Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Front Matter
 Back Cover


Caribbean Review
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095576/00005
 Material Information
Title: Caribbean Review
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University
Publisher: Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University
Place of Publication: Miami, FL
Publication Date: 1984
Copyright Date: 1980
Genre: serial   ( sobekcm )
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Holding Location: FIU: Special Collections
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 1553369
System ID: UF00095576:00005

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Front Matter
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
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        Page 29
        Page 30
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        Page 50
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        Page 55
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text


Vol XIII, No. 1
Three Dollars

Focus on Puerto Rico: Rebirth of the Status Issue, The Political Economy of Later-day
Bootstrap, The Soap Opera Continues; Haiti's Dynastic Despotism; West Indian Folk
Culture; Colombia's Tobacco Road; Panama Wounded; Primitive Art of a Mexican Master.


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I want to share the love affair. Tell me how.

In this issue....

Crossing Swords
The Status Soap Opera
By Jos6 J. Villamil
Puerto Rico and the US
The Political Economy of Later-day Bootstrap
By Roberto Sanchez Vilella
Puerto Rico: Equality or Freedom?
The Rebirth of the Status Issue
By Juan M. Garcia-Passalacqua
Haiti's Dynastic Despotism
From Father to Son to ...
By Williamrn Paley
Efficiency Versus Equity
Economic Policy Options in the Caribbean
By Fuat M. Andic
Anthropology and History Among
the Saramaka
By Richard Price
Anansi Folk Culture
An Expression of Caribbean Life
By Althea V. Prince

Thoughts on Caribbean Society
An Anthropological Critique
Reviewed by Sidney W. Mintz

Page 8

Page 20

The Dual Colonization of an Island
A Political and Cultural History of Puerto Rico
Reviewed by Olga Jim6nez de Wagenheim
Puerto Rican Counterpoint
Fernando Pic6 and the Culture of Coffee
Reviewed by Lowell Gudmundson
Colombia's Tobacco Road
Feudalism vs. Capitalism in the
Tobacco Fields
Reviewed by Philip L. Shepherd
Panama Wounded
A Poet's Reaction
Reviewed by Luis M. Quesada
The Charmed World of Manuel Lepe
Primitive Art by a Mexican Master
By Bea Bender
Recent Books
An Informative Listing on the Caribbean,
Latin America and their Emigrant Groups
By Marian Goslinga

Page 34

On the Cover

"A US annexation of a
noncontiguous, Span-
ish-speaking country
would be 'an even more
rancorous issue' in US-
Latin American relations
than was the Panama

"The past as a precise
idea has meaning and
value only for the man
who is aware that he has
a passion for the fu-
ture."-Paul Val6ry

"The damage done to
the human beings went
far beyond overt repres-
sion of labor or any sim-
ple 'polarization' be-
tween rich and poor,
landed and landless."

Los Ni/los de Manuel by
Mexican artist Manuel
Lepe (oil on canvas, 80
cm x 80 cm). See story
on page 41.

The New



in the


edited by Barry B. Levine

July 1983, 274 pages
$26.50 (cloth), $11.50 (paper)

"Comprehensive and well-balanced ideo-
logically . useful for courses on interna-
tional relations, comparative politics, and
Latin American foreign policy."
-Carmelo Mesa-Lago,
University of Pittsburgh

"This book fills a void that has existed in
the study of inter-American relations . .
The authors' clear, well-written prose is
suitable for teaching college students . .
especially valuable."
-Jorge I. Dominguez,
Harvard University

This book explores in detail the history and
nature of Cuba's influence in the Common-
wealth Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and
South America, as well as its relations with
revolutionary movements and communist
parties throughout Latin America. The authors
place Cuba's Western Hemisphere contacts
within the wider framework of the island's in-
volvements with the Third World (especially
Africa) and the Soviet Union. The meaning of
the new Cuban presence becomes clear in
the authors' analyses of the limits to that
presence and the way the United States
should respond to it.

Westview Press
5500 Central Avenue
Boulder, Colorado 80301


Barry B. Levine
Associate Editors
Anthony R Maingot
Mark B. Rosenberg
Managing Editor
June S. Belkin
Assistant Editor
Judith C. Faerron
Book Review Editor
Forrest D. Colburn
Marian Goslinga
Linda M. Marston
Contributing Editors
Henry S. Gill
Eneid Routte G6mez
Aaron L. Segal
Andr6s Serbin
Olga J. Wagenheim

Vol. XIII, No. 1

Art Director
Danine L. Carey
Design Consultant
Juan C. Urquiola
Contributing Artists
Barrie Bamberg
Eleanor Bonner
Terry Cwikla
Advertising Manager
A. D. Austin
Marketing Assistant
Francisco Franquiz
Project Manager
Maria J. Gonzalez
Project Assistant
Marlene Gago

Three Dollars

Board of Editors
Reinaldo Arenas
Ricardo Arias Calder6n
Errol Barrow
German Carrera Damas
Yves Daudet
Edouard Glissant
Harmannus Hoetink
Gordon K. Lewis
Vaughan A. Lewis
Leslie Manigat
James A. Mau
Carmelo Mesa-Lago
Carlos Alberto Montaner
Daniel Oduber
Robert A. Pastor
Selwyn Ryan
Carl Stone
Edelberto Torres Rivas
Jos6 Villamil
Gregory B. Wolfe

Caribbean Review, a quarterly journal dedicated to the Caribbean, Latin America, and
their emigrant groups, is published by Caribbean Review, Inc., a corporation not for profit
organized under the laws of the State of Florida (Barry B. Levine, President; Andrew R.
Banks, Vice President; Kenneth M. Bloom, Secretary). Caribbean Review is published at
the Latin American and Caribbean Center of FIU (Mark B. Rosenberg, Director) and
receives supporting funds from the Office of Academic Affairs of Florida International
University (Steven Altman, Provost; Paul Gallagher, Associate Vice President for Aca-
demic Affairs) and the State of Florida. This public document was promulgated at a
quarterly cost of $6,659 or $1.21 per copy to promote international education with a
primary emphasis on creating greater mutual understanding among the Americas, by
articulating the culture and ideals of the Caribbean and Latin America, and emigrating
groups originating therefrom.
Editorial policy: Caribbean Review does not accept responsibility for any of the views
expressed in its pages. Rather, we accept responsibility for giving such views the oppor-
tunity to be expressed herein. Our articles do not represent a consensus of opinion-
some articles are in open disagreement with others and no reader should be able to agree
with all of them.
Mailing address: Caribbean Review, Florida International University, Tamiami Trail, Miami,
Florida 33199. Telephone (305) 554-2246. Unsolicited manuscripts (articles, essays,
reprints, excerpts, translations, book reviews, poetry, etc.) are welcome, but should be
accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Copyright: Contents Copyright 1984 by Caribbean Review, Inc. The reproduction of
any artwork, editorial or other material is expressly prohibited without written permission
from the publisher.
Photocopying: Permission to photocopy for internal or personal use or the internal or
personal use of specific clients is granted by Caribbean Review, Inc. for libraries and other
users registered with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), provided that the stated fee
of $1.00 per copy is paid directly to CCC, 21 Congress Street, Salem, MA 01970. Special
requests should be addressed to Caribbean Review, Inc.
Syndication: Caribbean Review articles have appeared in other media in English, Span-
ish, Portuguese and German. Editors, please write for details.
Index: Articles appearing in this journal are annotated and indexed in America: History
and Life; Current Contents of Periodicals on Latin America; Development and Welfare
Index; Hispanic American Periodicals Index; Historical Abstracts; International Bibliogra-
phy of Book Reviews; International Bibliography of Periodical Literature; International
Development Abstracts; International Serials Database (Bowker); New Periodicals Index;
Political Science Abstracts; Public Affairs Information Service Bulletin (PAIS); United
States Political Science Documents; and Universal Reference System. An index to the
first six volumes appeared in Vol. VII, No. 2; an index to volumes seven and eight, in Vol. IX,
No. 2; to volumes nine and ten, in Vol. XI, No. 4.
Subscription rates: See coupon in this issue for rates. Subscriptions to the Caribbean,
Latin America, Canada, and other foreign destinations will automatically be shipped by
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Issues: Back numbers still in print are purchasable at $5.00 each. A list of those still
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Production: Typography by American Graphics Corporation, 959 NE 45th Street, Fort
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International Standard Serial Number: ISSN 0008-6525; Library of Congress Classifica-
tion Number: AP6, C27; Library of Congress Card Number: 71-16267; Dewey Decimal
Number: 079.7295.


The Status Soap Opera

By Jose J. Villamil

In many ways Puerto Rico reminds one of
an interminable soap opera, with differ-
ent actors coming on the scene and say-
ing pretty much the same things over and
over. The basic themes do not change, and
events move inexorably towards some pre-
ordained ending. Of course the actors never
control events; these are defined by the writ-
ten script.
Such is the nature of Puerto Rican status
politics. The local parties act as if they really
mattered. Ultimately, however, the status
question is being decided by the evolution
of the economy, by the United States and its
geopolitical interests, and by the tech-
nological and cultural changes occurring in
the world. Some would argue that the de-
bate on status is irrelevant-that Puerto
Rico is already a US state for all practical
purposes-and that the arrangement only
needs to be formalized.

Gradual Deterioration
A process of decay has been taking place
over a period of many years. The govern-
ment can no longer provide the most basic
services. Thus private firms are providing
health, education and personal security ser-
vices which should be the primary respon-
sibility of the state. Public services have
deteriorated to such an extent that the op-
portunity-indeed the need-has been
created for the development of new fields of
private activity, such as the amazing growth
of private security services.
The economy of Puerto Rico has also
been deteriorating for some time. Twenty

Crossing Swords is a
regular feature of Carib-
bean Review. The views
expressed herein are
the sole opinion of the
authors. Editorial board
member Jose J. Villamil
teaches at the School of
Planning, University of
Puerto Rico, and does
research at the Centro de Estudio de la Real-
idad Puertorriqueha. He is the editor of Trans-
national Capitalism and National Development
and Problemas de la Planificaci6n en Paises

years ago it became clear that Operation
Bootstrap could no longer satisfy the re-
quirements of a broadly-based develop-
ment model. Extensive migration to the
United States had stopped; new countries
had entered the world economy competing
with Puerto Rico; federal regulations had
increased the cost of operating in the island.
Since then there have been many at-
tempts to keep the economy afloat. In the
mid-sixties petrochemicals were seen as
the new leading industry. Then government
debt was increased to finance public works
and massive increases in public-sector em-
ployment. Beginning in 1974 federal funds
were thought to be the answer and, finally,
the new industrialization relying on US
firms which could benefit from Section 936
of the Internal Revenue Code (permitting
such firms to repatriate profits from Puerto
Rico tax free under certain conditions).
None of these attempts has worked.
Over the last ten years, the economy has
scarcely generated new jobs, with the un-
employment rate remaining over 20 per-
cent despite efforts to redefine it and low
rates of labor force participation. Federal
transfer payments have reached close to $5
billion, or $1,600 per capital. Since these
funds primarily finance a high level of con-
sumption, most of it imported, they have
created an "inverted economy," in which
levels of consumption are increasingly di-
vorced from levels of production. A keen
observer of the Puerto Rican economy,
Elias Gutierrez, has pointed out its sim-
ilarity to the transfer economies of urban
ghettos in large US cities.
Complex changes which have been tak-
ing place have dramatically altered the equi-
librium established in the sixties and
seventies. Since access to the new technol-
ogy is not uniform, technological change
threatens not only to leave the island in the
backwaters of development, but also to
create a more stratified society. In fact, one
could speculate that those technologies ori-
ented toward stimulating consumption
(such as cable TV, automatic tellers, and
credit cards) are widely diffused, while those
related to production are not.
A further problem is the change in federal

social and economic policies under Presi-
dent Ronald Reagan. Federal transfer pay-
ments, which had been growing at a rate of
approximately 15 percent over the past dec-
ade, are expected to remain static in the
coming years. Finally, deregulation and
changes in the economic system will gener-
ate a new equilibrium in the island. It does
not augur well that the industrial sector ex-
perienced a growth in net income from $1.5
to $5.2 billion between 1973 and 1982-
with no increase in employment.
Puerto Rico is witnessing the disap-
pearance of the middle class. We are being
confronted with an increasingly polarized
society in which, due to the stagnation of
the economy, the only possible mobility de-
rives from migration. In many ways the
country's economy is beginning to look
more and more like the traditional Latin
American economies. However, in the latter
the contradictions of the economic devel-
opment model are resolved through force;
while in Puerto Rico-at least until now-
they have been dealt with by increasing
federal transfer payments and at times
through massive emigration.

Political Confusion
The pro-statehood parties argue that only
statehood can guarantee prosperity
(through increased federal funds, for the
most part). The commonwealth party has
been clamoring for more powers, in the
belief that greater autonomy will resolve
matters. Both parties, however, propose
measures to inevitably further tighten
bonds with the United States. Thus there
have been bipartisan proposals to make
Puerto Rico's tax system similar to that of
the US, similar schemes for the use of Sec-
tion 936 funds, and investigations of vari-
ous tax incentives aimed at stimulating
The prognosis for the Puerto Rican econ-
omy is hardly optimistic. Although some
sectors will experience rapid growth, as has
been the case with the financial sector and
manufacturing, the growth will not be suffi-
cient to generate the estimated 200,000
jobs needed in the next decade to maintain
Continued on page 44


Operators in RCA plant, Juncos, Puerto Rico, 1967.
Operators in RCA plant, Juncos, Puerto Rico, 1967.

Contemporary Puerto Rico has its be-
ginnings in a new political, eco-
nomic and social concept self-
consciously envisioned by the Puerto Rican
people beginning in 1940. Although aided
by a sympathetic administration in Wash-
ington, it was conceived of and articulated
by a generation of Puerto Ricans whose
concern was first and foremost with Puerto
Rico and its well-being, and who realized
that serious problems had to be faced, in-
cluding colonialism, underdevelopment,
and economic exploitation within a single-
crop agricultural system in foreign hands.
At that point, the Puerto Rican people dem-
ocratically translated its collective purpose
into political will. It is that political transfor-
mation and its social and economic conse-
quences that have been referred to as
Puerto Rico's peaceful revolution.
During the Second World War we started
to build the government apparatus needed
to attain our objectives. Flourishing in the
late 1940s, this development was in accord
with what had taken place in the developed
world. It conceived of the state not only as a
regulator but as an active participant in the
economic and social process. In fact, we
developed an interventionist state. The gov-
ernment soon became the crucial factor in
the change from an agrarian into an indus-
trial society, a transformation that some
have labeled modernization.
The first steps taken were to reduce the
economic and social influence of US sugar
companies in Puerto Rico. A law limiting
land holdings by corporations to no more
than 500 acres was enforced, although it
had been on the books since 1900. Diversi-
fication of agriculture and the combination
of private and public efforts in the distribu-
tion and marketing of products encouraged
rural workers to become more self-suffi-
cient. The government of Puerto Rico un-
dertook a social justice program aimed at
improving living conditions for all Puerto
Ricans, helping them adapt to the new sit-
uation. Special emphasis was given to edu-

Roberto Sanchez Vilella was governor of
Puerto Rico from 1965-1969. He currently
teaches in the Graduate School of Public Ad-
ministration at the University of Puerto Rico.


Puerto Rico and the US

The Political Economy of Later-day Bootstrap

By Roberto Sanchez Vilella

cation, health and sanitary conditions, and
improved housing; it can be fairly stated that
achievements in these areas-especially
the first two-were exemplary among de-
veloping countries.
During the mid-forties we began efforts
to revise our political relationship with the
United States. Though we had an elected
legislature, the governor and several of the
most important cabinet members were ap-
pointed by the US president. The Elective
Governor Act was approved in 1947, and
the next year Luis Mufioz Mar in became the
first Puerto Rican governor to be elected by
the people. In 1952 Puerto Rico approved
its own constitution and was established as
a "free associated state" with the United
Puerto Ricans were not exempt from the
extraordinary changes that developed after
World War II: improved communication,
new technology, new international eco-
nomic relationships. These, along with US
proclamations of justice, order and prog-
ress for all, created strong pressures on the
Puerto Rican government to respond
rapidly to the needs and wants of the peo-
ple. Hence the focus was changed from ag-
riculture to industrialization, with the
stimulus provided by promotion of private
investment. Following the prevailing theory,
it was assumed that fast economic growth
through the transfer of financial, human
and technological resources from the devel-
oped countries would be followed by mod-
ernization, improved social conditions, and
full employment. That assumption was to
be proved wrong not only in Puerto Rico but
in many developing countries. Neverthe-
less, we opted for accelerated industrializa-
tion using the advantages we had at that
time such as abundant labor (in fact, a eu-
phemism for low wages), cheap energy and
transportation, and the serious commit-
ment of the government.

Operation Bootstrap
Operation Bootstrap-as the industrializa-
tion program was known-was based on
the 1947 tax-exemption law and other gov-
ernment programs to promote Puerto Rico
as an ideal location for manufacturing in-

dustries. It depended on the importation of
capital, technology and expertise from
American enterprises. The type of indus-
trialization achieved in the early years was
characterized by low capital investment by
US enterprises or their subsidiaries in labor-
intensive plants; exports were almost en-
tirely oriented toward the mainland.
Nonetheless, Operation Bootstrap was
successful during its early years. Puerto
Rico underwent important irreversible
changes in its economy and society. How-
ever there were problems. Despite the rapid
industrialization of the 1950s and 1960s,
the growth in employment was not suffici-
ent to offset loss of jobs in other sectors,
especially agriculture. This shortcoming
becomes even more pointed when we take
into consideration the high level of emigra-
tion to the mainland occurring at the same
time. Hence Puerto Rico suffered structural
unemployment at the rate of 10-12 percent
until 1970, despite Operation Bootstrap,
migration, and a low rate of participation in
the labor force (about 40-50 percent).
Another serious problem was that the
type of industrialization established in
Puerto Rico did not allow for the develop-
ment of important vertical and horizontal
linkages in the manufacturing sector. Since
Operation Bootstrap was based on the at-
traction of foreign capital (nearly all inputs
were brought from the outside and produc-
tion was aimed at export), almost all enter-
prises remained isolated producers of
goods. Thus there was-and is-an acute
lack of linkages among the various eco-
nomic sectors in the island causing, in
some cases, their sacrifice. The agrarian
sector suffered the most. Instead of trying to
adapt it to the new technology found in
other sectors, it was held back and suffered
official neglect. The consequences are still
being felt; Puerto Rico does not yet have a
coherent agricultural policy.
Puerto Rico's rapid economic growth
after the Second World War was accom-
panied by a high level of industrial in-
stability. This means that while many new
industries were being established, many
were also closing down. At the same time,
the local economy became increasingly

open as a result of the almost exclusive ex-
port orientation of most industries. Puerto
Rico today produces what it does not con-
sume and consumes what it does not pro-
duce. This is reflected in the 1982
proportion of foreign trade in relation to
gross national product-1.07-perhaps
the highest of any comparable country in
the world. Thus our economy is suffering
from structural disequilibrium and has be-
come increasingly vulnerable to outside
forces, particularly to the US economy,
which is the source of 64 percent of our
imports and the recipient of 84 percent of
our exports.
The process could have been checked
with foresight. Prior to the mid-1960s, the
Puerto Rican economy had been only mar-
ginally affected by US economic recessions
because the government was able to reduce
the impact on us of the mainland's eco-
nomic cycles by consciously controlling
Puerto Rican economic dependence on the
US. During the past decade, however, that
role has been shed by the government, and
now our economy is highly vulnerable to
these fluctuations and we are almost
powerless to protect ourselves against
Another serious factor is the almost total
absence of local entrepreneurs. Except for
the banking sector, our economic growth
has depended almost entirely on the attrac-
tion of foreign-mostly North American-
entrepreneurs. No administration has suc-
ceeded in reversing this situation. Sufficient
political and educational efforts have not
been undertaken to promote the develop-
ment of a local entrepreneurial class to sup-
plement the imported one.

Changes in the Late 1960s
During the late sixties, Operation Bootstrap
entered a pattern of diminishing returns for
several reasons, but primarily because of
the loss of the special advantages upon
which it was based. One example was the
Foreign Trade Expansion Act, which re-
duced tariffs by 35 percent for three years
and had a devastating effect on the labor-
intensive apparel and shoe industries. An-
other problem was created by congres-


Bottle production, Arecibo, Puerto Rico, 1954.

sional decrees in 1967 and 1968 which
increased the minimum wage in Puerto
Rico by 14 and 13 percent, respectively.
This action was not warranted since Puerto
Rico's economic conditions are far different
from those of the affluent United States; for
all practical purposes, what is considered a
minimum wage in the US becomes an aver-
age wage in Puerto Rico. Thus what at first
glance may appear to be an improvement
for the workers may well result in hardship,
because the island's competitive position
with Third World countries is weakened.
The situation has become even worse with
the application to Puerto Rico, since 1977,
of federal minimum wages, a result of the
present government's ideological commit-
mentto statehood. Yet another difficulty was
presented by the 1966 and 1970 Federal
Maritime Commission modifications,
which reilited in a 45 percent increase in
sea transportation costs.
To offset these changes, an effort was
made during my administration to develop
a heavy oil industry, taking advantage of
federal government quotas for importing
the then cheaper foreign crude oil. Several
oil refineries were attracted to Puerto Rico

and significant investments were made in
the petrochemical field. Since the effort was
based on factors beyond Puerto Rico's
control (import of cheap crude oil and
federally established quotas), it eventually

The 1970s and 80s
During the last decade, our economy has
undergone a sharp process of deterioration.
Facing stagnating industrial and construc-
tion sectors, a persistent low level of agri-
cultural activity and reduced tourism, the
government used its credit as a rescue de-
vice. Between 1973 and 1976 the Puerto
Rican public debt rose to the point that to-
day we have the dubious honor of possess-
ing one of the highest per capital debts
among all US jurisdictions. In addition, the
government assumed the role of employer;
about 25 percent of the island's active labor
force works for it.
This striking increase in public employ-
ment and other service areas began with
the questionable policy of using the govern-
ment's credit to finance them. They were
further augmented by increased transfer
payments and other contributions by the

federal government. In fact, the annual rate
of increase of about 1.2 percent in Puerto
Rico'ds gross real product during the last
decade has been the result of increased per-
sonal and government consumption ex-
penses. The increases were made possible
by the growth in federal transfer payments
to Puerto Rico (in 1982 these payments
amounted to 23 percent of total personal
consumption and 49 percent of govern-
ment expenses) rather than by improve-
ment in real production.
Thus during the last ten years, the main
characteristics of Puerto Ricds economic
life have been increased vulnerability of our
economy with respect to the United States'
business cycle, a dramatic increase in pub-
lic indebtedness, growing dependence on
federal funds, and the so-called "936 indus-
tries" (referring to Section 936 of the US
Internal Revenue Code dealing with the sys-
tem of taxation applicable to the "posses-
sions' corporations") whose earnings in
Puerto Rico are exempt from federal taxes.
Because of the weakened economic
structure, President Reagan's budgetary
and monetary policies have created havoc
on the island. Stabilizing the amount of


federal transfer payments made to Puerto
Rico has had a recessionary impact on the
local economy. Restrictive monetary pol-
icies have affected already-depressed areas
such as construction, housing and other
productive sectors. Several measures taken
to stimulate and improve conditions for the
private sector in the US have had the op-
posite effect in Puerto Rico, where federal
government incentives in fact reduce the tax
and location advantages formerly enjoyed
by the island. Further, Congress has begun
questioning the tax exemptions granted to
the 936 industries and initiating proposals
to reduce, or even eliminate, what is in-
creasingly being perceived as an unjustified
Because of the close economic links be-
tween Puerto Rico and the US, it is assumed
that the island's economic recovery will de-
pend, to a large degree, on the extent of the
US recovery and the net federal transfer
payments made. The experience of the last
decade demonstrates without doubt that a
recession in the US economy will have a
similar, perhaps more intense, effect on the
Puerto Rican economy. However we cannot
be certain that the converse is true-that an
expansion in the US economy will cause an
even greater expansion in the island's econ-
omy. It is risky for the Puerto Rican political
leaders to put all their eggs in that basket
since the economic problems are structural
rather than conjunctional. Even in the im-
probable case that the Puerto Rican econ-
omy does respond positively to a US
recovery, it must be remembered that its
production in relation to employment has
been, and is, inadequate.
The major lesson to be learned from our
experience of the last 40 years, therefore, is
that the existing political and economic
framework is too limited and restricted to
accomplish what is necessary. All three ma-
jor efforts attempted during that time were
flawed: the light, labor-intensive industries
depended upon the maintenance of a differ-
ential between federal and island minimum
wages; the attempt to develop heavy indus-
try based on oil refineries depended on
federally-established quotas for the import
of cheap crude; the present effort, based
mainly on pharmaceuticals, depends on the
maintenance of the tax exemptions granted
to Puerto Rico-based earnings of these in-
dustries. Thus in all three instances, our
efforts have depended upon foreign-ex-
ternal-factors over which we have no
It must therefore be accepted that Puerto
Rico has undergone dependent develop-
ment, that it has progressively lost control of
its economic processes, that after 40 years
of efforts unemployment has reached rec-
ord levels instead of decreasing, and that for
all practical purposes, Puerto Rico is rapidly
becoming a subsidized society. Undoubt-
edly the need for intelligent, rational and

careful change is obvious. That must be the
task for the immediate future.
What is Needed
For more than a decade, it has been in-
creasingly evident that Puerto Rico's
economic development program is insuffi-
cient. It is impossible to continue relying on
public debt and federal government transfer
payments to avoid further decreases in in-
come and employment. Because of that
reliance, the government of Puerto Rico has
abandoned its crucial role as the prime
mover and stabilizer of its economic life to
become another employer-the largest

Operation Bootstrap was
successful during its early
years. Puerto Rico
underwent important
irreversible changes in its
economy and society.

one. Moreover, the openness of its economy
has made Puerto Rico increasingly vulnera-
ble to, and dependent upon, external
The lack of an encompassing economic
and social program and the wait-and-see
attitude of Puerto Rican political leaders will
lead to an indefensible local situation or
make many Puerto Ricans permanent emi-
grants. Either alternative is unacceptable.
A strong negative instead of positive atti-
tude now prevails due to the lack of a clear
recognition of the structural changes affect-
ing Puerto Rican economic life and the re-
sulting absence of an adequate program to
deal with them. The people are against
rather than for something. Accordingly, the
rejection of those in power does not imply
the acceptance of those seeking office.
Elections are used to demonstrate dissatis-
faction rather than support of a program or
set of ideas. That does not make for a
healthy democratic system nor does it allow
for creative use of the political process.
The government must resume its central
role as the promoter of economic and social
change. One should not forget that this is an
island with more than 900 inhabitants per
square mile and with insufficient and unbal-
anced economic growth highly vulnerable
to external factors. To apply to Puerto Rico
Reagan's doctrine that "government is the
problem" is to invite catastrophe. In short,
the government of Puerto Rico must ex-
change its current role as another em-
ployer-a role that is both inefficient and
untenable-for that of formulator and coor-
dinator of a long-range economic program.
The main features of such a program
should include, among others, the follow-

ing: (1) development of a scientific and
technological center in the island to spon-
sor specialized research, for which Puerto
Rico already has much of the needed
human resources; (2) development of a lo-
cal entrepreneurial class to complement the
existing one, but in such a way so as to avoid
economic, technical and social marginality
for large groups of Puerto Ricans; (3) pro-
motion of production for internal needs
without neglecting the international mar-
ket, and thus development of the critical
vertical and horizontal economic linkages;
(4) recovery by the government of its role as
an anti-cyclical factor in economic develop-
ment; (5) strengthening and enlarging the
powers and responsibilities of the Govern-
ment Development Bank so that it may not
only effectively serve Puerto Rico'ds develop-
ment needs but also regulate multiple and
complex banking and financial activities;
(6) giving top priority to energy since
Puerto Rico must develop alternative
sources to oil imports; this is an essential
condition for the success of an expanded
and diversified economic development
Even though incomplete, the preceding
set of proposals is ambitious. But nothing
less is needed if Puerto Rico is to overcome
its present crisis and avoid a deeper one.
The United States, as the other partner in
the association, should have a deep interest
in our surmounting this difficult situation,
not only out of generosity and sympathy but
also for its own interest in averting potential
internal and international difficulties.
It should be clear that for Puerto Rico to
achieve the goals set forth it needs greater
political power. The least that will suffice is
that (1) Puerto Rico be able to protect its
own economic sectors, especially those re-
lated to its internal market; (2) the Puerto
Rican government be given a voice in all
international economic agreements en-
tered into by the US that directly affect the
island; (3) the government of Puerto Rico
be allowed to participate in regional eco-
nomic and financial organs and in interna-
tional organizations dedicated to educa-
tional, cultural and scientific matters; (5) the
US Congress and other federal offices exer-
cise caution in adopting measures that may
distort or obstruct Puerto Rico's economic
program; (6) the restrictions that today so
strongly affect maritime transportation be
relaxed or eliminated.
Obviously this calls for political vision of
the highest order. Puerto Rico is rapidly be-
coming a problem for the United States at
both the national and international levels.
Nationally, there is the problem of the an-
nual need for billions of dollars to keep our
economy functioning and the fact that
many programs, such as those comprising
President Reagan's "New Federalism," may
cause undue harm to Puerto Rico even if
Continued on page 44


Puerto Rico: Equality or


The Rebirth of the Status Issue

By Juan M. Garcia-Passalacqua

ecolonization in the Caribbean has
left the United States and Puerto
Rico behind. The reason for this his-
torical lag is not simply substantive, but also
archtypical. Assumptions have not con-
verged in the last 85 years. Discussion has
been based on different perceptions of real-
ity that have made communication impos-
sible. The relationship is conceived in one
way by the metropolis; the elite in Puerto
Rico has a different conception; the masses
differ from both the United States and the
elite; and finally, the international commu-
nity has added its own different models to
an already complicated situation. The major
players in the game have never agreed on
the rules.

American Colonial History
The American invasion of Puerto Rico in
1898 occurred in the middle of a national
debate in the United States over imperial-
ism and democracy. In the original debate,
the question of whether a democracy could
or should have colonies became crucial.
Since the debate was dictated by opposing
paradigms, it was inconclusive. Transform-
ing the contradiction into a virtue, a "third
way" was found in which the nation could
hold something called "unincorporated ter-
ritories," that is, territories not directed to-
wards eventual statehood and equality
within American democracy. It is precisely
this model of territorial unincorporation,
this failure to see the problem as such, that
is the basis for the incapacity of the United
States to solve its colonial problem.
In the case of Puerto Rico, the military
occupation, the Foraker Act of 1900, the
Jones Act of 1917, the Elective Governor
Act of 1948 and even Public Law 600 of
1950, were only successive grants of "self-
government" to the people of the territory,

Juan M. Garcia Passalacqua is a Puerto Rican
writer and political commentator. He writes a
weekly column for the San Juan Star. This
essay is excerpted from his forthcoming book,
Puerto Rico: Equality and Freedom at Issue in
the Caribbean, to be published by the Latin
American Series of the Hoover Institution, ed-
ited by Robert Wesson.

without changing the essential territorial
nature of the relationship between the is-
land and the United States. In contrast, the
Philippines, for example, were recognized
after a decade under the American flag to
be on the way to independence, and that
recognition was the basis for its "common-
wealth" status, one directed at preparing the
islands for independence in the near future.
However, in the case of Puerto Rico, the
metropolis could not decide at the time of
the invasion, nor even 85 years later,
whether the territory was to be disposed of,
as the constitution provides, or whether it
was to be made a state of the union.
The process of creation of common-
wealth status, when analyzed from a para-
digmatic point of view, raised several
important questions that have been un-
answered in the last three decades. The his-
torical record shows clearly that the United
States thought it was doing one thing and
the leadership in Puerto Rico thought it was
doing something else. Was it more self-gov-
ernment or a new form of federalism? Was it
a process of self-determination or the legit-
imation of colonialism by the consent of the
governed? Was it transitory or permanent?
In the absence of answers to these ques-
tions--answers that have not been forth-
coming from either the powers that be in
the United States or the Puerto Rican politi-
cal elite-it is not difficult to conclude that
what happened in 1952 was in effect a
transformation of the problem into the
Between 1952-1968 the selective inat-
tention policy meant the refusal to consider
the autonomistt" proposals of improve-
ment of "commonwealth" status, while un-
leashing a campaign against pro-indepen-
dence followers in the island. Ironically, it
has been the potential for a statehood re-
quest from Puerto Rico that has given the
most important impetus to decolonization.
The results of the 1968 elections were
received in Washington with great skepti-
cism, and two schools of thought devel-
oped: one that believed the electoral victory
to be a freak resulting from the division of
the autonomist Popular Democratic Party,
and another that gave it grave implications

and predicted a request for statehood in the
coming decades.
A high official in the State Department of
Henry Kissinger, Arthur Borg, was asked to
do an in-depth study of the issue of Puerto
Rico. In retrospect, the Borg study, entitled
"The Problem of Puerto Ricds Political Sta-
tus" (Senior Seminar in Foreign Policy, US
Department of State, 17th Session,
1974-1975) has become a seminal docu-
ment in the consideration of the Puerto
Rican issue by the metropolis. Borg at-
tacked the lack of public attention to the
issue, as well as "the absence of a purpose-
ful or adequately coordinated approach to
basic Puerto Rican policy questions on the
part of those American officials who bear
the responsibility for formulating various
aspects of the policy." The author pointed
out the difficulties in developing an econ-
omy in the island that would sustain the level
of postwar growth. He attacked greater out-
lays of federal funds as a solution, calling it
"an under reed on which to hang a hope."
He attacked the prospects of "Puerto Rico
eating one cake out of the federal relation-
ship while enjoying another, more sov-
ereign, cake made out of the common-
wealth relationship."
Arthur Borg pointedly asserted that "what
is most curious about all this is that there
has been no real US-Puerto Rican confron-
tation during the past 20 years over the
clearly opposed conceptions of the nature
of the relationship." His paper, he admitted,
was prompted by the attempt by Puerto
Rico's Resident Commissioner Jaime
Benitez to get the approval in Congress of a
"Compact of Permanent Union Between the
United States and Puerto Rico" in February
1975. The attempt, he said: "raises in the
clearest form yet the fundamental question
of whether the Congress will be prepared to
give formal legislative assent to the com-
pact theory, while simultaneously permit-
ting Puerto Rico to retain all the economic
benefits it enjoys under its present some-
what ambiguous legal status."
Borg pointed out that Washington
sources he consulted were virtually unan-
imous in the view that the effort was
doomed to failure because the Ad Hoc


Committee that recommended the new
"compact" had been "playing outside the
rules," and would open what the author
termed "the Pandora's box of aid versus au-
tonomy." All he could see as possibilities
were noncontroversial changes in the
Federal Relations Act. But not even that was
obtained from Congress. He then con-
cluded: "perpetuation of commonwealth
status has made it possible for our leader-
ship to avoid considering what the conse-
quences would really be if Puerto Rico were
actually to opt for either statehood or inde-
pendence." He added "the present situation
is not a healthy one."
The most important contribution of the
Borg study to metropolitan thinking on
Puerto Rico was his assertion that "We really
can't afford to leave this matter entirely to a
process of the Puerto Ricans 'figuring out'
what they want." Borg proposed that a per-
son be designated in the White House "to
take the initiative in searching for ways in
which the US can help 'steer' the Puerto
Rican political status question, rather than
continue to drift along in the illusory expec-
tation that Puerto Rican 'self-determination'
will answer that question before we are con-
fronted with real trouble in the island." He
suggested a presidential statement or con-
gressional resolution setting forth an up-
dated public position on Puerto Rico's
status to clear the political air, while inter-
nally, the US would "decide whether we are
really prepared to support commonwealth
in perpetuity, or whether we must prepare
now for an eventual move to either state-
hood or independence."

The Evolution of
American Policy
President Carter's statement of 25 July
1978, reiterating US commitment to self-
determination for Puerto Rico, led to several
developments in recent years that indicate a
willingness in the metropolis to face the
colonial question for the first time since
1898. Internal proposals in various depart-
ments of the US government lead to the
conclusion that the United States may be on
the verge of recognizing that it indeed has a
colony in the Caribbean Sea. Four studies

CAI?BBEAN l9vieW/9

will serve as examples of the reevaluation.
In April 1977, Albert N. Williams, a For-
eign Service officer then studying in the
National War College, wrote a paper on
Puerto Rico that remained classified until
very recently. ("Puerto Rico: Common-
wealth, Statehood or Independence?" Na-
tional War College, April 1977). The paper
examines what it terms the growing inten-
sification of "subnationalism" in the world,
explores US "interests" and "costs" regard-
ing Puerto Rico, and concludes that the sta-
tus quo is becoming increasingly unattrac-
tive politically to both the United States and
Puerto Rico. The author attacks the present
condition of commonwealth status as "a
political limbo," a "quasi-colonial" status.
He argues that even if Puerto Rico has some
military value (as staging area, communica-
tions center, training site, and protector of
sea lanes) the greatest US interest in the
island is political (because of democratic
ideals, as a bridge to Latin America, as a
Third World issue, and because of the mas-
sive migration to the continental US).
These economic, strategic and political
interests, however, are being maintained at
what the author terms "increasing costs." In
economic terms, he explains that "the cur-
rent relationship with Puerto Rico is costly
to US taxpayers." Apart from the high finan-
cial costs (about $3 billion annually in
1977), the author finds a greater social cost
in maintaining a sizable segment of the
Puerto Rican population on federal welfare
payments over an extended period of time.
The continued persistence of poverty, he
adds, "sours" the relationship with Ameri-
cans. However, the paper indentifies as the
greatest political cost of all the international
embarrassment to the United States.
Williams criticizes the need to spend "a siz-
able amount of political capital" in seeking
favorable votes in the United Nations Gen-
eral Assembly. It is at this point, as an alter-
native, that the paper asks: "Is Puerto Rican
independence feasible?" and gives a re-
sounding affirmative answer. The study
concludes: "Thus, by today's international
standards, in terms of population, size or
per capital GNR it is by no means incon-
ceivable that Puerto Rico can take its place
as a full-fledged and active independent
member of the growing concert of nations.
It is within this changing international con-
text, where nationalism (and subnational-
ism) and its twin, anti-colonialism, are the
most powerful and pervasive political
forces in the world today, that the future
United States-Puerto Rican relationship
should be examined.... It is not unreason-
able, therefore, to hypothesize an in-
creasingly independent-minded, self-as-
sertive, and confident Puerto Rico which
may eventually choose total independence
from the United States in harmony with cur-
rent worldwide reality and trends."
On the basis of these conclusions, the

Williams study recommends that the US
"should place no political barriers in the
path of a more independent and autono-
mous Puerto Rico," and that the United
States should "act responsibly and provide
long-term and generous treatment to facili-
tate the transition." By this proposed policy,
the United States "can effectively move to
silence those strident voices which continue
to charge that the US remains an imperialis-
tic nation committed to preserving its colo-
nial dominance over Puerto Rico."
In Summer 1979, a second study was
undertaken by another Foreign Service of-

"Perpetuation of
commonwealth status has
made it possible for our
leadership to avoid
considering what the
consequences would really
be if Puerto Rico were
actually to opt for either
statehood or

ficer, Eric Svendsen, and published in the
State Department's private organ, Open
Forum. Svendsen entitled his essay
"Puerto Rico Libre" (Open Forum No. 20,
Spring/Summer 1979).
This author took the 1978 hearings be-
fore the Decolonization Committee at the
United Nations as an example that Puerto
Ricans are clearly dissatisfied with the cur-
rent status relationship and that "the current
quasi-colonial relationship between the
United States and Puerto Rico is growing
untenable." The author stated at the outset
his belief that the only viable status for
Puerto Rico is independence and argued:
the United States should take steps to pre-
pare the Puerto Rican people.
Svendsen argues that Congress may be
reluctant to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st
state and claims ethnic considerations may
play a role in that decision. He then attacks
the US Government for not having encour-
aged independence and reveals a-still to
this day undisclosed-poll that showed 20
percent of the inhabitants favor indepen-
dence, calling it "a more accurate estimate
of the true sentiment." He argued: "Puerto
Rico is a unique cultural and geographical
entity which has never been, and probably
never can be, assimilated into the US main-
stream. There is a significant gap between
the desires of many Puerto Ricans and what
they are likely to obtain from Congress ....

Puerto Rican frustrations can be expected
to grow. ... Serious consideration should
be given within the US Government to pre-
paring Puerto Rico for independence. For
too long it has been assumed in Wash-
ington and San Juan that Puerto Rico must
remain a part of the United States. It was this
attitude which led to a morally dubious FBI
Cointelpro operation in Puerto Rico con-
ducted throughout the sixties, the purpose
of which was to disrupt the activities of pro-
independence forces. Nowadays, anything
which even remotely smacks of colonialism
is unacceptable to world opinion, and met-
ropoles are rapidly granting independence
to their remaining colonial territories. Why
not the United States? ... Puerto Ricans
themselves may be more prepared psycho-
logically for independence than is com-
monly acknowledged. Leading statehood
advocates, including the governor, have
said that if their preferred status option is
rejected, they would have no alternative but
to opt for independence. ... An indepen-
dent and friendly Puerto Rico would not
significantly alter the strategic situation in
the Caribbean."
After this analysis, the author answers his
own question: "What is to be done?" He
recommends an extended transition pe-
riod, extensive consultations with Puerto
Rican leaders, and a program "to remove
the stigma that the advocacy of indepen-
dence is somehow traitorous." Svendsen
disagrees with the policy that the status is-
sue is for the Puerto Ricans alone to decide
and predicts that for the United States to
take no action may consign Puerto Rico to
irresolution. US security interests, he ar-
gues, are clearly secondary to the future of
the Puerto Rican people. "We can insure
that an independent Puerto Rico will be
friendly," he concludes, "only if we act now
to prepare Puerto Ricans for this eventuality
.... Only by offering independence as a
viable option, clearly acceptable to Con-
gress and the American people and under-
stood as such internationally, can the US
aspire to maintain the goodwill of the
Puerto Rican people and the respect of our
friends and allies."
In April 1980, another paper was pre-
pared on Puerto Rico for the State Depart-
ment's Executive Seminar in National and
International Affairs, this time by Dolores
Wahl, entitled, "Puerto Rico'ds Status: A Prob-
lem for the Eighties" (Executive Seminar in
National and International Affairs, 22nd
Session, April 1980). The author predicted
that for Washington, "the pain may become
unbearable" on the issue of Puerto Rico in
the coming years. She concurred that all
sectors in the island want and expect a
change in commonwealth status. She
pointed out the declining support for com-
monwealth and the increasing support for
statehood. The author saw two problems
with an impending statehood request: First,


Puerto Ricans will demand the retention of
Spanish as their official language and Con-
gress may refuse; and second, Puerto Rico
could not assume the tax liability of a state
without being relieved of its current public
debt. Wahl did not see in Congress the re-
quired "imaginative policies and compro-
mise" necessary to achieve these two goals
and emphasized that "if an agreement on
statehood cannot be reached, indepen-
dence rather than commonwealth may be
the political resolution."
The study proposed several measures to
deal more effectively with the status issue:
"First, a plebiscite should not be held until
the meanings of the three options are
clearly defined and agreed to by Wash-
ington and the four political parties in San
Juan. Secondly, a plebiscite vote to be
meaningful must show more than a simple
majority of those voting and that they have
understood the consequences of their
choice. Thirdly, rather than continuing to
deal with Puerto Rico through many and
varied agencies, overall responsibility for
Puerto Rican affairs would be centralized in
one office-preferably in the White House."
Even if emphasizing mostly procedural
questions, the study by Ms. Wahl supports
the understanding of the previous exer-
cises, from Borg to Williams to Svendsen.
She termed the question "a Washington bu-
reaucratic nightmare," and identified that as
the immediate problem, with the caveat that
no Puerto Rican agrees with the diagnosis
of the problem as a bureaucratic one. Coin-
ciding with the earlier studies, however, she
pointed out that it is necessary for Puerto
Rican policy to be planned, coordinated and
advanced by one government office. To
plan, coordinate and advance what? The
answer seems to be her conclusion that
independence "would create fewer foreign
policy and economic problems for the
United States than statehood." If Congress
refuses to retain Spanish as the official lan-
guage or to assume the public debt, "inde-
pendence may be the only solution."
In early 1982, one more paper was pub-
lished in Open Forum, this time by David
E. Simcox, a Latin American specialist in
the State Department. His study, again elab-
orating on the previous four, switched the
old theory of "self-determination" for the
island, and was entitled "The Future of
Puerto Rico: Self-Determination for the
Mainland" (Open Forum, 1981). Simcox
went right to the point: "In recent years con-
siderable momentum has developed within
the American political process for Puerto
Rico's statehood option. However, at the
same time, arguments are increasingly im-
pressive that the interests of the United
States would be best served by declining
any Puerto Rican petition for statehood, by
placing a time limit on the existing com-
monwealth arrangement, and by commit-
ting the United States to the independence

of Puerto Rico. These actions should be
taken with the support of a majority of
Puerto Ricans if possible, without it if neces-
sary." Internationally, Simcox argues, US in-
terests would be harmed by Puerto Rican
statehood. However scrupulously a
plebiscite that resulted in statehood were
carried out, he adds, it would be flawed in
the eyes of the world if conducted within the
framework of the existing US-Puerto Rican
relationship. A US annexation of a noncon-
tiguous, Spanish-speaking country would,
Simcox believes, be "an even more ran-
corous issue" in US-Latin American rela-
tions than was the Panama Canal.
What Simcox is most concerned about is
the possibility that the people of Puerto Rico
may vote for statehood without understand-
ing its implications, and whether less than
unanimity would be a safe basis for grant-
ing statehood, since the danger of an inde-
pendence movement fighting bitterly to
reverse the statehood decision is contem-
plated, using the IRA in Ulster as a point of
reference. The author's recommendation is
equally frank: "If Puerto Rico wants the trap-
pings of nationhood, then it should be an
independent nation. It should not be our
51st state. Following a 10-year transition
period to resolve the obligation of defense,

development, and citizenship, the United
States should offer Puerto Rico a golden
handshake of farewell with generous finan-
cial compensation."
These papers produced by members of
the American bureaucracy between
1977-1981 serve to demonstrate an evolu-
tion in the formulation of American policy
on Puerto Rico during the administration of
President Jimmy Carter.

The Reasons for Change
In a 1982 column, the editor of the San
Juan Star pointedly asked: "Why does the
Reagan administration persist in treating
Puerto Rico, its most visible presence in the
Caribbean and its most shining example of
development, so shabbily? How can one
possibly match the heavy concern over the
Soviet threat with the heavy blows received
here from Washington of drastic food as-
sistance cuts, the 936 program bombard-
ment from the US Treasury, and the
inherent damage of Reagan's Caribbean
Basin Initiative?"
In a radio interview a week later, former
Governor and top Puerto Rican GOP leader
Luis A. Ferre provided an answer when he
candidly stated: "The government of the
United States will not give us any more time



Copyright 1977 by Herblock in The Washington Post.

to wait for a solution to the status issue." A
few months before, Ferre had told the press
in San Juan: "If Puerto Rico does not decide
soon for statehood, it might face in the long
run a United States decision to make it
The last time Ferre saw President Rea-
gan, on 12 January 1982, together with
Governor Carlos Romero Barcel6, Resident
Commissioner Baltasar Corrada del Rio,
and San Juan Mayor Hernan Padilla, the
President spoke with them for 15 minutes.
Most of the time he spoke about the attempt
on his life, implying that the Puerto Rican
issue could provoke another. Unknown to
his visitors, presidential aides had dis-
covered a letter bomb in his 17 December
1981 mail, postmarked from Puerto Rico.
The president's second subject was his re-
fusal to amend President Jimmy Carter's 25
July 1978 statement offering Puerto Rico
alternative decisions for its future, including
independence as a legitimate option. The
statement of options remains in the US In-
ternational Law Digest as the official policy
of the United States. Reagan offered instead,
a press release "still" favoring statehood for
Puerto Rico, to be picked up by his visitors
"on the way out." Finally, and most impor-
tantly, the president took one of his visitors,
Mayor Hernan Padilla, aside as they were
walking out and told him clearly: "You can't
keep coming up here asking for a piece of
the meal."
In much more sophisticated terms, the
economic study on Puerto Rico undertaken
during the administration of President Car-
ter had come to a similar conclusion: Puerto
Rico has ceased to be economically profit-
able to the United States. The colony is now
an economic liability. Puerto Rico currently
receives more funds from the United
States-$4.7 billion a year-than any na-
tion in the world except Israel. President Car-
ter is said to have asked one of his aides for
"the bottom line on Puerto Rico: how much
does it cost us?" The answer, provided in a
private memorandum and based on the
massive $1 million study undertaken under
the direction of Secretary of Commerce
Juanita Kreps, showed undeniably that the
"cheaper" option for the United States
would be independence for Puerto Rico.
The question of decolonization of Puerto
Rico in the 1980s can be faced if one an-
swers three significant questions: What
have been the obstacles for Puerto Rican
independence between 1898-1983? What
has been the role of commonwealth status
in the history of the relationship? What new
elements have appeared between
1968-1983 to drastically change that
The nature of the problem in the 1980s is
essentially paradigmatic. It was Justice
Fuller who predicted the future in the dis-
senting opinion in Downes a Bidwell, at-
tacking the "third way," when he claimed the

decision would keep Puerto Rico "like a dis-
embodied shade, in an intermediate state of
ambiguous existence for an indefinite pe-
riod" (Fuller, dissenting, 182 US 244,1901,
p. 372). It was in 1922, after the "third way"
theory had been once again validated by the
full court that an effort was made to legally
legitimize an intermediate political condi-
tion called estado libre asoclado, modeled
after the Irish Free State, and the clear pre-
cursor of the commonwealth status created
in 1952. This incomplete decolonization
has been defended by some as a final and
permanent one.
Arnold H. Leibowitz, former General

If Congress refuses to
retain Spanish as the
official language or to
assume the public debt,
"independence may be the
only solution."

Counsel for the Puerto Rican Status Com-
mission of 1964-1966, has attempted, once
again, to transform the problem into the
solution. He argues that as a result of the
decolonization process, a new form of state
is arising among the nation-states: the "as-
sociated" state, which he predicates as the
way to make the US island territories more
self-governing without the relationship of
statehood. Leibowitz claims that Puerto
Rico has built upon the Philippines' experi-
ence (in which commonwealth status was a
transitory stage towards independence) but
has looked towards a permanent associa-
tion. Based on the 1960s commission re-
port, which "affirmed the commonwealth
as a third status alternative," he argues that
commonwealth status "is gaining accep-
tance within the American political system
and in American law." Sadly, he ignores all
subsequent developments.
However, the model of dependent eco-
nomic development that has served as the
basis for the commonwealth relationship is
in crisis. James L. Dietz has described that
crisis in precise terms as "the straining of
the colonial ties" ("Puerto Rico in the 1970s
and 1980s: Crisis of the Development
Model," Association of Evolutionary Eco-
nomics, Washington, 28-30 December
1981). At present, for both economic and
political reasons, the commonwealth ar-
rangement is under severe attack by an anti-
colonialist majority, composed of 47 per-
cent of the voters favoring statehood and 6
percent favoring independence.
The third new element in the Puerto
Rican situation has been the international
pressures in favor of decolonization and in-

dependence. Recent developments affect-
ing relations between the United States and
Latn American nations, such as the Mal-
vinas War and others, have prompted coun-
tries like Venezuela and Argentina to join in
the efforts to bring the case of Puerto Rico
to the full consideration of the UN General
Assembly. Thus, the problem of Puerto
Ricds relationship with the United States
has acquired urgency. The collapse of the
commonwealth economic model, the surge
in pro-statehood sentiment, and the pres-
sures in the international sphere for inde-
pendence have all coalesced to make the
issue of decolonization a crucial one in the
The issue of Puerto Rico's decolonization
is a clash of paradigms. The metropolitan
viewpoint is, in the words of Secretary of
Interior Pedro San Juan during a recent visit
to the Virgin Islands, that the United States
"is not a colonial power." The viewpoint of
the Puerto Rican elite is that the relationship
is deficient and needs to be changed to
satisfy the elite's aspiration of dignidad.
The viewpoint of the island's masses is that
the relationship with the United States is,
regardless of its political formulation, a
means of individual economic survival.
There has been no common ground for the
three paradigms to interrelate, much less to
achieve consensus.
There may still be US military impera-
tives for colonialism. However, it is a ques-
tion of attitudes that has prevented the
solution to the colonial problem of Puerto
Rico. The United States must solve the di-
alectic between its democratic and imperial
values. The Puerto Rican elite must decide
whether it conceives itself as an intermedi-
ary or as an actor in its island's history.
Meanwhile, a veritable democratic revolt
has been occurring among the masses. If it
is thwarted, the issue of a potential violent
decolonization of Puerto Rico may have to
be faced.
The time has come for the elaboration of
an American policy on Puerto Rico. Such a
policy must attempt to reconcile the as-
sumptions and interests of the metropolis,
the elite and the Puerto Rican masses. Such
an effort must be directed at achieving a
consensus among all sectors, factors and
actors on a process that will lead to a final
solution, one in which the American Con-
gress clearly defines the options it is willing
to consider, before the people of Puerto
Rico are asked to vote and choose among
alternative futures.
The crisis has led to the recent trend in
United States government circles favoring
independence for Puerto Rico. It was the
United States that invaded in 1898. It was
the United States that granted American cit-
izenship in 1917. It was the United States
that enthroned the status quo after 1952. It
is now time for the United States to decolo-
nize: Make us equal or let my people go. El

12/CATfBBEAN r!e~vI

Haiti's Dynastic Despotism

From Father to Son to . .

By William Paley

here are certain enduring features of
the Haitian past which must be taken
into account in any attempt to explain
the rise and progression of Duvalierism: the
complex relationship between class and
color, the importance of a classes inter-
mediaire, and the role of the state. These
factors are, of course, related, and taken
together they provide a basis for under-
standing and explaining recent events in
the black republic.

Color and Class
In Haiti, as in other parts of the Caribbean,
there is a broad coincidence between class
and color, going back to the system of slav-
ery in colonial days. In general, the blacks
are poor and the lighter-skinned people are
relatively rich. There are, of course, many
exceptions but the general assumption is
that if you are poor, you are likely to be
black. Furthermore you are likely, and not
entirely without justification, to ascribe your
poverty to your color. Wealth is acquired by
inheritance, by malversation and, occasion-
ally, by enterprise or hard work. Hence,
mulatto children inherit from their mulatto
fathers. To acquire wealth by malversation
normally requires literacy combined with
political or bureaucratic power. Enterprise
and hard work are effective only when cer-
tain favorable conditions prevail, and these
are set by individuals and groups who al-
ready possess economic or political power.
Throughout the nineteenth century, liter-
acy and wealth were largely the preserve of a
small elite composed mostly of mulattoes,
although it included a few black families.
Beyond this elite there was, however, a con-
siderable class of peasants with medium-
sized holdings. When members of this class
managed to achieve high rank in the army,
at a national or even at a local level, they
were able to challenge the elite for political
power, bringing with it the possibility of cor-
ruption or patronage and a consequent im-
provement in the long-term prospects for
their families. Bitter divisions among the
elite provided the opportunity for such

William Paley lives and writes in Oxford,

Papa Doc, Francois Duvalier, 1971.

moves, when rival members of the elite
would recruit support among this classes
From colonial times, however, the over-
whelming majority of blacks were poor. At-
tempts by black politicians of the elite or of
the classes intermediaire to secure their
support were often made on the basis of
color. Among the masses there was cer-
tainly a deeply felt antipathy toward the
mulattoes, who were identified tout court
in the popular mind with the elite. Un-
scrupulous politicians, however, exacer-
bated the color issue for their own ends, and
color became one of the factors determin-
ing political alignments.
Generally, only blacks resorted to the ex-
plicit and public appeal to color loyalties.
Mulattoes, as the leaders of the nineteenth-
century Liberal Party, tended to avoid open
discussion of the color question, preferring
to justify their discriminatory actions in
terms of "power to the most competent";
this, however, was little more than a thinly
disguised appeal to color prejudices. The
1946 election slogan which called for a
president who was "an authentic represen-
tative of the masses" was, to be sure, also a
disguised appeal to black loyalties, but
noiriste politicians were less coy about ex-

plicit reference to color than were their
mulatto counterparts.
Although color loyalties and antipathies
have never been the sole factors in deter-
mining political alignments, they have
rarely been absent from political conflict in
Haiti, and have, on occasions, been pre-
dominant. Color became the most impor-
tant factor affecting the formation of
contending parties in a few crises which
followed long periods of mulatto domi-
nance. One such crisis was in 1844-47, fol-
lowing 24 years of undisguised mulatto
rule. The 1946 crisis followed a similar pe-
riod of white (United States) and mulatto
domination. The political propaganda of
the 1946 election campaign revealed the
continued importance of color in the politi-
cal configurations of Haiti, and it is impossi-
ble to understand the Duvalierist phe-
nomenon without reference to it. Neverthe-
less, to ascribe all divisions in Haiti to color
factors would be an error only marginally
less grave than to treat these factors as triv-
ial. In most conflicts, color is one issue
among many and frequently takes second
place to economic class, regional loyalty or
personal allegiance in determining the lines
of battle.

The Middle Classes
The rural classes intermediare is com-
posed of peasants with medium-sized
holdings; they are in a position to offer occa-
sional employment, to make loans and give
credit to their poorer neighbors, and thereby
to build a whole structure of dependence
and patronage. In addition to owning land,
many also act asspeculateurs-agents of
coffee exporters-who buy from peasant
producers in their region. Although in some
areas there are a number of these specu-
lateurs operating, the situation is not one of
perfect competition. Each has built up a
constituency based on financial depen-
dence and even on affective ties; thespecu-
lateur may be godfather to one of the small
proprietor's children, and another child may
be lodging at his house in the local town
during school term. The small producer
may thus have an obligation, customary as
well as financial, to sell to a particular spec-

CAPBBEAN r1-viw/13

ulateur rather than shop around on the
open market for the one who will offer the
best price. These middle classes, particu-
larly in the countryside and in the small
towns, formed the basis of cacos and
piquet bands of irregulars, who played a
vital role in political developments, particu-
larly in the period leading up to the United
States' invasion of 1915.
The latter part of the nineteenth century
saw the rise of an urban middle class of
some significance. This class consisted
mostly of members of black families who
had managed-by luck, hard work, corrup-
tion, or by rising through the ranks of the
army-to achieve a level of literacy and edu-
cation which enabled them to become
school teachers, clerks, and civil servants,
or to save enough money to establish them-
selves in small businesses. They sometimes
joined rural blacks or the urban proletariat
to remove an unpopular government and to
replace it with one thought to be more sym-
pathetic to their interests. One of the most
enduring consequences of the 19 years of
US occupation was a decline in the signifi-
cance of the countryside and provincial
towns as power became centered in the
capital. The rural classes intermediare
consequently suffered a loss of influence,
while its counterpart in the capital became a
more crucial political force. With the depar-
ture of the US Marines in 1934, the stability
of the government of Stenio Vincent de-
pended upon support from some key ele-
ments of this class, and the collapse of the
Lescot regime in 1946 is largely to be ex-
plained by the hostility of the black urban
middle class.

The Role of the State
An acquaintance once returned to his
house on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince
and could not find his servant. The man
eventually appeared from behind some
bushes. Asked what he had been doing, the
servant replied, "I'etat te vini e m'cache"
(literally, "the state arrived and I hid"). An
army officer had arrived at the house, and
the man's first thought was that this meant
trouble. When European or North Ameri-
can newspaper reports predicted the down-
fall of Francois Duvalier's government on
the grounds that it had done nothing for the
people, they manifested a misunderstand-
ing of Haitian history. The masses there
have never had the expectation that the
state would do any good for them. The state
comes to confiscate, to tax, to prohibit or to
imprison; consequently, the less seen of it
the better. When the Haitian proverb says,
"Apre bondie ce leta" (after God comes
the state), it is not the goodness or the be-
nevolence of God that people have in mind;
it is rather his remoteness, his unpredic-
tability and his power.
Though the masses have no expecta-
tions of welfare from the state, there is a

small class which lives from state patron-
age, or at least whose standard of living
depends upon the political policies pursued
by governments. This urban and suburban
bourgeoisie needs foreign aid, trade and
investment in order to maintain its priv-
ileged position. Under certain circum-
stances, the fate of a government might
depend upon this class-although not the
government of Fran;ois Duvalier.

Duvalierist Support
Francois Duvalier had a profound knowl-
edge of the expectations and fears of the
Haitian masses. His study of Haitian history
and social structure, ethnological research
and experience as a country doctor, com-
bined with a shrewd and ruthless disposi-
tion, made him a formidable politician.
Throughout the country he built up a sys-
tem of support based on the key role tradi-
tionally played by the classes intermediary.
Many of the local leaders whose support he
secured were houngans (voudou priests),
who had considerable influence in the com-
munities where they operated.
The country-wide organization of the Vol-
ontaires de la Securite Nationale, the princi-
pal tonton macoute organization, served
not merely as an instrument of terror but
also as a means of recruiting support for the
regime. The leaders of the movement came
from the class which had provided the
backbone for the cacos and piquet bands
of the preoccupation period. The noiriste
rhetoric of the Duvalierist regime appealed
to this class rather than to the very poor, and
it was through this middle class that the
government was able to control the masses.
Duvalier recognized their crucial impor-
tance and rarely tried to bypass them; rather
he used the already existing structures of
power to extend his control throughout the
Whereas in the period prior to 1915 suc-
cessful revolutions frequently began in the
countryside, after the US invasion it was
events in the capital that were decisive. Only
during the election campaigns of 1946 and
1956-57 was there an apparent reversal of
this trend. Once the election was over, how-
ever, power reverted to Port-au-Prince. Cer-
tain gestures were made by the govern-
ments of Estim6 and Francois Duvalier in
the direction of a rebirth of rural influence.
The latter's electoral strength had been in
the countryside and provincial towns, with
powerful groups in the capital backing his
opponents. The huge demonstrations in
support of the regime which were organized
in Port-au-Prince on such anniversaries as
22 October and 1 January were largely
composed of rural Haitians transported in
trucks to the city by local macoute leaders.
What is significant is that while Duvalier's
base of support may have been rural, it was
essential to demonstrate this support in the
capital-the seat of ultimate power. The

growth of the tontons macoutes, many of
whose leaders enjoyed a rural power base, is
perhaps an aspect of the changing balance
between capital and countryside. Neverthe-
less this change should not be exaggerated,
and although provincial macoute leaders
enjoyed considerable local control, their ac-
tivities were circumscribed by the president
and they needed connections in the capital
to exert national influence. Francois Du-
valier's own rise to presidential office and
his continued tenure depended to a great
extent upon active endorsement by mem-
bers of the classes intermediaire.
The rural and urban black middle classes
which formed the keystone of Francois Du-
valier's power structure were not ac-
customed to receiving many benefits from
the state, and their loyalty could therefore be
purchased at a modest price; they knew that
they were unlikely to improve their lot by
switching to opposition groups. Through-
out the lean years of 1962-66, when foreign
aid was practically cut off and the US gov-
ernment and the Dominicans made deter-
mined attempts to remove Duvalier from
office, these middle-class leaders remained
faithful to the regime-partly from fear and
partly in the hope that things would im-
prove. The class which suffered most from
international pressure was the elite, which
was, generally speaking, already hostile to-
wards the government.

Opposition Forces
During the first years of his regime, Francois
Duvalier had systematically reduced the po-
litical power of all the major groups and
institutions in the country; one by one the
army officers, Roman Catholic hierarchy,
US embassy, business elite, intellectuals
and trade union leadership had their wings
clipped. By 1966 Duvalier was in a strong
enough position to be able to begin an ac-
commodation with each of these former
centers of power; it was, however, made
quite clear to them that limited freedom to
pursue their own ends did not include inter-
ference in politics. It was now evident that
the president did not seriously intend to
eliminate the economic power of the
mulatto elite, reduce the religious role of the
Roman Catholic church, nor to move his
country into the Soviet or nonaligned block,
despite earlier hints to this effect. It ap-
peared to be in the interests of these institu-
tions to reach an agreement with Duvalier
on his terms. In the cases of the church and
the army, accommodation was facilitated by
changes in leadership which Duvalier had
effected, replacing a determined and
powerful set of bishops and officers with
more docile and compliant figures.
By 1971 the opposition had effectively
been eliminated through murder, imprison-
ment or exile, and there remained no major
group capable of constituting a center of
political resistance or revolution. The


groups discussed above decided that they
could live with Duvalierism, and that at-
tempts to improve their positions within the
parameters of the system were preferable to
the confusion which might result from revo-
lution. Thus when Francois Duvalier died in
April 1971, they were prepared to support a
smooth transfer of power to his son.

The Smooth Succession
The generally held view, based on news-
paper accounts, was that the regime of
Francois Duvalier had no popular support
and remained in office solely by a system of
terror. This led to the confident prediction
that the regime would fall on his death. In
fact, although terror was widely used and
was an indispensable requirement for sur-
vival, it was not the whole story. Duvalier and
his associates had carefully constructed a
support structure throughout the country
based on the Parti Unite Nationale and on
the various macoute organizations.
Although there was considerable hostility
on the part of the masses to a number of the
more ruthless macoute leaders, this hostil-
ity did not seem to transfer to the president
himself. There was the belief that if only he
knew what was going on, he would take
steps to remedy the situation. Constant
propaganda, particularly on the radio, led to
a widespread acceptance of the govern-
ment and even to a belief in its benevolence.
The paternal image of "Papa Doc," a figure
possessing fearful power yet having a deep
love for his people, was developed. At Du-
valier's funeral, I personally witnessed nu-
merous scenes of sadness and distress. We
may well think that this popular attitude was
illfounded and misplaced, but it did exist,
and it is part of the explanation for the re-
gime's survival.
More important factors in accounting for
the transition from father to son were the
disabling of the opposition and the belief
among important groups that a major dis-
ruption of political life in Haiti would be
against their interests. This attitude cer-
tainly applied to the United States, the army
leadership, the church hierarchy, and to
much of the business community. Jean-
Claude succeeded his father, but how far
has he managed to maintain the power
structure so carefully and ruthlessly con-
structed throughout the 1960s?
Young Jean-Claude Duvalier faced a
number of serious difficulties on assuming
office. The support system which had been
built by his father was delicately balanced
and needed continual adjustment. In partic-
ular there was tension between the noiriste
politicians and macoute leaders on the one
hand, and the younger technocrats, who
had been recruited more recently and were
less committed to Duvalierist ideology, on
the other. In addition, there were the preten-
sions of ambitious businessmen and army
officers to be watched. Relationships within

the presidential family complicated the sit-
uation; Francois Duvalier's widow was asso-
ciated with a number of the old guard of
noiristes, while one of her daughters was
married to a leading army officer.
To the surprise of foreign observers, the
young president-under the tutelage of his
mother-managed to hold the regime to-
gether; and by astute moves curbing dan-
gerous groups in the army and elsewhere,
he ensured his survival. Although he had
obviously learned much from his father, he
lacked that intimate knowledge of Haitian
social structure and dynamics that Papa
Doc had acquired over many years. After a
few years the president began to take action
independently of his mother, putting into
positions of power a number of individuals
from the elite, whom he had met in his
school days. These moves were resented by
the old guard of Duvalierists, and Jean-
Claude gradually lost touch with that impor-
tant classes intermediare, upon which his
father had relied.
More and more he has sought support
from the business community and from the
younger technocrats, many of whom come
from elite mulatto families. To secure for-
eign aid it is necessary to have people in
government who can "speak the right lan-
guage"; such men, like Marc Bazin and
Henri Bayard, are prepared to cooperate
with the president only if they think it pays
them to do so.
Many of the younger technocrats were
unwilling to collaborate with a government
which included such notorious characters
as Luckner Cambronne and other old-
guard Duvalierists. They realized that the
presence of such figures in positions of
power ruined the cosmetic operation de-
signed to convince the international com-
munity that Haiti was a country deserving
foreign aid and investment. The regime of
President Carter in the US was prepared to
back the efforts of these technocrats. His
interest in human rights, together with a
desire to keep Haiti in the "free world," led to
considerable pressure being brought on
Jean-Claude to liberalize his regime.
Moderately independent journals, such
as Petit Samedi Soir and Hebdo Jeune
Presse, began to appear and cautiously
criticize the administration, though care-
fully avoiding suggestions that the presi-
dent himself was responsible for any of
Haiti's problems. Popular plays in creole
were performed in the capital, pouring
scorn on the administration of the country.
Radio commentators broadcasting in cre-
ole voiced outspoken attacks on the more
scandalous aspects of government policy.
By 1979, Sylvio Claude and Gregoire Eu-
gene had formed their Christian Democrat
Parties, and a non-Duvalierist had been
elected to the legislative assembly. It was an
extraordinary sight to behold newspapers
and pamphlets openly critical of the govern-

Baby Doc, Jean-Claude Duvalier, 1975.

ment being sold on the streets. The liberal-
ization of Duvalierism seemed to be in full
The volume of opposition had clearly
worried the presidential entourage, and by a
stroke of good fortune, a change of admin-
istration in the United States coincided with
a realization that unless something was
done to clamp down on the opposition, the
days of Jean-Claude were numbered. Presi-
dent Reagan's concern for human rights
was somewhat less palpable than that of his
predecessor, and he was unprepared to risk
good relations with a neighbor merely on
the grounds that the courtesies expected by
the US public at home were sometimes dis-
pensed with abroad. Towards the end of
November 1980, the clamp-down oc-
curred. Opposition leaders were arrested,
and others managed to flee to foreign em-
bassies; Radio Haiti was destroyed; journals
and newssheets disappeared from the

Two aspects of Haitian foreign affairs are
important in assessing prospects for the
future. Both are consequences of the eco-
nomic misery of the Haitian masses, exac-
erbated by political oppression. The first is
the migration of Haitian cane cutters to the
Dominican Republic; the second is the rela-
tively recent phenomenon of the "boat peo-
ple" arriving in the United States. Rural
Haitians have for many years migrated to
other parts of the Caribbean to seek em-
ployment in the cane fields. In the last half
century, however, this has become a major
feature of the sugar industry in the Dom-
ninican Republic. Both the Dominican and
Haitian governments have a financial inter-
est in the system. The Dominican govern-
ment, which owns much of the sugar
industry, is eager to maintain a supply of
cheap labor and pays the Haitian govern-
ment a fee for each migrant. The cane cut-
ters live in barrack-like buildings reminis-
Continued on page 45


Efficiency Versus Equity

Economic Policy Options in the Caribbean

By Fuat M. Andic

Since 1945, expectations about ma-
terial progress and well-being have
become powerful social and politi-
cal forces in countries where economic en-
ergies have been long dormant. These
countries, which we today refer to as Third
World countries, have embraced industrial-
ization as the way to enhance their material
well-being. But material well-being and its
increment is not, and cannot be, the sole
objective of development. It is imperative
that increases be simultaneously dis-
tributed among the country's population in
an equitable manner. In short, growth with
equity is the prime objective of all less devel-
oped countries (LDCs).
In general terms, the recent past of the
Caribbean has not varied greatly from that
of other LDCs. There is little overall dif-
ference between India and Barbados or Bra-
zil and El Salvador. Yet LDCs are not
identical, and no single country can be
taken as a prototype, even when limiting
discussion to those within the Caribbean
basin. A certain degree of abstraction, how-
ever, is indispensable if we are to reach even
tentative conclusions about the policy op-
tions available to these countries.
The region has two characteristics which
are crucial to consideration of growth with
equity: the size of the economies and their
degree of openness. The geographical ter-
ritories are relatively small; the population
base in many instances is less than one
million; and practically all economies de-
pend upon their exports. If we exclude a few
products controlled by international agree-
ments, such as bananas and sugar, the ex-
ported goods have to face international
competition. In other words, exported prod-
ucts must be produced efficiently if they are
to compete favorably in international mar-
kets. Also, locally produced and consumed
goods, so-called import substitution prod-
ucts, must be produced efficiently if de-
creased consumer welfare, and hence a
decline in equity, is to be prevented. On the

Fuat M. Andic is professor of economics (re-
tired), University of Puerto Rico, and presi-
dent-elect of the Caribbean Studies

whole, the efficiency criterion becomes a
higher priority the more a country depends
upon exports.
On the other hand, equity cannot be ig-
nored and must be maintained. It is part of
the platforms of practically all political par-
ties-to varying degrees, of course-and
always figures in development plans. The
question then is: can equity and efficiency
be maintained in economies such as those
in the Caribbean basin? If so, what are the
trade-offs between the two? What are the
policy options open to these countries? Let
me begin briefly with the equity question.

Equity, or fairness, is perhaps the most
widely used criterion in policy discussions.
Government policies should be equitable in
their effects on individuals. In a narrower
sense, equity is taken as improvement in the
distribution of incomes. This can be
achieved either by improving the primary
income distribution or by redistributing in-
come through changes in taxes and expen-
ditures to achieve, by some index of
inequality, greater equity than would have
occurred without redistribution.
It is well known that income distribution is
more unequal in the LDCs than in the de-
veloped countries. The state of distribution
in the Caribbean basin conforms with this
general finding, and the degree of in-
equality among its countries shows fairly
wide variation. The Gini coefficient of the
distribution of household incomes in seven
countries is shown in the table. It varies
from 0.369 in Barbados to 0.539 in El Sal-
vador. Compare these coefficients with, for
example, 0.338 in the United Kingdom or
0.333 in Canada, where the distribution of
income is much more equitable (See table).
Granted, such comparisons suffer from a
number of conceptual and statistical diffi-
culties which may render the effort rather
frustrating. Nonetheless, the implication is
clear: the primary distribution is unequal,
and certain redistributional public policies
are needed to improve distribution of in-
comes among individuals and families.
All political platforms in every Caribbean
country, from the Partido Reformista of the

Dominican Republic to the PNP of Jamaica,
embrace the concept of redistribution and
pursue the objective tenaciously with in-
struments embedded in the tax and expen-
diture sides of the budget.
First there are progressive taxes, such as
the personal income tax, which aim to re-
duce the disparities between the rich and
poor by taxing heavily the upper income
brackets and transferring the receipts to the
lower income groups or using the receipts
to finance public services aimed at improv-
ing the living standard of the poor. There is
no country in the basin without a progres-
sive income tax. But the tax system also
contains tax reliefs which, on the whole,
benefit the rich. Tax exemptions or tax holi-
days prevail to encourage industrialization;
favorable tax treatment of capital gains to
encourage capital formation reduces the tax
burden of the upper income groups. But
people at the lower income levels do not
necessarily pay their share of taxes either
because of the relatively large rural agri-
cultural population, evasion (also practiced
by upper income groups), and lax enforce-
ment. Thus, though vertical equity consid-
erations may be legislated with good
intentions in the form of progressive tax
schedules, they never actually materialize.
Moreover, sales and excise taxes and
those on international trade, which provide
the greatest portion of public revenue (for
instance, 71% in Costa Rica, 67% in the
Dominican Republic, 62% in Honduras and
57% in Jamaica), generally have a regres-
sive effect as their burden falls more on the
lower than on the upper income groups. In
other words, tax systems do not have an
appreciable impact on the redistribution
process. Scanty though the studies of re-
distribution in the Caribbean countries may
be, they all attest to this point. In Puerto
Rico, for example, the overall tax system is
found to be basically proportional; and in
Jamaica, even the direct taxes are regres-
sive in the low-income groups. Similar con-
clusions are reached in studies of
redistribution in many other countries.
The other side of the fisc's activity is pub-
lic expenditures, specifically subsidies and
transfers. These too are built into the bud-


gets of Caribbean countries to varying de-
grees. A quick glance at the budget figures
reveals that, for instance, Costa Rica, Ja-
maica, El Salvador and Barbados allocate
over 25 percent of their current outlays to
subsidies and transfers. This action appears
to be more conducive to income redistribu-
tion than taxes. But we have to tread with
extreme caution in this area, for the issues
involved are much more complicated than
they first appear. Take, for example, agri-
cultural subsidy programs. Such programs
raise the income of farmers, but also raise
the cost of food to consumers. Or take cer-
tain freely provided services and the bene-
fits they bestow. We have no known
measures to evaluate the quality or produc-
tivity of such services, nor can we measure
the benefits as perceived by the recipients.
Hence, the redistributive effects of govern-
ment expenditures may not be clear-cut.
A third way to redistribute income is
through regulation. This process has
spread to more and more sectors of the
economy over the years and has come to
determine patterns of socioeconomic be-
havior. Puerto Rico is an excellent example.
The fiscal illusion characteristic of regula-
tion has made it a perfect policy of re-
distribution. With regulation, transfers are
not explicitly registered as costs in the pub-
lic accounting budget. Hence, the costs of
regulation go unnoticed, while the benefits
remain overt; the ratio of benefits to costs is
therefore perceived to be higher. As a result,
explicit tax and expenditure policies are
easily replaced by regulation. But the ulti-
mate effect of regulation on income dis-
tribution has become almost impossible to
determine. Over the years its benefits have
spread over a large portion of the popula-
tion and are no longer limited to a small and
single group.
In short, neither the tax system, the com- .
plex effects of government expenditures on
transfers and subsidies, nor regulatory ac-
tivities unequivocally result in redistribution
of incomes to favor the poor and thus en-
hance equity. "
Achieving equity through redistribution
is further complicated by the fact that most . .
Caribbean countries are committed to the Hemming T-shirts in a Puerto Rican factory.


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A Picaresque Tale
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democratic political system of which the
budget process is a part. The argument
here is that a democratic decision-making
process is inherently not conducive to effec-
tive redistribution policies. First, the fre-
quency distribution of the voters along the
income scale is not identical to the fre-
quency distribution of the actual voters.
Rather, the rate of participation in elections
increases with the income level. Moreover,
information is not uniformly diffused and is
available in greater amounts and more af-
fordable to higher income groups than to
lower ones. As a result, a policy of redistribu-
tion in favor of the poor may not necessarily
emerge. Second, elections take place at
specified intervals; the electorate is pre-
sented with a limited number of aggregated
alternatives and a single program, and sim-
ple majority rule prevails. The probability of
considering a great number of voter prefer-
ences is thereby reduced; and whether or
not a redistributive policy is implemented,
and to what extent, depends not on voter
behavior as such but on totally different

Is Equity Attainable?
These brief remarks lead one to conclude
that not much redistributive effect can be
expected from existing government pol-
icies. What then should be the proper focus
on inequality and its reduction when re-
distribution proves to be politically imprac-
tical and the redistributive programs
themselves are judged to have but imper-
ceptible effects?
We need a novel approach to the prob-
lem. I believe we should place emphasis on
improving the primary distribution of in-
come. If we accept the premise that labor
incomes are by far the most unequal, then
education and technological training be-
come important instruments in reducing
income inequality. Changes in technology
expand the demand for highly skilled labor
with advanced educational levels. As a re-
sult, the equilibrium wage rate for highly
educated labor rises relative to that for less
educated labor, and inequality between the
two will widen unless the educational com-
position of the labor force changes. Hence,
inequality can decrease only if the expan-
sion in education overtakes that required by
technological development.
The policy implication of this stand is that
to provide information about the resources
for exploiting available opportunities, effec-
tive measures should be pursued: improved
schooling for the poor, improved public
health care, assistance with educational
costs (loan finance), provision of early di-
rective career counseling and information
on job alternatives, assistance in financing
occupational mobility, among others. Edu-
cational and research and development
programs should be designed so that the
differential growth between the supply of


and demand for educated manpower is
minimized and education is available to all
who want it and are worthy of it.
The focus is on improving the primary
distribution of incomes. This focus does not
deny the role of budget policy in reducing
existing inequality, but it does recognize
that such policy is not the most effective way
to realize distributive justice, however de-
fined. That poverty exists is a reality which
cannot be waved aside. Hence until and
unless society effectively provides oppor-
tunities, targeted antipoverty programs will
have to exist. The electorate does not reject
the implementation of such programs to

Experience so far indicates
that heavy protection of
industries has created
imbalances and
misallocation of resources
in the Caribbean.

improve the position of the less well-to-do,
as evidenced by the number currently in
force, regardless of whether or not they im-
prove overall income distribution. There
may be disagreement on whether too much
or too little is being provided, and the pro-
grams may be criticized for misallocating
the resources and thereby adversely affect-
ing cultural behavior patterns. While we are
trying to correct the undesirable features of
these programs, we should be embarking
more and more on action to ensure equality
of training and opportunity.
In short, to improve primary distribution
and make it more equitable is of crucial
importance. It is also the more efficient and
cost-effective approach, and the impact is
more easily measurable. Therefore, small
economies such as those of the Caribbean
should direct their planning efforts towards
that end.

Economic efficiency is easier for econo-
mists to define but more difficult to attain.
Using the Pareto optimality criterion, we say
that the economy is functioning efficiently
when there is no scope for change in re-
source allocation for further improvement
in anyone's welfare, unless some people
benefit at the expense of others.
Adhering to the strictest definition of effi-
ciency, that is, optimum utilization of re-
sources, experience so far indicates that
heavy protection of industries has created
imbalances and misallocation of resources
in the Caribbean. Such indiscriminate pro-
tection in countries like the Dominican Re-

public, Jamaica and Puerto Rico has given
rise to biases against agriculture and ser-
vice industries and hence has limited overall
growth. This stems from the fact that the
cost of inputs of nonindustrial sectors rose
sharply while the cost of capital relative to
labor declined. And yet the whole Carib-
bean suffers from high unemployment. It is
quite common to find rates of 10-15 per-
cent, with even higher rates of 35 percent
observed in Grenada (1980), 26 percent in
Jamaica (1981) and 25 percent in the Do-
minican Republic (1979).
The bias of incentives in favor of capital-
intensive industries has led to heavy bor-
rowing and burdened many countries be-
yond their foreign exchange capacity.
Specifically, in those countries where man-
ufacturing was based on import-substitut-
ing activities and/or assembly operations
for export, a heavy import dependency
arose. For example, during the last decade
or so, Costa Rica had to import 80 cents'
worth of intermediate goods to be able to
export one dollar's worth of finished prod-
uct. And this is not an isolated case. Even
occasional foreign exchange difficulties
create havoc in the industrial sector, as, for
example, in Jamaica. Bottlenecks, idle ca-
pacity and unemployment ensue. Heavily
subsidized or protected industries lead to
other or secondary inefficiencies. Re-
sources are attracted to urban centers, cre-
ating regional imbalances in addition to a
host of socially undesirable effects.
To redress the inefficiencies stemming
from import substitution, heavy protection
and subsidies, some countries have turned
their emphasis to export-oriented indus-
tries. Efficiency and growth through the ex-
ploitation of economies of scale followed.
There are several examples of this turn-
about in Latin America and the Caribbean.
But for many countries this simply meant
the same type of incentives with a different
bias, yielding the same result: discrimina-
tion against the rest of the economy.
One must recognize that there is no
magic formula for attaining optimal effi-
ciency. Despite the abundance of theoreti-
cal discussions, we still know very little
about the efficient or optimal paths of in-
dustrial growth. Actual experience in the
LDCs varies from the completely open ap-
proach on the one extreme, to a controlled
approach on the other. One finds practically
all the basin countries and a host of other
LDCs within these extremes. Meaningful
generalizations are yet to come. In industrial
planning, each country has to devise pol-
icies that are compatible with its particular
socio-politico-economic conditions. Given
these conditions, it is an accomplishment
just to recognize the inefficiencies that a
particular objective or set of policies may
create at the time plans are being formu-
lated. In the final analysis, the decision
maker may choose to disregard them. Al-

though the plan is a technical document, it
is not independent of political considera-
tions which may force the decision maker to
forgo efficiency considerations. It is an
achievement, however, to know what we are

Efficiency Versus Equity
To review, equity means improved income
distribution. In a broader sense it implies
breaking the vicious cycle of poverty, ex-
tending the fruits of development to all sec-
tors of the society, or achieving social
development. Some countries have be-
come so obsessed with growth and indus-
trialization in their early development
process that they have tended to neglect its
underlying objective-social development.
And those countries that have designed pol-
icies with a heavy emphasis on social devel-
opment (such as Costa Rica or Jamaica)
now find themselves with very inefficiently
operating industrial sectors. These recent
experiences lie at the heart of the question
of whether equity and efficiency are in fact
attainable simultaneously, or whether one
need be sacrificed for the other.
In my mind this is a false dichotomy and
merits further attention. That there are
trade-offs cannot be denied. An excessive
concentration of small-scale enterprises,
heavily labor-intensive and dispersed into
the countryside, can no doubt be damaging
to efficiency. But heavily subsidized capital-
intensive industries are not free of problems
either, and unsatisfactory social develop-
ment is one of them. It should not be forgot-
ten that even with a labor-intensive
structure, job creation in manufacturing is a
slow process. To rely on industrial develop-
ment alone to enhance equity obviously
cannot be the only choice. Granted, indus-
trialization and the alleviation of poverty are
A certain degree of equity can be
achieved, provided that industrialization
focuses on efficient production of mass-
consumption goods with an appropriate
choice of technique. In turn, the structure of
manufacturing itself will be influenced by
policies to distribute income more equita-

bly and by the provision of public (as well as
private) goods. But to expect that one nec-
essarily leads to the other is somewhat
naive. Efficiency obeys a host of different
rules; being competitive, choosing appro-
priate techniques, and benefitting from
transfers of technology are among them.
These can be readily incorporated into in-
dustrial planning. Some elements of equity
policy can also be incorporated into indus-
trial policy, such as a modern and vigorous
manufacturing sector concomitant with a
more traditional small-scale sector. While
the latter becomes a holding sector for la-
bor, the former becomes a provider of in-
dustrial goods and inputs that increase the
totality of goods available for consumption,
for intermediate use, and exports.
By and large, however, equity can best be
achieved through policies other than indus-
trial development. From the planning point
of view, the question is not whether or not
the two objectives are compatible, but rather
which criterion should have the higher pri-
ority. This is a choice to be made by deci-
sion makers.
If in the final analysis one is forced to
make a general statement, I would venture
to say that it is preferable to prepare a devel-
opment plan which is efficient, with a clear
statement of its impact on equity considera-
tions. It is easier to take counteracting mea-
sures in other spheres of the economy to
ensure equity than it is to take measures to
correct inefficiencies in the industrial
The measures to assure equity will have
to be found primarily in education and
training, and other concomitant programs
which provide the resources to exploit avail-
able opportunities. An integrated set of
overall and sectoral plans is desirable in all
LDCs, including the very small open econo-
mies of the Caribbean basin. In the alloca-
tion of public revenue for government
expenses, a proper balance must be struck
between productive and nonproductive ex-
penditures. It should not be forgotten in this
connection, however, that education repre-
sents an investment in the only reliable
resource of our small countries: our
people. O


Gini Coefficients
Selected Caribbean Countries

Barbados ............................................. 0.369
Costa Rica ........................................... 0.376
Dominican Republic .................................... 0.493
El Salvador ............................................. 0.539
Guyana ................................................. 0.420
Jamaica ......... ..................................... 0.476
Puerto Rico............................................. 0.420

Source: Shail Jain, Size Distribution of Income. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 1975.


Anthropology and History Among the Saramaka

By Richard Price

THE SARAMAKA--about twenty
thousand people-live in the heavily
forested interior of the Republic of
Suriname in northeastern South
America. Their ancestors were among
those Africans who were sold into slavery
in the late seventeenth and early
eighteenth centuries to work Suriname's
sugar, timber, and coffee plantations.
They soon escaped into the dense rain
forest-individually, in small groups,
sometimes in great collective
rebellions-where for over one hundred
years they fought a war of liberation. In
1762, a full century before the general
emancipation of slaves in Suriname, they
won their freedom.

In a sacred grove beside the village of
Dangog6, shaded by equatorial trees,
stands a weathered shrine to the Old-
Time People (Aw6n&nge), those ancestors
who "heard the guns of war." Whenever
there is a collective crisis in the region-
should the rains refuse to come on time or
an epidemic sweep the river-it is to this
shrine that Saramakas repair. As libations of
sugarcane beer moisten the earth beneath
newly raised flags, the Old-Time People are
one by one invoked-their names spoken
(or played on the apinti drum), their deeds
recounted, their foibles recalled, and the
drums/dances/songs that they once loved
performed to give them special pleasure.
Literally thousands of individual
Saramakas must have heard the guns of
war between the 1680s and the coming of
the Peace in 1762. Yet the names invoked at
Aw6nenge number merely in the scores. All
history is thus: a radical selection from the
immensely rich swirl of past human activity.
The uniqueness of First-Time lies in its
taking seriously the selection that is made
by those people who gather together at this
Excerpted from Richard Price, First-Time: The
Historical Vision of an Afro-American People,
Johns Hopkins University Press (hardcover
$25.00, paperback $12.95). Copyright 1983
by Richard Price. Reprinted by permission of
the publisher. Richard Price is professor and
chairman, Department of Anthropology, Johns
Hopkins University.

shrine. It is about those distant people and
those long-ago events that Saramakas to-
day choose to think about, talk about, and
act upon; but it is also about the ways that
Saramakas transform the general past (ev-
erything that happened) into the significant
past, their history. First-Time is an attempt
to communicate something of the
Saramakas' own special vision of their for-
mative years.
Saramakas are acutely conscious of liv-
ing in history, of reaping each day the fruits
of their ancestors' deeds, and of themselves
possessing the potential, through their own
acts, to change the shape of tomorrow's
world. All evil, they believe, originates in
human action, which makes Saramaka his-
toricity a two-way street. Not only does each
misfortune, illness, or death stem from a
specific past misdeed, but every offense,
whether against people or gods, bears
someday its bitter fruit. The ignoble acts of
the dead intrude daily on the lives of the
living, who must learn to accept them and
to handle the evils they engendered. Any
illness or misfortune calls for divination,
which quickly reveals the specific past act
that caused it. And in the lengthy process of
making things right once more, the ances-
tors speak, the gods dance, and the past
comes alive, palpable and visible.
For Saramakas today, First-Time (f/si-
ten)-the era of the Old-Time People-dif-
fers most sharply from the recent past in its
overwhelming inherent power. Stretching
roughly to 1800, First-Time is not more
"mythologized" or less accurately recalled
than the more recent past; but knowledge of
First-Time is singularly circumscribed, re-
stricted, and guarded. It is the fountainhead
of collective identity; it contains the true root
of what it means to be Saramaka. Once
Ameika, a man in his seventies, remarked in
my presence: "First-Time kills people.
That's why it should never be taught to
youths .... That's why, when you pour a
libation at the ancestor shrine, you must be
careful about speaking in proverbs
[because you may not be aware of all their
hidden implications]. There are certain
[people's] names that, if you call them,
you're dead right on the spot! There are

names that can't be uttered twice in the
course of a whole year! It is with such things
that we were raised."
The imminent danger of First-Time re-
sides, in part, in its specialized uses in social
action. The recent past (roughly the last
hundred years) that intrudes on everyday
life tends to affect only individuals, domes-
tic groups, and, occasionally, whole village
units. First-Time, though called upon less
frequently, relates to larger and older collec-
tivities, most often the "clans" (16) that trace
their ancestry matrilineally back to an origi-
nal group of rebel slaves. First-Time most
often comes alive in the restricted but highly
charged arena of interclan politics. It was
the migratory movements of the First-Time
people that established land rights for pos-
terity; it is the details of how they held politi-
cal office that provide the model on which
modern succession is based; and it is the
particular alliances and rivalries among the
wartime clans that shape the quality of their
descendants' interaction today. Any dispute
between clans-whether over land, political
office, or ritual possessions-immediately
brings knowledge of First-Time to the fore.
In these settings, when corporate property
and prestige are at stake, such knowledge
becomes highly perspectival; the point of
knowing about a First-Time event is to be
able to use it in support of one's clan.
First-Time provides the "charter," as well,
for the most powerful ritual possessions of
each clan, many of which date back to that
formative period. Learning the details of
their history provides an unmatched degree
of personal security, for one need thereafter
never be alone: the Old-Time People and
their enormous powers will be standing by
one's side.

The Saramaka Historian
The pursuit of First-Time knowledge is a
strictly solitary endeavor, and in any clan the
number of older men considered really to
"know things" can be counted on a single
hand. (Women and youths, with few excep-
tions, are prohibited a priori from entering
deeply into the world of First-Time knowl-
edge.) Within any clan, each expert's knowl-
edge is idiosyncratic, learned from a unique

20/CAffBBEAN e vmiE

network of older kinsmen and reflecting
that individual's particular strengths as a
historian. Over the course of his adult life-
time, each interested man must construct
his own images and analyses of "what really
happened" two and three centuries ago,
based on bits and pieces of relevant songs
and rites, disputes, and celebrations that he
makes it his business to attend to, as well as
on the supplementary narratives he is able
to wheedle out of his often-reluctant older
kinsmen. The Saramaka historian-in-train-
ing hoes a very long row; those that take it
on as a vocation, like the very finest of our
own historians, seem positively driven by an
inner need to make sense of the past, quite
apart from the prestige that may incidentally
accrue from their special mastery.
First-Time knowledge is a valuable com-
modity, and those who possess pieces of it
share them only sparingly with others.
Question-asking about First-Time was tra-
ditionally prohibited. As Peleki-a middle-
aged Matjau clan man then being groomed
as a possible successor to Tribal Chief
Ab6ik6ni-explained: "Asking about things
in detail simply did not occur. The old folks
would tell you things. You just sat there with-
out a sound, listening. And that was all."
The research procedures of the appren-
tice Saramaka historian (like those of his
Western counterpart) include a good deal
of plain sitting (often after having traveled a
considerable distance for the privilege).
"First-Time things," Peleki once mused to
me, "don't have only one head .... Your
ears musttruly growtired of the thing before
you will really know it."
Cock's crow, with an older man speaking
softly to a younger kinsman: this is the clas-
sic Saramaka setting for the formal trans-
mission of First-Time knowledge. (Cock's
crow is the hour or two that precedes dawn,
when most villagers are still asleep in their
hammocks.) Although the bulk of any
man's First-Time knowledge is in fact
pieced together from more informal set-
tings-from overheard proverbs and epi-
thets, from songs and discussions of land
tenure-discreetly prearranged cock's crow
discussions are, conceptually, the epitome
of First-Time learning. It is at such times

Agbag6 (Ab6ik6ni), Tribal chief of the Saramaka since 1951.

that a captain is supposed to instruct a po-
tential successor, a grandfather his grand-
son, or a mother's brother his sister's son.
Indeed, the standard phrase with which a
Saramaka denies knowledge of First-Time
is "I never sat down with oldfolks at cock's
crow." The knowledge transmitted at cock's
crow is deliberately incomplete, masked by
a style that is at once elliptical and obscure.
It is a paradoxical but accepted fact that any
Saramaka narrative (including those told at
cock's crow with the ostensible intent of
communicating knowledge) will leave out
most of what the teller knows about the
incident in question. A person's knowledge
is supposed to grow only in very small in-
crements, and in any aspect of life people
are deliberately told only a little bit more
than the speaker thinks they already know.

Those Times
Shall Come Again
Saramaka collective identity is predicated
on a single opposition: freedom versus
slavery. The central role of First-Time in
Saramaka life is ideological; preservation of
its knowledge is their way of saying "Never
again." As I overheard one man reminding
another, "If we forget the deeds of our an-

cestors, how can we hope to avoid being
returned to whitefolks' slavery?" Or, in the
memorable words of Peleki, speaking at the
time to me, "This is the one thing Maroons
really believe. It's stronger than anything
else. ... This is the greatest fear of all Ma-
roons: that those times [slavery and the
struggle for freedom] shall come again."
"Those times," as Saramakas are well
aware, refers to the harshest realities. Ma-
roons recaptured by the colonists were rou-
tinely "punished" by hamstringing, am-
putation of limbs, and a variety of deaths by
torture. To cite but one eighteenth-century
example, a recaptured Maroon, "whose
punishment shall serve as an example to
others," was sentenced "to be quartered
alive, and the pieces thrown in the River. He
was laid on the ground, his head on a long
beam. The first blow he was given, on the
abdomen, burst his bladder open, yet he
uttered not the least sound; the second
blow with the axe he tried to deflect with his
hand, but it gashed the hand and upper
belly, again without his uttering a sound.
The slave men and women laughed at this,
saying to one another, 'That is a man!' Fi-
nally, the third blow, on the chest, killed him.
His head was cut off and the body cut in four
pieces and dumped in the river."



I I IAOVULIII VI i-V ,-1 IU r I Iy 1 LI I n Flc- .r
For Saramakas today, talk about First-
Time is very far from being mere rhetoric,
preserved for reasons of nostalgic pride.
Rather, First-Time ideology lives in the
minds of twentieth-century Saramaka men
because it is relevant to their own life experi-
ence-it helps them make sense, on a daily
basis, of the wider world in which they live.
For more than a century now, every
Saramaka man has spent many years of his
life in coastal Suriname earning money by
logging, construction work, and other
forms of low-paid wage labor. There, he
meets bakaas- "outsiders," white and
black-who treat him in ways that he fits
comfortably into a First-Time ideological
framework. Asipei, a dignified man in his
sixties, described an incident that may ap-
propriately stand here for dozens of similar
ones I heard recounted. When he was a boy,
visiting the city with his mother's brother, an
urban Afro-Surinamer derisively called him
a "monkey," to which his uncle replied an-
grily but with pride: "Where you live, you pay
to drink water, you pay to have a place to
shit; but in the forest where I live, I drink the
finest water in the world whenever I like, I
defecate at my leisure." For all those re-
spected Saramaka historians or ritual spe-
cialists, for all those renowned woodcarvers
or dancers who are forced by economic
necessity (and lack of Western schooling)
to clean out toilet bowls in the French mis-
sile-launching base at Kourou, First-Time
ideology cannot but remain a powerful rele-
vant force. And for all Saramakas, the recent
construction of the great hydroelectric pro-
ject (that flooded fully half of the lands their
ancestors had fought and died for, and that
caused the forced resettlement of thou-
sands of their people) represented an ex-
pectable continuation of the kind of
behavior that their First-Time ancestors
routinely suffered at the hands of the
bakaas. Continuities of oppression, from

original enslavement and torture to modern
political paternalism and economic exploi-
tation, have been more than sufficient to
keep First-Time ideology a living force.
The fear of group betrayal, forged in slav-
ery and the decades of war, remains a corn-
erstone of the Saramaka moral system.
Proverbs and folktales are filled with morals
about not trusting other people, and self-
defensive posturing and manipulation per-
meate interpersonal relations. An an-
thropologist who has lived with the Aluku, a
neighboring Maroon group, describes a
"layer of spurious culture," which they have
"created to shield [their] custom from the
outside world," and notes that in their deal-
ings with outsiders they "have made a high
art of institutionalized prevarication." It is for
these reasons that until recently many vil-
lage names recorded on official maps of
Saramaka were either obscene expressions
or the names of nearby cemeteries. And
Saramaka men spend hours swapping sto-
ries of personal experiences they have had
on the coast regarding what Afro-Ameri-
cans in the United States used to call "put-
tin' on ol' massa." The core meaning of
many Saramaka folktales, and the heart of
Saramaka morality, is that knowledge is
power, and that one must never reveal all of
what one knows. And this holds doubly for
First-Time, and with outsiders.

For some two years in the mid-1960s, Sally
Price and I lived in Saramaka, carrying out
ethnographic fieldwork on an unusually
wide range of issues, from "social structure"
and "religion" to "language" and "art." Only
one subject was explicitly forbidden, from
our earliest encounters with the oracle of
Gaan Tata right up to the week of our final
departure-First-Time. I diligently avoided
systematic exploration of the distant past
(though it greatly interested me and though
its emanations were everywhere around
me) as part of holding up my end of the
fieldwork bargain that we had struck with
our hosts.
During the subsequent years, as a fledg-
ling professor at Yale and Johns Hopkins, I
learned more about the early history of
Afro-Americans, in particular Maroons,
elsewhere in the hemisphere. And I decided
to try to persuade Saramakas to explore
First-Time in depth with me. When I
broached the possibility, on brief trips in
1974 and 1975, I was sufficiently encour-
aged to proceed. In one sense, the elder
Saramakas I knew best had always ex-
pected me to work on First-Time; how else
could I become a man of knowledge? Nev-
ertheless, they expected me to do it only
when I was ready-when they thought I was
ready-and the time now seemed right.
During much of our first two years in
Saramaka, we had posed an enormous
threat to our hosts, far more than we realized

at the time. Many truly believed that we had
come to kill them on the spot; others be-
lieved that we had come to learn their se-
crets so that we could bring great armies to
destroy them; and all of our hosts knew that
our presence, in spite of the frequent rituals
to which they subjected us, might suffi-
ciently anger the gods and ancestors so that
they would wreak wholesale destruction
upon them. As Captain Kala used to pray at
the ancestor shrine, during those early days
of our stay, "Whitefolks have never come to
Dangog6. The ancestors always said whites
must never come as far as Dangog6. No
outsider [black or white] has ever slept in
Dangog6. The Old-Time People simply
cannot "see" whitefolks. The war we fought,
it's not finished yet .... What in the world
are we to do with these people? I have never
buried a white person. If they die, how will I
know how to bury them?"
Yet eventually our initially reluctant hosts
were seeing us, at least much of the time, as
individual human beings with our own idio-
syncratic personalities, and not just as
"whitefolks." And there was a widespread-
if sometimes grudging-respect for the
way that we took pains to conduct ourselves
in everyday life. As the tribal chief said in his
parting speech to us in 1968, Sally had not
committed adultery and had strictly held to
the menstrual taboos; I had hunted and
fished like a real man, sharing with our
neighbors. We hadn't walked where we had
been told not to (the shrine for the First-
Time ancestors, the upriver site of the First-
Time villages) and I hadn't talked about
what I wasn't supposed to (First-Time).
Given the historical circumstances, we felt
that we had been treated with considerable
grace and generous hospitality. We also felt
that we had made several lifelong friends, a
feeling that time has since borne out.
By our return to Suriname in the mid-
1970s, the world of Upper River Saramaka,
where we had lived for two years, had
changed. Government officials or tourists
dropped in and out of the once-isolated
villages almost on a monthly basis, film
crews occasionally came and went,
Saramaka men often wore long pants in the
villages, and people were listening to radios
and spending considerable time on the
coast in the capital. I too had changed: I was
now a professor and chairman of a depart-
ment rather than a student; I was known to
be an "authority" for outsiders on Saramaka
life (Saramakas had been given copies of
the books and papers I had written); and I
was considered to be in a position to help
them in various ways with outside officials.
Our earlier stay-the social relations it in-
volved, the fears it raised-had by now be-
come in some sense part of Dangog6's
past; a new chapter was beginning. While
we had once been objects of fear and con-
cern, we were now, at least for many
Saramakas, honored guests.


My own activities in Saramaka shifted
significantly between the initial fieldwork of
the 1960s and the 1976 and 1978 research
seasons (when I obtained most of the spe-
cific oral material forFirst-Time). While be-
fore I had spent considerable time in
hunting, attending oracle sessions, and
participating in other tasks appropriate for a
man of my age, I now worked singlemind-
edly on First-Time, seeking out selected el-
ders for private conversation. With the
knowledge and approval of Tribal Chief
Ab6ik6ni, Captain Kala, and the other Ma-
tjau clan elders who had become, in a
sense, our spiritual guardians, I began work
with men who had known me (at least by
reputation) from the previous decade. Be-
cause of knowledge I had since gleaned
from written sources, I was now in a position
to offer Saramaka historians a most pre-
cious gift, new information about their own
early past.
After an additional research year in the
Netherlands in 1977-78, much of it spent in
the Algemeen Rijksarchief, my store of
First-Time information had increased enor-
mously, enough so that even without offer-
ing much in the way of specifics, I now
possessed a considerable reputation as a
historian among knowledgeable Sara-
makas. An exchange of information be-
came, for some old men, the principal
motive for "sitting down" with me; and not
only did I know original whitefolks' views on

First-Time events, but I was fast building up
a storehouse of Saramaka knowledge
about the period that in its breadth ex-
ceeded the knowledge of any single
Saramaka. Fortunately, the growth of my
own knowledge coincided with an indepen-
dent realization by some elders that knowl-
edge of First-Time (at least the nonritual
parts of it) had better be written down soon
or else be lost forever. Indeed, at a 1978
gathering (kuutu) in the tribal chief's re-
ception hall, I was asked on behalf of the
Matjau clan to write such a book for them;
flattered with a characteristic rhetorical dec-
laration that I was now a Matjau, I was for-
mally asked to be their official chronicler.
It was this kind of official approval, which
contrasted so strikingly with the explicit pro-
hibitions of the 1960s on my discussing
First-Time at all, that permitted me to pro-
ceed. Nonetheless, it did not really make
any easier the act of eliciting First-Time
knowledge from wary elders, as people very
much kept their own counsel about how
much, and exactly what, they wished to
share with me. All of my discussions with
Saramakas about First-Time must be firmly
situated in their basic ideological context:
"First-Time kills," "Never tell another more
than half of what you know," and "Those
times [the days of war, the days of white-
folks' slavery] shall come again."
The methods of work imposed by practi-
cal considerations ruled out most tradi-

tional modes of historical transmission; I
could not, like a Saramaka, simply wait a
lifetime and piece together what I had seen
and heard. I had to seek people out, explain
myself, and actively persuade them to share
information, with little to offer except my
own historical knowledge, compensation
for their time (in money or, if they preferred,
in "gifts"), and the excitement of joint dis-
coveries-for some the most important in-
ducement of all. I had to keep telling myself,
as the Saramaka hunting proverb says, that
"if you don't stir up a hole, you won't find out
what's inside"; but I could never afford to
forget its cautionary counterpart: "If you
shake a dry tree, you'd better watch out for
your head."
With the men I worked with most often, I
developed various routines that helped
ease for both of us the basic inappropriate-
ness of the enterprise. I soon realized, for
example, that the great historian Tebini was
not fully comfortable speaking about First-
Time while looking directly at me; so I
worked with him in the presence of one or
another younger kinsman whom Tebini
could formally address as he spoke. Having
a third party present in my discussions with
Tebini turned out to be helpful in other ways
as well. Rhetorically, it provided the neces-
sary "answerer" who could lend the speaker
full attention (since I was often scribbling
and working hard to digest what I was hear-
Continued on page 46


SJournal of

-191 Geography

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Anansi Folk Culture

An Expression of Caribbean Life

By Althea V. Prince

Anansi stories feature the Akan spider-
hero, creolized in the Caribbean to
become the counterpart of the anti-
hero in the calypso. Anansi almost always
gets the better of a situation through cun-
ning, which he uses to make up for the
physical strength, material wealth and high
status which he lacks: "One day Tiger fell
into a pit and could not get out for several
days. He finally managed to get hold of a
tree branch and was about to pull himself
out when Anansi happened to pass by.
Anansi was worried because he had
heard about Tiger's fall and knew that by
now Tiger would be so hungry that he
would eat the first thing he got his hands
on. He knew he couldn't run fast enough
to get away from Tiger, so he decided to
work his head [use his brain]. Anansi
called down to Tiger: A, A Bredder Tiger,
you nah hungry?' Tigersaid, Yes man, an'
ah go eat you when ah come out.' Tiger
started to climb out using the branch to
pull himself out and Anansi began to get
more worried. He shouted to Tiger again,
'Bredder Tiger you lucky you gettin'out eh
man?' Tiger said, 'Mm hm'; Anansi said,
An you does tank God for all you food?'
Yes,'said Tiger 'You doesn't put you hands
together when you pray?' asked Anansi.
'But sure, ah always pray with me hands
like this,' answered Tiger; and so saying,
he dropped the tree branch and clasped
his hands together in prayer. Of course, he
promptly fell back into the pit, andAnansi
took off as fast as he could."
It should be explained at this point that
several Anansi stories are about conflict be-

Sociologist Althea V Prince is presently doing
research in her native Antigua.

tween Anansi and Tiger-Tiger being the
bigger and stronger, yet Anansi almost al-
ways winning the battle of wits. The forego-
ing story demonstrates Anansi's ability to
survive the most hazardous danger and
emerge the victor, even though all the odds
are against him. It also shows that Anansi is
not about to abandon survival attempts
even though all seems hopeless. He stays
alive at all costs. He cannot do so through
the use of weapons, for he has none; he
cannot bribe Tiger with money, for he has
none; what he does have is his wits and he
puts them to good use to assure his
Anansi also usually comes out victorious
in situations with his family, dogs, fish, cats,
and other domestic and "bush" animals.
His wins are always achieved through cun-
ning, never through brawn or the use of
material goods or weapons. For example:
"One day, Anansi decided to go and look
for food for his family because there was a
famine in the land. Everyone was hungry
and no one had money or food to eat.
Anansi managed to 'scrounge' nine ripe
figs [bananas] which were just enough for
his wife and eight children to get one
each. He took them home, gave them one
each and said, 'see how good I am to all
you. Ah only have nine fig and ah give all
a'you one and now I lef wid nutten. Is so I
does tink bout all you all de time.' His
family felt very guilty and insisted on di-
viding their figs with Anansi. Each child
gave him half a fig as did his wife. So
Anansi had four and a half ripe figs in the
end." Even his family is not exempt from
Anansi's cunning. He is hungry and he will
eat, even if it means tricking his family out of
the biggest share. He could have easily

eaten all of the bananas and gone home
empty-handed-but that would have been
amoral, which Anansi is not. What the story
does demonstrate, however, is that Anansi
is interested in himself first: he is self-inter-
ested, but not amoral.
The imagery in Anansi has a direct corre-
spondence to "Nobody Go Run Me," a ca-
lypso by Short Shirt, the most popular
Antiguan calypsonian. It is alleged that in
response to an order by the government to
cease squatting on government land, he
composed the following: "I have my axe to
grind / Just like any other man /Existing
in poverty / On this giant ghetto land /
But I intend to hang on / Tell them, tell
them for me / No Dice / Iain goin to eat
lice / Iain goin to grow old / Sittin in the
cold / Not me, Shorty [Short Shirt] / No
Way / They goin have to beat me / They
goin have to eat me / Or they heads go
"Tell them Isay I was born in this land /I
go die in this land / Nobody go run me /
From where me come from / Me Mumma
mus nyam [eat] / Me Puppa mus nyam /
Me woman mus nyam / Me pickney
[child] mus nyam." The fact that he was
allegedly squatting on government land
was irrelevant to the issue in Short Shirt's
mind. His personal, economic survival was
at stake and all else faded into obscurity. His
family "mus nyam" at all costs... personal
survival of the individual and his family can
be seen as the most important element in
this calpyso.
A Trinidadian calypsonian, Lord Chalk-
dust, demonstrates this attitude towards
survival even more clearly when he at-
tempts to sum up the Trinidadian person-
ality: "They never had a fete / In Trinidad

24/CAIBBEAN rTview

yet / Without somebody ain't storm
[sneaked in free] / Fellas print their own
ticket, sell their exit, / Or scale the wall,
that's the norm / And if you bring a juke-
box inside your place / They will rig that
in front your face / Day and night for free,
you could hear Chalkie [Lord Chalkdust] /
With only cardboard money-so you see /
Grenadian orBarbadian-you can't stop a
"When a Trini [Trinidadian] want money
or a drink of rum / He play he has tooth-
ache, and he beg for some / To soak his
teeth or sap his head / Or run to the ex-
press and say he's out of bread / And
when he reach town -oops -he forget his
money / He'll pay a 10 cents bus fare to
Tunapuna /And drop out quite atArima /
Jailbirds want to play mas so before Car-
nival pass /All of dem does appeal lAnd
on the tax forms that they send / Have
down all dey friend children / Less tax to
pay in the deal /A Trini will drink 10 pints
of juice, and a fly in one he'll produce /
And say, I ain't paying you know why /
For them juice Ibuy /All of them pack up
with fly / You see-Antiguan or Martini-
quan -you can't stop a Trinidadian / Eng-
lishman or Australian-you can't stop a
"For instance take 'Sideways' [a local
character] in Woodford Square / Catching
power [spirit possession] and preaching
scripture / He'll pass round his hat to all
who stop / And in 3 minutes time he
drunk in a rum-shop / A Trini will go to
Hilton Hotel / With doctor's papers so
they'll treat him swell /And he bawling-
please post my cheque for me / This time
he's a doctor of whappie [a card game].
"A thief will park his bike, next to one

that he like / Leave his and yours he will
take / And if you catch him he won't
shake / The defence he'll make, is good
Lord it was a mistake / Two fellas will buy
one bicycle license, and hear the smart-
ness that will happen / You keep the re-
ceipt-I keep the license / No police can't
do we nutten / Grenadian or Jamaican-
you can't stop a Trinidadian."
Chalkdust is chauvinistic and claims the
Anansi personality in this particular calypso
as a peculiarly Trinidadian one. But the pop-
ularity of Anansi stories in all the islands and
the fact that this theme recurs not only in
Trinidadian calypsos, but also in those of
other islands, tells us that it is common in
the English-speaking Caribbean; and if
Frantz Fanon is to be believed, in the
French-speaking Caribbean as well.

Limits to Cunning
The Antiguan Anansi is unremitting in his
attempts to fool people, and it is a rare occa-
sion indeed that sees him at a loss in any
situation. He fools people however, not be-
cause he enjoys it, but because he sees it as
his only means of survival in a world where
all the cards are stacked against the indi-
vidual. He is bent on an individual quest for
survival. Hence, he pretends to be lazy un-
less he can see that his labor will bring forth
an enormous reward. He will feed his family
only after he has had his "bellyful," as we
witness in "Anansi and the Magic Calabash"
retold below [a calabash is a bowl made
from a large bowl-shaped tree pod]. Notice,
however, that he is punished for being extra-
ordinarily greedy: "One day Anansi was
walking in the 'bush' when he saw a cal-
abash lying on the ground. He picked it

up and admired it. The calabash sud-
denly spoke to Anansi saying, 'I am a
magic calabash and I can make you any
food you want.' Anansi nearly dropped
the calabash in fright, for whoever heard
of a calabash that could speak? He spoke
to the calabash, saying 'Was that you who
just spoke?' Yes,' said the calabash; 'What
can you make?' asked Anansi. The cal-
abash told him that it could make any-
thing under the sun, so long as Anansi
sang it a special song. Anansi then asked
it to make him some fungi and saltfish
after he had sung the special song.
"Lo and behold, the calabash filled up
with the fungi and saltfish, and even
added some choba to go with it. Anansi
was pleased as punch and filled his belly
with the food. Then he washed the cal-
abash and went home. When he got
home, he put the calabash in his bedroom
under his bed and told his wife and chil-
dren not to go under the bed or he would
beat them. The next day, Anansi went out
all day and when he came home, he went
into the bedroom, locked the door and
sang the special song to the calabash.
The calabash immediately filled up with
fungi, saltfish, choba and this time, it
added a few okras to go with the meal.
Anansi, greedy as he was, ate it all up and
offered none to his family, who, mean-
time, were out in the other room eating
their simple meal and wondering what
was going on behind the closed door
Then Anansi cleaned the calabash and
put it back under the bed.
"Anansi's wife had heard the song quite
clearly, and when Anansi left the next
day, she went into the room, determined
to find out what was under the bed. She



March 12-14, 1984. Research Con-
ference on the Jewish Experi-
ence In Latin America. Albuquer-
que, University of New Mexico.
Contact: Latin American Institute,
University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, NM 87131; (505)
March 21-24, 1984. Southwestern
Historical Association and
Southwestern Social Science
Convention. Fort Worth, Texas.
Theme: "The Americas in 1984."
Contact: G.M. Yeager, Department
of History, Tulane University, New
Orleans, LA 70118.
March 22-24, 1984. Seventeenth
Annual Meeting of the South-
west Council of Latin American
Studies (SCOLAS). Edinburg,
Texas, Pan American University.
Contact: William J. Fleming, 1984
SCOLAS Program Chair, Depart-
ment of History, Pan American Uni-
versity, Edinburg, TX 78539.
March 29-30, 1984. Center for Mi-
gration Studies 7th Annual Con-
ference. Washington, D.C., Wash-
ington Hilton. Theme: "In Defense of
Ihe Alien." Contact: Lydio F. Tomasi,
Executive Director, Center for Mi-
gration Studies, 209 Flagg Place,
Staten Island, N.Y. 10304; (212)
April 12-14,1984. Annual Meeting of
South Eastern Council of Latin
American Studies (SECOLAS).
Auburn, Alabama. Theme: "The
Many Cultures of Latin America."
Contact: Professor Cooney, History
Department, University of Louis-
ville, Louisville, KY 40292; (502)
April 25-28, 1984. Annual Border-
land Scholars Association Meet-
ing. San Diego, California, Conven-
tion Center and Holiday Inn-
Embarcadero. Contact: Oscar J.
Martinez, Inter-American & Border
Studies, University of Texas at El
Paso, El Paso, TX 79968; (915)
April 27-28, 1984. II International
Symposium on Latin American
Indian Literatures. Washington,
D.C., George Washington Univer-
sity. Contact: Dr. Mary H. Preuss,
President, LAILA/ALILA, Geneva
College, Beaver Falls, PA 15010;
(412) 486-5100, ext. 244.

picked up the calabash from under the
bed and figured that if she sang the song
she had heard she would soon know
what had taken place in the room. She
sang the song and to her shock and sur-
prise the calabash filled up with food!She
and the children ate their belly full,
washed the calabash and put it back un-
der the bed.
"Anansi came home, went as usual to
the calabash and sang the song, asking
the calabash for his meal for the day; but
nothing happened. He sang the song
again, this time louder than before; but
nothing happened. Finally, he asked the
calabash, 'What happen today, why you
nar mek no food?' The calabash told him
that he had already prepared the meal for
the day, and couldn't make any more.
Anansi got angry and smashed the cal-
abash to bits.
"The next day, he wentout as usualand
while walking through the bush he saw a
whip. He took up the whip and was ad-
miring it when the whip said, 'I am a
magic whip and I can perform for you';
without delay, Anansi said 'perform for
me then, whipf The whip slipped out of
his hands and began to beat poorAnansi.
It followed him all the way home beating
him without mercy, for the whip could
only perform in the custom it was used to.
It beat Anansi until he said he was sorry
for not sharing the food from the calabash
with his wife and children. From that day,
Anansi learned that he couldn't leave his
family without food while he filled his
own belly." It is significant too that Anansi
consistently tries to get the reward without
the work. He defies the Puritan work ethic
under which Caribbean colonial society
Anansi is a strong and good workman,
but will not engage in work as an everyday
routine. He will only work on occasion for an
employer of his choice. Work is not an ac-
cepted fact of life. In like manner, we have
already heard from Chalkdust in his calypso
entitled "You can't stop a Trinidadian," of the
machinations of the "smart-man" in his at-
tempt to come by easy pickings. While the
folklore condones the "smart-man" charac-
ter, it goes to great pains to condemn one
who allows avarice and greed to blind judg-
ment. In other words, one may trick the
prevailing forces and even one's neighbor
out of goods, but one may not overdo and
let avarice take over. It is in such cases that
we see Anansi falling on bad times. The
calabash story demonstrates this point, and
there is also the story of Anansi and Candle-
fly, which shows Anansi craving so much
that he loses all in the end. Here is an abbre-
viated version.
"One day Anansi went to Candlefly's
house for some fire. Candlefly gave the fire
to Anansi and also gave him a few eggs.
The next day Anansi went back to Can-
dlefly for fire again, hoping to be offered

more eggs. Candlefly gave him some
eggs as well as the fire. When Anansi
reached halfway home he put out the fire
and turned back, telling Candlefly that the
fire went out. Candlefly gave him some
more fire but no eggs. Anansi waited and
waited to see if he could 'scrounge' more
eggs from Candlefly, but Candlefly said to
himself 'What mek him so greedy?' and
ignored Anansi. Anansi finally had to ask
Candlefly, outright, if he could give him
some more eggs. Candlefly told him he
didn't have any more, but he would show
him where they could find any amount of
eggs they wanted, if he came back after
dark. Anansi did so, and he and Candlefly
set out to find the eggs.
"When they came to the place with the
eggs, Anansi was so greedy that every
time Candlefly tried to pick up an egg, he
would grab it, so that in the end, his bag
was full up and Candlefly didn't have any
eggs at all. Candlefly was really vex and
leave Anansi, taking all the light with
him. Anansi was now left in the dark and
had no idea where he was, because it was
Candlefly who had guided him there and
it was Candlefly who had the light.
"He decided to try his luck in the dark, to
find his way home. He came to a house
and called out for help, saying that he had
eggs to share with whoever helped him
out of the darkness. To his surprise, it was
the house of Tiger, his biggest enemy. He
had problems. He could either try to run,
or give Tiger his eggs, because he didn't
dare take back his offer for fear of Tiger's
strength. Well, everybody knows that
Anansi, the spider couldn't begin to run
even as fast as Tiger can walk, so there
was really nothing for Anansi to do, but
give Tiger the eggs and save his skin. So
Tiger ate the whole bag of eggs and Anan-
si got none.
"Every day after that Anansi went to
look for Candlefly in the hope that
Candlefly would take him to the place
with the eggs again, but Candlefly would
not even come out to see him. He stayed
inside his house and send to tell Anansi
that he was sleeping."
There are Antiguan sayings which also
denounce such avarice. For example, "want
all, get none"; "all crave, all lost"; "take you
time, walk fast"; "hurry man nyam half-raw
fungie"; "hungry dog nyam half-raw corn";
"no hang you cattacoo [basket] where you
carn [can't] reach um." And in the folk song
"Sammy Plant Piece a Corn Dung a Gully":
"Twas not grief dat did kill poor Sammy /
But a greedy, Sammy greedy / Mek him
dead-o, AhaF
Sometimes the storyteller not only tells it
as he sees it, but he is the character in the
tale. The storyteller adds from his own life
experiences to these stories. Thus we see a
calypsonian mirrored in a calypso by an-
other calypsonian, depicted very much as
an "Anansi." Lord Short Shirt stands ac-

26/CAiBBEAN rIvieW

caused by Franco of playing what can only
be considered an Anansi trick on him.
After performing in a show for which
Short Shirt was the organizer, Franco al-
leges that Short Shirt had many convenient
excuses for not paying him for his perform-
ance. He chides him in a calypso entitled,
"Want all, Get None": "All a me frens does
tell me 'beware of Shorty [Short Shirt]' /
He kin a badminded /He ain care bout
anybody / Ah didn pay dem mind / Ah
didn hear what dey say / Till de fellah rip
me in the U.S.A. [ripped me off].
"We did two shows / Thousands were
there to see /An when ah finish sing my
friends / No money for me.
"Pay me me money, Short Shirt /Ah ain
making fun / Ah know you love you vio-
lence /Ah don wan to use me gun / You
talk bout love and help black brothers /As
far as ah can see / You ain notten but a
damn exploiter.
"Come man, Shorty / Pay me me
money / You no good son of a gun / Want
all-ah go get none.
"You is the one treating others like dirt /
Shorty you love more money / Than
Satan like sin / Poor someone like me -
you still exploiting /All ah we endeavour-
ing / But only you achieving / You damn
hypocrite / Practice wha you preaching.
"You say starvation cripplin' this coun-
try /But how many starvin' /Because of
you Shorty? / Only you an you family
entitle to nyam / But others can starve /
You don give a damn / Shorty me con-
vince / You ain got no conscience.
"Pay me money / or else is vengeance."
It is demonstrated over and over in the
calpyso and in Anansi stories that amoral-
ism is not permissable in Caribbean society.
One may live by one's wits, but one may not
"kill" one's neighbor's to stay alive. ["Kill" is
used here in the Antiguan dialect sense,
meaning extreme exploitation. You "kill"
someone if you steal all of their belongings,
food, husband, wife, etc.] This unwritten
code is witnessed in the following Anansi
story: "One day Anansi fell on a plan to get
some food. He planted a ground
[vegetable plot] on the rocky land near to
his house and all the animals passed by
and laughed and made derisive remarks,
saying that they had never seen anyone,
besides Anansi, plant a ground on such
rocky land. Well Anansi pretended that
this really angered him and he made a
promise to the Lord that 'Who don' mind
they own business would drop dead.' The
Lord agreed.
"As the day wore on, several animals
passed by and made comments on Anan-
si's ground on the rock. They all dropped
dead and Anansi cooked them and eat
them. Guinea Bird decided that Anansi
had gone too far this time and hit on a
plan to catch him out He bought a new
saddle and a horse, mounted the horse

and rode by Anansi's ground singing, All
dem boys who a go a barbershop part
dem hair like me.'
"Now everybody knows that Guinea
Bird only has a little tuft of hair on the top
of his head; and since Anansi know this
too, he listened to Guinea Bird in wonder.
And Guinea Bird kept riding back and
forth, past Anansi singing the same re-
frain. Finally, Anansi couldn't take it any
longer and he said, 'Lord, forgive me, is I
mek de law, but what Guinea Bird have
on his head to part?' And promptly
dropped dead!" This story demonstrates
Antiguans' feeling that there is a limit to
which one may exploit one's neighbors to
survive and when that limit is reached, the
entire community will react against you. So
it was that Anansi received punishment for
having "eaten" his neighbors through trick-
ery. Anansi's "death" was his punishment.

Conflicting Ideologies
We would posit then, that it is not, as Walter
Jekyll suggests, that there is no moral code
in the Anansi stories (Jamaican Song and
Story, 1966); there is a moral code, but it is
not the same moral code as that put forward
by ideology. Antiguans are forced to operate
under a double standard. On the one hand,
they have accepted the ideology of the con-
trolling powers; and on the other hand, they
have responded to that domination by de-
veloping their own value system as evi-
denced in much of the folklore and in the
calypso. The dominant value system sug-
gests that one should abide by the tenets of
Christianity: do good to those that hurt you;
work hard and you will find your reward in
heaven, if not on earth; always be honest,
virtuous and kind; and all of the other
puritanical, Christian virtues which the Anti-
guan had instilled in him through the so-
cializing institutions of his society. The black
folk culture, on the other hand, appears to
recognize that the earthly reward is more
meaningful than the heavenly one and the
individual is advised to seek it through the
use of any means available to him: hence,
Anansi's use of his wits in the absence of
brawn. The black folk culture also demon-
strates that psychological survival can be
secured by the rejection of the dominant
ethos of the society in several areas.
This last point is significant, for it is to the
creators of the folk culture that we must turn
if we wish to have a better picture of what
binds the people together. Theodor Adorno
has suggested that culture is "something
distinct from the immediate struggle for in-
dividual self-preservation" (Prisms, 1966).
Thus, it is not through the use of their cul-
ture that the mass of Antiguans hoped "to
be." Rather, in their culture they demon-
strate how they feel, what they think and
what they have gone through. Culture also
mirrors the mood of society, which perhaps
Continued on page 49


April 27-29, 1984. VIII Simposlo So-
bre Dialectologia del Caribe His-
panico. Boca Raton, Florida Atlan-
tic University. Contact: John
Jensen, Department of Modern
Languages, Florida International
University, Miami, FL 33199; (305)
May 29-31, 1984. Eighth Annual
Conference of the Society for
Caribbean Studies. Hoddeston,
Hertfordshire, England, High Leigh
Conference Centre. Contact: Don-
ald Wood, School of African and
Asian Studies, Arts Building C, Uni-
versity of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton
BN1 9QN, England.
May 30-June 2, 1984. Ninth Annual
Meeting of the Caribbean Stud-
ies Association. St. Kitts, The
Royal St. Kitts Hotel. Theme: "Strat-
egies for Progress in the Post-Inde-
pendence Caribbean." Contact:
Frank L. Mills, Program Chair
CSA84, Social Sciences Division,
College of the Virgin Islands, St.
Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00802.
May 31-June 1, 1984. Conference on
Technology Transfer in the Mod-
ern World. Atlanta, Georgia.
Theme: Issues and dimensions of
international technology transfer.
Contact: John R. Mclntyre, School
of Social Sciences, Georgia Institute
of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332;
(404) 894-3195.
July 30-August 19, 1984. Interna-
tional Musical Workshop. Basse-
Terre, Guadeloupe. Theme: Crea-
tion of a hymn for peace. Contact.
Franpoise Lancreot, Artistic Man-
ager, Comite de Jumelage de la Ville
de Basse-Terre, 2, Allee du Mont-
Carmel, 97100 Basse-Terre,
Guadeloupe: (596) 81-18-91.
September 27-29, 1984. RMCLAS
1984 Fall Meeting. Seeley Lake,
Montana, Double Arrow Ranch.
Contact: Prof. Stanley Rose, De-
partment of Foreign Languages,
University of Montana, Missoula,
MT 59812.
June, 1985. 45th Congreso Interna-
cional de Americanistas. Bogota.
Colombia. Theme: "Man in the
Americas." Contact: Nohra Rey de
Marulanda, Comite Ejecutivo, 45'
Congress Internacional de Ameri-
canistas, Rectoria, Universidad de
los Andes, Apartado Abreo No.
4976, Bogota, Colombia.




,f /A_-",

7 -

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28/ __.BEA -- F> .. .,V --- "-. -W:

Thoughts on Caribbean


An Anthropological Critique

Reviewed by Sidney W. Mintz

Main Currents in Caribbean
Thought: The Historical Evolution
of Caribbean Society in Its
Ideological Aspects, 1492-1900,
Gordon K. Lewis. 375 pp. Johns
Hopkins University Press,
Baltimore and London, 1983. $25.
By what may look to the outsider like
an act of will, Professor Gordon Lewis
has so firmly identified himself with
the Caribbean region that many of his read-
ers think he is West Indian. In fact, his ex-
traordinary acuity as an observer of things
Caribbean seems to come precisely from
his being a "foreigner," and not a "native."
His view has consistently been pan-Carib-
bean, and rare indeed is the Caribbean na-
tive who can rise more than briefly above a
rooted identity in, and with, some particular
insular society.
In this interesting new book, Lewis gives
us his perspective on the entire region
rather than on one of its component so-
cieties, and telegraphs his bias by subtitling
the book "The historical evolution of Carib-
bean society in its ideological aspects."
Nota bene: "society"-not "societies."
Here is the special thrust of the work, its
strength and, as I shall try to demonstrate,
also its weakness.
The rest of the title is just as important. By
"main currents in Caribbean thought,"
Lewis means what Caribbean thinkers gave
to others as their perceptions of themselves
and their societies, and also of the wider
world of which the Caribbean has, since
1492, been a part. It is, then, intended as a
book of ideas about ideas; but Lewis recog-
nizes that what Caribbean people thought
was always a coefficient of what they were:
what they experienced, with what they were
endowed, of what they were deprived. And

Sidney W Mintz is professor of anthropology
at The Johns Hopkins University. Among his
works are Cahamelar: The Subculture of a
Rural Sugar Plantation Proletariat; Worker in
the Cane: A Puerto Rican Life History; Carib-
bean Transformations, Slavery, Colonialism,
and Racism; and Working Papers in Haitian
Society and Culture.

of course he understands that since ideas
rise from, express, transmute-and often,
even contradict or escape from-the mate-
rial world, the nature of that world must
figure in their story.
The book is divided into six chapters,
arranged in chronological order. The first
chapter, "The sociohistorical setting," con-
tains but 28 pages; the concluding chapter,
a mere eight and one-half. The bulk of the
book thus falls within four chapters which
deal, successively, with the beginnings of
Caribbean thought, the proslavery and anti-
slavery ideology in the eighteenth and nine-
teenth centuries, and the growth of
nationalist ideology through 1900. This is
not that common case where the roll turns
out to be better than the hamburger; in-
deed, the hamburger here is awfully good,
even if one skips the roll.
Only someone steeped for decades in the
literature of the Caribbean-literature in its
widest sense-could have provided this re-
markable demonstration of breadth and
depth of knowledge. One can hardly find a
page that does not explain a source, de-
scribe the thoughts of some Caribbean
thinker, or meld person and idea together in
a useful insight. It is also a book that at-
tempts to synthesize substantial quantities
of information on various subjects: slave
resistance and accommodation, Caribbean
religions, island economic life, and much
else. By no means an easy book to read-
Lewis has never patronized his readers by
simplifying his ideas-and a challenge
even for the knowledgeable reader, this in-
troduction to Antillean thinkers is the au-
thor's capital attempt to explain what has
been for him a nearly lifelong interest.
But there is a problem, more conceptual
than factual. It seems to arise from two dif-
ferent but related considerations. In the first
place, Lewis believes there is a single Carib-
bean culture (the obverse of his "Caribbean
society"), rather than Caribbean cultures;
and he is wrong. In the second place,
Lewis's conception of culture-what culture
is-is flawed. His view is certainly well
intended and an improvement over some of
his earlier thinking on the subject (for in-
stance, in his Puerto Rico, published
twenty years ago). But he seems now to

have decided that there are two cultures, an
elite version which is somehow not very rel-
evant, and another, anthropological version,
which is: "The history, then, of Caribbean
culture in its anthropological sense (and on
which, in the nature of things, much of its
literary culture is based) is the history of
forms created by the masses: in religion,
music, dance, language, folklore, and
But, even if anthropologists do talk about
"a culture" as being the distinctive way of life
of a group, it is not some palpable, imper-
meable object, neither diffusing outward
nor unable to change in response to exter-
nal forces. If one chooses to use the word as
a synonym for object, (literary object, object
of the masses, elite object-thing, in short),
then we can redefine it any way and as often
as we wish; but it will still have little to do
with what most anthropologists mean by
culture-masses or no masses. It was once
important for anthropology to establish the
universal human capacity to think sym-
bolically, to invest the material world with
meaning, thereupon to deal with a reality
thus created on its own terms, by all hu-
mans and by any humans. This was essen-
tial if social science were ever to surmount
the belief, once very common and certainly
still with us, that some folks (particularly,
rich white folks) had culture, and other folks
didn't. It later became important to show
that the nature of culture was complicated,
among other things, by differences in status
and, in large complex societies, by dif-
ferences in class. To some extent, at least, it
was possible to argue that different classes
within the same society had different sets of
conventional meanings-that the abstrac-
tion called class and the abstraction called
culture were linked, though by no means
the same. This is one reason why the idea of
a national culture came to be reexamined in
recent years, and the whole question of so-
ciety versus culture reopened (not that any
consensus has emerged).
One cannot expect Lewis to deal with
these issues. But because he has not, yet
insists on using his own version of the social
scientists' concepts, a lot of what he writes
remains unconvincing, or at least notice-
ably incomplete. At times it leads him from


the analysis of particular phenomena into a
kind of incantation of unity which, though
eloquent, remains ultimately unpersuasive.
Space allows for only one example. In
discussing similarities between the Mediter-
ranean and Caribbean regions (a compari-
son which seems to underlie his treatment
of Caribbean culture as one), Lewis argues
that both regions saw a deep gulf between
the belief systems of the rulers and the peo-
ple. "Christianity itself," he writes, "owed its
structures of dogma and myth in large part
to older cult-religions, like the Mithra cult, of
the pre-Christian period. In similar fashion,
the real religions of the Caribbean poor have
been syncretic belief-systems combining
the imported Christian ideas with earlier
ideas, mainly African-Shango, the secret
Negro cults of the Americas, not to mention
Afro-Trinidadian Shango-obeah complex,
Bamboo-tamboo, and Camboulay, the
Afro-Jamaican Rastafarian and Poco-
mania following, Haitian vodun and its tre-
mendous apocalyptic Afro-Haitian vision,
Puerto Rican spiritualism, Cuban santeria
with its esoteric amalgam of Yoruba gods
and Catholic saints. To speak at any length
with a Rastafarian bearded cultist, with his
vision of Jamaica as an oppressive Egyp-
tian bondage, is to return to the world of the
unknown author-mystic of the Book of Rev-
elation, with its fierce denunciation of the
hated Roman Empire. The sole qualifica-
tion that has to be added to that analogy, of
course, relates to the fact that, in the Carib-
bean, the wealthy and the powerful were
also at the same time white and European,
given the almost exact correlation that has
existed in the society between class and

While this way of melting down the par-
ticularities of Caribbean societies and cul-
tures seems momentarily to effect an easy
synthesis, it does not really help the reader
understand the Caribbean region, except as
one in which a small number of people of
one physical type cruelly pushed around a
large number of people of another. Syn-
cresis in religion may be a precipitate of the
social interaction between rulers and ruled,
particularly if their origins are different. But
to reduce Shango, vodun, santeria and all
the rest to a single category (religions of the
masses, in contrast to religions of the
rulers?), in order to make a general point, is
to renounce the marvelous complexity of
the Caribbean past and present, rather than
to reveal it. Such simplification suspends
insight in order to achieve an ultimately su-
perficial generalization. Lewis, being a su-
perb political scientist, would never do this
in his political analysis; but he is easily led
into doing it in his analyses of religion, and
much else. The very same lumping-to-
gether to make a similar point resurfaces
later, but is no more convincing. In this sec-
ond instance, it is little more than a jump-
ing-off place for a lengthy discussion of "the
ideology of slave religion." It is for the sake
of creating some monolithic, homoge-
neous picture of the region that these "re-
ductions" of material are undertaken; and
this reviewer, at least, found them flimsy.
Not only is there no single Caribbean cul-
ture, it is hard to see how one can speak of a
single Caribbean society. The term "soci-
ety" is used in many different ways, of
course, as is the term "culture." But it is, at
least in general sociological usage, iso-
morphic with political structures. One can

imagine different cultures within one soci-
ety; it is harder to see what would be meant
by a single society which included both
Haiti and Cuba, for instance, whether in the
past or in the present. These problems with
terminology are not, in fact, mere semantic
quibbles; for it is by such overflexible usages
that Lewis can seem to synthesize what are
sometimes irreconcilable opposites.
These criticisms, once made, should not
cloud the reality of Lewis's accomplish-
ment. He shows how European ideas about
the human species, the nature of equality
and inequality, the relations between so-
cieties (including colonies and metropo-
lises) and among human beings, were
transmuted in the Caribbean context, by the
Europeans themselves and by the indige-
nization processes which created Caribbean
peoples and Caribbean thinkers. By fram-
ing the evolution of Caribbean thought
within the proslavery and antislavery move-
ments, the author bounds his arguments
fairly; for within these bodies of thought can
be found nearly everything that was written
which is worthy of note in a book like this
one. There are arguable passages and posi-
tions, to be sure; but the line of argument is
No serious student of the Caribbean can
afford not to read this book. From the reflec-
tions of Fray Ram6n Pane and Fray Bar-
tolome de las Casas to the visions of
Antenor Firmin and Hannibal Price, Lewis
leads us through four centuries of Carib-
bean thought with erudition and deftness.
Gordon Lewis deserves, as always, our
thanks; his editor, Richard Price, and the
Johns Hopkins University Press, our con-
gratulations. D

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The Dual Colonization of an


A Political and Cultural History of Puerto Rico

Reviewed by Olga Jim6nez de Wagenheim

Puerto Rico: A Political and
Cultural History, Arturo Morales
Carri6n, with Maria Teresa Babin,
Aida Caro Costas, Luis Gonzalez
Vales and Arturo Santana. 384 pp.
W.W Norton & Company, Inc., New
York, 1983. $19.50.
his recent work by the distinguished
historian Arturo Morales Carri6n,
with the collaboration of four well-
known Puerto Rican scholars, is a welcome
addition to Puerto Rican historiography. Al-
though there are hundreds of English-lan-
guage studies about Puerto Rico, there is no
comprehensive study of the island's histor-
ical development as good as this one.
Using extensive primary sources, the au-
thors set out to create an integrated history
of the island, covering the Spanish and
American colonizations in similar fashion.
The book contains new information and
serious analysis of the island's relationship
with the United States during the twentieth
century. It provides a selective list of read-
ings on topics seldom studied and a the-
oretical framework with which to view the
cultural and political development of the
colonial society under Spanish and Ameri-
can rule.

The Spanish Colony
The first part, entitled "The Emergence of a
People," reflects an enormous amount of
research. Aida Caro focuses on the con-
quest, colonization, and the settling of
Spanish institutions on the island during
the first two centuries of Spanish rule. She
emphasizes the strategic role Puerto Rico
played as a defensive outpost of the Spanish
empire in the 16th century. Arturo Santana
and Luis Gonzalez Vales study the fate of
Puerto Rico from the 1760s to 1815. While
Santana focuses on changes in the Spanish
administration resulting from the many ex-
ternal pressures on the Crown during this
period, Gonzalez stresses the changes that
took place in Puerto Rico. Santana dis-

Olga Jimenez de Wagenheim teaches history
at Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey.
She is the author of works on El Grito de Lares.

Labor leader Santiago Iglesias Pantin.
cusses how the revolutionary trend in the
Caribbean, the Enlightenment and the
growing interest in Puerto Rico by other
European powers, led to changes of policy
that had a great impact on Puerto Rico. How
this impact was translated into specific pro-
grams is the essence of the essay by
Two other essays by Gonzalez deal with
the reforms granted by the liberal govern-
ment of Spain in the first two decades of the
nineteenth century and with the political
development of the society during the last
half of that century. The first uses extensive
documentation from an earlier study of Ale-
jandro Ramirez and provides a good analy-
sis of the colonial economy and society,
which is missing from the second essay.
The treatment of the period from 1866 to
1897 is sketchy and offers nothing we do
not already know. Its value, however, is that it
presents the major political trends in a co-
herent narrative.
Taken as a whole, "The Emergence of a
People" is an important section, providing
the background against which the second
colonization of the island need be analyzed.
It demonstrates that by the time the United

States occupied the island, there was a peo-
ple with a distinct culturally and politically
developed personality, who could not be
easily absorbed by the new colonizers.
This section also establishes a number of
historical parallels which are later used in
the analysis of the American colonization.
For example, as a Spanish colony, Puerto
Rico was important first for its strategic
position as a military outpost protecting
other Spanish colonies in the New World.
For the United States of 1898, Puerto Rico
represented a potential naval base from
which to patrol the Caribbean. Under the
Spanish government, Puerto Rico's political
elite became divided over the national ques-
tion. Three factions-known as incondi-
cionales, or assimilationists, autono-
mistas, or advocates of self-rule, and
separatists, or proponents of indepen-
dence-emerged in the nineteenth century.
A similar division took place after the US
occupation, as the new assimilationists
rallied around the ideal of statehood for
Puerto Rico, the autonomists called for self-
government within the United States' fold,
and the independentistas and so-
cialistas argued in favor of complete

Struggle for Identity
The middle section, "The Struggle for Iden-
tity," focuses on the 20th century. This sec-
tion, written exclusively by Morales Carri6n,
offers an important discussion of the Ameri-
can colonization of Puerto Rico. Although
the emphasis is on political and cultural
development, the study includes much in-
formation on the evolution of the economy.
Organized chronologically, it covers the pe-
riod from the occupation of the island in
1898 to the end of the Popular Democratic
Party's hegemony in 1969, ending with a
short essay on the present crisis. The inter-
vening essays deal with the framing of the
policy of colonial tutelage, the reactions of
the Puerto Rican people, the modification of
the colonial policy, the economic crisis and
political chaos of the 1930s, the forging of
consensus, and the achievements and un-
finished plans of the Muhoz government.
The study revolves around two major


themes: the complex relationship between
Puerto Rico and the United States (es-
pecially as it has influenced the develop-
ment of the society) and the persistent
evolution of the Puerto Rican personality-
despite the pressures for cultural absorp-
tion. In his interpretation of the American
colonization of Puerto Rico, Morales Carri6n
presents the Puerto Rican people as active,
creative participants rather than as victims
of a colonial system. Thus, he recognizes
the importance of the many Puerto Rican
leaders who struggled against the policy of

colonial tutelage. Yet at no time does he
deny the role played by equally important
American personalities who favored a liber-
alization of the policy. Morales acknowl-
edges the events which pushed the US
towards a change in its colonial policy: two
world wars, the creation of the United Na-
tions, and the emergence of the Third World
Morales Carri6n's study is valuable not
only for its information but also for its rec-
ognition of many often-forgotten Puerto
Rican figures. Furthermore, it provides a

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theoretical framework which takes as a
given the existence of apatria-pueblo, or a
full-grown people who have worked hard to
maintain their sense of self despite the enor-
mous pressures imposed by the American
In Morales' last essay he ventures into the
present crisis which he sees as undermin-
ing the work of previous administrations.
He proposes that the United States and
Puerto Rico work together to review once
again their common ties. He realizes, as do
most Puerto Ricans, that the present rela-
tionship is not acceptable. Yet there is no
apparent consensus. A sector of Puerto
Rican society has been led to believe that
the island can become a US state without
having to relinquish its language, values
and way of life. Until the United States de-
fines the terms under which it is willing to
grant statehood to Puerto Rico, the people
will continue to be divided and unable to
reach a new consensus. Morales ends with a
warning: Puerto Ricans may learn English
and be influenced by many US ways, but
Puerto Rico will always be a "different pa-
tria-pueblo, with its own language, its
ethos, its sense of identity."
The final part, "A Special Voice: The Cul-
tural Expression," by Maria Teresa Babin,
consists of one chapter, tacked onto the end
of the book. Although it contains much that
has appeared in other books by the author,
the present version takes into account the
growing cultural expression of the Puerto
Rican community in the United States, an
aspect of Puerto Rican culture ignored by
many scholars.
The essay is devoted to the study of the
island's cultural manifestations as they are
represented in folk traditions, art and litera-
ture. It presents the trends that have influ-
enced the society from the Taino Indian
days to the present. The essay is more de-
scriptive than analytical, listing figures who
have contributed to the various arts without
explaining the historical conditions that
shaped the individual, the genre or the art
movement. Culture, in this essay, tends to
be viewed as a phenomenon separate from
the social and economic forces operating at
a given time.
This volume is not without flaws. How-
ever, a review of nearly five hundred years of
Puerto Rican history-with its Spanish and
American colonizations-divided popula-
tion, and unsolved political status-pres-
ents major problems to anyone attempting
a comprehensive study such as this. Some
periods of the island's history have yet to be
researched; others have been studied from
the colonizer's point of view. Against these
odds, this book was conceived. It has suc-
ceeded in presenting a coherent argument
and a balanced account of emotionally-rid-
den events, which would have been dis-
torted by less sophisticated scholars. EO


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Latin American and Caribbean Studies Faculty

Irma Alonso, Economics; Carlos Alvarez, Education; Ewart
Archer, International Relations; Gabriel Aurioles, Technology;
Ken I. Boodhoo, International Relations; Manuel Carvajal,
Economics; Forrest Colburn, Political Science; Roberto Cruz,
Economics; Grenville Draper, Physical Sciences; Nancy
Erwin, International Relations; Luis Escovar, Psychology;
Robert Farrell, Education; Gordon Finley, Psychology; Charles
Frankenhoff, Health Services; Fernando Gonzalez-Reigosa,
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Lee, Biology; William Leffland, International Affairs Center;
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Business; Anthony P Maingot, Sociology; Luis Martinez-
P6rez, Education; James A. Mau, Sociology; Florentin
Maurrasse, Physical Sciences; Ram6n Mendoza, Modern
Languages; Raul Moncarz, Economics; Olga Nazario,
(Adjunct) International Relations; Marta Ortiz, Marketing;
Leonardo Rodrfguez, International Business; Mark B.
Rosenberg, Political Science; Reinaldo Sanchez, Modern
Languages; Luis P., Salas, Criminal Justice; Jorge Salazar,
Economics; Philip Shepherd, International Business; Alex
Stepick, Anthropology; George Sutija, International Banking;
Mark D. Szuchman, History; Anitra Thorhaug, Biology; William
T. Vickers, Anthropology; Jos6 T. Villate, Technology; Maida
Watson Espener, Modern Languages; Mira Wilkins,


Latin American and Caribbean Center

Puerto Rican Counterpoint

Fernando Pic6 and the Culture of Coffee

Reviewed by Lowell Gudmundson

Libertad y servidumbre en el
Puerto Rico del siglo XIX (los
jornaleros utuadefios en visperas
del auge del cafe), Fernando Pic6.
191 pp. Ediciones El Huracan, Rio
Piedras, 1979, revised second
edition 1982.

Amargo cafe (los pequehios y
medianos caficultores de Utuado
en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX)
Fernando Pic6. 162 pp. Ediciones
El Huracan, Rio Piedras, 1981.
"Deshumanizaci6n del trabajo,
cosificaci6n de la naturaleza: Los
comienzos del cafe en el Utuado
del siglo XIX," Fernando Pic6.
Pp.187-206 in Inmigracion y
classes sociales en el Puerto Rico
del siglo XIX, Francisco A.
Scarano, ed. Ediciones El
Huracan, Rio Piedras, 1981.

In his "Cuban Counterpoint," Fernando
Ortiz contrasted the social and eco-
nomic characteristics of sugar and to-
bacco, the sweetener produced on large
estates and the aromatic leaf by the small-
holds. The consequences of this diver-
gence form the bulk of Ortiz's still
suggestive work. Within the burgeoning
Puerto Rican social history, Fernando Pic6
occupies a similar position to Orti z. The un-
stated Puerto Rican counterpoint is be-
tween the sugar plantation system and
coffee rather than tobacco. Pic6 reveals the
consequences of this divergence among
agrarian subsystems in Puerto Rico with the
same eloquence brought to bear on the
Cuban case a generation before by Ortiz.
Trained in European medieval history,
Pic6 has produced a masterful series of

Lowell Gudmundson teaches history at Flor-
ida International University. He is the author of
Estratificaci6n socio-racial y econ6mica de
Costa Rica: 1700-1850; Hacendados, pre-
caristas y politicos, and "Costa Rica Before

studies of the history of common people,
their life experiences, social relations and
mentality& within the "coffee universe" of
the interior municipalities. In his first work,
on the jornaleros of Utuado, Pic6 force-
fully attacks the widespread and folkloric
image of a Puerto Rico inhabited by free-
holding Jibaros throughout the back coun-
try. He shows how large numbers of
peripheral cultivators were progressively re-
duced to proletarian status as both coffee
and commercialization gained sway during
the mid-19th century.
His analysis is based on painstakingly re-
constructed life histories of early settler
families (labradores) in 18th-century
Utuado, culled from parochial, census and
testate records critically supplemented by
labor registration files after 1849. Pic6
shows how a complex pre-coffee land ten-
ure system of untitled squatters, tenants,
and a few title-holding residents and out-
side merchants, gave way to privatization
and fully commercial tenancy. In the pro-
cess, much of the earlier squatter and
sharecropping tenant population was
quickly reduced to proletarian status. De-
scendants of landed village founders suf-
fered a similar fate, and the remainder were
forced from the top of the social pyramid by
newly arriving peninsular and coastal mer-
chant hacendados.
As with other authors, in particular Laird
W. Bergad, (Coffee and the Growth of
Agrarian Capitalism in 19th-Century
Puerto Rico, Princeton University Press,
1983), Pic6 emphasizes proletarianization
and downward mobility nearly to the exclu-
sion of other processes. Yet in looking at
only one setting of recent settlement (nec-
essarily ignoring migration from older set-
tled coastal regions and/or to the more
egalitarian and rapidly expanding coffee
frontier), Pic6 may be correct in emphasiz-
ing proletarianization. However, in tying his
analysis of inheritance and downward mo-
bility among Utuadeflos to the correlation
with jornalero status after 1849, Pic6 faces
a documentary dilemma. To the extent that
records of inheritance included only those
with significant real property to bequeath,
only those post-1849 jomaleros descen-

dant from formerly propertied labrador
families could be traced through testate re-
cords. Long-term jornalero or property-
less families would escape such documen-
tation. This documentary bias does nothing
to reduce the validity of the cases studied by
Pic6; it does, however, lead to a questioning
of the argument for society-wide downward
mobility of a predominantly labrador or
smallholder society with coffee.
Reacting, perhaps, to this incomplete
picture of his first volume, Pic6 quickly fol-
lowed with a study of the history of small
and medium landholders within the coffee
economy. Here he shows how tenaciously
labrador families held on to their shrinking
land base. This is so despite increasing in-
debtedness and coercion by the Registro
and libreta recruitment system. His thema-
tic analysis is followed by four family recon-
structions, in which the documentary
virtuosity of the author is revealed.
Throughout, the story remains one of
downward mobility and eventual proletaria-
nization for many. Nevertheless, the process
was long and drawn out, with many surviv-
ing the demise of the creole hacienda sys-
tem in the early 20th century. Perhaps the
most intriguing question left unanswered
by Pic6 is the precise timing of full pro-
letarianization and the political role of those
caught up in this century-long process. A
recent doctoral dissertation, by Juan Jose
Baldrich ("Class and the State: The Origins
of Populism in Puerto Rico, 1934-1952,"
Yale University, 1981), begins to shed some
light on possible connections between
these pressured smallholder remnants and
the rise of Mufloz Marin's jibaro politics in
the 1930s, a logical implication and wel-
come extension of Pic6's second work.
In his most recent work, Pic6 tantalizingly
explores the changes in mentality and so-
cial relations which coffee brought to rural
dwellers. He argues for the "dehumaniza-
tion" of labor, both salaried and familial, as
its market value became more and more
evident and demands put upon it became
ever greater. This he sees not only in the in-
creasing regimentation of rural pro-
letarians' labor, but just as importantly in the
growing demands placed upon young chil-


Drying coffee beans, San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, 1941.

dren's labor in ancillary tasks and full-time
adult employment.
This overarching concept is particularly
important because it suggests that the sep-
aration of human effort from formerly direct
production of basic necessities, and its re-
duction to routinized commodity produc-
tion, was an enveloping global process not
limited to directly coercive social relations.
This comes as an important advance upon,
and antidote to, the abundant literature on
Latin America which merely denounces the
repressive aspects of 19th-century agrarian
capitalism as if these alone were "aberrant"
or repugnant features of an otherwise laudi-
ble capitalist development model. Despite
his general emphasis on the proletarianiza-
tion of the jibaro, Pic6 shows how the
transformations wrought by capitalist de-
velopment went far deeper than the occa-
sional initial regimentation of labor. The
damage done to the human beings went far
beyond the overt repression of labor or any
simple "polarization" between rich and
poor, landed and landless.
Pic6 analyzes the "objectification" of the
surrounding environment by rural dwellers
caught up in the dance of the millions with
coffee. From a pattern of nearly symbiotic
swidden farming in the primeval forest, cof-
fee farmers moved toward systematic de-

forestation, row cultivation and fencing. The
new conventions threatened the ecosystem
and objectified the emergent privatization of
land, labor and social relations characteris-
tic of agrarian capitalism and the bourgeois
Parallel to this destruction, and subse-
quent reconstruction with coffee, land itself
came to be conceived of differently.
Whereas land had previously been vaguely
measured, poorly exploited and sold for a
pittance, its resources now would be re-
served only to legal owners and would be-
come the subject of intensely finite
measurement. The very concept of dis-
tance and the means of measurement
themselves would undergo a revolutionary
change, leaving behind such quaint colo-
nial conceptualizations as that described by
the late 18th-century observer, General
O'Reilly, who lamented that land and dis-
tance in the then colony could not be accu-
rately expressed in leagues, since the locals
did not "understand" such a measure. They
had conceived of distance in terms of
human gait, a reflection of the primary con-
sideration of traveling time for mobile sub-
sistence cultivators in a precapitalist sys-
tem. By the late 19th century, Puerto Ricans
not only knew how to measure leagues,
they increasingly traversed them in their

lifetimes as they continually advanced the
privatized coffee frontier. If European and
North American capitalist development wit-
nessed the redefinition of "work time" and
"free time" within industrial, regimented la-
bor norms, then surely one major Latin
American agrarian capitalist equivalent was
this conceptual redefinition of land and dis-
tance, and their measurement.
The work of Fernando Pic6 establishes a
basis for a multitude of comparative foci. It
clearly provides the coffee "counterpoint"
to sugar in Puerto Rico. Moreover, it builds
ingeniously upon the conceptual basis of-
fered by contemporary studies of European
transition to capitalism by exploring such
fundamental categories as privatization,
mentality and environment, both physical
and social, and by studying changing
family formation patterns. Pic6 provides an
in-depth portrait of a coffee economy char-
acterized by both proletarianization/
regimentation and pervasive smallholding.
Thus, he provides a unique case study of an
experience which falls near the center of
any continuum of Latin American coffee
economies. If we are to fully elaborate a
comparative, continental model of coffee
culture in Latin America, Femando Pic6's
studies will form a critical part of such a syn-
thesis. O


Colombia's Tobacco Road

Feudalism Versus Capitalism in the Tobacco Fields

Reviewed by Philip L. Shepherd

Aparceros en Boyaca: Los
condenados del tabaco, Maria
Cristina Salazar. 157 pp. Ediciones
Tercer Mundo, Bogota, 1982.
How has Colombia's nationally-
owned cigarette industry-virtually
the only one left in Latin America-
managed to hold out against the incursions
of transnational cigarette firms (TNC's)?
Salazar's excellent study of sharecrop-
ping among Colombian tobacco farmers
seems to suggest that one reason for its
survival is the fact that Colombia's private,
quasi-monopolistic cigarette firm, the
Compahiia Colombiana de Tabacos, S.A.
(COLTABACO), has been extraordinarily
successful at exploiting domestic tobacco
farmers. Thus, its low leaf prices have en-
abled it to keep domestic black tobacco
(tabaco negro) cigarettes cheap enough to
do battle with the transnational firms' more
expensive light tobacco (tabaco rubio)
Salazar's analysis of the "super-exploita-
tion" of Colombian sharecroppers also pro-
vides an explanation of why COLTABACO
has acquired such an enduring vested inter-
est in the "defense" of Colombia's tabaco
negro production against the transna-
tionals' attempts to convince consumers all
over Latin America to smoke tabaco rubio
cigarettes (once culturally indigenous only
to the US and UK). Changes in tastes were
frequently the beginning of the end for na-
tionally-owned cigarette companies else-
where in Latin America.
Tobacco production in Colombia is di-
vided into three readily identifiable sectors
based on use, region, and type of tobacco:
(a) a tabaco negro export area concen-
trated on the coast in the departments of
Bolivia, Magdalena and Sucre; (b) a tabaco
negro area in Santander, Boyaca and
Tolima which produces tobacco for domes-
tic consumption; and (c) a relatively new

Philip L. Shepherd is assistant professor in the
Department of Marketing at Florida Interna-
tional University. He has written extensively on
the role of transnational corporations and the
international cigarette industry.

sector producing tabaco rubio for domes-
tic cigarettes in Guajira, Cesar, Santander,
Valle and Cauca. Salazar looked at only sec-
tor (b), and but a very small portion of that,
in three municipios in Boyaca, where the
much larger Santander domestic tabaco
negro producing area spills over. Share-
cropping on extremely small "micro-mini-
fundia" plots predominated in this San-
tander-Boyaca area.
Salazar asks: Why has sharecropping
persisted among tobacco farmers in this
region when elsewhere in Colombia it has
disappeared, and it has also disappeared in
this same region for other crops? Or, more
generally, given the strong tendency for cap-
italist modes of production in Colombian
agriculture, how and why have precapitalist
forms like aparceria survived, when they
belong "more to the past than to the
Salazar did a fine job in the field, enabling
her to understand (rather than simply re-
port) the information she collected. For ex-
ample, although the COLTABACO data she
examined showed that there were sup-
posedly more property owners than share-
croppers planting tobacco for the company,
this is, in fact, not the case. The company
contract data usually refer to the landowner,
not the actual producer. Salazar was able to
go beyond the raw data, showing that
sharecroppers really make up somewhere
between 60-80 percent of the producers.
Salazar finds that aparceria survives
among tobacco producers mainly because
it permits extraordinarily high rates of ex-
ploitation of tobacco peasants. This exploi-
tation is basically self-exploitation and
exploitation of the campesino's family. The
campesino family sharecropping tobacco
works harder for less money than would a
capitalist farmer using wage labor. Much of
the labor of the campesino and his family
is not paid for or included in any cost cal-
culus, thus reducing, often drastically, the
real rate of return to campesinos who
sharecrop. Salazar also argues, somewhat
less convincingly, that similar rates of self-
exploitation characterize tobacco produc-
tion by campesinos who own the land
they till.

Salazar has put her finger on a very im-
portant topic which has only infrequently
been recognized: the role of self-exploita-
tion and family labor in capitalist and pre-
capitalist forms of production. Small family
enterprises virtually everywhere in the last
400 years have only survived, for the most
part, because of their ability to self-exploit
themselves and compete by reducing their
real rate of return. As Salazar concludes:
"The peasant integrates himself into the
system self-exploiting himself and exploit-
ing the labor of the members of his own
family .. The only viable explanation for
the survival of the peasant production units
is located in their capacity to absorb a
greater exploitation than that found with
wage labor."
Why does the aparcero continue to
sharecrop and exploit himself and his fam-
ily? The campesino and his family have
few alternatives, though there has been con-
siderable out-migration. Given the lack of
land, alternative crops, credit, markets, etc.,
most aparceros simply do not have any
choice but to continue. Lack of alternatives
is reinforced by chronic indebtedness to
landlords and COLTABACO. As Salazar
points out, the socioeconomic and political
power of COLTABACO is everywhere appar-
ent in the Santander-Boyaca tobacco re-
gion, giving the whole area the aspect of a
company town. Salazar quotes several
campesinos as saying that growing to-
bacco for the company is a "vicio," addic-
tively easy to start, practically impossible to
quit. Paradoxically, there is also some eco-
nomic security-albeit at almost unimag-
inable levels of misery-associated with
sharecropping tobacco. The campesino
family lives off the tobacco loan money for
seven months a year and the reliability of
this income is highly valued by the peas-
ants. Moreover the crop itself is readily
transferable into cash in emergencies.

Who Benefits?
It is necessary to ask two closely interrelated
questions. What causes exploitation-cap-
italist or precapitalist modes of production?
Who benefits from this system-financial-


industrial capital (COLTABACO) or (pre-
capitalist) landlords?
Salazar seems to have been very am-
bivalent about both of these issues. On the
one hand, she repeatedly insists that the
system of aparceria is thoroughly capitalist
in character and that the principal benefi-
ciary of the super-exploitation she describes
is COLTABACO. Salazar the theoretician
thus views the system as basically capitalist
in nature and COLTABACO's financial-in-
dustrial capital the main culprit: "The pre-
vailing forms of sharecropping in tobacco
production in the region hide the capitalist
character that in reality characterizes this
production .... What we have here is a
transfer of surplus value that the company
extracts from the producers." Salazar the
fieldworker, however, describes in extraordi-
nary detail and sophistication, the complex
and varied forms of precapitalist forms of
production. Moreover, in places, she admits
that aparceria is fundamentally a pre-
capitalist form of production and that COL-
TABACO "extracts surplus value from the
producers, the majority of them sharecrop-
pers, through precapitalist forms of
This ambivalence has some unfortunate
effects for it leads her to deemphasize the
roles land tenure and landlords play in the
region. To her credit, she provides a great
deal of information on the highly unequal
nature of land tenure and describes in detail
the ways in which landlords exploit their
sharecroppers. But she fudges the issue
and seems unwilling to draw the relevant
conclusion that landlords (many of them
absentee) are are also prime beneficiaries
of the system. At any rate, Salazar provides
no analysis or data to prove to the reader
that COLTABACO benefits more. Her claim
that both landlords and sharecroppers are
exploited by COLTABACO is not docu-
mented or even analyzed, simply asserted.
Actually, the classic capitalism versus
feudalism dilemma in the case of share-
cropping is a false one to begin with. It
makes much more sense to view the kinds
of aparceria Salazar describes as Marx
himself did, as a transitional form of pro-
duction neither wholly feudal nor wholly

capitalist. Salazar quotes Marx approvingly
on this at one point, but seems unwilling in
practice to follow his depiction of share-
cropping as falling between classic primi-
tive feudal extraction of surplus and
capitalist rent.
Fortunately, in the tension between Sal-
azar the theoretician and Salazar the field-
worker, the latter clearly wins out. She duly
reports enough information to see that her
sharecroppers live in the worst of all possi-
ble worlds, for they serve two masters-
quasi-feudal landlords and thoroughly cap-
italist COLTABACO. Aparceros are thus
caught between the precapitalist extraction
of surplus from peasants and capitalist ex-
ploitation though monopsonistic contract
buying of leaf tobacco. The sharecropper
pays both land rent and a transfer of surplus
value through monopsony. As she herself
recognizes, a true capitalist farmer could
not pay such "double" rents; the difference
between what a (still exploited) capitalist
farmer could pay and what the peasant ap-
arcero pays is the "peasant surplus" expro-
priated by the landholder, the quasi-feudal
component of the double exploitation the
aparcero suffers.
Salazar's analysis of the demographic dy-
namics and the aparcero family as a micro-
production unit is a self-contained gem of
rural sociology. She shows how micro-
economic rationality means the larger the
family's workforce, the larger the family's
potential labor contribution and, hence, the
greater the possibility of obtaining a larger
plot. Since the marginal cost of the indi-
vidual family member declines with family
size, out-migration of older children occurs,
and a larger family tends to ensure the so-
cial security and protection of older mem-
bers, aparceros' economic optimum leads
them to have the biological maximum of
children. The very high labor intensity of
tobacco production accentuates this ten-
dency in spite of its manifest social, ecologi-
cal and psychological contradictions found
in poor mental and physical development,
poverty, etc.
Salazar's historical perspective allows her
to show how COLTABACO functions as a
"private government" in tobacco produc-

tion, not so very different from the colonial
monopoly, or, for the matter, the govern-
ment's agencies of the 1950s and 1960s.
She shows how various agrarian reform at-
tempts (dating from the 1930s) have had
counterproductive results. And she shows
us the "dark side" of nationally-owned in-
dustrial production in Colombia as op-
posed to the transnational corporations'
more "modern," more obviously capitalist
Readers should be forewarned, however,
that Salazar's analysis covers only the pe-
riod up to 1977. Much of that analysis may
now be relatively obsolete. There have been
extraordinary changes in the Colombian to-
bacco industry in the last six to seven years,
including a dramatic rise in light tobacco
production, an adverse shift in fortunes for
COLTABACO, increasing contraband in
TNC cigarettes, etc. Salazar's neglect of the
wider contours of the industry sometimes
obscures important considerations; for ex-
ample, she does not mention that the state
(through cigarette taxes) is a major benefi-
ciary of exploitation in addition to consum-
ers and COLTABACO. And the accelerating
trend to light tobacco and other develop-
ments have undoubtedly had great impact
on the region. Therefore, aparceria seems
today to belong more to the past than to the
present. l



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Panama Wounded

A Poet's Reaction

Reviewed by Luis M. Quesada

Reconstrucci6n de los hechos,
Manuel Orestes Nieto. INAC,
Panama, 1972.
Dar la cara, Manuel Orestes Nieto.
Ediciones Libreria Cultural
Panamefla, 1977.

In Reconstrucci6n de los hechos,
prize-winning Panamanian poet Manuel
Orestes Nieto expresses sadness, bitter-
ness against his own impotence in not
being co-owner of his country: "and that
the country that one takes everywhere / is
stepped on opened up just to see what's
inside" Nieto's most consistent and effec-
tive image is that of the land divided. This
division is not a voluntary one; it is a daily
symbol to the thinking man representing
the exploitation of his country. There is a
touch of virile sadness when he concludes a
poem with a single dramatic sentence, rem-
iniscent of Antonio Machado's controlled
emotion, to further raise the intensity level
of his feelings: "and these locks closing in
front of the soul with the sun blazing
Another image derives from this idea of
impotency, of his soul coming apart, torn at
the sight of the canal locks in their endless
daily movement. We find a conscious and
deliberate decision to take a stand, to even-
tually "dar la cara": "until one comes to a
halt / flees no longer runs no more / con-
fronts decides / and awaits the command
to shoot." Reconstrucci6n de los hechos
serves as a prelude to understand the daily
anguish of sensitive men who react to this
"fifth cardinal point," the Canal Zone. The
poetry of Manuel Orestes Nieto is but an
artistic reflection of this situation and its
ramifications in daily Panamanian life.
Dar la cara is a vivid denunciation of the
raping of his country by what the poet
terms, "El enemigo comun." The title

Luis M. Quesada is an international marketing
specialist in Miami. He translated the poetry in
this article into English.

translates "to face up," "to confront," or, as
the poet himself states in Reconstrucci6n
de los hechos, to run no more, to come to a
halt, and finally to fight.
The main theme or governing idea of
Dar la cara, already sketched in Recon-
struccion de los hechos, is that of a land
divided. These very same words in English
constituted the motto for the now defunct
Panama Canal Company: "The land di-
vided, the world united." Nieto sees this as
an equivalent of original sin, the original
rape of his fatherland. This is most evident
in one of the best compositions of the book,
"Tanques en el puente" (Tanks on the
bridge). Here Nieto is referring to the bridge
over the Canal, which has been appropri-
ately named by Panama as the "Bridge of
the Americas," but which the US had
named Thatcher's Ferry Bridge, honoring
the gentlemen who ran the ferry prior to the
existence of the bridge. This bridge, which is
a vital link in the Inter-American Highway,
was owned, maintained, and under the ju-
risdiction of the Canal Zone authorities. Any
Panamanian going to the interior of his own
country had to drive over this bridge and be
subject to US jurisdiction.
It was not infrequent to have US military
troops on maneuvers going back and forth
over the bridge, with priority given to their
movements, requiring regular traffic to
stop. One such incident is what Nieto re-
ferred to in the poem. He is returning to the
city and realizes that: "but to enter the city
means to go through / the canal miles /
from the town ofArraijan to the old Chor-
rillo / one day you return from the
beaches / and the mouth to your city is a
bridge / which attempts to close a very
large wound." First he stresses the idea of a
daily occurrence; it could be any day, when
one had to go through part of one's country
that was really not one's own. Then the daily
tragedy and anguish is reinforced by the
image of a wound, a wound too large for
healing, and the futile, if not ridiculous, at-
tempt of the bridge, like a gigantic metal
band-aid, trying to close it. He further elab-
orates when at the very top of the bridge, he
is tormented by the thought that under-
neath is "his country divided": "and over it /

five imperial tanks / drive one after the
other/five "zonian" tanks in route to their
bases / five tanks from the empire in Latin
America / five tanks all green with their
white stars / five tanks U.S.A"
To further intensify his impotence against
this oppressive display of force, he ends the
poem with the sad subtle quality mentioned
before, in the form of the realization that
these tanks, these very five tanks, are "five
minutes away from your home / five min-
utes away from your people / five minutes
away from all the corners / where our
dead men fell." The idea of this land divided
in two "for the benefit of others" is persistent
throughout the work: "it's not easy to live
with an open fatherland / and the enemy
conspiring / five hundred meters away
from where you sleep."
He reaches artistic height when he goes
to the earth itself to support his condemna-
tion, to the "land divided." The poem "Plead
from the earth" establishes a direct relation-
ship between the division of the land and
the force needed to alter Mother Nature. "It
is said that the earth should not have
been parted / nor the continents parted /
nor the men / nor the skin of any country
/ it is said that the divided land of my
country / has intestinal pains for every
ship that goes through / and each me-
chanical lock that opens and closes /
empty and full of seas / of both seas
__ / from canals / and maritime
wounds / which is to say the earth plead-
ing / the rocks and the algae pleading /
the fish and the dead dreams pleading / it
is said that we have to state that the earth
must be / one for the peace of the future
sprouts / the subsoils / the children who
will come expecting to control love / and
life / and the horizon must also be one /
without fractures / without patchings /
without justifications."
This feeling is magnified by the use of
images that create definite impressions:
"... it is a land divided where we say hello
to each other from one bank to the other."
Or the idea that the ships waiting in line to
enter the canal are like "daggers orarmored
scalpels." The idea of force comes across
and is ironically presented as he recollects:


announces the publication of its


The purpose of the OCCA-
provide a forum for discussion of
research carried out by Caribbean
and International Scholars on
various aspects of the interna-
tional relations of the Caribbean
and Latin America.

Occasional Paper 1: Financial
Constraints and Economic Develop-
ment in the Commonwealth Carib-
bean: the Recent Experience, by
Ramesh Ramsaran, (February 1983).

Occasional Papers 2 & 3: The Car-
ibbean Basin and Recent Develop-
ments in the Law of the Sea; and
Human Rights in the Commonwealth
Caribbean: an International Rela-
tions Perspective, by Anselm Francis
(April 1983).

Occasional Paper 4: The Theory of
Caribbean Economy: Origins and
Current Status, by Eric St. Cyr (Oc-
tober 1983).

PRICE: US $4.00 (including
postage) Prepayment is required and
cheques should be made payable to:
The University of the West Indies,
St. Augustine,
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Manuscripts are welcome. They
should be no longer than 45 dou-
blespaced typewritten pages and
should be sent in duplicate to:
The Editor,
Occasional Paper Series,
Institute of International
University of the West Indies,
St. Augustine,
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

"because in my country / there is a foreign
governor / who watches over the wound
so that it does not heal / for the sake of 'A
Canal flor the benefit of the world.'" Finally
the poem ends with the characteristic note
of virile sadness, perhaps of impotence:
"and because in our country / there is a
strip of black and humid land / as a long
aquatic avenue / full of mourning and
In the last poem of the book, titled "Se
trata de nosotros" (It's about us), Nieto
goes after the average man, who is tempted
to put aside all that has happened, perhaps
pretending that it has nothing to do with
him, acting as an ostrich waiting for it all to
end: "it's all about this humble story / it's
about this uneven land this broken land /
these scratches / this pulling the rug from
under us / it's all about us humiliated
rejected / taken by assault / it's about us
who are hungry / who have no pots to
clank / it's mostly and above all about us
/ who have set out to be on time / to our
meeting place / alive to life / and earthly
to our land."

Streets Without People
Nieto gives us highly colorful impressions
of his city. Individual poems not only por-
tray daily occurrences in Panamanian life as
related to the Canal Zone, but also are po-
etic units within themselves. One poem,
"Estas calls que nadie habitat" (These
streets that nobody inhabits), is striking.
Any Latin, any European who loves his city
and neighborhood, is immediately im-
pressed upon a first visit to the US. A drive
through a residential section, or the com-
mercial district after business hours, is rem-
iniscent of a classic western movie scene:
the arrival and ride through a ghost town.
The Canal Zone, being Little America circa
1930, proves no less. This impresses the
average Panamanian, and particularly our
poet, who reacts to this with his poetic sen-
sitivity, and creates an almost Dali-type sur-
realistic setting: "It would seem that no
one lives on these streets /....... / here
no human being goes by / each beer can
is picked up at the programmed hour /
and at the programmed place / each bite
to eat / comes out of the vending ma-
chines / with precision / with the exact
number ofo unces / for the exact calories /
military bases fenced by unending 'no
trespassing.'" The grotesque and almost
inhuman efficiency and automation is pic-
tured by the poet, in a subconscious con-
trast with his streets which are full of noise,
of people alive and bustling.
Nieto delves into daily situations and
problems; the border-line street, the "limit"
as it is known, between the Canal Zone and
the city of Panama. This is a most curious
situation, well worth explaining: imagine a
rather large four-lane avenue which leads to
the bridge of the Americas; since it was built

by the Americans, the avenue itself was
within the jurisdiction of the Canal Zone,
and so was the sidewalk on the Canal Zone
side. Yet the sidewalk on the Panamanian
side was not within this jurisdiction; it is
really a most important part of the city of
Panama. As a result, in a section approx-
imately two kilometers long, on the Pan-
amanian side we find a tremendous variety
of businesses catering to the American
community just across the street. During
the day, many stores deal in handcrafts
from the Orient, electronic equipment and
fine linens and tablecloths; at night a most
varied display of bars, "boites" and night
spots cater their services and those of their
young female employees to the American
soldier across the street. That is precisely
the world into which Nieto goes and which
he recreates in a most plastic and vivid im-
pression depicting the US influence on his
country, even on himself: "One evening
you forget all about poetry / or at least you
want to forget it /.... / and it so happens
that you go to the city / and go into one of
those bars within the 'limit' / immersing
yourself in neon lights and whores /... /
you go to the pinball machine / and start
playing the game of bumping cars / but
they bump / and the machine kicks out
your error / and you look all around you /
and realize that you are surrounded by
gringos / and say something to yourself
like: 'These gringos all they do is come
across / come over the fence / to take our
women' / but then another phrase hits
you: / 'These gringos when they come
across / they don't even take our women
any more / because here we now only
have Colombians / Nicaraguans, Costa
Ricans or Salvadorans / or imported from
other worlds / to the capital for the con-
crete / business of evening and dollars.'"
The semi-Dantesque world that Nieto
portrays only causes desperation and im-
potence. The poet himself has been caught
by this creeping cultural imperialism in his
constant attachment to the pinball machine
while examining this world around him. He
realizes this and bluntly states "here even
dreams have become commercial" and
finally has to go back to this poetry, to read-
ing "Paz ya sin paz" so that he then can
seriously think: "how it would be in
heaven / with its ministers angels and
archangels / and 'my God' in person /
discussing a Canal dominated by Satan."
The poet loses faith: he wants action; he can
no longer be in peace reading his poetry
and thinking in terms of abstractions. He
emphasizes this in "My tenderness is hard-
ening up on me": "and tenderness inside
hardened rock / tendernessjail / dry tend-
erness hard to swallow uneasy / tender-
ness bullet hitting at me."
Nieto's zeal and artistry make his work a
living document: daily happenings clash di-
rectly with a poet's sensitivity. D


The Charmed World of

Manuel Lepe

Primitive Art by A Mexican Master

By Bea Bender

Innocence, sensitivity and honesty per-
meate each of Manuel Lepe's creations.
These same qualities are also a part of
his everyday life. His canvases are beau-
tifully decorated surfaces capturing the
minute details of complex urban and coun-
try scenes, swarming with little people at
work and play. Each is filled with stylized
palm trees, tropical flowers, birds, but-
terflies, tile roofed houses, thatched huts,
plazas, churches, burros, dogs, boats, air-
planes but never a hotel or a soft drink sign.
"The progress of civilization takes away so
much of the natural beauty and quality of
things," says Lepe. His paintings communi-
cate his deep feelings for the simple unfet-
tered life of his native village of Puerto
His style demonstrates a strong decora-
tive flair, a vivid sense of primitive reality. A
touch of fantasy gives each of his works a
popular nationalistic appearance. There is a
kinship with the primitive Mexican paintings
of his ancestors. One can speculate that his
art form was influenced by the amate paper
paintings of the Huapance Indians: the well-
known folk art on bark paper scrolls with
flowers, animals and scenes of village life
mixed with abstract designs done in bright
pigments from tropical flowers, berries and
insects. His unique enchanting style
glorifies the exuberant innocence of child-
hood. His compositions capture the antics
of boys and girls with innocent smiling
faces in a dream world, playing circle
games, riding boats and parachutes, swim-
ming and fishing. He even gives children
the gift of flight; with wings they fly through
the air in and out of his landscapes. Lepe
says that he paints children in his works
because it provides a way for him to live the
childhood he never had.
He is particularly noted for this honest
treatment of the children of Mexico and is
inclined to be very nationalistic in his inter-
pretation. "The children are not the same
everywhere in Mexico," says Lepe. "The
children of Guadalajara are different from
the Chamula children and the children from

Bea Bender is an art critic in Puerto Vallarta,

Manuel Lepe

Tijuana are different from the Otomi chil-
dren." His children are depicted in dress
indigenous to the region of their origin in a
background of corresponding landscapes.
Thus, in his scenes of the mountain town of
San Crist6bal de las Casas, the children
wear huaraches and flat brimmed hats with
colorful streamers, as the beach children of
Vallarta are barefooted.
At times, Lepe handles his pigments with
restraint and delicacy, using pastel blues,
pinks, oranges and yellows mixed in sur-
prising and ingenious combinations. At
other times, his colors seem to explode in
vibrant yellows, sharp jungle greens,
magentas, hot pinks, fiery reds and sap-
phire blues. Free of shadows and half-
tones, there is a sense of proportion and a
harmony between the most daring clash of
colors. Using a variety of media (oils, water-
colors, acrylics, pastels, limestone) he con-
structs pictoral poems and treats the
minute details and colors in the form of
superimposed planes without losing the
rhythm and balance of the composition.
Lepe was born in 1936 in Puerto Vallarta,
Jalisco, a small village of fishermen and
corn farmers. He began drawing and paint-

ing when he was a young boy. "I was always
scribbling and scratching in my school
notebooks. No one ever showed me how. I
was always drawing little figures of people,
scenes of daily life and customs: puebla-like
men on burros, women washing clothes in
the river, children enjoying a festive piiata.
Wherever I went I would stop and scribble
on candy wrappers or little scraps of found
paper," he reminisces. His schooling was
limited to the fourth grade. Although he
won awards and recognition in school for
his outstanding artistic talent, he never re-
ceived a diploma. The oldest of twelve
brothers and sisters, his education was cut
short so that he could help in the family
grocery. His father tried to discourage his
pursuit of an art career, fortunately to no
He sold his first drawings-made on
wrapping paper from his father's store-for
as little as twenty to thirty pesos. In his early
works, simple biblical characters like Adam
and Eve, Noah in the Ark, Jonah and the
whale were interwoven with the little people
of his fantasized paradise in Puerto Vallarta.
He says that he has lost track of how many
paintings he has done and that his fame
grew faster than his accumulation of pesos.
Commissions from hotels, restaurants,
government agencies and private collec-
tors for his paintings soon, however, kept
him occupied beyond his capacity to fulfill
the demand. Today, with his world-wide rep-
utation, his originals are worth thousands of
dollars and his signed seriographs sell for
While still in his early twenties, Manuel
Lepe spent several years in the Chiapas and
Oaxacan mountains, among the Indian
population where he gathered other artist
friends around him. When he returned to
Puerto Vallarta, he married and had three
children. His love for his own children can
be seen in his painting called "Laura's chil-
dren" and others of that period. Later, dur-
ing a divorce, he turned to religion for
comfort and did an outstanding "Madonna
and Child" series. The mother and child are
adorned in rich blue brocade and white lace
with sparkling mirrors and metal flowers
appliqued in the background. Fragments of


"Adam y Eva en el Paraiso," oil on canvas with collage of embroidered flowers, 120 x 80 cm.

the design appear randomly on the border
and frame as his enthusiasm spills out over
the picture.
In 1975, Manuel Lepe was designated as
Mexico's National Painter by President Luis
Echeverria. The National Council and Sec-
retaria de Turismo of Mexico have taken
great interest in Lepe's talent. His litho-
graphs, seriographs, posters and pam-
phlets have been widely used for national
public education in Mexico and for special
promotions in Europe, Africa and Latin
Since 1965, Manuel Lepe has had nu-
merous public exhibitions and private
shows in several large cities of the United
States, Canada and Latin America. An im-
portant exhibition of 185 canvases was held
in 1979 at the California Museum of Sci-
ence and Industry in Los Angeles. Recently
he has had several successful one-man
shows: Nuevo Laredo Museum, Yolanda
Gallery in Chicago, Galeria Uno in Puerto
Vallarta. His last show was held in 1982 in
Seattle to celebrate "Children's Day" for the
benefit of that city's Children's Orthopedic
The artistic quality and popular appeal of
Lepe's happy art has enchanted discerning


"Rio Cuole," oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm.

collectors everywhere. His works are in art
collections of world leaders such as former
German Chancellor Willy Brandt, President
Fidel Castro of Cuba and the Queen of En-
gland. His canvases hang in many embas-
sies around the world. "In spite of being
profoundly nationalistic, Lepe's work can
cross with ease any frontier and conquer
any human being that, like Lepe himself, is
capable of making beauty and truth a part
of himself," says Jose Luis Meza Inda, Mex-
ican art critic and friend.
Plans and projects for the immediate fu-
ture are now in abeyance because of his
poor health. Since December 1982, Lepe
has undergone surgery to relieve the effects
of a stroke, but with little improvement. In
response to popular demand, Martin Kroll,
a New York art dealer, and Rodrigo Lepe, the
artist's brother and manager, in cooperation
with Jan Lavender of Galeria Uno, have
scheduled a retrospective show for the Los
Angeles-Southwest area of the US in the fall
of 1983. A folio of seriographs signed in
print depicting the hallmarks of Lepe's artis-
tic endeavors may be available for the 1984
holiday season. One of the UNICEF Christ-
mas cards this year will be Lepe's "Arbol de
Navidad." [

"La Iglesia," oil on canvas, 80 x 80cm.


Journal of
A bilingual quarterly journal of
social history and current affairs
in France and the United States.
Published by the Tocqueville
Society since 1979.
Subscription rates:
Individuals $20
Institutions $24
Single issues $6
Membership in the Society is by
nomination. Please address
correspondence (from the U.S.)
Professor Franklin Mendels,
Associate Secretary, U.S.
706 Administration Building
University of Maryland,
Baltimore Country
Catonsville, Maryland 21228
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Professor Henri Mendras,
Associate Secretary, France
69 quai D'Orsay
75007 Paris, France
Manuscripts should be forwarded
to: Jesse R. Pitts, Editor
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Some papers from recent issues:
Lawrence Wylie and Sarella
Henriquez, French Images
of American Life
Herbert Landier, La situation
syndicale en France
John Shy, Yorktown 1781,
Personalities and Documents
Jer6me Jaffr6, La Politique
Etrangbre et LOpinion Frangaise
Theodore Caplow, The Sociologi-
cal Myth of Family Decline
Raymond Aron, Tocqueville
William Schonfeld, Scenes de
la vie politique frangaise
Stanley Hoffmann, Some Notes
on Democratic Theory and
Jean-Marcel Jeanneney,
Continuity et changement dans
le gouvernement de la France
Henri Mendras, An Optimistic
View of France
Sylvain Wickham, La tentation
post-industrielle en France
Seymour Lipset, Whither the
First new Nation?
FranQois Bourricaud, Cotradition
et Traditions chez Tocqueville

Continued from page 3

the current 20 percent unemployment rate.
This situation will almost certainly affect
the ongoing debate on political status. Re-
cently a number of initiatives have come to
light in Washington, some of them pro-
posed by Puerto Ricans active in the status
debate. One is a proposal to create a Select
Committee on Puerto Rico in the Senate,
and there is a similar proposal in the House
of Representatives. Perhaps of greater im-
portance is the suggestion that Congress
establish the parameters within which the
status decision would be made in the island.
In other words, Congress would define the
conditions for the granting of statehood,
independence, or a modified common-
wealth status.
Although these proposals have generally
been well received in Puerto Rico, the last
one has been running into more and more
questioning. It appears to be based on the
assumption that Congress acts rationally or,
at least, with the common good in mind. If
this were so, there would be no problem in
delegating to Congress the definition of the
status issue. In fact, however, members of
Congress act on the basis of local pressures,

PR and the US...
Continued from page 7

adequate for the mainland. Internationally,
Puerto Rico has become a persistent bone
of contention between the Third World and
the United States. Its case is a fixed item on
the agenda of the UN Decolonization Com-
mittee and in almost all meetings of the
nonaligned countries.
The situation has become nearly desper-
ate. Governor Romero Barcelo6 has stated
that if reelected in 1984 he would put the US
Congress to the test by calling a plebiscite in
Puerto Rico. If the people vote for statehood,
he will confront Congress with such a peti-
tion, including three conditions: (1) that re-
tention of the Spanish language is not
negotiable; (2) that a fiscal transition of 20
years allow the gradual application of
federal taxes; (3) that the US government
assume Puerto Rico's public debt.
Such declarations cannot be taken lightly
when made by the governor of Puerto Rico
speaking in his official capacity. If such an
action is carried out, it will spell trouble for
the mainland government. Moreover in
making his declaration, the governor is
overlooking the real problem which is that
in its present condition, Puerto Rico cannot
responsibly exercise its right to self-deter-

ideological prejudices, budgetary consid-
erations and electoral or political needs. It
would be too serious a risk for the island to
entrust the definition of its future to such a
political lottery. In a recent Washington
seminar on Puerto Rico, a participant who
had been a high-ranking state department
official during the Carter administration in-
dicated that, as long as Puerto Rico was a
strategic resource for the US, he did not see
how independence could be considered a
viable alternative. If this or any other of the
three status options is not to be given fair
consideration by Congress, then the pro-
posal is essentially dead.
Puerto Rico is caught in a bind. The work-
ings of the present economic model tie it
inexorably to the United States. The failings
of the model, which make the island a ward
of the federal government, also make it im-
possible to formalize adoption via state-
hood. It looks, then, as if Puerto Rico will
remain in its present political limbo for the
foreseeable future, placed there not by de-
sign, but by default. A new economic model
is required to solve the most basic needs of
the Puerto Rican people and to move the
island from its political deadlock. This new
model does not appear to be forthcoming
from either of the major political parties.
Thus the soap opera continues. We will
be watching reruns decades from now. O

mination. For what would people be voting?
If they vote for statehood, how do they know
Congress will allow retention of Spanish as
the main language? How can they vote for
independence without knowing whether
Congress will provide some form of long-
term economic assistance? Without an-
swers to such questions, a plebiscite has
little meaning.
It should therefore be evident that this is
not an issue to be solved by a badly timed
plebiscite or other type of consultation,
which in fact may do far more harm than
good. What is needed is the honest desire of
both parties to engage in discussions lead-
ing to a major revision in the US-Puerto
Rican relationship. After more than 30 years
it is time for such action. The new relation-
ship must make Puerto Rico autonomous
so that it will have the power needed to
reenter the road towards true economic, so-
cial and political development. By so doing,
the US will spare itself a difficult problem-
domestically, internationally or both.
Even more important, by so doing the
two countries-Puerto Rico and the United
States-will be living up to their tradition of
friendship based on their common respect
for the enduring human values of democ-
racy, equity, respect for justice and fairness.
They will be setting an extraordinary exam-
ple that, even in today's turbulent world, di-
alogue and peaceful agreement based on
mutual respect is still possible. More worthy
a purpose is hard to envision. D


Continued from page 15

cent of the Indian indentured laborers in
Trinidad and Guyana up to 1917; church
groups and humanitarian agencies have re-
cently protested against the system. Also,
the presence of these migrants is resented
by Dominican workers who see it as under-
cutting the wage rates of the country. It is
possible that things will change, as the gov-
ernment party in the Dominican Republic is
dependent on financial aid from social
democratic parties in West Germany,
France and Scandinavia who could bring
pressure, cutting off a substantial source of
revenue for the Haitian government. Nev-
ertheless the Dominican government also
has a strong financial interest in maintain-
ing the system.
With respect to the "boat people," the US
appears to believe that it is in its interest to
come to some agreement with the Haitian
government to prevent this migration. The
cooperation of the Duvalier regime has
been sought, and US vessels have been
patrolling the northern waters off the island
of Hispaniola to prevent Haitians from leav-
ing. Both governments have been criticized
for this policy. Liberals in the US have at-
tacked their government, while Haitian na-
tionalists (some of whom had supported
the Duvalier regime in the past) have been
incensed by this humiliating situation. Al-
though the crisis appears to have tem-
porarily strengthened the hand of Duvalier
in dealing with Washington, it may well be
that a future administration in the White
House will think that there is a more satis-
factory way of coping with the phenomenon
and cease supporting a corrupt and op-
pressive government.
One important consequence of the mi-
gration is that considerable sums of money
are being sent home to relatives all over
Haiti by those who have worked abroad for
some time (particularly those in the US). It
is impossible to assess accurately the
amount of money arriving this way, but it is
estimated that $32 million entered Haiti in
this manner each year in the late 1970s.
These remittances have significantly im-
proved the situation of countless families
throughout Haiti and have, incidentally,
helped the country's balance of payments.
Although Frangois Duvalier had come to
some kind of compromise with most of the
business elite, the foundation of his power
structure remained the black middle
classes. In this respect, there has been a
major change in Duvalierism. The regime of
Jean-Claude has come increasingly to de-
pend upon elite support, and his wooing of
this group has alienated many of the

A number of macoute leaders in recent
years have voiced disquiet with events, and
some of them no longer see any probability
of future benefits. They are thus unwilling to
stick their necks out very far to preserve a
government from which they have little, if
anything, to gain. The marriage of Jean-
Claude to Michele Bennett, the daughter of
a rich and ruthless mulatto businessman,
sealed these developments. While it is un-
likely that these erstwhile Duvalierist sup-
porters will initiate a revolution, they can
now no longer be depended upon to resist a
serious attempt to overthrow the
The elite is much less dependable than
the black middle classes. Composed of
many groups which live off the state, its
members expect the government to ensure
that their standard of living is maintained. If
it fails to do this, they are likely to look
around for other presidential possibilities.
Up to now the government, thanks largely to
US aid, has been able to satisfy the elite, but
for how much longer?
While Frangois Duvalier used the black
classes intermediaire to control the rural
masses, the present government has at-
tempted to appeal over their heads to the
people themselves. This has been done
partly by means of popular radio stations
such as Radio Nationale, which has encour-
aged ordinary Haitians to make known their
grudges against the incompetence and cor-
ruption of local officials. The move has met
with a considerable response, but it has fur-
ther alienated local macoute leaders, chefs
de section and other rural functionaries.
The setting up of conseils commu-
nautaires and the activities of Le Comite
National d'Action Jeanclaudiste (CONA-
JEC) have been further moves in the en-
deavor to reestablish grassroots support for
the regime. These populist ploys are, how-
ever, likely in the long run to weaken rather
than strengthen the regime.
A key factor, of course, is the position of
the armed forces. Haiti has a long tradition
of militarism in politics. Independence was
secured by military action, and from 1804
to 1913, the head of state was invariably a
military officer. One of the avowed objec-
tives of the US occupation was to remove
the army from politics, but soon after the
departure of the Marines in 1934, the mili-
tary began to reassert its traditional role. In
1946 a triumvirate of army officers took
over the country, and after just four years of
civilian rule, the same junta stepped in to
ensure the termination of President Es-
time's period in office. For the next six years,
the country was ruled by an army officer,
and in the disturbed period from the fall of
Magloire in 1956 to the accession of Fran-
cois Duvalier, the army's role was crucial. By
a series of carefully designed moves, the
new president dealt effectively with the dan-
ger of a military coup. Senior officers were

changed frequently; new men-mostly
blacks-were promoted to high positions,
and the various branches of the military and
paramilitary apparatus were carefully bal-
anced, with their hierarchies meeting only at
the presidential level. By 1964 Duvalier
could claim, with some justification, "I have
removed from the army its role of arbiter...
of national life."
Today the armed forces number about
7,000, with half of them composing the po-
lice. There are a few hundred in the navy
and air force, and the remaining men are
divided between the Cassernes Dessalines,
the Presidential Guard (with roughly 800
each) and the L4opards, a more recently-
formed brigade which is somewhat better
trained and equipped than the rest of the
armed forces, numbering about 600. While
it is always possible that in the future army
officers will play an independent role in the
political process, there are certain institu-
tional safeguards against their initiating a
revolution at the present time. Each branch
keeps a check on the others, and the mac-
outes, in turn, remain a considerable
A number of recent clashes between
macoutes and members of the armed
forces suggest that relations between them
are frequently strained. Though it would be
unwise to rule out the possibility of a mili-
tary coup, it does not at the moment look
likely. What is less clear is the role that vari-
ous branches of the armed forces might
play in the event of a serious invasion or a
large-scale popular movement against the
government. The performance of the
armed forces in subduing the 1982 "inva-
sion" of the island of La Tortue, by less than
a dozen exiles, does not suggest that they
are a particularly efficient and reliable but-
tress. A recent revision of the constitution,
making provision for the appointment of a
successor to President Jean-Claude Du-
valier has led to speculation about the state
of his health. Elections for a new assembly
have been managed in such a way as to
minimize any manifestation of discontent.
The long-term prospects for the regime re-
main, however, questionable.
By shifting the base of his support to the
elite, Jean-Claude has placed himself in a
vulnerable position, particularly with re-
spect to the United States. While the father
was able to resist enormous pressure from
the Kennedy regime in the early 1960s, it is
unlikely that the son could survive such
pressure today. With President Reagan in
the White House he is perhaps safe from
this quarter and even feels able to ignore US
sensibilities, as he did recently in the sack-
ing of Marc Bazin. Nevertheless, with a US
president less tolerant of dictatorship, cor-
ruption and torture, foreign aid might be
withdrawn, and the regime of Baby Doc,
with its recently acquired feet of clay, would
be likely to totter and fall. O


Continued from page 23

ing); but more important, it provided a cru-
cial source of new questions. With time,
Tebini, like several other elders, was willing
to discuss almost any First-Time issue, but
neither he nor the others often brought up a
"new" issue on their own. An important part
of my job, then, became the discovery of
fragments or traces, puzzles or songs
(some overheard in proverbs or witnessed
at rites, some found in the archives) that
would spark a reaction.
By 1978, Tebini was old enough to be
physically and psychologically up one day
and down the next, but he had truly come to
enjoy our nighttime exchanges. Whenever
Tebini got really excited about a story he was
telling me, seeing me writing (and never
fully clear about how tape recorders
worked), he'd say, "Friend. Take it down
exactly. Because some day you will 'tell it' [in
a book]."
This aura of collegiality-mutual respect
always tempered by an appropriate mea-
sure of reticence-marked my historical
conversations with a number of other men
besides Tebini and Peleki. With each of
these men I developed complex relations,
many spanning a twelve-year period. In-
deed, with these people it would be more
accurate to envision a series of intermit-


We are pleased to accept nominations for
the fifth annual Caribbean Review Award,
an annual presentation to honor an indi-
vidual who has contributed to the advance-
ment of Caribbean intellectual life.
The award recognizes individual effort ir-
respective of field, ideology, national origin,
or place of residence.
The Award Committee consists of:
Lambros Comitas (Chairman), Columbia
University, New York; Fuat Andic, Univer-
sidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto
Rico; Wendell Bell, Yale University, New
Haven, Connecticut; Locksley Edmondson,
University of the West Indies, Mona, Ja-
maica; Anthony P. Maingot, Florida Interna-
tional University, Miami, Florida.
Nominations are to be sent to the Editor,
Caribbean Review, Florida International
University, Miami, Florida 33199. Nomina-
tions must be received by 31 March 1984.
The Fifth Annual Award will be an-
nounced at the Ninth Annual Meeting of the
Caribbean Studies Association to be held
in St. Kitts, 30 May-2 June 1984. In addition
to a plaque the recipient receives an hono-
rarium of $250, donated by the International
Affairs Center of Florida International

tent/interrupted conversations that con-
tinued over the years than more standard
anthropological "interviews." Through
time, as my own knowledge grew, I set aside
certain former interests in favor of others
that began to emerge as more important.
The chronological development of my dis-
cussions with any of these men is a record
of deepening understanding and mutual
comprehension. With each of them, I even-
tually enjoyed relations that permitted a se-
rious exchange of ideas about First-Time.
There were, however, other research en-
counters marked more by mistrust and fear
than collegiality, and I would be remiss not
to give them their full due here as well. In
certain villages where I had been known
only by reputation, I was greeted with inter-
est and cooperation. In other such villages,
however, where I had come to spend a few
days, I met polite hospitality combined with
a firm determination not to cooperate. Trav-
eling with a Saramaka friend (sometimes
accompanied by Sally)-that is, without the
non-Saramaka entourage considered nor-
mal for outsiders-I presented each new
village with an anomaly: a white man who
not only spoke their language well but was
familiar, in certain respects more so than
they, with details of their own people and
places and battles that had been hidden
from whitefolks for centuries. Listening later
with Matjau friends to some of the tapes
from these downriver sessions, I came to
realize just how frightened some of these
groups of elders were of me and of my
knowledge. And I was also reminded, again,
just how strong First-Time ideology re-
mains, and the extent to which it lends deep
meaning and dignity to these men's lives.
What I learned in such situations was always
less than I hoped; fear is hardly conducive to
truth-telling. Nevertheless, I occasionally
sowed seeds that later bore fruit, as when a
man subsequently came to me alone to talk
seriously, or when I picked up fragments of
stories I was later able to fill out in detail with
other people.
When I appeared in such a village, having
first sent word ahead, I was always direct in
stating my intentions, once the appropriate
small talk and exchange of gifts had been
completed. I would then be asked to pro-
ceed, and it was usually only after the next
several minutes that my hosts really began
to realize, with mixed amazement and fear,
what was at hand.
I usually opened with a relatively neutral
fact that Ithought would particularly interest
them, something I had found in the ar-
chives but which they might not have pre-
served in detail. In the case of the Nasi clan,
for example, I discussed their first two post-
Treaty captains' staffs. The aged Aseedu an-
swered (formally addressing one of the
younger men) in a rhetoric typical of such
encounters: "Well, you know? We can't say
it's not true. You know why? His 'ancestor'

[the pen and notebook] is in his hand. But
ours are no longer here. We know nothing,
really. Whitefolks know everything. Look at
us here. We just don't know the truth any
more. If he has things to tell us, let him
speak. But it's not that we have anything we
can tell him. Let him speak. Our own elders
simply never taught us." [And he continued
in this vein for several minutes.]
In such situations, after sharing with my
hosts a series of facts, I might ask a ques-
tion. For example, with an Abaisa group, at
this same stage of an initial interview, I
asked about where their ancestors had
"walked" in their migration from slavery.
There was embarrassed laughter; then an
old man said, "This thing. We won't find it!"
And another chimed in, "Let him just keep
telling us." When I pleaded that they must
contribute as well, I was met by further pro-
testations of ignorance: "If only you had
come here in the days when people knew
things. Our oldfolks are all dead and gone;
we who are left on this earth know nothing
at all."
But even the most frustratingly guarded
encounters sometimes eventuated in im-
portant sharing of knowledge. In one of my
initial discussions with members of the
Abaisa clan, which truly seemed to be going
nowhere, I finally told a detailed story about
Abaisa ancestors that I had heard from
other Saramakas, asking them at its con-
clusion whether it matched their own
[Old man:] So you've heard.
[I:] So I've heard.
[O:] So you've heard. [long silence]
Basia [assistant headman], have you heard
[Basia LIntifaya:] No, I haven't heard
this .... [Mumbling:] But the one about
slavery times. That I've heard.
[Younger man:] I will ask the man here.
Did the woman [their apical ancestress, Ma
Kaala, whom I had just been telling them
about] come out of Africa with her
[/:] I don't know; it's not in the "book." But
I have heard that his name was Father-in-
law Andol&e.
[B, in amazement:] Exactly!
[I:] But I still don't understand what the
"slavery" story is.
[B:] That is it. [silence]
[I:] But I want to know what happened.
[B:] You want to know it.
[I:] Yes, I want to know it. [silence]
[B, to others:] He wants to know it.
[Others:] He wants to know it. [long
[B, finally, clearing his throat:] Well,
what we've heard ....
And he then proceeded to give me my full-
est version ever of the Abaisa escape from
These "difficult" encounters always left


me emotionally drained, as they undoubt-
edly did my reluctant hosts. My elderly
D6mbi friend, Ameika, aptly remarked after
the officials of his village had forbidden him
to discuss First-Time with me in 1978, "Ingi
d66ng6 ma an lasi 6n amaka" ("The In-
dian may be drunk but he still knows where
his hammock is"). Ameika was saying that
the officials may be foolish from one per-
spective-after all, it is 1978, not 1778-but
you have to give them credit for keeping
their priorities straight, for not forgetting
what really matters. As I hope to have made
clear already, cooperation was always a
matter of degree in my historical discus-
sions with Saramakas, and the ideology of
First-Time was never far from the surface.
Toward those men who chose to have noth-
ing to do with what must have seemed a
dangerous and bizarre project, join Ameika
in extending my respect. As I think back on
my more difficult encounters or listen again
to the tapes that are so frustrating if viewed
solely from the perspective of gathering
facts, I am struck by the overwhelming dig-
nity of these quiet elderly men. If I learned
less from them than I would have liked
about First-Time, I learned from them
something far more important. And I hope
that my own conduct successfully reflected
the grace and tact with which I was always
treated, even by my sternest intellectual

It has been said of the late French ethnogra-
pher Alfred Metraux that after traveling to
the Amazon to become the student of his
Indians, he used to return to Paris wanting
nothing more than to become the Indian of
his students. The complex process of
"translation" between cultures that charac-
terizes all ethnographic teaching and writ-
ing becomes doubly problematical in a
book like this one. The act of its creation
embodies the selfsame paradox as a
Saramaka elder telling a younger kinsman
a fragment from First-Time. For traditional
men, it is the supreme good to "know" (and
a true pleasure to "learn"), but it is an
equally grave danger to "tell." As Otjutju
once mused: "There are certainpapasongs
of which it is said, 'If you sing this you will
die,' yet people still [must] sing them! .."
Damned if they do (tell, sing), because of
terrible perceived dangers, and damned if
they don't, because the knowledge would
be forever lost, Saramakas steer an un-
steady middle course, reluctantly sharing
partial disclosures with selected kinsmen. I
faced a similar dilemma.
Saramaka men are acutely aware of the
ongoing and irreversible loss of knowledge;
it is a vivid part of their own experience and
the subject of frequent discussion among
them. The decision to write First-Time was
inextricably bound up with this histo-
riographical process. The issues it raised for

me ranged from the potential impact on the
Saramaka system of knowledge of my cod-
ifying in writing these particular fragments,
to the potential consequences of identifying
by name the men who had shared their
knowledge with me. None of these issues
are simple; all have a strong moral compo-
nent, and only time will tell if my carefully
considered decisions have been wise. Inso-
far as possible, however, they were made
with the advice and consideration of the
people whose words are represented in the
Consider the issue of identifying speak-
ers by name. Twelve years ago, when I wrote

There was a day in time
when the last eyes to see
Christ were closed forever.
-Jorge Luis Borges

my first book about Saramaka, there was
simply no question; people made clear that
they did not want their names to be written
down in any "whitefolks' book," and-
though I personally found the solution de-
humanizing-I duly avoided using any
names at all (when necessary, calling indi-
viduals as well as clans "A," "B," "X," and so
on). By the time of my 1978 discussions
with contributors to this work, the issue had
shifted: people were torn between aware-
ness, on the one hand, of traditional sanc-
tions against telling things to whitefolks and
talking about First-Time to anyone not in
their clan, and, on the other hand, pride in
their own knowledge and that of their clan,
and the wish to be remembered by their
juniors as men of wisdom. While Sara-
makas did not, and could not, fully under-
stand the ultimate products of much of the
kinds of general ethnographic information I
explored with them during the 1960s (for
example, articles on kinship theory or de-
mography), they had a keen idea of how a
book about First-Time might look. In regard
to history, it was always much easier to be
explicit about my goals-for example,
comparing Saramaka versions to those
found in contemporary archives; and as
colleagues (however unequal in many and
complex ways) we could join the search
together. The solution I adopt in First-Time
grows out of my discussions with
Saramakas, but is clearly my own responsi-
bility: in this work I identify speakers by their
real names, with the sole exception of cases
(regarding particular historical fragments)
in which the speaker specifically asked to
remain anonymous.
Or, consider the potential impact of this
book on the Saramaka system of knowl-
edge. By presenting certain Saramaka ver-
sions of events and not others, and by
introducing contemporary written evi-

dence, I run the risk of establishing a "can-
onical" or "authorized" version of Sarama-
ka history. My decision to publish is made
with a strong sense of the speed with which
First-Time knowledge is disappearing, with
the reassurance that the main participants
in my learning have approved publication,
and with the expectation (based on past
experience) that the book's contents will
only very gradually and very partially pene-
trate to those elders who most directly par-
ticipate in the system of knowledge.
Other related moral issues abound.
There is the basic question of whether the
publication of information that gains its
symbolic power in part by being secret does
not vitiate the very meaning of that informa-
tion. Does publication of these stories,
these very special symbols, fundamentally
diminish their value and meaning? While a
Saramaka elder always tells First-Time se-
lectively, and carefully chooses his recip-
ients, the publication of a book by its very
nature deprives its author of control (except
perhaps via the language in which it ap-
pears) over its audience. It is inevitable that
these stories will ultimately cross traditional
clan boundaries in Saramaka; and all of
them are being given, immediately and at
once, to white and black outsiders, the tradi-
tional collective enemy.
These issues are as germane to small
details as to major events. Consider the
name of the great Matjau hero, Lanu, of
whom it is said, "His name must never be
spoken." Should it appear here? Tebini (and
other elders) not only told me Lanu's name,
they agreed to its publication. Tebini (as well
as others) is in a sense especially entrusted
with such knowledge and with its distribu-
tion. Should I proceed on this authority? Or
should I accept the view-which I could
surely elicit from any number of Saramakas
if I tried-that Tebini (and the others) have
violated a trust and, in this sense, are "trai-
tors"? Or again, the D6mbi captains of the
village of Seei ordered Am6ika not to speak
to me about First-Time in 1978, but other
D6mbi officials-a captain and abasia in a
nearby village-were pleased to contribute.
By publishing their words, am I violating
some trust with that first group? The ques-
tion of "informed consent" in social science
research-much debated recently by pro-
fessional societies as well as congressional
committees-becomes particularly thorny
in anthropology: is it individuals or is it
groups who constitute the appropriate unit
for consent in terms of property that is in
part corporate? How much knowledge of
the outside world is necessary before con-
sent becomes truly informed?
None of these questions have simple an-
swers. Some of them regress on more gen-
eral questions of social science or
anthropological ethics, and all refer back,
ultimately, to philosophical and political
positions. The responsibility for making
these materials public, after I have consid-


ered all these issues, must be mine alone. In
addition, however, there are special respon-
sibilities that devolve upon the readers of
such a work, who by the very act of reading
become partial custodians of its knowledge
and potential power. A word about these
may not be out of place here.
I would wish to remind Saramakas who
read or hear portions of this book to be sure
not to treat it as a bible, but rather as an
incomplete and early attempt to bring to-
gether the fragments of First-Time knowl-
edge that I have been able to learn. It is
intended, ultimately, as a celebration of the
Saramaka historiographical tradition, as an
example of how collectively successful
Saramakas have been in preserving a vi-
sion of First-Time truths. And it is meant to
encourage a whole new generation of Sara-
maka historians to continue the search and
to broaden and deepen our understanding.
Likewise, I would want to urge outsiders
(whether they are Surinamers, Dutch,
Americans, or whatever) who in the course
of their work or leisure come into contact
with Saramakas to respect the special "un-
speakable" status of this knowledge. For
this group of readers, the book will have
served its purpose if it brings greater re-
spect for the historical accomplishments of


is available in

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Saramakas and for their traditions of schol-
arship. The knowledge itself, unlike that in a
book on, say, social structure or art, is not
intended to be discussed lightly with
Saramakas. Discussion of this knowledge
requires a special code and etiquette as well
as a real facility with the language. When
Tebini, for example, concluded that Lanu's
name could be published, it was certainly
on the assumption that it would not be spo-
ken in Saramaka any more frequently than
it is today. Very generously, he assumed that
readers would share my own verbal
And finally, for the very great majority of
readers who will never have the opportunity
to meet Saramakas except through books,
this study is intended as a tribute to their
dignity in the face of oppression, and to
their continuous rejection of outsiders' at-
tempts to define them as objects. It depicts,
in their own words, a people fashioning
against all odds a new world of their own
making. They were ordinary men and
women who were called upon to perform
extraordinary deeds. And because of their
accomplishments, all of us may consider
ourselves the richer.
In First-Time, my unit of analysis is the
event. Taking fragments (often a mere
phrase) from many different men, compar-
ing them, discussing them with others,
challenging them against rival accounts,
and eventually holding them up against
contemporary written evidence, I try to be-
gin to develop a picture of what the most
knowledgeable Saramakas collectively
know, and why they know and preserve it.
Constant comparison-challenging and
discussing accounts of events with
Saramakas-rather than passive text-
gathering was my modus operandi. I
quickly found out that information was
stored or embedded in particular forms
(songs, land tenure lists, and so on) and was
often not available to the speaker in other
forms. "Different people," as David Cohen
matter-of-factly states of East African oral
historians, "carry in their heads different
modes and systems of arranging and sim-
plifying the complex and massive informa-
tion that the past remits to the living." If, for
example, I asked Tebini the name of a cer-
tain captain's successor, he might honestly
deny knowledge, yet the information would
turn out to be embedded in a song or a
narrative fragment that he knew well, and
would be told me weeks later apropos of
something else. It was simply not recovera-
ble for him in the form in which I had asked.
Even the men most respected for their
control of First-Time knowledge vary enor-
mously in the depth and breadth of their
repertoires, and what any Saramaka indi-
vidual knows about the distant past is dis-
tinctly idiosyncratic. Many elders, including
some important captains, knew very little at
all about pre-1762 history. And the very

most knowledgeable men tend to know lit-
tle beyond the web of interests that touches
on their own, and sometimes their father's
clan. All this leads to a paradox: much of the
knowledge contained in the book would
amaze (and be new to) any single living
Saramaka; yet, at the same time, I am quite
certain that it represents only the very tip of
the iceberg that Saramakas collectively pre-
serve about First-Time.
Today this iceberg is melting with star-
tling speed. As Saramaka social and eco-
nomic life is transformed, especially in
relations with the world beyond tribal
boundaries, so too is the meaning and
value of First-Time knowledge. As Captain
G6me said, "The hour is already late." The
interest of middle-aged and younger men
turns to different rewards, in some ways
more easily achieved; at the same time,
spurious information floods the system of
knowledge. It is certain that the Saramaka
world in which I had the privilege to work will
never be the same (and not only because of
the consequences of my own considered
intervention which, in this broader context,
must seem rather inconsequential); tour-
ists, missionaries, government officials, and
visiting scholars are all actively if un-
knowingly contributing to major revisions
of First-Time knowledge. The vocation of
the Saramaka historian such as Tebini or
G6me, who spends years of his life trying to
piece together a vision of "what really hap-
pened," is fast giving way to simple answers
picked up from prestigious outsiders. In the
process, the ideological core of First-Time
is being vitiated. In the new world that
younger men are making for themselves,
knowledge of how to run a lathe or a tractor
becomes more relevant than details of land
tenure or esoteric songs. What was once a
gradual loss of knowledge by means of a
gentle reshaping of past experience to fit
new social ends-an integral and normal
part of an ongoing system-has now be-
come a runaway process that may well
point ultimately toward wholesale
Tebini and other men of knowledge are
bitterly aware of what modernization threat-
ens to do to their own oral traditions. Some
years ago, shortly before his death, the tribal
chief's older "brother" Kositan addressed a
large political gathering. Among his words,
as remembered today, was a poignant im-
age of the disappearance of First-Time
knowledge. "The canoe of knowledge
[sabib6to] of the Matjau clan .... As it was
about to 'go' forever, I caught a glimpse of it
just as it passed that tree there [he indicated
a tree downstream from the landing place].
Not a single other person still here [alive]
even saw its wake. Only me." I often think of
how much later it was when I caught my
own glimpse of that canoe, which was even
farther downstream, and ever increasing its
rush toward the open sea. [E


Continued from page 27

is why Adorno suggests that "all 'pure cul-
ture' has always been a source of discom-
fort to the spokesmen of power."
Calypso and reggae compositions that
speak too clearly to the issues of the day are
banned on radio stations. Scorpion, an
Antiguan calypsonian, sang a song, "Is
Joke Dey Making," satirically criticizing the
government of Antigua. By the beginning of
the carnival for which the song was created,
it had been banned from being played on
the radio station. Similarly, Bob Marley's
song, "Crazy Baldhead," was banned from
radio stations in Jamaica because it chal-
lenged the prevailing ideology.
The Antiguan government has taken the
suppression of political calypsos one step
further than had been hitherto envisioned.
A committee appointed by the government
to oversee Carnival, announced that for the
July 1979 event, any calypsos entered in the
calypso competition need be based on two
themes: (1) The spirit of Carnival, and (2)
love and harmony. Culture was thus being
In a searing attack on the minister of cul-
ture for promoting such oppressive rules,
one writer refers to him in calypso style as
the "Minister of Carnival and Ignorance" and
chides him in verse: "You can never / Keep
down culture / It will rise in spite of de
pressure / So Mr. Carnival Minister; you
should know better / And try and be de
The colonized people of the Caribbean
have always sought ways to survive psycho-
logically under domination. What calypso
and folklore demonstrate is some of those
survival measures and the part they play in
the overall social milieu. Colonized man in
Antigua did not rely on his songs and folk
tales to give him a "prescription" for sur-
vival, but rather developed the songs and
folk tales as an expression of his life condi-
tion and also the problems of survival in a
hostile world.
It is in this "expression" of himself and his
life condition that we witness the Antiguan's
duality of allegiance to two ideologies: the
black folk culture and the dominant culture.
The two exist-not side by side and apart
from each other-but together, for it is from
both that the majority of the people in Anti-
gua, and by extension, in the Caribbean,
draw their sense of self, albeit posing the
problematic of conflicting values.
Thus it was that the calypso could dem-
onstrate admiration for the antihero at the
same time that members of the society
were striving to achieve the status symbols
of the dominant culture. Incidentally, some
of those members were themselves the ca-
lypsonians and steelbandsmen. But this

should come as no real surprise; for calyp-
sonians were also demonstrating admira-
tion for those who were striving for
achievement of the dominant image of a
being, at the same time that their calypsos
demonstrated admiration for any clever
man who broke explicit or implicit laws and
escaped punishment. Like Anansi, if you
managed to "fool" the law, individuals or the
government, and got away with it, you were
considered a "smart man." Witness for ex-
ample, Sparrow's "Smart Barbadian": '"A
Barbadian Engineer by the name of
Cephas, / Got to know that Trinidadians
were superstitious / So he buy a piece a
land up Hololo Mountain / Put concrete
'round a spring and open a fountain / In
less than no time, if you hear the shout /
Stupid people coming from all about.
Chorus: "Trowing coins in the fountain
/ Each one seeking happiness / Thrown
by hopeful lovers, which one will the
fountain bless / And from the time they
pull out, the Bajan [Barbadian] dive in /
Taking all the money from the fountain /
And hear him singing, All is mine, all is
mine, all is mine.'
"I am sure you would be surprised to
know / How much big shot does go to
Mount Hoollo /All kind of people believe
in this thing / If you see how many old
maids in search of a ring / Throwin'coins
in the fountain like if they feeding fish /
Kneeling down on their knees, making a
wish / Thousands of people going up
there daily / Trinidad was coming like
Chorus: "So many coins in the fountain
/ Each one longing for a home / There
they lie in the fountain, just like in the
heart of Rome / And is to see the Barba-

devoted entirely
to Cuba

dian with he swimming trunk on / Wait-
ing patiently till all the fools gone, to sing
all is mine"
In addition to the "smart man" we see
popular admiration for the "badjohn" char-
acter who developed in the 1950s in the
Caribbean and is demonstrated in the ca-
lypso. The "badjohn" was a male who had
transcended the restrictions of the domi-
nant hegemony by acting under his own
moral code in specific predetermined ways.
For example, the "badjohn" did not "take
anyone to court." He was his own court,
judge, jury and executioner. If an act was
committed against him which he deemed
to be serious, he would react in any number
of ways-all of them violent and against the
law. Sometimes the act committed against
the "badjohn" seemed merely to be that the
wrongdoer had offended the "badjohn" in
some slight way. In some instances, the
"badjohn" referred to himself as being very
"ignorant" and would state that "me no kay
wha me do," meaning, that he is above and
outside of the explicit and implicit laws that
govern the average person's behavior. He
was outside of the law because he was igno-
rant-not lacking in knowledge but stub-
bom and "bullheaded."
We hear this theme repeated over and
over again in the calypsos from Antigua,
Trinidad, Montserrat, and the Virgin Islands.
For example, if we examine the work of
Lord Short Shirt, Calypso Joe, The Mighty
Swallow, Lord Franco, The Mighty Sparrow,
Lord Melody, Lord Nelson, The Mighty Ar-
row, Lord Obstinate and others, we will find
this theme demonstrated consistently. Ca-
lypso Joe responded to a threat from "bad-
johns" in Antigua in "badjohn" tones with a
calypso aptly entitled "Badjohns Beware":

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"A lot a man out to beat me /A lot a man
out to kill / But a done plan already / For
whosoever will.
Chorus: "Dey go link ah crazy / Dey go
tink ah mad / But when ah move in de
city / Ah behavin bad / .... So badjohn
"Now why dem boys want to beat me /
Friends I really don know / I hear confi-
dentially / Is slingers looking for Joe
[ Calypso Joel / Just tell dem to tackle / I
use neither weed nor rum / I prepare for
battle / ....
'Ah notice all of a sudden / It have a lot
ofbadjohn in town / But Iain fear dem for
nutten / Ah could beat dem wid six cuts
down / A drinking one dey calling 'Cat-
Puss' / An a next one dey calling 'Chum'/
If at all deyjus miss and touch me / Ah
sure ah go out dey lamp." The message is
clear: Calypso Joe is as "ignorant" as the
"badjohns," hence, "dey go tink ah crazy,
dey go tink ah mad," and if they make the
mistake of hitting him, even lightly: (If at all
deyjus miss and touch me), he will kill them
(Ah sure ah go out dey lamp).

Expressions of Reality
What are we witnessing? Is it some double
standard in operation? Are these culture
creators typical examples of a split person-
ality in the Caribbean? On the contrary, it is
not a split personality but a whole one. It is
not a contradiction for a people to ascribe to
one hegemony at the same time that they
develop and make use of a conflicting value
system. It is not a contradiction, but a one-
ness, with the elements in the society com-
bining to produce a whole man, bearing

elements of two sets of values, neither of
which he finds contradictory.
The black folk culture demonstrates that
a certain measure of the Anansi personality
was needed to survive those elements of the
dominant ideology which were oppressive.
At the same time, the dominant ideology
which controlled the socioeconomic and
therefore, daily lives of the people dictated
certain realities of life which they recog-
nized.There are elements of this recognition
demonstrated in an Antiguan calypso, "Ed-
ucate the Youths," by Calypso Joe: "What in
the world could beat /A sound education
/ Nothing whatsoever in this modern
generation / Now without a good educa-
tion upstairs / You will be handicap for
donkey years /So to de whole wide world
I will say / Educate you little kid from
Chorus: "You got to tell dem what is
wrong / You got to teach dem what is right
/ An for what is worth achieving they
have got to fight / Teach dem to be honest,
sincere and wise / An on dey shoulders,
de future of de whole world lies / A tree
begins from de root / So is you duty to
nurture an treat de youth,
"Education I know is a all important
thing / In this world where morals are
deteriorating / Don't allow your son or
daughter to follow de crowd / Cultivate a
perfect man of whom you'll be proud /
Give youth education top priority / That
they'll be assets, not disgracing society.
"Man de tings dat you teach a child
from de time he small / No matter what it
be, he won't depart from it at all / So do
your little bit to educate de youth / If you

want your seeds to bring forth good fruit /
.... / Train up you kids parents so that you
can hear / In the near future of a Words-
worth or a Shakespeare / Instill a good
foundation right from de start / So dat
when he goes he shall not depart / For
every infant that goes astray / There's an
adult responsible today."
This calypso demonstrates the means by
which the black person in the Caribbean
sought to achieve elements of the domi-
nant image; as one line says, "cultivate a
perfect man of whom you'll be proud," and
another suggests that to do so is to create a
"Wordsworth or Shakespeare." Education
was not sought to achieve wisdom and
growth, nor even to build a society, but be-
cause it was, as Sparrow says, "the key to
success." In a calypso entitled "Education"
he makes an even stronger case for formal
education as the means of achieving all that
is good in society: "Education, Education /
This is the foundation /Our risingpopula-
tion / Needs sound education / To be rec-
ognized anywhere you go / You have your
certificate to show / To enjoy any kind of
happiness / Knowledge is the key to
Chorus: "Children go to school / And
learn well /Otherwise later on in life /You
go catch real hell / Without an education
in you head / Your whole life will be pure
misery / You better off dead / For there is
simply no room / In this whole wide
world /Foran uneducated little boy or girl
/ Don allow idle companions / To lead
you astray / To earn tomorrow / You got to
learn today.
"For employment, yes employment /


You must be intelligent /It's essential, very
essential/ To have your credential / But if
you're blockheaded / Like a mule / No
one will employ a fool / You'll be the last
one to be hired / And the first one to be
"Illiteracy, illiteracy / Is man's greatest
enemy / It's your duty, yes your duty /
Stampt it out completely / Ignorance al-
ways impedes progress /Education saves
you much distress /So learn, learn, learn
as much as you can / For the nation's
future is in your hand.
"It's a treasure, yes a treasure / Beyond
any measure /Just secure it, just secure it
/Don't ever ignore it / To fight life's battles,
come what may / Education, lights up
your way / Without it you'll never get
through / Success or failure now is up to
What these calypsos demonstrate is that
domination makes those in a subordinate
position realists who understand all of the
ramifications of their world. It would have
been unrealistic, then, for the colonized
man in the Caribbean to believe that by
being a "badjohn" he would transcend the
pressures of his society. The use of force in
the society would have also served to con-
vince him that he could not engage in such
a tactic for long. At the same time, the "bad-
john" brings the calypsonian much more

support and applause than that given when
he sings a calypso in support of the domi-
nant ideological image. We would posit
then that the development of the "badjohn"
is a demonstration of the response of the
colonized man in the Caribbean to his dom-
ination; the Anansi character is a demon-
stration of such a response.
The social pressures on the colonized
people of the Caribbean were such that the
"badjohn" image became legendary; the
"badjohn" was the antihero that Bonnie and
Clyde were to the harried Americans of their
era. Caribbean man could perhaps see in
the "badjohn" a man who acted freely--an
autonomous, independent being-the
"ontologically secure" being of whom R.D.
Laing frequently spoke.
The "badjohn" demonstrated a certain
measure of the Hegelian search for free-
dom, autonomy, and independence-a
willingness to sacrifice life for an ideal.
"Badjohns" were violent, not because they
were "ignorant," but because violence had
been perpetrated against them by the con-
trolling forces in the society, and they could
respond only in this manner. The "bad-
johns" ideal was not the ideal of the prevail-
ing ideology, but that of his own creation,
used in his own combat against his per-
ceived enemy.
Seen as the Caribbean antihero, the

"badjohn" demonstrated the need in the
society for man to free himself, to differenti-
ate himself from objects in the natural
world. The "badjohn" was heroic because
he moved freely, unfettered by the confines
of the dominant hegemony, to make of
himself a person rather than existing as an
object. The "whitening" process, the angli-
cization, the education, the marrying "light"
[putting "milk" in you coffee], had all served
to make Caribbean man an object. His re-
ification was not complete, however, for if he
could see something of value in the "bad-
john," it must be seen as a demonstration of
at least a measure of reaction against his
As Jean-Paul Sartre suggests, when one
attempts to reshape oneself-using the
Other as the yardstick-one becomes an
object. When Caribbean man engaged in
reshaping himself to fit the dominant
model of the society, he did so at the loss of
a part of his selfhood, and it is his reaction
against this that we see demonstrated in his
culture, which is a mirror of his self-his
being. His culture is not the reaction, but in
his culture, we see a demonstration of his
reaction. The folk tales, proverbs or sayings,
the reggae and the calypso are not used as
"prescriptions" for survival, but are rather,
expressions of the life condition of the black
folk of the Caribbean. D


Co-wives and


Cowives and Calabashes is a book about women's lives in one
polygamous society. The society is that of the Saramaka
Maroons of Suriname. It is a society that anthropologist Sally
Price knows well. She has studied the Saramaka for over
fifteen years, and spent three years living in the interior of
Suriname where she not only observed the traditional role of
women, but lived it herself. Out of that experience comes this
book about the roles and expectations of Saramaka women
... about their relationships with men and with one another...
and about the artistic expression of those roles and

Cloth $24.00/paper $12.50

The University of Michigan Press
Dept DV P.O. Box 1104 Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106

CA ,BBEAN frEViw/51

Edited by
H. Hoetink (Man. Ed.), Richard Price, Sally Price b,:: Reviews), H.U.E.
Thoden van Velzen, P Wagenaar Hummelinck, L.J. Westermann-van der
Now an exclusively English-language journal, the NWIG continues its long
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Its interdisciplinary scope encompasses anthropology, history, linguistics,
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Volume 58 (1984) includes coritatiiinris by, among others, Derek Bicker-
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Published continuously since 1919

Recent Books

An informative listing of books about the Caribbean,
Latin America, and their emigrant groups

By Marian Goslinga

Anthropology and Sociology
CULTUUR? W Koot, ed. Stichting Kibra
Hacha (Utrecht, Netherlands), 1983. Nf
4.50. About the cultural assimilation of
Antillean migrants in the Netherlands.

GIANT May Lumsden. Layne (Nova Scotia,
Canada), 1982. 65 p. $6.00.

LAREDO, 1755-1870. Gilberto M. Hinojosa.
Texas A & M University Press, 1983. 144 p.

HERO. Emilio A. G6mez. Avon Books,
1983. 80 p. $2.50.

CHIAPAS. Robert F. Wasserstrom. University
of California Press, 1983. 344 p. $27.50.

Ediciones El Caballito (Mexico), 1982.
189 p.

WEST INDIES. William W Dressier.
Redgrave (South Salem, N.Y.), 1982. 158 p.

LIFE: A THEOLOGY. Pablo Richard, et al.
Barbara E. Campbell, Bonnie Shephard,
trans. Orbis Books, 1983. 256 p. $12.95.
Essays on liberation theology with
references to idolatry in Latin America,
originally published under title: La lucha de
los dioses.

ARGENTINA. Alberto Kleiner, ed. Libreros y
Editores del Poligono (Buenos Aires,
Argentina), 1983. 10 vols.

WATERFALLS. Michael J. Harner. University
of California Press, 1983. 239 p. $30.00;
$7.95 paper. Reprint of the 1972 ed.

NICARAGUA. Teofilo Cabestrero. Orbis
Books, 1983. 160 p. $6.95. Interviews with
Ernesto Cardenal, Minister of Culture,
Fernando Cardenal, Youth Movement
Coordinator, and Miguel d'Escoto, Foreign
Minister, of Nicaragua. All three are priests.

Porcupine Press, 1983. 203 p. $17.50.
Reprint of the 1939 ed.

Alegria, D. J. Flakoll. Ediciones Era
(Mexico), 1983. 146 p.

AND ITS RELIGION. Ivor Morrish. J. Clarke
(Cambridge, Eng.), 1982. 122 p.

TIJUCAS. Maria Theresinha Sobierajski
Barreto. Universidade Federal de Santa
Catarina (Florian6polis, Brazil), 1983.
143 p.

Ediciones (Caracas, Venezuela), 1982. 511
p. $20.00.

Victoria R. Bricker. 2d ed. University of
Texas Press, 1983. 277 p. $8.95.

G. La Guerre. Institute of Social and
Economic Research (University of the West
Indies), 1982. 136 p. $12.00.

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS. Earle B. Ottley.
Ottley (St. Thomas, VI.), 1982. 438 p.

COLONIA, 1531-1810. John C. Super.
Mercedes Pizarro Romero, trans. Fondo de
Cultura Econ6mica (Mexico), 1983. 294 p.
Translation of Queretaro: society and
economy in early provincial Mexico,


ORPHEUS. Robert Parker. Twayne, 1983.
166 p. $21.95. Biography of the Mexican

EL DICTADOR. Fernando Fernandez.
Corregidor (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1983.
385 p. About Argentina's Juan Manuel

Tibol. Editorial Oasis (Mexico), 1983.152 p.

AND PATRIOT, 1780-1860. Jane Lucas de
Grummond. Louisiana State University
Press, 1983. 300 p. $27.50. Biography of
Bolivar's favorite admiral.

RESPLANDECIENTE. Rafael Felipe Muifoz.
Fondo de Cultura Econ6mica (Mexico),
1983. 277 p. Reprint of the 1945 ed.

SCHOLAR: A TRIBUTE. Edward A. Alpers,
Pierre-Michel Fontaine, eds. Center for Afro-
American Studies, University of California,
1983. 187 p. $17.95. Biography of the
Guyanese scholar and revolutionary
assassinated in 1980.

Description and Travel
CABO SAN LUCAS. Susan H. Crow. Graphic
Image Publications, 1983. 100 p. $4.95.

Henri J. M. Nouwen. Harper & Row, 1983.
188 p. $12.95. Journal of a Dutch priest
traveling through Peru and Bolivia.


James E. Moore. Pelican, 1983. 320 p.

1982-1983. Connie Garcia, Arthur Medina.
Puerto Rico Almanacs, 1983. 340 p. $9.95.

Francesco Gemelli Cabreri; Jose M. Agreda
y Sanchez, trans. Universidad Aut6noma de
Mexico, 1983. 214 p. Reprint of the 1955
ed. which was a translation of that part of
the author's Giro del Mondo, which relates
to New Spain.

ARGENTINA, 1650-1767. Nicholas P
Cushner. State University of New York Press,
1983. 206 p. $44.50; $14.50 paper.

NEW PERSPECTIVES. Diana Tussle, ed. St.
Martin's Press, 1983. 213 p. $25.00.

FAILURE. Gustavo Coronel. Lexington
Books, 1983.


M. de la Cueva. Ediciones Roalva (La Paz,
Bolivia), 1983. 370 p.

DEVELOPMENT Sylvia Ann Hewlett,
Richard S. Weinert, eds. Institute for the
Study of Human Issues, 1983. 350 p.

LA QUESTION AGRARIA, 1933-1971. Carlos
Lleras Restrepo. Osprey (Bogota,
Colombia), 1983. 375 p. Colombia's former
president writes about his country's
agrarian problems.

BARBADE. Romain Paquette. Presses de
I'Universite de Montreal, 1982. 214 p.

1930-1982. Luiz Carlos Bresser Pereira;
Marcia Van Dyke, Nancy Voigt, trans.
Westview Press, 1983. 325 p. $25.00.
Translation of Desenvolvimiento e crise
no Brasil.

Anthony Thompson. Commonwealth
Publications (Nassau, Bahamas), 1982.
292 p.

ECONOMIC STUDY Gabriel Siri. Lexington
Books, 1983.

Molina Chocano. 2d ed. Universidad
Nacional Aut6noma de Honduras, 1982.
136 p.

Vellinga, Dirk Kruijt. Centro de Estudios y
Documentaci6n Latinoamericanos, CEDLA
(Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1983. 185 p.

PANAJACHEL. Kent Mathewson. Westview
Press, 1983. 185 p. $19.00.

Paget Henry. Transaction Books, 1983.
297 p. $34.95.

Bossen. State University of New York Press,
1983. 368 p. $46.50; $16.95 paper.

BARBADOS, 1965-1977. Lionel L. Nurse.
Institute of Social and Economic Research,
University of the West Indies (Cave Hill,
Barbados), 1983. 119 p.

BASIC NEEDS. Claes Brundenius.
Westview Press, 1983. 160 p. $30.00.

SOCIAL ASPECTS. Clark W. Reynolds,
Carlos Tello, eds. Rev. ed. Stanford
University Press, 1983. 375 p. $25.00.

History and Archaeology
NACIMIENTO. Francisco de Solano,
Fermin del Pino. Institute Gonzalo
Fernandez de Oviedo (Madrid, Spain),
1982. 431 p. 1.000 ptas.

THE ANCIENT MAYA. Sylvanus G. Morley,
George W. Brainerd. 4th rev. ed. Stanford
University Press, 1983. 728 p. $28.50.

Sheets. University of Texas Press, 1983. 320
p. $35.00.

SIGLOS. Jose Luis Romero, Luis Alberto
Romero. Abril (Buenos Aires, Argentina),
1983. 2 vols.

Cyclone Covey, ed. and trans. University of
New Mexico Press, 1983. 160 p. $4.95.
Translation of La relaci6n y comentarios del
governador Alvar Nufiez Cabe:a de Vaca de
lo acaescido en las dos jornadas que hizo a
las Indias.

Barbados Museum and Historical Society,
1982. 188 p.

PERU. Luis Martin. University of New
Mexico Press, 1983. 416 p. $29.95; $14.95

AMERICA. Juan de la Pefia. Escuela
Espafiola de la Paz (Madrid, Spain), 1982.
547 p. 1.600 ptas.

4F-2. William A. Haviland. University
Museum, University of Pennsylvania, 1983.

FROM THE BORDER. Oscar J. Martinez,
ed. University of New Mexico Press, 1983.
256 p. $24.95.

ACTUAL. Luis Vitale. Editorial Nueva
Imagen (Mexico), 1983. 121 p.

Pierre Gustave Louis Borde; James Alva
Bain, A. S. Mavrogordato, trans. Paria
Publishing Co. (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad),
1982. 2 vols. Translation of Histoire de I'le
de la Trinidad sous le gouvernement
espagnol; this is a reprint of the 1932 ed.

CENTURY Harold J. Lidin. Waterfront Press
(Maplewood, New Jersey), 1983. 250 p.
$18.95; $10.00 paper.

Lyle Stuart (Secaucus, N.J.), 1983. 128 p.
$3.95. Reprint of the Moncada trial defense


VELASCO, 1550-1552. Silvio Zavala.
Archivo General de la Naci6n (Mexico),
1982. 510 p.

MALDITO PAIS. Jose Roman. Ediciones El Pez
y la Serpiente (Managua, Nicaragua), 1983.
203 p. A history of Nicaragua by Sandino's
personal secretary.

COLOR. William M. Ferguson, John Q.
Royce. University of New Mexico Press,
1983. 320 p. $35.00.

DE JESUS 1618-1745: CARTAS E
"COLECCION MATEU". Ernest J. Burrus,
Felix Zubillaga, eds. Porria Turanzas
(Madrid, Spain), 1982. 349 p.

Vandermeer, Peter Rosset, eds. Grove Press,
1983. 368 p. $22.50; $7.95 paper.

GESCHIEDENIS, 1590-1975. E. van den
Boogaart, et al. Fibula-Van Dishoeck
(Haarlem, Netherlands), 1983. 291 p.
Nf44.50. Essays on Dutch colonial history.

WILLEY. Evon Z. Vogt, Richard M.
Leventhal, eds. University of New Mexico
Press, 1983. 512 p. $37.50.

Timothy E. Anna. University of Nebraska
Press, 1983. 343 p. $26.50.

RELATIONS. Murdo J. MacLeod, Robert
Wasserstrom, eds. University of Nebraska
Press, 1983. 350 p. $22.95.

Mier, ed. Plaza & Janes (Bogota, Colombia),
1983. 486 p.

ECONOMIC IMPACT Shirley B. Seward,
Bernard K. Spinrad, eds. International
Development Research Centre (Ottawa,
Canada), 1982. 163 p.

MESOAMERICA. Kenneth G. Hirth, ed.
University of New Mexico Press, 1983.
336 p. $37.50.

MEXICO. Richard A. Diehl. Thames &
Hudson, 1983. $29.95.

Pearce. University of New Mexico Press,
1983. 304 p. $24.95; $12.95 paper.

Language and Literature

AMERICAN VERSE. Marvin A. Lewis.
University of Missouri Press, 1983. 208 p.

Barradas, ed. Ediciones del Norte (Hanover,
N.H.), 1983. 250 p. $9.00.

Szichman; Roberto Picciotto, trans.
Ediciones del Norte (Hanover, N.H.), 1983.
288 p. $7.50. Translation of A las 20:25 la
Sefiora entr6 en la inmortalidad, a novel
about Argentina.

Starr. Ivrington, 1983. $24.50. Reprint of the
1920 ed.

JUAN JOSE ARREOLA. Yulan M. Washburn. G.
K. Hall, 1983. 168 p. $16.95.

JUAN RULFO. Luis Leal. G. K. Hall, 1983.
151 p. $17.50.

CRITICAL HISTORY. Margaret Sayers Peden,
ed. G. K. Hall, 1983. $17.95.

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1983.
256 p. $29.50.

COMPROMETIDOS. Salvador Rodriguez
del Pino. Bilingual Press (Ypsilanti, Mich.),
1982. 159 p. $7.95.

NICARAGUENSE. Jorge Eduardo Arellano.
Nueva Nicaragua (Managua, Nicaragua),
1982. 197 p.

LIMA. Raymond D. Souza. University of
Missouri Press, 1983.

Cathy L. Jrade. University of Texas Press,
1983. 192 p. $19.95.

LITERATURE. Kessel Schwartz. University
Press of America, 1983. 401 p. $28.50;
$16.25 paper.

Claudius Armbruster. Vervuert (Frankfurt,
Germany), 1982. 338 p. DM25.00.

Politics and Government
Di Tella. St. Martin's Press, 1983. 246 p.

ISLANDS, 1917-1949. William W. Boyer.
Antilles Graphics (St. Croix, VI.), 1982.
184 p. $11.95.

A. Morris, Victor Millan, eds. Westview Press,
1983. 272 p. $22.50.

CUBAN COMMUNISM. Irving Louis Horowitz,
ed. 5th ed. Transaction Books, 1983. 688 p.

Luis Viola. Tinta Nueva (Buenos Aires,
Argentina), 1983. 251 p.

PERONISMO. Juan Jose Sebreli. Legasa
(Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1983. 213 p.

Steffen W. Schmidt. Documentary
Publications (Salisbury, N.C.), 1983. 217 p.

Goldblat, Victor Millan. Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute
(SIPRI), 1983.

1970-1980. Charles William Maynes, et al.
Westview Press, 1983. 175 p. $20.00; $9.95
paper. Edited by the staff of Foreign Policy.

Pathfinder Press (Sydney, Australia), 1982.
288 p. $23.00; $6.95 paper.


MEXICO. Richard N. Fagen, Olga Pellicer,
eds. Stanford University Press, 1983. 228 p.
$20.00; $11.95 paper.

AMERICA. Cole Blasier. University of
Pittsburgh Press, 1983. 176 p. $14.95;
$7.95 paper.

Carlos Escud&. Editorial de Belgrano
(Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1983. 397 p.

FONSECA AMADOR. Guillermo Rothschuh
Tablada. 3d rev. ed. Ediciones Distribuidora
Cultural (Managua, Nicaragua), 1983.
132 p.

Tennassee. Guyanese Research and
Representation Services (Toronto, Canada),
1982. 101 p.

Tapia. Editorial Grijalbo (Mexico), 1983.
165 p.

Hylton Edwards. Imprint Caribbean
(Trinidad and Tobago), 1982. 154 p.

Dunkerley. Schocken Books, 1983. 264 p.

Elisabeth Reiman. Ediciones El Caballito
(Mexico), 1983. 142 p.

REVOLUTION 1979-1983. Pathfinder Press
(New York), 1983. 400 p. $6.95.28 speeches
and interviews of Maurice Bishop, plus
reprints of additional speeches and material
from Granma about the events of October

INDEPENDENCE. Selwyn R. Cudjoe.
Calaloux Publications (Ithaca, N.Y.), 1983.
217 p. About social and political changes
on Trinidad and Tobago.

AMERICA LATINA. Leopoldo Allub.
Editorial Katun (Mexico), 1983. 268 p.

Cordillo. Vantage Press, 1983. $7.95.

DIMENSIONS. Wolf Grabendorff, Heinrich-
W. Krumwiede, Jeorg Todt. Westview Press,
1983. 175 p. $16.50.

JAMAICAN PEOPLE, 1976-81. Carl Stone.
Blackett Publishers (Kingston, Jamaica),
1982. 78 p. Results of a comprehensive

Riordan Roett. 3d ed. Prager, 1983. 272 p.
$24.95; $12.95 paper.

POSTWAR ERA. Lars Schoultz. University
of North Carolina Press, 1983. 160 p. $9.95.

Remedios Contreras, ed. Consejo Superior
de Investigaciones Cientificas (Madrid,
Spain), 1982. 312 p. 900 pts.

Susanne Jonas, eds. 2nd rev. ed. Synthesis
Publications (San Francisco, Calif.), 1983.
200 p. $8.95.

COLOMBIA. Richard E. Hartwig. University
of Pittsburgh Press, 1983. 288 p. $24.95.

HEMISPHERE? Congressional Research
Service, Library of Congress. U.S. Govt.,
Printing Office, 1982. 367 p.

Rowman and Allanheld (Totowa, N.J.),
1983. 170 p. $26.95.

200 YEARS OF GRINGOS. Carlos A. Montaner;
Gast6n Fernandez de la Toriente, James E
Horton, trans. University Press of America,
1983. $17.25; $7.75 paper. Translation of
200 aFios de gringos, a treatise on the
foreign relations between Latin America
and the U.S.

Farnsworth, James W. McKennet, eds.
Westview Press, 1983. 314 p. $23.00.

Braveboy-Wagner. Westview Press, 1983.
200 p. $20.00.


THE AMERICAS 1575-1927. Robin Price.
Wellcome Institute for the History of
Medicine (London, Eng.), 1983. 303 p.

Ellen Irene Diggs. G. K. Hall, 1983. 312 p.
Includes many references to the Caribbean
and South America.

BIBLIOTECA COLON. General Secretariat,
Organization of American States. OAS,
1983. 154 p. $15.00.

PERIODICALS, 1979-1981. Francisco
Garcia-Ayvens, Richard Chabran, eds. G.K.
Hall, 1983. 648 p. $135.00.

Elis, et al. Atica (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 1983.
472 p. $14.00.

Kleiner, ed. Poligono (Buenos Aires,
Argentina), 1983. 5 vols.

Robert A. Potash, Jan Bazant, Josefina Z.
Vazquez. University of Massachusetts, 1983.
237 p. $20.00.

Mundo Lo. G.K. Hall, 1983. $65.00.

Burton. Smyrna Press (Brooklyn, N.Y),
1983. $4.00.

NICARAGUA. Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr., comp.
ABC-Clio (Santa Barbara, California), 1983.
260 p. $21.75. A volume in the World
Bibliographical series.

Marian Goslinga is the Latin American and
Caribbean Librarian at Florida International




edited by Fitzroy Ambursley

and Robin Cohen

The revolutionary overturns which took place in
Grenada and Nicaragua in 1979 and their
significance for revolutionary struggle in all of Central
America as well as for escalating US. aggression
place the Caribbean Basin at the very center of
world politics. This anthology the first major attempt
to integrate the political experiences of the Central
American/Caribbean region as a whole, provides
analyses of the most critical events of the last four
years. Both theoretically and against historical
experience, the contributors pose the fundamental
questions of what political strategy and institutional
forms are necessary to effect a lasting transition to
socialism in this explosive region.
"One of the best efforts to deal with some of the
most important problems of making-and
sustaining-revolution in Central America and the
Caribbean." -Robert Armstrong, NACLA
co-author, El Salvador: The Face of Revolution

Paper: $10.00/6-00 PB6313
Cloth: $26.00/15-75 CL6305


The Politics of Intervention: The United
States and Central America
edited by Roger Burbach and Patricia Flynn
Paper: $10.00/6-00 PB6356
Cloth: $25.00/15-15 CL6348
The Rise of the Authoritarian State
in Peripheral Societies
by Clive Y Thomas
Paper: $11.00/6-65 PB6585
Cloth: $2700/16-35 CL6577
Please add $1 50 for the first book. 25r for each additional book, when
ordering by mail
At your bookstore or directly from
Monthly Review Press
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Adaptive Responses
of Native Amazonians
Edited by
This volume comprises an introductory re-
view followed by fourteen substantive stud-
ies of the environmental adaptations and
human ecology of the Indians of Amazonia.
In all, seventeen indigenous societies in six
modern nations are discussed in detail.
Each chapter is problem oriented and uses
original quantitative data to test specific
hypotheses concerning human adaptations
to a Neotropical ecosystem. The chapters
focus on settlement patterns, nutrition,
and the subsistence strategies of hunting,
fishing, foraging, and cultivation. The au-
thors represent a broad range of theoreti-
cal approaches to ecological anthropology:
ethnoecology, cultural ecology, cultural
materialism, and evolutionary ecology.
ApriJ/May 1983, 536 pp., $49.00
ISBN: 0-12-321250-2
Senid pai meant with order and save postage and handling. Prices are in U.S.
dollars and are subject to change without notice.
A Subsidiary of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers
New York London Toronto Sydney San Francisco
312 0144 111 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10003

Latin American and Caribbean Center
Occasional Paper Series
OPS 1 de Goes Monteiro, Pedro Aurelio. "The Brazilian
Army in 1925: A Contemporary Opinion."
OPS 2 Haber, Alicia. "Vernacular Culture in Uruguayan Art:
An Analysis of the Work of Pedro Figary, Carlos
Gonzalez and Luis Solari."
OPS 3 Drekonja Kornat, Gerhard. "Colombia: En busqueda
de una political exterior."
OPS 4 Geggus, David. "Slave Resistance Studies and the
Saint Domingue Slave Revolt: Some Preliminary
OPS 5 Santamaria, Daniel. "Iglesia y economic campesina
en el Alto Peru, siglo XVIII."
OPS 6 Pdrez-L6pez, Jorge F. "Central America's External
Debt in the 1970s and Prospects for the 1980s."

$4.00 each

Latin American and Caribbean Center
Florida International University
Tamiami Trail, Miami, FL 33199
(305) 554-2894

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