba’s interest. Spain offered to bear the burden of that share of the debts which had not served Cuba and asked the United States to take responsibility for the other part or transfer it to the new independent Cuban State. The American negotiators telegraphed President McKinley to ask his opinion. He responded by making it clear that the United States would not agree to take on any Cuban debt and would not encourage Cuba to agree to do so.

In conclusion, the United States purely and simply repudiated the debt claimed by Spain from Cuba.

In 1909, after the United States had withdrawn its troops from Cuba, Spain demanded that the “independent” government of Cuba repay a portion of the debt. Unsurprisingly, Cuba refused, arguing that the Treaty of Paris of December 1898, which ended the conflict between Spain and the United States, had cancelled all debts. From that point, Spain was forced to negotiate with her French and British creditors.

Further, it needs to be stressed, on the one hand, that at no time did the United States invite the Cubans to send delegates to participate in the negotiations held in Paris; and on the other hand that the United States made use of the argument relating to the despotic nature of the colonial regime only secondarily. They concentrated on the use that Spain had made of the so-called Cuban loans to demonstrate that it was Spain first and foremost that benefited from them. They also showed that Spain, and not Cuba, was the actual borrower.

Source and references:


[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

MSNBC poll on Julian Assange backfires epically

globinfo freexchange
Frequently - if not always - polls set-up by corporate media aim to track public opinion on a specific issue. The results could be used by the deep state apparatus in order to justify an action, or, figure out how to handle a negative trend for the deep state agenda.
Of course, the question could be set-up in a very simplified and convenient manner, so that the results could be translated accordingly.
Yet, the results from the following MSNBC poll on Julian Assange are so devastating for the deep state planning that leave little room for any misconception and manipulation.
Specifically, you have two options to answer the following question: “Should Julian Assange be prosecuted for his involvement in WikiLeaks?
The first option is to answer that "Yes, he is a criminal."
The second option is to answer that "No, he is a whistleblower and deserves protection."
At the time we checked out the results, the second answer prevailed overwhelmingly with 95% (~1…

Trump's failure to start a civil war in Venezuela could be proved disastrous for the plans of the US imperialists

by system failure
Donald Trump and his bloodthirsty warhawks are about to break the record of failed attempted coups against a single country. Concerning Latin America, the US imperialists were setting the desirable conditions for their corporate beasts usually by overthrowing governments and supporting military dictatorships.
But Trump himself has already broken another record. The record of not keeping his promises to the American people - every one of them. The 'anti-interventionist', 'anti-establishment' Trump, has already started a war against Venezuela, which so far includes brutal economic sanctions, sabotage operations, attempted coups. Trump not only does whatever he can in order to satisfy the US neocon/neoliberal establishment and the deep state, but especially in the case of Venezuela, he follows the obsolete CIA playbook to the letter.
So, after a series of failed orchestrated coups, Trump's warhawks attempted to start a civil war in Venezuela by mobiliz…

Former top US official confirms: military action against Venezuela will become a Vietnam 2.0 for the US imperialists

globinfo freexchange
Former US Chief of Staff for Secretary of State, Lawrence Wilkerson, spoke with Sharmini Peries of the Real News about Trump's plans for a potential US military action against Venezuela.

As he pointed out:
Elliott Abrams, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and the administration’s approach to Venezuela, is as if they were Panama or they were Honduras. They are not. They’re very professional. That puts them above Argentina, above Chile, whose militaries are quite competent, too. 
Mr. Trump ought to be very, very careful about saying he’s going to send marines or soldiers to Venezuela because the Venezuelan military will be unified immediately. It will take to the hills and it will fight as the Vietnamese did during the Vietnam War, and as the Taliban are in Afghanistan right now: to the last marine, to the last soldier.
Putin is a smart man, probably told Trump 'you don’t want to get involved in those jungles. You don’t want to get involved in those mountains. You …

Latest ridiculous attempts by the US propaganda machine on Gaza, Venezuela – enjoy

globinfo freexchange
Plenty of propaganda is manufactured by the US deep state apparatus to push for the imperialist agenda. Yet, some elements of the propaganda machine are still unable to realize that independent truth seekers and real journalists are watching, and therefore, these elements could be easily exposed.
Sloppy efforts immediately backfire in social media and the Internet. Most recent sloppy efforts are related to Gaza and Venezuela.
As the Newsweekreported:
Senior 2020 Trump campaign adviser Katrina Pierson used a 2015 video showing a Ukrainian rocket launch alongside comments about this weekend's deadly attacks between Israel and Gaza militants and a condemnation of congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Pierson, who was Donald Trump's 2016 campaign spokesperson and is a frequent cable news guest, shared the video—which was first posted online in 2015 and reportedly shows Ukraine launching dozens of rockets at Russian-backed separatists—on Sunday.
Alongsi…

Chelsea Manning proves that she is a real hero

globinfo freexchange
Outside of an Alexandria, Virginia courtroom, Chelsea Manning explained to reporters why she would refuse to testify before a second grand jury investigating Wikileaks' Julian Assange, and as a result, face jail time once again. On May 9, Manning was released from jail because the term of the last grand jury she refused to testify before expired. She was immediately subpoenaed once again—for May 16.
Her following words clearly depict that Chelsea Manning is a person with strong and solid principles and a real hero:
I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury, so it doesn’t matter what it is, or what the case is. I’m just not going to comply or cooperate. Facing jail again, potentially today, doesn’t change my stance. The prosecutors are deliberately placing me in an impossible position: go to jail and face the prospect of being held in contempt again, or, in the alternative, foregoing my principles, the strong positions that I have, that I hold dear…

Fox clowns committed suicide by bringing Bernie Sanders inside their nest to destroy them

... and the liberal centrists must be really pissed off
globinfo freexchange
It was epic indeed. The moment where the crowd inside the Fox ultra-right nest enthusiastically cheers in favor of a government-run healthcare system, could actually be considered a historical moment, thanks to Bernie Sanders.
The moment clearly depicts and officially marks the end of controlled audiences in controlled MSM environments. It shows that the well-paid MSM pundits and their producers are finding increasingly difficult to set up the scene according to the desirable agenda. Therefore, audience reactions can't be directed, or predicted in many cases by the MSM 'experts'.
The shock for the MSM tools was inevitable. It shows that they are now completely detached from the ordinary people and their problems.
But the whole thing highlighted something even more fundamental. It was another loud evidence for the fact that the BS neoliberal narratives don't work anymore.
And even more remarkably, th…

CNN sets up a fully controlled audience panel to promote pro-establishment candidates using Bernie Sanders progressive agenda

 An example of advanced psy-ops by the corporate media 

globinfo freexchange

As we wrote recently, the moment where the crowd inside the Fox ultra-right nest enthusiastically cheers in favor of a government-run healthcare system, could actually be considered a historical moment, thanks to Bernie Sanders.

The moment clearly depicts and officially marks the end of controlled audiences in controlled MSM environments. It shows that the well-paid MSM pundits and their producers are finding increasingly difficult to set up the scene according to the desirable agenda. Therefore, audience reactions can't be directed, or predicted in many cases by the MSM 'experts'.
Now, here is an example showing a successful set up through a controlled audience. It took place inside CNN and there is plenty of evidence that was indeed carefully set up. In the following video, Mike Figueredo of the Humanist Report felt optimistic, but also quite frustrated at the same time. Figueredo's reaction …

Chemical weapons assessment contradicting official Syria narrative is authentic

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has begun responding to queries by the press about a leaked document which contradicts official OPCW findings on an alleged chemical weapons attack last year in Douma, Syria. The prepared statement they’ve been using in response to these queries confirms the authenticity of the document.
To recap, a few days ago the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM) published a document signed by a man named Ian Henderson, whose name is seen listed in expert leadership positions on OPCW documents from as far back as 1998 and as recently as 2018. It’s unknown who leaked the document and what other media organizations they may have tried to send it to.
The report picks apart the extremely shaky physics and narratives of the official OPCW analysis on the gas cylinders allegedly dropped from Syrian government aircraft in the Douma attack, and concludes that “The dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders, a…

Updates for a possible coup against Jeremy Corbyn

 globinfo freexchange

In this episode of RT's Going Underground, former MP and author of A Very British Coup and The Friends of Harry Perkins, Chris Mullin, spoke about the history of MI5 and MI6 meddling in UK politics against Labour Party leaders. He also estimated whether a British coup is underway against Jeremy Corbyn.
The story of A Very British Coup was set in the 1980s when there was speculation about the possibility of a government led by someone like Tony Benn and the establishment conspired to bring it down. The establishment in this case being a sort of mixture of the security and intelligence services, the media barons, with a little help from the Americans. 
Tony Benn looked likely to become deputy leader of the Labour Party which at the time was strongly challenging the government of Margaret Thatcher in the opinion polls. Persistent rumours circulated over the years about attempts by members of the British security services, and other wings of the British Establish…

How GMO seeds and Monsanto/Bayer’s “RoundUp” are driving US policy in Venezuela

With Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.
by Whitney Webb
Part 4 - Why is a top to Marco Rubio increasing his stake in Bayer while others flee?
Yet, it is AEI’s top individual donor noted in the accidental “schedule of contributors” disclosure who is most telling about the private biotech interests guiding the Trump administration’s Venezuela policy. Paul Singer, the controversial billionaire hedge fund manager, has long been a major donor to neoconservative and Zionist causes — helping fund the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the successor to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC); and the neoconservative and islamophobic Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), in addition to the AEI.
Singer is notably one of the top political donors to Senat…