By OLIVIA MILNE, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Carrying an American flag and chanting “USA”, members of the Historical Reconstruction of the South Committee celebrated their victory over Cuba and the former Confederate soldiers today in a patriotic display.
An invasion of the island nation, which earlier declared a joint government with Confederate soldiers who fled to the country, was declared early this morning. Although the coalition of these two groups may at first seem strange, according to Secretary of State William H. Seward Cuba and the Confederates had a natural alliance. As two slave-holding states, the Confederacy and Cuba have sympathy for each other, and sought to protect each other’s interests when they declared their joint government. Cuba, which has sought to gain independence from Spain for many years now, desired the political clout an alliance with the Confederate group would bring them.
Some have questioned the actions of the Committee, and have sought to discover why action against Cuba and the Confederate rebels wasn’t taken sooner. Debate was conducted for an hour this morning on whether or not the invasion should have been conducted, and deliberations were unclear up until the decision finally passed. According to Commanding General Ulysses S. Grant, the Union did not want to take any actions that would be seen as hasty or ill-advised. Grant stated that it would be better to win a deliberate war that all parties in the Committee could support, and wanted to provide time for the military to train Union troops. The Union did not want to enter a war they would lose, and wanted to ensure that their army would be ready. However, the consensus at the end of debate was that this threat had to be nipped in the butt before it endangered the Union.
The question now remains as to what will happen to Cuba now that it is under the control of the Union. Some have questioned what kind of law will be imposed, and if Cuba will eventually become another state. United States Attorney General James Speed has gone on record saying that the same martial law present in the US will be implemented in Cuba. However, Speed says that immediate action will in fact be taken against those former Confederate soldiers who have sought refuge in the nation. According to Speed, these rebels will be brought back to the United States in order to bring them to justice, and they await full trials upon their return for the injustices they have committed. The US has no intentions to return Cuba to Spain. However, the question of statehood, and how Cuba will be treated under the auspices of the US government, still remains up for debate for the Committee to decide. For now, the Union will continue to celebrate its victory.