Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Front Matter
 Back Cover


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Caribbean Review
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095576/00030
 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: 1979
Copyright Date: 1980
Genre: serial   ( sobekcm )
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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: UF00095576:00030

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
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

Vol. VIII, No. 2 Spring 1979 Two DollarsB
Vol. Vill, No. 2 Spring 1979 Two Dollars w V VW

Cuba's Pending Energy Crisis/Reviewing the Status of Puerto Rico
The Opposition in El Salvador and Guyana/Slum Developmentin Jamaica

Latin American

A- t ,~
d= a-s~s~e ~ aN

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,

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



Vol. VIII, No. 2 Two Dollars

Barry B. Levine
Art Director
Associate Editor A t Etor
Assistant Editor
Pedro J. Montiel Ssan Al
Susan Alvarez
Contributing Editors
Contributing Editors Assistant Art Director
Ricardo Arias
Kenl Boodhoo Juan Urquiola
Jerry Brown Bibliographer
Judson M. DeCew Marian Goslinga
Robert E. Grosse
Herbert L. Hiller Sales and Marketing
t H Walter H. Hill
Antonio Jorge
Gordon K. Lewis Publishing Consultants
Anthony R Maingot Andrew R. Banks
James A. Mau Eileen Marcus
Florentin Maurrasse
Florentin Maurrasse Advertising Consultants
Raul MoncarzGuzmn
Mark B. Rosenberg JoGuzman
Mark D. Szuchman Rosa Santiago
William T Vickers Office Manager

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 funds from the
Office of Academic Affairs of Florida International Univer-
sity and the State of Florida. This public document was
promulgated at a quarterly cost of $4,028 or $2.01 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 International
University, Tamiami Trail, Miami, Florida 33199. Tele-
phone (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 @ 1979 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. 11l, 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.


Cuba's Pending Energy Crisis
New emphasis on technology is making
Cuba oil dependent
Alfred Padula

Puerto Rico: A Chronicle of
American Carelessness
A new look at the status of Puerto Rico
Garry Hoyt

Independence For Puerto Rico: The
Only Solution
Ruben Berrios Martfnez, President
Puerto Rican Independence Party

A Response to Berrios
From the Commonwealth perspective
Jaime Benftez

The Role of the Opposition in
El Salvador
Guillermo Ungo, Secretary General
National Revolutionary Movement, El Salvador

The Opposition in Guyana-A
Bishwaishwar Ramsaroop, Minister of
Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of the House,
Republic of Guyana

Quasi-Urban Melange Settlements
The cases of St. Catherine and St. James,
L. Alan Eyre

Religion Among The Caribs
American Indian descendents on Dominica
Anthony Layng

Two Brazilian Short Stories
Examples from the Brazilian genre
Edilberto Coutinho

A Sling Shot at the Soap Giant
Mario Vargas Llosa's new novel
Reviewed by Ram6n Mendoza

Development Without Them
Two books on Brazil's Northeast and
Amazonian regions
Reviewed by William T Vickers

El Super
The new film by Cubans-in-exile
Reviewed by Alonso Alegria

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


Fortunate Indeed

Dear Colleagues:

Let me congratulate you on this fine magazine. I consider
it the finest I have in the library covering the Caribbean and
Latin America. We are fortunate indeed to have a
magazine such as this.

Alyce M. Ratcliff
Caribbean Nazarene Theological Seminary
Trinidad and Tobago

Broad Accessibility

Dear Colleagues:
Terry McCoy's useful and informative article, "A Primer
for US Policy on Caribbean Emigration," (CR, Jan., 1979)
is a good place to begin the discussion. Our study,
Population Policies in the Caribbean (D.C. Heath, 1975)
estimated that 3 million persons, 10 percent of the total
population, had permanently emigrated from the
Caribbean to North America and Western Europe
between 1950 and 1972.
At least as many persons will need to emigrate from the
Caribbean between 1980 and 2000. Given the present
age-structures, absolute numbers of women in the ages of
fertility, costs of job creation, and other factors, there is no
way to respond to the legitimate aspirations of millions of
young people except through emigration. Given a
diaspora which numbers 3.5 million, it is certain that
friends and relatives will be helped to leave, legally or
There are only four policy options available to
governments at the receiving end. One is to enact costly,
repressive, and cumbersome measures to keep people
out. Britain has done this to its discredit since 1962.
Canada combined tougher restrictions with a generous
amnesty for those who had already made it in 1976. The
essence of the unlamented Carter administration
proposals was to combine an amnesty for those here with
a crackdown for newcomers.
A second policy option is benign neglect. Since the
immigrants by all accounts are a net gain to the host
society, not enforcing unenforceable legislation makes
some sense. The proposed cut in the 1980 budget of the
US Immigration and Naturalization Service is a welcome
step in this direction. As bad as the status quo is it may be
better than the alternatives.
A third option is to establish a governmentally
controlled program for temporary migrants. Although the
horrors of the former Mexican bracero program in the US,
and the various "guestworker" schemes in Western
Europe, are well-known, the US and Canadian
governments could at least try this option on an

experimental basis. The Caribbean problem with
temporary migrant schemes is that they do not respond to
the real need of young people to leave permanently.
The fourth option is ignored by McCoy although it is
ultimately the most important. Canadian and US
immigration laws need to be scrapped in favor of new
approaches based on generous and broad accessibility.
Faint-hearted liberals have little stomach for this approach
and radicals are prone to condemn it as neo-colonialism.
Perhaps if we ask ourselves whether our parents and
grandparents, would have made itto North America under
present laws we may encounter the need for change.

Aaron Segal
National Science Foundation
Washington, D.C.


Dear Colleagues:

In the issue Vol. VII, No. 4 with my article, there is an error,
which I would like to draw to your attention for correction,
if possible. Instead of:

"When we nationalised 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 indicated that
during the first 20 years after installing all the
equipment it would make G $20 million in profits;
G $40 million in the second ten years. All that has
gone down the drain."

please insert the following:

"When we nationalised in 1960, the Cuban
government 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 electricity company was going to be a
gold mine. The experts in London had indicated that
during the first ten years after installing all the
equipment, it would make G$20 million in profits;
G $40 million in the second ten years. All that has
gone down the drain."

People's Progressive Party


On The Cover

Shown on our cover is an oil painting, "Self Portrait", by
Benjamin Cafias of El Salvador, whose "new surrealism"
has catapulted him to the top echelon of Latin American
artists. Most recently featured by special invitation in the
First Symposium of International Critics and Latin
American Artists at the Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas,
Cafias is represented in Florida by Virginia Miller Galleries
of Coconut Grove.
Cafias' paintings are in the collections of numerous
museums around the world. In 1977, he was one of three
artists given retrospective exhibitions at the XIV
International Biennial in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

I.O 6I 06 - -

lll l Una revista mensual destinada a llenar el vacio
de interpretacion y analisis de la actualidad hemisferica.
~ OC A Publicada por ALA, Agencia Latinoamericana,
LKriNOAIRI ICINAS fundada en 1948.

Envieme los prbximos DOCE numeros y la Factura.
LAS REVISTAS DE AMERICA Otros paises: US$32.00
Apt._ Ciudad
Para suscribirse recorte el cup6n y envielo a: Estado Z.C.


ct, pg bs cp

-B AfedP\u

Cuba's socialist revolution celebrated
its twentieth anniversary this year, and
the celebration was as proud and gay
and complex and contradictory as the
revolution itself. MIG-23s rumbled
through the skies overhead, and danc-
ers frolicked in the streets below. From
his speaker's podium at Revolution
Square, Fidel Castro told the
multitudes that he would like better
relations with the United States, but
never at the price of abandoning
"socialist internationalism" which re-
quires Cuban troops in Angola,
Ethiopia and elsewhere. Yet at the same
time, in a more pacific gesture, the
gates of the island's political prisons are
being opened, and Cuban exiles, once
reviled as gusanos (worms), are being
invited to visit their lost motherland.
When the exiles return, they will
sense, far better than from the columns
of Miami's Diario Las Americas, what
the revolution has done and undone.
They may be impressed by changes in
the social sphere, by the broad meas-
ure of equality and the familiar and
well-advertised improvements in
education, literacy and health; im-
provements which in some cases have
become models for the rest of the un-
derdeveloped world.
But if the exiles wander down to the
harbor in old Havana, or to the
quaysides of Cienfuegos or Santiago
they will find evidence of a less gratify-
ing reality. For the vast majority of the
ships there fly the insignia of the Soviet
Merchant Marine, a signal that the revo-
lution has failed to realize that old
dream of Jos6 Marti and one of its
own fondest hopes -the achievement
of a full measure of economic inde-

Energy Dependence
The most critical element of Cuba's
economic dependency is energy: the
island has virtually no energy supplies
of its own. Its hydroelectric power is
negligible, its oil fields produce but five
percent of the 200,000 barrels of fuel
(10 million tons a year) that are con-
sumed every day. The only other
energy source of any consequence,
bagasse or sugar cane waste, is burned
- and always has been in the boil-
ers of the island's sugar mills.
Virtually all of Cuba's energy is
supplied by the Soviet Union via a
6,400 mile "oil bridge" from Odessa to
Havana. In the mid-1960s Cuba
needed three or four medium-sized

Soviet tanker-loads of fuel every week.
Now Cuba's requirements are far
greater, and 150,000-ton super tankers
are beginning to be employed. From
time to time the Russians have been
obliged to hire tankers commercially,
sometimes from the Onassis fleet. This
is very expensive.
For the Cubans, however, it has been
very cheap. In 1975 oil cost Cuba about
$3.50 a barrel, a price lower than in
1965. By 1978 it has doubled to $7.25
but is still roughly half of the OPEC
price. If the Cubans had to pay the
going rate it would cost them a billion a
year. It would be, says Castro, "a catas-
trophe." Virtually all of Cuba's earnings
from sugar exports would be required
to pay for oil imports. There would be
nothing left over for economic devel-
opment or social improvement.

Over the years, the Soviets
have used their oil as a
weapon to keep the
Cubans in line.

It is the cheapness of Soviet oil that
has been its major attraction. In early
1960 the Cubans, complaining about
the high cost of oil imported from Ven-
ezuela by the US multinationals, began
to import cheaper Soviet oil. The arrival
of the Soviet tanker "Andrei Vichinski"
in Cuba on April 17, 1960 symbolized
the shift of Cuban energy dependence
from the US to the USSR. In July, 1960
the Cubans nationalized the Texaco
and Gulf refineries for refusing to refine
Soviet crude oil. Cuban troops seized
the records of American oil prospect-
ing companies, suspecting they had
discovered major oil deposits. The files
proved barren however, and, in sub-
sequent years, exploration efforts by
the Soviets and the Rumanians failed
to yield any significant discoveries.
The Cubans are supposed, in a
barter-like arrangement, to be trading
their sugar for Soviet oil. But over the
past two decades the Cubans have
often failed to deliver the promised
amounts of sugar, for which they cur-
rently receive 30 cents a pound, four
times the world price. According to
Business International, the net effect
of this imbalance is a debt of some $8
billion to the USSR, a debt which the
Cubans cannot possibly pay.



Of all the Soviet Union's
allies, only Cuba is
apparently to be excepted
from the new stringencies
of price and supply.

Over the years, the Soviets have
used their oil as a weapon to keep the
Cubans in line. In the early 1960s when
the Cubans were trying to carve an in-
dependent path between the Soviets
and the Chinese, the Russians broke
the oil bridge to bring Castro to his
senses. US Navy patrol planes ob-
served Soviet tankers motionless on
the high Atlantic. Castro responded
angrily, saying that, if necessary, Cuba
would abandon the machine age and
return to ox-carts in order to preserve
its dignity and independence. But, after
a time, Cuba backed down and sided
with the Soviets.
A few years later, in 1967, Cuban-
Soviet relations were again quite
strained. Che Guevara, whose advo-
cacy of revolution now and everywhere
was condemned by the Soviets as
dangerous adventurism, had just died
in Bolivia. In Havana, the Cuban gov-
ernment tried and imprisoned a "mi-
crofaction" of Moscow-line com-
munists who had been critical of Cas-
tro's unorthodox foreign and domestic
policies. The Soviets signalled their
displeasure by slowing oil deliveries to
a trickle. The Cubans were again ob-
liged to knuckle under. In the summer
of 1968, when Soviet tanks crushed the
"Prague Spring," Castro declared that
the Soviet intervention was "absolutely
necessary," as the Czechs had been
backsliding towards capitalism and
counter-revolution. A new era of eco-
nomic realism and steadfast support
for the USSR was unfolding. The
Soviets responded with more plentiful
oil shipments.
Now, in the late 1970s, Cuba's energy
supplies are threatened by a dual di-
lemma. As the island's economy im-
proves, thanks to more pragmatic
policies, the return to material incen-
tives, and the presence of more
seasoned managers, it will need to in-
crease its energy supplies accordingly.
This increased demand will confront a
static, and perhaps even shrinking
source of supply. Soviet oil production,
though the world's largest, is tapering

off now, and is subject to pressing de-
mands for more fuel from its own
people, as well as from its East Euro-
pean partners.
Cuba's increasing demands for fuel
are reflective of a virtual energy revolu-
tion taking place on that island.
Perhaps the most dramatic evidence of
this is in the mechanization of agricul-
ture. For centuries workers on Cuba's
sugar cane plantations still the
backbone of the island's economy -
had to stoop, cut and lift the cane under
the blazing eye of the tropical sun. It
was savage work, work associated with
the humiliation and bondage of the
Black slaves whom the Spaniards had
once brought from Africa to labor in the
By the late 1970s the major share of
energy consumed in the fields was no
longer human or animal, but mechan-
ical. In the 1978 harvest 38 percent of
the cane was cut by machine; virtually
all of the cane was lifted and
transported mechanically. This has en-
abled the government to cut the work
force in the cane fields by 50 percent.
"This," said Castro, "is one of the most
extraordinary advances of the country."
But the new machines have man-
dated the expenditure of new sums of
energy. For example, the KTP-1 cane
cutting combines do not operate well
on rough ground. Armies of bulldozers
must first "condition" the fields,
smoothing and flattening them out.
Still more bulldozers are employed to
create mini-dams and artificial lakes to
irrigate the cane fields, lakes whose
glittering reflections are one of the first
things to catch the traveler's eye as he
flies over Cuba.
The loading of sugar for export has
also been mechanized. Prior to the rev-
olution, the three or four million tons of
sugar that Cuba exported were bagged
in jute sacks. A loaded sack weighed
325 pounds, a burden that broke the
health of all but the sturdiest workers.
Today most of the processed sugar that
spills endlessly from Cuban sugar mills
is handled by machine. Millions of tons
are now loaded on freighters, as Castro
has noted, by conveyor belts controlled
by women "pushing a few buttons."
To "rationalize" agricultural produc-
tion, the government is encouraging
peasants to abandon their small farms
- the last vestige of private property in
Cuba and take up residence in new
towns at the edge of the fields. The big
fields must be cleared of huts and small
farms so that the yellow AN-2 biplanes

can dust and fumigate properly, so that
large tractors may be employed eco-
Many peasants are reluctant to leave
their small farms, where they enjoy a
certain measure of independence. To
encourage them to leave, the govern-
ment is constructing new towns of gar-
den apartments, whose principal lure is
access to energy. Each apartment has
electric light, a gas stove and a re-
frigerator. Appliances are increasingly
available to Cuban workers, not in the
abundance desired, but more than in
the early 1970s. Their availability is a
key part of the government's program
to stimulate worker productivity
through material incentives.
The "energization" of Cuban agricul-
ture stands in interesting contrast to
standard theories of development, in
which poor countries are encouraged
to adopt labor intensive, rather than
capital and energy intensive strategies.
In the Cuban case, it is not yet evident
that increased energy expenditures are
yielding increased production. Sugar
production, despite all the new ma-
chinery employed, has advanced only
slightly above pre-revolutionary levels.
The wider use of electrical appli-
ances and the increasing emphasis on
electric-intensive manufacturing facili-
ties has led, according to Fidel, to a
quadrupling of electrical consumption
since 1959. This figure will double
again by 1985. This skyrocketing de-
mand has overtaxed Cuba's aging
generating plants, resulting in an era of
brownouts and blackouts. Some fac-
tories are obliged to shut down during
the peak period in the early evening so
that electricity will be available for pri-
vate consumption.
The Cuban government is waging a
determined battle to conserve energy.
"No one," said Castro in a recent
speech, "has the right to waste electric-
ity, not in the home, not in the factory,
nowhere." At night, an observer on the
25th floor of the Havana Libre hotel
found the city glowing dimly like a ship
in a fog. In the cities there are "clic pa-
trols" with the authority to turn out
lights burning unnecessarily. Billboards
urge the public to conserve energy.
Factory managers are obliged to esti-
mate the amount of energy required
per unit of production, and then reduce
it. New schools, clinics and hotels are
designed with attention to shading and
prevailing breezes so as to minimize
the need for air conditioning.
These efforts at conservation have


Cuba champions the idea
of cartels among
less-developed countries to
sustain higher raw material
prices, but buys its own oil
from a non-OPEC member
at half-price.

had mixed success. The Cubans have
increased the efficiency of electrical
production, cut waste in the industrial
sector, rationed gas and limited the im-
portation of autos. But, given the sub-
stantial growth projected by Cuban
economists for the next decade, one
can assume that consumption of all
forms of energy will increase accord-
Alternate Sources
Against this increase in demand, is the
growing threat of a curtailment of sup-
ply. In the 1960s the Cubans were
major beneficiaries of rapidly expand-
ing Soviet oil production. But in the
1970s this expansion began to cool off,
and by the 1980s, according to the Oil
and Gas Journal, the Soviets will con-
front a "seemingly inevitable oil
production decline."
To confront this dilemma, the
Soviets are trying to encourage con-
servation by raising prices for petro-
leum products both at home and
abroad. They are also imposing an oil
supply freeze on their East European
partners, urging them to shift to other
energy sources (coal, gas, peat moss,
nuclear) or be prepared to go to the
world market for any future increases in
oil supply.
Of all the Soviet Union's allies, only
Cuba is apparently to be excepted from
these new stringencies of price and
supply. Castro seems confident that
Cuba will receive all the oil it needs
(about a ten percent increase per year)
over the coming decade. This confi-
dence is reflected in the new
petroleum-powered electrical plants
currently under construction in Cuba. A
new oil refinery to handle Soviet crude
is also in the works.
Cuba's increasing needs have
placed it in sharp competition with East
Europeans dependent on Soviet en-
ergy supplies. Cuba already receives,
according to official Russian figures for

The Soviet tanker Liepaya in the Caribbean Sea.

1976, more petroleum than that re-
ceived by Hungary. One wonders what
East Germans, their energy supplies
cut by heavy rains in the winter of 1978
which flooded their coal mines, are
thinking about Cuba's growing appetite
for energy. And the Russians them-
selves, anxious to gain hard currency
by selling oil to the West in order to
finance their foreign debt, must be hav-
ing second thoughts about Cuba's
needs. Cuba already receives more
Soviet oil than West Germany; more
than any Western nation except Italy.
The Cubans have been unable, for
reasons of politics and price, to find
adequate oil supplies outside of the
Soviet Union. Cuba is hostile to Saudi
Arabia, which it berates as a feudal
state in league with "imperialism," i.e.,
the United States. The Saudi's them-
selves are angry about the presence of
Cuban military advisors in Marxist
Southern Yemen, at the foot of the Ara-
bian peninsula. Castro detested the
Shah of Iran ("a megalomaniac"), but
the Shah's overthrow by the Ayatollah
Khomeini's Muslim revolutionaries
may prove of scant comfort to Havana.
Indeed, the immediate effect of the Ira-
nian revolution has been a decline in
world oil supplies, and a substantial in-
crease in price. The Cubans cannot
buy oil from their friends among the
radical regimes in Africa and the Middle
East-one thinks especially of
Libya-because it is too expensive.
The Arab radicals are committed to
upholding the OPEC price which the
Cubans cannot afford. There is a spe-

cial irony in this, since Cuba champ-
ions the idea of cartels among less-
developed countries to sustain higher
raw material prices, but buys its own oil
from a non-OPEC member at half-
Nor can Cuba count on another
emerging oil power; mainland China.
Cuban-Chinese relations are at an ab-
solute nadir. The Cubans detest
China's pragmatic new foreign policy,
which they view as counterrevolu-
tionary and imperialist. Thus, while
Brazil, long Cuba's arch enemy in the
Americas is beginning to receive
Chinese oil, Cuba gets none.
In the Caribbean, whose littoral is
rich with oil producers, the Cubans
have had only modest luck in finding
willing suppliers. In 1974, when sugar
prices soared to an historic high of 66
cents a pound, the Cubans were urged
by Soviet Premier Brezhnev to ease
their dependency on Soviet oil by ac-
quiring some from Mexico or Ven-
ezuela. The Russians offered to pay for
this oil themselves and in hard cur-
rency. The Soviets were apparently try-
ing to reduce their own oil exports, save
money on shipping costs, and perhaps
also embarrass Cuba into conserving
fuel and becoming more energy inde-
The Cubans approached Mexico
whose president, Luis Echevarria, was
then demanding "economic justice" in
relations between the industrial nations
and the third world. Cuba sought what
it regarded as economic justice: cheap
petroleum. After all, the Cubans rea-


soned, the real cost of oil extraction
and shipping is relatively small. The
rest is politics. But the Cubans were
doomed to disappointment. Although
Mexico has expanded its oil shipments
to include lands as distant as Japan
and France, no arrangement has been
reached as of this writing with
Cuba, which lies but 150 miles away
across the Yucatan Channel.
The Cubans have had better luck
with the Venezuelans. After four years of
discussions, in September 1978,
Havana quietly announced that a quad-
rilateral agreement had been reached
in which Soviet and Venezuelan oil
suppliers would exchange a share of
their Cuban and Spanish markets. The
Venezuelans would supply Havana with
five percent of its daily requirement: the
Soviets would get part of Venezuela's
market in Spain. The final details of this
plan are currently being ironed out.
The great hope for Cuban energy
requirements is increasingly to be
Soviet-supplied nuclear power. Cuba's
first reactor, now under construction,
will be completed in 1981. A second
reactor will be built nearby. These two
units will generate the energy equiva-
lent of almost one million barrels of oil,
or about 10 percent of Cuba's current
oil requirements. They are standard
production line units of 440 megawatts
each, and cost roughly $250 million
per unit. Construction is going ahead
without discussion in the press or pub-
lic debate in Cuba's new organs of the
"People's Power."
The first two nuclear plants are to be
at Cienfuegos, a burgeoning new in-
dustrial center on Cuba's protected
south coast, about 250 miles due
south of Miami. Soviet nuclear experts
declare, like their counterparts in the
US, that their plants are absolutely safe.
It is not known whether the reactors will
be housed inside the massive concrete
domes required in the US to prevent
any accidental escape of steam or
radioactive materials. In the past, the
Soviets have argued that such "con-
tainment domes" were unnecessary.
One can speculate endlessly on the
effects of Cuba's energy dependence
on the USSR. There is, for example, an
interesting coincidence between the
fall in sugar prices in the spring and
summer of 1975, which meant the
dashing of Cuban hopes that it might
be able to afford to purchase some of
its own petroleum, and Castro's deci-
sion to intervene in Angola. Some
argue that, by intervening in the name

The future of the Cuban
revolution hangs in good
part on the most delicate
thread of Soviet oil

of proletarian internationalism in Af-
rica, he was proving that Cuba could be
a useful instrument of Soviet foreign
policy goals, thereby encouraging -
and morally obliging the Soviets to
continue to supply his island with
cheap petroleum. Castro might not be
able to pay for his petroleum, but his
soldiers could bleed for it.
It was during this period of Cuban
accomplishments in Africa that the
Soviets decided to press ahead with the
much-delayed nuclear energy pro-
gram in Cuba. New electrical power
plants were constructed with Soviet as-
sistance, and a new electrical energy
protocol signed. And Cuba is soon to
benefit from a new Soviet-supplied oil
The effects of Cuba's oil de-
pendence may also be visible in the
political arena. The coolness, indepen-
dence and even anger which some-
times characterized Cuban-Soviet
relations in the 1960s has now given
way to the most "fraternal" relations.
The intensity of official contacts is im-
pressive. Since the beginning of Cas-
tro's Angolan intervention, he has been
in Moscow on three occasions.
The Cuban press which in the 1960s,
in a deliberate display of indepen-
dence, downplayed the 50th anniver-
sary of the Russian revolution, has in
the 1970s been lavish to the point of
obsequiousness in its admiration for all
things Russian. Now Cuban-Soviet
relations are to be codified in cement.
The Cubans are building a huge new
Embassy complex for the Russians in
Havana. Its principal edifice, a twenty-
two story tower, will be one of the tallest
buildings in Cuba twice as high as
the old American Embassy, once
viewed as the imposing headquarters
of the proconsuls.

A Declaration of
Sometime ago, President Carter sug-
gested that one of the foreign policy
goals of his administration would be to

wean countries like Cuba away from
the Soviet orbit. Castro is keenly aware
of this and, apparently to discourage
any thoughts by the Soviets of loosen-
ing their ties to Cuba, has thrown him-
self with renewed vigor into the Soviets'
arms, saying that it was Cuba's inten-
tion of increasing, not decreasing, his
economic ties to the Soviet Union and
the Eastern bloc. Castro's recent
statements in this regard amount col-
lectively to a fervent declaration of
But unless the United States can find
a way to supply Cuba's energy needs,
or until Cuba becomes energy inde-
pendent, the Carter administration's
intentions must remain mere pipe
dreams. It is hard to imagine the cir-
cumstances in which the US would
supply Cuba with oil, or pay for her oil
as the Soviet Union is willing to do. And
it is even harder to imagine the Cubans
accepting such Yankee largesse.
Perhaps the future will offer Cuba a
way to energy independence. There
may, for example, be oil off the Cuban
coast which the Soviets and Ruma-
nians have yet to discover. It may even-
tually be possible, at least technically,
for nations like Cuba that are blessed
with abundant sunlight, to convert it
into energy on a massive and liberating
scale. But the costs of such a program
are daunting.
For the foreseeable future, it appears
that Cuba will remain dependent on
Soviet petroleum and, as prices creep
upward and supplies diminish, they are
going to have to strive ever harder to
earn it. This imperative may lead Castro
into ever more audacious adventures
in Africa and the Middle East. For Cas-
tro must assure increasing sums of
cheap energy in order to fuel economic
improvements and defuse popular dis-
illusion and complaint about the scar-
city of goods in Cuba before it
becomes politically dangerous. The
future of the Cuban revolution hangs in
good part on the most delicate thread
of Soviet oil supplies.
The achievement of the dream of
economic independence for Cuba
seems as remote now, after twenty
years of revolution, as it did in the
1950s. Nature, it would seem, has con-
demned Cuba, whether under
capitalist or socialist managements, to
suffer forever the indignities of

Alfred Padula teaches History at the Univer-
sity of Southern Maine.

8/CArtBBAN Pevie

A Chronicle of

American Carelessness
By Garry Hoyt

Through a series of diplomatic pres-
sures the United States recently suc-
ceeded in blocking moves at the
United Nations to declare Puerto Rico a
colony, thus momentarily sparing offi-
cial worldwide embarrassment. But
this was much less a permanent victory
than a temporary evasion of the inevit-
able. Cuba is bound to bring the ques-
tion up again and again. We can of
course leap up and down in righteous
indignation over Cuba's lack of demo-
cratic credentials as a critic. And we can
take refuge in Puerto Rico's voted pref-
erence for its present status. Or we can
dispassionately review the historical
Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony
which became a US colony, by con-
quest, in 1898. For years it was ruled
exclusively by long distance, largely for
long distance American interests.
When the United States eventually con-
ferred US citizenship on Puerto Ricans
in 1917, it was by American decree
rather than by Puerto Rican choice.
Democratic modifications were gradu-
ally made, and Puerto Ricans now elect
their own governor and legislature, but

the fact remains that all the vital deci-
sions are still made in Washington,
where Puerto Rico has no vote, nor any
vote for those who do vote.
By historically accepted terms, this is
clearly a colonial situation. It has only
escaped majority Puerto Rican con-
demnation as such because, un-
noticed by most, Puerto Rico has
gradually succeeded in becoming the
first colony to effectively exploit the
colonizer. In this neat reversal, the nat-
ure of the colonial condition is not al-
tered but the flow of benefits is.
Traditionally the colonizer exploits the
colony by either extracting large quan-
tities of natural resources, or imposing
onerous trade agreements. The former
abuse is not possible in Puerto Rico for
the simple reason that there are no sig-
nificant natural resources on the island,
and in fact, the chief resource leaving
Puerto Rico has been the excess of its
population. This has been a useful
safety valve for Puerto Rico because
one third of the island's overcrowded
population also the lowest income
group was simply transferred to the
United States economy. No colony ever

managed that before.
As a market, Puerto Rico is unques-
tionably a very lucrative one for many
United States and International com-
panies. It cannot accurately be de-
scribed as a captive US market since
the largest dollars outlays from Puerto
Rico go to Arabian and Venezuelan oil
interests. Japanese and European au-
tomobile manufacturers control sub-
stantial portions of the car market, and
the same could be said of radio, televi-
sion sets, watches, and other high
priced durable goods. The area where
American companies most dominate
is in the vital category of food, and
Puerto Rico imports virtually its entire
food supply. However, there are only
three countries in the world who are
major food exporters United States,
Canada, and Australia so the choice
of food suppliers is rather limited for
Puerto Rico. US food comes here for
basically the same reason that com-
munist Russia ends up buying
capitalist wheat from the United States
- because they are the best available
source, and even an independent
Puerto Rico would still have to buy food
from the United States. A costly penalty
of US monopoly is the shipping regula-
tions, which force the use of US bot-
toms and prohibits the use of cheaper
foreign ships. But while it may make
good revolutionary copy to complain
about the millions of dollars of profits
being earned by the USA on sales to
Puerto Rico, the fact remains that
Puerto Rico has to buy goods from
somebody, and nobody including Rus-
sia is going to sell here without profits,
because International business doesn't
work that way. In short, the dominance
of American goods in Puerto Rico is
more a function of geography and
America's great material wealth than of
any restrictive trade policies.

The Exploited US Taxpayer
Objectively speaking, the most
exploited party in the present relation-
ship is the United States taxpayer who
annually puts over three billion dollars
in Federal aid in support of a special
non-tax paying category of US citizen-
ship in Puerto Rico. These three billion
dollars equate to a one thousand dollar
annual subsidy for each person in
Puerto Rico, and there is no colony in
the history of the world which has ever
received benefits of that magnitude.
However, my sympathy is not for the
US taxpayer, who can afford to provide

The US was careless in the
acquisition of the island,
careless in its
maintenance, and is now
being careless in its most
critical moment of

this generosity to Puerto Rico but for
the island itself which can no longer
afford to receive it. The massive Ameri-
can aid that now sustains Puerto Rico
has disoriented the will to work, and
affixed in its place the kind of fateful
addiction that insulates against one's
awareness of his own deterioration.
"Like the diet prescribed by doctors
which neither restores the strength of
the patient, nor allows him to succumb
- so these doles you are distributing
neither suffice to insure your safety, nor
allow you to remove them and try
something else." Spoken over 2000
years ago in 320 B.C. by the Greek
Demosthenes, it would be hard to find
a more succinct summary of Puerto
Rico's dilemma today. Eery but
perhaps reassuring as evidence that
what we face is no modern mystery, but
merely a reprise of a very old problem.
And so we need not some
complex-modern solution but
rather the application of historical per-
spectives and common sense.
First off we must recognize that
Puerto Rico's preference for the exist-
ing Commonwealth status, which was
registered in the 1967 plebescite -
does not constitute valid current proof
that the island is not a colony. A cynic
would say that, on the contrary, this is
merely evidence that the United States
has poured in enough money to cush-
ion the inherent indignity of the colonial
relationship. Whatever the case, the
confusion cannot logically be laid to
Puerto Rico because Puerto Rico has
always been the smaller, poorer, and
essentially powerless partner. So, if
Puerto Rico has pursued the available
alternatives to its best advantage and
voted along like lines that is entirely
natural and so would anyone else in
similar circumstances.
Probably the best word to charac-
terize the US attitudes and actions to-
wards Puerto Rico is "carelessness."
The 80 year relationship between the

United States and Puerto Rico has
been a chronicle of American
carelessness. The US was careless in
the acquisition of the island, careless in
its maintenance, and is now being care-
less in its most critical moment of deci-
I realize that careless may seem a
harsh way to describe three billion dol-
lars of annual aid. But I mean careless
in the sense of not careful, and not car-
ing and it is this carelessness that
both fits and foils billions of dol-
lars of US generosity. "Fund it and
forget it" is what passes for a Federal
policy on Puerto Rico.
Like the whole welfare mess in the
United States the solution is regrettably
not simple. In fact, the scope and depth
of the dependence syndrome in Puerto
Rico goes far beyond any parallel with
the problem in the United States. In the
States we are talking about an unem-
ployment figure of 6 to 8 percent. So no
matter what the ills of the welfare sys-
tem there, the great majority of people
still works, produces, provides the
money for welfare, and worries about
how its tax dollars are spent.
In Puerto Rico the official unem-
ployment figure is 21%, and the actual
figure is probably well over 30%. An
estimated 70% of the population is on
Federal Food Stamps. So welfare is the
rule, not the exception, and therefore
there is no real social pressure against
it. Since all the money for this welfare
comes from the United States and
none from Puerto Rico, there is no fac-
tor of public indignation here against
ever more welfare because it does
not cost anybody here anything. Thus
the politicians in Puerto Rico fall all over
themselves promising that they can get
more dollars from the United States
than their opponents, because dollars
wheedled out of Washington amount
to tax benefits without taxes a politi-
can's dream.
Worst of all, people here have begun
to think of a steady diet of American aid
as their due, their right without any
sense of compensating contribution.
One can readily concede that every so-
ciety has an obligation to take care of its
own, within a framework whereby those
citizens who can afford to, provide for
those that cannot. But in Puerto Rico
we have a separate society being pro-
vided for by an American society to
which it neither contributes financially
nor belongs emotionally.
So we arrive at the heart of the di-
lemma the Commonwealth status.


Former Governor Luis Muioz Marin speaking in front of the Popular Party campaign bus during the 1960 general elections. World Wide Photos

Under Commonwealth, Puerto Rico
presently suffers a schizoid cleavage
between evergrowing financial de-
pendence on the USA, and smoldering
emotional aspirations as a separate
people. This situation can be directly
attributed to the philosophy of the
Commonwealth status under which
Puerto Rico has operated for the past
25 years. Indeed it can fairly be said that
keeping alive the emotional aspirations
of separation became one of the un-
stated purposes behind Common-
wealth. The early expectation was that,
under Commonwealth, financial inde-
pendence could be built up to match
and eventually join the emotional inde-
pendence that was being preserved
and fostered. What has happened is
exactly the opposite and the financ-
ial independence that failed now oper-
ates at painful odds with the emotional
independence that succeeded.
Commonwealth status was a prod-
uct of the political genius of Luis Muiioz
Marin Puerto Rico's first elected
governor. Mufioz's self-confessed per-
sonal preference for independence
could not be squared with the reality of
the severe economic hardships that
independence would have initially in-
volved for the people of Puerto Rico. So
in a brilliant improvisation he fashioned
Commonwealth status, an expediency
which enabled Puerto Rico to continue

an emotional course of separate Latin
identity, while receiving all the benefits
of US citizenship, with none of the fi-
nancial obligations. In a quick marriage
of economic convenience, cheaper
wages were matched with total tax
exemption, and many US Industries
came to the island. New jobs were
created, Puerto Rico began earning the
highest per capital income in Latin
America, and was christened a "show-
case of democracy."
Actually Mufioz ran a form of en-
lightened dictatorship, where he had
total control of the legislature, which
did exactly as he wished and nothing
he did not wish. The investment cli-
mate, the labor climate, and the politi-
cal climate were, with the voted
consent of the people, very carefully
directed and controlled with excellent
What Mufioz could not foresee, was
that Commonwealth's ambivalence
would, with changing times and in the
hands of men of less intelligence and
less integrity, become an increasingly
divisive contradiction. Unfortunately,
this is precisely what has occurred.
In the post Mufioz era, labor unions
moved quickly to bring wages up to the
US level, unmindful of the crippling
effects on Puerto Rico's vital need to
maintain some competitive advantage
to attract a steady stream of new in-

vestment to provide new jobs for a
growing population.
Most damaging, the uncontrolled
local legislature outdid itself in the pass-
ing of an ever expanding program of
fringe benefits, which steadily contrib-
uted to a higher cost of production,
versus a static productivity. The result
was less and less industry coming to
Puerto Rico and ever more industry

Puerto Rico's Intellectual
Meanwhile Puerto Rico's intellectual
community, traditionally strongly in
favor of independence, retrenched in
the public and university education sys-
tems. The effect was a constant educa-
tional reassertion of Puerto Rico's
separate identity, accompanied by a
steady downgrading of the instruction
of English language and American his-
tory. The acquiring of American ways
was contemptuously labled "assimila-
tion" and given a social value some-
where between sellout and leprosy. The
artistic community also tended to
strongly favor independence, and so
the independence cause was continu-
ously romanticized in popular song
and drama.
To understand the significance of all
this, we have to remember that none of


Former Governor Luis Munioz Marin voting in the 1948 election. World Wide Photos

us French, Russian, American, or
whatever are born to patriotism. We
are raised to it by the influence of par-
ents, teachers, and the society around
us. In a very real sense we feel what we
are taught to feel, and Puerto Ricans
were taught to feel Puerto Rican just as
surely as Americans on the mainland
were taught to feel American. On the
face of it, there is absolutely nothing
wrong with Puerto Ricans feeling
Puerto Rican, and many would con-
sider that the proper course. Except for
the nagging fact that Puerto Ricans are
supposed to be American citizens qual-
ified to be treated like every other Amer-
ican. Yet they are obviously not the
same because they neither feel the
same, nor speak the same language,
nor revere the same history, nor pay the
same taxes.
A particularly unfortunate by-
product of Puerto Rico's educational
preoccupation with the development of
non-Americans has been the devel-
opment of a generation of non-
students. Because in addition to not
learning English, a whole public school
generation here has also not properly
learned Mathematics, Science, History,
or even Spanish the defense of
which was the original justification for
the whole disastrous detour.
The blame for this disheartening
dichotomy again has to be laid to
American carelessness, which by fi-
nancing and toleration has encour-
aged it to develop over a long period of
years. Some might say it was liberal
and sensitive of the United States to
allow Puerto Rico to preserve its own
identity in this fashion. In my own view it
is a questionable liberality that encour-

ages the development of separate
identity on one hand, while inducing
educational deficiencies and financial
dependence with the other. This is akin
to teaching a person to stand up in
order to later force him to kneel. 1 be-
lieve that the hands-off attitude of the
USA towards the education of its
Puerto Rican branch of American
citizenry is no more admirable than a
parent who refuses to get actively in-
volved in the upbringing of his children
- sends loads of money, and then
cannot understand why the kid doesn't
really like them, can't get a job, and
hasn't turned out quite the way they
would wish.
But right or wrong that is the situa-
tion we have today. Spanish-speaking
Puerto Rico, technically part of the
United States, remains emotionally
alien. And its American oriented econ-
omy has now gone sour because
wages and legislated fringe benefits
have risen to the point that, even with
tax exemption, the island no longer
represents an attractive investment
opportunity for labor intensive man-
ufacturing. In short, the United States
has managed the questionable ac-
complishment of inducing American
habits of consumption, without bother-
ing to establish American levels of
education or productivity and filling
that gap now requires ever increasing
amounts of American aid.
To Puerto Rico's understandable
confusion, President Carter's response
to this complex situation is to say in
effect: "If Puerto Rico wants Indepen-
dence, we will support it. If Puerto Rico
wants Commonwealth, we will support
it; and if Puerto Rico wants Statehood,

we will support it." This apparent rea-
sonableness amounts to favoring ges-
ture over substance, and is once again
- carelessly incomplete. Obviously,
Puerto Rico must make its own choice,
but to do that intelligently Puerto
Ricans must understand what is in-
volved in those choices.
For once the United States should
not sit on the sidelines, but rather
should step in and clearly spell out for
the Puerto Rican people how it pro-
poses to handle each of the possible
alternatives. Because how the US will
handle them has a great deal to do with
the viability, and hence the desirability
of any status.
For example, the cause of indepen-
dence is generally discredited, not so
much because of a lack of popular ap-
peal here but because it is generally
assumed that independence would
mean the disappearance of aid, indus-
try, free enterprise, law, order, and
democratic rights. On this basis, inde-
pendence never gets more than 6% of
the votes. Yet to my way of thinking this
is unfairly stacking the cards against
the independence cause, and this de-
feats the purpose of any plebescite -
which is to find out how the people of
Puerto Rico really think. Obviously if
independence is perceived to mean
financial ruin, none but a few fanatics
will vote for it, even though many might
want it. For independence to be a pos-
sible alternative, the United States must
establish terms that could make it pos-
The United States should specify its
willingness to treat a voted preference
for independence with the following
plan and then delineate how an or-
derly transfer of power to a properly
elected, independent government
would be handled. Such a plan would
have to contain generous provisions of
continued aid if we have any interest in
a stable and friendly Puerto Rico. Hell,
we've given aid to everyone else in the
world, including aggressive foes, -
why should we contemplate denying it
to a people that have helped fight our
wars, have been steady friends, and in
purely commercial terms are excellent
Surely in the light of American his-
tory we cannot oppose independence
on grounds of principle. And the fact
that the independence cause here is
closely tied in with socialism is also the
source of a lot of unnecessary hysteria.
After all we are looking at the very real
prospect that both France and Italy will


soon elect socialist governments, and I
don't hear anyone proposing that we
begin considering them as enemies. In
the same vein we are now seriously
attempting to reopen relations with
Fidel Castro's Cuba which is a total
socialistic dictatorship. So what is the
logical basis for assuming that the
United States should vigorously op-
pose the long range prospect of an in-
dependent or even socialistic Puerto
Rico if indeed that proves to be the
free will of an informed people. A
number of business interests, includ-
ing my own, would stand to suffer by a
move to independence. But this is an
instance of national destiny where bus-
iness interests alone cannot be allowed
to dictate the course.
The terms and conditions of state-
hood should also be clearly explained
by the USA to Puerto Rico. Statehood
must not be presented as merely a
means of getting more US funds,
because that is a deceptive and degrad-
ing motive that only assures future dis-
enchantment. The USA should under-
stand that in Puerto Rico today there is
wide concern that statehood would in-
volve a loss of language and identity.
Naturally these fears are fanned to out-
sized proportions by those who oppose
closer ties. One can point out numer-
ous examples of third and fourth gen-
eration families in the USA who in the
home still speak the language of their
original home country as examples of
the truth that your culture is as secure
as you want to make it.
One can point out to the nearby is-
land of St. Croix where large numbers
of Puerto Ricans have for years com-
patibly adopted English as the
common language, while retaining full
ability in Spanish. And finally one can
point to the revealing fact that the at-
tacks on English instruction are invari-
ably led by those who themselves
already speak English. Thus, Indepen-
dence leader Ruben Berrios can be
educated at Harvard and Cambridge,
with no apparent damage to his identity
- and yet return to the island to insist
that English instruction is dangerous to
the culture of the "common people."
The transparent absurdity of this
argument has not stopped it from
gaining great credence here.

To Be An American
But it is also untrue and unworthy to
say that there is no "change" in becom-
ing an American because that

The acquiring of American
ways was contemptuously
labeled "assimilation" and
given a social value
somewhere between
sellout and leprosy.

means that there then is nothing to "be-
ing" an American. There is a price to
everything worth having, and the first
step to being an American has to be to
want to be an American.
The plain fact is that most Puerto
Ricans today have been taught to think
of themselves as Puerto Ricans first,
and Americans second if at all. I
make no moral judgement on that, ex-
cept to note that this is a highly unusual
approach to US citizenship. I believe
that the 200 million ordinary American
citizens who are footing the bill in
Puerto Rico have a right to ask: "If you
don't want to be American why
should you continue to be an American
citizen?" If the only condition for US
citizenship is a desire to preserve ones
own national identity and to participate
in US funds, half the world would want
to be US citizens.
The unique strength of America is
that it is composed of a wide variety of
races and heritages which have con-
tributed their backgrounds to a whole
that is the richer for its diversity. No one
asked the Greeks, or the Germans, or
the Irish, or the Italians, or the Jews, to
officially renounce their proud heri-
tages when they came to America -
but it was understood and expected
that they were to realign their loyalties
within a primary allegiance to the
United States. Indeed, so it is with any
citizenship in any country. As a result,
the United States is now composed of a
mix of people who were born there -
and raised to feel American plus
those who came there and worked to
become Americans all united by a
common language, a common sense
of identity, and a common desire to be
an American.
Separate from this regular US citi-
zenship we have the Puerto Rican vari-
ety who are raised not to feel American,
are not effectively taught English, have
no financial responsibilities to the US,
and are not involved in US elections. I
believe this separate policy is painfully

inconsistent with any permanent rela-
tionship with the US that is to be based
on equal citizenship. As we surely must
have learned, separate cannot be
What then about Commonwealth?
There is no question that Common-
wealth status is still popular with a large
number of Puerto Ricans. This is not
hard to understand because Com-
monwealth essentially means getting
everything that US citizenship has to
offer, without giving up, or putting up,
anything of your own. Who wouldn't go
for a deal like that? It is the original
"have your cake and eat it too" formula.
Granted, the fact that Common-
wealth happens to be a very easy deal
for Puerto Rico is not necessarily
grounds for its disqualification by the
USA. And as long as Commonwealth
seemed to provide the key to economic
development, there was strong tempta-
tion to overlook its philosophical dis-
crepancies. But Puerto Rico has
continuously had Commonwealth for
25 years and it must now be starkly
clear that even its economic justifica-
tions are largely discredited. Those who
argue that the answer is more au-
tonomy for Commonwealth are merely
asking to widen the gap that is tearing
Puerto Rico apart. The cleavage that
Commonwealth has already caused
will be exaggerated not solved by
more autonomy.
Let us turn to historical principle.
Can we honestly imagine that the
framers of the American Constitution
conceived a special class of US citizen
who were to pay no taxes to the country,
to not participate in its elections, and to
not speak its language?
Whatever it may be in Puerto Rican
terms, in American terms Common-
wealth has to be considered an aberra-
tion, an innovation that has gone astray.
The US is under no obligation to con-
tinue an experiment that has so con-
spicuously failed. On the contrary, the
primary US obligation is to the 200 mil-
lion American tax payers who are un-
conscionably being asked to continue
to finance this demonstrable failure.
The United States has a clear right to
define the range of choices that are
available and acceptable within the lim-
its of US citizenship. I believe that
Commonwealth should be disqualified
by the United States on the grounds
that after ample testing it has
proven a costly burden that offers
neither economic viability, nor Ameri-
can compatibility, nor international re-


spectability. Such a disqualification is
as fair as the father who says to the
willful and troubled son "As long as
you live under my roof, at my expense,
you must be governed by the same
rules as the other members of the fam-
ily. If you don't want that fine then
go with my blessing and learn to live by
An ultimatum of this sort does not
evidence any lack of compassion -
rather it demonstrates once again that
establishing thoughtful rules can be
more considerate than continuing
careless acquiesences.
It is said that Puerto Rico's problems
today are chiefly economic, but no
economic solutions can grow in the
island's present jungle of confused
chauvinism. For example, the blunt
reality is that there can be no equal op-
portunity within the US economy with-
out a knowledge of English. To provide
public education in Spanish to Puerto
Ricans living in the United States has
had the immediate effect of removing
their need to learn English at precisely
the age when language is most easily
learned. This is not being liberally sen-
sitive to the cultural needs of a minority,
rather it is being blindly insensitive to
the cultural and economic needs of a
minority in its new environment. It is no
coincidence that hispanics who
have stayed at the bottom of the eco-
nomic ladder longer than any immi-
grant group are also the only immi-
grant group that was ever encouraged
not to speak English.
Similarly for the USA to subsidize a
public education program in Puerto
Rico that is deficient in general terms,
and specifically deficient in the instruc-
tion of English and in a feeling of being

Constant political
wrangling over what they
are keeps Puerto Ricans
from working at what they
could be.

American, takes away both the practi-
cal and the emotional tools that are
necessary for economic and civic
progress within the American system.
To be denied the language and a sense
of belonging to the nation that domi-
nates your financial opportunities is to
be denied equality. To talk of granting
Puerto Rico the Presidential vote when
the people here can't even understand
what the candidates say, displays a
dangerously disordered sense of
A nation can speak as many lan-
guages as it wishes, and will be the bet-
ter for that ability but its citizens
must share one common language.
Common citizenship cannot succeed
without a common language. Cana-
da's current problems in Quebec testify
to this, and show that even where there
is overwhelming geographical conven-
ience -without a common language
there is perpetual cause for disunity.
It is the sum of Commonwealth con-
tradictions and American carelessness
that now afflicts and enfeebles Puerto
Rico. Commonwealth's ambiguities
provide constant fuel for luring the is-
land's political energy into the paralysis
of endless debate. Careless American
generosity sustains the luxury of this
debate by removing the normal need
for concentrating on the basic prob-
lems of earning one's daily bread. Con-

stant political wrangling over what they
are keeps Puerto Ricans from working
at what they could be.
The United States should decide
now to either help Puerto Rico into the
Union or to help Puerto Rico out of the
Union. The first step must be to stop
dangling Puerto Rico on the costly
sham of Commonwealth. History pro-
vides no sustenance for the notion that
a group of people can progress without
a clear sense of their own identity, or by
pretending to be one thing for cash
reasons while wanting to be another for
emotional reasons.
The US Congress must act to end
this chronicle of American careless-
ness. United States citizenship does
not deserve to be devalued by special
exemptions that are inconsistent with
the Constitution, unfair to the majority
of regular citizens, and in the end not
helpful to those exempted.
Having intervened rather crudely in
Puerto Rico's history, the United States
has a special obligation to set things
right. We are not merely a detached
observer on this scene. The US has
been part of the problem and must be
part of the solution.
In a world dominated by selfish inter-
ests and complicated by our own fail-
ings it is often too late to set things
right. It is not yet so late here if the
United States will define the acceptable
choices and take them directly to the
people of Puerto Rico, thus setting the
stage for a free and informed selection
that the world can comprehend and
Garry Hoyt is a bilingual American busi-
nessman who has lived in San Juan for 25
years. He is Senior Vice President of Young
and Rubicam, Puerto Rico, Inc.

SFlorida International University
-- Tamiami Trail, Miami, Florida 33199

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Independence for Puerto Rico:

The Only Solution
By Rub6n Berrios Martinez
President, Puerto Rican Independence Party

Reprinted by permission from Foreign Affairs,
April, 1977. Copyright 1977 by Council on
Foreign Relations, Inc. Footnotes in the original
have been deleted.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a
political and economic anachronism.
Twenty-five years ago the establish-
ment of the Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico was the official US response to the
worldwide process of decolonization. It
was the "showcase of democracy" for
colonial peoples and underdeveloped
countries, the US model of how a coun-
try could pull itself out of poverty "by its
own bootstraps" through an intimate
political and economic relationship
with the United States.
By 1977, the Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico has become a source of
embarrassment to the United States.
Today Puerto Rico is one of the few
colonies left in the world. It is an ex-
treme example of social deterioration,
with some of the world's highest
indexes for drug addiction, alcoholism,
broken families, and criminality. The
economy is admittedly decadent: real
personal income has decreased since
1973, real unemployment rates fluc-
tuate between 30 and 40 percent, while
71 percent of all households depend on
the US food-stamp program.
The world has changed. The United
States has changed. Puerto Rico has
changed. But the legal and economic
structures of Commonwealth status
remain unaltered, a bar to economic,
social and political development con-

gruent with the new realities. Com-
monwealth is a brittle residue of the
cold war, a pawn left over from a game
of international politics long since con-
On December 31, 1976, President
Gerald Ford declared that he would
submit to Congress legislation for the
admission of Puerto Rico to the Union
as a state. President Ford's Tory farewell
to the bicentennial year of the Declara-
tion of Independence was a confession
of the economic and political failure of
Commonwealth, and underlines the
need to think anew on Puerto Rico-
United States relations. This rethinking,
in my view, will demonstrate that the
convolutions of Puerto Rican political
history can only be understood as a
prolonged and vain attempt to circum-
vent independence as the self-evident
right of Puerto Rico.

On July 25, 1898, as a consequence of
the Spanish-American War, US troops
invaded Puerto Rico. They confronted
a homogeneous society four centuries
old and at that time in the first stages of
capitalist development. The still young
native bourgeoisie was composed
mainly of landowners of small and
medium-sized holdings devoted to the
cultivation and processing of coffee,
tobacco and, to a lesser degree, sugar
cane. It was a class of ample culture
and growing political expertise.
The urban middle classes were

integrated by connections between
government employees and retail
businessmen closely tied to Spanish
political and commercial interests. A
small number of craftsmen and indus-
trial workers spread throughout the Is-
land had not yet coalesced into an
urban working class. But the vast
majority of the population were the
landless agricultural workers and sub-
sistence farmers, mostly illiterate and
traditionally alienated from the official
political and cultural institutions of the
Spanish colonial system.
Shortly before the invasion, the Au-
tonomic Charter of 1897, accepted by
Spain as a way of sidestepping inde-
pendence, had established on the Is-
land a limited elective government.
This Charter, generous though it was,
was the work of the Creole landowning
class whose economic and social
ideology closely matched the political
program of fin-de-si&cle Spanish
liberalism. Autonomy meant the or-
derly administration of Puerto Rico by a
privileged caste for its own benefit and
for the economic and strategic benefit
of a colonial power. This political sys-
tem was unilaterally dismantled by US
military fiat and congressional action.
Progressive Puerto Ricans, however,
had organized and developed an inde-
pendence program based on the need
to guarantee individual liberties as
much as on national liberation. The
abolition of slavery in 1873 is directly
attributable to the leaders of the inde-


pendence movement, who, in 1868,
had planned and tried to execute an
armed rebellion against Spain. Be-
trayed and quickly suppressed, the
Grito de Lares, as this uprising came to
be known, was the symbol of the
Puerto Rican pro-independence strug-
gle. But when the Spanish empire fi-
nally did crumble in Puerto Rico, it was
only to make way for the imperial ambi-
tions of the United States.
The first four decades of the US oc-
cupation were years of outright exploi-
tation. This is an undeniable historical
fact. Contemporary writers nicknamed
the Island the "poorhouse of the Carib-
bean" and many Puerto Ricans and
North Americans courageously de-
nounced the spoliation of our econ-
omy and our culture. US military and
civil governments alike took every step
to force on the population a process of
accelerated "Americanization." Teach-
ing in public schools and at the Univer-
sity of Puerto Rico was in English; the
civil system of laws turned overnight
into a hodge-podge, as badly
translated and implemented statutes
and common law concepts were im-
posed on the mutilated remnants of
Spanish law; Puerto Ricans were made
US citizens in 1917 notwithstanding the
opposition of the House of Delegates,
the only representative body in the Is-
land; all important public posts were
filled by North Americans, mostly di-
rectly appointed by the President of the
United States.

r", .T

The Foraker Act of 1900 and the
Jones Act of 1917 provided the political
framework for colonial exploitation.
Puerto Rico was unilaterally included
within the US tariff system and the US
Constitution, and all federal laws
applied to Puerto Rico except when
declared by the United States to be lo-
cally inapplicable. This meant that the
United States held power over all the
basic determinants of Puerto Rican life,
including currency, defense, citizen-
ship, international commerce, and
many others in the ever-expanding
field of federal jurisdiction. Puerto Rico
could elect a nonvoting resident com-
missioner to the United States and a
legislature with jurisdiction over mat-
ters of a strictly local character.
Let us consider the main events of
that period which are relevant to our
analysis of present-day Puerto Rico.
1. The economy was converted from
one characterized by small and
medium-sized holdings, owned mostly
by Puerto Ricans, to large-scale agricul-
ture controlled by US absentee land-
Puerto Rican landowners already in
economic straits as a result of devastat-
ing hurricanes during the 1890s were
forced to exchange their Spanish cur-
rency for US dollars at devalued rates.
This reduction in their capital resources
was accentuated by the massive influx
of US capital into Puerto Rico. The
smaller and middle-sized estates
owned by Puerto Ricans became un-

economical as absentee corporate
bodies accumulated vast latifundia
centered on modern, well-capitalized
sugar mills and tobacco manufactur-
ing companies. Laws were enacted to
forbid corporate bodies to hold lands
over 500 acres but such laws were not
enforced against the US trusts and
corporations. The Puerto Rican land-
owning classes were decimated, be-
came permanently indebted to their
corporate masters or led a life of idle-
ness on the income derived from land
leases. Thus, patterns of social, politi-
cal and cultural leadership were dis-
rupted in Puerto Rico long before the
urban-industrial development of the
1940s and 1950s.
2. Organized labor sought at this
time to establish its hold on the pre-
dominantly agricultural working clas-
ses of Puerto Rico. Its acknowledged
founder and longtime leader was San-
tiago Iglesias Pantin, a Catalan
anarcho-syndicalist who arrived in
Puerto Rico from Cuba in December of
1895. From the start his work was an
obvious threat to the Creole ruling elite.
The patrician leaders of Puerto Rico's
political structure resented and fought
this unexpected attempt to reorganize
politics on a class basis. But to many
workers it made sense to do so: land-
lords, businessmen and bureaucrats
were the concrete, the evident oppres-
In 1899 Iglesias founded the Free
Federation of Labor of Puerto Rico



For Governor Luis Mudoz Marin campaigning in 1940 for election to the Puerto Rican Senate.

World Wide Photos


which became affiliated to the Ameri-
can Federation of Labor. The Socialist
Party, founded in 1916, became the
political arm of the Free Federation of
Labor. Because the labor movement
looked upon US institutions as those
which would provide for the improve-
ment of working conditions and living
standards, it adopted a pro-US and
pro-statehood position.
Thus a partisan disjunction between
social justice and political liberation
developed throughout the twentieth
century. A double process of political
confrontation resulted from the con-
sequent erroneous perception of the
relationship between social and politi-
cal liberation: on the one hand, a class
struggle with internationalist (i.e., pro-
United States) overtones; on the other,
a political conflict with independence,
autonomy and assimilation as alterna-
tive goals.
By 1932, confusion reached absurd
heights when the Socialist Party joined
in a winning coalition with the extreme
right-wing and the pro-assimilation
Republican Party of Puerto Rico as the
only possible means of defeating the
pro-independence Liberal Party.
3. Pro-independence sentiment and
organizations also flourished during
these decades. By 1932, the pro-
independence Liberal Party, presided
over by Antonio R. Barcel6, was the
strongest electoral organization in
Puerto Rico. In 1932 it obtained 44 per-
cent of the vote, and in 1936, 46 per-
cent. The Liberal Party derived its
strength from the traditional elements
of Puerto Rican society the profes-
sional and landowning bourgeoisie,
and the agricultural workers and squat-
ters from the central, mountain regions
who still maintained personal relation-
ships with the landowners. The Nation-
alist Party, headed by Pedro Albizu
Campos, represented radical nation-
alism. It took its stand with a frontal
fight against the interventionist power
and served as a catalyst of pro-
independence feeling during the 1920s
and 1930s. The violent suppression of
the Nationalist Party came to a climax
with the first prison sentence against
Albizu Campos in 1936 and the Ponce
Massacre of 1937, when the police am-
bushed and killed many unarmed na-

After the 1936 elections, Luis Mufioz
Marin and a group of leaders compris-
ing the most radical independence

By 1977, the
Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico has become a source
of embarrassment to the
United States. Today
Puerto Rico is one of the
few colonies left in the

sector of the Liberal Party left the party
and in 1940 founded the initially pro-
independence Popular Democratic
Party (PDP). After a prior statement that
"independence is just around the
corner," they then declared that politi-
cal status would not be an issue in the
1940 elections.
Mufioz Marin tried to merge the
independence ideology with the exist-
ing socialist movement under the
slogan "Bread, land and liberty." His
program carried the PDPto a slim elec-
toral victory in 1940 with 37 percent of
the vote. Four years later the party ob-
tained a resounding triumph, and an
overwhelming majority of the leaders
elected on the PDP ticket petitioned the
US government for the independence
of Puerto Rico. The PDP continued en-
joying great electoral success until
Starting in 1941 and aided by Presi-
dent Roosevelt and Governor Rexford
Guy Tugwell, the PDP initiated an eco-
nomic and social reform program
somewhat in the style of the New Deal,
but still within the framework of the
colonial relations which had existed
since the turn of the century. The colo-
nial legislature in these initial years of
PDP government passed laws on
minimum wages, labor relations, and
agrarian and tax reforms. Internal gov-
ernment structures were improved by
providing them with modern innovative
instruments such as the Planning
Board, the Budget Bureau, the Person-
nel Office, the Industrial Development
Bank, the Industrial Development
Company, and a number of commis-
sions in charge of new programs.
The PDP and its leader, Luis Mufioz
Marin, were very successful in con-
solidating their political power and pro-
viding the political stability which was
indispensable to the government's par-
ticular postwar strategy for economic
growth, based on the attraction of US

capital. To consolidate political power,
Mufioz Marin had to face two important
groups within his own party. One of
these groups consisted of pro-
independence leaders; it included al-
most all of the top-echelon members
of the Party. Mufioz Marin, who had
been an advocate of independence up
to 1940, moved swiftly and with great
ability to "convince" them of the need
to postpone or give up their plans for
independence. This task culminated in
the autocratic decree of February 10,
1945, which in effect forbade members
of the PDP to join groups or organiza-
tions promoting independence. Most
leaders stayed with Mufioz, but others
left the PDP and in 1946 together with
other independence leaders founded
the Puerto Rican Independence Party.
Political repression and a campaign
equating economic growth with politi-
cal dependency contributed to the de-
cline ofthe Puerto Rican Independence
Party from the mid-1950s until well into
the 1960s.
Labor leaders constituted the sec-
ond power group that had to be dealt
with in order to ensure political stability.
Mufioz Marin proclaimed himself the
only leader of all workers in Puerto Rico
and used every weapon at hand to keep
labor unions small, divided and tame.
Prominent labor leaders were kept with
the PDP through appointment to
executive office or election to safe seats
in the legislature.
Gradually, in the early 1950s, the PDP
drifted to the Right, losing in the pro-
cess its populist "mystique." Step by
step it evolved into a powerful political
machine in the style of Tammany Hall,
with abundant political plums and gov-
ernment jobs to lavish on its followers.
The first important reform in Puerto
Rican political relations with the United
States after 1917 came in 1947 as an
amendment to the Jones Act giving
Puerto Rico the right to elect its own
Governor. And so, in 1948, Luis Mufioz
Marin became the first Governor
elected by the Puerto Rican people.
Two years later the US Congress
enacted Public Law 600, giving the Is-
land the power to draft its own Organic
Act which was to be called "the Con-
stitution." All the provisions of the
Jones Act, which governed the rela-
tionship between Puerto Rico and the
United States, remained unaltered but
were now to be known as the Federal
Relations Act. Puerto Rico obtained ab-
solutely no additional economic or
political power, except the right to de-


sign the structure of its internal gov-
ernment, under the ever-watchful eye
of the US Congress. The US Constitu-
tion and federal laws continue to apply
on the Island, except in the case of a
few provisions which Congress or the
federal courts unilaterally decide do
not. The Island was then rechristened
in Spanish with the high-sounding
name of Estado Libre Asociado de
Puerto Rico which, in English, was am-
biguously called "Commonwealth."
A quotation from the Senate Report
explaining and recommending the
passage of the bill will suffice to prove
that Puerto Rico obtained no additional
powers with the enactment of Law 600:
"It is important that the nature and
general scope of S. 3336 be made
absolutely clear. The bill under consid-
eration would not change Puerto Rico's
fundamental political, social and eco-
nomic relationship to the United
States." The same definite statements
are to be found in the House Reports,
and exactly the same viewpoint was
expressed by Interior Secretary Oscar
L. Chapman, when recommending the
passage of the bill.
The establishment of Common-
wealth was used to create the myth -
both for internal and external
consumption that Puerto Ricans
exercised the right to self-
determination because in 1952 they
accepted Commonwealth in a yes-or-
no referendum. Puerto Rico, according
to the official version, freely self-
determined against self-determination;
we were asked to believe that a people
can use one of the instruments of the
republican form of government, i.e.,
the right to vote, to deny themselves
the very essence of a republican form
of government which is the full partici-
pation of the governed in creating the
laws which are to govern them.

During the war years, the PDP backed
by Governor Rexford G. Tugwell, had
experimented with economic and so-
cial reforms which extended to the de-
velopment of government-owned and
operated industries and utility
companies. When the cold war set in,
however, such experiments became
suspect and the PDP turned to
capitalism for inspiration in a new
strategy of economic development -
Operation Bootstrap.
Since 1900, the Foraker Act had in-
cluded Puerto Rico within the US tariff
system and exempted the Island from


(PI ~~


Ruben Berrios Martinez, President, Puerto
Rican Independence Party.
the application of the federal internal-
revenue laws. These long-standing
trade and fiscal peculiarities, plus the
extremely low wages then prevalent in
Puerto Rico, allowed the PDP to obtain
capital for industrial development by
offering US entrepreneurs tax holidays,
subsidies and other incentives. The
energetic promotion of Puerto Rico as
an "investment paradise" was quite
successful at a time when the booming
US economy faced practically no
competition from other, war-ravaged
industrial nations. US investments in
Puerto Rico resulted in tax-free earn-
ings from the production of duty-free
goods for the US market under sub-
standard, "foreign" labor conditions
and wages.
An economic program for Puerto
Rico almost exclusively financed by the
import of US capital to promote indus-
trial development and almost totally
devoted to production for export to US
markets was obviously incompatible
with independence. One immediate
effect of the adoption of Operation
Bootstrap as an economic develop-
ment strategy, however, was the new
position taken by the PDP on the status
issue. Autonomy political, social and
cultural was postulated as compati-
ble with economic integration: Puerto
Rico, we were told, could have the best
of both worlds.
This, of course, did not prove the
case. Operation Bootstrap, which re-
lied on US capital and technology for
the development of an industrial pri-
vate sector, had an unstated, inbuilt
dependence on US funds federal
and private to finance the social and
infrastructure costs of economic de-
velopment with an enlargement

of federal and bondholders' power
which could only erode autonomy.
But political accommodation and
Operation Bootstrap resulted in dra-
matic changes for Puerto Rico from the
late 1940s to the late 1960s. Income
per capital rose from a little less than
$200 in 1950, to almost $1,200 in 1967.
The industrial sector became domi-
nant, and the economy was trans-
formed from an agricultural to a mod-
ern, industrial economy.
This model became a "showcase"
for the United States and some interna-
tional agencies. Here you had a small
country which was experiencing rapid
rates of economic growth by following
much of what is considered orthodox
capitalist doctrine: (1) free trade; (2) no
obstacles to foreign investment; (3)
acting as a support agent for private
enterprise; (4) the adoption of social,
cultural and technological norms
based on those of a highly industri-
alized nation (the United States); and
(5) a party system with periodic elec-
tions. Puerto Rico became the
proposed US alternative to national
liberation and socialist development
for colonial peoples and underde-
veloped countries, and it was aggres-
sively promoted as such.
Such a political and economic pro-
gram placed Mufioz Marin's portrait on
the cover of Time magazine and had
his "political philosophy" promoted in
the pages of The New York Times.
Yet what exactly did this process entail?
Operation Bootstrap was im-
plemented at great cost to Puerto Rico.
The displacement of our population
was the first sacrifice made to statistical
economic growth. Between 1945 and
1964, close to 750,000 Puerto Ricans
- more than one-third of the popula-
tion left the Island, lured by promises
of a better life in the United States and
forced to leave by an economic growth
model which provided few jobs.
It has been the official government
posture that it neither stimulated nor
obstructed the migration process.
However, it has become abundantly
clear from documents which recently
came to light that in fact the govern-
ment had a very active migration policy.
Thus, in a 1955 confidential report to
the Governor, the Planning Board sug-
gested that at least 60,000 Puerto Ri-
cans should leave the Island annually in
order to maintain unemployment at
prevalent levels. In 1948, a Commis-
sion made up mostly of government
officials had already noted that the


migration of women was particularly
important not only to alleviate
unemployment but to reduce the birth-
rate. More recently, in 1974, the gov-
ernment again made clear its intention
to encourage migration to the United
But large-scale emigration failed to
compensate for Operation Bootstrap's
failure to generate enough jobs for the
remaining population. The PDP then
resorted to a pervasive welfare system
as a prop to economic growth and to
compensate for unemployment.
Since, however, top priority had been
assigned to the development of an
economic infrastructure for tax-
exempt industrial growth, funds were
not available in Puerto Rico for social
programs; thus, the Commonwealth
became an eager participant in the ex-
panded federal welfare programs of the
1960s. And as the amount of federal
funds increased from 10 percent of
the total gross domestic product in
1959-60 to 30 percent in 1975, reach-
ing in that year a total of $2 billion ($1.2
billion net) so, too, did federal power.
Our already limited capacity to direct
our own process of development de-
creased. Autonomy under Common-
wealth became almost exclusively
identified with tax havens for US
Even massive federal transfers were
not enough to assure the viability of
Operation Bootstrap. The government
perforce became the leading eco-
nomic sector. Between 1969 and 1973,
government employment increased
from 105,000 to 155,000. The gov-
ernment's debt increased from $1.5
billion in 1969 to $6.6 billion in 1975.
This increase in the public sector's
debt, which is almost exclusively owed
to US creditors, was made necessary
by the ever increasing demands on
government to generate jobs and from
the needs of large new industries for
infrastructure investments.
By 1967, it had already become evi-
dent that the process of industrializa-
tion, with emphasis on light industry,
inadequate though it was, had reached
its limit. This was caused by a number
of factors. Puerto Rico was confronted
with competition from a number of
countries in Europe, Japan and from
low-salary countries (e.g., Taiwan,
South Korea, the Dominican Republic,
Haiti, etc.), particularly in those indus-
tries which had been the core of its de-
velopment: textiles, women's clothing,
shoes and other light industry. Forced

Former Governor Luis A. Ferr speaking in Manati, Puerto Rico, 1972.
Former Governor Luis A. Ferrd speaking in Manati, Puerto Rico, 1972.

to buy US-imported goods at New York
prices, labor demanded higher wages.
This reduced Puerto Rico's absolute
advantage in relation to the rest of the
world as well as to the states of the
Union, particularly those of the South.
As a result, the government looked to
capital-intensive, highly polluting
petro-chemical industries as a means
of continuing the industrialization pro-
cess. This gambit failed. Although in-
vestment in the industry has reached
$1.5 billion since 1965, the total
number of jobs generated was a mere
6,000, not the 35,000 which had been
By the early 1970s Puerto Rico's
economy was characterized by stag-
nant manufacturing and agricultural
sectors and, consequently, by a large
and continuously increasing public
debt, a great dependence on US
transfer payments and a bloated public
sector. The increased cost of petro-
leum further burdened the already

World Wide Photos

stagnant oil-energy based economy.
Puerto Rico needed ever-growing in-
fusions of government funds to prop
up an economy which could not de-
velop sufficient impetus on its own. Yet
the Commonwealth found itself
without the means to finance such
government expenditures since the
industrial sector is to a large extent
exempt from payment of taxes; and
with the stagnation of the economy,
personal incomes had also decreased
and tax payments had not increased
proportional to government expend-
itures. The only means available were
further increases in the public debt and
more aid from the United States.
The crisis of the world capitalist
economy in 1974 and its impact on the
US money markets meant that even
the alternative of increasing the debt
was not as available as before in order
to sustain economic growth. Not only
was money scarce, but the US lending
syndicates became concerned about


the solvency of the Commonwealth.
The government of Puerto Rico was
applying Keynesian economic theory
designed to deal with short-run cyclical
downswings to cope with structural
economic stagnation. And the situa-
tion was made worse because such
spending was financed by increases in
the externally held debt. Puerto Rico's
colonial status precludes the control of
monetary supply as a means of dealing
with the public debt.
The concern of the mainland and of
the financial syndicates led to the crea-
tion of a committee, made up exclu-
sively of US economists and financiers
and chaired by Yale economist, James
Tobin, to study Puerto Rico's finances.
The Tobin Committee concluded that
the Island's present economic situation
was not the result of external economic
conditions, but grew from the systemic
factors we have discussed above. Fur-
thermore, the Report suggested quite
strongly that there was little hope for an
economic revival of the Common-
The recommendations made by the
Committee, however, prescribed eco-
nomic orthodoxy to the letter: decrease
government spending, freeze wages,
increase taxes (but not on tax-exempt
industries). These and other measures
recommended by the Committee were
aimed at protecting the investments of
the US financial sector rather than at
modifying the causal conditions under-
lying the crisis. But, in any case, the
Tobin Committee report was the death
certificate for Operation Bootstrap.
Fiscal year 1974-75, the last for
which complete official statistics are
available, saw the Gross National Prod-
uct fall by 2.4 percent; investment in
plant and equipment decreased by
10.5 percent; exports by 12.9 percent;
and employment fell from 775,000 to
738,000, of which 10,000 jobs were lost
in the manufacturing sector. The offi-
cial unemployment rate was 20 per-
cent in 1976, even though Puerto Rico
had a labor force participation rate of
only 41 percent, one of the lowest in the
world, thus making the real unem-
ployment rate between 30 and 40
percent (as compared with an official
unemployment rate of 12 percent in
What is in store for Puerto Rico under
Commonwealth status is an economy
based on a small industrial sector with
few jobs, a large service sector (particu-
larly in the public sphere), and the mi-
gration (or subsistence on federal

Therefore, the total
pro-independence vote in
1976 was around 94,000
votes, almost four times as
many as in 1968.

transfer payments) of an increasingly
large proportion of the population
which is marginal to the process of
production. Already, about a third of all
families are completely alienated from
the production process. Not only will
this require an even greater de-
pendence on the federal government,
the social cost of this type of develop-
ment is immense. Puerto Rico is on the
way to becoming a stagnant, totally
dependent, mortgaged society, subsist-
ing on the dole.
The growing social and economic de-
composition, a new mass of young
voters born after 1940 (who, unlike
their parents, have no loyalty to the
PDP), the gradual but clear identifica-
tion of that party with powerful eco-
nomic interests a natural outgrowth
of its development theory govern-
mental corruption and the rusting of its
political machinery, resulted in a loss of
political strength for the PDP during the
1960s. This, in turn, paved the way for
the victory of the New Progressive Party
in 1968, when it obtained 43.6 percent
of the vote.
The NPP was founded by a group of
leaders, headed by industrialist Luis A.
Ferr6, who left the old Republican
(pro-Statehood) Party when that politi-
cal organization refused to participate
in the 1967 plebiscite. Mr. Ferr6 ably
adopted a populist program more left
of center than the PDP's. He also used
Mufioz Marin's old strategy of declaring
that political status (in this case, State-
hood) was not an issue in general
Early in his tenure Mr. Ferre aban-
doned his campaign commitment of
not pushing for statehood. He
repeatedly asked for support for
statehood among his friends and col-
leagues in the US Republican Party. He
was severely criticized in Puerto Rico
for such activities and gradually lost the
support of the many thousands who
had voted for him only because of his
economic and administrative program
and his personal appeal. Rampant cor-

ruption and inefficiency in his adminis-
tration, repeatedly denounced by the
Comptroller of Puerto Rico, also con-
tributed heavily to the NPP's defeat in
the 1972 elections. Thus the PDP led by
Rafael Hernandez Col6n, regained
power promising an honest and effi-
cient administration. He obtained 50.7
percent of the vote. But in 1976 the
NPR headed now by Carlos Romero
Barcel6, came back into power by at-
tacking the PDP's administrative cor-
ruption and presenting once more a
populist program.
Pointing to the 1976 elections it has
been argued that there is majority sup-
port for statehood in Puerto Rico. That
is simply not the case. First, the NPP's
official 1976 program clearly asserts
that "statehood would be achieved only
after obtaining majority support in a
plebiscite." Second, Mr. Romero Bar-
cel6 and all leaders of the NPP con-
tinuously stressed during the electoral
campaign, by all the means at their
disposal (as they did in the 1968 and
1972 elections), that a vote for the NPP
could not be considered a vote for
statehood, and that Puerto Rico's polit-
ical status was not a campaign issue
but should be placed before the voters
in a plebiscite. Third, even if we con-
sider electoral results as plebiscitary,
we must underline that in the 1976
elections the pro-statehood party ob-
tained only 48 percent of the vote, while
the parties openly opposing statehood
obtained 52 percent. Perhaps the most
important factor that has influenced
the political process since 1968 has
been the growing dissatisfaction of the
people with the conditions produced
by the increasingly ineffective "eco-
nomic scheme" of the PDP and the
subsequent political instability caused
by this dissatisfaction.
Meanwhile the Puerto Rican
Independence Party (PIP), which had
experienced sustained electoral losses
during the late 1950s and early 1960s,
gradually started to increase its elec-
toral strength. In 1968, the PIP obtained
25,000 votes, 52,000 in 1972, and
73,000 in 1976 when its candidate for
Governor obtained 83,000 votes. Since
1972 the PIP has gone before the elec-
torate with a program of independence
and democratic socialism for Puerto
A smaller group of independence
advocates, the Puerto Rican Socialist
Party, which professes a Marxist-
Leninist philosophy, took part in the
1976 general elections and obtained


nearly 11,000 votes. Therefore, the total
pro-independence vote in 1976 was
around 94,000 votes, almost four times
as many as in 1968. The percentage
totals increased from 3.5 percent in
1968 to 6.5 percent in 1976.
Fundamental to the PIP's steady
growth in votes since 1968 is the fact
that, for the first time in Puerto Rican
history, the struggle for democratic
socialism is merged with the quest for

The unresolved problems of Puerto
Rico require that we examine the differ-
ent alternatives with both US and
Puerto Rican interests in mind. The
United States has important interests in
Puerto Rico. Corporate and financial
investment in the Island is close to the
$14 billion mark. Sales of American
products amounted to $3.38 billion in
1976. And the Puerto Rican economy
in 1976 produced $1.61 billion ($7.5

billion from 1970 to 1976) in profits,
dividends, and interest payments to US
corporations and individuals. From a
military and strategic point of view, the
United States has one important naval
and air base at Roosevelt Roads and a
number of minor installations. Puerto
Rico is still considered by some to be of
strategic importance to the United
States, and many consider Puerto Rico
to be the physical and psychological
presence of the United States in the
Caribbean and Latin America.
Moreover, recently discovered copper
and nickel deposits as well as the petro-
leum deposits which it is suspected lie
offshore represent very real assets
which the United States would clearly
like to control.
But Puerto Rico is daily becoming a
more onerous burden for the American
taxpayer. Gross federal disbursements
amounted to $2.74 billion (net $1.98
billion) in 1976, and will continue to
mount as the Puerto Rican economy

deteriorates and the population in-
creases. American taxpayers are there-
fore required to contribute exorbitant
amounts to finance an economic sys-
tem which in 1976 produced for US
corporations and individuals more
than $1.5 billion dollars, a substantial
part of which is totally tax-exempt.
American cities will hardly be able to
absorb Puerto Ricans by the hundreds
of thousands. The strategic impor-
tance of the Island has decreased con-
siderably as a result of advances in
aeronautics and in satellite-relayed
US foreign policy, moreover, is no
longer served by the Commonwealth
formula, bereft as it is of propaganda
value in a world weary of colonial sub-
terfuges. US control over Puerto Rico is
understood by many to be the big stick
wielded to further US foreign policy
aims in the Western Hemisphere and
particularly in the Caribbean. Thus,
Continued on page 56

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:- Affairs, Juty 1977. Copyright 1977 by interests in common. 1968,1972, and 1976, the Independen-
-:. ---Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. On balance it is contrary to reality tista Party and all other separatist
:-- -_ and unfair to the United States to claim groups-added together havefluctuated
R-e i b_ -g Rub6n: Be-rnos- well- that the United States has exploited from eight percent to three-percent to -
-r _n ant --_iargued- article ;... Puerto Rico or thatit has done so since 65perent ofthetotal-votes:-cast.Until
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I-(A);it ls i lution that the people of thinking was turned against our own claimed-as- heir-own the nonvoting
PuertRco hi~hae repeatedly rejected. emotional preference for indepen- part of the electorate. Whetherper-
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_dence island will continue to be an im- independence means less freedom, and publicity advantages accruing to
possible anachronistic nonanswer to less.democracy, less opportunities for electoral participation;: Puerto Rico's---
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cXNBEM NVIEW^J;S&^:.^-2i=..

The Role of the Opposition

Dr. Guillermo Ungo in El Salvador
Secretary General,
National Revolutionary Movement

In the October 1978 issue (Vol. VII No. 4) Caribbean Review pre-
sented a special section on the Role of the Opposition in the
Caribbean. In that issue, Opposition leaders from Jamaica,
Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago presented their views.
e continue that series with the following article by Guillermo
Ungo, Secretary General of El Salvador's National Revolutionary
Movement. His article is a transcription of a talk given at Florida
International University, October25, 1978, under the auspices of
its Caribbean-Latin American Studies Council.
Dr Guillermo Ungo has been a leader in Salvadorean political
life since 1971 when he was named Secretary General of his party.
He was a candidate for Vice President ofEl Salvador in 1972. He is
presently the Director of the Research Institute of Jose Sime6n
Carias Central American University.

We have several ideological parties in El Salvador: The Chris-
tian Democratic Party, which was created in the early 1960s;
the center left party, and the National Revolutionary Move-
ment, the party to which I belong. More to the left is the
Communist Party, which is not legal but has some influence
on and control over a legal party called the Union Demo-
cratica Nationalista. Besides that, I would say that there are
no more legal parties with ideological stands. But there is also
the official party which represents the establishment forces,
the party of the right.
The opposition parties in El Salvador are in bad shape.
We do not have much room, we seem to be marginalized in
the political life of the country, and we live in a polarized
situation in which minorities from left and right are engaging
in continuous confrontations. This situation demands
change, because we believe that the nature of the political
solution at the turning point will depend on the political
We believe that Nicaragua is an example of this. Even if
the Sandinista Front supposedly has majority support the
people's support it is not a real alternative because it does
not work within the legal framework of the political system. In
El Salvador, the opposition parties, particularly the main legal
parties which still have the majority of the people's support,
are the only real alternatives.
What is the constitutional and historical framework? We
do have a democracy in formal constitutional terms. We have
political liberalism, we do have elections every two years for
Congress and for municipal counties. We have alternative
democracy, meaning that the president cannot be re-elected.
We have pluralism guaranteed by the constitution, we have
the parties which only participate in government through the
elections. According to the electoral laws, if you want to run
for a public post, you have to be postulated by your party, for
the parties play a major role in the functioning of the demo-
cratic state.
There are limitations to our democracy; the constitution
does not forbid any party, but rather, forbids the propagation
of doctrines contrary to democracy. This has been a problem

of interpretation not only in El Salvador but in Guatemala and
other countries. In practical terms, the ambiguous limitations
on propaganda activities have had the effect of not legalizing
any communist parties. This was a limitation established in
the early 1950s after the Second World War. It was designed
to deal with the Fascist and Anarchist parties. Communist
parties do however exist in every country in Latin America,
even where they are not legal, they do penetrate, as they have
done in our particular case through their control of this other
legal party, the Union Democratica Nacionalista.
We have had since 1932, military regimes in what is now
being called, particularly by American political scientists,
"restricted democracy." We don't like that term because it
means that there has been some kind of democracy when we
have had no democracy at all. We have had a much-
controlled state. Restricted democracy is not a very accurate
phrase it doesn't have a very truthful ring to it though we
have had some democratic openings in this restrictive de-
mocracy. But it's not real, and it's getting more restrictive and
less democratic all the time.
One reason for this is that the opposition parties never
have been able to win elections even if they had the majority
of the people and the majority of the vote. Since 1932, we
have had military presidents, military regimes under the
control of the Armed Forces. We have had only about three
more or less democratic regimes but they haven't lasted
more than three months each, in 1944,1948, and 1960-61.
When people wanted to have free elections, a coup d'etat
came along. We did not have the same kind of democratic
openings as in Guatemala and in Honduras, for example.
Our "restrictive democracy" controls the parties and lets
them act only as long as they don't question the system a
system which is oligarchic, because of the structure of land

The Oligarchy
We have a very strong oligarchy; most of it gets its capital
from coffee. It has no more than 200 families. Many years ago
a newspaperman from TIME said that we were ruled by the 14
families; that's an exaggeration, but somehow there is some
truth in the fact that very few families control more than half of
the economy of the country. We have a population which is
60% rural, and more than 60% of the agriculture depends on
export crops coffee first, then cotton, with sugar cane in
third place.
During the industrial development in the late 1950s,
early 1960s, with the economic boom of the Central Ameri-
can Market, we started having a kind of democratic opening
within this restrictive democracy. That was the time when the
Christian Democratic Party started and the National Revolu-
tionary Movement was legalized. We then began to have
proportional representation in the congress. We hadn't had
that before. The opposition parties started gaining ground


In El Salvador, the opposition parties,
particularly the main legal parties
which still have the majority of the people's support,
are the only real alternatives.

and endangering the oligarchic system. When in 1968, the
opposition almost gained a majority, the coup came. We
went into another cycle, with a more restricted democracy.
Democratic channels were closed through various means,
particularly through fraud during elections. We knew we
couldn't win through elections.
During our economic development (modernization,
urbanization, industrialization, planning) development was
supposed to displace the oligarchy. But it came to be that
most of the coffee producers and big agricultural land own-
ers got interested in the development processes. They got
into the financial banking system, they got into the social
services. The oligarchy kept control of the economy of the
country, even the developing sectors.
After the crisis in the Central American common mar-
ket, particularly after the war between El Salvador and Hon-
duras, the model didn't work anymore. Since this common
market didn't work, the call for structural reform was more
urgent, more needed. The government tried some land
reform projects. They were mild, small, gradual, and regional,
but the oligarchy didn't let the government do that. So the
social crisis and economic crisis developed somehow into a
political crisis. We understood that we could not fight a
democratic fight under non-democratic rules, that the politi-
cal parties of the opposition were not offered a real opportu-
nity to achieve power, because the government controlled
the elections. So we made a coalition of the three parties. We
were in the middle and played an important role in this
coalition. With the Christian Democrats we pushed for de-
mocracy and with the parties more to the left, we pushed for
social and economic changes. So we believe we play a
balancing role between the other two forces.
We call this coalition Union Nacional Opositora, called
UNO, which means "one." This has had a multiplying effect
because many people did not really identify with any of the
three parties, but they identified with the coalition which
issued a call for political participation, a moderate participa-
ting democracy and political freedom through elections, plus
minimum structural changes. We didn't push for a program
of nationalization. The Communists agreed with that be-
cause they say they too need to have some kind of opening,
some kind of democracy. Each political party will fend for
itself later on. But that was for the second stage. The majority
party is the Christian Democratic Party and the other parties
are about even. It was a realistic approach, with the democra-
tic forces having a majority and hegemonic power within the
We won the election but the government had produced
some very obvious tricks after the election in order to win by a
small minority, less than 9,000 votes. After that we stuck
together in a legal coalition just for electoral reasons, each
party keeping its identity but going together for elections. The
same coalition held together in 1974 for Congress and

Dr. Guillermo Ungo
Municipal elections, and every time we won more votes, we
lost more votes because the government played more tricks,
changed the electoral law, and started changing the interpre-
tation of the law assuring itself beforehand that it would get a
majority in the Congress. For example, they voided our list of
candidates in several important places so we didn't have any
candidates to work for and after that during the elections
filled up the ballot boxes beforehand. We started telling the
people that we were going to elections as a way to engage in a
political fight to raise the consciousness of the people, to get
them to know of the necessity for structural changes in the
society, and also as a way of saying something critical about
government policies.

Election Is No Way
Since then, the extreme left, the Marxist-Leninists, more to
the left than the Communist Party, started gaining ground,
fighting against us saying that election is no way, that a
revolution by armed means is the only way out for us because
elections do not have any meaning. Which is how we came to
this time. So, we take several other ways of fighting a political
fight trying to find alternative routes to power. Sometimes we
call the people publicly to go to vote and void the ballot


r .

We don't like the term "restricted democracy"
because it means that there has been some kind of democracy
when we have had no democracy at all.

because the law states that if you get a majority of voided
votes, the election must be repeated. We did that in several
places in several cities, and we won a majority on the ballot
The government changed the interpretation of the law
saying we couldn't have the election voided and call for
another one because we were not competing, and we need to
be competing to ask for the voiding of the election. And then
we asked the people to abstain, not to go. Then they changed
the penal code and they put in a criminal offense for a politi-
cal party which calls for voiding a vote by abstaining from

Now in a second, revised edition ....


Frank E. Manning
Bermudian Politics in Transition explores the process that
has given unprecedented strength to Bermuda's black
political opposition and critically weakened the white-
controlled power structure of Britain's oldest and wealthiest
colony. Based on survey research as well as intensive
fieldwork over a ten-year period, the book deals with the
politics of race as dramatically seen in voting patterns and
popular ideologies. Major findings and analysis are related
to the outbursts of mass violence that have punctuated the
past two decades, setting forth a theory of how racial
politics are understood and manipulated in an island society
where distinctive local traditions encounter the cultural
values of North America, the nationalist aspirations of the
Caribbean, and the economic realities of tourism and inter-
national finance.
Hamilton, Bermuda; Island Press.
248 pages. $6.95.
Frank E. Manning is Associate Professor and Head of
Anthropology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He
has done social research in Bermuda, Barbados, and
Antigua, and is author of Black Clubs in Bermuda.
All orders should be made directly to Baxter's
Bookshops, P.O. Box 1009, Hamilton,Bermuda.
Individuals should send remittance of U.S.
$6.95. or equivalent in foreign currency.
Delivery in three weeks.
Order Form

Nam e ................ Address ................

Number of copies............
Mail with remittance: Baxter's Bookshops
P.O. Box 1009
Hamilton 5, Bermuda

voting, so in 1976 again we went to elections and two weeks
before elections when the electoral campaigning was going
on, we pulled out, because the most important candidates list
(in the capital city and in the most important departments)
were voided for some reason that they made up. We called
the people not to go to the election and that's when they
changed the penal code in 1977.
So since 1976, then, we don't have any representation in
the Congress, not in any county, because we didn't go to any
municipal elections. People didn't want to be candidates,
people didn't want to go in an electoral campaign because
they say "I will spend money, time, and what will I get? I won't
get to be elected because they don't do that, they don't let you
do that. I will be in jail, I will be tortured and exiled so there's no
use going to the elections." But we kept on the electoral
campaign taking a message to the people calling for our
program for democratic openings, for some structural
changes. It was a conscious call to the people and also a
means of strengthening our parties and issuing a reprobation
to the government's policies.
In 1977, we again had presidential elections. This time
we tried something else. We elected as our presidential
candidate a military man, about 50 years old, with a civilian as
a vice-presidential candidate. We had several military candi-
dates. We called for a reunification between the Armed
Forces and the civilian population.
The role of an opposition party in El Salvador is very
problematic at the present time even though under formal
democracy and the conception of political liberalism, politi-
cal parties do play an important role as real alternatives to
power. The political parties are the only means to engage in
politics, but right now politics in El Salvador are very
polarized. There is a combination of social and political
struggle which is beginning to have overtones of class strug-
gle. The very anti-oligarchic movement, the majority move-
ment, of the people now has greater consciousness of the
structural problems. The oligarchic power refuses to permit a
democratic opening, because they know that any kind of
democratic opening means at least mild structural changes.
So everything is considered subversive in El Salvador. The
Communist Party is subversive, the MNR is subversive, the
Christian Democratic Party is subversive and the Archbishop
is subversive. The Archbishop is targeted by the oligarchy
because he is calling for social change. The oligarchy is right;
the situation itself is now very subversive, very polarized.
The colonial organizations are playing the role that is
reserved for the political party. The big private enterprise
organizations are playing a very political role. The teachers'
association to the left is playing a political role. The peasants'
association is playing a political role engaging in a combina-
tion of social and political struggle. The teachers' associa-
tion, which calls itself Marxist-Leninist, includes the majority
of the teachers of the country. The peasant's association,



cut page best copy available

parties are each day gaining less room, having less oxygen. It
is very difficult for them to move because elections have lost
all meaning even the new meanings we have wanted to
give them, and gave them in the past. Now there is almost no
reason for political parties.

The Private Sector
We are pessimistic in the short run but optimistic, more
optimistic in the middle term. Why? Because we believe now
some groups in the private sector now know of the need for
social change to modernize the structure of the economy.
These people, we believe are beginning to think that with
repression they cannot win. Also the US policy in some ways
doesn't look very favorable on a formal dictatorship as in
Chile. Even Pinochet has had to make some changes, so it's
not that easy for a weak government, for a weak structure, to
go to a turning point and opt for a formal dictatorship. So we
believe there are needs by different forces from left to right for
a kind of democratic opening where the political opposition
parties have a role to play.
Nicaragua seems to be for some Americans some kind
of vacuum now if Somoza goes. What is going to happen to
Nicaragua? There is no political important force, but the
Sandinista front. Political parties are needed and are impor-
tant as alternatives. A democratic opening is needed for any
kind of development, be it capitalistic or socialistic. The
parties are the only means to develop that. In El Salvador we
are optimistic of staying in the middle range because the
democratic forces, particularly the Christian Democratic
Party and my party, have the majority of the people. Neverthe-
less we have lost some ground to the extreme left since 1972.
Because of this closing of democratic channels, the people
feel sympathetic toward the revolutionaries. The same ex-
treme left knows that we have the majority of the people and
that they therefore need us in the processes of developing a
democratic opening, democratizing the country, and prom-
oting social changes.

You mentioned that there has been a movement toward the
far left and many of these people believe that armed conflict
is the only solution to El Salvador's problems. To what extent
has this been carried out? Are there guerrillas in the moun-
tains? What support do they get to maintain these opera-
You always have different answers from everybody. What I will
say is my opinion and that of several others. We do have
guerrillas, at least three movements. They have been hit hard

ment aoesn t want to ao inis, out iney [nave Lu. I nlt suJacl
composition of the guerrillas is very interesting; different
classes and university students having an impact on the
ideological base. They combine rural and urban activity. So
its a combination of urban and rural forces and a combina-
tion of urban and rural activities.
Has there been a Cuban presence in Central America?
Well, its not easy to say because, for example, one guerrilla
group some years ago spoke badly of Castro. It didn't call
itself Marxist. They consider themselves true Marxist-
Leninists and they spoke badly of Castro, and of the Soviet
Union, but now they don't. They don't say much about it. I
would say most of the guerrilla movement doesn't get in-
volved with Castro, doesn't support him but doesn't oppose
him. And the Communist Party which also is very well be-
haved, very well organized, has lost a lot of people to more
radical movements. The party is on good terms with Castro,
but they are not working for socialism, just for a democratic
Is your party in agreement with the guerrilla movement?
No. Even the Communist Party has had a lot of conflict with
them in ideological terms. The Communist Party asked for a
broader opposition front. It's not much interested in the short
run because it believes its objectives will only be attained in
the long run. Our party doesn't deal in that because we are
not Marxist-Leninists. That is Marxist-Leninist politics. We
don't fight them nor approve of some of their methods. This
is a very difficult position for us. We don't want to do much
publicly against them because that supports the anti-
communists. We don't want to give arms to the anti-
Communists because after they finish the Communists, they
will finish us and they will finish the Christian Democratic
Party, like fascism. They will finish everything.
Once the democratic opening is achieved, what do you
envision politics to look like then?
We haven't had much time to think about that. We will head
out of one problem to get into another kind of problem. We
don't believe very radical change is possible within a short
time. Even the Marxist-Leninist radical forces call for a pro-
longed war. But what does it mean? It means that changes
are not next door; that they are many years ahead. So we will
have to try a multiple approach. We believe there is no possi-
bility of democratic changes without economic changes. But


cut page best copy available

democratic society; the Christian Democrats talk about
community, and the Communists about socialism, in
Marxist-Leninist terms. But we believe the three parties still
have a long way to go.
If the coalition succeeds and then fails to hold together, which
of the parties stands the best possibility of inheriting ...?
The political party by itself is no alternative for the short run
without the Armed Forces. We have had the Armed Forces
since 1932 and the Armed Forces work within two parame-
ters, one emotional and the other ideological. The emotional
one is that they don't want to be called any more "the Watch-
dog of the Oligarchy" and that's why they are willing to go for
reforms. The other parameter is the ideological one, which
the oligarchy has managed very well through its anti-
communism, national security, all of that. Which parameter
will have greatest weight, we don't know. Furthermore, the
state and the government institutions are not an alternative
by themselves, as they thought in Peru. They cannot do

reasons. They had appealed to the peasants. They are not a
moderate party but a progressive party and still a majority.
However, the Christian Democrat Party does not have much
room to gain more it's going to go down, but it's still
remains the majority party. We believe also that by itself the
Christian Democrat Party is no alternative. They know that
because of international and national reasons that is why they
entered into a coalition with us. We believe also that we are
not a real alternative by ourselves at present, but only with the
Christian Democrats. Yet we don't want to put out the other
party. In some way formally or informally, we believe that they
should gain legal recognition because this is the only way to
have a true democratic opening. We seek to compete like in
Spain, like in Portugal, with the Communist parties and on a
democratic basis because if we put them aside, we end up
playing the same game the government is now playing. So in
a way, the three parties are the real alternative in political
You say that there is no way for the opposition party to get the


August 10th 17th, 1979

SThe University of British Columbia
Simon Fraser University
The International Congress of Americanists
provides a forum for the review of research on the
evolution and interrelationships of cultures in the
Americas. It is broadly interdisciplinary; the main
contributions have usually come out of the
Humanities and Social Sciences. The Congress first
met in France over 100 years ago. It initially
represented a very European fascination with the
origin and cultural evolution of man in the
Americas, but has long since incorporated other
perspectives. The Vancouver Congress program will
accommodate comparative studies in the Americas
as well as presentation on socio-economic
developmental issues.
Sponsoring Organizations:
* Canadian Association of Latin American Studies
* Canadian Ethnology Association
* Canadian Archaeological Association
* Canadian Anthropological and Sociological
Canadian Association of Hispanists

The following symposia are planned:
* Andean rural development
* Applied linguistics (Quechua)
* New archaeological evidence from the eastern
Andean slopes
Highland-lowland Andean interaction spheres
The indigenous novel
Amazonian colonization and development
Early prehistoric contacts between
northeastern Asia and North America
New directions in Meso-American archaeology
Mexican history
Afro-american History
Colonial latifundia
West Indies ethnohistory
Marketplace exchange-systems
Mexican agricultural systems
Northwest coast cultures
Indian land and political life World Council
of Indigenous Peoples
All correspondence including abstracts and papers
should be directed to:
Dr. Alfred H. Siemens Telephone (604) 228-3441
XLIII International Congress of Americanists
Department of Geography
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1W5


Instead of killing 200,
they kill 100;
instead of jailing 500 they jail 100.

power by election, so what do you believe is the way to get
Right now it doesn't seem that revolution is possible. So it's a
matter of the revolution not being possible for us and that the
elections still represent a possible route.
At the present moment how many political prisoners do you
estimate there are in El Salvador?
About one hundred. This government has blamed it on the
last government.
Who do you do the most trade with?
Most of our commerce goes to the United States. It has
increased in the last 15-20 years with Japan. The Japanese
own the two principal firms in textiles which formally were
national. The general process in Latin America has been that
textiles industries since the beginning of the century were
national and then became international. Also, we trade sub-
stantially with Germany. But because of the political and
strategic importance of the United States when people talk
about imperialism, they are talking about United States
What role does the policy of human rights by the US govern-
ment have in El Salvador from your point of view?
Two years ago we produced evidence on file of how they filled
up the ballot boxes and cancelled all the ballots. All of it is in
the records of Congress. Carter's policy at first created few
expectations. People thought it was aimed at the Soviet
Union and not Latin America. The United States is the first
world power, the United States has been able to change
governments, to withdraw governments, and to change
policies. In fact it did so because for example, our president
really was the best man for the oligarchy. He was the minister
of defense, in charge of repression. He promised to end every
kind of subversion and opposition, even from the Church.
The priests are to be kept in their churches, preaching there.
He was a tough man. When he took over he was very mad,
crying for unity, for collaboration and saying that legality was
the first thing of his government. He was smiling and he never
smiled before. He still is having talks with the opposition
parties, particularly with the Christian Democratic Party.
He made some promises and the US State Department
believed, or wanted to believe, the new policy and they let
down pressure. That's when the government said it has the
right to fight terrorism and they enacted this law we call 99%
democratic and 1% anti-terrorist. The US government said
we believe you are improving" and they gave El Salvador a
loan. The Inter-American Bank gave a big loan that the

government needed very badly for a dam, a hydro-electric
project. So the people became frustrated, they said, "Well,
Carter's policy of Human Rights doesn't mean anything."
This new role is going to be dependent on how the political
forces behave. How strong they get, how they manage to
maintain some kind of force and hold the pressure nationally.
The international pressure comes after the national pressure.
In a way, also there are some positive things about the US
policy. It's a negative approach but instead of killing 200, they
kill 100; instead of jailing 500 they jail 100. Until now nothing
has happened to the political leaders, the ones who are living
in El Salvador like myself because the government sells
democracy to the outside: "We have political parties, political
leaders, you can sit, talk, go and so forth." So it's good
because otherwise, we would be exiled at this time. It's elec-
tive repression.

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The Opposition in Guyana

By Bishwaishwar Ramsaroop
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of the House,
Republic of Guyana

-A Response

On behalf of the Government of Guyana I would like to
respond to the article, "The Role of The Opposition in
Guyana," by Cheddi Jagan, Leader of the People's Progres-
sive Party, which was published in Caribbean Review (Vol. VII,
No. 4). Indeed, your admirable courtesy in providing similar
publication space gives us another welcome and timely
opportunity to put in proper perspective some of the policies
and proposals of the governing party, the People's National
Congress, as well as, to point up the misleading inaccuracies,
inconsistencies and contradictions of the leadership of the
People's Progressive Party.
In a recent debate in Parliament, the leader of the PPR Dr.
Cheddi Jagan, in response to the heckling by a member on
the Government benches to the effect that he was a "Moscow
Puppet" said this (and I quote verbatim): "Call me a Moscow
puppet! I am glad for that! I am glad for that! I am not
ashamed of being a Moscow puppet-if you want to put it
that way, because Moscow stands for socialism, it stands for
democracy, it stands for proletarian internationalism."
Herein lies the fundamental problem of the PPP as the
main Opposition Party in Guyana. It cannot make up its mind
about its own particular role in the open society that is
Guyana. In 1977 a total of 106,948 residents left Guyana for
either temporary or permanent visits overseas, while 97,542
came into Guyana, both figures increased by about 10% in
1978, and Guyana does not have a tourist industry to account
for large movements of people. On a very rough estimate,
about 12% of the Guyanese people have been travelling each
The PPP clearly could not see itself as functioning as the
Opposition Party does in Moscow, which in Dr. Jagan's words
"stands for socialism, democracy and for proletarian
internationalism"-for obvious reasons. The PPP therefore
seeks to fall back on attempting to see itself as performing
the traditional role of the Opposition in a Westminster type
Parliamentary democracy. But part of that role demands of
the Opposition that it sees itself as a possible alternative to
the PNC Government. And there is no possibility of the PPP as
a single entity gaining positive national support as a possible
First of all, its own power base has been severely shattered
over the last two or three years, and this has been reflected in
the significant resignations of most of its top leaders. The
Deputy Leader of the PPR Ranji Chandisingh, resigned in
1977 and joined the PNC. The Leader of the PPP Youth Arm
(the PYO), Vincent Teekah, resigned in 1976, and joined the
PNC; he has since become Minister of Education, Social
Development & Culture. The Leader of the Women's Arm,
Beatrice Cassato, resigned in 1977, and has since joined the
PNC. The Leading figure in the Trade Union Arm, Guyana
Agricultural Workers' Union, Harry Lall, resigned in 1977, and
has since joined the PNC. There were of course, a spate of
resignations following in the wake of these, ranging in interest

groups from the President of their Students' Association at
the University of Guyana to Lallbachand Balbahadur, who
was responsible for Trade Union Education. As was to be
expected, these were followed by the falling away of signifi-
cant numbers of grass roots members.
Secondly, the truncated PPP has not been able to shake off
its image as a racist party. Since 1957 elections which they
fought with the cry "Apaan Jhaat" (support your own race);
they blew their cover as a non-racist Marxist party. In his
article, "The Role of the Opposition in Guyana," Dr. Jagan
says that "in 1955, our party was split; a large majority of the
Africans in the leadership remained with me." If this was true,
one is tempted to ask "where are they now?" The PPP has 14
members in Parliament. There are only two members who
appear to be of African descent. Eusi Kwayana, one of the
PPP's present associates described them in 1964 as "This
mischievous, racist agent of racial disharmony."
Thirdly, it seems difficult to escape the conclusion that the
PPP's mad scramble to cement a grouping under a banner
called National Front is, in fact, a recognition by them that
they need to broaden their own base at all costs. They have
forged a grouping that came into high visibility during the
Referendum Campaign: First, there are a few Jesuit priests
with mass media influence (the Editor of the Catholic Stan-
dard is among them); then there is a rightist group describing
itself as the "Liberator Party" led by Dr. Kumar (this group
emerged out of union between a small group of the right
wing. There are East Indian professionals and businessmen,
and that same "third party" which Dr. Jagan described in his
article as "reactionary, anti-communist, pro-capitalist and
pro-imperialist"). Another member of the group, Sydney
King (now known as Eusi Kwayana), had campaigned in
1961 for partition of Guyana to allow the Africans and East
Indian descendants to live in separate and independent
zones in Guyana. Finally there is Brindley Benn's Group
calling itself "The Vanguard Party"-although this alliance
with Brindley Benn seems to be under considerable strain on
both sides.
In any case, the spectacle of a Moscow-line (not even
USSR) Marxist tramping from country to country in support
of what has elsewhere been described as "bourgeois"
democracy just does not ring true. It is as cynically amusing
as the picture of the PPP screaming from the columns of their
"Mirror" newspaper published in Georgetown, Guyana, or
from a soapbox placed just about anywhere in Guyana that
freedom of expression is dead.

The PPP Wants Power
The PPP wants power-one can sympathize with this as an
objective of a party; and the PPP is determined to get
power-one understands this. But what does take a great
degree of tolerance to accept is that the PPP will use any


"Call me a Moscow puppet!
I am glad for that! I am glad for that!
I am not ashamed of being a Moscow puppet-
if you want to put it that way, because Moscow stands for socialism,
it stands for democracy,
it stands for proletarian internationalism."

situation whatsoever in its quest for this power. When the
PNC Government nationalized, the PPP's line shifted as
Jagan says "to another position, that nationalization alone is
not socialism; what is needed is democracy." But the PNC
has known this all along: Nationalism has never been an
ultimate objective of the PNC-for that matter neither has
Socialism; the first represents a tactic and the second a
strategy for the achievement of a better life for all our citizens.
This is why in the Bauxite Industry for example, the PNC's
approach to owning and controlling our natural resources
has had to take into account the constraint imposed by the
PPP's attitude as expressed in their 1964 Election Manifesto
where they said, "The PPP reaffirms that it will not nationalize
the sugar and Bauxite Industries." The behind-the-door
negotiations between the PNC and PPP to gain the support of
the PPP in Parliament for nationalization must be seen as part
of the agony of dealing from a position of principle with a PPP
constantly shifting their party line and not matching their
actions to their rhetoric.
The strike in 1977 in the sugar industry was timed to
coincide with very harsh economic conditions in Guyana and
was designed to destroy the Guyanese economy to the extent
that the population would turn against the present Govern-
Kwayana accused the PPP in 1964 of "making election
propaganda out of the disturbances" of the early 1960s, now
in 1979 the attempt is to do the same with the terrible tragedy
of Jonestown.
The present economic situation seemed to the PPP to
provide a readybuilt stage from which they could propel
themselves to power. Guyana has not escaped the ravages of
the worsening world economic situation; and with an econ-
omy based primarily on agriculture with aspirations and
structure geared basically to provide a market for the devel-
oped world, Dr. Jagan calculated that the population would
be sufficiently disaffected to withdraw the confidence it has
been showing in the PNC Government. Then came the IMF
Standby arrangement and Jagan felt sure that his time had
To understand this we need to look at the last few years in
Guyanese history. At every election since 1957 the PPP has
shouted "fraud"-this was as true in 1957 and 1961 when the
PPP was in charge of the electoral machinery as it has been
true in 1964,1968,1973 and recently at Referendum 1978.
But significantly the PPP have failed to test these particular
allegations of fraud in court, although they have successfully
taken to court or supported several other cases. Incidentally,
contrary to Jagan's claim, the 1978 Referendum never
"asked people to give up the right to future referenda on any
constitutional change." What goes into the new Guyana
Constitution will depend on what the Guyanese people want.
Since the opposition boycotted the Referendum, it is not
surprising that those who voted, in fact voted 'yes'!

When the PPP agreed that Duncan Sandys should settle
the electoral system for Guyana, it was against a background
of very close 1961 electoral votes for PNC as against
PPP-41% as against 42.6%; and this was reflected in the
great disparity of allocation of seats-20 seats for the PPP as
against 11 seats for the PNC. Duncan Sandys accepted the
recommendation of the PNC and decided on Proportional
Representation, i.e., that the seats allocated nationally would
represent the percentage of votes gained nationally. PPP cries
of "cheat and fraud" grew louder and harsher.
With the change to proportional representation the free
expression of the will of the people was to be reflected in the
Parliament of the nation, beginning with the General Elec-
tions of 1964 at which PNC won 22 seats, United Force 7
seats and PPP 24 seats. The PNC had moved on to build up
popular support through their involvement of the people at
every turn.
Frankly, the PPP were completely outmaneuvered: The
PNC with the limited purpose of gaining Independence
formed a coalition with the capitalist-oriented United Force
Party, led the country to Independence and embarked on the
path of socialist reconstruction to make the small man a real
man-not a "rich man" as Jagan incorrectly reports in his
article (Jagan always gets his facts wrong).
Against the background of the cooperative as part of
Guyana's historical experience in people's participation,
cooperativism as a way of life clearly suggested itself as the
technique for Guyana to achieve what has been in other
places described as "people's power." By 1970 Guyana be-
came the first Cooperative Republic.
There was a fantastic response by the people of Guyana, as
in rapport with their PNC Leaders they planned and worked
to change the harsh realities of life in an ex-colony. Self-help
projects bloomed: Health Centres, houses, schools, drainage
and irrigation schemes, roads, community centers appeared
as a result of the cooperative effort of people and their Gov-
ernment. Many areas that had traditionally supported the PPP
joined in the enthusiasm of this new type of restructuring of
their societies, and allegiance shifted and changed sides.
The economic climate improved particularly in the world
scene. The world price of sugar soared from a 1973 peak of
150 per ton to a peak price of 650 per ton in 1974/75.
These increases were creamed off deliberately by a taxing
mechanism and used as investment funds for the entire
Jagan protested. He saw himself as the traditional champ-
ion of the sugar estate worker, and in fact the most militant
union in the sugar industry at that time was GAWU, the trade
union arm of the PPP Jagan argues that the excess profit that
came, even though it did not come as a result of increased
productivity of the sugar industry, but due to a world price
increase, should go to the sugar workers since it was in their
industry that this happened. The argument was pushed until


Co-operativism as a way of life
clearly suggested itself as the technique
for Guyana to achieve what has been
in other places described as "people's power."

it was used, dressed up in different guises, as the excuse to
call a strike in the sugar industry at a time when that industry,
and indeed the entire economy was hard pressed, partly
because of increasing world prices, but also because that
same sugar price had by 1977 dropped back from the 650
per ton it had reached to about 100 per ton at a time when
production costs were about 150 per ton-a strike, that cost
the country between $80-$100 million. But then the PPP's
GAWU has what must be a record-462 work stoppages
between 1973 and 1976 costing the economy $260 million.

Disruptive Activities
The PPP's attempted disruptive activities have not been
directed at the economy alone. Indeed, as far as the election
procedure is concerned, High Court Judge DhanessarJhap-
pan in his 1973 Commission of Enquiry Report found that
the Corentyne Coast disturbances during the 1973 elections
had "some direct bearing to the speeches made at political
meetings held by the People's Progressive Party in June,
1973 when Dr. Jagan in particular told his supporters what
they were to do after the close of the polls on polling day to
prevent the ballot boxes from leaving the polling stations."
The partnership of people and PNC Government that


From December 2-7, 1979, Florida International University
will be conducting the International Conference on Housing
Planning, Financing, Construction in North, Central, South Ameri-
can and Caribbean Countries. Co-sponsors are the International
Association for Housing Science, USA; the Miami-Dade Branch of
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ing, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA.
The program will be a major international conference and will
address various topics relevant to housing such as engineering,
construction, management, materials, systems analysis, case
studies, land policies, transportation, environment, architecture,
and industrialization of production. We expect 2,000 people at the
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one of Miami Beach's finest hotels, the Americana.
For more information concerning the program contact:
Dr. Oktay Ural
Professor and Director
International Institute for Housing and Building
Florida International University
Tamiami Campus
Miami, Florida 33199
Telephone: (305) 552-2764

followed the formation of the Coop Republic in 1970 had to
be broken up as far as the PPP was concerned, and power
given to or seized by, the PPP In all fairness to Jagan he has
been consistent in trying to achieve these two objectives. He
has tried everything. He tried a campaign of non-
cooperation. He announced his campaign and chose a day
on which this campaign would start-when people should
not go to work, farmers should not sell their produce in the
urban areas, and there should be a general boycott of civic
activities. That one did not last long. Few people listened; and
when it became known that some leading members of his
party had not heeded his call (I remember seeing a picture of
his own brother, then a Member of Parliament and a success-
ful Barrister-at-Law, on his way to work) the whole thing
He tried negotiation: He called upon the leadership of the
PNC to have discussions on matters of national importance.
The PNC agreed and discussions started. After only a few
months the talks collapsed. No self-respecting people's
Government would in this way bargain away the responsibil-
ity that the electorate had committed to them. Jagan was told
clearly that if he wanted power he would have to get it from
the people, not from the leadership of the PNC.
He then tried his most frequently used tactic-boycott.
After the 1973 election he boycotted Parliament, but found
that the loss of his status as leader of the Opposition lost him
a significant part of his audience; and he rapidly found him-
self becoming effete. It was an untenable position for the PPP
and for anyone who supported the PPP So following a meeting
of the Communist Parties of Latin America and the Carib-
bean, held in 1975 in Havana, where it was declared that there
should be cooperation among all those working in the
Socialist cause, Jagan rather shamefacedly re-entered the
house in 1976 and announced a programme of "critical
support." The PPP had not taken up their seats for over two
years; but in the interest of Parliamentary democracy, the
PNC did not seek a forfeiture of PPP's seats.
Then came the declining economic situation, the value of
Guyana's production could not keep pace with the value of
our imports; and foreign exchange problems developed. The
revenue earned could not keep pace with expenditure par-
ticularly as a significant part of revenue is used to pay salaries
of the large number of workers employed in the service
sector-"Bureaucrats" Jagan calls them in his presentation.
Jagan complains in his presentation that "38% of the budget
goes to the bureaucracy As part of the PNC policy of diversify-
ing the economy, the people-oriented Government of the
PNC asked the TUC to lend support for a programme of
proper labour placement by redeploying workers in an orga-
nized and planned way from the service sector to econom-
ically productive areas. The PPP however, responded and is
still responding with cries of "Retrenchment! Retrenchment!
No Retrenchment".


In any case, the fact remains that since 1964,
the year the Guyanese people threw the PPP out
of office after the violence of the early 1960s,
Guyana has become a dynamic country with
the infrastructure necessary for sustained growth.

Attendant on the economic and the foreign exchange
problems Guyana intensified her programmes of encourag-
ing Guyanese to use their own products and import only
essential commodities; but the PPP's reply is that this is a plot
to discriminate against Indians, as Indians, need split peas
imported from outside.
The limits on importation have led to shortages in the
hands of a distribution system geared for a situation where
imported commodities have been over abundant and where
for a country on the continent borders are relatively open,
coastlines are long and shipping is in good supply. When this
was placed beside a situation where Government deliberately
kept down the prices of food commodities one understands
the great filip that was given to smuggling commodities into
nearby countries. Thus shortages particularly on imported
articles developed; and in a country where private enterprise
is still a significant part of our economy and where the major-
ity of private shop-keepers had political and cultural alliances
which were not supportive of Government, there followed
partly successful attempts to manipulate the supply of
needed commodities.
The argument could go on for a long time; but ultimately
the rhetoric of the PPP will have to be judged on their per-
formance. In any case, the fact remains that since 1964, the
year the Guyanese people threw the PPP out of office after the
violence of the early 1960s, Guyana has become a dynamic
country with the infrastructure necessary for sustained
growth: We have a Central Bank and a system of commercial
banks structured on a cooperative basis; we have a banking
structure and financing system for specific support to the
agricultural sector and small industries (the Coop Agricul-
tural and Industrial Development Bank), for housing (the
Cooperative Mortgage Finance Bank), and for general
commercial purposes (the Guyana National Coop Bank).
We have established a State Planning Commission to
ensure that development is orderly, structured, and directed
in the way that Guyanese want it to go; and in this context it is
good to know that we have published the Guyana Investment
Code which sets our guidelines for investment in the co-
operative, public and private sectors, and makes it clear that
private investment is welcome but in a way directed by
us-the people of Guyana.
We have taken control of our natural resources in a signifi-
cant way and these resources are exploited for the benefit of
all of Guyana. We do not have the ability to develop all our
own resources by ourselves. We are now looking at a project
for developing hydro-electric power that should itself have
tremendous positive implications for the future of Guyana
and in terms of many of our Caribbean projects, for the future
of the entire Caribbean.
Guyanese people have a will to succeed. The Opposition
has taken to externalising the problems of Guyana. If by
doing this, they will contribute to the healthy growth of the

Guyanese nation, so be it. If by this they hope that they can
get external help or create an external climate for seizing
power then one will have to conclude that the role of the
Opposition, certainly in Guyana, has taken unto itself a new


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Third World countries are adopting several different ap-
proaches at the same time to cope with the enormous prob-
lems of housing and employment for their rapidly growing
populations. Particularly in the vicinity of major urban centers
where the spread of incomes is wide, this type of quasi-urban
development is observable. We shall call it "melange" settle-
The speed and spontaneity of development, both
planned and unplanned, give rise to a complex mosaic of
juxtaposed sub-units of settlement having quite diverse
social and physical characteristics. Despite geographical
proximity, these sub-units may be antagonistic and even
mutually hostile.
A distressingly large array of seemingly intractable prob-
lems soon appears, involving organization at the community
level, social amenities, geographical mobility, provision of
basic utilities and in fact the entire life and well-being of the
residents of these settlements. In some cases, what begins as
an attempted solution becomes in short order a part of the
problem. Such "melange" development is evidently well
advanced in the parish of St. Catherine, a quasi-urban locality
within the Kingston metropolitan region, and in St. James,
adjoining the urban center of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The Settlement Explosion
A principal spatial feature of the Third World at the present
time is the settlement explosion in the vicinity of major urban
centres. In primary metropolitan areas, this phenomenon has
been of sensational dimensions. For example, three Latin
American city-regions, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Rio de
Janeiro. had a combined population in 1960 of 7.9 million. A
mere seventeen years later, an additional 26 million persons
resided in them, bringing their combined human population
to almost 34 million. Taking the case of Mexico City alone, in

terms of space, this explosion was expressed by the effective
occupation of an additional peri-urban ring 600 kms' in area
and its engulfment into the metropolis.
Some urban areas have somehow sustained during that
same period annual rates of growth in excess of 8% per year
- Lagos, Kinshasa, and Seoul, for example. Because of the
small size of national territories in the Caribbean region, the
scale of this population and settlement explosion has been of
lesser absolute magnitude than the examples referred to
above, but in relative terms its effects have been almost as
dramatic and its management just as problematic. The
setting of the present study is Jamaica, where despite a total
national population slightly in excess of two million, the
pressures and problems of the settlement explosion still
occur in acute form.
The dynamic pressures in this situation derive from two
powerful sources. The first involves population dynamics. If
there were no external migration from Jamaica, it could be
safely assumed that within the Kingston metropolitan area
(population approximately 640,000) there would be a net
annual increment of 8999 newly formed household units
actively seeking residential accommodation due to popula-
tion growth alone. Accurate data on the magnitude and
age-structure of outward migration is not available for recent
years, although it is believed to be high, particularly from the
middle and upper income sectors of the population. Thus,
the actual increment from this source is certainly less than
this figure; a reasonable guess would be 6000 new house-
holds annually from this source. This figure can be compared
with approximately 4500 home units actually completed
during 1977 in the metropolitan area, so that in fact even this
first demand is probably unfulfilled. This figure does not
include units completed by individuals or by self-help
The second source of pressure is the dynamic for im-
provement. This is far more significant, although the effective
pressure of demand it creates is impossible to quantify, since
it reflects subtle changes in social psychology as well as


Cases from St. Catherine
and St. James, Jamaica

By L. Alan Eyre

j 7,


economic trends. However, some crude indicators of the
magnitude, actual and potential, of this dynamic factor are
suggested by the following 1970 data:
* In the metropolitan parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew
86,000 out of 130,000 dwellings were rented or leased.
* In central Kingston, only 14 percent of all dwellings had to
use an outside pipe, shared with others.
* In Kingston. 80 percent of all households shared toilet
facilities with other households.
* In Kingston and St. Andrew, 43 percent of all dwellings (58
percent in Kingston) consisted of only one room.
One measure of this pressure is the mobility in and out
of particular neighborhoods. In a study of Jones Town, a
congested neighborhood 2 Kms' in area with approximately
7000 population in lower St. Andrew, N. H. Gentles showed
that only 10% of the house-holder population was born in St.
Andrew and more than 80 percent was born outside the
metropolitan area. In a few highly transient localities like
Delacree Pen and in western Kingston. sample surveys have
shown that the actual rate of movement is so great that within
a year, half the population has left the neighborhood and
been replaced. Inevitably, the pressure is exerted outward to
the more open peri-urban fringe. In fact, between 1960 and
1970, 60 kms' of inner Kingston and St. Andrew actually
declined in population, some census divisions showing a net
loss of between 25 and 50 percent over the decade.
The scramble for shelter is of such a nature and mag-
nitude that almost any available space within a wide radius is
quickly utilized in some way or another. Pressure tends to
focus upon certain marginal land areas, giving rise to peri-
urban shanty towns. However, although this 'solution' is one
achieved by as much as a quarter of the population in the
Jamaican context, it is by no means the only one.
Many different patterns of housing provision can be
observed in the peri-urban ring and the Kingston metropoli-
tan area has spilled over first into the adjoining parish of St.
Andrew and since 1970 into St. Catherine. The full range of
provision for residential capital in the Kingston metropolitan
area now consists of a truly bewildering assortment of hous-
ing units:
1) Private-sector housing consists of individual
custom-built units on very small, privately-owned plots,
housing schemes (individual units) built by private devel-

opers, and apartments and townhouses.
2) Housing schemes were popular prior to 1975, but
since the Duffus Commission and the 1976 general election.
there has been little action in this category. Traditionally,
developers' finance drew heavily upon the advance deposits
of prospective buyers, but the Duffus Commission revealed
many irregularities and in any case, inflation required un-
precedented escalation of both deposits and prices after
3) Public-sector provision for housing includes apart-
ments and townhouses, which have tended to be built on
large suburban lots after demolishing older type homes.
However, many hundreds have also been erected in the
peri-urban ring.
4A) Government-aided housing schemes for sale on
mortgage to individual owners, or since 1976) on long lease.
These include schemes built by government-financed or
supported bodies, including those financed by overseas
lending or donor agencies. They cater mainly for lower
professional, clerical, and artisan workers in sustained em-
B) National housing trust schemes funded by the Na-
tional Housing Trust (financed by a special tax on both em-
ployers and employees), these are allocated by lottery and
payment is on a quasi-mortgage basis. These also require at
least a lower-middle income level and a steady job to qualify,
at least at the time of writing.
C) Government (Ministry of Housing) low income
schemes for rental or long lease. Some of these subsidized
schemes pre-date the Second World War, and many were
built after the 1951 hurricane disaster. Construction has been
accelerated since 1976 and this is probably now the domi-
nant mode. They include a range of rental levels and unit
sizes from four-apartment to one-room units. They also
include both block and wooden types of construction. Some
people in marginal or casual employment do manage to
qualify. Many of the smaller homes are enlarged at the oc-
cupier's expense.
D) Sites and services schemes, as the term indicates, a
small lot and a basic infrastructure are provided for each
household. A rough temporary shelter may be built by the

occupier, and more permanent construction may proceed
rapidly or slowly, depending on available income. In practice,
however, government-sponsored contractors often build
standardized houses by arrangement, so that these schemes
may be indistinguishable visually from "C" above.
An intractable problem is that allocation through the
public sector has been strongly influenced by political pa-
tronage rather than actual need. In addition, new shanty
towns arise when vacant land is captured. Squatters then
construct (often very rapidly) temporary accommodation
which, depending on the subsequent history of the site, may
be improved and be provided with some basic services
(many of these, particularly power, are usually pirated at first).
Alternatively, a visually similar type of development occurs on
land for which the early settlers pay a nominal ground rent.
Either way, a permanent community may eventually emerge,
passing through several stages in the process.
Finally, tenements or rooms within private yards are
used for rental or lease. These are characteristic of some
older peri-urban shanty towns as well as in the older sections
of the inner city. Early settlers in these communities studied
by G. T Hanson have met subsequent pressures of demand
by erecting huts, rooms, and apartments within the yards they
occupy and then renting or leasing them. The practice is, it
would seem, still continuing since the time of Hanson's study,
but probably at a reduced rate owing to the introduction of
rent restriction by government and its persistent characteriza-
tion of the private landlord as an exploiter.

Melange Settlements
In areas where the explosive pressures described are strongly
focused, for example, peri-urban locations close to main
arterial transportation routes, space for all or most of these
types of housing is the object of intense competition. The
speed of planned development, and the spontaneity of un-
planned growth, give rise to a landscape which consists of a
quasi-urban melange, a complex mosaic of juxtaposed
sub-units of settlement having quite diverse social and phys-
ical characteristics. The result may be a mappable quasi-
urban settlement, but it is very far from being a community.
Such a melange settlement is Central Village, St.
Catherine, 19 kms from downtown Kingston. Within Central
Village, despite geographical proximity and a fairly clearly
defined perimeter, the various settlement sub-units are
fiercely introverted, suspicious of outsiders, antagonistic and
even overtly hostile. Within some neighborhoods, as well as
between them, community integration is virtually non-
existent and social relations are fractious, difficult and fre-
quently subject to outbreaks of petty disorder. Occasionally
mpre serious problems arise, leading to criminally expressed
violence, and the police in such circumstances have become
involved; indeed it is with some reasonableness stated that
the police respond in a manner which suggests that they are
part of the problem, not a part of the solution. In some of the
sub-units the spread of incomes and of the value of even
adjoining homes is very wide.
Bisecting the settlement of Central Village is the dual
Kingston-Spanish Town highway. It is known locally as the
"Line of Demarcation." To the south are four principal sub-
units: Big Lane and nearby lanes, mainly a form of shanty
town with yards; a small commercial section, with some
middle income homes; Twickenham Park, a lower-middle
income settlement initiated by the Jamaica Labour Party
administration prior to 1972. All of these three sub-units tend

What begins as an attempted solution
becomes in short order a further part of
the problem. The flight from squalor and
crime draws crime and squalor in pursuit.

to be considered JLP in political allegiance. However, in fact
little love is lost between Twickenham Park and Big Lane, as
the residents of the former tend to view the latter as a hive of
criminality. Between them is the newer development of
Spaulding Gardens; this sub-unit, named after the Minister of
Housing after 1972, was developed by the People's National
Party administration and its residents have a reputation for
being fiercely socialist in policies and allegiance.
On the north side of the dual highway is a fairly mature
and congested low-income shanty town known as Zion, the
home of many Rastafarians, radical leftists, and a reputed
hotbed of social activism and protest. Many "dreads" inhabit
this section. It does not, however, have the same local reputa-
tion for criminality as Big Lane. Bordering Zion on the north is
Suffers' Heights, an elevated section, overlooking the rest of
the sub-units, consisting of several types of housing -
squatters, site and services, and low-income government
housing for rental and lease all developed or encouraged
since 1975 by the PNP administration. The whole of this
section is highly politicized, regular socialist meetings being
held in several places, and reputedly unswervingly loyal to the
PNP government.
The fragmentation of Central Village is manifest at all
levels. Various sub-units are independent in such basic mat-
ters as water and sewage utilities, garbage disposal (if any),
shops patronized, residents' associations, youth club activ-
ities, religious affiliation and church attendance, and political
loyalties. Residents of these various sub-units are like the
biblical Jews and Samaritans and have virtually no dealings
with one another. The member of parliament and the local
parish counselor appear to be welcome only in those sec-
tions having the same political affiliation, and both of them in
fact are seen even there only rarely. A footbridge spans the
dual highway, but is little used except by children, and many
residents admit to fear of crossing it or any other of the subtle
'frontiers' between various sections of Central Village. With
government prodding, at the end of 1977 the first tentative
feelers were being made towards a Community Council on
which representatives from each sub-unit would sit together.
The local politicians, and most of the residents except a few
brave pioneers in community relations, seem so far to have
little interest in it.
The practical problems of a melange settlement are
daunting in their magnitude and complexity. Central Village is
a land-valuers despair, and it is unlikely that it will ever provide
a logically consistent tax base. Consequently, basic amenities
and services are uneconomic, ad hoc and piecemeal in
nature, and inefficient in operation. Laments are frequent and
often justified about water, sewerage, flood control, garbage
disposal, lighting, police and fire protection (there is no fire
station at all and police operate from a converted trailer).
Storm waters flood homes irregularly but seriously. Public
transportation is a nightmare, since none originates in the
settlement and consequently passes through in an already
grossly overcrowded condition. Residents state that three


hours is not an unusual time to wait in a morning for trans-
portation to school or work. Aggravating the situation is the
fact that in Big Lane, Zion, and Sufferes' Heights, unemploy-
ment is in excess of 30 percent and underemployment even
higher. In 1960, the population was 1250; in 1979 it may reach
10,000; yet there are 14 small groceries, 6 bars, and 17 other
small business establishments in Central Village indicating a
very low order centre in the settlement hierarchy.
Lakes Pen is a smaller settlement 4 kms southwest of
Central Village, having many similar characteristics and
experiencing similar problems. B. Roman (a resident) com-
ments: "It is inevitable that an area such as this will experience
many problems ... One main problem is the limited land
space...; in general the area lacks such adequate facilities as
postal, transport, health, sanitation, recreational and protec-
tive services. Residents have to wait for hours to get a bus.
School children are most times late for school and adults
usually arrive late at their places of employment... The area is
now molested by pick-pockets, robbers, burglars and rapists.
Residents fear for their lives in the dark. Health and sanitation
services are lacking ... garbage is never collected. Lakes Pen
is indeed in deplorable condition."
Despite these problems, it is to settlements such as
Central Village and Lakes Pen than many of the 40% in Jones
Town referred to earlier intend to move. This is simply be-
cause the problems they know to expect in these settlements
are perceived as being more manageable than those actually
being experienced in the inner city neighborhoods. In the
great majority of cases, the reason for intending to move
from the latter was given to the author as insecurity and the
prevalence of gunmen or "bad men."

A Similar Pattern
In St. James, the parish in which the city of Montego Bay is
situated, a similar pattern to that in the Kingston-St.
Andrew-St. Catherine area is evident on a smaller scale. The
same dynamic forces are observable. The pressures which
have created the Montego Bay shanty towns continue un-
abated. Moreover, the magnitude of the 'push' forces is
indicated by the fact that, despite the worst economic reces-
sion in recent history in Montego Bay (1976-77) which
virtually turned the city into a disaster area, shanty towns
and peri-urban melange settlements continue to expand,
indeed explode.
In 1968, the author carried out a detailed survey of
Barrett Town, St. James, and described the problems beset-
ting that growing community. Since that time the growth has
continued unabated, and many of the problems have faded
even farther from solution. The density of population has
risen from 563 per km2 in 1968 to over 1500 per km2 in 1977.
An even smaller fraction of the community's gross income
can now be generated locally than in 1968. The average
distance travelled to work and to cultivate land has increased
by several kilometers.
Several of the attempted solutions in regard to accom-
modation for various economic levels are now to be found in
Barrett Town: new individual homes, extensions to existing
homes, government housing for the indigent, government
housing for workers, self-help projects, together with shacks
and shanties of various designs and materials. Barrett Town is
now a thoroughly melange settlement with many of the
concurrent problems.
On the face of it, the emerging pattern in these quasi-
urban melange settlements is a rather depressing one. Public

and private efforts to cope with the demographic and social
pressures are certainly evident. But it is all too obvious that
what begins as an attempted solution becomes in short order
a further part of the problem. The flight from squalor and
crime draws crime and squalor in pursuit. An adequate
infrastructure is rarely, if ever, laid before the development
surges ahead. The explosion of the urban areas and the push
of the rural areas on the one hand, and the influx into the
quasi-urban settlements on the other two sides of the
same coin trail a daunting number of unsatisfied de-
mands which need herculean efforts and considerable funds
to fulfill.
Government and private business, alone or in combina-
tion, cannot cope with the pressures adequately or match the
demand. In such conditions only a fruitful combination of
self-help and cooperation is capable of bridging the gap. In
melange settlements class differences, fear, political polariza-
tion, patronage, victimization, and unemployment must be
recognized for what they are: divisive elements that prevent
achievement of solutions. Links between groups and sub-
units must be forged in a spirit of unity and by recognizing
common interests. Unfortunately, in the communities dis-
cussed, there appears only the feeblest flickerings of this kind
of approach. Indeed, in some areas, there is unmistakable
evidence of a deepening of rifts between groups and an
intensification of local suspicion, introversion, and of
chauvinism and xenophobia on an unbelievable minute
scale, an individual lane or a small group of yards for in-
stance. Only by breaking down such barriers and recognizing
and acting on over-riding common interests better
amenities and basic services for all is any progress likely in
the development of real communities rather than set-
tlements which are a melange or congeries of fragmented
and warring groups.

L. Alan Eyre teaches Geography at the University of the West Indies,
Mona, Jamaica.

from FIU's International Affairs Center

The School of Education extended its Interna-
tional In-Service Teacher Training Program to
Honduras during the Winter Quarter. A team of FlU
professors taught a course for the faculty of Maza-
pan School, La Ceiba.
The School of Technology will continue its
cooperative program with the College of the
Bahamas by offering courses there during the
Spring Quarter. The School of Technology is also
offering Bahamians non-credit instruction in medical
The Department of Public Administration con-
tinues its MPA program for mid-level officials of the
Mexican Government.
International Affairs Center
Florida International University
Tamiami Trail
Miami, Florida 33199
(305) 552-2846



Among the Caribs

On the remote windward side of the
West Indian island of Dominica live the
0 descendants of the Caribs, those war-
like American Indians who once
S. occupied most of the islands in the
Eastern Caribbean. The Carib Reserve,
a parcel of land on the Atlantic coast set
--L." .... aside for these people early in this cen-
tury, contains a population of about

among the wind and wave-swept cliffs
of this side of the island have encour-
aged a relative concentration of settle-
ment on the island's leeward edge
where Roseau, Dominica's only town, is
located. The island, which encom-
passes roughly 300 square miles, is
extremely rugged, with numerous high
mountains, nearly all of which remain
covered by virgin rain forest. To get
from' Roseau, the capital, to the Carib
Reserve, one must travel for several
hours along thirty miles of poorly main-
tained, single lane roads which weave
and climb laboriously over the island's
interior. Dominica meagerly supports a
0: predominantly African population of
approximately 78,000 people, and has
one of the lowest per capital incomes in
the West Indies. This former British
Colony, independent since November
3, 1978, attracts few tourists, has no
natural mineral resources, very little in-
dustry, and suffers from a severe trade
The Carib population shares fully in
the dismal economic conditions which
beset this tropical island, and is gener-
ally indistinguishable from the larger
Afro-Dominican Creole population in
appearance, material culture, and be-
havior. Although individuals with
straight black hair may be seen more
frequently inside the reservation than
A elsewhere on the island, most Caribs
are phenotypically indistinguishable
from other Dominicans, for Carib-
African miscegenation has been con-
tinuous since the sixteenth century.
Like the others who make up the
'* -k P". largely peasant population of this is-
land, Caribs practice small-scale culti-
vation of subsistence and cash crops,


By Anthony Layng

speak both French patois and English.
maintain a high illegitimacy rate lap-
proximately 35%), and uncrticall\ ad-
mire most whites. In spite of a seeming
lack of cultural differentiation, the res-
ervation status of this population does
render it structurally distinctive. The
government has tried repeatedly\ to
terminate this reservation, but the
Caribs, led by an elected chief, have
successfully thwarted each arternpt. in-
sisting that such a move -.ould
threaten their Carib identitl.
At least 90% of all Caribs consider
themselves to be Catholics. and this
proportion is reflective of religious
preferences in most parts of the island.
Nevertheless, an examination of relig-
ious beliefs and practices in the Re-
serve indicates that religion plays an
important role in maintaining an ethnic
boundary between Caribs and other
Individual religious views for most
Dominican Caribs include selected
elements of colonial Catholicism, Prot-
estant fundamentalism, traditional
Carib folk beliefs, and Creole witch-
craft. In spite of a professed preference
for Catholicism, most caribs do not
regularly attend the weekly masses
held in the Reserve. Some older resi-
dents, particularly women, go to mass
at least once a month, but a large
majority of Caribs seldom are seen in
church. Nearly every Carib child is bap-
tized by the resident French priest, but
most of them do not retum between
the times of their own sacraments, or
those of their children, such as first
communion, confirmation, or a fu-
neral. Nevertheless, Carib children are
continually reminded of Christian tradi-
tion and Catholic doctrine. The begin-
ning of classes each morning at the
government school in the Reserve in-
volves hymn singing and unison pray-
ers, followed by a reading from the
Bible and another prayer offered by the
teacher. Carib children and adults listen
frequently to religious radio programs
which abound in this part of the world.
Inside of nearly every Carib home are

found numerous and prominently dis-
played reminders of religious con-
cerns: a Bible, religious tracts, a
crucifix, framed prayers, and pictures
of Jesus and various saints. And before
children go to sleep each night, usually
they are expected to recite aloud long
memorized prayers.

Carib Obstinacy
Catholic missionaries beginning in the
17th century made conserted attempts
to Christianize the Caribs, but most of
these evangelists candidly confessed
to being singularly unsuccessful in
their attempts. These, the first Euro-
peans to live peacefully with the Caribs,
encountered constant frustration be-
cause of what they referred to in their
memoirs as Carib obstinacy. A French
priest working among the Caribs early
in the 18th century complained with
unabashed ethnocentrism that "these
people are so lazy and conceited that
infinite tact is required to manage them
at all. They will obey no order, and if
they do anything wrong you must be
most careful how you reprove them, or
even appear annoyed, for their vanity is
inconceivable. They do what they
please and only when they please. The
best thing to do is to have nothing to do
with them, or at any rate never depend
on them for anything." However, by the

middle of the nineteenth century, most
of the Caribs considered themselves to
be Catholics. At this time, with no priest
on their side of the island, infants were
carried by canoe to neighboring
French Islands to be baptized.
Early in the 20th Century, a priest
stationed in the north came to the Re-
serve on horseback periodically to
conduct mass and baptisms; many of
the older residents can remember
walking in groups for six or seven hours
to attend distant Christmas eve mid-
night masses or Easter services. These
older Caribs claim that there was more
interest in the Church in those days and
that the priests felt more concern for
the Caribs.
In discussing the relative lack of relig-
ious commitment today, one old
woman offered the following explana-
tion: "Was an old French priest my
grandmother told us about, from Vieille
Case. Was the only one to reach Cal-
vary: he got all the nails and that. He
could stop rivers and did, more than
once. He came this way one day during
Holy Week where some men was work-
ing a sugar mill. He told them to stop, to
tell the white man and stop. They didn't
when he leave, and the mill said to
them 'Oh, I is so tired, so tired.' They
certain scared and went and told the
white man, and the syrup boil all over
everywhere! This priest never ask for





money. He went barefoot everywhere.
When he need money, he have a black
marble and place it on the bed, on a
white sheet, and money come when his
hand over the marble; it just there. To-
day, priest only want money, for mass,
for wedding, for everything; always ask
for money. Today, priests are different;
so people only have the name (Catho-
lic), not the faith!"
One can well imagine that, as Caribs
compare their present priest to the
highly idealized one in this narrative,
the former must appear both ineffec-
tual and mercenary, for surely he pales
in contrast to this folk image. And he
admits that his predecessors had
greater influence than he has today,
especially those who served there be-
tween 1865, when the Carib Catholic
church was built, and 1965, when the
first road through the Reserve was con-
structed. He assumes that outside in-
fluences have been responsible for a
growing disinclination to follow Church
teachings. He is aware that most Caribs
are interested only in the sacraments
today, seeing them as being magically
beneficial, a view which is not discour-
aged by the Church. But even this lim-
ited appeal, he believes, seems to be
diminishing, for the number of wed-
dings has not kept pace with the grow-
ing population. He is convinced that
the increasing illegitimacy rate in the
Reserve, little different from that of rural
Dominica in general, is due not only to
increased contact with Creole society,
but also to the fact that Carib chiefs and
elders no longer encourage marriage
as he claims they used to do. Some of
the older Caribs insist that more adults
would marry "if the priest did his job."
As one man put it, "in the past, the
priest would come to the house where
a couple live in sin, and tell them why
they should marry." The priest no
longer calls on households, and feels
that such visits would be a waste of his
time. This is probably an accurate as-
Funerals are conducted by the
priest, but they are neither elaborate
nor well attended. In contrast, the pre-
dominantly secular wakes attract
numerous participants, often more
than 200 adults and children when an
older person has died. These are held
at the home of the deceased where
friends, relatives, and anyone looking
for a good time gather to drink, dance,
sing, play games, and initiate ro-
mances. Festivities are carried on out-
side in the yard, while in the house a

"Another new preacher,
after repeated warnings to
his congregation, zealously
removed from his
membership roll the
names of those he caught
smoking or drinking; within
a few weeks, this roll had
very few names remaining
on it."

small group of older relatives and
friends pray and sing hymns. As in
Creole communities, the prayers last
for a few hours, but the drinking and
dancing continue all night. These
wakes, or "nine nights" as they are
called because they were formerly al-
ways held nine days after a death, are
now scheduled usually to fall on a
Saturday night to insure a maximum
turnout. Very few of those in attendance
are likely to be seen at church the fol-
lowing morning.
The priest is concerned about the
poor attendance at his church and
what he considers to be the wanton
lifestyle that permeates the Reserve. He
has attempted to make masses infor-
mal and sermons specific to Carib
interests, and a former priest had a new
altar built which resembles a Carib
canoe, all in hopes of inducing a
greater number of Caribs to identify
more strongly with the Church; but
some of the older Caribs miss the more
austere services of the past, and the
younger ones eagerly point out that the
altar is not a real canoe. Each Sunday,
members of the congregation are
asked to voluntarily assist the priest
during the service, but very few re-
spond to this call. In most Creole vil-
lages on the island, the local Catholic
church has a committee of elders
which serves as an advisory board and
assists in various activities involved in
running the church. There is no such
board on the Reserve for the Caribs
have shown no interest in serving a
church in this capacity.

Protestant Missions
Some Caribs insist that Protestant
missionaries are responsible for the
Church's declining influence, claiming
that they have "confused the people."

No Protestant denomination has been
permitted by the government to pur-
chase land in the Reserve, so none
have built churches there; neverthe-
less, two American-trained Dominican
missionaries have been living in the
Reserve for several years, and four
others drive there from Creole com-
munities each Sunday to conduct
services in rented buildings. Their
meetings seldom attract more than a
dozen individuals and no more than a
total of 45 Caribs have joined these
Most Carib Catholics express strong
disapproval of the presence of Protes-
tant missionaries and their assumed
impact on the population of the
Reserve; they tend to blame these
Protestants, referred to in Dominica as
"Christians," for many of the unwel-
comed changes they have seen in re-
cent years, and thereby exaggerate
their influence. The Protestant mis-
sionaries have played a relatively minor
role as agents of social change in the
Reserve, and those who have been at-
tempting to "save Carib souls" for more
than one year now admit that Caribs,
with the exception of very few individu-
als, have been unresponsive to "the call
of salvation." Some Caribs who used to
attend "Christian" meetings no longer
do so. Most who have joined these
groups continue to have their infants
baptized by the Catholic priest. And
some of those who attend Protestant
services exclusively continue to retain
their membership in the Catholic
In contrast to the Catholic priest and
his recent predecessors, the Protestant
fundamentalists limit their appeal by
demanding of converts that they faith-
fully abstain from most of the few
pleasurable activities now available to
them, such as drinking alcoholic bev-
erages, smoking, and extramarital sex.
As they view it, so long as an unmarried
couple maintain a sexual relationship,
neither can be "saved." One Afro-
Dominican missionary expresses it this
way: "It doesn't matter how long a man
and woman have been living together
and raising children; the Bible tells us
that, in the eyes of the Lord, what they
are doing is fornication! They are sin-
ners and cannot be baptized." Another
new preacher, after repeated warnings
to his congregation, zealously removed
from his membership roll the names of
those he caught smoking or drinking;
within a few weeks, this roll had very few
names remaining on it.

38/CArIBBEAN review

The Baptists seem to be somewhat
less concerned about such private
matters of behavior, and this may help
to explain why their meetings have
attracted the largest numbers of partic-
ipants, most of whom previously
attended other Protestant churches.
However, much of their appeal is due to
the fact that, unlike the other
missionaries, the Baptist preacher and
one of his assistants are white; appar-
ently unaware of any difference in doc-
trine between the Baptists and other
fundamentalists, defectors justify their
preference for this minister by report-
ing that "He is a good man," or "He is
Although the Catholic and Protestant
clergy are highly critical of each other,
and they do not conceal their attitudes
on this subject from their congrega-
tions, their views regarding the Caribs
are very similar. Most are convinced
that the Caribs are "a backward race,"
that they can not be depended upon to
assume any responsibility, and, worst
of all, that "they are just not interested in
religion." Caribs have shown very little
enthusiasm either for religious doctrine
or playing an active role in a church,
and most of those who do participate
are concerned chiefly about what the
church can do for them and the mate-

rial benefits likely to result from their
affiliation. The more affluent Catholics
in the capitol are called upon periodi-
cally to contribute time, money, and
clothing for the Caribs, and the Protes-
tant missionaries also distribute used
clothing which they receive from the
United States. The importance of such
charity is illustrated by the fact that one
congregation became incensed when
their pastor gave away some clothing
to several needy Carib families which
were not affiliated with his church.
Although most Caribs manifest little
interest in denominational doctrine or
in supporting a religious organization,
they do consider God to be an active
agent in their lives. When crops or
homes are destroyed by storms, or
when a child dies or the head of a fam-
ily loses a job, such events are ex-
plained often as resulting from "God's
will." Whenever someone has suffered
from some tragedy, friends are apt to
console that person with a reminder
that "God is good," suggesting that he
knows what is best. This expression,
"God is good," is heard in nearly every
conversation regarding misfortune.

The Supernatural
Caribs also express considerable inter-
est in the supernatural abilities of their

native American ancestors. Children
hear frequently from their elders
statements like "In the old days, Caribs
didn't have education, but they were
wise; they had power like nobody's got
today." To illustrate the past existence
of such wisdom and power, Caribs ea-
gerly point out that Carib magic was so
effective that, for example, two small
islands located near the beach of the
Reserve were used to transport war-
riors, hundreds at a time, anywhere
they wished to go. Visitors are told also
about a sacred serpent which now lives
in a cave at the top of a mountain near
the Reserve boundary where, "in the
old days," an individual could approach
the cave entrance and address the
snake in the Carib language, where-
upon it would appear in the form of a
white man and offer a sound solution
to any problem presented to it. Now
that Caribs no longer speak the
traditional language, this source of in-
telligence is seen as regrettably and ir-
retrievably lost to them.
Another frequently recounted tale,
set in colonial times, also involves
whites. The following version is told by
a middle-aged man: "After a hurricane
that destroy all the provisions, a family
was out, look for wild yams when they
see some white people. As they did in
those days, they run into the bush so
the whites not see them. They were in
such a hurry that they leave a small girl
who the whites find. They try to find the
other Caribs, but they only see this
child. They wash her and take her with
them to England. There, she become a
white person; not all Caribs are dark
you know, some are white. When she
live with whites, she become white. She
grew and married a King. I believe the
Elizabeths are descended from her."
Other folk beliefs involve the use of
traditional remedies to treat maladies
such as colds, diarrhea, stomach
pains, skin infections, and even emo-
tional problems such as unremitting
fear or unrequited love. A white flower is
said to bloom on top of a large rock
formation which sticks up from a ridge
north of the Reserve, and the finder of
this rare blossom may use it to attract
the affection of any desired person.
Most adults make and employ many
self-treating medicines, for which the
magical formulas vary considerably
from household to household. Recipes
for these medicines are exchanged
freely among friends, usually accom-
panied by the assurance that "this is
certain sure to cure you.


There is much concern regarding
the proper time to administer folk
medicines. Remedies for illness, swel-
ling, or infection are to be taken while
the moon is waning; potions for in-
creasing one's strength or good for-
tune must be employed during the
waxing of the moon. Similarly, crops
are planted at this time to insure their
rapid growth. To the Caribs, it is a mat-
ter of simple logic that an effort to re-
duce inflammation or cure a cold may
be associated with the waning moon or
that the fertility of a garden is more
likely insured while the moon is "grow-
When home remedies prove ineffec-
tual or inadequate for curing a particu-
lar complaint, help is likely to be sought
from a specialist, either a doctor in the
capital, the Reserve's resident health
nurse, or one of the two remaining
Carib healers. The curative powers of
these healers are not regarded highly
by most Caribs today, and many
younger persons cautiously avoid
them. Some claim that these old heal-
ers use witchcraft to make people sick
so that they will come to them for a
remedy. In spite of such accusations,
these practitioners do have patients
who patronize them, sometimes as a
last resort after both home remedies
and modern medicines have failed, es-
pecially when such failure is interpreted
as an indication that obeah (witchcraft)
is responsible for their troubles. The
medicine of doctors is considered im-
potent when administered for com-
plaints engendered by supernatural
means. Although there are home rem-
edies especially designed for such
afflictions, it is believed that if the obeah
is "too strong," such ordinary folk
medicines are not adequate.
The healers say that they are able to
cure obeah-afflicted patients, but they
confess that they are usually unable to
identify those responsible. Sometimes,
they claim, an individual who has
caused another's illness by using sor-
cery may be inadvertently discovered
as a result of the cure administered. For
example, one healer recounted a case
in which she removed a hairy caterpillar
from a man's infected foot and sent the
illness back to the unidentified respon-
sible party, whereupon that person's
foot became infected, and he came to
the healer for help. The healer's suspi-
cions were confirmed when this sec-
ond patient failed to pay for his cure,
thus proving, to the healer at least, that
"he was an evil man."

"In the old days, Caribs
didn't have education, but
they were wise; they had
power like nobody's got

Most Caribs are convinced that only
certain gifted Creoles are capable of
exposing witches with certainty, but
these Creoles are said to charge a high
price, about $25, for their services. It is
purported that the most respected di-
viners are in the French islands and St.
Lucia and that these individuals can
ascertain not only the identity of a witch
but can, for an additional charge of $50
to $100, satisfy your desire for ven-
geance by using their powers of sor-
cery to injure or even kill the person
responsible for your problem. Carib
confidence in these diviners may be
illustrated by an incident which oc-
curred in 1975 at a construction site in
the Reserve. After discovering that a
chest containing valuable tools had
been stolen, the Creole owners publicly
threatened to go to Guadeloupe and
hire someone to kill the unknown thief.
During the following night, the chest
and all of its contents were surrepti-
tiously returned to the site.
Although most Caribs are convinced
that some of their neighbors use obeah
effectively to harm those they dislike,
very few individuals in the Reserve feel
that they themselves have the ability to
work any kind of black magic directed
against others. Until recently, the threat
of obeah was employed frequently to
discourage praedial larceny, but most
Caribs admit that they are now helpless
to prevent theft from their gardens. It is
not that offenders are no longer afraid
of obeah, but that Caribs feel they have
lost much of their ability to use magic
in this way.
The many stories concerning the
antics of Creole witches told by Caribs
and other Dominicans are typical of
those heard throughout the West In-
dies, and Caribs attribute to witches
characteristics similar to those
reported elsewhere. For example, fre-
quent reference is made to the fact that
some witches remove their skins at
night, the time during which they are
most likely to act out their malevo-
lence. One account related by several
young Carib men involves a witch

whose skinless body was allegedly ex-
hibited for a time in 1965 at a cinema in
the capital, following her death in the
hospital. The witch died, they said, be-
cause a man who found her skin dur-
ing the night had poured salt on it, thus
causing it to harden and shrink to such
an extent that the returning witch was
unable to slip back into it before the sun
rose, thus causing her to succumb to
Many accounts describe the activ-
ities of Creole witches on the Reserve,
nearly all of whom are women. The
following narratives are typical. "A
(Carib) man told his (Creole) wife is a
witch. She hurt him sucking his blood.
A friend saw her out one night, so the
husband took something that keep
him awake. Pretend to sleep, he saw
her rub something on herself. He did
too and went after her. He found her in
Haiti, with other witches. He came back
without her knowing. When she came
back, he shot her! She died, but you
can't tell how a witch dies, how she is
killed. When you meet a witch and kill
her, she is dead at home. If you cut off a
finger or her hair, she will be home
when she lose it, not where you cut it."
"The ex-chief killed a witch from Cas-
tle Bruce (a Creole village), a woman
who came to the Reserve about ten
years ago. She came every night to
cause trouble, take Chief's blood and
make noise. He soaked a bullet in sea
water three days. The witch jumped on
the roof and crowed. He could hear
carolers; it was near Christmas. Others
in the house were asleep. He went out,
he was naked, and heard it crow. It was
too early for real fowl. He shot where he
heard it. He just stood there for one
hour, couldn't tell where he was, he
couldn't see or hear. It didn't wake up
people in the house, but others heard.
There was blood going to Castle Bruce.
Found out the woman died in Castle
Bruce. When witches here, it makes
you sleep through everything."
Caribs express a great deal of fasci-
nation concerning the activities of
witches, but few indicate any ap-
prehension of witchcraft during the
day. At night time, when witches are
said to travel by assuming the form of
fireflies, few shutters are left open even
on the hottest nights for fear that a
witch might happen to fly inside. As in
Creole communities on the island,
many houses have hex signs drawn
with chalk or paint over the doors and
windows, and a few have a pair of open
scissors nailed up under the overhang


of the roof to ward off passing witches.
Several Caribs suggest that prayers to
Moses are particularly efficacious for
protecting one's family from witchcraft.
These precautions are not considered
to be 100% effective however, so that
whenever someone is plagued by
wakefulness or a child becomes ill dur-
ing the night, many will assume that a
witch is within the house. In fact, any
otherwise unexplained phenomenon
occurring at night, such as unusual
noises or sensations, is likely to be in-
terpreted as evidence that a witch,
probably a Creole, is present.
God, magic, and witchcraft all repre-

sent powerful supernatural forces ac-
cording to most Dominicans, and the
Caribs are no exception to this gener-
alization. Nevertheless, Carib religious
beliefs, their concepts regarding
supernatural power, are distinctive in
several important regards. As illus-
trated by their folklore, Caribs consider
themselves to be very closely related to
Caucasians, and they are convinced
that their Indian ancestors possessed
magical powers that were far more ex-
traordinary than those known to the
Creoles. Although they view contem-
porary Creoles as being peculiarly
adept in the realm of divining evil and

perpetrating black magic, they claim
that Carib folk medicines are far more
reliable than those produced in Creole
communities, and certainly more
humane that Creole witchcraft. Such
beliefs are fully compatible with a pre-
vailing stereotype that Creoles, in con-
trast to Caribs and whites, are immoral
and cannot be trusted. In this way, relig-
ious beliefs in the Reserve bolster their
ethnic status claim that Caribs and
Creoles have very little in common.

Anthony Layng teaches Anthropology at
Elmira College, New York. Photos by the

La Universidad nternacional l

florida Trae el Mundo a Miami L
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Facultad de Artes y Ciencias Facultad de Administracion i Servicios Publis.-
Facultad de Educacion Facultad de Negocios y Cienci-s-(rganizaciomnaes,- -
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:-Con programs academics y actividades comunitria y se ib-itq#a -eff
_las reas de:
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Educaci6n Bilingie ahora...
Studios de Idiomas -Centro Bancaro Internacional -
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Eiiidiossbre ei G-aribe y Latinoamerica aiesu--. .
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ActividadesTransculturales --Venezuela -



Two razilian

By Edilberto Coutinho
The cronica is a Brazilian genre in which
short short stories appear regularly as
newspaper columns under a recogniz-
able byline. MW are publishing here two
cr&nicas by Edilberto Coulinho, whose
column generally appears in the Rio de
Janeiro daily. 0 Globo.
Edilberto Coutinho was 20 years
old when he published Onda Boladelra e-
Outros Contos, his first collection of
short stones. Two-years later his Contos -
II appeared. He spent man yyeirs without
publishing fiction, dedicated himself to
journalism, wrote books of essays and
biographies, translated and organized crit-
ical anthologies, and twenty years later in

The Fight Goes On

She served the coffee with a tiny and
delicate hand.
Very nervous, she said to the man,
because she had been told, Be ready
for the worst.
During the last two weeks, just one
worry: her son's disappearance.
They're just taking everybody, for
any reason, aren't they?
No, lady. You shouldn't worry so
The slender man in the orange shirt
and plaid pants said with obvious sym-
Tomorrow will be sunny and warm.
Oh, she said, thank you. But aren't
you afraid?
We only die once, the man said. The
coffee was excellent, he said next.
Another one?
No thanks.
Has he been arrested? Tell me if he
was. Did something bad happen?
Everything's fine, don't worry. It's
hard on you. He asked me to let you
know, that's all. He's out of town. At the
moment he can't communicate with
you. He wants me to send him some of
his things. He told me exactly which
drawers they're in. If you could go with
The mother took the stranger to her
son's room and he began to rummage.
First one drawer, then another, and still
another. He looked through some pa-

1977, published Urn negro oala forra (A
Black Gels Even).
Novelist Jorge Amado has claimed
that 'A Black Gets Even is one of the best
creations of Brazilian fiction in the last
years." He added: "The stories are of the
highest quality. It was ajoy to find again
the writer who was hidden and find him
completely mature, a master-short story
writer Not too many words, not too few in
each-story. In the-diversity. of environ-
mrents anctypes,-there- is a profound unity
of-Brazilian sentiment. So contemporary.
so-of our days, so Brazilian, and at the
same time, so universal."

pers. He found it.
Leaving, the man said:
Thanks, lady.
God bless you. When will I hear
What's that?
My son.
I hope it'll be soon.
But, son, I only took him to your
room after he said the words we had
agreed on.
I know, Mom, Don't worry. The fight
goes on. Don't worry, it's hard on you.
I'm terrified. Aren't you?
We only die once, the son said.
Will they at least let you have the
banana pudding?
They'll let me.
Are they treating you well?
Yes, mother.
They stood while they talked. His
legs were hurting him. He sat down
and, with a distracted gesture, rolled up
his trousers to cool himself off.
Then she noticed:
Those marks? All over your body,
Don't worry, Mom.
He assured her: They were good
people, no doubt. They were going to
let him have the banana pudding.
I made it with such pleasure, the
woman said.


Short Stories

And Tourism, Oh, Tourism, or
Give Me an Explanation, Doctor

All of this, Doctor: Trips to the
moon, literature, soccer players, and a
loan the Brazilian government would
make to the United States. A big salad.
And tourism, oh, I talked about tourism
It's difficult, under these circum-
stances, for people to remember every-
thing so clearly, right? But I think I re-
member too well. The whole thing. In-
cluding the date I wrote and the name
of my friend in New York City.

Rio de Janeiro, October 1st, 1997
Dear Steve,
I don't know why but when I received
your letter today I thought about
Do you know what I'm talking
about? Twenty years ago, exactly, that
nigger shouting love, love, love for the
whole world, brought to you by Warner
Bros., Pele, buddy.
And our government, which was
poorer then than yours is now, offered
half a million dollars to liven up the
party. Some idiots in those tourism de-
partments which don't exist anymore
(they don't even exist, of course) took a
gigantic photograph of the bay of Rio
de Janeiro to New York, displayed it in a
dark tunnel of your old subway. That
was really expensive, Steve. At the
same time, the president of one of
those decrepit businesses gave an
interview saying that tourism was
something to be cultivated between
friends. Then, he took advantage of
Pelt's return to Brazil to throw a big
party for the Divine Black Man, bring-
ing together a huge group of his own
friends. Including various foreigners,
who came down here with everything
paid for. Around twenty thousand dol-
lars a head. Supergraft, pal. Hundreds
of people received invitations. They
were extremely luxurious, printed on
expensive stationery, with the seal of
the Brazilian Republic on the envelope
and everything. I remember all of this

very clearly, it even had the stamp of the
President on it. You, who've gone
around researching that period of
Brazilian history, you know that these
excesses were rigorously, I mean. ofih-
cially, prohibited by the Government
which prided itself on the very use of
the word austerity. And there % as
rigoroooooushahaha condemnation
of the so-called mordomias, the spon- ,
sorship. Do you remember, Steve' Of
course not, the head of that tourist de-
partment wasn't imprisoned; the\
didn't fire him either. Actually he got to
be Minister of State. You find that
strange? But don't you remember how
picturesque this country was? That's
why your compatriots down here
reaped so many benefits?
Well, that's it, Steve. I kept remem- -
bering the old days like this for no rea- --
son at all.
Oh yeah. Maybe it was the inter iew s .*'" I
of your ambassador in yesterdaY s pa- -.I,' I
pers that brought back so sharply the .
picture of twenty years ago. It looks like
our government is going to make a big ,
loan to the United States this year .And *'-'- ,
the ambassador talks about that fan- .. ..
tastic player of yours who'll be signed
for his weight in gold (twenty years ago. --
I would have said in dollars) by Brazilian
soccer. It's true, we really do need a little ... -
injection, because our soccer is \er,. "
anemic just now.
As for the other matter that I wanted
to talk about. Like I said before. the
moon doesn't interest me even a little
bit. You know that even when it was a
novelty, I didn't want to go, not on that '
spatial bus of yours. I think the idea is,
really idiotic, sorry. I remain the- _za n-:. .
You should remember that even diOg .
the sixties/seventies when you ve- e
called the astro-gods I wasn't rji-ook.;
least interested in the matter. -
moon? Not for me.
But what I remembered so clear :--
today was the day PelD quit, the fei$.
tivities. And I also wanted to clear u p- -
about the writer you want to revive. No-. ._- ---.

Steve. R. didn't write during the time
you're thinking of. Look here: it was in
1977 he produced the texts you're read-
ing now. You say even though his
positions are super-reactionary for the
twentieth century, thinking as you do,
that he wrote a decade before the Week
of Modern Art in So Paulo (1922, that's
right) that his language seems in-
teresting to you. It was curious, in fact.
People would read him, disagreeing
with the ideas, saying the hard-headed
reactionary wrote nicely. It's a good
guess, yours, Steve: some of the best
expressions were copied from Por-
tuguese writers of the nineteenth cen-
tury. For the most part, he plagerized
our beloved Eca de Queiros.
But, to return to the day Pel6 quit
soccer. I never forgot that enormous
electronic panel in the Giants Stadium
flashing on and off as it repeated the
final words of that damn nigger's
speech: love, love, love. And even when
people could see the whole thing was
rigged, with the letters blinking and
everything, there was a television an-
nouncer who praised, just look, Pel6's
spontaneity. Then, one of those guys
from the tourism department appeared
on the tube, the one who unveiled that
photographic panel of Rio there in your

Mira, Mira,

Los Cubanos de Miami

An exhibition of original
photographs of Cuban culture
in the Greater Miami area.
Guest Curator, Bill Maguire,
Assistant Professor of
Photography, FI.U.
Fully-illustrated catalog with a
forward by Dr. Antonio Jorge,
Head of Hispanic
Commission, State of Florida,
will accompany the exhibition.
Florida International
Visual Arts Gallery
July 27 -August 24, 1979
Preview Reception: July 26,
8:00 p.m.
This e. rriitoii,:n is made
: i:..e by a grant from the
Burger King Corporation.

Grand Central Station, and invited I
don't know who all to see, that's right
Steve, the original in person.
Yes, there were stunts that were un-
bearable. Like that one by the guy
(another television announcer or head
of one of those tourism departments?)
talking about the beautiful smile of
King Pele which had such an aph-
rodisiac appeal for all the women of the
world. Then, a friend of mine quipped
wittily: So all that shouting at the end of
that nigger's speech, the one about
love, love, love, can be interpreted as
just another multinational orgy in the
grand style under the auspices of
Warner Bros. and the Brazilian gov-
That's all for today. Hugs and kisses.

All that, Doctor, isn't it really strange?
I remember everything word for word,
including the date I wrote it and the
name of my friend in New York. It so
happens that, not to mention the fact I

very seldom write letters, I have never
had any friends in New York, a city I
don't even know except from Kojak on
television. Under the circumstances (I
was unconscious a long time after the
accident, wasn't 1?) I think it's strange
that things like tourism ran through my
mind (unconscious, isn't it?), things I
usually don't even think about (I only
think tourism is just another predatory
activity, the way it's being practiced, as if
it were part of the national parapher-
nalia). Literature, okay. It always in-
terested me. I'm too lazy when it comes
to writing, even letters, like I said, but I
cultivate the ancient habit of reading,
you better believe it. And soccer, oh,
soccer is okay too because the game is
the one way out of the suffocation
people live in, isn't it, Doctor? Now, I'd
like an explanation for how all of these
things surfaced at the same time and
for the fact I can remember everything
so well, afterwards. Do you have an ex-
planation, please?


Competition, Cooperation,

Efficiency and Social Organization
Introduction to a Political Economy
by Antonio Jorge
This book deals with competition and cooperation as antithetical approaches to
human interaction in the social field.
Competition and cooperation mix in an infinite variety of combinations, giving rise
to a wide spectrum of different types of organizations. They also reflect, particularly in
the long run, the nature of the motivational composite behind them.
Several comparative and competitive forms are investigated, each associated with
particular kinds of organizations and institutions. The important dichotomy to be
identified is that of competition and cooperation with and for, each of which signals a
particular posture and reveals the social milieu and culture in which it operates.
The first chapter is analytical, the second descriptive, and the third prescriptive.
With respect to the first, an attempt is made to explain theoretically the patterns of
economic behavior and existing organizational structures in terms of the logical
concatenation that tends to develop among various levels of reality: philosophical
thought, Weltanschauung, ideology, and motivation.
The descriptive portion is concerned with a broad outline of a history of ideas in the
sociopolitical realm of Western civilization. It shows the relationship between the
evolution of political and economic ideology on the one hand, and, on the other, the
nature of the institutional changes that have taken place in Western European and
American societies.
Finally, the prescriptive chapter demonstrates that accepted concepts such as
maximal economic efficiency and productivity are restricted by cultural and motiva-
tional traits. The essence of the message is that productivity and efficiency can be
incorporated into a variety of social arrangements, and that no particular model needs
to be a maximum maximorum.
Professor Jorge's innovative study advocates a new and different perspective on the
joined disciplines of history, economic theory, and the social sciences, and calls for a
wider scope and a more flexible, if initially more complex, approach in the perception
of socioeconomic reality.
ISNB 0-8386-2026-4 L.C. 76-20272

P.O. Box 421, Cranbury, New Jersey 08512






0 e 0


By Ram6n Mendoza
La Tia Julia y El Escribidor.
Mario Vargas Llosa. Editorial Seix
Barral, S.A., 1977. 447 pp. .

Fifteen months after its publication,
Vargas Llosa's latest best-seller, La Tia
Julia y el Escribidor (Aunt Julia and the
Hack Writer), was put on the black list.
The censors were not, this time, papal
zealots but Argentinian "gorillas." The
right-wing ruling generals decreed that
this novel written by the Peruvian
novelist was offensive to the family, to
the established religion and to the
Armed Forces.
This was not the first time Vargas
Llosa had offended the military. His ini-
tial major literary success, the novel La
Ciudad y los Perros, was burnt on a
public square of Lima because the
generals considered the book anti-
patriotic, subversive, and highly offen-
sive to the Armed Forces of the nation.
The Peruvian generals had good
reason to be touchy. The novel, whose
plot centered on the life of the cadets in

From the cover of La Tia Julia y El Escribidor

the flagship military academy of Peru
(the freshmen are the "dogs" of the
title), unmasked the corruption, hypoc-
risy, and political opportunism of the
military leaders.
Vargas Llosa, however, was not in-
timidated by the bonfires of the army
Inquisition. In 1973 he launched a sec-
ond attack on the military. His fourth
novel, Pantale6n y las Visitadoras
(Captain Pantoja and the Special Ser-
vice), escaped the flames this time, not
because the generals had become
more tolerant, but because the author
had undergone a radical conversion:
he had become a fervent "new-born"
Vargas Llosa is a late convert to
humor. His greatest literary successes,
glories of the Latin American literary

"boom," are critical-realist works, nar-
rative monuments of unquestionable
merit, but are all written in a pronoun-
cedly serious and humorless vein. Ev-
erything seemed to be going well with
Vargas Llosa until the Colombian
novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez as-
tonished the literary world with Cien
Afios de Soledad (One Hundred Years
of Solitude) one of the most humorous
novels ever written by a Latin Ameri-
Garcia Marquez had discovered that
the most effective way to conduct so-
cial criticism in Latin America was not
the worn-out socialist realism, which
heavily indulged in the black-and-white
portrayal of social evils, but humoristic
satire. If social conditions were unde-
niably outrageous in Latin America, the


way to expose them was through
ridicule. This stance, totally foreign to
most socialist-realist writers, was sus-
pect and controversial among the
orthodox. How could a committed
Marxist writer laugh at the misery
of a terminally-ill society? For Garcia
Marquez, however, being a humorist
was just another way of taking things
seriously. Ridicule, after all, had
always been a deadly political weapon.
The success of Garcia Marquez'
novel shook Vargas Llosa's literary
convictions, and he decided to make
his own experiment with humor. In
Pantale6n y las Visitadoras the target
of his criticism was again the Peruvian
army, but this time he preferred to
make fun of the generals. He has Cap-
tain Pantoja render a high service to the
fatherland by planning and organizing,
with the secret approval of his senior
staff officers, a corps of mobile prosti-
tutes that cater to the desperate urges
of the rank and file serving in the in-
hospitable Amazon jungle. There is
great humor in the description of the
captain's meticulous bureaucratic effi-
ciency in setting up the assuaging en-
counters. To have burned this novel, so
full of high comedy, would have gained
the generals only ridicule.
Encouraged by the success of
Pantale6n-the novel quickly became

a best-seller in Spain and Latin
America-and with what seemed to be
the key to invulnerable political impun-
ity, Vargas Llosa embarked again on the
humorous adventure. This time, the
target of his satire was not the military,
but a considerably less dangerous in-
stitution, however powerful, namely,
the Latin American "network," the
mass-media racket, largely responsible
for Latin America's cultural disintegra-
Unfortunately, despite the low sen-
sitivity of the target, at least from a mili-
tary point of view, and the mildness of
the attack, the generals again, not the
Peruvian, but the Argentinian, found it
imperative to declare the novel subver-
sive and put it on the official black list of
books. What motivated the generals to
take this drastic action in Argentina, of
all places, where literature is the pride
of the nation and literary freedom the
banner of its most distinguished intel-
Far from being a committed Marxist,
like Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa is
none-the-less a decided opponent of
all forms of repression: "A writer in any
Latin American country" he declares,
"is more useful to society if, instead of
turning into a mouthpiece of power, he
turns into a critic of power." But his
belief that "freedom of information is

"A writer in any Latin
American country is more
useful to society if, instead
of turing into a
mouthpiece of power, he
turns into a critic of

the first problem a country must solve
which wishes truly to solve its other
problems" puts him clearly in the lib-
eral camp. No true Marxist could ever
subscribe to this view. Vargas Llosa's
opposition to all forms of censorship,
including the Marxist, drove him away
from his initial enthusiastic support of
the Cuban revolution. When the Cuban
leaders forced the poet Padilla to
humiliating self-criticism, Vargas Llosa
denounced in the international forum
what he considered a regression to
Stalinist methods and a departure from
the original, more liberal cultural policy
of the Cuban revolution. Vargas Llosa
soon became a favorite target of Cuban
criticism: he was considered the pro-
totype of all the uprooted (Vargas Llosa
lived in Europe for a long time), liberal,
counterrevolutionary Latin American
intellectuals. Finally his nomination as
president of International PEN in 1976,
due in part to his staunch opposition to
all forms of repression, censorship and
persecution of writers, artists and in-
tellectuals, has entrenched him even
deeper in the liberal camp and
estranged him even further from the
Marxist line. What then could have
motivated the Argentinian generals
to ban his novel?

Aunt Julia and
the Opus Dei
Let us look for their reason in the fact
that Vargas Llosa, like Don Quixote and
Sancho in one of their misadventures,
collided with the Church: "Con la
Iglesia hemos topado, amigo
Sancho." However, it is not the Inquisi-
tion, nor even the once powerful
watch-dogs over Catholic orthodoxy,
the Jesuits, but those who have taken
their place as a powerful political influ-
ence in the Hispanic world, the mem-
bers of the Opus Dei. The avowed goal
of this Spanish religious organization of



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laymen, which has already spread over
the Latin American continent, is to
bring orthodox Catholic ideology to
bear upon the most important political
and cultural institutions by infiltrating
their high ranks with its most dynamic
and professionally competent mem-
bers. Like the Jesuits formerly, they
constitute an elitist spearhead of intel-
lectuals committed to imposing Catho-
lic ideology on the whole of society by
conquering or influencing the key
decision-making positions of the gov-
ernment and the universities.
In Argentina, the Opus Dei already
has become strongly entrenched, es-
pecially in the Interior Ministry. The mili-
tary ruling the country welcomed the
members of the Opus Dei as represen-
tatives of the staunchest right-wing
ideology. Their views about Marxism
and sex are, in fact, not very different
from those that prevailed in Spain
under Franco. They also oppose not
only the openly leftist but also the more
liberal trends that have surfaced re-
cently among the ranks of the most
social-minded Catholic bishops and
priests. Seeing in them natural allies in
the sweeping campaign against the
Latin American Left, the military in
Argentina have allowed the members
of the Opus to occupy key positions, in
order to secure their help in running the
country. As expert right-wing
ideologues, they have been honored
with the role of official censors. Their
most important task is to protect the
sacred institutions of family, Church,
and armed forces, the three pillars, ac-
cording to the generals, of Western
civilization in Argentina.
The Opus Dei is doing its job very
well indeed. One hundred books have
been put on the government's black
list, among which La Tia Julia y el Es-
cribidor occupies the place of honor.
Absolutely nothing in the book, how-
ever, justifies this preferential treat-
ment. This time there were no attacks,
open or veiled, serious or humorous,
against the Armed Forces. Only occa-
sionally does it poke a bit of mild fun at
religion and the Church. Perhaps its
most serious blow could be thought to
be directed against the family, since the
character of Julia, a divorcee, marries
the young Mario and then divorces
him. Yet all this happens against the
strongest opposition of Mario's family,
whose objection is not against Julia's
divorce but to Mario's marrying an
older woman, who, to top it all, is his
aunt. An incestuous liaison! An intoler-

able scandal! Actually, Julia is the sister
of an uncle's wife, therefore no aunt at
all-not even by Hispanic categories.
Finally, compared to all the other
novels Vargas Llosa had written, this
one is by far the most discreet in its
handling of erotic situations. Young
Mario's affair with Julia is a rather inno-
cent romance with Platonic overtones.

The satiric pen of the
author does find its true
mark in a very sensitive
nerve and exposes the
network of the mass
media, an institution on
which the generals rely to
exert their political and
ideological domination.

What then did the Opus Dei censors
see in this novel to prompt their con-
There is possibly one thing in the
novel that could have offended the
generals' chauvinism. Some disparag-
ing comments are directed against the
Argentinians. But these comments are
made by the Bolivian hack writer, when
he is already on his way to becoming
mentally deranged. His sickly obses-
sion with the Argentinians cannot rea-
sonably be taken as an insult to Argen-
tina, except perhaps by a chauvinist
pathetically deprived of the most
elementary sense of humor.
Though there is nothing within the
novel that should justify its condemna-
tion by the Opus and the generals,
something, however, regarding the
novelist may have displeased both, par-
ticularly the Opus. The Latin American
Jewish Congress awarded Vargas Llosa
its human rights prize, and some
members of the Opus Dei, like those of
other ultra-rightists organizations in
Latin America, still regard the Jews as
the cause of all evils and are firmly con-
vinced of a sinister international Jewish
When the Carter administration in
Washington, supporting the human
rights policy of the President, became
suspicious of the Argentine govern-
ment as being anti-semitic, the gener-
als dispelled the suspicion readily. They

added some obsolete Nazi and anti-
semitic tracts to the black list. More

Aunt Julia and
the Soap Giant
The target of Vargas Llosa's La Tia Julia
y el Escribidor is certainly not one of
the three "pillars of Western Civiliza-
tion" in Argentina; however, the satiric
pen of the author does find its true
mark in a very sensitive nerve and ex-
poses the network of the mass media,
an institution on which the generals rely
to exert their political and ideological
domination. Not only in Argentina, but
in all Latin America, this institution is
serving the oligarchies in power by
supporting and strengthening the
capitalistic system and the consumer
society which it generates and on
which it thrives.
The power of the mass media over
the minds of the Latin American popu-
lation is overwhelming. If it is true that
modern culture in the industrialized
nations is mainly a media culture, this is
even more so in Latin America. The
majority of the population living in the
country or in the shanty-towns of the
macrocephalic metropolises is illiter-
ate, and those who are semi-literate
can't afford to buy books. The only
printed matter they occasionally skim
are comics, illustrated magazines and,
of course, the omnipresent commer-
cial and political posters. People don't
read books, but they do listen to the
radio, go to the movies and watch TV.
In spite of the economic underde-
velopment of the area the most popular
consumer commodity is the radio and
TV set, imported massively from the
United States and Japan. Not only in
homes and cars, in bars and barber
shops, but also in the workshops and
factories radios are constantly blaring
out popular music and sport events.
The most popular programs, however,
are the melodramatic "novelas
radiales" and "telenovelas," the Latin
American version of the sentimental
soap opera. Millions of house-wives,
the working population on wheels
caught in traffic jams, the ever increas-
ing army of the jobless and under-
employed crowding the smoky bars
and smelly saloons of hinterland vil-
lages and metropolitan shanty towns,
tune in or stare, day after day, night after
night, at the endless corny serials with
which the apparatus of the media
technocracy is swamping the country.


The media barons, the clique of the
cultural undertakers, have succeeded
in spreading a shroud of suds over
Latin America. Soap operas have taken
over the cultural world. They are the
modern "opium of the people," the
most effective instrument of cultural
and political alienation.
As a critic, rather than a mouthpiece
of power, Vargas Llosa aims his sling at
the soap giant. La Tia Julia y el Es-
cribidor is nothing but the satirical
parody of the soap opera, the most ex-
pressive symbol of Latin America's cul-
tural and political alienation. Following
Garcia Marquez's footsteps, he resorts
to humor in his social criticism. But
Vargas Llosa is much too ambitious to
mimic blindly the Colombian writer's
humoristic technique. He does not use
magic-realist hyperbolization nor
grotesque caricature, but parody. In
fact, the novel is an all-out parody rang-
ing from plot to style. The nine short
stories distributed along the even-
numbered chapters of the novel repro-
duce the plots of the nine most popular
radio serials of the Bolivian hack writer,
and the style of these chapters is an
hilarious burlesque of the soap opera
corny lingo. A special comic effect is
achieved by the contrast of the down-
to-earth concreteness of the event nar-
rated with the extreme formalism of the
forensic style. In narrating police
stories, Vargas Llosa uses the
hackneyed rhetorical jargon of legalis-
tic bureaucracy: endless periods teem-
ing with clumsy relative clauses,
gerunds, and absolute participles, con-
stant parenthetical interpolation ex-
plaining self-evident circumstances
with pedantic precision.
The narrative is frequently inter-
rupted by naive questions which the
narrator addresses directly to the
reader. The stylistic mimesis of the
soap opera is most evident at the end
of the chapters, where the narrator lists
questions intended to heighten the
suspense and to stimulate the reader's
appetite for the next episode. "Will he
do it?" "Will he fire the gun?" "How will
this terrible tragedy end?"
To characterize the different
protagonists of the short stories, the
author invariably uses the same intro-
ductory hackneyed formulae: "wide
forehead, aquiline nose, penetrant
look, rectitude and goodness of spirit,"
and "he was a man in the flower of age,
in his fifties." With trite epithets like
"oceanic rage" and "snowy-white tab-
lecloth," and incongruous metaphors

like "the muscles of his faith," the au-
thor also mimics the prim and finical
style of the "novelas rosa" of Corin
Tellado and tawdry Latin society pages.
(Corin Tellado is the prolific Spanish
hack writer par excellence. Her sugary
hearts-and-flowers "novelas rosa" are
very popular particularly among
Spanish and Latin American female

The media barons, the
clique of the cultural
undertakers, have
succeeded in spreading a
shroud of suds over Latin
America. Soap operas have
taken over the cultural

The plots of the nine short stories are
also a parody of the "radioteatros."
Pedro Camacho, the hack writer re-
ferred to in the title of the novel, an
obstinate, single-minded and ascetical
Bolivian who becomes the most popu-
lar composer of Lima's radio serials, is
the real author of these stories. As a
character, however, he only appears in
the odd-numbered, autobiographical
chapters of the novel, as a friend and
colleague of the young radio reporter.
One of the stories, which is intended
to keep the audience breathlessly
awaiting the next episode, is of a young
man of Lima's most prominent social
families, who discovers a shocking fact
at his own wedding party. His young
bride suddenly falls into a faint. The
young man's uncle a doctor, breaks the
news, after examining the girl, that she
is pregnant! The groom is shocked,
stunned. He knows he is not the father.
As the uncle leaves the house, he
stumbles upon the real father, lying in
despair in the garden, ready to commit
suicide. The real father is...the girl's
own brother! "How will this terrible
tragedy end?" asks the troubled nar-
rator at the end of the story.
One of the funniest stories, narrated
in strict legalistic jargon, tells about the
rape of a girl by a Jehova Witness. The
accused man proposes to the skeptical
judge that he will cut off his own phallus
as decisive proof of his innocence. That
sounds like the end!

Besides the juggling of the even-
with the old-numbered chapters, an
additional structural device is used in
the arrangement of the soap opera
chapters. A double crescendo regula-
tes the sequence of the short stories: a
crescendo in the grotesque and a
climax in confusion. While each story
surpasses the previous one in violence
and aberration of characters and plot,
the same names are given in sub-
sequent stories to characters playing
completely different roles in entirely
different situations. The double cres-
cendo is intended to reflect the
hackwriter's increasing mental de-
rangement caused by his monastic
life-style and almost suicidal over-work.
The radio listeners become so con-
fused and disappointed with the hack
writer's bungling with their idols, that
they deluge the station with calls and
letters of protest. After the ratings go
down dramatically the writer loses his

Sling Shot or
Had the novel consisted exclusively of
the even-numbered chapters, it would
have probably reached, if not surpas-
sed, the previous ones in literary value.
But Vargas Llosa unfortunately has
succumbed to a double temptation:
that of living up to his reputation of
being the Latin American virtuoso of
formal experimentation, and that of
emulating his much admired Flaubert
in writing his own education sentimen-
This double intention, in fact, deter-
mines the structure of the novel. This is,
in sum, the structural technique em-
ployed: the author writes in strict
chronological order, from the tra-
ditional perspective of the omniscient
narrator and in conventional narrative
style his own juvenile autobiography.
The eighteen-year-old Mario, "Var-
guitas," as his friends call him, still a
frustrated would-be writer making a
living as information editor in a popular
radio station of Lima, falls in love,
carries on an affair, marries and finally
divorces "aunt" Julia Urquidi, the au-
thor's first wife, much to the outrage of
his bourgeois family, who consider the
affair a scandalous incest. The author
then breaks up his story into eleven
parts and places them in the odd-
numbered chapters of the novel.
Finally, he interpolates the series of
unconnected soap opera plots, distri-


From a literary point of
view, what was intended as
a slingshot at the soap
giant, has proved to be a
boomerang and has
floored the assailant.

buted along the even-numbered chap-
ters, into the autobiography of his
younger years.
The result is a literary hybrid. No
longer do we have the skillful interweav-
ing of various threads of simultaneous
plots which the author had achieved
successfully in his previous novels but
an artificial construction intended to
temper the delivery of a rather tedious
education sentimental -totally un-
acceptable in pure form to the modern,
sophisticated reader-with the as-
suagement of the alternately interca-
lated soap opera plots. In sum, the
novel is structurally and genrewise, an
artificial interpolation of unrelated short
stories into a traditional Bildungsro-
By making fun of the tackiness of
hack literature, Vargas Llosa is indi-
rectly ridiculing "huachafismo," that
incurable disease of the petty-
bourgeois and the new rich.
"Huachafismo" is the aspiration of this
class to resemble the aristocracy. It is a
phenomenon of frustrated mimesis,
the chronic illness of all social climbers.
Along with its bad taste, affected lan-
guage, showy ostentation and behav-
ioral gaucherie, one of the most typical
features of "huachafismo" is its sugary,
melodramatic sentimentality. ("Hua-
chafismo" is known elsewhere in the
Hispanic world as "cursileria." To be
"huachafo" is equivalent of being
"cursi." Perhaps the best translation in
English is "tacky.")
Vargas Llosa, himself a member of
the bourgeoisie, has always felt very
much ashamed of the "huachafismo"
of his class. By satirizing it, he is des-
perately trying to exorcize it from him-
self. But "huachafismo" happens to be
a ghost which is very difficult to exor-
cise. The most eloquent proof that Var-
gas Llosa has not been totally success-
ful in exorcising it, is the fact that in
writing his own education sentimen-
tale he takes himself so pitifully seri-
ously, detailing the vicissitudes of his

romance with "aunt" Julia so witlessly,
that the series of rather boring au-
tobiographical episodes becomes,
much against his intentions, another
corny soap opera. Although the plain,
unobtrusive, conventional narrative
style of this part of the novel, used in-
tentionally to highlight the tackiness of
the other part, by contrast, does, in fact,
very clearly dissociate the author's own
style from that of the hack writer, the

unquestionably melodramatic over-
tones of the autobiographical story
puts him back in the hack writer's terri-
tory. From a literary point of view, what
was intended as a slingshot at the soap
giant, has proved to be a boomerang
and has floored the assailant.

Ramon Mendoza teaches Comparative Lit-
erature at Florida International University.
He is presently working on a study of Kafka.

The Planning


Universidad de Puerto Rico
Apartado X, U.P.R., Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico 00931
Tel6fono: (809) 765-1924 Cable: UPRED

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Leopold Kohr
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This book offers a unique approach to slum rehabilitation and other urban
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The author is a writer and professor of economics and political science. He has
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Charles A. Frankenhoff et al.
$4.00 pbk.
All aspects of environmental planning in the Caribbean are examined in this
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opment pursued by the Brazilian gov-
ernment are orthodox ones which
have a genetic relationship with the
technocratic strategies promulgated
by the US Agency for International
Development, the Inter-American
Development Bank and other inter-
national development agencies.
Both Hall and Davis document the
discrepancies between the nobly-
stated objectives of development
programs and the actual impact of
these schemes on the well-being of
peasant and native peoples. The
books are carefully researched indict-
ments of a technocracy which has
lost sight of the human scale and
pays little regard to the most funda-
mental needs of the would-be bene-
ficiaries of development programs.
Hall's book deals with the planning
and implementation of a strategy of
development for the North-East
which views irrigation as a viable an-
swer to the needs of the region. Davis,
on the other hand, focuses on govern-
ment programs and legislation per-
taining to road building, coloniza-
tion, mining and agribusiness in the
Amazon, and the consequences of
these activities for native peoples,
settlers, and the environment.
Following the disastrous drought
of 1970 in North-East Brazil, then
President Medici made an emotional
speech announcing the Plan for Na-
tional Integration (PIN) to promote
Brazilian national development and
reduce unemployment by linking the
landless masses in the North-East
with the resources of the sparsely set-
tled Amazon Basin. The resources of
the nation were to be focused on the
Transamazon Highway project that
would unite all Brazilians in a mas-
sive effort to conquer the frontier and
bring a better standard of living to
hundreds of thousands of rural poor.
On the surface, the vast project was
an attempt to remedy the ironic si-
tuation alluded to in the slogan "In
the North-East, men without land; in
the Amazon, land without men."
Many viewed PIN as the Brazilian
equivalent of the American Apollo
Program which sent man to the
In the official view PIN was neces-
sary because government attempts
to promote economic development
within the North-East by setting up
regional development institutions
such as the National Department of
Public Works Against Droughts

"In the North-East, men
without land; in the
Amazon, land without

(DNOCS), with a history tracing back
to 1906, and the Northeast Develop-
ment Authority (SUDENE), founded
in 1959, had not been able to over-
come the impact of the cyclical
droughts that aflicted the northeast-
ern states of Cear6, Piaui Rio Grande
do Norte, Paraiba, Pernambuco, Ala-
goas, Sergipe, and Bahia. These sO-
cas, or dry periods, occur about once
each ten years and result in the emi-
gration of large numbers of north-
easterners to other regions of Brazil
in search of employment.
About once each one hundred
years a more severe drought hits the
North-East. The worst case occurred
in 1877-79 when starving peasants
trekked to the coastal cities in a des-
perate search for relief. Although
some supplies arrived from other
areas of Brazil, their inadequacy
along with rampant corruption in the
allocation process led to food riots
and the sacking of commercial pro-
perties in Fortaleza and other towns.
It is estimated that 60,000 indivi-
duals died of hunger and disease in
Fortaleza alone.
According to Hall, it is not the pre-
dictable periods of low rainfall that
create the cyclical crises of the
North-East, but rather the patterns of
land utilization and tenancy struc-
tures which place the rural poor in
positions of perpetual vulnerability to
even minor seasonal variations in
rainfall. Contrary to popular belief,
the North-East does not consist of
dry lands alone, but has substantial
areas of relatively productive lands
along various river basins. Nor is the
absolute amount of rainfall abnor-
mally low. Rather, the main problem
consists of temporal irregularities in
the distribution of rainfall which up-
set the agricultural calendar of small-
scale subsistence farmers.
Settlement in the North-East was
sparse until the late 17th century
when the Dutch were driven out.
Within a hundred years a cattle econ-
omy was established which was dom-
inated by large land holdings or fa-
zendas. After 1850 a drought resis-

tant variety of cotton was introduced
and its production was stimulated by
international shortages at the time of
the American Civil War. The demand
for labor during this period brought
many new settlers to the North-East
who either grew their own subsis-
tence crops or entered into share-
cropping arrangements with large
landowners. Disaster struck in
1877-79 when a severe drought
caused widespread crop failures. The
fazendeiros refused or were unable
to meet the needs of their rural labor
force during this period and thou-
sands emigrated to coastal cities in a
vain search for relief.
In the wake of this experience, the
government began a program of re-
servoir construction which consti-
tuted the major strategy for drought
relief until the late 1950's. The real
beneficiaries of the reservoirs were
the fazendeiros who were in a posi-
tion to use the stored water to main-
tain their herds during periods of low
rainfall. Only a small percentage of
the subsistence agriculturalists were
able to benefit from the reservoir
construction program. The vulnera-
bility to drought of the small land
holders and sharecroppers of the
North-East is a product of the struc-
ture of land ownership in the region.
Their situation becomes untenable
whenever relatively minor disrup-
tions in seasonal rains occur. This is
the fundamental reason for the peri-
odic migration of poor northeastern-
ers to other areas of Brazil. The agri-
cultural system of the North-East is
geared to the protection of cattle, not
Another drought in 1958 finally
led to the realization that the reser-
voir program of DNOCS had failed to
help most northeastern. The agency
was further discredited by accusa-
tions of administrative corruption
and association with indistrias da
seca or profiteers who become
wealthy by capitalizing on the needs
of drought victims. In response to
this situation, President Kubitschek
set up a new coordinating agency in
1959 known as Superintendencia do
Desenvolvimento do Nordeste
(SUDENE). With the advent of
SUDENE development efforts were
shifted from reservoir construction to
a new strategy which called for rural
irrigation projects. In 1971 a compre-
hensive plan was announced which
called for the irrigation of 195,000


hectares of land by 1980 at a cost of
over three thousand billion cruzeiros.
Although the capital costs were
known to be high there was much of-
ficial optimism that the irrigation
scheme would begin to answer the
knotty problems of the North-East.
To evaluate the progress made
under this new plan Hall carried out
field studies in 1974-75 in 3 of the 12
irrigation projects under DNOCS su-
pervision at that time. After private
consulting firms conduct preliminary
feasibility studies and plans for a spe-
cific project, DNOCS expropriates
the private land in the valleys where
the irrigation project is to be in-
stalled. After the construction has
been completed the land is resettled
with families that have been selected
from a pool of applicants. The bu-
reaucratic apparatus involved in the
administration of these projects is
enormous; in one project in which it
was planned that 253 farmers would
be settled Hall found 180 agricultural
technicians, social workers, and
other DNOCS staff. It was also ob-
served that the selection process


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(305) 552-2277 Mrs. SanSoucl
(305) 552-2874 Miss Weitz
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(305) 552-2851 Dr. Aid


As in previous eras, the
Amazon Basin is now
viewed as a potential
receptacle for the excess
population of the

stresses factors such as personal ref-
erences, performance on psychologi-
cal tests, and age (farmers over the
age of 49 do not qualify for resettle-
ment). As a consequence few of
those chosen for resettlement come
from the poorest segment of the po-
pulation which farms the more mar-
ginal lands and suffers the greatest in
times of drought. Furthermore, the
irrigation projects result in a massive
displacement of people; for every in-
dividual accepted into the irrigation
scheme six are displaced by the ex-
propriation process. Many of these
people receive no government com-
pensation because they do not have
titles to the land on which they have
lived. Nor does the government have
any program to relocate the dispos-
sessed. Larger land owners do not
suffer to a similar degree because
their titles qualify them for govern-
ment compensation for whatever
portion of their lands are expropri-
Hall's conclusion that the capital
intensive irrigation program (it costs
US $34,000 to settle a family on a
DNOCS project) will do little to solve
the basic problems of the North-East
is given support by the fact that
DNOCS's goal of settling 22,000
families by 1980 represents only
1.3% of the estimated 1,700,000 ex-
cess rural population in the North-
East. Furthermore, the finding that
the irrigation projects actually dis-
place more small scale agricultural-
ists than they serve lead to the con-
clusion that the historical instability
of the nordestino will continue un-
As in previous eras, the Amazon
Basin is now viewed as a potential re-
ceptacle for the excess population of
the North-East. The modern expres-
sion of the government's intent to de-
velop the Amazon goes back to the
administration of Getilio Vargas.
Through the 50's and early 60's it

was envisioned that this would be a
Brazilian effort, but following the
military coup of 1964 a new policy
was instituted which opened the way
for foreign investment in the area,
and a program of fiscal and tax in-
centives for agribusiness and cattle-
raising was announced. The failure of
government schemes to ameliorate
the disastrous effects of the 1970
drought in the North-East stimulated
President Medici's announcement of
the Plan for National Integration
which included the construction of
the 3,000 km Transamazon Highway.
The highway was intended to be a
route of penetration into the Amazon
for migrants from the North-East
with a 100 km band of land on either
side of the roadway set aside for colo-
nization. INCRA, the Brazilian Insti-
tute of Colonization and Agrarian
Reform, set a goal of five million
Amazonian colonists by 1980. The
only apparent obstacles to this plan
were the vastness of the tropical rain
forest itself and a few scattered groups
of Amazonian Indians. In fact, the In.
dian population is much reduced
from aboriginal levels due to the in-
troduction of European diseases and
exploitation during the colonial pe-
riod and rubber boom. Victims of the
Miracle is an excellent treatise on the
further erosion of Indian lands and
well-being resulting from white pe-
netration and current government
It is worthy of mention that Brazil
has had some notable proponents of
a protectionist Indian policy dating
from as far back as the Jesuit efforts
to defend Indians against the slaving
expeditions of the bandeirantes in
the 17th and 18th centuries, and
more recently associated with the
ideals of Marshall Rondon in the late
19th century and Orlando and Clau-
dio Villas Boas today. As Davis points
out, the protectionist ideals have been
replaced by a developmentalist In-
dian policy under recent military re-
gimes. The goal of the new policy is
to integrate the Indians into the so-
cial and economic fabric of the nation
as the producers of marketable com-
modities. (A common white com-
plaint against the Indians is that
"They don't produce anything!")
The intent of the government is to
shape its Indian policy so that it is
consistent with the objectives of PIN.
The commitment to this point of view
was conveyed in no uncertain terms

when in 1971 it was announced that
the government would construct high-
way BR 080 through the middle of the
Xingu National Indian Park where the
Villas Boas brothers had labored
since 1946 to protect the unique cul-
tures of the area. Furthermore, the
Amazon Development Authority has
contracted with the National Indian
Foundation for the "pacification" of
Indian groups located along the right
of way of the Transamazon and other
highways under construction. Con-
tacts between the Brazilians and In-
dians have resulted in a number of
incidents, including the prostitution
of Indian women and epidemics which
have nearly exterminated some tribes
such as the Kreen-Akr6re, Cintas Lar-
gas, and Surui.
In 1970 FUNAI reintroduced the
policy of renda indigena or indige-
nous income which had been a fea-
ture of the discredited Indian Protec-
tion Service in the 1950's and 60's.
Under this program Indian artifacts
were sold and mineral, timber, and
grazing rights on Indian lands leased
out to pay for the operating costs of
the Indian Agency. Now, in 1978,
President Ernesto Geisel is consi-
dering a decree for the "emancipa-
tion" of Brazilian Indians which will
change their legal status from that of
minors to citizens. Although this
decree has the appearance of giving
recognition to Indians, it will termi-
nate the government's responsibility
to protect Indian lands and open the
way for the alienation of native re-
sources. This is of particular signifi-
cance because recent surveys of the
Amazon reveal large reserves of iron
ore, manganese, tin, bauxite, coal,
uranium, gold, diamonds, and zir-
conium among other minerals.
Brazil has also placed emphasis on
the expansion of its meat exporting
industry in view of an increasing in-
ternational demand for meat products
and rising prices on the world market.
The World Bank and the Inter-Amer-
ican Development Bank have loaned
Brazil $86 million for packing plant
construction and improvement and
$60 million for improving the national
herd. In order to step up production
the government has offered lucrative
tax incentives to national and multi-
national corporations which invest in
the frontier regions of the country.
Some of these operations are truly
enormous, such as the Sui6-MissO
Ranch which covers 695,843 hectares

in the state of Mato Grosso and Amer-
ican Daniel Ludwig's three million
acre Jari Forestry and Ranching Com-
pany holding in the Territory of
It is clear that Brazilian Indian po-
licy has been compromised with the
wider economic development inter-
ests of the Brazilian government. The
tragedy of this is that official actions
treat indigenous land rights and na-
tional development as mutually-ex-
clusive entities. Given this "choice"
the government self-righteously opts
for development. This view is a rigid
distortion of reality that obviates the

The emerging social order
is one in which the old
Brazilian pattern of
dominance by large land
owners and private
commercial interests is
being replicated.

possibility of creative planning for the
allocation of viable parcels of land to
the few surviving Indian groups does
not constitute a bona fide threat to
colonization or Amazonian develop-
The opening of the Amazon to
highways has not fulfilled the stated
intent of resettling significant num-
bers of the landless poor of the North-
East. By the beginning of 1975 fewer
than 6000 families had established
themselves in the new colonization
zones. Furthermore, field investiga-
tions by scholars such as Emilio
Moran of Indiana University and Nigel
J. H. Smith of the National Institute
of Amazonian Research, Manaus, in-
dicate that no more than 30-45% of
the Transamazon settlers are north-
easterners. Such a rate of relocation
will not ease the demographic prob-
lems of the North-East where the po-
pulation is 35 million and growing.
In order to deal effectively with these
human problems Brazil requires an
enlightened planning process which
is able to program for the more fun-
damental needs of its constituent
populations. That is to say, national
planning should have some input
from the bottom as well as from the

In failing to perceive the land needs
of the northeasterners within their
region and the Amazonian Indians
within their traditional territories,
Brazil commits the error of equating
national welfare with economic indi-
cators such as the annual growth rate
and the gross national product. "Pro-
gress" is sought through massive ca-
pital-intensive super projects which
all too often leave the poor by the
wayside. In its dedication to bigness
and its desire to advance the eco-
nomic indicators as rapidly as pos-
sible the Brazilian development stra-
tegy avoids both the fundamental
social issue of agrarian reform in the
North-East and the moral issue of In-
dian survival in the Amazon. The evi-
dence presented by Hall and Davis
clearly indicates that the Brazilian
government's development schemes
in the Northeast and the Amazon
have not benefitted a significant pro-
portion of the rural poor in either
The conventional wisdoms that the
nordestino is the victim of drought
and that the conquest of the Amazon
is a brave national endeavor designed
to benefit all Brazilians are self-serv-
ing rationalizations which obfuscate
the true economic dynamics of the
two regions. Recently opened areas
of the Amazon are not serving as ega-
litarian utopias for disenfranchised
northeasterners. The emerging social
order is one in which the old Brazilian
pattern of dominance by large land
owners and private commercial inter-
ests is being replicated. Hall and
Davis demonstrate the essential rela-
tedness of the economic processes
which underlie the human condition
in the sertao and the Amazon. In both
regions "development" has been co-
opted by entrepreneurial and corpo-
rate concerns which have the capital
resources and expertise to take ad-
vantage of government programs and
tax incentives. From the large cattle
holdings and drought profiteers in
the North-East to the national and
multinational corporations in Ama-
zonia, the pattern is one in which land
and resources are controlled by pow-
erful economic interests which capi-
talize on the provisions of Brazilian
law and development policy.

William T. Vickers teaches Anthropology at
Florida International University.


El Super
Directed by Le6n Ichaso and Orlando
Jim6nez-Leal. Adapted to the screen by
Le6n Ichaso and Manuel Arce from
Ivan Acosta's play of the same title.
Music by Enrique Ubieta.
Featuring Raymundo Hidalgo-Gato,
Zully Montero, Reynaldo Medina,
Elizabeth Pefia, Juan Granda, Hilda
Lee, Phil Joint, Leonardo Soriano, Ef-
rain Lopez-Neri and Ana Margarita
Produced by Manuel Arce and Le6n
A Max Mambru Films Ltd. film.

Billed as the "launching of a film
movement: the New Cuban Cinema-
in exile," El Super had its world
premiere in Miami where it is currently
enjoying a long and celebrated run. We
would do well to analyze the film both in
terms of its billing (its pretensions?) as
well as on its own terms. But first, the
Roberto Amador Gonzalo, 42,
former bus driver back in Cuba, took
himself, his wife and daughter into exile
ten years ago and is currently em-
ployed as a superintendent of an
apartment building in New York's
Upper West Side. Life is not easy: un-
grateful tenants constantly complain-
ing and misbehaving (the everpresent
snow piling up in front of the building's
front steps); Government inspectors
asking difficult questions; (the snow
piling up); chauvinistic Cuban friends
losing their temper (it keeps on snow-
ing); dominoe games constantly inter-
rupted by a recalcitrant boiler (the snow
keeps on falling)... And within what
seems like a very few weeks of winter
the Super finds a frozen corpse trapped
in a fire escape, learns that his 17 year
old daughter, supposedly a virgin, has
Aurelia Zullv Montero


been made pregnant, learns that his
mother back in Cuba has died, gets his
"visa" papers as well as a welcoming
letter from a Miami relative and throws
a party to celebrate his imminent move
from Fun to Sun City. The move has
been long brewing and idealized by
Roberto Amador Gonzalo as some sort
of a solution.
Why the move to Miami? There is no
question that Calle Ocho and environs
can indeed be called "little Havana"
(provided a major stretch of the imag-
ination is made) and that Cuban exiles
and their families will soon become the
numerical majority in the area (no
imagination needed: this is demon-
strable official fact). But all this we
know from living here: it is not pre-
sented or even implied in the film itself.
There is, on the other hand, much em-
phasis placed on the cold and the
snow, both visually and verbally. The
Super's move to Miami, as developed
on screen, seems motivated much
more by a desire for better weather
than by any of the very important fac-
tors (psychological, cultural or social)
that make Miami appealing to Cuban
exiles: proximity to the homeland,
companionship of fellow Cubans by
the hundreds of thousands, virtual dis-
appearance of the language barrier.
Moreover, those non-climatic
characteristics that make New York in-
hospitable to anyone, let alone a Cuban
exile, are not pinpointed as the princi-
pal reason for fleeing. As a result of
both omissions compounded, Roberto
Amador could be seen as just another
frostbitten "snowbird" whose principal
El Super Raymundo Hidalgo-Gaton
[T~ ^ --

Reviewed by Alonso Alegria

complaint about the North is the cold
...as if indeed New York summers
could not melt stones three months of
every year and Spring and Fall up there
were not perfectly liveable seasons. "Af-
ter exile, choose the right weather and
you'll be fine," the film seems to be
saying. We know there is much more to
it than good weather, but not thanks to
the filmmakers.
The Super admits, at one late point
in the film when he is having a heart-
to-heart talk with his wife, that his
biggest mistake was settling down in
New York. It is at this moment that the
ultimate question-it has been nag-
ging us all along-rears its puzzling,
disturbing head: Why did he move
himself out of Cuba in the first place?
There is no doubt in my mind that
there must be doubts in Cuban exiles'
minds (or in the back of their minds)
about this extremely sensitive matter.
These doubts must be especially pain-
ful in cases such as the Super's, cases
of self-exiles who have not in any real
way "made it" in the US. What has the
Super exchanged for what? In what way
has he escaped whatever he was
fleeing from? Has he found what he
was looking for?
This film was not meant to be a
"political" film. But the subject-matter
is exile, the origin of the Super's prob-
lem is the Cuban Revolution and not to
seriously acknowledge the underlying
political subject becomes another
grave omission of the film. Politics is
dealt with only when the film can poke
fun at it (e.g., the Super's friend's
ridiculously bigoted attitudes and
Predicador Leonardo Soriano


El Super (Raymundo Hidalgo-Gato) confronts La China (Hilda Lee), a tenant with a broken

paranoia about Communism, plus his
empty boasting about his Bay of Pigs
participation). There are other, more
reasonable, more intelligent contexts
that would have afforded rational dis-
cussion but here the subject is side-
stepped altogether. What an interesting
and illuminating conversation we
could have witnessed had the Super
and his wife talked about Fidel's Cuba
and why they left it! It is the subject that
underlies the whole film, and it is a
subject screaming to be dealt with.
Now for El Super as a film: the first
thing that strikes us is the acting. I have
seldom seen, in Spanish, such accu-
rate and at the same time natural act-
ing as accomplished by Raymundo
Hidalgo-Gato as the Super and Zully
Montero as his wife, to mention only the
the two principal actors. Listing all the
other excellent performances would
take too long and become redundant:
suffice it to say that the quality, variety,
Pancho Reynaldo Medina

sincerity and precision of the charac-
terizations and the acting provide the
film with practically the only thing that
consistently holds one's attention, the
other being the expressive and occa-
sionally beautiful photography. There is
hardly any development of a storyline
or anecdote, and this is not necessarily
a defect, of course, except that it
reveals, and very clearly, the one major
flaw of this film as a film: it fails to hide,
much less build upon, its theatrical ori-
It is a commonplace of film criticism
to lambaste, whenever possible, a film
adaptation of a play that fails to turn the
original into a truly cinematic work. It is
so commonplace, indeed, that the rela-
tive inexperience of the directors and
adapters of El Super is revealed by this
alone, as they open themselves up for
such elementary derogation of their
work. But indeed one must point out
that conversations are conversations

are conversations. And they will remain
so (and keep on belonging on a stage)
no matter if they be taken out for a walk
in the snow, or into a cafeteria or down
a colorfully crowded street.
The film medium should be made
use of for the dramatic values it can
afford and not only for the sake of visual
variety or to emphasize acting values
(closeups of watery eyes, for example).
A case in point: a crucial incident in the
evolution of Roberto Amador's deci-
sion to come south is when he finds the
frozen corpse of a hapless burglar
caught in the fire escape of his apart-
ment building. An extremely cinematic
image, and one that would have af-
forded a very strong moment, with not
a word necessarily said. Yet, we are only
told about it by the Super, we never
actually see it. It is, indeed, a moving
tale, but we are robbed of the real thing.
One wonders how much better El
Super could have been had this mo-
ment (and very many others like it)
been shown and not only talked about
at length.
And there we have it: a film that falls
short of two very important and ines-
capable objectives: asking the ultimate
questions about its subject matter and
using the resources of its own medium
to the full. No matter how accom-
plished the acting or how close to the
Cuban exile's feelings or how interest-
ing the photography or how new the
subject matter may be... The "launch-
ing of a Film Movement" this movie is
not, but it may be paving its way.

Alonso Alegria is a Peruvian playwright and
theatre director born in exile in Santiago de
Chile. His play CROSSING NIAGARA has
gained world-wide attention. From 1971 to
1978 he was founder and Director of the
Peruvian National Theatre. He is presently
teaching and directing at Florida Interna-
tional University.

Aurelita Elizabeth Peha Cuco -Juan Granda


Independence for Puerto Rico:
The Only Solution
Continued from page 21

Puerto Rico becomes the touchstone
on which the sincerity of US foreign
policy in Latin America must be tested.
Sooner or later the United Nations will
confirm world opinion by declaring
Puerto Rico a colony.
As a nation, Puerto Rico has the in-
alienable right to its sovereignty and to
develop and defend an economic sys-
tem which will be adequate to its needs
and its resources. It must have a truly
democratic system of government so
that its citizens can freely elect and con-
trol all their public officials.
We yearn to live decently from the
products of our work, and we have the
moral responsibility for putting an end
to the degrading situation of being
forced to live indefinitely as welfare
recipients in an artificial economic
structure designed for the benefit of US
corporations and their local inter-
We claim the inalienable right to de-
fend, protect and develop our natural
resources, our nationality, our culture
and our language.
We are a nation, not a military or a
strategic base. And, as Latin Ameri-
cans, we refuse to be used as a
beachhead for the penetration and
control of the Americas.
Let us examine the choices which
are offered as solutions to these con-
flicting interests.
Commonwealth. The proposals
presented by the supporters of the
present Commonwealth status to ac-
quire more power for the Puerto Rican
government have been rejected by
Congress time and again, but in any
case all these proposals have main-
tained the basic economic and political
structures which, as we have observed,
have led us to our present condition.
Congress has rejected all these pro-
posals, in the first place because some
of them present enormous constitu-
tional problems and, in the second
place, because these measures would
give Puerto Rico preferential treatment
over the states of the Union that the
states are not ready to concede.
Furthermore, Commonwealth,
under any guise, fails to comply with
present requirements of international
law and the expectations of the world
community as defined particularly by
Resolution 1514 (XV) of the UN General
Assembly. The United States has been

forced to risk its prestige and to resort
to heavy-handed persuasion only to
postpone a vote by the UN Committee
on Decolonization regarding the status
of Puerto Rico. If the United States were
to persevere in flouting international
law and opinion so as to maintain by
subterfuge its colonial position in
Puerto Rico, its prestige could only suf-
fer. No nation can hope to remain as
virtually the sole colonial power in the
world and assert a claim to moral lead-
ership in a world where over 75 new
nations, all of which understand what
colonialism is about, have gained their
independence since the Second World
Twenty-five years are more than
enough to demonstrate that Com-
monwealth status not only will not im-
prove with time, but will undoubtedly

Caribbean and Latin
American nations can
hardly be expected to
applaud and forget when
one of their own is
swallowed by the "colossus
of the North."

get worse in economic, political and
social terms, and that day by day it will
decreasingly serve the interests of both
the United States and Puerto Rico.
Statehood. Statehood is not a real
alternative for the United States or for
Puerto Rico.
From an economic point of view
statehood would unquestionably
worsen Puerto Rico's economic prob-
lems. With the full application of federal
taxes, Puerto Rico would lose most of
the attraction for American and foreign
investors upon which the already dec-
adent economic structure is based.
Economic stagnation, greater than that
existing now, would occur.
As a result, Puerto Rico would be a
beggar state, destined to subsist only
through massive transfer payments
from the federal government. Evidently
Puerto Rico would, as a state, have the
right to the largest proportional share of
federal welfare funds, and contribute

the least to the federal treasury.
There also exist insurmountable
political obstacles to statehood. As we
have indicated, after 79 years of Ameri-
can occupation, there is no majority
support for statehood in Puerto Rico. It
is illusory to think that statehood will
ever attain in Puerto Rico the over-
whelming support that is required for
admission of a state to the federal
Union, support which must come close
to unanimity in a Latin American coun-
try where, in contrast to Hawaii and
Alaska, independence has been a con-
stant of political life.
Among those opposing statehood,
there are thousands of Puerto Ricans
determined to impede assimilation by
any and all means. A great number of
these are to be found among the two
million Puerto Ricans now living in the
United States, Any serious attempt at
incorporating Puerto Rico as a state
would unquestionably precipitate a
wave of violence, not only in Puerto
Rico but also in the United States. We
all know that in the past, and without
the threat of impending statehood,
grave acts of violence have taken place.
Violence will undoubtedly breed re-
pression and might involve minorities
within the United States in a destructive
conflict to assert by force the right to
self-preservation, equality and dignity.
But what would the admission of
Puerto Rico as a state mean to the
United States? Puerto Rico would be a
densely populated, Latin American,
overwhelmingly Catholic, Spanish-
speaking and, by American percep-
tions, racially mixed state entitled to
two Senators and seven Congressmen
and able to cast nine votes in the Elec-
toral College, surpassed in electoral
strength only by less than half of the
The language barrier alone should
be enough to end speculation on the
admissibility of Puerto Rico to the
Union. After 79 years of US occupation,
the immense majority of Puerto Ricans
feel no great need to speak English in
their private and public life. Even sup-
porters of statehood are very much
aware of the insurmountable cultural
and linguistic obstacles which state-
hood for Puerto Rico entails. The New
Progressive Party in its 1976 program
declared that "the enabling act must
assure our people its maximum eco-
nomic and social development, the
conservation and enrichment of our
culture and our Spanish language,
which are not negotiable." And very


recently Governor Romero Barcel6
reaffirmed that the Puerto Rican culture
and language are not negotiable and
that, if Congress is not willing to grant
statehood under those conditions, he
would then opt for independence.
Puerto Rico is not a case, as Presi-
dent Carter seems to believe (as dem-
onstrated in his recent message to the
Governor of Puerto Rico), of tolerating
bilingualism in a minority. We are a
majority, an overwhelming majority in
our nation. Of the four daily newspa-
pers published in Puerto Rico with a
total circulation of approximately
415,000, only one with a circulation of
about 40,000 is written in English. Only
as a rare exception is an English lan-
guage program televised by one of the
five operating TV channels. And the
numerous programs imported from
the United States have to be dubbed in
Spanish. Only one out of 84 radio sta-
tions has English language program-
ming. Even sporting events like the
World Series and boxing matches have
to be transmitted in Spanish. Spanish
is used in schools, universities,
churches and courts of law with the few
exceptions which serve exiguous
minorities. Politically, this would mean
that candidates to national office would
not be able to communicate directly
with the 1.8 million registered voters in
Puerto Rico who could very well decide
a close US presidential election.
Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
and Quebec, although not in the same
historical and political circumstances
as Puerto Rico, underline the impossi-
bility of repressing a nationality. The
question is not if or when the theoreti-
cal State of Puerto Rico would be
placed on such a roster. The question is
only how destructive the fight to restore
us to freedom would be.
Moreover, granting statehood to
Puerto Rico will have to be im-
plemented over widespread interna-
tional opposition. Caribbean and Latin
American nations can hardly be ex-
pected to applaud and forget when one
of their own is swallowed by the "colos-
sus of the North." No one can foretell
what exactly they would do when faced
with such action. At the very least, it
would certainly poison US-Latin Amer-
ican relations for many decades. The
Conference of Heads of State of
Nonaligned Nations has repeatedly
and unanimously affirmed the right of
Puerto Rico to independence. Even
President Ford's lame-duck gesture
provoked an immediate and negative

response from points as geographi-
cally and ideologically distant as
Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Spain,
France and the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics.
Independence. To us independence
is synonymous with the development
of a democracy, the full protection of
civil and political rights, and a decent
way of life based on a work ethic. Inde-
pendence will not bring about the
millennium. But independence will
provide the means and conditions to
develop a more permanent, more just
and more self-reliant economic
Difficulties will confront us. Indepen-
dence will require profound changes in
our work and consumption habits and
attitudes so that consumption con-
forms to our production capability. De-
spite per capital incomes which are a
third of what they are in the United
States, our consumption habits are the
same: one car for every three Puerto

I i fl -

Ricans; television sets for 93 percent of
the families. A society which receives
$600 million in food stamps a year and
whose government admits that 60 per-
cent of all families are medically indi-
gent spends $1 billion in gambling in
that same year. Conspicuous con-
sumption is financed through an
enormous private and public debt
($5.3 billion and $6.6 billion respec-
tively by 1975) which will have to be
paid sooner or later, and under Com-
monwealth status through massive
federal expenditure.
The generation of investment funds
in the early years is another problem
which must be faced by the Republic.
Independence would vary the condi-
tions under which Puerto Rico would
have access to US money markets. But
alternative sources of capital would be
available through participation in inter-
national organizations which are at
present active in promoting and financ-
ing development in Third World coun-

Governor Carlos Romero Barcel6 and his wife at his inaugural ceremony, 1977
World Wide Photos


tries. Ample possibilities exist for bilat-
eral arrangements, particularly with the
major petroleum exporting countries.
Venezuela, for example, has been
favorably inclined to precisely such
arrangements with Latin American
The regulation of our financial sector
and of consumption through the use of
the appropriate fiscal and monetary
powers of the Republic will allow us to
generate savings and allocate them
efficiently. Although aggregate con-
sumption in Puerto Rico has exceeded
income in recent years, savings have
been generated. But accumulated cap-
ital has been exported or has been
used to finance extravagant consump-
tion. Puerto Rican banks regularly in-
vest hundreds of millions outside
Puerto Rico, and companies estab-
lished here exported $1.6 billion in
1976. A large part of this wealth can be
diverted to productive use in Puerto
Rico where local banks have made less
than 12 percent of their loans (totaling
$3.9 billion in 1975) to manufacturing
and agriculture. The Republic could
match, at a minimum, the investment
coefficient of 24 percent, which is the
figure for Latin America as a whole, or
even reach the investment coefficient
of a small country such as Iceland (34
The lack of free access to US mar-
kets will require readjustments in some
export areas. But the lack of such free
access (which will affect a decreasing
number of products due to recent US
tariff trends) will be more than com-
pensated for by our capacity to protect
the local market to assure rational im-
port substitution and internal growth,
and by access to cheaper sources of
supply and transportation costs. In
1975 Puerto Rico's balance-of-trade
deficit with the United States was
$1,397 million excluding crude
petroleum, imported mostly from
Venezuela, and petroleum products,
exported mostly to the United States.
The savings to the Puerto Rican econ-
omy if it had access to world market
supplies would be significant. We must
remember that Puerto Rico is a captive
market (the fifth largest in the world for
US exports) through what is called in
classic colonial economic theory, an
assimilated tariff policy; the application
of both US tariffs and the Offshore
Shipping Laws now lock us into an ex-
pensive market with high maritime
transportation costs.
In order to generate more perma-

The total pro-indepen-
dence vote in 1976 was
around 94,000 votes,
almost four times as many
as in 1968.

nent, more just and more self-reliant
economic growth, we propose a new
model for economic growth and social
development for the Republic one
radically different from the present col-
onial model and capable of solving the
problems it has engendered and can-
not solve.
The model will have three basic ob-
jectives: (1) an increase in production
and employment; (2) a better distribu-
tion of wealth; (3) more self-reliant
economic growth.
Our production and employment
policy will be based on rational import
substitution. In several studies the
Puerto Rico Planning Board has stated
that import substitution is feasible and
desirable and that the only restraints
are political (i.e., lack of protection for
local production) and not economic.
Puerto Rico is endowed with the eco-
nomic infrastructure and with the
human and technical resources neces-
sary for such production.
Import substitution is not synonym-
ous with autarkic development. Our
industrial structure will still have an im-
portant component geared for export,
but, with independence, Puerto Rico
will be able to substantially increase
production for internal consumption
and thus generate employment. In
1975 we imported $5,055 million.
There is ample scope for import sub-
stitution in durable and nondurable
goods which account for close to
$2,000 million of imports.
In agriculture, our goal would be to
guarantee as far as possible self-
sufficiency in foodstuffs. In 1975 im-
ports of foodstuffs amounted to $787
million. More than 60 percent of our
arable land lies fallow. At present, this
objective cannot be achieved because
we cannot protect our agriculture from
the dumping of US produce; because
of massive propaganda by US produc-
ers which cannot be matched by local
producers; and because of the utiliza-
tion of agricultural land for sprawling,
unplanned, highly speculative residen-
tial expansion, made possible in large

degree by highly concentrated land
ownership patterns. In the last 20 years,
the amount of land under cultivation
has decreased from 600,000 to
300,000 acres.
The existence of extensive nickel
and copper deposits in Puerto Rico,
calculated at a value of at least $10 bil-
lion, opens up an additional avenue of
production and self-reliant growth.
Recent petroleum explorations dem-
onstrate the very high possibility (ac-
cording to the exploring company, 85
percent) of the existence of petroleum
off the northern shore of the Island.
Only under independence could
Puerto Rico be assured control over
this resource, since, according to fed-
eral law, states have sovereignty only to
a three-mile limit, and by special con-
cession to a ten-mile zone. The exact
nature of the Commonwealth's control
is yet to be determined by the US fed-
eral agencies or courts.
A better distribution of income and
wealth currently the upper 10 per-
cent of families receive 3.82 percent of
income while the lower 40 percent re-
ceive 8.9 percent will require direct
public intervention into those specific
conditions and institutions which con-
tribute to the generation of such mal-
distribution. These include the present
abusive tax structure; the absence of a
wage, income and price policy aimed
at reducing inequality; and the lack of
guaranteed and equal access to health,
education, legal and other services.
Our third major objective is to have
control over our economic growth pro-
cess. Any small country in today's
world faces great difficulties in trying to
achieve self-reliant growth; but inde-
pendence will provide the means
whereby we can extend considerably
the range of decisions over which we
are sovereign, decisions which are now
made by the United States foreign
trade and monetary policies are obvi-
ous examples. But to fully achieve this
objective the government of an inde-
pendent Puerto Rico will have to con-
trol its basic economic and financial
sectors, intervene more directly in the
distribution of consumer and invest-
ment goods, assume responsibility for
the import sector, and engage in a pro-
cess of social and cultural decoloniza-
Our objectives will not be reached
overnight. We anticipate a transition or
phasing-out period of a number of
years within which some of the present
economic structures will coexist with


those which will characterize the Re-
New arrangements and agreements
regarding the basic financial and indus-
trial sectors now totally controlled by
US capital, and whose control by
Puerto Rico is central to our objectives,
should be reached after careful negoti-
ation which would include provisions
for gradual and just compensation.
This process must not be considered
as abrupt, but as part of the develop-
ment of a Republic, which, like all other
sovereign nations during the last half of
the twentieth century, aspires to politi-
cal independence and economic inter-
dependence with other nations.
Private and public debt would be
paid through long-term refinancing
agreements, and arrangements should
be reached to deal with the phasing out
of federal transfer payments and the
transfer to Puerto Rico of various pro-
grams, such as Social Security and
federal pensions, which are presently
administered by the United States.
Obviously US corporations would
lose their privileges and monopolistic
hold on Puerto Rico. The military and
strategic interests of the United States
would have to conform to the Repub-
lic's sovereignty over its national terri-
A number of nations in Africa, Asia
and the Caribbean demonstrate the
possibility of achieving independence
peacefully, even in coordination with
the colonial power. Such a rational pro-
cess is still available to the United
States in solving the Puerto Rican ques-
The Republic of Puerto Rico, con-
ceived in liberty and founded on ra-
tional and equitable economic princi-
ples, would protect the interests and
rights of the people of Puerto Rico; free
the American taxpayer of the increased

Who speaks

for the





cost of maintaining an unworkable
economic system; and would make US
policies conform to the principles of
liberty on which the Union was founded
as well as the principles of contempo-
rary international law.

Over the last 79 years that is, since
the US invasion the Puerto Rican
nationality, an integral part of the conti-
nental Latin American nationality, has
shown a vigorous capacity for resis-
tance against overwhelming odds and
constant attempts at assimilation. To
argue that a well-defined, homoge-
neous nationality like that of Puerto
Rico can be assimilated, or that nation-
alism and the urge for freedom are not
felt by the immense majority of Puerto
Ricans, by pointing to the result of one
or another colonial election, would be
as futile as confusing the size of an
iceberg with that of its visible tip.
From the imposition of American
citizenship on Puerto Ricans against
the expressed will of the Puerto Rican
House of Delegates to...[the] refusal by
the President of the United States to
recommend the granting of minor re-
forms solicited by the majority PDP
through a status commission, time and
again the US government has acted
contrary to the will of even those offi-
cially representing the colonial gov-
ernment and timidly requesting some
autonomous powers. Independence
advocates have been frequently perse-
cuted, and in the post-Chile and
post-Watergate era no one can doubt
the sinister indirect and direct methods
that have been constantly used by the
US intelligence agencies against the
Puerto Rican independence move-
Within this historical context, faced
with an overpowering US presence and

Please send a subscription for the period indicated.
Mailto Caribbean Review
Florida International University
Tamiami Trail
Miami. Florida 33199

City -

immersed in continuous anti-
independence propaganda, it is not
surprising that many Puerto Ricans,
out of frustration and a sense of impo-
tence, have been left with no alternative
but to view the political process in ex-
clusive relation to their most im-
mediate and pressing needs.
By now it should be clear to the US
government that nationalist processes
rarely follow a linear development.
Elements which are present but not
apparent, or seemingly disparate, will
crystallize and fuse overnight. Quebec,
where after two centuries of political
and economic integration, pro-
independence forces with 8.8 percent
of the popular vote a few short years ao
became the governing party in 1976, is
only the most recent example of such
nonlinear development.
The dynamics of the Puerto Rican
reality economic disruption, social
decay, the political disrepute of Com-
monwealth status, the impossibility of
statehood as an alternative, the enor-
mous cost of Commonwealth to the
American taxpayer as a subsidy to a
few corporations, the unacceptability
of colonialism in the world community
and the merging of the independence
ideal with the doctrine of democratic
socialism make of independence
not only the inalienable right of the
people of Puerto Rico, but also the only
rational solution to the status problem
of Puerto Rico.
In Puerto Rico an accelerated pro-
cess is going on which can lead either
to a sudden explosion or to an orderly
channeling of nationalism. I personally
should like to believe that through
mutual understanding reason will val-
idate our right to freedom and dignity.
Our people cannot live without free-
dom and dignity. Independence is the
only solution.

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Anthropology and Sociology

1. Dominguez, et al. Museo del Hombre
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MEXICAN BOUNDARY, 1910-54. Clifford
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Latin American Center, University of
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Description and Travel
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Published for the Conference on Latin
American History.


Peter Marzahl. University of Texas Press,
1978. $14.95; $5.95 paper.

Boersner. Monte Avila Editores, 1978.

AND FANTASY. Nigel Davies. Morrow, 1979.

Language and Literature
Keimer. Kraus Reprint, 1978,2 vols. $55.00.

Cruz Brache. Galaxia, 1978.311 pp. $8.50.

Wagenheim, ed. Schocken Books, 1978.
$9.50; $3.95 paper. Spanish and English
on facing pages. Wagenheim was a
co-founder of Caribbean Review.

PANAMA. Anita G. McAndrews, ed. Three
Continents, 1978. $12.00; $7.00 paper.

AGUA. Francisco Herrera Luque. Editorial
Pomaire (Venezuela), 1978.583 pp. Bs.
38.00. An historical novel about Venezuela
under G6mez.

Henriquez Urefa. Taller (Dominican
Republic), 1978.301 pp. $6.50.

ACTUALIDAD. Gisela Beutler. Institute
Caro y Cuervo (Colombia), 1978.615 pp.

Ortega Ricaurte. Impr. Patri6tica del
Institute Caro y Cuervo, 1978. 445 pp.

Joaquin Balaguer. Gordon Press, 1978.

JavierArango Ferrer. Institute Colombiano
de Cultura (Colombia), 1978.380 pp.

E. La Solano. Senda Nueva, 1978. $8.95.

John H. Ferres and Martin Tucker, eds.
Ungar, 1978.561 pp. $28.50.

SATELITES. Seymour Menton. Editorial
Andes (Colombia), 1978.394 pp. $12.00.

COLOMBIA. Ramiro Lagos. Ediciones
Tercer Mundo (Colombia), 1978.298 pp.

EL REY ZAMURO. Vinicio Romero Martinez.
Ediciones de la Revista Zeta (Venezuela),
1978,285 pp. Bs. 32.00. A novel with
political overtones.

Brown. G.K. Hall, 1978.192 pp.

Politics and Government
Bautista Rojas. Vadell Hermanos
(Venezuela), 1978.453 pp. Bs. 34.00.

COLOMBIANO. Hilario Jose Ariza G6mez.
Editorial Kelly (Colombia), 1978.187 pp.

ed. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978.

VENEZUELA. Bill Stewart. University of
North Carolina Press, 1978. $10.00

Chernick. Johns Hopkins University Press
for the World Bank, 1978,521 pp. $22.50.

Guerra. Tall. Graf. del Banco Popular
(Colombia), 1978. 2 vols, $18.00.

Alfredo Pefo. Editorial Juridica Venezolana,
1978.669 pp. Bs. 100.00. Interviews with
Venezuela's political leaders.

H. Claxton, ed. West Georgia College, 1978.

Alberto Alfonso. Ediciones Punta de la
Lanza (Colombia), 1978.224 pp. $6.00.

Gleijeses. Translated by Lawrence Lipson.
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979.

ed. Pathfinder Press, 1978.393 pp. $18.00;
$5.45 paper.


CARIBE. B. Vega. FACS (Dominican
Republic), 1978.247 pp. $7.00.

SYSTEM. Tom J. Farer. Praeger, 1979.

Gerard Pierre-Charles. 2nd ed. Siglo
Veintiuno Editores, 1978.188 pp.

Ediciones Centauro (Venezuela), 1978.374
pp. Bs. 30.00. Views from a Venezuelan
presidential candidate.

Eduardo Santa. Editorial Temis.
(Colombia), 1978.191 pp. $14.00.

POLITICS IN CUBA, 1913-1921. Louis A.
Perez, Jr. University of Pittsburgh Press,
1978. $12.95.

IS CURACAO TE KOOP? A.M. Chumaceiro.
Editorial Antiyano (Curacao), 1978.84 pp.
Fl. 5.00. An account, written in papiamento,
of the proposed sale of the island to
Rodriguez. Ediciones Tercer Mundo
(Colombia), 1978.210 pp. $6.50.

Alberto Rangel, Vadell Hermanos
(Venezuela), 1978. 164 pp. Bs. 20.00. A
book about the 1978 elections in Venezuela.

Jimenez-Grull6n. Taller (Dominican
Republic), 1978.307 pp. $8.50. A book
about politics in the Dominican Republic.

FRAUDE. Moises Moleiro. Vadell Hermanos
(Venezuela), 1978.289 pp. Bs. 30.00. A
history of the MIR in Venezuela.

Westview Press, 1978. $19.00.

COLOMBIANOS. Manuel Romero and Yira
Castro. Ediciones Suramerica (Colombia),
1978.162 pp. $3.50.

Gabriel Murilla Co., Elisabeth Ungar B.
Departamento de Ciencia Politica,
Universidad de los Andes, 1978.367 pp.


Berry, etal, eds. Transaction Books, 1978.
$29.95; $7.95 paper.

Laviia and Horacio Baldomir. Fundacion
de Cultural Universitaria (Uruguay), 1978.
261 pp. $15.00.

Sariola. Kennikat, 1978. $15.00.

CON LA POLITICA. Francisco Interdonato.
Ediciones Paulinas (Colombia), 1978.182
pp. $6.00.

Perez Gonzalez-Rubio. Secretaria de
Informaci6n, Presidencia de la Repiblica
(Colombia), 1978.101 pp. $2.00. An
account of the political process in

AMERICA. Royce Q. Shaw. Westview Press,

ARENA. Martin Weinstein, ed. Institute for
the Study of Human Issues, 1978. $13.50.

Hermanos (Venezuela), 1978.366 pp. Bs.
24.00. An account of the political situation
in Venezuela written by a well-known

COLOMBIA. Paul Oquist. Tall. Gr6f. del
Banco Popular-instituto de Estudios
Colombianos (Colombia), 1978.339 pp.


ANTILLES. M.F Hasham. Hogeshool van
de Nederlandse Antillen (Curacao), 1978.
156 pp.

COLOMBIANOS. Luis Maria Sanchez
L6pez. Plaza & Janes (Spain), 1978.548 pp.

Roland 1. Perusse, ed. Gordon Press, 1978.

DISSERTATIONS. Franklin and Betty June
Parker, eds. Inter American University Press,
1978.601 pp.


CENTRAL AMERICA. Curt Muser, ed.
Dutton, 1978.212 pp. $16.95; $9.95 paper.

Fabre. Institute Mexicano de Estudios
Politicos, 1978.212 pp. $50.00.
LATIN AMERICA. Lyman DePlatt, ed. Gale,
1978. $22.00.

Sable. Blaine Ethridge Books, 1979.152
pp. $15.00.

Barbara G. Cox, ed. Latin American Center,
University of California, Los Angeles, 1978.

lone S. Wright and Lisa M. Nekhom.
Scarecrow Press, 1978.1107 pp. $35.00.

Gastmann. Scarecrow Press, 1978.162 pp.

Mamalakis, ed. Greenwood Press, 1978.

Johnson and Nina M. Ogle. University Press
of America, 1978. $18.95; $9.00 paper.

Daniel F Durea. ABC-CLIO, 1978. $14.95.

Robinson and J. Cordel Robinson. Jai
Press, 1978. $21.00.

Harold Molinue, ed. Center for International
Studies, Ohio University, 1978.98 pp.

BERMUDA, 1977-78. Anthony L. Levy, ed.
6th ed. International Publications Services,
1978. $55.00.

Herrera, ed. Blaine Ethridge Books, 1979.
397 pp. $30.00.

Marian Goslinga is the International
Environmental and Urban Affairs Librarian
at Florida International University.

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