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Full Text

MARCH 1973

VOL. 19, No. 1



Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.

7 Foreword
Rex Nettleford

8 The Trans-national Appeal Of The Cuban Revolution: Chile, 1958 1970.
Miles D. Wolpin

49 A View of Modem Man
Juan Carlos Onetti
(George Irish)

76 The Greytown Passion Play, 1898
R. L. Woodward, Jr.

88 Guantanamo: Its Political, Military and Legal Status
Lynn Darrell Bender

87 Guillen at Seventy
Keith Ellis

MARCH, 1973


In this issue Caribbean Quarterly turns its attention to parts of
Latin America. The focus follows naturally on the recent public interest
shown by Anglophone Caribbean in the wider region including those countries
of Latin America washed by the Caribbean Sea. There is a history of con-
nexions of course between Trinidad and Venezuela, Jamaica and Cuba,
the West Indies and Panama as well as the border disputes inherited by
Guyana and Venezuela to the south and Belize and Guatemala to the
north. Now the heads of the four independent Commonwealth Caribbean
countries have transformed into corporate policy the promotion of good
neighbour relations with Latin America. The Heads of Government Con-
ference held at Chaguaramas on October 14, 1972, has been described
as "the most important and historic epoch-making" conference of its kind.
It will certainly be remembered for two declarations among others. One
related to the role of the English-speaking Caribbean countries in the
"Inter-American System" The other dealt with the state of the relations
of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana with the Govern-
ment of Cuba, and the obligations which the Organization of the American
States sought to impose upon its members in regard to relations with
the Cuban Government. The four countries then declared their decision
to "seek early establishment of relations with Cuba, and to this end will
act together on the basis of agreed approaches"
This in itself heralded a new era in Caribbean partnership as well
as the Caribbean effort to make the Inter-American system into an ef-
fective instrument of social and economic development for the ultimate
economic independence of the region. If this is to make sense at all then
the easy communication of ideas and people between states will have to
be encouraged. Knowledge of the dynamic of Latin American experience
is at best sporadic among inhabitants of the Commonwealth Caribbean
and where language is not a barrier, distorted reports cloud issues of moment.
Caribbean Quarterly will continue to try and bring issues of moment of
our Latin neighbours through studies, analyses and comment on life in
all its different aspects in the world of Latin America. It is already part
of the tradition of scholarship in the region that full recognition is given
to the fact of a shared historical experience through a process of creoliza-
tion between Africa, Europe and indigenous Amerindian on American
soil. But what the present and future hold for economic co-operation
and conscious cultural exchange, is still a matter for positive action as it
is for speculation.



Editorial Committee

R. M. Nettleford, Director of Extra-Mural Studies (Editor)
Lloyd Braithwaite, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., St. Augustine, Trinidad.
Sidney Martin, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., Cave Hill, Barbados.
Roy Augier, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica.
G. A. Alleyne, Professor, Medical Research Council, U.W.I., Mona.
Lloyd Coke, Department of Botany, U.W.I., Mona.
Neville McMorris, Department of Physics, U.W.I., Mona.
Patricia Williams, Department of Extra-Mural Studies, U.W.I., Mona,
Jamaica. (Assoc. Editor).

All correspondence should be addressed to:
Caribbean Quarterly,
Department of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.

We invite readers to submit manuscripts on recommended subjects
which they would like to see discussed in CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY
Articles of Caribbean relevancy will be gratefully received.

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MILES D. WOLPIN, a former Fullbright Scholar at the University
of Havana, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Columbia University on "The
Influence of the Cuban Revolution upon Chilean Politics and Foreign
Policy 1959 65" In his study of political science he has gained his
learning experience at several U.S. Universities, and in England and Spain
at the Universities of London and Madrid. He now enjoys Canadian immigrant
status, but has returned to the U.S.A. as Visiting Assistant Professor at
the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque.

CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY is not the only journal to have accepted
this article for publication and it is possible that it may have appeared
first in the Durham University Journal in 1972. Several articles by Professor
Wolpin on the Cuban and Chilean internal situation have been published
in leading Journals such as Polity and The Journal of Developing Areas.
His current research concerns the role of the armed forces in twentieth
century social revolutions and the workers assemblies in the Cuban political

KEITH ELLIS is a Jamaican who is Associate Professor in the Depart-
ment of Haitian and Hispanic Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada.
He was recently in Cuba doing research for a major work on Guillen.

ROBERT L. WOODWARD is Professor of History at Tulane University
New Orleans. His special interest in Latin American Studies took him to
Panama in 1970.

GEORGE IRISH, U.W.I. Extra-Mural Resident Tutor in Montserrat,
contributes another piece of his studies in Latin American Literatures.

LYNN DARRELL BENDER writes from the Inter-American Uni-
versity at San German, Puerto Rico.




As an evocative symbol, Cuba weakened the fatalismo which had
traditionally exerted a moderating force upon egalitarian nationalists in
Chile. Inspired by the Fidelista success in expropriating Yankee corporations,
Chilean leftists had radicalized their immediate goals by early 1961. U.S.,
Centrist and Rightist reactions to rising leftist militance and class demands
resulted in the dominance of reformism at the social-psychological level.
Despite an extremely modest "delivery" upon Frei's 1964 1965 Alliance
for Progress backed "Revolution in Liberty", the leftist lower class con-
stituency failed to expand significantly during the sixties. This is explained
in part by a dogmatic Marxian tactical orientation which was maintained
despite the rapid extension of bourgeois political culture to marginated
sectors of the population. A priority U.S.-Chilean effort, this was Christian
Democracy's only real success. The defeat of the bourgeois parties in 1970
was conditioned by several factors: 1) the close identification of Frei's
dominant oficialistas with domestic and foreign capital; 2) a defection of
populistic Christian Democrats who had been inspired by the Cuban Re-
volution; 3) seizure of the Radical Party by similar ex-invitados; and 4)
tactical inflexibility, ambition and over-confidence by bourgeois political
elites resulting in class disunity. Implications for self-equilibrating or
autonomous systems models and Marxian theory are discussed. An attempted
military golpe is prognosticated for the 1971 1973 period due to: 1) the
corporate expansionist priority goal of U.S. foreign policies; and 2) a
decade of systematic hospitality and indoctrination in demonological images
of Communism of most Chilean military and police officers by the United


CHILE, 1958 1970


Since Bolivar prognosticated that the United States was "destined
to plague Latin America with misery in the name of Liberty" during the
1820s this perception has been shared in varying degrees by virtually all
prominent revolutionary liberators and nationalists. Of especial significance
"anti-Americanism" has been an integral characteristic of those "revolu-
tions" which sought major egalitarian alterations of pre-existing social
orders: Mexico (1910 1940); Bolivia (1952 1956); Argentina (1946 -
1955); Guatemala (1950 1954); and Cuba (1959 ). The hostility
to the United States that was associated with these upheavals should be
distinguished from the traditional "anti-Yankeeism" based upon materialistic
envy, perceived North American arrogance, Hispanic chauvinism, and psy-
chological projections.

Revolutionary "anti-Americanism" may be reinforced by the ubiquitous
attitudes just mentioned. It is sustained, however, by an active conflictual
process rather than contemplative recrimination. When Latin Americans
who aspired for de facto economic sovereignty and an independent foreign
policy manifest a principled dedication to such goals, the United States
has traditionally defined their aspirations as a threat to its role as a "Free
World" and hemispheric "leader" Washington's informal empire was genu-
inely threatened for revolutionary nationalists in all these countries
endeavoured in varying degrees to alter Latin America's primary role as
a source of raw materials and capital for North American development.
Such structural transformations necessarily involved nationalization or res-
trictions upon foreign investors.

While the United States has vigorously opposed Latin American ef-
forts to develop by closing the "Open Door" to North American capital
since the second decade of this century,' there has been a certain reluctance
during the onset of the ideologically tinged Cold War to candidly admit
the priority of such an imperative. The confidence engendered by the effective
"containment" of the Cuban Revolution, an apparent Soviet backdown
at the time of Kennedy's Missile Crisis and the successful 1965 invasion
of the Dominican Republic has, however, emboldened certain U.S. officials.
Thus while addressing the Pan American Society in 1968, Commander in
Chief of the U.S. Southern Command, General Robert W. Porter, volunteered
the following conception of his role orientation:

Many of you gentlemen are leaders and policy-makers in the
businesses and industries that account for the huge American
private investment in Latin America. Some misguided per-
sonalities and groups in our own country and abroad call you
capitalists who seek profit. Of course you do. you can help
produce a climate conducive to more investment and more
progressive American involvement in the hemisphere, the
Alliance envisages some $300 million a year in U.S. private

As a final thought, consider the small amount of U.S. public
funds that have gone for military assistance and for AID public
safety projects as a very modest premium on an insurance
policy protecting our vast private investment in an area of
tremendous trade and strategic value to our country.2
A year or so later and speaking on behalf of most Latin American Am-
bassadors accredited to Washington, Christian Democratic Foreign Minister
of Chile Gabriel Valdes reportedly addressed the following remarks to
President Nixon in the Cabinet Room of the White House:
It is generally believed that our continent receives real financial
aid. The data show the opposite. We can affirm that Latin
America is making a contribution to financing the development
of the United States and of other industrialized countries.
Private investment has meant and does mean for Latin America
that the sums taken out of our continent are several times
higher than those that are invested. Our potential capital de-
clines. The benefits of invested capital grow and multiply them-
selves enormously, though not in our countries but abroad.
The so-called aid, with all its well-known conditions, means
markets and greater development for the developed countries,
but has not, in fact, managed to compensate for the money
that leaves Latin America in payment of the external debt
and as a result of the profits generated by direct private invest-
ment. In one word, we know that Latin America gives more
than it receives. On these realities, it is not possible to base any
solidarity, or even any stable or positive co-operation.3
While they are undoubtedly cognizant of such "extreme nationalism",
U.S. officials remain dedicated to corporate expansionism though this
is usually masked for public relations purposes in developmental rhetoric.
As elites dependent upon the North American upper classes, they must
accept as unquestioned such ideological assumptions and definitions. Hence,
those who challenge structural dependence are automatically portrayed
not as nationalists but more often as "pro" Nazis (Peron), Communists
(Arbenz, Cardenas, and Castro in March, 1960,) or at best as agents of
unwarranted greed. Thus, General Porter's successor as Commander in

Chief of the U.S. Southern Command articulated the following percep-
tion after the Peruvian military regime expropriated the International
Petroleum Corporation:
Mr. Fascell. In understanding that factor and in understanding
also the political necessity to stay in power, do you agree that
each one of these nationalistic regimes, with a change in its
political bases, will be forced to take a stronger anti-American
stand in order to justify their position?
General Mather. I think that is very logical to expect, Mr.
Chairman, because really, I think the true profile of America
in Latin America is the multi-billion dollar investment we have
here. This is what these economic materialists are after, and
causing a lot of our problems. It is $12 billion. About a
fifth of our total foreign investment.4
Fully consistent with this pre-occupation were the following con-
clusions of the Rockefeller Report on Latin America:
The forces or nationalism are creating pressures against foreign
investment. The impetus for independence from the United
States is leading
The central problem is the failure of governments throughout
the hemisphere to recognize fully the importance of private
Our only caveat is that this "problem" cannot be empirically dis-
sociated from a cluster of key U.S. foreign policy problem areas. While
policy-makers may not be conscious of their relationship to investor in-
terests, such vague national interests as security, strategic necessities, in-
dependence, freedom and development are consistently defined at the
operative level to be compatible with corporate expansionism. Nor is it
coincidental that Latin American receptivity to investments is assumed to
be a sine qua non for the pursuit of these "non-economic" interests.
Latin American nationalists have long recognized the interrelated
nature of North American hemispheric goals. Unlike the Yankee ideologist,
however, they reject facile equations of mutual and North American self-
interest. Similar cognizance is accorded to the fact that only through
support by extra-hemispheric powers can small Latin American states attain
even a semblance of independence from the Goliat del Norte. Because of
such "threats", limited concessions were extracted in the past by Mexican,
Brazilian and Bolivian nationalism. Following the defeat of Axis Powers
in World War II and the conclusion of the Korean War, this type of "black-
mail" became increasingly difficult to carry off. Thus, the elected Guatemalan
Government was subverted by a C.I.A. invasion and diplomatic manipula-
tion in that nation's capital. Over-confidence engendered by the restoration
of United Fruit plantations in Central America contributed to a clumsy
failure to overthrow the Revolutionary Government of Cuba.

For the first time in twentieth century Latin American history, a
revolutionary nationalist elite has with massive popular support suc-
ceeded in defying U.S. investor interests. This is the first "key" to under-
standing the appeal of the Cuban example in Latin America. But as in
the case of the U.S. foreign policy constellation, there is, in fact, a cluster
of interrelated both perceptively and dynamically variables which
are integral to Cuba as an evocative symbol. Because of the intense hatred
and mortal sanctions which the United States had directed at the Revolu-
tionary Government, entreguista attitudes have been defined as virtually
treasonous. Both in Cuba and elsewhere in the hemisphere the dependence
of much of the bourgeoisie upon the United States interacts with genuine
hostility to the lower classes to verify the international class nature of
upper class "patriotism" Their foreign bank holdings and willingness to
support gorila repression have intensified revolutionary bitterness and de-
dication to the total liquidation of these classes. This commitment to
"final" solutions to social and national development was alien to Latin
American political conflict during the forties and fifties.
It is reinforced by two additional factors. First, reconciliation with
the United States by revolutionary elites in Mexico after 1940 and Bolivia
after 1954 were associated with: 1) renewed corporate penetration and
surplus drainage; 2) the resurgence of indigenous entrepreneurial political
dominance; 3) a gradual exclusion of lower class political participation
as opposed to co-optative incorporation in Mexico and the failure to ex-
pand agencies of mass interest articulation in Bolivia; 4) a failure of these
regimes to either attain economic development or to bring the benefits
of modernity to the least fortunate half of their societies. Not only was
Cuban nationalism given an egalitarian imperative by the Castro leader-
ship, but the regime actually delivered on its self-imposed commitments
to the impoverished masses of Cuba.6 The fact that "tropical" Latin
Americans could not only "get away with" nationalizing Yankee investors
but also instituted an egalitarian transformation of their stagnant social
order effectively subverted a crippling historical legacy of fatalismo. In
the process of struggle for this historic "first" the Organization of American
States was exposed as a juridical entity of non-existent utility when Latin
American goals were antithetical to those of Washington.7 The process of
delegitimization culminated with the U.S. invasion of Santo Domingo
in 1965.8
Finally, the course of the Cuban Revolution discredited a more latent
but equally paralyzing psychological fatalismo which had traditionally
weakened populistic, socialist and left-wing Catholic movements. Fidel's
ability to purge and otherwise subordinate "old line Communists" while
simultaneously receiving massive Soviet economic and military credits un-
dermined assiduously cultivated fears that Machiavellian Communist Parties
would always and inevitably outmanoeuvre co-participants in united or
popular fronts. When set against Castro's expulsion of one Soviet Ambassador,

his denunciations of several pro-Soviet Communist Parties late in the sixties
and Cuba's categorical rejection of Chinese intervention in- her internal
affairs, the basis for a new synthesis of nationalism and internationalism
was forged. If this were insufficient, Havana's defiance of the Soviet
incentive structure in favour of moral or communitarian incentives also
reflected the existence of new options for those dedicated to egalitarian
structural transformations of their social orders. And the desirability of
revolutionary unity was further reinforced not only by the failure of such
social democrats as Betancourt and Haya de la Torre on the "social
question", but also by the ominous pattern of military responses to populis-
tic successes throughout the region.9


Between Castro's assumption of the Premiership of Cuba and March,
1960, mutual recrimination marked a rapid deterioration of relations be-
tween Washington and Havana. During his first year in office, Castro
manifested the impudence to publicly call for a multi-billion aid programme
to Latin America in order to promote economic development and demo-
cratic political institutions. North American diplomats dismissed such a
proposal as irresponsible and self-righteously invoked the principle of non-
intervention to oppose Raul Roa's move to have the OAS sanction the
dictatorial regime of Trujillo as a threat to hemispheric security.10

By March, 1960, the decision had been made to train Batistiano
exiles in Guatemala and the United States formally declared Cuba to
be dominated by "international communism" The termination of Havana's
sugar quota was reinforced by an oil boycott. October 1960, witnessed
the formalization in the Act of Bogota of commitments proposed by
Eisenhower in his July Declaration of Newport. The half billion dollars
in "development" aid were presumably intended to: 1) secure Latin
American diplomatic support in condemning Cuba as dominated by "in-
ternational Communism" at the Foreign Ministers' Meeting in San Jose
during August; and 2) to make the contemplated Guatemalan style C.I.A.
invasion more acceptable to dominant elites throughout the region. While
this was equally true of Kennedy's Alliance for Progress (AFP) which was
announced several weeks before the Playa Giron aggression, the new
programme was also conceived as an instrument of psychological warfare.
Not only would the funds be used to create a hospitable investment
climate and secure diplomatic support for the isolation and strangulation
of the Castro experiment thus to reduce its potential appeal to Latin
American nationalists but the AFP would also be publicized as an alterna-
tive symbol of hope for the impoverished masses. As a direct and therefore
related response to the Cuban Revolution, the Alianza owed a great deal
to Castro. Indeed, it was so recognized in these terms by U.S. officials,
North American scholars and all political sectors in Chile.11

Although a relatively small country, Chile presented North American
policy-makers with special problems. Among elite groups the norms of
respect for parliamentary institutions were strongly internalized, and this
extended to much of the officer corps. Second, the country had resisted
U.S. pressures for a break in relations with the Axis powers until late in
the Second World War. So-called "neutralist" sentiment contributed to
widespread appeal for Peronism in the late forties and early fifties. Late in
the decade it was reflected by threats to sell "strategic" copper to the
East as it was by widespread desires not to become involved in U.S. Cold
War conflagrations.12 During the final year of his tenure as President of
Chile, Carlos Ibanez actually refused to visit Washington following State
Department support for legislation that would increase tariff rates on copper
imported into the United States. Even more significant than occasional
flourishes of foreign policy independence evidenced between 1960 and
and 1964, by her reluctance to force Cuba out of the Inter-American
system, was the vulnerable position of U.S. investments in Chile. These
were in excess of a billion dollars at the onset of the sixties. They were
highly visible because of their concentration in nitrates, iron ore and
especially copper mining Chile's major source of foreign exchange. As
late as July, 1965, U.S.I.A. contracted survey research reported that a
majority of citizens favoured nationalization of foreign investments. The
1965 support by 54% demonstrates remarkable stability of opinion despite
Christian Democratic Eduardo Frei's so-called "Chileanization" proposal.
Fifty-two per cent had favoured expropriation three years earlier.3l

This sentiment cannot, however, be attributed to popular sympathy
for the Cuban Revolution's success in attaining control of that country's
economic resources. Not only did moderately strong sentiment favouring
expropriation exist in the mid-fifties, but the general public was ignorant
of most Cuban social and economic achievements. With the exception of
two Marxist dailies and a couple of provincial radio stations owned by
Socialist sympathizers, sympathetic portrayals of Cuban developments were
not communicated to the Chilean citizenry. Even in the pro-Socialist
Noticias de Ultima Hora and the Communist El Siglo, relatively little
space was devoted to news from Cuba. Although between the late fifties
and early sixties, hundreds of thousands of inexpensive transistor radios
were sold, the masses of Chileans who relied upon them for most of their
news were denied favourable comment by the upper class owners who con-
trolled media transmissions.
Hence, in September, 1961, before Castro endorsed Marxism-Leninism,
popular attitudes toward the Cuban Revolution were already highly per-
jorative. A leftward biased sample at that time offered the following
evaluations of Fidel Castro: very good (7%); good (18%); undecided (12%);
bad (37%); very bad (9%); don't know or no reply (17%).14 It is unlikely

that more than 20% of the national adult population held favourable views
of "Castro's Cuba" at that time. Between 1961 and 1964, the proportion
manifesting negative perceptions increased moderately.15 Obstacles to com-
munication and Chile's severance of relations due to direct and indirect
U.S. pressure probably caused a further diminution of Cuban appeal between
1964 and 1970.
Much of the mass media in Chile have relied for their portrayals of
Cuban reality upon wire services controlled by U.S. publishers. In addition
to general utilization of A. P and U. P I., both newspapers and especially
radio broadcasters often incorporate unattributed U.S.I.A. releases and
"packaged programmes" Elsewhere the massive increase of such external
propaganda during the sixties has been detailed. These forms were supple-
mented by scores of mobile films projectors, screenings in theatres and on
television and by the distribution of hundreds of thousands of cartoon
booklets. During the 1960-1963 period, these media emphasized such
themes as: violence and dictatorship in Cuba; the massive exodus of refugees;
religious persecution; the introduction of rationing, etc. The United States
was portrayed as a disinterested benefactor of Latin America through the
AFP. Once Cuba was isolated, more stress was assigned to the Alianza
than to Havana although the economic deterioration in Cuba was prominent-
ly featured during the latter part of the decade as was Cuban support for
violent subversives in other Latin American Nations.16
The "openness" of the Chilean political system to these North Ameri-
can inputs and others directed at political and opinion leaders played a
significant role in preventing the emergence of mass support for the Cuban
Revolution. Their effectiveness was enhanced by a number of factors. First,
predispositions had been structured by the bourgeois interpretative frame-
works which governed the definitions and presentations of "news" by
these media. Second, similar ideological constraints governed the teaching
of history and other social studies in the public and government subsidized
private educational system.17 The latter essentially Catholic schools ac-
counted for 30% of primary school pupils in 1962. Whereas in 1928,
public schools educated 88% of the student population, by 1957 their
share had fallen to 64%.18 Ironically, educational expansion was the only
1964 pledge which Frei came close to fulfilling. Heavily funded and advised
by the U.S.A.I.D. this "reform" was not limited to increasing enrolments.
Major emphasis was placed upon curricula revision which would "modernize"
public education along U.S. lines.19
Generous U.S. AFP funding also supported the organization of several
hundred thousand peasants by the clerically operated Institute of Rural
Education (IER) and its offshoot the National Association of Peasant Or-
ganizations (ANOC), by the Christian Peasants Union and by the Govern-
ment operated Institute for Agricultural Development (INDAP). All of
these U.S. subsidized efforts involved the transmission of non-class ideologi-

cal perspectives to talented peasants selected for leadership co-optation.
IER programmes began in 1959 and utilized PL 480 surplus foods as
well as hundreds of Peace Corps community developers. The Union de
Campesinos was funded by the C.I.A. during the early sixties, and sub-
sequently taken over by A. I. D. after the exposure of the International
Development Foundation as a conduit for "dirty" funds. INDAP utilized
millions of dollars to provide free short term loans and Communitarian
indoctrination as well as limited technical aid to peasants.2
Predispositions hostile to class struggle and social revolution were
also consequential to religious participation. Approximately 90% of the
Chilean citizenry identifies with Catholicism. More important politically,
about three quarters of the women attend mass at least once a month.2
A study of Chile's rural life in 1959 or 1960 concluded that "(i) no
formal or informal social activity of the village did more than half of the
women engage except for going to church, and their outlook on life was
Despite Pope John XXII's renovating initiatives and the emergence
of a small revolutionary faction in Chilean Catholicism, for most practicing
Catholics Church Social Doctrine has been a source of intense antipathy
for Marxism.23 Political campaigning aside, a further source of "middle
class consciousness" among women is their failure to find much in the
way of employment opportunities outside the service sector. Here working-
class women interact frequently and often intimately with members of
the upper classes. Electoral analysis reveals a high correlation between
support for the left among both men and women and the proportion
employed in manufacturing. This is particularly true in major industrial
areas where the Marxist led United Confederation of Workers (CUT) has
been able to neutralize some of this lower class bias.24
The significance of "middle class consciousness" is highlighted by
the fact that it is the only significant variable which is correlated with hostility
to radicalism. Thus, the twenty per cent of Chileans employed in white
collar occupations have constituted a phalanx of opposition to the Left.
As in other more "developed" polities, they also exhibit a higher rate of
political awareness and participation.25 While some do support extensive
government ownership and a majority back a mixed economy, the only
reforms which they advocate are the control of inflation and educational
expansion. Thus, individual social mobility is legitimate while re-distributive
social change is categorically rejected as is class struggle.26
The lower classes manifest disunity rather than ideological cohesive-
ness. Approximately a third actually identify with the bourgeois sectors
and share their attitudinal orientations. Those employed in non-manufactur-
ing sectors, women and industrial workers or miners in small non-unionized
enterprises constitute a major portion of this category. Another third
form the basis of Chilean radicalism and support for the Cuban Revolution.

While few of them are familiar with Cuban programmes and fewer still
turned out for demonstrations in defence of Cuba, there is no doubt that
their egalitarianism predisposes them to support elites advocating social
revolution in both Chile and Cuba.27 Their collectivist orientation explains
in part the stable and slowly expanding Marxist voting support in Chile
from 19% in 1960 to 29% in 1967-69. A final third of the blue collar
peasant masses was essentially marginated from even occasional participa-
tion in presidential elections. They were often illiterate and unemployed
lumpen proletarians who resided in urban callampas or in remote rural
areas. Between 1962 and 1970, the UCC, IER and INDAP organized
some of these marginales as did the Promocion Popular campaign in
Santiago and several other urban areas. But an official 1970 illiteracy
rate of 16% and electoral abstentions of close to 20% of those registered
for the bitter presidential campaign that year suggest that many remained
to be incorporated under the auspices of the Popular Unity Government
between 1971 and 1973.

Our discussion in the preceding paragraph is not meant to imply
widespread political consciousness, let alone sophistication among the
functionally illiterate masses of Chile.2 We are suggesting that at the time
Batista was deposed, approximately three-quarters of the blue collar sectors
were either overtly hostile towards or completely ignorant of Marxian
perspectives.29 Even among the minority (miners in the Gran Mineria
industrial workers' families in large centres and male agricultural labourers
in the Central Valley) who emerged as a stable Leftist constituency be-
tween 1958 and 1961, a majority probably backed FRAP candidates
because the latter offered day to day help in confronting exploitative em-
ployers or arbitrary government bureaucrats. Hence the perception was
one of vague group conflict between the little guy and the privileged or
powerful. From the early decades of this century, Marxists and especially
Communists have unstintingly devoted themselves to the defence of lower
and particularly working-class interests.30 By 1946, Communists and So-
cialist factions had won more than 20% of the vote. This heritage was a
determinative factor in the re-emergence of the Left between 1958-1961.


The influence of the Cuban Revolution upon non-attentive Chilean
publics was mediated by the normative orientations and tactical decisions
of that country's political elites. The principle bourgeois parties were the
Liberals and Conservatives on the Right and the Radicals and Christian
Democrats in the Centre. The Socialists and Communists were self-con-
sciously Marxian cadre parties. All of these entities were policy-dominated
by self-perpetuating oligarchies. The two Rightist groupings were led by
professional politicians who interacted closely and identified wholly with
the upper classes. As for the latter, there was considerable integration

between urban entrepreneurial and rural land-owning sectors. These self-
consciously "aristocratic" parties did incorporate upwardly mobile lower
middle empleados particularly those employed in the private sector.
They were also supported by moderately prosperous descendants of German
immigrant farmers who settled in the country's southern frontier areas
during the 19th century. The PCU was a confessional' Catholic Party
which had staunchly defended clerical privileges during the nineteenth
century against the mildly secular goals of the Liberals. By the late fifties,
both parties endorsed limited clericalism and State subsidies to both the
Church and private enterprise. They defended the propertied sectors and
were intensely anti-Marxist.

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, a Liberal faction
which was more vehemently anti-clerical resigned and organized the Radical
Party. The PR expanded its constituency by advocating the incorporation
of lower middle class public employees into the political process through
democratic reforms. It has, however, been dominated by urban entrepreneurial
and professional upper class elements although many of these were
"lower" upper class in terms of prestige,if not life style. They included
semitic immigrants, Masons and some upwardly mobile mestizo individuals.
While there was a social democratic tradition espoused by a minority
within the party, prior to 1967, it was seldom able to influence policy.
The only exception occurred during the 1938-1942 Popular Front period
when welfare measures were extended to lower middle class empleados
and limited blue collar sectors.31

Since the expulsion of the Communists from the Chilean Govern-
ment in 1947, all of these parties have tacitly opposed redistributive policies
which would enhance social opportunities for the masses of workers and
peasants. Between that date and 1963, these parties have participated in
all presidential administrations. They jointly outlawed the burgeoning Com-
munist Party in 1948, and have willingly manipulated the electoral system
to mobilize bias against the Left. Hence, when women were granted the
right to vote in presidential elections during the late nineteen forties,
they were compelled to be physically separate from their more leftist
and less Catholic husbands when casting ballots. These parties also teamed
up with the Christian Democrats during the 1959-1961 resurgence of
the Left to proscribe joint electoral lists. This was directed against the
Popular Action Front (FRAP) since due to historic rivalry, many Socialist
supporters would never vote for a candidate identified as a Communist.
Through 1970, the same four parties declined to re-apportion the Congress.
This legislature was elected on the basis of Chile's 1930 census over-
representing traditionally anti-Marxist rural and urban middle-class areas.32

Disgust with corruption in the Radical-led Government of Gonzales
Videla (1946-1952) was a significant source of electoral support for the

caudilloistic General Carlos Ibanez. He campaigned with a broom and
committed himself to purge the "Radical thieves" There was a widespread
fear that Ibanez would use Chile's extensive presidential powers to create
a neo-Peronist regime. During the 1920s, lbanez established a quasi-
military dictatorial regime which directed the wholesale suppression of
Communist and leftist labour leaders. This had involved not merely outlawry,
but the torture and assassination of scores of the most dedicated and capable

Although in 1952, lbanez had sought the backing of Chile's clandestine
Communist Party many leaders had been released from an internment
camp in the northern town of Pisagua with the promise to restore its
legal status, the party's apprehensive elite chose instead to back the former
Popular Front Minister of Health, Salvador Allende Gozzens. After the
expulsion and outlawry of the PC, the traditionally faction-ridden Socialists
had split. While the bulk of the leadership accepted an invitation to replace
the Communists in Gonzalez Videla's administration, the youth section
of the party under the leadership of Raul Ampuero along with Allende
and several other leaders resigned and organized the Popular Socialist
Party. The PSP viewed the long-range potential for Chilean Socialism as
best served by anti-Communism "from the left" that is through direct
competition for a blue collar rather than a multi-class constituency. As we
shall see, this Frente de Trabajadores tactic was dysfunctional for elector-
al competition with U. S. supported bourgeois sectors which were flexible
enough to m dernize their own political tactics.

The PSP mistakenly assumed that Ibanez would follow person by
adopting a nationalistic foreign policy and incorporating the Chilean lower
classes into the political system. Even so they were not adhering to their
"opposition from the Left" tactic. Exhibiting both ambition and foresight,
Allende reacted to the PSP decision to back Ibanez by obtaining the
presidential nomination of the old Socialist Party of which only a rump
remained. Fearful of their old enemy Ibanez, the Communists willingly
consented to support Allende. While he did quite poorly reflecting among
other things the fragmentation and weakness of a Left which had previously
allowed itself to be manipulated and discarded at will by bourgeois Radical
politicians Allende emerged from this campaign as an architect of
Socialist-Communist unity.33 After the PSP ministers resigned from the
Ibanez Government due to the President's disinclination to deliver on
his nationalistic and egalitarian pledges, Allende played a key role in
sharply reducing internecine warfare between the shattered remnants of
Socialist and Communist labour unions. The decree proscribing the Com-
munist Party in 1948 had not only eliminated more than 50,000 registered
party members from the polls, but had also encompassed a .purge of
Communist labour leaders and the banishment of many to their rural
villages of origin. Their proselytization among agricultural labourers during

the 1950s along with advances in communication contributed to Allende's
surprising agrarian support in 1958.

In 1953, both Socialist parties and the Communists established the
United Workers' Confederation (CUT). This unity facilitated the re-emer-
gence of widespread labour strife in 1955, following seven years of quiesence
and demoralization. Ibanez had by then incorporated the two Rightist
parties into his administration along with some neo-Fascistic and personalistic
partiditos. The Government had signed a military assistance pact with
the United States after which it invited an IMF financial team to recom-
mend stabilization policies for the inflation which continued to de-stabilize
economic planning. The Government's decision to reduce per ton copper
taxes on the Gran Mineria and its willingness to adopt the wage restraint
and other anti-lower class inflation control policies advised by the U.S.
dominated IMF "Klein-Saks Mission" provided a unifying Left with an
inviting opportunity to broaden its lower class constituency. Despite re-
current arrests of union leaders and the destruction of Communist printing
presses by the Political Police after Santiago's spontaneous riots in 1957,
the Left slowly expanded its constituency. During the years immediately
preceding the 1958 presidential election, Allende played a key role in
securing the merger of both Socialist parties and then of uniting them
with the Communists in an electoral and parliamentary coalition called
the Popular Action Front (FRAP).

When the Communists were outlawed in 1948, a civil libertarian
faction of the Conservatives had defected and constituted itself as a Social
Christian Party. At approximately the same time the FRAP was organized
by the Left, this very small party merged with the National Falange to form
the Christian Democratic Party (PDC). The leadership of the PDC was of
upper and upper middle-class origin although some lower middle-class
persons had been incorporated. In 1965, for example, fifty of the party's
eighty-two congressional deputies owned rural estates (fundos).34 This
non-confessional but self-consciously Catholic party resembled the Radicals
in so far as it was substantially more aggregative both socially ar a ideolo-
gically than any of the groupings on the Right or Left. If bourgeois elements
dominated the PDC's National Council, there was also a minority of
populistic professionals who were genuinely inspired by participatory and
egalitarian aspects of Communitarian social doctrine. Consistent with its
Falangist background, the party leadership evidenced some sympathy for
a corporativist societal ideal though the left wing was strongly libertarian.
The party, it should be stressed, was quite willing to ally itself with the
Liberals and Conservatives in the 1958 campaign. A very moderate reformist
programme was drafted by Jorge Ahumada only after Frei had declined to
personally humble himself by writing a letter formally petitioning the
Conservatives from whom he and other Falangist leaders had defected

during the 1930s. In 1958, Liberal backing had been conditioned upon
Frei's negotiations with the Conservatives. The new PDC programme for
1958 did advocate expanded welfare measures and a rural minimum wage,
but in this it differed little from the platform of Radical nominee, Luis
Bossay. There was no call for a distributive as opposed to a productivity-
oriented agrarian reform, nor was there any commitment to "Chileanize"
the Gran Mineria. And the Inter-American System,while in need of some
incremental modification, was basically sound.

When it became apparent that the scandal-ridden Ibanez administra-
tion was losing popularity, the Liberals and Conservatives withdrew and
and vehemently denounced the old caudillo in the 1957 congressional
campaign. For this "betrayal", Ibanez decreed the re-legalization of the
Communist Party and backed Centre-Left proposals to introduce a single
ballot in national elections. This sharply reduced vote-buying and eliminated
virtually all fraud in urban and especially rural areas the traditional
stronghold of the Right.

Hence the 1958 election marked the first time that the Left suc-
ceeded in expanding its constituency to rural zones particularly those
populated by landless peons and located near centres of Marxist organiza-
tion in the larger mining communities. Campaigning again as the nominee
of the Left, Allende set forth a fairly radical programme one unlikely
to win the support of middle class-identifying voters. Although the Com-
munists had advocated a broad "National Liberation Front", a coalition
intended to appeal to petit bourgeois elements, the actual programme
evidenced a clear bias in favour of blue collar and peasant classes. Thus,
FRAP campaigners took a rural census in many areas. In doing so they
indicated to sharecroppers and labourers which sections of local estates
would be distributed to them. Allende's proposed agrarian reform en-
compassed: 1) maximum limits upon holdings; 2) payment for expropriated
lands with 7% negotiable bonds; 3) distribution of expropriated land to
individuals; 4) an Institute of Agrarian Reform which would provide credit
to those fulfilling State production plans; and 5) State Farms to be estab-
lished upon Government lands.

Although the FRAP standard bearer depicted himself as neither pro
nor anti-American, his campaign was reportedly marked by "frequent and
forceful denunciations of the U.S." Advocating Latin American economic
integration and Cold War non-alignment, Allende nevertheless "did not
propose to annul U.S.-Chilean military pacts" He did, however,
affirm that Chile would trade freely with the East, and pledged his Govern-
ment to the expropriation of the U.S.-owned Chilean Electric Company.
No other U.S. firms were slated for expropriation. Tax rates would be
restored to the pre-1955 level on the Gran Mineria, and the economy

would be subjected to: greater controls; a moderate expansion of the
State-owned sector; and an "increase in the working-class share of the
national wealth" In the field of education, the FRAP promised to nation-
alize all private schools and to institute a massive campaign against illiteracy.
Social mobility would be promoted by bringing 600,000 children between
six and nineteen into the educational system, and through the provision
of full primary school-to-university scholarships. Significant efforts were
also pledged in the fields of public health and housing for slum inhabitants.
Lower class purchasing power was to be increased while the social security
system a key source of middle-class consciousness among lower white
collar, strata due to its conferral of special privileges upon empleado
classifications would be reformed to improve the relative position of
obrero or blue collar classifications. Effective income and inheritance taxes
on the upper middle and upper classes would be increased in order to
finance lower class benefits. Government officials would be forced to
disclose their investments and the armed forces were slated for "democrati-
zation" Finally, suffrage was to be expanded by reducing the voting age
to eighteen and giving both military conscripts and illiterates that right.36

Allende's programme did not envisage socialism, revolution or even
a transformation of the nation's juridical and political institutions. Save
for the re-imposition of pre-1955 tax rates on the Kennecott, Anaconda
and Cerro de Pasco mining firms and the expropriation of the electric
utility, it might almost have been compatible with the social reform
goals of the Alianza in 1961. And we stress that the bourgeois parties
did not campaign against Allende by alleging that a FRAP triumph would
transform Chile into a totalitarian dictatorship. The fact is that he and
Frei were not considered to be serious contenders. Popular disillusionment
with the Radicals who campaigned on a fairly standpat platform and vigorous
campaigning by a unified Left shocked the FRAP leadership when Allende
received more than 29% of the ballots a mere 30,000 behind the charisma-
tic Jorge Alessandri Rodriquez who had campaigned with the unofficial
support of the Liberals, Conservatives and many Radicals. The son of a
former national hero and president, Alessandri projected austerity, rectitude
and a dedication to tackle Chile's chronic inflation. Luis Bossay's 15%
of the vote was due not merely to the mortally tarnished image of Chile's
traditional Centrist Governing Party. Just as some Radicals had opted for
Alessandri, others had deserted to back Allende or even Frei who pro-
jected not only integrity but also youthful vigour ana great intellectual
capability. His 20% marked the replacement of the Radicals by the PDC
as the largest Centre Party.

The Revolutionary Government of Cuba reacted to protests by
U.S. officials against "revolutionary justice" and the administration of

her agrarian reform by seeking the support of other Latin American nations.
Official channels were never neglected by Cuban diplomats who were
remarkably pragmatic in behind the scenes discussions. In late 1961, for
example, a high ranking official personally visited President Alessandri to
assure him that Havana's commitment to Marxism-Leninsim would not
compromise Cuba's aspiration to maintain a non-aligned foreign policy.36
This failed to deter a change in Chile's position from opposition to an
abstention on the crucial question of expelling Cuba from the OAS at
the January, 1962, Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Punta del Este. At that
very same conference, Chile sided with the United States on many anti-
Cuban resolutions which clearly violated Articles 15-17 of the OAS Charter.
This, despite Che Guevara's willingness to negotiate a detente with the
United States behind closed doors.37

The Castro faction in Havana eliminated moderate bourgeois elements
first in February, 1959, and more decidedly during the autumn of that
year. In Cuba's foreign relations, the shift to the Left was reflected by the
assignment of a high priority to engendering the support of leftist counter-
elites in other Latin American countries. Several tactics were used to
further this goal. First, the news agency Prensa Latina (PL) was organized
to offset the generally pejorative "news" which dominated the U.S. wire
services' coverage of Cuban events. In Chile, PL was subscribed to by only
three dailies: the Communist El Siglo (which however, placed much
greater reliance on TASS, UPI and Agence France Presse); the Socialist
Noticias de Ultima Hora; and the Christian Democratic La Libertad (this
party organ suspended operations in August, 1960, after only fifteen
months of publication). Virtually all of the remaining newspapers and broad-
casting media relied either exclusively or largely upon AP, UPI and the
U.S.I.A. There was, however, limited use of Reuters and AFP by some of
the larger media.38

The most successful Cuban tactic was to invite Chilean students,
journalists, educators, labour leaders, peasant organizers and politicians
to see Cuba for themselves. During the crucial 1959-1961 era of maximum
revolutionary enthusiasm and overt U.S. hatred, several hundred Chileans
visited Havana. In addition to prominent "independent" intellectuals and
persons associated with the Marxist parties, the invitados included a sub-
stantial number of Radicals from the left wing of their party as well as
many Communitarian populists from the Christian Democratic Party.39
While several hundred tecnicos also obtained employment in Cuba and
perhaps another two hundred invitados made the ten thousand mile round
trip between 1962 and 1970, the primary impact of the Revolution upon
Chilean political development must be traced to this initial non-Marxist
Leninist period. Only one writer and one tecnico returned to Chile as
active denigrators of "Castro-Communism" and their accounts were

published by the PDC-owned Editorial del Pacifico which during the
sixties had also contracted with the U.S. Embassy to print its propaganda.40
This may, of course, have been a source of concealed subsidies to Christian
Democracy. For we have reliable evidence that Frei's 1964 campaign was
heavily subsidized by the U.S. Government and/or corporations.

In Cuba the invitados saw mass demonstrations of lower class en-
thusiasm for the Revolution and were impressed by the vigour with which
pecuniary corruption had been eliminated from administrative agencies
of government. They toured housing projects, were told about the drastic
reductions of rent and unemployment and spoke with idealistic youths
involved in the campaign against illiteracy. Emphasis was placed upon
the effort to bring free medical services and new recreational facilities to
the poorest strata in urban and especially rural areas. The visitors also
toured model co-operatives and State Farms where they viewed peasants
who exhibited genuine pride and a sense of dignity. Special attention
was focused upon the large commercial, agricultural and industrial firms
over which Cuban flags now flew. These had formerly siphoned off surplus
for the prosperity of the interlocked Yankee and Cuban upper classes.41
Despite the austerity which the United States, class struggle and economic
policy errors had imposed upon Cuba, the egalitarian social reforms were
actually deepened between 1962 and 1970. By the end of the Revolution's
first decade, Fidel's leadership had brought not only "Communism" but
equally: a new and pervasive sense of moral sensitivity and community
spirit especially among those under thirty; the elimination of beggars,
destitution and unemployment; an attempt to "level up" through the
introduction of an $85 minimum wage and $60 minimum pensions as
well as free medical care, urban telephone service, housing, sports ant'
recreational admissions; the investment of 30% of Cuba's GNP in agricultural
diversification and infrastructural improvements; a quarter of the popula-
tion participating in free education with full room and board scholarships
for lower class students.42 While it was obvious that the Revolution was
dictatorial, this was often regarded as compatible with Cuban traditions.
Castro's style of leadership impressed many as both pedagogical, pragmatic
and committed to avoid isolation from mass sentiments and physical
Chilean invitados were acutely aware of the economic stagnation,
widespread destitution, malnourishment, disease and unemployment which
destroyed the potential self-respect and dignity of between fifty and
seventy per cent of their own population.43 And as the decade wore on,
an increasing proportion of Chilean industry, commerce and finance was
coming under foreign essentially U.S. control or ownership.44 If even
within certain geo-political constraints Cuba had indeed become "The
First Free Territory of America" many mesmerized visitors hoped that
perhaps they could contribute to Chile becoming the second.

The inspiration of Chile's Socialists was especially dramatic. They
had always been flexible and somewhat "fashion-oriented" By late 1960,
they demanded that the Communists agree to a radicalization of the
FRAP programme to include: 1) the expropriation of all major domestic
and foreign-owned corporations in Chile; 2) abrogation of military assistance
agreements with the United States; 3) a "democratic" re-organization of
Chilean political institutions; 4) rejection of all U.S. "aid" which was
extended with "conditions"; and 5) a determined commitment to re-
structure the Organization of American States so that it could no longer
be utilized as a legitimating instrumentality for U.S. domination and
intervention.45 The Soviet-oriented Communist Party leadership was more
moderately energized by their Cuban experiences. Castro's charismatic and
impulsive style as well as his Ortodoxo social-democratic origins rein-
forced the reservations of Chile's only recently legalized Communists.
Nevertheless, Allende's impressive popular support in the recent election
as well as his dedication to a Marxist-led alliance ensured that the Com-
munists would accept a radicalized FRAP programme even though it
further doomed their multi-class coalitional aspirations.

This was clearly evidenced at the polls when a new Chilean Congress
was elected in March, 1961. The small middle-class National Democratic
Party (PADENA) which had only recently been induced to join the
FRAP suffered a major erosion of support. At the same time, both the
Socialists and Communists who campaigned as active supporters of the
Cuban Revolution substantially increased their percentage of the popular
vote. Although the PC was the biggest gainer as it moved from 9% in
the 1960 municipal elections to 11.3%, the Socialists advance was in
excess of 20% with the party obtaining 11.2% of the ballots cast in the
congressional election. The Marxist elites had recently organized a Move-
ment for the Solidarity and Defence of the Cuban Revolution as well as
a National Federation of Peasants and Indians. Cadres had again vigorously
proselytized among miners, slum dwellers and especially in the country-
side where Cuban diplomats and propaganda had assisted the enthusiastic

The rapid advance by the Marxist parties catalyzed the Alessandri
administration and its supporting parties of Radicals, Liberals and Con-
servatives. Some ex-invitado and other populistic Radical Youth leaders
had already defected to the FRAP, while a number of younger Rightists
began to demand a new orientation from their party elites. Radical stagna-
tion and an erosion of popular support for the Right combined with Washing-
ton's new AFP reformist orientation to compel these three traditional
parties to adopt a rhetorical commitment to moderate social change. The
leaders of these entities and the Christian Democratic Party had long been
a priority target group for the State Department's Educational and Cultur-
al Exchange Programme. They along with university students, teachers

and others had received all expenses paid tours of the United States since
the late forties. In the metropole these "leaders" had been entertained
and exposed to hospitable North American industrialists, congressmen,
labour leaders and other notables.46

In contradistinction to the Government Parties, the Christian De-
mocrats demonstrated promising vote-getting ability in the March, 1961,
congressional election. At a plenary meeting of that party's National
Council shortly afterwards, ex-invitados Rafael Augustin Gomucio, Alfredo
Lorca and Alberto Jerez called for a coalition with the Left. These leaders
had been deeply impressed by the moral dedication and nationalism of
Cuba's Revolutionary leadership. The dominant faction was, however, deeply
committed to private property and articulated intense antipathy for Cuban
authoritarianism and that nation's close relations with the Soviet Union.

As early as August, 1959, the PDC had declined to officially endorse
demonstrations in support of Cuba's demand that the OAS sanction the
Dominican Republic for aiding attacks by Batistiano gusano commandos.
From that date the party would occasionally release declarations defending
Cuban self-determination while simultaneously condemning Fidel's political
dictatorship and alliance with Communists. Although the Communitarian
wing of the PDC shared these sentiments to some extent, they were of
relatively less importance than Castro's delivery on his egalitarian pledges
to the humble masses and his refusal to compromise Cuba's economic

The Party's National Council endorsed the proposal of another ex-
invitado Radomiro Tomic to avoid coalitions with either the Marxists or
the Right. Instead, the party would strengthen and emphasize its dedication
to socio-economic reform within Chile. The idea of "Chileanizing" the
Gran Mineria was proposed as an alternative to FRAP's new nationaliza-
tion goal. And greater emphasis was also to be placed upon reforming
the OAS and expanding economic and diplomatic relations with the East.

Because of slow disbursements of aid funds during late 1961, Chile
had refused to support some U.S. proposals at the January, 1962, Punta
del Este Conference. At that time it was decided to dispatch a special
team of North American diplomats to Santiago. Within eight weeks the
Goodwin-Moscoso Mission had arrived and promised to expedite AFP
funds. They also confirmed State Department and C.I.A. estimates that
the Christian Democrats held the greatest potential for competing with
the Left for mass support. Shortly after their return to the United States -
following public expressions in Chile that the PDC was the best answer
to Fidelismo Eduardo Frei and Radomiro Tomic arrived in Washington
at the nominal invitation of Georgetown University. According to a
correspondent, who obtained his information from Embassy suggested

Frei played his hand with the skill and cunning of a professional
Latin gambler. He played his best card the one that said
'The Only Alternative' both inside and outside the country.
And with equal success.
In Washington he convinced the White House and the State
Department that the United States must back him; on Wall
Street he convinced the businessmen. No, he kept arguing, we
will not nationalize the copper mines (almost all American-
owned), but we do want them turned into partnerships.

No we will not, expropriate all the land, but we are going to
take and re-distribute what is being left fallow and we wil'
damned well see to it that what we don't take, produces iooa

Yes, we are going to increase taxes, but you, of course, realize
that taxes are now ridiculously low, so no right-thinking man
can mind that.

Backing he finally got. By mysterious ways, not talked about
and always officially denied, Frei's campaign was bolstered
by Yankee dollars and piles of Chilean pesos. A reasonable
estimate is that the Christian Democrats got about $1-million
a month, for many months, from American sources and an
estimated $18- to $20-million more from the Christian Demo-
crats in West Germany, Italy and Belgium.47

Needless to say, 'these European regimes had themselves been placed in
power with U.S. aid at the end of World War II, and could also have served
as indirect conduits.

During the last four months of 1962, there was a marked increase
in anti-Marxist propaganda in Chile. Public relations firms such as Chile
Libre disseminated simplistic and horrifying images of a tyrannical Cuban
dictatorship which would be installed if the FRAP were victorious. Al-
lende's many trips to Havana and his unreserved praise for Cuban heroism
and anti-imperialism became a key theme. Interestingly, a mass of anti-
Cuban propaganda began to be published by Editorial del Pacifico in
1962 and this continued into 1964.48 While some of the anti-FRAP
material undoubtedly emanated from the Government Parties which had
evidenced essentially antipathetic reactions to Cuba in mid-1959, there
was an entirely new element. That is, for the 1963 municipal elections
which were regarded by all as a trial heat for the 1964 presidential campaign,
professional PR specialists assumed for the first time a dominant role in
guiding PDC strategy.49 Due to this massive barrage which was suddenly
reinforced by the Missile Crisis, the FRAP leadership panicked and de-
manded that Allende be selected as its candidate before the outcome of

the municipal elections was known. It was correctly feared that PADENA's
middle class identifying constituency would desert to the PDC or. the
Radicals. Even before his nomination in December, 1962, Allende and
other FRAP leaders began to avoid public references to Cuba's achieve-
ments and instead focused upon domestic issues.

Substantial Christian Democratic gains in the 1963 elections were
associated with stagnation by the Socialists and Communists. PADENA's
major losses reduced the party to insignificance and several of its deputies
were won over to the Christian Democrats. In the act of desertion, they
impugned FRAP's Fidelismo. The Radicals had joined the two Rightist
parties in a Democratic Front to which they hoped the PDC would be
attracted. After this illusion foundered on the rocks of Christian Demo-
cratic confidence, resources and ambition, the Democratic Front disintegrated
following the defeat of its candidate in a provincial by- sectionn by one
of the most dedicated Cuban aficianados in Chile Oscar Naranjo. Strange-
ly, neither the PDC nor the Right used anti-Cuban propaganda in this
traditionally conservative district and many Liberals and Radicals had
sabotaged their common Conservative nominee.

The defeat Provided the (Radical) Democratic Front presidential
nominee Julio Duran with the opportunity to resign. Thereupon the
Liberals and Conservatives backed Frei. They joined many Christian Demo-
crats in warning potential voters that a victory for Allende would "Trans-
form Chile into another Cuba" "The walls of Santiago were adorned with
Christian Democratic campaign posters representing an undernourished
looking campesino on his knees receiving last rites as a bearded Cuban
firing squad stood by waiting to execute him".50 The PDC reportedly
had "nearly fifteen times" the financial resources that were available to
Allende.51 This anti-Communist hysteria certainly accounted for the PDC
margin over Allende since in the absence of such fears the Right would
not have supported Frei nor would hundreds of thousands of terrorized
women, peasants and middle-class voters. Survey research indicates that
Communism was a major issue, as do the impressionistic comments of
observers.52 According to one:

Dr. Allende's secretary revealed to this author that slum dwellers
plagued her and other FRAP campaigners with questions about
the burning of Churches and the expelling of priests if Allende
should win.53

The Cuban Catholic hierarchy had decided to oppose Castro as early
as June, 1959, and its subsequent "persecution" was never unreported
in Mensaje and other Catholic publications. By late 1962, the bishops of
Chile had moved to the left by openly backing the PDC reformist orienta-
tion. There was much emphasis upon the dangers of Castro-Communism.

And by 1963-1964, the U. S. subsidized Catholic Church and holy orders in
Chile had joined the AIFLD, the UCC and other organizing efforts in back-
ing up the PDC drive for control of the Government.4

The Right accepted Frei as a lesser evil despite the adoption by
Christian Democracy of commitments to eliminate capitalism through
the Communitarian transformation of Chilean society. Reacting to vigor-
ous FRAP progrselytizing, the marginal impact of Allessandri's Alianza
certified tax and agrarian reforms (the latter involving the re-settlement of
a mere 5,000 of Chile's 350,000 landless peasants) and especially to popu-
listic left-wing PDC elements who dominated the party's youth section
and accounted for many of the most vigorous campaigners, the Christian
Democratic National Council released a declaration in April, 1964, which
pledged the following "Revolution in Liberty": 1) land to 100,000 peasant
families within six years; 2) 360,000 housing units during the same period
3) educational facilities for all those not in school; 4) 3,000 university
loans; 5) a wage policy which would fully adjust incomes to prior infla-
tion; 6) suffrage for illiterates; and 7) other goals outlined in the 1958
and 1961 programmes.65 This concession to the party's left wing was
to become the albatross which fatally weakened the PDC between 1967
and 1970.

Although Frei had pledged himself to do everything possible to re-
introduce Cuba to the Inter-American System, he was completely silent
when Allessandri decided to break relations less than four weeks before
the presidential balloting. While the Chilean President personally disliked
Frei, who demagogically denounced the oligarchy into which he him-
self had married, there is little doubt that for him the Christian Democrat
was also the lesser evil. Hence, with the advice of the de facto head of
the U.S. Embassy Joseph Jova, he avoided acting upon the OAS July re-
commendation until Frei had been fully consulted through Jova's good
offices.56 Jova had also played a key role in arranging to finance Duran's
final months of campaigning as the Radical candidate.57 Although Duran's
candidacy was hopeless, there was some fear that anti-clerical PR sup-
porters would otherwise back Allende, who was a Mason.

Economic aid was also utilized to maximize burgeois prospects in
Chile. Despite that country's failure to competently administer its "pro-
ject loans" in 1962, funds were disbursed anyways during the following
year subject to more vague criteria under the rubric of "programme loans."
When the Chilean Government failed to meet these requirements during

AID continued budget support and balance-of-payments as-
sistance during the 1964 election year to prevent economic

deterioration which would have sparked unemployment and
discontent and, presumably, a swing to the far left politically.
The assistance was also designed to present the incoming ad-
ministration with an economy in reasonably good shape.58

Although Frei triumphed with an absolute majority of 56% of the
vote and made major inroads into traditional FRAP blue collar consti-
tuencies, more than 80% of his margin was based upon female support.
In contrast to Duran's meagre 5%, Allende substantially improved his
position by receiving close to a million votes or 39% of the total. This
may be compared with his 1958 backing by less than 360,000 Chileans.
The PDC campaign for the 1965 congressional election strengthened
forces which would ultimately contribute to that party's decline and
propel a major transformation of Chile's interrelated socio-economic and
political systems. In order to secure a working majority in the Chamber
of Deputies, PDC tacticians, public relations specialists and scores of ad-
visors on the payroll of the Jesuit-operated Centre for Latin-American
Socio-Economic Development (DESAL) co-ordinated a massive electronic
mass media and organizing campaign against the ex-Frente Democratico
parties. By manipulating the presentation and withdrawal of a series of
"Revolution in Liberty" reform bills in the existing Congress to highlight
the negativism of the Radicals, Liberals and Conservatives, Frei achieved
a major inroad for the PDC into these parties' traditional followings.59
It should be noted, however, that less than 10% of adult Chileans actually
identify themselves as partisans of any single party. In any case, the Chris-
tian Democrats succeeded in winning an unprecedented plurality of 42%
which was evenly spread throughout the country. Apparently many youth-
ful PDC activists were convinced that there really would be a rapid trans-
formation of socio-economic institutions or a "Revolution in Liberty."
Moderates hoped that by giving Frei a working majority in Congress, he
would be able to finally control Chile's acute inflation which had been
only temporarily curtailed in 1960-1961.

During 1965 and much of 1966, the Communists and especially
the Socialists offered to support only nationalistic and egalitarian PDC
legislation in the Congress.60 Although Castro-Communist issues were sud-
denly dropped from the essentially anti-standpat 1965 PDC congressional
campaign, the Marxist parties had stagnated due to their temporary in-
ability to compete with PDC "from the left" inasmuch as Frei's party
was in a position to actually deliver on its promises. PADENA was totally
destroyed in the election as its remnants deserted to Christian Democracy.

Frei's absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies and FRAP
support in the Senate would have ensured the implementation of his man-

date to introduce Communitarian reforms and radically transform the
nation's socio-economic structures. But most of Frei's cabinet ministers
had been appointed from the pro-investor right wing of the PDC, while
about two-thirds of the party's congressional representation also identi-
fied with property-owning sectors.61 United States corporations and a
substantial sector of Chile's entrepreneurial upper class actively backed
the Frei administration between 1964 and 1967. They were primarily
interested in the control of inflation via reductions in real wages, in the
expansion of infrastructural investments which would increase external
economies for their corporations to which they owed primary identifi-
cation, and finally in the control of the Left through the incorporation
of blue collar activists in pro-bourgeois social stability-oriented mass or-
ganizations.62 Even the pseudo-nationalistic "Chileanization" scheme was
viewed within this perspective:

By blunting left-wing demands for nationalization of the copper
industry the new formula has already contributed to politi-
cal stability in Chile. And by producing new income to finance
economic and social development the copper programme may
undercut even further the country's potent Marxist forces.

By 1963, following the impressive 1961 FRAP congressional gains
on a radicalized Fidelista programme, "fears of Fidel Castro and threats
of nationalization" had dried up the flow of investment capital in the
extra-active sector.64 Also during that year the Chilean Congress had re-
fused to ratify most provisions (except for those guaranteeing currency
convertibility) of an investment guaranty agreement.

By late 1966, the PDC and the Right had conformed with this aid
condition which had been incorporated into the U.S. Foreign Assistance
Act of 1963. Frei's congressional majority not only ratified these invest-
ment guarantees, but his administration also declared itself against 100%
wage re-adjustments and provided large subsidies for the creation of a
dual union movement which would increase the percentage of the work
force organized from 12% to 27% by the end of the decade. But the ad-
ministration not only rejected Christian trade unionist demands for access
to corporate financial statements, for Communitarian reforms of indus-
try and for revision of the labour code to sanction voluntarism and in-
dustry-wide bargaining as well as legal unions for public employees, it
also moved lethargically to enforce the new rural minimum wages, ex-
hibited virtual indifference to the massive dismissal of union sympathizers
by landowners in April, 1966, and drastically curtailed lower class hous-
ing construction after 1965. Following the use of U.S. trained military
units to violently suppress a sympathy strike at the El Salvador copper
mine, Castro, accused "Frei of compromise with United States 'imperialism'
and with the Chilean 'oligarchy', and "insisted in a number of speeches

and interviews that there is no middle ground between capitalism and
socialism in direct contrast to Frei's position and that Frei's reform-
ism is a 'timid unprogressive policy designed to maintain the status quo."65

Significantly, in his address to the Chilean Congress in May, 1966,
Frei had dropped the "Revolution in Liberty" slogan. By mid-1967, the
pro-administration oficialista faction of the party had actually lost con-
trol of the PDC-led unions which were moving towards de facto collabo-
ration with the Marxist led CUT. After compromising with rural upper
class landowners who secured "legal loopholes," an Agrarian Reform Bill
was finally enacted in the autumn of 1967 three years after Frei's elec-
tion. By January, 1969, less than 1,000 families had received titles to
plots of land while an additional 14,594 were being indoctrinated on CORA
directed co-operative settlements or asentimientos. At the initiative of
unionists themselves and with only occasional administration support
500 weak peasant unions had been organized prior to 1969.66

With the exception of the traditional middle-class commitment to
education, it became increasingly evident that Frei's oficialistas had de-
magogically raised expectations for structural changes which would des-
troy capitalist investment incentives and therefore could not be imple-
mented by an essentially pro-bourgeois party elite. Although Frei did
verbally criticize the U.S.'s invasion of Santo Domingo and refused to back
a U.S.-dominated Inter-American military force, the Chilean President
also rejected a Cuban offer to barter traditionally traded commodities
through the good offices of Spain. While his Government moved slowly
on the much trumpeted goal of regional economic integration, he simul-
taneously agreed to open Chile's economy to further domination by U.S.
corporations through a contemplated $750,000,000 investment programme
in dynamic manufacturing sectors such as petroleum, paper, chemicals,

Although only the most modest efforts were made to enforce ex-
isting official tax rates upon the upper classes,68 these investment incen-
tives were undermined by Frei's personal arrogance, the militant PDC
drive to pre-empt the Chilean spectrum from extreme Left to extreme
Right and the Government Party's inability to suppress the Left. As the
Chilean economy again returned to a stagnant and inflationary crisis be-
tween 1967 and 1970, both the Right and the Left unleashed violent at-
tacks upon the administration. As early as January, 1967, all opposition
groups in the Senate sabotaged Frei's effort to project the image of an
international statesman for the forthcoming March municipal elections.
Frei reacted to this unprecedented prohibition against his visit to the United
States by announcing that the elections would determine who speaks for
Chile. After a nation-wide tour by his ministers and frequent use of man-
datory radio time, his administration suffered a major set-back with the

loss of 5% of the total vote to both the Left and the Right. Following
this event, Frei unconstitutionally ordered the arrest of the entire Na-
tional Party (after their devastating 1965 losses, the Liberals and Con-
servatives had merged) leadership.

This did not, however, allay the discontents of the populistic or
rebelde left-wing element within the PDC. Demanding that a "non-capi-
talist" Communitarian programme be commenced in 1967, to avoid di-
saster in 1970, the populists led by ex-invitados Gomucio, Jerez and Julio
Silva secured support of a centrist tercerista faction and captured a major-
ity on the PDC National Council. Rather than negotiate with this faction,
the administration launched a successful campaign to re-capture control
of the party. Indigenous upper-class investors wanted much more than
this, however nothing short of expulsion of these "Fidelista" elements
who had "infiltrated Marxism" into the PDC would satisfy them. On the
other hand, the party's libertarian traditions inhibited such massive sup-
pression internally. Meanwhile, the rebeldes and terceristas jointly op-
posed external suppression of the Marxist Left. Furthermore, the PDC could
not afford to lose its best mass mobilizers and campaigners who domin-
ated the peasant, trade union and callampa or Promocion Popular sectors
of the party.

As these contradictions emerged in the aftermath of the 1967 muni-
cipal election failure, the Socialists and Communists began to lead an in-
creasing number of urban and rural strikes. Despite the imprisonment
of one Socialist Senator for criticizing the subordination of Chile's Armed
Forces to the United States, Allende, Socialist Secretaty-General Aniceto
Rodriguez and the somewhat reluctant pro-Soviet Communists partici-
pated in Havana's July, 1967, Latin-American Solidarity Conference. Upon
returning to Chile, they constituted a legal OLAS solidarity committee of
a symbolic nature. In August, 1967, the author visited a fundo which
Naranjo and other Socialists had aided peasants in seizing several years
earlier. At a soccer match for peasants in the area, Cuban flags were fly-
ing above those of Chile. Within a short time, Marxist cadres from the major
parties and the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) were actively
leading peasants and urban callampa dwellers in seizures of property and
to a lesser degree factories. The MIR was a self-consciously Fidelista move-
ment which had been organized in 1965 and openly declared that even-
tually an armed confrontation would be forced upon the Left. By 1969,
it was organizing a few militia units among blue collar constituents as
were activists within the youth section of the Socialist Party.

The Government decision in early 1968, to allay the Right by forc-
ing the resignation of INDAP vice-president Jacques Chonchol was a major
event for the rebelde faction. Chonchol had been employed by the FAO
to advise Cuba's Institute of Agrarian Reform in 1970 and had been the

author of the 1967 National Council's resolution calling for a "non-capi-
talist" developmental approach. He had also been a leading advocate of
a rapid distributive agrarian reform. When the party campaigned for the
1969 congressional elections, it is probable that many rebeldes sat on
their hands in protest. Their disillusionment was reflected by a decline
in popular support from 35% in 1967 to 29% of the total vote a veri-
table self-fulfilling prophesy.

Shortly after the returns were in, Frei's Minister of Interior ordered
the U. S.-trained and equipped Grupo Movil a crack anti-riot national
police elite unit to force peasants off lands upon which they had set-
tled. The massacre of more than forty peons and the subsequent cate-
gorical refusal of the oficialistas to consider an "opening to the left" cata-
lyzed the defection of 15% of the PDC including a large sector of the
party's youth section. Re-organizing themselves as the Popular Action
Movement (MAPU), this ex-invitado led faction negotiated with the FRAP
for participation as an equal party in the newly constituted Popular Unity
(UP) coalition. Ironically Chonchol became Allende's Minister of Agri-
culture and assumed responsibility in early 1971, for the implementation of
the PDC agrarian reform against several hundred landowners in the south
of Chile.

Although it cost the defection of a small faction of the Socialist
Party led by Raul Ampuero and Tomas Chadwick in July, 1967, the Com-
munist strategy of bringing a major middle-class party into coalition with
the Left was achieved in a formal sense. Led by ex-invitado Albtrto Bal-
tra, who had also been President of the Cuban and Soviet friendship in-
stitutes, a pro-Marxist faction had secured control of the Radical Party
in July, 1967. Early in that year the Radicals had begun to support joint
candidates with the FRAP in congressional by-elections, and the party
was shortly to characterize itself as "revolutionary and democratic." The
leadership had been briefly encouraged by an increase from 13% in the
congressional contest of 1965 to 16% of the popular vote in March, 1967.
Its move toward co-equal participation in the UP occasioned a drop-back
to 13% in 1969 and the defection of the Party's formerly dominant bour-
geois faction.

These elements led by Julio Duran and Raul Morales organized the
Democratic Radical Party which joined the Rightist Nationals in persuad-
ing 74-year-old Jorge Alessandri to wage an energetic campaign in 1970.
During the 1969 congressional contest, the Right had argued that a vote
for them would ensure Alessandri's candidacy on a platform stressing
control of the rampant inflation and effective suppression of the militant
"Fidelista" Left. It has been estimated that three-quarters of the PDC's
percentage loss especially in Santiago and other urban areas had ac-
crued to the Nationals.69

With Alessandri's candidacy assured and public opinion polls indi-
cating majority popular support for him, the over-confident Nationals
with the backing of U.S. Ambassador Edward Korry and financial support
from Anaconda endeavoured to persuade Christian Democracy to nomi-
nate a "moderate" candidate such as Bernardo Leighton, who had been
Frei's first Interior Minister.' The nomination had for years been pledged
to Radomiro Tomic, who after serving as Frei's Ambassador to the United
States, had returned to publicly denounce the Government's failure to
fulfil the socio-economic transformation pledged in 1964. Since Frei
had early established relations with the USSR and indeed secured a long-
term $51 million line of credit from that country in early 1967, Tomic
sought to appeal to nationalist sentiment by calling for the outright nation-
alization of the Gran Mineria! Due to high copper prices and lowered tax
rates in the 1965 "Chileanization" agreements, the country had sacrificed
millions of dollars of potential revenue and the entire matter had become
a national scandal. The Government was finally pressured by its own party
into negotiating an "agreed nationalization" but this did not deter the
subsequent UP Government from introducing a Constitutional Amendment
which legislated outright nationalization and abrogated the 1969 under-
standings. Ironically, it received PDC congressional support.

Tomic's ambition, his reformist zeal, and the party's only partly
valid image of itself as "anti-oligarchic" interacted with over-confidence
to ensure Tomic's candidacy on a populist platform. When Ambassador
Korry sought to persuade PDC leaders to secure rightist backing by moder-
ating their demagogic commitments, Senator Renan Fuentealba denounced
his involvement as unwarranted intervention.71 After the PDC leadership
rejected Tomic's plea for an "opening to the Left", the Communists
again moved behind Allende who had pleased them by forcing the ex-
pulsion of Ampuero a long time professional anti-Communist, who had
opposed the strategy of incorporating the Radicals.

The Tomic forces joined MAPU and the Marxists in leading demonstra-
tions and property seizures. This drove much of the PDC white collar
constituency to support Alessandri as did the abysmal failure by Frei to
control inflation or provide sufficient salary re-adjustments for impoverished
white collar strata. Rightist over-confidence and their by now overt hatred
for Chile's weak "Kerensky" who was allowing his party's nominee to
further inflate lower class aspirations resulted in an extremely bitter three-
way campaign. Although not quite as prominent as in 1964, Allende's
identification with both the Cuban Revolution and a Communist Party
which had recently backed the Soviet invasion of Prague were again major
campaign issues. Photographs were distributed showing the presidential
palace surrounded by Soviet tanks, as were others with Fidel and Allende
appearing together. Ironically, the Socialists who did not really expect a

victory tolerated the use of pro-Cuban campaign symbols. The UP victory
song was titled "Venceremos" and this Cuban slogan adorned many posters
of Allende. In 1969, the UP nominee had proudly escorted the survivors
of Guevara's guerrilla expedition through Chile to Tahiti. Even when the
Nationals or C.I.A. arranged for the promulgation of Fidel's 26th of July
confession of economic blunders, Allende's inspiration was still much in
evidence. The UP standard bearer acclaimed the Cuban Leader's candour a
rare phenomenon in an age of mass propaganda and public relations!

Despite the formation of a broad UP coalition, the radical egalitarian
class content of the 1964 FRAP programme was maintained largely intact.
In fact there was a new emphasis in the UP programme upon substituting
a uni-cameral party-dominant political system for the existing bi-cameral
legislature and strong presidency. The programme also contemplated the
early development of "popular power" through the creation of soviets
in residential districts and places of employment. As in 1964, it was
clear that the Leftist coalition pledged to honour civil liberties which
would if the Right did not alone or with the support of the United
States provoke violent confrontations mark Chile's distinctive traditions
and "road to Socialism" Only on the ominous issue of military ties with
with the U. S. was there a new moderation and ambiguity.72

Following Allende's unexpected 40,000 vote plurality, the Left
threatened civil war if the tradition which mandated congressional election
of the front runner were not honoured. While the Nationals and certain
oficialistas conspired to elect Alessandri who could then resign and open
the way for a new election, the tercerista faction which had swelled under
the impact of Tomic's campaign let it be known that regardless of these
plans they intended to back Allende. Actually, there seems to have been
a prior understanding between Tomic and Allende under which their
supporters in Congress would be urged to support who ever came in
second provided Alessandri's plurality did not exceed 100,000 votes.73
To diminish the probability of an immediate military intervention and to
provide a face saving formula, Allende ensured a congressional vote by
the entire PDC contingent through a number of pledges to maintain
freedom of the press, to respect the private educational system, not to
substitute new textbooks in the public schools, to guarantee equal time
to the opposition on the State television network, etc. But he categorically
rejected a demand that the military command structure be left intact.
All Chilean Presidents have traditionally appointed their own commanders
of each service.

A final kidnapping attempt to force the Chilean military to inter-
vene on the eve of the congressional vote for a new president backfired
when General Schneider who as a friend of both Frei and Allende had

attempted to ensure a smooth change of administrations resisted and
was assassinated. This act revolted many moderate politicians and military
officers, thus ensuring Allende's accession to office.

After being personally congratulated by Fidel Castro and receiving
special advice from his daughter who immediately flew to Cuba after
the electoral upset, Allende moved quickly to receive a large Cuban
delegation to his inauguration and to re-establish the "broadest relations"
with the Revolutionary Government of Cuba. By February, 1971, voluntary
brigades of exemplary Cuban workers and university students were assist-
ing young Chileans and hundreds of Argentine youth in mobilizing Chile's
lower classes to initiate a mass revolutionary socialist movement in Chile.74
And in his first political address, Allende paid special tribute to the
heroism of Che Guevara and the public morality which distinguished
the Revolutionary Government of Cuba from other Latin American re-
gimes. And despite the failure of Chile's masses to internalize norms as-
sociated with democratic procedures, Allende emphasized that in the
absence of Rightist or imperialist provocation, Chile's distinctive road to
national independence and socialist egalitarianism would be marked by
respect for civil liberties, pluralism and majoritarianism.75 Because, how-
ever, "(t)he traditions of Chilean constitutional and legal practice are
those of rigid and inflexible adherence to the forms of constitutionalism
rather than to the spirit", it will be relatively simple to deprive the op-
position of much of their economic and social power. Following major
UP gains in the April, 1971, municipal elections, a massive political realign-
ment will mark the onset of a radical transformation of the political order
towards either a military dictatorship or some sort of socialist regime.


The end of a Constitutional political system which has distinguished
Chile from many of her more caudilloist sister republics during the forty
years since the overthrow of General Marmaduke Grove's 100-day attempt
to establish a "Socialist Republic", owes less to the Cuban Revolution
than one might imagine from the preceding discussion.

We do not minimize the emotional inspiration or antipathy which
catalyzed Chile's upper classes and political elites along with their North
American counterparts. There is no basis for doubting that as an economical-
ly nationalistic and socially egalitarian or spiritual symbol which neutralized
the demoralizing fatalismo of Latin American nationalists since the over-
throw of Arbenz and Peron, Cuba catalyzed leftist militance and willing-
ness to radicalize goals. Because of inept and ungenerous upper class
political leadership between the early nineteen forties and the end of
the fifties, this new stimulus to leftist organizing contributed to an ex-

panded Marxist lower-class constituency during the early 1960s. At the
same time, fear of Fidelismo was an important psycholoigcal element in
catalyzing a new emphasis upon reformism by the United States, Christian
Democracy and to a lesser degree by Chile's Radicals, Liberals and Con-
servatives. Even the landowners' National Agricultural Society replaced
its leadership with younger and mildly reformist spokesmen.

Ironically, while reform issues emerged as the dominant ones in
Chilean campaigning, governmental attainments in such areas were quite
modest. And with respect to more traditional aspirations for economic
growth and the control of inflation, both the Alessandri and Frei ad-
ministrations were total failures. The contradictions between the necessity
to maximize corporate investment incentives and the chilling effect upon
these of even the mildest egalitarian social reforms contributed to the dis-
illusionment of a large number of idealistic Christian Democrats. Their
aspirations had been heightened by Frei's demagogic attacks upon the
"oligarchy" during the early part of the decade and by the apparent
seriousness with which the "Revolution in Liberty" had been promulgated
between 1963 and 1966. Many rebelde leaders had also visited Cuba and
been deeply impressed by the serious efforts being directed at eliminating
the mass misery which continued to afflict the masses in their own

Hence, we arrive at the extremely difficult question of whether Cuba
has contributed to the movement of Chile towards social revolution and
economic independence. If the socialist defiance of the United States by
fellow Spanish-speaking Latins engendered more intense enthusiasm than
similar achievements by Asians or Europeans, it was also true that the
vividness of creole revolutionary justice and Marxism-Leninism provoked
greater terror among not merely the bourgeois entrepreneurial and landed
upper classes but also within the ranks of the blue collar and peasant
sectors where between forty and sixty per cent either identified with
the middle class or were ritualistic Church communicants. The U.S. aided
pro-PDC organizing efforts and the saturation of the 1964 presidential
campaign with demonological propaganda associating the FRAP nominee
with Cuban "tyranny" almost certainly accounted for Frei's victory. It
ensured Rightist support for Christian Democracy that year, although
Jova's role seems to have been more significant in maintaining the Duran
candidacy. As the invasion of the Dominican Republic made quite evident,
the U.S. was unwilling to accept "another Cuba" and therefore assigned
the highest priority to the defeat of Allende. Thus in 1964 it may be
said that both the threat symbolized by Cuba and its portrayal to the
Chilean masses lessened the probability of social revolution in Chile as
it did the likelihood that the pattern of economic dependence, under-
development and domination by U.S. corporations would be overcome.

From this two implications for theory may be deduced. First, those
who seek to describe and explain political conflict and outcomes in Latin
American and other "Third World" systems without reference to "inputs"
by external super-powers ignore the operative significance of "interde-
pendence" at mid-century. The assumption that these are essentially
autonomous or self-equilibrating political systems is empirically untenable.76
U.S. inputs reinforced the indigenous mobilization of institutional bias
against the electoral and constituency building prospects of a principled
socialist left in Chile. Elsewhere this inter-active process has been summarized
in some detail.77 A second and perhaps less significant corollary pertains
to the invalidity of socio-economic environmentally-determinist models.
In some measure both Fidelistas and their fearful bourgeois protagonists
assumed that the mere existence and perpetuation of mass misery by
regimes incapable of major social reforms would catalyze the emergence
of revolutionary movements backed by an impatient and irresistible mass

Actually, very little is required in the way of material benefits to
ensure the acquiesence of the lower classes provided that they are simultane-
ously incorporated through such mass organizations as INDAP, the UCC,
CORA, ASOCJ and to a lesser degree Promocion Popular. Recent behavioral
research on Chile has, in fact, begun to stress the crucial role of socio-
psychological variables.79 Here we only emphasize the even more important
"casual" significance of those institutions and organizations which structure
mass attitudinal predispositions. Some like occupational settings are re-
latively invariable while others such as political socialization in educational
establishments and AIFLD leadership training institutes or exposure to
ideologically screened and indoctrinated Peace Corps volunteers can be
varied during relatively short time periods. It is unremarkable, then, that
Allende's share of the popular vote actually declined from 39% in 1964
to slightly over 36% in 1970. In passing we would also mention that
between 1959 and 1969, Chile's armed forces and her quasi-military national
police have been transformed by the United States from an essentially
defensive role orientation to vastly expanded multi-functional institutions.
Not only have socialist-leaning officers been purged, but there has been
a systematic indoctrination of thousands of officers in demonological
and simplistic anti-Communism both in the United States and especially
at the Panama Canal Zone base complex. While the internalization of
such hatred by many officers of Chile's sixty-thousand man army and
thirty-thousand man Carabineros may be rather modest, it would be in-
judicious to underestimate the importance of socio "professional" friend-
ships between Chilean officers and their North American counterparts.80
While the MIR has infiltrated some supporters into the military, it is
problematic whether they will be able to neutralize the golpe which will
be attempted as the UP Government uses the resources of the State to

strengthen and deepen its constituency among the workers and peasants
of Chile. There is always the possibility that some officers will side with
the democratically elected government and open armories to militant
leftists especially in view of Chile's current efforts to strengthen military
ties with Peru and Bolivia where mildly nationalistic ("anti-American")
regimes are in power. In this connection we would also note that for
the first time in a decade, Chilean naval cadets will dock in Havana in
the course of their annual cruise.
The accession to office of a now openly pro-Cuban regime in Chile
is primarily attributable to bourgeois over-confidence, miscalculation and
disunity. Had the middle classes not fielded two candidates, Allende would
not have received a plurality. This assumes, of course, the PDC had not
entered the Popular Unity coalition. The hostility of the dominant oficialista
faction to egalitarian and genuinely nationalistic measures prevented Tomic
from obtaining Communist and probable UP backing. On the other hand
the initial over-confidence of Tomic and his supporters as well as their
genuinely reformist sentiments prevented the substitution of a more moderate
PDC nominee who could have secured the withdrawal of Alessandri.
Although early polls all indicated an electoral majority for the Rightist
candidate, they are widely distrusted in Chile and in any case some
unforeseen event associated with the final weeks of the campaign such
as a heart attack could have ensured a Tomic victory. This tactical
rigidity and ambition made it possible for Allende to win.
But we would argue that middle-class elite disunity of another sort
actually accounted for Allende's margin of less than 40,000 votes over
Alessandri. This represented but 3% of the UP total which exceeded
1,075,000 ballots. It was delivered by the Radicals and the 15% of the
PDC who resigned and organized the MAPU in 1969. Many leaders of
these two UP parties were ex-invitados who drew great inspiration from
the social programmes, public morality and nationalism of the Cuban
Revolution. Despite their commitment to juridical democratic norms, these
Communitarians, populists and socialists recognized both Cuba's distinctive
traditions as well as the fact that the political system in Chile was heavily
biased against social amelioration for their impoverished and degraded
countrymen. Had the oficialistas not been so similar to the Nationals
in their unwillingness to initiate anti-oligarchic reforms, the rebeldes
would not have been forced out of the party. Hence, Frei's arrogance
or inability to harmoniously aggregate interests within Christian Democracy
contributed indirectly to Allende's electoral triumph. Korry's rebuff also
suggests that despite massive external inputs, internal political conflict
may not always be subject to U.S. influence. While powerful, "imperialism"
is not omnipotent.
When assessed in light of the more fundamental attitudinal and
electoral trends, the fortuitous factors surveyed above point to certain

serious shortcomings in Marxian theory. In no other political system similar
to Chile's have principled socialist parties been elected to organize a
government. As literacy increases and larger blue collar sectors are in-
tegrated into bourgeois dominated institutions and organizations, middle
class identification tends to pervade ever larger strata among the incohesive
blue collar sectors. A defeat in 1970 would have permanently doomed
the electoral aspirations of Chile's Socialists and Communists. Only when
"socialists" reject Socialism in favour of multi-class appeals is the bias of
a "developing" political system substantially neutralized. This is particularly
true with respect to financial and communications resources as well as
general cultural norms. In Chile, the Left did little more than maintain
its existing electoral constituency in absolute terms: the increment over
a six-year period totalled less than a hundred thousand votes. Thus, the
militant mass actions of 1967-70 were useless and possibly dysfunctional
from an electoral standpoint. They actually antagonized the large Catholic
lower class sector which identified with the middle-class and was there-
fore predisposed against radical tactics and especially goals set in a class
struggle framework. For these reasons the Communist strategy of coalition
with bourgeois parties was probably even more ineffective. The Radical
and MAPU leaders no longer identified with the middle classes and there-
fore may best be characterized as de classes. These parties brought no more
than several thousand middle-class votes to UP. Their campaigners may,
however, have mobilized the determinative plurality among workers and
Our conclusion then is that within a politically "developing" or
developed society, successful socialist electoral campaigns cannot be run
while stressing class struggle or the priority of blue collar interests. Those
Marxists who wish to compete effectively without sacrificing their egalitarian
and nationalist aspirations must revise their theory and re-organize as
sophisticated populists. Their appeals should not discriminate against the
growing mass of white collar marginals who despite their middle-class
identifications realize that they are expendable sources of labour power
in a system which provides them minimal security and opportunity for
affluence. The constituency must be re-defined in non-Marxist terms as
the "forgotten" or "little" man rather than the exploited blue collar
worker. If drastic revisionism of this nature is unacceptable, then party
followers at least should not be deluded into relying upon electoralism.
Chilean exceptionalism clearly fails to disprove the rule. Nor are the
fortuitous factors consistent with the dogma of historical inevitability.
And should the forthcoming golpe prove successful, Chile will no longer
even be an exception in an increasingly militaristic hemisphere.81

1 Robert F. Smith, The United States and Cuba: Business and Diplomacy,
1917-1960 (New Haven: College and University Press. 1960). William A. Williams.

The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (New York: Dell, 1962). Lloyd C. Gardner,
Economic Aspects of New Deal Diplomacy (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press,
2 "Address by Gen. Robert W. Porter, Jr., Commander-in-Chief, U.S. South-
ern Command, presented to the Pan-American Society of the United States, New
York, N.Y., Tuesday, March 26, 1968", as re-printed in: U.S., Congress, House, Com-
mittee on Foreign Affairs, Foreign Assistance Act of 1968, Hearings, before the
Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 90th Cong., 2d sess., pp.

3As quoted by Andre Gunder Frank, "The Underdevelopment Policy of the
United Nations in Latin-America," NACLA Newsletter, III (December, 1969), 1 Cf.:
Wendell C. Gordon, "Has Foreign Aid Been Overstated?" Inter-American Economic
Affairs, XXI (Spring, 1968), 3-18; Harry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism: The
Economics of U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).

4 U.S., Congress. House, Committee on Foreign Affairs. Cuba and the Carib-
bean, Hearings, before the Sub-committee on Inter-American Affairs of the Com-
mittee om Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 91st Cong., 2d sess., July 8
- August 3, 1970, p. 98.

5 U.S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Rockefeller Re-
port on Latin-America, Hearings, before the Sub-Committee on Western Hemisphere
Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 91st Cong.,
1st sess., November 20, 1969, pp. 83, 148.
6 Maurice Zeitlin and Robert Scheer, Cuba: Tragedy In Our Hemisphere
(New York: Grove Press, 1963). Cf., Teresa Hayter, "Cuba: What Works and What
Doesn't" Venture, May, 1969, pp. 23-25. On stagnation and mass poverty in pre-
revolutionary Cuba, see Dudley Seers, ed., Cuba: The Economic and Social Revo-
lution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1964), pp. 3-61.
7 Jerome Slater, A Revaluation of Collective Security: The OAS in Action
(Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1965), pp. 23-36. Cf., Alonso Aguilar, Pan-
Americanism From Monroe to the Present (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1968).
8 Jerome Slater. "The Limits of Legitimization in International Organizations:
The OAS and the Dominican Crisis," International Organization, XXXIII (Winter.
1969), 48-72.

9 Susanne Bodenheimer, "The Bankruptcy of the Social Democratic Move-
ment in Latin-America," New Politics, VIII (Winter, 1969), 34-50. Martin C. Needler,
"Political Development and Military Intervention in Latin-America," American Poli-
tical Science Review, LX (September, 1966), 616-26.
10 And Chile having just been promised credits for $3,000,000 dutifully
lined up with the United States, El Mercurio, 19 mayo, 1959, p. 1, 20 mayo, p. 1,
1 agosto, p. 1, 6 agosto, p. 17, 13 agosto, p. 3. Hernandez Parker, "La Semana Poli-
tica," Ercilla, XXV (5 agosto, 1959), 8. Hispanic American Report, XII (July, 1959),
284. South Pacific Mail, August 14, 1959, p. 17. New York Times, August 12, 1959,
p. 8, August 14, p. 2.
11 Miles D. Wolpin, "The Influence of the Cuban Revolution upon Chilean
Politics and Foreign Policy: 1959-1965," (Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Columbia
University, 1968), pp. 212-13.
12 "Impuesto Norteamericano Pone el Cobre al Rojo," Ercilla, XXIV (16
abril, 1958), 8, and (23 abril), 10. U.S. Information Agency, Chilean Attitudes To-
ward Communism and the East-West Conflict (Washington: U.S.I.A. Research and
Reference Service, Report No. 4, December 16, 1955), pp. 5-7.
Although by December, 1962, a slight majority of those with opinions opted
for alignment with the United States as against a neutralist 39%, the invasions of
Santo Domingo and Vietnam occasioned a substantial erosion of support for the
United States. During the same period one which saw Chile establish relations
with the Soviet Union and other Socialist countries, there was a marked rise in So-
viet prestige. In mid-1965, 25% of those with opinions held a blood or very good
opinion of the USSR double the percentage in the 1950s when admittedly the
Communist Party was illegal. At the same time, in 1965, 27% of the total sample
believed that Chilean "basic interests" were rather or very different from those of
the U.S. while 45% held the same view with regard to the Soviet Union. Three years

earlier, a mere 3% had opted for alignment with the USSR while in 1965, 18% con-
sidered Chilean and Soviet "basic interests" to be fairly or very compatible. The
most recent sample was heavily biased by a disproportionate number of white collar
persons and women. All survey research on Chile reveals a greater incidence of leftist
and pro-Soviet views among blue collar sectors and men. U.S. Information Agency,
The Economic and Political Climate of Opinion in Latin America and Attitudes
Toward the Alliance for Progress (Washington: U.S.I.A. Research and Reference
Service, R-110-63 (R), June. 1963), p. 44. U.S. Information Agency, U.S. Standing
in Worldwide Public Opinion 1965 (Washington: U.S.I.A. Research and Refer-
ence Service, R-176-65, December, 1965), pp. 1-7.

13U.S.I.A., Economic and Political Climate, pp. 27 28. U.S.I.A., U.S. Stand-
ing -1965, pp. 13- 15.

14"Greater Santiago Stratification Survey, September, 1961, Data furnished
by Eduardo Hamuy, Director of the Centre for Socio-Economic Studies at the
University of Chile.

15Ibid., "Pre-Electoral Survey", August, 1964, "Post-Electoral Survey", Novem-
ber, 1964. U.S. Information Agency, Latin American Attitudes Toward Certain Anti-
Castro Measures: The Arms Cache Resolution and the Cuban Overflights (Washing-
ton: U.S.I.A. Research and Reference Service, R-75-64, June 10, 1964), pp. 4 5.

16Wolpin, "The Influence", pp. 169 832.

17Luis Vitale, Y Despues del 4, Que? (Santiago: Prensa Latinoamericana,
1970), pp. 62 63.

18Joseph Fichter, Cambio Social en Chile (Santiago: Edit. Universidad Catolica,
1962), pp. 17 18. Inter-American Development Bank, Social Progress Trust Fund:
Fourth Annual Report, 1964, (Washington: IDB, 1965), pp. 212 13.

19U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Banking and Currency, Latin American
Economic Study, Conducted by the Hon. Thomas M. Rees, 91st Cong., 1st sess.,
October, 1969, pp. 17 18.

20The lower class organizing activities of these and other U.S. subsidized
"non-governmental" organizations including the American Institute for Free Labor
Development are examined in some detail in Wolpin, "The Influence", pp. 188 200,
532 591.

21Frida Kaplan B., Yolanda Navarrete R., and Daniels Rubens F., "Alguns
factors que determinan la conduct electoral de la Mujer", memoriala para optar al
titulo de Psicologico, Universidad de Chile. Facultad de Filosofia y Educacion, Escuela
de Psicologia, 1964).

22George M. Korb, "Communicating with the Chilean Peon", American Journal
of Economics and Sociology, XXV (July, 1966), 293.

23See the sources cited in note II, supra, pp. 408 31 and note 21. Cf., Glaucio
Soares and Robert L. Hamblin, "Socio-Economic Variables and Voting for the Radical
Left: Chile, 1952", American Political Science Review, LXI (December, 1967). 1059,
and Sandra Powell, "Political Change in the Chilean Electorate", Western Political
Quarterly, XXIII (June, 1970), 381 83.

24Maurice Zeitlin and James Petras, "The Working Class Vote in Chile: Christian
Democracy vs. Marxism", British Journal of Sociology, XXI (March, 1970), 21 24.

25Alejandro Portes, "Leftist Radicalism in Chile: A Test of Three Hypotheses",
Comparative Politics, II (January, 1970), 269. Guillermo Briones, "La Estructura
Social y La Participacion Politica", Revista Interamericana de Ciencias Sociales, vol. II,
no. 3 (1963), pp. 380 400. CESO, "Pre-Electoral Survey", August, 1964.

26Kaplan, et al. "Encuestas: Las Clases Sociales", El Mercurio: Revista del
Domingo, 8 enero, 1967, p. 6. James Petras, Politics and Social Forces in Chilean
Development (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), pp. 144 53,322 33.

27Zeitlin and Petras, "The Working Class Vote", pp. 21 24. James Petras
and Maurice Zeitlin, "Miners and Agrarian Radicalism", American Sociological Review,
XXXII (August, 1967), 582 85. Portes, "Leftist Radicalism", pp. 254 68. The
fifteen to twenty-five per cent who were reported to be sympathetic to the Cuban
Revolution in the U.S.I.A. polls and other survey research were disproportionately
drawn from the male and lower class sectors. Cf., Wolpin, "The Influence", Chapter IX.

28,,. of every 100 students who enter primary schools, only 33 complete the
sixth year of the curriculum A 1960 study of the educational attainments of the
labour force shows that 40 per cent had completed primary school, only 6 per cent had
completed secondary school, 0.4 per cent had completed vocational school, and 1 per
cent had completed university studies. In the administrative and clerical occupations,
about one-fourth of the people had finished 6 years of general high school, one-fourth
had completed 3 years of general high school, and around one-half had completed
only 6 years of primary school". U.S., Congress, Senate, United States Foreign Aid in
Action: A Case Study, Submitted by Senator Ernest Gruening to the Sub-Committee
on Foreign Aid Expenditures of the Committee on Government Operations, United
States Senate, 89th Cong., 2d sess., 1966. p. 6.
As for cognitive familiarity, four years after the widely publicized Alianza
para el Progreso had commenced, a survey of Santiago residents reported that 47%
had either never even heard of the AFP or were unable to venture any sort of
vague opinion as to its progress. Although Chile received more per capital aid than
any other Latin American nation, 83% of the sample were unable to refer to a single
AFP project. While 38% were completely unaware of its existence, 39% considered
it to be progressing well and 50% approved of it in no more than varying degrees.
Only 5% voiced opposition. Yet "no more than" 10% knew of anyone including
themselves who had personally benefited from the programme. Thirty per cent
regarded the AFP as primarily a U.S. aid programme while 20% saw a self-help em-
phasis as its distinguishing characteristic. About 27% perceived U.S. motives in con-
tributing to the programme as intended to further Latin American development
while an equal percentage selected "exploitation" for this closed ended querry
Forty-six per cent either didn't know or had never heard of the AFP. On the question
of preferences of government vs. private ownership of major industries, the former
was favoured by 38% of the "better-off, 53% of the "modest", and 73% of the "poor"
strata while respective preferences for "private ownership" an explicit AFP im-
perative, were 50%, 33% and 13%. The rest were "don't knows". U.S. Information
Agency, Latin American Attitudes Toward The Alliance For Progress and the Role
of Private Investment (Washington: U.S.I.A. Research and Reference Service, R-206-65,
December, 1965), pp. 6 14.

291n 1958 following an intensive Socialist-Communist campaign which had
concentrated upon workers and peasants, Salvador Allende received 29% of the
total vote. His heaviest backing of forty percent or more was obtained in mining
and urban slum communities. Out of 1.3 million votes cast, Allende had received
356.493 votes. But the lower classes were under represented due to the exclusion
of 23% of the adult population who were illiterate and the 16.5% abstention rate.
Three years earlier, a U.S.I.A. poll reported that only 11% of the sample thought
their income or work would be favourably affected if the Communist came to
power. Although this was higher among blue collar sectors 56% of the total sample
had responded in the negative while 33% offered no opinion. Cited from Wolpin,
"The Influence", pp. 508ff.

30Petras, Politics and Social Forces, p. 186.

31Good treatment of Chilean political history will be found in the Petras
work cited in the preceding note or in Federico G. Gil, The Political System of Chile
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966).

320n these aspects of "bias" in the rules of the parliamentary game, see:
Orville G. Cope, "The 1965 Congressional Election in Chile: An Analysis", Journal
of Inter-American Studies, X (April, 1968), 265 70. Cf., Ronald H. McDonald,
"Apportionment and Party Politics in Santiago, Chile", Midwest Joumal of Political
Science, XIII (August, 1969), 455 70.

33Although he only received 51,975 votes or 5.5% of the total, in the coal
mining province of Arauco the Communists delivered 15%.

34Interview with David Baytelman, an agricultural engineer with CORFP,
the State Development Corporation, on May 6, 1967.

35Associacion Nacional de Agricultores de Chile, Proyecto de Ley de 'Reforma
Agraria' (Santiago: Imp. Lautaro, 1958). Convention Nacional de Profesionales y
Tecnicos de la Candidatura de Salvador Allende: Medidas Concretas del Gobierno
Popular (Santiago: Imp. Lautaro, 1958). passim. Hispanic American Report, XI
(May, 1958), 455.

36Hispanic American Report, XIV (February, 1961), 1125. "Cuba se coloca
Escodo Neutral", Ercilla, XXVII (3 enero, 1962), 23.

37And it had been clearly implied that unless strong action were taken against
Cuba, the U.-S. Congress might be less than generous in appropriating funds for the
newly proposed Alianza. Delesseps S. Morrison, Latin American Mission (New York:
Simon & Schuster, 1965,) pp. 181 89. "USA elabora estrategia Frente a Cuba
y la URSS", Ercilla, XXVII (20 diciembre, 1961), 21. Humberto Malinarich, "Punta
del Este: la dificil cita de los '21'," Ercilla., XXVIII (31 enero, 1962), 15 18. LHP,
"Semana Politica", ibid., p. 8. Humberto Malinarich, "El Infierno de 'Dantas'," Ercilla
(7 febrero, 1961), 15 16. Escalona L. Aragon, "Division in the Americas", New
Republic, February 26, 1962, pp. 9 10. Hispanic American Report, XV (March, 1962),
79 82. U. S., Congress, Senate, United States Foreign Aid in Action: A Case Study,
Submitted by Senator Ernest Gruening to the sub-Committee on Foreign Aid Expendi-
tures of the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, 89th Cong..
2d.sess., 1966, p. 15. U. S., Congres, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Castro-
Communist Subversion in the Western Hemisphere, Hearings, before the sub-Committee
on Inter-American Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives,
88th Cong., 1st sess., 1963, pp. 225 26. Organization of the American States,
Annual Report of the Secretary General to the Council of the Organization, 1962,
(Washington: Pan American Union, 1963), p. 3.

380ne U. S. Embassy attache informed the author that UPI was in fact donated
to El Siglo and Ultima Hora. Whether U.S.I.A. or the wire service paid the bill was
left unclear.

39For details, see Wolpin, "The Influence", pp. 101 21.

40Matilde Ladron de Guevara, Adios al Canaveral (Santiago: Edit. del Pacifico,
1962). Jacques Lagas, Memorias de un Capitan Rebelde (Santiago: Edit. del Pacifico,
1964). On the U.S.I.A. links, see: Hector Suarez Bastidas, "Un 'ideologo' anticomunista",
Punto Final, I (1. a. quincena de mayo de 1967), 11.
41Upon returning, their enthusiastic impressions were reiterated orally and
occasionally in writing. See, for example: Lucy Lortsch, Dos Chilenas en La Habana
(Santiago: ABC Plastigraf Imp., 1963); Julio Silva Solar, "Reflexiones sobre la Revolu-
tion", Politica y, Espiritu, XVIII (Enero-Mayo, 1964), 18 25; Marcos Portnoy,
Testimonio sobre Cuba (Santiago: Ediciones del Litoral, 1964).

42Teresa Hayter, "Cuba: What Works and What Doesn't", Venture, May, 1969,
pp. 23 23. Viator pseudd,) "Cuba Re-visited after Ten Years of Castro", Foreign
Affairs. XLVIII (January, 1970), 312 21.

43For details see Wolpin, "The Influence" pp. 20 32.

44Luis Vitale, op. cit. 1970, pp. 26 29. Cf., Orlando Caputo y Roverto
Pizarro, Desarrollismo y Capital Extranjero (Santiago: Ediciones Universidad Tecnica
del Estado, 1970).

45partido Comunista de Chile, Hacia la Conquista de un Gobierno Popular:
(Documentos del XII Congreso Nacional (Santiago: Imp. Horizonte, 1962), p. 396.
Hispanic American Report, XIV (March, 1961), 65 66.

46Between 1949 and 1968, 1,222 Chilean grantees were brought to the United
States under the State Department's Programme. These included 361 university
students. 194 teachers and 205 "leaders" through 1967. The numbers for each
of these three categories in 1968 was 34, 18 and 7. U. S. Department of State, Bureau
of Educational and Cultural Affairs, International Exchange 1968 (Washington: Govern-
ment Printing Office, 1969), p. 31 Cf., Wolpin. "The Influence", pp. 183 88.

47Barnard Collier, "Eduardo Frei Is Trying: A Revolution Without The Execu-
tion Wall", New York Times, February 19, 1967, Section VI. A Christian Democratic
Youth Leader and a PDC Copper Department official both stated to the writer during
1967 that the party had in fact received C.I.A. funds for the 1964 campaign. And
in the course of an address at Cornell University on July 30, 1966. former A.I.D.
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America, William P. Rogers, admitted it was
"quite -onceivable" that C.I.A. funds had subsidized Frei's presidential drive. It
should also be pointed out that the FY 1963 "Food for Peace" agreement which was
signed on August 7, 1962, provided that 80% of the return on sales be used for U.S.
approved economic development purposes. But 20% of the $21,011,000 was reserved
for Embassy use. A FY 1964 agreement was signed for $20,900,000 with a similar
proviso. Cf., Philip L. Geyelin, Lyndon B. Johnson and The World (New York:
praeger, 1966), p. 122.

48In addition to the works cited in note 40, supra, they encompass: Luis
Boza Dominguez, La Situacion Universitaria en Cuba (Santiago: Edit. del Pacifico,
1962); Laurencio Angel Aparicio, Los Malvados no conocen la Justicia (Santiago:
Edit. del Pacifico, 1962); Aparicio, El Congreso de las focas amaestradas y los lacayos
parlantes de Moscu en Rio de Janeiro (Santiago: Edit. del Pacifico, 1963).

49Their sudden use of "many modern political campaigning techniques" con-
tributed to the emergence of Christian Democracy as the most popular political
force with 23% of the vote. Michael Francis and Eldon Lanning, "Chile's 1967
Municipal Elections", Inter-American Economic Affairs, XXI (Autumn 1967), 25.

50Lawrence Littwin, "An Integrated View of Chilean Foreign Policy", (un-
published Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1967), p. 156.

51Petras, Politics and Social Forces, p. 207. Cf., Wolpin, "The Influence",
pp. 331, 365, and the sources cited therein.

52A "Post-Electoral Survey" in November, 1964, by the University of Chile's
Centre for Socio-Economic Studies revealed that 20% of the Greater Santiago inter-
viewees believed that Communism had been the most important factor in the Frei
victory. Another twenty per cent expressed the view that it was the second most
important motive for voting. Data provided by Eduardo Hamuy, Director of CESO.
Cf.: George W. Grayson, Jr., "Significance of the Frei Administration for Latin
America", Orbis, IX (Fall 1965), 762; Federico G. Gil and Charles J. Parrish, The
Chilean Presidential Election of September 4, 1964, Part I (Washington: Institute
for the Comparative Study of Political Systems, 1965), pp. 40, 43, 49.

53Littwin, "An Integrated View", p. 157.

54Wolpin, "The Influence", pp. 415- 31.

55And in a thinly veiled bid for Rightist support, the "Third Declaration of
Millahue" announced that backing would be welcomed "no matter from where it
came". Partido Democratico Cristiano, Democracia Cdistiana; Tercera Declaracion de
Millahue y Cuenta Politica del Presidente Nacional de la DC, Diputado Renan
Fuentealba (Santiago: Imp. El Imparcial, Abril, 1964), 16 pp. The textual summary
is based upon the re-statement that appears in Informes de las Comisiones al Congreso
National de Trabajadores: Candidatura Presidencial Eduardo Frei Montalva 13-14-15-16
Agosto 1964 (Santiago: Talls. Grafs. Periodistica, 1964). For those interested in the
radicalization of the PDC programme, see the more moderate proposals of 1961:
Partido Democratico Cristiano, Informe Preliminar para un Programa de Gobierno
de la Democracia Cristiana del Primer Congreso Nacional de Profesionales y Tecnicos
de la Democracia Cidstiana e Independientes, 6-7-8 y 9 de Diciembre de 1962
(Santiago: Edit. del Pacifico, 1963), 108 pp.

56The common problem for both the Radicals and the PDC was that given
the massive campaign to exclusively identify the FRAP with Cuban "tyranny",
"neither party in this crucial election could afford the possibility of alienating voters
by defending the Cuban Revolution the Christian Democrats derived much of
their electoral strength by differentiating their reform programme from the Cuban
road". Statements concerning Jova's role are based upon a letter from him received
at the U. S. Embassy in Santiago on December 9, 1965 and quoted in Littwin, "An
Integrated View", pp. 132-33, 161-62, 175-81.

Although Frei "actually supported Alessandri's final position", the party was
on record as opposed to the forced severance of relations. In order to avoid offence
to his "own radical wing and Chilean nationalism", Frei replied evasively at a campaign
press conference and thus treated the Cuban issue "in a very tactical way". PDC
left wingers such as Tomic and especially Deputies Patricio Hurtado and Alberto
Jerez were more straightforward in articulating their feelings. Thus one of these ex-
invitados and a leader of those who resigned five years later from the PDC, Jerez
declared on July 30, 1964: "The Christian Democratic Party does not agree with
Cuban ideology, but Cuba has shown one way to re-coup a country's riches and gives
an example of an uncorruptible government. Cuba is an example of the road that
the Latin American peoples will have to take if present policies continue". He also
denounced the OAS as an instrumentality of U. S. foreign policy.Ibid.

57Gil and Parrish, Chilean Presidential Election, I, pp. 36 38. Chile, Diarlo
de Sesiones del Senado, CCXCIII, ses. 56 (13 mayo, 1964), p. 4389. "Asi Nos Ven,
"Ereilla, XXX (26 agosto, 1964), 4. M. Gornor, "Who Will Be President of Chile"?
New Times, No. 24 (June 17, 1964), p. 16. "Asi Nos Ven", Ereilla, XXX (9 septiembre,
1964), 11. Although the Soviet New Times article reported that Anaconda President
Rodolfo Michels had accompanied Jova, none of the preceding sources is based
upon hard evidence such as an admission by either Jova or Duran. On the other hand,
it is well known that the C.I.A. has financed anti-Communist party campaigns and
a prominent Radical politician, lawyer and ex-ambassador informed this writer that
the U. S. copper companies had traditionally contributed to bourgeois political
campaigns through inflated legal fees, etc. Moreover, it would be difficult to persuade
Chilean businessmen to finance a candidate who was a certain loser as Duran was
known to be.

58U.S., Foreign Aid in Action, p. 115. According to former Deputy Assistant
Administrator of the AFP, William P. Rogers, in order "to help Frei, Ambassador
Cole was instructed not to make any public statements during the last months of
the campaign". Cornell University address on July 30, 1966.

59Wolpin, "The Influence", pp. 404 05, 411. Within two years Father
Veckemans' Bellarmino group associated with DESAL and the Jesuit monthly Mensaje
had broken with Frei's oficiallstas due to the latter's seeming indifference to the
"Revolution in Liberty" structural reforms.

60Because Government proposals became ever more moderate following March,
1965, the Marxist parties with the Socialists leading emerged as a militant Leftist
Opposition by the end of 1966. Petras, Politics and Social Forces, pp. 207 08,
217 19, 344 46. Susanne Bodenheimer, 'Stagnation in Liberty' The Frei
Experiment in Chile", NACLA Newsletter, III (March, 1969), 8 9, Cf., W. Raymond
Duncan, "Chilean Christian Democracy", Current History, LIII (November, 1967),

61Petras, Politics and Social Forces, pp. 69 71,197, 213, 345 46. George W.
Grayson, "The Frei Administration and the 1969 Parliamentary Elections", Inter-
American Economic Affairs, XXIII (Autumn 1969), 68. Alan Angell, "Christian De-
mocracy in Chile", Current History, LVIII (February, 1970), 84. See also note 34
supra. In June, 1966, The Second Trade Union Congress of the PDC "strongly attacked
the trade unions' lack of representation both in the government and in the party".
James Petras, Chilean Christian Democracy (Berkeley: Institute of International Studies,
University of California, 1967), p. 15.

62Petras, Politics and Social Forces, pp. 62 67, 207 08, 344. Cf., A. Angell,
"Chile: The Difficulties of Democratic Reform", International Journal, XXIV (Summer
1969), 518.

63"Business Abroad: Chile's Copper Beckons Once Again," Business Week,
October 1, 1966, p. 76. Cf., U. S. Rockefeller Report Hearing, p. 25.


65Duncan, "Chilean Christian Democracy", p. 269.

66Angell, "Christian Democracy", pp. 81 82. W. H. Agor, "Senate vs. CORA:
An Attempt to Evaluate Chile's Agrarian Reform to Date", Inter-American Economic

Affairs, XXII (Autumn 1968), 50. Robert R. Kaufman. The Chilean Political Right
and Agrarian Reform: Resistance and Moderation (Washington: Institute for the
Comparative Study of Political Systems, 1967), pp. 26 40.

6"In the July 17, 1967, U.S. Department of Commerce Weekly, International
Commerce, there is a statement that the Chilean Government has approved in-
vestment projects for a total of $907,000,000 of which $761,500,000 will come
from abroad". Hugh Fox, "Chile: A Case Study of Economic Colonialism", North
American Review, January, 1968. p. 5.
The remarkable degree of identification with external investing corporations
which was exhibited by the oficialista administration is highlighted by the fact that
generous incentives were provided despite a very substantial hardening of terms for
external "aid" between 1961 and 1967. Hence the Government's rapid "delivery"
to international capitalists contrasted markedly with its obvious lethargy in implementing
distributive social reforms. On real vs. nominal "aid" and the rise in interest rates
from 1.9% in 1961 to 5.5% by 1967, see Victor Tokman, "An Evaluation of
Foreign Aid: The Chilean Case", Oxford University Institute of Economics and
Statistics Bulletin, XXXI (May, 1969). 89 101. Cf., Orlando Caputo y Roberto
Pizarro, Desarrollismo y Capital Extranjero: Las Nuevas Formas del Imperialismo en
en Chile (Santiago: Ediciones de la Universidad Tecnica del Estado, 1970).

68Ronald Gold, "Income Tax Evasion in Chile: An Estimate", Inter-American
Economic Affairs XXII (Spring 1969), 59 67. The Popular Government's Finance
Minister announced in late 1970 that his administration's initial egalitarian measures
would be wholly financed by eliminating extant evasion. El Siglo, 28 noviembre, 1970,
p. 11.

69This election in which more than 800,000 registered voters abstained, and
the subsequent rebelde desertion are examined in some detail by George W. Grayson,
"The Frei Administration and the 1969 Parliamentary Elections". Inter-American
Economic Affairs, XXIII (Autumn 1969), 49 74.

700n the Leighton matter and Anaconda's apparent backing for Alessandri,
see Seldon Rodman, "October Revolution in Chile?" National Review, October 6,
1970, pp. 1053 54. Rodman Claims "scrupulous neutrality" by the U.S. Embassy.
Ibid., p. 1055.

71"Chile: Antes de la Hora del Cobre", Bohemia (La Habana). 25 diciembre,
1970, p. 80. In 1967, Ambassador Ralph Dungan had been withdrawn because of
Rightist antipathy due to his pro-PDC activities. After the failure of Frei's plebiscite,
Washington apparently concluded that a diplomat who could negotiate with both the
Nationals and the PDC was required for the crucial effort to prevent the Left from
winning the presidency in 1970. Jova's 1964 role was commented upon earlier in
this paper.

72Programa Basico de Gobierno de la Unidad Popular: Candidatura Presidencial
de Salvador Allende (Santiago: Imp. Horizonte, 1969), pp. 3 34.

3"Chile: September 4 to November 3", Monthly Review, January 1971, p. 27.

74Jose Marti Brigade Off To Chile", Granma (Weekly Review), February 21,
1971. p. 1.

75"Speech by Salvador Allende: 'Chile is Beginning its March Toward Socialism,' "
Granma (Weekly Review). November 15.

76For several examples of such "bind spot" distortional scholarship, see:
Kenneth F. Johnson, "Casual Factors in Latin American Political Stability, "Western
Political Quarterly, XVII (Summer 1964), 432 46; Harry Eckstein, "On the Etiology
of Internal War," History and Theory, IV (1965), 133 63; D. P. Bwy, "Political
Instability in Latin America. The Cross-Cultural Test of a Causal Model", Latin
American Research Review, III (Spring 1968). 17 66; J. A. Bill, "The Military
and Modernization in the Middle East", Comparative Politics, II (October, 1969),
41 62; Merle Kling, 'Violence and Politics in Latin America". in Latin American

Sociological Studies, ed. by Paulo Halmosi (Keele, U.K.: University of Keele, 1967),
pp. 119 32.

77Wolpin, "Chile's Left: Structural Factors Inhibiting an Electoral Victory
in 1970", Journal of Developing Areas, III (January, 1969), 207 30.

78Fidel Castro, El Partido de la Revolucion Socialista: Espina Dorsal de la
Revolution (Santiago: Espartaco Editores, 1963), pp. 12 15. "Semana Politica",
Ercilla, XXVII (18 octubre, 1961), 9. Cf., U.S., Congress, House. Committee on
Foreign Affairs, Foreign Assistance Act of 1963, Hearings, before the Committee on
Foreign Affairs, Hosue of Representatives, 86th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 852 61, 878,
907, 943 49, 960.
79See the sources cited in notes 23 23, and especially those by Soares and
Hamblin, Powell, Portes, Zeitlin and Petras.

80Typical of the Canal Zone approach is Folleto No. 2 entitled Que Es El
Comunismo? A detailed study of this iadoctrinational process was presented in
summary form as "Neo-Colonialism and U.S. Military Assistance Training" by Miles D.
Wolpin at the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association in St.
John's Newfoundland during June, 1971. For data an U.S.-Chilean interface contacts,
see the same author's forthcoming Cubin Foreign Policy and Chilean Politics (Lexing-
ton. Mass. D. C. Heath & Co., 1972), Chapter V.

81For indications that this may well be the current North American strategy,
see: U.S., Cuba and the Caribbean Hearings, pp. 91 2, 97 9; U.S., Rockefeller
Report Hearing, pp. 8- 11, 26, 35 -6, 45- 51, 85 -93, 117 19.

Juan Carlos Onetti:


Part 1.

One of the main features of the contemporary Spanish-American
novel is the tendency to probe into the soul of the modern urban citizen
in an attempt to understand, in depth, the true nature of human experience
in the modem big city. Among the writers to do this with greatest sensitivity
is the Uruguayan novelist, Juan Carlos Onetti, whose works mark a significant
change in Latin-American fiction. The rural novel with its traditional human
types, superficially depicted, gives way to an urban novel which presents
and explores a new kind of person with a more complex psychology and
character. The regional novel, basically concerned with regional types and
conditions, now extends its frontiers to embrace man in his universal con-
text, confused, bewildered and frustrated by the dilemma of life and the
human condition.

As early as 1939 with the publication of El Pozo, his first novel,
Onetti indicated the original and revolutionary lines he would follow. He
is like many other novelists in his search for the essential values of the
American reality and in his desire for a deeper understanding of national
life and the national character, especially in the River Plate countries. How-
ever, the line he takes is new. He examines the anguished soul of the "new
man" who emerged in the modern River Plate cities in the first half of
this century, and does so with a style and technique that lift the River
Plate novel out of its regional setting on to a plane comparable to that
of modern narrative in Europe or North America. Angel Rama makes this
pertinent observation in a study included in the third edition of El Pozo:

In December, 1939, there appeared a little book which may
be considered a fundamental work in the literature and aesthetics
which started then, though slowly and with difficulty, among
young intellectuals That book was El Pozo with which our
narrative advanced into the modem forms developed in Europe
after the first world war.(1)

(1) Angel Rama, "Origen de un novelist y de una generaci6n literaria," published
as a supplement to El Pozo, Montevideo, 1965, pp. 58-59.

And then Onetti himself, in an explanatory note that may well be considered
a statement of policy, makes this affirmation about his novel, Tierra de
nadie, which appeared in 1941

I am depicting a group of people who, although they may
now appear exotic in Buenos Aires, in fact are representatives
of a generation which, to my mind, reproduce the post-war
generation of Europe several years later. Old moral values were
abandoned and no new ones have as yet appeared to replace
them. The fact is that in the most important country in South
America, that is, in the young America, there is developing a
certain morally indifferent type, a man without faith and without
interest in his destiny. No one should, therefore, reproach the
novelist for undertaking to paint this human type with equal

From El Pozo to his last two novels (and certainly his best) El Astillero
(1961) and Juntacadiveres (1964), Onetti consistently builds up the image
and defines the character of this new American man through whom the
reader sees the author's broader vision of man, the universe, and human
existence. The picture is not concentrated in any single individual, but in
a small number of important characters who re-appear in different novels
giving continuity and coherence to his vast production,(3) as well as to
his vision. Among these characters, two stand out conspicuously Doctor
Diaz Grey and Junta Larsen the latter having strong resemblances for
other protagonists like Brausen, Aranzuru and Eladio Linacero from some
of Onetti's other novels.


The Onettian protagonist is, first of all, a lonely man overcome with
a sense of isolation, boredom and his own incommunicability. Mario
Benedetti has rightly observed that the solitude of the protagonist of
El Pozo is a declaration of the "atmosphere of all the novels and short
stories of Juan Carlos Onetti."(4) Later, Angel Rama uses a confession
by Eladio Linacero as the point of departure for his study of solitude in
El Pozo. What Linacero says towards the end of the novel is this:

(2) Ibid., pp. 79-80.
(3) Onetti's novels to date are: El Pozo (The Whirlpool) (1939), Tierra de nadie (No
man's land) (1941), Para Esta Noche (Just for tonight) (1943), La vida breve
(This Brief Life) (1950), Los adioses (Goodbyes) (1954), Una tumba sin nombre
(A Nameless Tomb) (1959), La cara de la desgracia (The face of Misfortune)
(1960), El astillero (The shipyard) (1961), and Juntacadiveres (The Corpse Pan-
der) (1964), He also has two collections of shortstories: Un sueio reallzado y
otros cuentos (A dream come true and other stories) (1951), and El Infierno
tan temido) (That fearful Hell) (1962).
(4) Mario Benedetti, Literature uruguaya: siglo XX, Montevideo, 1963, p. 76.

I am a lonely man smoking anywhere in the city; night surrounds
me and has its own way like a ritual, gradually, and yet I have
nothing to do with it.(5)

And as Rama points out, this solitude is not only an emotional experience
arising out of Linacero's own personality, but is also a physical and concrete
solitude created by his dingy, vulgar and revolting environment. Moreover,
Linacero lives in a closed and very personal world from which people are
excluded. There is no real communication or understanding between him-
self and the society in which he moves. At one stage he confesses this:

I am not happy. I suddenly realize that I am in a country
which I do not really know; a country where it is always
raining and I can speak with no one.(6)

This is the main problem a longing for friendship, understanding, and
love and it finds no satisfying answer. Physical love with prostitutes and
young girls like Hanka, Ester and Ana Maria does not meet his real need.
His body may be engaged in an act that provides momentary pleasure,
but his underlying loneliness remains. In spite of their physical proximity,
each of the women seems to him intolerable and spiritually and emotionally
distant. Even at an intellectual level, communication breaks down between
himself and his friend, Cordes,the poet whose bourgeois interests and sense of
values seem distasteful to the socialistic Linacero. At the age of forty he
is already bored with people, work, travelling and politics on the local and
international scenes. His awareness of the rapid passing of time and the
sensation of being constantly engulfed by the horrors of night enhance his
anguish, so that he cries out:

I am a man and I now feel that my life is nothing more
than fractions of time passing away one after the other just
as the ticking of a watch, or as the water running by or as
coins being counted out I am stretched out flat and time
drags along indifferently to my right and to my left night
surrounds me and has its own way like a ritual There are
moments when, with difficulty, the palpitations in my breast
harmonize with the rhythm of the night.(7)

Arinzuru in Tierra de nadie resembles Linacero in many ways, but
especially in his boredom and solitude. He gives up his legal practice,
deserts his friends and gives himself over in abandonment to a life of inertia,
debauchery and uselessness. He is evidently bored with the false pretences
and emptiness of life as seen on the surface in modern Buenos Aires. The

(6) Juan Carlos Onetti, El Pozo, Montevideo, 1965, p. 53.
(6) Ibid., p. 39.
(7) Ibid., pp. 51-53.

vain intellectualism of his circle of friends, their lip-service to art and their
sexual indulgence fail to satisfy Arinzuru. He seeks to take refuge in the
exotic life of Hawaii as an escape from his personal anguish and sense of
failure in life and from the sordidness of the city. The following thoughts
are almost an echo of Linacero's earlier confession:

1 am a poor man. One, two, three women That is my life.
They bore me. Yet I have done nothing else. Now I am in the
night, alone, separated from the night by my skin.(8)

The protagonist of Los adioses is even more uncommunicative than
either Linacero or Arinzuru. He has no friends except two ladies who write
to him regularly and then visit him twice. He stubbornly refuses to communi-
cate with the people in the hotel where he boards or in the bar in which
he takes his occasional beer. As one observer puts it, he avoids having to
exchange words with the people he meets, "Wishing nothing more than
not to be with us".(9) The world in which he moves has a stifling atmos-
phere of suspicion, incredulity, gossip and slander into which he would
not be integrated. His solitude is to him a sacred privacy that must be main-
tained at all costs. It develops into an obsession, a necessity, a vital part
of his existence. The narrator explains the haste with which he returns
home with his letters as "the need to shut himself away in his room,
stretched out in his bed with his eyes glued to the roof, or going and
coming from window to door, all alone with his vehemence, his obsession,
his own concrete fear and an intermittent fear of hope."(10)

However, his case is more than a mere negative withdrawal into himself.
It is a blunt and positive refusal to identify himself with the tuberculosis
patients of the sanatorium, or to accept the hopefulness and self-delusion
of the people in the city. The shop-keeper gets to the heart of the problem
when he says, "that he would never be cured since he knew nothing about
finding the will to be cured",(11) and everyone senses this deliberate aloof-

Once more they felt the unbearable insistence of the man to
not accept the illness which would force him to be a part of
their fratemity.(12)

In El astillero the problem takes a slightly different form. Larsen,
unlike the protagonist of Los adioses, is not resisting contact with other

(8) J. C. Onetti, Tierra denadie, Montevideo, 1965, p. 147. (Second and corrected
Edition by E. B. O.) (First edition by Losada, Buenos Aires, 1941).
(9) J. C. Onetti, Los adioses, Montevideo, 1966, p. 10 (First published in Buenos
Aires by SUR).
(10) Ibid., p. 15.
(11) Ibid., p. 11.
(12) Ibid., p. 70.

human beings, but is avidly searching for communication. Out of the
depths of his solitude he gropes about for understanding and love, for
some meaningful contact with the people he meets in the shipyard and its
neighbourhood, but he gradually realizes that he must endure his loneliness,
for the world in which he must operate is one of damning materialism and
selfishness. His co-workers in the shipyard, Kunz and Galvez, are hostile
and resentful. They treat him with suspicion, watchfulness and even dis-
respect. The situation becomes so tense that Larsen is compelled to keep
his revolver at hand at all times. There can be no friendship between them,
for by their common interests and ambitions they are inevitably drawn
into a struggle for mutual destruction. Moreover, Larsen's relationships
with women help to underscore the unprofitability and frustrations of
carnality and materialistic ambitions, and further establishes Onetti's thesis
that solitude is man's absolute and inescapable master. When Larsen turns
away from the drudgery of his daily routine and seeks companionship with
three women, in each case, his desire is thwarted and he is forced back into
his little world of solitude. First he looks to Petrus' daughter, Ang6lica
Ines for two things: a strictly physical relationship and a calculated means
of acquiring Petrus' possessions. Both plans end up abortively because
Angelica Ine's is half-mad and Larsen cannot communicate effectively with
her. Her very kisses are to him like contact with a corpse.

The second woman is Josefina, the thirty-year-old maid who takes
care of Angelica. She willingly accedes to mutual physical desire, establish-
ing a sort of contact described as "the fraternity of the flesh and of the
yearning simplicity of a woman".(13) For a moment Larsen finds someone
who is his equal with whom he feels he can communicate with some
measure of attachment.

He could marry her, beat her or leave her; and yet, nothing he did
would alter that feeling of fraternity, that profound and solid bond.(14)
But, alas, it is too late. Larsen is living a lie. He is trying to re-live his youth-
ful sexual indulgences and the result is that he finds himself absorbed by
an inescapable solitude and faced with the impossibility of a lasting relation-
ship. As he walks away from her, the truth becomes more evident:

At that particular moment and in those circumstances he was
not Larsen; he was nobody. His being with the woman had
been a visit into the past, an interview carried out in a spiritualis-
tic seance Now he was bashful, motionless in the world's high-
est sphere and he became aware of being in the heart of that
solitude which he had assumed, and almost desired, so many
times in previous years.(15) Gilvez' wife is the third woman

(13) J. C. Onetti, El astillero, Buenos Aires, 1961. p. 217.
(14) Ibid., p. 216.
(15) Ibid., p. 217.

to whom he looks for understanding, for in her he recognizes
genuine feminine appeal. He says, concerning her: This one,
indeed is a woman. If only she were bathed, and dressed
and made up; if only I had met her years ago.(16)

Here, again, Larsen seems preoccupied with her body only, for he is not
capable of relating with anyone on any emotional or spiritual plane; but
there are obvious obstacles she is married and pregnant, and these factors
make her inaccesible for fleeting pleasure; then he comes to her hovel and
finds her bathed in blood and wreathing in pain as she gives birth to her
baby. This nauseating sight only serves to drive him away from her and
deeper into his solitude, for he leaves her, takes a launch and goes up-
stream to die in utter despair and loneliness.


The Onettian hero is usually a victim of public scrutiny and resent-
ment and as such often has to stand in isolation to face the full force of
unfavourable public opinion. This explains in large measure Larsen's solitude
in Juntacadaveres. By this time he is already advanced in years and sunken
in boredom, now that his youthful energy and vivacity, his heroic adven-
tures, are realities of the past:

Now old and conscious of his dirty shirt, the down in his ears,
the twisted heels of his shoes, his solitude and rejection, he
would use his tongue to play with his drink of "cazalla" and
would conjure pictures of the young cruel Junta, rabid about
life, the Junta of those heroic and greedy nights.(17)

In a last effort to snatch himself out of this stage of boredom, he tries to
establish a brothel but, right away, public resentment is stirred by the
sermons of the local priest, Father Bergner, who finds ready support among
women whose sons, husbands, lovers or brothers have been allured into
the life of the brothel. Larsen is given the unwholesome name "Juntacadiveres"
and is denounced as an undesirable alien. Not only is he ostracized by
the public but the Governor issues an order for his expulsion from Santa
Maria. This lack of friends and this virtual helplessness in the face of general
hostility are also the lot of Onetti's hero in Los adioses as well as some
characters in his short stories, El infierno tan temido.(18)

Doom and Gloom
Onetti's characters always appear to be doomed. They operate in a
framework of fateful concatenation of forces and inevitable circumstances.

(16) Ibid., p. 68.
(17) J. C. Onetti, Juntacadfveres, Montevideo, 1964, p. 125.
(18) J. C. Onetti, El inferno tan temido, Montevideo. 1962. This is a collection of
4 stories, the first of which "Historia del caballero de la rosa y de la virgen
encinta que vino de Liliput", tells of a young couple who are regarded with
curiosity, suspicion and envy by the curious and vicious citizens of Santa Marfa.

It is of symbolic importance that the major characters go about dressed
in black or grey. The protagonistof Los adioses goes about with a serious
mien but also significantly dressed "as usual, in that grey suit which is
neither a summer nor a winter outfit."(19) His only overcoat is described
as "black, old, excessively loose, with very big buttons and a velvet collar
which is almost new."(20) Larsen appears in Juntacadiveres in a dark suit
and a black hat reaching down to his eyes. And this is his usual outfit in
all of the novels in which he appears:

He had always been dressed in grey in the office of El Liberal
cringing and laconic At any rate, always in grey, always
buttoned up even in summer.(21)

The atmosphere in which they are placed is forever gloomy and depressing.
There is a perpetual aura of hopelessness and doom in Santa Maria with
its constant dampness, rain, cold winds and heavy overcast of cloud and
mist. The river around which the life of the cities (Rosario, Puerto Astillero,
Santa Marfa) revolves is always dull and grey. The picture of Montevideo
given in El Pozo is the dismal one of dirtiness and coldness. The people
in their dingy hovels, the fat woman washing in her untidy backyard, the
dirty little child crawling on all fours, comprise a nauseating scene. There
is an ominous correspondence between the setting and the characters'
moods and temperaments.

A sense of inescapable appointment with destiny constantly haunts
his characters, enhancing their awareness of human impotence in the face
of superior forces operating from the outside. The narrator in Los adioses,
in conversation with the male nurse, makes the pertinent observation that
"it is pointless to try to side-step destiny."(22) One of these great forces
over which man has no control but which is nonetheless intimately tied
up with his destiny is the movement of time:

Time which cannot be measured or separated and which we
can feel running along in our blood-stream.(23)

The protagonist of El Pozo feels it very deeply, for as night sets in on him,
it is as though he were being caught up in a current and swept along with
the movement of the night. He gets a sensation of being trapped and en-
gulfed and of being helpless in the circumstances:

It is all useless but one must at least have the courage of not
pretending. I would have liked to pin down the night as one

(19) J. C. Onetti. Los adloses, op. cit. p. 61.
(20) Ibid., p. 72.
(21) Juntacadiveres, op. cit. p. 2.
(22) Los adloss, op. cit. p. 46.
(23) Ibid.

would do a prostitute, but instead, it was she who grabbed me
up in her current as one would lift the livid body of a dead
man and now sweeps me downstream, inexorably, in the midst
of its cold and vague foams.(24)

Death walks with the Onettian hero like a personal companion but
also like a nightmare. In Juntacaddveres, Jorge Malabia looks back on
Julita's life and their nights of crazy sexual excesses and says:

For a long time now, ever since my brother's death, we knew
that Julita was dead. It was essential to feign ignorance and
unlimited sorrow to the others and I did it; we both did it.
We were ourselves, she and I knowing and lying and resigned
to waiting.(25)

In the case of the central figure of Los adioses the imminence of death
is more obvious. He has tuberculosis, and even though the doctor invites
him to spend a few months in the sanatorium, he knows that not even
intensive care can save him. The patient himself realizes this and admits
to his daughter, "I am going to die".(26) The shopkeeper-narrator in-
terprets his behaviour as a deliberate effort to not communicate his aware-
ness of death gnawing at his soul, so that when the patient actually dies
he declares:

I had discovered months ago, the first time that man entered
my shop he had nothing but death with him and he did not
wish to share it. It remained decorous, eternal, invincible and
he was already prepared, without realizing it, 'for any' future,
violent night.(27)

The imminence and certainty of death is always present in El astillero
The dilapidation and ruin of the shipyard, the coldness and dampness of
the winter season, the inactivity of the port, are all omens and symbols of
death. Larsen confesses to Dfaz Grey that Puerto Astillero is dead, for
no launches call there and no business is carried on. Yet he lives and works
there, for he too carries death hanging over his shoulders. He is aware of
his advance in years and the concomitant lack of drive and energy. He
begins to indulge in self-pity and morbid contemplation of death, constantly
muttering to himself, "I feel like shooting myself."c28) Long before he
eventually dies of pneumonia, Larsen seems to the reader almost an im-
personation of death. He soon becomes demented like Ang6lica, n6s, Petrus,
Kunz and so many others who have worked in the shipyard before him.

(24) El Pozo op. cit. p. 53.
(25) Juntacadiveres op. cit. p. 272.
(26) Los adioses, op. cit. p. 61.
(27) Ibid., p. 83.
(28) El astillero, op. cit. p. 63.

His end is a pathetic picture of a man obsessed with the thought of failure
and imminent death. With resignation he accepts the fact that his destiny
is sealed and he awaits the end with cool indifference:

thinking that he had reached the end, that within two
months he would have neither bed nor food, that his age could
no longer be concealed but also that it no longer mattered.(29)


This consciousness of impending doom brings with it a sense of
futility and strips the individual of the will to act and of any faith that
motivates positive action. In El Pozo, Linacero is portrayed as having
lost faith in everything love, politics, revolutions, work, comfort and
life in general. In one confession he declares:

Work seems to me a hatefully stupid activity, which one finds
it difficult to escape. And the few people I know are not
worthy to have the sun shine into their faces.(ao)

To him virtue and goodness are not values that last for long for everything
in life changes for the worse. Love, as a virtuous experience, is shared
only by the unspoilt and innocent youths; once that youthful purity is
lost, the experience disintegrates into sordid indulgence. The women who
inspire any lofty emotions in him are teenagers like Electra or his wife
Cecilia before their marriage. The moment women are exposed to adult
life their vices (blind desire to have children and material possessions) take
pre-eminence in their life. It is no wonder he divorced Cecilia. His view of
love and women is summed up in these lines:

Love is marvellous and absurd and, incomprehensibly, it comes
to every type of soul. But there are not many people who can
be called absurd and. yet marvellous. The few that there are,
remain so only for a short time, in their early youth. After-
wards, they begin to accept things and they get lost. I have
read that women's intelligence ceases to increase around 20
or 25 years of age Ponder that and you will know why there
are no great female artists.(a1)

Linacero also loses faith in political ideologies and power blocks, His
attitude is a mixture of anti-Nazi, anti-Socialist, anti-U.S. and anti-bourgeois
feelings. Lazaro, the militant Socialist, who lives iR the same apartment
building is described by Linacero in these terms:

(29) Ibid., p. 60.
(30) El Pozo, op. cit. p. 33.
(31) Ibid., pp. 31-32.

Sometimes 1 think this beast is better than I am Lizaro is
a cretin, but he has faith, he believes in something.(32)

Yet he cannot accept Lazaro's ideas for change because he has been Socialism
abused by ambitious rascals. Most of them he feels are motivated by self-
interest, hatred or envy, a fact which makes the whole exercise appear
ridiculous. He, therefore, condems the base motives of the young intellectuals
whose names are paraded in the newspapers as Leftists, but who nonetheless
hypocritically enjoy the comforts of the "lower bourgeoisie." He refuses
to join these formalized schools or to subscribe to their doctrines even
though he sympathizes with the genuine needs of the less privileged
masses. As he states his position:

It is true that I never had a faith later when I had to move
in other circles, I got to know other people both men and women,
who had just joined up with some group or other. It was like
an avalanche. In a matter of a few weeks I grew to hate them
there were all types those who own an eight-cylinder Packard,
shirts costing fifteen pesos and still speaking glibly of the future
society and of man's exploitation of his fellowman But there
still remains the hope that, here or elsewhere in the world,
whenever things take a serious turn, the first precautionary
move of the workers would be to rid themselves of all that
trash once and for all. I simply withdrew immediately and
returned to my solitude.(33)

He dismisses Nazism as a mystical doctrine, suited for blonds and imbeciles
of Germany but irrevelant to the River Plate situation with its abundance of
gauchos. Russian Communism is attacked for the luxury accorded to officials
in the Kremlin and the immoral use of virgins by lewd men like "the Great
Comrade Stalin. American capitalists are criticised heavily, for his opinion
of them, in a nutshell, is that "they are the most imbecile people on the

Linacero's problem is that he no longer believes in anything and
has given up hopes for success in life. Life has no inspiration, no spontaneity.
It is all inertia, abandonment, difficulty, solitude, negative thinking and
awareness of the hypocrisy of others and the futility of the whole process
of living.

Many other characters, like Linacero, have abandoned their old
convictions and lost the will to act, and Onetti frequently focuses on their
physical gestures to illustrate their emotional and spiritual states. The sickly

(32) Ibid., p. 51.
(33) Ibid., pp. 43-45.
(34) Ibid., p. 42.

protagonist of Los adioses is described as having hands that are "slow,
timid, and awkard, moving without faith, long and still untanned, almost
being apologetic for their disinterested activity."(35) His incredulity be-
comes more evident as people get to observe him more closely. Dr.Gunz,
for example, tries to persuade him to enter the sanatorium in order to
get a total cure of his illness, but he only laughs cynically and dismisses
the offer with the excuse that he cannot endure life in such an institution.
The shop-keeper, always alert and perceptive in his observations, is quick
to notice his underlying cynicism:

In that smile he displayed when listening to Gunz, one could
discern a kind of aggressiveness in that same basic incredulity
which I detected in him at first sight, that drowsy ineptitude
with regard to faith which was to be discovered with his first
injection and which he had decided to accept in totality during
that period witnessed by the maid and the male nurse.(36)

This doubt and cynicism often turns into despair among Onetti's "new
men" of the River Plate who all fall into the 40-55 age range. One such
character is Dr. Diaz Grey who first appears in La vida breve (1950) and
then in El astillero (1961) and Juntacadaveres (1964) as well as in the
short stories entitled El infiemo tan temido (1962). In Juntacadiveres
he is described as a lonely man in the square in Santa Marfa, just a little
over forty years. In El astillero he is referred to as a medical practitioner
of about fifty years. This places him at about the approximate age of
Onetti's main characters Linacero is forty; Larsen is about fifty in
Juntacadaveres; Barthe, in the same novel, is just over fifty and Larsen
and Petrus in El astillero are both over fifty; the protagonist of Los adioses
is just over fifty.

Diaz Grey is perhaps the most disabused and sceptical of them all.
He is lonely and bored and extremely pessimistic in his outlook on life.
He lives alone, he has no lover, no companion but a maid to do the house-
hold chores. His only comfort is to withdraw into his apartment and
play records which he never really listens to, or play cards all by himself.
He also suffers from insomnia and is frequently absorbed in deep thought,
painfully reflecting on his personal life and human existence in general.
Physically, he is never in the best condition. He complains of rheumatism
and severe pains in his chest and back. But his deepest anguish arises from
the fear of facing up to himself. The books he reads, the music he plays
and the cards he shuffles and re-shuffles are escape valves that rarely prove
helpful, so that he is forever using drugs trying to resist the temptation
to commit suicide. This is a typical picture of the man, described as he
leaves Larsen's apartment:

(35) Ibid., p. 9.
(36) Ibid., p. 64.

Diaz Grey, with his eyes half-shut and his stick hanging from
his hand, leaned on the railing allowing himself to be guided
by it, and there, he felt, once more, the temptation to commit
suicide. .It came with the same intensity as it did five years
before but with an affectionate curiosity which he sensed for
the first time. He moved out into the semi-darkness to face the
wind, the solitude of the streets, his own habits, his solitary
dining, the repetition of gestures and instructions to the maid
and those old devices which he used in order to avoid facing
up to himself.(37)

However, these attempts at self-evasion are usually abortive and
Diaz Grey is continually making personal confessions and assessments of
himself. Sometimes, as he scrutinizes other people, the pharmacist Barthe',
for example, he suddenly turns in on himself, admitting, "I am chilly,
bored, and lacking in love."(38) On another occasion as he discusses with
Larsen the prospects of setting up a brothel in Santa Marfa he pauses for
a while and in utter distress reflects on his past experience, his present
boredom and pointless activity, and his future destiny:

There is no salvation for me; and I cannot recall what I had
hoped would interest me in this whole affair and in this old
roughneck. To go back home, take an injection, listen to
music and think of Molly in that house in the sand, that wooden
hotel upstream; to go on thinking that it is just possible that
I might die before the year is out; supposing that I am God
and that it is important to know the past and the destiny of
Dr. Diaz Grey, an old provincial and discoloured enema special-

His problem goes deeper than a mere feeling of boredom. He has
lost faith in life, in God, in doctrines. He is a bitter and snarling unbeliever
whose only religious thought is the tragic one of "God, for one second,
bending over a fleeting case called Dfaz Grey, supporting me with His
indifference and His benevolent fear."(40) He scorns the erroneous notions
and beliefs of the people around him their rigid morality, their religious
convictions, their enthusiasm over social organization. When young Marcos
tries to quarrel with him in a bar on the issue of the brothel, Diaz Grey
dismisses him with the disdainful remark:

But he is a poor man and all the others are poor men and
women. I can no longer be spurred on by the same incentives

(37) Juntacadiaveres p. 51.
(38) Ibid., p. 28.
(39) Ibid., p. 48.
(40) Ibid., p. 51.

that motivate them. All the convictions and the different pro-
fessions of faith of these pitiable and doomed people seem
comical to me; neither am I even interested in those things
which, objectively and socially, ought to interest me.(41)

Dfaz Grey has no faith in human nature or in life. He holds the pro-existen-
tialist view of nothingness as the essence of existence. He, himself, as an
existent, in spite of his profession and what people expect of him, is, in
essence, nothing:

One must know who I am. Nothing, a nobody, an irrevocable
company, a mere presence for others. As far as I am con-
cemed, nothing. Forty years of wasted life; and that is a way
of saying I have seen nothing worthwhile in it This being
seated on this bench is nothing, as far as I can see. Where the
others are concerned, those who see me offer cures, inflict
pain, present bills, those who are obliged to see me as some
little god who can either inflict or relieve pain or kill them or
save their lives, I am still nothing.(42)

In fact, he believes that man is constantly evading his real self, in-
dulging in what he calls a form of "autonegacion" He is suspicious of all
forms of diversion and occupations for he regards them as mere escape
channels through which man flees from the reality and truth about him-
self. Man, he feels, is afraid to live with his thoughts and anguish, so that
this "self-negation" is, in effect, a way to cease being an alert and thinking
existent. In this sense, few people are ever their true selves since they lose
their authenticity the very moment they seek distraction. This is how he
sees Barthe' the pharmacist who holds ambitions of establishing a brothel
in Santa Maria:

He is not a person. He is, like all the other inhabitants of this
side of the river, a determined intensity of existence which
gets wrapped up in a particular mania, some kind of folly.
For we only differ in terms of the kind of self-negation which
we choose to impose on ourselves And so, too, this poor
man, whom I like somehow, several years ago, ceased to be
the authentic and unknown Euclides Barthe'. And now every-
one, without any kind of distrust, sees him as the druggist,
the herbman, the councillor and, henceforth, the prophet of
the brothels of Santa Marfa.(43)

As Diaz Grey points out there is nothing unique about Barthe's belief in
his profession, his authority, his wealth. Everyone believes in his little

(41) Ibid., p. 93.
(42) Ibid., pp. 100-101.
(43) Ibid., p. 27.

role in life and plays it diligently. But this is just a common facade for
all humanity, for there is nothing distinguishing beneath the superficial
performance of a job. Barthe' is just another indistinct old man affected
by arteriosclerosis, who grows old and feeble like all the rest. And Dfaz
Grey views himself in the same light. He is no better than herbmen and
midwives, for he, too, ceases to be alert to his inner thoughts when he gets
involved in some activity. This is why he hates his job and detests the
pitiable patients who place unlimited faith in him, for they, in theirignorance
and folly, believe in nothingness. The real issue is that Diaz Grey's pessimism
makes him consider man as a pathetic creature living a meaningless life,
going through vain and valueless motions, day after day, actually wasting
time and dissipating energy. Basically man lacks substance and durability

Everyman is mere sensation and moment; any apparent con-
tinuity is sustained by pressures, routine, inertia, weakness and
and cowardice, none of which makes one worthy of liberty.
Man is all dissipation and fear of dissipation. (44)

He goes a step further and maintains that all human activity is
motivated by fear. It is the basis for all social inter-action, since "all human
pains, all human friendships are motivated by fear."(45) In fact, without fear,
there are no human passions and all man's actions appear absurd. But even this
fear is ridiculous for it confirms man's impotence and unwillingness to accept
his distiny. The meaning of this type of existence eludes him. People, events,
action and death all seem ridiculous. The anxiety and words of his fellow
creatures he regards as poor attempts to resolve a dilemma in which
man comes to realize that in the end the only possible interpretation of
life is that everything is absurd:

Man's life would continue to be absurd and useless and yet,
somehow, more emissaries would be sent freely, just to confirm
that absurdity and uselessness.(46)


(44) Juntacadaveres, op. cit. p. 101.
(45) Ibid. p. 100.
(46) El astillero, op. cit. p. 100.

Juan Carlos Onetti:


Part II

Junta Larsen, alias Juntacadiveres, is like Diaz Grey in many ways,
except that he has not lost the will to act. He may be irreligious, un-
scrupulous and cynical, but he always wants to be on the move. He
categorically declares to Dfaz Grey, "I always liked change, liked to do
things."(47) In this sense, he stands apart from some other characters like
Aranzuru or Linacero or even Diaz Grey, Onetti's victims of an immobilizing
inertia and loss of spirit and positive motivation. Larsen considers himself
a man of action and Diaz Grey confirms this view referring to him as:
This man (who was not born to die but to win and to domin-
ate) is, at this very moment, imagining life to be an infinite and
timeless territory where it is absolutely essential to keep pushing
forward and win.(48)

Our knowledge of him covers a period of just over thirty years
dating back to his early age of twenty years, when he lived the dashing
and adventurous life of an impetuous adolescent inclined to cruelty, crime
and self-exertion in the hope of realizing a great ambition to be a person
of distinction. His real ideals only begin to take form while he is serving
a six-month prison sentence at the end of which he feels fully convinced
that he was born for this particular mission:
"To realize two ideals: to find a perfect woman and create a
perfect brothel."(49)

What he does not decide to do is to settle into the humdrum routine of
conventional living. Office life, marriage, responsibility to an employer,
are not suited to his impulsive and roving nature. He therefore dedicates
himself unscrupulously to the pursuit of his ideals which gradually become
more fanciful as his dreams of success.develop into impossible proportions;
and the more obvious the impossibility, the greater the effort he makes to
draw on his own initiative, for Larsen is not the man to accept defeat
without fighting back. He would rather become a procurer and win for
himself the sobriquet, Juntacadiveres or (Junta Cadiveres) than to admit
(47) Juntacadaveres, op. cit. p. 48.
(48) El Astillero. op. cit. p. 101.
(49) Juntacadiveres op. cit. p. 149.

He had to live, and so, he turned to the patronage of old,
poor, wasted and rejected whores fat women in their fifties
and bony old hags decked out in dancing outfits.(50)
When, after a hundred days, Larsen's brothel in Santa Maria is shut down
because of unfavourable public reaction to his project, and he is ejected as
persona non grata, he goes, but only to return five years later to work in a
neighboring port.

This return and his assumption of duties as General Manager of
Petrus' shipyard in Puerto Astillero significantly indicate his tremendous
resources of will power and determination even in his old age. It also bears
evidence to the great value he places upon his dreams. Larsen is deliberately
living in a world of illusion. He holds on to the last thread of hope for
success in the face of successive failures because his whole life is fed upon
this element of self-delusion. It is not that he does not recognize the folly
of attempting to run an already defunct shipyard which is now represented
only by a dump heap and two other deluded workers who, like himself,
would like to believe that the shipyard still exists and functions. He has
been warned by Diaz Grey:

Petrus is a fake when he offers you the job as General Manager
and you are as much a fake to accept it. It is a game and
both of you know that each other is playing. But you both
keep quiet and pretend. Petrus wants a manager so that he can
carry on his chicanery trying to prove that the shipyard never
ceased to operate. You want to go on accumulating salaries
just in case one day, by some miracle, the situation might
right itself and you could then demand your pay.(51)

He himself reflects on the fallacy of the situation and begins to see
things in their true perspective:
It was like spying on oneself, seeing oneself in an unreal and
ruined office, pretending to be reading critical stories of ship-
wrecks that were avoided and of millions to be gained as
if one were inventing an impossible Larsen as if one had
just died and could now be no more than memory, experience,
cunning and faded curiosity.(52)

He finally makes this honest confession as he reviews his role in the ship-
yard along with that of his co-workers and his employer:
And they are fakes like myself. They make fun of the old
man and me and the thirty million; they do not even believe
(50) Ibid., P. 195.
(51) El Asillero, p.
(52) Ibid., p. 61.

that this is or ever was a shipyard I now realize that they
do not even believe in what they touch and what they do, nor
in the figures representing money, weights and measurements.
Yet every day, they climb that iron staircase to come to play
games with the seven hours of work and they feel that the
game is more real than the cobwebs and leaks and rats and
the spongy rotten wood. And if they are mad, then it is logical
that I am mad also. (53)

All of them Petrus, Galvez, Kunz and Larsen are madmen and dreamers
converting illusion into a kind of reality, a somewhat concrete reality
which they create for their personal gratification, in order to escape the
frustration and defeat of their real lives. Petrus, the formerly wealthy
financier, cannot accept the hard fact of his ruin. Gilvez and Kunz want
to believe that the blank cheques they receive as payment do have real
value. Larsen must convince himself that there are still possibilities of his
realizing the image he has built up around himself.

Onetti's other leading characters are also consistent dreamers. Brausen,
Arinzuru and Linacero, like Larsen, entertain illusions of doing things
they never achieve. They are never satisfied with what they are and they
never attain their goals, so that the best they can do is to dream. They
all flee from reality some by dreaming of travels; others by imagining
experiences that seem physically beyond them; while some others dream
for the sheer pleasure of its fancy and absurdity. Of Diaz Grey for example,
it can be said that he evoked people and circumstances, as well as pre-
monitions, faults and impersonal memories, "for the mere pleasure of
indulging in dreams chosen for their absurdity."(54)

When Larsen gets permission to set up his brothel, he hastens to
find Maria Bonita so as to fulfil with her "a dream he had never confessed
to her".(55) This dream becomes a reality only to elude him once more,
for it is essentially an impractical and fanciful project that cannot last
in a hypocritical community like Santa Marfa where such public demonstra-
tions of immorality are frowned upon. And moreover, Larsen is too old
now to make a success of his business:

He was old now, incredulous and sentimental. To set up a
brothel at this point was essentially, like getting married in
articulo mortis, like believing in ghosts or like acting on God's

(53) Ibid., pp. 61-62.
(54) Juntacadiveres, op. cit. p. 31.
(56) Ibid., p. 78.
(56) Ibid.

Arfnzuru too is dissatisfied with his immediate condition. He with-
draws from his friends and lives like a hermit bearded, dirty, unkempt.
When they do locate him several years later, he is thinking of leaving
Buenos Aires to go to some Hawaiian Island. He has no other reason except
the desire to escape the realities of the big city, taking refuge in his
dreams of bucolic idleness and relaxation in Hawaii. But here again, as in
Larsen's case, this eludes him. He never gets to leave Buenos Aires al-
though his mother gives him the money for the trip. (His girl friend, Rolanda,
donates the money to the aid of Negroes in the Congo). Once more he
ends up frustrated and having to face the old reality he tries to evade,
for his dreams have not altered his basic cause for anguish:

Now, before his impending departure, he would have liked
to have had a great life, a complex and dramatic past which
he could recall at a glance. Everything in his past was a mistake
and was incomprehensible being full of hardened faces and
hours which surged upwards all of a sudden. Nothing could
be called by its name, there was no logic, no mysterious bond
of love which could bring some meaning to the days that were
gone. Days and nights and everything just grotesque and dead
and piled up.(57)

Onetti's characters are split personalities divided between what they
imagine themselves to be and their actual selves. It is said of Larsen,
for example, that he goes about "skilfully building a false image of
security and calm which is in keeping with the kind of man he imagined
himself to be."(58) Dfaz Grey believes that everyone needs and thrives
on this alter ego, this second fictitious self. Addressing Larsen in El astillero,
he says:

We all know that our way of life is a farce and we are also
capable of admitting it, but we do not, because each of us
needs a personal farce.(59)

Then, as Angel Rama points out, much of Eladio Linacero's life
revolves around his dreams and his fanciful imagination. He writes:

If there is an original and dominant thread running through
this work, defining the character, it is this capacity to dream,
thus cutting oneself off from reality.(60)

He needs this second self and this second world to flee from the sordidness
and inadequacies of his actual experience. In Rama's words, "his dream

(57) Tierra de nadie, op. cit. p. 148.
(59) El astillero, op. cit. pp. 105-106.
(60) Angel Rama, op. cit. pp. 92.

world is a kind of compensation for his real life."(61) The protagonist
and narrator of the story explains for himself, his desire to write a story
that goes beyond the realm of his daily experience. He says:
But now I wish to do something different; something better
than the account of things that happened to me. I would
like to write the story of a soul, a single soul, without including
the events in which he got mixed up, whether voluntary or

Then he tells of some of his imaginary experiences the erotic story of his
affair with Ana Marfa who appears purer and more thrilling in his dreams
than in his actual contact with her; his dreams of being a man of action
as a miner in Klondike or as a sailor in the Bay of Arrak; as a contraband
in Holland or as a hunter in Alaska.

Yet it is important for him to make it clear that his life is not all
dream. In one breath he says, "I am a poor man who at night, would
turn towards the shadow of the wall and think all sorts of nonsensical and
fantastic things,"(63) in another, he warns his reader, "that his life is not
limited to that, for he does not spend all his time imagining things."(64)
And this duality is always foremost in his consciousness, at times to such
a point that he would be annoyed if people judged him as being as one-
sided, dreamy personality. He says emphatically:

The strange thing about me is that if anyone were to call me
a dreamer, I would get annoyed. I have lived as much as or
more than anyone else. If I chose to speak about my dreams to-
day, it is not because I have nothing else to say, but simply
because I feel like doing so.(65)

He must keep both sides of him alive. The daily experiences are inevitable,
but he admits that at the end of each day, he needs some dream, some
form of "adventure to compensate for the events of the day."(66) Then
after telling Cordes one of his dreams, he makes this confession which
clinches the whole issue:

I am sick of everything, if you understand me? Disgusted with
people, life, stiff-necked poetry. Every night, I just sprawl
out in a corner and imagine all these things, dirty things like
what I have just told you.(67)

(61) Ibid., p. 94.
(62) El pozo op. cit. p. 8.
(63) Ibid., P. 51.
(64) Ibid., p. 23.
(65) Ibid., p. 8.
(66) Ibid., p. 36.
(67) Ibid., p. 50.

Another striking attitude that has characterized Onetti's characters
is their blatant moral indifference. They represent an unequivocal breach
with traditional values and a callous, unrestrained pursuit of libertinism
and sensuality. Eroticism and sexual indulgence are major themes in El
pozo. Linacero, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, violates the young Ana
Maria who turns around and spits in his face. He forces Hanka and feels
proud to have robbed her of her virtue "in the spirit of a rapist."(68)
Esther, the prostitute, works in the brothel "Internacional" amongst
"women provided for sailors, fat maroon -skinned and greasy-looking women
who have to sit with their legs spread far apart,"(69) and Linacero pays
only two pesos for a night with her.

In Tierra de nadie Aranzuru never gets married but has illicit relation-
ships with Nen6, Rolanda, Violetaand others. He goes as far as promising
to marry Nen6 when she informs him that she is expecting an illegitimate
child for him, but he never keeps his word. He carries on a surreptitious
affair with Pablo Num's young daughter, Nora, who gives him a key to
the house to facilitate their nocturnal pleasures. He soon deserts her, and
later she has an illegitimate child for Casal. Aranzuru also has an affair
with Violeta who deserts her lawful husband to become involved with several
men Sam and Mauricio among others. This circle of associates comprises
a closed world of immorality in which the characters pass judgement on
one another even though they themselves are involved. Larvi sarcastically
describes Nene' as a prostitute who goes to bed with all sorts of men,
including Arinzuru, but Nen6 in turn condemns Violeta as a prostitute.
As she tells Aranzuru:

She looks like a prostitute if one is to take into account the
amount of clothes and furniture she has and the number of
trips she makes. She looks like dirt.(70)

This is their view of things within their immediate circle, prompted, no
doubt, by petty jealousies; but in general, they seem indifferent to public
The archetype of this moral indifference is Junta Larsen who
appears in Tierra de nadie, La vida breve, Juntacadiveres, and El astillero
among other works. In Buenos Aires he has relationships with Nen6 and
Nora, the latter becoming later his legendary prostitute, Maria Bonita.
He wins and deceives women with amazing facility and callousness:
From many years back, moving into a woman's life was
nothing more than an indispensable ritual, a task to be ac-
complished opportunely and efficiently, in spite of or perhaps
(68) Ibid., p. 24.
(69) Ibid., p. 27.
(70) Ibid., p. 16.

for want of pleasure. He had done it repeatedly without qualms
or problems. (71)

This immoral and calculated use of women is not confined to his physical
possession of them. He uses them selfishly to serve his various other interests
without regard for their age or personal feelings, or public morality. His
attempt to establish a brothel is a barefaced contravention of conven-
tional morality. But Larsen's values are not those of the rest of the society
and his life is therefore a constant struggle to find a point of reconciliation
for two streaks in his nature the desire to exert his individuality not-
withstanding the disapproval of society, and the need to operate within a
social framework so as to avoid solitude. The dilemma is posed in these

It is nothing more than weakness, the anguish of knowing
himself to be different from others, the peculiar shame of
lying and imitating opinions and phrases just in order to be
tolerated, without having the conviction necessary to accept
solitude. He has been kept alert by the intuitive realization
that his destiny, that form of being which he desired and in
which he vaguely believed, could not be realized in solitude
It was the time of that short, quick smile he would frame up
before bosses, accountants, and managers, showing his willing-
ness to be pleasant without being cowardly, to pay an adequate
amount of respect and to be accepted. But simultaneously he
displayed the will to not surrender himself, to not accept the
wild and foolish world which others flocked and defended.(72)

When Larsen comes to his crisis, his crucial moment of decision,
"that foreseeable hour in which any strong soul seeks his solitude and
destiny,"(7a) he chooses the way of cold indifference to tradition and
accepted values. He must now exploit women for his egotistical ends. He
lives in an apartment with the teacher Blanca whose salary sustains both
of them, while his own salary is squandered with his friends, but when he
realizes that Blanca (she is older than he is) wants to win a place in his
affections, he shakes her off callously and takes another woman. He is
not interested in allowing a meaningful love affair to develop. His interest
is superficial and opportunistic for he enters relationships with a view
to coming out "with all he could get gratis from the woman."(74) He
goes out only with women who will pay restaurant bills and cater to his
vain desire to exhibit "bank notes not earned by labour."(75) His favourite

(71) El astllero, op. ct. p. 66.
(72) Juntacadiees, op. cit. pp. 125-126.
(73) Ibid., p. 129.
(74) Ibid., p. 125.
(7) Ibid. p. 127.

woman is Maria Benita who appeals to him for her interesting combination
of prudence and immorality.

His calculated and business-like methods of pimping further reveal
the immoral character of the man. He tries every trick to seduce all kinds
of women beautiful and ugly, young and old, "demonstrating that
for him, anyone who could still earn bank notes and hand them over to
him in full confidence, was still very much a woman."(76) Lewd women
in their fifties are drafted into this web by the heartless pander who
watches them disintegrate into irremediable ruin. The zenith of his bawdry
is reached in his own indulgence with Maria Benita and their combined
efforts to run the brothel with an iron hand for the short duration of its

Such is Onetti's vision of the modem urban citizen in the River
Plate countries solitary and bored, sceptical and confused, taciturn and
insane, obsessed with dreams and fantasies, immoral and indifferent,
frustrated and gloomy, doomed and depressed. In one sense, it is a picture
of universal man and the human condition. Like Mallea, Onetti has
used the local situation as a lever for a broader interpretation of a
universal dilemma in which man is inextricably trapped in an absurd
universe and forced to live a futile and incomprehensibly sordid life. He
is caught up in the midst of forces outside his nature and forces within
himself time, death, and destiny on the outside; lust and carnality, greed
and materialism, fear and self-negation and incommunicability from within.

In Onetti, this universal application is not incidental, but deliberate.
His style and technique go hand in hand with his themes to give a portrait
of humanity and a personal vision of life. What starts out in El pozo and
Tierra de nadie as a picture of a man in Montevideo or Buenos Aires with
a strong note of social realism and details about life in the big city, ends
up as a vision of man in general situated in imaginary localities like Santa
Maria, the shipyard and the sanatorium microscosmic representations
of the universe. It is not without design that Onetti, describing the situation
of the dejected Dfaz Grey in the public square of Santa Maria, alludes to
its universal purport:

He was surrounded by people who either slept or kept watch
in the city and in the country areas; he was surrounded by
the human race, with all its miseries, impurities and flimsy
greatness, distributed in a variety of climates and buildings;
and then above his head there shone and shook a most im-
pressive section of the universe. (77)

(76) Ibid., p. 195
(77) Ibid., p. 101.

Mario Benedetti makes a pertinent observation when he writes:

Onetti goes from the particular (Larsen) to the general (Man)
but returns to the particular where man becomes all men,
including Onetti himself. (78)

Indeed, if one can accept the ideas and attitudes of the characters and nar-
rators of the novels as statements or even suggestions of Onetti's personal
ideas, or regard his situations and settings as having any symbolic signifi-
cance, one can readily deduce a clear and highly existentialist vision of
humanity and life that is Onettian. It is Onetti himself who concretes
this thought by declaring his real position in this statement reported by
Carlos Maria Guti6rrez from an interview with Onetti:

I wish to express nothing more than man's adventure, the
senselessness of life. People whom I love a great deal and who
are marvellous, nevertheless have to die. There is something ter-
rible and permanent in that. There is no reason to give human
adventure any setting in space or time. It is enough for me to
describe it ... it is a personal discovery. (79)

Pessimism underlines Onetti's view of life, of human nature and of
man's "adventure" in this world. One recurrent theme in his works is
the absurdity of existence. His characters are always faced with the thought
and reality of the meaninglessness and uselessness of their life. As one
has pointed out earlier, Diaz Grey never loses sight of this fact of absurdity.
(46) And the maid, Josefina, as she watches the decrepit figure of Junta
Larsen walk away after their last night of fleeting pleasure, cannot help
thinking, in amazement, of "the stupidity of men and the absurdity of
life." (8o)

Coupled with this sense of absurdity is the ever-growing awareness
of the futility of human activity. Most characters become resigned to this
fact and lapse into a state of inertia and apathy. Others, like Larsen, keep
on struggling to find something meaningful and constructive to do. When
he tries to recover the energy and pleasure of his youth in Buenos Aires
through sex and constant activity, it is because he believes that he should
do something positive. He states this view:

The only thing left to do is precisely this: do anything, one
thing after the next, disinterestedly, senselessly, just as if some-
one else (or better still several others, a master for each task)
would pay me for doing these things and as if one were obliged

(78) Benedetti, op. cit. p. 93.
(79) Carlos Maria Gutierrez, "Onetti el escritor", Reporter, No. 25 Montevideo, 1961,
p. 27.
(80) Ibid., p. 215.

to perform at one's best, regardless of the outcome of what
one does It was always like that; it is better than touching
wood or going to get blessed; when misfortune realizes that
its efforts are useless, it begins to dry up, then it lets go and
falls. (81)

And he lives by it, persistently pressing forward against frustrating odds,
and recognizing at each step the futility of the next move. When he turns
to one of Poettiers' servants asking him what he expects to gain by re-
maining in that dirty corner of the world called Puerto Astillero, the youngs-
ter throws the subject of futility back in his face with this statement:

I could ask you the same thing, and with greater reason. What
do you expect to get here? A great deal of time has passed by
and nothing you hoped for has materialized. (82)

Several factors combine to enhance this sense of futility. One is the
impossibility of any meaningful communication with one's fellowmen.
Larsen finds difficulty in breaking down the tension between himself and
his fellow employees Kunz and Galvez; he cannot communicate with
the mad Angelica Iiies or with anybody else. Friendship does not exist
for him or any other Onettian hero. True love is too much of a pure and
noble emotional bond to last for any lenght of time. And besides, youth-
ful freshness and beauty soon degenerate into physical and moral degra-
dation. Linacero says curtly, but categorically, that "everything in life
is shit" (83), and again that "Everything is just useless." (84) To his view,
all men are base and dirty, so that "there is no one with a clean soul."
(86) Onetti's women usually tend to be fat, ugly, pregnant, sweaty, dirty
and greasy. They are seldom virtuous or faithful. Most of them are prostitutes,
sex-maniacs (Julita) or flirts. His men are cold, unscrupulous and calcu-
lating, perhaps even malevolent and vicious. By their own nature and the
nature of the circumstances in which they find themselves, there is never
any hope, no other certainty than their incomprehensible fate, "the prob-
lem of eventually reaching that place and time, unknown, yet exact
the promise that their appointment has to be met that remote
day when death will cease to be a private affair." (86)

The settings Onetti chooses for his novels are symbols of the macro-
cosm. Santa Maria, for example, must have a symbolic dimension, for it
is a fictional locale with a created atmosphere and character of its own.
It may in some ways resemble Montevideo or Buenos Aires or Rosario,
but it certainly is not a reproduction of any of them. Onetti leaves its lo-

(81) Ibid., p. 77.
(82) Ibid., p. 209.
(88) OnettL, El pozo, op. cit. p. 52.
(84) Ibid., p. 53.
(85) Ibid., p. 22.
(88) Onetti, El atillero, op. cit. pp. 207-208.

cation deliberately vague but gives it a touch of the River Plate character
placing it on the river, somewhere in the interior, giving it a highly com-
mercial, industrial, money-conscious, and sordidly utilitarian tone of life.
It has its Municipal Council for local government, an active social life cen-
tred around pubs, night clubs, restaurants and theatres. There are lawyers,
doctors, journalists, priests, banks and post-offices to attract people from
neighboring towns. Gossip, lechery, drunkenness, envy and attitudinizing
are common among the citizens. That is the city in which so many of
Onetti's novels and short stories are set La vida breve, La casa de la
arena, Una tumba sin nombre, Jacob y el otro, El inferno tan temido,
El astillero, Juntacadiveres. By inference, it would seem that Onetti's
purpose in creating this vaguely located and fictional city is to set up an
artistic microcosm in which human passions, attitudes, anguish and con-
flicts can be illustrated. The prurience of the citizens who spy on Larsen's
brothel, the hypocrisy of those who have him chased from the city, are
in keeping with Onetti's vision of human nature. As he points out, Larsen
for all his unscrupulousness, is no worse than the citizens of Santa Maria,
for "his goals coincided with that which determined the attitudes and
thoughts of men in the colony and Santa Marfa."(87) Dfaz Grey's an-
guish and disgust with life in his little world (Santa Marfa) is an illustration
of man's dilemma in the wider world.

In a similar way, the shipyard is a microcosm, and its four major
personalities are allegorical figures. The cold wintery weather, the drab
and heavy atmosphere that covers the shipyard, the grey waters of the
river, are invented to correspond with the dull and hopeless life of the charac-
ters associated with the shipyard, and the depressing and pessimistic situation
that shackles them. The season seems symbolic of the ever present con-
sciousness of defeat and imminent death, the sullen moods and the moral
and physical decadence of the characters. And this little world, in turn,
becomes symbolic of the greater world in which humanity carries out
the dreary and absurd task of living with a sense of impending doom.

Once more Onetti uses vagueness to suggest universality. He limits
himself to few physical details and particulars about the shipyard. In fact,
the whole picture is so imprecise that one gets the impression that the
shipyard does not exist at all. The element of time does not seem to be
of any great importance there. Even the characters are only vaguely sketch-
ed in a few brief words a bald head, a plump body or a broad grin. Those
employees who happen to leave the shipyard are described by Dfaz Grey
as returning from hell, some undetermined locality from which they are

They looked around as if they had just been resurrected and
as if they were sure that the memory of death which they had

(87) Juntacadiveres, op. cit. p. 158.

recently left was going to be forever a quality -in their
souls. They came from no fixed place, if one could judge from
their eyes; they were returning from nowhere in a form of
solitude completely and deceitfully peopled with symbols:
ambition, security, time, and power. They returned but never
at all lucid or liberated; they came from a particular hell created
in ignorance by old Petrus. (88)

At another point, he speaks of Puerto Astillero as "any place on the coast
with German farmers and settlements of mestizos all around near the river."
(89) The implication here seems to be that the shipyard is more a world
of imagination or an allegorical setting, than a precise regional reality.

Futhermore, Jeremias Petrus assumes allegorical significance in his
role as owner and ruler of the shipyard. It is his own little world that ac-
cording to Dfaz Grey he "created" in ignorance, and rules from a distance,
being in Santa Marfa for most of the time. In this sense, he may represent
the traditional concept of God, the Creator of the universe Who rules from
a distant heaven. But then, Onetti makes Him a villain Who deceives His
employees and spurs them on to activity with vain promises and rewards
He can never fulfil. This may well be Onetti's cynical concept of God,
for he emphasizes that for Gilvez, Kunz and many other miserable men
like themselves, Petrus' fascinating offers had the great effect of corrobo-
rating "the existence of God, of good fortune or of justice which, though
delayed, is nonetheless infallible." (90) Moreover, there is, at one stage
the possibility that Petrus would buy out the property of a certain Latorre
and thus establish:

the legend: Jeremias Petrus, Emperor of Santa Maria, Enduro
and Astillero. Petrus, our master, watching over us, our needs
our pay from the cylinder of the tower of his palace. (91)

To see this as reference to God is not a remote association, when it is coupled
with a thought expressed by one of the employees who calls Petrus "The
Great Old Man of the Shipyard. The man who made himself." (92)

What lends greater credence to this theological interpretation, is
the author's description of Kunz' experience in the shipyard in strongly
religious imagery. When Kunz sees that letters and documents cease to
arrive at his office he gets sceptical about the state of affairs:

And so, dragged on by universal scepticism, Kunz progres-
sively lost his first faith and the great worm-eaten building

(88) El astillero, op. cit. p. 104.
(89) Ibid., p. 103,
(90) Ibid., pp. 33-34.
(91) Ibid., p. 130.
(92) Ibid., p. 33.

became the deserted temple of an obsolete religion. And the
the well-spaced prophecies of resuscitation preached by old
Petrus as well as those delivered regularly by Larsen, failed
to restore him to grace. (93)

For a moment his hopes are revived when he actually holds a letter from
the outside world addressed to the Generel Manager. He regards this as
a solution to his theological problem, for he now sees evidence of "the
presence and reality of a God against whom he, Kunz, had blasphemed."
(94) But his hopes are again dashed to the ground when he realizes that
the letter is nothing more than Gilvez' resignation. The author refers to
the incident as "his recent religious deception," (96) which drives Kunz
into a peaceful resignation to his fate. He says of Kunz that "he was now
in peace, disinterested in gods or men." (96) Kunz no doubt represents
the numerous individuals in the world, torn between different theological
positions and others baffled by metaphysical problems, some of whom
end up disabused and resigned.

Galvez represents the type of person who believes at first (for he
has some of the bogus bonds issued by Petrus), only to become suspicious
and sceptical, so that finally he rebels against the dishonesty and deceitful-
ness of his master. He commits suicide by throwing himself in the river
after having Petrus jailed.

Unlike Gilvez, Larsen never gives up. He believes all the promises
of his "god" Petrus. He accepts life for what it is and hopes for better
days. He tries to protect Petrus against the rotter, Gilvez, and even sets out
to persecute Gdlvez for desertion and treachery. No doubt, he is Onetti's
example of a kind of believer, disabused and perhaps sceptical, but hold-
ing on fanatically to the last strand of hope.

Herein lies a possible meaning of what Onetti calls man's adventure
in the world, the meaninglessness of life, the terrible nature of the human


(93) Ibid., p. 178.
(94) Ibid.
(95) Ibid., p. 181.
(96) Ibid.


In May, 1897, a former Confederate General, Edward Porter Alexand-
er of South Island, South Carolina, sailed from New Orleans to Nicaragua
as Arbitrator for the Nicaraguan-Costa Rican Boundary Commission.' Ex-
cept for two lenghty home leaves, Alexander, an engineer by profession,
remained in Central America until July, 1900. Most of his three years as
Arbitrator he resided in San Juan del Norte (Greytown), Nicaragua, the
Caribbean port at the mouth of the Rio San Juan, where British influence
had long been strong. By the end of the nineteenth century, however,
Greytown had declined noticeably.2

Alexander's five arbitration awards took a relatively small portion
of his time, thus he had ample opportunity to observe and speculate upon
his surroundings. His long, chatty letters from Greytown to his wife and
children reflect the views regarding race and culture of a distinguished
citizen of the southern United States. They also tell something of the
economic, political and social life of the Caribbean Coast of Central Amer-
ica. Among his more descriptive letters is one describing the "Passion
Play," as performed by the Catholic residents of Greytown in 1898. The
only church in Greytown, according to Alexander, was the English Church,
attended only by the Jamaican blacks which the canal company had brought
in large numbers. Most of the remaining inhabitants were Catholic, but
they had no church, although a priest apparently was available.3

The annual "Passion Play was the most important religious celebra-
tion of the year for Greytown's Catholics. Alexander's account offers
a rare view of this event and permits some insight into life in this corner
of the Caribbean at the end of the last century.

Letter from E. P. Alexander to his wife, Greytown, Nicaragua, April
8 9, 1898.4

Oh, I have wished for you the regular Passion Play the natives
so for the last two days to see have been having. It began Thurs-

day night, with a crowd of men
and boys, dressed up like crosses
between Roman soldiers and fe-
male fantastic, in more colours
than the rainbow knows, who ran
back and forth in the streets and
even through stores and houses,
the leader shouting "Viva ---"
something! and every ragamuffin
answering in a loud chorus, "Viva!"
After some time I caught, "Viva
Pontio Pilato!" which gave me a
clue. And then "Viva Emperado
Roma!" "Viva Caesar!" "Viva
Puebla de Roma!" "Viva Cai-
aphas!" &c. I couldn't catch on
to but a few out of many. That
was to represent Roman soldiers
hunting for the Saviour, and try-
ing to catch him unexpectedly
where there was no one to help
him. That effort having failed, yes-
terday morning Judas was bribed,
and the hunt was resumed, early
in the morning, with Judas-black
as the ace of spades in a purple
gown, carrying his thirty pieces of
silver in a bag held in leash with
a rope, leading a lot of foot sol-
diers, while a lot of ponies charged
and hunted promiscuously every-
where for two hours or more.
I didn't see exactly how and where
they found him, but am told they
had the whole business, to Peter's
cutting off the fellow's ear. Mean-
while, three houses had fixed up
Judgment seats for Pilate in their
balconies one of them, Ramon
Henriquez, the largest and nicest
house in town. I first saw the pro-
cession there. The part of the
Saviour was taken by a young
clerk in the Governor's office (I
don't know his name). He wore
a wig of long light brown curly

hair, which hid his features, but
made a general appearance very
like the usual pictures. At first he
had on a purple sort of shovel hat,
and a purple toga which was taken
from him after the trial and sen-
tence, and the soldiers got to-
gether and threw dice for it.

The trial scene they seemed to
especially enjoy, for they repeated
it three times. I was at break-
fast during the most of two of
them, but at the third and last
I got close up in the crowd and
saw it all, but unfortunately could
not understand the speeches. For
there was a written indictment
read, law-books produced and
quoted from, witnesses examined
and regular shouting speeches made
and interruptions by the crowd
and Pilate tried to put off Bar-
abbas on them, but in vain; and
all sorts of little by-plays turning
up some of which I could guess
at, and some I could not.

But on the final conviction the
spectators all joined in reviling the
victim. His robe and hat were re-
moved, leaving him in a white sort
of under toga, and the crown of
thorns was placed on his head,
and a green and gilt cross of round
timbers, about 5 ins. in diameter,
and about 7 ft. high was brought
out and put on his shoulders and
then the procession, which includ-
ed the whole town, started for the
place of crucifixion, about a half
mile off, on the edge of town. It
moved very slowly, with music in
front, and the mounted soldiers
charging back and forth, and the
Saviour repeatedly stumbling and
falling under the weight of the

cross, and the women spectators
chanting, and the Roman soldiers
shouting their "Vivas!" and
"Muerte a Christo" They must
have had about fifty uniforms and
theatrical get-ups in all, with lots
of swords and spears, &c., and
evidently a lot of money had been
spent on it. On the route a big
table had been set out, and a sort
of booth built over it, and a re-
gular shoemaker stall set up, and
a big tall darky (really a Spaniard,
but awfully mixed) sat there, and
as the procession approached, was
working busily on a shoe. The
Saviour fell in front, and the shoe-
maker jumped down and went and
dragged him up, reviled him, and
placed the cross on his shoulders,
and pushed him along and then
went back to his shoe. Then the
Saviour turned and said something
to him in Spanish the speech
which makes the shoemaker the
Wandering Jew. He drops his tools
his eyes pop out, and his jaw
falls, and he knocks over his booth,
and he rushes off through the
crowd on his everlasting journey.

The two thieves were along all
the while, but they of course cut
no figure, but each carried a little
light cross just so you could know
who they were. At the place for
the Crucifixion three regular
crosses had been erected before-
hand about 7 feet high, with
a box in front to stand on and
rope loops on the arms for the
victims to hold on by. Here the
white toga was stripped off, and
a white undershirt represented the
naked flesh, and it was stained
with blood to represent wounds

and tricklings from the forehead.
The inscription INRI was put up
and all details of the Bible ac-
counts were literally repeated, and
Mary Magdalene and the Virgin
were at the cross, but that part
was not long. Then the body was
taken down and carried on a bier
into a near house, and it was over.
They have no church, so they
couldn't have a burial at night,
as is usual in the Interior, in a
glass coffin. Tomorrow will come
off, I am told, the "Testament"
of Judas, which is the discovery
and administration upon his ef-
fects after his suicide. The town
boys are sent out to steal every-
thing they can lay their hands
on, and bring it to Judas' deposi-
tory, for as Judas was a thief,
everything he had was stolen goods,
and the more he had the bigger
thief he was. One year, here re-
cently, he had the body of our
only street-car stolen off its
wheels. Formerly, I am told, the
character representing the Saviour
was very roughly treated indeed,
until at last one died from a blow
on the head with a hammer, given
by a carpenter. Yesterday I saw
nothing really violent except push-
ing and pulling.

Last night the Judas boys were
putting in their best licks, and
early this morning I went around
to see Judas' collection. A small
vacant lot was just piled full of
it, and Judas in effigy was hang-
ing over it. The boys stood around
with tin pans and as each person
came up to identify and recover

his own property they would beat
upon the pans and shout, "Judas
stole it." The street-car was in
the lot again, and it took about
thirty men to get it back to the
track. There were just no end of
chairs, tables, cupboards, tubs, bar-
rels, signs, gates, ladders, canoes,
skillets, pans, crockery, glass,
trunks, clothes, provisions, etc.,
etc., and one of Mrs. Sacaza's
riding horses was tied near by,
and, sad to say, Mrs. S.'s own
horse, the best they had, lay dead
not far up the street. Judas had

stolen both and tied them to
fences. This horse got scared and
tore down the fence, and ran away
with part of it dragging, which
tripped him and broke his neck.
And still another horse of theirs,
a rough pony, which had been
lent to the Roman soldiers, was
missing, and was found dead later
supposed to have been ridden to
death. Raphael reports that last
night about 2 o'clock he waked and
the boys were out at our bathroom
after our big iron porcelain-lined
bath-tub, but he got out in time
to run them off and save it



Marion Boggs. ed., The Alexander Letters, 1787-1900 (Savannah, Georgia:
Privately printed for George F. Baldwin, 1910), P. 354. The Costa Rican-Nicaraguan
boundary dispute is treated in Gordon Ireland, Boundaries, Possessions, and Con-
flicts In Central and North America and the Caribbean (Cambridge: Harvard Univer-
sity Press, 1941), pp. 12-24, with brief attention to Alexander's role on p. 22. Alex-
ander was appointed to the position by President Grover Cleveland, Washington,
February 17, 1897. Edward Porter Alexander Papers, Collection No. 7, Southern His-
torical Collection, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N. C. (Hereinafter
cited as Alexander Papers), folder 38.
2Alexander's letters from Central America, 1897-1900, to his wife and chil-
dren, Alexander Papers, folders 38-49 and vols. 16-22. Considerable data on the de-
cline of Greytown is found in the despatches of the United States Consuls there.
See especially, the despatch from Consul Thomas O'Hara, October 28, 1896, in
United States of America, National Archives Records of the Department of State,
Consular Despatches, San Juan del Norte, Microcopy No. T-348, Roll 13.

3E. P. Alexander to his daughter, Bessie Mason Alexander Ficklen, Grey-
town, June 6, 1897, and Alexander to his wife, Bertie J. Mason Alexander, Greytown,
January 30, 1898, Alexander Papers, folders 39 and 43.
4Alexander to Bettie J. Mason Alexander, Greytown, April 9-10, 1898, Alexand-
er Papers, folder 43.



Perhaps the most anomalous aspect of contemporary U.S.-Cuban re-
lations, given the enmity and distrust between the two nations, is the con-
tinued existence of a U.S. military installation within Cuban territory.
The Guantanamo Naval Base known affectionately as "Gitmo" by old
Navy hands and referred to as "Caimanera" by the Cubans stands today
as the last remaining symbol of the U.S.'s "traditional" relationship with
Cuba. But, as Castro puts it:

There is a base on our island territory directed
against Cuba and the revolutionary govern-
ment of Cuba, in the hands of those who
declare themselves enemies of our country,
enemies of our revolution, and enemies of
our people.1
Thus, its presence is not desired by the Cubans, only tolerated, owing
to the lack of a means or a capacity to remove this vestige of "Americana"
from their soil.

The Castro regime has repeatedly insisted that the United States
"return" the territory occupied by the Guantinamo base to Cuba, and
the revolutionary regime has always included the question of the "illegal"
occupation of Guantinamo in its lists of "demands" which must be met
before any negotiation contemplating a normalization of relations can
be initiated. This has never been an issue of central importance for Cuba,
but unquestionably the status of the base will figure in any agenda of
matters to be resolved before major links can be forged between the two coun-
Officially, the U.S. position on the Guantinamo issue has wavered
only slightly from this presidential statement made on November
1, 1960:
While the position of the Government of the United States
with respect to the naval base at Guantanamo has, I believe,
been made very clear, I would like to reiterate it briefly: Our
rights in Guantinamo are based on international agreements
with Cuba and include the exercise of complete jurisdiction
and control over the area. These agreements with Cuba can

be modified or abrogated by agreement between the two parties,
that is, the United States and Cuba. Our government has no
intention of agreeing to a modification or abrogation of these
agreements and will take whatever steps that may be appro-
priate to defend the base. The people of the United States,
and all the peoples of the world, can be assured that the U.S.
presence in Guantanamo and the use of that base pose no
threat whatever to the sovereignty of Cuba, to the peace and
security of its people, or to the independence of any of the
American countries. Because of its importance to the defence
of the entire hemisphere, particularly in the light of the in-
timate relations which now exist between the present govern-
ment of Cuba and the Sino-Soviet bloc, it is essential that our
position in Guantinamo be clearly understood.'

Cuba, on the other hand, early argued that it was not only danger-
ous to have a U.S. base in the "heart" of its national territory in the event
of a war between the United States and Russia,3 but also that it feared
the United States might use the base as an excuse to promote an incident
in order to justify an attack against the regime.4 Such arguments have
not served, of course, to convince the United States that it should abandon
the base. But, in fact, Cuba has from the very beginning recognized that
it was powerless to evict the United States from Guantinamo either poli-
tically, militarily, or legally; as a result, it has taken a consistently moderate
approach to this issue of contention with the United States. For example,
first in 1960, Cuban President, Osvaldo Dprticos, stated: "In the proper
time and through the proper political procedures we will claim the ter-
ritory, [but] we would never commit the stupidity of providing the North
American Empire with a pretext to invade us by attacking the naval base."5
Then, in 1964, Castro asserted that the Guantinamo issue was "not ur-
gent," and that force would not be used against the base.6 Finally, as re-
cently as November 1971, Castro stated with confidence that his country
would "eventually" get the U.S. Navy out of Guantinamo, and perhaps
"without firing a shot."7 And, in fact, Cuba has taken no direct action
against the base, nor, rather inexplicably, has it made the existence of
a foreign base in its territory the focus of a major campaign in interna-
tional forums such as the United Nations.

The only significant incident involving the Guantinamo base oc-
curred on February 6, 1964, when Castro cut off the base's water supply
in retaliation for the U.S. "seizure" of four Cuban fishing vessels. Prior
to this date, Cuba had supplied the base with two million gallons of water
a day, pumped for four and one-half miles from the Yantera River, for
which it received some $14,000 per month.8 But, no treaty provision was
violated by this action; the supplying of water to the base had been the
subject of a separate contractual agreement first signed in 1938. The Navy
quickly installed desalinization equipment and has not since used Cuban

water. But the incident did result in the tightening of the base's defences,
which in turn led to the dismissal of hundreds of Cubans who had been
employed as workers on the base. Thus, at this point the Castro regime had
deprived itself of all economic benefits from the base the $3,386.25
a year it received in rent, the $14,000 per month from the supply of water
and most of the $7.8-million a year the base-employed Cuban workers
took into the Cuban economy.9 Simultaneously, Castro surrounded the
base with a permanent ring of Cuban troops, but, even so, State Depart-
ment sources indicate that approximately 50-60 Cubans annually manage
to escape from Cuba through the base.10

From a military standpoint, Guantinamo is directly related to the
geopolitics of the Caribbean and the latter's conceptual importance re-
lative to U.S. security, a traditional concern originally centred around
the possibility that a hostile power in the area might pose a military threat
for the Gulf of Mexico, the mouth of the Mississippi River, and the ap-
proaches to the Panama Canal. As such, American military strategists have
seen Guantinamo as a vital link in the chain of U.S. Caribbean bases stretch-
ing from Cuba to Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Panama. The popular view
of this base and its importance to U.S. security is reflected in this quota-
tion from a national news magazine:

"The base itself is considered by U.S. naval officers to be one
of the finest in the world. It covers 45 square miles, has an
excellent deep harbour, air strips long enough to handle the
fastest jets, and facilities to train and garrison thousands of
U.S. sailors and marines, plus civilian workers In wartime,
Guantanamo and the military installations in the Panama Canal
can insure U.S. control of the Caribbean Sea area and defend
its approaches to the Panama Canal."

Up to and including World War II, the Guantinamo base did play
a vital strategic role in the defence of the United States and the Western
Hemisphere. This was at the time when one hostile battleship could 'en-
danger the Panama Canal. Since then, however, technological advances
in modern weaponry and in delivery systems have changed the realities
of the geopolitical perspective and, consequently, the strategic value of
Guantinamo. Retired Rear Admiral Gene LeRocque former director
of the Inter-American Defence College and now head of the privately-
funded Centre for Defence Information was recently quoted as say-
ing Guantanamo "no longer serves our strategic interests;" moreover, he
called the base a "vestige of U.S. imperialism." 12

Most discerning observers, as well as the U.S. military itself, then,
recognize Guantanamo's minimal strategic value. More than a decade ago
Life Magazine editorialized:

With the increasing mobility and endurance of modern arma-
ments, military men concede that Gitmo is no longer abso-
lutely essential to American defence. But, they would hate
to lose it.13

The military would "hate to lose it" not so much, then, for the traditional
geopolitical and strategic reasons that the base "controls" the Windward
Passage from the Atlantic to the Caribbean, "commands" the nexus of
maritime traffic through the area, "assures" the safety of the air routes
from the east coast of the United States to the west coast of South Amer-
ica, or "guarantees" the security of the approaches to the Panama Canal,
but for the utilitarian reason that it continues to be useful to the U.S.

Guantinamo is, unquestionably, an excellent naval facility, parti-
cularly for training purposes. Its location provides near-perfect weather
conditions for both aerial and naval shake-down and refresher training
and the necessary isolation for gunnery and anti-submarine warfare prac-
tice. In addition, over the years the facility has been excellently equipped
to support its now basic mission: namely, that of being an isolated, warm-
water training base for the fleet. But, even as a training base, Guantinamo
is replaceable, in fact, today the near-by Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in
Puerto Rico already duplicates most of Guantinamo's functions and
at less cost. Under present conditions, Guantanamo is exceedingly ex-
pensive to maintain and operate. Due to its total isolation from Cuba,
tours of duty for most of its 8 9,000 men are cut short, all its water must
be desalinized, and its food is brought in from either the Unrted States
or Jamaica.

Thus, few thoughtful observers contend that Guantinamo is today
militarily indispensable for the United States; many do, however, aver
that its strategic importance is directly tied to its continued political im-
portance. Hanson W. Baldwin, the former military editor of the New York
Times, for example, sees Guantanamo's political implications in this light:

Gitmo's political and psychological importance transcends its
military utility. The base stands today as a symbol of U.S.
power and prestige. Its future is clearly linked with the for-
tune of other U.S. overseas bases particularly with the future
of the Panama Canal Zone and of Chaguaramos, our leased
base in Trinidad. What we do in one will affect all. If we are
bullied, bluffed, blackmailed, or persuaded to abandon Guan-
tanamo, the effects will be apparent throughout the Carib-
bean and in Latin-America.14

But, if it is asserted that negotiations for a possible modified status would
jeopardize American "rights" in other comparable situations, then, it would

seem that the U.S.'s disposition in recent years to satisfy Panamanian de-
sires in terms of the canal should have the effect of loosening U.S.'s at-
titudes regarding the possibility of negotiating with Castro over Guan-
tinamo.16 And, indeed, although administration officials do not state
so publicly, in private interviews many confide that some modification
in the status of Guantanamo is probably inevitable. They emphasize, how-
ever, that this issue would more likely be taken up after the resolution
of several higher priority items and only within the context of the total
Cuban settlement question. This subject has been alluded to by Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State, Robert A. Hurwitch, who has stated publicly:
if we were to have a completely new relationship with
the present government or a future government of Cuba, I
then think the question of Guantinamo would not be, you
know, a major problem.16
Although a provision for a U.S. naval station was included in the
Platt Amendment of 1901, the actual legal basis for Guantanamo stems
from an agreement signed by the two countries in February, 1903, which
was subsequently amended and re-affirmed in the Treaty of Relations
of 1934.17 The most significant difference between this agreement and
the treaty that the United States concluded with Panama during the same
historical period is that in the latter, the United States was accorded the
right of exclusive jurisdiction and control of a specific area in perpetuity,
whereas the term in the former was left open-ended that is, until modi-
fication or abrogation was decided upon by both parties. There is, there-
fore, no established machinery or procedure for a unilateral change in
status. The United States has, of course, no right to occupancy other than
that which rests upon the international agreements with Cuba.' There-
fore, Guantinamo is not considered part of the United States even for
such purposes as marriages and births,t1 and, in further contrast with the
Panama case, various restrictions were placed on the use of the base, such
as the type of commercial enterprises permitted on the territory.20

The Castro regime has used two arguments to support its conten-
tion that the United States "illegally" occupies Guantanamo. One is the
assertion that, since it did not sign the original agreement and treaty, it
is not bound to respect them. Here the Cuban legal argument is weak,
for not only did the Castro regime early indicate that it would respect
Cuba's international obligations,21 but also international law is quite clear
on this point on the basis of the so-called Doctrine of Succession of Treaty
Obligations.22 Another Cuban legal argument contends that the provisions
have no force, inasmuch as the original agreement was "imposed" upon
Cuba under the threat that American military forces would have remain-
ed there in 1903, had the Cubans not agreed to sign. This argument is ne-

gated by the fact that the agreement was re-affirmed through the treaty
of 1934. A more persuasive legal argument (not yet employed by Cuba)
is advanced by legal scholar, Gary L. Maris,23 who suggests that Cuba's
position can be affirmed by virtue of the rule of Rebus Sic Stantibus (the
abandonment of treaty obligations because of changed conditions). He
asserts that the pertinent agreements were predicated on two fundamen-
tal assumptions: (1) mutual friendship and (2) common defence. There-
fore, since quite obviously neither of these two conditions obtains today,
Cuban can rightfully assert a legitimate legal claim for the unilateral abro-
gation of the treaty governing the U.S. occupation of Guantinamo.

Despite the legal argumentation surrounding Guantinamo, the issue
is today, and in all probability will continue to be, fundamentally poli-
tical. If the United States refuses to discuss the matter, no legal remedy
can be obtained. Some Americans are fearful that full abandonment of
the base now would make it a gift to the Soviet Union,24 and almost all
policy makers deem it inadvisable to make a modification in the status
of Guantanamo one of the first steps toward accommodation. Guantanamo
remains, therefore, a latent issue and another of the obstacles to be re-
moved for the full settlement of U.S.-Cuban differences.



1Quoted in Martin Kenner and James Petras, eds., Fidel Castro Speaks (N.Y.:
Grove Press, Inc., 1969), p. 32.

2Department of State Bulletin, November 21, 1960. p. 780.

3See R. Hart Phillips, "Island on an Island," New York Times Magazine, August
21, 1960, p. 26.

4See Kenner and Petras, Fidel Castro Speaks, p. 29.

6Newsweek, November 14, 1960, p. 27.
6New York Times, February 20, 1964, p. 1.

7The Washington Post, November 23, 1971, p. AS.
8Life, July 18, 1960, p. 20.
10Private interviews with State Department area officials (November, 1971).
11U.S. News & World Report, February 17, 1964, pp. 38-39.
12The Times of the. Americas, May 24, 1972, p. 8.

13Life, July 18, 1960, p. 20.
14 New York Times Magazine, January 10, 1966, p. 112.
15 For complete documentation on the present status of the Panama Canal

and the progress in current negotiations, see U.S. Congress, House of Representa-
tives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Panama Canal 1971, Hearing Before the Sub-
Committee on Inter-American Affairs, Washington: Government Printing Office,
1971, and U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Cuba and the Caribbean, Hearings Before the Sub-Committee on Inter-American
Affairs, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1970, pp. 70-88.

16 U.S. Congress, Senate, Aircraft Hijacknig Convention, Hearings Before the
Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1971,
p. 83.

17Joseph Lazar, 'Cession in Lease' of the Guantrnamo Bay Naval Station and
Cuba's 'Ultimate Sovereignty,' American Journal of International Law, Vol. 63
(1969), p. 117.

1This point is disputed by some international lawyers. For example, Joseph
Lazar (see ibid.) argues that the 1903 and later agreements merely confirmed pre-
existing rights over the territory of Guantinamo, rights which the United States had
acquired in Cuba under international law through conquest and from the Treaty
of Paris (1898) with Spain. The United States Government does not, however, offi-
cially advance this interpretation.
19Previously, marriages on the base could be sanctioned only under Cuban law.
Today personnel cannot be married there, since U.S. law still does not apply for this
purpose; they have to go to the States or to Puerto Rico to be married under U.S.
law. Citizenship by birth is even more nebulous: children of American parents born
on the base previously and now, are not Cuban through jus soli and are Americans only
through jus sanguinis (see Gary L. Maris, "International Law and Guantinamo,"
Journal of Politics, Vol. 29, No. 2 (May 1967), pp. 261-286).

20 See Gary L. Maris, "The Rights of Occupancy," American Journal of Inter-
national Law, Vol. 63 (1969), pp. 114-116.

2See New York Times, January 30, 1959, p. 7.

22 See Maris, "International Law and Guantinamo," pp. 280-284.

2Ibid., p. 283.

24 See Latin-American Report, Vol. 7, No. 7 (1969), p. 2.



On July 10, 1972, Nicolas Guillen became seventy years old. This
occasion was marked by many publications, both of Guillin's works and
of critical studies of his works. Within Cuba itself, his seventieth birthday
was widely and variously celebrated. One of the tributes being paid to
Guillen there is the publishing of his Obras completes. Their publication
was commissioned by Fidel Castro, himself, who thought it fitting and
timely that the poet who is generally acclaimed as Cuba's national poet
should have his complete works published in Cuba now. These works will
consist of at least three volumes: one devoted to his poetry up to 1958,
one devoted to his poetry since 1958 and a third and possibly a fourth
devoted to prose. The volumes of poetry are due to appear soon. The first
volume was printed in late December; and when the second volume appears
that date will be regarded as the date of publication of the complete poetry.
Most notable among the studies published on Guillen is Angel Augier's
book, Nicolas Guillen, comprising in a synthesized form the two previously
published volumes of Augier's excellent study of Guillen's life and work.
A bibliography of works by and about Guillin consisting of more than
seventeen hundred items has also been prepared for early publication.
Guillen's compatriot Augier is the central force in the preparation of
the bibliography as well as of the Obras completes. Also important in
1972 was the appearance of many additional translations of Guill6n's
poetry. In that year Robert Marquez published two separate books of
English translations: one called Nicolas Guillen, Patria o muerte: The Great
Zoo and other Poems (New York and London: Monthly Review Press)
and the other called Nicolas Guillen. Man-making Words: Selected Poems
(Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press). All these works coincide
in giving emphasis to Guill6n as Cuba's national poet. In fact, the sub-title
of Marquez's book, "patria o muerte", gives an immediate indication that
he understands Guill6n's work in the context of Cuban revolutionary
history. This perspective on Guill6n's poetry, seeing him as he is generally
thought of in Cuba as the national poet is an apt one from which to view
his work; for it allows certain misconceptions that are fairly widespread
about Guillen's work to be cleared up. The two principal misconceptions
are, first of all, the generally held idea of Guillen as an exponent principally
of Afro-Cuban poetry; the second is that Guill6n, since the Revolution has

confined his work to one small area, the area of praising the Revolu-
When Nicolis Guillen came to be noticed as an important poet at
the time of the publication of his Motivos de son in 1930, the emphasis
of his eight poems that constituted that work was the revelation of the
life and pre-occupations of the black sector of the Cuban population.
The Motivos de son derive from the popular musical tradition in Cuba
among the blacks in the eastern part of Cuba who towards the beginning
of this century were playing more and more the kind of music called
the son. The son is roughly equivalent to the West Indian mento or
calypso. At that time the son was a musical form that was without prestige
in Cuba. In fact, not only was it without prestige but it was a form of music
that was persecuted, because it was regarded in some influential sectors
as immoral; and some of the principal instruments of the music, the bongo
drum, for example, were regarded as immoral instruments. It was the kind
of music therefore that took many years to reach the salons of the aristo-
cracy or of the middle-class component of the Cuban population, to reach
the classes from which came many of the writers in Cuba at that time.
Poetry in Cuba, and even Guill6n's own very early poetry, followed
closely the traditional Spanish metrics and traditional themes and concerns.
The African vogue in Western literature became influential in Cuba in
the nineteen-twenties when several Cuban poets tended to write as if they
were Frenchmen, treating the blacks as exotic types. The son, however,
continued to grow in popularity. Between 1915 and 1920 it made its
way from Oriente to Camagiiey and had reached Havana where the
Quarteto Habanero made it very popular, particularly among the blacks.
This Quarteto soon developed into a Sexteto and then into a Septeto, all
the time becoming more and more renowned. All of Cuba, then, had at
least to recognize that the son existed as a popular musical form. But still
the social biases against the son continued, biases that reflected attitudes
toward the black population in general. So that, when Guill6n in 1931
chose to represent the son in poetry, this was an activity that was indeed
revolutionary. Guill6n himself explains that his first writing of the son
resulted from a sub-conscious experience: that he kept hearing the words
"negro bemb6n" insistently repeated in his sleep and that on the follow-
ing morning he wrote the son "Negro bemb6n" and seven other sones to
comprise his book, Motivos de son. He also states that at first he was
reluctant to publish the book because he wanted to be sure that he had
not read or heard the compositions somewhere before, so powerful was
the son in Cuban society. But the little book was published in 1931;
and it evoked strong reaction, both favourable and unfavourable, in
Cuba. Guillen was unperturbed by the unfavourable reaction; and in
1931 he published a second book, S6ngoro cosongo, where he was quite
overt about the social implications of his approach to poetry. In fact,
in an introduction to S6ngoro cosongo he states that he is certain that
poetry of the sort that he was writing would offend many people, parti-

cularly those who like to think of Cuba as being a society whose cultural
heritage is entirely Spanish, that is to say, those people who would want
to deny the presence and indeed the important contribution of the African
component to Cuban culture. He went beyond this to make clear his view
that Cuban culture was really a mulatto culture, that it was the result
of two cultures, the Spanish and the African. And he talked about the
possibility of the recognition some day of a "color cubano" It is very
clear in all this and from reading the poems poems which are based
on Cuban life that Guillen, even at this early stage, 1930-1931, was not
emphasizing the black sector of Cuban society in order to make it a separate
sector. His pre-occupation in Motivos de son and in S6ngoro cosongo was
rather with the whole Cuban society, with having Cuba identify itself
correctly and, within this context, with having the African contribution
to Cuban culture rightfully acknowledged.
After 1931, in his West Indies, Ltd., of 1934, he went further afield.
For one thing, he showed wider concern for blacks. In poems like "Guada-
lupe" and "West Indies, Ltd." certain factors emerge about how blacks
lived outside Cuba that were common to how they lived within Cuba:
their habitual relegation to the most disadvantaged place in society. At
the same time Guillen reveals further broadening of his perspective as he
begins in this book to put forward the view, based on a vast coverage
of time and space, that the situation of blacks in the West Indies is due
to imperialism. He calls for redress to this situation, and vaguely suggests
that this can come only through struggle.
This concern for and explanation of the situation of blacks became
intensified in the book Cantos para soldados y sonnes para turistas of 1937,
a book that draws once more on the situation within Cuba. He expresses
the desire that within Cuba different elements of society, particularly
those people that really belonged to the working classes but who were serving
the interests of others, should come to recognize their true place in society
and behave accordingly. The soldier, for instance, should recognize that
he was not really in any essential sense distinct from the ordinary citizen.
At the same time, the external forces which are seen to be responsible
for the racial and economic divisions within Cuba are attacked with sharp
irony and bitter sarcasm. Cantos para soldados y sones para turistas,
then, is a book that puts the emphasis once again on the Cuban situation
but that contains the idea that the problems affecting other parts of the
Caribbean are the same problems that are affecting Cuba and that they must
be dealt with by the different national entities in solidarity with each
In much of Guill6n's poetry, after 1937, he dealt with subjects that
seemed far afield from Cuba. His vision of the Caribbean, found in West
Indies, Ltd., was extended to Latin-America in general; and his now ex-
plicit Marxist position was reflected in his work which deals with the Span-
ish Civil War. And even when he writes about China, one can perceive that

his perspective is determined in a large way by the Cuban experience. When,
in a poem celebrating the Chinese Revolution, he writes that ". No hay/
ni un Yanqui ya en Shanghai," he alludes to the relationship between the
problem of the Yankee presence in Cuba which he recalls in the Cantos
para soldados and that of the Yankee presence in pre-revolutionary China.
And Guill6n's special pre-occupation with Cuba is made more noticeable
by the fact that the Yankees' presence historically in China was only one
of several powerful imperialist presence. In 1942, he again identified
imperialism as the main cause of Cuban sorrows in his "Elegia a Jes6s Men-
6ndez." And in his last book of the pre-revolutionary period, his La Paloma
de vuelo popular of 1958, in a poem like "Canci6n puertorriqueiia," after
treating ironically the status of Puerto Rico, he links the root of that coun-
try's problem with the grasp that United States imperialism has on Cuba.
In the same book in the poem "Little Rock," the link between racism
and imperialism is denounced in a poem set in the United States.

In summarizing some of the key aspects of Guill6n's poetry up to
1958, then, it must be stated first of all that in representing the blacks
of Cuba in his poetry, he did this with the intention that the cultural and
human contributions of this sector of the Cuban population should be
recognized as a vital part in the confluence of the two cultures that together
have come to form Cuban culture. He insisted on the authenticity, on
the value, of the black cultural sector and on the right of the blacks to
full equality within Cuba. In addition, he identified Cuban culture as being
really the result of the intermingling of two peoples, of two cultures; and,
therefore, he came to talk about "colour cubano." Consequently, he did
not stress black values in order to insist on the separation of blacks; he
stressed them rather to point to the naturalness of the merging of the cul-
tures and to project the idea of how rich Cuban cultural life would be
when the real definition of Cuban culture was made and accepted by all
Cubans. This is true particularly of the books Motivos de son (1930) and
S6ngoro cosongo (1931). This other important aspect of his poetry em-
erged clearly in the books beginning with West Indies, Ltd. (1934) and was
continued with emphasis and made definitive in the book of 1937, Cantos
para soldados y sones para turistas. This aspect had to do with his recog-
nition of the basic reason for the racial discrimination, the poverty and
under-development that existed in Cuba and in the other territories of the
Caribbean. He found imperialism to be at the root of all this and suggested
that harmony and fulfilment could not come to these territories until
imperialism was vanquished. He came to adopt the view that with the
overthrow of imperialism all these evils would be abolished in a Marxist
society. He was intimately concerned that this should be achieved in Cuba;
but he was also concerned that it should be achieved throughout Latin-
America and the Caribbean. Without understanding these key aspects of
Guill6n's poetry prior to the Cuban Revolution, one can find oneself in
difficulties in attempting to understand the course of his poetry since
the Revolution.

In the first place it is natural that once the Revolution could be
identified as a Marxist anti-imperialist revolution, as a force that would
bind the Cuban population together through the removal of the barriers
of class and of race Guill6n would support such a revolution to the fullest
extent. Consequently, in his collection of poems entitled Tengo of 1964
a new element of open joyfulness enters into his poetry. With unbounded
enthusiasm he sings of the recovered land, of liberty, of the possibility
of singing again, of laughing again, and of the necessity of all Cubans to
work together in the process of re-constructing the society. But under-
lying this joy is a sense of conflict existing in one of two situations: either in
the antithesis between the past time and the present or in the necessity
of struggling against enemies of the Revolution to safeguard what Cuba
had won. Thus, Guill6n recalls the past time of the hard struggle that the
black had against racial discrimination in Cuba in a poem like "Qualquier
tiempo pasado fue peror;" and in the same poem he shows his particular
concern about the jeopardy in which the very language of Cuba was put
by the penetrating presence of a foreign power with a different language.
At the same time he shows sorrow for those who fell in the fight for lib-
erty; he shows solidarity with those who remain exploited in colonial or
neo-colonial systems; and he uses harsh satire, the old Guill6n satire, against
those who permit imperialism by their counter-revolutionary action. To
represent this vast range of topics and of emotion, Guillen employs a fit-
tingly broad range of metrical forms: the old Spanish "romance," the
"d6cima" (the most widely used metrical form in Cuba), the sonnet, "let-
rillas," "elegias" and "sones." Such a display was quickly pointed out
by Cuban literary critics such as Jos6 Antonio Portuondo as a model for
poets, for artists, in revolutionary Cuba. Guill6n was discovering modes
of expression that suited aptly the post-revolutionary posture of his new

This inventiveness, this blending of old forms and of revolutionary
political content to achieve a new kind of poetry is what Guill6n demon-
strates in the book El gran zoo. The bestiary, used even by a poet like
Pablo Neruda in a traditional sense to give the human character traits of
certain animals, is transformed by Guill6n in this work. Guillen's animals
are the animation of certain political and social concepts and phenomena.
So that hunger, for example, comes to be represented as "an animal, all
eyes and teeth," Guill6n had written some poems in his very first collection
of poetry entitled Cerebro y coraz6n to be published in full for the first
time in the forthcoming Obras completes), in which he dwelt upon the
relationship between certain technical, scientific achievements and the
animal world, in a poem like "El aeroplano," for example. And now these
poems of El gran zoo came to remind readers of works of that very early
period. Commenting on the resemblance that exists between the poems
of the two periods, Guillen has stated the following:

Throughout my poetic practice, some worlds have
remained unexploited, urged on as I always was
by my revolutionary tasks and, if I may be per-
mitted, my somewhat sectarian interpretation of
my poetic duty. As soon as circumstances per-
mitted, I returned to those worlds to take from
them materials that I believed I hadn't worked
on sufficiently when I manipulated them for the
first time.
"Conversaci6n hacia los setenta," Cuba
International, June 1972, p. 90)
Nevertheless, the revolutionary political content of the poems of El
gran zoo accounts for a significant difference between the works of
the two periods. When the book was published recently in Spain, the mu-
tilating hand of the censor could be seen in several poems or in the omis-
sion of certain poems from the book. A poem like "Policia" is left out.
And religious anxieties are sometimes the reason for censorship; in the
poem entitled "El chulo," for example, the reference to the street called
San Isidro in Havana is omitted, perhaps because San Isidro is the patron
saint of Madrid but perhaps also because the street referred to in the poem
was one of the centres of prostitution in pre-revolutionary Havana.
In his book of translated Guill6n poems, Nicholas Guillin, Patria o
muerte: The Great Zoo and Other Poems, Robert Mirquez has undoubted-
ly recognized the high political content of the poems of El gran zoo. The
phrase "patria o muerte" used in his title is the revolutionary cry of the
Republic, a cry with which GuillIn closes the book's introductory poem.
And indeed Mirquez's selections from Guilldn's other books, as well as
his introduction to the translations, reveal that he has a sound understand-
ing of some of the central aspects of Guillen's poetry. Many changes are
apt to appear in the text of Guillin's poems from one edition to the next.
Mirquez is aware of this and has carefully compared the texts of the two
Cuban editions of El gran zoo in order to arrive at a true version of the poems
he has translated. The same careful procedure has evidently been used to
determine the texts of the other poems.
He takes a correctly modest approach to the task of translating Guil-
len into English. He does not presume to work as a poet who aims at put-
ting his own stamp on Guillen's work, a procedure that usually leads to
enormous falsification. Rather, as he says in his introduction,
I have tried to maintain the highest possible degree of fidelity
to the meaning of the originals without at the same time be-
traying their aesthetic values. I have generally avoided the temp-
tations of rhyme which may appear a sacrilege when trans-
lating a poetry so rich in rhyme and tonal effects but I have
been very careful to adhere to Guillfn's sense of metre and

style. My central concern has been to remain faithful to the
spirit and internal rhythms of the original poems.
Mirquez's decision not to attempt rhyme in his translations is a prudent
one; and the reader must bear in mind in reading his translations that an
important element in the renowned musicality of Guill6n's poetry is being
sacrificed. But to match Guillen's rhymes in translation is a task that is vir-
tually impossible. To my knowledge only one translator of Guill6n, whose
three China poems of Guillen appeared in the Evergreen Review three
years ago, has done this with any success. And when Mirquez is tempted
by rhyme, he often gets into trouble. For example, in translating the verses
from "Son n6mero 6," "Como soy un yoruba de Cuba,/ quiero que hasta
Cuba mi lanto yoruba," he writes: "Since I am a Yoruba from Cuba,/
I want to raise up to Cuba my weep in Yoruba" (p. 136). By translating
the second verse simply "I want my Yoruba cry to reach Cuba," thus satis-
fying himself with monorhyme instead of attempting to match Guill6n's
rhyme, Marquez would have avoided the clumsiness of his second verse.
And he would have been closer to the meaning of the original without
losing the sense of metre. When Mirquez limits himself to representing
Guill6n in explicit, rhythmic English, his work is pleasing. And this is what
he does in most of the poems that he has translated. Only occasionally
is his work in this vein not satisfactory. In one important case, in the final
line of the key poem "Tengo," a poem in which the narrative voice is
showing great exultation toward the Revolution, Marquez translates "Tengo
lo que tenia que tener" as "I have what was coming to me" (p. 194). Surely
the more literal translation, "I have what I had to have," renders better
the idea of the speaker's right to what he now has, an idea that forms the
necessary climax to the poem. Nicolis Guillin, Patria o muerte: The Great
Zoo and Other Poems contains one hundred and thirty-two short poems
by Guillen. But those who read Guillen in English, those who want his
work to be available in English, will also be grateful to Mirquez for giv-
ing us another volume of Guill6n's work in English translation entitled
Nicolis Guillen, Man-making Words: Selected Poems (Amherst: Univer-
sity of Massachusetts Press, 1972), a book in which Mirquez also works
with inspired efficiency.

Guillin has continued, in books that have followed El gran zoo,
to display an ever-widening range in his poetry. In them the emphasis on
blackness that he showed in his two important early books of poetry is
no longer evident. He sees no need for it within Cuba; and he has explain-
ed to me that if he had continued after the Revolution to dwell on the sit-
uation of the blacks in Cuba he would have been isolated and moreso
when he himself personally believes that the struggle .is not to separate
whites from blacks but to unite them and that this struggle cannot be
racist but must be revolutionary, that is, it must be a struggle to abolish
the division of society into classes since this division is the source of racism

(See my interview with him in the Summer, 1973, number of Jamaica Journal.)
He believes that the Revolution has dealt a death blow to racism in Cuba.
At the same time, however, he remains vigilant against abuses suffered by
blacks throughout the world. In a poem on Martin Luther King, publish-
ed in La rueda dentada (1972), for instance, he ridicules a statement by
the Russian poet Yevtushenko that King's skin was black but his soul as
pure as white snow. (The March, 1973, number of Jamaica Journal will
carry a translation of this poem.) The book La rueda dentada reveals the
wide variety of subjects that can be of interest to a revolutionary poet:
work, love, sculpture, painting, etc. There is, in this book, too, Guillen's
old emphasis on the right of cultural assertion for colonialized peoples,
in his poem "Problemas del subdesarrollo" ("Problems of Under-develop-
Monsieur Dupon calls you uneducated because you
don't know which was the favourite grandchild
of Victor Hugo. Herr MUller has started shouting
because you don't know the day (the exact one)
when Bismarck died.
Your friend Mr. Smith, English or Yankee, I don't
know, becomes incensed when you write shell.
(It seems that you hold back an "1" and that be-
sides you pronounce it chel.)
O.K. So what?
When it's your turn,
have them say an old cubanism like cacarajicara,
and where is the Aconcagua
d who was Sucre,
and were on this planet
did Marti die.
And please:
make them always talk to you in Spanish.
(Translation mine)
And his very latest book, El diario que a diario is an artistically daring
mixture of genres of poetry, of political humourism, journalism and ad-
vertisement writing, etc., to form a panorama of Cuba's historic evolu-
tion from colonial times to the Revolution of 1959. The final misconcep-
tion that needs to be challenged, then, is the view that Guill6n, since the
Revolution, has narrowed the scope and the expression of his poetry. On
the contrary, at the age of seventy he is showing enormous vitality and
a vigorous poetic imagination. He applies these qualities, as he has always
done, principally to the representation of a wide range of Cuban experi-
ence, showing all the while past links and potential future ones between
Cuba and other countries. KEITH ELLIS


Caribbean Patterns (2nd Edition): Publ. Chambers (Edinburgh & London)
1972 Sir Harold Mitchell.

The Dominican Intervention Oxford University Press 1972 Abraham F.

L'archipel Inacheve (Culture et Societe aux Antilles franchises), Essays
edited by University of Montreal Press Jean Benoist.

The Latin American Military As a Socio-Political Force (Case studies of
Bolivia and Argentina) University of Miami 1973 Charles D. Corbett.

The Virgin Islands North-western University Press Gordon K. Lewis.

The Puerto Rican Experience (A Sociological Sourcebook) Littlefield,
Adams & Co. (Paperback 1972) Francesco Cordasco & Eugene Bucchioni.

National Studies Vol. 1 No. 1 Jan. '73 Belize Institute of Social Research


The project completed its task at the end of last year, but work
continues on the preparation of guides to the larger collections of
papers. Over eighty of these guides have so far been produced. As
well as material of general Commonwealth interest, they describe
papers concerned with specific territories East, West and Central
Africa, the Middle and Far East, West Indies, Pacific and other
areas. Copies of guides concerning a particular region can be obtained
from The Librarian, Rhodes House Library, Oxford, where the col-
lections are housed. There is no charge, but refund of postage is


LS. Grant: Training for Medicine in the West Indies 30c J
G.P. Chapman: A New Development in the Agronomy
of Pimento 30c J
G.R. Coulthard: Spanish American Novel, 1940-1965 30c J
M.G. Smith, Roy Augier, R.M. Nettleford: Report on the
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R.M. Nettleford: Trade Union and Industrial Relations terms.. .40c J 50c (U.S.)
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Carlyle Dunkley: Collective Bargaining .... .40c J 50c (U.S.)
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The revised Catalogue and Plays and advice on Royalty fees are available on
application to:
Mrs. Myra Hinkson (Publications), or Mrs. P. Williams,
Extra-Mural Department, Extra-Mural Department,
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