Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Walter Yonn, Honolulu

“Three Worlds” Adherents in Bed with Reaction: Cuba Must be Supported

First Published: Modern Times, Vol. III, Nos. 7-8, September-December 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Cuba today is the convenient rationale for the U.S. government’s current display of military presence in Latin America and need to establish its premise to intervene in any future uprisings in those countries. Cuba, who has borne the burden of being the first revolutionary country in the U.S. backyard, has had to fight military invasion, defend itself against disgusting plots to assassinate its leadership and survive an economic blockade. Cuba must now bear the brunt of one more attack. The U.S. tactic is worn, played in desperation, and is transparent to the international community.

In a style that conjures up the American jingoism of the Teddy Roosevelt era and the worst of the “cold war” years, the U.S. government has launched a vicious and rabid attack on Cuba. It comes in the context of a rising trend of revolution in Latin America (and, for that matter, in Africa, too) and a clear rightward swing in the U.S. ruling circles. In the past few months, we have been exposed to demogogic politicians calling for everything from the invasion of Cuba to vast increases in the military budget. The left is called upon to assess the situation, understand the underlying motivations in this apparently unprovoked display of national chauvinism, and take a clear stand.

In Bed with Reaction

Those who subscribe to China’s “three worlds” formulation (Russia as the main danger), once again find themselves in bed with the most reactionary portions of the U.S. ruling class and military complex. The position that Cuba is a Soviet puppet, a “cat’s paw” for Soviet expansion in the region, obscures and misses the principle character of the trends in the region, and begins to openly “justify” U.S. imperialism’s military expansion there.

What has stirred the U.S. to launch this slanderous attack against Cuba, and boldly move a significant military force into the Caribbean?

The Latin American countries have all been colonies of European powers (Spain, France, England, most notably). Although outwardly appearing to have gained political independence, they are, in fact, within the economic and political sphere of U.S. imperialism (except for Cuba, and now, Nicaragua). The U.S. posture in the region has been clearly defined in the spirit of the Monroe doctrine of the 18th century...“Latin America is ours, keep out.” But the greatest challenge to U.S. interests has not come from other big powers, but from the people of those countries, which have all experienced U.S. military intervention, whether it be Mexico during the period of America’s western expansion or the Dominican Republic during the Johnson administration.

The decades following WW II saw significant revolution–China, Korea, Vietnam–all of which represented qualitative setbacks for U.S. imperialism. But it was the Cuban revolution which provided the U.S. with a dangerous indication of things to come in its own backyard. The U.S. decided that Cuba had to be isolated, its most prominent leader assassinated, if need be, and invaded, if possible.

Cuba–Base for Revolution

But Cuba also unleashed the simmering anti-U.S. sentiments among the Latin America nationalists. Cuba has been and is the principle ideological and material base for revolution in the region. This is clearly evident to the U.S., with Nicaragua a most recent example.

History has been set in motion. The trend in Latin America is nationalist revolution with a Marxist perspective. And the main enemy has been identified–U.S. imperialism. To hesitate in supporting Cuba is to remain silent in the face of a swing in this country to increasing military spending, aggressive militarism and U.S. intervention around the globe. In the left, we must be decisive in our criticism of the three worlds theory and its collaborationist position with the U.S. ruling class.

Adherents of the view that Cuba is a Soviet puppet bolster their position by criticizing Cuba’s international positions and economic relations with the Soviet Union. Cuba’s international line is similar to Vietnam’s–and for that matter, China’s, prior to the three worlds theory. It identifies the revolutionary forces in the world as those building socialism in countries where there were successful revolutions, national liberation struggles, and the working class movements in the developed industrial countries. In opposition to these forces is the camp of imperialism and reaction headed up by the U.S. Cuba has recently included the leadership of China’s party in this camp.

While there may be some political question of Cuba’s particular involvement in certain international struggles, the Cuban party has certainly lived up to its emphasis on proletarian internationalism. It has many times sacrificed its resources to provide desperately needed human and material support for countries in the midst of a revolutionary process, particularly in Africa.

Economically, Cuba’s decision to not only maintain sugar but to increase its ability to produce and to mechanize many of the production stages was key. The developments have freed labor for diversification and enabled Cuba to address the pressing problems inherited from the Bautista regime.

Given the economic embargo against Cuba (when the U.S. had been the main sugar purchaser), Soviet assistance in purchasing sugar has been indispensible.

As a whole, the advances in the quality of life in Cuba are generally acknowledged in Latin America and the rest of the world. Most significant have been the elimination of illiteracy; free medical care that has lowered the infant mortality rate and eradicated typhus, polio and TB; housing; and sports and cultural programs fully accessible to all.

I’m aware that my article gives weight to the positive role of Cuba in that region, and to its accomplishments since revolution. There are aspects of Cuba’s international analysis and economic plans which can be approached more critically. But these aspects are secondary when weighing the totality of the current situation: U.S. imperialism’s domination in that region and the attacks on Cuba for its important role in influencing and assisting the progressive movements in Latin America.