Andrés Nin

The White Terror

The Guayaquil Massacre

(5 April 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 31 [13], 5 April 1923, p. 252.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

In Latin America there exists a rising labor movement of which practically nothing is known in Europe. Something is known of the labor movement in Argentina, but in general the tragedy of this young proletariat, struggling against a bourgeoisie combining all the faults of the European and North American bourgeoisie, and possessing none of their advantages is entirely unknown Barbaric massacres as a means of suppressing the proletariat are events of daily occurrence. Thus in 1921 there were massacres in Patagonia, in which more than 1,000 workers were murdered, and in San Gregorio (Chile), in which more than 100 proletarians were mown down by machine guns. Neither massacre awoke more than a very feeble echo in other parts of the world. In the same way we have only just received news of the frightful massacre which took place in Guayaquil, in the Ecuador republic, although the event happened over 2 months ago.

The railwaymen of the Guayaquil line–Quito entered on a strike for higher wages. The strike was supported by all the workers in the town, and met with general sympathy even from the petty bourgeoisie. The unceasing rises in prices for the necessities of life and the unbounded speculation, rendered life in the town unbearable. The workers obtained a partial success, They were however, of the opinion that the rise in wages granted them was insufficient, and addressed a petition to the government requesting it to intervene. A workers’ committee, accompanied by two lawyers, was commissioned to submit this petition to the government. The delegates also demanded the release of the workers who had been arrested during the strike. This demand was granted. When the result of the interview was made known, a great multitude of workers proceeded to the barracks in which our comrades were imprisoned in order to greet them in triumph on their release. Police forces were drawn up before these barracks. As the demonstrators approached, the police opened fire on them. The embittered workers replied by throwing stones A bloody conflict ensued. The police were reinforced by the military and commenced a frightful massacre. Over 500 workers were killed, over 1,000 wounded.

Events of much less significance than this throw the proletariat of the whole world into excitement as a rule, the international working class must pay more attention to the events happening in Latin America, and must proclaim its solidarity with the proletariat of these remote countries.

Last updated on 14 October 2021