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Roosevelt’s New Cuban Treaty

(June 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 23, 9 June 1934, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

American imperialism, through the Roosevelt government has discontinued the Platt Amendment, which accorded to the United States the right of intervention in Cuban affairs. In its place a new treaty has been drawn up which retains the Guantanamo naval base.

The Platt Amendment has been one of the main causes of friction and hatred against the United States in Cuba and throughout the whole of Latin America. Now it is hoped that the new treaty will modify these antagonisms and place American imperialism in a better light. But why does the United States give up its rights under the Platt Amendment and what effects will this have in Latin American relations?

This concession to Latin America is one of the results of the Cuban revolution. Although unable to reach the goal of a Soviet government, the Cuban revolution was powerful enough to shake to the very foundation the rule of the exploiters in Cuba. The few reforms granted in Cuba, and the discontinuing of the Platt Amendment are measures of the American imperialists, in conjunction with the native exploiters, to prevent the rekindling of the revolutionary fires and prevent it from spreading and consuming everything dear to the capitalists and landowners. Under the cover of this the bitter persecution of the revolutionists can be continued more effectively.

The Abrogation of the Platt Amendment alters nothing fundamentally regarding American imperialism’s position on intervention in Latin America. From a tactical standpoint, however, – and this is highly significant – it will have a favorable effect for the United States. This forced concession on the part of the United States is passed off as a magnanimous deed and as a new policy toward Latin America. It is part of a new policy; a new policy of greater penetration and domination of Latin America by American imperialism, not through the clumsy big stick method, but by a more subtle and more clever, but just as deadly method.

The friends of Roosevelt should also call this another master stroke of Roosevelt diplomacy. It will appease a large section of the national bourgeoisie of Cuba and will pacify large layers of the petty bourgeoisie throughout Latin America. In this sense it will strengthen American imperialism in its struggle for greater hegemony over America. It will be worthwhile propaganda against the rising wave of anti-American and anti-imperialist discontent in Cuba and in Latin America.

At the same time the new treaty combined with the economic might of American imperialism and the Monroe Doctrine insures American domination not only in Cuba but the rest of Latin America. The new treaty provides for the naval base and so far as the right of Intervention is concerned imperialism needs no written permissions.

Latin America has been raped many times by American intervention. Mexico has felt the iron heel of the north. Wherever the American imperialist interests were at stake, intervention in one form or another has been resorted to in the past, and will be resorted to in the future.

The New York Times in an editorial of May 31 says, “But it remains true with or without a treaty, the American Government may lawfully intervene in Cuba to protect its own nationals or their property in case the territorial government is unable to do so.” That states the matter bluntly and clearly.

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