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Published quarterly at 180 Hostos, B-904, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, 00918 Fall 1970 Vol. 2, No, 3
Peruvian children, photd by Marvin Schwartz
Reminiscences of an
Aging Puerto Rican
by Oscar Lewis
(Editor's Note: The following
"reminiscences" are from a for-
thcoming book on Puerto Rican men
by anthropologist Oscar Lewis, author
of LA VIDA, THE CHILDREN OF
SANCHEZ and other studies of the
sub-culture of poverty. The names of
the narrator, his friends and family,
have been changed; only the real
names of public figures have been
I'm a self-made man, a taxi driver,
and a driver deals with all classes: the
rich, the middle class, the poor. I may
not know how to express myself well,
but I've learned plenty about life. You
might say I'm a graduate of
worldology. Listen, I could even write a
book. It would be a bad book because
my spelling is poor, but I could write
If you want to know what mankind is
really like you must seek the truth
among the simple and humble people.
You will never find it among the rich
and greedy. All you find there is
hypocrisy. Why should I be a
hypocrite? I have no reason to refuse to
talk about my life, and since it cost me
nothing I give it freely.
I'm an old man and I thank
God I've reached my sixtieth birthday.
This last part of my life is the best of
all. It's the descent, the passive, restful
part. I'm not so worried about life any
more. I have no money and no am-
bition, and I feel at peace. My business
used to rob' me of time, and now that
I've lost it I have time for everything.
I'm really better off than a millionaire.
How can a millionaire be happy when
he's always thinking of his interest, his
capital, his debts? No! His is a
desperate life; mine is a pensive one. I
have my daily bread. Between Social
Security and my lottery agency I earn
enough to get along. I've had diabetes
for fifteen years and I'm too sick to
work, so my woman Delia runs things.
Now I'm just a decorative figure in my
house. What a turn of events!
When I recall my youth, the voice of
my conscience makes me weep. I was so
irresponsible, so crude and brutal. I
lived only for physical pleasure.
We Albas have strong passions. I
must have inherited my appetite for
life, and especially for sex, from my
papf. He had eighteen children with
my mother, and a mistress and children
on the side, to which he didn't mind
admitting. Here and there he also had
his "stolen loves," as songwriter Felipe
Rodriguez would say.
I have a violent temper, just like
papa s. He used to punish me almost
every day for fighting with some other
boy. He didn't want me to fight, but I
had to. If someone abused me, I had to
defend myself. Sometimes I'd get two
beatings, one from the boy I was
fighting and one from papa.
REMINISCENCES OF AN AGING PUERTO RICAN, Oscar Lewis.... 1
THE STRUGGLE FOR THE UNDERDEVELOPED WORLD, Joseph
Bensman and Arthur Vidich ............................. 3
HISTORICAL WRITING IN THE CARIBBEAN, Thomas G. Mathews.. 4
BLACK CARIB HOUSEHOLDS, Angelina Pollak-Eltz .............. 6
HEALTH & THE DEVELOPING WORLD, John Bryant ............. 7
GUERRILLAS IN LATIN AMERICA, Luis Mercier Vega ............ 9
SOCIAL STRATA IN ESPERANZA, Carlos Buitrago-Ortiz ........... 11
DEMYTHOLOGY OF THE SHOWCASE, Luis Nieves Falcon ......... 12
PUERTO RICAN OBITUARY, Pedro Juan Pietri .................. 14
RECENT BOOKS .......................................... 15
OSCAR LEWIS, the
noted anthropologist, is
working on culture of
poverty studies in Puerto
Rico and Cuba . .
teaches sociology at
VIDICH teaches sociology
and anthropology at the
Graduate Faculty of The
New School; they are
authors of "Small Town in
Mass Society," and of a
forthcoming book on
American society to be
published by Quadrangle
Press . THOMAS G.
MATHEWS is with the
Institute of Caribbean
Studies, U. of Puerto Rico.
His article will appear in a
book of on Latin
American scholarship by U.
of Nebraska.. ANGELINA
written on Afro-American
topics and has done
research work in Venezuela
and the Caribbean islands .
.. JOHN BRYANT, M.D.
is chairman of the Christian
World Council of Churches,
and is visiting professor of
medicine at the
Thailand . LUIS
MERCER VEGA is editor
of Aportes Magazine and
head of the Instituto
Relaciones Internaciones in
Paris . CARLOS
teaches social science at U.
of Puerto Rico. His article is
abstracted from a for-
"Esperanza: The Family in
the Social Life of a Rural
Area in Northern Puerto
Rico," to be published by
the Viking Fund
Publications in An-
thropology . LUIS
NIEVES FALCON directs
the Social Science Research
Center of the U. of Puerto
Rico and is author of
"Recruitment to Higher
Education in Puerto Rico"
.. Pedro Juan Pietri teaches
poetry in the new Puerto
Rican Studies Center, State
U. of NY at Buffalo.
cArBBAN rE VIeW
Fal, 1970 Vol. 2,,No. 3
Barry Bernard Levine
Caribbean Review, a books-oriented
quarterly journal, is published by
Caribbean Review, Inc., a non-profit
corporation. Mailing address: 180
Hostos, B-904. Hato Rey,'Puerto Rico,
00918. Available by subscription only:
J year, $3; 2 years, $5.50; 3 years, $7.50;
lifetime, $25. Advertising accepted (see
rates elsewhere in this issue). Unsoli-
cited manuscripts (book reviews, trans-
ations, essays, etc) are welcomed but
should be accompanied by self-addres-
sed stamped envelope.
I also have my sentimental side,
which I get from my mamt. She was a
very quiet, mild woman. I wasn't
always so good, and when papt would
hit me mamS would jump between us,
preferring to get hit herself. Both of my
parents were very good to me, but
mamr is the one I love most.
When I was small, I learned what it
was for a man to go off with another
woman. It was the custom in those
days. My papt had begun with his
mistress Francisca before I was born.
She lived on a part of our farm, in a
house that he had built for her. She
originally came from Morovis with a
man they called Vincente Yautfa.
German Ascador took her away from
Vicente Yautia, and she had two
children with him. Then papa took her
away from Germfn and she had Jose
and Carmen with him. That's the Latin
in our blood.
I used to play with Jose, Francisca's
son, who was a year older than I. Later,
when I was married and so was he, he
came to work with me, like a brother, to
help me out in the business. He wanted
our last name; but according to the
law, all my father's legitimate sons had
to sign an agreement. I was willing to
do it, but Jose had to consult with my
other brothers, and the time just
dragged on and on. He let me know
how much he resented not having our
name. When we Puerto Ricans are
called "bastards," we don't like it. It
hurts us. It really hurts! I'm a
legitimate child, but if they call any
SPuerto Ricans bastards it wounds me.
So I have to feel sorry for my half-
Francisca had quite a few arguments
with mamt, who would grab her by the
hair and Ave Maria! Then papa and
his woman had a quarrel and she went
off to another town. Papa followed her
and abandoned us for a few years.
When a home is broken, as ours was
broken, what can one be expected to
say? A man has strong emotions; he
suffers, he feels. I resented my father
for what he did, but not so much for
myself. I felt it more because it harmed
my mother. She didn't know how to
reason well, and she suffered very
much while papa was away. I didn't
miss him because I lived comfortably.
My brother Ramon was like a father to
us all. He bought a house in town,
where he worked, and we went there to
live, and what was left of the farm was
put into the hands of a sharecropper
who used to harvest the fruits and bring
them to us.
Then there was a miracle. It was a
Saturday and maml was ironing in the
dining room. We had electricity at the
time, but she was using a little charcoal
iron. She heard a traveling salesman
out in the street yelling, "Prayers and
novenas for sale!" and she went out on
the balcony to talk to him. "How much
are the prayers?" she asked.
"Ten cents apiece," he said.
"Give me one for the Virgin of
Everlasting Mercy and one for el NiAo
de Atoche," mamn said, and paid him
At night mama always used to say
the Rosary of the Virgin, with all of us
gathered around. That a custom we've
forgotten! But that night, before
reciting the Rosary, mami told my
sister "Aida to kneel beside her and
together they recited the two prayers
she had bought. I don't know what
mama asked the saints for in return for
the prayers, because she prayed
silently. I only know that five days
later, at three o'clock in the morning,
we heard a knock on the kitchen
window and a man's voice calling
mamas name: "Mari! Mari!"
"Who is it?" mama called out.
"It's me, Roberto, your husband.' I
come for forgiveness. Open up!"
Mama opened the kitchen door and
papt came in. He threw his arms
husband is a man, and men go out.
Women stay home!"
I should have gone back to my wife,
but I didn't. I didn't hate her, but I
didn't love her either; I was just in-
different. I never even sent her a peso
for herself and our two daughters. Her
father had money, so I let him take care
of them. What a husband I was!
Years later, when I was living with
Delia, I saw my wife again. Her father
had lost all his money and she was
poor, but I had come up in the world.
My taxicab business was prosperous
and I was president of the municipal
assembly. I was a man of power and
influence. One day I was going to visit
my brother in the hospital and I saw
my two daughters running down the
hall toward me. "Papi, papi, mami's
very sick!" they cried.
Ramona had double pneumonia and
was near death. The people in the
hospital, who thought I was married to
Delia, didn't know Ramona was my
wife, so they didn't give her any special
treatment. She was just another poor
sick woman to them. I was ashamed
when I saw her lying in the women's
ward. She looked so thin and pale. My
brother was in a private room, which I
got for him, but my wife was put to bed
wearing the clothes she wore when she
came in, and there was no linen on her
I told the head nurse that Ramona
was my wife and got her moved to a
private room. While they were
preparing her I went out and bought
her three nightgowns -- one pink, one
yellow and one blue and some sheets
and pillow cases for her bed. When she
was brought to her room, the bed was
already made up and the nightgowns
were laid out on it. I was afraid she
would throw them at me if she saw me,
around her and fell to his knees, crying,
"I'll never abandon you again!" And
he never did.
When you're young, you do what
others do. My father and lots of other
married men went out with women,
and when I got married, I did the same.
I didn't realize how wrong I was or how
much my wife Ramona suffered.
Ordinarily Ramona was a peaceful
woman, but one day she found a
woman's handkerchief in my coat
pocket and went into a rage. She threw
me out! When her father heard about
it, he scolded her. He said, "Your
the world. I knew only the animal part
of myself and I became a slave to its
demands. I thought of no one else.
The church couldn't save me from
my sins because it wanted to keep me in
my place. It didn't want me to learn the
truth about God because an ignorant
man is easier to control.
Now that I know the truth, I'm a
different man. I know that I am not all
animal. There is a part of God in me, as
there is in every human being. It is the
spiritual part of my nature and it tells
me how to resist my selfish physical
desires. As long as I listen to that
Divine Voice inside me, I know I can
never harm anyone again. You see, I
don't care about myself now; I care
about you and the other fellow.
Human life is a part of all life, and I
believe it exists forever in the little
birds, in the forests, in the atmosphere.
We are a part of nature, and we react
according to the way nature reacts. We
have our sad moments, our disastrous
moments -- our cyclones and
hurricanes; then comes the fair
weather, and whatever was carried
away by the storm is made over again.
Our life is a continuous struggle bet-
ween good and evil, right and wrong.
We have times of peace and joy, but
also times of suffering and restlessness,
when men are made. I've learned to
savor my unpleasant experiences
because one can't achieve manhood
unless it is forged in pain.
I'm a Spiritist now and I try to help
people. When they come to me with
their problems, I seek help from the
spirits of the dead that inhabit the
cosmos. Someday, when my earthly
days are over, my soul will join those
spirits, and whatever wisdom I have
gained in this life will be passed on to
those who remain on earth. I want my
Photo In San Juan, Puerto Rico by Orlando Canales
so I watched her from the hall where I
couldn't be seen.
Ramona was weak and sat on the
bed. She looked at the nightgowns
and asked the nurse who bought them.
"Don Paco Alba," the nurse said.
Ramona smiled and picked up the blue
nightgown and held it to her. "Paco,
Paco, Paco!" she said and began to
cry. I felt as if someone had stabbed me
in my heart. Only then did I realize how
much my wife loved me and how much
I had hurt her. That night she died.
I was born ignorant, and it was in my
ignorance that I did so much harm in
CAYBBEAN W NW
soul to be a helpful one, so I'm trying to
lead a good life while I'm here.
When I was in my teens an ideal was
born in me. I was working out in the
cane fields and some workers came
marching by, carrying a flag. "Rise up!
You're not getting paid a fair wage!"
they shouted. The plantation owners
tried to stop them, and that's when the
bullets started flying. I found myself on
the side of the marchers, throwing
rocks at the men with guns. In that one
split second I had learned what
democracy was all about: it means that
a man has a right to profit from his
sweat. I decided to spend my life
fighting for that right.
If I had had an opportunity to study
when 1 was young, I probably would
have become a lawyer, like Perry
Mason. But I would have defended the
poor, never the rich. Instead of being a
lawyer, I went into politics. First I was
a Socialist. In Puerto Rico the
Socialists weren't radical, like the
Communists; they stood for a better
way of life and the rights of all men,
and their program was very much like
Munoz Mann's today.
Munoz used to be a Socialist, too. All
the liberals were. The only other major
party in those days was the Republican
Party, and that was conservative. Only
the rich people, the blanquitos, were
In 1936 the Socialists thought they
could win the election by forming an
alliance with the Republicans. What a
mistake that was! They won the
election, but they had to give in to the
Republicans and the Coalition
Government they formed was a dismal
affair. That's when I stopped being a
I've been a Popular ever since
Muifoz formed the party in 1940. He
called it the party of Bread, Land and
Liberty, and the straw hat of the
worker became its symbol. All the old
liberals gathered around him. I
remember him making speeches that
year, and I thought to myself, "I'm for
any man who wants to improve our way
of life, and that's what this man is
trying to do." He won that election,
Puerto Rico has a good government
now. Anyone who can't see how much
progress we've made since 1940 must
be blind! I remember when the rich
were the lords of the world. They were
the ones who gave out the jobs, and the
poor had to work for whatever they
chose to pay. A taxi driver got a ticket
for almost anything in those days, and
when I got one I couldn't go right to a
judge and defend myself. First I had to
go to a blanquito and ask him for a
pass; then I could go in to see the judge
and if I was lucky he might reduce my
fine from 25 pesos to 5. And for that I
had to go back and thank the
My father lost his land to the rich
sugar mill owners. They would advance
him the money to plant cane in his
fields, but when the crops came in they
would offer my father next to nothing
for them. He always wound up in debt
to them and little by little he had to sell
them his land. Our farm really
belonged to my mother, who had
inherited it from her father, so she had
to sign each piece away. I remember
how she used to cry.
The poor may be quiet, but they have
feelings. They needed someone to speak
up for them, and that's what Muiioz
MarAn did. Today the poor have in-
fluence; they matter. Before 1940
people were starving to death in Puerto
Rico. Now there's bread for everybody
who's willing to work for it, and if a
man goes hungry it's because he's lazy.
There are plenty of jobs. Even the
servants in the homes of the blanquitos
get a good salary. And if they aren't
treated decently, they can quit and go
on relief. No wonder the rich hate
Today a poor man can go where he
pleases, even to the best hotels. A poor
boy goes to school with a peseta in his
pocket; he rides in a free bus and eats a
good lunch in the school dining room.
When I was a boy I had neither the
peseta, the bus, nor the lunch. If that
isn't progress, tell me what is.
Mine is the path of improving and
improving, not for myself but for
mankind. In 1944 I was elected
president of our municipal assembly,
and I may not have been the smartest
politician, but I was sincere. I have a
loud voice and I could win people over.
I wasn't like some politicians who only
look out for their own interests. I had
my share of fights with that kind, but I
usually got their support because they
could see that I wanted nothing for
myself. I had no "sweet potatoes" of
my own. I was for the people. I was in
office for four years and mine was a
good administration because I got
everyone to work together. When the
poor were sick, we saw that they got
medicine; and when they needed a
school, we managed to build one.
A politician has to be practical. I
remember when Muloz wanted Puerto
Rico to be independent. Now he says
that was an error of his youth. Those
who still want independence are angry
with him, but they don't understand
him. He's an intelligent man. He knows
that without the United States to
protect us we'd be eaten up by Cuba.
If you really love people and want to
get help for them, you have to be
diplomatic. Munoz understands that.
He's getting help -from the Americans,
but without giving up anything of our
own in return. We Puerto Ricans run
our own affairs, but we're allied with
the strongest country in the world.
We're better off than if we had listened
to Albizu Campos, who was willing to
shed blood for independence. What did
he care about the people! If he loved'
them so much, why did he arm little
children with sticks and send them out
into the streets against soldiers with
rifles? Munoz could never do a thing
like that. He says, "Let's get Puerto
Ricans to the point where they can live
without going hungry."
We're moving uphill, but we have a
long way to go. We still have our
problems and we need time to solve
them. Most of our capital comes from
the United States, and I know the
Americans aren't investing their money
in us because they love us. But Puerto
Rican investors are afraid to risk their
money in their own country. Someday
that will change.
At times it looks as if man's
ignorance will win out, but it never
really does. Goodness always marches
ahead. Someday we Puerto Ricans will
be strong and proud. I may not live to
see it, but someday my children will be
as good as any American.
to their former Western colonial
masters and exploiters without, in spite
of this resentment, developing in-
ternally stable societies that have a
secure ideological and political base.
Factionalism, brutal competition for
dominance, internecine warfare, and
the emergence of military
totalitarianism are the chief charac-
teristics of the governments of the
underdeveloped world. To would-be
leaders, political life in the un-
derdeveloped nations appears to be full
of ultimate opportunities. Thus the
former colonial states are replete with
adventurers, with prophets and saviors
whose sense of salvation for themselves
and their society has provided them
with little awareness of the limits they
confront as leaders within their society
or as masters of their foreign policy.
Tangible, immediate, and short-range
adventuristic opportunities become
guidelines for action and policy.
Due to their own weaknesses and the
psychology of their own leadership, the
former colonial states are virgin
territory for any power that has an
expansionist political ideology and that
can offer economic or military aid.
While these leaders are willing to make
deals of all kinds, the lack of internal
political and ideological stability means
that no deal short of total domination
by an outside power can be considered
to be anything but temporary. The
The centrality on a worldwide scale
of the relationship between the United
States and Russia, and the United
States and China, has colored all other
international relations, including those
of the United States with the un-
derdeveloped world. This is because
each nation in the underdeveloped
world represents not only a potential
ally of the United States, but more
important, a potential base for Russian
or Chinese influence. The role of the
underdeveloped country as a potential
ally, is especially crucial because
frequently these governments have
emerged from a revolutionary hostility
The Struggle for the
Underdeveloped World: I
Illus. from Twilight of Ancient Peru,
L. and T. Engi, McGraw-Hill. 1969
Sby Joseph Bensman & Arthur Vidich _.
political instability and ambiguity
allow the United States, Russia,
Communist China, and in Latin
America, Cuba, to confront each other
in vaguely defined situations in almost
all countries of the world. The
vagueness of the definition of these
situations adds to the potential for
violence and civil war, as do the policies
of the major powers which intensify the
already existing indigenous chaos.
Even where the underdeveloped
country is not a New Nation, as in
Latin America, the historic pattern of
ruthless and brutal exploitation by
feudal and military upper classes over
urban and rural proletariats has been
so great as to make these lower classes
virgin territory for any domestic or
imported appeals that can express and
channel their resentments. Thus in
these nations Russian-, Chinese-, and
Cuban-sponsored movements can find
opportunities and followers who are
willing to stir the brew. As a result the
United States confronts Russia, China,
and Cuba in these areas in much the
same terms as in the former colonial
Since the basic thrust of American
foreign policy has been to prevent
Russian, Chinese or Cuban penetration
of these states, the United States is
driven to seek its indigenous allies
wherever it can find them. Working in
almost all parts of the world at all
times, it frequently selects as allies the
most reactionary, corrupt, feudal, and
totalitarian elements within the
countries which it regards as vital to its
own interests. Out of an apparent sense
of desperation, the United States at
times seems to select as its allies what
appears to us to be the most easily
available candidates, neglecting such
possibilities as might exist for
developing regimes which could be
democratic, relatively decent,
somewhat clean or, at least, not too
Response to the needs of the moment
appears to be a permanent policy. For
the last twenty or twenty-five years the
United States has had a long-term
policy of short-term policies in all
underdeveloped countries. The op-
portunities missed for pursuing more
positive alternatives must be manifold.
As a result, despite its ideology of moral
superiority and its language of
democracy, the United States is seen as
the supporter of the oppressors and the
most reactionary elements in local
society. It appears that the only
prerequisite to gaining U.S. support is a
clear-cut expression of loyalty.
The logic of preventing Chinese or
Russian domination of these societies is
so persuasive and overwhelming that it
overrules all past American policies.
The traditional U.S. policy in Latin
America was properly called im-
perialism, just as were the policies of
England and France in Africa. In the
earlier imperial epoch the military and
political might of imperialistic nations
was designed to provide support for
domestic economic interests by
protecting the sources of some raw
materials and of some cheap labor, and
to a minor extent, colonial markets. In
economic terms, during the im-
perialistic period some relationship was
maintained between the expenditures
involved in maintaining military and
political domination of the colonies and
the expected economic benefits of
imperialist activity. Imperialism was
based upon an economic calculus. Both
France and England's willingness to
free their former colonies was in part
based on the excessive increase in the
military costs of pacifying a population
that had learned the value of political
autonomy from the West. Even the
granting of independence to former
colonies was thus calculated in relation
to the costs of maintaining control.
Under the older system, the granting of
independence was still part of an
Cold war politics in all of its
ramifications has destroyed the
primacy of economic imperialism as it
existed in the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. Since World War
II, the stakes in international politics
have become world domination and
total control. When there is now the
possibility of hydrogen bomb warfare,
no costs are considered too high: the
game of international politics can be
played at an economic loss and still be
regarded as successful. Modern im-
perialism is not geared to a simple
economic calculus. Moreover, this new
imperialism is a game which not only
the capitalist powers can play:
responding to the same situation and
similar logics, both Russia and China
have sacrificed their internal
development for a chance to win some
of the stakes in the world power
conflict. Because Russia and China are
at an earlier stage of accumulation,
programs of foreign aid or political and
military investments detract from their
internal development at a time when
the accumulation of capital and the
satisfaction of a mass hunger for
consumer goods are indispensable both
to economic development and political
stability. In fact, the United States is in
a more favored position than the Soviet
Union or Communist China because its
military and economic expenditures in
this race sustain certain sectors of the
American economy, whereas similar
expenditures on the part of Russia and
China constitute a drain on their
Russia is still in many ways an
underdeveloped nation because its cold
war policies have forced it to invest a
major part of its capital resources in
military production, and to export
billions of rubles of unproductive
capital in foreign military aid to allies
who, like Egypt, do not know how to
use it. In proportion to its domestic
capital and consumption needs,
Communist China's international
capital commitments place it in even a
worse position than do Russia's.
Both the Russians and the Chinese
seem to have some sense of the limits of
their capacity to invest their energies in
international projects. The United
States, especially under Lyndon B.
Johnson, only began to have a similar
sense of limits. In this American ex-
tension of its international com-
mitments, there are dangers for the
United States economy. The primary
danger is either inflation, which is the
most visible result of large-scale in-
creases in military expenditures or,
more seriously, in the slightly longer
run, the exhaustion and overex-
ploitation of America's human and
natural resources. In a sense, inflation
is an indirect measure of the latter,
which has never been directly measured
by the economists.
It would appear, then, from the point
of view of the United States, that this
worldwide political struggle must be
resolved lest the worldwide com-
mitments of American resources result
in the internal exhaustion of American
vitality, just as the expansionist policies
No other region in the new world has
experienced in the last twenty five years
such history-making political and
economic change as the Caribbean
area. Four new independent nations,
Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago,
Barbados and Guyana with an
aggregate population of over four
million have been formed. Ten other
polities, formerly Dutch, English, and
American colonies, have attained an
autonomous status with full internal
self-government. While the Dominican
Republic freed itself from one of the
most depraved dictators of any
Spanish-speaking country, Haiti came
under the control of a high priest of the
Voodoo cult who retains the loyalty of
the superstitious masses through fear.
The economic and political revolution
which transpired in Cuba has
monopolized the attention of three
continents and at one point almost
precipitated an atomic holocaust.
Finally, the peaceful economic tran-
sformation of the once poverty-plagued
island of Puerto Rico has impressed all
but the hypercritical social scientist.
As one could rightly expect, there has
emerged an impressive collection of
historical writings from these com-
munities experiencing the euphoric
drive of nationalism. Such motivation
does not always produce the best works
of history. In fact the revisionists,
whether they be the nationalists of
Trinidad or the Marxists of Cuba, have
produced histories with clearly
discernible political motives. The best
studies have been those which tran-
scend national boundaries, either by
considering the area as a geographic
whole or by analyzing a particular
One of the most impressive works
dealing with the history of the
Caribbean appeared in 1956 under the
modest title of A Short History of the
West Indies. The two authors, J.H.
Parry, a student of the colonial empires
of the new world, and Philip M.
Sherlock, a dedicated teacher con-
cerned with the local heritage of his
islands, accomplished the ex-
traordinary achievement of bridging
the divisions of the artificial political
systems which separated the colonial
history of Jamaica from that of Cuba,
of that of Haiti from its neighbor the
Dominican Republic. No other work
had tried, either before or since, to
integrate into one concise history the
competitive story of the building of
Caribbean colonial empires and the
embryonic growth of a Caribbean
community. Authoritatively and
engagingly written, this brief volume
has become the cornerstone of
Caribbean historical works.
A second major work, which tran-
scends the limitations of a national
of ancient Rome caused the loss of
Roman vitality. The weakness of
American policy is its failure to un-
derstand the limits of its strength.
Communist China, and apparently the
Soviet Union, appear to be aware of
this weakness. China's policy of
creating or supporting local brush fires
and insurrectionary movements even,
when necessary, at the expense of
indigenous Communist or subservient
indigenous leaders may succeed in
overcommitting the United States to
vitality-exhausting policies at little or
no expense to China itself. (The limits
of this policy, however, are the inability
of China to put out its own internal
history by dealing with an institution
which left its diabolical impression on
every island community, appeared one
year before the period under study but
because of its importance reference
must be made to it. Capitalism and
Slavery by the brilliant Trinidadian
historian, Dr. Eric Williams, whose
professional interests have been more
recently sacrificed to politics, stands as
a monumental classic in Caribbean
studies. A few who would detract from
its value point to its Marxist orien-
tation, but none have refuted its thesis
that slavery only began to decline when
it was no longer profitable to the
commercial interests which had created
such a monstrous abomination.
There are studies written mostly by
non-Caribbeanists which are either
I llus. from "Bibliografia Historica Mexi-
cana: IIl," Coleglo de Mexico, 1969
marginal to the field of history or not
concerned exclusively with the
Caribbean. Some deal with the history
of the Negro, the predominant racial
group in the Caribbean; for example,
the late Frank Tannenbaum's study of
the Slave and Citizen; the Negro in the
Americas, or the sociologist H.
Hoetink's recent work entitled The
Two Variants in Caribbean Race
Relations. Other works like Noel
Deerr's History of Sugar or Leland
Jenks' The Sugar Industry of the
Caribbean deal with the once all-
important agricultural product grown
on almost every island of the Carib-
bean. Strangely enough no historian
has produced a study of the plantation
in the Caribbean, although individual
monographs on the several varieties of
this social institution have been
published, such as Sidney Mintz's
Worker in the Cane, R. Pares' A West
Indian Fortune, Roland Ely's Cuando
Reinaba su Majestad el Azucar, or Guy
Laserre's Une Plantation de canne aux
antilles, but each of these and un-
mentioned others deal with specific
islands rather than a comparative and
comprehensive study of the institution
in the Caribbean. No attempts have
brush fires.) The direct encounter with
China, vast, ambiguous, and ex-
pensive as it is, represents only a
fraction of the total United States
The logic of America's present world
position, then, has forced it to intervene
in the internal affairs of all of the
underdeveloped areas of the world. The
negative policy of preventing Com-
munist expansion requires positive
expenditures of men and resources to
insure against it. As a result a whole
host of institutions have been invented
for the purpose of intervening in the
political life of the underdeveloped
in the Caribbean
^__________^ _^_______ ~by Thomas G. Mathews _
been made to focus on the historical
development of the Caribbean as a
commercial center, such as Fernand
Braudel did with the Mediterranean,
although certainly English, Spanish, or
American historians have written about
a particular nation's exploitation of the
people of the Caribbean. See for
example Dexter Perkins' The United
States and the Caribbean or the
Chaunnus' Seville et l'atlantique.
In Central America, the same
scarcity of works dealing with the
region as a whole is noted. Most of the
historical works which transcend
national interests, such as that by
Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, deal with the
short-lived Central American
Federation. Although not of book
length, Robert Chamberlain's excellent
study of Francisco Morazan is worthy
of mention. Although in the Caribbean
and particularly in Central America
great strides have been recently made
toward economic integration within
each region, the historical writings in
the area have not reflected this
movement but rather the divisive
nationalist sentiments in both areas. In
the case of the Caribbean countries,
this may be easier to understand, since
they are comparatively new nations
concerned with defining their national
culture and clarifying for themselves
their nation's heritage.
Since 1954 the Dutch areas of the
Caribbean, the Netherlands Antilles
and Surinam, have participated as self-
governing members with Holland in the
Kingdom of the Netherlands. The
creation of these two nearly in-
dependent states with full local
autonomy has stimulated the people to
consider themselves as communities
with their own unique development
related to, but separate from, that of
Holland. No strong nationalist or
independence movement has developed
as yet in either Caribbean country, but
there are signs in both Surinam and the
Netherlands Antilles that a concern for
national pride is growing.
In the Netherlands Antilles, Johan
Hartog, a long-time Dutch resident of
the island of Aruba where he serves as
director of the public library, has
turned out a series of historical works
on the islands belonging to Holland,
entitled The History of the Netherlands
Antilles. Based on only an amateur's
training in history, Hartog's works,
lacking the normal historian's ac-
couterments of cited sources either
through footnotes or bibliography,
should be used with care. As would be
expected, the works, some of them
translated into English, reflect a
natural Dutch bias but at least provide
a base for later more specialized
On the basis of a very promising first
essay one would venture to predict that
Alejandro Paula, currently serving as
curator of the Netherlands Antilles
archives, will be preparing important
historical monographs on the history of
his islands. This study, entitled From
Objective to Subjective Barriers, makes
excellent use of historical material to
point out the need for exploring the
past to capture the full personality of
the native Antillian.
In contrast with the Netherlands
Antilles, Surinam has a much more
heterogeneous population with
Javanese, East Indians, Bush Negro,
and Amer-indians all trying to live
together and forge a new nation. The
feeling of identity with Holland is not
as strong as in the islands; thus interest
is expressed in the historical
development of Surinam as a nation. As
yet no dedicated local historian free
from his racial ties and committed only
to the as yet undefined nationality of
Surinam has come forth. One or two
rather pedantic studies written from a
specialized professional viewpoint have
been published: Jan Adhin's
Development Planning in Surinam and
F.E.M.Mitrasing Tien Jaar Suriname.
In the French-speaking areas of the
Caribbean the clear orientation offered
by Jean Price-Mars in Haiti and Aimee
Cesaire in Martinique have carried
over into the post-war period. The
French islands of Guadeloupe and
Martinique continue as integrated
departments of France, but recently
there have been signs of growing in-
terest in local autonomy if this can be
secured without weakening the cultural
and economic support received from
Paris. Cesaire's influence, as shown by
its Marxist and negritude orientation, is
evident in an outstanding historical
study of the island of Guadeloupe by
the skilled surgeon and current mayor
of Point a Pitre, Dr. Henri Bangou,
entitled: La Guadeloupe. Monographs
are being prepared by a young group of
historians led by M. Adelaide who has
specialized in the study of slavery on
the. islands and its abolition. Cesaire's
contribution in bringing out a new
edition (1948) of Victor Schoelcher's
fanmbus study of Esclavage et
Colonization should not be overlooked.
For the colonial period of the French
West Indies, the works of Gabriel
Debien have provided indispensable
material. The most important studies
are the Les Engages pour les Antilles
and La nourriture des esclaves sur les
plantations des Antilles Francaises aux
In impoverished Haiti, as Edmund
Wilson has observed, more publications
see the light of day per person than any
other Latin American country. The
recently deceased Jean Price Mars
continues to set the pace and orien-
tation (first expressed in his Ainsiparla
l'oncle, (1928) for the Haitian
historians with his study of Jean Pierre
Boyer Bazelais et le drame de
Miragoane. The awakening which
occurred in Haiti from 1946 on was
well-expressed in Etienne Charlier's
work Apercu sur la formation
historique de la nation haitienne. The
confusion within the avant garde of this
black revolution caused by the
enigmatic Francois Duvalier can be
best appreciated by referring to Leslie
Manigot's study Haiti in the Sixties.
Momentarily thwarted by the actions of
one of its recognized leaders, black
nationalism will continue to search for
the authentic national spirit of Haiti
and not return to the discarded
philosophy of Dantes Bellegarde and
The widespread English-speaking
islands offer what appears to be two
separate and distinct schools of
historians. One group has specialized in
highly skilled monographs dealing with
the conditions of slavery, indentured
servants, or abolition and its effects on
the economy. The distinguished
Professor Elsa Goveia who holds the
chair in West Indian history at the
University of the West Indies is one of
the recognized leaders of this school
with her Slave Society in the Leeward
Islands in the Seventeenth Century.
Another important figure in this group
is Professor Douglas Hall, Chairman of
the History Department at the UWI,
who has produced an economic history
of nineteenth century Jamaica entitled
Free Jamaica. Others in the group
include Keith Laurence (Trinidad),
Woodville Marshall who has worked on
the Windward Islands and Robert
Moore of Guyana.
The other school is concerned more
with the political problems of creating a
national or even regional character.
Their works are addressed to a wider
audience, rely less on methodical ar-
chival research, and are more directly
concerned than the previous group in
correcting the errors of European or
American historians. The undisputed
leader of .this group is the one-time
historian and current prime minister of
Trinidad-Tobago, Dr. Eric Williams,
who presented to his nation on the day
of independence the result of a for-
midable tour de force, The History of
the People of Trinidad and Tobago,
written and published within a twelve-
month period. Another versatile
member of this school would be erudite
Professor Gordon Lewis whose im-
pressive Growth of the Modern West
Indies is a provocative mixture of
scholarship and opinion. Others in this
group might include Sir John Mor-
dacai, The West Indian Federation, Sir
Philip Sherlock The West Indies, and
Francis Mark's The History of the
Barbados Workers' Union.
On occasion the two schools
sometime clash, as witness Elsa
Goveia's caustic demolition of Dr.
Williams' unfortunate excess: British
Historians and the West Indies. But for
the most part the two schools com-
plementeach other and in the long run
each are mutually essential. The
historians of the area eagerly await the
long-announced three volume historical
study of the whole Caribbean currently
being prepared at the University of the
West Indies. Hopefully this will bridge
the cultural cleavages in the Caribbean,
which have only been successfully
hurdled in the works of Gordon Lewis.
Only recently have the small Virgin
Islands produced any local works of
history. Both authors acknowledge
their indebtedness to Jose Antonio
Jarvis, the outstanding local historian
of the previous generation. Modest in
scope and depth, both Valdemar Hill's
A Golden Jubilee (19671 and Darwin
Creque's The U.S. Virgins and the
Eastern Caribbean 11968) are
characteristic of the type of historical
writing being done by a proud people
exploring the past so as to better fulfill
their responsibilities as an independent
nation in the future.
Two distinct groups of historical
writings can be discerned in Puerto
Rico. One is concerned with the
colonial period and most of its
publications are based on research
carried out almost exclusively in the
Archive de las Indias in Seville.
Perhaps the most typical writer of this
school is the Spanish priest, Vincente
Murga, whose four formidable volumes
on the colonization of the island are a
gold mine of new information con-
cerning Juan Ponce de Leon and other
early colonizers. Others in this category
would be Bibiano Torres who has
worked on the problem of the heirs of
Columbus and the career as intendente
of Alejandro Ram"ez, and Arturo
Davila whose specialty is ecclesiastical
art history. Some of the work of this
group has been sponsored by the In-
stitute of Puerto Rican Culture.
The other group, although also
writing about the colonial period, is
much less restricted to the Spanish
archival sources, more concerned with
the creation of a national heritage, and
equally based on solid scholarship.
Many of these historians, like Professor
Lidio Cruz Monclova who although a
most prolific writer is not typical of this
group, were trained by the outstanding
Puerto Rican historian of the previous
generation Antonio S. Pedreira. Cruz
Monclova's best work, in contrast to
the weighty tomes on the 19th Centruy,
is perhaps his concise study of the
tragic year of 1887. Other writers of
this group include Luis Dfaz Soler:
Historia de la Esclavitud Negra en
Puerto Rico and the political biography
of Rosendo Matienzo CintrSn; Arturo
Morales Carrion's Puerto Rico and the
Non-Hispanic Caribbean; and Isabel
Gutierrez Arroyo whose studies in
historiography are well known and
SThere is a reluctance on the part of
the Puerto Rican professional historian
to deal with historical periods of the
present century. As in most Latin
countries, and Puerto Rico is certainly
in that category, politics permeates all
groups and even the most objective
historian is perhaps wise to avoid any
accusation of partisanship by ignoring
recent history. Thus, works on recent
Puerto Rican history have been
realized by long-time residents of the
island such as Robert Anderson, Party
Politics in Puerto Rico; Gordon Lewis'
Puerto Rico, Freedom and Power in
the Caribbean; or the author's Puerto
Rican Politics and the New Deal.
In contrast to the generous outflow of
historical studies of Puerto Rico the
study of history in the Dominican
Republic has suffered from the
stultifying restrictions of Trujillo and
the uncertainty of the chaotic aftermath
of his dictatorship. One historian,
Emilio Rodrfguez Demorizi, has
continued to produce impressive works
during both periods; although at times
he has become too closely identified
with the interests of the Trujillo family.
Solidly based on archival research,
Rodrtguez Demorisi has produced
among other works: Documentos para
la Historia de la Republica
Dominicana 1844-1865 and El
Cancionero do Lilis.
The earlier anti-Haitianbias of much
of the historical work being done in the
Dominican Republic (See Joaqufn
Balaguer's: Dominican Reality) seems
to be disappearing. No work at all is
being done on the colonial periods of
the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Recently, Dr. Hermannus Hoetink, a
sociologist with a strong inclination
toward history, has published a series
of well-researched articles appearing in
Caribbean Studies, on the late 19th
century, when apparently the basic
economic and social structure of the
contemporary republic was established.
One of the very few benefits of the
overthrow of Juan Bosch was the
guarantee that.the historian would soon
have the advantage of his extremely
perceptive and penetrating analysis of
the social history of the Dominican
Republic. This work will be available
Just as in the Dominican Republic,
so in Cuba the historical writings can
be divided into before and after
categories. Before the Castro
revolution, the most important
historical work was the publication of
the ten volumes on the Historia de la
Nacion Cubana to which some thirty
distinguished Cuban historians con-
tributed. The editors of the series in-
cluded Ramiro Guerra y Sfnchez, JosS
M. Perez Cabrera, Juan J. Ramos and
Emeterio Santovenia. The evaluation
of this monumental collection by the
various reviewers has been favorable.
One of the younger and more promising
contributors to the study was Julio
LeRiverend Brusoni who has continued
to publish impressive monographs on
the early colonial development of Cuba.
Others, like the recently deceased
Emilio Leuschenring, while no less
Marxist in their interpretations, have
been somewhat less than objective in
their contributions to the post-
revolution re-evaluation of history of
With one or two exceptions, the
quality of the historical works in the
pre-Castro period was superior to that
in the post revolutionary period.
Herminio Portell Vila's excellent study
of Narciso Lopez and the events of the
mid-19th century and Ramiro Guerra y
S~nchez's history of the ten years' war
(1868-1878) are two outstanding
examples of the careful interpretive
works which were published in the
earlier period. Although not a work of
history, the fertile studies of African
influence in Cuban music by the
sociologist, Fernando Ortiz is of such
monumental importance to the un-
derstanding of the Cuban people that
recognition must be given.
The death of a number of prolific
Cuban writers such as Fernando Ortiz,
Ramiro Guerra y Sanchez, and Emilio
Roig de Leuchsenring and the exile of
others such as Perez Cabrera and
Herminio Portell Vila has naturally cut
down the number and quality of the
works in the new Cuba. Significant
work continues to be turned out in
Bohemia by Julio LeRiverend but
except for an occasional study, most of
the work published in Cuba now is of a
revisionist nature. This new work is
heavy on re-interpretation and rarely
based on a re-examination of archival
material. Out of all the out-pouring
from the Cubans in exile, only one work
is worthy of mention. This is AndrAs
Suarez's recent study of Cuba:
Castroism or Communism.
If the thesis we have tried to develop
that of a growing nationalism as
reflected in the historical writings of the
region has any merit, we should be
able to point to a number of impressive
biographies of leading Caribbeanists.
Photo in San Juan, Puerto Rico by Orlando Canales
Unfortunately, such is not the case.
More personalities untouched by the
adulations of a biographer can be
noted, such as Jose Marti, Luis Munoz
Rivera, Antenor Fermin or Gregorio
Luperon than those who have been
more fortunate like Rafael Leonidas
Trujillo, Henri Christophe or Eugenio
Mara De Hostos. More works have
been written about Toussaint
L'Overture or Fidel Castro, but the
questionable quality of most of them
prevents one from cluttering up the
bibliography with reference to them.
Three exceptions might be mentioned:
Jesus de Galmdez' Era de Trujillo,
which cost the author his life, the
admirable work of Robert Crassweller
on the Dominican dictator, and the
recent balanced work by Herbert
Matthews on Fidel Castro.
Even scarcer are good
autobiographies. In an area where
politicians are caught up in the full-
time task of political survival, not to
mention mere physical survival, few
have had time to lift up the pen in their
own defense. Dr. Cheddi Jagan, who
has been kept out of his rightful office
by scheming colonial bureaucrats and
interfering CIA agents, has penned a
highly ex parte polemic entitled The
West on Trial. The indefatigable Dr.
Eric Williams has just published his
premature biography Inward Hunger,
which gives an account of the rise but
not the more interesting account of the
fall of a West Indian Prime Minister.
Other politicians in forced retirement
hopefully will direct their waning
faculties to writing their memoirs.
Norman Manley's sudden death put an
end to his plans for publications but
perhaps something may be salvaged
through the effort' of Philip Sherlock
who has. been assigned the task of
preparing a biography of his late friend.
Rumors persist in giving hope to the
eventual publication of
autobiographical notes from the pen of
Luis Munoz Mann. Finally if one
might project into the future, the
memoirs of Eugenio Maria de Hostos,
now guarded under lock and key in the
Library of Congress in Washington,
will be available in 1975.
With the struggle against old style
colonialism in the Caribbean obviously
over, and the new nations and their
founding fathers being challenged by
the younger generation, the next twenty
five years at the close of this century
should provide a mellowing of outlook
and a most measured evaluation by a
more skillfully prepared group of
historians than those whose works have
been under review in this paper.
BLACK CARIB HOUSEHOLD
STRUCTURE: A STUDY OF
MIGRATION AND MODER-
NIZATION. Nancie L. Solien Gon-
zdlez. Monograph 48, American
Ethnological Society, U. Washington,
The Black Caribs are a culturally
and ethnically distinct group of mixed
Negro and Indian ancestry, descended
from Negro slaves who fled West
Indian plantations, or were ship-
wrecked, and took refuge among the
unconquered Carib Indians of St.
Around 1800 they were finally
defeated by the Europeans and some
5,000 Black Caribs were deported to
the eastern shores of Central America,
where they settled in small coastal
villages, engaging in agriculture and
fishing. Most are peasants or fishermen
today, but some work on plantations or
During a year of intensive research,
Gonzflez has collected interesting
material about the Black Caribs in
Honduras, Guatemala and Belize
(British Honduras). Her main interest
is the household structure, particularly
household forms, which most other
anthropologists consider to be
"broken," or "disorganized."
She hypothesizes that the so-called
"consanguineal" household group a
mother-child dyad to which kinsmen
are attached by blood rather than by
affinity is an alternate type of
domestic grouping. This grouping
develops during a process of ac-
culturation of "neoteric" societies,
where the primary mechanism of
Westernization and modernization is
based on low-paying recurrent
migratory wage labor.
By "neoteric," the author means
subgroups of larger modern societies,
which retain some cultural diacriticals
but lack structural self-sufficiency,
have no traditional integration
mechanisms and lack deep cultural and
Gonzalez states that consanguineal
household groups are not considered by
the Black Caribs to be the ideal, but are
functionally necessary, as long as there
is a negative balance of men, and the
economic situation of the male remains
precarious due both to a lack of stable
employment opportunities and a lack of
These consanguineal household
groups tend to disappear and make
room for neolocal, stable affinal
households of nuclear families when the
economic situation has improved and
the residence pattern becomes more
The economic conditions of the
Black Caribs and the frequency of
by Angelina Pollak-Eltz_.
consanguineal household groups
among them substantiate her thesis.
Illegitimacy, promiscuity, consensual
free unions and a high incidence of
abandonment all indicate con-
sanguineal household groups, but in
this context do not necessarily indicate
In the United States we often find
consanguineal household groups,
whose existence has been attributed to
slavery, to the African heritage and to
the plantation system. Gonzalez
functional approach provides a new
dimension from which to view this
subject; as a response to the precarious
economic position of the Negro in
Various explanations have been
given for the emergence of con-
sanguineal or matrifocal household
groups. Beckwith considers them to be
deviant from official behavior, i.e. the
monogamous nuclear family. Others
think that competition for land within a
sibling group keeps the consanguineal
group together. R.T. Smith blames the
class-color system of Guyana for the
marginal nature of the Negro family
Looking into the matter more closely,
Gonzalez discovers that in the
Caribbean area as well as in many parts
of the United States, seasonal
migration, low-paying wage labor, an
excess of females, and the formation of
"neoteric" societies in the cities are
usually the causes for the emergence of
the consanguineal household group,
which protects the female, who does not
rely on a husband or a series of
husbands. It is the most effective
survival mechanism for adapting to
changing conditions, both for an in-
dividual and for the society as a whole.
From my own experience in
Venezuela, I may add that "neoteric
societies" are found in the newly
developing industrial centers. The slum
sub-culture may be urban or rural, the
people have no ethnic identification,
being of mixed Negro, Indian and
white origin, traditions are lacking. The
consanguineal household group is
found with some frequency among
urban slumdwellers, and also among
peasants who rely more on wage labor
than on subsistence farming. Often,
groups of females, sisters or cousins,
live together with their children. While
two work, the others do the household
chores and raise the children. In other
groups, an old woman, long ago
abandoned by her husband, will head a
household composed of her daughters
and their children by different
husbands. Money is received from sons.
and daughters of the old woman, who
work in the city, or from her daughters'
children, who stay with her. Sometimes
the women, who are still young, are
visited by the father of their children,
who lives with another "woman, to
whom he is either legally married or
permanently attached. These patterns
are not universal. Serial consensual
unions may also be found with some
frequency. In this case, the woman lives
in one house with several husbands, one
after the other. Her children always
remain with her.
Another type of household found in
"neoteric" societies in Venezuela is a
nuclear family, consisting of man,
woman and their children, to which
both blood relatives and affinal kin are
attached either permanently or in times
of emergency These groups sometimes
even comprise compadres.
In most families and household
groups, the mother exerts more in-
fluence than the father who often
hardly occupies himself with the
education of the children. The children
are tied to their mother with greater
affection than to their father, and
remain with the mother when the.union
is severed. The woman may always
expect help from her grown sons and
daughters, while the father does not
always receive such good treatment.
In Venezuela recurrent migration is
not so frequent as among the Black
Caribs. It exists in areas near large
urban centers, where employment
opportunities are plentiful, but people
usually migrate to the cities in order to
stay. Women and men often migrate
separately, but they also move to town
as a family group. Census figures show
no great discrepancy in the sex ratio.
The consanguineal household group
is found more frequently among un-
skilled urban laborers, hacienda
workers and peasants. In these areas,
there is as much opportunity for a
female as for a man to earn money, thus
the woman is more independent and
need not depend upon the man's
irregular earnings. Families tend to be
more stable among small-scale farmers
in the Andes region, where there is
more economic cooperation among the
spouses in order to run the plantation,
feed the animals and sell the products.
In my experience, consanguineal'
households are traditional in some
families. The pattern tends to per-
petuate itself in subsequent
No stigma is attached to illegitimacy
or consensual unions. There is no
greater evidence of promiscuity or
unstable marital bonds among dark-
skinned mulattoes or Negroes than
among descendants of Indians, so long
as the economic situation is similar.
Skin color is not considered to be of
great importance. Formal church
marriage is still the "ideal," but is
usually postponed until late in life, if
ever. Legal marriage, monogamy and
neolocal household groups, consisting
of only one nuclear family, become the
norm once an individual acquires a
better education, a well-paying job,
more economic security and a higher
Photo in Puerto Rico by Susn Wengraf
Health and the
by John Bryantj
HER COUGH is deep and painful. Maria presses her arms and hands
against her ribs to splint the wracking hurt. She thinks of a fish,
tugging against a swallowed hook-it must be something like this.
Sweat grows on her face. Sputum tears loose below and comes up,
cough by cough. Too weak to spit, she opens her mouth and lets it
stream out, watches as it hits the quiet water, breaking the reflec-
tion: her face leaning out from the wooden porch of spaced boards,
clouds above. The red, bubbling slime goes under, surfaces, spreads,
the streaks of red stringing out, fading.
The pain slowly subsides. She leans back against the rough wood
wall, wipes her lips, feels them hot against the back of her hand.
She looks up the board walkway, hoping to see the old curandero
picking his way along the rickety boards. There are only children,
running and jumping on the curious board bridges, the way she
had as a child.
This is Buenaventura, a port city whose slums spill over from
the land onto the water around it-thousands of crude houses on
stilts, joined by miles of board paths loosely laid a few feet above
the water. Watching the children, she wonders if her little boy,
Jaime, will ever play there. Life is filled with chance and danger
and mystery, and there is no way to know who will be struck.
Maria had laughed at these mysteries, not because she disbe-
lieved but out of defiance. She had made her own way against this
stink-hole, against the filth and worms and poverty, and she came
out strong with the flashing, rough glory of a full-bodied woman.
When her own sickness came--only a lazy feeling at first-she
laughed at it too. Then it took a stronger hold, with weakness and
fever; her flesh began to leave and her breasts sag. She became
She knew she was in the grip of mysterious forces, but dared
not speak of them to anyone. Finally she went to the curandero.
She walked along the boards onto the land and into the deeper
slums of Buenaventura: narrow streets, naked children, snarling
dogs, garbage. His house was small and dark with odd things in
the corners and on the walls; she was afraid to look closely. She
hardly spoke. He was a curandero of great powers; she was not to
ask but be told. She brought her urine as he had instructed, the
first urine of the morning and at a time when she was not flowing
blood. He poured it into a round flask, held it before a candle, and
studied it. The light flickered on his face, a face of wisdom and
"Clearly, Maria, you have deep trouble. You are sick and there
are strong reasons for it. Clearly, Maria, there are those who have
done this to you and they are using powerful forces. Here, we can
see why. The man before this one, he loved you greatly, but you
took another. The first, he loves you still-but you know how
hate and love are mixed. And his woman, she whom he took after
leaving you, she knows his heart is with you, and her hate is added
He swirled the flask, poured a few drops onto the candle flame,
and let the acrid smoke rise about his face. He lit the candle again
and stared into the naked flame.
"It was dust from a buried corpse. They may have put it in the
bread you buy, in the cigarettes you smoke, in the rum you drink.
It has been done in a powerful way, and it will take all my powers
to cure you."
She followed his instructions explicitly: rubbed her body with
special oil, breathed the smoke of special herbs, read the written
words three times a day. She was better for awhile, then worse.
Food had no taste, sleep wouldn't come, she sweated through the
night. She didn't want to be with her man, and he was angry, again
and again, until she knew he would leave her and the baby.
Then came the pain to her chest and the rust to her spittle. These
were tragic signs, the curandero explained; her enemies-had gotten
a bird into her chest, and the bird was pulling and clawing to get
out. Her early arrogance was replaced by fear, then despair. She
tried other cures, other curanderos. She thought, too, of going to
the government doctor at the health center, but knew that was
unwise. He knew nothing of this magic and would make things
worse by his ignorance. Occasionally one of the nurses from the
health center walked by on the board path, and she drew back
into the house until the nurse was gone.
Now she sits on the porch, weary, leaning against the rough
wood wall, waiting for the old curandero. Not for herself this time,
but for the little boy. He doesn't eat well, nor sleep, and he cries
most of the time. There seems to be pain along his spine. She knows
his spittle too will soon be red.
She waits. In her hand is a little bottle of the boy's urine.
A city in Latin America. Population: 600,000. Nearly 500,000 of
them live in the tin and bamboo houses of an enormous slum. No
sewage. No privies. Only community latrines, one for a few hun-
dred families, revolting and seldom used. Fresh water is found only
at occasional outlets on street corners. This is a swamp of mud,
excrement, garbage, mosquitoes, and disease, and it has been grow-
ing here for twenty-five years. Everyone, without exception, has
parasites. Most of its citizens have been burdened with worms
throughout their lives--they have never known what it is to feel
good. This slum contains 10 percent of the population of the coun-
try. It is not only a place of heartbreak, it is also where national
disaster is born.
A small fragment of the city is under community development
by a young sociologist. The program involves a square, five blocks
on a side, twenty-five blocks in all, with 7,000 people. In 1960 he
met with eighteen people in one of the dirt-floored bamboo houses.
He found only indifference and apathy, anger and despair. But it
was a beginning. Each block elected a captain; five of these formed
a senior council. They had only the money generated from within
the community: 60 cents per person per month. They built a school
that is also a community center, serving young and old with black-
boards, sewing machines, barber chairs, hair dryers. A cooperative
sells handicrafts and builds community facilities such as the little
library. A development bank provides home improvement loans of
up to fifty dollars.
Improvements have come in employment, literacy, and housing.
Hundreds now attend the meetings. There is rising concern and a
desire for something better. But what they can accomplish alone,
from within their twenty-five blocks and 60 cents per person, is
limited and comes slowly. Trees were planted along the dirt streets,
and they died. The streets were deep in mud, so they brought in
crushed rock to raise the streets above the mud level; now the water
collects between the street and the houses in stagnant and putrid
pools. An empty health center stands in the development, started
by the ship Hope and abandoned after the ship left. If the city could
drain the streets and put in a sewage system, another dimension of
human dignity could be achieved. But the city cannot afford it.
A man bathes his small children at a community faucet-they
stand ankle-deep in parasite-saturated mud. The crucial question
has to do with the balance between the desire to improve and the
obstacles to improvement.
Francia always put off lighting the lamp until as late as possible
-more money for kerosene means less money for food. Her life
centers on money, or, rather, the lack of it. Raul earns 500 pesos
a month cutting sugar cane; it goes for food for the six of them
plus a little for tobacco, a little for kerosene, occasionally some
soap. She looks at the few things on the scarred table that is
jammed among the beds. Sancocho tonight, as nearly every night
(sancocho is a soup made of potatoes, banana, bone, and yucca).
She has grown used to a simple equation: money spent on soap,
or chocolate, or anything else, means either the bone or the pota-
toes go out of the sancocho.
It is easier without Juanito. The baby hadn't eaten much, but
his was another mouth. And food was only part of the problem.
The medicines cost so much. To buy all they told her to buy would
have meant no food at all.
What mood will Raul be in tonight? No mood she hopes. Last
night she could tell from the way he watched her. As soon as she
sensed it, she was taken by a kind of panic. She avoided looking at
him, hardly spoke to him, was careful not to go near him, even
brush against him. When the meal was over, she mumbled that
little Inez was sick, and she slept with her. Then she lay awake,
fearing he would come to her anyway, wondering what she could
do if he did.
She had been wrong-life is more than money and food. It is
money and food and avoiding Raul. She had tried everything:
ignoring him, staying dirty, pushing him away, utter passivity
(above all else, don't reach a climax-that is the surest way to
pregnancy and the surest way to bring Raul back again).
In the night, she hears him move on the newspapers that cover
the hard board bed, and then he goes out. He is going up the street
for his satisfaction. She is relieved. He won't want her for a few
nights. Then her period will come and she will be all right for a
few more nights.
The chilling thought (it comes so often): What will happen if
Raul leaves her? Tired of the sancocho, tired of the crowded shack,
tired of her fending him off, tired of the steel trap that is their
existence-how can he stay? They have long since stopped talking
of these things. When they were younger they had talked more--
about life and what they might do with it, about the children and
what could be hoped for. Mario was the first child then Pablo,
then Isabel, then Inez.
Reprinted from John Bryant: Health & The Developing.Word. Copyright 196M by Cormll UniverAty..Usedby prmnlalonMof CorItllUniversity Prem .
Slowly, in their semiliterate way, they became aware of the
awful arithmetic of pesos and people: 500 pesos isn't enough for
six people. The thought of the number reaching seven again is
shattering. Juanito had shown them that. With him, little as he
was, everyone was a little hungrier.
She and Raul agreed there should be no more children after Inez,
and they fought against it in every way they knew. There are many
things to do and use, but none are very certain-not certain at all
-for she got pregnant three more times. Twice the old lady took
care of it with the long rubber tube (20 pesos for every month of
pregnancy), but the second time was very bad. Something went
wrong: pain, fever, shaking, and two weeks in the hospital. That
was why she let the third one, Juanito, go all the way.
He wasn't a strong baby. Cried a lot. Had diarrhea. Didn't nurse
well. Didn't take the panela and water (sugar water). He wasted
quickly. It was inevitable that he should die. It was almost so when
she left him at the hospital.
It was nearly a month later when they sent for her, to give her
the death certificate she supposed. Instead, they gave her Juanito.
He was bundled in a clean blanket, sleeping, content. He seemed
quite well. She was surprised, confused, puzzled. And the young
doctor was angry for some reason.
He glared at her, "You don't care, do you?" She didn't under-
stand why he said that, but she knew he didn't understand her.
He wore gold cufflinks and had a pretty monogram on his shirt.
Juanito cried as she took him from the hospital. He cried at home,
too, until he died.
These are impressions of people and their communities, of dis-
eases, and of efforts to provide health care. We can see the desper-
ate need for better answers to these problems and the profound
difficulty of finding the right answers. We see how the intensely
personal nature of human illness breaks through and adds balance
to our efforts to think statistically about human problems.
But these are isolated events-glimpses of life-and while they
may help us to sense the human situation, another framework is
needed if we are to understand their larger meaning. If health care
is to make a difference in the lives of people, careful choices must
be made about the use of limited resources. Some decisions-about
schools and roads and the marketing of rice-will have little to do
with health programs as such but will affect health nonetheless.
Other decisions will point directly at health, and we must be cer-
tain that they are the right decisions. Too often our efforts to pro-
vide health care are clumsy and ineffective; the means fail to match
the need, but we apply them anyway because they are what we
know. Or our means may be appropriate but unwanted by people
who have learned to live and die without them.
S30 Northern America
** -----*--C--- -
1957 1958 1959 1960
1961 1962 1963 1964
Deaths of children 1-4 years
I I I I *
I I I I r
1957 1958 1959 1960 1961
1962 1963 1964
1962 1963 1964
Figure 9. Mortality of children under one year and between one and
four years of age in Colombia. Adapated from Pan American Health
Organization, Health Conditions in the Americas, Scientific Publication
no. 138 (Washington, D.C., 1966).
The final purpose of medical education, presumably, is to im-
prove the health of the people. Let us turn now to a consideration
of the health problems of the country and how these might be
influenced by medical education. The causes of death and sickness
in Colombia are similar to those of the many other countries in
the developing world (Table 22), but what is the trend? What dif-
ference has time and advancing medical knowledge made to these
indicators of health?
Infant and preschool childhood mortalities are falling slowly
(Figure 9) and mortality rates for diarrheal and respiratory diseases
are unchanging (Figure 10)-these are reflections from the heart of
Colombia's most serious health problem. While there have been
great advances in our understanding of these diseases-in patho-
physiology, biochemistry, and clinical management-these advances
seem to have had small impact on the communities and homes
affected by the diseases. Let us look at some relationships between
the health services and the people they are intended to serve.
First, only a small part of the population is reached by health
Table 22. Leading causes of death in Colombia, 1964
Cause of death (per 100,000 pop.)
Certain diseases of early infancy 110.9
Gastritis, enteritis, etc. 105.4
Influenza and pneumonia 74.8
Diseases of the heart 67.7
Malignant neoplasms 48.0
Homicide and suicide 30.2
Source: Pan American Health Organization, Health Conditioins in the
Americas, 1961-64, Scientific Publication no. 138 (Washington, D.C.,
Aug. 1966), p. 29.
Under 1 year
lb % ages0
m,,, All ages
..0 .. -... ..
m 111111111 liii-
1952 54 56 58 60 62 1964
Figure 10. Deaths from diarrheal diseases in Colombia, 1952-1964.
From Pan American Health Organization, Facts on Progress, Miscellane-
ous Publication no. 81 (Washington, D.C., 1966). Deaths of children
under one year are per 100,000 live births.
services: In Buenaventura, a coastal city with an immense, crowded
slum, health center attendance figures suggest that 10 to 15 per-
cent of the population uses the health services. In the state of del
Valle less than a third of the pregnant women are followed and de-
livered by trained personnel (including trained indigenous mid-
wives). In Call, where the doctor-to-population ratio is one to 910,
17.3 percent of children who die are not seen by a physician, and
another 19 percent have no medical attention during the forty-eight
hours preceding death. In the rural areas around Cali, the 17.3 per-
cent figure rises to 50 percent. Similar figures apply to Colombia
as a whole. It seems likely that considerably less than 50 percent
of the population is reached by health services.
Why are more not reached? In the more remote areas, the obsta-
cles are obvious: matted jungle, poor roads, high mountains, dan-
gerous banditry. But while it is one thing for a sick person to decide
against a hard trip by foot or canoe to a distant health center, it is
another to decide against a short walk to a health center, as in Cali.
Many decide against it. A survey of families living in the area
served by one of the newest and most strongly staffed health cen-
ters in Cali showed that 40 percent used the health center, 28 per-
cent knew of it but did not use it, and 32 percent did not know
anything about it.
Why people do not use health services when they are easily
accessible is one of the crucial questions of medical care. The cost,
however small, is probably a factor, as is the "social distance" be-
tween the lower socioeconomic groups and those providing health
services. Belief in magical etiology of disease, which is widespread
in Colombia, may be a major deterrent.
We see, then, that people may not use health services even
though in need. How effective are the health services when they
are used? To determine the effectiveness of health services is, of
course, exceedingly difficult. Here, we can only present some im-
In terms of doctors and hospital beds, Colombia is reasonably
well off, but in nursing there is a crushing shortage. In 1962, there
was one nurse for every 16,600 people, and in 1965, one for every
12,000. Over 60 percent of Colombia's 1,200 nurses are concen-
trated in the three major cities, but that is not to say that the hos-
pitals in those cities are well staffed; the university hospital in Cali
has six hundred beds and only forty graduate nurses.
Auxiliary nurses, 10,000 of them, carry the nursing burden.
These women, with four or five years of elementary education and
twelve months of nursing training, are in charge of wards in larger
hospitals and have supervisory jobs in smaller hospitals. Under
them are nurse-aides trained while at work.
The auxiliary nurse, more than any other health person, has
direct contact with the people. In the hospitals she is at the bed-
side or running the ward or rehydrating infants. In the health cen-
ters she receives the mothers and their children and weighs, meas-
ures, and teaches them. She sees them in their homes and on the
The graduate nurse is there, too, and so is the doctor, but she
is usually helping the doctor or supervising a number of auxiliaries,
and he is often intent on diagnosis and prescription. It is the auxil-
iary who has the greatest opportunity for influencing the way peo-
ple think and act about health-she is at the interface between the
people and modern medical knowledge.
But what is actually taking place at that interface? We have data
that describe "services rendered": patient-days in hospitals, out-
patient visits, home visits. But these numbers only quantify the
contact between health services and people. They do not ;ay that
the contact resulted in a positive influence on health. Lool. closely
for a moment.
A barrio of Cali or Buenaventura is layered over 'b a deep
shadow of disease. A dehydrated infant spends six hours on an
emergency room table receiving the slow drip of a bottle of saline.
A woman spends a morning visiting an antenatal clinic. A man,
shot in the chest, is rushed to the hospital. An auxiliary nurse sits
on a dirty bed, talking to the mother of unwashed children. A health
center doctor peers in the pus-caked ear of a malnourished child,
wretched with pain and fever. In each of these events, there is con-
tact between people and health services. What is happening to
lessen the weight of death and disability? Health data tell us that
changes are coming slowly, if at all. This is not to say that there
have not been highly significant improvements in some diseases
and in some places: malaria eradication, immunization, the modern
water purification system in Call, the decrease in infant mortality
in Candelaria-these are important and instructive changes. But for
the country as a whole, improvements are coming with agonizing
The point to be made is this: Despite increasing health resources
and manpower, impressive developments in medical and nursing
education, and great forward strides in understanding these dis-
eases, the major causes of mortality and morbidity have been
lightly influenced. This is not a criticism of the health profession of
Colombia; far from it, it is intended to show that despite vigorous
and imaginative leadership, these problems remain. Solutions to
health problems do not follow automatically from establishing
medical centers, producing more health personnel, and enlarging
health services. There are certain critical connections between med-
ical technology and the public, and if these connections are not
firm and effective, the benefits of that technology do not reach the
In Cali there is strong appreciation for the complexities of fitting
health resources to health problems and of the importance of think-
ing in terms of cost and effect. For example, concern for the critical
role of nursing in health care has led to new approaches to educat-
ing auxiliaries in a university setting; to the development of a mas-
ter's degree program to strengthen nursing leadership; and to an
effort to develop an intermediate-level nursing category to provide
closer supervision for auxiliary nurses.
More recently the institution has been working with other na-
tional groups in studying health care systems, using the techniques
of operations research with the objectives of designing new sys-
tems that are more effective within the constraints of available
We are confronted, however, with a sobering concept. It is the
lag between the time an idea or an institution is born and the time
that a substantial difference appears in the population being served.
We will do well to ask what are the ways in which that lag might
by Luis Mercier Vega
THE WORD GUERRILLA signifies a type of warfare that is
expressive both of a people's natural hostility to the state and its
representatives, and the inability of that people to confront the
state openly. The 'small war' reflects an incompatibility be-
tween rulers and ruled, a basic refusal of an.important section
at least of the inhabitants of a region to accept a position of
subordination to a defacto authority. As this natural antagonism
is denied either verbal or physical outlet in the everyday re-
lations between those compelled to obey and the forces of
coercion, it takes the form of brief and violent clashes wherever
and whenever the usually powerless subject is able, however
limitedly, to act. The more wholly his action expresses the
profound feelings of a large majority of the population, the
more identifiable, positive and significant it becomes.
History is rich in examples of guerrilla wars. It is not our
intention here to differentiate between the various types, or to
attempt a classification. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out
that the term itself is used to describe phenomena resulting
from extremely variable and frequently dissimilar circumstances
and struggles. A strong national government wishing to in-
tegrate a particular region within its state system might en-
counter a local desire for autonomy and a will to resist. An
army forced to abandon national territories might retain strong
links with groups of partisans that have remained on the spot.
On the other hand, in a period of conquest, an invading army
might look for support among local groups representing a wide
range of popular interests. The latter takes the opportunity of
opposing the imperialist or colonial power and acts, consciously
or unconsciously, as the vanguard of the invasion forces.
Malaysian rebels, Serbian or Greek maquis-fighters, Transvaal
Boers, Philippine Huks, anti-Russian or anti-German Ukrain-
ians, Kurds of Iran or Iraq, all stubbornly resisting great
centralising thrusts, in spite of the bloody repressions that are
the very condition for the survival of empires, provide one
with innumerable fascinating examples, tragic enough to
make one doubt the validity of the internationalist ethic, the
inevitability of progress or the existence of such a thing as
But our purpose here is to discover the real significance of
the guerrilla wars of Latin America. In themselves, they em-
brace such a complex variety of cases and concepts that they
require detailed study; it is impossible to make generalisations
There is one state-Cuba-that claims to have been created
by guerrilla warfare. There is also a theory, based on the
Cuban experience, whereby this particular. revolutionary
method is seen as almost universally applicable throughout
Latin America. Finally, there are a number of guerrilla groups
in several regions of Latin America.
Our aim is to examine the nature and determine the size of
these movements, then to place them in their international,
continental and national contexts and finally to evaluate their
r6le in the political and social transformation of the countries
There is a copious literature on the guerrillas. A large part
of it is propagandist, but there are also many dialectical
writings. Books and pamphlets adopting anti-guerrilla positions
are less plentiful, which is somewhat surprising in view of the
fact that the Latin American press is, on the whole, openly and
often violently opposed to guerrilla tactics.
There are, therefore, numerous and easily accessible sources
whereby one can familiarise oneself with guerrilla 'ideas'.
However, this plethora of written material holds a danger for
the student: that of submerging him in a powerful environment,
an almost watertight system that claims to provide a complete
interpretation of events and of society.
On the other hand, information about the actual movements
of guerrilla fighters is more scanty. Cables and official com-
muniques are short and unreliable. Reports often amount
simply to panegyrics or vilifications. Reminiscences and
memoirs have not yet been published, because of the relative
Reprinted with permission from Guerrillas in Latin America, by Luis Mercier Vega. Praeger Publishers, 1969.
youth of the guerrilla movement.
In order to arrive at as objective an understanding as
possible of the future prospects of both the theory and practice
of guerrilla warfare, we must try to establish a correct evalua-
tion of the significance of the guerrilla factor in the political
activity of each country and of the ability of each of the regimes
that are being challenged to find the solution to its most acute
problems. Clearly, the destruction of each and every guerrilla
base by the police or army will not solve the essential problem,
which is how to ensure that the peoples of Latin America
join in the great movements of economic development
and social integration that characterise the contemporary
In pro-guerrilla propagandist literature, the analysis of social
problems is allotted only a little space. The tendency is rather
to limit or even suppress altogether studies attempting to deal
with class structure and relations. The call to arms is only
likely to be heard if the opposing camps are clearly dis-
tinguishable from each other and apparently irreconcilable.
Hence the extreme simplification in the presentation ofpolitical
situations and definition of the forces to be overcome. All
nuances, all elucidations of complex -mechanisms are deliber-
ately eschewed, as a detailed understanding, or simply an
appreciation, of them would confuse the picture which must
necessarily be kept simple.
The choice of guerrilla warfare implies the rejection of all
other policies in which armed combat is only one among many
means to be used, discontinued or employed in a limited way
according to the circumstances. The refusal to analyse is in no
way due to an inability to do so; it springs from a deliberate
decision that military considerations alone should henceforth
underlie the public examination of the contradictions and
tensions within the society which is to be overthrown. It is no
longer a case of force being just one aspect of the struggle, as in
other revolutionary traditions, but of all revolutionary effort
being subsumed in the armed confrontation.
Propaganda, strike action, sabotage and assassination, all
weapons whose use formerly depended on circumstances and
opportunity, become means whose use is dictated for and by the
Social change is seen through the perspective of a tiny power
apparatus, dedicated to its own growth and to hardening itself
in battle, until it is able to overcome and destroy the power of
This conception is closer to a Counter-State than a Counter-
Society, and it is here that its originality lies, as compared with
the old classical definitions of the various types of socialist
This process of introversion can be clearly discerned, whether
in the writings of Che Guevara, Regis Debray, or in the
proclamations, manifestos and theoretical material of the
various guerrilla movements. While the guerrilla band con-
centrates within itself the most idealistic, clear-minded and
determined elements of the nation and symbolises the qualities
of the 'people', the power to be destroyed and superseded
becomes an out-and-out enemy, utterly alien to the society it'
dominates. To strengthen this impression, propaganda will
stress the government's dependence on a foreign power. In the
final analysis, the actual character of the regime is unimportant:
the Venezuelan parliamentary system is treated in the same
way as the authoritarianism of the Bolivian army. There is
no need to make use of politico-social analysis in drawing up
this equation; on the contrary, it has more in common with the
art of caricature, whereby a Leoni or Barrientos becomes quite
simply a flunkey of North American imperialism.
There is no theoretical justification for this idea in any
specific doctrine, even if its proponents lay claim to an intellec-
tual tradition and argue that they have derived various
formulas from it.
Apart from the use of a few stylistic devices, and a propensity
to rely on the power of the state in shaping society, Marxist
affinities do not mean much in Latin America, but to place
oneself under the banner of Marxism-Leninism is rather more
original. Even if it is conceivable that a Marxist should settle
down to study the structure of society and production relations
in Latin America-though, in actual fact, this has not happened
-it is hard to see how Lenin's ideas can usefully be applied to
Latin American problems. The fact is that the fierce prag-
matists who call themselves partisans of the 'direct way' con-
sider it essential to establish their spiritual or theoretical
allegiance to Marx and Lenin. If quotations from the masters
are of not much use to them, other 'Marxist-Leninists' often
create difficulties in the realm of theory, and sometimes even
in the field of action.
As regards over-all strategy, which is the chosen subject of
the theoreticians of armed struggle, the international situation
today is not as propitious as it might be. The partisans of
guerrilla warfare hope for the establishment of numerous bases
of rebellion throughout the Third World but particularly in
Latin America. This would lead to the dispersal of the armed
forces of the United States. The sapping of her military strength,
the increase in unproductive expenses, the accumulation of
.economic burdens, the continually growing problem of raw
material supplies, etc., would finally frustrate North American
power in its struggle for world hegemony. Clearly, an attack on
the part of hundreds of Lilliputians may theoretically bring
down the giant. However, these Lilliputians must fellow a
common plan and co-ordinate their activities in order effectively
to pierce the North American armour and weaken or neutralise
its military potential. Or again, these centres of rebellion and
resistance must co-ordinate their efforts with those of another
great power, also with claims on world hegemony but unable
to realise them without help from outside, which, under various
forms, is waging war against Washington. In other words, the
partisans of guerrilla warfare ought to be able to rely on the
participation, if not the leadership, of the Soviet Union, or
again on a strategy valid for the whole socialist camp.
Twenty or forty years after the heroic period of Soviet
communism or of the Russian state, the theoreticians of
guerrilla warfare have come up with the idea of world conflict,
which is none other than the old dream abandoned by the
Bolsheviks who have turned into bureaucrats. And as for new
China, the very first attempts at co-operation reconfirm the
truth of what has already been amply illustrated by the history
of the Russian Revolution and the failure of the European
revolutions, namely that state interests, even where the state
in question is revolutionary and avowedly internationalist,
take precedence in the present-which means permanently, as
the present can be extended indefinitely-over the theoretically
superior interests of world revolution.
The groups, fronts and parties ideologically in favour of armed
combat split and quarrel among themselves when it comes to
deciding on the right moment to initiate or take over the
direction of the active struggle. The guerrillas themselves run
into the reasons or state of the socialist camp and are held back
rather than encouraged by the party machines, which represent
the camp's local interests. Where the impetus is given by an
already established regime, and where action favours the
spreading of propaganda and means of rebellion, there is on
the international level an immediate rupture with the logical
beneficiary. Cuba is not supported by the Soviet Union in her
generalised war and is unwilling to take orders from Mao
The most striking feature of the Peruvian and Colombian
appeals is the high-flown, classless tone of argument; they
evince a longing for immaculacy and purity, a rejection of
repugnant political methods and the hypocrisy of the privileged
and they reflect exasperation at the feuds and wranglings
within the left itself. There is a symbolic air about these appeals
'from the mountains' and an adolescent feeling about the re-
jection of urban niceties and the platitudinous quality of
society as it is.
Although most of the leading spirits of the guerrilla groups
consider or call themselves Marxists, none of the appeals gives
evidence of any real attempt to understand the structure of
society and how this affects politics. There is nothing but a
pot-pourri of generalised formulas. And if by chance a few
paragraphs that seem to come to closer grips with reality are
inserted, as in the Peruvian text, the confusion is, if anything,
compounded, for how can one explain the growth of a wealthy
bourgeoisie on a feudal basis? And where does one draw the
line between the national and the monopoly bourgeoisies?
No doubt this imprecision makes it easier to appeal to the
most diverse social strata and interests, by employing patriotic
phrases, but it makes it more difficult-even for the guerrilla
leaders themselves-to understand the main thrusts of complex
and evolving societies like those of Peru, Bolivia or Colombia.
It is only in respect to foreign imperalism, a kind of common
denominator, that the 'bundle' of mutually antagonistic groups
and classes, all tied up in the national colours, takes on any
semblance of unity. This makes for good propaganda, but
bears only the remotest resemblance to an analytical treatment,
whether Marxist or otherwise.
As regards the exploited classes-workers and peasants--
the language used is more that of pity and indignation than
what one would expect from organizations conscious of their
social r6le and of their desire for real emancipation. Neither
the vocabulary nor the slogans bear the stamp of the workers'
or peasants' mentality. The text can only be the work of young
intellectuals spelling out all the grievances, their own and those
of the exploited classes, that can be laid at the doors of an
Only the Bolivian appeal seems to follow some pre-defined
plan. Although it is couched in cruder terms, it is more tightly
'constructed' than the others. It is more closely related to the
idea of guerrilla warfare as a technique for the capture of
power, at one and the same time agent and instrument, head
and arm or, more precisely, a government in embryo.
by Carlos Buitrago-Ortiz -
To the newcomer, Esperanza ap-
pears to be a fully egalitarian society.
In regular daily intercourse people
behave in a friendly way, joking and
assuming an apparent equality. But
even the newcomer after some time
begins to notice that behind the ap-
parent homogeneity there is a great
diversity. He will gradually notice that
the terms of address vary, and that tu
(implying equality) is different from
usted (implying respect).
Several interrelated factors mainly
land, income, occupation, education
and prestige determine social strata or
classes in Esperanza. Land, and in-
come, with prestige, are the key criteria
which divide Esperanza's inhabitants
into social classes. People make these
distinctions in their everyday lives. But
groups are not closed entities, and allow
for movement between the different
levels. The squatter can become a small
farmer; the member of the lower upper
class can marry a member of the upper
The people of Esperanza tend to
cluster certain families in the same
reference group when speaking about
them. The upper class is a very limited
group in Esperanza, composed of four
or five families. These families are the
most respected in the barrio and own
plenty of land, most of which is used for
cash crops. One or two families own
stores in Esperanza. The combination
of land and commercial enterprises
gives them great economic and moral
power. In general, the prestige of these
families is very high, and people refer to
them as very considerate and good-
Each family in this group earns
probably more than $5,000 per year.
Their houses are the biggest and most
comfortable in the barrio. They are
classified as farmers, even though the
work is performed by wage laborers
whom they supervise. Only one of the
family heads engages in manual work,
and he has only recently begun to do so.
These families do not plan to move to
the city, as is the case with other upper
class families in Puerto Rico. They feel
that Esperanza is their home. Their
ancestors lived in Esperanza for many
generations, and they would not like to
abandon the place where they were
born and reared. The rest of the
population share this feeling, and the
general opinion is that these are the
"real" families of Esperanza.
It is very interesting indeed that the
children of these families also remain in
the barrio, and when they marry they
continue to live near their parents.
This is particularly so with the men,
who often continue to work as
assistants to their fathers. Their parents
occupy the dominant positions in the
economic system and they have no
motive for moving out of the barrio or
Diego is a member of one of the old
families and is considered by many to
be the richest person in Esperanza. He
has a $10,000 home, about 80 acres of
excellent land and about thirty head of
cattle. There are rumours that he has
$100,000 in the bank in Arecibo, and
he once told us that this was true. Diego
is married and has two children, both of
whom are studying, one in the United
States and the other at the University of
Puerto Rico in San Juan.
Diego and his family enjoy high
prestige in Esperanza, and everybody
considers that he is from a "good"
family (buena familiar Diego has good
connections with the mayor and the
party in power and many times in the
papt he has written "recom-
mendations" for persons, which have
produced the desired results. Apart
from this, Diego states that he does not
care about politics, and our ob-
servations confirmed this, at least for
the time we were there. Informants
state that he has not been in politics for
many years. Nor does Diego appear to
be interested in religion; neither he nor
his family go to church. Diego and his
wife are always very busy, but from
time to time they pay short visits to kin
(brothers and cousins and others) who
live in Esperanza.
In Esperanza, Diego is addressed by
the term Don, especially by the
members of the lower strata. On the
other hand, we have heard Diego call
other people by the term tu, which
implies social differentiation when used
in this way.
Diego used to cultivate sugar cane on
a large scale in the past, but he now has
a milk dairy. He runs the dairy with the
occasional help of his wife and son, and
occasional wage workers. In the past,
he employed many laborers, but now
his cows are milked by machine.
A group of 15 to 20 families in
Esperanza may be defined as lower
upper class in relation to the "real"
upper class. The lower class includes
newcomers and the differences in
income and land are such as to justify
their inclusion in a different stratum.
The, people of the barrio also make
these distinctions when they say.that:
"X is rich... but not so rich as Z ...".
Some members of this stratum are
related to the upper class by close
kinship ties (brothers for example) and
there is some degree of intermarriage.
Their inclusion in a different group is
explained basically on economic
grounds; they do not have the income
or land that their brothers (if this is the
relationship) have. People generally
justify this by saying that one worked
harder than the other.
The newcomers may have been born
in the barrio, or may have lived there
for many years, and gradually ac-
cumulated money and land. They have
moved up in terms of income and land,
and one of them owns one general store
in the barrio. Some of them proudly
state that in times past they were wage
laborers and had to work hard, adding
that now that they have some money
they behave in a "charitable" way and
that they do not put on airs on account
of their climb.
The majority are fanners and also
engage in cash crop cultivation, but on
a lesser scale than the upper class. They
employ much less wage labor than do
the larger farmers, and unlike the
latter, do not have any form of
mechanization on their farms. All of
these people own the land they operate,
and they never work for others as wage
Most of these families have deep
roots in Esperanza, and consider
themselves bound to live there for the
rest of their lives. However, a few doubt
the wisdom of staying in Esperanza, as
they fear that they will leave little to
their children after they die. They say
that they lack the resources of the
upper class, which allows them to send
their children to school, and even to the
University in San Juan.
It is hard to calculate an average
annual income for this class, but
between $2,500-$3,000 would not be
far from the truth. There is a sub-
stantial gap between this class and the
upper one in terms of income and also
in size of landholdings. Upper class
families have at least 50 or more acres
of first class land, while those of the
lower upper class would own about 30-
40 acres at the most, and in some cases
a great part of the land is of poor
quality. Most of the land of the upper
class has been inherited, while in the
lower upper class most land is acquired
Families on this level rank high in
prestige. People resort to them as they
do to the upper class, but with less
frequency. They have less power than
the class above them, and people in
Esperanza know this.
Braulio is a man in his sixties, who
lives alone on his farm with his wife. All
their children are married and have
gone away. People in Esperanza say
that Braulio has plenty of money, but
not so much as Diego and other
members of the upper strata.
Braulio has a farm of about forty-two
acres and a herd of ten cows, which are
looked after by two full-time laborers.
Braulio stated that his cash income was
around $3,500 a year; many products
such as milk, meat and eggs are
produced on the farm and do not have
to be bought outside.
He and his wife are well-liked and
respected by the people of Esperanza,
who say that Braulio used to have a lot
of influence in the past in the guild hall,
when he had more money and power.
Braulio is a sick man now (heart
trouble) and lives a very quiet,
sedentary life. He never goes to church,
nor does his wife, who prays at home.
The couple never go out visiting and,
instead, receive fairly frequent visits
from their kin.
The Middle Class
The middle class is a very broad
stratum which includes many in-
dividuals than the two preceding strata
combined. It includes around 80-90
families in the whole of Esperanza.
This is a class of small farmers, whc
own or control from 5 to 15 acres of
land apiece. This is middle class
(within Esperanza) due to the fact that
there are considerable gaps between the
two upper classes on the one hand and
the lower class on the other.
This stratum includes a small group
of people who do clerical work for the
government, either in Esperanza or
outside. These persons approximate the
income "average" of the middle class
peasant, which is more than $500 but
less than $2,000 a year. Here we also
include some small storekeepers, and
the drivers of the publicos (public taxis)
that provide public transportation
between Esperanza and the town of
Arecibo. All these non-farmers add up
to about 15 families; thus the bulk of
this class is of agricultural origin.
The farmers in this stratum also
produce cash crops, but they employ
little or no wage labor, as they cannot
afford to pay for it. Members of this
class make most use of the com-
padrazgo and other connections, when
trying to establish themselves as cash
crop farmers. Even if they are suc-
cessful in producing for the market,
they are likely to supplement their
incomes by working as wage laborers
on the big farms.
Many of these farmers belong to
families which have lived for
generations in the barrio, and many of
them can remember when they did not
own or control any land and were
agregados (squatters). They recall the
time when they or their forbears
worked (and lived) on the land of the
families of Esperanza. Others have
come to Esperanza from nearby regions
and gradually became established. As a
group, they consider themselves as
belonging to Esperanza and look
forward to residing there on a per-
These families have limited resources
and are seldom in a position to help
others. They are more likely to seek
help, especially in emergencies, from
people in the wealthiest classes. Some
emigrate, but less than those in the
Chilo has a small farm of about ten
acres, which he bought with the help of
his father, a retired farmer. He operates
the farm himself, and sometimes hires
one or two laborers. Chilo sometimes
works as a laborer to supplement his
income and to help compadres when
laborers are not plentiful.
He is married and has two children,
both of whom attend the local school.
Chilo's income is hard to calculate, but
he estimates that is about $1,500 a
year. He considers himself a "poor
man" (un pobre) but states that others
have no land and are poorer than he.
He says that his income and land allow
him to lead a decent life and that the
future could bring better things since he
plans to buy more land if he can get the
money. Chilo never goes to church,
although he considers himself a
religious man. He is quite an ac-
complished musician who plays the
cuatro (a guitar-like instrument) and is
always in demand to play at wakes,
especially in the homes of his kin and
The majority of families, numbering
almost two hundred, belong to the
lower class. Most of them do not own
land, and live as squatters on the big
farms. The land they live on is not used
by its owners, as it is is usually hilly and
of very inferior quality.
These people are not strictly farmers,
as they do not show much interest in
cultivating the soil for themselves. They
are wage laborers who work on the
farm where they live, or, when work is
finished there, on adjacent farms. It is
- r ..----
only in time of need that they plant
anything, and only on a small scale.
Only if times get really bad, they oc-
casionally plant some cash crops which
they sell in the market in Arecibo.
These people are perhaps the most
class-conscious of all the strata in
Esperanza. They constantly refer to
themselves as los pobres, los arrimados,
el obrero mal sufrido (the poor, the
squatters, the poor and suffering
laborers) and state that others in
Esperanza have at least a piece of land
of their own. They emphasize their
condition by stating that they can be
evicted at any time from the plot they
occupy (this, incidentally, is not
allowed by the law). They appear to
suffer a sense of insecurity not found
among other classes in Esperanza.
In terms of income they are also at
the bottom, and most of them probably
make less than $500 a year. They can
only alleviate their position by sub-
sistence farming or other activities
which bring return in kind rather than
in cash. Some of them also emigrate
and work in the United States.
Many of them were born and reared
in Esperanza, although some have
come from nearby regions. But they are
not a mobile class, as most of them have
lived on the same plot for at least a
decade, and some for twenty or thirty
All in all, the squatters know that
they are at the bottom of the barrel, and
as such orient their behavior when
dealing with others, especially with the
rich, upon whom they depend so much.
The squatter may call the big farmer
usted, and the big farmer reciprocates
by calling him td.
Ramdn is a squatter who lives on a
plot of land that belongs to a absentee
landowner who owns more than 600
acres of land planted with sugar cane.
During the sugar cane harvest Ramon
works as a laborer (cortador de cana).
The rest of the year, during the "dead"
season (tiempo muerto) when the work
in the cane has finished, he works in
anything he can find (chiripear).
He is married and has two daughters.
Ramon stated that his income was
about $500-600 a year, adding that
sometimes he does not have anything to
work on, and they have to tighten
their belts (apretarse la correa). He
was able to get permission from a
landowner to plant some plantains in a
small lot near his house, so that they
could have some food for the "dead"
season. Ramon was a Catholic but was
converted to the Pentecostal Church
along with many of his fellow laborers.
He says that he has many compadres in
the area, but that all are poor like
himself. He is gloomy about the future
and states: "If the government does
not help us and give land to us, we are
going to die of hunger."
In Esperanza, there is plenty of
social intercourse between members of
different strata, as it is not a closed
society. Ties of kinship, compadrazgo,
neighborhood, often cut across social
There are some limits, of course,
such as the tendency to marry within
one's group. This is a social system
where there are social strata, four as we
see it, but with many lines cutting
across. The system is neither closed nor
One factor that tends to unite all the
people of Esperanza into one com-
munity is the sense of belonging to the
barrio. This is reflected very clearly
when one hears a man say "I am from
Esperanza". This sense of identity, is a
very precise and clear sentiment. If you
belong to Esperanza and see a fight
between two men in the town and then
discover that one is from Esperanza,
you almost automatically intervene on
his behalf, without waiting to see "who
is right or wrong."
by Luis Nieves Falcon 1
POVERTY IN PUERTO RICO:
DEMYTHOLOGY OF "THE
SHOWCASE." (To be published in the
original Spanish in LAS AMERICAS,
Puerto Rican social scientists have
begun to study the economic
"progress" which political propaganda
attributes to Puerto Rico, and to
examine the statistics which sub-
stantiate this "progress." This analysis
will attempt to reveal some of the key
social contradictions in contemporary
Puerto Rico, and the most obvious
results of a colonial economy based
upon the theory that "our economic
space and our physical resources are
too limited for us to develop an
autonomous economy." 1 Among
these results are the perpetuation of "a
massive dependence upon external
finance capital," 2 the "domination
by external capital of our commercial
and industrial life," 3 and the fact
that "today, the distance between the
rich and the poor is much greater than
it was in the past," 4 despite the
"official goals" of achieving better
income distribution. The real situation,
which reveals profound human
inequalities, is expressed with a bit-
terness that some of our scholars cannot
suppress when they point out that.
"despite the exalted economic progress,
of Puerto Rico, one-fourth of the
population continues to be plagued by
insufficient income, inadequate
housing, disease, poor clothing, hunger,
and the entire gamut of misery
engendered in severely underveloped
The quotations just used refer
basically to the crystallization of social
and economic privileges in Puerto Rico
today which permit a few to live in
opulence and many to live in infra-
human conditions. This fundamental
inequality, whose persistence has
become quite notable over the years,,
seems to contradict those who call
Puerto Rico a democratic, egalitarian
The unequal distribution of social
and economic benefits in Puerto Rico is
made more noticeable by the per-
sistence of a numerous human
aggregate which has not received the
material benefits developed by a
mechanistic and disjointed economic
growth; a significant sector of the
population is considered "poor"
because it lives in "poverty." We
understand this to be the deprivation of
material goods to such a degree that it
impedes the normal development of the
individual, to a point where it com-
promises the integrity of his condition
as a human being. More specifically,
"it is that situation where the standard
of living of a person or family, or given
group, is below that of the community
used as a base of reference." 6 It is
the condition which characterizes
persons who live at infra-human levels,
well below the style of life and patterns
of consumption of the privileged
classes. It means "a lack of goods and
services which is sufficiently serious to
produce misery, when they are not
provided by the income sources con-
sidered normal in the culture being
dealt with." 7 This poverty is
mainly due to the lack of adequate
income. It prevents the individual from
obtaining those goods and services
considered essential by the society to
maintain what the society itself believes
is a decent standard of living.
Poverty is an essential social problem
nowadays in Puerto Rico because
people are aware of it, political parties
have included its erradication as part of
their platforms, and, finally, because
the majority of the population is not
satisfied with the way the problem has
been attacked, despite government
efforts to hide its real magnitude. The
preponderance of poverty represents a
negation of the egalitarian-democratic
ideology of our society and a 'con-
firmation that opportunities are not
equally accessible to its citizens.
The condition of "poverty" can be
determined by different criteria. One
can use economic, sociological and
psychological indices. Although a
combination of different factors is
possibly the best index, salary or in-
come has been the most recent basic
criterion to determine whether or not a
family is poor. This responds to the
basic premise that one's salary opens
the doors to the acquisition of goods,
services and benefits considered im-
portant in a society whose economic
structure is like ours. Furthermore,
salaries lend themselves to the type of
quantitative analysis that permits one
to determine the real capacity for
acquisition, and determine whether
that capacity is sufficient to obtain
what is needed to live. This analysis
will use available government data on
family income to describe the situation
of "poverty" in Puerto Rico.
In 1953, the Puerto Rico Planning
Board established a goal to boost all
family incomes above $2,000. It
calculated that by 1960 this goal would
be realized. 8 It considered that
$2,000 a year was the minimum
amount a family needed to satisfy its
On April 30, 1964 the Division of
Public Welfare, part of the Health
Department, estimated that the
minimum annual income required by a
family to satisfy its most indispensable
needs was $2,000. 9 In 1968, the
Committee to study The Purpose of
Puerto Rico, a joint group of the Puerto
Rican legislature, estimated that
$2,500 was the annual level needed by
the average family, as an adequate
minimum. The "adequate minimum"
includes good health, sufficient
education, desirable social en-
vironment, good housing, and good
Using these criteria of desirable
minimum income, let us see how in-
come is distributed in Puerto Rico.
These data have been obtained from a
confidential report published by the
Planning Board in 1964. 11 At that
time, Puerto Rico had 448,000
families; 112,000 of them received less
than $500 a year; 192,000 received
less than $1,000 a year; 253,000
received less than $1,500 a year;
297,000 received less than $2,000 a
year; and 333,000 received less than
$2,500 a year.
If we use the criteria of the Com-
mittee to study the Purpose of Puerto
Rico, three fourths of Puerto Rico's
families live in poverty; if we utilize
those of the Division of Public Welfare,
FaR, 1970 CA BBEAN I'V"t 13
more than three-fifths of the families
are still poor. If we use the criteria
established by the Department of
Labor of the United States, whereby an
urban family with four members
requires a minimum of $4,800 a year,
the vast majority of Puerto Rico's
families would be considered poor.
It appears more reasonable to
assume that, despite the limitation and
internalization of North American
consumer patterns in Puerto Rico, an
income of $1,500 per year would define
a poor family in Puerto Rico. But even
using this lower figure, more than half
of Puerto Rico's families are submerged
in poverty. An extremely revealing
point of the island's progress is that
112,000 families, one-fourth of all the
families, receive less than $500 a year.
If we keep in mind that the average
Puerto Rican has five mem-
bers, 12. we realize that this great
part of our society has $1.37 per family
for its daily survival. As is to be ex-
pected, a society with "voracious and,
to a certain point, irrational con-
sumption patterns," where we see
copied "the consumer habits of the
richest nation in the world, due in part
to slick advertising, which is also
copied, and to a great degree sponsored
by North American companies," and
where the cost of living is "about 15
percent higher than in the United
States," 13 these families cannot
really live; rather, they die, on time
payments. This tiny income can barely
purchase the following: two pounds of
rice (26 cents), a pound of beans (30
cents), half a pound of lard (10 cents),
a can of tomato sauce (7 cents), a
quarter pound of dried, salted codfish
(10 cents), a liter of milk (28 cents),
and one quarter pound of ground coffee
This leaves nothing for rent, nothing
for clothing, medicine, doctors, or
recreation. A poor Puerto Rican
family's daily income is the cost of nine
bottles of Coca-Cola, less than the cost
of a ticket for a San Juan movie theatre,
less than four packs of cigarettes, and
less than the cost of two rum and Cokes
in a nightclub or restaurant. The
amount available to a family for its
entire daily expenses is much less than
the cost of a cheap pair of shoes, of a
bath towel, of a dress shirt, of a silk tie,
or of some paperbound books.
This picture of poverty is manifested
in the 533,000 individuals who receive
surplus food 14 because "more than
one fourth of the families are still
unable to consume food of a high
nutritional value (beef, poultry, milk,
eggs) because these are not within their
economic grasp, and only to the degree
that their problem of low income is
solved will they be able to consume
items other than starchy vegetables and
other cheap foods." 15 It is also
reflected in the 11 percent of the
families who depend upon public
welfare. This latter figure includes a
total of 59,435 families, which ac-
,counts for 224.090 people. 16
These families do not include all those
who qualify, but only those who can be
helped by the limited resources
available to the government. This aid
does not cover all the families' basic
needs, but despite this the people who
qualify wait helplessly for their turn, in
a system that has been described as
"unrealistic, inadequate and essentially
"It is considered unrealistic to
determine a families' minimal
economic needs and then provide one
third of them. It is considered inhuman
to deprive 200,000 children of the
opportunity to become healthy,
educated, useful citizens, and to deny
thousands of incapacitated elder
citizens decent living conditions and
opportunities for rehabilitation. It is
considered economically imprudent to
administer an inadequate program that
tends to perpetuate the social ills of
poverty." 17 Despite this, the list of
persons who qualify for, and seek, this
starvation-level aid is long.
Government officials themselves
recognize the urgency of the problem
when they point out that only "one
fourth of the population exceeds the
average income, and three quarters of
the people earn less than the average
income. Of these three quarters, about
one-fourth do not earn enough for
human survival." They add that the
income of the fourth most affected is
truly "sub-human ... since it does not
include more than basic 'animal'
necessities, and almost no specifically
This picture of poverty cannot be
explained by psychological means. It
appears also that the "psychological"
and "moralistic" approaches have been
used for a long time to avoid
questioning the very foundations of a
policy and economic system. We
sustain that the most accurate answers
with respect to this problem are
sociological, based upon the
examination of the social structures of
the society itself. 18
1. Planning Board, "DIRECTRICES
ECONOMICS Y OBJETIVOS DEL
DESARROLLO INTEGRAL DE PUERTO
RICO: 1961-1982," mimeograph, p. 11.
2. Planning Board, PLAN GENERAL
DE DESARROLLO; 1965-1975, Dec., 1966,
3. Jose L. Vazquez Calzada, EL
DESBALANCE ENTIRE RECURSOS Y
POBLACION EN PUERTO RICO,
mimeograph, Nov. 1966. p. 44.
4. IBID. p. 45.
5. Ligia Vazquez de Rodriguez, LA
POBREZA Y SUS IMPLICACIONES EN
LA PROFESSION DEL TRABAJO
SOCIAL, Rio Piedras:.Graduate School of
Social Work, 1969, p. 27.
6. Henry Pratt Fairchild, ed., DIC-
CIONARIO DE SOCIOLOGIA, Mexico,
Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1960, p. 224.
8. Planning Board, INFORME
ECONOMIC AL GOBERNADOR: 1953,
9. Public Welfare Division, BIENESTAR
PUBLIC ANTE EL PROPOSITO DE
PUERTO RICO: PLAN DE DIEZ ANOS,
April 1964, p. 4.
10. Committee to study the Purpose of
Puerto Rico, INFORMED A LA ASAM-
BLEA LEGISLATIVA, May 21, 1968, p. 78.
11. Herman Miller, Poverty in Puerto
Rico, Puerto Rico Planning Board, 1964,
12. Puerto Rico Planning Board, The
Economic and Social Conditions of Puerto
Rico's Rural Areas, Aug. 1967, p. 43.
13. Jose L. Vazquez Calzada, OP.CIT.,
pp. 22, 25.
14. Puerto Rico Planning Board, The
Four Year Economic and Social
Development Plan of Puerto Rico, 1968, p.
15. Planning Board, DIRECTRICES...
16. Planning Board, OP CIT., p. 205.
17 Rosa C. Marin and Maria E. Diaz, A
Family Centered Treatment, Research
and Demonstration Project in Puerto Rico
with Dependent Multi-problem Families,
Rio Piedras: School of Social Work, 1963,
18. Planning Board, DIRECTRICES...
10% discount to
in The U.S. and
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by Pedro Juan Pietri_
They were always on time
They were never late
They never spoke back
When they were insulted
They never went on strike
They never took days off
That were on the calendar
Ten days a week
And were only paid for five
And they died
They died broke
They died owing
They died never knowing
What the front entrance
of the first national bank looks like
All died yesterday today
And will die tomorrow
Passing their bill collectors
On to the next of kin
Waiting for the Garden of Eden
To open up again
Under a new management
Dreaming about america
Waking them up in the middle of the night
Screaming: Mira! Mira!
Your name is on the winning lottery ticket
For one hundred thousand dollars
Hating the grocery stores
That sold them make believe steaks
And bullet proof rice and beans
All died waiting dreaming and hating
Dead Puerto Ricans
Who never knew they were Puerto Ricans
SWho never took a coffee break
From the ten commandments
To KILL KILL KILL
The landlords of their cracked skulls
And communicated with their Latin Souls
From the nervous breakdown streets
Where the mice live like millionaires
And the people do not live at all
Are dead and were never alive
Died waiting for his number to hit
Died waiting for the welfare check
To come and go and come again
Died waiting for her 10 children
To grow up and work
So she could quit working
Died waiting for a five dollar raise
Died waiting for his supervisor to drop dead
So that he could get a promotion
Is a long ride
From Spanish Harlem
To long island cemetery
Where they were buried
First the train
And then the bus
And the cold cuts for lunch
And the flowers
That will be stolen
When visiting hours are over
Is very expensive
Is very expensive
But they understand
Their parents understand
Is a long non-profit ride
From Spanish Harlem
To long island cemetery
All died yesterday today
And will die again tomorrow
Dreaming about queens
Clean cut lily white neighborhood
Puerto Ricanless scene
Thirty thousand dollar home
The first spics on the block
Proud to belong to the community
of gringos who want them lynched
Proud to be a long distance away
From the sacred phrase: Que Pasa!
These empty dreams
From the make believe bedrooms
Their parents left them
Are the after effects
Of television programs
About the ideal
white american family
With black maids
And latin janitors
Who are well trained
To make everyone
And their bill collectors
Laugh at them
And the people they represent
Died dreaming about a new car
Died dreaming about new anti-poverty programs
Died dreaming about a trip to Puerto Rico
Olga died dreaming about real jewelry
Died dreaming about the irish sweepstakes
They all died
like a hero sandwich dies
In the garment district
At twelve o'clock in the afternoon
Social Security numbers to ashes
Union dues to dust
They were born to weep
And keep the morticians employed
As long as they pledge allegiance
To the flag that wants them destroyed
They saw their names listed
In the telephone directory of destruction
They were trained to turn
The other cheek by newspapers
Who misspelled who mispronounced
Who misunderstood their names
And celebrated when death came
And stole their final laundry ticket
They were born dead and they died dead.
To visit Sister Lopez again
The number one healer
And fortune card dealer
In Spanish Harlem
She can communicate
With your late relatives
For a reasonable fee
Good news is guaranteed
Rise table Rise table
Death is not dumb and disable
Those who love you want to know
The correct number to play
Let them know this right away
Rise table Rise table
Death is not dumb and disable
If the right number we hit
All our problems will split
And we will visit our graves
On every legal holiday
Those who love you want to know
The correct number to play
Let them know this right away
We know your spirit is able
Death is not dumb and disable
RISE TABLE RISE TABLE
All died yesterday today
And will die again tomorrow
Hating fighting and stealing
Broken windows from each other
Practicing a religion without a roof
The old testament
The new testament
According to the gospel
Of the internal revenue
The judge and jury and executioner
Protector and internal bill collector
Secondhand shit for sale
Learn how to say: Como Esta Usted
And you will make a fortune
They are dead
They are dead
And will not return from the dead
Until they stop neglecting
The art of their dialogue
For broken english lessons
To impress the mister goldsteins
Who keeps them employed
As dish washers porters messenger boys
Factory workers maids stock clerks
Shipping clerks assistant mailroom
Assistant, assistant, assistant, assistant
To the assistant, assistant dishwasher
And automatic smiling doorman
For the lowest wages of the ages
And rages when you demand a raise
Because its against the company policy
To promote SPICS SPICS SPICS
Died hating Miguel because Miguel's
Used car was in better condition
Then his used car
Died hating Milagros because Milagros
Had a color television set
And he could not afford one yet
Died hating Olga because Olga
Made five dollars more on the same job
Died hating Manuel because Manuel
Had hit the numbers more times than
She had hit the numbers
Died hating all of them
Because they all spoke broken English
More fluently than he did
And now they are together
In the main lobby of the void
Addicted to silence
Under the grass of oblivion
Off limits to the wind
Confined to warm supremacy
In long island cemetery
This is the groovy hereafter
The protestant collection box
Was talking so loud and proud about
Here lies Juan
Here lies Miguel
Here lies Milagros
Here lies Olga
Here lies Manuel
Who died yesterday today
And will die again tomorrow
That they are beautiful people
The geography of their complexion...
(This is an excerpt from a longer poem which
originally appeared in "Palante", August 28, 1970,
the newspaper of the Young Lords Party. It is
reproduced here with the author's permission.)
FuL, 1970 UBWAN lVEisW
BROWN GIRL, BROWNSTONES. Paule
Marshall. 255 pp. Avon, 1970 $.95. New edition of
1959 novel about a young Barbadian In Brooklyn.
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DE HISPANOAMERICA. Ed. by Alexander
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LAWS OF THE NIGHT. Hector A. Murena.
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LOS MALOS OLORES DE ESTA TIERRA.
Ramon Ferreira Fwd. by John Dos Passos.
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MY SWEET ORANGE TREE. Jose Mauro de
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Knopf, 1970, $6.95. A best-seller In Brazil, where
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THE ALEPH AND OTHER STORIES: 1939-
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THE THREE TRIALS OF MANIREMA. Jose
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1970. $4.95. Short stories by a modern Brazilian
THE YEAR IN SAN FERNANDO. Michael
Anthony. 184 pp. Humanities Press (NY),
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in the life of a boy who leaves his rural village to
work as a servant-companion in the house of an
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NEW POETRY OF MEXICO. Selected by
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RICAN POEMS. Ed. & tr. by Victoi M. Gil de
Rubio. 157 pp. Ediciones Rumbos, Barcelona,
1968. A bi-lingual collection of poems.
THE GOLDEN THREAD AND OTHER
PLAYS. Emilio Carballido. Tr. by Margaret
Sayers Peden. 224 pp. U. Texas, 1970.$6.50. Plays
by one of Mexico's most innovative and ac-
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H. Ransom. Photos by Hans Beacham. 337 pp. U.
of Texas, 1970. Coth, $7.50; paper, $1.50. A special
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MEXICAN CITIES OF THE GODS. AN AR-
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NEW BRAZILIAN ART. P.M. Bardi. 160 pp.
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PRE-COLUMBIAN MINIATURES: THE
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CUBA: SOCIALISM AND DEVELOPMENT.
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LA NACIONALIZACION DE BIENES EX-
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A HISTORY OF THE CUBAN REPUBLIC.
Charles E. Chapman. 685 pp. Farrar, Straus,
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BRITAIN AND THE INDEPENDENCE OF
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DAILY LIFE OF THE AZTECS ON THE EVE
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DIEZ ANOS DE REVOLUTION CUBANA. 202
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EL EJERCITO MEXICANO (1911-1965). Jorge
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HISTORIC DE CUBA DESDE COLON HASTA
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MOVEMENTS. Ed. by Henry A. Landsberger.
476 pp. Cornell U., 1970. $12.50. Ten essays on
peasant movements in the 20th century.
LEADERS OF THE COMMUNIST WORLD.
Ed. by Rodger Swearingen. 768 pp. Macmillan,
1970.' $10.95. Thirty original essays on con-
temporary leaders, including Castro.
LOS QUE MANDAN. Jose Luis de Imaz. Tr. by
Carlos A. Astiz. State U. of New York, 1970.
Paper, $2.45, cloth, $7.50. Analyzes the "power
elite" of Argentina from 1936-61.
MODELS OF POLITICAL CHANGE IN
LATIN AMERICA. Ed. by Paul E. Sigmund. 352
pp. Praeger, 1970. $3.95. Documents, speeches
and articles (mostly translated from Spanish
and Portuguese) on contemporary Latin
NACIONALISMO Y EDUCATION EN
MEXICO. Josefina Vazquez de Knauth. 294 pp.
Colegio de Mexico, 1970. $4.40. Analyzes history
textbooks of Mexico.
NUEVA MENTALIDAD MILITARY EN
PERU? Victor Villanueva. 282 pp. El Mangrullo,
Buenos Aires, 1969.
PODER POLITICO Y CAMBIO ESTRUC-
TURAL. Julio Oyhanarte. 128 pp. El Mangrullo,
Buenos Aires, 1969.
POLITICS AND SOCIAL FORCES IN
CHILEAN DEVELOPMENT. James Petras. 377
pp. U. of California, 1970. $3.45. Sustains that the
much-admired democratic forms in Chile
conceal an essentially exploitative substance,
and interprets a growing radicalism among
peasants and workers as indices of future
PRESSURE GROUPS AND POWER ELITES
IN PERUVIAN POLITICS..Carlos A. Astiz. 316
pp. Cornell U., 1970. $12. Analyzes the roles
played by four primary forces in Peru's
domestic power struggle.
REVOLUTION CUBAN STYLE. Gil Green.
125 pp. International Publishers, 1970. Paper,
$1.25. Impressions of a recent visit by an
American Communist leader.
REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS AND THE
CUBAN WORKING CLASS. Maurice Zeitlin.
Harper, 1970. Paper, $1.95.
REVOLUTIONARY WRITINGS. Camilo
Torres. Intro. Maurice Zeitlan. Harper, 1970.
STRATEGY FOR REVOLUTION: ESSAYS
ON LATIN AMERICA. Regis Debray. Ed. and
Intro. by Robin Blackburn. 256 pp. Monthly
Review, 1970. $6.50.
THE ALLIANCE THAT LOST ITS WAY.
Jerome Levinson and Juan de Onis. 384 pp. 20th
Century Fund Study, 1970. $7.95. Concludes that
the Alliance is much less than a foolproof
blueprint for change in Latin America, and
concludes with solid proposals for improving it.
THE GROUNDINGS WITH MY BROTHERS.
Walter Rodney. Bogle L'Ouverture Publications,
110 Windermere Rd., South Ealing, London 5
(reprintof-st ed.). A Guyana-born historian now
residing in Africa writes of Black Power and its
relevance in the West Indies.
THE IDEOLOGY AND PROGRAM OF THE
PERUVIAN APRISTA MOVEMENT. Harry
Kantor. 163 pp. Farrar, Straus, 1970 (1st ed. in
THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION. FEDERAL
EXPENDITURE AND SOCIAL CHANGE
SINCE 1910. James W. Wilkie. 376 pp. U. of
California, 1970 (second revised ed.). $2.95. Tries
to test empirically the success of a social
revolution, in terms of its own goals, using
detailed census and budgetary data.
THE NATURE OF REVOLUTION. Carleton
Beals. T.Y. Crowell, 1970. $8.50. An overall
picture of 11 major revolutions of the past 200
years, from America's to Cuba's.
THE OAS IN TRANSITION. Margaret M. Ball.
721 pp. Duke, 1970. $19.50.
THE POLITICS OF PUERTO RICAN
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS. Arthur Liebman.
199 pp. U. Texas, 1970. $6. (reviewed in this
A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF UNITED STATES-
LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS SINCE 1810.
Compiled and edited by David F. Trask, Michael
C. Meyer and Roger R. Trask. 441 pp. U. of
Nebraska, 1968. $14.95. A selected list of 11,000
BIBLIOGRAFIA HISTORIC MEXICANA
III. 208 pp. Centro de Eustudios Historicos,
Colegio de Mexico, 1970. $4. Includes 1590 book
and article listings on Mexican history.
DICCIONARIO DE LA LENGUA ESPANOLA.
19th edition. 1426 pp. Espasa-Calpe, Madrid,
1970. $25. This new edition has 12,000 more
listings, mainly prompted by the growth of
technology, as well as the increase in
LATIN AMERICAN LITERATURE:
ALPHABETICAL LISTING BY AUTHOR OR
TITLE, CHRONOLOGICAL LISTING. Widener
Library Shelflist 21. 498 pp. Harvard. $40.
MANUAL OF HISPANIC BIBLIOGRAPHY.
Compiled by David W. Foster, Virginia Ramos
Foster. 218 pp. U. Washington, 1970. $11. A guide
to primary and important secondary sources,
dealing with both the Peninsula and the New
MY ISLAND KITCHEN. Erva Boulon. U. S.
Virgin Islands Printing Corporation. Box 4022,
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. A collection of
recipes using ingredients commonly found in
THE HANDBOOK OF LATIN AMERICAN
STUDIES. Vols 15-21, 23, 26. $20 per vol.
Prepared in the Hispanic Foundation of the
Library of Congress, and re-issued by
arrangement with U. of Florida Press.
THESES ON CARI BBEAN TOPICS: 1778-1968.
Enid M. Baa. 146 pp. Inst. of Caribbean Studies,
U. Puerto Rico, 1970. $2.50.
AWAKENING MINORITIES: AMERICAN
INDIANS, MEXICAN-AMERICANS AND
PUERTO RICANS. Ed. by John R. Howard. 160
pp. Aldine, 1970. Cloth $5.95, paper $2.45.
BEYOND THE MELTING POT: THE
NEGROES, PUERTO RICANS, JEWS,
ITALIANS AND IRISH OF NEW YORK CITY.
Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
MIT Press. A revised expanded version of the
original, with a new 90-page introduction on
"New York City in 1970."
BUREAUCRACY AND NATIONAL PLAN-
NING: A SOCIOLOGICAL CASE STUDY OF
MEXICO. Guy Benveniste. 158pp. Praeger, 1970.
$13.50. The author observed a group of Mexican
economists as they established a national plan
CIENCIA SOCIAL Y REVOLUTION EN
LATINOAMERICA. Hugo Calello. Lib.
Politecnica Moulines, Caracas, 1969. 74 pp.
CRUCIFIXION BY POWER: ESSAYS ON
GUATEMALAN NATIONAL SOCIAL
STRUCTURE, 1944-1966. Richard Newbold
Adams. 533 pp. U. of Texas, 1970. $10. An an-
thropologist examines the forces that crucify
Guatemala via unyielding and uncontrollable
power plays from beyond its national borders.
DOWN THERE. Jose Igleslas. World, 1970.
$7.50. The author of "In the Fist of the
Revolution," returns to Cuba and writes of
Communist teachers and students in the Island
of Pines. Also covers experiences on the South
American mainland. Recommends that the U.S.
let the nations "down there" work out their own
ESBOZO DE LA HISTORIC LEGAL DE LAS
INSTITUCIONES Y TRIBUNALES DE
MENORES DE PUERTO RICO. Awilda Palau
de Lopez. 125 pp. U. Puerto Rico, 1970.
HANDBOOK OF MIDDLE AMERICAN IN-
DIANS. VOL. NINE, PHYSICAL AN-
THROPOLOGY. T. Dale Stewart (Ed.). 296 pp.
U. of Texas, 1970. $15. On the human biology of
Middle America and its relationships to man's
society and culture.
HEALTH & THE DEVELOPING WORLD.
John Bryant, M.D. 345 pp. Cornell U., 1969. $10.
Analyzes health problems in several un-
derdeveloped countries and offers approaches to
JUVENILE DELINQUENCY IN PUERTO
RICO. Lenore R. Kupperstein, Jaime Toro-
Calder. 261 pp. Social Science Research Center,
U. of Puerto Rico, 1969. A socio-cultural and
socio-legal analysis. The first publication of an
international effort to examine juvenile court
statistics and the machinery of justice designed
to process youths who commit acts believed to
require public action. Comparative studies of
Yugoslavia, Israel and Poland are to follow.
LA CAUSA. George Horwitz. Photos by Paul
Fusco. 192 pp. Collier-Macmillan, 1970. Paper,
$2.95, cloth, $6.95. About California's migrant
LATIN AMERICAN CIVILIZATION:
COLONIAL PERIOD. Bailey W. Diffie. 812 pp.
Farrar, Straus, 1970 (1st ed. 1945). $17.50. With a
new 70 page bibliographical intro. by the author.
LOS ARGENTINOS Y EL STATUS. Julio
Mafud. 279 pp. El Mangrullo, Buenos Aires, 1969.
LOS MEDIOS DE COMUNICACION DE
MASAS EN MEXICO. Enrique Gonzalez
Pedrero. 175 pp. UNAM, Mexico City, 1969. $2.
MASSES IN LATIN AMERICA. Ed. Irving
Louis Horowitz. 608 pp. Oxford, 1970. $13.50. 17
political scientists examine the influence of the
masses upon political and economic develop-
Illus. from "The Anglo-Spanish Strug-
gle for Mosquitia," Troy S. Floyd, U.
of New Mexico, 1969.
MEXICAN AMERICANS IN THE UNITED
STATES. John H. Burma. (ed.). 450 pp. Canfield
Press, Harper & Row, 1970. Paper, $4.95. A
collection of essays, articles and previously
POBLACION, DESARROLLO Y CONTROL
DE NATALIDAD EN AMERICA LATINA.
Hernan Romero. 156 pp. Diana, Mexico City,
POWER AND SOCIETY IN CON-
TEMPORARY PERU. Francois Bourricaud. Tr.
from French by Paul Stevenson. 356 pp. Praeger,
1970. $11. Analyzes important developments
since the 1930's, and the growing role of an
educated mestizo middle class.
RACE AND CLASS IN LATIN AMERICA. Ed.
by Magnus Morner. 309 pp. Columbia U. Press,
1970. $10. Thirteen essays by Latin American
scholars, exploring various facets of race
TEACHING ENGLISH TO WEST INDIAN
CHILDREN (Schools Council Working Paper
No. 29). Evans/Methuen Educational, London,
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COLOMBIAN
LABOR MOVEMENT. Miguel Urrutla. 297 pp.
Yale, 1970. $10.
THE FALL OF THE PIONEER CLASS IN
THE BRITISH CARIBBEAN, 1763-1833. Lowell
J. Ragatz. 520 pp. Farrar, Straus, 1970 (1st ed.
THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN PEOPLE: THE
NATION'S SECOND LARGEST MINORITY.
Ed. by Leo Grebler. Free Press (Macmillan),
THE NEGRO IN BRAZILIAN SOCIETY.
Florestan Fernandes. 489 pp. Columbia U. $12.50.
A two-part study based on observed interactions
between Negroes and whites in Sao Paulo.
THE RAW & THE COOKED. Claude Levi-
Strauss. 'r. by John & Doreen Welghtman. 387
pp. Harper,1969. $10. First in a series of volumes
in which the French anthropologist attempts to
view scientifically the mythology of South
TONALA -- CONSERVATION, RESPON-
SIBILITY, AND AUTHORITY IN A MEXICAN
TOWN. May N. D.az. 234 pp. U. California, 1970.
Paper, $2.45. An anthropologist examines what
impact the industrialization of an urban center
has upon a nearby small community.
Travel & Geography
THE CHANGING CARIBBEAN. Ellis Glad-
win. 256 pp. Macmillan, 1970. $6.95. For persons
who plan to move, temporarily or permanently,
to the Caribbean.
CARIBBEAN HERE & NOW, 1971-72. THE
COMPLETE GUIDE TO SUNNY VACATION
SPORTS. James Ramsey Ullman, Al Dinhofer.
384 pp. Macmillan, 1970 (a new revised edition).
ECUADOR. Henri Michaux. Tr. by Robin
Magowan. U. Washington, 1970. $4.9. A travel
journal by a poet who traveled down the Amazon
Quarterly Journal devoted to the Social Sciences, Arts, and
Humanities relevant to the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean areas
MANAGING EDITOR: SYBIL LEWIS
Vol. 10 October, 1970 No. 3
GERARD R. LATORTUE, Haiti et les Institutions
MURDO J. MACLEOD, The Soulouque Regime in Haiti, 1847-
1859; A Reevaluation
SUSANNE BODENHEIMER, The Social Democratic
Ideology in Latin America: The Case of Costa Rica's Partido
HAROLD A. LUTCHMAN, The Co-operative Republic of
MARTIN IRA GLASSNER, The Foreign Relations of Jamaica
and Trinidad and Tobago, 1960-1965
II. Research Notes
NANCIE L. GONZALEZ, Peasants Progress: Dominicans in
GUSTAVO A. ANTONINI, El Noroeste de la Republica
Dominicana: Un Modelo Modelo Morfogenetico de la Evolucion
OLIVER OLDMAN and MILTON TAYLOR, Tax Incentives
for Economic Growth in the U.S. Virgin Islands
III. Book Reviews
LEONARD E. BARRETT, The Rastafarians: A Study in
Messianic Cultism in Jamaica, reviewed by George E. Simpson
J. J. DAUXION LAVAYSSE, Viaje a las Islas de Trinidad,
Tobago, Margarita y Diversas Partes de Venezuela en la America
Meridional; PAT ROSTI, Memorias de un Viaje por America,
reviewed by Thomas G. Mathews
HERBERT R. BARRINGER, GEORGE I. BLANKSTEN,
and Raymond W. MACK, ed., Social Change in Developing
Areas; A Reinterpretation of Evolutionary Theory, reviewed by
RICHARD R. FAGEN, The Transformation of Political
Culture in Cuba, reviewed by Anthony P. Maingot
AWILDA PALAU DE LOPEZ y ERNESTO RUIZ ORTIZ,
En la Calle Estabas; La Vida en una Institucion para Menores,
reviewed by Eneida B. Rivero
W. PAUL STRASSMAN, Technological Change and Economic
Development: The Manufacturing Experience of Mexico and
Puerto Rico, reviewed by Roy Helfgott
GLENN H. BYER, ed., The Urban Explosion in Latin America,
reviewed by Charles Frankenhoff
IV. Current Bibliography
Published quarterly by
THE INSTITUTE OF CARIBBEAN STUDIES
University of Puerto Rico
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico 00931
Annual Subscription: U.S. $4.00
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