Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Front Matter
 Back Cover


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Caribbean Review
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095576/00025
 Material Information
Title: Caribbean Review
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University
Publisher: Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University
Place of Publication: Miami, FL
Publication Date: 1975
Copyright Date: 1980
Genre: serial   ( sobekcm )
 Record Information
Source Institution: FIU: Special Collections
Holding Location: FIU: Special Collections
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 1553369
System ID: UF00095576:00025

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Front Matter
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15-16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

-Two Dollars
October/November/December 1978 Vol. VII, No. 4 A

The Last Days of Sandino / Sun Lust Tourism/The Native Wisdom of Santeria
SPECIAL SECTION: The Role of the Opposition in the Caribbean





Latin American


College of Arts and Sciences
Florida International University
* Over 55 Caribbean and Latin
American related courses offered
from ten departments in the College
of Arts and Sciences.
* Certificate requirements include:
successful completion of five
Caribbean and/or Latin American
related courses and one independent
study/research project, from at least
three departments; demonstration
of related language proficiency in

Spanish, Portuguese, or French.
* Certificate program is open to both
degree and non-degree seeking
* Expanded University support through
special "Program of Distinction"
status awarded to Caribbean-Latin
American Studies.
* Expanded Library holdings in
Caribbean-Latin American materials.
* Periodic campus visits from
distinguished scholars in Caribbean
and Latin American studies.

Caribbean-Latin American Studies Faculty
Ricardo Arias, Philosophy and Religion Ramon G. Mendoza, Modern Languages
Ken I. Boodhoo, International Relations Raul Moncarz, Economics
judson M. DeCew, Political Science Pedro J. Montiel, Economics
Barry B. Levine, Sociology Mark B. Rosenberg, Political Science
Anthony P. Maingot, Sociology Reinaldo Sanchez, Modern Languages
James A. Mau, Sociology Mark D. Szuchman, History
Florentin Maurrasse, Physical Sciences Maida Watson-Breslin, Modern Languages

For further information,

Mark Rosenberg
Caribbean-Latin American Studies Council
Florida International University
Tamiami Trail
Miami, Florida 33199


October/November/December 1978
Vol. VII, No. 4 Two Dollars

Barry B. Levine

Associate Editor
Pedro J. Montiel

Assistant to the Editor
Violeta Jimenez

Contributing Editors
Ricardo Arias
Ken I.Boodhoo
Jerry Brown
Judson M. DeCew
Robert E. Grosse
Herbert L. Hiller
Gordon K. Lewis
Anthony P. Maingot
James A. Mau
Florentin Maurrasse
Raul Moncarz
Mark B. Rosenberg
Mark D. Szuchman
William T. Vickers

Art Director
Assistant Editor
Susan Alvarez

Assistant Art Director
Juan Urquiola

Marian Goslinga

Editorial Managers
Geri Berkowitz
Eugenia Edelstein

Publishing Consultants
Andrew R. Banks
Eileen Marcus

Advertising Consultants
Joe Guzman
Rosa Santiago

Caribbean Review, a quarterly journal dedicated to
the Caribbean, Latin America, and their emigrant
groups, is published by Caribbean Review, Inc., a
corporation not for profit organized under the laws
of the State of Florida. Caribbean Review receives
supporting grants from the Student Government
Association and the Office of Academic Affairs of
Florida International University and the State of
Florida. This public document was promulgated
at a quarterly cost of $3,434 or $1.72 per copy to
promote international education with a primary
emphasis on creating greater mutual understanding
among the Americas, by articulating the culture
and ideals of the Caribbean and Latin America, and
emigrating groups originating therefrom.
Mailing address: Caribbean Review, Florida Inter-
national University, Tamiami Trail, Miami, Florida
33199. Telephone: (305) 552-2246. Unsolicited
manuscripts (articles, essays, reprints, excerpts,
translations, book reviews, poetry, etc.) are welcome
but should be accompanied by a self-addressed
stamped envelope. Copyright 1978 by Caribbean
Review, Inc. All rights reserved.
Subscription rates: 1 year: $8.00; 2 years: $15.00;
3 years: $20.00. 25% less in the Caribbean and Latin
America. Air Mail: add 50% per year. Payment in
Canadian currency or with checks drawn from banks
outside the U.S. add 10%. Invoicing charge: $2.00.
Subscription agencies please take 15%.
Back Issues: Vol. 1, No. 1, Vol. II, No. 2; Vol. Ill,
No. 1, No. 3, No. 4; Vol. V, No. 3; Vol. VI, No. 1 are
out of print. All other back numbers: $3.00 each.
Microfilm and microfiche copies of Caribbean
Review are available from University Microfilms, A
Xerox Company, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor,
Michigan 48106.
International Standard Serial Number:
ISSN US0008-6525; Library of Congress Number:
AP6, C27; Dewey Decimal Number: 079.7295.


Letters from Readers
Clarke, Krohn, Young, Kieffer

The Last Days of Sandino
A moral document revealing the
pathos of the Nicaraguan tragedy
Salvador Calderon Ramfrez
Texts selected and translated by
Ricardo Arias Calder6n

Sun Lust Tourism
in the Caribbean
On the possibility of visiting
the real Caribbean
Herbert L. Hiller

Having Thrown a Stone Today,
Eshu Kills a Bird of Yesterday
The native wisdom of Santeria
Judith Hoch-Smith and Ernesto Pichardo

The Role of the Opposition
in the Carribbean
Parliamentary politics in the
West Indies
Introduced by Anthony P. Maingot

In Jamaica
Edward Seaga,
Leader of the Opposition

In Trinidad and Tobago
Basdeo Panday,
Leader of the Opposition

In Guyana
Cheddi Jagan,
Leader of the Opposition

On the Balkanization
of America
A response to Montaner's
"On the Antillean Identity"
Mark D. Szuchman

The Literary Works of
Pedro Joaquin Chamorro
The fiction of the recently-assassinated
Nicaraguan martyr
Surveyed by Grafton J. Conliffe and
Thomas W. Walker

Gnarled Sour Grapes
A review of St. Lucian poet Derek
Walcott's most recent collection
John Thieme

Wifredo Lam
Max-Pol Fouchet's book on the famed
Cuban painter
Reviewed by Ricardo Pau-Llosa

Recent Books
An informative listing of books about
the Caribbean, Latin America, and their
emigrant groups
Marian Goslinga



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A Top Selection of Haitian Art


Box 1266



Canadian Hurts

Alternate Leadership

Dear Colleagues:

Dear Colleagues:

I read Tucker Arnold's interesting review of my friend's collec-
tion of poems, Ignoring Hurts ("A Celebration of Caribbean
Color," CR, July, 1978). I have not seen this book in any of the
Toronto bookstores and you might inform John Figueroa of
this sad oversight.

I noticed with delight that the Vol. Vll-3 issue contained
pieces by three of my friends, Maingot, Dathorne and St.

I have been instructed by Caribbean Review for some
years now, and I have found the cover and all drawings and il-
lustrations most charming.

Austin Clarke
Toronto, Canada

Tenuous Categories

Dear Colleagues:

I am not acquainted with Alma Young but her article ("Ethnic
Politics in Belize," CR, July 1978) is pretty much full of holes.
Her facts are wrong regarding the racial and ethnic population
of Belize-it appears that she used the 1946 census instead of
the 1970-and her conclusions (like those of Cedric Grant) are
tenuous at best. Belizean politics, unfortunately for foreign
observers who are part of much more polarized societies, do
not fit so neatly into racial and ethnic categories.

1 very much enjoyed the last issue and look forward to
receiving future issues of Caribbean Review. Keep up the good

Stewart Krohn, Editor
Brukdown, The Magazine of Belize

Alma Harrington Young replies:

Unlike Mr. Krohn, who is a relative new-comer to the Belizian
scene and who represents interests external to Belize, I have
followed Belizian politics closely since 1968. My article "Ethnic
Politics in Belize" examines the potentials for ethnic conflict
within Belize and challenges the government to set policies
which will discourage possible confrontations. It is
understandable that those who want to emphasize the natural
beauty of Belize would prefer not to face political realities at all.

Kudos for C.R.: Golden Image
Caribbean Review has won first place in the magazine
category in the 1978 Florida Public Relations
Association competition.

Thomas J. \. Ik.c- -, fine article, NICARAGUA AND HUMAN
RIGHTS (Caribbean Review, July 78) makes one point very
clear: no matter what the outcome of the current upheaval, the
Nicaraguan people stand united in their opposition to
Anastasio Somoza and his repressive dictatorship.

However, as Professor Walker aptly demonstrated, neither
the State Department nor the Carter Administration was effec-
tively attuned to this fact. Fearing that the overthrow of
Somoza would lead inevitably to "another Cuba," both were
painfully slow to take action. It was not for want of opportunity:
during the general strike, for instance, a strongly worded state-
ment of concern and support for the Nicaraguan people, well
within the bounds of international diplomacy, could have
helped in the transition to a democratic government.
Throughout the strike period, there was an acceptable alternate
leadership in the country. But the longer a solution to the crisis
was postponed, the greater the likelihood that a "more radical"
(i.e. less attractive to Washington) faction would take matters
into its own hands.

The State Department eventually came up with an effec-
tive formula for dealing with the strife in Nicaragua-a com-
bination of strong language and persistent diplomacy. Regret-
tably, it must realize that in waiting until the last moment to
act, it helped to fulfill its own prophesy of doom-which, in
reality, should be defined as a continuation of Somoza's repres-
sion rather than "another Cuba" in the offing.

Susan Kieffer, Research Associate
Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Washington

On The Cover

The cover is an oil on linen painting entitled Antilles
(Guajiros) by Eduardo Abela.
Abela was born in San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba in
1892 and died in 1965.
He was educated at the Academy of San Alejandro, hav-
ing received a scholarship to attend. After graduation he
became an illustrator and cartoonist for the newspaper Diario
de la Marina in Havana. While there he created his famous
satirical character "El Bobo."
Abela moved to Spain and France in mid-career, studying
the multitudes of styles available in those areas. Upon his
return to Cuba, he was made a diplomat to many of the Cen-
tral American countries. During this period Abela began to for-
malize his mature style, eclectically composed and richly col-
ored. These efforts aided him in winning first prize in the Salon
Nacional de Pintura in 1938, bringing him recognition as a
serious artist. He has been exhibited in Mexico, Guatemala,
Paris, and recently in the United States.

Courtesy of the Martirez-Cafias Collection of the
Metropolitan Museum and Art Centers, Miami, Florida.


Salvador Calder6n Rambrez, the author of The Last Days_-
of Sandino (Mexico: Ediciones Botas, 1934), wias -born in-
Nicaragua on December 24, 1870. His family came fromr-
the Segovian region and was identified with the Conser-
vative Party. He and his elder brother. Manuel, ardently-op-
.posed the dictatorship of .the President. Jose Sahtos-
Zelaya (1893-1909). of the Liberal Party. As a result, they
lost most of their inheritance and were forced to live in -
Upon his return to Nicaragua. after Zelaya's-fall, he--
continued to be active in politicsas one of the leaders-of_
the Progressive Party. The party was made updf -conse-.
vatives and liberals dissatisfied with: their respective tradi-:
tional organizations and favoring nationalist ideals, fiscal
responsibility, and public morality. On various occasions
he undertook missions as diplomatic representative of his
country, particularly in Washington and in Mexico. Several
times he was proposed as presidential candidate, but
declined on the grounds that the corresponding electoraT.l
processes would not be democratic nor free -from foreign -
For long periods he lived outside of Nicaragua: --f--
Costa Rica, where he owned a newspaper; in Panama..-
where his brother Manuel established his family; and in ElI
Salvador, where. he married, raised his only -surviving-.::
daughter, and worked as professor of History and of--
Spanish and as director of educational institutions. It was
there-once again in exile-during the dictatorship of
General Anastasio Somoza Garcia (1936-1956), that he
died on December 24; 1941.
He wrote several .books and innumerable- articles;
mostly of an. historical nature or of autobiographical-
significance. But.above and beyond his political, educa-
tional, and literary activities, it was his role-better stillis- -
life-as the courageous and disinterested voice of moral :
conscience which gained for him -in Nicaragua and- in-:
Central America, during the earlier part of this century,-
profound respect and widespread admiration. In thought
and action he was an idealist; in expression, a romantic.
For this reason, perhaps, The Last Days of Sandino
is unsatisfactory as a historical monograph and should
not be judged as such.1 For this.reason also, it-was inef-:
fective as a political manifesto, though at the time of its.:
publication -its impact was not negligible. But The Last--
Days of Sandino, more than any other account of. those-
events,- reveals the pathos in the Nicaraguan tragedy. then
and even now. for the last days of Sandino were the first
days of the Somozas.
Only once in the whole book is the name of General
-Anstasio Somoza- -Garca mentioned: -when Sandino
speaks to those who detained him and were to murder
him.:The name: is uttered-at the critical-moment of what---
.Calderr Ramirez called "that night filled :ith the-sounds -
or horror," -"that sinister night." But this -one !-explicit
.reference- is more' incnrimnatory and foreboding than a
thousand-words of detaiefed denunciation. ---
-- my hildhoo I knewheauthorf TheLastDays
of Sandino as- "a Salvador," the great-uncFe who--
sometimes came to- visit ith us in, Panama. Not- only
would he talk at length with the children of the family, but
he-would write us-letters, which were stones filled with a
poignant humor That enveloped a particular essage for
each one: Always tne teacher, he -as capable of evokin
in his students-aenseof spiritual kinship Translating the-
folwi extacs aseen, m m

a--caiv Ne.- The Sandini Affair. Chcago Quadrangle ooks, 197
-Ricaido -Aras- Clclderon -eaches Pntosophy -at- FJorda -ntemnatioal
.n varsity -. - ---

I was never a follower of General Augusto C. Sandino. In the
beginning I only felt attracted by the daring with which he
faced the Americans. The pessimism of my age led me to
think of him as one of the many false liberators so common
in our tropical lands.
There was another reason for my lack of sympathy for
Sandino: the cruelties committed by several of his
lieutenants. Yet, as if providing attenuating circumstances,
other eyewitnesses informed me of the norms he established
in the camps and villages under his command: more or less
well, he organized schools and punished with extreme severi-
ty those who got drunk, robbed, or molested women. If he
showed himself implacable, it was with the foreign soldiers
who fell into his hands. In this respect, the conflict was a war
to death.
I found the cruelties morally repugnant. Nevertheless,
later on, citizens of Segovia who were enemies of General
Sandino described to me the tortures and torments to which
the peasants of the northern departments were subjected by
the invaders: homes, farms, animals, and seedplots were
destroyed by machine guns from below and the infernal
bombs of pilots from above. Curtains of fire consumed
without pity the children, women, and men suspected of
sympathizing with the "bandits." Those who survived the hor-
rible butchery were driven like a human herd to concentra-
tion camps.
Sandino and the invaders, that is to say, both con-
tenders in this duel to the last drop of blood, undertook
abominable reprisals and committed most serious violations
of justice and human compassion.
Once the conflict reached this level of terrible
vengeance, my will, my mind, and all the impulse of my feel-
ings, aspirations, and sympathies led me to the side of my
brothers. If the civilized, foreign soldiers did not show
clemency-that lyric virtue-it was clear, patently clear, that
I could not condemn my own. War, said General Alb6n, is
not waged with rhetorical figures, but with cannons. And for
this reason I could understand that to repel violence, the
insurgents had turned to violence.
In summary, I came to believe that Sandino was a social
and political force and that he was and would be a principal
factor in any effort to pacify Nicaragua. Whoever wished in
good faith to realize this aspiration, must by an inescapable
law of moral gravity take him into account, not in order to be
subject to his whims, but in order to listen with patriotic com-
posure to his pressing arguments, his desires, and his ideals.

A Letter to Sandino
With the passage of time, the issue of the presidential succes-
sion arose in Nicaragua. The majority of the country sup-
ported as candidate Doctor Juan Bautista Sacasa, with
whom I have always had and still have a relationship of close
and fraternal friendship. I was not involved in the electoral
contest, scheduled to take place at the beginning of
November, 1932, under the sponsorship and supervision of
American inspectors.
I resided at the tmne in the capital of El Salvador, where I
occupied the position of Director of the School for Teachers.
It was then that I received the visit of a bright, young man, the
newspaperman Luis Alberto Cabrales. He insisted that I write
to General Sandino my views on the electoral situation of
Nicaragua and on the forthcoming departure of American

The Last Days Of By Salvador Calderon Ramrez

Texts selected and translated by Ricardo Arias Calder6n

forces, which was announced as occurring by the first of
January, 1933.
Shortly thereafter, the Minister of Mexico, Licenciado .
Alfonso Rosenzweigh Diaz, and the Representative of
Honduras, Doctor Jesus Alvarado, with whom I entertained
very cordial relationships, learned of the views expressed in.
my letter and prevented me from throwing it out, a piece of
useless paper. Morevoer, the latter indicated that he could
assure the safe delivery of the letter to the insurgent leader. l l
But as a revolution took place in Honduras, we did not learn
whether the letter had reached Sandino.
The text of the letter was the following: X
San Salvador, September 25, 1932
Dear General:

I believe, General, that if the Americans leave in
January of 1933, your crusade will have come to an end.
You will have given a great lesson not only to the
Nicaraguans, but to Spanish America, showing this sick
continent how to fight and die for an ideal. I believe that
when you lay down your sword you should establish no
alliance with the Nicaraguan parties nor with anyone else.
If Sandino and his companions shed their blood to render
the soil of Nicaragua fruitful, they should culminate their
undertaking without the blemish of appetites and

Many will want to use your name as a basis for obtain-
ing advantages, and will not hesitate to advise you to ally
yourself with this or that candidate in the coming electoral
contest. I consider that the strength of your prestige,
presently and in the future, will be unshakable in its foun-
dations, if, at the end of the war, you give an objective
lesson of maximum disinterest....Let the others-liberals
and conservatives-cast lots over the mantle of Jesus,
that is to say, over the Presidency or, better still, over the
Yankee Proconsulate.

Just as you have had the spirit of an indomitable
champion to hold on to our national flag, when others : Ss
covered themselves with disgrace, just as you have had ..

I aI f F % I
General Augusto Sandino shown with his representative and an official of the Nicaraguan government in Managua, Feb. 3, 1933, after
the rebel leader had made peace. Left to right: Dr. Pedro Jos4 Zepeda, representing Sandino; General Sandino and Don Antioco
Sacasa, brother of the President of Nicaragua. Associated Press Photo

the valour and courage to hear the thunder of machine
guns and to withstand the attacks of foreign soldiers, so
you must have sufficient will power to bring the fighting to
an end, since we believe that the Americans will leave
our country next January. Who in the world will deny that
this objective has been gained thanks, in great part, to
your efforts and to your unceasing sacrifice?

I do not know you personally. But I trust that you will
not disappoint the hopes of those of us who admire you
nobly and without interest ....

Sandino's Representatives
In November of that year we learned of Doctor Sacasa's elec-
toral victory. In December the Vice President-elect of
Nicaragua, Doctor Rodolfo Espinosa, arrived in San Salvador
and honored me with his visit. He indicated that the
President-elect wished me to participate in his Cabinet as
Minister of Public Instruction. I turned down this singular
honor because I felt that it was just and opportune that the
high positions of the new Government be occupied by those
who had laboured with tenacity in favor of the victorious can-
Fifteen days after the beginning of the Sacasa ad-
ministration, I was surprised by a letter of General Augusto C.
Sandino urging me, as well as General Horacio Portocarrero
and Doctors Escolastico Lara and Pedro J. Zepeda, to be his
delegates in the peace conference that was shortly to take
place in Managua. The credentials were delivered by Don
Sofonias Salvatierra, who as Minister of Agriculture was a
member of the new Cabinet. At the same time Don Sofonias
addressed the following letter to us:

Managua, January 8, 1933
Distinguished Compatriots:

I expressed by letter to General Sandino that in previous con-
versations with the leaders of the Liberal Party I had asked them if
the parties were acting of their own free will in negotiating peace
with Sandino. They immediately answered, 'YES.' I added,
therefore, that if we took into account the total evacuation of the
North American army from our territory; the above-mentioned
declaration of the parties; and the repeated and peremptory ex-
pressions of the conservative press against the (American) in-
tervention, we must recognize that among the different segments
of the political parties an evident reaction against the old policy of
intervention and that Nicaragua was standing united in favor of
the freedom of the fatherland..... Moreover, I asked him whether
he was willing to attend such a peace conference.
In response to these considerations, General Sandino has
replied that he has decided to negotiate peace and has named
you as his representatives in the conference.

With regards to the basic point made by General Sandino,
that the Government presided by Doctor Sacasa have no public or
private commitment offensive to sovereignty, I can assure you
that it has none, and in this respect your mission will be easier.....

The next day we flew by plane to Managua. After land-
ing, we were informed that Minister Salvatierra, the parents
of Sandino, and Dona Blanca, the wife of the insurgent
leader, whose residence was in the Department of Jinotega,
had left for the North to meet the guerrilla fighter at his
Soon they returned to Managua, and Salvatierra re-
counted, filled with joy, that General Sandino had personally

read to them the letter that months earlier I had sent to him
from San Salvador.
When we took cognizance of the written instructions
from the insurgent caudillo, we realized how complex and
difficult was the problem of peace. His stipulations included
inappropriate demands, made in an absolute and peremp-
tory manner, which would offend the traditional parties
represented in the peace conference. The negotiation was
thus in danger. Furthermore, it was indispensable to show
tact and the greatest discretion, so that American influence
would not generate obstacles and difficulties, because of
suspicion and distrust with regards to our efforts in favor of
Don Gregorio Sandino and his wife (the parents of
General Sandino) called me apart and literally spoke to me in
the following way: "Augusto charged us to tell you orally that
he is not sending written instructions to you, that you should
make peace on the basis of decency and honor. He adds that
since the foreign invaders have evacuated the territory and
the presidential term of Doctor Sacasa has begun, he has
made up his mind not to continue the war.
With the antecendents provided by General Reyes, (who
conveyed a request from General Sandino's wife that she
wanted to talk to me), I tried to get in touch with Doia
Blanca. She had accompanied Salvatierra and her parents-in-
law in the trip to the Segovian backwoods and remained in
San Rafael del Norte. She was an intelligent and most com-
petent telegraph operator. By telegraph dispatch, I asked her
to take charge of a transmitter, while a technician who
worked at the Presidential House and whom I trusted fully
served as my intermediary in the telegraphic conversation.
After a few words of courtesy, we began a dialogue:
"Do you believe, Dofa Blanca, that your husband really
wishes to enter into an agreement with Doctor Sacasa and
that he is resolved to lay down his arms? In order to get to the
heart of the matter, I must have your impressions in clear,
definite and unqualified terms.
"You may be assured of that," she replied, "Augusto
brings his combat to an end, because otherwise he would
become a fighter in a civil war and he has been a soldier for

The Peace Conference
Meanwhile my fellow delegates, General Portocarrero and
Doctors Zepeda and Lara, left by plane for Jinotega to ex-
change ideas [with General Sandino].
According to the account of General Portocarrero, after
long conversations held at the headquarters of the in-
surgents, which lasted till late dawn, General Sandino sur-
prised them suddenly with an unexpected and irrevocable
determination: "Tomorrow we go to the capital. I wish to
solve these matters personally with President Sacasa. I am
aware of the dangers which will surround me during my trip.
But whatever happens, rain or shine, we will go to Managua.
Dr. Lara will stay here in charge of my people."
General Portocarrero described to me the emotion
which Sandino's departure produced among his lieutenants.
Even the primitive and brutal Pedr6n, experienced in
dangers and hardened in conscience, cried uncontrollably
when he gave his chief a parting embrace.
General Sandino had just arrived at the Presidential
House, amidst the joyful expressions of the people when I
reached it myself. For the first time I was to see and know the

famous guerrillero. When I entered the room where he was
conferring with the President and his innermost circle, as
soon as he heard my name, he interrupted the talks and em-
braced me with effusive cordiality. He walked around the
room; then arm in arm we began to wander through the cor-
ridors. As we proceeded thus, he told me: "I will shoot no
more. We will make peace, even if the President himself were
opposed to it. My decision is irrevocable. For that reason I
have come, defying all risks and facing the rancour and
hatred of the Guard. For myself I want absolutely nothing,
only guaranties for my people. My men, after the agitation of
war, need to temper their muscles by work. My highest ambi-
tion is simply to strengthen their rough consciences thanks
to the coherence and discipline of order. Just as I led them to
the slaughterhouse to repel the invaders, I wish today to have
them follow the pathway of duty and to learn that if yesterday
was for gun powder, destruction and annihilation, today and
also tomorrow are for constructive activity and fruitful

Was I, I asked myself, in the presence
of a hero or in the presence of an
unbalanced individual?

I concentrated my attention and fixed my eyes on the
exotic and proud caudillo. His head was covered with a hat of
wide brim, a red, silken handkerchief tied around his neck;
the open lapels of his blouse revealed a gold chain, his pen, a
well stocked cartridge-belt, and the handle of a pistol, caliber
Feverish, agitated to the point that I imagined him to be
sick, he gave vent to the most exalted feelings ....
Then, reclining on an elbow-chair, he remained as if
fixed on an abstract idea, as if his mind was concentrated on
some kind of theosophical musing, his brain overflowing
with star-filled, otherworldly visions. In such a state, absorbed
in a condition of drowsiness, he gave the impression of some
strange, Russian internationalist subject to impulses of
fanatic patriotism, even to mental dissonance, on the verge
of some extravagance or of some undoubtedly childish
naivete. Afterwards, he freed himself from the enchantment
which had held him in suspended animation. On his return to
the world of realities, words flowed from him with a hissing
sound, precipitously and nervously. The moulds of the
spoken language seemed too narrow to contain and give
form to the intagible material of his flaming ideas, which
emerged from the hidden sources of his consciousness as
burning coals or as the incandescent stones and lava of a
I shall never be able to forget the impression his
appearance made on me.
Was 1, I asked myself, in the presence of a hero or in the
presence of an unbalanced individual?
Finally, standing at attention a few steps from me, he
finished his speech with these words: "Today, as has been
said in a publication which I received from Uruguay, our
great business is the business of peace. We must make war
on war, for concord must be the dogma of all Nicaraguans. I
only wish that the peace agreement contain stipulations in

accordance with national honor. Nothing for me, save
guaranties for my men."
On the basis of these sentiments, we, the delegates,
undertook the task of formulating the stipulations of the
pact, to be signed in the last hours of the same day.
[At the conclusion of our undertaking], everyone was
confident and hopeful that an era of fundamental renewal
was about to begin.
Unwary dreamers that we were! We did not perceive
amidst the lights of the shining dawn of February 3, 1933,
how destiny or the treacherous hand of Cain was preparing,
for our future, the tempest of tears, blood and sufferings of
the sinister night of February 21, 1934. (The peace agree-
ment declared, that:)
The representatives of General Sandino, Salvador Calder6n
Ramfrez, Pedro J. Zepeda, Horacio Portocarrero, and Escolastico
Lara, and the representatives of the Conservative Party and of the
National Liberal Party, respectively David Stadhagen and Crisanto
Sacasa,...agreed on the following peaceful settlement...
1. ....
2 ....To consider as a basic point of their political programs
respect for the Constitution and for the fundamental laws of the
Republic, and to maintain by all rational, appropriate, and legal
means, in the fullness of its splendour, the political and economic
Sovereignty and Independence of Nicaragua.
3.....To effectively strengthen peace in the territory of the Republic
through the fruitful commitment to work of the men under the
military command of General Sandino and, at the same time,
through their gradual laying down of arms..., [for which] the follow-
ing measures will be adopted:

Unwary dreamers that we were! We
did not perceive amidst the lights of
the shining dawn of February 3,
1933, how destiny or the treacherous
hand of Cain was preparing, for our
future, the tempest of tears, blood
and sufferings of the sinister night of
February 21, 1934.

a) The Executive Branch will present to the National Congress a
project of widespread amnesty for political and common crimes
committed from May 4, 1927 till this date, in favor of all members
of the army of General Sandino who lay down their arms....
b) ....
c) The zone of uncultivated land destined [for General Sandino's
men]...must be sufficiently large and located in the basin of Coco
or Segovia river, or in a region agreed upon by the Government
and General Sandino....
d) The officers of the security force of 100 armed men which may
be maintained [by General Sandino for the safeguard of the
above-mentioned uncultivated land] will be chosen by General
Sandino from among the competent members of his army and
will be given by the Government an appointment as emergency
e) ...
4. ...As of the signing of this agreement, all hostilities will cease
between the forces of both sides, that is to say, of the Constitu-
tional Government presided by Doctor Juan Bautista Sacasa and
of General Augusto C. Sandino....
5. ....
Approved and ratified in all of its parts, Managua, D.N., February 2,
1933. Fatherland and Liberty. A. C. SANDINO. (Allegorical Seal).
Approved in all of its parts, Managua, D.N., February 2, 1933.
In the morning of the third, General Sandino was to leave
with the other delegates and with Minister Salvatierra for the
Segovian mountains.

Clouds Charged with Electricity
In San Salvador I joined General Horacio Portocarrero, and
on the 22 [of January, 1934] we arrived in Managua.
General Sandino was coming for a meeting with the
President, and the latter, as well as other friends, wanted us
to be present in the talks, since the issue to be resolved was
that of the delivery of the arms in the possession of the
We had our first talk with him at the home of Don
Sofonias Salvatierra, where he, his brother S6crates, and
three or four other companions were staying. While Sandino
brushed his clothes and got ready to go with us to the
Presidential House, he told us: "I persevere in my resolution
to deliver the remaining arms and to comply in this manner
with the agreement which we signed on February 2 of last
year. I only wish that the Government guaranty the life of my
people. I maintain that it is indispensable to channel the
organization of the Guard in conformity with constitutional
norms. The foreign intervention left a series of illegal

arrangements which cancel the powers and prerogatives of
the [President as] Commander in Chief and, in fact, leave the
military might of the country in the hands of the Guard. Con-
sequently, the President only has the appearance of com-
mand. The supreme dictators are the members of the Guard,
and since it entertains passionate feelings of hatred, I fear an
attempt on its part against us. I am resolved to leave
Nicaragua and only request legal protection for those who
have joined the agricultural colony which I have established
in Wiwili. If the Executive Branch cannot adopt new regula-
tions in these matters, the National Assembly can approve
such reforms."
Sandino repeated these same statements to the press.
And this was the position he sustained in the conversations
held in the Palace on the Hill with the President and several
intimate friends who took part in these cordial meetings.
The guerrillero of yesterday had become a complete
gentleman. He no longer carried arms, nor did he use war
trappings. He wore a well-tailored, light gray suit, English
style, with a black tie over the smooth front of a snow-white
shirt. The chain on his watch was evenly spread on both sides
of the vest, and a locket, which I was informed contained a
photograph of Blanca, his recently deceased wife, hung from
the dividing point of the angle made by the two threads of
He had no academic culture, but we could immediately
notice the progress of his mind. Its roughness had been
smoothed and polished by reading. He told me how he had
increased his vocabulary by reading some of the novels of
Ricardo Le6n, with the help of the dictionary of the [Royal]
Academy. He would not read on until he had clarified the
meaning of the unknown terms. He had found it very difficult
to understand certain parts of Don Quixote, but now he
could recite long paragraphs of the same.
At this time the situation of Nicaragua was as follows:
Doctor Sacasa found himself between two equal and adver-
sary forces. On the one hand, there was the Guard, over
which he had no real command, because its structure had
been cunningly organized to provide support to certain
clandestine interests which tended to perpetuate themselves
in power. Undoubtedly, the Department of State in
Washington, particularly since President Roosevelt adopted
the doctrine of non-intervention, had no interest in sustaining
this or that political position. Nevertheless, certain nationals
and foreigners, acting on their own and convinced that the
victory of Doctor Sacasa's candidacy was an unavoidable
fact, collaborated in reorganizing the National Guard so as to
take authority away from the [President as] Commander in
Chief. Almost at the very moment of the inauguration of the
new President, a plot against the incoming administration
was discovered, but Doctor Sacasa benevolently covered up
the intrigue. This stimulated the National Guard more and
more, until Colonel Jos6 Andr6s Urtecho, an honorable
military man and West Point graduate, of true integrity, was
dismissed from his post on an insignificant pretext.
On the other hand, that same Guard had fought against
General Sandino, and for this reason there existed between
the two a fight to the end. When peace was established, the
adversaries remained face to face, as contrary clouds, filled
with electricity, that could come into contact and produce
In the state of enmity between the two opposed factions,
public authority should have employed, with serenity and
calmness, the rod of justice, appointing without hesitation

the military and civil personnel who could have strengthened
peace. It would have been well had war resulted, for constitu-
tional authority would have prevailed.
If the sandinistas threatened social stability, law and
justice provided the means by which to make them comply
with their obligations. If the military assumed supreme dic-
tatorship, the Chief of the Executive Branch had the physical
resources to bring them to order.
The President, nevertheless, chose to follow the course
of Fabius the Delayer and, adapting himself to the cir-
cumstances, sought to gain time.

Between the Constitution
and the Guard
It was agreed, in the second half of February, that General
Sandino would summarize in a letter, addressed to the Presi-
dent, his intentions and aspirations.
The 19th of the same month, while we had lunch,
around three in the afternoon, we saw from our seat at the
presidential table how the [insurgent] champion, who was
present, dictated to Minister Salvatierra the contents of his
letter. To use words correctly, he took out of his pocket a
small book covered with scarlet cloth. When we got up from
the table, I approached the General, and he explained to me:
"This small book was given to me by a Colombian
young man who came expressly from Bogota to my camp. In
the evenings he insisted on giving me lessons in grammar.
The rules went in one ear and out the other. On the contrary,
the texts which he dictated to me and then corrected with
benedictine patience increased my vocabulary.
"One night, as we walked under the pine trees which
perfumed the surroundings, he began to recite the March of
Triumph, and he gave to the verses of Dario such an intona-
tion, colour, and force that they moved and enraptured me.

When peace was established, the
adversaries remained face to face, as
contrary clouds, filled with electricity,
that could come into contact and
produce lightning.

"In previous times, a Salvadorian law student, named
Marti, had stayed [in my camp]. Courageous and extremely
intelligent, his exceptional faculties were weakened by the
absolutism of his communist principles. I respect the most
radical extremes, but the only fanaticism which I excuse is
patriotic fanaticism, in favor of Independence. This was my
supreme ideal, and for this reason the social concerns of
Marti could be an obstacle to realizing my objectives. Despite
long discussions, even though I admired his florid expres-
sions, I remained unconvinced. Filled with sadness, we
separated in the greatest of harmony, as two brothers who
love but cannot understand each other."
[General Sandino's letter to the President] and the
President's reply are historical documents worthy of being
published here:

Managua, D.N., February 19, 1934

Dear Mr. President:

What is fundamental in this letter is to know from you the
manner in which can be guaranteed the status of the Guard to
conform to the Constitution and the means by which the life and
interests of all the men who served under my orders during the
campaign waged in the recent past against the forces of interven-
tion will be assured.

Sincerely yours,
Augusto C. Sandino

Presidential House, February 20, 1934
Dear General:
Consequently, I have always been disposed, or, better still,
resolved to contribute so that the statutes and regulations of the
National Guard be amended within a short time, something which
will be accomplished during the first semester of this year, to
make them conform to the Constitution and to the administrative
system legally established in the country.

Sincerely yours,
Juan B. Sacasa

The next day, in the afternoon, I had a long conversation
with General Sandino. He spread on a table several maps of
gold mines and panning locations which he was exploiting in
the area of his [agricultural] colony.
"When you return to Mexico," he repeated, "I would like
to have the Geological Institute, next to Diaz Mir6n street, ex-
amine the material that I will entrust to you. If possible, ob-
tain the services of an expert who might help me with my
Afterwards, while he straightened out his hair, he added:
"The land is the only thing in this world that is not ungrateful;
above all," he said smiling, "when its sands are filled with

Together for the Last Time
I must make a mental effort to reconstruct in my memory
with all precision that last hour which I spent at his side [on
the night of the 21st]. Doctor Sacasa presided over the table.
Next came Dofia Maria [his wife], and to her right was
General Sandino. I was seated next, between him and his
father, Don Gregorio. The family of Doctor Sacasa and other
gentlemen who were intimate friends occupied their respec-
tive places.
Suddenly, he placed his hand on my shoulder and said:
"You remain silent, my good friend Don Salvador. I guess
you sometimes think the renewal of Nicaragua is not
possible. Nations and individuals, as my Colombian tutor
used to say, are born, grow, and die. We are now being born,
and by inescapable biological law our first steps are mere
trials. Some have believed that for our development as in-
fants we needed the gocarts of intervention. But I defend the
contrary opinion: falls and free movements strengthen the
muscles of the child. Our wounds will heal with the ointment
of love and not with the poison of foreign hatred."
"Besides harmony and concord," I asked in turn, "what
else would you recommend to assure the new life of

General Sandino with a group of partisans. From Sandino by
Neill Macaulay (Editorial Universitaria Centro-americana, 1970).

"The rearrangement of our fiscal economy. [A return] to
strict, simple order, profoundly altered for many years by
traditional habits and customary practices, which penetrate
like an octopus our public structure." Turning towards his
own father, he said: "Here you have Don Gregorio Sandino,
who even though he is not a public employee, benefits from
official exemptions in several areas of administrative ser-
vices. These concessions, liberally granted without rhyme or
reason, add up and unbalance the budget. I sympathize a
great deal with Doctor Sacasa, who is overburdened by the
demands of friends and enemies."
"Augusto must recognize," responded Don Gregorio
without feeling any hurt due to the words of his son, "that I
have only used these exemptions to which he refers in the
undertakings leading to the agreement of peace, an issue of
prime importance for the common good. In my private
affairs, never..."

That Sinister Night
As the veils of the night extended over the heavens and the
stars flickered in the sky, General Sandino, his father, Don
Gregoria, Minister Salvatierra, and [Sandino's] assistants,
Generals Estrada and Umanzor, took a car towards their
Meanwhile, we remained with the President and various
friends studying the way of establishing a corporation, to be
owned jointly by the State and by private individuals, in order
to exploit the gold mines and panning locations of Wiwili. We
all agreed that Sandino should administer it and that he
should be provided with the means necessary for the
Suddenly, around 9:30 p.m., the beautiful daughter of
the President entered the room, anxious and nervous. She
said: "I come from the center of town, and when I reached
Mars Field I was not permitted to go through. Even though I
identified myself as the daughter of the President, a platoon
of guards forbade me to continue. At the same time, I think I
saw from afar that another car had been detained and that
several persons were being made prisoners. I had to make a
long detour to arrive here...."
The President personally attempted to communicate
with the Chief of the Guard. Nevertheless, after many calls

and a long wait, they informed him that the Chief was at the
theater. The other officers gave no sign of life.
We all thought that it was a military insurrection. Doctor
Crisanto Sacasa communicated with the Fort at Leon and
told its Commander: "Something serious is happening. Do
not move from your positions, and henceforth you will only
obey the orders of the [President as] Commander in Chief."
Other Departmental Commanders were given similar in-
structions. There was no doubt: the coup d'etat was cir-
cumscribed to the limits of the city.
Anti6co Sacasa, a brother of the President, took his
pistol and personally visited the different posts surrounding
the Hill. When he returned, he reported: "The Honor Guard is
absolutely loyal, but something serious is happening below."
Doctor Sacasa descended the steps of his residence,
and, followed by General Portocarrero and several others,
personally tried to reach the camp thought to be in rebellion.
One of the officers indicated to him that the Thompson
machine guns of the camp were pointed against the road
along which he was going to proceed and that he could be
enveloped by a wave of fire before he finished his descent.
According to the same officer, it was better to remain on the
We had heard the sound of machine gun fire in the
eastern part of the city. Later, we were informed that the
home of Don Sofonias Salvatierra had been attacked.
I lived many years in the hours of that night filled with
the sounds of horror.
Even today, I have no heart to describe the arrival of
Don Gregorio Sandino and of Salvatierra, when they were
freed from prison thanks to the efforts of the American
Minister, Mr. Arthur Bliss Lane. The supreme suffering which
oppressed them was unimaginable. Sandino and his
assistants had been separated from them and taken in a
truck, surrounded by guards, towards the airport. In other
words, the convoy had moved towards the eastern part of the
city...We all remembered then the shooting which we had
heard in that part, and this increased the torment which we
In the late hours of dawn, [Don Sofonias Salvatierra],
wracked by anguish, recounted the events in a lifeless voice:
"After we left the Presidential House, our car proceeded
downhill...Sandino, Don Gregorio and I were in the back seat,
and Generals Estrada and Umanzor in the front seat. As we
followed the Avenue of Mars Field, when we reached the
Hormiguero Post, in front of the old entrance to that building,
a detachment of National Guards stopped us. Their
Commander shouted out this categorial order: 'Whoever
moves his hands will be killed!'
"Simultaneously, we saw the windows of the car bristle
with machine guns. Sandino and his companions were strip-
ped of their arms, and we were ordered to get out of the car. I
faced the Commander of the detachment and told him: '1 am
a [Cabinet] Minister and we come from the Presidential
House. What is happening?'
'I obey the orders of my superiors.'
"Without further words, he made us enter the courtyard
of the military post.
"Sandino remained inalterably calm and with a voice
that was both firm and gentle exclaimed: 'Why this outrage?
Once peace has been made, we are all brothers. My only con-
cern is for the revival of Nicaragua by work, and during these
past years I have fought for the liberty of my country. A few
nights ago General Somoza embraced me in proof of con-

cord, and we exchanged photographs as evidence of har-
mony. Call him and ask him to come and tell me what he
wants. We shall explain ourselves cordially, with our hearts
even more than with our lips. My heart only beats for the
"While the voice of Sandino resounded earnestly and
solemnly under the light of the stars, someone inside the
Post talked by phone with the outside. Once the communica-
tion was over, Lieutenant L6pez approached me and said:
'You and Don Gregorio will remain here until further orders.
The others must follow me.'
"Surrounded by Guards, Sandino and his assistants
were lost in the night....
"A few moments later," continued Salvatierra, "we
heard the sound of rifles and machine guns. Given the direc-
tion of the wind, I realized that the shooting was taking place
near my house. The figure of Don Gregorio stood out in the
clarity of the surroundings, and he said to me: 'Now they are
killing S6crates and his companions...
"I could not respond to him and admired the stoic
serenity and composure of the old man.
"A few instants later, we heard the distant thunder of the
machine guns. 'They are killing Augusto,' exclaimed Don
Gregorio, shaken by the emotion."
All my moral being-thoughts, ideas, feelings-went to
pieces in that environment of dishonor, suffering, and
Never, never will I forget the hours of that sinister night.

Sooner or later, the hour of human
justice will come, despite the
obstacles which malice and force
interpose. ....
The supports of that cunning
structure of abuse, corruption and
depravity will give way.

Without empty sentimentalism or unhealthy rancour, I have
argued that to sanction and to punish the guilty is a supreme
duty which public morality or, better still, the conscience of
the continent demands. What we ask for is not vengeance. It
is simply justice.
Sooner or later, the hour of human justice will come,
despite the obstacles which malice and force interpose. In the
moral world, like in the external world, there exists a
principle of equilibrium and gravity.
I know that some will read these pages with an ironic
grimace. But I comply with the categorical imperative of
what I consider to be my duty.
The supports of that cunning structure of abuse, corrup-
tion and depravity will give way. Over our lakes and over our
mountains, in the clarity and splendour of our fatherland,
which Sandino so loved, solemn and magnificent will re-
sound the symphony of providential reparation....
Yes, Sandino already lives in glory, and he will live
forever in the hearts of those who loved him and in the
unceasing and unremitting remorse of his executioners.

If we are to talk about tourism and US-
Caribbean relations, the most apparent
fact is that many Americans-about 4
million last year-take vacations in the
Caribbean. Americans like to get away
from it all under the palm trees and
bougainvillaea. The image also in-
cludes clear blue waters, exotic night
life, and friendly natives.
Although worldwide tourism for
many years has grown more or less
steadily at a double-digit rate, Carib-
bean tourism stagnates. The travel in-
dustry, more and more, blames this on
"the natives getting restless." Com-
menting on a travel industry forecast
for 1978 that Bermuda, the Bahamas,
and the Caribbean will suffer the
greatest decline of all global destina-
tions, the publication Travel Trade
observed that "Continuing complaints
about native unrest, poor service and
high hotel prices were spelled out on a
great many of (its) survey returns."
We shall see that all three are
The problem with "native unrest," of
course, is that it spills over into the
press and destroys carefully nurtured
images. For while Europe can attract
tourists even if the natives there are in-
different and rude, prices high, and ser-
vice declining, the Caribbean is
marketed mainly to "sun lust" vaca-
tioners. In this scenario, the natives are
asked to be orderly, to serve, to enter-
tain, and not get in the way. Like Prof.
Higgins, exasperated over why Eliza
Dolittle wouldn't "be more like a man,"
the travel industry gets peevish when
islanders don't play the role assigned to
After all, there are rewards to be
had-we've heard this. Tourism
generates continued contacts with the
industrial world, capital investment,
managerial know-how, employment,
and foreign exchange. Hardly any
government anywhere would deny that
it seeks these benefits.
The difficulty in their achievement,
however, comes in trying to reconcile
the touristic image with political reali-
ty. For throughout the region
decolonization and development are
central themes of national life. These
are not quiet processes. The challenge
to nations substantially dependent on
tourism cannot be meaningful if it of-
fers tourism benefits only at the cost of
frustrating national aspirations. If
tourism is to serve the region's needs it
must be able to deliver as part of-not
removed from-the political expres-

sion. There was a time when beggars
were removed from streets on the days
the cruise ships came in. But domestic
reality no longer is easily hidden to
satisfy overseas images.
So with few exceptions Caribbean
tourism has for some time stopped liv-
ing up to expectations. In some places
it moves in fits and starts, while in
general the region has suffered
because the marketplace, unsure
about Caribbean geography, has tend-
ed to remain anxious as first one
island, then another, has had its politics
show through the advertised images.
This confusion about geography is
compounded as international tourism
makes all the islands look alike to
visitors. Industrial scale wipes out sub-
tle differences. So does the new sex-
exploitative tourism burgeoning in
some islands, even if it does tend to oc-
cur in smaller-scaled hotels. In both in-
stances the island is only a setting, a
picturesque, charming backdrop.
And why, after all, should what goes
on in the Caribbean be so troublesome
to the travel industry? Nothing hap-
pens here that does not happen
everywhere else, and nowhere in the
world has so large a region attempted
political restructuring without insurrec-
tion during this century. How can
anyone imagine that so-called "bad
news" would not be coming out of the
Caribbean? Consider that while there
has been crime and political issues
heated in the streets, guerilla warfare
leading to violent upheaval has hap-
pened only once in recent times. Why
can't the travel industry cope with the
Caribbean when it can cope with New
York and Miami?

Fictional Paradise
The problem with international
tourism operating in the Caribbean is
that it demands an image of paradise,
and the fiction has become too costly
to maintain. Unfortunately, the travel
industry has found no other use for the
region. The high-technology hotels
along the beach are too costly to
operate to begin with because of
maintenance and energy demands.
When "the natives are restless," the
marketing costs become prohibitive.
Attitudes shift. Service falters. It
becomes impossible to satisfy visitor
expectations, and the travel industry
exhorts everyone to achieve the im-
possible-if modest-goal of giving
value for money.

Faced with this dilemma, some
other part of the world could give up
tourism in the short run, work out its
problems while it developed more
substantial resources, and come back
to tourism later if it wanted to. For
much of the Caribbean, however, an
extended touristic drought might lurch
the states of the region into economic
How, then, can the Caribbean use
tourism to achieve national objectives
while tourism remains so vulnerable to
conditions beyond its control?


. ..... < ..


.: ., 31.1..

'r **'

The answer must lie in aligning
tourism more with the twin processes
of decolonization and development. To
begin with, tourism can relax its in-
sistence that it be treated as such a
special case, so much apart from or-
dinary life. Tourism forever requires
defending not because it might not be
good to have visitors around, but
because it rarely brings the benefits it
promises in return for land grants, tax
concessions, import allowances, and
immigration waivers. Moreover, the
cost in human relations is too high.

Tourism can help the political pro-
cess by fitting better into local
economies and societies, by con-
tributing more to the efficacy of in-
digenous systems. It can use more
local materials, adapt to local scale,
take much of its substance and cues
from island life. The modern
beachfront hotel has become the sym-
bol of industrial dissipation. Why
should Caribbean societies have to ac-
cept this role in the international order
of things? Granted North American
escapists want to get away from it all,

why does it have to be to over-air-
conditioned hotels in the Tropics?
Caribbean people, are, after all, fully
human. Why can't we assume they
have intelligently come to grips with
living in the Tropics? Why don't we
assume the obvious: that people are
their own best hosts on their own
terms; that people prosper best when
they do what they know? Caribbean
people are skilled in tropical architec-
ture. The appropriate technology is
available. A certain look and feel-a
certain practicality comes from living

u n Lust


In the Caribbean

.. .. ,K .
ko s r

in a place for several hundred years.
There is no reason to believe Carib-
bean people are less able or willing to
make a visitor comfortable because
they haven't attended hotel school at
Cornell or Florida International

Sun Lust Tourism
The travel industry makes a critical
assumption when it decrees "sun lust"
tourism for the Caribbean (the term, by
the way, was developed by an
economist). It says that in its view, the
traveling public tends to see the region
as populated by poor islanders who
just can't make it, and that vacationers
certainly wouldn't want to be among
them. The result of this deroga-
tion-with its origins in historic race
prejudice-has been the sweeping
isolation of tourism from amenable
local contact.
The travel industry has convinced
Caribbean authorities over the years
that this is the only way tourism will
work in the region: separate and
privileged. This proves, however, to be
wasteful of resources, and politically

B ys -~

Granted North American
escapists want to get away
from it all, why does it
have to be to over-air-
conditioned hotels in the

unacceptable. One result of mass
tourism in the region has been to drive
out the clientele that prefers more in-
timate experiences, and to
discourage-if not to bankrupt-
hostelries run by local people in the ex-
pert manner of inn-keepers the world
over. This is not to say that there are
not many successful small hotels in the
Caribbean. They abound. It is just that
the model has been almost totally
unacceptable to national tourism plan-
ners-as well as international develop-
ment institutions-who remain con-
vinced by the worldwide travel industry
that everything has to be scaled up to
fit the universal machine.

Regional tourism officials need to
understand that the American passion
for bigness is ebbing, and that a vast
and growing market already exists for
experiences true to their place. Within
the marketplace a great cry for authen-
ticity, for something to believe in,
sounds forth.
If tourism is to serve Caribbean
development it is essential that na-
tional tourism administrations consider
the prospect seriously that tourism can
be far less alienating and far more
stimulating to local initiative. They
must also be able to see the sizeable
market that today is largely turned off
by the vulgarity of Caribbean tourism,
but remains potentially ready to come
if Caribbean vacations only become
less bogus and more Caribbean. For
only if local policy-makers truly believe
the market exists can they begin, can
they afford to figure out what it takes to
organize for a more efficient tourism in
the national interest.
The industry will continue to claim
that tourism has to be scaled up for ef-
ficiency. After all, you can't build a
high-rise hotel on sand without-



;` =1


Only the trickster, Eshu, can throw a stone forward yet into the
past, as the Yoruba proverb and title of this article suggest. This
proverb concisely depicts the paradoxical nature of the God,
Eshu, the messenger, intercessor, and precipitator of the West
African religious pantheon of the Yoruba of Nigeria and the Fon
of Dahomey, and their descendants in North and South America.
Among the New World practitioners of West African religion,
Eshu, is referred to as Legba or Papa Legba in Haiti, as Exu or
Siu Legba in Brazil, and as Elegua in Cuba, Miami and New
Eshu and all the other orishas (divinities) of Yoruba religion
have many aspects which followers call by different names. Miami
priests called santeros, who practice Santeria or Lucumi,1 the
Cuban version of West African faith, say that Elegua has
twenty-one aspects, and often use the name Eshu to refer only to
an aspect which is negative or evil. But other santeros say that
Eshu is all twenty-one forms of the God in one. This multiplica-
tion of forms is often a confusing idea to Judeo-Christians whose
religions are dedicated to deities which are abstract, formless, or
unique, whereas the multiplication of forms is an idea at the heart
of West African religion, both in Africa and the New World.
On the one hand, the Yoruba orisha represent and embody
abstract forces or powers, such as Purity, Sensual Attraction,
Conception, Anger, or Strength, forces which combined comprise
the nature of both the universe and also the individual,
macrocosm and microcosm being related in this way. In Santeria,
seven of the Yoruba orisha are considered as the foundation of
the universe: ObatalS, Eshu (Elegua), Shang6 (Chang6),
Ogin (Oggun), Orunmila (Orunla), Yemoja (Yemaja), and
Oshun (Ochun). They control every aspect of human life, and are
known collectively as the Seven African Powers (Las Siete Poten-
cias Africanas).
But on the other hand, these orisha or powers manifest
themselves continuously to their followers through specific
forms. Orisha appear in different guises in myths and
legends, and also communicate directly to their worshippers
through divination and possession. Thus, santeros say the
orisha have "families" or different "roads" or "paths" which
are the individual identities by which the powers are known.
Elegua has twenty-one aspects such as Anaqui, mother of
Elegua, and Alaroye, who lives outdoors and is a constant
trickster. And yet there are commonalities running
throughout the line, so that in a general discussion of the
orisha, one may discuss the generic or family characteristics
of each.2 A generic description of Eshu is the most com-
prehensive way to approach this orisha who embodies a
power or principle unfamiliar to those of non-African faith, a
principle we could call 'paradoxicality.' An introduction to
this complex deity is best provided by examining two of the
best known stories which the Yoruba tell about Eshu.

Two Tales
In one constantly repeated Yoruba tale, Eshu, dressed on his
left side in red and on his right side in black, walks down a
road separating two farmers' fields. After he disappears
beyond the fields, the owners of the farms, who are standing
in their respective fields, walk to the road to discuss this
stranger who has just passed. The farmer with the field on the
left-hand side of the road says, "Did you see that stranger
dressed in red who went by?" The other farmer replies that
he saw the stranger but that he was dressed in black-not in
red. The two farmers argue over the color of Eshu's clothing
and eventually return to their fields. In a few minutes, Eshu

Eshu's principle serves as a moving
mirror for what people are, and he is
constantly available to point out flaws in
people's perceptions of themselves,
continuously goading them to recognize
their arbitrary and limited perspectives.

walks down the road again, coming back in the opposite
direction to the way he was walking when first seen by the
farmers. The two men again watch him go by, and after he
passes, rush to the road to discuss what they have just seen.
This time the farmer on the left-hand side of the road says,
"You know you were right, that guy was dressed in black"
and the other farmer says, "No! You were right after all, he
was dressed in red." Each of the men thinks the other is try-
ing to fool him, and their discussion turns into a heated argu-
ment over the color of the stranger's clothes.3
What is the role of Eshu in this story? At the beginning
of the story the two farmers are working peacefully in their
respective fields, but as soon as Eshu walks down the road,
everything goes rapidly downhill between them. But the
trickster himself has done nothing except pass between the
two fields. It is the two farmers who have interpreted the inci-
dent in such a way that it leads them to quarrel. The key to
understanding Eshu's role in human affairs lies in the
farmers' perception of the stranger. Each farmer saw only
one-half of Eshu, and therefore only one-half of his true iden-
tity. But each farmer nevertheless undertook a debate with
his neighbor based on only half the evidence, and that
narrow-minded debate resulted inevitably in a quarrel. This
story can immediately be appreciated for its commentary on
the danger of making superficial judgments, especially by
people who are closely related to one another, because such
judgments often lead to unnecessary conflict. If studied
carefully, Eshu's teachings inevitably lead one to understand
the frailty and relativity of human perception.
The story of the two farmers who were neighbors is, in
fact, clearly about the nature of human perception. What the
farmers on the road saw was not the "thing-in-itself' but only
their idea of the thing; they saw only their own limited
perspective. In general, Eshu teaches that the totality of a
person's expectations and conceptions form a screen
through which s/he views and perceives the world. Thus,
what is seen when one looks at the world is not the world
itself but the world mediated by one's concepts. Eshu shows
how people change reality all the time to suit their concepts
of what they think it is like. In looking at Eshu for instance,
one farmer changed him to red and the other to black.
Neither farmer had the perspective from which to see that
Eshu was, in fact, a red/black being. Each idea of Eshu was
only partial, and limited by the perspective of the
observer/farmer. As such, this story sets forward a view of
human perception and its relationship to objective reality
which is analogous to that of modern physics.
The relationship between the observer and nature has
become part of the theoretical framework of modern physics.
According to this theoretical formulation nature cannot be
described apart from the observer, who is linked to the event

Divination is a means of attempting to
perceive the totality of the moment, a
means by which an individual can see the
relationship between the self and the
encompassing world.

through the acts of both selecting an event to be observed
and a question which is to be asked of that event. Thus, as
Heisenberg says, "What we observe in nature is not nature in
itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning"
(Physics and Philosophy, Harper and Row, New York, 1958).
This is the essence of the paradox with which Eshu is
We try to understand an event in the external world, and
yet our mode of understanding transforms that event into
something which is as much about who we are, as what it is.
Eshu is a Yoruba representation of this problem of percep-
tion, for when the farmers tried to apprehend reality, what
they actually saw were their own perspectives, akin to seeing
their own faces in a mirror. Their error was in believing they
had really seen or understood the stranger who had passed
by, and in basing a quarrel on this egotistical confidence.
Eshu teaches in stories of this type that egotism and pride
lead inevitably to a dualistic world, one in which you are by
yourself alone, separated from the real nature of things and
everyone else by virtue of your limited understanding.
Another story clearly shows how dualism is the result of
pride and egotistical judgments. In this story Eshu creates
and gives a beautiful head tie to one of two wives married to
the same man. Until Eshu brings this head tie, the wives and
husband live in peace with one another. But when the first
sees her co-wife wearing the magnificent head garment, she
becomes insanely jealous believing that her husband has
favored his second wife in this way. But then Eshu makes a
more beautiful head tie and gives it to the first wife. Seeing
her co-wife with a beautiful head tie, the second wife sur-
mises that her husband presented it to his first wife because
he loved her more. Eshu secretly continues giving one wife
and then the other beautiful head coverings, and the wives
begin bickering over the attentions of their husband. The
confused spouse tries to give his affections to the wife who
complains of the lack of them-but her identity keeps
changing, for first one woman and then the other beleaguers
him with complaints. Finally, Eshu stops giving head ties
when the formerly peaceful household is left in strife and
Again in this story just as in the story about the farmers,
people observe the same event but arrive at different inter-
pretations of that event based on their own perspectives.
Each wife in turn believes that the husband is favoring one of
them over the other because of the gifts of head ties, and
each wife becomes enraged because of the favoritism; but, in
reality, the poor husband has nothing to do with the head
ties. It is Eshu who was responsible for introducing the
headgear, which the wives then interpreted as emanating
from the husband. Each wife saw only herself, that is, her
own conceptualization of reality in this circumstance, which
resulted in the quarrelsome separation from the other wife,
and from her husband. The jealousy which each wife felt for

the other was part of each woman's understanding of the
world, and it kept the wives from realizing that there was
more than one way to understand these mysterious gifts.
Therefore, the reaction to the appearance of a beautiful head
tie ultimately told more about the women themselves than it
did about the head ties, which were simply the "events in
nature" on which the wives chose to focus the interpretation
of their relationship to one another. Another way of saying
this is that the head ties crystallized the women's intrinsic
jealousies. Eshu leaves the household in dissension, his in-
imitable way of illustrating the chaotic but inevitable out-
come which results when people cling to their ego-centered
view of things.
Eshu as Divine Messenger
Eshu's archetypal role in human affairs is best portrayed by
his relationship to Ifa, the system of divination which is cen-
tral to Yoruba philosophy and world view.4 In this role, Eshu
is part of the Yoruba Divine Triumverate which includes Ifa
or Orunmila (Santeria: Orunla), lord of Ifa, and Olodumare,
the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent One.
Olodumare is Infinite and beyond the comprehension of
finite beings, yet it is this ineffable essence which is
responsible ultimately for everything. Olodumare seals an in-
dividual's destiny at birth, and this destiny includes both a
person's psychological and also his social unfolding in time
and space. One would not be amiss in saying that West
African religion in both Africa and the New World is primarily
devoted to illuminating and fructifying the personal destinies
of its community of worshippers. And this is why Ifa is of
central importance. Through Ifa the will of the Infinite is
rendered into multiplex symbolic images which are intuitively
interpreted by the babalawo or italero working for a client.
A babalawo consults Ifa by manipulating sixteen palm
nuts, the italero sixteen sea shells. The particular "fall" of
these nuts or shells, refers to one of 256 (16 x 16 = 256)
figures in this complex and rigidly defined system of divina-
tion. Each figure is said by the italero to speak for one or
several of the orishas, and is interpreted according to verses,
legends, and proverbs associated with it. The enigmatic or
symbolic statement referred to by the figure is then applied
to the client's particular problem through the insightfulness
of the italero.
Eshu is linked inextricably to Ifa. Eshu carries the Word
of Olodumare to the oracle, and in turn carries the supplica-
tions of the client back to Olodumare, and he also functions
for all the orisha in this way. (Thus, it is said by italero that
every orisha has its eshu.) Eshu in this role is the Divine
Messenger, who is known in Dahomey as the Linguist
because he is able to transmit effectively or translate infor-
mation between planes of reality. In Miami, just as in Cuba, it
is said that Eshu "opens the roads," he is the "gatekeeper"
who is behind or just outside of every door emphasizing his
identification with thresholds. He is always the first to be
"fed" with all sacrificial articles and also the first to be called
down in possession rituals, again emphasizing his role as the
one who goes first in any exchange between planes. Thus, if
we say that Ifa is the Holy Word of the Infinite, we must also
say that Eshu is the medium through which that word is
realized. Without Eshu there would be no transaction be-
tween the gods and people.
A story which is derived from the Table of Ifa bears this
out. One day the orisha decided to visit Orunla (Orunmila,
Ifa) to find out what he did for a living. Orunla answered the

queries of his divine guests by saying that he solved prob-
lems for people through the use of his divining board. The
orisha laughed at Orunla's improbable career and con-
sidered ways through which they could ascertain whether this
was true. Unbeknown to the orisha, Eshu overheard
everything and decided to help his friend, Orunla. First, he
caused a mortal man to fall ill, and this sick person was sent
to consult Orunla in full sight of all the doubting orisha.
Orunla advised the extremely ill person about his condition
and the specific cure, and the person following his directions
subsequently recovered. Observing Orunla, his fellow orisha
concluded that he did indeed make his living by solving
problems with his divining board. However, what these
orisha did not know was that Eshu, after initially causing the
illness, began to advise both Orunla about the condition, and
also the patient about the cure. Thus, the orisha celebrated
Orunla's expertise, but it was Eshu who had saved his friend.
The italero who understands Eshu's role as the Preparer
of the Way, explains that this story proves Eshu's
transliterative role, and also the hegemony of this role in the
world. Eshu created the initial illness, although this should be
understood as an instance of Eshu materializing or crystalliz-
ing an aspect of that person's destiny. He then described to
Orunla the actual and specific nature of the person's illness.
Eshu then communicated with the ill person, prescribing a
specific remedy matched to his unique condition.
Eshu in his involvement with Ifa is never thought to act
arbitrarily, but rather is always the arm of Divine Justice. He
expedites justice by continuously verbalizing or humanizing
divine discourse which would otherwise be beyond human
understanding. Eshu has a foot in two worlds, the divine and
the human, and as in the case of the sick man, he is
constantly opening doors and windows between these worlds
so that they may be harmonized. This is why the Yoruba
think of Eshu as the Civilizer, the one who opens your eyes to
the way things really are, and why they say he is always
"working in the world."
This view is different in emphasis from one which
stresses that Eshu is the Divine Confuser responsible for the
troubles of men. According to this view he is equated with
the devil, or at least feared as a "trickster." It is easy to see
why some people might think this is true just based on his
role in the stories about the farmers and the polygynous
household. But it was not Eshu who "caused" the discord
which abruptly concludes each story; rather, it was the
people's own covert conflicts which he merely precipitated.
He was the catalyst through which those characters ultimate-
ly discovered more about themselves, because he helped
them to see hidden aspects of their characters or situations.
Another way of saying this is that he illuminated their fate.
And this is precisely his role in divination. Divination
should be understood at its most abstract level as an act of
perception. It is a means of attempting to perceive the totality
of the moment, a means by which an individual can see the
relationship between the self and the encompassing world.
But an individual can choose not to see this relationship and
end up in the predicament of separation and dualism. For as
the italero says, Ifa is never wrong, it is only clients who fail
to accept its explanation of their lives, that is, they refuse to
accept Eshu's transliteration. This is why every Yoruba divin-
ing tray of Ifa depicts Eshu's eyes staring clearly and coolly
past the diviner and into every human mind and heart. As the
Dahomean says, ". .. Legba is found everywhere. To go to a
Vodu (god) one must pass Legba, to consult Fa (Ifa), one

Eshu was the catalyst through which
those characters ultimately discovered
more about themselves, because he
helped them to see hidden aspects of
their characters or situations. Eshu
illuminated their fate.

must pass by Legba, and every man and woman must have a
Legba as guardian. ." In other words, to get anywhere one
must confront one's own self, and it is Eshu's (Legba's) func-
tion to illuminate the self.
In Santeria in Miami, just as in Dahomey, every in-
dividual, prior to being incorporated fully into the religion,
receives what is known as a personal elegua. A santero
prepares this personal eleg(a after divining for his client. The
figure which divination reveals contains basic information
about a person's temperament, character, and guardian
spirits. This information will be symbolized in the selection of
ingredients from which a santero will form the elegua. The
santero proceeds to shape with cement mixed with these
symbolic ingredients representative of the client's specific
psychic and social situation, an image of elegia's head, a
conical shaped mass whose eyes and mouth are formed with
seashells. The image is consecrated through sacrifice and of-
ferings, and eventually given to the client to keep at home
where its constant watchfulness guards his/her well being.
As mentioned before, Santeria is in the main dedicated to
helping an individual to unravel his destiny and thereby to
understand himself better. The preparation of this elegia is
one of the first steps in the process, for it makes manifest in a
very concrete way certain important aspects of a person's
destiny, and animates them by investiture with the spirit of
Eleg6a himself. Therefore, just as every orisha has its own
eleg6a, so does every man. The Yoruba understand this func-
tion of Eshu by saying that he knits together a person's
destiny. The personal eleg6a is a powerful reminder of the
inward and outward search for illumination that a client has
undertaken, usually at some point of crisis in his life.

Eshu as Divine Child

In West Africa, Eshu is conceived as being very old and very
young, male and female, bestial and divine. He is, in short, a
representation of all the paradoxical and dynamically
opposed elements which comprise human life. But he is
always characterized by a purity of delivery, a perfect render-
ing of justice from realm to realm, and an unspoiled in-
nocence which allows him to time and again point out frail-
ty in human perception without angering anyone. Indeed, he
is looked on with affection. Thus, it is not difficult to see why
in Cuba and Miami, Eshu is often regarded as a Divine Child.
Children have a habit of seeing through their elder's self-
deceptions and falsehoods, and of telling the truth as they
see it, unaltered by circumstances. Santeros say that when a
child has an invisible playmate, this playmate is often Eshu,
himself a child, who loves other children. And in keeping
with his childlike quality, Eshu is often offered candies and
other sweets which he is thought to prefer.

Eshu in this role is the Divine Messenger,
who is known in Dahomey as the Linguist
because he is able to translate
information between planes of reality.

Santeros offer a story about Eshu in explanation of
both his preference for children, and also his association in
ritual with the coconut. In this story, Eshu is a prince, but yet
a young child who one day goes out riding in the forest. Dur-
ing the ride he sees a coconut which is shining with a brilliant
white light, and he picks it up in order to show it to his
parents upon his return. But when he gives it to them they
see an ordinary coconut, without the luminescence which the
young prince describes to them. The parents are furious and
order the young prince to throw away the coconut and refrain
from making dangerous excursions into the forest. The
prince throws away the coconut, and in so doing, dies. While
the people are mourning, some villagers suddenly see a
coconut at the edge of the forest which is shining with a
tremendous light. They are then forced to believe what the
young prince had said, and they bring the coconut back to
the village and honor it as a god. Some of them wonder
whether Eshu has not turned into the coconut, while others
are unconvinced and do not know where he has gone, or
what he is.
The end of the story describes the common situation of
many who fail to understand what Eshu is about. For it is ir-
relevant whether Eshu "turned into a coconut" or disap-
peared into the forest, or died, for that matter. What is impor-
tant is the bringing to "light" of the parent's intolerance and
closed-mindedness. They were convinced that their child
could not have seen a shining coconut, and acted on this cer-
tain, yet erroneous judgment, which resulted in the death of
their child. The parents' idea of what the world was like,
prevented them from seeing it as it really was. The inflexibili-
ty of finite cultural concepts stifled the innocence and purity
of the universal vision of the child, and thus, the parents,
cynical, world-weary adults, killed that part of themselves
which was still fresh and original, that part which could have
led them to truth.
This then is the thread which runs through the principle
of Eshu in both West Africa and the New World, the choice
which he symbolizes of seeing and not seeing, the paradox-
ical element of the human predicament. In mythology and
legend, Eshu composes situations out of a people's view of
themselves to bring to light elements which may be hidden
and not consciously acknowledged, as when he composed a
situation in the polygynous household which revealed the co-
wives' latent jealousies. In composing these scenes, Eshu
often acts in ways or makes people act in ways which they
are loathe to recognize. He or they may be greedy, lustful,
willful, irreverent or all of these things at once. As such his
principle serves as a moving mirror for what people are, and
he is constantly available to point out flaws in people's
perceptions of themselves, continuously goading them to
recognize their arbitrary and limited perspectives. For this
reason, it is impossible to define Eshu more precisely,
because a person's experience of him changes as that
person's identity unfolds in time. Totally defining him could

only be accomplished outside the realm of time, where he
would no longer be an active principle.
For as long as he is in the world, Eshu continuously of-
fers people the choice of seeing themselves as they really are,
or of seeing only who they think themselves to be, and
Eshu/Elegu6 changes as quickly as people themselves
change. When you think you recognize Him, He suddenly
transforms Himself to black and red, or to a limping beggar,
a child, or an old man. If you think that you stand on the
earth because of the law of gravity, He will walk on the ceiling
to show you that you are mistaken. He is Eshu-Elegu6 of
whom a Yoruba playwright Odatunde Ijimere, sings,

The newly wedded wife sacrificed to Eshu;
She thought he would not confuse her head,
Until one day she stole the sacrifice from the
The newly installed queen sacrificed to Eshu;
She thought he would not confuse her head,
Until one morning she walked naked in the


1. Santeria comes from the Spanish word santo (saint) which
recalls the syncretization of the Catholic saints with African
divinities (Yoruba: orisha) which occurred when African slaves were
brought to Cuba. A santero/a is thus a priest (priestess) of santeria.
Lucumi is another term for Yoruba religion in Cuba. It is said that
Yoruba slaves on the ships bound for the Americas would ask in the
horrible holds, "S'oluku ni" (anyone here a friend? Lit.: Are you my
friend?) to find out who on board was from a Yoruba village.
Allegedly, the phrase was creolized into Lucumi, which became the
term to describe both those people of Yoruba ancestry and also the
Yoruba religion.

2. The personal manifestations of saints to their Catholic wor-
shippers is analagous to this religious principle whereby the Infinite
Divine comes to have finite meaning. Thus, we could approach an
understanding of Mary either through an analysis of her historical
manifestations as the Virgin of Charity, the Madonna of the
Miraculous Medal, the Lady of Lourdes, etc., or we could analyze her
divine generic role as the Mother of God.

3. This myth is told in many different versions. Cabrera tells a
Cuban version in which Elegba causes two friends to quarrel when
they disagree as to whether they saw a bald, black stranger, or a
bearded, white stranger. Elegba prepared himself by changing half
of his body to white, and shaving the black side, in order to incite the
quarrel (El Monte, Rema Press, 1968).

4. The Fon of Dahomey call this oracle, Fa. Among practi-
tioners of Santeria, it is called the Table of Ifa, and also is known as
diloggun. The Table of Ifa is read by babalawos and Italeros, the
two highest ranks of specialists in the religion. An italero is second
in rank to the babalawo, but is in charge of ceremonies and is a
specialist in divination.

Judith Hoch-Smith teaches Anthropology at Florida International
University. She recently co-edited, Women in Ritual and Symbolic
Roles (Plenum). Ernesto Pichardo is an Italero practicing in Miami.

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I - '- -.

Caribbean Review devotes the following
special section to a discussion of the role
of the Opposition in the Caribbean. The
articles presented here are transcriptions
of talks given at Florida International
University under the auspices of its
Caribbean-Latin American Studies
Mr. Edward Seaga, Leader of the
Opposition, Jamaica, spoke on May 26,
1978. Mr. Basdeo Panday, Leader of the
Opposition, Trinidad and Tobago, spoke
on May 15, 1978. Dr. Cheddi Jagan,
Leader of the Opposition, Guyana, spoke
on May 12, 1978. The introduction is by
Dr. Anthony P. Maingot, the organizer
and Chairman of the series. J



-^ ^-





a-- i


The Role of the Opposition

in the Caribbean

By Anthony P. Maingot

During one of their frequent and celebrated parliamentary confronta-
tions, Winston Churchill countered a speech by Aneurin Bevan by ex-
claiming "I should think it hardly possible to state the opposite of the
truth with more precision!" Bevan, it is said, was unflapped-he had
made his point and that is what counted.
The question is, is parliamentary politics the art and science of
stating with precision what is often the opposite of the truth? Clearly,
Bevan would not have been shy in responding in the positive. "I have
never regarded politics," he said on one occasion, "as the arena of
morals. It is the arena of interests." "Righteous people," he was fond
of saying, "terrify me.. .Virtue is its own punishment." Surely, no one
acquainted with British parliamentary history will interpret Bevan's call
for political realism as a call for the abandonment of moral principles;
the personal rectitude and moral integrity of that formidable socialist
leader was beyond reproach.
Bevan's admonition addressed a different issue. Parliament in an
advanced industrial society, he maintained in true democratic fashion,
was the battleground on which the interests-the class interests-of that
society took place. Parliamentarians were both the strategists and ex-
ecutors of those class battles; as such they had to utilize all the wit and
refined skills of their bourgeois aristocratic opponents who, after all,
had created Parliament to serve their interests. Parliament was then, as
it is today, the mechanism through which the newly emerged groups
could talk things out instead of fighting them out. It is because of their
obvious partisan nature that these groups came to be known as "par-
Oratory, then, became the crucial instrument of politics, both in-
side and outside Parliament. Such was the emphasis on language and
debating that Thomas Carlyle once remarked that "No British man can
attain to be a statesman or chief of workers till he has first proved
himself a chief of talkers." What is true of British politics is even more
true in the West Indies where an "oral" tradition is now a solid part of
the political culture, and a crucial attribute of charisma.

Utopia or Nothing

Be that as it may, all the rhetorical skills and oratorical flourishes cannot
conceal the true nature of parliamentary party politics: what Max
Weber called Machtsreben-striving for power. But if politics has to do
with the striving for power, not all groups are organized into parties
whose goal is the actual holding of office. The Italian Vilfredo Pareto
divided parties into two types: those which either held power or were
prepared to hold power, and those which he called "intransigent" par-
ties: with little hope (and sometimes little inclination) of holding power.
Pareto noted that the latter groups tended to attract two types of in-
dividuals: very idealistic, often fanatical types and very moral and
honest individuals. Not infrequently, both qualities were found in the
same individual. The associations of the virtuous do have a role in cer-
tain political cultures. So that it is perhaps easy to sympathize with
Pareto's observation that since the assumption of honesty in govern-
ment was not a part of Italian political jurisprudence, honest men
should stay away from holding office.


Indeed, his sociological colleague, Gaetano Mosca, considered it
most unlikely that an erstwhile honest man, once in office, could resist
the deterioration of his moral sense. The call to "intransigence" makes
some sense in such cases. In societies such as the West Indies where no
such deep-rooted cynicism about the corroding influences of govern-
ment office exists, however, intransigence tends to have other motiva-
tions. There the "intransigent" politician tends to live in self contained
communities-often preferring to preach to the converted than to ven-
ture into the political (and social) unknown, and this is often accom-
panied by a contempt for "ordinary politics" and a haughty disdain for
those who practice it. Political timidity or parochialism is sometimes
shielded with unrealistic and frequently ludicrously grandiloquent ex-
pressions of concern over personal safety. Clannishness and exclusivity
become covers for elitism. This type of politician fails to understand
that charisma, which is recognized as such by only a coterie of the
faithful, can never be an attribute for national leadership in democratic
Photographs by FIU Media Photography

S. it is frequently these idealists who profess
the greatest sympathy for human misery
and suffering-the "Utopia or nothing"
advocates-who tend to be
the most brutal once in power.

Additionally and lamentably, as George Sorel often noted, it is
frequently these idealists who profess the greatest sympathy for human
misery and suffering-the "Utopia or nothing" advocates-who tend
to be most brutal once in power. "Optimistic, idealistic and sensitive as
they were," said Sorel, "these men showed themselves the more inex-
orable as they had a greater thirst for universal well-being." It is these
missionaries of the "true morality" which so terrified Bevan. Yet, it is
very often the "intransigent" who receives the most attention and
publicity-especially in academic centers where the demand in theory
for virtue and morality in national politics is frequently equalled only by
its absence in intramural practice.
This is not to say that intransigentss" have absolutely no role in
West Indian society. The history of a group such as Trinidad's TAPIA
House is a true, albeit rare, case of outstanding service to the society.
But Tapia is the exception which proves the rule. In societies where
parliamentary politics has sunk roots, the interests of the masses are ad-
vanced by those parties bent on and capable of achieving power. This is
the case of the West Indies where, despite its detractors, parliamentary
politics and pluralist democracy have been functioning well. Not in
Jamaica, nor in Barbados, nor in Trinidad, nor in Guyana does one
hear of the brutal repression which has become commonplace around
the globe, more often than not in the name of some lofty and idealistic
sounding cause. And while these societies have a long way to go before
social and economic gains equal the political gains, it would take a
brash person indeed to argue that, given their resources, the new
democratic elites of these nations have not achieved significant advances
in those areas.

Parliamentary Politics
The men represented in these collected essays are practitioners of
parliamentary politics. Only one has held power (on three occasions, in
fact) but all three stand prepared today to turn their parties into "the
government." Each in his own way is in the Aneurin Bevan mold of
realistic politicians, each plays a significant role in the national political
decision-making process.
By far the most senior of practising West Indian politicians is Dr.
Cheddi Jagan. The poverty of his family did not prevent it from mak-
ing every effort to see the son through dentistry school in the United
States. His political career began in 1946 with the formation of the
Political Affairs Committee which gathered nationalists of all races and
ideologies in its fold. He soon shifted to the labor union movement and
it was not long before he led the Indian sugar workers of the Guiana
Industrial Worker's Union (GIWU). He still leads them.
Joining forces with another young Guyanese socialist, a lawyer of
African descent, Forbes Burnham, Jagan led his People's Progressive
Party (PPP) to victory in 1953-the first parliamentary elections run
under universal suffrage in Guyana. The history of North American
and British collusion in the events which led to the fall of that govern-
ment and the split between Jagan and Burnham (who proceeded to
establish the Peoples National Congress [PNCJ), is well known. Suffice
it to say that Jagan was the first declared Marxist to be democratically
elected in this Hemisphere, as well as the first to fall victim to the anti-
communist hysteria which the Cold War ushered in. By reorganizing

the PPP along the lines of the Communist parties of the Soviet bloc in
1969, yet continuing to use the parliamentary path to power, Jagan
practiced then what he rejects in theory today-"Eurocommunism" or
the so called "Berlinger thesis."
Yet, in the Guyanese context of racial politics, Jagan's unflinching
loyalty to Moscow has provided few if any political advantages. Cer-
tainly it has removed the strategic flexibility shown by Burnham. And,
as opportunistic as the latter's moves seem and indeed are, the fact is
that they have gained for him recognition by the Soviets, Cubans, and,
since 1977, the Carter Administration.
As Burnham utilizes every trick in the political bag to maintain a
two-thirds majority in Parliament, and as he is proclaimed by the Soviet
Union and Cuba alike as a legitimate Third World leader, Jagan finds
himself in the awkward position of appealing to Western Europe and
the United States to help straighten out the violations of human rights
in Guyana. "Virtue," Bevan would have reminded Jagan, "is its own
punishment." Jagan seems to be learning. Awkward, inconsistent or
not, Jagan's appeal to the Western democracies seems the most pro-
fitable tack at this point for Burnham can tamper only so much more
with the structure of parliamentary politics without becoming a political
outlaw-a despot. At this point he appears to have stretched those in-
stitutions to their limits. Much will depend on Jagan's parliamentary
skills, not the least of which are his oratorical ones, in reaching both the
Guyanese and the international community. The clever use of liberal
opinion in the metropolis is one of the critical skills of the politician on
the periphery. It was so in colonial times, it is so today and Jagan
understands this.
Edward Seaga represents the opposite end of the West Indian
ideological spectrum. After receiving a degree in social sciences from
Harvard University, Seaga developed an interest in Jamaican folklore
and community work, while he also succeeded in several business ven-
tures. Given this combination of entrepreneurial and nationalistic in-
clinations the Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) seemed an obvious choice
for him.
Alexander Bustamante had created a party whose attraction was
pure populism-appealing to the Jamaican masses by a skillful blend of
bread-and-butter issues, anti-communism, religious sentiments, and not
insignificantly, their fear and resentment of the intellectual "Brown
men" who had made the People's National Party (PNP) their own. It
is on this grass-roots support from his West Kingston constituency that
Seaga has scored no less than five successive electoral victories, each by
impressive margins. This strength is all the more astonishing as one
listens to this white Jamaican deliver one of his methodical, even
scholarly, speeches in a lack-luster and monotonous style. This
oratorical style is in keeping with his image as a doer in technical areas,
especially finance. One realizes that his popularity stems from the fact
that he has used his position in Parliament and Government to deliver
the goods to his constituents. Like Bevan, Seaga's personal integrity is
unquestioned, also, like Bevan, he has regarded politics as the pursuit
of interests and no one in Jamaica doubts his determination and ability
to advance these by whatever political means.
Although the Jamaican political scene appears ripe for the
emergence of fresh faces, it is clear that the two-party system is strong
and that Edward Seaga is an integral part of it. This is so because in the
Westminster model of politics, the appeal of candidates within in-


Not in Jamaica, nor in Barbados,
nor in Trinidad, nor in Guyana
does one hear of the brutal repression
which has become commonplace around the globe,
more often than not in the name of
some lofty and idealistic sounding cause.

dividual constituencies is at least as important as the appeal of the party
at the national level. Seaga's strength, therefore, lies in his support
within the party and his guarantee of reelection by his constituency-a
"safe seat" as it is called. Yet, Seaga's nation-wide appeal is not in-
In recent polls conducted by political scientist Carl Stone, Seaga
outpolled Michael Manley among the middle class (85% to 58%) and
among small farmers (67% to 60%). Even though they were both out-
polled by a young up-and-coming PNP politician, Minister of External
Affairs, P. J. Patterson and by ex-JLP Prime Minister Hugh Shearer,
this might be less crucial than the shifts in party strengths. Stone found
that between the 1976 elections and March 1978, the PNP suffered an

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8% decline among the urban working class, but perhaps more telling
was the fact that fully 35%0 of those polled refused to declare a party
preference. Since Stone found that among those declaring a party
preference, the PNP received 51% and the JLP 49%, it is clear that the
Jamaican political scene is fluid. In such a context Edward Seaga is a
man to watch.
By far the most "junior" of the significant West Indian politicians
is Basdeo Panday. Like Jagan, a man from the "canefields," as they
would say in Trinidad, who by dint of his and his family's efforts made
it to London where he received degrees in economics as well as read for
the law, Panday's career is a lesson in the maturing of a politician: from
an "intransigent" to an authentic contender for power; from a
"radical" political who in 1966 could garner only 3.5% of the votes
cast in his constituency to Leader of the Opposition who has already
secured major benefits for the sugar workers who form the bulk of his
following. Not since the days of Dr. Rudranath Capildeo in the early
1960's has the party in power since 1956-Dr. Eric Williams'
People's National Movement (PNM)-confronted such an opposition
in Parliament.
And yet, Panday's task is the most formidable in the West Indies.
Not only because he opposes one of the most skilled of parliamentary
politicians anywhere in the world, but also because he represents an In-
dian rural class in a society which is sustained by a "creole" (African,
colored and white) urban industrial sector. Panday and his sugar
workers are as removed from the world of oil and the massive state
bureaucracy which the proceeds therefrom maintain, as the "shirt-jack
bureaucrats" in Port of Spain are from agriculture. These are the two
worlds of Trinidad (and Guyana) politics; currently the "creole" sector
has the numerical and economic upperhand. Indeed, in both Trinidad
and Guyana even the sugar plantations are state-owned, making it
more difficult for the workers to secure gains through traditional labor
union pressures such as the strike. These and other changes in the
Trinidadian scene place all the more importance on Panday's skills as a
The recent defeat of the intransigent wing of Panday's United
Labour Front (ULF), the so-called NAMOTI group, indicates that he
might have learned the lessons of 1966 when many of these same in-
transigents mustered less than 1% of the popular vote in their respective
constituencies. The conspiratorial, elitest mold of mind has little place in
Trinidad politics where for all their irreverence for tradition and con-
vention, the masses have opted time and again for a pluralist system.
Clearly, Panday understands that a strong and united party in the
Opposition stands to benefit from any split in the ruling party. And this
is precisely what appears as the most probable scenario once the ex-
traordinary presence of Dr. Williams passes from the scene.
All three Leaders of the Opposition represented here, therefore,
are significant elements in the politics of their societies. As such they
deserve the attention of intellectual communities outside their societies.
Let us listen to what they have to say about the role of the Opposition
in new nations. Seaga speaks first in these pages (pp.27-30),then Pan-
day (pp. 31-36), and then Jagan (pp. 37-41).

Anthony P. Maingot teaches Sociology at Florida International
University. He is presently on leave of absence at the Institute of
Developing Economies in Japan


The Role of the


in Jamaica
By Edward Seaga, Leader
Jamaican Labour Party

Many people do not realize that the Carib-
bean as a group of governments or territories
actually comprises some 31 different political
entities. They are not all independent countries
nor in fact, are they all within the Caribbean
Sea. Of these 31, some five lie outside of the
Caribbean Sea and are not islands. Belize,
Guyana, and Surinam are Caribbean in
outlook, Caribbean in make-up, Caribbean in
their political relationships-but Central and
South American countries in geography. In
the case of the Bahamas and Bermuda, these
are not, strictly speaking, in the Caribbean. In
this group of 31 there are already ten inde-
pendent countries. There are nine other
political entities that are moving toward in-
dependence, six of these rapidly so. We may
expect within the next five years that the
Caribbean as a geo-political area will comprise
some 16 independent countries. What hap-
pens to the remainder, of course, depends
upon time as well as upon ambitions within
the countries themselves. The language group-
ings indicate that three are Spanish speaking;
four are French speaking; five Dutch speak-
ing; and 17 English speaking.
In this grouping of 31 political entities, there
is a difference in the ideological make-up of
the group. Only two of the 31 are not practic-
ing democracies (Cuba and Haiti). The other
29, at whatever stage of independence, are
practicing democracies. The Caribbean,
therefore, may be said to be a lodestone of
democratic traditions and democratic prac-
tices. No other area in the world can feature so
many democratic regimes, so many demo-
cratic governments, as within the Caribbean
itself. In fact, if one wants to take a quick
count of the rest of the world, I think he
would be hard put to find as many as 29 other
countries that have practicing democracies.

Jamaican Democracy

It is against that background that I want to
look at Jamaica. The Jamaican political arena
is made up of two political parties, the
Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) and the
People's National Party (PNP). This year
happens to be the year in which the People's
National Party is celebrating its 40th anniver-
sary; they are at present the ruling party. The
Jamaican Labour Party is celebrating its 35th
anniversary. I make that observation to give

an indication as to the &ae span \ce re talking
about. The Jamaican Labour Part. h uch i
happen to be the leader o!. %a- the go\ern-
ment of Jamaica for a pernod of [t,,nrn ear,
in four separate five-year pen~od- hich %ere
grouped together in two ten-%ear spans. TRe
PNP are now in their fourneenth ,ear a- the
government party having had a ,eien-%ear
period in the 1950's to the earl\ IWl9\'. and
are now in another seven \ear penrod.
Within the framework of the Iamajian
political spectrum, the role of the positionn
is perhaps one of the mrosi dJnarmrc in the
Caribbean. Perhaps it has to o i h [he fact
that the two parties had rx o er, Jdnam.ic
leaders-Sir Alexander Bustamantm in the case
of the JLP, and Norman kMarile in ihc case
of the PNP. As two outLunding leaders, the%
gave a dynamism to the parues the led %t which
made them vibrant both in o'ernmennt and
Opposition. Many other area- of the Carib-
bean can say they are practicing dcmoc-racie,
in the sense that they hate undergone change
at the ballot box, and that there hate been
changes from one pa-ti to another: but
Jamaica can be said :o be the pnncpal
example of democracy a- \iork knth repeci to
the alternation of political panee. No parr.
has ever had more than [to terms in office
The vibrancy of the Opposition in Jamaica
therefore may have something to do with the
origin of the party leadership and the
dynamics that it gave to the party structure, 35
or 40 years ago.
Perhaps it is for this reason that when we
came to discuss the constitution for an in-
dependent Jamaica in 1962, one of its spec-
tacular achievements was that it became the
first to name the Opposition in the constitu-
tion itself. By writing in a role for the leader of
the Opposition, the Opposition became a con-
stitutional feature. The naming of the leader
of the Opposition in the constitution and the
providing for specific rules and responsibilities
made the Opposition a constitutional creature
that set a precedent within the Caribbean. The
constitution requires certain responsibilities of
the Opposition. In turn, Government is
obliged to consult with the Opposition. The
Prime Minister consults with the leader of the
Opposition with regard both to the appoint-
ment of certain key personnel and to specific
sensitive areas of public life governed by com-
missions or authorities. These are principally
the judiciary, the security forces, and the

public service. In appointing personnel to the
commissions which have administrative
responsibility for these sensitive areas of public
life, the Prime Minister is obliged by the con-
stitution to consult with the Opposition where
there is a requirement for him to name the in-
dividual. It is not that the advice of the
Opposition has to be taken in the matter, but
consultation is obligatory.
Beyond that, the leader of the Opposition is
required to nominate eight persons to the up-
per chamber of the legislature. The
significance of this is apparent when it is con-
sidered that the eight members nominated
constitute more than one-third of the
membership of the upper chamber. Since cer-
tain provisions in the constitution are deeply
entrenched and cannot be changed or
amended without a two-thirds majority in
both houses of Parliament, what in fact has


Jamaica can be said to be
the principal example of democracy at work
with respect to the alternation of political parties.
No party has ever had more than
two terms in office.

been provided for in the Jamaican constitu-
tion is a veto power by the Opposition. Every
constitution once written, can be thrown out
the window unless there are safeguards,
checks and balances. We devised a safeguard
by providing for the concurrence of the
Opposition with respect to any attempt to
unilaterally amend the deeply entrenched pro-
visions. That role, in fact, is the most impor-
tant constitutional role of the Opposition.
The Opposition also has a parliamentary
role to play. The parliamentary duty of the
opposition is to oppose and in fact, in the very
structure of the chamber of Parliament we are
seated in such a manner as to oppose. We are
seated on opposite sides of the same room,
confronting each other. In this particular
background, the principal parliamentary role
is one of acting as adversary, presenting alter-
native views and arguments in the passage of
legislation, resolutions and motions put before
the House. In its adversary role it is not re-
quired to oppose in each and every instance.
There are as many instances in which the
Opposition concurs with the government in
the passage of legislation, resolutions and
There is a provision also for the Opposition
to have an initiative role quite apart from its
adversary role. There is actually provision for
the Opposition to initiate legislation. This
turns out to be a dead-letter provision for the
facilities do not exist, and have never existed,
for the necessary parliamentary backup, to be
provided by the. Opposition to allow it to
frame amendments. This does not prevent the
Opposition from carrying through its initiating
role in terms of moving resolutions. In fact,
this is one of the features of any active, tradi-
tional opposition in Jamaica-to move resolu-
tions, conveying alternative proposals, con-
veying different ideas, conveying the public in-
terest. In carrying out its role in Parliament,
the Opposition is almost always defeated, for
the very reason that the majority party has the
majority of members and voting is according
to party discipline. On that basis, the
Opposition cannot hope to play a role in
terms of dominating the structure of legisla-
tion or obtaining amendments which it desires
without the concurrence of the majority party.
But it does serve its role as an adversary in
bringing out the essential features of legislation
and the consequences that will flow from it.
By doing this publicly the public at large is

made aware of what may have been hidden
features in the resolution of legislation.
Another area in which the initiating action
of the Opposition is largely felt is in its
opportunity to ask questions-parliamentary
questions. The parliamentary question in the
Jamaican Parliament, as it is in the West-
minster model, is a very important tool. It
allows the Opposition to probe and to obtain
information as is necessary for its proper
functioning and to bring information to the
public at large.
The Opposition in Jamacia has to
continuously present itself as an alternative
government-this is its political role-this is its
activist role. In this respect, it is expected to
organize the support of voters; it is expected to
present a panel of candidates for Par-
liamentary election; it is expected to present
and to formulate new policies from time to
time. All of these, are expected to be done on
an on-going, continuous basis from one
election to another, but in strict practice it is
not so. There are periods in which any
functioning Opposition becomes more active
and that is usually when the government's
period of office is running out and the smell of
election is in the air.

Trends and the Future
Since the passage of the constitution in 1962,
when Jamaica became independent certain
trends have developed which in hindsight, give
us a different view of what the constitutional
provisions could be for the future in terms of
making the role of the Opposition more
meaningful and more effective. Over the past
16 years, and particularly over the past five
years, the effectiveness of the Opposition has
been, to a certain extent, de-limited. This is so,
particularly in respect to two of its roles-the
consultative role and the activist role. This
situation arises out of a developing trend to
violate a fundamental principle upon which
the constitution is based, which is that in
certain sensitive areas of public life, the
personnel who are chosen to administer these
areas have to be unbiased persons, and have
to handle their responsibilities impartially.
The trend has been developing for the ap-
pointment of activists in areas of responsi-
bility, such as the judiciary, public service, and
security services. And the appointment of ac-

tivists has taken its toll in the operation of
those delicately balanced areas of public
authority where impartiality is fundamental.
Similarly, there are areas for which no provi-
sion was made in the constitution for an im-
partial and unbiased administration, par-
ticularly in the operation of the public media,
the electoral system, and public expenditures.
No provision was made with respect to these
areas because at the time the constitution was
framed it was considered unnecessary. It has
proven not to be so.
Consequently, we have developed new
thoughts advocating that the roles that were
assigned to the Opposition in a consultative
capacity, should be changed to allow for key
personnel to be appointed to the sensitive
public authorities on the basis of a two-thirds
majority of both Houses. You will see,
therefore, the significance of the backup pro-
vision wherein the Opposition has more than
one third of the votes in the upper chamber.
Therefore no such appointment could be
made without the concurrence of the
Opposition. What this means is that those
positions would become creatures of
Parliament. What it means is that the
Opposition would have to agree with the ap-
pointment of the persons who are to head and
who are to be members of sensitive bodies of
public authority including the judiciary, the
security forces, and the public service. By
agreement of both parties, we would thereby
have the impartial persons that we seek.
In the case of public expenditure, it is a little
more tricky. The appointment of a
commission would not be satisfactory because
there do exist certain parliamentary
mechanisms which allow for public
accounting. However, these parliamentary
mechanisms are deficient in that they do not
allow for extra-parliamentary opposition.
Extra-parliamentary opposition as we see it,
however, is not just at the level of party
supporters, but rather public interest: the
media interest groups, and in fact, the
population as a whole. The extent to which
the Opposition can mobilize this extra-
parliamentary opposition partly depends upon
the extent to which they are able to obtain the
facilities of the communication media; to
make their own views known and thus to
mobilize additional support. This is one of the
points that I made obliquely in making
reference to the Government's stranglehold on


Unfortunately, what is occurring today
is far in excess of anything
that has ever happened before.
There has been an escalation
far beyond any of the abuses and violations
that occurred in the past.

the broadcasting media, which is now fully
publicly owned.
There are other types of problems that
Oppositions face, such as is the extent to
which their supporters are victimized, find
themselves to be at the mercy of the security
forces, and at a disadvantage in the electoral
system. The observation can be made that
there is nothing new in this, that it has been
part and parcel of Jamaican parliamentary
and political life, ever since the advent of the
modem political system in Jamaica back in
the 1940s. Unfortunately, what is occurring
today is far in excess of anything that has ever
happened before. There has been an escala-
tion far beyond any of the abuses and viola-
tions that occurred in the past. But it has
brought with it a good feature. The result has

not been a determination on the part of the
Opposition to do likewise when the right time
comes; but rather, for the first time we
presented a full package to the country for a
restoration of political rights. This covers the
areas of electoral reform, distribution of scarce
benefits, abuse of the security forces, abuse of
public expenditures, and abuse of the public
Positive proposals have been prepared and
put forward calling for administration of these
areas by persons who can conduct the affairs
of those authorities with impartiality. The
mechanism for selecting those persons would
be by a two-thirds majority of both Houses-
and that is an Opposition proposal too.
It would seem, therefore, that we have
come to a point in public affairs in Jamaica

which could be a real turning point if the op-
portunity is provided and demanded or if the
government is of the view that they should
allow these proposals to be carried out.
Through them we could, for the first time,
have a situation which the party in the ma-
jority would be viewed as a government of the
people as a whole. The tragic situation in the
country's political life is that there has never
been a government which could claim the sup-
port of more than one half of the country.
The party that would hope to effect change in
the country must implement a system of full
and guaranteed restoration of the areas of
political life as a basis for truly governing the
country as a whole and not on a trial basis.

In terms of GNP and trade, weren't the economic problems in Jamaica
quite different before the present time?
There was never a single year before 1972 in which we didn't have
positive economic growth and this goes all the way back to the 40's.
There was never a single year in which we did not add to the reserves.
There wasn't a year in which we had double digit inflation. There
wasn't a single year in which the budget couldn't be balanced-entirely
the opposite of what we have had since 1972.
There has been a great deal of publicity in the past couple of months
about the flight of the Jamaican middle class--what is the view within
the island?
The flight of the Jamaican professional groups, middle-class and
others, has had a traumatic effect on the administration of the island
and on business enterprise within the professional areas. The hardest hit
area has been medical services. Where we once had a depth of two,
three, four, half a dozen specialists in a particular medical discipline, we
are down to the last one in many areas. The legal profession has also
been hard hit, as have the engineering services. There has been a migra-
tion of two-thirds of the architects and engineers because of the reduc-
tion in building and development in the country. Teachers too have
migrated in large numbers. Virtually every area has had its problems as
far as migration goes.
Can the People's National Party turn down the International Monetary
Fund because it does not suit their needs?
They do not have an alternative because they are too late in the course
of the economic collapse which has taken place to seek external
assistance. This arose out of the schizophrenic approach that the

government has had concerning institutions like the IMF. On the 19th
of January, 1977, the Prime Minister in Parliament publicly rejected
IMF assistance. At that time, it was expected that there would be
assistance from other sources. Four months later, he had to go back to
Parliament with the package devised by the IMF which was the only
source of support. If that package had worked, present economic cir-
cumstances would not be as difficult. The package did not work. As a
result, they have had to go back for the more disciplined package under
the extended facilities. This has come at a time when there are no
resources against which one can negotiate. The country's revenues are
far less than what it takes to meet current expenditures, and when one
finds oneself in that sort of comer, one has no cards to play in any
negotiation. So they're not in a position to turn down the IMF
The question is the extent to which the terms can be negotiated as
softly as possible. The position which the opposition took is that the
terms that have been accepted are harsher than necessary. It is not that
restoring fiscal discipline is wrong, but the extent and the degree of
harshness of the terms have eliminated all incentive and motivation to
produce, and that is supposed to be the end result of the package-to
increase production. We suggest that since the enormously high imposi-
tion of taxes was a result of meeting the necessary expenditures in the
budget, the budget should have been tackled on the basis of zero
budgeting, so as to relieve it of all unnecessary expenditure. By reducing
expenditure, one can reduce the need for revenue and reduce the
necessary tax flow.
We went further, in addition to proposing the renegotiation along
those lines to offer the government the support of the Opposition pro-
viding the government accepted the human rights package which we
have been campaigning on insistently, especially over the last year or
more. If the government would accept those proposals and that
package, we would then be able to urge that the one half of the country
which supports the Opposition participate in the production drive,
because they would no longer be treated as second class citizens. We
have received no answer to that proposal, but that is the exercise of the
responsibility that we have.


The effect of the left at
the present time is inflated. It is inflated in numbers largely because
within the ruling party, the core of that party
revolves around leftist leadership.
It is the strength of the Prime Minister
within his own party
that has given the left the voice that it has.

You are faced with a real dilemma right now in Jamaica. On the one
hand it is obvious that the problems in Jamaica are not just the prob-
lems of the PNP. They are structuraL increases in the price of fuel
non-expansion of the bauxite sector, decrease of the price of sugar, all
the problems of the balance of trade. If you come into government
you're going to inherit al the structural problems which the present
government has. On the other hand, if you wait too long, the situation
is deteriorating so fast (and I would consider the most damaging of all
the flight of the technical class, because that is a human resource which
takes years and years to produce) that in fact you are inheriting hell If
you move now you allow the extreme left to really get active in a way
that they can't be active in with a government that they partly support.
Given that kind of dilemma, how does the opposition act?
Time and time again, I have said we are running out of options and the
longer we wait we might arrive at the point of no return-and we are
fast approaching that particular point in the journey. I have said that
the present measures which have now been imposed have closed all
doors but one. The human rights considerations are as important as the
economic problem. The problems of the country are not basically
economic. I know that there are structural problems but the present
problems of the country are not basically economic but political. At the
root of the political problem is the question of where we stand-do we
stand in a particular party camp or do we stand as Jamaicans? To the
extent that people can be treated as citizens of their own country with
their needs being put before their party's support, that is the deter-
mining factor in the motivation that will give them a productive role.
The country just suffered five years of negative growth and all the
other negative trends in the economy. It needs that motivational guide
more than anything else to restore itself. That is the last door to be
closed. If that door is closed, then we may very well have passed the
point of no return-at which point no one is looking any longer at the
scenario that we have been talking about at all. I wouldn't like you to
ask me what the scenario will be because we don't have any traditions
in that direction. The effect of the left at the present time is inflated. It is
inflated in numbers largely because within the ruling party, the core of
that party revolves around leftist leadership. In recent tests as to the
numerical strength of the moderates and the radicals within the
People's National Party, the candidates put up by each faction have
shown results of 7 to 1 for the moderates. It is the strength of the Prime
Minister within his own party that has given the left the voice that it has.
If it did not have that particular central strength, it would never have
been the force that it is in the party and in Jamaica today.
Would you exepct a PNP in opposition to shift to the right?
Including Manley?

Would you comment on the role of the military, particularly during the
period of 1972 to the present time?

We have a very small military force, a couple of thousand members.
The military has been one of the institutions which has played a very
impartial role in the political affairs of the country. But recently,
something happened which has cast great doubts on the future position
of the military. On the 5th of January, a group of men were lured to a
lonely beach outside of Kingston, where the military lay in ambush and
shot them down in cold blood. The situation, as it now stands, has cast
great doubt on the role of the military. My own feeling is still one of
faith in the impartiality of the military in general because I ascribe what
has happened to a faction within the military.

Did I understand you to say that the Cuban model has not proved to
be a viable model?
The Cuban model has its own viability, but it has its viability on the
basis of an entirely different political system. It has solved a number of
problems which still plague the Caribbean democracies, principally
social problems. It is certainly viable in the case of unemployment. It
has dealt effectively with a number of social problems through a wide
application of social programs. But it is on the basis of a different
political system which is not a parliamentary democracy.
Insofar as the attempt to introduce the programs that have been
successful in Cuba into Jamaica and into Guyana within the
framework of parliamentary democracies, this has proven not to be
successful, and therefore it is not an example to countries which are
operating as parliamentary democracies. Cuba is a failure in the eyes of
Caribbean democracies in which the voter response is based on the im-
provement of standards of living encompassing social improvements
and economic growth. It is a failure in countries in which programs
have been introduced because of the down-turn in economic activity. It
is thus a failure to the extent that there has been a radicalization process
in those two countries. The implementation of the Cuban model in
Jamaica and Guyana at the present time can be considered failures. But
in Cuba, it is something else all together.

What do you think the future is for Jamaica over the next five years?

I can't even tell you what it is for the next couple of weeks. A lot
depends upon whether there is any intention to keep open that one
door which would hold out the necessary hope and create the beacon
which is necessary for the Jamaican people to continue to strive and to
try to do something about their future. If that door is slammed shut,
then I can't answer your question. No one can look at the scenario in
Jamaica beyond three to six months at this particular time. It is not
possible to project five years at all.


I _

The Role of the Opposition

in Trinidad & Tobago

Basdeo Panday, Leader
United Labour Front

The politics of Trinidad and Tobago may
justly be described as the object of the confus-
ing inter-play of the most intricate cross-
currents of race, religion, cultural and
historical idiosyncrasies, class consciousness,
charismatic leadership, rugged individualism,
and down-right bull-headedness outside the
United States of America.
To understand the tangled web of our
multi-faceted political scene, one must have
some working knowledge of the demographic
history and economic, cultural and social life
of the country.
The demographic history of Trinidad and
Tobago is reflected in the present-day multi-
racial population, in which Africans and per-
sons of mixed origin make up about 55% of
the total population; East Indians, 40%; and
British, Chinese, Venezuelans, Portuguese,
Syrians and others about 5%. Trinidad, which
was discovered by Columbus on his third
transatlantic voyage in 1498, was occupied by
Spaniards from 1532 to 1797, when the British
took over the island. During that penod.
many French planters %ith thousand- ot
African slaves moved there trom French
Colonies in the Caribbean. The abolition of
slavery in all British possesions in the 1830?
created a labour shortage in the sugar planta-
tions that led to the introduction of thouands
of East Indianlabourers from Bnush India. In
addition, many Syrians and Chinese trom
British possessions in .sia. Porruguese
peasants from Madeira, and JeLish refugees
from Europe found permanent homes in
Trinidad. The island's iultural djiersity i
reflected in the religious ife ol the count.
There can be found the Roman Catholicism
of the early Spanish and French etlers: the
Anglican and Presbyterian filthy of the Bnnsh
planters and the Canadian mi\sionaries: the
Hindu and Muslim religion- of the East
Indians; and the Christian evangelical
movements among the Africans and
Tobago, although discovered b\
Columbus, did not become a Spanish posses-
sion. James I claimed the land for England
in 1608, but it was the Dutch % ho ended there
in 1632. Tobago became a bone ot contennon
among the British, Dutch and French. until it
was finally awarded to the British in IS1-4.
Trinidad and Tobago merged in 1889, and
together became an independent nation withinn

the Commonwealth on the 31st of August,

Government Structure
During the period of colonial rule, the islands
went through several stages of political
development beginning with complete
autocratic rule by a Governor appointed by
the British monarch. Later he ruled with
assistance of a legislative council, entirely
nominated and consisting of official and non-
official members. Only after 1927 were there a
small number of elected members in the
Council, which grew in proportion to the
number of non-elected members until the time
of independence. On attaining independence,
the country adopted the Westminster-style
parliamentary form of government, with the
British monarch as its titular head, represented
in Trinidad and Tobago by a Governor-
General. The Governor-General was ap-
I --- .0 --. T

pointed by the Queen on the advice of the
Prime Minister.
Governmental power, however, rested with
the local Parliament which was constructed
along the lines of the British model. Until
1962, the Parliament consisted of the British
monarch, who was represented by the
Governor-General, a Senate of 24 members,
and a House of Representatives of 36
members. The House of Representatives,
referred to as the Lower House, is a totally
elected body. The country is divided into 36
constituencies each with an electorate of ap-
proximately 15,500 electors. All citizens above
the age of 18 are eligible to vote.
Each constituency sends one member to the
House of Representatives, selection being
made on a first-past-the-post basis. The party
which wins the majority of seats in this House
forms the Government, with the leader of that
party as Prime Minister. It is a system of
winner-take-all. The person who commands
the support of the majority of members in op-


The unity of African oil workers
and Indian sugar workers
exploded the myth that
the two major races in our society
could not unite even in their common interest.

position to the Government becomes the
Leader of the Opposition, in very similar
fashion to the British House of Commons.
The Senate, on the other hand, referred to
as the Upper House, is entirely nominated.
Thirteen Senators are appointed by the
Governor-General on the advice of the Prime
Minister; four on the advice of the Leader of
the Opposition and seven on the advice of the
Prime Minister to represent the various
religious, economic and social groups. Except
for the fact that in Trinidad and Tobago, we
have no nobility, hereditary or otherwise, the
similarity with the British House of Lords is
Executive powers are exercised by a cabinet
composed of the Prime Minister and other
Ministers appointed by him from among
members of the Senate or the House of
Representatives. The Cabinet is theoretically
responsible to Parliament, but with the
Government's built-in majority in both
Houses, Parliament's support for Executive
Action is a mere formality.
This position has remained materially the
same to this day except for the fact that in
1976 the government abandoned monarchical
status and opted for a republican status within
the Commonwealth by introducing a new
constitution. This change has been more of
form than of substance. All it has meant is
that the Governor-General has been replaced
by the President of the Republic, who is
elected by both Houses of Parliament. The
President, acting on his own discretion, now
appoints nine Senators in an enlarged Senate
of thirty one; the Leader of the Opposition
appoints six and the Prime Minister sixteen.
Bills introduced in either House become law
when passed by both Houses of Parliament
and asserted to by the President. To the
uninitiated, this may seem a highly democratic
system, but for those of us who live and work
in the system, politics in Trinidad and Tobago
is quite a different kettle of fish. Lacking the
ethics of the British that makes the system
work in the mother country, in Trinidad and
Tobago it has become a Parliamentary

Bitter History of Sugar
The most significant factor in our politics has
been the question of race, racial voting and the

preoccupation with racial domination. The
root of this problem is to be found in our
history, and the history of Trinidad and
Tobago is the bitter history of sugar. When
sugar became a highly profitable commodity
on the European market in the 16th and 17th
centuries, African slave-labour was the means
by which the white planters increased their
production in the colonies. When they were
emancipated, hopes ran high among the
slaves. They were sure that with the loss of
slave-labour, the planters would have to pay
high wages for their labour and the former
slaves would thus be in a position to control
their own lives. But instead of employing the
freed slaves, the planters replaced them with
indentured labourers from India, dashing to
the ground the hopes of the ex-slaves for a
freedom that was meaningful.
It is not surprising, then, that there
developed suspicion, antagonism, and hatred
between the Africans and Indians which was
so intense that it would last for more than a
century. The differences in language, cultures,
and life-styles further aggravated and widened
the alienation between the two peoples. The
Indians occupied the rural south and the
Africans migrated to the towns. Left alone to
sort out their differences, they may very well
have succeeded in bridging the gap, but the
"divide and rule" policy of their colonial
masters ensured that the antagonism con-
tinued unabated. That antagonism eventually
found expression in the political life of the
country and intensified with the introduction
of adult suffrage in 1946 and party politics in
1956. The tragic result of this phenomenon is
that for the past 20 years, there have been two
parties in Trinidad and Tobago, one drawing
its support from the citizens of African
descent and the other drawing its support
from the citizens of Indian descent.
The African-dominated Peoples National
Movement (PNM), led by Dr. Eric Williams,
has controlled the government since 1956,
while the Indian-dominated Democratic
Labour Party (DLP) led by Dr. Rudranath
Capildeo, had been in the Opposition until its
demise in 1971. It is to be expected that this
pattern will continue so long as voting takes
place along racial lines because of the
demographic distribution of the population.
The Indians are concentrated in the rural and
agricultural south where, by a process of
PNM gerrymandering, there are only twelve

constituencies. The Africans inhabit the urban
areas where there are twenty-four constituen-
cies. This 24/12 syndrome was reflected
in the relative strength of the two parties in
Parliament in the decade between 1961-1971.
From about 1970, however, a series of
events began to occur which threatened to
change the pattern of politics in Trinidad and
Tobago. First, Dr. Capildeo abandoned the
political scene to become a lecturer at London
University in the late 1960's, leaving a
vacuum, in the leadership of the DLP. Then,
in 1970, the unemployed urban African
youths demonstrated their bitter dissatisfaction
with the Williams regime, the Army mutinied;
and for the first time, there appeared a signifi-
cant crack in the PNM monolith. The govern-
ment nevertheless clung to power and
smothered all opposition by declaring States
of Emergency in 1970 and 1971 during which
fundamental rights and freedoms were
Protecting against the use of suspect voting
machines in elections, the DLP boycotted the
elections of 1971 and this resulted in the PNM
winning all thirty-six seats in the House of
Representatives. For the next five years, the
PNM operated without a dissenting voice in
Parliament, while public dissatisfaction out-
side the House grew more intense. The
absence of an electoral, and consequently, a
racial contest in 1971, provided a moratorium
for the nation's quinquennial explosion of
racial conflict. The two major races appeared
to be sinking their differences against the
background of common suffering; with a
declining economy, unemployment ran high,
dissatisfaction was widespread, and the coun-
try was on the verge of bankruptcy. Dr.
Williams threatened to retire from public life
only to change his mind with news of an im-
pending oil boom.
In 1973, upon the death of Bhadase Sagan
Maharaj, leader of the Hindus and President-
General of the All Trinidad Sugar Estates and
Factories Workers Trade Union, I became the
leader of that Union. I abandoned my legal
practice and began a concerted struggle to lift
the sugar workers from the kind of degrada-
tion they were experiencing. I organized a
series of strikes in the sugar industry between
1974 and 1975 which resulted in the workers
receiving a 100% wage increase.
In 1975 the oil workers, who are pre-
dominantly Africans, were themselves engaged


To try to transplant an English Parliament
into a West Indian context
is like attempting to transplant apples
from the orchards of Devonshire
into the cane fields of Trinidad and Tobago.

in a struggle for a new industrial agreement.
Because of my past relationship and associa-
tion with George Weekes, the leader of the oil
workers, we decided to combine the two
struggles for greater industrial effect. The
political effect, however, turned out to be of
greater significance.

Party Politics
The unity of African oil workers and Indian
sugar workers exploded the myth that the two
major races in our society could not unite even
in their common interest. The General
Elections were due in 1976 and this unity on
the industrial front had set the stage for a kind
of unity on the political front. Under these
circumstances, the United Labour Front
(ULF) was born.
The Party which was formed in March,
1976, was the result of the merging of the oil
and sugar unions. With elections coming so
soon after that struggle, the organization
which called itself the United Labour Front
and was in fact an industrial organization,
transformed itself into a political organization,
appealed for support across racial lines. The
party sought to unite Indian and African
workers in a class struggle with a common in-
terest and a common goal-the seizure of
political power by the working class to be used
in the interest of the working class. It sought
to organize them as a class. With only a few
months to structure the Party and no funds,
no organization, no election machinery; with
nothing but courage, like fools, we rushed in
where angels often feared to tread.
We participated in the elections on the 13th
of September, 1976, and won ten seats. We
were not even able to find candidates for all 36
seats. We had submitted about 24 candidates.
The PNM won 24 and the Democratic Action
Congress (DAC) won the two Tobago seats.
The DLP and all the other racial splinter par-
ties were wiped off the political scene, and
every one of them even lost their deposit; that
is, they failed to make the minimum number
of votes to retain the deposit which a can-
didate must make before he enters an election.
In April of the following year, the Party
was faced with local government elections and
won the majority of seats in four County
Councils. We were again unable to find suffi-
cient candidates for the other County Councils
and the Municipal Councils. In our desperate

search for candidates in both elections, we
failed to screen Party contestants properly and
thus provided a haven for opportunities, ex-
treme and ultra-leftist elements, and a host of
ideological crack-pots.
As soon as the elections were over, the ex-
tremists began a bitter conflict within the
Party on a question of ideology. The main
question was whether we should organize the
Party to capture power by violent means, or
whether we should organize the Party to cap-
ture power through the parliamentary
democratic process. If the objective was going
to be to seize power by force we ought to
organize cells, and if the strategy was going to
be to capture political power via the
parliamentary process, then we had to
organize the Party on a constituency basis. I
opted for the latter course, and the moment I
did that, the Party went the way of all flesh.
The inevitable split came, and I was supported
by the rank and file of the Party, though not
by the majority of ULF representatives in the
When we won the ten seats, we formed the
largest single block of the opposition, and I
became the leader of the Opposition. With the
split, although I had the rank and file support,
I did not have the support of the majority of
the ULF Parliamentarians in the House. Since
it is the Parliamentarians who determine who
is the leader of the Opposition, I was removed
as leader in September 1977, after one year in
office. The Party had obviously been hijacked
by the opportunists posing as leftists. The
Westminster-type parliamentary system does
not provide for the right of recall. Conse-
quently, the Party and the electorate did not
have the power to remove the hijackers from
Parliament once they had been duly elected to
that House.
In November, 1977, I moved a motion in
the House of Representatives calling upon the
government to amend the constitution to pro-
vide for recall by the constituents. That mo-
tion was debated in the House in February of
this year, and, although it passed with govern-
ment support, the government showed no
signs of giving any effect to that motion in the
immediate future.
In the meantime, I was returned to the
leadership of the Opposition in April, 1978.
Subsequently, an unusual event occurred. For
reasons known only to himself, a Minister of
Government crossed the floor, driving panic

up the spine of the government. The govern-
ment declared that certain of its members who
had been returned to the House were mill
stones. Suddenly, the government saw the
urgency of giving effect to my motion of recall
that had been passed earlier.
A bill was introduced in Parliament by the
government which amended the Constitution
to provide that in the event that a member of
the House of Representatives who was elected
to that House on a Party ticket resigns or is
expelled by the Party, his seat becomes vacant
and he must face the electorate within 90 days
in a by-election. That is now law and I am
confident that opposition splits will now
become a thing of the past.
For the first time in our political history, the
Opposition has been provided with an instru-
ment to control its members. Without that
weapon, every single Opposition Party in the
history of Trinidad and Tobago has been the
victim of splits and factionalism. Opposition
disunity had been the source of strength of the
ruling Party. The fact that the Opposition has
never been able to present a viable alternative
to the government has in effect frustrated the
democratic process and kept the PNM in
power for over twenty years.

The Westminster Model
After 20 years of experiment with the
Westminster model of parliamentary
democracy in Trinidad and Tobago, it would
be safe to say it has not worked. Both the
1962 and the 1976 Constitutions were attempts
to reduce into written form the constitutional
practices of the United Kingdom which have
been derived partly from custom and conven-
tion and partly from laws enacted by the
British Parliament.
Such practices, conventions and laws are
the reflection of the particular stage of
development of those people. They are the
sum total of their historical, economic, social,
cultural and psychological consciousness.
Each country, each nation, each people is vic-
tim of its own unique historical consciousness.
A constitution developed over the centuries by
one people is unlikely to be suited to another.
Worse still, it is impossible to implement when
transplanted to alien conditions.
English society was never faced with the
problems we have faced and continue to face
in Trinidad and Tobago. They have had no


In Trinidad and Tobago, public opinion
is not concerned with the merits
or demerits of governmental action,
but with the pre-occupation
of which race will remain on top.

internal history of slavery and indenture, of
racism, of the sudden plunging of an entire
people into a completely alien economic
system as the slaves and indentured labourers
were flung into the plantation economy. And
unfortunately, we had not had the historical
landmark of the Boston Tea Party. Theirs is a
history of feudalism, mercantilism, industrial
revolution and colonial conquest, which
prompted laws to meet those specific
To try to transplant an English Parliament
into a West Indian context is like attempting
to transplant apples from the orchards of
Devonshire into the cane fields of Trinidad
and Tobago. For example: the fundamental
rights and freedoms of the British are found in
the ordinary laws, customs, and conventions.
British Parliament is supreme and may alter or
take away these rights and freedoms by a
simple majority. Why is it so done? Because
the effective restraint is the predisposition of
the legislators to regard these rights as sacred,
while public opinion is another effective
restraint against any such abuses. In Trinidad
and Tobago, on the other hand, such rights

and freedoms are enshrined in the Constitu-
tion and may not be altered except by special
procedures. Yet, every Caribbean government
has in one way or another tampered with the
people's fundamental rights and freedoms.
Public opinion has been ineffective to check
such abuses. In Trinidad and Tobago, public
opinion is not concerned with the merits or
demerits of governmental action, but with the
pre-occupation of which race will remain on
What I am trying to say is that there is no
such thing as the perfect system of govern-
ment which is good for all peoples at all times.
A good system is one which is indigenous to
the society it is intended to serve. It is one
which has regard to the particular needs and
problems of that society, one which is relevant
to the historical antecedents and the present
level of consciousness of people.
In Trinidad and Tobago an attempt in such
a direction was made in 1972 when the
government set up the Wooding Constitution
Commission to draw up a new constitution.
The Commission did an excellent job, but its
recommendations were ignored and the 1977

Constitution was introduced instead, which
has not effected any substantial change. We
have not only maintained the Westminster
model but have succeeded in aggravating the
vices inherent therein.
There has, however, been a slight change in
the attitude of the government within recent
weeks. The Prime Minister has suddenly
decided to observe once more a constitutional
convention which requires that the Prime
Minister and the Leader of the Opposition
meet regularly to discuss matters of national
importance. The last time this convention was
observed was in 1962, some sixteen years ago,
when Dr. Williams met the then Leader of the
Opposition, Dr. Rubranath Capildeo. Two
weeks ago I was invited by the Prime Minister
to meet for such discussions.
With these developments it is to be hoped
that with the new provision in the constitution,
opposition splitism will come to an end and
party politics may now begin to serve the pur-
pose of providing a system of political change
and to move toward democracy within a
democratic context. Whether this practice will
continue is anybody's guess.

Did you say the government is not democratic or was less than
What I said is that we have a system of government which has all the
resemblance, all the mechanisms, all the fancy framework of a
democratic system; that is, the British Westminster-type model. But it
does not function democratically. In fact, it has been used as an instru-
ment of dictatorship. It is not the ruthless kind of dictatorship that one
sees in certain Latin American countries; that is not what I am talking
about. What I am talking about is that under the system we have, there
is a government that can ignore the wishes of the people and still stay in
OK, then, how does it ignore the legitimate feelings of the people-the
majority of the people who voted it in and have direct representation
through that vote?
Because of the preoccupation of the society with racial domination. At
election time, the government uses the instrument of race to whip up
electoral support and voting in Trinidad. It is a highly emotional exer-
cise, not a rational exercise. Governments using the question of race to
win a majority of seats can then use their power to ignore the wishes of
the people. They go back to the question of race at the next election;
they'll succeed again because of the racial tensions that have existed for

so long in this society. It is such an explosive subject that all reason is
thrown out the window at election time. At election time, what is im-
portant is racial domination.
Are the people who aspire to government all opportunists? Isn't there
one group that is looking for the benefit of the people?
I believe there is one such group-the party which we have just formed.
Seriously though, I do not think it is simply a matter of opportunism or
not wanting to do something other than fill one's pockets. This is the
question of the influence of the American economy upon the situation.
For example, if we sought to control the oil in Trinidad, we would meet
with tremendous resistance from the American companies that exploit
that oil. The people who get into government in Trinidad are of the
view that in order to maintain their political power, they cannot move
as they would like to because of international economic pressures. I
think this is the basic problem; I don't think that it's just that the Carib-
bean has men who do not want to see the country live more decently.
They fear that if they do the things which they ought to, they would be
destablizied. There have been allegations-I don't know how true they
are-of such attempts in Jamaica and we know for a fact that it hap-
pened to Cheddi Jagan in Guyana-so it is a genuine, a real fear. The
policy is said to have changed now, and if the policy has changed, I im-
agine it will take some time for Caribbean leaders to become
accustomed to it and to get away from the fear which they have in-
herited from the past. Things may become better, I don't know.


Under the system we have,
there is a government that can ignore
the wishes of the people
and still stay in power.

Why does the Opposition find it difficult to unite and become an effec-
tive political force?
Today, government is a highly complex thing and there needs to be
cohesion in the party; there needs to be discipline in the party; the party
must hold together, whether it is in the government or the opposition.
If it is in the government, it must hold together so that the government
isn't shifting and changing from day to day. And, if it is in the opposi-
tion, it must hold together for the purpose of being able to present itself
as a viable alternative so that at elections, there is a real choice. But in
Trinidad, if people wanted to vote for the Opposition, they would be
foolish to do so, because they would have to examine in their own
minds if they wanted to remove the existing government and put some
guys in who are breaking up every Monday morning. Under these cir-
cumstances, there is no choice. I felt, therefore, that the vacancy bill
was necessary to introduce discipline into the party. We are highly un-
disciplined people, you know.
Why is it we cannot band together? Why can the parties in op-
position not get together? I don't know how to answer that question
because I feel I don't know myself. We try. At one time we thought we
had found something in common. That is, we were all in opposition to
the government. They were going to introduce a constitution in 1976.
At least we had something in common-we were all against that con-
stitution. We got together, gave ourselves a name called the United
Peoples Front, held meetings. As long as we were holding meetings,
everything was going fine. But, the constitution has been introduced
anyway and what do we do now? One group, the Democratic Action
Congress (DAC), says, "Well, yes, we can come into an organization
but we have got to retain our identity." Because they felt that if they re-
tained their identity, they probably would pick up more votes. Lloyd
Best, from the Tapia group, on the other hand, said, "No, no, no, no.
Every man must break up his political party and form one, single,
macro-labor party"-he uses that word all the time. That was the
beginning and end of that unity; they couldn't even agree on the type of
I think that is part of our history. We are descendents of slaves
and indentured laborers. Taken from India and from Africa, from
what was a relatively stable society, and flung into the plantation
economy, enormous confusion was created. Can you imagine what
was going on in their minds flung into a system in which they didn't
understand what was happening to them and why it was happening or
even how to get out of it? Survival became so important that a kind of
individualism developed for which we are paying the price today. We
are a highly individualistic people. If you can't agree with a man, you
don't give way and say, "OK, let's meet on common ground." Such
an attitude was developed in the plantation system.

If your party comes into power in the next election, do you think this
will help bring the two groups together?
This is what we tried to do when the United Labor Front was formed.

The voting pattern, as I have said, was along racial lines. People went to
the polls and voted either because one represented either the African-
dominated party or the Indian-dominated party. When the United
Labor Front came on the scene, what it did was to appeal to both lines.
So we were cutting across the racial barriers. We feel that a kind of
education and a program like that would certainly go a long way to end
the racism and the racial voting.
Incidentally, when there is no election in the air, people live fairly
easily in Trinidad, not like in Guyana. We are fortunate in that we
haven't experienced the kind of trauma Guyana has experienced; that is
to say open clashes, physically violent clashes. But there is suspicion and
antagonism in the society. It flares up at election time because that is the
moment when you decide on racial domination. I believe that we can
appeal to our people across racial lines, we probably can do the trick.
Would you address some of the aspects of the economic development
of the last five years and the effect on the possible apathy of the people
themselves in terms of their feeling towards better government?
Unemployment has been serious in Trinidad. Unemployment officially
is 14%. Unofficially, it is about 20 to 25%. Now, government has
sought to deal with this problem by adopting a policy of industrializa-
tion by invitation; that is, they invite multinational corporations to set
up what we now term "screwdriver industries." They have a very im-
portant, a very real political influence in the country. Let me give you
an example of this, we now have toilet paper that is stamped "made in
Trinidad." What we, in fact, do is we import the toilet paper in large
rolls and even import the cardboard core, then we employ about three
people to roll them-that is industrialization. We don't make
toothpaste; we put it in the tubes. The result of this has been
What is the effect of the oil boom?
The effect of that is that the country has about T.T.$13 billion in
reserves. It's balance of payments is the strongest in the Caribbean. I
believe its income from oil is in the vicinity of T.T.$2 million in royalties
and revenues per day; and yet, a large section of the population is poor.
There are shortages of housing. There is unemployment. The govern-
ment has not tackled the economic problems in the way that it ought to
be done. Having failed with the "screwdriver-type industries," we are
now going in for heavy industry in which the government is par-
ticipating with multinational corporations. We are going in for steel
manufacturing because of the vast reserves of oil and natural gas that
we have and we are hoping that we will be able to begin to use this
natural gas soon. The government feels that from the steel industries
there will be many spin-off industries which will help to reduce
In order for any industry to be viable it must have control over the
raw materials which form its basis. It must also have control over the
market where it will sell its end product. If we go into steel, Trinidad
doesn't have any iron ore and will have to import the raw materials.


Suspicion and antagonism in the society
flares up at election time
because that is the moment when
you decide on racial domination.

Our food import bill last year was T.T.$400 million and we have
land lying idle. We have farmers in the country who are unemployed.
We thought that what they might have done was start the industrializa-
tion process at an agricultural level-that would mean to organize
agriculture properly and begin to expand with industries which are spin-
offs from agriculture so that we would control the raw materials. They
already have the market-but the government seems not to be so in-


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dined. Many people believe that the reason is because the Indians are
the people who are involved in agriculture-I do not.
If you become Prime Minister, what would you do to lower the cost of
The party has as part of its program, that on basic commodities in the
society, the government should set up a state-owned agency to import
drugs, food, building materials and other things. We said that the
government should set up a state-owned agency and import these com-
modities and sell them at prices which would cover the cost including
administrative costs. The business community marks up products
5(X600%, since a small group of people on the society control the
economic activity. The government in power should set up agencies
which would either restrict the importation of stuff like drugs, or would
compete with private enterprise. We feel this would reduce the cost of
living. The government has to introduce legislation to control land
prices. Land prices have gone sky high. On the question of food, we
could lower food prices by developing agriculture and agro-industries;
we feel this would go a long way toward solving the unemployment
problem as well.
When you listen to politicians, especially when they are in the opposi-
tion, the Caribbean appears to be a place of horrors. But thefact of the
matter is that when you look at the world today, some of the most
functional democracies, and we take that with a word of caution, are in
fact, Caribbean. Of the democraciesfound in the Western Hemisphere,
every one is a Caribbean country. I'm including Venezuela and
Colombia. In terms of what we believe to be a democracy, that is, a
certain amount of privileges of citizenship, the right to vote, the right to
at least competition for education, and fundamental, the right not to
be tortured, incarcerated, abused, exiled (which is part and parcel of the
politics of much of Africa and Latin America), we enjoy that in the
Caribbean. Hasn't much of that come from the fact that the
Westminster model is still the best system we know of? Should con-
stitutions be like suits that are tailored tofit our body, or are they blue-
printsfor thefuture until that body eventually fits into that suit? Now,
either way you go, I have yet to be shown a system which allows that
process to proceed with more freedom in spite of its deficiencies than
the Parliamentay system. I'm saying in a sense that there is a kind of
sense of exasperation at the view that everything is dark when in fact,
there is so much light there.
I don't know that I gave the impression that everything was dark. I
thought I gave the impression that there was need for light, and I would
tend to agree that compared with other South American countries, ours
is certainly less repressive. I accept that it is, in fact, a system which can
permit a nation to grow to the position where it finds its indigenous
solution because it allows for a certain freedom of movement. In other
countries like Chile, I probably would have been in jail or shot or
something, so it does have this area of freedom. I would have to agree
with that; there is this area of freedom which permits growth.

The Role of the Opposition

in Guyana

Cheddi Jagan, Leader
People's Progressive Party

One Opposition leader said in Guyana that
the role of the Opposition was to oppose, ex-
pose, and depose the government. That
became a classic slogan during the turmoil
which the CIA financed to get us out of the
government in the early '60s. We are going to
analyze here, in a dialectical way, the intercon-
nection between politics and economics; the
role of the Opposition; the role of Govern-
ment; and its behavior in Third World coun-
In a broad, theoretical framework we have
first the whole concept of the "liberal state."
At the beginning, there was no democracy. It
was this liberal state that emerged against the
background of a struggle between the rising
capitalist class and the feudal class which was
tied to the king, who had authoritarian powers
under "divine right." With the rise of the
bourgeoisie, the concept of liberalism emerged
and ultimately the liberal state was trans-
formed to a "liberal democratic state." Ac-
cording to this concept the Westminster model
developed with a Government and an Opposi-
Guyana had, in 1951, one of the most ad-
vanced colonial constitutions, thanks t he
struggle which the Opposition ke in the streets
and in Parliament. \\e were quite diffcrcnt
from the other conenuonal opposiuon pan.
in that we made it a tradinon to talk to the
people in the streets et er, da\. Our struggle as
the Opposition took a parliamentary and
extra-parliamentary form. helping to raise
consciousness. A carefullU balanced lomiula
had been worked out in the Conswrunion.
where the Colonial Office felt it could till
maintain control. The E\ecuite Council had
six elected ministers three officials and a
Governor, making four on the side of the
Colonial Office. If one parr did not control
all the six elected memters, then the balance
would have easily shifted, and the go\ emment
would have been controlled b! the Colonial
Office. In 1953, we %won 18 out of 24 seats and
we were able to control all st\ members. upet-
ting the delicate balance uhich the Bnubh
Government had built into the e\ecuuee com-
mittee under the Consutittion.
After four and one-half months their war-
ships came and removed us. At that time, the
explanation given b. the Bnush Government
was that we wanted to et up a one-parr,,
Communist state. For four \ears, there as a
period of colonial dictatorship. All meetings

and demonstrations were banned; and a
nominated body was imposed to run the
country. Then came the 1957 elections; we
won again. In 1961, we won again. But
Guyana was not ready to become indepen-
dent, and the CIA intervened. What hap-
pened in Guyana was duplicated ten years
later in Chile. The same methods were used.
Trade unions were used to foment strikes,
riots, and demonstrations in the streets.

In The Opposition
Thus, since 1964, we have been in the op-
position. Our party has not been saying,
"Let's get them and put us in." We work on a
different basis. People must understand the
difference between us and the Government,
the ruling party. Having understood the dif-
ference, they will then organize themselves
into trade unions, farmers organizations,
youth organizations, women's organizations,
etc., in order to fight so that we can get into

Independence came in 1966, and im-
mediately a plan was formulated. The ruling
party,( the People's National Congress), and a
third party, (reactionary, anti-communist,
pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist) formed a
coalition and put forward a development plan
from 1966 to 1972. We said that the develop-
ment plan was based on the Puerto Rican
model and that it would fail. The attempt was
made not only to impose, on an economic
level, a planning strategy which was pro-
imperialist and pro-capitalist, but also to
change the orientation of the university. Con-
trol was being exerted, not only at the
economic level but at the ideological level. We
criticized the plan and said that it was not
helping the Guyanese people; it failed at the
end of 1969.
In 1970, another slogan came forward:
"Cooperative Socialism." The cooperative
would be the means by which socialism would
come to Guyana and the cooperative would
become the dominant sector of the economy.
At that stage, you had to talk about socialism.
When we were in the government, they used


The question of democratic socialism
was becoming a little embarrassing
since democratic socialism is premised on the fact
of parties contesting and coming to power
by free and fair elections
by democratic means.

to talk about "Democratic Socialism;" but
that was dropped. By 1970 the rights of the
Opposition were eroded; the question of
democratic socialism was becoming a little
embarrassing since democratic socialism is
premised on the fact of parties contesting and
coming to power by free and fair elections by
democratic means. Therefore, it was dropped
and cooperative socialism was put on the
agenda; we immediately attacked that too. In
time what we said came to pass-it will not
satisfy the people.
In 1971, the Opposition called for "mean-
ingful participation in bauxite," the govern-
ment was to have a majority and thus a mean-
ingful share in the bauxite company. We at-
tacked that immediately. We told them this
was tried out in Mexico, but that the revolu-
tion stalled there when the foreign bourgeoisie
allied with the local burgeoisie and revolution
was sold out.
The slogan, in 1970, was "the small man
will become the rich man." By 1972, 1973,
just before the election, we said, "the small
man was becoming the dead man because
conditions were worsening for the people."
And indeed, there was no real move toward
socialism. Now, within the last few years, par-
ticularly in 1975 and 1976, because of the
ideological struggle going on in Guyana, the
Opposition is constantly pressing the Govern-
ment to move forward. We said, "what is
needed is nationalization." So we moved
towards nationalization. It took its biggest
form in 1975-76 when Booker's which con-
trolled the sugar plantations, its trade, ship-
ping, insurance, etc., was also nationalized.
The country now is in a financial and
economic crisis. Our line has shifted to
another position; that nationalization alone is
not socialism; what is needed is democracy;
that without democracy even nationalization
cannot satisfy the interests of the people and
cannot lead to production and productivity.
Without people's involvement, you cannot
solve the economic crisis.
We export three main products. Bauxite is
expanding but sugar and rice have stagnated.
We don't produce enough; we don't export.
Since we don't export, we don't get foreign
exchange to buy the things we need. We have
a balance of payments deficit; a very grave
one at the moment, and the International
Monetary Fund is putting pressures on us to
devalue our currency.

We therefore cannot meet debt charges and
the cost of bureaucracy out of production. It
has to be met by taxing the people and cutting
out social services. Debt charges mounted
from $10 million in 1964 to $154 million this
year, from 15% to 33% of the budget. The
bureaucracy has expanded; it totalled $27
million in 1964; this year it totalled $176
million. Thirty-eight percent of the budget
goes to the bureaucracy and 33% goes to the
cost of debt payments, leaving only 29% for
the people in social services.

What Kind of Opposition
When we talk about the Opposition, we
immediately have to talk about what kind of
Opposition, what class interests it represents.
In our case, because we are revolutionaries
and socialists, we are constantly putting
political pressure and ideological pressure on
the regime. In other countries you do not have
this. In Barbados, the Government and the
Opposition are more or less the same. Jamaica
has a Democratic Socialist party in power and
an Opposition which is completely reac-
tionary, conservative. In Trinidad, you have a
mixed bag. Dr. Eric Williams talks about the
strategy being neither Puerto Rican nor
Cuban. This is more or less along the lines of
the partnership model. There the opposition
runs the spectrum-from the right to the
center to the left. It is disunited and recently
the main party was split largely because of
ideological confusion.
The Guyanese government recently in-
troduced a new bill in the Parliament to
amend the constitution. They argued that we
need a new constitution for a socialist
Guyana. They asked the people in a referen-
dum to give up the right to future referenda
on any constitutional change in the country,
ostensibly because the constitution is out of
date and not in keeping with the national
ethos. The fact of the matter is, that the con-
stitution indeed was, to a certain degree, an
obstacle. In 1960, we incorporated 22 articles
from the United Nations declaration on
Human Rights. When we went to London,
because of the anti-communist hysteria, the
Opposition helped the British government to
put in, not only those fundamental rights, but
also the right to protect private property. That
is, if any property was nationalized, there

must be prompt and adequate compensation.
We could not have nationalized anything
unless we were able to pay for it right away,
which we, of course, were not able to do. In
1971, when the Government was forced to
move to nationalization, it found this clause
an obstacle. We had to give them Parliamen-
tary support in order to remove that clause so
they could nationalize without paying
Another major constitutional change was
made in 1973. They removed the Privy-
Council as the last court of appeal. One can
agree that no country which is sovereign and
independent should have its affairs determined
in a court outside of its own territory. But the
Government removed this for another reason.
Because of the fraud in the 1973 elections,
they didn't want any election petitions
defeated in the local courts to go abroad to the
Privy Council in London. What they really
want to do is to postpone the elections. To
make that change, they have to go to the
people in a referendum and the people will be
so angry that they will not succeed. They will
have much more difficulty in rigging the
referendum than they did the last two elec-
They hope to pass another amendment,
without going to the people, passing by the
two-thirds legislative majority which they now
have based on the fraud of the 1973 elections.
This will mean postponing the elections in-
definitely in Guyana. The rights of the Op-
position are being taken away. What is going
to happen is the establishment of virtually a
one-party state.
But the People's National Congress (PNC)
claims not to want a one party state. In fact,
during the debate, one minister said, "Why
object to having a constitutional change made
with the two-thirds majority if we have had a
two-thirds majority since 1973, and have not
taken away the fundamental rights section of
the constitution?" Certain clauses in the con-
stitution on fundamental rights can be
changed by a two-thirds majority, but other
sections dealing with elections need a referen-
dum by the people. So the argument was:
"Trust us, we have not taken away the fun-
damental rights; that is, the freedom of
association, speech, etc., even though we had
a two-thirds majority." One answer to that
was: "OK, you have not taken it out of the
constitution, but you have used police ad-


They cannot win a free and fair election,
the last two elections were rigged
and now the situation is so bad
that they are afraid of another election.

ministrative methods to prevent the Opposi-
tion from exercising those rights."
The mass organizations are affiliated to the
party. They don't have the confidence of the
people, but nevertheless, they are there.
Although the Opposition will be severely
restricted, it will be allowed to function simply
to justify that Guyana has a multi-party
system and is a democracy. But this is far
from true.

Mass Mobilization
Electricity went out completely for two
days; there was not water. One union called a
strike for twenty-four hours, the whole of
Georgetown was at a standstill. The bauxite
workers went on a spontaneous support
strike; 4,000 workers came out into the streets
and they ran to the distribution centers where
the foods are stored and began distributing the
food to the people. You can see the kind of
opposition that is developing.
Democracy has not been practiced in the
country. At the political level, our party is
constantly being harassed; at a social level,
mass organization of the people, which the
people want, is not acknowledged by the

Government; at the industrial level where the
nationalized enterprises and the state
cooperatives are concerned, the workers are
not involved in management or decision mak-
ing. If we want to have socialism, those prere-
quisites are obviously necessary. Coupled with
a lack of democracy, we have racial and
political discrimination and national cultural
oppression. As a result, people are alienated
and thus the opposition to the Government is
growing. Whereas, in 1964, the ruling party
had 40% of the votes, today we estimate that
they have no more than 20 to 25%. But they
want to stay in power to enjoy the fruits of
They cannot win a free and fair election,
the last two elections were rigged and now the
situation is so bad that they are afraid of
another election. Therefore, we think that
they want to postpone the elections and work
out a new constitutional formula to declare
the ruling party the paramount party. In
socialist countries where there is a multi-party
system as in the German Democratic
Republic, Czechoslavakia, or Bulgaria, the
Communist party or the workers' party plays
the leading role. The PNC is now putting itself
in that position; but in fact, it is not a workers'

party or a Communist party, but a petit-
bourgeois party.
We also think they are going to amend the
constitution to give representation to mass
organization which they control. The practice
in Guyana now is that if there is a mass
organization that they do not control, such as
a trade union, a religious or cultural organiza-
tion, they set up a parallel one, run it
bureaucratically, recognize it, and finance it
through the state. And so you have a semi dic-
tatorship, a semi one-party state. They keep a
democratic facade because of the human
rights stance of President Carter in the United
States. However, Guyana is moving towards
the Mexican political system where you have
one party integrated with the army. In the last
election, the army seized the ballot boxes and
took them to army headquarters where they
were tampered with.
The mass organizations are affiliated to the
party. They don't have the confidence of the
people, but nevertheless, they are there.
Although the Opposition will be severely
restricted, it will be allowed to function simply
to justify that Guyana has a multi-party
system and is a democracy. But this is far
from true.

How does the party in power get the people to vote?
In 1953, we had united the two major race groups-the Indians and the
Africans-and in fact, Burnham was then in our party. But oppor-
tunistically, in 1955, after the British suspended the constitution, he
broke away from us and that led to a division of the working class, a
division along racial lines. We have generally petit-bourgeois leadership
but the bulk of the people, Blacks and Indians, are workers and
farmers. For instance, in 1955, our party was split; a large majority of
the Africans in the leadership remained with me; three out of ten went
with Burnham. The leaders were sufficiently ideologically developed to
understand the difference between myself and Burnham, and in the
rank and file they were sufficiently politically conscious to note the dif-
ference between our party and the opposition party. In the 1953 elec-
tion they voted for our party. They were politically conscious, but they
were not sufficiently ideologically developed to note the difference be-
tween our fraction and Bumham's faction. Race surfaced and the
people were split. In the 60's, Burnham exploited the racial question
and he was able to hold the people.
You have said that in Guyana there is no water, no lights, and an ex-
tremely critical balance of payments deficit. Also, the unions, of which
you are the president, have been instrumental with respect to the

nerovus strikes in the sugar industry. Assuming the government failed
to solve these problems and by some means you have an election and
your party wins, how would you feel about these critical issues?
It is not true that the shortage of electricity is only because of expansion.
It's a question of mismanagement. Racial and political discrimination
have led a lot of people to leave the country. Nepotism and favoritism
have led to a lot of round pegs being put into square holes. When we
nationalized in 1960, the electric company was willing to give us G$32
million to build that hydro-station. We were thrown out before that
matured. The PNC Government abandoned the project. The hydro-
station was going to be a gold mine. The experts in London had in-
dicated that during the first twenty years after installing all the equip-
ment it would make G$20 million in profits; G$40 million in the
second ten years. All that has gone down the drain.
In regards to the People's Progressive Party (PPP) and the sabotage,
let me make our position quite clear. During the last election, because
of the fraud in the elections and the killing of two of our comrades
when the army went in to seize the ballot boxes and took them to army
headquarters, we boycotted the Parliament. But when the government
came under pressure in '75, when it was nationalizing the Booker's
monopoly in 75-76, we changed our line to critical support. We are not
wreckers. If we were wreckers, as the government alleges, we could
destroy the country. But we don't. We do not want the country to be
worse off-we want it to go ahead.


It's a question of mismanagement.
Racial and political discrimination have led
a lot of people to leave the country.
Nepotism and favoritism have led to
a lot of round pegs
being put into square holes.

You mentioned the strikes. There was a 4/2 month strike in the
sugar industry from August to December. But, 42 weeks after the
strike started, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) was negotiating for
our union with the government corporation. The government corpora-
tion employed 6,000 scabs, and brought the army, the police, and
the teachers to break the strike. The general secretary of the TUC wrote
a letter to the minister saying the corporation was solely responsible for
the strike continuing. The PPP did not wreck the economy; they
wrecked it because they wanted to break our union. They didn't
recognize it until 1975 when they were forced to. In other words, there
is no democracy. Organization of the workers was not recognized. The
Rice Producers Association was not recognized either.
It's not what the Opposition is doing. It is because of the acts of
commission and omission performed by the Government that we are in
this mess now. The production crisis that we have cannot be solved
without the people's involvement.
What wil you do if you get in?
The bureaucracy is eating up 38% of the budget. We will slash that.
We will reduce the salaries and allowances. We have an army which is
too costly. The army and the police cost G$16 million in 1972; in 1976,
it cost G$113 million. Guyana cannot afford that. We will arm the
people to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country
like Fidel Castro did, and create a people's militia where they live,
where they work, and have a small standing force only. Now, the debt
service is G$154 million, 33% of the budget. I would go to the im-
perialist countries and tell them, "These debt payments are strangling
us; you have to reschedule them or give us more time to pay; otherwise
stop them." This is a very serious step. This year, the government will
be paying G$154 million in debts, but will be collecting G$145 million in
new loans. So we would be better off to stop paying the debts. I told
Burnham in 1971 when he said he was going to pay G$100 million
compensation to a bauxite company to apply the Allende formula. He
said, "Do you want what happened to Allende to happen to me?"
Well, Burnham is alive, but last year we removed G$36 million worth
of subsidies and compensation payments. In other words, they are pay-
ing compensation and debts at the expense of the people. This year all
the subsidies are practically gone plus G$44 million worth of taxation.
Every year they are borrowing more money. The time will come when
they will be in debt as much as Brazil and South Korea, where they
have to borrow money to pay debts.
Do you see radical changes coming about in the elections?
Yes, because the PNC is an irresponsible party. That's why we
proposed to the PNC in August last year that we form a national
patriotic front government. Now, we can win an election any time.
Everybody knows that. But we know winning an election alone is not
all. We are not really interested in the power; we are interested in
building socialism. To build socialism in Guyana we must have national
unity to properly defend the country's sovereignty against the attackers

inside and outside the country. We must get the people involved and in-
crease productivity so that we can go to socialism.
Parties like the PNC have a small reactionary petit-bourgeoisie and a
small petit-bourgeoisie which is very progressive. This section is now
dominating the party. Carrington, the Minister of Labor, was dismissed
last year. He has working class roots. This year, the Foreign Minister,
Wills, got sick and resigned. He was the personification of the anti-
imperialist position which the government assumed between 1975 and
1976. Now that they are seeking help from the imperialists, the im-
perialists are putting pressure on them to remove these people. I told
Burnham in Parliament recently during a budget debate, "The course
you are taking is going to lead this country to confrontation, to trouble
and civil war. Either you will become a prisoner of the right or you are
leading the right yourself. If you are a prisoner of the right then make
peace with the PPP and mobilize your supporters who want revolu-
tionary change." But he is not prepared to do that. He is not prepared
to take any risk which can remove him from his throne and lose the
privileges he enjoys.
Do you think you have been too nice to Bumham so far? The possi-
bilty of coming together with Burnham into a large party-isn't that
an illusion?
What we want is not just to get into the government, but to be able to
build successfully. If we can do it with Burnham and company, so
much the better. We are bringing two lines to the people right now. A
national patriotic front is the way forward. We're talking to the man at
the bottom here. This is necessary if you're going to win in any con-
frontation with them. They will use the army against us, rig the referen-
dum, rig the elections; they are determined to stay in power by any
means. Even if it means killing all the people. In the process of struggle,
the time comes when unity develops and with unity you have the
chance to accomplish what you want. We would like the country to be
united with the ruling party because it still influences a lot of people.
Even 20% is a lot in terms of Guyana, especially knowing that their
party is irresponsible.
Why do they allow you to exist?
Well, one reason I think is Burnham told me once he has a vested in-
terest in my protection because if something happens to me, whether he
did it or not, people will think he did it and so I have to stay alive.
Euro-communism in order to survive is trying to adapt itself to new
philosophies in terms of the socialist movement. Have you ever con-
sidered such changes for your party to be thus able to govern without
so much inteerence?
I don't believe in Euro-communism. I think it is an illusion. Our party's
historical development shows that we have had illusions too: that you
can get to power, real power, through elections, and they will allow you


They will use the Army against us,
rig the referendum, rig the elections;
they are determined
to stay in power by any means.
Even if it means killing all the people.

to stay there. Those who are fighting for revolutionary change have got
to keep that in mind and have no illusions that they are going to win
through the ballot box, and be allowed to govern. They will use the
trade unions, the CIA, direct military aggression and indirect military
aggression like in Guatemala.
Our party was unique in the Caribbean. Our sugar workers had
the least formal education. Yet, they were the most ideologically
developed. Our party was different from the other parties in having a
majority of Marxists in the leadership. Nevertheless, it was not
organized like a Marxist-Leninist party. We later realized that this was a
serious short-coming. As a mass-based party with the proper political
line we were able to win the election. But we weren't prepared to fight
counter-revolution, because we were not a Marxist-Leninist party. I
think this is where the Euro-communists are going to lead the people in-
to illusions. They will win by accretion by getting more and more votes
every election. They will increase their support until they get 51%. We
have won several times. Allende won too. But imperialists are not
prepared to allow us to stay in power.
Do you see any hope of any kind of democratic socialism in any of
these governments; or do you see a history of coup d'etats whenever
socialsm rears its head?
The Third World countries' leaders have been thrown out with the help
of the CIA in keeping with the objective of cold war according to the
1947 Truman Doctrine. In the case of the Caribbean, the Dutch and
the French and the British held control of the situation for awhile. In
our case, as soon as independence came on the agenda, the United
States became worried. This was shown in 1961. Before that, the
United States didn't worry too much about Guyana. The Caribbean,
with its parliamentary tradition, and leftist forces emerging out of that
tradition, is causing the United States concern. In Jamaica, an attempt
was made to destabilize Manley's government-it failed. We think they
are going to press Manley enough so that he moves to a kind of social-
democratic situation, like in Britain, which is not very different from
the conservative opposition. In Guyana, we may have a military solu-
tion or a semi-dictatorship.
You mentioned American involvement in Guyana through the use of
some of its better known agencies. Now since 1972, it is Cuba who is
intervening. I fail to see the difference in the activities of the two
governments. Isn't it just a question of whose ox is being gored?
In our view, the main struggle in the world today is between two
systems-capitalism and socialism. The job of all socialist countries is to
try to weaken imperialism, because most of these Third World coun-
tries are tied up with the capitalist world. Most were colonies; some
were semi-colonies. And the job of the socialist world is to change the
balance of power; to keep pressing; to conquer the influence of im-
perialism, like in Guyana or Cuba or Jamaica.
There are two stages to the process towards socialism: anti-
imperialism and socialism. Guyana, for instance, has gone a long way

against imperialism. We have nationalized their property locally and
taken anti-imperialist positions at the United Nations. And yet, a new
bourgeoisie is developing within the ruling party. They have commis-
sion agents in the state corporations, contracting companies, auditing
firms, legal firms, etc. A bourgeoisie is developing under the umbrella
of the state capital.
But now, they are being threatened. The people's interests are not
being served, including their own supporters' interests, so they look to
imperialism for guidance. Imperialism is prepared to work with them as
long as Guyana goes to the capitalist side. We are telling Bumham to
ally with the PPP and take the socialist part. That is where the internal
struggle is now in Guyana. But externally, the socialist countries have to
exert as much pressure as they can. Just as the imperialists use
pressures, socialists have to use pressure, also.


from FlU's International Affairs Center

In November, Florida International University will
provide the first in a series of professional seminars
to be offered in Caracas, Venezuela. The seminar on
zero-based budgeting is the result of a cooperative
contract between FIU and La Universidad
Metropolitan in Caracas. The FIU Division of Con-
tinuing Education was instrumental in the design
and implementation of the professional seminar
The Departing of Accounting is sponsoring an in-
ternational conference on the accounting education
needs in developing countries. Scheduled for the first
week in November, the conference will include the
business and educational analysis of represen-
tatives from the countries of the Caribbean and Latin
After months of planning and design, the Interna-
tional Affairs Center looks forward to the second
Florida International University program to be of-
fered in Mexico. Scheduled to begin in January 1979,
the Master's in Public Administration Program will be
available to mid-career officials of the government of
The University's Intensive English Language
program began this summer. It continues with in-
creased enrollment in the fall. Over 90% of the en-
rolled students are international.

International Affairs Center
Florida International University
Tamiami Trail
Miami, Florida 33199
(305) 552-2846



On the


of America

A Response to Montaner's,
"On The Antillian Identity"
By Mark D. Szuchman


Carlos Alberto Montaner offers us, through his own Latin
American perspective, a view of Spanish American fragmen-
tation which we could label as plausible "On the Antillian
Identity" (Caribbean Review, July 1978). But it is not
novel-others in the past have also commented on the ar-
ticulated features of what had once been the singular Spanish
Empire in America. The eclectic German naturalist and
traveler, Alexander von Humboldt, spent several years tour-
ing parts of the Empire during the end of the eighteenth and
early years of the nineteenth centuries. He "limited" his
travels to Mexico, Central America and the northern tier of
South America, and made copious entries in his journal. He
too, like Montaner, noted the discrepancies found among the
inhabitants of different regions of the Empire. And like
Montaner, Baron von Humboldt noticed the intelligentsia's
use of the term americano to distinguish creoles from
Spaniards. It appeared to have been a rhetorical device
designed to give territorial and cultural reality to the amor-
phous term criollo. And, perhaps as an added element of
concreteness, he noticed the usage of terms specific to major
regions-mexicano, venezolano, and so on. Often these
terms were employed by the courageous few who wished to
bring an overt political consciousness to the more subtle
cultural distinctions.
We may consider these men to have been intellectual
precursors of the revolutions for independence in America,
conscious of their destinies as promoters and residents of in-
dividual, though great nation-states. Thus, we notice that in
the immediate aftermath of war the geo-political entities that
were created carry mighty names: the Mexican Empire, Gran
Colombia, the United Provinces of the South. We know, of
course, that relatively soon after the ouster of Spain from
America the process of fragmentation victimized these and
lesser newly-founded independent states. Mexico lost parts of
its original southern extensions, as well as much of its
northern regions. In fact, it managed to keep its eastern
reaches in Yucatan only after bitter and bloody years of war
at mid-century. Gran Colombia, the scaled-down Bolivarian
dream of a federated Spanish America, also broke up into its
principal components-Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador--
soon after the end of hostilities with the royalists. And Bolivia
and Paraguay quietly receded into their own affairs (here
"secession" would be too militant a term), leaving the United
Provinces basically within the confines of today's Argentina.
Thus, Montaner's assertion that a number of "factors in-
tervened and continue to intervene in the Balkanization of
Hispanic America" merely repeats what is commonly known
in Latin American history of the post-colonial period. But Mr.
Montaner's contribution to the theme of a segmented Latin
America lies elsewhere: it is the proposition that an Antillean
Gestalt exists within a more general and an amorphous Latin
America. Here, then we have room for debate.
Territorial and Cultural Realties
Let us start by observing the implied and basic assumption
behind his argument, which I also take to be his first flaw:
that the Balkanization of Spanish America took place at both
the territorial and cultural levels. This assumed equation be-
tween geo-political reality and cultural models of behavior
tends to lead him to parochial approaches. His arguments fail
to understand the Antilles as merely one of several fringe
areas-continental as well as insular-contained in the
Spanish Empire. Within the frame of reference of the
Spanish mentality, the Antilles were no less of a fringe area

of the Empire than were the areas of the River Plate, Chile,
Venezuela, or extreme northern Mexico, to name a few. It is
thus not insular quality, or remoteness from continental
America, or any other geographic circumstance that set
apart the Antilles. Nor, for that matter, should we derive from
these physical factors any uniqueness which would
legitimate our thinking of the Spanish islands as a separate
discrete reality. The quality of being surrounded by water did
not present, in and of itself, a superior barrier than did the
Andes, or the Amazonian lowlands, or the Sonoran desert.
Moreover, the ocean journey from Veracruz to Havana was in
many ways safer, though more distant, than the overland
route between Mexico City and Zacatecas.
Yet, it is true that the Antilles were considered by the
Crown and by the citizen as a secondary, though necessary
area. The flaw in Montaner's argument lies in isolating the
Antilles as a unique, or at least an extreme example of
marginalism within the Spanish American community. He
fails to note the functions of Spanish conquest, and therefore
misses the opportunity to distinguish the diverse raisons
d'etre of American territories. Initially, the purpose of
discovery and conquest-particularly during the Caribbean
experience-was singularly commercial. In fact, toward the
end of the fifteenth century Spain was not a nation adept at
colonizing distant, uncertain lands. She was ill-prepared for
Columbus' findings even at the time of his embarkation;
Spaniards were not known for their maritime expertise, and
so far was the notion of the sea from the mainstream of
Spanish culture, that sailors were considered to fill the lowest
rung of the social hierarchy. This norm was transferred to.
During the first three centuries of rule no major city of
Spanish America was a port; no homage to the ocean, on
which so much depended, could be evidenced by the crea-
tion of an important urban center of Spanish civilization
along the coast. The urban jewels of the Empire-Lima and
Mexico City-were well inland; so, too, were the principal
elements which enticed Spaniards to America: silver and
sedentary Indians. Thus, ports were necessary, but not civil-
ized: no great headquarters for Church or State administra-
tions were erected, no great peninsular families resided, no
great or central enterprises took place. And, as is the nature
of migrations, marginal areas like port cities received an in-
flux of marginal Spaniards: petty craftsmen, smugglers,
prostitutes, and sailors. In this fashion there was much in
common between Buenos Aires and Havana, Santo
Domingo and Cartagena, Puerto Rico and Tampico.
But during the first twenty years of Spanish presence in
America coastal areas were of some importance, if only
because the initial purpose of having colonies was for Spain
to trade with them. Even this idea did not originate from the
Spaniards, but from the Genoese living in Spain. The Italians
and the Portuguese possessed the maritime and commercial
expertise-the Spaniards had the necessary drive. It is
therefore not an accident that Columbus, the discoverer, was
Italian, nor that the nature of the early Spanish Empire in the
Antilles was essentially different from the subsequent Empire
on the mainland. The Caribbean experience, and the
generation which experimented in the islands taught both
the Crown officials and the Spaniards several important
lessons. They learned from their mistakes.
The Crown learned to involve itself in the affairs of the
colonies considerably more than it had at the start. The
Caribbean experiment had been carried out primarily on the

The quality of being surrounded by
water did not present, in and of itself, a
superior barrier than did the Andes, or
the Amazonian lowlands, or the
Sonoran desert. Moreover, the ocean
journey from Veracruz to Havana was in
many ways safer, though more distant,
than the overland route between Mexico
City and Zacatecas.

basis of the individual and private self-initiative of powerful
merchant families, often Italian or Dutch, whose vision of a
colonial holding was limited to the commercial relations
between the mother country and its possessions abroad.
Under these circumstances, the Crown engaged in little
investment and ran virtually no financial risk. But the
colonists were not Italian merchants, they were Spaniards
aware of alternatives-Spanish avenues toward grandeur,
based largely on the fresh memories of the Reconquest:
principally, the granting of land and subjects in exchange for
bringing new territories and infidels under Spanish
The rebellion (in some cases, revulsion) against coastal
trading could be seen in the manner in which colonists
unilaterally sought out Indians and gold deposits with little
regard for either the indigenous or the Spanish authorities.
The encomienda, yet to be regulated for American con-
sumption, had made a sudden and unexpected appearance
in Santo Domingo. Encomienda was the basic system of
Spanish domination of the Indians for most of the sixteenth
century; Indians were charged to Spaniards for whom they
would labor and to whom they would pay tribute in exchange
for Catholic teaching and defense against enemies. It became
clear that the Genoese model of colonization-based on far-
ming and trading, and little State intervention-was not go-
ing to work. Thereafter, the Crown would be present, through
its appointed agents, more than ever before in order to
regulate and administer. But already the two principal
elements of Spanish society in America had made their allur-
ing appearance: precious metals and Indians.
And it was the virtual absence of these two ingredients
which makes the Antilles similar to other American regions.
If the Antilles were labeled the "keys to the West Indies,"
Montaner reminds us, the River Plate was a bastion against
the Portuguese, and Cartagena a bulwark against the British
and other marauders. Montaner is exaggerating by way of
overgeneralization when he writes that the Spanish islands of
the Caribbean sea "were sentries, protectors of what was
really important: the continent." They were protecting
merely the relevant Mexican and Peruvian silver areas of the
continent. This is not to say that Spain would have gladly
given up the rest of her Empire-the Crown was not in the
habit of dispensing with even "second order" territories. But
it is to say that areas such as Paraguay and Chile, for
example, were accepted as lesser jewels of America. In fact,
one may well argue that, because they protected the valuable
areas of New Spain and Peru, the Antilles enjoyed a
strategically and politically superior position in the territorial

The surprise that Montaner displays at
the absence of a "New Canary Islands";
the linguistic similarities in the two
regions of the Antilles and the Canary
Islands; the similar rhetorical treatment
at the hands of Spaniards; all these fac-
tors stem from the reality of a common
original conqueror for both zones.
Montaner's fault lies in equating a
set of islands along the way to America
with a cultural bridge; furthermore, he
elevates that bridge to a primacy which
obscures the Castillian patent
dominating all.

status rankings of the Empire. The role of defender of vital
regions of the New World, in fact, made the Antilles closer to
the American Continent, more fundamental to its continued
existence than Mr. Montaner believes.
The main difference between the Indian situation of the
Antilles and of other parts of the Empire-outside the central
valley of Mexico and the Peruvian highlands-was neither
qualitative nor quantitative; it was circumstantial in the
unfortunate sense that Arawaks, Caribs and other Indian
groups became victims of the first and flawed experiments in
Iberian contact with America. In the indigens' demography
and culture we find similarities between the Antilles and
other marginal Spanish areas, such as Paraguay. Thus, in the
face of a general absence of high Indian culture and
concentration of wealth in both areas, Spaniards settled in
significantly fewer number than in the viceroyalties of New
Spain and Peru.
Hispanic Culture; Island Culture
Mr. Montaner makes an interesting but fundamentally er-
roneous link between the Canary Islands and the Antilles in
his effort to decipher the essence of "Antillian man."
Specifically, he proposes that the Canary Islands acted as a
sort of entree, or a key to the Antillian settlement; moreover,
he orients us to the notion that the existence of the Canary
Islands should be understood in relative terms: as a function
of more distant lands in that they acted as a "crossroads" or a
"stop-over for choosing definitive routes." Yet, we receive no
further illumination of this proposed relationship, and in the
absence of hard, analytical observations of parallel develop-
ment we are asked to believe as an act of faith that insular
socioeconomic development in the western Atlantic was pat-
terned after models existing off the African coast.
The logic of the proposition, based on geographic
similarities, does not rest on historical veracity. In fact, the
Canary Islands had not even been fully integrated into Spain
by the time of the first discoveries in America; moreover,
they had come into Spanish hands-in a diplomatic
sense-only at the close of the 1470s. The native population
was still to be conquered, settlement was still to become per-

manent. The management of time, energy and manpower,
directed at the Moors during the Reconquista, maintained
the conquering efforts abroad at a minimum; thus, it is not
surprising that effective conquest took place almost
simultaneously in the islands on both sides of the ocean. It is
Iberian, not insular, culture that was now spilling over beyond
the fold of continental Europe and Spanish landsmen.
The surprise that Montaner displays at the absence of a
"New Canary Islands"; the linguistic similarities in the two
regions of the Antilles and the Canary Islands; the similar
rhetorical treatment at the hands of Spaniards; all these fac-
tors stem from the reality of a common original conqueror
for both zones. Montaner's fault lies in equating a set of
islands along the way to America with a cultural bridge; fur-
thermore, he elevates that bridge to a primacy which
obscures the Castillian patent dominating all.
To be sure, key military experiences, learned in the
process of conquering the guanches, were transferred to
America and applied to the Indians. Such would be the case
of the requerimiento, which was a device of enticement for
ignorant and unaware natives prior to actual military
engagements. Under the norms of the requerimiento, a
Spanish spokesman would read a statement to the in-
digenous group proclaiming the arrival of redeeming Chris-
tian forces, sanctified by papal directives, and armed with
European technology. The natives would have to choose im-
mediately between transforming themselves into loyal Chris-
tian subjects of the Crown of Castille on the one hand, and
suffering the harms of total war on the other. In fact, many
natives had no choice to make since it would have involved
an understanding of both the Spanish language and the
European concept of lordship, neither of which indigenous
groups possessed. Thus, another process appears on both
sides of the Atlantic: the quick and tragic eradication of
native inhabitants. It was the heavy hand of the Spaniard forc-
ing a Catholic Hispanic order on the islands. The immediate
result was a demographic disaster; further down the road, it
meant the foundation of a uniformly Hispanic legal culture,
variable economic enterprises depending on natural
resources (both human and physical), and a common orien-
tation toward the acquisition of noble status.
Another example of the way in which conquest of the
Canaries served as a laboratory for Castillean expansion can
be seen in its organizational features. Early experiments in
extra-peninsular conquest showed carry-overs from medieval
campaigns against the Moors in that private enterprise joined
with the State, in the form of contractual agreements, for the
purposes of conquest and settlement. These contracts,
originating from the Reconquest, manifested themselves in
the form of the capitulaci6n-the agreement between Crown
and conqueror.
There is something we call "patterns," and it is a most
useful term. If we are conscious of it as a concept, we will
tend to draw similarities and differences between and among
entities with a sharper, clearer point. The act of searching for
historical patterns does not necessarily assume homogene-
ity; it resembles more the act of noting down temperature:
there is no measurement of "hot" or "cold," we measure in
degrees. Scholars whose interests lie within the field of
historical and comparative formation must act similarly;
they, too, must note the degrees of commonality and where
those bonds become fluid or where they undergo fracture.
When we fail to notice patterns, we run the risks of com-
mitting new versions of particularism and of creating a fic-

tional Balkanization of cultures. We know today much more
Latin American history than we did two centuries ago, when,
Montaner notes, a learned priest gave up in his quest to
reconstitute the history of Hispanic America based on local
parishes. In fact, much of our present knowledge is derived
from recent studies based on local notarial archives of the
colonial area and, increasingly, of the national period. They
show, above all, how people in different regions adapted the
traditional Hispanic norms and personal aspirations to new
and challenging environments. Thus, in areas with large
numbers of concentrated Indians, as well as in areas with
more sparse native populations, the encomienda-socio-
economic institution of highest prestige in the 15th and 16th
centuries-made its presence felt. Thus, we can easily find
similar patterns of social relations in virtually every area of
Spanish settlement, the Antilles included. But, once we
become aware of the existence of a general organizing
principle of society we must go deeper to see why and how
certain areas behaved similarly to certain others. Or why not.

A Facile Derivation
Montaner correctly notes the linguistic similarities found
within the Antilles and the Canaries; unfortunately, he con-
siders Antillean Spanish to be an "offspring" of the Canary
Islands. It is a facile derivation. It is like saying that two sib-
lings of very similar appearance are closer to each other than
to their parents, whence they emanated. The fact is that
Spanish emigration had marked features, at least through
the 16th century, which go far in explaining linguistic
similarities. The region of Andalusia alone, accounted for
well over one-third of the total Spanish emigration to
America between 1493 and 1600. Extremadurans compris-
ed a distant second, accounting for approximately seventeen
percent of Peninsulars in America. In the initial period of set-
tlement, most Spaniards went to the most civilized, and
safest portion of the nascent Empire; for example all but a
handful of women settled in Santo Domingo. The linguistic
influence of these women, however, went far beyond their
numbers. As heads of the home environments and as figures
of respectability, their language and tone were widely
emulated among Indians.
In the wake of continental conquest, the Caribbean lost
most of its attractiveness; New Spain and Peru each became
the largest single recipients of Spaniards in the Indies. On the
eve of the conquest of the Aztecs, the Antilles had received
nearly three-quarters of Spanish emigration; Tierra Firme
and Panama followed in rank. Yet, at the end of the 16th cen-
tury the total number of immigrants to the Antilles ac-
counted for no more than one-tenth of the total number of
Spanish travelers to America. Did this result in an Antilles
fragmented culturally and politically from the rest of the
Empire? Did this demographic reorientation force an in-
sularity in the Caribbean which mystically linked it to the
If we were to consider Spanish demography as a factor,
then we could see the Antilles as being linked closer still to
continental America. It could rank either with Mexico and
Peru as one of the three leading Spanish areas of America, or
it could rank with other territories which received significant-
ly fewer Spaniards, including (in decreasing order) New
Granada, Tierra Firme and Panama, the River Plate, Central
America, Chile, Venezuela, and Quito. But, of course, it is not
demography alone that connects Antillean America with

continental America: at its most general level, it is the com-
mon Americanism that eventually distinguished both zones
from Spain; at more complex depths, it is the similarity in the
conduct of social relations and economic enterprises found
in sections of the continent and the Antilles.
My main purpose here has not been to show the
historical flaws of Mr. Montaner's arguments. Instead, I have
used his perspective to highlight a larger and more prob-
lematical issue. What Montaner does is to elevate the
linguistic currency of the argument that the Caribbean,
sometimes even beyond its Spanish Antillean boundaries,
has a discrete quality, possesses its own culture area, and is
characterized by its own Volk. This notion is itself a con-
scious, if facile, act of Hispanic Balkanization. Its premises
rest on the narrowest and presentist considerations: common
shares in the same sea, similarities in the type and nature of
agricultural production, the look and degree of moderniza-
tion or underdevelopment of the elites and popular classes,
and other non-cultural, non-social and ahistorical variables.
Thus, common bonds between nations in a certain portion of
the Americas are assumed to exist on the basis of political in-
stability, monoculture, widespread poverty, and a
miscegenated society. What bases for strong and lasting
cultural unity can these factors provide? Do these qualities
create what Montaner and others would call a "culture area"?
If we admit that the qualities mentioned above do form
the cultural "glue" of the Antilles, then we must see them as
virtually universal factors of Hispanic America, and as stem-
ming largely from the same common Iberian heritage. Thus,
authoritarian political systems (even in democracies, the
Executive branch is usually hegemonic), limited factors of
production, the culture of poverty, and multi-racial
societies-one or more of these factors exist in all of Latin
It is a disservice to the Spanish Americans of any one
zone to consider them as culturally unique, for it is to con-
sider them culturally detached. There are greater cultural
depths than banana or sugar productions; orientations
toward the Church, the State, man and society, authority,
and so many other human relations have a vast geographic
reach. The Antilles are not the orphans of continental Latin
America, nor are they the "key" to it; they are an integral and
intimate part of the whole. To think in particularistic terms is
not to belong.

Mark D. Szuchman teaches History at Florida International Univer-
sity. He is presently on leave of absence doing research in Argentina.

The map on page 42 is from the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum drawn
by Hieronymous Chiaves A. Ortelius, 1584,"La Florida, Puruviae
Auriferae Regionis Typus, Guastecan." Chiaves was
cosmographer to Phillip II of Spain and hence had access to the
explorers' early reports and manuscript charts. This map was
drawn approximately 50 years after the conquest of the Inca
Empire. Courtesy of Rubini Antique Maps, Miami, Florida.
Carlos Alberto Montaner's article "On the Antillian Identity," Caribbean
Review, July, 1978 appeared in Spanish in Krisis, Winter, 1978.


.-tirF v --- .

By Grato J.-- if n To a .W le

Early in the morning of January 10,
1978, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, the
editor-owner of Nicaragua's leading
daily newspaper, was driving to work
across the ruins of old Managua (the
capital city destroyed by earthquake in
December of 1972). A man of habit
and a tireless "workaholic," Chamorro
rarely varied either his route or time of
departure for work. What is more,
although he was the leader of the op-
position coalition and a life-long
enemy of the dictator, Anastacio
Somoza Debayle, he traveled without a
bodyguard. Therefore, the professional
assassins who were awaiting him on
that particular morning encountered
little difficulty in carrying out their
assigned objective. Chamorro's car was
forced to a halt and the echoed bark of
two sawed-off shotguns resounded off
the broken walls of deserted buildings.
A lone passerby who chanced to
witness the murder called an am-
bulance, but Chamorro was pro-
nounced dead on arrival at a local
Popular reaction to Chamorro's
assassination was immediate and
massive. Angry crowds surged through
the streets of the new city which now
rings the ruins of old Managua.
Shouting anti-Somoza slogans, they
set the torch to numerous buildings
owned by the dictator and his family.
At the funeral two days later, emotion-
charged crowds sang the national an-
them and shouted, "Long live Pedro
Joaquin Chamorro," "Long live
Liberty" and "Death to Somoza." Later
in the same month, when the govern-
ment attempted to close its "investiga-
tion" into the murder after having ap-
prehended only the hired gunmen, the
people of Nicaragua, led by the
Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
staged an unprecedented two week
general strike which was over 80% ef-
fective throughout the country. Most
private businesses shut down and even
some government offices were forced
to close their doors due to spontaneous
and extensive employee absenteeism.
Since January, Nicaragua has been
the scene of continual and mounting
turmoil which culminated in Civil War.
With the notable exception of
Somoza's US-trained and equipped
National Guard, most segments of
Nicaraguan society have called for an
end to the dictatorship. And, although
the roots of discontent with the
Somozas run very deep, all of this was
Associated Press Photo

touched off by the murder of one man,
Pedro Joaquin Chamorro.
Who then, was this individual whose
assassination became such an effective
rallying point for the long-smoldering
anti-Somoza feeling of the Nicaraguan
people? A soft-spoken yet intensely
committed man, Chamorro was a
complex and fascinating person. A
descendant of one of his country's
most elite and historically most impor-
tant families, he had long battled the
dynastic rule of the Somoza family
through the pages of his daily, La
Prensa. The stinging exposes and
editorials with which he lashed the dic-
tators during periods of relaxed press
censorship reflected high standards of
journalistic integrity and honesty. As a
result Chamorro had won international
recognition. An influential and active
member of the Interamerican Press
Association, he had once served as its
President. And, only a few months
before his murder, he had received
Columbia University's Maria Moors
Cabot Prize for his "distinguished jour-
nalistic contribution to the advance-
ment of Inter-American under-

To change the city is to
falsify the culture and
change the very soul of
the people.

Chamorro had also been active in
partisan opposition politics. In 1948,
he helped form the Social Christian-
oriented National Union of Popular
Action. When the latter was dissolved
in 1957, he and several other like-
minded individuals joined the Con-
servative Party hoping to mold it into a
progressive Social Christian
In 1959, he and some other young
Nicaraguans staged an ill-fated
invasion-uprising from a base in Costa
Rica and were imprisoned for their
troubles. In the 1960s and 1970s
Chamorro worked to form opposition
coalitions, the most recent being The
Democratic Union of Liberation
(UDEL) formed in 1974. President of
that organization at the time of his
death, Chamorro felt that UDEL's ma-
jor objective should be "to end the

Somoza dictatorship and establish a
regime in which pluralism would fit."

Literary Career
Yet if Chamorro was an important
public figure, he was also an intensely
humanistic individual with con-
siderable talent as a writer of fiction.
Unfortunately, his literary career began
only a few years before he was killed at
the age of 53. His first works, Jesus
Marchena and Richter 7, published in
1975 and 1976 respectively, were
followed by a book of short stories
titled El enigma de las alemanas (The
Enigma of the German Girls), pub-
lished in 1977 shortly before his death.
Jesus Marchena and Richter 7,
classified as novels, but perhaps more
accurately identified as novelized
essays, thematically reveal Chamorro's
constant preoccupation-Nicaragua:
its social problems, its politics and its
people, particularly el hombre
humilde, the down-trodden common
man. Though an aristocrat by birth,
Chamorro was fascinated with the life
and customs of the provinciano. Over
several decades, he had collected notes
on the speech and habits of the people
from the remote provinces and these
he used as a basis for his first novel.
Jesus Marchena takes place in the
province of Rivas and the protagonist
of the title, "a stubby, stout, short
haired, large mouthed (man) with a
prominent smile dripping with
trickery," is, in addition, a tracker, tiger
hunter and medicine man. In spite of
his sly character and good intentions,
Jesus runs afoul of the law and ends up
fleeing to Costa Rica seeking employ-
ment at a banana plantation. Though
Jesus Marchena is the principal figure,
a number of interesting characters
populate the novel, telling their stories
of life in the provinces, mostly of
tragedy and despair. Picturesque
figures such as la Lola, la Medarda, la
Gregoria Golindres, and Mincho
Malacate, relate incidences in their
precarious lives characterized by
hunger, police brutality, unemploy-
ment and social decay. Jesus
Marchena thus becomes a symbol of
all Nicaraguans tortured and crucified
by an insensitive government.
Richter 7 was written about the
aftermath of the earthquake of
December 22, 1972 which devastated
the capital city of Managua, the title
being an obvious reference to the in-
tensity of the seismic shock. Chamorro

For Chamorro love is one
important solution to the
problems, not only to
Nicaragua, but the world.

refers to the events as when"Judgment
Day was delivered to every home in
Managua." This second novel has a
dual focus. On one hand, the author
narrates the physical and emotional ef-
fects of the earthquake and reconstruc-
tion while, on the other, he intersperses
political and social criticism. The
greatest error in rebuilding the city is
that it is being relocated on the out-
skirts of the area of devastation.
Managua was destroyed more than

once, the most recent time in 1931,
but the old residents adhered to tradi-
tion and always rebuilt their homes in
the same places, thus continuing their
affinity to the land and water (the edge
of Lake Managua), basic elements of
life. The removal of the city will result
inevitably in the loss of tradition, and of
identity. It is significant that this pro-
cess is being financed in part by inter-
national land developers. A new city of
shopping centers with their acres of
concrete, by-passes, and chain
restaurants, resembling any American
city, will negate that which is fun-
damentally and authentically
Nicaraguan. To change the city is to
falsify the culture and change the very
soul of the people. Nicaraguans have
always been resourceful people and in
adversity could always call on their
history and tradition to help solve their

The idea of chaos and oblivion are
represented by a face, very
Nicaraguan, at the beginning of each
chapter which successively loses a
wedge until, at the end of the novel,
only a blank outline appears. Similarly,
in the novel itself, a young couple
riding a motorcycle is killed by a
speeding taxi and, when the am-
bulance attendants remove them from
the scene, their faces are blank, they
have lost their identity.
El enigma de las alemanas, which
in 1977 won first prize at the Central
American literature contest sponsored
by the Guatemalan Institute of
Hispanic Culture, is comprised of nine
short stories divided into three parts.
The first includes the title story and
"Tolentino Camacho," a character
study. The second and third parts are
respectively titled "Tres Cuentos
Negros" and "Cuatro Cuentos
Blancos." The first three, "Don
Mariano," "La bicicleta" and "Dando y
dando" are thus grouped for their
background of violence while the last
four, "El abuelo," "Fin de semana,"
"Nydia" and "El lefiador, el marinero y
el hombre ocupado" are less violent,
more philosophical or plainly
The author's best efforts are
included in the first part and are
reminiscent of his earlier works,
Richter 7 and Jesus Marchena, to the
extent that they continue to portray a
Nicaragua full of hate, an abusive
military and short-sighted politicians.
In "El enigma de las alemans," for ex-
ample, a small frontier town in north-
ern Nicaragua witnesses the invasion
of a group of German women tourists
who arrive in their double decker
Deutchwagen bus singing a lieder
whose refrain, IN EINEM BACHLEIN
EIL, is at first intelligible to no one. The
town is scandalized one hot, muggy
day when the blond, blue-eyed ladies
decide to bathe nude in the fountain
while repeating the song which has
come to identify them.
The outraged citizens, led by the
Secretaria Perpetua de la Con-
gregaci6n de Santa Marta and joined
by the Head Master of the Liceo
Popular, the Comandante de la Plaza
and the idiot teenage son of the town
registrar, proceed, as in the case of the
prostitute in the Bible, to stone the of-
fending women. The latter are not
without their defenders, however, led
principally by the town's intellectuals,


A rare opportunity to study Maya civilization at three fascinating,
ancient sites well off the beaten tourist track is being offered by Flori-
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The 5-credit, foreign study course includes 10 hours of orientation lectures
at the FIU south campus prior to departure, and an 8-day, 7-night field trip to
the Usumacinta River valley in Chiapas, Mexico to study the classic Maya
sites of Palenque, Bonampak, and Yaxchilan.
Palenque is considered by many to be the most beautiful of all Maya cities
and is noted for its graceful architecture, low relief sculpture and the tomb of
the great ruler Lord Pacal, found deep in the Temple of Inscriptions.
Bonampak is the site of spectacular murals which depict a victory festival
circa 790 AD. While in the area, the group will visit the Lacandon Maya who
have preserved their ancient cultural traditions living in isolation since Con-
quest days.
Yaxchilan, a great ceremonial center on the Guatemala side of the Usuma-
cinta is famed for its many beautifully carved monuments and lintels.
The field trip package price of $425 is based on present airfare for a mini-
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The travel package is in addition to tuition, and an advance deposit of
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To register for the course, Anthropology 4328,
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of liberal doctrine. A pitched battle en-
sues which provokes the appearance of
the Guardia whose comandante, a no-
nonsense officer, readies his troops
with fixed bayonets to restore order
and rescue the public morals from
their present peril. An ultimatum is
issued to the Germans who have taken
refuge in their hotel and their answer is
subsequently delivered by a young girl
of angelical appearance, again singing
their refrain which is recorded by an
alert radio reporter. The women are
forced to leave the town and several
months pass before their intentions are
finally deciphered. The lieder by
Schubert, translated by an old German
watchmaker in a remote town, is finally
translated as "from the rainbow in the
north we come to love you, to love you,
fellows. I wanted to love you, friend,
and I offered you my breasts and the
honey of my body but you answered
me with hate and, therefore, I'm leav-
ing, I'm leaving."
The theme of this story, then, is that
of a Nicaragua unable to accept love;
only hate and brutality can triumph,
and when there is an opportunity for
love to express itself, it is ruthlessly
banished. For Chamorro love is one
important solution to the problems,
not only of Nicaragua, but the world. In
Richter 7 the pure intense love of the
unnamed couple is seen as the catalyst
which generates love in ever widening
circles. It is one weapon with which to
conquer anonymous, meaningless
lives. The angelical appearance of the
little girl, love in its purest form, is thus

Political reform in
Nicaragua should arise
from the concept of
government as an
instrument directed
principally, if not
exclusively, to the benefit
of the poor.

"Tolentino Camacho" is a character
study of a small town teacher who is
launched as a presidential candidate by
his friends as a hoax. As one of the
practical jokers remarks to the
ringleader, "This will provide us almost
as much fun as when you paid Tililin a
peso to goose the British
Ambassador." Though Tolentino con-
siders himself a worthy man for any of-
fice-family man, intellectual, honest,
well read-as opposed to the in-
cumbent-corrupt politician,
millionaire, evil, murderer of students,
exploiter of the working class-Tolen-
tino's candidacy is nothing more than a
joke with no possibility of success.
His sense of fair play clouds his
awareness of the fact that any attempt
to challenge the dictator, as pathetic as
the effort may seem, will be viewed
very unkindly. He feels confident of vic-
tory in the elections, for his progressive
platform embraces the four freedoms
of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the

elimination of dictatorships in Latin
America, and the reinstitution of open
elections. Even more important as he
considers it, he is a frequent visitor to
the American Embassy, and talks
regularly with the Third Secretary who
promises his personal support and im-
plies the support of the United States.
In Tolentino's mind there is no doubt
he is going to win. But he forgets the
old axiom that he who controls the
weapons controls the country. El Jefe's
disdainful reference to Tolentino as
"estopido" signals the plan of retalia-
tion and the candidate's imminent
destruction. The rally held in
Tolentino's behalf is broken up by
overly aggressive troops who disperse
the crowd and arrest the candidate. Not
until he signs a lengthy confession
declaring that he will never again med-
dle in politics is he released from
prison to a relieved wife. Democracy
still remains a mythical concept in his

Politics and the Word
Chamorro is an unflinching critic of
political oppression in Nicaragua and
of the inept or corrupt politicians who
owe their appointment to patronage or
family connections. He speaks in
Richter 7 of the botched job of city
planning done by the post-quake ar-
chitects who fail to include a drainage
system for the new city. Only when a
torrential rain inundates the city does
this mistake become belatedly ap-
parent. Public officials in the same
novel steal supplies and clothing sent


in by relief organizations to help thosi
stricken by the earthquake. The con
frontation between a reactionar
government and enlightened intellec
tuals over the incident involving thi
bathers in "El enigma de las alemanas
is a cogent statement on his political
views. He speaks also of the employee
of the municipal offices "whos
patriotic custom of helping th
authorities during times of trouble wa
rewarded with the privilege of capture
ing the infractors and then beating
them, stealing an occasional chicken
and having license to kill th
neighbor's pig."
The magistrate in "Dando y dando'
keeps a bottle of bootleg whisky hid
den in his desk drawer, and in hi
"secret file" a more prized possession
a roll of photos of naked young girls
one of them in the act of masturbating
The same judge, in the case of the rape
of a young woman, rules in favor of th
defendant, who has wealthy relatives
in spite of the overwhelming evidence
to condemn him provided by a witness
and the medical report. In the fina
scene the girl and her mother are cry


1978- 1979
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All Levels Elementary to Advanced

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Cost: $700.00 for total instruction
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$1900.00 for total instruction
plus books, materials, room
and board and visits to touristic
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(305) 552-2874 Miss Weitz
(305) 552-2563 Dr. Staczek
(305) 552-2851 Dr. Aid








The recurring themes of
cultural, moral and political
disintegration might
indicate that Chamorro
held out little hope for his
ravaged homeland, but this
is not really so. He saw
communication as one key
to national salvation. For
that reason he was
concerned with the loss of
the word, particularly
through censorship.

Sing, not so much for her lost virginity,
Sas for the absence of justice they can-
not afford to buy.
The National Guard as the arm of
s enforcement for the dictatorship is
Brutal and insensitive in their relation-
ship with the people. Jesus Marchena
is unjustly pursued and harassed and
his neighbors view the soldiers with
suspicion and hatred. The sergeant
who arrests Tolentino is unnecessarily
harsh and perverse as he places Tolen-
tino's glasses on the floor and with an
"I'll show you, sonofabitch" places his
boot on the lenses and crushes them.
The same sergeant, when Tolentino is
released from custody, mockingly in-
forms the corporal, "The President is
Chamorro's fiction represents one
more voice in the genre of the novel of
social and political criticism and brings
to mind El sefor Presidente of Miguel
Angel Asturias. His fundamental credo
is that political reform in Nicaragua
should arise from the concept of
government as an instrument directed
principally, if not exclusively, to the
benefit of the poor. No work of prog-
ress, he says, is good if it is not for the
progress of the poor. And the poor are
certainly not in short supply in
Chamorro's narrative technique in
El enigma de las alemanas, as in
Jesus Marchena and Richter 7, is
characterized by the absence of
dialogue. The author is essentially a
story teller, a raconteur, who animates
a gathering of drinking friends in a can-
tina or at a wake. When he does use
dialogue, it is only for the briefest

moments after which he reverts
quickly to narration and a third person
perspective. He knows instinctively
when to expand his tales with relevant
background or descriptive material. He
telescopes events to precipitate the ac-
tion and produce dramatic impact.
Dialogue is therefore only necessary
for the cutting insult, the witty retort or
the political diatribe.
Chamorro's style is also dependent
on irony. The stories in El enigma de
las alemanas have an ironic,
sometimes wry turn of events as, for in-
stance, the example of don Mariano,
who unknown to his murderers, is in
death protecting with his enormous
weight his greatest treasure, a coffin
made of expensive woods. Or the
German women who bring love and
are rejected by the townspeople, or the
busy man who works too hard and
doesn't see happiness.
The recurring themes of cultural,
moral and political disintegration
might indicate that Chamorro held out
little hope for his ravaged homeland,
but this is not really so. He saw com-
munication as one key to national
salvation. For that reason he was con-
cerned with the loss of the word, par-
ticularly through censorship. Loss of
the word also leads to loss of identity
and oblivion. Therefore, the people
must resist efforts to stifle their expres-
sion and must in unanimity shout a re-
sounding "NO" to any attempt to muz-
zle or deprive them of their authentic
Love can also provide the means of
unifying the people and improving
their society. It is the powerful force
which motivates the unidentified
couple in Richter 7, the only authentic
characters presented. And on an inter-
national level we see love being
brought from the north to the
townspeople in "El enigma de las
Pedro Joaquin Chamorro was an in-
telligent and concerned writer capable
of producing a novel of ideas as well as
creative fiction. At the same time he
was an untiring patriot, a champion of
the common man and an advocate of
universal love and human dignity. His
ghost haunts the decaying Somoza
dictatorship and will be present at its

Grafton J. Conliffe teaches Latin American
Literature at Ohio University. Thomas W.
Walker teaches Political Science there.

Gparled Sour Grapes
By John Thieme

Sea Grapes
Derek Walcott. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1976. $8.95

Derek Walcott's poetry has always had a certain astringency
of tone about it. The St. Lucian-born poet's most recent col-
lection, Sea Grapes, with its bouts of acrimony:

You [exiled novelists] spit on your people,
your people applaud,
your former oppressors
laurel you.
The thorns biting your forehead
are contempt
disguised as concern ...

and its mordant imagery:

rooks swinging in the wind, under great boughs,
lynched crows, on a green field,

is no exception. But it does differ from his earlier volumes by
foregrounding the acerbity of tone in the title-poem which
makes it clear at the outset that his harshness is an organic
response to his island predicament of "gnarled sour grapes."
The grapes image is central to the whole volume.
An interesting gloss on it, which confirms that Walcott
views it as a metaphor for the bitterness of the New World ex-

perience and hence sees it as a necessary element in the
writer's response to his environment, comes in his essay "The
Muse of History" originally published in 1974 (in Orde
Coombs, ed., Is Massa Day Dead? Anchor
Press/Doubleday). Here, writing about the Adamic nature of
the great poetry of the New World, Walcott has this to say
about such poetry: ". .. its savour is a mixture of the acid and
the sweet, the apples of its second Eden have the tartness of
experience. . It is the acidulousness that supplies its
energy. The golden apples of this sun are shot with acid. The
taste of Neruda is citric, the Pomme de Cythere of Cesaire
sets the teeth on edge, the savour of Perse is of salt fruit at
the sea's edge, the sea grape, the "fat-poke," the sea
Like St.-John Perse's, Walcott's poetic fruit in Sea
Grapes is bitter-sweet. Though the sourness outweighs the
sweetness, the two are invariably parts of the same whole. In
"The Wind in the Dooryard," a poem dedicated to the
Tobagonian poet, E. M. Roach, who drowned himself in
1974, this admixture is to the fore. Walcott begins by speak-
ing of the poem as an involuntary creation which he did not
want to come from either his own "torn mouth" or Roach's
"salt body." Initially, then, one assumes that his reluctance
stems from a Lycidas-like grief at the drowning of his fellow
island-poet. But, as one reads on, one is forced to discard this
assumption, as Walcott criticises what Roach's poetry



He writes of the wall with spilling coralita
from the rim of the rich garden,
and the clean dirt yard
clean as the parlour table
with a yellow tree
an ackee, an almond
a pomegranate
in the clear vase of sunlight.

For Walcott, Roach's "clean dirt yard" seems, then, to
represent an unacceptable sentimentalization of the acid "sea
grapes" nature of the Caribbean experience. So, at this point,
it begins to appear as if Walcott's reluctance about the poem
may stem from a feeling that his criticism is improper in
what is in one sense elegiac verse. But the final stanza in-
volves another change of direction with its almost grudging
admission that:

.. sometimes, under the armpit
of the hot sky over the country
the wind smells of salt
and a certain breeze lifts
the sprigs of the coralita
as if like us,
lifting our heads, at our happiest,
it too smells the freshness of life.

The involuntariness of the poem, it transpires, lies in
Walcott's reluctance to concede that Roach's poetry does,
after all, encapsulate a particular, if limited, aspect of life in
the islands.
"The Wind in the Dooryard" serves as a reminder of the
climate in which Walcott began to write (in the late 1940's)
when West Indian verse was still enmeshed in an
anachronistic Romanticism and all too often the poet felt he
had done sufficient if he chauvinistically celebrated local
landscapes in the borrowed idiom of English loco-descriptive

The Poet in Winter
Three decades later the situation is, of course, very different.
Walcott himself now represents the established tone of much
West Indian verse, such has been his influence. He may not
unreasonably be styled the Poet Laureate of the "English-
speaking" Caribbean, for he is, with Edward Brathwaite, un-
questionably one of the two leading poets of the region and if
one were trying to affix a classificatory label to Brathwaite to
indicate his pre-eminence, he might more appropriately be
termed griot of the tribe.
Whereas earlier Walcott poems alluded to the approach
of middle age ("Prelude" in In a Green Night, 1963; and
"Nearing Forty" in The Gulf, 1969, among others), in Sea
Grapes the theme of the mid-life crisis is left behind and in-
stead we find him looking forward to the onset of old age and
asking himself whether he will be:

a gnarled poet
bearded with the whirlwind
his metres like thunder?

Walcott finds himself in the ironic situation of an angry
young poet grown old and now seeing his own poetic voice
appearing comparatively tame compared to the violent

rhetoric of the new generation of radicals. His reaction to
such rhetoric comes out most clearly in two poems, "The
Brother" and "Dread Song." "The Brother" is a characteristic
Walcott poem in its use of savage imagery, though it is far
less complex than most of his work:

That smiler next to you who whispers

knife him.

That man who borrowed your coat
the one of many colours

reclaim it as yours.

Scriptural allusions, like the obvious reference to the Biblical
Joseph here, suggest the universality of false brotherhood,
yet the primary object of attack seems to be the political ex-
clusiveness of contemporary black "brothers." Questioned
on this in a 1973 interview (the poem had appeared the
previous year in the Guyanese Carifesta anthology, New
Writing in the Caribbean, ed. A. J. Seymour), Walcott en-
dorsed such an interpretation, saying that he had become
disenchanted with the black revolutionary movement in
Trinidad, where he is director of the Theatre Workshop,
because of the internecine, "blacker than thou" character it
had assumed: "The rhetoric began to take over. And so the
thing was deflected. But the validity of the young uprising
and the unemployed people, it was a genuine and worthwhile
thing. . And a lot of people use the slogans, naturally, to
cover up their own inadequacies and so on. So a guy who
calls you brother, after a while if he's just saying the thing,
you should watch out for him (Caribbean Contact, 1, 8)."
"Dread Song" is a subtler poem, which expresses a
similar disillusion. Ostensibly it is a Rastafarian song of
praise and it is not difficult to take the opening at face value:

Forged from the fire of Exodus
the iron of the tribe,

bright as the lion light, Isaiah,
the anger of the tribe ...

After a few lines, however, the tone changes as Walcott tells
how the "tribe" now buys the lies of "lizard-smart poets," who
have usurped the religious leader's role. As in "The Brother,"
it is the subversion of a powerful ideal by cheap rhetoric
which is the central object of attack and the point is neatly
clinched in the final lines of the poem where the loss of true
revolutionary fire is mirrored by the verse's descent into in-
cantatory banality:

... no deepness, no danger,
more music, less anger,

more sorrow, less shame
more talk of the River

that wash out my name
let things be the same

forever and ever
the faith of my tribe.

Walcott is, then, not totally unsympathetic towards either of
the extremes represented respectively by Roach and the
Rasta rhetoric, but he ultimately eschews both for a style
which lies somewhere between.
It would be easy to see this style as an index of a mulatto
ambivalence, which leaves him ironically uncommitted to
either the old or the new value-systems of West Indian soci-
ety. Walcott has in the past suffered from delimitting evalua-
tions of his work, which see it as the product of such a
paradigm mulatto crisis. Without wishing to suggest that
there is nothing at all to be said for such an interpretation
(poems like "A Far Cry from Africa" in In a Green Night,
where he speaks of being "poisoned with the blood of both"
Africa and England, lend some sustenance to this view), 1
would like to suggest that to see Sea Grapes in this light
would be facile.
The middle ground which Walcott occupies in this
volume is less that of the ironic outsider or schizophrenic
mulatto than that of the committed participant who can em-
brace both sides of dualities without being false to the "sour
grapes" nature of the Caribbean predicament by indulging in
easy synthesis:

grey has grown strong to me,

it's no longer neutral,
no longer the dirty flag
of courage going under,

it is speckled with hues
like quartz; it's as
various as boredom, ...

grey is the heart at peace,
tougher than the warrior
as it bestrides factions.

If the implied portrayal of himself as a Colossus seems a little
self-adulatory, it is perhaps to be understood as an aspiration
rather than as an achievement. Elsewhere in the volume he
laments the passing of the age of literary giants.
The "grey" he speaks of here is said to involve "the toil
that is balance" and Sea Grapes shows us a poet who can
combine acerbity with a poignant rendition of such sen-
timents as the profundity of the silent love of animals and the
totality of his own immersion in his marriage to the Muse. In-
deed, his penchant for vitriol serves in a way to authenticate
the emotion we find in his treatment of such subjects, since
we know that it is not easy sentimentality.

The Adamic Nature of America
Few of the themes of Sea Grapes will surprise the reader
familiar with Walcott's earlier poetry, but his treatment of the
Adamic nature of the American experience is now explored
with a greater depth and subtlety than hitherto. In fact, Adam
emerges as a central protagonist of Sea Grapes, in much the
same way that Crusoe became a key figure in The Castaway
The first of several poems in which he appears, "The
Cloud", portrays Adam at the moment of the fall possessed
of a curious kind of innocence in that his initiation into the
postlapsarian state frees him from the Manichean duality of
bondage to either God or the devil, instead of sentencing

him, as one would expect, to the world of sin and death:

What left the leaves,
the phosphorescent air
was both God and the serpent leaving him.
Neither could curse or bless.

In non-mythological terms, Adam is Man able to discover the
New World freed from the moral imperatives of Europe and
able to write his signature however he chooses on the tabulaa
rasa" continent. Lest this seem unduly optimistic in its
disregard of such an Adam's postlapsarian plight, the next
poem, "New World" acts as something of a corrective to this
vision. It concludes by showing Adam and the serpent as
fellow-capitalist entrepreneurs inventing the New World:

Adam had an idea
He and the snake would share
the loss of Eden for a profit.
So both made the New World. And it looked good.

It is in this ambiguity that the complex nature of the
American Adamic experience lies. It is both a postlapsarian
"sour grapes" condition and a condition which can make
possible liberation from the crippling moral legacy of
In "The Muse of History", where he argues the case for a
cyclic view of history, which will make possible an escape
from the determinism implicit in normal views of history with
their stress on causality, Walcott expresses the matter thus:
"The great poets of the New World, from Whitman to
Neruda, rejects this sense of history. Their vision of man in
the New World is Adamic. In their exuberance he is still
capable of enormous wonder.
". .. It is this awe of the numinous, this elemental privilege of
naming the New World which annihilates history in our great
poets, an elation common to all of them, whether they are
aligned by heritage to Crusoe and Prospero or to Friday and
Caliban. They reject ethnic ancestry for faith in elemental
man. The vision, the 'democratic vista', is not metaphorical,
it is a social necessity. A political philosophy rooted in elation
would have to accept belief in a second Adam, the re-
creation of the entire order, from religion to the simplest
domestic rituals."
It is in this that the significance of Walcott's concentra-
tion on the Adamic nature of the American experience in
Sea Grapes lies and it is a belief which informs all his writing.
Specific references to "the great poets of the New World"
(Sea Grapes includes poems of homage to Whitman and
Neruda) are thus finally less important in conveying this at-
titude than Walcott's own Adamic style. The sense of wonder
conveyed through the freshness of his language and imagery
(Adam as the first poet, the elemental bestower of names),
the vivid portrayal of the bitter-sweet flavour of the fruits of
the "second Eden" of the New World and the creation of a
mythology which transcends victor/victim views of the New
World which sentence both Prospero (colonizer) and Caliban
(colonized) to the prison of history-all these aspects of his
approach confirm Walcott's affinity with the "great poets" of
whom he writes.

John Thieme, Senior Lecturer in English at the Polytechnic of North
London, is presently engaged on a full-length study of Naipaul.


By Ricardo Pau-Llosa

Wifredo Lam. Max-Pol
Fouchet. 266 pp.
Rizzoli International Publications,
1978. $50.00.

Frequently one asks oneself what ex-
actly is demanded of an artist socially,
politically and personally. The question
may well apply to artists and non-
artists alike. Surely the history of
civilization cannot be told without con-
stant reference to that stock of ethics
and morals that we have constructed
and live by-or, in spite of. In times of
crisis, and it seems that all times are
crisis-ridden, the artist is supposed to
take a heroic stand, writing, speaking
and painting against what is most per-
sistently cruel and unjust in human
nature. Max-Pol Fouchet wants us to
believe that Wifredo Lam fits this
image flawlessly. His book is structured
around the well-hammered image of
Lam as social hero and symbol of
rebellion in the face of oppression and
If image venders are to be believed,
Lam stands in the respectable com-
pany of many artists who have stood
firmly against tyranny in the most un-
compromising and perilous of man-
ners. Fouchet would like us to place
Lam among the likes of Solzhenitsyn
and Cassals. Describing Lam's militant
defense of the Spanish Republic,
Fouchet says, "Lam could not be
anything but a fighter for democracy."
Nevertheless, those who have known
Lam can easily conjure dozens of anec-
dotes to either refute or substantiate
Fouchet's portrait of the artist. But it
should be enough for anyone to
wonder how Lam can, from the luxury
of life in France, applaud a government
like Castro's which makes no secret of
its suppression of human rights.
Nonetheless, Fouchet's book offers
some insights into Lam's life which are
valuable, most notably in the area of
anecdotes from the painter's life in
Paris, his association with Picasso and
later with Andre Breton and the
Surrealists. Excerpts of conversations
with Lam on the subject of his

childhood in Sagua La Grande in Cuba
and the images of African religions
practiced on the island are interesting
for those who are unaware of Cuba's
great cultural debt to the Yorubas.
Fouchet's style is easy on the reader,
even during his frequent digressions in-
to simplistic historical commentary.
Fouchet also has a natural ability for
sustaining hyperbole and for minimiz-
ing obvious weaknesses in the painter's
life-work. Greater emphasis should
have been placed on the fact that
Lam's "African" idiosyncrasy is due
almost totally to his association with
Picasso. The African mask motif,
which floods many of Lam's canvases,
stems directly from Picasso's African
period and especially from the
"Demoiselles D'Avignon." Far too
much is made of Lam's childhood with
the implication that the painter's Afro-
Cuban ambiance prior to maturity re-
mained dormant in his mind waiting to
blossom upon exposure to Europe's
fascination with African art.
Whereas Africa was culturally very
influential in Cuba's music, and to a
lesser extent in its literature, the plastic
arts of the nation remained almost un-
touched by the presence of African
languages, culture and religions which
had survived slavery and become
widespread in Cuba. Thus, aside from
some instruments, symbols and drums
used in Yoruba religious rites, there is
almost nothing African which could
have significantly influenced a visual
artist in Cuba. The masks and
sculptures which were seen in Europe
at the turn of the century did not form
part of the cultural baggage which the
slave brought to the Caribbean. What
little there was in the way of powerful
visual imagery, such as the dances or
carnival, belongs purely to the
folklorical and is utterly distant from
Lam's preoccupations. This is not only
true of Lam, but of all Cuban art of this
century and of the colonial period too.
Had Lam remained in Cuba he would
have been, no doubt, infinitely more
European. Lam owes his pictorial
African nature to Picasso, Julio
Gonzalez and the painters of Europe.

Furthermore, aside from mention of
Breton's preference for art from
Oceania over that from Africa and the
greater importance of the former to the
Surrealists, the impact on Lam of the
sculptures from New Guinea and the
Pacific is not fully assessed.
Photographs of several pieces which
Lam owns tell us more about their
similarity to much of the
painter's imagery than does Fouchet.
Two years after the fall of the
Spanish Republic, Lam is still haunted
by the tragedy. Picasso had already
painted "Guernica" (1937), easily
among the most historically, humanly
and artistically important paintings of
all time. Lam in 1938 decides to paint
a picture of two weeping women which
he entitled "Sufferings of Spain." This
is a minor work of a still unripenedart-
ist. However, Fouchet says, "I have no
hesitation in asserting that this work
("Sufferings of Spain") is every bit as
forceful as that of Picasso
("Guernica")." Even if this had been
said of Lam's "The Jungle" (1943),
which hangs in New York's Museum of
Modern Art and which is considered
his masterpiece, we could not help but
lose faith and gain embarrassment.
The main objective of Fouchet's
book is to draw a simple and positive
portrait of the painter and the man.
The critics, other painters and, most
importantly, the collectors have
already assured us of Lam's talents.
But even here, on the level of his work
Fouchet ignores a major factor which
could not conceivably escape anyone
who has seen a Lam exhibition or who
has at least flipped through the pages
of this book itself: Lam's relentless love
of monotony. It is a fact that since 1943
Wifredo Lam has shown remarkably
little change in the subject matter and
technique of his paintings. The horned
creatures, the leaves, the elegant and
vibrant sense of linearity, the opaque
persistence of greys and dark earth
tones, the same resolutions of space,
all these things recur and recur. The
symbolism and imagery which fired
the imaginations of critics and the
public in the 40's and 50's now squeak

"Personage", 1970. Oil on canvas. In the artist's collection. From Wifredo Lam (Rizzoli International Pub., Inc.).


i -



"Caribbean Cock", 1970. Oil on canvas. Private collection Paris. From Wifredo Lam by Max-Po
Fouchet (Rizzoli International Pub., Inc.).

under the strain of three decades of
profitable mass production.
Granted-not all artists are named
Picasso or have the genius of constant

renovation that he possessed. But
Lam, friend and protege of this giant, is
the antithesis of the Spaniard's self-
searching, telluric eye. The shelter of

style, of maintaining a firm grip on
one's idiosyncracies cannot explain
away Lam's stagnation.
Nonetheless, Lam is a fine painter, a
master of his craft. Perhaps in his
monotony there is genius, somehow
the constant drive toward something as
yet not achieved. But pointing this out
should have been Fouchet's task and
the focus of many a conversation with
the artist. By ignoring this facet of
Lam's work, we are abandoned to our
own unfortunate conclusions. Indeed,
there is little in this book which offers
* insights into the total value and
Originality of Lam's art. For those desir-
ing a finely printed volume on Lam's
work, filled with many excellent
photographs of paintings and of the art-
ist throughout the different periods of
his life, Fouchet's book can be satisfy-
ing. But for those seeking incisive
perceptions into the magic of Lam's
syncretic vision, as well as for those
who want a genuine portrait of
/ Wilfredo Lam, the man, Fouchet's
book is merely a well illustrated

Ricardo Pau-Llosa, a graduate student at
the University of Florida, writes frequently
on art and artists.



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WORLDS. Wayne A. Selcher.
Westview Press, 1978. 301 pp.

Peter Flynn. Westview Press, 1978.
595 pp. $27.50. Brazil's political
development from the early 19th

PANAMA. Wayne D. Bray. Inter-
American University Press, 1977. 150
pp. $20.00. An historical perspective
of the legal problems involved in the
Panama Canal, showing the relevance
of that history to contemporary con-

Gilderhaus. University of Arizona
Press, 1977. 159 pp. $10.50.

JAMAICA. Aggrey Brown. Transac-
tion Books, 1978. 207 pp. $7.95.

AMERICA. Kalman H. Silvert. ISHI
Publications. 356 pp. cloth: $14.95,
paper: $6.95.

CUANTITATIVO. Walter Sanchez, Jr.
Institute de Estudios Internacionales,
Universidad de Chile, 1978. $3.00.

REVOLUTION. John Dryden Kuser.
Greenwood Press, 1977. 180 pp.

TIONS. Edy Kaufman et al. Transac-
tion Books, 1978. $19.95. A com-
prehensive analysis of the patterns of
continuity and change in Israel's rela-
tions with Latin America over a 25
year period.

Peter Raymond Nehemkis. Green-
wood Press, 1977. 286 pp. $19.00.

MILITARY RULE. Christopher Mit-
chell. Prager Publications, 1978. 192
pp. $15.00. An analysis of Bolivia's
political development from 1952 to
the present.

Michael J. Francis. Notre Dame
Press, 1977. 304 pp. $15.95. A
discussion of "Pan Americanism" and
US influence over Latin American

Wayne Cornelius and Robert Kamper,
eds. Sage Publications, 1978. 352 pp.
$7.95. A study of nine major Latin
American cities and the critical pro-
blems confronting them.

THIRD WORLD. Sheldon W. Simon.
Westview Press, 1978. 280 pp.

WEALTH. A. M. Walker. Pergamon
Press, 1978. $16.00.

Vicuia. Institute de Estudios Interna-
cionales, Universidad de Chile, 1978.
416 pp. $10.00.

Millet and W. Marvin Hill, eds.
Praeger Publications, 1978. 240 pp.

COLUMBIA. David Bushnell. Green-
wood Press, 1978. 381 pp. $16.25.

REVOLUTION: 1959-77. Jacques
Levesque. Praeger Publications,
1978. 220 pp. $16.95.

Alexander. Greenwood Press, 1977.
584 pp. $29.95. A study of the
decline and ultimate destruction of
Chile's democracy.

GUIANA. Henry Kirke. Greenwood
Press, 1977. 364 pp. $17.00.

Kaufman. Transaction Books, 1978.
200 pp. $9.95.

Bartlow Martin. Westview Press,
1978. 400 pp. $19.00. A detailed
study of US-Caribbean policies.

1867-1975. Arnold R. Highfield with
Max Bumgarner. University Presses of
Florida, 1978. 209 pp.

Tyson, Jr. and Carolyn Tyson. Kraus
Reprint, 1978. $5.50.

Aguiar.Transaction Books, 1978. 250
pp. $14.95. A selected bibliography
on social science research in Brazil
from 1960 to 1977.

Marian Goslinga is International,
Environmental and Urban Affairs
Librarian at Florida International



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