Monday, February 10, 2014

Sobel Wiki: Aloha!

This week's featured article at the Sobel Wiki is on Hawaii, one of the states of the United States of Mexico.

The history of the Hawaiian Islands is very similar in both the Sobel Timeline and our own. A native dynasty established its rule over the inhabited islands of the archipelago in the nineteenth century, but by the 1890s, commercial interests in the islands sought to overthrow the monarchy and bring the islands under foreign rule. In the Sobel Timeline, the commercial interests consisted of Kramer Associates, the largest corporation in the U.S.M. Diego Cortez y Catalán, the president of K.A., financed a revolution on the island in 1892, placing a puppet ruler on the Hawaiian throne. Four months later, the islands petitioned for annexation by the U.S.M., and Mexican dictator Benito Hermión obliged.

Hawaii remained a Mexican dependency under the economic control of K.A. for the next thirty years. Then, President Emiliano Calles called for plebiscites in all of Hermión's conquered territories to either gain Mexican statehood or independence. Cortez's successor, Douglas Benedict, opposed Calles, since K.A. still controlled all the territories, and he believed that any change in the status quo would be for the worse. In spite of Benedict's opposition, the Hawaiian government approved the plebiscite, and Hawaii gained Mexicban statehood in November 1923.

Hawaii was one of three Kramer satrapies that accepted Calles' plebiscite proposal, and one of two (Alaska was the other) that voted for Mexican statehood. Given K.A.'s established policy of maintaining control of its satrapies by buying elected officials, this represents a major failure on the company's part (though Sobel, typically, fails to describe it as such). In theory, all Benedict had to do to prevent a plebiscite from being held in Hawaii was to cable whichever top figures in the Hawaiian government he owned and tell them not to allow it. That the plebiscite was held anyway suggests that there was considerable opposition to Kramer's de facto rule of the islands -- enough to overcome the company's financial control, and presumably cause bought politicians to come unbought.

This makes it less surprising that in its first presidential election, three years later, the Hawaiian electorate voted against Calles by a 55% to 45% margin, in favor of Pedro Fuentes, who had made it his goal if elected to bring Kramer Associates to heel.

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