Workers Socialist League Index | Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Cuba: Radical face of Stalinism

By John Lister

Written: 1983 / 84.
First Published: January 1985.
Source: Published by Left View Books for the Socialist Group.
Transcription / HTML Markup: Sean Robertson for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Copyleft: Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line ( 2013.
Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons license. Please cite any editors, proofreaders and formatters noted above along with any other publishing information including the URL of this document.

Cuba: Radical face of Stalinism

Part I: The Cuban Conundrum.

6. Cuban Foreign Policy 1959-68.

As might be expected from a leadership whose links to the Kremlin bureaucracy have gradually developed and begun to exert a political influence, Cuba's foreign policy has evolved through a succession of distinct phases to arrive at its present orientation, which is now in every respect complementary to that of the Kremlin.

In the very earliest stages of the revolutionary government of 1959, Fidel Castro (as indicated in earlier chapters) flirted with the notion of a political rapprochement with the USA. He made strong statements against the politics of the Soviet "Communists", though these did little either to impress the sceptics in the US State Department or to deter the Soviet leadership.

The radicalisation of the revolution, the departure of the bourgeois ministers, and the growing US harassment, however, drove the fledgling regime to seek external political, economic and military support from the only source on offer – the USSR. The decisive factor in allowing the swift transition to the abolition of capitalism in Cuba was the Soviet guarantee of oil supplies and its undertaking to purchase Cuban sugar exports – even though many of these supplies were subsequently stockpiled in the USSR.

In exchange for this support, Khruschev sought to exploit Cuba as a military outpost close to the US coast. This was of particular importance in view of the new balance of forces in the arms race brought about by the recent US deployment of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. Khruschev wanted if at all possible to counter this not with the enormously expensive measures necessary to deploy similar new weaponry, but by siting intermediate missiles in range of US cities. Hence the controversial decision to ship nuclear weapons to Cuba, which culminated in the Missiles Crisis of 1962. But there were other aspects to the Kremlin's interest in Cuba.

Khruschev was keen to control the impact of the Cuban revolution on developments in Latin America, where the official Communist Parties (like that in Cuba) had held rigidly to Popular Frontist policies that were well suited to Moscow's foreign policy: but at the same time he was keen to utilise the revolutionary credentials of the Fidelistas to buttress up the Moscow side against a growing offensive from Mao's Chinese bureaucracy in the world Stalinist movement. He was also concerned to strengthen the influence of the pro-Moscow PSP Stalinists in the post-revolutionary Cuban regime, as an investment for the future. It seems obvious that one of the pressures upon Castro to construct some form of "Communist Party" and to institutionalise the revolution came from the Soviet Union.

While Castro felt obliged to accept the Soviet economic and military assistance, he remained for many years sceptical on their economic model for Cuba and their political line for Latin America. Castro responded by attempting to find ways and means to establish the Fidelistas as a distinct current within the Stalinist movement. The reasons were not so much ideological – the Fidelistas had little in the way of a developed ideology of their own – but rather the fruits of bitter experience. The Cuban PSP, with its wretched record of class collaboration and its opposition to the armed struggle of the July 26 Movement, had been no exception to the rule of Stalinist politics: its line was the general rule doggedly upheld almost without break by all Latin American CPs ever since the Popular Front decisions of the 1935 Comintern Congress.

In Chile, a Popular Front including the CP along with the Socialist Party, bourgeois Radicals and some minor parties, had secured the election of a Radical as President in 1938 – the year in which the Cuban CP had cemented its deal with Batista. In Brazil, the Communist Party began with the formation of a popular front against the dictatorial, fascist-leaning regime of President Vargas: later, however, as Vargas broke with his former fascist allies, the CP switched to support for his government as a "progressive" obstacle to fascism. This second line was adhered to even after Vargas swung again to the right and cracked down on the left, jailing most of his defenders in the CP leadership.

In 1950-54, the Stalinist party in Guatemala had ingratiated itself with the left-nationalist Arbenz regime, and wormed its way into influential governmental and other positions: but while this degree of influence was sufficient to antagonise the US imperialists, and Arbenz's reforms were sufficient to arouse the angry reaction of the United Fruit Company and other US businesses, the CP made no attempt to organise the independent strength of the Guatemalan workers and peasants. In 1954, a CIA-run "pump-priming" invasion by a handful of exile reactionaries backed up by US aerial bombing runs was sufficient to precipitate a collapse of the Arbenz regime and a prolonged period of repression against the CP and the left and slaughter of the Indian population in Guatemala which still has not come to an end.

The influence of the Latin American CPs in the arena of bourgeois politics therefore had been consistently bought at a price of craven class collaboration, crippling the revolutionary struggle. In alliance with a motley array of "nationalist" demagogues and reformists, the CPs had reached their pinnacle of influence, controlling the trade union movement across most of the sub-continent. They were given ministerial posts for a period in Ecuador as well as Cuba. In many other countries they had MPs, representatives at regional and local government level, newspapers, publishing houses, smart offices and property. All this gave them a material incentive to adhere to the old, passive popular-front politics of the past rather than embark upon the dramatic new gamble of armed struggle and agitation. And these politics in Latin America were ideally suited to the global politics of the Kremlin, which by 1962 was already reckoning with the cost of its Cuban involvement and far from keen to be drawn needlessly into any further challenges to US hegemony on the American continent.

There was little in such politics to appeal to Castro. The initial conclusions which the Cuban leadership drew from their own – entirely exceptional – victory was the central need for guerrilla warfare as a means of driving forward the revolutionary struggle. Wary of entrusting Cuban defence exclusively to the hands of the Kremlin leaders, especially after the Missiles Crisis, Castro was openly scathing about the mass Communist Parties of Western Europe.

"What did the revolutionaries of Europe and America do (during the missiles crisis)? Only the Venezuelans reacted. But the big parties which call themselves revolutionary did not stir. They are not revolutionaries, they are bureaucrats, they are satellites."
(Interview in Le Monde, March 1963)

The words used indicate quite plainly that Castro himself had no intention of becoming a further "satellite" of the Soviet Union. He wished to carve out his own distinctive position within the Stalinist movement, whose general credentials as "revolutionary" he did not question, into which he had been thrust by his economic and military dependence on the Soviet Union.

Indeed it seems that the Cuban leadership recognised that the best means of defending their revolution was to internationalise it through selectively supporting struggles elsewhere m the sub continent. What they lacked was any viable political programme to achieve revolutions elsewhere. Hence Castro's support for the moves towards guerrilla warfare tactics in Venezuela, where in 1960 there had been a pro-Castro split from the governing Democratic Action (AD) Party to form the MIR.

Together with other left wing groupings, the MIR dragged the Venezuelan CP into a National Liberation Front which from 1961 onwards began a programme of rural guerrilla war and urban terrorism against the regime of President Romulo Betancourt. The CP's involvement was to forestall the Party being outflanked by a radical movement to its left: but the consequences of the guerrilla turn were disastrous. The urban terror campaign included bank robberies, fire bombings, the killing of policemen and kidnappings – but an attempt to disrupt the country s general election proved to be a complete failure. For the Venezuelan CP, too, the results were largely negative. In 1962 the Party, which had controlled 25% of the labour movement and held parliamentary seats, was declared illegal, and its membership began to slump. In November 1963 came a further disaster, as a consignment of Cuban arms was captured en route to the guerrillas.

The ineffectiveness of the guerrilla campaign should have been no surprise to the Fidelistas. Certainly according to Che Guevara's theories of the applicability of guerrilla warfare, Venezuela should have been ruled out for such a strategy. Its government was vaguely reformist in character, elected, and relatively solidly based in terms of broad support*. There was little chance that a tiny minority of ultra-left petty bourgeois guerrillas could topple such a structure in the absence of any spontaneous mobilisation of the masses.

However the success of the Fidelistas in winning over the established leadership of the Venezuelan CP was a factor in procuring a more tolerant formal position from the Kremlin leadership towards the notion of guerrilla war. Khruschev was anxious to prevent any line-up between the proponents of "armed struggle" – the Cubans on the one hand the Chinese on the other – and to forestall any inroads by the Maoists into the Latin American Communist Parties. His central tactic for this had to be to placate and win over the Cubans, .and to use their authority in the sub continent as a counter to the blandishments from Peking.

The first sign of this conciliatory attitude from Moscow came in the communiqué from a meeting between Castro and Khruschev in May 1963, where a suitably vague and ambivalent formulation was agreed, which each side could portray as a reflection of its views:

"the question of the peaceful or non peaceful road toward socialism in one country or another will be definitely decided by the struggling peoples themselves, according to the practical correlation of class forces and the degree of resistance of the exploiting classes to the socialist transformation of society."

Khruschev's conciliatory line extended into the conference of Latin American Communist Parties, held for the first time in Havana. In a gesture to Castro, and in exchange for a Cuban agreement not to sponsor maverick guerrilla groupings in Latin America, but instead to channel solidarity work solely through official pro-Moscow CPs, the official parties agreed that guerrilla struggle should be supported in several specific countries – Venezuela, Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras, Paraguay and Haiti. But in each case the Party was to be left to determine its own tactics – thus leaving an escape clause for the future.

Even while hitching Castro to the bandwagon of the Moscow-line Parties, the Kremlin leaders were beginning to deepen their opposition to the guerrilla line. A month prior to the Havana Conference, the Soviet Communist Party's theoretical journal drew a sharp dividing line between "completely justified" armed struggle and the creation of "partisan detachments" as part of a "broad front" against dictatorships, and "other countries" – of which the implicit but unmistakeable example was Venezuela, where:

" . . . in the last few years the people have overthrown military-police dictatorships, where governments coming to power on a wave of revolutionary developments have been forced . . . to liberalise the regime . . . where democratic and progressive organisations have emerged from the underground and begun overt political activities."
(Quoted in D. Bruce Jackson, Castro, The Kremlin and Communism in Latin America, pp. 24-5)

By April 1965, the Kremlin's attitude in practice to Castro's line of armed struggle was illustrated in the low-key Soviet response to President Johnson's resort to traditional gunboat diplomacy in the US invasion of the Dominican Republic. While Moscow bureaucrats confined themselves to protests at the United Nations, the Stalinist ideological machine began grinding out ever more open arguments for the Popular Front strategy, calling for "broad, national anti-imperialist fronts to resist North American imperialism". The leadership of the Venezuelan CP joined the retreat – adopting in April a thinly-disguised popular frontist policy calling for an "alternative government" including even members of the ruling Leoni government.

Internationally, the Kremlin drew attention to the thirtieth anniversary of the bankrupt decisions of the Seventh Congress of the Comintern, 1935, which had first adopted and elaborated the politics of long-term class collaboration that are central to the Popular Front. As Trotsky in his consistent struggle against this strategic turn by the Comintern pointed out, at the time, if it is "sectarian" to oppose the Popular Front strategy, "then all of Marxism is only sectarianism, since it is the doctrine of the class struggle and not of class collaboration." (Letter to Victor Serge, in The Spanish Revolution, p. 233)

Elsewhere Trotsky pointed out with chillingly accurate prophesy that:

"The policy of coalition with the bourgeoisie must be paid for by the proletariat with years of new torments and sacrifice, if not by decades of fascist terror."
("The Popular Front in Civil War", in The Spanish Revolution, p. 229)

In his initial appraisal of the resolutions of the Seventh Congress of 1935, Trotsky branded it as "The Comintern's Liquidation Congress", and had this to say on the general principles of relationships between the revolutionary party and non-proletarian forces:

"It would be a fundamental error to draw ( . . . ) the conclusion that Lenin ignored the petty bourgeoisie, in particular the peasantry, as a political factor. On the contrary, he considered the ability of the workers party to lead behind it the petty bourgeois masses of town and country as a necessary condition for revolutionary victory, and not only in Russia and the countries of the colonial East, but to a considerable extent also in the highly developed capitalist metropolitan countries. However, in the so-called middle classes he strictly distinguished between the economically privileged upper layers and the oppressed lower ones – the parliamentary activists and the electoral sheep. To achieve a militant alliance of the proletariat with the petty bourgeoisie he considered it necessary in the first place to purge the workers' ranks of reformists, and secondly to free the small people of town and country from the influence of bourgeois democracy. A parliamentary coalition of the Social Democracy (revolutionary movement) with the bourgeois democrats meant for Lenin marking time and thereby preparing the way for the most reactionary dictatorship of finance capital. An alliance of the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie presupposes the leadership of a revolutionary party, which can be won only in irreconcilable struggle with the historical parties of the middle classes."
(August 23, 1935, Writings 1935-6, p. 87)

Trotsky's overall conclusion was that:

"Twenty one years ago Lenin proclaimed the slogan of a break with reformism and patriotism. Since then, all of the opportunist and intermediate so-called centrist leaders have imputed to Lenin above all the guilt of sectarianism. One may consider Lenin right or wrong, but it cannot be disputed that it was precisely on the idea of the irreconcilability of the two basic tendencies in the workers' movement that the Communist International was founded. The Seventh Congress has arrived at the conclusion that sectarianism was the source of all the subsequent great defeats of the proletariat. Stalin is thus correcting the historical 'error' of Lenin, and correcting it radically: Lenin created the Communist International; Stalin is abolishing it."
(Ibid, p. 94)

It was precisely these anti-Marxist traditions which were being deliberately celebrated and revived by the Kremlin leaders, who in the Autumn of 1965 organised major international conferences in Prague and in Moscow to discuss at length the relevance of the Popular Front strategy – which had so cruelly betrayed the Spanish revolution – to the situation in the 1960s. The conferences were attended by strong delegations from the official Latin American CPs – and no doubt made some modest theoretical contribution to the catastrophic line of "Popular Unity" behind the Allende regime in Chile implemented by the Chilean CP, which prepared the way for the Pinochet coup 8 years later.

Castro had moved publicly closer to the Soviet leadership in the aftermath of his communiqué with Khruschev and the guerrilla turn by several CPs. He had broken his silence on the Sino-Soviet disputes, (and abandoned tentative attempts to patch over the differences, which had involved sending Carlos Rafael Rodriguez as part of a delegation of Latin American CPs to Peking), by denouncing the Maoist leadership in March 1965. He had also been prepared to break with Guevara in order to embark upon economic changes strongly supported by Moscow but opposed by the Fidelista radicals. Yet he began to realise the extent to which he had been conned by Khruschev and by the Havana conference.

It appears to have been Cuban resentment at Moscow's manoeuvres which set the stage for the extraordinary turn of events at the Tricontinental Conference in Havana in January 1966. The event had been seen by the Kremlin leaders as a shop window for their politics and a blow in the eye for Peking. Yet Castro's actions effectively scuttled Kremlin schemes and humiliated many official Latin American CPs, eluding, in particular, the Mexican CP.

In place of the Moscow plan to issue credentials for the Conference only hard-line orthodox CPs and acceptably docile front organisations, the Cuban organisers approved delegations from a wide variety of insurrectionist Latin American groups, irrespective of their relations with the official parties.

And having thus drawn around a sympathetic audience for Fidelista politics at the conference, Castro proceeded to sabotage the Moscow scheme for a new Tricontinent organisation to be based in Cairo: he even ensured that the Soviet Union was denied a representative on the Tricontinent Executive Secretariat. Immediately after the conference, Fidel gathered together the Latin American delegations to convene a new Latin American Solidarity Organisation (OLAS), to be based in Havana, and with an inaugural conference scheduled for July 1967.

It was this brief period between the autumn of 1965 and Castro's eventual, grudging but significant, endorsement of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 which marked the high point of Cuban willingness to flout the Moscow line and seek to chart its own course in the world movement.

Though ironically the Cuban "Communist Party" had only just been launched to give a formal tag of orthodoxy to Castro's organisation, and pilot through a switch in domestic economic policies, Castro played a rogue elephant role in relation to the Stalinist movement. In Venezuela he cast aside the Havana conference deal, to support the split from the official CP of its guerrillaist wing led by Douglas Bravo in the summer of 1966. The Cuban CP publicly broke with the VCP in March 1967. And on a wider international scale the Cuban CP lined up in a radical-talking axis with North Korea and North Vietnam, voicing strident support for the Vietnamese struggle against US imperialism which could only be seen as tacit criticism of the much more low-key line taken by Moscow. In 1965 Castro had spoken out on this, declaring that:

"I am not going to speak at length about the problems related to the differences and divisions in the socialist camp ( . . . )
But for us, small countries, that do not base ourselves on the strength of armies of millions of men, or on the strength of atomic power, small countries like Vietnam and Cuba, we have enough instinct to see with serenity and to understand that these divisions and differences that weaken the strength of the socialist camp hurt no one more than us who are in a special situation: here, ninety miles from the Yankee empire; there, attacked by Yankee planes. ( . . . )
We are in favour of giving Vietnam all the aid that may be necessary, we are in favour of this aid being arms and men, we are in favour of the socialist camp running the risks that may be necessary for Vietnam."
(Speech at Havana University, March 1965)

Even at the point of his eventual capitulation to Kremlin policy in 1968, Fidel was to hedge his support for the Soviet invasion of Czecheslovakia with barbed references to the deliberately inadequate Soviet backing for Vietnam. Quoting the Tass report of "unbreakable" Warsaw Pact "solidarity" with Czechoslovakia against "any outside threat", Castro – unquestionably aware of the irony – observed:

" . . . we ask ourselves: 'does this declaration include Vietnam? Does that statement include Korea? Does that statement include Cuba? Do they or do they not consider Vietnam, Korea and Cuba links of the socialist camp to be safeguarded against the imperialists?'
In accordance with their declaration, Warsaw Pact divisions were sent into Czechoslovakia. And we ask ourselves 'Will Warsaw Pact divisions also be sent to Vietnam if the Yankee imperialists step up their aggression against that country and the people of Vietnam request that aid?'"

It is perhaps significant in this regard that the most independent-minded CP leaderships in the Stalinist movement were indeed the comparatively exposed leaderships of Korea and Vietnam, faced by the armed might of imperialism, and Cuba, 90 miles from the Florida coast. It is scarcely surprising that such leaders should be the least convinced by Stalinist strategies of "peaceful coexistence", and the least impressed by the class collaborationist existence of so many mass CPs in the capitalist countries. The special relationships between these leaderships has lasted considerably longer than the high point of Cuban political independence, and as recently as the Chinese incursions into Vietnam in 1979-80 Castro was making vocal statements of support, and offering Cuban assistance to the Vietnamese leadership to repel the invaders.

But there was plenty in Moscow's conduct in the 1965-68 period to alarm these "front-line" Stalinist leaderships. There were, for instance, a series of moves by the Kremlin to strike deals with reactionary Latin American regimes openly hostile to Cuba. In April 1965, the USSR established diplomatic and trade relations with Chile's Christian Democratic government; in August 1966 it loaned $100m in credits to the Brazilian military dictatorship which had assisted in the US invasion of the Dominican Republic. Moscow also sought deals with the Venezuelan government (against which Fidelista guerrillas were still fighting) and Colombia (still targeted as an arena for guerrilla war by the official CP).

On a wider scale, Moscow bureaucrats stood aside from the Arab-Israeli six-day war of 1967, and embarked in June 1967 on talks between Kosygin rand President Johnson even while the US bombing of Vietnam grew in ferocity.

Castro – lacking the Stalinist training of his Korean and Vietnamese colleagues – was certainly the most outspoken in his criticisms. Having supported the armed struggle wing of the Venezuelan CP in 1966, he launched in March 1967 a root and branch attack on the "defeatist" popular front policies to which the VCP and its Moscow mentors had now openly reverted:

"In the name of what principles, what reasons, what revolutionary essentials were we obliged to declare the defeatists right? In the name of Marxism-Leninism? No! . . . In the name of the international Communist movement? Were we perchance obligated by the fact that it was the leadership of a Communist Party? Is that perchance the idea we must have of the international Communist movement? For us, the international Communist movement is, first, just that: a movement of Communists, a movement of revolutionary fighters; and whoever is not a revolutionary fighter cannot be called a Communist . . .
The international Communist movement as we conceive it is not a church; it is not a religious or Masonic sect that obliges us to sanctify weakness, to sanctify deviation, to pursue a policy of making bosom friends of every kind of reformist and pseudo-revolutionary . . . "

But while Castro's angry resentment of Moscow's politics represented a potentially healthy criticism of the reformist, class collaborationist and fundamentally counter-revolutionary politics of some Stalinist parties, it was not linked to any worked-out political alternative. Indeed it has strong similarities in many respects to the "radical" line of opposition to Moscow which was adopted between 1948 and 1956 by Tito's Yugoslav leadership, and the various tensions and conflicts which have split the "Stalinist monolith" in the post war period. The fact is that, since the overturn of property relations in their countries, the new ruling leaderships – whether Stalinist by origin (Eastern Europe, China, Vietnam) or by subsequent pressure (Cuba) each rest in the first instance upon national foundations – a balance of political and class forces in their own country and global region. Only in the second degree do they rest upon potential or actual Soviet military or economic support – though (as we shall see) the economic support given to Cuba is quite disproportionately large.

In adopting a quite distinctive line for Latin America, and opposing to some extent Moscow's cynical line of world-wide class collaboration, Castro was reflecting – and still reflects – the particular national pressures and problems facing Cuba, just as Tito had sought to solve the various political and practical problems of Yugoslavia and the Balkan region without Kremlin interference.

This striking change in post-war Stalinism – as compared to the rigid imposition of Stalin's line through the Comintern apparatus in the pre-war years, in which the USSR was the only Stalinist-ruled state – is not limited to the increasingly independent line of particular ruling bureaucracies. Whole sections of the movement – whole parties, some with a genuine mass membership (Italy, Spain) – have openly embraced the national-reformist "Eurocommunist" line – and helped embroil the movement as a whole in a prolonged agony of confusion and cynical faction-fighting.

It is significant in this regard that Castro's rogue elephant leadership of the mid 1960s has become today one of the most diehard defenders of the Stalinist hard line (with the single, limited exception of Afghanistan).

The roots of this capitulation, like those of Tito's eventual re-admittance to the Moscow fold in 1956, were to be seen in the extremely limited nature of the political "break" which had been made in the first instance.

While Castro denounced the Venezuelan CP, along with other individual CPs, he was at the same time prepared to accept the notion of an "international Communist movement" led by the bloodstained gang in the Kremlin – whose politics shaped every decision of the official Latin American CPs – and Stalinist bureaucracies in Eastern Europe which had always been a million miles removed from revolutionary politics. Even with regard to Latin America itself, Castro's "armed struggle now" perspective projected an orientation not to the mobilisation of the growing Latin American proletariat as the backbone of the struggle, but towards radicalised, adventurist petty bourgeois guerrilla forces whose own politics were often explicitly contemptuous of the working class and far from free of class collaborationist illusions. The perspective of guerrilla struggle proved in fact to be an unmitigated disaster in every Latin American country outside Cuba. It led nowhere but defeat in Colombia, Peru and Venezuela; in Bolivia the crushing of the guerrilla struggle in October 1967 took also the life of Guevara and other brave fighters and effectively ended the agitation for immediate armed action. In Argentina and Uruguay, urban guerrilla experiments suffered exactly the same ignominious fate. Across the sub-continent a variety of idealistic and petty bourgeois urban and rural guerrilla movements with weird and not too wonderful politics served principally to underline how exceptional had been the combination of circumstances which had allowed Castro's Rebel Army to topple Batista, and how inapplicable elsewhere were the lessons of the July 26 Movement.

Though the Cuban model of revolution stubbornly rejected attempts to export it, the Cuban economy, which had followed a chaotic series of zig-zags, still stood in need of Soviet imports, not least petroleum, of which 99.3% came from the USSR. Castro was not in a strong position politically or materially to defy the revamped Kremlin leadership under Brezhnev and Kosygin. By early 1968, with crucial trade negotiations about to begin, the relationship came to a crunch. Castro's Ministry of the Interior had late in 1967 arrested a "micro-faction" of pro-Moscow supporters of Escalante organised in the CP and even on the Central Committee. They were accused of being closely linked to Soviet officials and opposing the Cuban leadership (though at this point there was no formal statutory ban on factions in the Cuban Party). In all, 35 defendants were sentenced by the CP Central Committee to prison for periods ranging from 2-15 years.

This tweak to the nose of the Moscow bureaucracy was followed by an ostentatious Cuban boycott of an international meeting of Communist Parties in Bucharest in February 1968, and Cuban denunciation at the United Nations of the new US / Soviet nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

But this show of resistance was not to be tolerated indefinitely by the Kremlin leaders. They hit back with temporary economic sanctions -slowing down deliveries of oil to Cuba. Within a month, Castro had capitulated. Later came the Cuban endorsement of the Czech invasion which marked the watershed between the efforts at an independent foreign policy and subsequent subservience to the Kremlin.

From late 1968 onwards, Cuban public pronouncements and political orientation have steered clear of even tacit criticism of the Soviet bureaucracy. Though still a distinct element within world Stalinism, with their own unique history and their own specific problems dictating the precise shape of their foreign policy, the Castro leadership has become politically assimilated and subordinated in their global objectives and initiatives to the general line of Stalin's heirs in the Kremlin.

* Guevara had declared in 1961 that:

"Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted."
(Guerrilla Warfare, Monthly Review Press)

Workers Socialist League Index | Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive