Platt Amendment

From Academic Kids

The Platt Amendment, a rider appended to the U.S. Army appropriations bill (March 1901), stipulated the conditions for the withdrawal of United States troops remaining in Cuba since the Spanish-American War, and defined the terms of Cuban-U.S. relations until 1934. Formulated by the U.S. Secretary of War Elihu Root, the amendment was presented to the Senate by, and named for, Connecticut Republican Senator Orville Platt (1827-1905).

The amendment ceded to the U.S. the naval base in Cuba (Guantánamo Bay), stipulated that Cuba would not transfer Cuban land to any other power other than the U.S., mandated that Cuba would contract no foreign debt without guarantees that the interest could be served from ordinary revenues, ensured U.S. intervention in Cuban affairs when the U.S. deemed necessary, prohibited Cuba from negotiating treaties with any country other than the United States, and provided for a formal treaty detailing all the foregoing provisions.

Later in 1901, under U.S. pressure, Cuba included the amendment's provisions in its constitution. After U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt withdrew federal troops from the island in 1902, Cuba signed the Cuban-American Treaty (1903), which outlined U.S. power in Cuba and the Caribbean. Tomás Estrada Palma, who had earlier favored outright annexation of Cuba by the United States, became president on May 20, 1902.

The United States exercised that power. Following acceptance of the amendment, the U.S. ratified a tariff pact that gave Cuban sugar preference in the U.S. market and protection to selected U.S. products in the Cuban market. As a result of U.S. action, sugar production came into complete domination of the Cuban economy, while Cuban domestic consumption was integrated into the larger market of the United States. After Estrada Palma made an unabashed attempt to return to power at the end of his term in 1905, a liberal revolt contesting his government's electoral and administrative procedures followed. Roosevelt sent U.S. troops to Cuba on September 29, 1906 to crush the revolt, thus bringing about the second U.S. occupation of Cuba, which lasted until 1909.

Except for U.S. rights to Guantánamo Bay, the Platt Amendment provisions, which Cubans considered an imperialist infringement of their sovereignty, were repealed in 1934, when a new treaty with the U.S. was negotiated as a part of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Good Neighbor policy" toward Latin America. The occupation of Guantánamo Bay still continues, and that right can only be revoked by the consent of both parties.

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