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Rosalio Negrete

Uprising Threatens Machado

(February 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 7, 13 February 1933, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Armed insurrection against “Butcher” Machado has again threatens to break out in Cuba and various guerrilla bands of workers, peasants, American adventurers and filibusterers and petty bourgeois office seekers appear to have commenced operations in various parts of the island.

At last it appears that the comic opera “Tropical Mussolini” is on his last legs. Machado for eight years has done his best to advance the financial interests of Wall St. and himself through the most intense exploitation of the Cuban working class, the suppression of the labor movement and the amassing of an enormous personal fortune.

The Machado regime, by the most brutal repressive measures, carried through against all political and class opponents with little or no pretence of legality. Instead of playing his enemies against one another he has succeeded in uniting them all against his regime, depending for his support on a strong bureaucratic governmental apparatus, a pampered military and police force and American imperialism which, through ambassador Gruggenheim and in the interests of the sugar trust, he held the economics life-strings of the island. Now, however, even those Wall Street financial circles whose interests he has been so willing in his own brutal, blundering fashion, have withdrawn their support and thrown their weight into the scales against him.

Machado Position Untenable

Macado’s position has become untenable with the whole social basis of his rule swept from under him. The brutal methods of violence and terror have been counter-balanced by the desperation of the masses suffering the effects of the sharpest economic crisis in the country’s history. The Cuban working class, nourished by revolutionary and anti-imperialist traditions, and led largely by Communists and syndicalists, has at no time abandoned its opposition to the regime and has managed, in spite of the murder, imprisonment and exile of its strongest cadres to keep alive in the masses the spirit of proletarian struggle. The suppression of the workers’ and students’ movements, the indecision and cowardice of the petty-bourgeois oppositionists, and the ever-present threat of American intervention under the Platt Amendment are important factors that have served to prolong a situation that would not be otherwise possible.

The antecedents of the bourgeois revolutionary leaders indicate the road they are likely to follow. During the period of his presidency, Mario Menocal, the leader of the present revolt was a recognized collaborator and instrument of the sugar interests.

The workers, who have suffered most from the Machado tyranny, and by whose exertions combined with those of the bourgeois opposition and the sugar trust, the regime is now due to fall, must not be off their guard. At the very least, the legality of their organizations must be secured, together with the right to free assemblage lifting of the censorship over the press and mails, and freedom for all class war and political prisoners. Should the workers’ movement really gain in strength circumstances will warrant the demand for nationalization of the sugar industry that constitutes the principal industry of the island. But an attempt at actual seizure of the sugar mills, which would inevitably entail an armed proletarian insurrection for the seizure of political power also, would be premature from both objective and subjective considerations of the present situation.

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Last updated: 16 April 2015