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Hugo Oehler

U.S., Cuba and Latin America

(September 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 43, 16 September 1933, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Does intervention exist in Cuba? The capitalist press says no. We say it does. It began with the establishment of the revolutionary junta of five. The whole Atlantic fleet was sent to Cuban waters. The air fleet and marines were mobilized. Cuba was bottled up. A new form of intervention took place. “Armed” intervention had not been established? Cuba’s independence has not been violated! As soon as the new government was established pressure from American imperialism increased from day to day, until the petty bourgeois element in the lead had slowly yielded and helped check the pressure of the rank and file and the workers from below. Nevertheless, the new regime which is compromising with American imperialism is sitting on a dynamite keg and the proper spark can blow up this regime causing repercussions which will be felt by the most backward strata of the American workers.

Why is America so careful in her dealing with her colony, Cuba? Cuba is at present the determining factor which will decide to a great degree the outcome of the impending Pan-American Conference to be held at Montevideo. This conference will be the culmination of a bitter struggle now raging among the imperialists to decide who will obtain a more favorable position in the trade relations with the South America countries. England, Germany and Japan are still making inroads in America’s private backyard. The Americans hope to overcome this between now and the date of the conference.

One false move in Cuba, which will increase Latin America’s hatred for the iron heel of the North will play into the hands of the other imperialists. American hopes to avoid this, which accounts for the new form of intervention the Roosevelt government is conducting in Cuba.

As soon as the London Conference was over, as soon as America had tied a few more ropes around Europe in order to put her on rations, America turned her attention to the South American struggle and the coming conference. Reports from investigators Roosevelt sent south at the very beginning of his administration indicated that Cuba was a most critical spot. This sore spot had to be removed as part of the preparations for the Pan-American Conference.

The objective conditions for a political explosion in Cuba were mature. All that was needed was a “hands off policy” from the iron heel of the North. America did more than that. It helped remove Machado and place in power a more suitable puppet but events and conditions got out of control. Within a month history passed beyond this American set-up. The Cuban situation is characteristic of the quicksand upon which American Imperialism has built its world structure. Attempts to solve one contradiction pave the way for a new and bigger contradiction.

The proletarian revolution cast its shadow across Cuba, an outpost of American imperialism. America’s backyard has a revolutionary situation. Workers seize sugar plantations, American imperialism is denounced, complete independence is demanded. The Red scare becomes the headliner overnight in the rabid American press. But the economic and political implications run deeper than the diplomatic and yellow press maneuvers. It runs deeper than America’s attempt to patch up things for the Pan-American Conference.

America went to the London conference to smash the attempted united front of Europe. America’s positive role at Europe’s conference was to deliver a few destructive blows. America’s role at the Pan-American conference is different. This is America’s set-up. It is England’s time to deliver a few destructive blows.

Below the surface of this imperialist struggle for markets and the preparation for war runs the more fundamental struggle of the imperialists and the proletariat. The American working class has an urgent and tremendous task to aid the Latin American workers and peasants. The overthrow of American Imperialism is our task and the workers and peasants of Latin America are our closest allies. Their fight against American Imperialism in Cuba is our fight.

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Last updated: 4 January 2016