Russell Blackwell (Rosalio Negrete) Archive

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Civil War Shakes Cuba;
U.S. Ready to Intervene

(August 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 39, 12 August 1933, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The political crisis in Cuba appears at last to have reached a definite climax. The pressure of the working class and the petty bourgeois masses aimed at the overthrow of “Butcher” Machado, has thrown a monkey wrench into Ambassador Welles’ attempts to solve the impasse by arbitration. Strikes initiated by the revolutionary workers in Havana as a protest against the intervention of Wall Street’s viceroy as mediator in the island’s politics, spread throughout the island affecting all industries and partaking of the nature of a general political strike. Even the Chamber of Commerce organizations in some places are giving their support to the movement. Mass demonstrations in Havana and other cities have created a situation that at this writing the police and military have been unable as yet to dominate.

Mass Murder

Machine guns are being used indiscriminatingly against all groups gathering in public places and the list of dead and injured mounts rapidly. While the overwhelming majority of the population is being brought into action, all of the bourgeois opposition groups which are united only in the demand to dethrone the Machado dictatorship, are exerting their chief energies to attempts to canalize the movement and keep it under their control. The Communist party, while not in any sense having the hegemony of even the workers on strike, counts nevertheless with broad sympathies among the masses.

For many months the American imperialists, who have a dominating control of the Cuban sugar industry and of most of the island’s minor industries besides, have realized that Machado’s regime was in its decay stage and incapable of further serving their interests effectively. Any one of the principal leaders of the opposition (Menocal, Mendieta, Gomez), all of whom have extensive interests in the sugar industry themselves together with the imperialists, would be equally willing, given the power, to serve Wall Street interests, and would, be able to do so in a less crude and more efficacious manner.

Behind the “Arbitration”

It was the realization that Machado’s overthrow could only led to a long drawn out struggle among those very elements now collaborating in the opposition, which might give the Communists and other extremist elements an opportunity for struggle and growth, that led the Roosevelt administration to seek a means of compromise through mediation. The revolutionary mass movement is not only the workers’ protest against the arbitrary interference of the U.S. State Department, but is also an attempt on the part of the Cuban masses to seek the revolutionary way out of the political impasse and the economic crisis which has been continual in the island ever since the collapse of the sugar industry in 1925.

The colossal failure of American armed intervention in Nicaragua and the scandals attendant on the occupation of Haiti, have made the State Department reluctant to intervene with armed forces in Latin American countries if other methods can possibly be used. However the situation in Cuba may easily develop to a point where Wall Street will demand armed intervention. Steps are already being taken to facilitate rapid movements of armed forces to Cuba on a moment’s notice. Several U.S. marine and navy units are already prepared to embark. Washington dispatches indicate that the 1st Artillery Brigade now in N.Y. State and about 1,000 marines stationed at Quantico, Va., would be the first to be moved.

In this regard the American Communists must raise the slogan “Hands off Cuba”.

The Cuban masses require and Street’s government in order to overthrow the dictator who until a few scant months ago was able to continue in power, thanks principally to the support of the American imperialists.

Correct Policy Decisive

Our party in Cuba has the opportunity to play a leading role in the struggles now developing in that country. Its influence in the coming period will depend almost entirely on the correctness with which the party reacts to the situation. If the proper slogans are advanced and the correct tactics pursued, the Communist party may well find itself in the direct leadership of the Cuban working class. In order to achieve this however, a definite break must be made with the errors of opportunism and of adventurism, which find their expression in the confusion of national with class slogans, and terroristic tendencies. The Left Opposition of the Cuban Party is conducting an intense struggle for the correct Leninist policy.

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Last updated: 24 October 2015