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Rosalio Negrete

Revolt Gathers Against Machado Regime in Cuba

(May 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 28, 27 May 1933, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Another revolt accompanied by a wave of terrorism has broken loose in Cuba. The guerilla outbreaks in the central and eastern provinces of the island are only one, and perhaps not the greatest of the dangers threatening the dictatorship. In the cities and especially in Havana, virtual civil war exists between the “A.B.C.” student terrorist organization and the famous “porra” at the service of the murderous pseudo-bouapartist Machado regime.

“Butcher” Machado is now singing his swan song and the vultures are already darkening the sky in preparation for the feast. A change of government means new concessions, new contracts, new loans, and a shake-up in those quarters where political jobs are given out.

With the increasing intensification of the crisis in the sugar industry, due to high tariff walls in the U.S. and Europe, the competition, with the growing beet sugar industry of the consumer countries, and the ever-increasing warehouse surpluses, the Cuban government’s financial income has been reduced to a minimum. For many months, school teachers and other government employees have been unpaid, but until very recently, enough funds have been available to keep the army and police “loyal”. At last however it appears, even these, the almost sole remaining supporters of the regime, are wavering. Recent dispatches from Oriente Province report serious defections in the garrisons of several small towns.

The armed outbreaks appear to be inspired by the sector of anti-Machado forces which is favorable to American intervention. The principal leaders of the Opposition Junta wherein are represented most of the different bourgeois and petty bourgeois cliques are opposed to intervention at this time as this would interfere with their own hopeful plans for the distribution of political posts and economic advantages among themselves.

Machado’s main support rests to day on the governmental bureaucracy and the armed forces of the state power. The several national bourgeois groups and the foreign companies (with exceptions) as well as the proletariat and peasantry, are all desirous of his elimination. The very survival of the dictatorship for such a long period has been due largely to the conflicts existing in the camp of its enemies. It would be naive to expect any decisive action of the proletariat at the present juncture, but it is certain that Machado’s overthrow would he immediately followed by sharp struggles among the various sections of the national bourgeoisie and the conflicting imperialist interests.

The Roosevelt administration has not yet determined on a definite course. The conflicting interests of the rival sugar companies are engaged in back-stage arrangements, and in dickering with the State Department and with Cuban politicians both in and out of office. Senator Borah and Hamilton Fish have declared themselves in favor of American intervention under the terms of the Platt Amendment. The recent appointment of Sumner Welles, assistant secretary of state, us the new American ambassador to Cuba, indicates a change in policy on the part of Washington although it gives no clear indication of the course that policy may take in the next few months.

The experiences of Nicaragua and Haiti are too recent to be easily forgotten. They demonstrate the inadvisability – for the imperialists – of intervention, excepting as a very last resort. In Nicaragua, after combating Sandino unsuccessfully for six years, the U.S. Marines gave way to the more effective policy of diplomacy and dollars. The scandal growing out of the Haiti intervention is no less an argument against the same tactics in Cuba. Although full legal justification for-such action can be found under the Platt Amendment, the responsibility accruing to the U.S. Government therefrom, would in all likelihood be so onerous as to offset any advantages obtained.

General Menocal and the other bourgeois opposition leaders are all anxious to serve Wall Street and themselves by replacing for Machado’s crude dictatorial methods (products of a decadent pseudo-bonapartism), some form of constitutional bourgeois rule, in which the different and foreign and native capitalist interests can collaborate “democratically.” Life however is destined to demonstrate the impracticability of any such arrangement, and in anticipation of its failure, preparations are already being made, strategic positions already being bargained for, whereby the various participants expect to derive advantages for the conflict that will follow Machado’s overthrow.

The new reciprocal tariff agreement between the U.S. and Cuba is an attempt to reconcile these contradictions. Any such stabilisation however can only be of a passing nature. Cuba being essentially a one crop country, presents an extreme example of economic contradictions which can find no permanent solution under capitalism.

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