Jan­uary 1 - The de­feat of the Batis­tano dic­ta­tor­ship in Cuba

Weekend Mirror - - GETTING IT RIGHT - By Eddi Rod­ney


will mark the com­ple­tion of 60 years since the ini­tial foray and base con­sol­i­da­tion in the Sierra Maes­tra of the July 26 Cuban guerilla led by Fidel Cas­tro, Raul Cas­tro and Ernesto Gue­vara.

Last Novem­ber Com­man­der Fidel Cas­tro died aged 90 when he was no longer head of state but as res­o­lute, as ar­tic­u­late and in­sight­ful as he was when his col­umn of fight­ers en­gaged with the im­pe­ri­al­ist sup­ported army of Gen­eral Ful­cen­gio Batista and emerged vic­to­ri­ous.

But the vic­tory of the Rev­o­lu­tion sealed on Jan­uary 1 after Batista flew out from Ha­vana’s Camp Colom­bia on New Year’s Eve was the cul­mi­na­tion of a process, a his­tor­i­cal process that equated the re­formists of the ‘gob­e­na­cion’ (re­forms to main­tain po­lit­i­cal neo­colo­nial sta­tus with United States im­peri- al­ism) as one fac­tor, and the more pop­u­lar ‘rev­o­lu­tion­ists’ pro­grammed to cre­ate the po­lit­i­cal con­di­tions for na­tional lib­er­a­tion.

The Pseudo Repub­lic, Dic­ta­tor­ship, To­kenism and La Frutera

This year it should be re­called will be 50 years since the death of Ernesto Che Gue­vara – killed by a Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency counter in­sur­gency op­er­a­tive in a ham­let in the Bo­li­vian ham­let of La Higuera.

It is a daunt­ing task to gauge the Cuban com­plex­ity and state sys­tem with­out a nec­es­sary his­tor­i­cal and class struc­tura­tion of late 19th into 20th cen­tury de­vel­op­ments.

And even at this qual­i­ta­tive level there would have to be some anal­y­sis of the ex­ter­nal is­sues that de­ter­mined Amer­i­can in­ter­ven­tion into Cuba’s na­tional and pro­vin­cial life and so­ci­ety.

In­deed rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ments, or ‘ac­cion grou- po’ (Ac­tion Groups) oc­cu­pied with the is­land’s na­tional lib­er­a­tion through non elec­toral meth­ods ini­tially be­gan with the es­tab­lish­ment of Jose Marti who was the leader of Cuba’s In­de­pen­dence move­ment and formed a po­lit­i­cal party – the Cuban Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Party, (PRC) in the early 1890s.

The PRC vi­sion was Cuba Li­bre (Cuba Free) of Span­ish dom­i­na­tion in any form.

Less than three decades later when US im­pe­ri­al­ism had be­come en­trenched in Cuba there was the es­tab­lish­ment of what was known as the ABC, a for­ma­tion of rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies com­mit­ted to armed strug­gle against the agents and lack­eys of the then Machado regime (1922-1933) rad­i­cal anti-dic­ta­tor stu­dent en­tity that co­a­lesced with other in­t­elec­tu­als and hu­man­ists known as La Or­gan­i­sa­tion Cellilar Rad­i­cal Revo­lu­tion­aria (OCRR).

The OCRR was op­posed to any en­gage­ment with the lib­eral bour­geois po­lit­i­cal class, and ex­pressed dis­dain for the cor­rupt and often anachro­nis­tic Na­tional Assem­bly.

These move­ments func­tioned dur­ing the decades when Fidel Cas­tro would have been a pre­teen and that would have been up un­til the mid or late 1930s, dur­ing the pres­i­dency of Fran­llin D Roo­sevelt and the in­stal­la­tion of an in­terim pro­vi­sional gov­ern­ment con­trolled by Union Na­cional­ista fig­ure­head, Senor Car­los Mendi­eta and for­mer Cuban army Sergeant (soon pro­moted to Colonel Ful­gen­cio Batista in 1934.

These decades were part of the cri­sis known as the De­pres­sion.

This pro Im­pe­ri­al­ist regime was closely iden­ti­fied with La Frutera ( United Fruit), the largest and most pow­er­ful sugar mills cor­po­ra­tion, by Cuba Sugar as well as the Amer­i­can owned banks and other in­vest­ments across the is­land.

The so­cio eco­nomic sys­tem in­ter­locked with pol­i­tics. Many ed­u­cated sec­tors viewed po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism as the only way to se­cure gain­ful em­ploy­ment. Per­haps a vari­a­tion of the PNC party card paramountcy un­der LFS Burn­ham and his suc­ces­sor.

Fidel Cas­tro was to that ex­tent rad­i­cal­ized by these 1930s to 1950s de­vel­op­ments. Trade union fed­er­a­tions and syn­di­cates were es­tab­lished and 100s of thou­sands of workers joined Obr­eras as­so­ci­a­tions.

The Vic­tory over the dic­ta­tor­ship

There are sev­eral ac­counts of the Cuban Rev­o­lu­tion led by the July 26 ‘brigadis­tas’ and gueril­las. Amongst these are the Monthly Re­view pub­li­ca­tion, The Cuban Rev­o­lu­tion by Baran and Sweezy; Cuba-An-Amer­i­can Tragedy; by Sweezy and Zeitlin; Cuba – Anatomy of a Rev­o­lu­tion by Hu­ber­man and Sweezy (Monthly Re­view Press) and The Eco­nomic Trans­for­ma­tion of Cuba by Edward Boorstein – all in English with lim­ited Span­ish trans­la­tions.

How­ever, it ought to be con­sciously un­der­stood that although the Platt Treaty had been ab­ro­gated decades ear­lier, US State De­part­ment in­ter­ests sought to pro­tect and guar­an­tee the in­ter­ests of United Fruit, the Amer­i­can Sugar Com­pany, Tex­aco, Stan­dard Oil and Shell in sugar and oil dis­tri­bu­tions. Else­where in the ex­trac­tive sec­tor Beth­le­hem Steel and Rock­feller in­ter­ests in nickel and salt pe­tre were sig­nif­i­cant.

The Fidelis­tas there­fore rec­og­nized that the guerilla strug­gle had to be con­ducted based on a pro­gramme of cre­at­ing a pop­u­lar mass sus­tained up­ris­ing against armed tyranny.

It would be in­ter­est­ing to know to what ex­tent Amer­i­can prop­er­ties and/or cit­i­zens were jeop­ar­dized be­fore Batista fled the is­land.

So when Che Gue­vara led his col­umn to the army base at La Ca­bana on Jan­uary 2 after march­ing from Santa Clara, the in­sur­gency at­tained its rev­o­lu­tion­ary seizure of power over the pseudo repub­lic


● Cuba since 1959 - Prof James Mil­lete, UNIP pub­li­ca­tion; Dec., 1973.

● Pro­file of a Rev­o­lu­tion, Mi­ra­mar Ha­vana.

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