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I Took the Great Canal

Bob Connelly
Language: English


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[1975]
Album “Yankee Go Home: Songs of Protest Against American Imperialism”, Folkways Records.

FW05282

Vignetta dell’epoca che mostra il presidente statunitense Roosevelt intento a scavare il canale di Panama e a seppellire la Colombia, cui lo aveva appena rubato.
Vignetta dell’epoca che mostra il presidente statunitense Roosevelt intento a scavare il canale di Panama e a seppellire la Colombia, cui lo aveva appena rubato.


Dopo Cuba e le Filippine, nel 1903 i voraci yankee guidati dal condottiero Teddy Roosevelt e dal segretario di Stato John Milton Hay si papparono pure Panama, sottraendola alla sovranità colombiana. La comprarono dalle banche francesi (rappresentate dal lobbista Philippe Bunau-Varilla) che a partire dal 1889 avevano investito ingenti capitali in un’impresa che si era rivelata difficile e rischiosa: la costruzione di un transito navale tra Atlantico e Pacifico. Roosevelt comprò Panama dai francesi per 40 milioni di dollari, risparmiò il denaro promesso alla Colombia - e da questa rifiutato – fomentando la rivolta dei panamensi per l’indipendenza, e poi i genieri dell’esercito completarono in soli 10 anni il Canale avviato dai francesi… un investimento davvero vantaggioso che nei decenni successivi gli USA difesero sempre armi in pugno, fino alla cruenta invasione del 1989, falsamente giustificata – ancora una volta – dalla necessità di liberare il popolo panamense da un sanguinario dittatore narcotrafficante, in quel caso il generale Manuel Noriega (che ancora oggi è in prigione a Miami)…
Ed è proprio per motivare l’acquisto/annessione di Panama che Roosevelt stabilì il proprio emendamento alla “Dottrina Monroe” del 1823: se questa asseriva che ogni interferenza europea nel continente americano era da considerarsi un’aggressione agli USA, il “Roosevelt Corollary” stabilì che gli USA avevano il diritto di intervenire anche militarmente negli altri paesi americani se necessario per difendere i propri interessi… E’ allora che il Centro ed il Sudamerica divennero ufficialmente il “giardino di casa” degli yankee e – si capisce bene – ogni tanto una riordinatina e una sfalciatina al prato sono necessarie…

*

“In the ever expanding need to service the growing navy, an isthmian canal, linking the Atlantic with the Pacific, was deemed a necessity. Accordingly, a commission of American engineers was sent to the Isthmus of Panama and decided that the shortest and cheapest route between the oceans was located in Panama. A few problems immediately arose; first, the French had at one time started digging a canal - so their right to it had to be purchased. Secondly, and more importantly, Panama belonged to Colombia, and the right to build had to be negotiated with the Colombian government. The French proved no problem for the American government and quickly accepted $ 40,000,000 in payment for their holdings. The Colombian goverment, however, rejected President Theodore Roosevelt's offer of $ l0,000,000 and $ 250,000 annual rental. Roosevelt, infuriated at what he considered to be blackmail by the Colombians, let it be known with a show of naval power off the coast of Panama that he supported the revolution of the Panamanians against the Colombians. Almost predictably, in November, 1903, the Panamanian Rebellion broke out and, with some help from the United States Navy, succeeded in achieving independence (if they had not, Roosevelt was prepared to ask Congress for authority to take Panama by force from Colombia). Immediately, the United States recognized the independent Republic of Panama which, in turn, quickly accepted Roosevelt's terms for a canal zone.

Teddy Roosevelt bragged that he "took Panama" and in his message to Congress in 1904, which established the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt said that although Europe had to stay out of Latin America, the United States had the right to intervene in Latin America if any Latin American countries did not conduct their affairs with decency!”

(nota introduttiva al brano dal libretto che accompagna l’album)
Hey, there's something you want,
But there‘s something can’t buy,
Although your money speaks loud,
Don't wait you a day,
Go to Congress and say:
"I took it! I took it! I took it!”

Now the Panama Canal,
It is ours forever more.
I don't give a damn if they don’t like it,
The Panama Canal,
It is ours forever more,
And let the dirty brown-skinned Degoes fight it.

We bought the deed from France,
But Columbia said: No!
The French don’t own the land,
For they leased it from ourselves,
And they had no right to sell;
The Isthmus of Panama is ours!

So we offered them a sum,
To sell us some of the land,
And to pay them rent each year.
But Colombia had doubts,
Which made Teddy rave and shout,
And jump a good five feet up in the air.

Now the Panama Canal,
It is ours forever more.
I don't give a damn if they don’t like it,
The Panama Canal,
It is ours forever more,
And let the dirty brown-skinned Degoes fight it.

Now Teddy wrote that day,
To Secretary Hay,
He said: "I’ll send the army
And we'll teach them jolly quick,
Not to fool with by big stick,
And they’ll crawl, yes crawl, for forgiveness."

But Teddy's lucky day,
Was not so far away,
And he didn‘t need the Army,
For Verilla and his band,
Were rebellin‘ in that land,
And Teddy had to take the side of freedom

Now the Panama Canal,
It is ours forever more.
I don't give a damn if they don’t like it,
The Panama Canal,
It is ours forever more,
And let the dirty brown-skinned Degoes fight it.

What a Christian act was this,
That he put away his stick,
And sent a healthy check to aid Verilla.
For Republics like Republics,
And Republics like canals,
And Teddy and Verilla simply took one.

Now the Panama Canal,
It is ours forever more.
I don't give a damn if they don’t like it,
The Panama Canal,
It is ours forever more,
And let the dirty brown-skinned Degoes fight it.

Contributed by Alessandro - 2010/4/1 - 14:14



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