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Rosalio Negrete

War On for Control of Leticia

(February 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 9, 17 February 1933, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Open warfare has at last broken out between Peru and Colombia for control of the small Amazon port of Leticia. It is possible that this conflict together with that between Paraguay and Bolivia for possession of the Gran Chaco, may develop into a continent-wide war, with British and American imperialism supporting the opposing sides.

The official Communist party press in its estimation of the situation assumes that there are already two clearly defined blocs of Latin American lackey governments servile to the interests of British and American imperialism respectively. It is however pure light-mindedness to jump at conclusions after the fashion of the Daily Worker experts who analyze every Latin American problem regardless of its complexity, according to the magic formula wherein British imperialism unconditionally supports one side while Wall Street has all its stakes on the other.

It so happens in this case that both the United States government and the League of Nations, which latter can hardly be called an exclusive instrument of Wall Street, have declared themselves in support of Colombia in the Leticia dispute. On the other hand the British Blue Shirts (Fascists) have recruited a foreign legion in England which is aiding Bolivia in the Chaco war. The Daily Worker considers every factor in Bolivia’s favor as due to the pressure and influence of Wall Street imperialism. Perhaps even the British Fascists are puppets of American finance capital!

Unrest In Peru

While an insane war hysteria appears at the moment to dominate the mass psychology in Colombia, there is very deep social and political unrest in Peru. One of Sanchez Cerro’s reasons for warring against Colombia at the present time, was to utilize an appeal to national patriotism as a counterbalance to the forces and tendencies aimed at the overthrow of his regime. But the Peruvian dictator is playing with fire; anything short of a quick decisive victory, and that is unlikely, certainly a revolutionary overturn in the near future. The petty bourgeois A.P.R.A. which opposed Sanchez Cerro in the last elections, and which together with the Communist party, was recently involved, in a series of minor uprisings which culminated in the “putsch” at Trujillo last fall have already conducted in Lima and other Peruvian cities a number of protest demonstrations against the war, resulting in clashes between the workers and the armed forces of the government and in numerous arrests.

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Last updated: 16 April 2015