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Table of Contents
Notes on contributors
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Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
7. Problems in the Creation of Culture in the Caribbean
Jos6 Luis M6ndez
20. Cuban Political Science in the Seventies: Some Observations
Miles D. Wolpin
35. The Feasibility of Rapprochement between the Republic of Cuba and
the United States: The Case of Guantanamo Naval Base
Walter J. Raymond
60. Document Letter from Maceo to Machado
62. Towards a Theory of Literature in Revolutionary Cuba
74. Notes on a Historic Visit: NicolAs Guill6n in Jamaica
J.A. George Irish
85. Sunday Readings
86. In Praise of Carpentier
88. On His Seventieth Birthday Alejo Carpentier answers Seven Questions
91. Poems Roberto Fernandez Retamar
94. Publications of the Department
VOL. 21 NOS. 1-2
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
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, Mona, Jamaica.
J.J. Figueroa, Professor, Faculty of Education, 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.
All correspondence should be addressed to:
Department of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
We invite readers to submit manuscripts or recommended subjects which they
would like to see discussed in CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY. Articles of Caribbean
relevancy will be gratefully received.
(b) Eastern Caribbean
U.S.A. and other countries
2 (Sterling) + 50p Postage
$10 (E.C.) + 50c Postage
$8.00 (U.S.) + 50c Postage
Subscription orders may be forwarded to the Editor. or to the Resident Tutor at
University Centre in any West Indian Territory served by-this University.
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
Dr. Jose Luis Mendez
Dr. Sheila Carter
Dr. Miles D. Wolpin
Dr. Walter J. Raymond
Mr. J.R. Pereira
Dr. George Irish
teaches at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.
who translates the article by Dr. Mendez is a Lecturer in
the Department of Spanish, University of the West In-
teaches Political Science at St. Francis Xavier University,
Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, and was quondam
visiting Assistant Professor at the University of New
Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1973).
is Associate Professor of Political Science and Chairman,
Department of Social Science at Saint Paul's College,
lectures in the Department of Spanish, University of the
West Indies, Mona.
is a lecturer in the Department of Spanish, University of
the West Indies, Mona.
is Cuba's national poet and Ambassador Plenipotentiary
is one of Cuba's leading novelists and journalists.
Roberto Fernandez Retamar is a poet and Director of Casa de las Americas in Havana,
Professor Leabert Bethune
in the preparation of this
(Professor Bethune will be guest editor for Vol. 21 No. 3).
This special double issue of Caribbean Quarterly addresses itself to aspects of the
Cuban experience and in a way amplifies, if not celebrates, the recent mutual efforts at
reforging links between Cuba and the Anglophone Caribbean. Specifically, this issue of
CQ follows on the many formal and informal exchange visits that have been taking
place over the past two years between certain West Indian scholars from the University
of the West Indies and some prominent members of the Cuban intelligentsia. A
counterpart edition of Casa, the journal published by Casa de las Americas in Havana,
will be devoted to aspects of Commonwealth Caribbean cultural life. After this,
material from Cuba in this journal and from the Commonwealth Caribbean in Casa will
appear as a matter of course. This is only proper and sensible.
The reforging of links between these two areas of the Caribbean region has been
taking place against the background of speculations about an early rapprochement
between the United States and Cuba. Appropriately there is included in this double--
issue a contribution by Walter J. Raymond on "The Feasibility of Rapprochement
Between the Republic of Cuba and the United States" with emphasis on the Guantana-
mo naval base as a special case. The Commonwealth Caribbean has not, however,
allowed its own decisions to be directed or unduly influenced by this much awaited
and long overdue reconciliation. In fact, Cuba's own enthusiasm to cement relations
with the Anglophone Caribbean stems in part from a long tradition of unbroken
friendship between herself and a country like the neighboring island of Jamaica.
Jamaica was to do more than providing the Cuban sugar plantations with inden-
tured labour as she did in the earlier part of the 20th century. During the fifties and
sixties the island maintained consular relations with Cuba despite the American
blockade and the ostracisation by OAS states in the hemisphere. Guyana, Barbados
and the twin-state of Trinidad and Tobago were to join Jamaica in 1972 to extend full
diplomatic recognition to Cuba. The Cubans are naturally impressed with this and
refer frequently to the different wars of Independence dating as far back as the 1860's
when such exile-patriots as Jose Marti, Mendes and Maceo (see letter from Maceo to
Machado p. 60) were given temporary asylum in Jamaica. Marti himself had an ex-
tended stay in the Kingston area and today the only good photograph of him in the
museums of Cuba was one taken in Kingston in the late nineteenth century.
At a time when a much beleaguered Cuba was reorganising itself and was anxious
for friends in its neighbourhood, such little facts of history assumed monumental
proportions. The Commonwealth Caribbean has in its own way found reason to be
impressed with the successful defiance of neo-colonialism and with the attempts by
Cubans to develop a society on the basis of its own internal dynamics. Their health,
education and agricultural policies have reportedly brought fruits to the large mass of
Cubans who under a pre-revolutionary regime experienced the worst kind of Latin
American poverty. They have not always been able to meet the targets they set
themselves in the production of such crops as sugar but the attempt to become
self-reliant has brought to Cuban life patriotism, endurance, discipline and a work ethic
that is the envy of many developing countries.
Much of all this will no doubt be dismissed by some readers as the vagaries of
domestic politics and as such should take second place to the fact of Cuba's new thrust
into the Caribbean since this is a far more sustaining and significant matter, transcend-
ing (as it does) transient ideological indulgences and the caprice of selfishly motivated
power relationships. The impatience with politics that is implied in such a position too
often springs from that narrow view of what politics means to many Commonwealth
Caribbean citizens. But politics is after all the stuff of revolutions and it is revolution-
ary Cuba which is the subject of our concern. Miles Wolpin's article on Cuban Political
Science in the Seventies attempts an overview of the instrumental role of political
science in societal mobilisation and development.
Yet Cuba is more than politics in the restricted institutional sense of the term.
Cuba's Caribbean commitment in the deeply cultural sense is indeed one of Cuba's
oldest sources of energy in its struggle for independence and national sovereignty.
From Jose Marti' to Nicolas Guill6n the notion of mare nostrum in describing the
Caribbean archipelago betrayed sensibilities moulded out of that sensitive grasp of the
history and ancestral imperatives that have shaped a Caribbean destiny, offering
tremendous challenges to all those who are products of that history and those impera-
tives. Jose Luis Mendez's examination of the problems in the creation of a culture in
the Caribbean is an eloquent response to these challenges as it affects all such pro-
ducts, whatever the historical metropolitan connexions. It is J.R. Pereira, however,
who in his article Towards a Theory of Literature in Revolutionary Cuba focuses on
the specific cultural challenges faced and indeed taken up by the Cuban writers in
Three such engaged creative artists are introduced in this double-issue in different
ways. The great Nicolas Guill6n is celebrated with the inclusion of a small selection of
his poems but also a diary of events covering the historic visit to Jamaica by this
renowned Caribbean poet and humanist at the invitation of the University of the West
Indies' Department of Spanish. In the Notes on the Historic Visit. ., J. George Irish,
the chronicler, reproduces Guillbn's memorable comment on the contemporary Carib-
bean thus: "for what is inversely true is that the Caribbean is bubbling now more that
ever like a cauldron of prophecies about to come true an epic awakening" That
other great Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier answers seven questions about his work; and
the tribute by Augustin Pi reprinted from Gramma of Havana echoes the esteem in
which this Cuban novelist-patriot is held by his countrymen. The poems by Roberto
Retamar who is of a younger generation reflects the on-going tradition of the engaged
Caribbean artist engaged, that is, in a political sense in Retamar's case to his own
world of revolutionary Cuba but passionately aware of the tremendous potential that
the wider world of poetry, art and culture has to offer.
Alongside with the harsh realities of the geopolitics of the Cuban connexion in mare
nostrum must therefore go, the no less harsh realities of a culture desperately in search of
itself and the possible discovery by creative artists (as by all other citizens) of that
"feeling of usefulness in the benefit ofa collectivity on the move" as Carpentier so
poignantly described the conditions under which his own work was to become a "source
of endless joy." REX NETTLEFORD
PROBLEMS IN THE CREATION OF
CULTURE IN THE CARIBBEAN
Literature and National Liberation in the Caribbean
It is not easy to discuss the function which literature plays in the struggle for
national liberation, in the Caribbean at a moment when various Latin American writers
are seeking an expression which is capable of capturing the problems of our whole
Continent. With this end in view, the best Cuban and Dominican writers, as well as
those of Argentina, Uruguay and other countries, do their utmost to transcend the
purely national boundaries in which they have wished to define the individual of this
region, and try to give to their works an essentially Latin American orientation and
character. To view Latin America as a whole is, in itself, an act which generally implies
a certain degree of national affirmation, but which does not necessarily imply the
identification of literature with the forces which are working towards the liberation of
Literature is much less innocent and impartial than is generally thought. Its
compromise with the truth, its love for freedom, and its constant search for coherence
and authenticity are always based on the concrete historical and social milieux and
generally expresses the most significant and definitive values and attitudes in the life of
the social groups. The literary artist is not then, an impartial judge or a creative
divinity who, without regard to social groups and human passions, struggles with
eternity and gives account to the supreme tribunal of Art.
This does not mean, nevertheless, that Art as such may lack all specification, or that
one ought to judge literature with the same criteria which are used to analyse a
political discourse, a propagandist message or a historical document. Art, as Karl Marx
said, is an end in itself for the artist, and begins with its aesthetic value. It must be
judged as a literary creation, and not by such criteria as its good or bad intentions, or
whether the views expressed are in accord with our own.
In the same way that specialists in particular fields of endeavour must demonstrate
high quality and efficiency, the writer who decides to work for a revolutionary cause
must realize that literature is a form of action with its own laws, though not auton-
omous, employing specific techniques and particular tools which must be known,
explored and improved. He must realize, too, that the best way to make literature
serve a revolutionary cause is to regard it seriously as an art. Many persons, neverthe-
less, have argued, on various occasions, whether a capacity for artistic creation can be
compatible with a political commitment.
Implicit in this argument is a conception of art as a form of autonomous activity,
with a purely passive relationship with the rest of society. Those who have this con-
ception, see art and action as mutually exclusive, since one cannot serve two masters at
the same time, the revolutionary artist must, of necessity, choose between imagination
and politics, or inevitably sacrifice one of them to the other.
This is why the defenders of art as a kind of autonomous activity interpreted
Marx's statement: "for the artist, art is an end in itself', as a Hegelian residuum, or as
a posture in favour of art for art's sake, without taking into consideration the fact
that, for Marx, practical application, rather than theory is eminently important in all
cultural activity, and that, far from proposing a divorce of the artist from his society,
what Marx's famous statement truly affirms is that, for the artist, art is the form of
action by which his life acquires meaning and reality. The fact that the writer may
elaborate an imaginary universe, where he struggles to find freedom and coherence
which the historical reality denies him, does not constitute a renunciation of action,
but should rather be interpreted as the assumption of a political and philosophical
position with obvious practical implications.
Truly important art is not flight but pursuit, is not apathy but commitment, is not
refuge for inaction, but action which responds imaginatively to the most important
and significant historical tensions. This is why in artistic works of the highest quality
we see manifested not only the individual creative capacity with its peculiar
biographical problems, but also, and particularly so, the social groups, with their
particular conceptions regarding morality, art and science.
It is precisely these social groups which, in the face of the most significant historical
tensions, elaborate the mental structures which organize the imaginary universe of the
great works of cultural creation. The matter is not as complicated as it seems. In the
same way that social tensions are generally only partially conceived by common or-
dinary individuals, yet manage to produce exceptional men like Lenin, Fidel, Che, and
others, whose personalities and actions are merely an articulate product of the in-
tellectual and political attainments of a particular human group in its historical and
social praxis, literature also transcends the individual consciousness and produces
works whose significance and importance generally elude the average man of the social
class whose particular world-view it expresses, as well as the individuals who write it,
since what is expressed is the highest level of awareness of a human group in a specific
Therefore, art and action cannot be incompatible, and one very frequently finds
great artists who participate actively in political life, and great politicians who have
seen in art a medium of action in seeking that same liberty which opposes them to the
world of convention and impells them to transform the reality of their societies and of
their epochs. In the Caribbean, there are many examples of men who have sought
simultaneously an artistic and a political reality.
Figures like Marti, Hostos, Betances or, more recently, men like Aime Cesaire, Juan
Marinello, Nicolas Guillen, Frantz Fanon, Jacques Stephen Alexis, Juan Bosch and
others have sought liberation in art as well as in active politics. Only some of those
men have managed to maintain equal importance in both activities. Some have disre-
garded art or have abandoned it altogether in order to dedicate themselves to politics.
Others, without ever abandoning politics, have not attained the same importance in
that field as they have achieved in literature. And others in spite of having explored
the literary field, have not succeeded in dominating that activity to the same extent as
they have in politics.
Frantz Fanon, for example, has authored three theatrical works, but his name is
known only through the books which express his political ideas, or because of his
action in favour of the Algerian revolution. As far as I know, his theatrical pieces have
not even been published. Hostos and Betances have also produced literary works but
their names are known nowadays only because of their political writings or their
political and social activities. On the contrary, a poet like Nicolis Guill6n, despite his
constant active participation in politics, has been traditionally associated with creative
writing and not with politics which is of minor importance in his case, since his work is
one of the best achievements in political, poetical productions. The case of Csaire is
perhaps the best example of a perfect equilibrium between important political action
and vigorous artistic activity of a high quality.
A producer of an epoch of crisis, Marti took up arms for the same reasons that
made him take up the pen. But the society and the historical moment in which he
lived required his total dedication to active politics, and Marti fully accepted his
responsibility as the revolutionary intellectual. "These are not times", he said, in his
essay "Nuestra Am6rica", "for lying with the handkerchief on the head, but with arms
for a pillow, like the men of Juan de Castellanos: the arms of justice must conquer the
others. Trenches of ideas are worth more than trenches of stone"
In spite of everything, as Juan Marinello points out, Marti does not truly renounce
being an artist, and a great artist of his time. In him is united "the artist of rich, varied
sensitivity, anxious and vigilant, and the revolutionary of a vigilant and austere con-
duct inseparable from his responsibility and function" For Marinello, Marti was not
only the admissible leader of a freedom movement, but was also the director of the
cultural course of twenty peoples. In his opinion, although there are moments during
Marti's youth, such as the period in Mexico, when literature consumed most of his
attention, and his effort, towards his years of maturity, prose and verse became har-
nessed for political action, and his political literary writings are his best.
According to Marinello, it is in the whole collection of Marti's poems with his
cantos to the fatherland, to his wife, to his son, to love, to sacrifice, and his exaltation
of virtue that is revealed his most direct and dramatic world-view, since, in his
anxiety to express reality, Marti eventually rejects prose fiction.
Marti does not create realities, but comments on reality. Therefore, states
Marinello, Marti's novelistic production, as well as his short stories and his theatre,
were always subordinate and were never able to satisfy the author's demands.
On the contrary, his production in prose and poetry opened a new route in the
history of Latin American letters along which travelled the most important movements
which succeeded it. Ruben Dario himself wondered: "Cannot Marti be considered a
precursor of the movement which I initiated years afterwards?"
According to Marinello, there is no doubt that Jose Marti reflects in his work
influences common to the Modernists. Nevertheless, Marti's work surpasses the realiza-
tions and objectives of the Modernist writers. This is why Marinello wonders if it is
legitimate to imagine that without Marti there would be no Dario, or if Marti could
engender his own negation.
Although the relationship between Marti and Modernism is undeniable, his prose
and poetry towards a theme of humanism, towards clearly defined patriotic motiva-
tions and a romantic and moralistic Americanism which makes any attempt to liken
the poetic or prose production of Marti to the individualistic, aristocratic and
Dionysiac verses of Rub6n Dario, somewhat abusive.
The world-view of Dari6 is fundamentally an antithesis of that of Mart'i. Dario is
chiefly viewed as a literary artist and nothing else, as a man according to his own
words, who loves beauty, power, grace, money, luxury, poetry and music; he believes
in God, mystery attracts him, dream and death sadden him, he has read many philoso-
phers, but does not know a word of philosophy. He has his own Epicureanism which
he synthesizes in the following statement: "enjoy as much as possible the soul and the
body on the earth and do your utmost to continue enjoying the other life"
Mart;, on the other hand, always places the collective interest before self-interest.
He is disposed to every sort of sacrifice for the liberation of his country and only
conceives of a kind of survival in posterity.
For Marti, "to change owners is not to be free" It was not enough to liberate Cuba
from Spain, it was necessary to guard her from what he called "the effrontery of the
thieving eagle" Martd not only rejects the imperialism of the United States, he also
rejects the values and attitudes of that country where, in his opinion, "instead of
solving the problems of humanity, they're reproduced; instead of being amalgamated
in the national politics, localities are divided and provoked, instead of strengthening
the democratic machinery, it is corrupted, and hatred and misery result. These com-
ments remind us of similar affirmations by Frantz Fanon.
Marti was not the only politician of the nineteenth century who was aware that the
struggle for liberation in the Antilles would not end with the defeat of Spain, and that
soon the imperialism of the United States would have to be confronted. Ram6n
Emeterio Betances who had previously considered the United States as a defender of
liberty and of oppressed peoples, soon saw-very important defects in the political
system of that country and informed the Cuban and Puerto Rican revolutionaries
about the real intentions of the powerful neighbour. 1868 became a year of great
Betances began to seriously consider the idea that the Caribbean islands should not
aspire to different destinies, and that only united and confederated would they be able
to form a strong block and achieve true liberty. By 1870 the idea of a Caribbean
Federation had been fully formed in his mind and he outlined this in a speech before a
Lodge in Port-au-Prince.
Hostos and Marti too had previously expounded the idea of Caribbean unity. The
idea of a Caribbean Federation was to reappear during the twentieth century. In 1915,
right after a trip through Santo Domingo and Cuba, the Puerto Rican poet and patriot
Jose de Diego founded an organization for the promotion of a Caribbean union, whose
purpose as expressed in its statutes was to favour and encourage closer ties between
the islands in the Caribbean with the aim of achieving a future political alliance.
That idea which the Puerto Rican seekers of independence of the end of the
nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century proposed as a tool for liberation, is
found expressed in Puerto Rican literature in the twenties and thirties. Jos; de Diego
himself, in some of his poems, gives us the ideological basis of his project for a
In his poem "Aleluya", for example, de Diego addresses those whom he identifies
as "the gentlemen of the marvellous and fecund north" He reminds them that "the
Centre is also a part of the globe", and that "through extension of the sphere, the
Caribbean islands are a part of America"
For de Diego, the separation between the dominators of the North and the people
of the Caribbean is a natural historical phenomenon. The individual of the Caribbean
has a language and a culture which are very different from those of North America
and, therefore, to imagine that the Latin peoples of the Antilles can be assimilated by
the Anglo-Saxon Collosus is an aberration, it is something unnatural.
De Diego feels that North America cannot impose its culture on the Spanish--
speaking Caribbean islands because the civilization of the two regions has certain
distinct features. In the same poem he refers to these. He states that the Latins excel in
Art and Philosophy, and the Anglo-Saxons in government.
De Diego's position is the typical posture of the Creole bourgeoisie of that era,
which reflected a certain desire for autonomy or independence without, nevertheless,
assuming a consequent anti-imperialist position.
The only historical solution which that Creole bourgeoisie saw was Latinity con-
ceived as a perfect adaptation of man of European origin to the tropical setting of the
Caribbean. That concept of Antillean Latinity had many supporters in Puerto Rico in
the second and third decides of this century. One of them, the poet and politician,
Luis Llorens Torres, director of the Revista de la Antillas idealized, like de Diego, the
jibaro, the Puerto Rican peasant of European origin.
He was strongly criticized by the Puerto Rican poet Luis Pales Matos, who accused
him of having disregarded the negro element, the racial nucleus which has been nobly
mixed with the white element, and because of the fecundity, the strength and the
vivacity of its nature has impregnated our psychology with unmistakable traits, pro-
ducing its true Caribbean character. Jose de Diego, for example, omits that presence
when he speaks of the ethnic composition of the Antilles in his poem "Aleluya"
That omission, was something consistent with the over-estimation of Caribbean
Latinity which characterized the reformist thought of the Puerto Rican bourgeoisie of
the beginning of the century, and indicated the orientation of many of the writers of
the twenties, thirties and forties, the intellectual base of the Puerto Rican writers of
those years was Creolism, which was defined by the poet and journalist J.I. de Diego
Padro as "a transplantation of European modus operandi with equally European
attitudes, traits and sentiments, epidermally modified and adapted to our ends".
According to this theory the negro magnificently adapted and assimilated the
culture which came to him from the West while the man of European origin "con-
served in all its integrity the general lines of his culture and merely adapted himself to
the tropical environment, which may have slightly modified his features and perhaps
his liver, but not his psychology, his tradition, his mental attitude or his reactions
towards objective reality" This position proposed to demonstrate that "the people of
the Antilles, in spite of their diversity of colour and of origin are eminently European
in structure and culture"
According to de Diego Padr6, "the only thing of relative value in negro art is the
stylization and the purification which the deep and superior sentiment of the white
man imposes on it" Therefore, says de Diego Padr6, the most that Caribbean poets
like Guill5n, Laleau, Ballagas, and Pales, have achieved in their poetry, is the utilization
of the usable facets of negroidism by harmonizing and incorporating them with the
general poetic procedures.
For Palds, on the contrary, the Spanish attitude is an evasive, incompatible and
inadaptable position, whereas that of the negroid is firmly and resolutely fixed in the
new environment. Palds maintains that it is very difficult to dissolve under allegation
of superiority, the roots of a supposedly inferior culture, when the progenitive race
maintains its vitality.
The best example of this, in his opinion, is Haiti, where the Haitians speak French,
and officially adhere to the Roman Catholic faith, although, internally, the Haitian
remains immutable, and there is nothing so diametrically opposed to the French spirit
of clearness, lightness and rationalism as the Haitian spirit of sensuality, super-
stition and witchcraft. The Haitian, Pales points out transformed the language into
patois and changed the Catholic symbol into a Voodoist cult. Therefore, the Haitian
soul, utilizing the expressive recourses of an exotic culture, achieved its essential
objectives by means of very subtle but secure channels.
According to Pal6s, a similar phenomenon would probably have taken place in
Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Rico, with their combinations of Spanish colonial
culture and that of the negro slave, in a setting which was absolutely strange for both
if the mixing of blood and the fusion of racial values thereby creating a new type of
mulatto had not occurred. This has displaced the vital accent of the three islands.
Their accent, says Palds, is neither Spanish nor African. Consequently, their poetry
cannot be defined as either black, white, or mulatto, it is rather Antillean, for in his
opinion, the Greater Antilles Cuba, Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico have
developed a homogenous spiritual type and are culturally poised in a similar direction.
This "homogeniety of a spiritual type" which differentiates the Antilles from the
common mass of Hispanic peoples, is the negroid factor which, as Palds says, has
intermixed to form the Antillean psyche. With the presence of the Negro, the poetry of
Pales not only broke through the "insularist" wall which surrounded certain Puerto
Rican intellectuals such as Antonio S. Pedreira but it was oriented towards an Antil-
lean vision of wider perspective than the Antillean Latinism of J6se de Diego or the
Creolism of the generation of the thirties.
As regards Latinism and Creolism, which disregard the presence of the negro in our
society, the poetry of Pales is as Arcadio Di'az Quinones has pointed out a new concept
of ethnic and cultural solidarity. His vision of the Negro was, in certain respects, a
unique one in Puerto Rican literature, but it had many elements in common with the
aesthetic quest of the Grupo Minorista of Cuba who also saw the negro as a symbol of
and banner for their political and social demands.
In the beginning, the nucleus of writers of the Minorist movement shared, although
to a lesser degree, the idyllic, sensualist and erotic vision of the poetry of Pales but the
internal dynamics of the Cuban political reality made many of those writers turn to
other directions. Alejo Carpentier, for instance, without losing his interest in the Negro
theme, abandoned the exaggerated Negroid exoticism which characterized his first
novel Ecue Yamba O! and which is still found, although to a lesser extent, in El
reino de este Mundo. He replaced it with an ever-growing preoccupation for the
problems of revolutionary activity, a theme which achieves its greatest expression in
his extraordinary novel El siglo de las luces. In Carpentier, one finds the theme of
the negro fused with that of the native and of the Spaniard, in that ethnic naturalist
rainbow which represents his famous quest for "the marvellous reality"
In Nicolas Guillen, on the contrary, the Negro element receives progressively more
attention. While dealing with the peculiar problems of the Negro in Cuba, the Antilles,
North America, and Africa, he includes these in a revolutionary view of the world
which makes his work one of the best poetic productions in political and popular
poetry of this era. Once, while I was in North Africa, a friend of mine from Angola
gave me a poem written in praise of Nicolas Guillen.
He is a poet who not only gives us an authentically Cuban poetry, but is one of the
poets who has known best how to express the concrete problems of colonized man in
his everyday experience of exploitation, as well as the social plight of the negro
throughout the world.
His poetry, as his "Balada de los dos abuelos" testifies, is mulatto. Guillen knows
that the mestizo represents the essence of a truly free Cuba, and dreams of the
moment when its two cultural heritages will become fused in a climate of solidarity
and democracy. The symbol of that new solidarity is the two grandparents, don
Federico and Taita Facundo whom Guilldn wants to see embracing, and singing in
"black longing and white longing"
But as Taita Facundo chiefly represents the oppressed, the poet takes a stand
mainly for that half of his cultural and human heritage which still suffers humiliation
from the neo-colonial Creole and racist society. Guillen accuses colonialism and im-
perialism of having "robbed a poor defenseless negro of his family name, and of hiding
it in the belief that he was going to lower his eyes in shame" But no, the poet feels
completely "clean", and shouts with pride to his oppressors that he is "the grandson,
great grandson, great-great-grandson of a slave," and adds, "let the owner be
ashamed" The Negro, in Guillen's poetry, is a living proclamation which recalls the
treacherous national independence and the limping of the Cuban bourgeoisie in the
face of North American domination.
On becoming one with the Negro, as did the Minorist group, and later the revolu-
tionaries, Guillin assumes what Roberto Fernindez Retamar has called the condition
of Caliban, the savage and deformed character of Shakespeare's The Tempest who the
foreigner, Prospero, robs of his island, enslaves him and then teaches him the language
which Caliban uses to curse him.
Fernandez Retamar insists that our symbol cannot be Ariel, which Rodo proposed,
thus identifying us with Latinity, but Caliban the enslaved man who lost his land and
maintains his oppressor by his labour.
The name Caliban Fernandez Retamar states comes from the word "cannibal"
which is derived from "caribe" The implications which have generally been given to
these terms have been utilized by the colonialists in their attempt to justify their
unjustifiable exploitation of colonized peoples. Fernindez Retamar stresses the fact
that in spite of its Carib origin, the word "cannibal" has been attributed, by antono-
masia, not to the extinct aborigine of our islands, but to the African Negro, whose
image has been systematically and grotesquely deformed by the Tarzan films and by
all the colonialist propaganda. Therefore, to assume the position of Caliban, as
Fernandez Retamar proposes, is to say "NO" to colonialism and to get ready to
combat its racist myths.
That is precisely what the Martiniquans Fanon and Chsaire have done. Cisaire not
only reinterprets the Shakespearean play in his work Une Tempete in the light of a
"demythefied" colonialism, but constantly intervenes in history in order to clarify
such events as the struggle for the liberation of Haiti, in his drama La tragd&ie du roi
Christophe. In order to give us the colonized man's version of certain current matters,
he presents as the theme of his drama Une Saison au Congo: the life, passion and death
of the Congolese patriot Patrice Lu'mumba.
Fanon, for his part, discovered empirically, through his profession as a Psychiatrist,
to what extent the image which the colonialist creates of his victim penetrates to the
base of the psychic structure of the colonized person, and concluded that there is no
other solution for the mental health of the oppressed than that of breaking through
the wall of oppression by means of a revolution of national liberation. Fanon spoke so
clearly that his words, apart from penetrating the understanding of the colonized
person, were like a hammer on the conscience of the European and North American
who struggled by every means to safeguard their colonialist and criminal innocence.
Since his work, there has been no more place in the world for innocence. His words
have cut deep not only in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but also in the Negro and
Puerto Rican ghettos of the United States, and in the consciousness of all the op-
pressed groups of this country and of the world who have undertaken the task of
making everyone listen to the message of the colonized man.
The positive lyricism of the work of Fanon is the result of the conceptualization of
his own experience as a colonized individual and of his conviction that only by
transforming the material bases of exploitation will the man of the colonized countries
be able to achieve the dignity and the vitality which colonialism deny him. Fanon
knew that the colonized individual could not coexist within the image of his own
negation, but that the fundamental matter was not a problem of images, but of power,
not a problem of good or bad conscience, but a conflict which would be resolved in
only one way: by placing the man of Asia, Africa and Latin America where he should
be: in charge of his own destiny. It was precisely that conviction which led that
Martinique doctor, who had explored dramatic expression, to polish his prose in order
to convert himself into the main theorist of the African revolution.
An analogous conviction led the author of La hitoria me absolvera to put his
imagination at the service of action and his action at the service of a revolution whose
triumph resulted in a total redefinition of the man of our region.
For the Latin American writers and intellectuals, the Cuban Revolution was a
surprising encounter with the first serious hope for that world of coherence and of
human authenticity that many of them had sought in their expression of an imaginary
In the beginning, the revolution was all emotion, all hope, all lyricism then came
the imperatives of action, the moment of definitions. What had began as an antidicta-
torial insurrection became an authentic socialist revolution. And to say socialism is to
speak of a totally different world-view from that which previously prevailed in the
literature of the Caribbean previous to this extraordinary event.
The Socialist and Marxist writers themselves, also susceptible to the ups and down
of the historical moment, felt the necessity to restructure their messages in the light of
the new occurrences. The writers who had not been in agreement with the dictator-
ship, but who could neither be identified with the revolutionary cause which was now
clearly defined in socialist terms, found themselves progressively floating in an
existential vacuum and with very little to say. Other writers, in a more problematic
situation, still had not verified their position. They still oscillated between the bohe-
mian bourgeoisie, world in which traditionally they had found refuge for their
escapism, and the commitment which the historical moment demanded of them. The
present generation devotes itself to the exploration of new forms, but when faced with
definitions, chooses the only way which can give meaning to the Latin American
youth of the present day: the quest for the authentic revolutionary expression.
The clash becomes inevitable. For a large number of the bourgeoisie writers, whose
techniques and world-view have been permeated by bohemianism, individualism and
elitism, try in every way to continue imposing the values and attitudes of their class,
reserving for themselves the function of dictating the artistic and literary style which
they try to impose on even those writers who wish to place art and life at the service
of the revolution.
For the writers committed to national liberation in the Caribbean, literature cannot
continue being a luxury product for the exclusive use of those who see the imagination
as a substitute for revolutionary activity, which although it leaves the present state of
oppression intact produces a certain spiritual peace and above all, much prestige for an
elite identified with a book culture. The truly revolutionary writer cannot convert
himself into the inhabitant of a synthetic universe with autonomous values, or of an
ivory-tower whose doors are closed to the immense majority of men and women
committed to national liberation, but on the contrary. The reason for being a revolu-
tionary writer is, mainly the obligation to one's own imagination, but this is placed at
the service of the revolutionary transformation of reality, since, for the individual who
has understood the mechanisms of oppression and of class struggle and has fully
identified himself with the progressive forces of history, that is the only way of
achieving his liberty as a man and as an artist.
Literature and Ideology in Puerto Rico
The meeting of the members of the various literary magazines of Puerto Rico which
took place in the bookshop, La Tertulia on Friday, 30th March, 1973, revealed some
very important problems regarding the literary activity in our country. All the groups
gathered there had a two-fold commitment: to independence and socialism, on one
hand, and to literature and art on the other. The main topic of the evening: "Litera-
ture and Ideology" only came up sporadically. For the most part, discussion centered
around the personal problems which have resulted in the opposition of one group to
the other, the exaggerated illusions about the possibilities of literary creation and the
degree of commitment which each group has in the Puerto Rican political situation.
All those matters are, of course, complementary aspects of the general topic, but,
on various occasions, they seemed to lead us away from the original question. All the
tensions between individuals and groups were merely the result of varying political and
literary postures. This is something which always disturbs in some way, the relation-
ship between persons who participate in those activities, because literature, like
politics, if taken seriously, requires a total involvement on the part of the artists. That
involvement may, nevertheless, increase or diminish in intensity, depending on the
historical moment in which it is developed.
In Puerto Rico, in recent years, there has been a tendency towards the increase of
intensity in political and artistic commitment, as well as in the proliferation of literary
magazines, in the appearance of "guerilla" theatre groups and of a genre which until
recently was unknown in our cultural reality: the protest song, which has been the
chief artistic auxiliary of the practical political activity.
These occurrences are consistent with our political and social evolution. The
structural changes of our island reality, coupled with a whole series of international
events such as the Cuban Revolution and the Vietnam War, have made equally in-
adequate both the means available for artistic expression and the prevailing concept
regarding art and literature. Because of this, there have appeared groups which
dedicate themselves to the explanation of new forms, to the creation of new instru-
ments of expression, and they challenge the artists and intellectuals who had until then
dominated the cultural life of our people.
The challenge is very legitimate, for one cannot expect that writers, born in
societies as different as the Puerto Rico of the forties and fifties and those who were
born and grew up in the epoch during which our country was a fundamentally dif-
ferent society in its class structure and in cultural life, can make use of the same tools
and be oriented by identical principles to express messages which differ in essence. But
the only point of tension is not the generational problem. With the important trans-
formation which have occurred in the Puerto Rican economy, the university com-
munity has been joined by a considerable number of students of various social levels
who for reasons of class, need also to create their own instruments of expression and
to create new forms for communicating their artistic messages. Despite the differences
of class and generation, the literary groups of some importance which exist in Puerto
Rico today agree in at least one aspect: all are committed to the struggle for our
national independence although that commitment may have important differences in
degree and nature.
The magazine Sin Nombre, for example, orients its efforts towards purely literary
objectives. It has no editorials and opens its pages to any valid artistic and intellectual
collaboration, independently of the political leaning of the author. In spite of this, the
political and literary activity of its editor Nilita Vientos, was considered subversive by
the most rightist sectors of the country, and the magazine formerly entitled Asomante,
had to be rebaptised. But, now under its new name, as under its former name, the
magazine of Nilita Vientos has played an important role in our cultural life, and for
many years it was practically the only vehicle of expression for a considerable number
of good Puerto Rican writers, almost all independentists.
The apolitical posture of its criteria for artistic excellence was resented by some of
the new literary groups which began to appear in different parts of the country from
the beginning of the sixties. The Guajana group, for example, which defines itself in
political as well as literary terms, reproaches Sin Nombre for a certain elitism, and
stresses the necessity for writing committed literature which is oriented fundamentally
towards the people, towards those masses of the populace who until now have been
practically on the margin of literature.
The Zona Carga y Descarga is like Sin Nombre, oriented chiefly towards literary
ends but has a definite political editorial. Its defiance is directed chiefly against the
sclerotic forms of traditional Puerto Rican literature, and emphasizes, the necessity for
giving a new impulse to the literary activity in our country and for seeking in all the
horizons, but particularly amongst the writers of the Latin American boom, the
models which are capable of enriching the cultural milieu of Puerto Rico.
From its inception, the Zona Carga y Descarga has shown a fundamental con-
tradiction. Despite the fact that a large number of its members, chiefly, Rosario Ferre,
are well known independentists and have declared themselves supporters of socialism,
it uses certain artistic criteria which sometimes seem to approach the much disparaged
idea of Art for Art's sake, and at times seem to define literature as something all--
powerful, as a kind of magical activity in the face of which political struggle or any
other form of mundane activity is somewhat insignificant.
For a large portion of the nucleus of writers who contribute to the Zona Carga y
Descarga, art has been an important vehicle for achieving political action, since, by
means of that activity, they have become aware of the folly and the superficiality of
the bourgeois society, and it is along that route that they have taken their first steps of
patriotic and revolutionary affirmation. For this reason it is very legitimate that they
made art their chief vehicle. But if they lose sight of the possibilities of literature, or if
they think that a writer, because of being artistically valid, is above political criticism,
they will be bungling before the aesthetic conceptions of the bourgeois, who always
take advantage of the doctrines of Art for Arts sake, of literary apoliticism in an effort
to impose their elitist and counterrevolutionary positions.
Zona is an eminently literary magazine, and, its main interest is in the artistic
product as such, and not the good or bad intentions of the writer. That is totally
understandable and valid, but when it is a question of a publication which, besides
being literary, has assumed political and social positions, we might expect that the
aesthetic orientation of the magazine would be consistent with the political and social
concerns of its members. That is why it seems very important, to me that the sup-
porters of Zona tell us whether or not, in their opinion, there exists progressive criteria
for judging the aesthetic value of a work of art. If the reply is negative, it seems to me
that it is going to be very difficult for them to reconcile artistic with revolutionary
activity. Nevertheless, they would still have a way out: to elaborate their own criteria
in that direction. But then it would also be very valid to ask: What has Zona done in
I do not think that the adoption of the hedonist and eclectic positions of Susan
Sontag is sufficient to close the debate. Art is not as disinterested as the supporters of
Zona think. Besides the conceptions and the forms of literary expression of a Jorge
Luis Borges or of a Guillermo Cabrera Infante, there are values and attitudes which
they try to impose.
I know that, for one who is seriously interested in literature, it is very important
and totally necessary to be acquainted with all the good writers, even the reactionaries.
But this is far different from seeking prestige under the shadow of counter-
The supporters of Zona aspire to criteria of quality and of artistic excellence which
are very wholesome for the Puerto Rican cultural milieu, but if they lower the guard in
the matter of literary criticism and continue directing their magazine by artistic
criteria of the bohemian wing of the Cuban exile (which are those which are prevailing
at the moment), instead of gaining prestige under the shadow of some cows, which are
already not so sacred, they will be compromising a trust which, in spite of the many
disagreements, inspire most of the independentist intellectuals.
This should not, nevertheless, be interpreted as an invitation to cease expressing the
concrete problems which most concern them and to not give testimony to the world
which they know best and are most qualified to describe and examine. It is not an
invitation to embrace the populism which has so much permeated most of the groups
who are partisans of committed art in our country. Now it is time to remove that
misunderstanding. There are many structural barriers which separate the common
people from certain literary genres like the novel, the short story and even poetry.
Those limitations have been partly overcome by Artists who have embraced the
protest songs or the "guerrilla" theatre.
But, despite that problem of communication, there is no reason and here we
agree with Rosario Ferre for the abandonment of the literary genres which have
least appeal at present, or for the Artist to abandon the message which most disquiets
him and which he knows best, in order to appoint himself spokesman for the popular
masses and to become self-satisfied thinking that his poems stir the souls of the
multitudes when, in reality, they are as isolated from the common people as is Borges
in his ivory tower and his purely bookish world.
This does not mean, nevertheless, that the writers who are interested in establishing
an authentic contact with the common people ought to not strive to communicate
their messages. On the contrary; perhaps, the best way of establishing true communica-
tion with the public, which is really interested in the writers of committed art, is to
become aware that the message is not being communicated, and that it will possibly
never be, if they continue utilizing the same techniques which have produced such
insufficient results for so many years.
In Puerto Rico, the conditions are ripe for the establishment of a greater integration
of the common people into the culture. That is why the most positive idea which was
stated at the conference on literature and ideology was that regarding the necessity of
organizing an ample cultural front, so that our artistic struggle may rest on more solid
foundations. But before embarking on that enterprise, it is well to remember that the
revolutionary imagination in art as in politics, is not a simple flight from reality, but
on the contrary, is a confrontation with reality in order to transform it, and make it
recover the human and aesthetic dimension which it has lost in capitalist societies. For
this reason we cannot fall into the trap of literary apoliticism, nor in that of ingenuous
JOSE LUIS MENDEZ
Translated by Dr. Sheila Carter
CUBAN POLITICAL SCIENCE IN THE SEVENTIES:
Since the early sixties, Revolutionary Cuba's institutions of higher education have
been restructured to emphasize the diffusion of technological skills. After the initial
increase in lower class consumption patterns, it became apparent that investments on
the order of 30 per cent of the GNP would be required to perpetuate this unpre-
cedented redistribution of income. While egalitarianism then is as crucial as "power"
to an assessment of Fidel Castro's leadership, neither of these commitments should be
allowed to obscure other closely related objectives of the Revolution: national inde-
pendence; a modernized society; and full utilization of the island's natural resources
(Barkin, 1972). Because developmental mobilization almost by definition requires that
the highest national priority be assigned to such learning, it was logical for the Revolu-
tion to severely limit the budgetary and human resources which could be made avail-
able to the social sciences and humanities. I One suspects that this tendency was
reinforced by the relatively low proportion of blue collar offspring attracted by and
capable of working in these disciplinary areas. Even today, the Humanities Faculty at
the University of Havana boasts the highest percentage of middle class sons and
A Multifunctional Discipline. Cuba resembled other great twentieth century social
revolutions in that a markedly radicalized minority of the middle classes organized and
led a mass movement which rapidly transferred most formerly private property to the
state. The middle classes in Cuba like those in most Western countries have with, few
exceptions, tended to align themselves with wealthier upper classes against egalitarian
social movements. Their initial sense of relative deprivation was rapidly transformed
into overt opposition during the early sixties when it seemed that Castro's success in
defying the United States would be no greater than that of Guatemala's Colonel
Arbenz in the early 1950s. Acting under what we might call a justified "seige menta-
lity," the increasingly Marxist Fidelista elite placed thousands of loyal but untrained
lower class followers in administrative positions. While Soviet aid forestalled a total
collapse of the economy, it was insufficient to forestall a decline in the availability of
consumer goods a shortage which also reflected higher levels of mass consumption as
well as the impact of the U.S. trade blockade.
By the mid-sixties, the traditional system of lower class work incentives had been
vitiated by the paucity of consumer goods. This crisis worsened despite the institution
of a long-range program to create the needed technical, organizational and adminis-
trative skills via a reoriented and impressively expanded educational system. In the
meantime, because Castro and a large sector of his "New Communist" elite were
determined to avoid the type of increasingly privatized civic orientations which have
come to characterize East European socialist-based societies, it was decided to reject
both price rationing and individual material (or wage) incentives which would almost
certainly eventuate in a new privileged class as described by Milovan Djilas. Fidel's or
the Revolution's (we use these terms interchangeably) idealistic commitment to pro-
moting a sense of civic virtue in a society long reputed for its social vices was reflected
by a variety of egalitarian measures including official rationing and the rapid institu-
tionalization of honorific or moral incentives for all kinds of work. The success or
failure of this herculean effort to resocialize millions who had in varying degrees
internalized the norms of possessive individualism depended upon the quality of
leadership at the middle levels of Cuba's mass organizations and within its bureaucratic
The insulation of Marxist beliefs, values and attitudes was deemed vital to the
promotion of national socio-economic development in the late sixties and seventies. In
contrast to material incentives and a privatist ethic, the decision to institutionalize
unselfishness was consonant with the long-run aspiration for a classless and communi-
tarian society though extremely difficult to implement in the short-run. Children
and older persons who had already demonstrated courage in defending the Revolution
were quickly socialized into the new socio-political culture at the local, provincial and
national Schools of Revolutionary Instruction (EIRs). By the late sixties, this function
was being effectively performed by the public school system. The continuing direction
of the cultural transformation effort within schools, mass organizations and the ad-
ministrative structures had to be entrusted to individuals who were not only socialized
to community service as the primary source of identity, but they also required high
levels of sophistication and competence. The primary function of the University of
Havana's School of Political Science is to enhance the efficacy of mobilization and
administrative elites by training them in political analysis and exposing them to a
broad and appropriate range of empirical data. Their organizations and agencies also
benefit from an increasing amount of policy-oriented research which is often under-
taken by both faculty and students. Because its plays such a crucial role in qualita-
tively transforming the Cuban socio-political order, political science although
offered as an undergraduate program, is not a freely chosen major as it is in the United
This crucial difference is highlighted by admission requirements which preclude
those who have not evidenced sustained enthusiasm for Cuba's new political culture.
Both faculty and students at the University of Havana's School of Political Science
must have been awarded at least probationary membership in either the Communist
Party of Cuba or the Communist Youth. Admission to the latter organization requires
that one be less than twenty-seven years of age and have fulfilled all of the following
requisites: 1) a good academic record and superior academic motivation; 2) prior
conduct indicating a disposition to engage those "who express counterrevolutionary
attitudes"; 3) a record of appreciable participation in productive labor; 4) courage and
patriotism as reflected by "a diligent role in the militia" which provide armed guards
for all centers of work; and 5) an ability to maintain good human relationships with
other persons. In most if not all cases it would seem that those who succeed in the
highly competitive process have fully internalized the new Communist political culture
described by Fagan (1969).4
The Scope of Course Offerings. Between 1960 and 1962, anti-communists resigned
or were dismissed from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Law at the Univer-
sity of Havana. During that period studies were being offered in three principal areas:
international law; public administration;and political science. By the end of 1963, the
first had been transferred to the Foreign Ministry's Institute of International Politics
while public administration courses were shifted to the Faculty of Commercial
Science. The Revolution's dedication to academic relevance and societal development
revealed itself in the simultaneous reorganization of the remaining courses that had
been formerly labeled political science. The primary though not exclusive goal was to
enhance the theoretical awareness of students. As used here, the term theory denotes
courses which emphasize a Marxian normative perspective as well as others of a pri-
marily empirical nature.
The latter are offered by the School of Political Science's Department of Methodo-
logy. They include required courses in general statistics and investigatory methods.
Research design, interview techniques and the analysis of evidence derived from both
documentary sources and survey research are core subjects within this department. So,
for that matter, is a reading ability in both English and French. Although Russian
language competence is not required, there is considerable flexibility in student pro-
gramming. Hence, where the need existed, it could probably be accepted as a sub-
stitute for English or French.6
The overwhelming majority of courses taken by Cuban students are administered
by the School's Department of Political Studies. Fusing both Marxian values with class
paradigms, these offerings fall into six principal areas. Marxist Philosophy encompasses
both historical and dialectical materialism. Political Thought is a survey course which
essays the scholarly contributions of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke,
Rosseau, etc. The students also devote some attention to the political ideas of Bolivar,
Sarmiento, Marti, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and other distinguished Latin Americans.
Under the designation Political Economy fall three major topics: pre-monopolistic
capitalism; imperialism; and socialism. As one would expect, considerable attention is
devoted to reciprocal linkages between economic variables and their effects upon public
policies. Socialism encompasses the study of economic problems encountered by
modern elites that are endeavoring to create the material and psychological frame-
work for communism. Hence special emphasis is placed upon Cuba's distinctive
and increasingly successful effort to subordinate material to moral incentives within
a highly centralized command economy.7
Another course which leans more to the strictly 'political' is Underdevelop-
ment and Colonialism. The focus here is upon the Third World in the nineteenth
century and the more recent era of neo-colonialism. A closely related course offering is
International Politics which examines the parameters of international conflict, the role of
international organization and international economic relationships. Here Cuba's historic
dependency relationship with the United States is carefully scrutinized. The sixth and
final area of study within the Department of Political Studies is general or modern
world history. This is broken down into three consecutive courses: 1789 to 1847;
1848 to 1895; and from 1896 until the present. For obvious reasons, the most recent
period is assigned the greatest importance. Each of the three courses examines the
historical development of Cuba, Latin America, the United States and the workers'
Demise of the Regular Course. As mentioned previously, the Revolution's dedica-
tion to developmental mobilization was responsible for major administrative reforms
at the faculty and department levels in 1962-1963. Simultaneously, political science
programs were phased out of the curricula of the University of Santa Clara and the
University of Oriente these institutions being assigned special teacher and technical
training roles. As all institutions of higher education were restructured to directly
promote the efficacy of public agencies and organizations, it was logical for the
teaching of political science to be concentrated at a university in the nation's capital.
Particular importance was given to the fact that the headquarters of various cadre and
mass organizations such as the Communist Party, the Federation of Cuban
Women, the Confederation of Revolutionary Cuban Workers, the National
Association of Small Farmers and others were located in Havana. These external
economies and the obvious need by upwardly mobile elites for a broader and
more sophisticated political perspective were reflected by a decision probably
made in 1967 to gradually eliminate the regular course of study and to replace
it with a specially devised program of adult education the directed course.9
The traditional regular course which still accounted for about 100 students (or
slightly less than thirty per cent) in 1971-1972 bore only superficial resemblance to
major programs of study in the United States. Its duration is four years, each with two
fifteen-week semesters. Classes generally range from twenty to thirty students who are
assigned readings from various sources. As in the United States, a goodly number of
students prefer relatively undemanding lectures to coping with the required books and
articles. Classes generally meet four hours per week in each of four different sub-
jects.10 The professor articulates his own perspective on a topic following which a
reading assignment is made. At the next meeting the students ideally engage each other
and the teacher in a lively discussion." Like our own, the grading system tends to
ignore class participation. Research papers and written class exercises account for
roughly 30 per cent of the final grade while the remainder is based upon two or three
written examinations. The Cubans evidently do not consider the abolition of marks to
be a progressive, liberating or revolutionary advance. They do, however, require that
these regular students most recruited from pre-university senior high schools and the
remainder coming directly from government agencies assimilate the daily experience
of the manual laborer. Neither the importance nor the psychological consequences of
the Revolution's determination to substitute empathy for the disdain which tradition-
ally was associated with physical work should be underestimated.12 Regular course
students then are quite willing to spend the mornings of their first two years of study
working at manual tasks in a factory. During the last two years, they engage in
part-time work at the ministry, agency or mass organization where they will be
employed upon graduation. Classes at the university are for the most part afternoon
ones. The demands upon students' time and energy also include membership in the
Communist Youth and the Federation of University Students. These factors and
Cuba's Catholic heritage probably go further in explaining the lack of extensive
reading than does the laziness and anti-intellectualism so prevalent in the United
States. Most of the students are on scholarships, do not take drugs and in general are
regarded as quite mature. They tend to be between twenty and twenty-five years of
The broadening of educational opportunity necessitated by Revolutionary Cuba's
developmental process is now being reflected by the substitution of a directed course
of study for the previously described regular one. At the present time, the former
enrolls close at 300 students. All are already regular employees of a governmental
agency or a mass organization. In addition to being Communist Youth or Party
members, they must be nominated either by administrative superiors or by an em-
ployee assembly in their place of work where the number of merits which they have
previously earned constitutes an important criterion of eligibility. 14Academically,
there are grounds for suspecting that the directed course students are not as well
prepared as those who had previously entered directly from pre-university senior high
schools.15 While the School of Political Science's flunk-our rate has been a marginal 2
per cent for the regular course, it is moderately higher for those taking the five year
extension type programs. These students are on the average five years older and
consequently tend to be more serious. And despite the fact that their employers must
agree to facilitate the course of study by adjusting work demands and flexible
scheduling, it may well be that many of these highly motivated and often married
students are in fact overworked. One suspects that this along with the hiatus in their
academic experience accounts for the increased number of failures because the ad-
mission process remains far more selective than our own at the state university
level. 16On the other hand, classes tend to be larger in size than those for the regular
course and in general they meet only once a week. At these times the professor
distributes assignments, administers tests and endeavors to explain the most difficult
aspects of the subject matter. The lack of extensive faculty-student contact is only
partially compensated for by the provision of special study guides or hornbooks which
elucidate the goals of particular courses and, one suspects, streamline their contents. In
the long run, a full time graduate program may have to be instituted if Cuban
political science is to develop as a serious scholarly and self-generating dis-
cipline. Meanwhile the flexible programming of the directed course for those
cadres and administrative elites who are presently in dire need of a theoretical
perspective must be balanced against any temporary lowering of standards.
Rapid national development during the seventies and eighties is the Revolution's
overriding imperative at the present time.
Administration and Party Guidance. As implied by the foregoing, an independent
or autonomous role for the university is only somewhat more alien to the ideals of a
mobilizational society than it is to the reality of North American capitalism.7 On such
basic policy decisions as the abolition of the regular course, the leading role of the
Party is fully exercised in Cuba's traditionally state-controlled public universities. As
we have noted, all faculty in the School of Political Science must be Communists for
the simple reason that they are vested with the crucial task of educating those who will
assume top national leadership in the future.! This is quite natural during the mobili-
zational era when one grants that the creation of a Communist society is what the
Revolution is all about!
Hence, the party nucleus in the School of Political Science processes demands and
provides feedback to the Party in the Humanities Faculty; and this entity which
does not include all Humanities' professors performs a linkage function for the Party
in the university. The University of Havana is subordinate to the Communist Party of
Cuba on policy questions. In a direct sense, the Central Committee exercises final
authority over the Party in the university. And less directly, the Rector is of course
appointed by the Minister of Education.
Many important decisions are reached after free discussion and amendment at
various party levels. Hence, a non-consultative dictatorial model would inaccurately
depict the limited though genuine openness and diversity of views which may be
articulated by thinking persons in these lively meetings.1 And the range of Party
activity at the student level extends to assisting those who for one reason or another
are doing poorly in their studies. Among younger students this has been generally seen
to by members of the Communist Youth.
Student and faculty expression have in the last few years been encouraged in
non-Party settings as well. Between 1968 and 1970, the national effort to enliven and
democratize mass organizations was reflected at the university by a proscription
against the simultaneous holding of coordinate positions. Thus, the Director of the
School of Political Science could not also be elected as secretary of the Party nucleus
at that level. 20 Within the two departments of the School this problem is nonexistent
because neither has a Party nucleus. Tbe-department heads in turn, although designa-
ted by the School Director, possess extremely limited authority.
Even the Director's nominally broad jurisdiction is effectively constrained by the
existence of no less than four distinct assemblies within the School of Political
Science. First, there are occasional department meetings to discuss problems and
questions germane to instruction at that level. Two or three times a semester, all
faculty teaching a particular class of students meet in what is called a Junta de
Coordinacidn. Also participating as a regular member of this Coordinating Group is the
FEU responsible elected by the same group of students.21 A third assembly consists
of the School's faculty which generally holds a claustro once a semester to discuss
academic matters. Finally, whenever there is a need, the unified sindicato of in-
structional and non-academic workers at the School will hold an assembly. The
national policy of encouraging greater citizen participation has been reflected by "fre-
quent" sindicato sessions since 1970. It goes without saying that the Party acts
through such assemblies and mass organizations to encourage heightened support for
the Revolution's egalitarian and developmental goals. Communication feedback on
policy outcomes as well as interest articulation constitute vital corollary functions of
these periodic assemblies which are duplicated at work places throughout the land.
Both the sindicato (or School) assembly and annual meetings of each class of
students play a major role in reinforcing community spirit or moral incentives. At
these gatherings, the contributions of particular individuals are discussed and some are
awarded merits while the most dedicated may be recommended for the honor of Party
membership. The nominees are then investigated by special Party committees which
must report any reasons for rejection to the appropriate assembly. Although oppor-
tunism and other all too human frailties are by no means eradicated as behavioral
determinants, the gross imbalance between personal sacrifices for and material
benefits resulting from merit awards suggest that professors in Revolutionary Cuba
today might be judiciously depicted as a type of aristocratic elite one motivated
primarily by honorific symbols.22
Research Facilities and Prospects. The dominant norm of community service
accounts for the fact that most political research is carried out at the specific request
of government agencies or mass organizations. The subordination of research to mobi-
lizational priorities was in evidence a decade ago when according to Fagen (1969:
the first public mention was made of the possibility of founding, within a
year or two, an Institute of Higher Studies of Marxism-Leninism dedicated both
to the examination of key theoretical issues and to research into 'our history,
our present realities, and our future solutions.' As of 1967, when the EIR were
closed, the Institute of Higher Studies was still not founded. The promised
research program, however, was in full flower.
The program began modestly in 1964 with a study of the Cuban labor move-
ment and an investigation into the economics of the sugar industry. From the
outset this program in the EIR had three primary purposes. First, it would
produce the sort of written materials considered essential for continued training
and for diffusion of 'revolutionary knowledge,' both inside and outside the EIR
system. It was felt that there were not enough basic studies of the Cuban
economy, polity, and society; moreover, most of those that did exist were
rendered almost worthless if not absolutely dangerous by their capitalistic,
bourgeois bias. Second, it would supply basic knowledge and data on current
conditions in Cuba. This information would help in the planning and imple-
menting of policy. Third, it would provide, for those who participated in the
program, a healthy and necessary corrective for formalism, dogmatism, and the
mechanical application of theory.
Although the first research under the auspices of the EIR was conducted in
1964, it was not until early 1965 that a permanent organizational infrastructure
was raised. At that time, the Comision Nacional de Investigaciones y Estudios
Sociales de las EIR del PURSC (later of the PCC) was established. By 1966, the
Commission had created separate national sub-commissions devoted to research
on economics, history, methodology (instructional techniques), sociology, and
philosophy. There were also separate provincial committees coordinating work
in each of these fields. In the entire nation, at the end of 1966, approximately
150 cadres of the EIR were working on the various research projects. Of these,
about half devoted all their time to research and the other half combined their
research work with administrative responsibilities in the schools. Of course,
many students in the schools were also brought into the research projects as data
gatherers, assistants, and semiskilled workers of various types.
The scope of the research effort in 1966 is suggested by the following partial list
of projects then under way. (1) Under the Commission of Sociological Research:
a replication and elaboration in twelve rural zones of some aspects of Lowry
Nelson's study and other studies of rural life, and a contribution to a UNESCO
international study of recreation and the uses of leisure time. (2) Under the
Commission of Historical Research: a history of the Communist Movement in
Cuba, a history of the labor movement in Cuba, a history of the 26th of July
Movement, and a chronology of the revolutionary movement from 1952 to
1965. (3) Under the Commission of Economic Research: a general study of the
economics of the sugar industry and a general study of the economics of the
cattle and dairy industries.
Typical of the field investigations that are currently underway is an attempt to
isolate the variables associated with what is regarded as excessive membership turnover
in Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. Because of the sensitive nature of
the relationships and perhaps for other reasons, survey research was rejected in favor
of participant-observation. As in the case of another investigation of low productivity
among port workers, upper division students were assigned to live with the persons
under study. This type of supervised research capitalized upon the professional aspira-
tions and idealism (" .don't ask what your country can do for you. ") of
political science students who in many instances succeeded in establishing friendships
and eliciting candid expressions from the subjects. Hence, a recent investigation of
peasant attitudes following a centrally directed urban relocation program near the
Escambray Mountains revealed many instances of administrative insensitivity and in-
competence by local officials. Even in an area noted for its past counterrevolutionary
activity, the peasants were quite disposed to participate in a grievance feedback
process integral to the structuring of a more responsive and hopefully efficacious
Between sixty and eighty per cent of the research carried on by the faculty at the
School of Political Science may be properly labeled policy science. The multidiscipli-
nary origins of the School's curricula tend to be mirrored in research committees that
freely draw their personnel from political economy, history, philosophy, etc24 There
is no parallel in Revolutionary Cuba for the narrow specialization which has come to
govern subdisciplinary areas of U. S. political science. The natural reaction, of course,
would be to ask whether a self-conscious "autonomous" discipline called political
science even exists in Cuba. 25
Despite the absence of a graduate program and the nonexistence of occupational
sanctions for those who fail "to publish," a fair argument might be made that the
discipline is in the process of developing despite or even because of its function as the
handmaiden of national mobilization and security. While much of the field research is
reduced to unpublished reports for sponsoring entities, in the future it is conceivable
that they will be used as primary sources for middle range theoretical endeavors. Some
work on theory is being done today at the School. Book length manuscripts are
published by the national Book Institute while articles appear in MINREX's Politica
International the Party's Pensamiento Critico or the multidisciplinary journal Universi-
dad de la Habana. When appropriate, the university arranges for very attractive mono-
graphs to be printed on its own rather small press.
In recent months two special research committees have been constituted with the
intent of undertaking systematic research on political institutions and processes in
Cuba and Latin America. With regard to the former, an inclusive bibliography is being
prepared at the present time. Eventually, the work of these research groups will be
published in monograph form and it is possible that full-fledged institutes may be
organized. During 1973, a third research committee will be formed to specialize on the
The School of Political Science rewards and encourages those of its faculty who are
willing and able to engage in research activities. While as we have said, it does not
require that they do this in addition to teaching, facilities and assistants are allocated
to those with a genuine need for them. This is not to say that no serious obstacles
exist. Within the Humanities Faculty, the Institute of Economy, the Department of
Sociology and the School of History all rank ahead of the School of Political Science
in terms of research output. Because most of the latter's graduates are immediately
snapped up by governmental agencies and mass organizations, the existing faculty
lacks the personnel which would enable many to take leave from teaching duties.
Hence only a small percentage of professors are carrying on research currently.
Even these are handicapped by the economic and cultural blockade which accounts
for a paucity of Latin American and North American scholarly publications in the
libraries of the University of Havana. To be specific, the following journals are not
being received: World Politics, American Political Science Review, American Journal
of International Law, Science & Society, American Journal of Comparative Law and
the Public Opinion Quarterly. Very few which were taken prior to the 1962-1964
period have continued without interruption.6 And while a number of other journals
began to arrive regularly between 1969 and 1971, they appear to have been selected
by a North American humanities scholar at the request of a private foundation in the
United States for the list includes several that are obviously of less value to Cuban
scholars than those listed at the beginning of this paragraph.27 When one considers
books at the School of Political Science, the obstacles to serious research become even
more blatant. Aside from a number of Monthly Review Press publications which were
probably donated by invitados, virtually nothing of a behavioralist suasion is cata-
logued and only a moderate number of recent empirical studies published in the U. S.
or other countries on any topics are available to students or faculty. Thus, under the
heading "capitalism," we find a 1942 work by Louis Hacker and J. K. Galbraith's
American Capitalism published nine years ago along with Andre Gunder Frank's
outstanding contributions. But that is all! Although the fact that there are no works
on communism by unsympathetic authors might suggest a deliberate policy of
exclusion, the existence of works on other topics by authors who espouse perspectives
antithetical to those of the Cuban Communist Party leads one to believe that the U. S.
blockade is the major if not the sole variable in this equation as does the articulation
of an explicit desire to obtain such publications by university officials.28
Insofar as scientific tradition and a desire to engage in scholarly research on Cuban
political development as relevant to the role orientations of North American political
scientists, it is incumbent upon them to heed these professional interests by addressing
their attention to the perpetuation of both this blockade and the occupation of Cuban
territory by the United States Navy. An alteration of this status quo is a sine qua non
for promoting further development of political science in the two countries concerned.
MILES D. WOLPIN
*The author wishes to express his gratitude to the following persons for providing information
or facilitating the interviews upon which much of what follows is based: Manuel Lee of
ICAP; Prof. Rafael Hernandez, Philosophy Dept., Dr. Esteban Morales, Director of the School of
Political Science; and Dr. Rolando Lopez del Amo, Vice Dean of Research. The last three are
all associated with the University of Havana's Humanities Faculty. Neither they nor other
colleagues Jay Sorenson and Martin Needler who were kind enough to offer helpful
comments on the manuscript are responsible for my interpretations or conclusions.
1. Hence, only the University of Havana offered political science as a program of study in 1972.
This accounted for less than 400 of that institution's 20,000 man total enrollment. Although
courses in political economy were offered by the university in the early nineteenth century,
they never attained the popularity of more practical programs of study. MacGaffey and
Barnett note in their government sponsored study (1962:162) that "the faculties of medicine,
law, commerce, and education were the most popular. In 1951-52, for example, students in
these faculties represented about two-thirds of the total enrollment. Few students, by
contrast, elected social science and public law, pure science, veterinary medicine, or agricul-
tural programs. The distribution of students among various faculties reflected both social
attitudes and economic realities."
2. In recent years the percentage of blue collar offspring enrolled in the Humanities Faculty of
the University of Havana has risen fairly steadily. In addition to the School of Political
Science, the following administrative subdivisions are housed within the Faculty: School of
Letters; School of Modern Languages; School of Juridical Sciences, School of Journalism;
School of History; Dept. of Philosophy; Dept. of Sociology.
3. The University of Havana is the only one with programs in the humanities and social sciences.
4. Briefly *he new political culture as described by Fagen (1969) emphasizes the following: a)
beliefs in Marxism and the historically derived legitimacy of Fidel's interpretive authority; b)
ubiquitous egalitarian, anti-imperialist, organizational and developmental values; c) attitudes
favoring community service and labour for honorific rewards. The bearers of the new culture
are the youth and a minority of older persons amenable to resocialization, i.e. those who had
but lightly internalized values associated with bourgeois pluralism, tropical hedonism and
possessive individualism. The Revolution's inability to even partially resocialize between ten
and thirty percent of the population accounts for much of the coercion which still exists in
5. Public Administration encompassed public accounting and budgetary procedures. In terms of
content it bore no resemblance to similarly titled courses offered by political science depart-
ments in the United States.
6. The emphasis upon Western languages is consonant with the Revolution's determination to
avoid Sovietization the mechanical imitation of East European practices. In July 1972, 1
met a Soviet Russian language teacher who affirmed that her specialty was markedly less
prevalent than English language instruction. These facts and the economic policy decisions
reported by Boorstein (1968) and Silverman (1971) must be taken account of in evaluating
Karol's (1970) critique. So, for that matter, should the initiation of research commissions in
1965 by the Schools of Revolutionary instruction something dealt with in the final portion
of this article.
7. Two recent works which question the realism and doubt the prospects of success for these
innovations are Silverman (1970) and Bernardo (1971). Having visited Cuba several times,
Fagen (1969:164) is less willing to rely upon the economic determinism which forms the basis
for the judgements by the two first mentioned authors.
8. Because several of the program offerings mentioned in the text have been traditionally asso-
ciated with different disciplines, the School of Political Science regularly draws some of its
instructors from other departments and schools in the Humanities Faculty. They include
sociology, psychology, and philosophy. Again, it is worth noting that U.S. rather than Soviet
history is specified although the latter is encompassed under the general workers' movement
9. Between 1962 and 1968 a dual system of Marxist education functioned in Cuba. "Regular"
students received empirical and normative instruction at the university. Cadres from mass
organizations with less time and/or academic preparation enrolled in the Schools of
Revolutionary Instruction (EIR's).The Nico Lopez School was the highest level EIR. When the
EIR system was abolished in 1968, many of the former Nico Lopez faculty and students
probably were incorporated into the "directed course" at the university's School of Political
Science. On the EIR system and the role of the Nico Lopez School, see Fagen (1969:104-37).
10. Thus, the program for a first year student might include the following: History (1789-1847);
Marxist Philosophy; Statistics; and English. A typical second year schedule could encompass:
History (1848-1895); Marxist Philosophy; Political Economy;and Research Techniques.
I11. Such discussions and incisive questioning do occur. On certain topics such as Mexican foreign
policy, the students may be poorly informed. And while it is quite likely that their
cognitive levels are markedly higher for some other subjects, it would be imprudent to
assert firm conclusions regarding either this or for that matter, the ubiquity of pointed
12. The modernizing elite's disposition to itself engage in such tasks is a hallmark of Cuba's
new political culture. It is symbolically integral to the system of moral incentives which
seems to be slowly transforming that country into one with a genuine communist "work
ethic." Among the possible effects of such student experiences are: 1) greater egalitarian
sentiment due to a higher personal regard for workers and peasants; 2) realization that in-
tellectual endeavors are more expressive and therefore inherently easier than manual labor; and
3) a sceptical attitude toward ivory tower intellectualism. The aforementioned are more likely
to reinforce than function as a source of new civic attitudes. Most if not all current university
matriculants have already internalized a service ethos and a majority have previously engaged
in voluntary nation-building labor. The "escuelas al campo" program instituted in the mid-
sixties (Fagen, 1969:149) has been all but universalized, and is now being insti-
tutionalized by the removal of all secondary schools to rural areas. By October 1972,
approximately forty secundarias baicas had been constructed in the countryside. The
remainder were either in planning stages or being erected by Cuban and international
13. There are no fees for university matriculation and textbooks are distributed without
charge. Students from homes in Havana which are unsuitable for study and those who
come from rural areas or other provinces are lodged in the apartment buildings and Miramar
homes which formerly belonged to the now liquidated upper classes.
14. Workers assemblies comprised of both blue and white collar employees are called several times
a year. Criteria for the award of merits include: diligence; concern for others; defense of social
property; an interest in upgrading one's skills; and political awareness as evidenced by a
willingness to engage in unpaid voluntary overtime, participation in other patriotic tasks such
as agricultural harvests, demonstrations, etc. Informal peer group pressure is exercised in the
course of discussions of individual records and attitudes during the assembly.
15. Both the emphasis upon moral qualifications and the criterion of agency/mass organizational
need (as opposed to self-nomination in the admission process) suggest a legacy from the Nico
Lopez School of Revolutionary Instruction (EIR). And continuity is also implied by the fact
that during the last two or three years of its existence, the term of study was lengthened at
Nico Lopez and Marxian theory was treated with far greater sophistication. Fagen
(1969:124-36) seems to imply, however, that the lack of teaching materials and especially the
limited intellectual capability of most cadres seriously affected the efficacy of the entire
system of revolutionary instruction. Given the corrupt pre-Revolutionary system of public
education (MacGaffey and Barnett, 1962:159-64), and the egalitarian bias of the Revolution,
it would seem that an interim decline in academic standards would be all but inevitable.
16. Although it is said that the selectivity of current admissions to the directed course (300 of
1,000 qualified applicants were accepted in 1972) will be maintained, the School of Political
Science is gradually expanding and ultimately may enroll as many as 2,000 students or double
the total number presently seeking admission.
17. The greater openness or autonomy which characterizes American political science naturally
reflects an incremental elite consensus and concomitant conservative societal roles for their
institutions. Nevertheless, what we are dealing with is a matter of degree for the discipline
along with social sciences plays an important system maintenance function through: 1) direct
socialization of majors; 2) indirect socialization of mass publics and other students both in
universities and lower level institutions; 3) generation of a vast flow of policy oriented re-
search; and 4) transmission of expertise to aspiring government specialists. The system-
rationalizing normative orientation which infuses most teaching and scholarship reflects
not merely the prior socialization or class origins of the political scientist, but also re-
inforcing and often subtle constraints deriving from their indirect subordination to the
corporate owning upper class via foundations, boards of trustees, and corporate financed
political elites in executive and legislative bodies. The limitations upon institutional autono-
my and academic freedom at North American universities are dealt with in the following:
Bahr (1967); Roszak (1967); Domhoff (1967); Ridgeway (1968); NACLA (1968); Haberer
(1969); Horowitz (1969); Surkin and Wolfe (1971).
18. Fidel Castro's lengthy sojourn during the May July 1972 period to fifteen countries in
Africa and Europe suggests that considerable progress has been made in institutionalizing the
decision-making process. Within a decade or two, the emerging forms of collective leadership
may well supplant revolutionary caudilloismo as impersonal rules and technological
modernization become more widely diffused. To be sure, even for many politically literate
citizens, Cuba's counterpart to our George Washington continues to perform an oracular role
analogous to that of Moses or if one prefers Paul. As Lockwood (1967) demonstrates, even
non-Marxist Yankees are easily overwhelmed by Fidel's charisma.
19. Within the context of Fidel's revolutionary pragmatism, the operational scope of this freedom
is limited to alternatives consonant with a very broad and occasionally ambiguous Marxian
tradition. As an example of what we mean, some time ago the Education Ministry in an effort
to raise academic standards in junior high schools proposed that students who failed the same
grade three times be dismissed. Before adoption, this was debated by elected student
representatives at a congress. The latter were successful in altering the regulation to require
dismissal of anyone who failed more than once. Hence, at the behest of students themselves,
academic standards were considerably tightened. This conflictual process occurred within the
framework provided by Fidel's general admonition that national development required greater
commitment and diligence upon the part of those enrolled in Cuba's educational institutions.
It hardly needs to be said that the articulation of explicitly counterrevolutionary views is
beyond the pale of tolerance. And less creditably, it must be admitted that informal sanctions
are likely to be imposed upon those who are defined as arguing for the sake of arguing los
conflictivos. Junior faculty aspiring for tenure in the United States can appreciate the
constraints which are consequential to the operationalization of this concept!
20. Neither can the Rector of the University of Havana, nor the Dean of Humanities. The Dean -
appointed by the Rector could theoretically hold the highest Party post at the university.
While this would vest informal supervisory authority over the Rector's performance in him,
the Rector could probably appeal through the Education Minister to the Central Committee or
Fidel himself. Nor should one ignore the informal channels for appeal in a country still
characterized by a good deal of amigoismo as well as functionally diffuse roles at high levels.
21. .By 1970, the Federation of University of Students (FEU) was separated from the Juventud
Comunista with which it previously had been integrated. Each entering class of twenty to
thirty students elects a responsible or officer charged with reconciling academic problems and
encouraging participation in voluntary labor a widespread though far from universal activity
in contemporary Cuba. Other elected FEU officials include one with jurisdiction over political
education and recreational opportunities (an interesting duo), and a delegado who presides
over class meetings. FEU delegados and school presidents have not infrequently engaged in
multi-candidate election campaigns for their offices. While one suspects that the political
education officers and responsables are informally nominated by parallel Juventud Comunista
nucleos, this is probably not the case for delegados and school presidents. Hence, there is an
indeterminate though real degree of autonomy which has been restored to this revitalized
22. .While we would not ignore the traditional social status, intrinsic expressive satisfactions and
relative ease of intellectual occupations, it should be noted that salaries of young faculty are
on a par with those of skilled construction workers. Although it might be argued that a similar
situation exists in the United States, the egalitarian nature of Cuba's revolutionary process is
demonstrated by the modest salaries of their high ranking professors and administrative
officials who receive a maximum income of about $7,000. Given the fairly effective rationing
system and the Revolution's emphasis upon increasing public as opposed to private
consumption, it seems reasonable to conclude that the operation of material incentives at the
university level has been substantially vitiated if not wholly expurgated.
23. Another field investigation which is currently at the planning stage will seek to determine how
the National Association of Small Farmers can more effectively perform its political
socialization function on its petty bourgeois constituency one slated for gradual liquidation
by the Revolution. Given the fact that many of these small farmers derive a sense of identity
and intrinsic satisfaction from the possession of land, the task of the cadres may be an
insuperable one insofar as the older generation is concerned. The widespread construction of
junior high schools in the countryside should ease the problem of socializing peasant offspring
as will the probable reduction in the age of military conscription for those who drop out of
these secundarias basicas. At the present time there are thousands of youth between the ages
of fourteen and seventeen who are neither attending school, employed nor subject to the
24. This broad recruitment base parallels that used in 1965 by the EIR's National Commission for
Research and Social Studies. According to Fagen (1969:129), ". . many of the project
directors, although they have been members of the national EIR subcommissions on research,
were not actually cadres of the system of revolutionary instruction, but were recruited from
the universities, various ministries, and special governmental organizations like the Junta
Central de Planificacion.
25. It may be significant that the current Director of the School of Political Science is an
economist but one keenly interested in political relationships. Looking at the question from
a different perspective, Fagen (1969:128,130) suggests that the "emphasis and resources
funneled into [social scientific] research in the EIR grew out of a more general conviction that
uncritical borrowing from Soviet and Eastern European practice would not answer Cuba's
[distinctive] political and developmental needs.... This general conviction was reflected in
the motto of the fourteenth national meeting of the EIR, 'What is most important is that we
develop our own way,' a phrase taken from one of Castro's speeches. In reporting on that
meeting, [EIR head] Soto quoted liberally from Castro to the effect that through study,
research and the creative use of experience, the revolution must find its own theoretical and
operational style: 'We believe that regarding all these problems of Socialism and
Communism it is necessary to meditate, to reflect, to study, to analyze, to do a great deal of
research. .... Thought that stagnates is thought that rots. . We should admit that our revo-
lution, in its early phase, had various imitative, mechanistic tendencies.... To copy in life, or
to copy in the revolution, is like copying on an examination. And nobody can graduate as a
revolutionary by copying.'.... In any case, although the scholarship may not have been of
the highest and most impartial order, much of it was empirical self-investigation of the sort not
usually engaged in by revolutionary regimes." Fagen's pessimism may be excessive if one is to
judge from the quality and diversity of perspectives in such scholarly University of Havana
publications as referencias vol. 3, no. 1, and economic y desarrollo, no. 6 (Abril-Junio 1971).
Another journal, Universidad de la Habana informs readers that "(t)he articles express the
opinions of their authors. The journal's opinion is presented in clarifying notes and
26. Among those which have arrived regularly are: Young Socialist; Library of Congress
Quarterly Journal; Rice University Studies; Brigham Young University Studies; Hispanic
American Historical Review; The Militant; International Socialist Review; Journal of
Social Psychology; Journal of Modern History: Journal of Negro History; Monthly Re-
view; Journal of Social Issues. Additional publications are housed in the Jose Marti
National Library and the Casa de Las Americas. The former carries on an extensive ex-
change program with the U.S. Library of Congress and several U.S. university libraries.
27. The category in question encompasses such titles as: Western Humanities Review (1970-);
Review of Politics (1969-); Texas Quarterly (1970-); Social Research (1970-); American
Studies (1970-); Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs (1970-); Journalism
28. Pertinent works include K.S. Karol in China and Sabine's historical survey of political
BAHR, H.: "Violations of Academic Freedom: Official Statistics and Personal Reports." Social
Problems, 14 (Winter), 310-20 1967.
BARKIN, David: "The Redistribution of Consumption in Socialist Cuba." Review of Radical
Political Economics. 4 (Fall): 80-102, 1972.
BERNARDO, Robert M.: The Theory of Moral Incentives in Cuba. University, Ala.: University of
Alabama Press. 1971.
BOORSTEIN, Edward: The Economic Transformation of Cuba. New York: Monthly Review Press.
DOMHOFF, William: Who Rules America: Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. 1967.
FAGAN, Richard R.: The Transformation of Political Culture in Cuba. Stanford, Ca.: Stanford
Univ. Press. 1969.
HABERER, Joseph: Politics and the Community of Science. New York: Van Nostrand. 1969.
HOROWITZ, David: "Billion Dollar Brains." Ramparts, May, pp. 36-44. 1969.
KAROL, K.S.: Guerrillas in Power: The Course of the Cuban Revolution. New York: Hill & Wang.
LOCKWOOD, Lee: Castro's Cuba, Cuba's Fidel. New York: MacMillan. 1967.
MacGAFFEY, Wyatt, and Clifford R. BARNETT: Cuba: Its People, Its Society, Its Culture. New
Haven: Human Relations Area Files Press American University.
NACLA: Who Rules Columbia? New Yrok: North American Congress on Latin America. 1968.
RIDGEWAY, James: The Closed Corporation. New York: Random House. 1968.
ROSZAK, Theodore, Ed.: The Dissenting Academy. New York: Random House. Essays by Engler
and Windmiller. 1967.
SILVERMAN, Bertram, Ed.: Man and Socialism in Cuba. New York: Atheneum. 1971.
SURKIN, Marvin, and Alan WOLFE, Ed.: An End to Political Science: The Caucus Papers. New
York: Basic Books. 1971.
THE FEASIBILITY OF RAPPROCHEMENT BETWEEN THE
REPUBLIC OF CUBA AND THE UNITED STATES:
THE CASE OF GUANTANAMO NAVAL BASE
The Statement and a Definition of the Problem
This position paper is designed to speak in favour of rapprochement and the sub-
sequent normalization of commercial as well as diplomatic relations between the Re-
public of Cuba and the United States of America. Through the examination of past
and present positions of the Governments of the two parties, the Republic of Cuba
and the United States of America, I shall attempt to prove the hypothesis that the
present lack of any systematic relations between these two states is caused by the
factual occupation of a part of the territory of the Republic of Cuba, an independent
and sovereign state, by an external power, the United States of America; and that once
the military forces of the United States are removed from Cuban territory, from the
Guantanamo Naval Base, very real and tangible rational and legal grounds shall be
established for such rapprochement. Furthermore, the Republic of Cuba being here
considered the injured party, it seems logical, necessary and appropriate for the
injuring party, the United States of America, to initiate any and all steps which may
lead towards such rapprochement.
In considering the feasibility, appropriateness, and the necessity for such rapproche-
ment; and upon the survey of directly pertinent and relevant literature, 1 shall infer
that the present status quo that is the present state of no relations of any kind
between these two states shall be viewed, in this time and age, as being contrary to the
vital separate and mutual interest of both parties, as well as to the international
community of peace-loving nations. Furthermore, the prevailing status quo is also
contrary to the generally recognized and accepted norms of international law and
comity in the conduct of external relations by sovereign states.
In this era of speedy communications and a wide availability of highly destructive
weapon systems, the lack of any rapport whatsoever, such as is the case between the
Republic of Cuba and the United States of America, serves as a fertile ground upon
which mutual suspicion and hostility breeds; this in turn may lead toward the
undermining of international peace and security.
It is the opinion of the author that any grounds for the potentiality of a hostile
future confrontation between these two states, the Republic of Cuba and the United
States of America, can be removed now through an effort to bring about the materiali-
zation of a rapprochement by either of the following means:
(1) direct approach through traditional, conventional channels of diplomacy, e.g.,
(2) direct exchange of diplomatic emissaries with plenipotentiary powers to
initiate broader communications and/or establish an agenda for possible further ex-
(3) direct negotiations by either the heads of state and/or heads of government
on a summit level, or the officers of the two respective governments who are in charge
of foreign affairs; or
(4) the use of good offices of third parties such as representatives of other states
and/or governments or international organizations, both regional and global, such as
the Organization of American States (OAS), or the United Nations Organization
Since it is appropriately expected and hoped for that any such initiative for
rapprochement with the Republic of Cuba shall have been originated with the Govern-
ment of the United States of America, that Government shall, without further delay,
undertake the following necessary measures:
(I) immediately and unequivocally liquidate its military beach-head on Cuban
soil, namely the Guantanamo Naval Base;
(2) that is shall remove at once all of its military and civilian personnel;
(3) cease all intelligence and counter-intelligence activities, both covert and overt;
(4) divest itself of any and all residual claims to any part of Cuban territory
forever, and return the currently occupied territory into the realm of Cuban
sovereignty where it de facto and de jure belongs.
Any steps that may have been undertaken by the United States Government for the
purpose of normalization of its relations with the Republic of Cuba, short of the
liquidation of the Guantanamo Naval Base, which is considered to be the primary
prerequisite for any eventual subsequent response from the Government of the Repub-
lic of Cuba, shall prove futile and not forthcoming.
The crux of the matter which allows the perpetuation of the status quo, is the
refusal by the Government of the United States of America to take the necessary steps
that the situation requires, both by law and by custom.
In order to amplify these points, I shall briefly examine the present and the past
positions held by the Government of the United States, both the executive branch and
the U.S. Senate; the international regional organization, the Organization of American
States (OAS), within whose domain this matter rightly falls; the position that is held
on this matter by the Government of the Republic of Cuba; and some of the advant-
ages that both parties, the Western Hemisphere as well as the larger community of
nations, could derive from this rapprochement.
The United States Security Posture and the Obsolescence of the Naval
Base at Guantanamo Bay
The naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,1 was established by the United States in
1903, following the removal of Spain and its influence after the Spanish-Cuban--
American War of 1898,2 for two very paramount reasons: (1) to intensify and
expedite the penetration and subsequent control of the area; and (2) to establish a
"beach-head" from which such penetration and control could be operationalized,
expedited, and sustained with effectiveness. If, traditionally, naval ordinance in such
undertakings was the most appropriate and expedient because then it constituted the
most advanced weapon system that was available to nations with imperialist aims and
objectives, today, however, it no longer is. Maritime warfare is neither flexible nor very
expedient, not to mention the cost that involves its maintenance; the advanced long--
range aircraft and the missile renders it considerably impotent and obsolete. Therefore,
while the former state prevails, that is the continuation of America's imperialistic aims
and objectives in that area, the latter that is the need for the maintenance of the
naval base is obsolete, particularly, as far as America's security posture is concerned.
This is so, because, as I propose to indicate through the tables that follow:
(1) the maintenance of an obsolete weapon system, the navy, particularly on a
foreign soil (see Table 1), is inappropriate as well as too costly;
(2) the United States maintains today sufficient arsenals of modern and sophis-
ticated weapon systems on its own soil which render its once exposed "underbelly"
(3) the encirclement that the United States naval forces (the Atlantic Fleet)
maintain today, from Florida to Puerto Rico, renders the maintenance of naval bases,
such as in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, totally unnecessary. Furthermore, the sovereign
republics in this area constitute neither a challenge nor threat to America's defense
parameter in that area;
(4) America's global security arrangements minimize the importance of some
single naval installation, such as is the case of the Guantanamo Bay naval base; and;
(5) the Republic of Cuba itself, upon whose territory the base is situated consti-
tutes by the open admission of the U.S. Government (see Table 2) no threat to
the United States, or to any other state in this area.
All pertinent arguments from the past, therefore, were mainly predicated on the
assumption that Cuba needed protection; that the area, the so-called "Western Hemis-
phere," needed protection; and that now, the Western Hemisphere, the states in the
area, and the United States need protection from Cuba, obviously stands no test.
Apologists for America's presence 'in that area express differing opinions them-
selves. The influential 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 fortune of other U.S. overseas bases .. 3
But as early as 1960, only several months after the success of the Cuban Revolu-
tion, the now defunct Life magazine editorialized on the minimal strategic value of
With the increasing mobility and endurance of modern armaments, military men
concede that Gitmo is no longer absolutely essential to American defense. But,
they would hate to lose it.4
This statement appears to be valid today: Gitmo is useless, but the admirals like to
play soldiers; the manufacturers like to sell them the hardware that they produce.
In the process, the status quo prevails. In the light of the prevailing status quo, one
must, therefore, assert that either the American Government is unwilling to bring
about a change of the prevailing status quo, or, is unable to mobilize and to command
the necessary resources that would be instrumental and necessary to bring about such
The Position of the Present American Administration
on Rapprochement with the Republic of Cuba
Proceeding from the assumption that rapprochement between the Republic of Cuba
and the United States of America is feasible and appropriate only upon prior return of
all Cuban territory proper, such as the Guantanamo Bay, into the realm of Cuban
sovereignty, it becomes necessary to examine and to appraise the real and factual
position on that issue of the present Administration.
Preliminary survey of pertinent literature reveals that the present Administration of
the United States Government pursues either the legacy of the previous administra-
tions, or a "no-policy" policy in regard to the Republic of Cuba and its revolutionary
In the spirit and in line with traditional imperialistic aims and objectives of the
United States in the Caribbean theatre, the United States Government had stated its
position on the issue of its military installations in that area only several months after
the success of the Cuban Revolution. That reiteration of American policy came from
no less a person than the "commander-in-chief" of the American military-industrial
complex himself, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who then stated that:
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 Guantanamo are based on international agree-
ments 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 appropriate 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 the
importance to the defense of the entire hemisphere, particularly in the light of
the intimate relations which now exist between the present government of Cuba
and the Sino-Soviet bloc, it is essential that our position in Guantanamo be
This policy was neither changed nor modified since that time. To the contrary. It
has been rather intensified through subsequent reiterations by the Administrations of
Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. While the former had done little
to restrain the reactionary forces that tended to undermine the obvious achievements
of the Cuban revolutionary institutions through such devices as are associated with
the so-called "Cuban Missile Crisis" and the "Bay of Pigs" fiasco the latter has done
all he could in order to reinforce and to strengthen that position by sending Marine
Corps detachment to the Panama Canal Zone (1964) and the Dominican Republic
(1965) for the purpose of silencing and disconcerting all revolutionary and anti--
American, anti-imperialist movements there.7
Closer examination of the position of the present American Administration, as it
can partially be ascertained from the contents of Tables 3 through 6, indicates that
there are no changes in sight for any foreseeable future.
The Role of the Organization of American States (OAS)
in American-Cuban Reconciliation
Since its decision to exclude the Republic of Cuba from active participation in its
activities, though not from membership (on January 31, 1962), the Organization of
American States remains, in most part, inactive in regard to American Cuban reconci-
liation. Although, the OAS, by and large, remains an instrument of the United States
and its agent organization in Latin America,8 several of its members appear to be
abandoning the traditional way of following the leader, the United States. There
appears to be the tendency, at least on the part of some of the states (as indicated in
Tables 7 through 9), to openly challenge the United States on its present attitude
toward Cuba, but there are no indications that these same states have taken positions
firm enough in order to force such a change. Hopes were high that the gathering of the
Organization of American States that was held in Atlanta, Georgia during the month
of April, 1974, will bring some significant changes, but these hopes have died as soon
as the gathering got under way and dialogues begun....
Since most of the Latin American states do heavily depend on their trade with the
United States, as is the case now (a relationship which the Cuban Prime Minister, Dr.
Fidel Castro, once characterized as that of "one thief and twenty beggars"), and there
are little indications that this situation will change very rapidly within the foreseeable
future, one can expect little in terms of radical changes that would favour the interest
of Cuba versus that of the United States.
Cuba's Position on the Reconciliation with the United States
Due to lack of availability of primary sources from which the official position of
the Cuban Government toward reconciliation with the United States could be ascer-
tained, one must, of necessity, rely on secondary materials.10 The inferences that one
may draw from these materials are not different from those that are elsewhere con-
tained in this paper: Cuba is not interested in any rapprochement until and unless the
Guantanamo Bay naval installation is liquidated, and the territory is turned over under
Cuba's sovereignty; and all remaining vestiges of the "haphazard American empire" are
Following the reorganization of the Cuban Government in 1972 where the su-
preme executive powers were vested in a ten-member executive committee, a premier
and seven vice premiers the Premier of the Cabinet, Dr. Fidel Castro, shed some light
on Cuba's position regarding the American presence there when he stated that:
There is a base on our island territory directed against Cuba and the revolution-
ary government of Cuba, in the hands of those who declare themselves enemies
of our country, enemies of our revolution, and enemies of our people.2
Obviously, the presence of a foreign (and hostile) power on Cuban territory is the
most anomalous aspect of Cuban-American relations, and it contributes toward the
enmity and distrust already prevalent. One could infer that the Premier is aware of the
fact that the American installation may not, not at least at this time, be removed by
force, and his statements may be intended to inspire the Americans to remove it
voluntarily. There is rationale in this matter on the part of Cuba and the pragmatism
appears to prevail to this day. This pragmatic position had been stated as early as
several months after the success of the Cuban Revolution, in 1960, by Cuban's Presi-
dent, Osvaldo Dorticos:
In the proper time and through the proper political procedures, we will claim the
territory, [but] we would never commit the stupidity of providing the North
American empire with a pretext to invade us by attacking the naval base.13
This assumption was correct, though the Americans had tried to invade even without
any provocations from Cuba (e.g., during the so-called "Missile Crisis," and the "Bay
of Pigs"), but their attempts had been unsuccessful in all cases.14
In spite of the hostility toward Cuba by the United States the Cuban State is today
stronger and more stable than ever. The Cuban Revolution was a success and this,
not the loss of approximately 1.415 billion dollars in investments in Cuba, is what
appears to bother the United States even by the standards of reactionary press in the
United States which decided to report some of the findings of the Foreign Policy
Association on how the Cuban Government
has slashed Cuba's illiteracy rate to 3 per cent and produced a national
health-care programme, new rural housing, sanitation facilities and other ameni-
ties which have revolutionized living standards, greatly diminished racial discri-
mination and abated male chauvinism enough to allow women unprecedented
job and educational opportunities. 16
With economic assistance from the Soviet Union and other socialist states, Cuba
operates an independent economy with the means of production and distribution in
the hands of its people rather than a small group of foreign, absentee-owners.17
This status quo is beyond what the ruling circles in the United States can tolerate,
and this prevents them from seeing any positive moves toward reconciliation; even
when such reports come from a peer of the capitalist class such as the Cleveland
industrialist, Cyrus S. Eaton, who expressed the following views upon his return from
Cuba where he was a personal guest of the Premier, Dr. Fidel Castro:
The Cuban government and the people are most favourably inclined toward a
resumption in relations with Washington.18
This message from Cuba, though delivered by an indirect means, is very significant. It
indicates good will on the part of the Cuban Government regardless of the past
injustices and present injuries inflicted upon Cuba by the United States. Furthermore,
it indicates the desire of the Cuban Republic to peacefully co-exist with a state that
pursues different political ideology. This message ought not to be overlooked by the
tribunes and the solons in Washington.
On the other hand, if one considers the systemacy in American foreign policy
toward Cuba (and elsewhere); the persistence of imperialism and world-wide domina-
tion, one may assume that Washington will overlook that message. This is consistent
with America's past history which I shall briefly examine in the following chapter.
The United States and its Policy of Aggrandizement Toward Cuba:
A Historical Survey
The history of the American Republic, the United States, as pertaining to Cuba, is
the history of constant, continuous, systematic, and conscious aggrandizement toward
that island; its political institutions and the aspirations of its peoples.
The contours of American policy of aggrandizement toward Cuba had emerged as
early as the first Federalist administrations of George Washington and John Adams. 19
Both of these "libertarians", just like those that would follow them, had spoken
loudly about "freedoms" and "liberties", but never when these blessings were to be
applied to Cuba and its people. As the representatives of the ruling class in the United
States, they had conceived also the notion of racism which had infested the formula-
tion, enunciation, and implementation of domestic and foreign policies of the United
States for centuries to come. That notion of racism was triggered by the unrest among
black slaves in Haiti who during their "October Revolution" of 1804 had achieved
political power.20 Since then, the chronology of events in the long series of acts of
aggrandizement against Cuba, with slight modifications from one administration to
another, had been aimed at direct and rigid hegemony over that nation.
Throughout the history of Cuban-American relations, the United States policy
toward Cuba was predicated on commercial and strategic interests. Within this para-
digm, the United States pursued its aims and objectives systematically, from President
John Adams to President Richard M. Nixon. Until 1898, when Cuba was under
Spanish colonial rule, the United States favoured independent and republican Cuba for
commercial purposes primarily because goods traded with Cuba had to be shipped via
Spain. For political reasons, Spanish rule over Cuba was preferred for the following
reasons: (1) the fear that independent republican Cuba would become black--
dominated and this would have detrimental political impact upon the institution of
slavery in the South of the United States; and (2) that Cuba might fall under the
control of other European powers, such as France or England.21 Therefore, as early as
1808, the United States assured anti-Spanish revolutionary elements in Cuba that there
would be no support forthcoming for anti-Spanish insurrection.22This move, no
doubt, can be ascribed to the fact that the United States was not, as yet, a naval power
in that area, but this situation did change considerably after President John Quincy
Adams acquired Florida in 1821. Now, being closer to Cuba, the United States could
better penetrate the island for strategic purposes, and the so-called "Monroe Doctrine"
(1823) outlined American claims to hegemony over that area. This hegemony was
maintained until 1959 by means of some sort of "remote control" rather than direct
and continuous occupation of Cuba. From then on, all revolutionary movements that
did aim at total independence the strongest being that of "Aguila Negra" (Black
Eagle) political organization, which deployed guerrilla tactics, and which was strongly
supported by Guadelupe Victorial, Mexican revolutionary general were to be
minimized. The desire on the part of some political leaders in the United States (e.g.,
John C. Calhoun) to annex Cuba did not materialize for there was no need for it: Cuba
was already under American control, and annexation would only invite antagonism
and rivalry with European imperialist powers.2
America's unwillingness to see a free, independent, and "Africanized" Cuba was
exemplified again in 1870 when President Ulysses S. Grant refused to recognize the
revolutionary government of Manuel de Cdspedes, who was successful in setting up a
government based on a progressive constitution not based on the American pattern -
and who became the first president of Cuba during the "Ten Years' War", 1868-1878.
The problem was that Cespedes could not be controlled by the United States.
Not until the Spanish-Cuban-American War of 1898, when American position in
Cuba was assured and solidified, the United States took an active part in the removal
of the Spanish. From then on, American policy in Cuba would be guided by the law of
conquest as it is exemplified by the so-called "Platt Amendment." 24
The conquest of Cuba by the United States in 1898, was pretexted by the Spanish
oppression and was well camouflaged by the so-called "Teller Amendment"25and the
"Foraker Law." 26 In spite of the stimulation and substitution of aggression to appear
as an "assistance" to a newly-independent Cuba, the island was well in American
hands, and the myth of "friendly assistance" did soon disappear when the United
States decided to occupy Cuba again in 1906-1909, and in 1912, though, the latter
one remained only a threat.
The 1906-1909 occupation was undertaken as a measure to "guard the national
treasury", while the 1912 threat had had, politically, more significance. A significance
that dates to the inceptive moments of America's foreign policy toward Cuba: the fear
of "Africanization" and black-controlled republic.
When the regime of President J6se Miguel Gomez, which was installed there with
the aid of the United States, refused to enfranchise blacks, a group of disenchanted
black veterans organized a political party, the Partido Independiente de Color, and
organized a series of insurgent undertakings. The most serious revolutionary activity
occurred in Santiago in May, 1912, which was followed by a note from the U.S
Government warning Gomez that the U.S. shall intervene militarily if he is not able
to... maintain republican government in Cuba.27 Following this warning, the in-
surgency was calmed down by Gomez and his military advisers from the U.S. Marine
Since the days of the "black insurgency" in 1912, Cuba was in firm control, and it
did remain so until one Fidel Castro upset the status quo and refused to be intimidated
by whatever means deployed by the United States in its attempts to bring Cuba back.
Not even the so-called "Missile Crisis" with the Soviet Union, or the "Bay of Pigs"
invasion will undermine Cuba's independence. This being the case, one ought to have
no problem with understanding the present undecisive, unclear position of America's
rulers regarding that nation. They are still in the process of recriminations.
Two of America's noted students of American foreign policy characterize the
situation rather well:
What makes Cuba so important is precisely that she is so small, plus the fact
that she is located so close to the United States. If Cuba can defect from the
"free world" and join the socialist camp with impunity, then any country can do
so. And if Cuba prospers under the new setup, all the other underdeveloped and
exploited countries of the world will be tempted to follow her example. The
stake in Cuba is thus not simply the exploitability of one small country but the
very existence of the "free world" itself, that is to say, of the whole system of
It is this fact that has dictated the Cuban policy of the United States. The
strategy has been to damage and cripple the Cuban economy in every possible
way, with a threefold objective. First, it is hoped that the Cuban people will
sooner or later become disillusioned with their revolutionary leadership, thus
setting the stage for a successful counter-revolution. Second, the people of
the underdeveloped countries are to be taught that revolution does not
pay. And third, the burden of supporting the Cuban economy thrown on
the rest of the socialist camp ... so that... other socialist countries may
be induced to use their influence to restrain any new revolutions which
might place further burdens on their already overstrained economies.28
If, what is contained in the above statements, that was, and is, the official
policy of the United States a sort of "wait-and-see" policy then it obviously
has failed. For Cuba has proved that one does not live by United States
While considering the state of Cuban-American relations, one is tempted to
analogize this state of affairs with that which existed in relation to the People's
Republic of China over two decades ago, when the United States decided to pretend
that mainland China evaporated, and that all that remained of China was Formosa
(Taiwan). After more than two decades China was "re-discovered" and recognized as a
de facto separate political entity in its own right. As in the case of the People's
Republic of China, United State's attitude of "wait-and-see" toward Cuba triggered no
major disaster: while the Chinese and the Cubans were cleansing their houses through
Cultural Revolution and re-education of the masses in the spirit of socialism and
internationalism respectively, the United States was busy going around and collecting
vital markets for the commodities that its economy was able to produce in abundance.
At this junction, one is in no position to pass judgment on either of these two
developments, but what appears to be a lesson of history is that the United States may
choose to ignore any and all rationales for rapprochement with Cuba; it may decide to
wait until at some future date Cuba will be "re-discovered" again. Therefore, all the
suggestions for rapprochement as they are outlined earlier in this paper, though
appropriate, necessary, and timely, will most likely never be operationalized as it
appears for two principal reasons: (1) President Ford, a national politico by training,
inclination, and temperament, a stranger to global political machinations, has already
relinquished foreign policy undertakings to his Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger
- and Dr. Kissinger, in turn, wastes no time to convince everyone that Nixon's policies
in the international sphere will remain intact;
(2) although sabre-rattling on the part of Cuba has considerably diminished in
recent years, national pride does not permit her leaders to compromise at this stage of
hardened and cured hostility.
The deadlock may be broken by third parties, and indications are that such moves
are in store, such as the recent offer of Mexico's Foreign Minister, Emilo O. Rabasa, to
serve as an intermediary in bringing Cuba and the United States to a conference table.
This may be possible only if both sides, and particularly the United States advance and
clearly articulate their position.
WALTER J. RAYMOND
1. The Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is known to Americans as "Gitmo," while to the Cubans
as "Caimanera," or a "large alligator."
2. It is my contention that most nations, now or in the past, do prefer to be a part of some
warfare activity, particularly on the side of the victor. For that reason, I presume although
there is strong rationale for it a congress of Cuban scholars in 1940, implemented this
present citation of the war. See John Plank, ed., Cuba and the United States: Long Range
Perspectives (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1967), p. 58.
3. Hanson W. Baldwin, "Our Bases in the Caribbean," The New York Times, November 1, 1968,
4. Editorial, Life, July 18, 1960.
5. See primarily the following: Lester D. Langley, The Cuban Policy of the United States: A
Brief History (New York; John Wiley and Sons, Inc., (1968), passim and William Appleman
Williams, The United States, Cuba, and Castro. An Essay on the Dynamics of Revolution and
the Dissolution of Empire (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1962), passim.
6. Lynn D. Zender, "Gitmo" Vestige of Americana in Cuba, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings,
December, 1973, pp. 406407.
7. Lyndon Baines Johnson, The Vantage Point Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969 (New
York: Popular Library, 1971), pp. 180-205, passim.
8. In some circles commonly referred to as "The Organization of American States of the United
9. Numerous attempts to acquire more specific information on the position of the OAS in regard
to American-Cuban relations were unsuccessful The inquirer, this writer, was referred to
official sources of the U.S. Department of State.
10. All attempts undertaken by this writer to contact the Cuban delegation to the United Nations
11. C.L. Sulzberger, "Haphazard American Empire", The New York Times, March 20, 1972, p.
12. Quoted in Zender, op. cit, p. 405.
13. Ibid., p. 406.
14. A survey of the publications of the Cuban refugee organization in the United States, e.g., the
Replica, which is published in Miami Beach by the so-called "Cuban Liberation Committee",
indicated that to this day those groups seek the return of Cuba to the old status quo.
15. There appear to be some differences on the exact amount of American investments in Cuba in
1959: Plank, op. cit., p. 29, indicates $955 million while an editorial in The New York Times
(December 30, 1959) indicated $1.4 billion.
16. Foreign Policy Association, Incorporate, Great Decisions of 1974, as quoted in Elizabeth
Wharton, "What Would Happen if the Yankee did Go Home? Castro, Canal Plague U.S. Policy
Makers," Richmond Tunes-Dispatch, March 3, 1974, p. F-3.
17. Direct Soviet and other economic assistance to Cuba is estimated to be approximately
$500,000 per year, and the number of in 1959 the United States and its agents owned 70 per
cent of the entire Cuban economy. See U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Rela-
tions, op. cit., p. 16.
18. Editorial, Richmond Tunes-Dispatch, March 12, 1974.
19. Langley, op. cit., p. 5.
21. Harry F. Guggenheim, The United States and Cuba. A Study in International Relations
(Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1970), pp. 3-4.
22. Langley, op cit., pp. 9-10.
23. There were several schemes designed by various American politicians and statesmen to annex
Cuba. From the early suggestions on annexation advanced by Calhoun in 1824, to President
Polk's desire to purchase Cuba from Spain for the sum of $100 million, to the so-called
"Ostend Manifesto" when the sum of $130 million had been suggested as the price for
annexation. The "Ostend Manifesto," rightly a secret scheme rather than an open declaration
for it was designed in secrecy is one of the most notorious chapters in American
diplomatic history indicating covert, conspiratorial practices. The scheme was designed by
three American ministers: James Buchanan in Britain, James Y. Mason in France, and Pierre
Soule a French national and U.S. Minister to Spain during their meeting in Ostend,
Belgium and later in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle], on August 16, 1854, to annex Cuba and pay
Spain $130 million. Buchanan insisted that the sum of $50 million should be sufficient. The
scheme failed when the contents of the "Manifesto" were leaked out and printed in press
throughout the world. See Langley, op. cit, passim.
24. The Amendment was drafted by U.S. Senator Orville H. Platt, DConn., and attached as a rider
to the 1901 Army Appropriation Bill, and later became an integral part of the treaty with
Cuba on May 22, 1903, as well as the new Cuban constitution of June 2, 1901. The
Amendment granted the United States the following residual rights in Cuba: (1) to provide
land on Cuban territory for naval installations, such as the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base; (2)
limited Cuba's treaty-making powers and the sovereign capacity to contract debts and (3) gave
the United States the right to intervene into internal Cuban affairs in order to preserve
"independence" and "law and order." The Amendment nullified many previous laws in regard
to Cuba, e.g., the Teller and the Foraker Amendments (see p. 42), and contained language
that, in light of the situation then prevalent in Cuba, deserves to be placed in the annals of
human stupidity. It reads in parts: "...the Amendment was carefully worded [claims its
writer, Sen. Platt] so as to avoid any possible thought that acceptance [of it] would tend
to establish a protectorate or a suzerainty, or any form of meddling with the independence
or sovereignty of Cuba (See Henry Wriston in Plank, op. cit., pp. 11-12). The Amendment
was abrogated by new treaty with Cuba in 1934, but the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base was
retained, and is kept to this day.
25. On April 20, 1898, when the U.S. Congress (in joint session) debated a resolution on "Inde-
pendence of Cuba from Spain," U.S. Senator, Henry M. Teller, R-Colo., introduced a reso-
lution (a fourth resolution) which became, in whole, the House-Senate Joint Resolution,
and which was adopted. It read in parts: ... That the United States hereby disclaim any
disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said Island
[Cuba] ... except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its determination, when that is
accomplished, to leave the government and control of the Island to its people. See Julius W.
Pratt, A History of the United States Foreign Policy, 2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, New
Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1965), p. 211.
26. An Act of Congress, of May, 1898, sponsored by U.S. Senator, Joseph Benson Foraker,
R-Ohio, and authorizing U.S. Military government in Cuba. The law forbade granting of any
franchises in Cuba during U.S. military occupation, and as a self-denying ordinance was
aimed at preventing speculative exploitation, or the establishment of permanent economic
domination all of which soon had taken place contrary to what that law tended to pre-
vent. See Guggenheim, op. cit., passim; and Langley, op. cit., passim.
27. Langley, op. cit., pp. 130-132.
28. Paul Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital. An Essay on the American Economic
and Social Order (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1968), pp. 192-193; also in Michael
Parenti, ed., Trends and Tragedies in American Foreign Policy (Boston: Little, Brown and
Company, 1971), p. 115.
BARNET, Richard J. Roots of War: The Men and Institutions Behind U.S. Foreign
Policy. Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, Incorporated, 1972.
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CUEVAS CANCINO, Francisco. "The Foreign Policy of Mexico," in Joseph E. Black
and Kenneth W. Thompson, Foreign Policy in a World of Change. New York:
Harper & Row, Publishers, 1963.
DANIEL, Jean. "Boycotting Cuba: Whose Interest Does It Serve?." The New
Republic, December, 1966, pp. 19-22.
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THE U.S. NAVAL BASE AT GUANTANAMO BAY:
Size of U.S.
Size of Cuban
of U.S. presence:
Southeastern part of Cuba in Oriente Province. (The name "Guan-
tanamo" also signifies the valley and the city both of which are
not part of the military facility).
Approximately 12 miles long and 6 miles wide.
The bay is deep, well sheltered from storms, and is capable to
accommodate very large vessels. The warm climate renders it de-
sirable for year-round naval exercises and ordinance services. It is
the winter "home" for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
Approximately 9,000-10,000, including: Navy, Marine Corps, civi-
lian intelligence personnel, e.g., FBI, CIA, NSA; the State Depart-
ment, and persons representing various commercial interests.
Approximately 500-800 civilian employees, either Cuban nationals
or citizens, who reside in the area's bedroom communities.
Following the Spanish-American War of 1898, the United States
"leased" the Bay from Cuba (July 2, 1903) for an annual fee of
$2,000 with the rights that were stipulated in the Platt Amend-
ment of 1901 [a rider attached to the appropriation bill of 1901 -
and later incorporated in the treaty with Cuba of May 22, 1903 -
stating, among other things, that the United States shall have the
right to guard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cu-
ba. intervene into Cuban affairs whenever American interests
are threatened or whenever law and order are to be main-
tained. and to establish military installations on the territory of
Cuba. The amendment had been proposed by U.S. Senator Orville
H. Platt, D-Conn.], and which had become an integral part of the
Cuban constitution, and the treaty between Cuba and the United
States of May 22, 1903. Subsequent treaty, of May 29, 1934, had
abrogated the Platt Amendment, but permitted the United States
to retain the naval base. (Until February 6, 1964, when the Cuban
Government decided to cut off water supply to the base, a service
for which it was paid $14,000 per month, the fee for the "lease"
of the bay was $3,386.25 per year. Now, the Navy supplies its own
water through desalinization process).
Primarily force. According to the principle of international law
rebus sic stantibus the United States has no right to be present at
IS CUBA NOW A THREAT TO PEACE IN THE
An excerpt from a dialogue between U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, D-Ark, and
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Robert A. Hurwitch,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, during com-
mittee hearings on March 26, 1973, regarding Cuba's "threat" to the peace in the
Senator FULBRIGHT. Do you think that Cuba is really a substantial or serious threat
to the peace of the Western Hemisphere.
Mr. HURWITCH. I believe, sir, that in agreement with what Senator McGee has said, and
quoting some Latin Americans, that this threat has diminished. I think there was a high
Senator FULBRIGHT. Is it not a substantial threat?
Mr. HURWITCH. I would just say it is a threat without really being able to qualify it.
Senator FULBRIGHT. To whom is it a threat?
Mr. HURWITCH. In some countries I think it could be a considerable threat and in other
Senator FULBRIGHT. Is it a threat to the United States?
Mr. HURWITCH. I would not think so; no, sir.
Senator FULBRIGHT. To Mexico?
Mr. HURWITCH, Mexico, no sir.
Senator FULBRIGHT. Colombia, Venezuela?
Mr. HURWITCH. Venezuelans, as you know, Mr. Chairman, on two occasions -
Senator FULBRIGHT. Do they consider it a threat now? I know about the past. Do they
consider it a threat now?
Mr. HURWITCH. No; I believe less so. I believe Colombians, probably do.
Senator FULBRIGHT. You do?
Source: U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Policy toward Cuba:
Re-examination of U.S. Policy Toward Cuba, Hearings, before a subcommittee on
Western Hemisphere Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate,
93rd Cong., 1st Sess., 1973, pp. 12-13.
HOW THE U.S. PRESIDENT VIEWS RAPPROCHEMENT
Any discussion of the inter-American system raises the question of Cuba. We are asked: if it
is desirable to seek reconciliation with countries like the Peoples Republic of China and the
Soviet Union, why do we not seek the same with Cuba? In fact, the situations are quite
different. I have dealt with our relations with Peking and Moscow elsewhere in this Report. As
for Cuba, our policy strongly supports decisions taken after careful study by the overwhelming
majority of members of the Organization of American States. Those decisions were based on the
conclusion that Cuba's active encouragement and support for the subversion of legitimate
governments in the hemisphere represented a threat to peace and security in this part of the
Havana's rhetoric in support of violent revolution nas diminished somewhat, and it is selecting
its targets for subversion with greater care. But extremists and revolutionaries from many Latin
American countries are still being trained in Cuba today in the techniques of guerrilla war, in
sabotage, and subversion. These trained agents and saboteurs are then returned to their home
countries, or to neighboring countries, to carry out violence against established governments.
Money and arms flow from Cuba to underground groups in some countries. This activity
continues to threaten the stability of our hemisphere.
A second reason for concern is that Cuba became the first member of the American family to
welcome into the hemisphere the armed power of a non-American state. That action created,
among other things, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. And there is no evidence that Havana's
military ties with Moscow have markedly changed.
One final consideration: one obvious way to undercut the prestige and effectiveness of any
international body is for individual members to act alone contrary to joint decisions. We have
assured fellow members of the OAS that the United States will not act unilaterally in this
matter. We will consider a change in policy toward Cuba when Cuba changes its policy towards
the other countries of the hemisphere. But in considering any change, we shall act in concert
with our fellow members of the OAS.
Source: An excerpt from "Latin America. U.S., Foreign Policy for the 1970's; Shaping a Durable
Peace. A Report to the Congress by Richard Nixon, President of the United States, May
3, 1973," Department of State Publication 8726, June, 1973, p. 121.
THE REAFFIRMATION OF AMERICA'S "NO-POLICY" POLICY TOWARD
THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA BY FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE
WILLIAM P. ROGERS
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL DELIVERY APRIL 6, 1973. NOT TO BE
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED, QUOTED FROM OR USED IN ANY WAY
STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE WILLIAM P. ROGERS
SECRETARY OF STATE
BEFORE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF
THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
FRIDAY, APRIL 6,1973
This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the signing of the Charter of the Organization of
American States. Twenty-five years is perhaps a short period in the life of nations which have
enjoyed over a century and a half of productive relations.
We all are aware, nevertheless, how profoundly the world has changed in those twenty-five
years. The hostilities and rigidities that characterized international relations then are being left
behind. This restructuring of world politics has been accompanied by an even more profound
change in the world economy. Europe and Japan have recovered economically. Many nations in the
developing world including nations in Latin America have achieved both substantial economic
growth and self-confidence.
These are changes which have an effect on all members of this organization. My nation has been
deeply involved in many of them. The nations of Latin America have broadened their global
economic and political involvement. Today, more than ever, we are all influenced by the broad
currents of world development.
It was in this context that in 1969 President Nixon enunciated a new United States policy for
Latin America. That policy reflected the changes in global and hemispheric relations which had
already begun. It anticipated other changes in global economics and politics to come. As the
President described it in his Foreign Policy Report last year, the policy reflected four positive
"A wider sharing of ideas and responsibility in hemispheric collaboration;
A mature United States response to political diversity and nationalism;
A practical and concrete United States contribution to economic and social development;
A humanitarian concern for the quality of life in the hemisphere."
The changes that have taken place in global economics and politics have also brought us to a
new period in inter-American relations. In the immediate future we will all be reassessing the
multilateral structures through which they are conducted.
In this connection some of you see an anomaly in the static nature of our relations with Cuba at
a time when we are moving in such positive directions with Moscow and Peking. There is an
anomaly, but we believe it lies in Cuba's attitudes, not in United States policy. The dramatic
progress in our relations with China and the USSR could not come about except as a result of
mutuality. Thus far, we perceive no change in Cuba's basic position. At a time when the world is
putting enmity behind it, Cuba continues to place an antagonistic and interventionist attitude at
the center of its policy. Its military ties remain.
Though there have been shifts in Cuba's behaviour in the hemisphere, the changes do not seem
to us to reflect a modification of its basic policies towards other American states. We are aware
that while many in this organization take a similar view others have a different opinion. But we
have so far seen no evidence of change in Cuban policies sufficient to convince us that the OAS
economic and diplomatic measures toward Cuba should be altered.
For all these reasons our policies toward Cuba remain unchanged, as does our commitment to
act only in concert with the other members of the OAS.
Source: U.S. Department of State, Press, No. 102, April 6, 1973, pp. 7-8.
THE OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE
UNITED STATES ON CUBAN-AMERICAN RAPPROCHEMENT
In answer to speculation that the United States might be contemplating a unilateral change in its
policy toward Cuba, the Secretary told the OAS General Assembly in April 1972 that,
"We do not believe that circumstances justify altering the 1964 OAS decision. Cuba's
continuing interventionist behavior and its support for revolution even though on a
different scale than in the past still constitute a threat to the peace and security of the
hemisphere within the meaning of the 1964 OAS decision which established diplomatic and
economic sanctions. Moreover, Cuba continues its close and active military ties with the
Soviet Union, a matter of obvious concern to the hemisphere."
The year ended without significant change in the Cuban Government's external policies
described by the Secretary. Cuban-Soviet relations in all fields remained close, symbolized by
Cuba's joining the East's Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON).
The number of American aircraft hijacked to Cuba in 1972 declined to seven, a total below that
of each of the three previous years. However, the last two hijackings of the year were particularly
serious Eastern Airlines Flight 496 on October 29 whose hijackers were sought for three murders
and attempted bank robbery in the United States, and Southern Airways Flight 49 on November
10-12 in which passengers, crew, and Cuban Government personnel handling the plane's reception
in Havana were all exposed to serious danger from three common criminals. The United States
requested extradition of the hijackers involved in these two flights.
Almost immediately after the October 29 Eastern Airlines hijacking, Cuba informed us it wished
to reopen bilateral discussions on hijacking and other related matters. We responded quickly and
talks were successfully concluded, with the United States represented by the Swiss Ambassador in
Havana. An agreement was reached on February 15, 1973, whereby the United States and Cuba
each agreed to extradite, if it did not punish individuals found guilty of hijacking.
During the year the OAS policy of isolation of Cuba was questioned by some hemisphere
countries, but a majority of OAS members, including the United States, continued firmly to
support the policy. The Government of Peru, however, unilaterally re-established relations with
Cuba in July. In early December Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, all members of the
OAS, and Guyana a permanent observer, ignored the OAS sanctions and established diplomatic ties
with Cuba. On both occasions, the United States stated its belief that any change in the OAS
sanctions should result from collective action by the OAS member states and only after a finding
by the Organization that Cuba no longer is a threat to the peace and security of the hemisphere.
The Cuban refugee airlift, which had brought some 256,000 Cubans to the United States since
its initiation in 1965, operated infrequently and sporadically. Scheduled to resume on December
11, after six months without flights, the airlift should transport another 3,400 Cuban refugees to
the United States.
Source: U.S. Department of State Department of State Publication 8703, May, 1973, pp.
CUBA UNIMPORTANT TO THE U.S., STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ADMITS
An excerpt from a dialogue between U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright D. Ark., and
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Robert A. Hurwitch,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, during
committee hearings on March 26, 1973, regarding Cuba's unimportance to the United
Senator FULBRIGHT Mr. Hurwitch, in your interview with the U.S. News in the issue of
the 26th of this month you leave the impression that Cuba is so small and insignificant that
you do not want to bother with it. I will quote your statement as quoted in that interview:
"Both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China are large and populous areas that
offer opportunities for trade and investment. Both of them are also military powers one a
superpower and the other potentially so.
"Now look at Cuba. It is small in area and population and it is not as politically important as
Russia and China. In fact, Cuba has been pretty much going downhill as a political force in
the Hemisphere. I don't know of any countries in Latin America today, for example, that
are seeking to emulate the Cuban model Furthermore, Cuba is not militarily very powerful.
"Cuba doesn't have much to offer the U.S. in terms of trade. Most of its future exports
are mortgaged to the Soviet Union as payment for Russian aid. We no longer need Cuban
sugar. We get along without smoking Cuban tobacco, although there are some connoisseurs,
who still have nostalgic twinges for a good Cuban cigar. And, of course, Cuba still has some
nickel that it used to sell us. None of these economic interests is very important to us."
It seems to me you are saying it is so small and insignificant it is not worth fooling with,
whereas Russia and China are big and important and they are powerful and so we are doing
business with them. That is the impression that statement leaves, it seems to me to a
reasonable person. That does not seem to me a very good reason to take this attitude toward
Cuba which is a neighboring country.
I do not see why you are concerned about maintaining this rigid attitude toward Cuba,
unless you think it is costing the Russians more than it is costing us. In view of our deficit of
payments, it is not unimportant any more that we pay out $140 million for this, is it?
Mr. Hurwitch Well, as I say it is hard to know where to pick up what you said. The
which you quote is roughly-
Senator FULBRIGHT. Is that not accurate?
Mr. HURWITCH. Oh, yes, it is just more in the vernacular, if you like, sir, in the magazine
than what I said in my opening statement before this committee. I think what I was pointing
out in my opening statement, or sought to, as well as in the article, is that there is the
argument that if with the Soviet Union, China, why not with Cuba, and I was attempting to
draw a distinction between the U.S. interests in nations that are either superpowers or
potentially superpowers who hold trade opportunities which have, I would venture to say, a
great deal of importance from the standpoint of U.S. present and future interests. I think it
is realistic to say that Cuba does not present those opportunities or affect those interests.
Senator FULBRIGHT. You make the point very clearly. I do not wish to repeat it, but it
does not seem to me to be a reason worthy of this country that we take it out on this little
country because she is small, cannot harm us or anything, is not important. I have not
thought this was the traditional attitude of the United States. I would have thought we were
interested in countries even if they were small and insignificant. Here she is right off our
coast with about 7 million poor people. You yourself say she is weak and that nobody seeks
to emulate her. I agree with every bit of your statement in the U.S. News-
Mr. HURWITCH. I am delighted to hear that.
Senator FULBRIGHT [continuing]. Other than that I disagree with your reasoning that
we don't want to do anything about Cuba because she is a little old puny country and the
inference that she is probably costing the Russians more than us, so why change. Yet, we go
along with the big ones. I had not thought this was a traditional approach of the United
States toward other countries. I used to think before the Vietnam war that we had a
sympathy with the underdog rather than the superpower, but apparently that has changed
now and we have a different approach internationally to countries.
Source: U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Policy Toward Cuba: A
Re-examination of U.S. Policy Toward Cuba, Hearings, before a subcommittee on
Western Hemisphere Affairs of the Committee of Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, 93rd
Cong., 1st. sess., 1973, pp. 12-13.
THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS) AS A TOOL OF
U.S. POLICY IN LATIN AMERICA
Disagreements over OAS Policy toward Cuba
Progress toward East-West detente elsewhere during 1972 suggested to some OAS mem-
bers the possibility of ending Cuba's exclusion from the inter-American system. Secretary
Rogers emphasized to the General Assembly that the admission of the People's Republic of
China to the United Nations had no analogous application to Cuba, which scorns the OAS,
persists in supporting revolutionary violence, and continues its military association with the
Soviet Union. Led by Peru, some OAS members asserted, however, that shifts in worldwide
political alignments required a new look at hemispheric policies toward Cuba.
Review of those policies was undertaken by the OAS Permanent Council in June. Peru
proposed that OAS members be freed from the present obligatory diplomatic and trade
sanctions against Cuba and that each be allowed to decide its own policy on relations with
Cuba. Although Peru's initiative did not prosper, the Peruvian Government decided after-
ward to disregard the outcome and to renew its relations with the Cuban Government.
Another challenge to the OAS policy came late in the year, when the Prime Ministers of
Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana announced their joint decision to
establish relations with the Castro government. (The first three are OAS members; Guyana is
affiliated with the Organization as a permanent observer). The United States, for its part,
continues to believe that the OAS is the proper forum for any re-examination of Cuban
Source: U.S. Department of State, Department of State Publication 8703, May, 1973, pp.
PERU'S RESOLUTION ON NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS WITH CUBA
ON RELATIONS OF THE MEMBER STATES WITH THE
REPUBLIC OF CUBA
(Presented by the Permanent Mission of Peru at the special meeting
of the Permanent Council held on May 31, 1972)
Some member states, for various reasons, maintain official relations with the Republic of Cuba,
and others have stated, in the light of their own view of the changes that have taken place in world
and inter-American circumstances, that it would be advisable to reestablish relations with that
The present resolution does not constitute a judgement on Resolutions 1 of the Ninth Meeting
of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, held in July 1964.
THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
That any member state that considers it advisable shall normalize its relations with the Republic
of Cuba and shall be free to do so at the level it may deem appropriate.
Source: General Secretariat, Organization of American States, Washington, District of Columbia.
THE DISPOSITION OF PERU'S RESOLUTION ON NORMALIZATION OF
RELATIONS WITH CUBA
Summary of the special meeting held by the
Permanent Council on June 13, 1972.
CP/SA.75/72(1): APPROVAL OF THE ORDER OF BUSINESS
The Permanent Council approved the order of business set by the chairman for that meeting
CP/SA.75/72 (2): REPORT OF THE GENERAL COMMITTEE REGARDING THE DRAFT
RESOLUTION OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF PERU ON RELATIONS
OF THE MEMBER STATES WITH THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA
The Permanent Council took note of the report of the General Committee on the draft re-
solution of the Permanent Mission of Peru on relations of the member states with the Republic of
This draft resolution (CP/doc.199/72) was put to a vote in the Council with the following
In favor: Chile, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Trinidad and To-
bago. Total: 7 votes.
Opposed: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Sal-
vador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, the United
States, and Uruguay. Total: 13 votes.
Abstentions: Argentina, Barbados, and Venezuela. Total: 3 votes.
Therefore, the draft resolution did not receive the majority required for its approval.
Source: General Secretariat, Organization of American States, Washington, District of Colombia.
September 19, 1894
Senor Don Benito Machado: Kingston
My very esteemed friend;
It has been some days since I heard from our friend Marti. How
are things with him. Will he be in Santo Domingo working for May
26? What will be happening?
I would at first opportunity go to Jamaica as I need to, I don't
want to leave it till later. What does Gonzalito and Estrada say?
With whom are they going? Here, the news they are publishing is
On the 15th of this month, there was rumor of assassination of
the Pres. of the republic, but apart from that they are ready and
will be saved by a miracle. They are imprisoned in a jail in the
country and it seems there will be others. These matters we hope
will turn out well.
Best regards with love to my brother and friends -
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TOWARDS A THEORY OF LITERATURE IN
In approaching the question of a theory of literature in the Cuban Revolution,
there are certain basic political premises that must be understood. The first could be
stated baldly: that without the Revolution, there would be no particular 'theory of
literature' to examine. From this one is led to several other premises: that the
writer/intellectual is, in terms of the vanguard of the Revolution, lagging behind the
political sector; that the political vanguard, by its creation of the Revolution itself has
certain responsibilities and rights; that the fundamental right of the Revolution to exist
takes precedence over all others; that the objectives of the Revolution are essentially
good and in the best interests of the majority of Cubans (i.e. truly democratic). These
premises cannot be ignored because the Revolution has as its first cause the political
In the light of the above, it is not surprising that the first articulation of a literary
theory for the Revolution should come from the political leadership. When, by 1961,
Cubans were beginning to realize the revolutionary and socialist direction of the new
government, the writers were as much an element split in their sympathies as most of
the bourgeois sectors of the society, since the writers were then as much a part of the
bourgeoisie or petit-bourgeoisie as they tend to be in the rest of Latin America. They
therefore exhibited some of the apprehensions of their class towards the radicalization
of the Revolution and the role of the writer. It was in this context that Fidel Castro
sought to indicate this new role of the writer in discussions with them in mid-1961.
In these much-quoted Words to the Intellectuals, the political leader divides the
literary issue into two aspects: form and content. On form, he envisages no problems,
no restrictions: "Everyone agreed that liberty of form should be respected"' However,
the political vanguard is concerned with defining the content of literature, within the
premises already stated. Castro sums it up in the most quoted sentence of his dis-
course: "Within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing".2 The
writer was being given a very wide ambit precisely because Castro saw the Revolution
as a situation of greater liberation, socio-economic as well as intellectual, "so that its
objective is the fostering of creative talent. Hence it is not 'for' but a much broader
'within' that the writer can create. However, with the premise that the Revolution is
the interest of the entire nation, there would be no scope for themes that were
counter-revolutionary This is scarcely a theory. It merely defines the lower limit of
* This article has been accepted for publication in the Jamaica Journal Vol. 9, No. 1.
thematic content, and is understandable in an atmosphere of militant resistance preva-
lent in 1961 when the Revolution was physically subjected to invasion from
U.S.-assisted exiles and to counter-revolutionary sabotage and insurgence within the
country. Throughout his address, Castro showns a keen sense of the need to avoid rigid
rules or theories for the writer. He therefore limits himself to exhorting the writer to
strive to make his work accessible to the majority of people, and concomitantly to
strive to write so that people would have an increasingly clearer understanding of his
communication. This idea has been developed by many writers as the need to provide
an interpretative function: the writer must explain the Revolution to his readership by
exploring the problems, particularly the human and broad political issues.
As an indication of the contribution of the Revolution to the liberties and scope of
its writers, one has only to look at the opportunities that have been afforded the
writer as a direct result of Revolutionary policy. Arguing from the position that
culture, like the economy, was the patrimony and entitlement of the entire nation, the
Revolution set about establishing the machinery to assist in the implementation of this
theory of mass culture. While the literary tradition is merely one aspect of the cultural
umbrella under which perhaps the mass-media genre of films plays a crucial role, the
Revolution was as assiduous in creating a climate of encouragement in writing as in
other areas of artistic creativity. The Consejo Nacional de Cultura was established as a
governmental agency for cultural promotion. The Union of Artists and Writers was
encouraged. Casa de las Americas was set up as a cultural catalyst for Latin America.
Both of these last two have their regular journals of literature and ideas: Unibn and
Casa de las Americas. The Cuban Book Institute was established in 1961 as a pub-
lishing house for a wide range of literary as well as other material. The size of editions
was expanded and the cost of books was kept at a figure within popular means. The
writer found himself less bound by the economics of book-publishing, so restrictive in
the average Third World capitalist society. He also found, apart from the two journals
already mentioned, other platforms for publication, including the literary monthly El
Caiman Barbudo, or, until 1964 the weekly Lunes de Revoluci6n, or the current
Gaceta de Cuba, as well as smaller journals. He had, in addition, several incentives by
way of prizes, of which the most famous, because of its international dimension, is the
Casa annual competition in 5 genres (recently expanded to six), but with several other
national literary competitions. Award-winning material is regularly published, so that
in the first ten years of Revolution, publications included 40 novels, 70 short-story
collections, 130 books of poetry and 60 plays.3Nor is this a mere quantitative
exercise. The ferment of the Revolution has given qualitative inspiration as well.
Such a situation can scarce be regarded as oppressive to the writer, although it is
always against the background principle of "against the Revolution, nothing". Nor did
the incentives stop there. There have been several international conferences on literary
and cultural topics held in Havana, with visits from most of the outstanding Latin
American and European writer/intellectuals. The Cuban writer therefore finds himself
far better exposed to the trends in literature and ideas, which add to the ferment of his
ideological development and guards against provincialism. The broader cultural aware-
ness of Cubans, partly through the expansion of the mass-media and of all levels of
education, partly through the encouragement of other areas of cultural manifestation:
dance, music, posters, films, art, give the writer a broader base of readership, so that
his audience is relatively large, if still restrictive. Implementing the theory of mass
culture then gives the writer both the machinery for communication and readership
disposition. Since much of this is the direct creation of the Revolutionary government,
it is understandable that the government should proclaim its right to survive first and
foremost, above the freedom of the writer to undermine by counter-revolutionary
Arising out of the premise that the writer was attitudinally bourgeois at the time of
the Revolution, one of the basic theories of the writer's task has to do with his
self-development towards a Revolutionary consciousness, more from his context and
involvement within a society than from a proletarian perspective. Retamar underscores
the writer's task of becoming a Revolutionary which Fidel spoke of in 1961 as a
worthwhile objective. Says Retamar: "It is not enough to be verbally for the Revolu-
tion to be a Revolutionary intellectual, nor even enough to carry out deeds befitting a
revolutionary, from agricultural work to defending the country, although these are
conditions sine qua non. The intellectual is also obliged to assume a revolutionary
intellectual position" It is a sloughing off of the erstwhile middle-class prejudices,
however unconscious. Roque Dalton sees it as a process of activity/consciousness, so
that he can argue that "the poet, to write poetry today, must become a worker in the
nearest cement factory" s Not to understand cement, but to understand the perspec-
tive of the working class and to join himself to the constructive task. Dalton sees this
as the only way to lose bourgeois traits. In keeping with these theories, the writer in
Cuba has found himself generally embarking on such activity/consciousness reorienta-
tion of values. Thus most speak now of and out of working class situations, since as
citizens they are being incorporated into one class working towards the ideal of the
A vital aspect of this remaking of self is the writer's re-adjustment of his sense of
individualism to the sense of community. Retamar describes it thus: "The revolution-
ary consciousness is characterized, by having passed from the individual to the
collective attitude" 6 So, to some writers, the sense of the strong individualism of the
traditional writer in a capitalist society is not the main concern. Artistic freedom is
expressed in a different perspective, as Edmundo Desnoes affirms: "It is not an
individual liberty, but a social one; not the affirmation of my liberty against society
but for society" 7 For him then, as for many Revolutionary writers, absolute freedom
cannot exist in the Revolution, since freedom is conditioned by the objectives and
nature of the Revolution. It goes back to Castro's summary and reflects the sentiments
that led to the objections by Oscar Collazos and others to the views expressed by the
Peruvian novelist, Mario Vargas Llosa, that the writer functions as subvert of whatever
system exists. Juan Marinello for example, rejects these views as the cutting off of the
writer from social events and an incapacity to positive involvement.9 Indeed, Cuban
literary theory proclaims the constructive integration of the writer into the total political
and social system, as opposed to his alienation within a capitalist system as operating
elsewhere in Latin America. It thereby sees no logical value to the counter--
revolutionary writer, the individualistic writer unresponsive in a positive way to the
collective. The alienating angst must here give way to the positive man in a dialectical
struggle towards socialist objectives.
Castro in 1961 touched on this submission of egoism to the collective good, the
placing of the Revolution as the first priority, when he declared: "But the Revolution
isn't asking sacrifices of the creative genius; on the contrary, the Revolution says: place
this creative spirit at the service of your work, without fear that your work will be cut
short. But if one day you think that your work will be cut short, say it is better for my
personal work to be curtailed so that we can set about a task such as the one we have
before us" 10
Clearly, criticism of the Revolution is a delicate area of the writer's responsibility.
Jose Rodriquez Feo points out that many writers in the early sixties were inhibited in
writing on certain political failings of the Revolution, notwithstanding Castro's open
criticisms of these, out of fear of writing a critique which could be interpreted as
disloyalty to the Revolution: "In this sense, certain writers have censored themselves
in the past more out of unfounded fears that through objections from our leaders" If
the writer is to be a critic, as he must if he is honest, his criticism must be, by virtue of
his being an integral part of the society, a self-criticism. Castro, who himself set a
pattern of self-criticism in his frequent speeches, supports the view that "the spirit of
criticism should be constructive, should be positive and not destructive"2 Eight years
later, Retamar elaborates: "We criticize it (the Revolution). But we criticize it from
within as our errors. The only valid criticism then, is self-criticism" 13 In that same
discussion, Ambrosio Fornet gives a supporting view: "one must criticize. in the name
of the Revolution, and of its goals, criticize like a revolutionary to serve the revolutionary
interests" 14This is not only the function of the writer but of critics in the Revolution.
Dalton underscores this theory with the view that the writer is more valid if he joins in the
Revolutionary task than as a critic of society with three square meals a day assured. is
It is this view that has led to so much resentment in Cuba of the poetry of Heberto
Padilla, who in 1968 won the Uneac prize for poetry with a collection of critical
poems entitled pointedly Outside the Game. It was the same year that Anton Arrufat
won the Uneac award for drama for his also critical work Seven Against Thebes. Both
writers were regarded as critical in a destructive, individualistic and somewhat super-
ficial way, challenging the hard-earned achievements of the Revolution. As Mario
Benedetti rightly points out, their tragedy lies, particularly in the case of Padilla, with
"not having achieved a better communication with a social and political phenomenon
as re-creative as the Cuban Revolution; one can't help a certain feeling of depression
that a young, talented and sensible intellectual doesn't face the Revolution with a
more understanding attitude".16 It is this understanding attitude that the Revolution-
ary theorists expect as a mark of development towards the new man. If the writer is to
criticize, he must first earn that right by attitude and endeavour.Casa in an editorial on
the issue is strong in its condemnation of negativism: "The fundamental thing is
attitudes: those who not only are incapable of expressing the profound human and
social air of this Revolution but also are incapable of feeling it, have no right to
attempt to represent Cuban artists as much less so those who approach the Revolu-
tionary process with a confused perspective which is nothing but nihilism, scepticism,
inability to capture the actual moment".17
For all the international outcry over Padilla, however, both prizes were published in
Cuba, albeit reluctantly, and it was not until three years later that Padilla was put in
corrective detention for some two months in an attempt to reason out the Revolution
with ideologues. Nonetheless, Castro in 1971 does show his resentment and rejection
of the 1968 Uneac awards. In his address to the Education and Culture Congress, he
lambasts those overseas intellectuals who joined in the protest over Padilla as people
who had no responsibility to the Revolution, and no lived experiences by which to
appreciate the Revolution. Thus he declares that not only must judges in future be
revolutionary intellectuals but the prizes should go only to real revolutionaries. He also
goes on to develop on his 1961 theory: "we as revolutionaries evaluate cultural works
in terms of the values they hold for the people. of their utility for the people in
terms of what they offer for the revindication of man, the liberation of man, the
happiness of man. Our evaluation is political. There can be no aesthetic value without
human value." 18
A constant problem in such an institutionalized system, however, is that personality
clashes and enmities can interfere with literary creativity by giving power to cultural
bureaucrats at the expense of creators. While it is certainly not a phenomenon peculiar
to Cuba or socialist societies nor to purely governmental institutionalization, this can
lead to harassment and suppression of writers for largely non-literary and at times
non-ideological reasons, although excessive ideological fervour often plays a part in the
forcing of intransigent positions. Such a tragedy seems to be the case of Guillermo
Cabrera Infante, who in 1961 ran into conflict with the bureaucrats of the Cuban film
institute, ICAIC, over a documentary censored for its hedonism, and who was grad-
ually excluded from institutionalized literary activity (Lunes de Revoluci6n, of which
he was editor, was closed down) until he opted for exile.
His subsequent novel, Tres Tristes Tigres of 1967 is a revision of an earlier pre-1964
version. This revision is important in understanding Cabrera's shift of novelistic theory
and ideological involvement, for the earlier version he now views as "absolute socialist
realism, because it examined lives some as exemplarily positive while others were
exemplarily negative",9 since it portrayed Havana night life in the pre-revolutionary
days counterpointed by episodes of revolutionary struggle. His 1967 novel has had the
revolutionary episodes deleted in favour of what becomes a nostalgic recall of this
night life,. to his mind free of value judgements. One can interpret such a revision as
connected with the cooling-off of the novelist's own revolutionary zeal, in turn related
to the harassment, to the point where he asserts that "literature must deal exclusively
with literature. Any other preoccupation is totally extra-literary and hence in my view
doomed to failure" 20 But Cabrera Infante has, by his very history and revision, shown
how defining what is "exclusively" literature brings one to the awareness of the ethical
influence on aesthetics. His first narrative work, a short story collection of 1961, had a
definitely political, anti-Batista objective, which the author has not found extra-
literary on the grounds that it was an authentic commitment while his 1964 novel was
opportunist. The issue then is not 'exclusiveness' but authenticity.
This is why most Cuban writers reject socialist realism of the sort exhibited by
Stalinist Russia, writing a novel in a schematic way with a predetermined conclusion of
praise for the system. True, the early sixties saw a strong challenge from dogmatic
sectarians who would have had the writer become more of a political tool. Fornet
dismisses these minds as by and large bureaucratic types who were weak in Revolution-
ary ideology and faith, and sought to cover up by dogmatism."One may add that they
were also weak in Marxist literary theory, since Engels had clearly established that the
political objectives of the writer should be implicit, emerging naturally from the situation
and action of the characters in the novel."It is a mark of the Revolution's calibre that the
political leaders, as well as the literary vanguard, were above encouraging such mediocrity
and effectual stifling of creativity. Indeed, Che Guevara gives the best rejection of
sectarianism and socialist realism in his essay 'Man and Socialism in Cuba'. Here, Guevara
urges writers to learn from the errors of other socialist literary theories. The lessons of
Stalinism, sufficiently acute for the Cuban writer to have a mistrust of socialist realism,
are seen by Guevara as the impatient interference of political functionaries to mobilize
literature for the principal aim of educating the people: "What is then sought is
simplification, what everyone understands, that is, what the functionaries understand.
True artistic experimentation is obliterated and the problem of general culture is reduced
to the assimilation of the socialist present and the dead (and therefore not dangerous)
past" "Guevara is clear in his desire to establish a climate of adventure in literature
within the moral responsibilities of the revolutionary: "We do not want to create salaried
workers docile to official thinking, or 'fellows' who live under the wing of the budget
exercising freedom in quotation marks" 24
Clearly the mechanical representation of society moulded with wishful thinking is a
theory not of the writers generally but of the bureaucrats. A year before Guevara's
statements, Jose Lorenzo was dismissing it as a negation of realism: "The only anti-realist
art is the simplified art, facile populism, schematicism towards propagadist ends. Truth is
always revolutionary and realism ought to seek in art the search for truth"25The
problematic of realism is under continual discussion by Cuban writers. The consensus
seems to be a satisfaction at the broadening of the concept of realism in art, with a happy
interconnection of imagination, fantasy and immediate reality.
The realist zeal perhaps sprang out of the immediate explosive history of the
Revolution itself, where richness of reality surpassed the imagination itself recalling
Carpentier's wonder at the 'real maravilloso' of the New World compared with the
fictional fantasies of the surrealists. Fictional creation is preceded by the non-fiction
biographic and testimonial literature of the revolutionaries themselves, or the political
speeches and rhetoric during the post-1959 years of the political leaders, Castro and
Guevara. This non-fictional literature has acquired acceptance and value within the
concept of literature in the Revolution as indicated by the extension of the Casa literary
competition to now include the testimony genre. Such non-fictional realism is a point of
departure for the fictional invention of writers such as Lisandro Otero, who in La
Situacion seeks to explain, via an analysis of the Cuban bourgeoisie, the background that
necessitated the Revolution. The shock of this change, the desire to shatter the memories
of an unhealthy past, finds many novelists turning to the historic experiences of the
Revolution up to 1959 to define the protagonist and antagonists in this dialetic. We see it
for example in Desnoes' No hay problema, or Noel Navarro's Los dias de nuestra angustia
or Otero's En ciudad semejante. It is noteworthy, in the light of the premise of the
pre-revolutionary writers as bourgeois, that each of these novels concerns the Revolu-
tion as it affects the consciousness of that class of youth, not working class. In this
respect, they are authentic realism. As with the early poetry of the Revolution, they
are born out of a desire to testify to the change wrought on the attitudes and aware-
ness of the intellectuals undergoing a lived experience.
This novel-testimony trend manages to weave in the influences of the mass media of
realism: journalism and the cinema. It is instructive that Otero, for example, was a
journalist, who brought to his novels the happy merger of journalistic affinity to
historical fact with perceptive invention, underlying the intense realist roots. Such
realism is transmitted through a medium that uses a wide range of contemporary
literary techniques in Otero's case an indebtedness to the techniques of Dos Passos
that seek to transfer mechanical representation to imaginative stimulation through
interior monologue; shifts of person, of time, of place; stream of consciousness;
parallel narrative; reportage etc. However, by 1969, Hector Quintero can comment:
"It is necessary to speak of the past, to study and sink oneself into it, to burn epochs.
Nevertheless, I believe that the pre-revolutionary themes are now exhausted in-
numerable new events have arisen over these years which must now be examined."
This does not invalidate the literary expression of those first ten years. It merely
points out the need to update themes for that constant dialectic between an outmoded
situation and an advanced one. It is a call for readjustment and search towards making the
Revolution more profound, and a call which has seen its reply in some of the more recent
novels which confront the problems of the Revolution itself, exploring the possibilities
towards the new man. This we see in David Buzzi's La religion de loselefantes, exploring
problems of generational differences and sibling alienation over ideological issues, or in
Manuel Cofiho's La 61tima mujer y el pr6ximo combat, which gives us the rural contexts
of the Revolution, including the situation of women and the problems of counter--
revolutionary sabotage as well as the survival of mythic beliefs. The unifying feature of
much of this work is its consciousness of a collective objective beyond the individual
person, mediating between the imperfections of the Revolutionary reality and the
aspirations of the new man it seeks to create. Literature is regarded as a catalyst in the
transformative process by delineating characters and a society in a state of becoming.
This requires a consciousness of past as well as future, so that historical perspective,
whether through flash back, recall or other literary device, becomes an important feature
of many literary works as a means to appreciation of the dialectic.
In the development of the question of realism, two main theoretic and practical trends
may be noted: on the one hand, a zeal for testimony by as authentic a representation of
reality as possible, and on the other hand, a desire to illuminate reality through the
imagination. (There,is, too, a literature of the unreal science-fiction). The leading
exponent of the first trend is Miguel Barnet, who has developed what he calls the
novela-testimonio: the testimony novel. It has as its inspiration, socio-literature, but
Barnet develops beyond the sociological documentaries of Oscar Lewis (La Vida on
Puerto Rico and the Sanchez family series on Mexico) which expose, through non--
fictional accounts and interviews, the daily world and ideas of sectors of those countries,
particularly working class sectors. He is more inspired by a similar study on the Mexican
Indians by Ricardo Pozas in his book Juan Perez Jolote.
Given not only the vibrant non-fictional literature of the Revolution as well as the
journalistic record of Marti or beyond that the non-fictional accounts of the New
World by the early chroniclers which have now become incorporated into definitions
of literature, Barnet is expanding a well-established literary tradition. Like Carpentier,
he seeks to penetrate the historic past, by a faithful recreation through a character, of
that history in its collective importance, to better understand both the past and the
present seen as historical process. However, he takes as his source living persons who
have experienced a particular history, and from their relating of this life-story to him,
Barnet presents an interpretation of history. He feels that formal historical studies
have been subtle masks of bourgeois subjectivity, so that the novelist must now reveal
the other face of the coin. "To do this, one must first embark on deep background
research. Discover the intrinsic features of the phenomenon, its real causes, its real
From his interviews with the particular person (who clearly must epitomize an
epoch) such as the ex-slave Esteban Montejo, or the actress Rachel, Barnet elaborates
his particular interpretation of the essences of their time and the lessons for the
present. It is therefore not a mechanical editing of taped material in the manner of
Oscar Lewis. Barnet explains: "I would never write a book faithfully reproducing what
the tape-recorder says. From the recorder I extract the tone of the language and the
anecdote, the rest, the style and slants, will always be my contribution trans-
cription gets nowhere Because in my view, literary imagination must go together
with sociological imagination" 28 Barnet accepts the presence of fantasy and embell-
ishment of fact as part of the vision or recall of the past of his protagonists, but he is
careful not to let it deceive, despite its literary qualities, from the essentials of the
epoch. He therefore serves as a filter in this creation of a foundation work a
testimony of the historical process.
Retamar sees this socio-literature, which in its earlier stages Shklovski called facto-
graphy, as an example of that happy expansion of academic concepts of literary
genres, cutting across novel, essay, journalism, sociology. For him, it is a flexible
literature of reality in its most authentic sense, which he links to the documentary
style of thefCuban film in its value as an educative exploration and exposition of past
and present.29 However, one of the limiting aspects of Barnet's approach is that,
because it relies on the past, on figures whom time has enriched, the present problems
of the Revolution cannot be specifically explored even if an albeit important perspec-
tive can be given to them. A realism of the contemporary society still has then to rely
on the author's immediate perception and sensitivity to his surroundings. The author
himself becomes what informants were to Barnet: the living witness to an epoch.
As such witnesses, Cuban writers are strongly conscious of the contextual theory of
literature: that the socio-historic contexts are the basis of literary creation. Esteban
Montejo is quoted in an illuminating statement: 'Things don't just come about so, out
of nothing, and one dreams because one has seen something" 30 The writer Manuel
Cofiho, as one of those who tackles the immediate rather than the past, expresses it
thus: "There exists a reciprocity between happening and literature. The writer
must handle reality ... in the face of which he must take a position as artist and
man" 3 However, Cofiuno defends the imaginative quality of the artist, citing Lenin's
approval of fantasy as an extraordinarily valid key to discovery. It is through imagina-
tion and invention that he sees the writer being able to project and enrich the essential
realities as well as their hidden possibilities. For Cofino, this serves to emphasize the
writer's aesthetic and ideological responsibilities and commitment. Like Lukacs, like
Retamar or Benedetti, like Castro, he believes firmly in the direct relationship between
art and reality and the corollary of the artist's commitment.
Accordingly, the Revolutionary writers reject Robbe-Grillet's new-novel ap-
proaches, whose premise is that the writer is responsible to himself and his art, and
that his responsibility is not in what he relates but how. Style, for the Cuban, must
remain secondary to theme, to revolutionary attitude and vision. It is indicative that
two of the novelists paying more attention to style than content, Cabrera Infante and
Lezama Lima (Paradiso), have left Cuba. But to the Revolutionary writers, as Collazos
finds, Roland Barthes' statement on style is pertinent: "Writing is an act of historical
solidarity. Language and style are objects; writing is a function. It constitutes the
relation between creation and society" 32 When Coulthard cites Julio Cortazar as a
"pro-Cuban" novelist making the point that "the revolutionary novel is not only the
novel with a revolutionary content, but the novel which aims at revolutionizing the
novel itself, the novel form", 33 he gives perhaps the false impression that the Cuban
writers accept this view. Cortazar's statement was however made after he had fallen
out of acceptance by the Cubans, who still put the writer's responsibility to Revolu-
tionary consciousness before style. This is why Fidel passed over the question of
stylistic freedom with quick approval, in his desire in 1961 to emphasize the writer's
Style in fact is an area of experimentation and adaptation of foreign as well as local
ideas in Cuban fiction. We have already seen the dialectic over realism in literature.
Less problematic are the varied techniques that have been used to trigger off a
questioning and a thought response in the reader. However, even style provokes con-
troversies thus when Jesis Diaz, in Los afios duros (1966), uses 'indecent' language and
situations within a positive revolutionary framework, it could be regarded as a break-
through against the false moralism of some cultural functionaries disquieted by such
an approach in novels like Tres tristes tigres. 34 It is an enhancement of realist authen-
ticity in which theoretically language should approximate the normal speech patterns.
This is further exemplified in the zeal for a colloquial language, not only in prose but
in poetry, which gives the added advantage of wider communication, breaking down a
certain traditional artificiality of literary language. There is a great reluctance to set
out theories of technique in Cuba, apart from the basic premise that technique is
secondary to commitment. Yet the subtle connections between content/message and
style/medium should have merited some serious examination by the Cuban writers.
Indeed, in practice, the awareness of this connection is revealed for example in the
technique of parallel narrative and shift of protagonist in many of the novels that seek
to replace an individual protagonist by a collective one.
Openness is not confined to style, but applied also to the concept of nationalism in
so far as content goes. In 1964, Retamar postulated clearly the Latin American dimen-
sion of Cuba, and hence of the Cuban writer: "We cannot fall into the trap of
nationalism, because our nation is really a vast nation, of which we know ourselves to
be merely a province" 35 The Revolutionary themes, therefore, are not only appli-
cable to a Cuban situation, but wherever the fight against capitalism or imperialism
(cultural or economic) exists, so that the writer sees himself capable of writing on Viet
Nam or on areas of Latin America, provided that he has undergone the experience. In
1974, this theory is substantiated in the opinions of young writers, one of whom sums
it up: "It must be an internationalist literature" 36 It is the position of people
grounded in Marxism-Leninism, and is reflected particularly in the significant Cuban
literary creation based on the experiences of North Viet Nam, or in the Latin
American scope of the Casa literary awards.
Not unexpectedly, the younger writers in their Caiman Barbudo interview, show a
development of outlook beyond those early years of change. They are beyond the
need for re-orientation of the writers themselves, since most were moulded by the
Revolution, and thus are closer versions of Che's new man. They see the continuing
problems such as generational tensions, whether it be over religion or concepts of
morality; the political problems, revisionism as well as dogmatism; human problems of
interpersonal relations and love; the situation of women in a Revolutionary conscious-
ness. They all see literature not as a thirst for the strange, as Cortazar sees it, but as an
exploration of the realities of the Revolution, an unravelling of its problems. The living
example of this is the theatre group Escambray, which operates within the actual work
situation of rural Cuba, using not only actual specific problems of that community but
also the persons who experience these problems as part of their drama. One gets both
an interpretation and transformation of reality, with a definite if not always obvious
didactic intent, seeking to use fiction as a problem-posing and problem-solving
mechanism. Jos6 Barban exemplifies this view: "Realist criteria should be posed, seen
from a Revolutionary, partisan, viewpoint, where each problem implies its solution.
There is no conflict or dilemma which doesn't contain a final solution" 37
This may seem a more rigid approach to literature than that of Words to the
Intellectuals, but it presupposes the remoulding of perspectives and attitudes over 15
years of Revolution as ongoing process, as well as the exposure of essentially marginal
and counter-revolutionary writers. It is within this context that the writer operates
freely, and the literary production of the Revolution has shown a vitality of expression
and awareness beyond that of other Latin American states. The discipline of a total
political and social Revolution requires the self-discipline (in no way synonymous with
control) and responsibility of the writer, as of any other citizen, in ensuring that the
initial premises of the Revolution are not betrayed, either by selfish failings on the
part of the creator or by dogmatic temptations of functionaries. Neither group can set
themselves up as sole guardians of the public good. Happily, this shadowy zone of
extremes is infrequently encountered in Cuban Revolutionary literature, perhaps
because the realities have too many constructive possibilities to offer.
1. Castro, F. Palabras a los intelectuales. Havana: Congreso Nacional, 1961: p. 7.
2. Ibid. p. 11.
3. Alvarez. 'Literatura y Revolucibn (encuesta)'. Casa No 51-52 (1968-69); p. 187.
4. Retamar, R. 'Hacia una intelectualidad revolucionaria en Cuba', Casa No 40, p. 11.
5. Dalton, R. et al. 'Diez ahos de Revoluci6n: el intellectual y la sociedad'. Casa No 56, (1969);
6. Ibid. p. 31.
7. Ibid. p. 12.
8. Collazos, O. et al. Literature en la Revoluci6n y Revoluci6n en la literature. Mexico: Siglo
9. Marinello, J. Creacidn y Revoluci6n. Havana: Uneac, 1973; p. 214. Julio Ortega, however,
sees the difficulties of this adjustment from outside critic to constructive participant as one of
the reasons for the scarcity, during the earlier years of the Revolution, of novels dealing with
post-revolutionary issues. (Ortega, J. Relato de la Utopia. Barcelona, 1973.
10. Castro, F. op cit. p. 29.
11. Rodriguez Feo, J. Aqui once cubanos cuentan. Montevideo: Arca, 1967, p. 11.
12. Castro, F. op. cit. p. 19.
13. Dalton, R. et al. op. cit. p. 31.
14. Ibid. p. 21.
15. Ibid. p. 10.
16. Benedctti, M. et al. Literature y arte nuevo en Cuba. Barcelona: Estela, 1971. pp. 28-29.
17. Editorial. Casa No 51-52 (1969). pp. 8-9.
18. Congress Nacional de Educacibn y Cultura: Memorias. Havana: Min. de Educacion, 1971. pp.
19. Cabrcra Infante, G. 'Las fuentes de la narraci6n'. Mundo Nuevo 25 (1968) p. 49.
21. Dalton, R. et al. op. cit. p. 19.
22. Laurenson, D. and Swingewood, A. The Sociology of Literature. London: Paladin; 1972. p.
23. Guevara, E. Venceremos. London: Panther, 1969, p. 548.
24. Ibid. p. 549.
25. Lorenzo, J. Entrevista. Casa No 22-23 (1964). p. 147.
26. Quintcro, H. 'Literatura y Revolucion (encuesta)'. Casa No 51-52 (1969) p. 162.
27. Barnet, M. Cancion de Rachel. Barcelona: Estela, 1970. p. 138.
28. Ibid. p. 140.
29. Dalton, R. et al. op cit. p. 46.
30. Barnet, M.op cit. p. 150.
31. Cofifio, M. 'Acontecimiento y literature'. Casa No 75 (1972). p. 100.
32. Collazos, O. op cit. p. 16.
33. Coulthard. G. 'Two Revolutionary Literatures'. Jamaica Journal; V.8, No 2-3 (1974), p. 12.
34. Rodriguez Feo, J. op cit. p. 11.
35. Retamar, R. et al. 'Conversaci6n sobre el arte y la literature'. Casa; No 22-23 (1964). p. 138.
36. Gonzalez, O. 'Seis opinions sobre la creaci6n literaria'. Caimin Barbudo; No 80 (July, 1974).
37. Ibid. p. 6.
NOTES ON A HISTORIC VISIT
Nicolas Guillen in Jamaica
A. A Tribute
POET, HUMANIST, AND AMBASSADOR PLENIPOTENTIARY OF CUBA
Guillen has already gone down in history as the Caribbean's most accomplished
innovator in poetics. Even Jose Marti, the distinguished poet who is highly esteemed
and praised for his simplicity and originality, did not demonstrate the innovate sensibi-
lity and expertise of Nicolas Guillen. In many ways Marti was a talented traditionalist
who adhered to traditional Spanish verse forms and injected a verbal and stylistic
dimension of his own to suit his ideological and political position and serve his social
The exploration of local folklore for its authentic rhythm, intonations and intui-
tions was the exclusive domain of Nicolas Guilln. Other poets, especially white poets
played literary games with Afro-Cuban poetry, imitating the morbid post-war
European fad for "primitivism" as a novelty and an exotic alternative to their own
self-eroding decadence. Guillen, the mulatto, (like Regino Pedroso) was one of the few
poets equipped, or perhaps bold enough, to speak from a position inside the Negro
experience. He utilised Cuban speech patterns, popular song forms and peculiar instru-
mental rhythms and sounds ("musica de materials elementales" as Carpentier would
say) to capture the linguistic subtleties, the particular sensibilities and the emotional
intensity that characterize Cuban folklore.
Every African word that crossed the Atlantic and which had lost its meaning in
terms of normal verbal communication could now be reinstated into actual musical
and poetic communication as a means of evoking the profound cultural substratum
which still had its own sentimental and intuitive value in the Negro World.
The name of a tree, the strident scratching on a gourd, the strum of a guitar, the
virtuoso rhythms of the maracas or the syncopated pulse of the ritual drum are used
by the master to express the remote connections, memories and intuitions of the
initiated. To appreciate this, one need only read perceptively poems such as: "Sense-
maya", "Son n6mero 6", "XCANA" or even others such as: "Balada del guije",
"Cancion de cuna para despertar un negrito"
Guillen's poetry, through lullabies, games and songs, speaks to children, of inno-
cence, purity and love and, inversely, to men, of hatred, racism, violence and exploita-
tion. His voice touches the troubadour in the bar, the drunkard on the street, the
prostitute in her den, the diseased in the hospital, the soldier with his gun, the tourist
on his spree, the politician in his glory, the yankee in his palace a voice of challenge
and human understanding; never a voice of hate.
At no stage does GuillUn divorce his cultural preoccupations from the socio--
economic realities of deprivation, exploitation and discrimination. These form the core
of his poetry of protest which has consistently defied conventional criticism, since far
from becoming parochial in his vision, he has always chosen to see the specific Cuban
problems as part of the wider struggle of humanity for justice and equality; the
specific anguish of the Negro in Cuba as the anguish of the oppressed in a Universal
A student recently said "Europe produced Picasso; the Caribbean has produced
Guilldn" I might add that Picasso's art reaches those who can appreciate the visual in
reproductions; Guillen has published nineteen volumes of poetry most of which to
date, have been translated into 19 languages in Asia, Europe and America. They both
address themselves to the world.
Guilldn has been invited to read his poetry throughout Asia, Europe, North and
South America, Mexico, Haiti and now Jamaica. He has been recognized as Cuba's
leading poet and has been President of the Union of Writers and Artists in Cuba since
that union was formed in 1961.
Guillen has also been a prominent journalist, printer and communist leader. He
started printing even before he was ten, in his father's printer, during the period
1908-1916 when his father was an active leader in the National Liberal Party of Cuba.
He followed in his father's footsteps and became editor and director of numerous
newspapers during the crucial years of corrupt dictatorships. Needles to say, he was
persecuted, imprisoned and even exiled for his forceful condemnation of corruption,
oppression and unscrupulous aggression. As early as 1938, he was appointed a member
of the National Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Union.
In 1954, he was awarded the Lenin International Peace Prize for his invaluable
contribution to the struggle of the poor in the Third World.
Today, at the age of 72, he still writes, travels, lectures and reads his poetry, all in
the service of humanity and particularly people of African descent whose struggle has
been his struggle, his concern, his agony, his hope.
The following excerpt from one of his collections demonstrates his concern for
Jamaican independence as a part of the process of liberation in the region:
Beneath the starving sun
(God save the King)
a black girl dressed in white,
singing a song
(God save the King).
that song forever?
B. Guillen and the U.W.I.
The name Nicolis Guille'n became popular in the University of the West Indies and
in the Caribbean as a whole during the 1950s mainly through the efforts of two
scholars Dr. Eric Williams who gave a lecture on "Four Poets of the Greater
Antilles" (Nicolas Guillen, Luis Pales Matos, Jacques Roumain and Jean Brierre) and
Prof. G.R. Coulthard.
It was Coulthard who introduced the poetry of Nicolas Guillen into the syllabus of
the Department of Modern Languages at U.W.I. Mona in the fifties. In addition, he
published several articles on Guillen's works and eventually produced his historic
book, Race and Colour in Caribbean Literature (1958) which was the first serious
full-length work on Afro-antillean literature to be published. He then followed this up
with his Anthology of Caribbean Literature (1966) in which he translated "Sense-
maya" and other poems by Guillen.
Henceforth, Guille'n has no longer been an unknown name in the English-speaking
Caribbean, for his poetry has been studied and recited in schools and on University
campuses from Jamaica to Guyana.
Then on November 28 Nicolas Guillen paid an official visit to Jamaica at the
invitation of the Department of Spanish at U.W.I. Mona and through the courtesy of
the Cuban Embassy in Jamaica. There was no fanfare. The Cuban Ambassador, Sr.
Ram6n Pez-Ferro and three other members of the Cuban diplomatic mission were at
the airport along with the following representatives of the Dept. of Spanish: Lal
Narinesingh (Head), Joseph Pereira (Lecturer), Diana Lyn (Student-Liaison-Officer)
and George Irish (Lecturer). The informal welcome in the V.l.P. lounge at the Norman
Manley International Airport was an experience of conviviality and elation. The re-
union of Guillen with his four young Negro compatriots over some tasty Jamaican
beer was warm; the encounter of four English-speaking students of the master's poetry
with the author himself was an honour and a privilege marked by controlled emotion
and a feeling of humility. Instead of a vociferous and militant, long-faced, gigantic
communist, one found oneself in the presence of a gentle, jovial, short, but stocky
human being. The welcome culminated in a modest and delicious luncheon at the
Mee-Mee restaurant in Liguanea, one of the few places where the Amerindian name has
From then on, it was a hectic series of activities for the seventy-one-year-old poet
whose age could not easily be judged from his youthful physical appearance.
The poet's major mission was to meet with academics, students and writers who
wished to discuss his poetry and to give public readings of his works at the University.
There were three major readings. The first of these, given on Sunday, December 1 at
the New Arts Lecture Theatre especially for students and lecturers was received with
tremendous approbation by the audience of about 200 persons and served as a success-
ful introduction for the other readings to follow. The next reading was held at the
Institute of Jamaica and the final public session on Wednesday, December 3 was held
at the U.W.I. Assembly Hall. This public reading brought the two distinguished poets
Nicolis Guilldn and Edward Kamau Brathwaite together before the television
cameras and an immediate audience of about 500 persons. The deep, resonant voices
of both poets echoed through the large auditorium and won spontaneous applause for
each poem read. Student translators held their own and kept the audience alive as the
non-Spanish speakers became aware of the meaning of the beautiful poetic com-
binations of sound that emerged from Guillen's seasoned lips.
In return, there were two recitals of Guillen's poetry by students, as tributes to the
worthy and highly esteemed poet the first, a combined effort of the Secondary
Schools in Kingston held at St. Andrew High School, and the second by students in
the Department of Spanish at the University.
The opportunity to talk freely and at close range with Guillen was the high-water
mark of his visit. He made himself available for friendly and frank discussion,
particularly at the receptions given for him at the homes of members of staff. On the
very day of his arrival, a tired Guillen who had just travelled to Kingston via Barbados,
showed no early signs of fatigue before midnight at the dinner reception hosted by Lal
Narinesingh. He talked about Cuba, the Caribbean, poetry, his wife, his travels and his
grandson and enjoyed that good Jamaican rum which features so commonly in Spanish
Caribbean poetry. For once, that rum was taken from the written page and allowed to
excite the palate. A farewell reception for him was given by Gertrud Buscher, Vice-
Dean of the Faculty of Arts on Saturday, December 7.
Midway through that week, Eddy Brathwaite had entertained Guillen at his home -
the main rendezvous for West Indian writers to meet visiting writers. Poets and
academics spent the night of Monday, December 2, reading poetry and talking with
Guillen on Negritude, Afro-Cuban poetry, the Revolution and the Caribbean, among
other things. It was an evening of camaraderie and inspiration in a commune of
Caribbean brothers who could shatter the language barriers set up by Europe and
history and express their common joys and agonies and hopes. This was reminiscent of
a similar "get-together" with Roberto Fernindez Retamar just four weeks earlier. The
participants in continuing informal and convivial intercourse are Guillen, Retamar,
Brathwaite, Doris Brathwaite, Mervyn Morris, Marina Maxwell, D.H. Carberry, Mary
Morgan, Arthur Drayton, Lal Narinesingh and Joseph Pereira among others.
A fourth reception was given by the Vice-Chancellor of the University on Thursday,
December 5 at the Senior Common Room and a fifth by the Head of the Department
of Spanish on Friday, December 6. University administrators, executives, teachers and
students now know Nicolas Guillin at first hand and we look forward to the day when
this University will honour this poet laureate of the Caribbean.
C. Guillen and Jamaica:
In 1956, Guill6n passed through Jamaica en route to Paris. He was only allowed to
touch down at Palisadoes for a few minutes, but he treasured the memory of even that
brief physical contact. On December 4, 1974, Guillen wrote:
"Finally, I must tell you that for me personally this visit is the realization of a
dream. Since my childhood 60 years ago the island in which the three great
men of our history found a land in which to live, and one of them a woman in
whom to prolong his glorious life, this island has shone unwaveringly in my
thoughts. Now I have found you, and I can ask for nothing, in these last years of
my life, that would fulfil my ambitions more than what I now hold in my hands
without having had to ask for it."
The Government of Jamaica acknowledged the visit of the distinguished poet. He
was received by the Governor General, The Most Honourable Florizel Glasspole and
Mrs. Glasspole on Wednesday, December 4, and by the Prime Minister, the Hon.
Michael Manley, on Thursday, December 5 in the morning. After the Governor
General's reception, Guillen was awarded the Musgrave Gold Medal (for his
distinguished work in the Arts) by the Institute of Jamaica where he gave a public
reading of some of his poetry.
D. GuillUn and the Caribbean:
The following statement was given to the Department of Spanish on behalf of the
Caribbean as a whole to mark the historic visit of Cuba's national poet:
"A journey through the Caribbean sometimes has, for a man from these shores,
something homely and.familiar about it, something of a workaday, like emerging into
one of those communal patios, shared by several dwelling houses, patios, so
characteristic of old mansions in old towns. A folkloric outline, or folklore in outline.
But a Caribbean like this cannot be the authentic Caribbean. It is rather (and I
would rather it were not!) the conventional tourist Caribbean, dancing to the
sound of the African drum and the Merengue to amuse our new colonizers,
who spoke English instead of Spanish For myself (since I have to give
some account of my activities in this mare nostrum), I will say that more than
a thousand times I have found the Caribbean arid, with neither guitars nor
dancing, covered with the blood of the slaves, bowed under the sinister swish
of the master's whip, that whirls like a cyclone above the head of that Liberty
of bronze and stone menacing us from New York harbour; or I could say the
Caribbean has become fixed for me in the words of my song, in a poem of
Communal yard, apartment block of the Caribbean,
with my harsh guitar,
I am here to try to urge
a song from my breast.
A song of dreams released,
a simple song of death and of life
to greet the blood-stained future,
red with blood like the sheets, like the thighs
like the bed of a woman newly delivered.
For what is irreversibly true is that the Caribbean is bubbling now more than ever
like a cauldron of prophecies about to come true; an epic awakening. Our own Jose
Marti saw the future clearly when he set his heart on halting the advance of
imperialism in this dramatic archipelago, and so prevent it from falling with even more
force, because of the added impetus it would have gained in these islands, on the
whole of our America. He felt within him, in his beaten and wounded body, the
physical misery of our West Indian people, our anguished grief. A.pain not only of
bleeding tissue, but of men and women scattered, with no firm hold, with no support
for their spirits.
For several centuries after the Discovery of the New World, millions of human
beings were dumped in these lands, and the original inhabitants, the true owners, were
swept away without mercy. Africa, through no fault of her own, filled with her blood
American veins drained by the brutality of the blond devils from Europe. If, in
countries like Mexico, and Peru generally the more resistent part of the continent -,
they did not quite succeed in erasing the terrible marks left by that clash, in other
lands whose culture was less deeply embedded, they replaced this culture with slaves
resistent to the lash and the sun.
However, there was something worse than the physical crime, and that was the
spiritual crime. In this same period of which we have just spoken, the people of the
West Indies have lived in ignorance of each other, kept separate by the evil imperialist
faith that divided them, that confronted them, face to face, like quiet ghosts. Mr.
Haiti, Mrs. Jamaica, the Misses Guadeloupe and Martinique, Mr. Barbados, Mrs.
Cuba What can they say to each other in their English, in their patois, in their
French, in their Spanish, or in their papiamento? They have said little (or nothing) to
each other up to now, but now they are beginning to say more.
For these perchance brief, almost timid meetings, like those between relatives who
know they are close to each other although they may have seen each other but rarely,
will finally explode into fragrant fiestas, and we will know each other in the depths of
our souls, as peoples who live so close together must. This means union, it signifies
unity, it is indispensable mutual understanding, because many are the dangers that will
ambush us. Though Imperialism may have had to give up some of its command and its
pride, though it may have found itself having to abandon lands and waters, plantations
laden with fruit and seas full of fish, it still has not been abandoned by the thirst to
exploit the labour of others, it still has not been abandoned by the desire to return and
gobble up the leftovers on the plate, and there are many wholesome morsels left. The
imperial power makes use not so much of its forces of occupation as of the subtle
poison of a culture that is not ours, with which it seeks to penetrate into our world, to
influence it and direct it once more. It is a sort of infiltrating virus, so monstrously
efficient as it is invisible, under whose deadly influence we have sometimes denied our
own creation, our own intimate way of being. We say this unafraid that we shall be
attacked for worshipping a narrow nationalism, not yet for denying the positive role of
certain proximities. No! We recognize that these influences can be useful, and that
they often govern the play of intellectual relations in the world, as much in artistic
creation as in the forging of new structures, of processes more suited to the ends for
which they are intended. Nevertheless, this will never be at the expense of our
innermost essential being: Marti, whose name can never be omitted from any
discussion in the affairs of America, allows for grafting from outside, but just as long
as the trunk is our own. On these bases rests Cuban cultural policy under the guidance
of Fidel Castro ..
Thank you for this living affection, thank you for this warm expression of
friendship, which I cannot imagine as directed to me, but rather to my people, to
whom I owe my life and to whom I owe all my art!"
4th December, 1974
(i) Edward Kamau Brathwaite (Poet/Historian):
we learn with you the pleasure
of walking with our roots across the country
owners therein of all there is to see
owners therein of what we would believe
of what our hands encompass as we dream
so that together we say wind
and we understand its history of ghosts
together we say fire
and again there is a future in those sparks
together, comrade, friend
we utter love
and know at last it is our home
now mine forever and so yours, amigo
with the vast splendour of the sunbeam
and the sunflower and the stars."
(ii) Rupert Lewis (Faculty of Social Sciences):
"To read the poetry of Guill6n is to become acquainted with the road the
Cuban people have travelled in order to make the Revolution
Guillen's poetry is written with the sharp eye and keen sensibility of a man
without pretension, hypocrisy and vanity. He sees the world as it is, always
exposes injustice and always takes the side of the people, whether it be in
Latin America, the United States, Africa or Viet Nam
Unfortunately, Guillen's work is not well known in Jamaica. His work speaks
directly to us because of the similarity between pre-Revolutionary Cuba and
(iii) Joseph Pereira (Lecturer, Dept. of Spanish):
Fri. Nov. 29:
The first 'official' activity for Guillen was a performance at Irvine Hall, U.W.I.,
featuring the University group, Omo Ajini, and the visiting Cuban band, El Manguart.
He was given a true baptism into Jamaica time the show was an hour late.
However, from the first drum-beats of the African music of Omo Ajini, Guill6n
seemed to anticipate the vitality of the experience in store, and for most of their
presentation he sat forward in his seat taking it all in with intense pleasure, par-
ticularly impressed by the commitment of the lead musician to his art. "He lives his
art", he commented afterwards as he underscored the purity and authenticity of the
total group and made links with Afro-cuban rhythms.
Sat. Nov. 30:
On the following day, it was agreed that he should be taken on a visit to the North
Coast resort of Ocho Rios, using a circular route to maximize his exposure to the
Jamaican countryside. So four of us set off along the Junction road in sunny
weather. As we went north into the hills however, the rain began, gentle but per-
sistent. The main road was blocked so we had to take a detour via Richmond, along a
road marked, with increasing regularity, by landslips. It had been raining in the area
for at least 24 hours, and our first meeting with the Flint River showed it very
swollen and irate but, reassuringly, some 20 feet below us, under a solid bridge.
However, a few miles up the road we came face to face with the river again, curving
in a beautiful arc but this time on our level and indeed greedily invading the road
ahead and held back from snatching us by a-none-too-secure concrete wall. The
brown expanse swept trees and branches along its ominously forceful path and
reduced us in the car to a puny pebble in nature's path. We found ourselves at the
head of a line of about five cars with a sixth attempting to turn back ahead of us at
the water's edge as the river rose visibly by the inch along the road.
The embassy official thinking what we all were thinking without articulating it,
(although later we could joke about Guill6n's safety) spun the large American car into
a turn in the middle of the narrow country road, while each second's delay seemed like
minutes. It took quite a bit of maneuvering to get the car around and race to safety on
higher ground. There we could all release the tension in jokes and anecdotes and
Guill.n could fantasize about press headlines ("Guillen drowned in Jamaican river") or
tell us of a narrow escape in the high Andes. An alternate route proved also blocked by
a mudslide and we began to visualize ourselves cut off for the weekend in the St. Mary
hills. The responsibility for a seventy year old man with a heart condition was now
seeming serious. Deciding to abandon the trip and return to Kingston, we barely
managed to circumvent a new landslide that threatened to block even that option, so
that it was not until we were back on the main class A road that we felt relaxed and
quite happy to settle for a leisurely lunch in Kingston. The whole excursion had lasted
just two hours. Still it had been a new experience for the poet as for the rest of us -his
first confrontation with a river in full spate. It seemed to bring out in him a slight concern
(which suggested itself more than once, subsequently) of how he would be remembered
after death, and the insignificance of himself and his work for the majority of Jamaicans.
Among the jokes had been his imagining of a comment by a Jamaican "Oh, some old
Cuban in his seventies who used to write poetry"
Tues. Dec. 3:
A more leisurely trip was made to Spanish Town where we strolled through the main
square, now very placid with the diversion of highway traffic along the by-pass. It was a
very informal visit -just the two of us without any preparation. Guill'n was keen to
visit the old structures: the court house, the library, the folk museum. He remarked on
the quiet pace of life and what he felt to be the rural-peoples' suspicion of strangers. At
the folk museum, he was attracted to the bead necklaces on sale and bought a couple to
take home to his wife he was always remembering her on the trip and concerned for
her welfare as she had been under medical attention at the time. He was quite charmed
by the "brawta" attitude of the lady who made and sold the necklaces who let him have
one 'special' for being a good customer. This life-style was sharply contrasted on our
return to Kingston and to a shopping plaza to find a toy for his grandson. Guilldn was
always on the look out for gifts to take back for his friends whether socks for his
chauffeur or felt pens for Fayad Jamis. The only thing he bought for himself was a
guayabera-styled shirt, whose embroideries he felt somewhat daring, (as Retamar had
thought the dashiki style) apprehensive about the acceptability of such arts in
As a person who had been responsive to the racial inequalities in the hemisphere,
Guillen was struck by three features of Jamaica: one was the continuing predominance
of black people in the lowest-paying jobs contrasting with the racial plurality of the
bourgeoisie something that he implied was a hemispheric feature that indicated a
serious revolutionary need. Another was the petit-bourgeoisie, black in its majority,
initiating the norms of bourgeois fashion and behaviour as he had the opportunity to
observe with guests attending various dances at the Pegasus Hotel in their flowing
gowns, coiffured hair, kareebas and like sophistication. Finally, he was struck by the
prevalence of black American tourism here. These last two aspects underlined for him
the socio-economic class problems of the society. Guill6n is a very keen observer of life,
taking in everything arouud, sometimes with a child-like enjoyment, at all times with
courtesy and good-naturedness. Perhaps the high point ofhis visit was his meeting with
Louise Bennett in which a total empathy and exuberant congeniality seemed to give
him intense pleasure at sharing experiences with someone who lived her art.
The Guilldn visit is one major step in the thawing-out process between Cuba and the
English-speaking Caribbean. Four years ago, this encounter was not possible, not per-
missible, not proper. Passports of people who were known to have visited Cuba or who
were sympathetic to the Revolutionary Government was being seized and University
personnel being searched to the bones for subversive literature. The word "socialist"
was branded on the foreheads of academics as a sobriquet for an "undesirable person"
The tide has changed; the cold wave is passing; the hypocrisy of mere nominal
diplomatic ties has been unveiled and is gradually giving way to another level of
contact which one hopes will eventually lead to less of the official and tightly con-
trolled "social" visits and some more meaningful and creative interchange and cross--
fertilization of ideas, methods and experiences.
We are at the cross-roads now. Caribbean governments, with some temerity,
launched out inspite of Nixon's frown and shook Fidel's hand, but there is little doubt
that they have still been watching U.S. reactions with greatest alertness and surely not
without some apprehension. The expected breakthrough on Cuba's behalf at the last
O.A.S. session in Quito which was ingeniously foiled by some members had, for a
moment, raised great expectations in the Caribbean. But, alas, the approving nod from
Washington was withheld and so, the Caribbean, for the moment, remains at the
cross-roads exchanging handshakes, living in hope of firmer cultural and economic
bonds. No doubt the Kissinger-Kennedy speeches of March 1 and 2 have provided the
long-awaited green light from the big brother in the North.
This has not been a one-sided approach. One gets the distinct impression that Cuba
is also cautiously taking care to enjoy the handshakes specialised and controlled
tours for visitors; special selection of top-level visitors from University and Govern-
ment Ministries; exchange of cultural groups Manguard, Light of Saba, National
Dance Theatre Company, Jamaica Folk Singers, etc., and visits by artists Guilldn,
Retamar, Brathwaite, John Hearne, Marina Maxwell, Rex Nettleford, etc.
This is the period of cultural interaction a necessary and justifiable line of
approach for neighbours who have been kept apart by divisive European and U.S.
forces. It is like a soul-warming commune against a background of coldness which can
be summed up in separation, ignorance, superiority complexes, prejudice and fear. It
is the entree to a new fellowship, a kind of invitation to an experience as yet uncertain
and unknown but which promises to be dynamic and productive.
The air of mystery is still intense even for the privileged few who have actually
visited Revolutionary Cuba. The desire to learn or to satisfy one's curiosity is high
even among those who have no particular sympathies for communist ideology. We all
feel as if we are on the verge of discovering a new dimension of ourselves, the latent
possibilities for understanding and developing our authentic Caribbean personality in
the context of new and explosive relationships. The best illustration of this potential is
Guill6n's allegorical poem "El Caribe" (The Caribbean) in his collection El gran Zoo
(The Great Zoo):
In the aquarium of the Great Zoo,
swims the Caribbean.
has a white, crystal crest,
blue back and green tail,
belly of compact coral,
grey, hurricane fins.
In the aquarium, this inscription:
"Beware: it bites"
J.A. GEORGE IRISH
I have spent a whole Sunday
just lying down, reading.
I in my peaceful bed,
on my fluffy pillow,
under my spotless quilt.
Feeling rock, mud, blood,
piss and asthma:
silent Indians who do not understand,
soldiers who do not understand,
theorizing gentlemen who do not understand,
workers, peasants, who do not understand.
You finish reading,
your eyes fix
on what spot in the wind?
The book burned in my hands.
I then lay it open,
like pure coal,
on my chest.
the last words rise
from a deep black hole.
Inti, Pablito, el Chino and Aniceto.
The circle closing in.
The army radio
That tiny little moon
one league from Higueras
and two from Pucara.
No more pages.
This is getting serious.
It will soon end.
It is ending.
Bursting into flames.
IN PRAISE OF CARPENTER
Alejo Carpentier celebrated his seventieth birthday, full of ebullience and in the
midst of a myriad of literary endeavours. We know him as a man of noted lucidity and
evident modesty. Lately, this last quality has been put through the invisible ordeal of
praise, distinction and recognition. Many prestigious critics of the most refined ex-
pressions of culture and the arts who are world-renowned for their meticulous
aesthetic sense have rendered tribute to his work.
Honours and recognition have been showered upon him. And now Cuba, his home-
land, has offered Alejo Carpentier other distinctions, more affectionate, more pure,
and inspired in the spirit of the Revolution. The former honours crowned his literary
efforts. They belong to the world of literary critics, erudite readers, writers, publishers
and institutions of efficient literary criticism, which in the last analysis are
dependent on the writer's degree of popular success.
Carpentier has remained unmoved, untouched. He has succeeded without resorting
to artless schemes, without inflicting violence on himself. Ever since the far-off days
when Alejo Carpentier wanted to be and was capable of being a writer, literary
creation became his daily work, not for the sake of striking it rich, but for the sake of
discovery, of revelation and out of an overwhelming personal need which led him to
enrich the world with his wonderful creation. Ever since his earliest writing career, he
wrote within the framework of a strict self-discipline that is even more intrinsic to his
working habits now that he has reached the height of his maturity after travelling a
long road of trials in the hazardous, complex and oftentimes inscrutable world of
Alejo Carpentier started to write as a young man. His literary creation has always
been unusually firm. He has never chosen themes easily appealing to readers. Not one
of his novels has been the result of a facile approach. All of Carpentier's novels offer
legitimate difficulties, and, nevertheless, compel the reader to join him in his restless
quest, in his exploration of the depths of man himself.
Each and every line written by Alejo Carpentier has been carefully worked out,
thought out, intertwined with the living cultural heritage and with the cultural pat-
terns in a process of gestation. The reader willing to follow him in his quest and
there are countless numbers who do, indeed must be intellectually fit to deserve the
ensuing enjoyment. In short, the reader must improve, must enrich his store of
knowledge through his own efforts, which is the only really valid method. This is a
truth as unchangeable as the path of the stars.
Literary critics have commented and will continue to comment on the themes of
our Cuban novelist. With a bit more discretion, Carpentier has also commented on his
themes and other occurrences of his literary creation. He is one of the few writers who
have clearly described his basic themes with the rare added virtue that he has done so
without resorting to explanations in his works. His novels are the result of the develop-
ment of his theories in an incessant and dialectical battle for the best possible use of
words. A writer is a man constantly struggling with words and their meaning. This
struggle is his primary tool. His office is to rescue words from the realms of idiots who
use and erode them without ever stopping to ask themselves as to their meaning. His
office is to redeem words from those who interrupt their rise to eloquence and instead
enslave them in the banalities of rhetoric.
Alejo Carpentier, like all true writers, has never tired of paying close attention to,
of pausing before words. He has overcome the fatigue of searching in the depth of
words. He has challenged the insolence of what has been announced an impossible task
and has tried to penetrate what does not claim to be real but is and what claims to be
real but is nothing but a facade. The themes of authentic novels are subject to the
authenticity of words, which go beyond the themes and by choice of the author go
beyond themselves. Reality is not found in themes and words alone, outside the
kingdom of man. Reality is what man feels and does, and it is the function of words to
reveal, to label truthfully the dreams and actions of man, whose being remains limited
and becomes indigent without true-to-life words.
Carpentier has fulfilled with absolute faithfulness his commitment to the struggle
with words. He has said that his hero, his protagonist, is life itself, and he has been able
to prove this statement in his literary works, because he has come out victorious in his
battle with words. In his novels, he has set in motion a new world of his own making
through the use of new words, a new order of words, so that his reality can be
understood. America, and the Caribbean area as its condensation, has been the focus
of the creative vigilance of Alejo Carpentier, who has described it as no one else has
- a melting pot of cultures, pigments and overlapping ages of man, as the scene of
enormous exploitation and a wonder of mankind buried in ignominy
It is no courteous accident of formality that Alejo Carpentier's country of birth -
in the midst of an irreversible revolutionary process should now render tribute to
him, since he has put his talent at the service of the Revolution without having to
change in the slightest bit the path he chose for his vast literary work, always in search
of the seed of life itself.
Cuba confers on Alejo Carpentier the honours and recognition worthy of him and
of his work, which shows no sign of weariness and, without rest, moves forward with
"Words do not fall in a void", said Alejo Carpentier in one of his works. We take
this for granted, but, nonetheless, must always be ready to avoid this pitfall. Car-
pentier's work also can be said to be a constant redemption of words, so that they will
never fall in a void, so that man will not use them as empty symbols and be left empty
himself in the process.
The Revolution the most important cultural event that has ever happened in
Cuba finds in the literary work of Alejo Carpentier (who at seventy is immersed in a
process of passionate growth and far from the hour of retelling) an evidence that the
Revolution only recognizes as its own what has been accomplished with authenticity
and continues to be accomplished with the same authenticity, because what is a
literary work in the America of Marti if it is not nourished by this essential attribute of
man when it is true?
ON HIS SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY ALEJO CARPENTER
ANSWERS SEVEN QUESTIONS
I What can you tell us about your book which has just been published?
"Well, the best I can do is to give you what you might call a 'rundown of the work'
I believe that, to a writer, the production and the existence of a book especially if it
belongs to what is generally known as fiction implies three stages: the writing itself,
mainly a labour of handcraft which, starting from an idea, a seed, leads to the develop-
ment of that idea and its implications, eventually bringing the narrative to its logical
end. This is one stage which offers the writer many moments of happiness and, I
may add, of disappointment as well. It's a process during which the creative impulse is
being constantly interrupted by a spirit of self-criticism, by the hesitation of the
selection of material, by doubts; all this as part of the quest for a form and a style
fitting the content. Finally and not without a certain feeling of relief the work is
finished. It's a moment when a writer can say Alea jacta est. The next stage is the
publication, a moment of tremendous anguish, indeed. The next, which until then had
been read straight from the manuscript, is now distributed in a different way. The
words, the sentences are no longer where they used to be. And all the errors, the
wrong expressions, the repetition of words that could have been avoided appear before
our eyes as a painful reminder. We are overcome by remorse. 'I should have worked a
little more It would have been a good idea to write this chapter in a different
way Here, I forgot the most important thing How in the world could I ever let
that badly constructed sentence get by?.' We are face to face with the problem of
perfection ad infinitum. When we think of it, a book is never completely finished -
but the one thing is, just when is a book really finished? In the end, what really erases
all feelings of anxiety, is the readers themselves who, in most cases, turn out to be
much more indulgent than we expected. Now comes stage number three: the book is
already in circulation. It is now public domain. Everything that could be said about it
- including the bad things has been said. The book is no longer ours. It drifts away
from us, like an elder son on his way to set up his own home somewhere else. The
book itself gradually becomes more distant and strange .... and we realise that the
time has come to start a new one or finish the one already underway."
2. Could you name your favourite book and your favourite character?
"As far as I am concerned, I have no favourite book or character, beginning with
the publication of The Kingdom of this World. I believe that, in every one of my
books, I have tried to tackle a different problem as to form and content and this
includes my short stories, which are all different. I see every text as a unity by itself. I
know all its weaknesses as well as its virtues. I view it as an object in space, the way it
appears, and without the slightest interest in either dissecting or criticising it .. I only
say to myself, like an athlete who has just established a record, 'I'll try and do better
next time' ".
3. Within the literary context, how much influence has music had on you?
"I believe that, to a writer, to an artist, an acquaintance with or the practice of a
'second art' can be very useful. It makes it possible for us to approach a problem of
expression, of form, from a different angle. Music, which is essentially a structural art,
has been of great help to me in search for verbal structures.. "
4. In the course of the process of creation and considering them as drive factors if
you had to choose between the occurrent and the deliberate, which would you
"If I may use a terminology now in vogue, I would say that the occurrent is the
significant and the deliberate is the significant. Here we have the eternal question
of what and how, which is the basis of all art. Nothing is achieved with an initial move
if that move doesn't find its form. Making art is, in the main, giving form to the
amorphous. An impression, an emotion, an organic or mental impulse never goes beyond
the instinctive, the fortuitous, the already assumed The question is, 'What to do with
the assumed?' And that's where the real work of the artist, of the writer, begins."
5. What does the expression "Our America" bring to your mind?
"A sense of totality, the way Marti saw it. Even though her regions, her countries
have their own particular characteristics and are certainly particular, no question
about it! their history is ruled by common denominators. Their enemies are the
same enemies. Their virtues are very similar. And the same dangers and again we
must quote Marti hover over the destiny of all the nations in the continent. This is
why an event such as that of Playa Gir6n has so much importance and validity for the
entire continent. It was the demonstration of a historical possibility, of a historical
possibility which many who considered it impossible now realise that such a possibility
was perfectly possible. As a mathematician would say, 'What we-wanted-to demon-
6. As a writer, what has the Revolution meant to you?
"The Revolution provided me with a feeling of usefulness. And thanks to that, one
day I realized that both my literary work and my activities in any sector of the
revolutionary scene could be of some use. And nothing could give a man greater
satisfaction than to know that his work, however modest, is a useful labour, a labour
in the benefit of a collectivity on the move. Under such conditions, work no matter
what kind becomes a source of endless joy."
7. What can you tell us about your present work and your ideas and plans in relation
"My next novel, The Rites of Spring, is based mainly on a revolutionary theme and
comes to an end with the battle of Playa Girdn. I had the book in mind for several
years but the vastness of the theme, the need to review a huge array of documents,
held me back as to its definitive version. However, a number of excerpts have already
appeared in magazines and newspapers. To tell the truth, what I announced on several
occasions as a trilogy begun with a volume entitled The Year 59, eventually became
The Rites of Spring, which is actually three novels in one. That's all I can say about
my immediate plans. As for the future, I already have a theme in mind, but I think it
could be premature to say anything more about it when two new books of mine have
just been published."
Reprinted from GRANMA, 4, Havana, January 5, 1975
Vietnam can be (should be) many images:
The vigorous old man at my side in the dusty jeep
Who tells me about the battle lasting five days
and five nights around the Han Rong bridge,
Ninety American planes were down when it was all over
And there wasn't a patriot soldier or officer unwounded,
But the bridge, like the jawbone of the dinosaur of the same name,
Remained hanging, alive, though its great geological steel was
bent and crushed.
The soldiers with honors, ferocious in battle,
Who walk through the streets of Hanoi during Tet hand in hand
With great boughs of pink flowers in the glorious dusk.
A pain great as the night, growing absurdly in the hearts
Youth go by before dawn singing beautiful hymns
That Jeronimo should be taping, Ivan and Luis filming
If we weren't in the wooden bunks, surprised by the marches
In the morning we find out
They're going to the front, to the fronts
Where they grow and bleed, these locals who are truly universal.
Vietnam can be (should be) heroes giant and simple as water,
Terrible bombs, or forgotten bombs like the mine that just exploded
as we passed.
Broken trains, flaming roads, countless bicycles,
Timeless buffalos, flowers, straw, clay, dust.
But now I want to imagine it
As that girl Julio had walked before his camera
Like an elegant gazelle among the old stones
Of the Phat Diem cathedral, coiling pagoda
That bursts into vaguely French angels,
Into prophets with oblique eyes, in shadows, in damp chambers
of bells and drums:
I want to imagine Vietnam as that girl fragrant before the camera,
The same Le who waited on us timidly, who brought
The food to the huge dining table each night in our dorm.
Roberto Fernandez Retamar
Margaret Randall & Robert Cohen
FOR AN INSTANT
That light in the night,
is it one of our searchlights?
A weapon of theirs'
(For an instant
there is a moon, stars, in the sky.)
NO WORD DOES YOU JUSTICE
A tremor stronger than the cupola,
Companionship more intense than solitude,
Conversation much richer than silence,
Reality stranger than a dream,
Truth of the day and night,
Song without end, sky colored in flags,
Reason for being here;
See, no word does you justice,
Roberto Fernandez Retamar
There was the petty bourgeoisie,
The merchant bourgeoisie,
All a tremble, all dream.
*Latifundistas: Big landowners throughout Latin America.
While you burn by the sea,
While you raise your vibrant, golden column,
While, like a tree, you grow in the midst of night,
making her content,
Love will survive, love will have meaning, life will live,
O, fire of ours, immortal bird in flight above
the deep and bitter waters of the sea.
Roberto Fernandez Retamar
Contradictory Omens by Edward Brathwaite. Savacou Publications, Mona, 1974.
Translations from the Night: Selected Poems by Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo.
Mad and Other Poems by E.A. Markham. Aquila/ The Phaeton Press.
Dem Say: Interviews with Eight Nigerian Women edited by Bernth Lindfors.
Pablo Morillo and Venezuela 1815-1820 by Stephen K. Stoan. Ohio State University Press
Miguel Street by V.S. Naipaul. Caribbean Writers Series.
PUBLICATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EXTRA-MURAL STUDIES
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Movement in Kingston, Jamaica $1.00 J
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H.R. Roberts: Job Evaluation 50c J
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CARIBBEAN AFFAIRS, NEW SERIES:
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3) George Cumper: Looking at Figures 50c J
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WEST INDIAN PLAYS:
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REGULATIONS FOR THE CASA DE LAS AMERICAS PRIZE 1976
In the testimony genre for 1976, all entries must deal with the theme of the Latin American
woman. This was a resolution adopted during the Latin American Writers' Meeting whichcul-
minated the "Casa de las Americas Prize" activities for 1975. This resolution is reflected in the
regulations for this year, and is inspired in the fact that 1975 has been named International
Another innovation in this year's prize is the opportunity for authors from the Antilles and
Guyana who write in English to be able to participate in the fiction category in their own language.
1 Work falling in any one of the following
three categories may be sent to the Casa de las
Amdricas Prize literary contest: a) works of fic-
tion, b) investigative, interpretive or critical
essay; and testimony, and c) books for children
and young people.
2 The works of fiction will include: novels,
books of short stories, books of poetry and dra-
matic works. Eight works from this category will
be. selected as winners, preferably two in each
3 The essays will treat historical, social, liter-
ary, artistic or biographical subjects relative to
Latin America; the testimonies, based on direct
source material, will treat some aspect of the life
of women in Our America (as this year has been
declared International Women's Year).
4 The books for children and young people
may be: fiction, in whatever form the author
prefers (short story, fable, theatre, rhyme, etc.)
or didactic (biographies, travelogues, discoveries,
inventions, countries, peoples, etc.). The fic-
tional works must be inspired on Latin American
themes, and the didactic works should concern
either Latin America or be related to Latin Amer-
ican social evolution. In this category four works
will be selected, preferably two of fiction and
two which are didactic.
5 Eligible to participate in the contest are: a)
Latin American writers, including those of non-
Spanish languages b) authors who are not native
to this continent but who have lived in Latin
America for five or more years, and c) in the
essay genre, authors from the socialist countries.
6 The works presented must be unpublished
and in Spanish (except those mentioned in point
number 7), although Brazilian authors may parti-
cipate in Portuguese in the essay and testimony
category. Wherever Spanish translations are con-
cerned, the translator's name must be included
and it is recommended that the original language
text be submitted as well. Books will be consid-
ered unpublished even when parts of the text
have appeared in print. In the case of theatrical
works; plays will be considered unpublished al-
though they have been staged.
7 Authors from the Antilles and Guyana
who write in English may send fictional works
written in that language. A special jury will be
set up to judge these works and they will select
two of them, irrespective of the genre.
8 The eighteen works selected in the previ-
ously mentioned categories will be published in
the Casa de las Americas Prize series, and each
of the winning authors will receive, as well, one
thousand dollars or its equivalent in their
country's corresponding currency.
9 The submitted works must be type-
written. In order to facilitate the work of the
jury, an original and two copies should be
sent. Authors may send illustrations with the
works for children or young people.
10 Works must be signed by their author
or authors, in the case of collective ef-
forts, and the genre in which the work is
to be judged should be specified. If the
author is accustomed to using a pseudonym
he or she may do so, as long as his or her
real identity is included as well. Authors and
translators should enclose their respective bio-
11 The Casa de las Amdricas reserves the
right to publication of the first edition in
Spanish of the selected works. After this
first edition, all publishing, representational,
adaptation, film, television and radio rights
revert to the author.
12 The deadline for all entries is Novem-
ber 30, 1975.
13 The juries for each of the three categories
will convenein Havana in January, 1976.
14 Entries should be sent to: Casa de las
Amdricas G y Tercera, Vedado, Havana, Cuba;or
any Cuban embassy; or Case Postal 2, 3000
Berna, 16. Suiza.
15 Entries will be at their authors' disposition
until December 31, 1975. The Casa de las Ameri-
cas cannot be responsible for the return of manu-
Printed by The Herald Ltd., 43 East St., Kingston.