The print is a fragment of a larger lithograph entitled "Invasion of Cuba," composed of two panels, applauding American "filibustering" expeditions to liberate Cuba from Spain. (See also "The Great Naval Blockade of Round Island" and "Genl Lopez the Cuban Patriot Getting His Cash," nos. 1849-5 and 1850-10.) "Invasion of Cuba" evidently appeared in the wake of Lopez's second failed invasion of Cuba in August 1851. The left panel, "The Expedition," expresses sympathy with American intervention there in defiance of Great Britain. Our panel criticizes the Fillmore administration's conciliatory attitude toward Cuba, and alignment of the island's Spanish rule with the Catholic Church and other conservative powers in Europe.
Spanish governor Jose Gutierez de la Concha sits on a throne in the center of a crowded scene, his left foot on the face of the recumbent female figure of Cuba, as he decorates American consul A. F. Owen, who kneels at left. In the right foreground American Secretary of State Daniel Webster holds a "Secret Treaty with Spain" in one hand and behind his back clasps hands with Britain, represented by a lion in sailor's costume. Nearby stands a fox in uniform, probably representing France. To the right of the throne stand various prelates, bishops, and the pope, along with several beasts wearing crowns.
On the left of the throne are ministers with star-shaped heads, in a state of agitation. In the left foreground Brother Jonathan, smoking a cigar and waving a saber, carries off a Cuban flag.
Above Gutierez's throne are several smaller scenes of Spanish atrocities. On the left is the execution by a Cuban firing squad of American volunteers under W. H. Crittenden in Havana, August 16, 1851. The captive Americans are bound and kneeling. In the center, expedition commander Narciso Lopez is garroted by a black man, as he sits in a chair decorated with a small cross (an anti-Catholic reference). The scene on the right shows two ships, one American and one Cuban, and has the date August 13. It may represent the capture of Crittenden's retreating forces on the high seas.
Below the print is the caustic commentary: "Our Consul at Havana decorated by Don Quixote with the Order of the Golden Fleeze for his Neutrality in the Cuba Question under the Applause of the Absolute Powers! The Stars in Consternation. Jonathan runs off swearing: 'Cuba must be smoked' anyhow!"