Did the US have the right to aid the Cuban people?

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This question is most likely referring to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, which was framed in the United States as a war to liberate the Cuban people from Spanish oppression. This narrative was especially powerful in the New York press, where rival publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst sought to out-do each other through "yellow journalism": the lurid depiction of alleged Spanish atrocities against Cubans in the war for independence on that island. Whether the United States had a "right" to intervene, is, of course, open to interpretation. Some people argued at the time that it was the morally correct thing to do, and indeed the Spanish-American War enjoyed considerable popular support. But it should also be noted that the United States had other motives in entering the conflict than simply freeing the island of Cuba. Americans desired what was left of the once-mighty Spanish Empire, particularly the Philippines, as part of a new push for imperial expansion. At the same time, some congressmen, who opposed imperialism, stipulated in what became known as the "Teller Amendment" that the United States would not take possession of Cuba as a result of the war against Spain. However, once the war was over, the United States imposed an amendment known as the "Platt Amendment" to the Cuban constitution that authorized American intervention in Cuban domestic affairs. The United States would do so in different ways a few times in the twentieth century. Although the Platt Amendment was repealed under Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy authorized a failed covert operation involving Cuban exiles to overthrow Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro in 1961. So whether or not the United States had the right to intervene in Cuban affairs, the nation has done so more than once, with the aim of protecting American interests there as much as aiding the Cuban people. 

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