J. Posadas

For Support and Extension
of the Cuban Revolution

(June 1960)

From Fourth International (Amsterdam), No. 10, Summer 1960, pp. 28–31. [1]
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Cuban revolution is passing through steadily increasing danger. Imperialism, particularly Yankee imperialism, is increasing military, economic, and political pressure. The Church has joined this campaign, and the front of the Curia, imperialism, Batistism, and the oligarchy operates coordinatedly under a single direction. It conceals itself behind the mask of an “anti-Communist front.” But its purpose is not to combat the Communist Party, for this party has very scant influence on the Cuban masses, but rather to assemble all sectors who feel that the revolution, under the pressure of the masses, is going forward to measures whereby the workers more openly intervene in and control government policy, trying to spur it on to revolutionary anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist positions, since, despite the leadership’s hesitations, fears, and raising of obstacles, the masses tend to seek the revolutionary channel toward measures of this sort.

Until lately there existed sectors of Yankee imperialism, of the North American press, that still believed in the possibility of “containing” the revolution by crushing the will and steadily increasing combativity of the Cuban masses, and thereby “containing” the Cuban government’s policy and measures. But these sectors are now declaring that they have given up hope and that Cuba is heading for “communism.” Under the pressure of masses unwilling to remain passive, the government is inclining to carry out a foreign policy of agreements, of commercial and even diplomatic relations, with the workers’ states. The invitations to Khrushchev and to either Mao Tse-Tung or Chou En-Lai, really invitations to the workers’ states as such, strike at and worry imperialism. Independently of the limited scope assigned to these measures by the Cuban government, they spur the Cuban and Latin American masses to seek their natural alliance with the workers’ states and the world-wide colonial revolution (cf. the Cuban government’s support of the Algerian revolution), to defend their own revolution and emerge from economic and commercial difficulties.

Dorticós’s Tour

Cuban President Dorticós on his recent tour sought to obtain the support and “understanding” of the Latin American governments and bourgeoisies and also to spur and encourage support of the masses for the Cuban revolution. The result spoke volumes. The governments were frightened lest Dorticós’s presence should influence their own masses, whose hatred for imperialism is deep and intense. All these governments tried in one way or another to impede, neutralize, and even sabotage Dorticós’s trip and especially his contact with the masses.

By their inconsiderate behavior toward him, the governments showed their fear of “contamination” by the Cuban revolution and demonstrated to Yankee imperialism that they were on its side. No Latin American government (save perhaps the Mexican) will take a stand in support of the revolutionary democratic rights of the Cuban masses to follow the course of their revolutionary life as they wish and are doing, and support their government against imperialism’s attempts to overthrow it. Venezuela and Colombia are really two bridgeheads against the Cuban revolution: Betancourt’s attitude toward Dorticós was revelatory. Yankee imperialism is waiting for the opportunity to swap Santo Domingo for Cuba, to yield to the popular hatred of the Dominican dictatorship to obtain from the Latin American governments the offsetting support for invading or sabotaging Cuba, for besieging it economically, socially, and politically. Despite imperialist might, Latin American governments, under immense mass pressure, fear to show open support to Wall Street’s proposals. But the furious campaign of Latin America’s “democratic” press against the Cuban government and people is only a beginning, which will later move on to the economic, political, and military fields.

The Cuban Revolution and The World and Latin American Masses

It is owing to the anti-imperialist hatred of the Latin American masses that their governments and imperialism have not gone even farther against the Cuban revolution. Imperialism is steadily losing the petty-bourgeois social support it could until recently count on. All over Latin America, to varying degrees (e.g., Paraguay, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina), the masses are effectively fighting against bourgeoisies and oligarchies, to expel imperialism and dictatorships.

When their struggle reaches an open anti-oligarchic level, it is carried out “in the Cuban way.” The masses sense that this is the really fruitful way to achieve solution of economic and social problems, agrarian reform, industrialization, and democratic rights. It is the Cuban way that the masses in Korea, Turkey, and Japan have taken to expel imperialism, to fight against war and atomic armament, to defend democratic rights and social progress, the only way to fight for their own human dignity.

The Latin American bourgeoisies, as we have seen, are ready to obey imperialism in its plans against the Cuban revolution and the revolutionary movements of the masses in Latin America and throughout the world. But the Latin American masses, on the contrary, will continue to fight for their own just-mentioned goals, and the outlook is good that their struggles will grow stronger and their revolution will advance.

In Chile the striking coal-miners, despite terrible pressure from the consequences of the earthquakes – collapse of their houses, deaths of their families, and loss of everything they possessed – have refused to return to work if their demands are not met.

In Bolivia, where the Paz Estenssoro slate won the elections, there was enormous abstentionism and blank ballots. The reactionary and pro-imperialist right, led by Guevara Arze, got many votes, as did the ultra-rightist Falange. An important sector of the petty bourgeoisie, of well-to-do peasants, and of newly well-to-do peasants (also a backward sector) voted for Guevara. The votes for Paz Estenssoro–Lechin were only half the votes obtained by the MNR in previous elections, showing a .deep crisis in the MNR. Important sectors of the petty bourgeoisie and the peasantry are breaking away from the MNR, and Guevara and the Falange will tend to attract them on the basis of the Bolivian economic crisis. It is possible to foresee new and graver attempts at coups d’etat, at uprisings by the MNR right wing (Guevara), and at a united front led by Guevara against the Paz–Lechin government.

The overwhelming majority of the worker and peasant masses and the poor sectors of the petty bourgeoisie who voted for the Paz–Lechin ticket were really voting for Lechin. Lechin will knuckle under to Paz, but in voting for him, the masses were seeking a way to safeguard their conquests, to defend the nationalizations and extend the agrarian reform. Paz Estenssoro has no way out other than to follow along general lines the policy of Siles Suazo. This will bring him into more open clashes with the masses, who will bring pressure on Lechin to go forward, basing himself more openly on the COB (the Bolivian Confederation of Labor), the Miners’ Federation, and the peasants. For this purpose the workers and peasants will rely on their own class organisms. Hence it is to be foreseen that, either as their answer to attempts at coups d’état or on their own initiative, the Bolivian masses will tend to spur on the process, renewing it “in the Cuban way.” The development of the struggles in Bolivia will soon raise the need for the Bolivian and Cuban masses to support each other mutually against imperialism.

Dependence of the Cuban Revolution on the World and Latin American Masses

The Cuban revolution, government, unions, and masses must openly seek the support of the Latin American and world masses. The Cuban government can expect nothing from the capitalist governments of Latin America. On the contrary, it can and must count on the masses of Latin America and the world, appeal to them, connect up the extension and elevation of the Cuban revolution with the world revolution in general, and the Latin American revolution in particular. Those masses, plus the workers’ states, have prevented Yankee imperialism and the Latin American governments from crushing the Cuban revolution.

Economic problems and unemployment are weighing and will continue to weigh on the Cuban revolution. The oil problem speaks for itself. Imperialism will step up economic and trade sabotage while it is preparing, military invasion or an internal uprising combined therewith.

These attempts would be supported by the capitalist forces that in most cases continue overwhelmingly dominant in the ownership of land, telephones, electric light and power, transportation, etc. Dependent on the capitalist structure of the country, they are the bases for counter-revolution. The Cuban revolution’s first measure of self-defense must be more advanced expropriation of imperialist- and Cuban-owned properties of national interest, nationalizing them and putting them under workers’ control; planning nationalization and combined production in the national interest, in conformance with the people’s needs in nourishment, employment, and support of living standards, combined with export, trade exchanges, and industrialization; calling when necessary on technicians, professional men, and scientists from the whole world, and especially from Latin America, to collaborate in forwarding the Cuban revolution; increasing cultural, economic, and scientific ties and exchanges with the workers’ states, recognizing them all (People’s China, East Germany, etc.); recognizing the government of the National Liberation Front in Algeria and giving it public and direct support; calling on the Bolivian and other Latin American governments to insist on propaganda for and preparation of the conference of underdeveloped states, but to carry it out on the basis of a programme made clear to the masses, of liberation from imperialism and increase in the participation and control of the masses in the economy and the government; calling for the establishment of a raw-materials pool and of joint purchasing in the name of all the countries of Latin America.

The Trade Unions, the Masses, and the Cuban Revolution

It is the masses who are the basis for a real support of the Cuban revolution. The Cuban Labor Federation should appeal directly, agitate, and send members on tours through all Latin American countries to call for the organization of an Anti-Imperialist United Front on the basis of agrarian reform and the expulsion of imperialism. It should call for a Proletarian United Front to fight for workers’ and peasants’ governments. It and its component unions should call on the masses of North America to fight for a programme in defense of the right of the peoples of Latin America to struggle against imperialism.

There exists an agreement among the labor federations of Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, and Bolivia, and between the Student Centres of Cuba and Argentina, etc., to defend the Cuban and Bolivian revolutions. These agreements must not remain mere resolutions: these organisms must function permanently, with a regular leadership that calls meetings and mobilizations and convokes a Latin American congress for the Latin American peoples’ national and social liberation from imperialism and capitalism. This does not interest the leaders of the Peronists in Argentina, of the MNR in Bolivia, of the Acción Democratica in Venezuela, or of the Communist Parties anywhere, who all fear to lose control over the actions of the masses. The workers’ control exercised by the printers of Cuba’s capitalist newspapers should be extended to all the firms and factories inside and outside Cuba, for the experience of workers’ control in Cuba and in Bolivia clearly shows the road by which the revolution must in practice go forward

In each country, the workers’ organizations should declare that they join and support the Cuban revolution, issue appeals to carry out manifestations, mobilizations, assemblies, meetings, and conferences in support of the action of the Cuban masses. The movement should discuss and learn from the experience of the action of the Cuban masses, their guerrilla, their present militia, and their struggle to the death against imperialism and for national and social liberation.

The workers from the factories, the unions, and the neighborhoods should discuss and organize commissions for concrete aid to the Cuban revolution, hold factory meetings to bring about a national congress of support and backing to the Cuban revolution, organize commissions for sending brigades of armed militiamen to Cuba. The most important aid that can and must be put into practice in favor of the Cuban revolution is the development of national anti-imperialist anti-capitalist struggles, the organization of the anti-imperialist united front and the anti-capitalist united front for the programme of national and social liberation.

A single Latin American labor federation is an urgent necessity. The conditions for creating it exist, but effective steps have to be taken. The Cuban Labor Federation (CTC) should take the initiative and organize the tasks, the appeals, the negotiations, and the measures for bringing about a Latin American conference for the creation of a single Latin American revolutionary worker and peasant federation on the basis of a programme of national and social liberation. This would be one of the pillars of the defense and support of the Cuban revolution. Such a single Latin American labor federation would have to include all workers’ tendencies and rights to proportional representation on the basis of the revolutionary programme for national and social liberation.

Role of the Cuban Working Class

The Cuban working class must be in the first ranks in defense of its revolution against Yankee imperialism, in appeals to the workers, peasants, and poor petty bourgeois of Latin America and the world to unify the struggle to expel imperialism, on the basis of revolutionary agrarian reform, and for the expropriation without indemnization of imperialism and industries of national interest. But it must do so directly and in a form independent of its own Cuban government. To support and defend the revolution at its present stage, it must be carried farther forward. To carry it forward, the expropriations of imperialism must be extended and deepened, and workers’ control, the monopoly of foreign trade, the nationalization of banking, and the planning of the economy, must be installed, in a struggle for a workers’ and peasants’ government in Cuba. To carry the revolution through, the Cuban masses need their own political class instrument, a Labor Party based on the trade unions. But at the same time there is needed the organization of the revolutionary Marxist, Trotskyist, party of the Fourth International.

The recent explosion of a powder-magazine shows that the counter-revolution, though without social forces, still has adequate means to make trouble. As long as the Cuban state remains capitalist, the counter-revolution – the Cuban oligarchy, the Batistists, Trujillo, and imperialism – will find the means for certain successes in its attempts. But if the masses intervene directly with their class organisms, it will be crushed and exterminated. The Cuban trade unions should fight to impose the direct military intervention of the labor movement in the form of people’s militia. In case of any threat or danger they can directly crush the counter-revolutionaries. The people in arms is the only guarantee of checking and crushing the counter-revolution. Recently the Cuban government organized an army of students controlled and directed by the state. This is a step backward. The unions must fight to have the student militia organized within the same framework as the workers’ militia and under the control and direction of the trade unions. Student militia outside the control of the trade unions are at the present stage an embryo of a capitalist army, because the state and the structure of society in Cuba continue to be capitalist.

The well-orchestrated campaign conducted by imperialism is immediately aimed at bringing pressure to paralyze the measures of expropriation, and of diplomatic and trade relations with the workers’ states, etc.

To crush the plans of concealment, sabotage, infamy, and slanders against the Cuban revolution that are being carried on by imperialism and the Latin American bourgeoisies and governments, the masses must directly see and feel the independent class action, the appeals, the activity, and the action of the trade unions and the Cuban labor federation. These are what give the most confidence, have authority, and exert influence on the masses – not only the student masses, but the broad enormous worker and peasant masses of all Latin America and the world.

The defense and support of the Cuban revolution lies in this: that it must spread, broaden its social, economic, and political conquests, and rely on the revolutionary masses of Latin America and of the world. The present moment, the objective conditions, and the prospects all are favorable from every point of view. Imperialism is revealing its weakness when faced by the revolutionary impetus of the masses of the world, and by the advances of the workers’ states. The Cuban revolution must base itself on these objective and subjective conditions to go forward on the road of national and social liberation, the only way to maintain and defend itself.

28 June 1960


1. This article by Comrade Posadas (slightly shortened; for full text, see Voz Proletaria, fortnightly organ of the POR [Trotskyist], of Argentina, first half of June, 1960) was written before the latest developments in the Cuban revolution referred to in the declaration of the International Secretariat on page 70. The latest measures adopted by imperialism and its corporations, and the answers made to them by the Cuban government and masses, fully confirm the line indicated in this article.

Last updated on: 26 March 2016