Title Page
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part I: Health
 Part II: Land
 Part III: Trade
 Part IV: Culture
 Part V: Diplomacy


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The Caribbean : peoples, problems, and prospects
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100640/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Caribbean : peoples, problems, and prospects
Series Title: Caribbean Conference series, ser. 1 ;
Physical Description: xviii, 240 p. : map ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wilgus, A. Curtis ( Alva Curtis ), 1897-1981
University of Florida -- School of Inter-American Studies
Conference: Conference on the Caribbean, 1951
Publisher: University of Florida Press
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
Publication Date: 1962
Copyright Date: 1952
Edition: Lithoprinted ed.
Subjects / Keywords: Congresses -- Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 106.
General Note: Includes index.
General Note: A publication of the School of Inter-American Studies, University of Florida.
General Note: Papers delivered at the second Conference on the Caribbean, University of Florida, December 6-8, 1951.
Statement of Responsibility: edited by A. Curtis Wilgus.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: Copyright by the Board of Regents of the State of Florida. This work is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/. You are free to electronically copy, distribute, and transmit this work if you attribute authorship. However, all printing rights are reserved by the University Press of Florida (http://www.upf.com). Please contact UPF for information about how to obtain copies of the work for print distribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the University Press of Florida. Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 11947224
Classification: lcc - F2171 .F6 v.2 1962
System ID: UF00100640:00001


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Table of Contents
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Title Page
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
    Part I: Health
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
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    Part II: Land
        Page 25
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    Part III: Trade
        Page 65
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    Part IV: Culture
        Page 115
        Page 116
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    Part V: Diplomacy
        Page 175
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Full Text






A publication of the
which contains the papers delivered at the second annual conference on the
Caribbean held at the University of Florida, December 6, 7, and 8, 1951.


11 1 0 105 100 9lo95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60


GUAF of a


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or 200 400 600 800 KILOMETERS *BOGOT
o .. I 1 ... ......

1 1 0 1 05 1 00 9$ 9 0 5 so0 7 5 70 WEST L.ONGITUDE



edited by A. Curtis Wilgus








Copyright, 1952, by the

A University of Florida Press Book
L. C. Catalogue Card Number. 52-12530


Lithoprinted by



FRANCISCO AGUIRRE, Secretary, Pan American Division, American
Road Builders' Association
FRANK K. BELL, Vice President, Alcoa Steamship Company
W. H. CALLCOTT, Professor of History, University of South Carolina
HARRIET DE ONIS, Translator and Author, New York City
JosE GUZMAN BALDIVIESO, Honorary Consul of Bolivia to Indiana
and Kansas
C. H. HARING, Professor of History, Harvard University
JOHN P. HARRISON, Latin American Specialist, National Archives
MARK D. HOLLIS, Assistant Surgeon General, Public Health Service,
Federal Security Agency
MUNA LEE, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, Department of State
ALBERTO LLERAS, Secretary General, Pan American Union
JAMES G. MADDOX, Assistant Director, American International
Association for Economic and Social Development
WILFRED O. MAUCK, Vice President, Institute of Inter-American
Affairs, Educational Division
J. HILLIS MILLER, President, University of Florida
Ross E. MOORE, Assistant Director, Office of Foreign Agricultural
Relations, Department of Agriculture
RAFAEL PIC6, Chairman, Puerto Rico Planning Board
WILLIAM L. SCHURZ, Professor of Area Studies and International
Relations, American Institute for Foreign Trade
FRED L. SOPER, Director, Pan American Sanitary Bureau
DORIS STONE, Archaeologist and Anthropologist, San Jos6, Costa
ARTURO TORRES-RIOSECO, Professor of Spanish, University of

vi The Caribbean

REXFORD G. TUGWELL, Professor of Political Science, University
of Chicago
A. CURTIS WILGUS, Director, School of Inter-American Studies,
University of Florida
GEORGE WYTHE, Director, American Republics Division, Depart-
ment of Commerce


THE CONSUMMATE importance of an ever increasing co-
operation among the Americas, and of a wider appreciation by
the United States of its responsibilities in the family of American
republics, daily gains greater recognition. Events of the year past,
during which the creeping paralysis of totalitarianism afflicted
even more of the once-free world, leave no doubt in the mind
of the thinking observer that the Americas must become more
unified in thought and deed if the New World is to enjoy tomor-
row, as today, the democratic way of life.
In the spirit of service to this cause of unity among the
Americas, the University of Florida each year sponsors an inter-
American conference, bringing together area specialists and leaders
from the ranks of business, government, and education to exchange
views and information pertaining to the American republics. In
December, 1950, the first of a new series of these scholarly con-
ferences was held on our campus to examine "The Caribbean at
Mid-Century." A volume bearing this title and containing the
proceedings of this conference was published by the University of
Florida Press in 1951.
The papers which form the body of the present volume were
delivered at the Second Annual Conference on the Caribbean,
held at the University in December, 1951. Plans for a third meet-
ing are well advanced as this volume goes to press, and it is
the University's intent to continue these conferences so long as
they remain useful to the cause to which they are dedicated.
The University of Florida acknowledges its sincere appreciation
to the Aluminum Company of America, through the Alcoa Steam-
ship Company, Inc., for its cooperation in this conference.

J. HILLS MILLER, President
University of Florida



Map of Caribbean Area ....... . Frontispiece
List of Contributors .. . . ....... v
Foreword-J. HILLIS MILLER ....... .. Vii
Introduction-A. CURTIS WILGUS . ...... Xi


CARIBBEAN .. ..... 3
3. Jose Guzmin Baldivieso: HEALTH PROBLEMS IN VENE-




7. Francisco Aguirre: THE CARIBBEAN: HEART OF THE



x The Caribbean

THE CARIBBEAN .. .... 96


THE CARIBBEAN .. .... 117
12. Harriet de Onis: THE SHORT STORY IN THE
CARIBBEAN TODAY .. . ... 123
13. Arturo Torres-Rioseco: SOCIAL EVOLUTION AND
14. Doris Stone: SCHOOLS THAT LIVE . .. 155


16. Rexford G. Tugwell: CARIBBEAN OBLIGATIONS . 177
IN THE CARIBBEAN . ..... 194
20. Wilfred O. Mauck: THE INSTITUTE OF INTER-
Index . . . . . 235


No HISTORIAN is so clairvoyant that he can predict the
future. He can, however, view in retrospect a panorama of past
events-a chain of events, each a result of a previous cause. To
this extent he views the past with its own future. In this way he
may look into the future and he may conclude that a certain
set of past events may run through a series of predictable results.
But past history does not repeat itself.
The Caribbean area viewed in retrospect as a human geo-
graphical unit has a full record of a variety of events-political,
economic, social, cultural, intellectual, religious. These events
when placed together in proper sequence constitute a historical
trend which leads definitely into the future. People have been
acting more or less in the same way for centuries. That is part
of human nature, which in the Caribbean has been running true
to form for generations. And it probably will continue to run
true to form in coming generations.
Participants in this conference have been looking toward the
past, and toward the future. They have viewed the Caribbean area
in retrospect and in prospect. Let us look now for a moment at a
number of events as the historian sees them-in retrospective

I. Health

Not long ago we stood in a public park in a small town in
Mexico. The weather was springlike. Innumerable people of
various complexions came and went about their important busi-
nesses. Some were businessmen. Some seemed to have no business
at all. A few were sitting on the grass eating picnic lunches.
It was the noon hour. In the center of the park a fountain was
sending up a thin stream of water which looked clear and


The Caribbean

sparkling. But it fell into a large basin filled with leaves and
sticks and other debris. As we watched, a small boy came to the
fountain, sat on the edge, and dangled his feet in the water,
splashing it about in all directions. A man with a dilapidated
automobile got out a pail which he used to dip up water to
carry to the radiator of his steaming car. Birds bathed themselves
in the water. A dog came to drink. A passing urchin picked up
a handful of dust and tossed it onto the surface of the water,
watching it settle. As we looked, an old man, obviously an
Indian, hobbled up to the edge of the fountain and put his
hand into the water, splashing it to and fro. Soon he bent
down, brushed aside the dirt on the water, and put his lips
to the surface, taking a long drink from the fountain. While
he was drinking, one of the picnickers brought a cup and plate
to the fountain and washed them off. Soon a woman with a
child came to the edge of the fountain. First she looked around
her, then she dipped her hand into the water and washed the
baby's face.
We stood watching this scene for fully twenty minutes. In that
time half a dozen people drank the water of the fountain. No
one seemed to be disturbed by the fact that the water was dirty.
Each brushed the dirt away and took a drink. This fountain in
this Mexican village was obviously a place which had a variety
of uses, depending upon the person who passed by. It was
perfectly evident that these activities or similar ones had been
going on for generations. It was only natural to consider that
the fountain had been erected for the benefit of the citizens of
this community. A similar phenomenon can be observed in other
towns in Latin America. Even in localities where good drinking
water has been provided, many of the local populace continue
to use the public fountain. Public health had undoubtedly been
affected by the presence of this fountain in the community.
A culture habit has been developed upon which all our modem
scientific notions and improvements have had no effect. It is a
cultural pattern which, viewed from the present in retrospect,
seems almost tragic.


II. Land

One bleak day we were driving along the Pan American
Highway on the high antiplano of the Andes. The clouds seemed
almost to touch the ground, and the wind whistled past in great
streamers. Off to the right we saw a cloud of dust whirling
toward us. We stopped, and soon out of the dust appeared
a yoke of oxen drawing a wooden plow. The horns of the oxen
were entwined with colored ribbons, mirrors, and tinsel blowing
crazily in the breeze. The oxen moved in slow and heavy fashion.
Behind the plow was an Indian who was doing his best to steer
the wooden implement in a straight line. Alongside him and the
oxen and following behind with shouts of joy were children
and adults. It looked like a gala occasion. Marching along
beside the plow was a priest. Someone was playing a flute,
obviously for the purpose of making a noise rather than music.
As we watched this scene it appeared that the priest was blessing
the land and apparently sprinkling holy water on the newly
plowed earth. There were no fences, and when the oxen came
within a few feet of the road, several of the adults picked up the
plow and headed it in the opposite direction while others tried
to push and pull the oxen so that they would return from whence
they had come.
Land in this area is cheap. It is probable that the potato, or
a branch of the potato family, was first developed in this region.
Certainly it has been cultivated from early times to the present
in the same fashion that is used today. But the potato, like the
methods of cultivation, has undergone no improvement what-
soever. The land produces little, and at times it produces noth-
ing at all. Since human beings here are dependent upon what
the land yields, there are intermittent years of starvation between
the years when production rises slightly above the margin of
starvation. But life goes on; babies are born and die. Land
is cheap, though it is worth no more than it costs. Nature is
often uncooperative and the elements often unfavorable. Hence
the intercession of deity seems to be necessary. Superstitions re-
garding land and its productive ability are commonly accepted
characteristics of thinking in this region. Science, of course, is
gradually coming to the help of such backward people. But


The Caribbean

first they must realize that they must do something to help
themselves. Then nature perhaps will smile more frequently
and more effectively. But today the retrospective panorama here
is bleak.

III. Trade

Trading in Latin America is frequently a highly personalized
affair. When one wishes to prepare a meal one usually goes to
the public market. These markets vary from town to town in
size and quality and odor. One hot, steaming day in a Central
American country, we accompanied our hostess on a food-purchas-
ing expedition in the city's market. First we visited the outdoor
stalls where people could sit in the hot sun or in the cool shade
and bargain all day long. Dogs and children were everywhere
under foot, each making characteristic noises and reacting char-
acteristically to the environment. As we entered the building,
we saw that the narrow aisles were virtually footpaths occupied
by people and animals sprawling on the ground. Some individuals
were engaged in eating what appeared to be a variety of refuse.
A few had braziers on which meat and fish were cooking. The
floor was slippery in a slimy fashion with pieces of decayed
vegetables and fruit. An uncommonly strong stench arose from
the stalls and booths along the aisles. Our hostess stopped here
and there to ask the price of food. Occasionally she made a
purchase, but only after a violent argument had ensued over
the price. As one haggled with one shopkeeper, others in the
vicinity screamed at the tops of their voices to come and buy
their wares. Prices varied with different customers, depending
largely on how they were dressed. Fish and meats of all
descriptions were exposed to the air where they lay on counters
or hung from hooks covered with flies and unidentifiable vermin.
Cakes and cookies disintegrated under the attack of insects. Candies
and sweets quietly melted in the heat. The faces of the people,
largely Indians, were morose and distressed. Only the young
people seemed to be enjoying themselves. We hastened on
from booth to booth along blocks of aisles, half-filled with
humanity. Finally, our purchases complete, we headed for the
open air and the sunlight.



Markets like these have been in existence since earliest colonial
days. In some localities sanitary conditions have improved none
at all; perhaps they have even become worse. Buying and selling
activities continue as they have for centuries. At certain times of
the day trade is brisk. On some days there is virtually no trade
at all. Yet many of those who have produce to sell have come
from miles away to the social center of the market place where
their gossip substitutes for the newspaper, and public opinion is
fickle and fluctuating. Thus, as one looks back at this and other
markets in hundreds of Latin American communities, one wonders
why large groups of the population have not been swept away by
disease and plague.

IV. Culture

The scene is the plaza of a small Indian village in Yucatan. The
noonday sun is hot. A microscopic breeze barely stirs the dust in
the public square. Thousands of yellow butterflies are everywhere,
and these and other insects go about their customary business in
their own individual ways. Rangy, mangy dogs are listlessly sniffing
the ground or lying in an apparent state of exhaustion in the dust
of the road. On one side of the square near the corner is a
white building. As one looks closely one sees that the roof is
thatched and that the walls are made of mud covered with white-
wash. On the side facing the square a door and two windows
are visible. But these are closed. Above the door one makes out the
word Escuela in small, faded pink letters. There seems to be a
number also, which indicates that this school once had a prominent
place in Mexican cultural life. We walk up to the entrance and
try the door. It wobbles weakly on its hinge and opens with a
groan. Inside it is dark. In a few seconds, however, we can see
that this indeed has been a school. There are benches. There
seem to be the remains of a desk and chair once used by the
teacher. A piece of slate must have been a blackboard. But where
are the children? Where is the teacher? What has happened to
this school?
We know that for a number of years, now, the government of
Mexico has been building rural schools and encouraging the in-
struction of the Indians, especially in reading and writing Spanish


The Caribbean

and in working with their hands. But little evidence of this exists
today in this little school beside the public square in the Yucatan
village. We learn that the school has been closed for several
years. The teacher has moved away. The children have gone
uneducated. But nobody seems to miss the school. Life continues
as it has since Mayan days. Across from the school there is a
church which seems to be used only on Sundays. But even then
there is no service in the church. In the home of one of the
Indians beside the square is a weaving machine where native
handicrafts are practiced. We learn that only a few people in the
community can read and write. No one apparently seems to mind
that education here is at a standstill. It is quite possible that the
Mayas, who occupied this area ages ago, reached a higher cultural
level than the people today.
We can see in retrospect, as we view the nearby ruins of an
ancient civilization, that this was once a thriving community and
that the prospering people developed a comparatively high cultural
pattern which their descendants have all but lost today.

V. Diplomacy

Hardly had we arrived at the airport of a thriving West Indian
capital than we realized that something was afoot. National flags
were everywhere, furiously flapping in the trade winds. A radio
was blaring martial music. People seemed to be in a gala mood.
A boy was selling newspapers at the top of his voice. Was this
a national holiday? Had a president been newly elected? Had
some special divine blessing descended upon the country? On leav-
ing the plane we learned that national troops had just avenged
the national honor, insulted by foreigners moving across the com-
mon boundary. The "invaders" had been repulsed. The national
army had even crossed the border to follow the foreigners in
defeat. This was indeed a day for universal rejoicing.
When we arrived in town we saw what forms national rejoicing
could take when a boundary dispute had been enthusiastically and
joyfully terminated by military might. There was a fiesta spirit
everywhere. Shops were closed. Many people were in the churches
giving thanks to the deity for helping to repel the enemy. A
military band was playing in the public square. Schools were



closed, and students flooded the streets carrying banners and
placards, and singing national songs. Orators on street covers
were screaming defiance to the foreign invaders. The president-
dictator soon proclaimed three days of rejoicing. The national
honor had been vindicated. Let the invader return, and he would
see what was in store for him!
As objective observers of this scene, we inquired what had
happened. Sifting the innumerable answers, we concluded that
settlers from the neighboring country had been crossing the border
for some time, possibly without realizing it, until their pres-
ence had been magnified into an armed invasion, which must
be repelled by force at all costs. Here was practical, personalized
diplomacy at work. More often than not in a Latin American
country bloodshed and tragedy have followed such events. As
one looks back over the past century, one sees literally dozens
of boundary disputes settled by threats, intimidation, and the
use of arms. More than a hundred years ago Bolivar believed that
such controversies were needless, and through unilateral under-
standings and mutual cooperation, armed disputes over common
boundaries could be prevented. In recent years statesmen in the
United States and in Latin America have attempted through co-
operation to prevent the repetition of such incidents as we observed
in this nation of the West Indies. The retrospective view of
boundary disputes shows that often they have proved disastrous,
and have resulted in national calamities which could have been
prevented by full and free mutual cooperation and the cultivation
and maintenance of common friendships throughout the hemisphere.


These somewhat discouraging vignettes of the problems of health,
land, trade, culture, and diplomacy of the people in the Caribbean
all have one thing in common. They have been witnessed by in-
numerable observers over and over again in the past. They form a
part of the intimate history of the Latin American republics and
they constitute one of the mores of Latin American life. They rep-
resent experiences common to millions of people in the past and
they may possibly continue to be common to millions of people in
the future.

xviii The Caribbean
The experts participating in this conference have viewed the
peoples and problems of the past in a retrospective fashion, and they
have diagnosed what they have found with the object of suggesting
cures. They have also looked toward the future and their pro-
spective views of Caribbean problems seem to indicate that while
much of the past is still a part of the present, the future will
certainly be a period of change, improvement, and progress. The
participants in this conference have not been unduly pessimistic,
nor have they been overly optimistic. They have, however, at-
tempted realistically to view the future in the light of the past and
to see how present conditions can and will change. A retrospective
view is necessary before prospects can be clearly seen.

School of Inter-American Studies

Part I





M AY I SAY that it is a rare pleasure to be here today. The
pleasure of attending this conference is all the greater because
the business of public health has been put first on the program.
It is always gratifying to find that others feel that the first order
of business in any community program is to attend to the matter
of public health.

If it is a question of what comes first in the field of public
health, of course, most of us would favor our own specialty. My
doctrine is that a healthy environment is basic to any public health
movement. There are many valuable specialized activities in public
health work, but in one way or another all are related to the
basic environmental factors that sustain life. All are related to
man's need for and man's use of air, water, food, and shelter. These
needs are common to all people, whatever their birth, occupation,
or status. The environmental health problems of some people may
be more complicated than the problems of others, but their prob-
lems do not differ basically.
Basic environmental health needs for Brazil have been classified
by Maria B. de Carvalho as water supply, sewerage and sewage
treatment, waste and garbage disposal, drainage and reclamation,
malaria control, and rural sanitation. These are basic environ-
mental health operations that may be required also by peoples of
the Caribbean or almost any other area, both in theory and in


The Caribbean

practice. In speaking of environmental health needs, it is always
a necessity to balance theory with practice. On the practical
side of the balance, it is necessary to find money for health work.
On the theoretical side of the balance, it is a question of under-
standing what health measures are most effective.
The first consideration in health work is not money, of course;
it is life. But even life has its economic equations. Consider the
issue of saving the lives of babies in a poor village where today
half of the newborn children die before they are a year old.
Some would say there would be little advantage in saving the lives
of these children if they have to compete for a limited supply of
food. This type of reasoning is that the extra mouths to feed
would simply reduce the whole village to starvation. But it has
been demonstrated that improvements in health also improve the
ability to produce and procure food. And it appears also that
the birth rate tends to drop as general living conditions improve,
so that the population can level off eventually. The problem is to
improve living conditions and the food supply as rapidly as health
measures increase the population.
Consider also the question of whether it is effective to apply
public health measures to a limited area. It seems almost a physical
impossibility to control disease in every slum, every village, and
every island. But it is equally difficult to prevent disease from
spreading from infected areas to protected homes. Disease can
be extremely democratic. It hits the rich as well as the poor.
Infections today travel with the speed of airplanes, and reach
from the public market place into secluded villages and estates.
Quarantine services, to check the spread of disease, have limitations.
The most effective defense against disease is sanitation services
applied universally.
Another question is whether it is effective to concentrate on
specific diseases to eradicate yaws, venereal disease, and smallpox,
without regard for general sanitary conditions. Granting the value
of such categorical programs, more lives will be saved and
strengthened if the health program directs its first efforts toward
environmental sanitation. In most communities, contaminated food
and water and diseases carried by insects are the major causes of
illness and death.
Sometimes it is a question of attacking an individual insect-borne



disease, such as malaria, yellow fever, Chagas disease, typhus,
trachoma, or filariasis. Generally, it appears that it is more effective
to aim at control of insects in strategic locations rather than at the
control of individual diseases carried by insects.
These remarks are not intended to deprecate the value of cate-
gorical health programs. Such programs are effective. They have
a great impact on opinion and on attitudes as well as on health,
especially in communities which have had little previous acquaint-
ance with the power of modern preventive medicine. But I do
wish to make it clear that it has been firmly established that a
categorical approach to disease is most successful in communities
that observe sound environmental health practices.
These questions are posed for those who wish to devote attention
to the fundamentals rather than the refinements in environmental
health. It is never easy to justify spending time and money on
refinements when the great majority of the population live in open
huts and when they do not even have access to a glass of clean
water. In many a rural village, each morning at daybreak a family
has a task of hauling water for as long as two hours before
other work can begin. And even this water often comes from a
polluted source, or is polluted in transit. In such a village, health
work can be effective only if it starts with satisfying the fundamental
need for clean water, safe disposal of human waste, and a protected
food supply.


Health workers use several different approaches to determine a
community's health needs: epidemiological studies; medical statis-
tics; the advice of public health authorities; and the will of the
people who are directly affected.
Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that many diseases
can be controlled effectively by environmental measures. You are
all probably aware that hookworm is prevented by proper disposal
of excrement. The trichinosis cycle is broken if hogs are not fed
uncooked garbage or offal. Proper disposal of garbage and excre-
ment reduces the breeding of flies and other insects which transmit
a host of diseases, including trachoma, filariasis, and dysentery,
particularly the dysenteries that affect babies. Filtering and chlo-

6 The Caribbean
rination of water reduce the danger of worms, typhoid fever, cholera.
and dysentery. Pasteurization of milk, or the use of dry powdered
milk, reduces the danger of tuberculosis, brucellosis, and typhoid
fever. Proper handling and storage of foods lessen the threat of
gastroenteric infections or poisonings. Control of rats, rat fleas,
and lice checks the danger of endemic typhus, epidemic typhus,
and plague. Mosquito control reduces infections of yellow fever,
dengue fever, malaria, and encephalitis. The disease named for
the Brazilian physician Carlos Chagas is prevented by control of
the biting bugs which carry the infection.
Epidemiology blames malnutrition for another Caribbean disease
that goes by many names. It particularly affects infants and chil-
dren and is characterized by listlessness and irritability. The en-
vironmental measures that combat malnutrition are improvements
in the diet, such as are recommended by the Food and Agricultural
Organization of the World Health Organization, and the sanita-
tion that permits a community to produce more healthful food.
For example, the control of malaria in Greece and other tropical
areas has permitted the farmers there to bring in much heavier
harvests. Of course, it is premature to speak with confidence about
specific causes of malnutrition in the Caribbean countries. These
causes, and the remedies, are under study at the University of
Puerto Rico, which has published a handbook on tropical nutrition;
at the Guatemala City laboratory of the Institute of Nutrition for
Central America; and in the Section on Nutrition of the Pan
American Sanitary Bureau.
But it seems clear that the epidemiology of most of the diseases
of the Caribbean emphasizes the basic importance of environmental
health measures. Even those diseases not directly related to en-
vironment are to some extent limited where the environment is
clean and wholesome.
Along with the epidemiological studies, statistical studies help to
explain which health conditions are in most urgent need of atten-
tion. As I have said, statistics indicate that the most common
cause of death in many Caribbean communities is disease that is
caused typically by contaminated food or drinking water. Now
there is no denying that many of the Caribbean countries have
achieved remarkable advances in recent years in the development
of water supplies. Local efforts in this direction have been assisted



by the formation of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau by treaty
among American republics in 1902, by the Rio Conference of
January, 1942, when twenty-one nations planned health operations
as a phase of hemisphere defense, and by the activities of the
Institute of Inter-American Affairs and of the World Health
Organization. In eighteen or more American republics, health
programs have been organized by the Institute of Inter-American
Affairs for direction by a Servicio Cooperativo Inter-Americano,
concentrating on the construction of health centers, including
hospitals and dispensaries, development of water and sewage
systems, malaria controls, and education. Other programs have
developed in Caribbean territories under European governments.
The extent of the sanitation task is typified perhaps by con-
ditions in Puerto Rico, of which I happen to have some first-
hand knowledge. Most of the urban population has a central
water supply. But two-thirds of the Puerto Rican population live
in rural areas. And only one-fourth of this rural population is
supplied by the Puerto Rican Aqueduct and Sewer Authority,
although two-thirds of the Puerto Rican rural population are
within reach of the water lines. But it is not necessary for these
villagers to wait for expensive installations from the central system.
A simple well, with a pump properly constructed, would be a
vast improvement over their present system and it would cost
less than water of questionable quality obtained from present
Despite the progress that has been made under such organ-
izations as the Puerto Rican Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, the
Department of Hydraulic Resources in Mexico, the United Fruit
Company, and other agencies, the statistics of morbidity and of
water and sewage works indicate that safe, clean water supplies
are still the most critical environmental health problem of the
Caribbean areas. It may be that the statistics are far from complete
or perfect, but they suggest this provisional conclusion.
A third approach to environmental health needs is to study the
statements of scientific authorities and political leaders. One such
statement worth quoting is by The Honorable Miguel Alemrn,
President of the United States of Mexico: "The fundamental duty
of a government that strives for the development and progress of
its nation is to prevent, rather than try to cure, endemic diseases

8 The Caribbean
of its peoples. The water and sewerage works of all municipalities
constitute the basic element in the fight against disease."
Another authority is the World Health Organization. Its official
record (18-72) in 1949 states: "No permanent advance in the
general health program can rest upon a substructure of poor sani-
tation. Any improvement in the disposal of excreta, in the pro-
tection of drinking water, and the destruction of the fly and the
mosquito brings health and social advantage to man, woman, and
child." A year earlier, the chronicles of the first health assembly
of the World Health Organization (2-177) reported the statement
that, with certain qualifications, nutrition was the most important
single environmental factor in health. It is observed that malnu-
trition prejudices the health of 85 per cent of the population of the
world. These two statements on environmental sanitation and
nutrition remind us that disease and famine ride together as the
horsemen of the apocalypse.
As late as June, 1944, Colonel Harold B. Gotaas was obliged
to say that in general "sanitary engineering has not yet played an
important part in public health work in Latin America." One
reason, he said, was that it was given little emphasis in social
thinking. Another reason was the scarcity of engineers, which I
am sorry to say continues to this day. To overcome some of the
personnel problems, Colonel Gotaas this year helped to organize
training courses for sanitary engineers at the University of Mexico.
Several Latin American universities have courses for sanitary engi-
neers. Another training program is promised for 1953 in Panama,
where the World Health Organization intends to conduct a course
for operators of waterworks in Central America. An outstanding
influence in environmental health work has been the organization
of the Inter-American Association of Sanitary Engineers, which
reported at its second meeting in 1950 in Mexico City that it
already has 1,489 members with national sections in eighteen coun-
tries. With proper support this organization could be a great
influence on environmental health progress in the Americas.
I would like to quote one more authority, Herman G. Baity,
professor of Sanitary Engineering in the School of Public Health,
University of North Carolina, who spoke last month at a meeting
of the World Health Organization in Geneva:



Among preventive measures the most effective, the quickest, the
cheapest is basic sanitation of the environment. By this we mean
those simple, elemental things such as getting human excrement
off the surface of the ground, giving the people clean water to
drink and uninfected food to eat, and protecting them from the
bites of disease-carrying insects. First things should come first.
One of the practical problems of public health administration at
all levels, and affecting all professions, is to keep people down to
earth and doing the fundamental things. This is as true of engi-
neers as of the medicos, and not materially different south or
north of the equator. We find people who know all about
electronics and supersonics and radio-isotopes and complex formulae
who feel that it is not dignified or professional to work in any-
thing less than palatial offices and ultra-laboratories on high-flown
theoretical problems, and who decline to see and do the simple
and vital things that count most.
It would provide a most helpful orientation for public health
workers the world around if they could understand the logical steps
by which human betterment takes place. It has now been well
demonstrated in many places that the beginning point in human
progress is in the sanitary improvement of the environment. This
sets in motion a chain reaction which first produces an improve-
ment in health, then economic development, and then the social
and spiritual betterment of the people.


As one reviews the literature on environmental health activities
in the Caribbean countries, it becomes clear that there has been
a remarkable degree of flexibility on the part of the official agen-
cies and that they have adapted their ideas to local requirements.
This adaptability is illustrated by the work which has been done
in Panama to develop water supplies by digging horizontal wells
in a terrain which is particularly suited to that form of construction.
In Venezuela, malaria control has moved far ahead of other
environmental health measures and the death rate there for malaria
has been reduced from 112 per 100,000 before the war to only 12
per 100,000 in 1948. In Guatemala, an urgent need for healthful
housing is in the foreground, and in El Salvador, sewage treatment
is prominent.

10 The Caribbean

This adaptability and flexibility reflects the fourth approach to
health needs-the democratic approach. The democratic approach
does not begin and end with the business of counting noses and
accepting a formal majority vote. The possible error in that
idea was expressed by Leonardo da Vinci, who poked fun at
the notion that, though a wise man may make mistakes, a thousand
fools cannot be wrong. The democratic approach must be based
first of all upon devotion to the general welfare, a genuine
devotion and not one that pretends that a selfish interest and the
general welfare are one and the same thing. The test of the reality
of this devotion to the general welfare is the readiness of the
majority to participate in and support a given program, not
merely with votes and lip-service but with deeds. The complaint
has been made against some communities that after the professional
engineer has installed a water system, the system is not maintained
or operated effectively. To me, this complaint is not a criticism of
the community. It is a criticism of the failure of health workers to
understand in advance the need for educating and training local
people to carry on the work in sanitation. The installation of water-
works equipment is neither a beginning nor an end in sanitation:
it is only one phase of a continuing process. This process includes
the task of demonstrating that sanitation is desirable, and also
of demonstrating that it pays.
Two engineers, Luis Wonnoni and Edmund G. Wagner, in
Venezuela have calculated the monetary value of safe water systems
in that country and the savings such systems will effect for the
people of the communities. These savings not only repay the
cost of construction but increase the per capital water supply from
ten to seventy-five liters per day. The savings are based both upon
the reduction of working time lost because of illness and on the
reduction of the daily costs of obtaining a supply of water. The
estimate of reduction in illness was based upon the experience of
the United States of America. Between 1900 and 1940, while
the proportion of our population receiving safe water supplies
increased from 40 per cent to 90 per cent, the incidence of water-
borne disease was reduced 90 per cent.
Dr. M. von Pettenkofer once calculated that sanitation saved
the city of Munich 25,000,000 florins in twenty-five years, and
that was at a time when a florin would buy as much sausage as a


dollar buys today. Such studies as these supported by fact help
a community to understand that it can and it should support
sound health programs. The democratic approach requires also a
constant review and revision of health programs. Those responsible
for administering health programs must be alert to keep ahead of
new health problems that develop with the changing technology,
or with changing population patterns. At the same time, they
must not lose sight of the need for carrying on the health pro-
grams that have been well established. In the United States,
for example, we have on the one hand an emerging concern with
the increasing uses of synthetic chemicals, the increase in pollution
of the atmosphere, and the potential danger of ionizing radiations
from radiation-producing machines and from man-made radio-
isotopes. At the same time, we have to get on with the unfinished
business of basic sanitation.
A critical appraisal of the status of environmental health in the
United States will observe that in the larger cities progress in
basic sanitation has kept pace reasonably well with national growth.
The quality of public water supplies, extent of sewerage services,
and suppression of disease-carrying insects generally are satisfactory;
at least the gross health implications of these environmental factors
have been brought under control. To a much lesser extent have
been met the national need in milk and food sanitation, control
of excessive stream pollution, and sanitation of metropolitan fringe
areas. Similarly in need of improvement are the sanitation services
for schools, smaller communities, and rural areas. As yet un-
diagnosed is the full health significance of substandard housing,
excessive noise, refuse disposal problems, inadequate recreational
facilities, and air pollution.


This appraisal makes it clear that the task of sanitation never
ends. As countries progress, their health programs simply take on
new aspects and new responsibilities. All of ts in our respective
countries must bear in mind the necessity of changing with the
times to serve the total health needs of all the people. Only with
that attitude is it possible to keep driving ahead of problems in
each area of need.

12 The Caribbean
That attitude is implicit in the democratic approach. It recog-
nizes that officials working on public health and preventive medicine
share their responsibilities with all the people. There is still a
great deal of truth in the old axiom that a sound public health
program provides 80 per cent of what people want and 20 per
cent of what experts know the people need. Any serious deviation
from that 80 per cent is likely to result in failure. A successful
operation in the public health field depends on the understanding
and active support of all elements in community life. If I may
speak for my colleagues in all the Americas on general environ-
mental needs, I should like to leave you with the thought that in
basic sanitation we know what to do to improve the environment
and we know how to do it. All we need is effective public support
-which you all help to develop-in order to do an effective job.



THE OCCURRENCE of scattered cases of yellow fever in
Panama, in 1948, 1949, 1950 and the first half of 1951, followed
by a wavelike epidemic during the past six months in Costa Rica,
moving from southeast to northwest, has focused attention on the
yellow fever potentialities of the Caribbean area, as the equally
significant occurrence of the disease under similar conditions since
1933, almost continuously in Colombia and less regularly in
Venezuela, had failed to do. Until the occurrence of cases in
Panama and Costa Rica, there was a tendency to consider
Colombia and Venezuela as epidemiologically part of the South
American continent rather than of the Caribbean area, where
North, South, and Central America and the West Indies meet.
It is fitting that the yellow fever potential of the Caribbean area,
previously the most important stronghold of yellow fever, be
considered in the light of present-day knowledge of this great his-
torical scourge of the American tropics.


Yellow fever is a very modern disease, the first recognizable
description of which dates back only three hundred years to the
Yucatan Peninsula in 1648. Apparently many other places in the
Caribbean, including Barbados, St. Kitts, Guadaloupe, and Havana,
were infected about the same time. Just twenty years later, in
1668, yellow fever appeared for the first of many visits in the


The Caribbean

port of New York. This was sixteen years before its first recorded
visit to Brazil in 1684.
From the middle of the seventeenth until the early years of the
present century, the history of yellow fever is very closely linked to
the history of the Caribbean area. So important was yellow fever
as a handicap to European exploitation of the Caribbean, especially
through the destruction of newly arrived European troops, that it
came to be called, in many places, La fibre patridtica or "The
Patriotic Fever." It is easy to imagine that, had the Finlay theory
of the transmission of yellow fever by the A'des aegypti mosquito
been accepted when first proposed in 1881, Cuba might well be
a Spanish colony and the Panama Canal a French possession.
Besides being the site of the first reported outbreak of yellow
fever, the Caribbean area was the great stronghold of the disease
from which summer excursions to the United States and Europe
originated during two and a half centuries and was the scene of
the dramatic events leading to the first successful measures for the
control of yellow fever.
It was in Havana that the theory of mosquito transmission was
developed by Finlay in 1881, convincingly demonstrated by Reed
in 1900, and put into operation by Gorgas in 1901. The Havana
anti-mosquito campaign convinced the epidemiologists, and another
Caribbean campaign, that in Panama, made possible the digging of
the Canal and convinced the world in general that yellow fever
could be conquered through mosquito-control measures in urban
centers. This conviction lasted for thirty years, during which yellow
fever was known as an epidemiologically simple, urban, and mari-
time disease, transmitted from man to man by the Aides aegypti
mosquito which, in the Americas, is found breeding only in artificial
water-containers, in and about human habitations.
All are familiar with the stories of Gorgas in Havana and
Panama, Oswaldo Cruz in Rio de Janeiro, Liceaga in Mexico,
White in New Orleans and others, who, armed with the secret of
the mosquito transmission of yellow fever, performed miracles in
the broad light of day and became the prophets and saints of the
public health movement overnight.
Anti-mosquito campaigns in the important centers of yellow
fever endemicity were followed by the disappearance of the disease
not only from these centers, but also from large tributary regions.



By 1915 only a few recognized endemic centers of yellow fever
remained in the Americas, including Guayaquil on the West Coast
and Bahia and Pernambuco on the East Coast of South America.
The then recently organized Rockefeller Foundation embarked on
a program of collaboration with the governments of the countries
in which yellow fever still might be found, in an attempt to
eradicate the disease completely from the Western Hemisphere.
Campaigns in the Central American countries, in Mexico, in
Ecuador, in Peru, and in Colombia were completely successful and,
by 1925, yellow fever was apparently limited, in the Americas, to
a small coastal area of Northeast Brazil, where promising results
were being reported. This attempt to eradicate yellow fever from
the Americas was based on the belief that yellow fever was
limited to man and on the observation that it could be eradicated
from all infected cities by the single measure of reduction of
aegypti breeding, following which the disease would not long
remain in the smaller towns and villages.


Following the initial observation of yellow fever in the Valle
de Canaan, Brazil, in 1932 as a rural disease occurring in the
absence of the Aides aegypti mosquito, the true picture of yellow
fever as basically a disease of animals (monkeys and marsupials),
transmitted in the tropical and subtropical forests of the Americas
by mosquitoes other than aegypti, and involving human infection
only secondarily, has been filled in. Outbreaks of this so-called
jungle yellow fever, which has been shown to be a source of
virus for the re-infection of previous yellow fever centers and
hence a permanent obstacle to the eradication of yellow fever as
planned by the Rockefeller Foundation, have been observed in
all of the countries of South America, except Chile and Uruguay,
and in Panama and Costa Rica.
Blood tests on monkeys shot in Mexico early this year have
shown that jungle yellow fever has been in the forests of Mexico
during the lifetime of the animals tested. There is every reason
to assume that jungle yellow fever occurs in all the countries of
Central America except, possibly, El Salvador, where deforestation
is well advanced.


The Caribbean

It is noteworthy that aegypti-transmitted yellow fever has not
been reported from any of the cities of the Caribbean since 1937,
when a few cases occurred at Buena Vista, a small town on the
Magdalena River in Colombia. Likewise, no jungle yellow fever
has been found in the West Indies, although one of the early
references to the possibility of monkeys having a part in the life
history of yellow fever, published in 1914, referred to illness among
monkeys in the forests of Trinidad during epidemics of yellow
fever. It is believed that this freedom of the island zones from
jungle yellow fever is due to the fact that the monkey population
of the islands has been liquidated and that suitable conditions
for it no longer exist in the remaining forests.
A line can be drawn, then, from between Yucatan and Cuba,
south and east to a point just north of Trinidad, dividing the
Caribbean into mainland and island zones. The mainland zone
has the double threat of jungle yellow fever, as an important disease
for forest inhabitants and laborers, and as a source of virus for
the re-infection of such cities and towns as remain infested by the
Aides aegypti mosquito.
The island zone is apparently subject to the threat of aegypti-
transmitted yellow fever only if, and when, the yellow fever
virus may be re-introduced from the mainland. The potential
threat of the movement of yellow fever virus from forest to urban
areas grows with the increased rapidity and facility of passenger
traffic. However, the threat of urban yellow fever, originating from
jungle yellow fever, is greatest at those urban centers infested with
aegypti most closely in contact with infected jungle districts. If
these exposed danger points are kept clean of the aegypti mosquito,
there is very little opportunity for the disease to jump long distances.
The unrecognized introduction of yellow fever into urban com-
munities from nearby jungle districts is the most probable mecha-
nism by which persons preparing to travel to other countries might
be infected close to the date of departure. This danger disappears
with the eradication of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.


Fortunately, about the time that jungle yellow fever was being
demonstrated as a permanent source of yellow fever virus for the



re-infection of urban areas, methods for the complete eradication
of Aedes aegypti were being developed in Brazil. Once the larger
cities of Brazil were cleared of aegypti, it was found more eco-
nomical to eradicate this mosquito from the suburbs and from
the interior towns, and even rural areas, than it was to attempt
to maintain aegypti-control services in the larger cities. Eradication
of aegypti has proven to be an ever expanding program and, since
1947, when Brazil proposed its eradication as a continental pro-
gram, the Pan American Sanitary Bureau has been dedicated, under
a mandate from its Directing Council, to collaboration with the
governments of the Americas in the eradication of Aedes aegypti
from North, Central, and South America and the West Indies.
The eradication of aegypti will eliminate all possibility of surprise
returns of yellow fever to old endemic centers of infection, such
as occurred in Rio de Janeiro in 1928. Although it is impossible
to eradicate the yellow fever virus from the Americas as was
planned by the Rockefeller Foundation, it is possible to eradicate
completely the urban vector and remove all threat of all but
jungle yellow fever.
The program for the eradication of aegypti is well advanced in
South and Central America and Mexico and has begun in some
of the West Indies. It is of the highest importance, for the
comfort as well as for the safety of the Caribbean, that the
Aides aegypti mosquito be eradicated, not only from both the main-
land and island zones of the Caribbean, but also from the United
States and the rest of the Americas, thus eliminating possible
sources of re-infestation in the Western Hemisphere.


Jose Guzman Baldivieso: HEALTH PROBLEMS

I AM FORTUNATE, honored, and proud to be seated at the
same round table of this Second Annual Conference on the
Caribbean with such great and distinguished gentlemen as my
good friend Dr. Fred L. Soper, director of the Pan American
Sanitary Bureau, and General Mark D. Hollis, Assistant Surgeon
General of the United States of America.
I have a special greeting for Dr. Soper from Bolivia. Dr.
Valentin G6mez, Secretary of Health of the Republic of Bolivia, in
the name of the whole country and in his own name, sent me
a cablegram of salutation on this first day of the Caribbean
About a year ago, from Dr. Soper's home town in Kansas, I,
too, sent him greetings in my capacity as an Honorary Bolivian
Consul to that state. You probably wonder just what an "Hon-
orary" Bolivian Consul does in Kansas. In Bolivia we have two
methods of disposing of political enemies: the "quick method"-
hanging them from a lamp post, and the "slow method"-naming
them Honorary Consul to some remote place like Kansas!
I have also, in a small way, something in common with you,
Dr. Hollis. I was Assistant Surgeon General of Bolivia during and
after the crucial years of the Chaco War.





For the next few minutes I should like to inform you from my
own experience and studies about some contrasts in the health
problems of Venezuela and Bolivia.
Some of you, perhaps, would remark that Bolivia is too far
away and too high up from el precioso Caribe. I am sure, how-
ever, that the things I shall say may suffice to prove what I sin-
cerely believe. I envy countries close to yours because of the great
benefits they have received and continue to receive. I wish that
my country could have been closer geographically to yours!
I am convinced that even though this conference is regional,
a comparison of the great country of Bolivar and la hija predilecta
de Bolivar is entirely appropriate here. I shall not enter, at this
time, into detail to prove the geographical similarities of the two
countries. A rapid glance at the map will be sufficient evidence
that Venezuela and Bolivia have been endowed with the most
beautiful montaiias y llanos. Authorities like Dr. Soper will agree
that many of our health problems are similar, especially if we are
to consider definite problems, such as control of tuberculosis or of
The Orinoco llanos have their parallel in my country with the
llanos of Santa Cruz, Beni, and Pando.
As far as climate is concerned we find striking similarities. Even
the fabulous stories of El Dorado in Venezuela have a parallel
with the not too well-known stories of the paraiso terrenal near
Sorata and not too far away from the city of La Paz.
In both Venezuela and Bolivia nature and the Indian inhabitants
of the regions have proved stronger than many white people
eager for adventures, and even today great sections of the Orinoco
in Venezuela and parts of the hoya del Amazonas remain uncharted
and unknown.
As far as the flora and fauna are concerned, Bolivia and Ven-
ezuela could have been twin daughters of Bolivar: roses, orchids,
gardenias, jasmine, and all the beauties of this world grow wild
Both countries have rich storehouses of the most precious types
of woods. Both grow coffee, cacao, corn, tobacco, and cotton-
and they both have plenty of oil!


The Caribbean

Both are rich in animal life-in fact there are a great number
of animals not even known to the zoology department of the
University of Florida. I would like to volunteer to go to Green
Hell in order to prove this assertion!


I have mentioned the geographical similarities of the two coun-
tries because they are so important if one considers their sanitary
problems. However, there is one great difference: Venezuela
has a "bank roll"; Bolivia, is "broke." And since money is the
basis of health, it is impossible not to mention it. Later, we shall
see what I mean. There has been, and still is, one strong ray of
hope: the health and sanitary program of the Inter-American
Institute which today benefits one of every six Latin Americans.
Someone has said that there are two very important dates to
be remembered in North American history: 1942 and 1492. No
more true statement could be made if one is referring to health and
sanitation. Of course, we all know what happened in 1492. But
a great majority of North Americans do not know what happened
in 1942-that was when the North Americans discovered the Latin
Americans at the Rio Conference.
The greatest of all programs, so far as I am concerned, prior
to the Point Four Program was the health and sanitation program
of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs. This was set up to save
and protect the greatest of all values-human values-so disre-
garded today. It was in the year 1942 that the United States
government, through the Institute of Inter-American Affairs,
established the health and sanitation program which has been
carried on in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the
Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama,
Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. This program has aided
twenty-three million Latin Americans to this year of 1951.
Venezuela has achieved a great deal. As far as the United
States is concerned, the help to Venezuela has been halted. But
Venezuela marches on with gigantic steps! Bolivia, however, still
is in need of assistance.
Under this program, "controls have been extended over disease
by extending controls over the environment." It has been said that



"this is a program fundamentally to help people help themselves,
to give them a hand along the road of health and economic
Figures are eloquent. Let us consider some of them. The budget
for the Department of Health of Venezuela during the period
1946-47 was 55,295,773 Bolivares. During 1947-48 it was 86,403,092
Bolivares-an increase of 31,000,000 Bolivares. At the end of last
year the increase was approximately 50,000,000 Bolivares over the
previous budgetary period. When a government like that of
Venezuela gives such an emphasis to la inversion en la defense de
nuestro capital human y en assistencia medical de manera plani-
ficada y eficiente, we must agree that it is a great work. The
Venezuelan government, of course, still has an important problem
to face in the problem of nutrition of its masses. This no doubt
will be solved in not too distant a day.
I know Bolivia's story well, especially before 1942, when Dr.
Abelardo Ibafiez Benavente, the Surgeon General, and I organ-
ized a program on a scientific basis for the purpose of fighting
malaria and tuberculosis. Dr. Jose Tejada S6rzano, President of
the Republic, and Dr. Enrique Baldivieso, Minister of Defense
(even though they understood the gravity of the problem), could
not give more than $10,000-a "drop in the bucket"-for this
However, the Bolivian health and sanitation program has done
wonders in the last few years, especially in industrial sanitation
and in work with the health problems of the tin miners. There
is still considerable room for improvement, especially concerning the
budgets for hospitals, preparation of personnel, and sanitation of
the many Indian villages; and even La Paz, as Dr. Soper will
agree, could stand mds sanidad.
This paper could be quite extensive if we attempted a parallel
of each servicio de la sanidad. In such a short time I could not
hope to cover all of them. However, I shall mention a few more
which I consider important.
Since I was one of the founders of the only school for nurses
in the city of La Paz, I am very much interested in this program.
We need more schools for nurses in other sections of the country.
Venezuela has ten times more trained nurses than Bolivia. In
comparing the two countries further, I find another situation


The Caribbean

which could be remedied. While at La Paz the selection of doctors,
sanitary engineers, nurses, and other health workers is still a
political matter, in Venezuela the individuals are selected on the
basis of their own merits. The budget for national hospitals alone
in Venezuela is over 50,000,000 Bolivares. The largest hospital at
the city of La Paz has less than twenty American cents per day
per patient!
The greatest difference I find is between the attitude of the
Venezuelan and Bolivian people toward their health services.
Ingeniero Crist6bal Morales, now a guest of this University under
the Point Four Program, remarks with great pride that the health
situation today in Venezuela is "very good." He has also given
me the latest data as to the birth rate and mortality rate during
the last six months of 1951. Bolivia still has the second highest
infant mortality on the continent.


I believe that the great ideals of Christianity and democracy
are not achieved overnight. I believe that they too have stages
of development. The first stage is the castor-oil stage. Some
countries take to Christianity and democracy like one who takes
castor oil--only when it is needed. The second stage is the
breakfast-food stage. One takes wheaties, corn flakes, rice flakes,
and all the other flakes which taste like cardboard or Celotex,
but which are easy to swallow if mixed with cream, strawberries,
or peaches! The third stage is the ice-cream stage: the more you
have, the more you want. Only your country, my North American
friends, has achieved this last stage, while mine, I hope, has passed
the first stage!
I cannot finish without pointing out what one of the leaders of
the Point Four Program has said: "Happy people are healthy
people. I cannot see much prospect for peace and prosperity in a
people racked with malaria, plagued by flies, besieged with lice,
ticks, mites and fleas!"
I am glad that I have been able to point out to you two different
patients. One is well on her way to recovery-Venezuela; another
is still a pueblo enfermo that even yet needs the care and help
of her kind relatives, as well as of her own will power, to get well.


First as a Bolivian, then as a Latin American, and, above all,
as another Americano Ciento por Ciento, I want to say to you what
is said in Matthew 10:7 and 8:

The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers,
raise the dead,
cast out devils:
freely ye have received,
freely give.

Part II



James G. Maddox:' THE MAJOR LAND

THE PURPOSE of this paper is to suggest the main objectives
toward which land utilization policies in the Caribbean countries
should move. At the same time, some of the obvious techniques
for achieving these objectives are discussed. The emphasis is on
clearing a few main trails through the jungle, and not on making
a careful survey of the whole complex terrain. All of the suggested
lines of approach need much more study and discussion before
they can become safe guides to action in particular countries. How-
ever, a definite attempt is made to put forth the main issues in a
simple, straightforward manner, and to maintain a focus on these
issues, without reference to the problem of political expediency
which is always a component of policy-making.


The general nature of the problem can be stated in very simple
terms: How can the land in the Caribbean countries be most
wisely used in order to raise tke level of living of the people? In
other words, the center of emphasis is on improving levels of living.

1 The views expressed in this paper are those of the author, and should
not be construed as official statements of the American International Associ-
Robert C. Cauthern, Assistant Program Analyst in the New York office
of the Association, has been extremely helpful in assembling statistical
material and library references used in the preparation of the article, as
well as in giving useful criticisms and suggestions respecting the presentation.



The Caribbean

Our examinations of land-use practices, problems, and policies is
for the purpose of finding ways and means by which this can
be done.
The basic idea behind the shorthand symbol "level of living" is,
like Gaul, divided into three parts:
First, it includes a series of material things, such as food,
clothing, houses, furniture, roads, hospitals, schoolhouses, automo-
biles, and a million-and-one gadgets which people utilize in the
process of living.
Second, it includes a group of non-material things, such as the
services of doctors, lawyers, teachers, writers, musicians, and artists,
which are services that people also make use of in the process of
living, and which, therefore, have to be constantly replaced just as
do the material things such as food and clothing.
Third, it includes a series of psychological attitudes and emo-
tional feelings which are exemplified by the degree of security,
the freedom from fear, and the individual liberty which people
This third category of items presents some extremely thorny
problems of analysis. For the most part, this paper centers at-
tention on the first two groups-those goods and services which
are utilized in the day-to-day processes of living.
The amount of these goods and services available for consump-
tion in any given country is dependent upon three things: (1)
the total amount of goods and services produced; (2) the way
in which they are distributed among the people; and (3) the
division of the total output between current consumption items,
on the one hand, and items that will be used for purposes of
future production, on the other. If, for example, country A pro-
duces twice as much per capital in any given year as does country
B, and distributes this production equally as widely among its
people, and does not use any greater amount of it for building
new production facilities, which can only turn out goods or
services in future years, then each inhabitant of country A will
have twice as many goods and services to consume during the year
as will each inhabitant of country B. In other words, two of the
three important components of the level of living in country A
will, for the year under consideration, be twice as high as in
country B.




The countries touching on the Caribbean are notoriously low
producers. Moreover, their economies operate in such a way that
a relatively large proportion of what is produced flows to a few
people in the upper-income groups. Although reliable data are
scarce, it is probable that the proportion of current output which
is used for future production facilities is not an important factor
in explaining the existing low levels of consumption.
Even though the maldistribution of income is serious, it is fairly
clear that the big and important explanation for the low levels
of living in the Caribbean area is the low production per man.
An index of this low productivity is given by the national incomes
of these countries. National income is the total of all income pay-
ments for productive services, including wages, salaries, profits,
rent, and interest. It is, therefore, closely equivalent to the total
value of all the goods and services produced in the country. If
the national incomes of countries such as El Salvador, Haiti, the
Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala were
divided equally among all the people in these countries, the amount
would be below $100 per person.2 Indeed, not a single country
touching on the Caribbean has an average per capital income
one-half as high as the state of Mississippi, which usually ranks
at the bottom of the list among the United States.3 Thus, regard-
less of how the total pie is cut, it simply is not big enough to
provide all the people with a decent level of living.
Therefore, a major element of our problem is clear: What can
be done, in the way of changes in land use, to raise the per
capital productivity of the Caribbean countries? It is important
to realize that the focus is on raising the output of the whole
economy-not just the output of the land or of the agricultural
industry. We are interested in changing land utilization practices
in each country so as to increase the total production of all goods

2 Statistical Office of the United Nations, National and Per Capita In-
comes of Seventy Countries in 1949 (New York, October, 1950), Series
E, No. 1, p. 28.
3 The per capital income in the state of Mississippi for 1948 was $758.
United States Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United
States: 1950 (Washington, 1950), p. 266.

30 The Caribbean

and services in that country. What are the general directions in
which to proceed?
This is the basic question, and it forces us to recognize that there
are significant differences in the relative proportions of productive
resources among the Caribbean countries. Consequently, we cannot
write one prescription to fit the needs of all the patients. Yet,
without losing sight of the forest by getting lost among the trees,
we can classify the Caribbean countries into three roughly similar
groups and get a reasonably good answer to our question.
Countries of High Population Pressure.-For example, in the
British West Indies, the French West Indies, El Salvador, Puerto
Rico, Haiti, and the Virgin Islands, we have a group of countries
in which the main problem is compounded of four factors. First,
there is an unusually heavy population in relation to natural
resources. Second, a very high proportion of the total population
is engaged in agriculture. Third, the amount of land and capital
equipment employed by the average farm family is small and of
dubious quality. Fourth, the population is increasing rapidly. This
adds up to a situation of extreme poverty for the great majority
of the people, with little prospect for fundamental improvement
until there can be basic adjustments in the relative proportions of
land, labor, and capital used in production. Their economies are
too heavily dependent on agriculture, and too much labor is used
per acre of land operated.
In this group of countries there are from 150 to 650 persons
per square mile, and in some of the individual islands the number
is more than 1,000. This compares with about 50 persons per
square mile in the United States, with 192 in France, 531 in the
highly industrialized United Kingdom, and approximately 285 per
square mile in India.4 The latter is often thought of as the world's
prime example of an overpopulated country, but several of the
Caribbean countries have a higher density per square mile. Popu-
lations of this density can, of course, be supported at reasonably
adequate levels of living in a highly industrialized setting, such
as Belgium, Great Britain, or the northeastern part of the United
States. In a country like Holland, with a highly rationalized

4 United Nations, Statistical Yearbook, 1949-50. Figures have been con-
verted at 2.59 km2 per square mile, and rounded to nearest whole number.



agriculture producing specialty crops for sale to nearoy urban areas,
and with heavy flows of income from shipping, insurance, banking,
and overseas investments, a population of over 700 per square
mile has been maintained at a relatively high level of living. But
all these things are lacking in this group of Caribbean countries.
Industry is extremely meager, and income from foreign commerce
and investments is practically nil. From 60 to 80 per cent of the
people in these countries are occupied in agriculture.5 Moreover,
a large proportion of the land is mountainous and unsuited to
farming. Such crops as are produced are of low value per
unit, and are highly competitive with those of other countries in
world markets. One man handles very little land, and his capital
equipment is often not much more than a hoe, a machete, and a
spade. This results in extremely low production per man, and
an equally low level of living.
As an example, let us compare a West Indian laborer on a
sugar plantation with a Mississippi sharecropper on a cotton planta-
tion. The latter will cultivate ten to twelve acres of land, using
mules and walking plows, on which he will produce six to eight
bales of cotton, which, with the accompanying seed, will have a
gross value of $1,000 to $1,500 in recent years. The former will
handle two to three acres of sugar cane, which will produce six
to nine tons and have a gross value of $500 to $800. Thus, the
West Indian sugar worker produces about one-half as much as
the Mississippi sharecropper, who is just about at the lower end
of the productivity scale among workers in the United States. The
fundamental reason for this is not differences in the productivity
of the land, but in the number of acres handled per man. Indeed,
it would be difficult to find land which produces in field crops
a greater value of product per acre than good Caribbean sugar land.
The situation is essentially the same if we look at the small

5 Estimates of these percentages for the countries concerned in this
study range from about 40 per cent in Cuba to over 90 per cent in
Guatemala, with the modal figure for the distribution probably close to 70
per cent. These high concentrations in agricultural populations contrast
sharply with those in the United States and Europe, where the percentages
averaged 19 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively, for the period 1939-
1948. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Yearbook
of Food and Agricultural Statistics (Washington, 1950), Vol. IV, Part I,
pp. 15 and 16.


The Caribbean

peasant farmer. In these highly overpopulated countries, the
thousands of small, more or less independent, farmers rarely operate
more than two or three acres of land per family. Even if they
are up in the hills producing coffee or fruit, and have fifteen to
twenty acres, the value of their total output is often, if not usually,
less than the value of the output of two or three acres of good
level land.
It is absolutely fruitless to talk about ways and means of signifi-
cantly increasing productivity, hence levels of living, in this group
of countries without facing up to the necessity of transferring large
numbers of people out of agriculture. Except for the small numbers
of vegetable, poultry, and flower growers around the cities, no
man-weak or strong, educated or illiterate-can make a decent
living for his family from two to three acres of land. He simply
has to be able to cultivate more acres, and this means that a large
proportion of the present farm people, and their ever increasing
progeny, must find employment outside the area or in non-
farm occupations.
In general, I believe it means that a heroic effort must be made
to bring industries to these countries. Some progress can perhaps
be made in encouraging a greater use of the sea, both as a source
of food and as a basis for a shipping industry. Moreover, there
are some possibilities for out-migration, both to other Caribbean
countries and to the United States. Although we run into the
problem of immigration quotas and racial discrimination as im-
pediments to out-migration, something might be accomplished
toward loosening these barriers. Moreover, I am not unmindful
of the fact that there is still unused land in most of these countries
that can be brought into cultivation. The amount is probably
smaller than is sometimes suggested, but every reasonable effort
should be made to bring new land into cultivation, by clearing,
draining, and irrigating areas that are adapted to farming.
Last, but by no means least, there are substantial opportunities
for increasing the output of many of the acres now being cultivated.
This is especially true of the lands outside the large plantations-
the farms, in other words, of the small owner and tenant. Sub-
stantial gairn along this line can be brought about through a more
widespread use of modern insecticides and fungicides; through
the use of organic compost and chemical fertilizers; through the



development of higher yielding strains and varieties of plants;
and through more timely planting and cultivating practices. There
is ample opportunity for the moder-minded agricultural scientist
to have a great and constructive influence in increasing production
per acre. In a later section of this paper, the methods and organi-
zational patterns which appear to be suited to this task are discussed.
Nevertheless, even with all these things-greater use of the sea,
out-migration, cultivation of presently unused lands, and higher
yields per acre from land now being cultivated-there will still
be a surplus of people in agriculture in this group of countries.
No real rationalization of land use can come about until families
are able to operate substantially larger acreages than at present.
I repeat, therefore, that the main direction in which to proceed is
toward industrialization, thus drawing the rapidly increasing popu-
lation out of agriculture.
The techniques by which to achieve the needed industrialization
are beyond the scope of a paper which is concerned primarily with
problems of land utilization. However, I believe that it must be
an industrialization: (1) which is based on a cheap labor supply;
(2) which finds both its principal raw materials and its main
markets outside the area; and (3) which obtains most of its capital
and managerial talent, during the first generation, at least, from
the presently industrialized countries of the world.

Countries of Low Population Pressure.-Fortunately, only a few
countries in the Caribbean region present such tough problems as
those we have just been discussing. At the other extreme of popu-
lation density, for example, we have such countries as Venezuela,
Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, British Honduras, and Guatemala.
In this group of countries, the population per square mile is
relatively low-below twenty-five persons except in the latter two.
There is, of course, much land in these countries that is not suitable
for agriculture. Nevertheless, each has large areas of good un-
developed land. Taken as a group, these five countries represent
"the great frontier" for future agricultural development in the
Caribbean region.
Neither the extent, the quality, nor the economic potentialities
of the untapped agricultural resources of these countries have been
carefully evaluated. Nevertheless, all indications point toward


The Caribbean

the conclusion that they are quite substantial. Moreover, in view
of prospective demands for agricultural and forest products in the
United States and Western Europe during the decades ahead,
together with the rapidly increasing population, urbanization, and
general economic development of Latin America which is already
underway, there are good reasons to believe that a properly
balanced program of public and private investment in the unde-
veloped resources of these countries would be both profitable and
socially desirable.
What then is the main direction in which land policy should aim
in order to increase national productivity, and, hence, levels of
living in this group of countries? In general, steps should be taken
toward opening up new lands for production, thus making possible
an increase in the amount of land operated by great numbers of
farm families. This, of course, implies an increase in working
capital and improvements in managerial skill on the part of
thousands of farmers so that they can effectively and efficiently
operate more acres per man.
In these countries, in contrast to the group with high population
densities, there is no need to draw people away from farming in
order to increase the cultivated land per family, because there is
good, unused land available. Moreover, they are primarily agri-
cultural countries, both by tradition and by the pattern of their
resource base. Some modest industrialization is, no doubt, in order
for practically all of them. However, it is certainly not necessary
for any of them to have a rapid growth of industry, built on low
wages and imported raw materials, and depending on foreign
markets in which to sell their industrial products, as has been
suggested for the first group of countries. They can raise their
levels of living very significantly by making use of their greatest
natural resource-undeveloped agricultural land.
In the opening up of new land, there are, at least, two types of
problems within each of these countries to which serious attention
should be given immediately. First, practically all of them have
one or more areas that are heavily overpopulated. In other words,
there is a serious geographic maldistribution of population. Gener-
ally, this takes the form of all or a part of the highland areas being
seriously overcrowded, while lower-land areas, many of which are
potentially very productive, go unused. The pattern of land use



in many of the highland areas has essentially the same characteris-
tics as that in the overpopulated countries discussed earlier. The
farms are small, often consisting of not more than three or four
acres. The land is usually badly eroded. The methods of land
preparation and tillage are primitive, sometimes involving the use
of nothing more than a hoe, a stick, and a machete. Farms of this
nature are, of course, very unproductive.
The second type of problem needing immediate attention is
that brought about by the semi-nomadic squatter-a small farmer
who has neither ownership nor leasehold rights to the land he
cultivates. He customarily "moves in" on any land available in
his general area; clears two or three acres with a machete and
fire; cultivates the new clearing for two or three years, and moves
on to a new patch which he treats the same way. With this kind
of farming, there is not only a wanton destruction of the soil and
the vegetative cover which protects it from erosion, but also an
extremely low output per man.
In view of these two problems, which appear to be of major,
though of varying, importance in all these countries, there is a
need for programs to develop new land areas in such locations
and by such methods as to: (1) bring about the resettlement of
many small farmers from the overcrowded highlands; and (2)
decrease the number of the constantly shifting squatters by provid-
ing them with economic units to which they have stable tenure
rights and facilities for efficient production. As the land develop-
ment activities become effective in drawing families out of the
overcrowded highlands, there will be the need for programs to
consolidate the vacated holdings into the farms of those families
who remain behind. In some instances, reforestation, instead of
consolidation into larger farms, may be in order. The essential
point is that the draining away of families from the overpopulated
highlands should not only be a means by which the productivity of
those who move would be increased, but should also result in those
who do not move having increased resources at their command.
To design and carry through a sound land development and
resettlement program of this general character is no easy matter.
Yet, it is much simpler and requires less capital than the indus-
trialization necessary in the overpopulated countries. Two of the
most important steps are: (1) to free the areas selected for


The Caribbean

settlement from diseases, such as malaria and jungle yellow fever;
and (2) to construct roads through them. In addition, however,
there will be the need for some publicly-financed land clearing;
for machinery pools so that new settlers will not be held to a hoe
and machete scale of operations; and for credit and technical
guidance for the farmers moving into the new areas.
The Latin American penchant for doing things in a big and
dramatic way may have the tendency of making land development
projects very expensive and complicated. It is to be hoped, however,
that this tendency can be guarded against. A large number of
relatively crude new settlements, provided the families have eco-
nomic units and adequate capital and guidance, are much more
important to the welfare of these countries than a small number
of swanky ones. These countries do not have the resources, either
technical or financial, to warrant heavy public investments in
expensive new dwellings, fences, subsidiary roads, and community
buildings during the early stages of land development. Many of
these facilities can come later out of the efforts of the settlers.
A certain amount of crudeness is to be expected in a developing
frontier area. Indeed, there are situations in which it may be
highly desirable. If, for instance, the developmental work has to
be paid for from credit expansion or new currency issues, there
should be a quick and voluminous flow of new farm products to
market to offset the inflationary pressure arising from the land
clearing and construction operations.
In establishing new land settlement areas, it will be extremely
important to create units of such size that they will allow efficient
operations, without at the same time turning them into a new
group of haciendas to be worked by peon labor. This problem
is not going to be easy to solve. Most of the settlers will be inclined
to stick to their hoe and machete, unless they are given an adequate
line of credit together with technical guidance and supervision.
In this connection, it should be remembered that the ox and the
mule still have a place in providing power for farming, even if
most farmers in the highly developed countries are turning rapidly
to tractors. The possibility of farm machinery centers, either
privately or publicly operated, to do the heavy land clearing and
preparatory work, while family-owned oxen or mules are used for



planting, cultivating, and harvesting will probably provide an
efficient source of farm power in a large percentage of the cases.
In having focused attention on land development, including
resettlement, as being the main direction which land policy should
take in these "low pressure" countries of the Caribbean region,
I do not want to overlook the obvious fact that there are many
opportunities for increasing the productivity of the land now in
farms. Some of this land which is well suited for crop production
is being held in large estates for cattle grazing. The recent Inter-
national Bank Mission to Colombia made quite a point of this
fact, and recommended a special tax aimed at forcing such land
into more intensive use.6 Although the recommendation was not
received with high favor in some circles in Colombia, it never-
theless has some strong points to its credit. There may be more
palatable ways by which the same end can be accomplished.
Certainly, all governments should weigh carefully the costs of
buying developed but unused lands for subdivision and resettlement
purposes against the costs of clearing and developing new areas
before choosing the latter course.
In addition to the cleared land which is being extensively used
and which could be brought into cultivation, there is, of course,
the real possibility of increasing the per acre output of land now
being cultivated. The primitive, backward farm practices that are
being followed in most of these countries offer a real and important
challenge to all efforts to increase output per farm. Outside of
the densely populated highland areas of these countries, there is
usually the opportunity of increasing the scale of operations of
many farmers, in addition to teaching them practices which will
make their present acres more productive. In other words, while
attention may be centered mainly on such practices as spraying and
dusting to kill diseases and parasites, the introduction of higher
producing varieties, the use of fertilizers, and better tillage practices,
there is often also the possibility of adding a few nearby acres
to many of the existing small farms, or of improving the present
pasture area and adding one or two new animal units to the
farm enterprises.

6 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The Basis of a
Development Program for Colombia (Washington, 1950), pp. 383-387.


The Caribbean

Countries of Medium Population Pressure.-Up to this point I
have discussed the general directions which land policy should take
in two extreme groups of Caribbean countries. One group is
characterized by heavy population pressure on the land; the other
group by a paucity of population and relatively large areas of
undeveloped land suitable for agriculture.
There is a third group which is between these two extremes,
including Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican
Republic. Each deserves separate treatment, but space does not
permit it. Most of them do not have vast areas of undeveloped
land. Yet, neither do they have the extreme population pressure
of the first group. Their economies usually turn out a higher
national product per capital than other Caribbean countries, except
oil-rich Venezuela. In general, they are more industrialized and
have a more efficient agriculture than their neighbors, though
this is not true in every case. Panama, of course, has a substantial
income stimulator in the canal, though neither its industry nor its
agriculture is well developed.
In order to raise productivity per person in these countries,
which, like the whole Caribbean area, have rapidly increasing
populations, the general directions of their land utilization policies
should combine in modest degree the principal elements suggested
for both the other groups. In other words, increased industriali-
zation is called for, along with land development and resettlement,
and intensification of production on land already in cultivation.
Generally speaking, more emphasis should be placed on indus-
trialization in this group of countries than in those with lower
population pressure, but less than in the heavily overpopulated
group. Moreover, there is more of a possibility of their industry
using locally produced raw materials. With the possible exception
of Mexico, where a large proportion of the total land is too dry
for crop farming, there appear to be substantial areas of reasonably
good land awaiting roads and the elimination of disease. In Mexico,
there are still opportunities for increasing the acreage of land
being irrigated. However, there are hundreds of thousands of rural
families living in such thickly settled clusters in many Mexican
highland areas that a substantial proportion of them must move
into non-farm employment before there can be any significant
improvement in land-use practices.



In this group of countries, as in the others previously discussed,
there are substantial opportunities for increasing the per acre
output of land now being farmed. Here, as in the other cases,
the primary emphasis must be on getting farmers to use fungicides,
pesticides, fertilizers, improved varieties of plants and animals,
and to be more timely in their planting, cultivating, and harvesting
practices. To the extent that local conditions permit, the number
of acres handled by one man needs to be increased while, at the
same time, he is increasing the output of the acres that he is
already using.


In the preceding pages primary emphasis has been placed on
the general objectives toward which land-utilization policies should
aim in the Caribbean area in order to raise the total output of
the countries involved. In one group of countries, those with
extremely heavy population pressure and a large percentage of
their people engaged in agriculture, it has been argued that great
emphasis must be placed on industrialization. In another group,
those with low densities of population, the development of new
land and the resettlement of families from overcrowded areas has
been suggested as the most urgent approach. In all the countries,
however, it has been recognized that there are substantial oppor-
tunities for increasing the output per unit area of land now being
farmed.7 Enough has been said of the two latter objectives to
indicate that the techniques for achieving them must reach a large
number of backward, semi-illiterate farmers with a whole new
set of ideas that can, and will, be put into practice on their
individual farms.
What are these techniques, and how can they be brought to bear
on the problems at hand? This is an extremely important aspect of
the total policy problem under discussion, but only a few major
points can be made in this paper.

7 In many cases an approach which would put primary emphasis on
obtaining greater output per acre among the thousands of small farmers
in these countries would also have the opportunity of increasing the size
of the farms of some of the more progressive-minded operators. This
would be the case in all areas where overcrowding is not severe, or even
in these areas if there were an out-migration to non-farm jobs.


The Caribbean

It is well to recall that a successful approach along these lines
will be aimed at getting thousands of farmers in each country to
follow such practices as: (1) preventing crop losses by using a
whole array of relatively new fungicides and pesticides; (2) in-
creasing yields by using both organic compost and chemical ferti-
lizers, if the latter are obtainable at prices that are not prohibitive;
(3) planting improved varieties of crops and using high-producing
sires to improve their livestock; (4) rotating their crops, terracing
their rolling fields, and plowing, planting, and cultivating at the
proper time and in the proper manner. To the extent that the
size of farms can be increased, either by resettlement or otherwise,
their operators will have a whole new set of management problems
to which they have not been accustomed.
The very first problem that will be met with is the lack of the
needed materials, and the paucity of proved answers to many of
the practical questions involved. Supplies of the proper pesticides,
fungicides, fertilizers, improved seeds, and well-bred sires are not
available in thousands upon thousands of rural communities in
the Caribbean area. There are too few experiment stations with
results indicating the best times for planting and the most economic
methods of preparing, planting, and cultivating the various crops
in the different agricultural areas.
But even if these problems can in some way be slowly and
haltingly solved, there remains the basic task of getting farmers
to adopt new practices, and to use a part of their meager and hard-
earned cash for the needed materials. Too often this is visualized
as a problem to be tackled exclusively by the orthodox methods of
agricultural extension education that have proved successful in
the United States. But this, I believe, is not enough. Extension
methods in this country have always been most successful with
an upper-level group of educated farmers. It was not until the
general educational status of farm people in this country reached
a rather high level, and a generation of farm boys and girls grew
to maturity under the tutelage of county agents and vocational
agricultural teachers, that extension service methods began to show
striking results. In the Caribbean countries, as in most other
underdeveloped areas, the type of farmer that has been most
responsive to agricultural extension methods in the United States
simply does not exist.


To be successful in raising the output of extremely low-income,
illiterate, small farmers, many of whom are part-time day laborers,
sharecroppers, tenants, and squatters, there are, at least, three
ingredients that must be integrated into one program and applied
to the needs of individual farm families. They are: (1) educa-
tion, (2) credit, and (3) security of tenure. Extension methods
in the United States have rarely been individualized to meet the
needs of particular farm families. Even more rarely have they
tackled the problems of credit and tenure.
It is difficult to overstress the importance of combining credit
with education. A little additional capital on many farms in these
countries, if it is properly used, oftentimes makes a very big
difference in farm output. Moreover, simply to be able to demon-
strate new practices to the great bulk of the farmers in these
countries, without being able to offer them loans by which they
can obtain the supplies and equipment through which they can
put the demonstrated practices into effect, is a distressingly difficult
way to achieve results. Their incomes are so low and their living
needs so urgent that only the most thrifty will accumulate enough
in advance to buy the capital items that they need. Yet, a small
loan to buy a few pounds of insecticides and a hand sprayer, or
a few hundred pounds of fertilizer, or in some cases a relatively
small quantity of improved seed, will often increase farm output
by an amount two or three times as great as the loan. Funds for
purchasing a team of oxen and two or three plows, or to add
three or four cows to the farm business, can produce a big per-
centage increase in the scale of operations.
Credit used in this constructive manner is dependent, however,
on sound judgments by farm technicians. There is nothing but
harm to be done in burdening a farmer with a loan if he is
going to buy some sort of insecticide that will not kill the bugs
that attack his crops or cattle, or if he is going to put fertilizer
on soil that will not respond to it, or if he buys some new, high-
priced seed which is no better than that which is hanging in
the corer of his kitchen. These and scores of similar problems
which arise in using credit to increase production are concrete
questions of fact, which cannot be answered by reference to general
theories. They depend on judgments made on the spot by men
who have the knowledge about the bug-killing power of a particular


The Caribbean

insecticide, who know the particular soil and its response to a
particular fertilizer, or who know how a given variety will respond
to the specific environment in which it is planted.
This means that a farm technician, backed up by experiment
station results, or the carefully observed experience of other farm-
ers, must be the man to extend farm production loans and guide
their use as well. He must, in other words, carry out, as part of
one operation, the twin functions of education and credit exten-
sion. This is no job for a banker who sits behind barred windows
and looks at the resale value of the chattels included on the
mortgage. The fact that the constructive use of farm credit to
small farmers in these underdeveloped countries involves the use of
farm technicians in making, supervising, and collecting loans means
that the cost is much too high to be covered by the interest
charged the farmer. It also means that these are educational
functions and therefore legitimate parts of the cost of a really
effective agricultural extension service. Unfortunately, the Exten-
sion Service and Farm Credit Administration grew up as two
separate agencies in the United States. The Farm Credit Admin-
istration, moreover, was organized to go directly to the money
market and borrow funds by pledging the security obtained from
borrowers. This feature of its operation has precluded it from
lending to the man who had no tangible collateral to offer when he
needed a loan.
In the Caribbean countries, however, there is a good chance
that these mistakes can be avoided. There are no organized markets
for farm credit bonds, and governments ordinarily supply the funds
for farm credit out of their treasuries, the same sources from
which educational expenditures are made. If the farm credit and
agricultural education functions could be brought together into
one organization in these countries, their results would be multiplied
several-fold in the general task of increasing the productivity of
farmers by both increasing yields per acre and enlarging the scale
of individual farm operations.
In addition to education and credit, there must also be some
way of providing security of tenure on farms. The efficient use
of farm credit and on-the-farm education will be impeded unless
borrowers have a secure tenure to the land they operate and the
right to reap the fruits of their efforts to improve it. Although


tenancy systems can be devised to achieve the results desired-
witness England and Australia-the practical solution in most Latin
American countries is for the man who operates the land to own
it also. In other words, along with a combined program of edu-
cation and credit, there is badly needed a complementary program
for increasing the number of owner-operated family farms.
The three essentials of a successful program for agricultural
development, education, credit, and security of tenure, .may be
combined in varying proportions according to the need, but all of
them must be present in order to achieve lasting results. By the
same token, agricultural development based upon these ingredients
is of seminal importance to the solution of the broader problems of
land utilization throughout the Caribbean area.




APPROXIMATELY one-third of the earth's surface is used
for agriculture and forestry by the two and one-third billion
persons who inhabit it. The effectiveness of such utilization varies
widely. To an appreciable extent the effectiveness is determined
by the endowments of nature, but to an even greater extent it is
determined by the action of people. Over great areas of the
world, physical factors such as soil, rainfall, and temperature
have less bearing on effective use of land than do some of the
social factors, such as the extent and effectiveness of social insti-
tutions, the access that farm people have to information, the
availability of credit, and the security of tenure.
As we review the pages of history we find adequate examples
of mankind's influence upon his lands. One page may tell of a
people that industriously made the very deserts bloom. Another
tells of a people that thoughtlessly denuded their forests and
caused flooded rivers to carry away rich soils of farming lands.
Such examples have continued and have multiplied through the
years, and we find that they are still in the making today.
We may look about us as we meet here in Florida and close
at hand find fitting evidence of how man has altered his environ-
ment to improve his well-being. As an example, let us consider
Florida's great livestock industry: Fifteen years ago Florida's
farmers had little more than 700,000 head of cattle on their farm
and range lands; today they have approximately twice that number.



Yet, the portions of Florida where the greatest increase has taken
place are not unusually well endowed by nature for such enterprise.
Earlier livestock growers constantly encountered unusual problems.
They noted that their cattle sometimes had abnormal hungers for
such substances as dirt, bones, or wood. They were disappointed
that their livestock sometimes failed to thrive even in lush pastures.
Evidently nature had left some gaps in Florida's livestock-production
environment. Man had to fill these gaps before the industry could
thrive. How was this done?
Fortunately, the farmers of Florida were so associated that they
were able to define their needs and give voice to them. Rising
out of this definition of need from private groups came investiga-
tions by public research institutions wherein it was determined that
in some soils of Florida a pronounced lack of certain minerals,
especially phosphorus and cobalt, contributed directly to dietary
deficiencies among livestock grazing on such soils. As a result of
this research, it was relatively easy to prescribe compensatory
fertilizing and feeding practices.
Fortunately, also, an extension service existed, as well as other
private and public means of communicating agricultural in-
formation, so that livestock growers soon knew what techniques
they must employ to cure the dietary illnesses of their cattle.
Fortunately, again, agricultural credit was available so that
progressive growers could adopt the new fertilizing and feeding
practices and expand their operations.
And, finally and fortunately, these growers were residents of a
state in which the incentives resulting from good conditions of
land tenure are remarkably widespread, for 80 per cent of Florida's
agricultural land is owned by the farmers who operate it.
Here in Florida, then, and in neighboring areas of the Caribbean,
and even into the farthest reaches of the world, the "human
factors" in land utilization can be of greater consequence than the
physical and natural features which define our environment. Man
can compensate for deficiencies in his environment; to some extent
he can even change his environment.


The Caribbean


The world stands today on the threshold of a new era in
technological advancement. All of the free nations are participating
in new efforts to exchange knowledge, to share techniques, and
to cooperate for mutual advancement. This Second Annual Con-
ference on the Caribbean is an example of voluntary association
between people of similar interest and purpose. Similarly, though
on a magnified scale, voluntary associations for mutual progress are
taking place through the United Nations and its specialized agen-
cies, and through such nation-to-nation arrangements as those
growing out of the technical cooperation programs sponsored by
the United States. These cooperative efforts are directed at an
immediate objective of improving the well-being of people and
the long-range objective of fostering greater harmony and peace.
Agriculture occupies a dominant role in this effort. The world's
concern with effective land utilization is in no sense academic-
it is occasioned by the inescapable fact that the world's population
is outdistancing its food supply, and the companion fact that a
hungry world cannot be a pleasant or a peaceful world.
Since cooperative effort for mutual advancement does exist be-
tween nations today, and since that effort is increasing, it is essential
that it be directed into those avenues whereby it can make a
maximum and lasting contribution to human welfare. It is essential
that land resources be put to the best possible use in the housing,
clothing, and feeding of people. Is there any key, any primary
guiding principle, that people and nations can call upon as they
cooperate to improve their utilization of land resources? I believe
that there is.
I believe that a nation can improve its land utilization to the
degree that it improves its human resources to give leadership to
that task. Since "human resources" is an admittedly intangible
term, let me substitute another-"social institutions." In our in-
creasingly complex systems of living, we must look more and more
to actual institutions, both private and public, as the fountainheads
of progressive action. To me it is increasingly apparent that
nations must strive to establish or to increase the competence and
degree of leadership of their private and public social institutions.



This is true in all fields affecting human welfare-in agriculture,
in health, in education, and in others as well.
There is no absolute rule whereby we can measure progress.
We can gain a strong impression, however, of the social or economic
or political development of a people by observing the virility and
development of their social institutions. Such institutions make it
possible for individuals and communities and societies to analyze
and understand their situations, to decide how they might desirably
modify those situations, to develop programs in the form of specific
projects aimed at altering those situations, and, lastly, to carry
the projects forward in a coordinated manner.
Earlier I mentioned four "human factors" that affect land use
and referred to their application in improving the agriculture of
Florida. They are factors that function through private and public
social institutions. I would like to review those principles again,
this time more broadly.


The first of these "human factors" is degree of association. All
people tend to seek out others of similar interests. In primitive
societies the association may be merely for pleasure or for protec-
tion. In more advanced societies, the association takes on stronger
aspects of mutual gain. In the United States, if I may use my
own country as an example again, we have an extensive array
of county, state, and national agricultural committees; professional
agricultural societies; and local, state, and national levels of farm
organizations. Groups such as these are quick to notice and to
call public and political attention to agricultural needs or agricul-
tural inequities. They are both a motivating and a stabilizing in-
fluence. They stimulate local initiative to take responsible action.
They give vital direction to local and national agricultural plan-
ning in that they provide the so-called "grassroots" influences which
today are recognized as essential to democratic action.
Most parts of the world have insufficient association between
people of like interests and objectives. This is true of many
European countries, of Asiatic countries, of other regions as well.
It is true of the Caribbean area. I hope that my country's Point
Four Program of technical cooperation can be an encouraging in-

48 The Caribbean

fluence in this direction, using every opportunity to demonstrate
to other peoples the greater rewards that will come from individual
effort when paralleled by associative effort.
The coffee growers of Latin America are in a relatively sound
position, economically and technologically. The corn growers of
Latin America, by and large, are not. Why is there this disparity?
Because those who have a primary interest in the coffee industry
have long been working in association for their common interest.
The corn growers are not associated: they have no group voice,
they have no one to champion their cause.
The essential oils industry of Guatemala, in a period of about
ten years, has risen to a pre-eminent position in world trade. Lemon
oil and citronella from Guatemalan producers is in world demand
because of its standardized excellence. How has this happened?
Because Guatemala's essential oil producers, through association,
have called upon research to improve their product, have dis-
ciplined themselves to maintain quality standards, and have been
able to obtain credit from outside as well as within their organ-
ization to increase production to meet increased demand.
By contrast, a new industry in Cuba is not progressing so rapidly
as it might because of insufficient association between those pri-
marily interested. I am referring now to the kenaf fiber industry.
Kenaf is a jute-like fiber whose development in the Western Hem-
isphere is a credit to technical cooperation between agricultural
technicians of the United States and of Latin America. Kenaf is
a crop of good promise to the Caribbean area. Its fiber will be a
useful supplement to the huge quantities of jute that must be
imported annually from the Far East. It will be a valuable source
of new agricultural income. But the development of this new
crop-its production, its processing, and its utilization-is highly
dependent on governmental initiative. Increased impetus would
come to this important development if individuals and business
groups who stand to benefit from it were strongly associated, work-
ing in unison toward a common objective.


The second "human factor" affecting land use is access to
information. There must be a flow of the world's experience to



farmers, processors, and marketers, in a form that they can use,
or the most productive utilization of land resources cannot pos-
sibly be achieved.
Recently a World Land Tenure Conference was held at the
University of Wisconsin at which representatives of thirty-eight
nations explored relationships between people and the land. In their
report they called special attention to "the prime importance of
education and communication in a land tenure program." In the
opinion of the delegates, "creating an ideal economic farming unit
and putting it in the hands of an illiterate farmer bound to the old
ways of agriculture by superstition and custom does little to solve
the basic problem."
In order to obtain effective use of lands, then, farmers must
have at their disposal a variety of agricultural information coming
through a variety of media from a variety of sources. Adjoining
the northwest sector of the state of Florida is the state of Alabama.
Not long ago a survey was made to determine the ways in which
Alabama farmers obtain the information that has caused them
to improve their farming methods. The survey indicated that 38
per cent of the information came from reading matter, including
farm magazines, newspapers, bulletins, leaflets, and circular letters;
24 per cent came from personal contacts, especially with neigh-
bors and friends; 20 per cent came from attending group meetings
held for reasons of agricultural improvement; 10 per cent came
from listening to farm programs over the radio; and 8 per cent
came from such visual aids as colored slides and motion pictures.
We know from the years of experience of our Extension Service
in the United States that there is no short cut to getting farmers
to adopt recommended agricultural practices. For, in the first
place, the information to be given them must be accurate and
practicable; and secondly, it must be presented through a number
of avenues so that it will fall into the hands of the largest possible
number of farm people.
We commonly take it for granted that our banking industry
must have financial information, our manufacturers must have
supply-and-demand information, our merchants must have market-
ing information. There is equal need for a free flow of information
in the field of agriculture. El Salvador is one of our neighbor
countries that is giving strong recognition to this need. With the


The Caribbean

advice and consultation of one of our Department of Agriculture
economists, and as part of our Point Four cooperative work with
El Salvador, its Ministry of Agriculture has recently inaugurated
a market reporting system. Our economist, Mr. E. W. Ranck,
has sent us the following interesting report:
For the first time in the history of El Salvador, a market report
of farm crops is being published weekly.
The Centro Nacional de Agronomia has assisted the Ministry
of Agriculture in setting up a system whereby the Ministry's De-
partment of Economic Studies and Statistics collects crop price
information weekly in the Republic's fourteen principal market
Items reported include: corn, milo maize, rice, wheat, beans
(white, red, and black), sesame, beef, pork, and lard. This in-
formation in table form is released to the press on Fridays and
appears in the week-end papers.
Surplus and scarcity frequently exist simultaneously in different
parts of El Salvador with wide variation in the prices farmers
get for their crops. Lack of information as to where surplus and
scarcity exist has contributed to poor distribution of these articles
of prime necessity. The new market reporting service should be
of practical benefit not only to producers but to distributors and
consumers alike.
I have stressed here the actual communication services of a
nation without saying enough, perhaps, about the research and
educational institutions, both private and public, that must exist
to make the free flow of information possible. Where there are
weather reports there must be weather stations. Where there are
pamphlets on crop production there must be research stations.
Where there are progressive farmers there must be educational
institutions that constantly strive to raise the literacy and under-
standing of people. Put all such elements together and they spell
the enlightenment that is essential if farmers are to make effective
use of their resources.

A third "human factor" affecting land utilization is availability
of credit. By credit I mean more than an arrangement whereby



a farmer can borrow money at reasonable rates of interest, impor-
tant as that is. I refer to a rational system of economics based
on trust in which all members of a nation can participate. I
refer, in short, to the need for making farmers more complete
partners in the system known as capitalism, which permits the
accumulation of capital on the one hand and its investment into
creative enterprise on the other.
The farmers of the world, and this includes those of the Carib-
bean area, too often are excluded or at least partially excluded
from the rewards that can come from the availability of credit
and the equitable management of fiscal resources. These lines
from Kipling, describing the Far Eastern peasant of half a century
ago, still remain singularly appropriate:
His speech is mortgaged bedding,
On his kine he borrows yet,
At his heart is his daughter's wedding,
In his eye foreknowledge of debt.
He eats and hath indigestion,
He toils and he may not stop,
His life is a long-drawn question,
Between a crop and a crop.
Too often that economic description of the 1890's still applies
today-with some exceptions. Here and there we find evidence
of change for the better. In India, where those lines were written,
I have seen rural cooperatives, recently organized and full of
vitality, offering new financial hope to their members. In Puerto
Rico, many farm families are benefiting from governmental pro-
duction loans and home-ownership loans, and are proving to be
outstandingly good credit risks. In other areas, as well, we have
spotty evidence of greater economic opportunity coming to rural
people-but we can regret that the opportunity continues to be
much greater for the large farmer who grows a crop for world
markets than for the smaller farmer who supplies his own family
and local markets.
Effective land use cannot be brought about, in the Caribbean
area or elsewhere, in the face of static economic opportunity.
Economic opportunity is, in reality, a chain reaction. As capital is
made available to producers, they are able to improve and expand

52 The Caribbean

their operations. This creates new income which in turn strengthens
:a nation's tax structure. Additional public revenue makes possible
the expansion of such public services as research, education, dis-
semination of information, and similar essential facilities that
improve the use of capital resources. Which is the more important
or which comes first cannot be said, for each is equally important
to the other.


The fourth, and last, "human factor" is security of tenure. Access
to land and security in the use of land are among the major
determinants of land utilization in the Caribbean area. Many of
you are acquainted with the Caribbean Land Tenure Symposium,
conducted since the last war by the Caribbean Commission. This
Symposium effectively brought out the contrast between the pro-
ducer who has security and the producer who does not. In the
words of Mr. Marshall Harris, agricultural economist representing
the United States Department of Agriculture:

The farmer who occupies the land with a high degree of security
will be encouraged to improve and conserve the land, to build
it up, to farm in a husbandman-like manner, and to take pride
in that which he expects to use over the years.... But what
about the farmer who holds his land insecurely, who may move
next year or at most the year after, whose expected occupancy is
short? He cannot plan and carry out crop rotations and develop
herds and flocks. He will invariably engage in the production of
an annual cash crop. He does not have a reasonable incentive
to follow soil-building and soil-conserving practices. He cannot
afford to increase production through drainage or clearing; he will
not take chances on liming or using fertilizers that will last for
more than a year or two, for he does not know that he will enjoy
the fruits of his labor.... The tenure system must provide a
reasonable degree of security for every farm family. Not dead-
ening security, not complete assurance, not an irrevocable occu-
pancy, but enough confidence in the future to bring forth maximum
effort to follow through on sensible long time plans....

We can be glad that recognition is being given in every part
of the Caribbean area to this all-important problem of land tenure.



There is no unanimous opinion as to man's ideal relationship with
the land he tills, but there is growing recognition that efficient
utilization of natural resources, and community prosperity and
stability, cannot come except as conditions of land tenure are
significantly improved. Perhaps individual ownership may not
always be the ultimate goal in the more populous Caribbean area,
as it is here in the United States. Nevertheless, greater access to
land and greater security in the use of that land must come to
the Caribbean area if its farm people are to make their maximum


We find, then, four principal human factors influencing man's
effective use of land: the degree to which he associates himself
with others of similar aspirations; his access to helpful information;
the availability of credit needed to enhance his productivity; and,
finally, his access to land and security of tenure in using that land.
Leadership in bringing these factors into play springs largely
from social institutions, private and public, whose reason for being
is to promote the greater welfare. It seems particularly pertinent
at this time, with national and international programs for tech-
nical assistance bringing new hope to nations, that the essentiality
of a people's own private and public institutions capable of exert-
ing this leadership be kept in the forefront. In every country,
however primitive, either the beginnings of these necessary social
institutions exist or the seeds of their being are present. It should
be a major aim of all technical cooperation programs, whether
the Point Four Program of the United States or the international
programs of the United Nations, to encourage these national insti-
tutions and let them assume positions of leadership. Solutions for
land utilization problems, or any other national problems, must in
the final analysis come from within a country, whether it is in-
the Caribbean area or elsewhere. This means, then, that people
will find their answers within the institutions of their own making.
Our assistance can be permanently effective only insofar as it fosters
the development of such institutions so that they, in turn, can
care for those four basic human needs-freedom of association, free-
dom of information, equality of opportunity, and security of tenure.



PUERTO RICO has just finished the field work of a survey of
which the scope and extent have not been matched elsewhere.
The whole area of the island, 3,423 square miles of tropical plains
and subtropical hills, has been thoroughly mapped on a very large
scale. A wide range of geographic and cultural conditions is
portrayed in this work. Level and humid (except in the irrigated
South) sugar-cane fields, tobacco covered hillsides, coffee farms
on the rainy flanks of the west-central mountains, native food
crops all over the hills of the interior, forests clothing the highest
peaks, a belt of mangroves bordering the coast-line-they are all
graphically illustrated in this survey of the physical resources
and man's labor on the Puerto Rican land. The large scale
(1:10,000) and thoroughness of the survey and the diversity of the
geographic regions make Puerto Rico's land-use survey unique.
The Rural Land Classification Program, as it is being carried out
in Puerto Rico, is a geographic survey of the use of the land
and its physical characteristics. The present land utilization indi-
cates the enterprises that the farmer has found to be economically
advantageous, but they might not correspond to the optimum use
of the land from the social standpoint. Undoubtedly, much land

Grateful acknowledgment for aid received in the preparation of this
paper is hereby extended to Mrs. Zayda Buitrago Santiago, Geographic Re-
searcher Assistant, Puerto Rico Planning Board, and to Mr. H6ctor Berrios,
Chief, Land Economic Division, Department of Agriculture, and other per-
sonnel of the Insular Department of Agriculture and Commerce.



could be used to better advantage. In land-hungry Puerto Rico, it
is imperative for us to make the maximum use of our land
resources. Consequently, this land-use survey is considered essential
in the formulation of plans for the readjustment of the present
agricultural pattern. Furthermore, an inventory of the potentialities
of the land also should help to guide programs of public services
and other expenditures of resources in any region of Puerto Rico.
With this goal in mind, the author of this paper invited, in
1949, Dr. Clarence F. Jones, of the Department of Geography of
Northwestern University, to direct such a survey in Puerto Rico.
As a result of this invitation, Professor Jones came to the island
together with Dr. G. Donald Hudson, then head of the Geography
Department of Northwestern, to discuss the feasibility of this pro-
gram. Both men had wide experience in similar surveys. After
several conferences with all the agencies interested in the pro-
gram, Drs. Jones and Hudson prepared a statement on the objectives
of the field mapping which would not only include the mapping
of the land use, but which would also record, in one single
operation, the physical characteristics of the land.
It was agreed that Northwestern University would furnish ad-
vanced students in geography who would do the field work for
their doctoral dissertations in Puerto Rico, in connection with the
mapping survey. A Puerto Rican technician, acting as interpreter
and interviewer, was to be added to each team. The travel and
subsistence expenses of the graduate students were covered by the
insular agencies.
At the beginning, the Planning Board and the Social Science
Research Center of the University of Puerto Rico were the local
sponsors of the survey. Shortly thereafter, the Insular Department
of Agriculture and Commerce joined the above-mentioned agencies
in the direction of the program, as the department saw the value
of the land-use survey in its plans for the betterment of agricul-
tural conditions in the island.
The survey started with a modest appropriation of $16,000, to
which was added $25,000 from funds of the Department of Agri-
culture. As the work progressed and it was necessary to accelerate
the program, more funds were appropriated. In 1950 the Legis-
lature of Puerto Rico appropriated the sum of $105,000 to the
Department of Agriculture and Commerce to conclude the field


The Caribbean

work and compile a land use map with the material obtained.
The total estimated cost up to and including the preparation of
the final land use maps will be approximately $150,000. On July
1, 1950, the department took over entirely the administration and
direction of the program. The original sponsors, that is, the Plan-
ning Board and the University of Puerto Rico, remained in an
advisory capacity to the department.
The program was originally planned for four years, but owing
to the urgency of collecting the data at the earliest practicable time,
it was decided to reduce the mapping period to two years, from
July, 1949 to September, 1951. That change required another
adjustment as to the source of the graduate students. Northwestern
provided the majority, but the program was expanded to encompass
other universities in the continental United States. All applicants
submitted their credentials to the Geography Department of North-
western for their approval. In the end, ten universities were
represented in the survey, as follows: eight students from North-
western, two from Syracuse, two from Wisconsin and one each
from the Universities of Chicago, Clark, Michigan, Washington,
Illinois, Maryland, and Nebraska. I am happy to say that the
first student who worked in the survey is now Professor Donald
R. Dyer, of the Department of Geography at the University of

I. Mapping Procedure

The land use and the physical characteristics of the land were
surveyed, on the basis of the unit-area method, using a fractional
code system of notation of the field data. This method was first
used by the Tennessee Valley Authority and it included the map-
ping of the land use, degree of slope, soil classes, condition of
drainage, amount of erosion, degree of stoniness, and amount of
rock exposure. In Puerto Rico the size of the unit area ranges
from many acres on level land along the coast, to areas of one
acre in the central part of the island. All buildings and other
structures were mapped with standard or conventional symbols.
Aerial vertical photographs and topographic sheets at a scale of
1:10,000 were used to plot the field information.
The identification of soil types was accomplished through the use



of a soil map at a scale of 1:50,000, published in 1942 by the Division
of Soil Survey of the United States Department of Agriculture.
A reconnaissance and a general field study of the present land
use and the physical characteristics were made prior to the
beginning of the field work. The mapping keys and the definitions
of land use terms and physical conditions were prepared with the
able assistance of the following insular and federal agencies in
Puerto Rico: Soil Conservation Service, Planning Board, Forest
Service, Insular Department of Agriculture and Commerce, Scien-
tific Assessment Division of the Treasury Department, and Insular
Agricultural Experiment Station.
The island was divided into eighteen mapping regions, each to
be completed by one field team. These teams outlined the mapping
areas, using municipal boundaries but trying to secure the maximum
geographical homogeneity within them. Mapping regions ranged
from 125 to 289 square miles in area.
Each field team was composed of a chief, who had had experi-
ence in this type of field work, another student receiving on-the-
job training for a six-week period, and a Puerto Rican interviewer
well acquainted with the area to be mapped. Each field team was
equipped with a "jeep" to facilitate its work.
The interviewer, with his knowledge of crops, farming methods,
and other agricultural problems of the island, helped the chief of
the party and also interviewed farmers on a systematic and random
sampling basis while mapping was going on. The additional
information obtained on the Rural Property Interview Schedules
provided abundant data which could not be recorded on field maps.
The farmers were interviewed on a sample basis. The sampling
was done on the basis of the number of rural houses. The ratio to
be interviewed was arrived at in the following manner: (1) one
for every eight farmer houses, (2) one for every sixteen parcels
less than three acres in size, (3) one for every thirty-two share-
cropper or squatters' shacks, and (4) one for any other sixty-four
rural dwellers. This ratio was increased or decreased daily accord-
ing to the number of houses in the area being worked at. Those
selected to be interviewed supplied information on all agricultural
production during the past twelve months and other socio-economic
problems. About six thousand interviews were taken throughout
the island.


The Caribbean

The first field team, under the direction of Donald Dyer, came
to Puerto Rico in July, 1949, and did the detailed mapping of a
cross-section traverse from the northern coast near Vega Baja
to the southern coast near Ponce, in addition to fifteen small
selected areas scattered all over the island, to try out the keys and
to anticipate problems that might arise in the field.

II. Field Work

The area to be mapped was chosen when its main crop was
still on the land. The students selected their areas on the basis
of the themes that they had chosen for their individual dissertations.
The team-chief selected his headquarters in the center of his
area, so that he could become better acquainted with the people
and the type of agriculture in the area. Each student, before
starting work on his given area, made a reconnaissance trip
around the island to become acquainted with its geographical
As an aid to speed up the work in the field, the soil series, selected
land use features, and other land characteristics were added to
the aerial photographs. All of this basic data speeded the field
work tremendously.
A supervisor, John Lounsbury, was selected from among the first
students, who finished mapping their areas, and was appointed
assistant director of the project. He advised and checked the
work of the other teams.
The land use and the physical conditions were recorded on the
photographs by a fractional notation, for example 172 The
numerator of the fractional notation indicates the use of the land.
The denominator indicates the characteristics of the land. The
notation 172 refers to cultivated land. The first digit (1) of the
fraction stands for crop land, the second digit (7) for bananas,
and the third digit (2) for average quality. In general, the major
category is represented by the first digit, the kind or type of land use
by the second digit, and the quality by the third digit, respectively.
The denominator recorded in our sample, 1-5151, would read
as follows: The first digit (1) refers to the soil unit, followed by
the degree of slope (5), condition of drainage (1), amount of



erosion (5), and degree of stoniness (1). Any change within part
of the notation means a change in the piece of land plotted. The
numbers used to designate the items represented in the notation
were selected from the keys of land use and land characteristics.
Buildings and other structures were mapped with symbols.

III. Land Use

In Puerto Rico, land use is classified into the following eight
major categories: cropped land, pasture and harvested forage
grass, forest and brush land, non-productive land, rural public and
community service land, urban and manufacturing land, quarrying
and mining land, and miscellaneous land.
These categories are described briefly as follows:
Cropped Land.-Land in which produce is harvested for human
consumption. This category is broken down into forty-three crops
or combinations of crops.
Pasture and Harvested Forage Grass.-Land devoted to the
growth of grasses for animal consumption. This includes natural
pasture, improved pasture, harvested forage grass, and others.
This category is divided into eight classes.
Forest and Brush Land.-All areas in trees, whether planted or
part of the natural vegetation. This land also includes brush, which
consists of trees below ten feet in height. Land considered as
woodland pasture was mapped within class eight under the cate-
gory of pasture and harvested forage grass.
Non-Productive Land.-Land without any agricultural productive
value. This land may or may not be suitable for some productive
use, but at present it has no productive value. This category is
divided into three classes.
Rural Public and Community Service Land.-Indicates plots
used for public and community services. Usually this land com-
prises small tracts or plots that fall into seven classes.
Quarrying and Mining Land.-Includes rock and mineral re-
sources which are being removed from the land. Abandoned quar-
ries and mines are included in non-productive land (category
number four).
Urban and Manufacturing Land.-Land in which cities and
towns are located. It also includes tracts outside the urban area

60 The Caribbean

devoted to any manufacturing activities. This category is divided
into seven classes.
Miscellaneous Land.-Features of land use which do not fall
into any of the above-mentioned categories. They are recorded on
the field map by means of letters, and in some cases by numbers
in addition to letters.

IV. Physical Characteristics

The physical characteristics mapped include the soil type, slope,
drainage, erosion, stoniness, and rock exposure. They do not en-
compass all elements of the natural or physical environment. The
main interest was mapping all important characteristics that affect
the agricultural phase and that could be readily observed and
mapped. The characteristics discussed appear in the order indicated
in the denominator of the fractional code system.
Soils.-In Puerto Rico there are 367 types of soils as mapped
by the United States Division of Soil Survey. These soil types
were grouped in 53 categories based on soil similarities.
Slope.-The degree of slope was associated with the accessibility
to the land of agricultural machinery to be used and with character-
istics of drainage and erosion. On this basis the land was divided
into six classes, ranging from class one, which does not show
any erosion and can make extensive use of farm machinery, to
class six that eliminates all cultivation except by terracing. This
latter class is characterized by a severe erosion.
Drainage.-The drainage condition indicates both surface run-
off and interior drainage. It ranges from class one (well drained),
to class five (excessively drained).
Erosion.-The erosion classification depends on how much of the
soil has been removed. In general the classification shows how
much soil remains in the land. The erosion is classified into seven
groups, from recent alluvial or colluvial deposits to very severe
sheet erosion.
Stoniness and Rock Exposure.-Condition of rocks in the land,
like the other characteristics mentioned, is somewhat associated with
type of soil. The classification of stoniness and rock exposure takes
into consideration the problem of how well the land could be
cultivated without interference by rock exposure. The condition


of rock exposure is subdivided into eight classes, ranging from no
stone or rock outcrop which would interfere with cultivation, to
severe rock exposure, which prevents cultivation. In the classifi-
cation of rock exposure, after the digit identifying the amount of
rock exposure, two additional numbers, one placed above the other,
appear occasionally. The upper number indicates the class of ston-
iness and the lower number the class of rock exposure.
In general, the physical conditions mapped are closely related
to the type of soil, but within those types of soil there are sub-
stantial variations that can be mapped. These variations suggest
potential differences within soil types that are basic to a recom-
mended land use program for the island.

V. Using the Data Collected

The data gathered in the field constitute one of the most com-
plete inventories on land use ever done in Puerto Rico or elsewhere.
It gives a clear picture of the land use and the potentialities of
our soils as suited for cultivation. There is no doubt that this
inventory is an essential basis for any agricultural or public service
program, and for all types of rural planning throughout the island.
It strikingly indicates problem areas in need of specific attention.
Since the field work started, a land use map, at a scale of
1: 10,000, has been in preparation. This map is being prepared on
dyrite paper, which is transparent and suited for oxalic copies.
It shows, besides the land use, all buildings and structures, rivers
and roads. Professor Edward B. Espenshade, an expert cartog-
rapher, also from Northwestern University, was very helpful with
suggestions to improve the presentation of the final land use maps.
To obtain the appropriate statistical data, one out of every
twenty-five acres of land has been intensively studied in the office.
The information has been tabulated on IBM cards. The question-
naires filled out in the fields are also being tabulated on IBM
cards. This information, together with the land use map, will help
to portray the rural problems of the island as a whole, as well as
by regions.
At present, a recommended land use program is being worked
out. Specific land use recommendations will be made, based on
the potentialities of the land. All soil types are going to be


The Caribbean

grouped according to their productivity and farm management.
This will show certain management classes for which farm man-
agement plans will be made so that they will serve as models for the
rest of the farms in each class. There is the possibility of working
out a rural zoning map, once the recommended use is determined.
This zoning map, likewise, may serve as the basis for the location
of public services and industrial developments.
The list of the participants and their thesis subjects is given
in the appendix with a note as to the status of their academic
work. They certainly are a valuable set of reference material on
the conditions and possibilities of agriculture in Puerto Rico. As
many of the students' dissertations as possible will be published
and all feasible recommendations will be taken into account in
the proposed land use program.
A very important by-product of this survey was the spirit of
cooperation it generated among continental students, Puerto Rican
interviewers, public officials, professors who supervised the work,
farmers, and the public at large who cooperated with the field
teams, cheerfully supplying information. Each contributor to the
survey supplied his knowledge or experience, often obtained in
places very far from Puerto Rico; all contributed to a worthy cause
with good will and a cooperative spirit. The graduate students had
the opportunity to do field work with all expenses paid, in a
tropical island with a rich geographical environment. As a result
of their labor, the island has a very accurate land use survey that
would have cost much more if done with regular employees. This
cooperative procedure, which can facilitate mapping of underde-
veloped areas, merits study and application in other lands.




I. Ph.D. Theses Completed:
Donald R. Dyer, "The Development of Geographic Survey Techniques
for the Rural Land Classification Program of Puerto Rico," North-
western University, 1950.
Vernon W. Brockmann, "Physical Land Types and Land Utilization in
the Caguas-San Lorenzo Regions of Puerto Rico," Northwestern Uni-
versity, 1950.
Robert B. Batchelder, "Subhumid Plain of Northwestern Puerto Rico:
A Study in Rural Land Utilization," Northwestern University, 1951.
Harold R. Imus, "The Mayaguez Area (Puerto Rico): A Study in Farm
Economy Analysis," Northwestern University, 1951.
John F. Lounsbury, "Rural Settlement Features and their Association
to Agricultural Economies in Aguas Buenas, Comerio, Corozal, and
Naranjito," Northwestern University, 1951.
Arthur H. Doerr, "The Relationship of Human Activities in South-
western Puerto Rico to the Semi-Arid Climate," Northwestern Uni-
versity, 1951.

II. Ph.D. Theses in Preparation:
David Naley, "Land Utilization in the Municipalities of Yauco, Gua-
yanilla, Guanica, and Pefiuelas of Puerto Rico," Syracuse, 1953.
Wallace E. Akin, "The Dairy Industry of the North Coast of Puerto
Rico: A Study in Tropical Dairying," Northwestern University, 1952.
Bernt L. Wills, "An Analysis of the Physical Land Types and of the
Rural Land Use on those Land Types of the Seven Municipalities of
Catafio, Bayam6n, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Dorado, Vega Alta, and
Vega Baja, in Puerto Rico," Northwestern University, 1952.
Robert N. Young, "A New Classification of Land Forms in Puerto Rico,"
University of Wisconsin, 1952.
Joseph A. Tosi, Jr., "Land Utilization of the Forest and Potential Forest
Lands of Western Puerto Rico," Clark University, 1952.
Luther H. Gulick, Jr., "A Socio-Geographic Study of the Rural Popula-
tion of the Western Highlands of Puerto Rico," University of Chicago,
Donald D. MacPhail, "The Cattle Industry of the South Coast of Puerto
Rico," University of Michigan, 1952.
Dale E. Courtney, "The Geography of the Fruit Industry of Puerto
Rico," University of Washington, 1952.
Donald L. Netzer, "A Climatic Study of Puerto Rico," University of
Illinois, 1952.
George A. Beishlag, "The Influence of American Capital in Changing
Land Use Patterns in Southern Puerto Rico," University of Maryland,

64 The Caribbean

Richard L. Lawton, "Area Study in Northeastern Puerto Rico: A Study
in Historical Development," Syracuse University, 1952.
Kermit M. Laidig, "The Problem of the Small Subsistence Farmer in
Southeastern Puerto Rico," University of Nebraska, 1952.
III. Special Studies:
Dieter H. Brunnschweiler, "Land Use in the municipios of Ciales, Morovis
and Orocovis in Central Puerto Rico," University of Zurich, 1952.
William W. Burchfiel, "The Geography of the Pineapple Industry of
Puerto Rico," University of Maryland, 1952.

Part III



Francisco Aguirre: THE CARIBBEAN: HEART

I SHOULD LIKE to precede my brief exposition on transportation
in the Caribbean with a tribute to the magnificent contribution
which the University of Florida is making to inter-American
understanding by sponsoring these discussions on the Caribbean
area. The exchange of ideas which is taking place here cannot but
strengthen the spiritual union of all Americans through the dispas-
sionate and continuing study of the complex factors which influence
the development of the Caribbean-an area which, in many respects,
may be regarded as the heart of the Americas.
I am honored and gratified beyond words to find myself in this
mansion of learning, which so successfully fulfills the mission of
the modern university by stimulating the study, without limitation,
of all that lies within the scope of human intelligence. In touching
upon the problems of the Caribbean area, this famed University
is playing a very important part in bringing the peoples of the
Caribbean and of the United States closer together. By the same
token, it is playing a very important part in bringing about that
singleminded and supreme identification of all Americans which
some day will be the greatest glory of our hemisphere.
There could be no more appropriate place than this University
for a discussion of the problems of the Caribbean and their rela-
tion to the rest of the world. Faithful to the traditions of Florida,
this University nurtures the memories of a far-off yesterday by
carefully cultivating friendship with Latin America through special-

68 The Caribbean

ized studies, such as those which the learned Professor A. Curtis
Wilgus directs with such skill. History binds Florida to Spanish
America, and geography makes her sister to the nations of the
In the days when the sea was the only medium of international
transit, Ponce de Le6n and other illustrious figures converted
Florida into a rampart of defense for Spanish conquests of the
New World. Today, in the miraculous air age of the twentieth
century, it falls to this uniquely beautiful peninsula to be a keystone
of transoceanic air travel.
There is still much room for progress in air transportation be-
tween the United States and the Caribbean countries, if we con-
sider that the unlimited sympathy which exists between the peoples
of those countries and the people of Florida has not as yet been
exploited to the fullest. A common heritage and common ancestry
must, for the present, constitute the best bridge of union among
all the American peoples. But the University of Florida, with all its
academic prestige and progressive tradition, is speeding the day
when all Americans will be bound by a common present destiny,
as well as by the rich heritage of the past; and little by little, trade
in a more material sense will bring about a definite alliance of
Florida and the Latin American countries through the Caribbean.


The Caribbean area embraces the American republics extending
along the mainland from Mexico to Venezuela and the group
of republics and dependencies which constitute the Antilles. Its
geographical position gives it an extraordinary and immeasurable
importance in inter-American transportation and world transpor-
I would prefer, within the limits of this brief discussion, to touch
but lightly on the role of the airplane in Caribbean transportation.
Air transportation is an established part of Caribbean communica-
tions and frequently, because of its ability to surmount topograph-
ical obstacles which impede land routes, is the only means of
transportation between one region and another. But the establish-
ment of air routes, once international agreements have been reached
and official approvals extended, is a comparatively simple matter


from the physical and economic standpoints. Within the brief
time allotted to me, I would prefer to stress land and sea transpor-
tation in the Caribbean and, in particular, the Pan American
Highway and Panama Canal as all-important factors in the present
and future evolution of Caribbean transportation.
These are topics which have a singular personal and professional
interest for me. Personal, because I am a native of one of the
Central American republics which may be considered to lie within
the Caribbean area. Professional, because as secretary of the Pan
American Division of the American Road Builders' Association
it has been my task, and the task of our many colleagues and
supporters, to encourage and stimulate the construction of a hem-
isphere network of highways which would serve as a positive
and undeniably valuable factor in the unification of the Americas,
with the Pan American Highway as a nucleus. For twenty-five
years our Pan American Division has labored toward this objective
under the slogan of La Unidad del Continente por el esfuerzo
constructive de los ingenieros-"Hemisphere Unity through the
Constructive Efforts of Engineers."
The Pan American Highway contains a segment, running from
the southern border of Mexico to the Isthmus of Panama, which
is called the Inter-American Highway. The chief difference be-
tween this segment and others which form part of the Pan
American Highway lies in the method of financing. The keen
interest of the United States in an overland link with the Panama
Canal and the limited financial resources of the Central American
republics and Panama led, in 1942, to an agreement between
this country and Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica,
El Salvador, and Panama whereby construction of the Inter-
American Highway would be financed by a two-thirds contribution
by the United States and a one-third contribution by each of the
other countries in connection with its respective section of the
highway. At the present time, except for a few short segments
which await completion, an overland route exists in the mainland
Caribbean countries and countries bordering on the Caribbean area,
as follows:


The Caribbean

Total Distance
in Miles Impassable Mileage
Mexico .................................. 1625 -
Guatemala ............................ ...... 317 25
El Salvador ................................ 191 -
Honduras ............................... 94 -
Nicaragua .................................... 238 -
Costa Rica .............................. 413 241
Panama ........................................ 316 14
Colombia .................................... 1947 -
Venezuela .................................... 736
The Congress of the United States has already authorized a new
appropriation of $7,000,000 which is being employed in renewed
construction of the highway in the Central American countries and
Panama, under the cooperative arrangement with the United States
to which I have referred. It is estimated that another $85,000,000
will be necessary to complete the connection between the Panama
Canal and the southern border of Mexico. Thereafter, it will be
necessary to complete approximately 300 miles of highway across
Darien, lying between Panama and Colombia, before a union of
the highways of North America and South America can become
a reality. Because of topography and dense jungle obstacles, the
Darien highway project will be one of the most difficult engineering
ventures in the history of the Western Hemisphere.
Besides linking the great cities of America, it will be the role
of the Pan American Highway, as has been pointed out, to serve
as the nucleus for transportation systems in the various American
countries. To it falls the gigantic task of opening up new areas
for development in our hemisphere, of serving as a vital link in the
network of international land, sea, and air transportation which
binds the American peoples with one another and with the rest
of the world, and of serving the cause of New World unification.
To neglect the Pan American Highway is to ignore a concept
of supreme importance to the political, spiritual, and material
well-being of our entire Continent, and of particular importance
to the Caribbean area.


This concept of the Pan American Highway is matched by but
one other-that of the Panama Canal-in the development of



Caribbean and Western Hemisphere transportation. It was the
Panama Canal which converted the Caribbean, heart of the Ameri-
can continent, into a center of world transportation. There have
been few endeavors in the history of mankind which have been
so productive of good for all men. The opening of the Panama
Canal gave a mighty forward thrust to the commerce of the whole
world, as distances were slashed and the farthest extremes of the
earth were brought closer together. With the broadening and
strengthening of commercial ties, men of many lands and civiliza-
tions came to know one another, and the Panama Canal became
a mighty weapon of understanding.
The impact of the Panama Canal upon the civilization of
America and of the entire world was even more tremendous than
that experienced from the Suez Canal. It would be foolish to
minimize the importance of the latter, which joined the Mediter-
ranean with the Red Sea and brought Europe nearer to Asia,
Africa, and Australia. But the growing destiny of the New World
as a potent influence in the trade and culture and international
relationships of the earth invested the Panama Canal with a
significance which the Suez Canal possessed, inevitably, in lesser
The Panama Canal, pride of the Caribbean area, has fulfilled a
complex mission of universal importance. For the Americas, it
meant swift and easy communication between the Atlantic and the
Pacific. For Europe, it meant direct communication with the
Pacific coast of our hemisphere, without need to transit the long
and perilous course which led through the turbulent Straits of
Magellan. For the world, it meant a shortening of the distances
between the Old World and the New World, between Occident
and Orient.
A ship sailing from Europe saves at least 2,000 miles by using
the Panama Canal to reach the West Coast of America. The Far
East is closer to the Atlantic seaboard of the United States via
the Panama Canal, than to Europe via the Suez Canal. Sidney,
Australia, is 11,200 miles from Plymouth, England, via the Suez
Canal, but it is only 9,851 miles from New York via the Panama
Canal. The latter has brought Wellington, New Zealand, 2,000
miles nearer to New York than to any European seaport, while
Yokohama, Japan, lies 900 miles closer to the great American


The Caribbean

metropolis than to Europe. In a like manner, the Panama Canal
has brought a thousand points in East and West closer together.
A century and more ago, when the discovery of gold in California
beckoned to thousands of hardy adventurers in the western world,
their journey was long and filled with discomfort. Their choice
lay between the interminable sea passage around Cape Horn, and
a briefer sea journey leading to an arduous land crossing of the
continent at its narrowest point, across Nicaragua and the Isthmus
of Panama. Seven thousand miles of water and the turbulent,
hazardous Straits of Magellan lay ahead of the traveler before
he emerged into the Pacific. Today, a mere 2,000 miles carries
him through the Canal to the western ocean. In the twenty-five
years between the opening of the Canal and 1937, some 93,000
vessels with a combined tonnage of 449,000,000 made the transit
of the Panama Canal from one ocean to the other. Many tens
of thousands of ships, on missions of peace or war, have passed
through the Canal since then, to make it one of the greatest, if
not the greatest, of world waterways.


In these critical hours of world history, it would be rash and
imprudent of us were we to ignore the proposal recently made
by Premier Nehru, of India, that the Panama Canal be interna-
tionalized. Premier Nehru draws a most erroneous parallel between
the status of the Suez Canal in the Anglo-Egyptian controversy,
and the status of the Panama Canal vis-a-vis the United States and
Panama. This parallel and its unfortunate implications are of such
potential danger to the good relations between the United States
and Panama and to the welfare of the entire Caribbean area that
they will merit attention and refutation here. I should like to
delve briefly into this matter, with the conviction that it is
intimately linked to the future destiny of the Caribbean.
It is impossible to compare, on an equal and similar basis, the
public treaties between the United States and Panama on the
one hand, and England and Egypt on the other, even though
these treaties deal with a kindred subject matter involving the
control and use of the world's two great international canals.
Fundamentally, there are differences between the two which do not


lend themselves to comparison, and outstanding among these
differences are the following:
1. The Suez Canal was conceived and constructed in its entirety
as a commercial enterprise, without a basis in public treaty. Nego-
tiations took place between Viceroy Mohammed Said, Egypt's
highest authority at the time, and Count Fernando de Lesseps, who
organized the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez
in France in 1858, as the sole concessionaire.
2. From its inauguration in 1869, the Suez Canal has been
operated as a commercial enterprise, and Egypt participated in its
earnings only to the extent that she held shares in the French
3. About 1875 England began to acquire working control of the
Suez Canal through the purchase of shares, constituting about half
of the total shares, then held by Egypt. This acquisition was a
purely commercial transaction and was not the subject of a public
treaty. England's participation at that time was limited to ad-
ministrative activities and its property rights to the Suez Canal
as a business enterprise.
4. Basically, Egypt has not ceded its jurisdiction over the civilian
population of the Suez Canal Zone.
5. Despite its commercial aspects, the Suez Canal subsequently
presented problems of an international nature which were reflected
in public treaties concerned with the neutrality of the canal, and
the maintenance and defense of that neutrality. The general intent
was to prevent any single power from gaining control over the
canal, to the detriment of other seafaring nations. The play of
international events led to a number of treaties, but all of these
had one characteristic in common: they confined themselves to the
neutrality and defense of the canal, and to that alone. From the
time of Turkish domination of Egypt, in force when the concession
was granted to de Lesseps, to the eclipse of Turkey in the Treaty
of Versailles, the great powers engaged in many negotiations deal-
ing with the Suez Canal. Yet not one of these altered the status
or structure of the Compagnie Universelle.
6. England emerged almost alone in its control over the Suez
Canal by virtue of Article 152 of the Treaty of Versailles, by
which it inherited all the rights over Egypt formerly held by the
Sultan of Turkey. In short, Egypt, which had been a semi-


The Caribbean

sovereign vassal state within the Turkish Empire, continued to
occupy that status with respect to England. The Treaty of
Versailles, in granting England a protectorate over Egypt, merely
gave sanction to England's military occupation of Egypt in 1914,
with the outbreak of war between that country and Germany and
7. In theory, at least, England terminated her protectorate over
Egypt in 1922, and a public treaty was signed between the two
states. Nevertheless, this treaty imposed certain obligations on
Egypt, in her relationship with England, in connection with the
political and military status of the Suez Canal, which continued
to be the property of the Compagnie Universelle. The Treaty of
1922 established that subsequent agreements would be drawn up
between the contracting parties with respect to the definitive
status of the Suez Canal. These agreements would also deal with
the defense and security of the canal, and would contain guar-
antees that England would always enjoy free access to the canal
and free transit of that waterway.
8. Undoubtedly, as a consequence of the Treaty of 1922, another
treaty was signed in 1936. The latter instrument is still in effect,
and is the bone of contention in the present tension between the
two countries. It was directly motivated by the threat of Mus-
solini's imperialism in the Mediterranean area, which persuaded
England that a new treaty was essential if its control of the Suez
Canal was to remain secure. The Treaty of 1936 recognized
Egypt's full sovereignty and called upon England to withdraw its
military forces from Egypt, with the exception of 10,000 troops
and 400 military aircraft in the Suez Canal Zone. England was
also granted the use of Alexandria and Port Said as naval bases,
and the right to move troops across Egyptian territory in case of
war or the threat of war. In turn, England bound herself to
defend Egypt against aggression and support her admission to the
League of Nations. The Treaty of 1936, in short, had the semblance
of a treaty of alliance and contained specific contractual provisions
concerning the Suez Canal in time of war.
9. The concession granted to the Compagnie Universelle du
Canal Maritime de Suez had a life of ninety-nine years. It was
provided that, upon its expiration in 1968, the company would
become the property of the Egyptian Government, although this



provision had nothing to do with the Anglo-Egyptian treaty con-
cerning the alliance between the two countries and the defense of
the canal. Obviously, Egypt alone would be unable to guarantee
the neutrality of the canal agreed upon by the world powers follow-
ing its construction. Possibly, however, the maintenance of the Suez
Canal's neutrality might be the subject of revisions within the
United Nations which could lead to another treaty or the estab-
lishment of a new status for the Suez Canal.


The position of the Panama Canal, dream of European monarchs
who envisioned a waterway across Nicaragua which would bring
them untold power and riches, evolved along somewhat different
1. Following a number of explorations and attempts by France
and England to construct a canal across Central America, the
celebrated French engineer and naval officer, Captain Napoleon
Bonaparte Wyse, obtained a concession from the government of
Colombia in 1876 for the construction and operation of a canal
across the Isthmus of Panama. Wyse transferred his concession
to the Compalia Universal del Canal Interocednico, headed by
that same Fernando de Lesseps who had covered himself with
such glory in the miracle of the Suez Canal. Work on the Panama
Canal was begun in 1882. Up to this point, there were many
similarities between the Suez Canal and the proposed Panama
Canal. To cite the most outstanding, the concessionaire in each
case was a private, commercial enterprise, without need or justifica-
tion for a public treaty.
2. For a number of reasons, including the mismanagement of
funds, the Compafila Universal del Canal Interocednico met with
disaster-disaster with which the aging De Lesseps was unable to
cope. Its concession rights were sold to a new enterprise, La
Compania Nueva del Canal, which met with no greater success,
even though its efforts brought the reality of the Panama Canal
appreciably nearer.
3. In the course of time the independence of Panama was
declared, and in 1903 a public treaty was signed between that
republic and the United States. That treaty had as its objective the

76 The Caribbean

construction of the Panama Canal, an objective which previously
had been the subject of negotiations between Colombia and the
United States leading to a treaty which was rejected by the
Colombian Congress. It was this action of the Colombian Con-
gress which precipitated the independence of Panama.
4. The United States Government bought the Compaiiia Nueva
del Canal's concession rights for $40,000,000, together with the
company's properties. Panama assumed the prerogatives formerly
held by Colombia and the situation abruptly changed. Now, two
governments were engaged in negotiation, instead of a government
and a private commercial enterprise.
5. The Treaty of 1903 was revised by a subsequent treaty, signed
in 1936, which modified certain factors which had unfavorably
affected Panama's status as a sovereign and independent state.
Among these, for example, was the right of intervention in
Panamanian affairs, which had been conferred upon the United
States by the Treaty of 1903.
6. The Treaty of 1903 was of vital importance in making the
interoceanic canal a reality instead of a dream. And let it be
noted that this was one of the basic differences between the
Suez Canal and the Panama Canal. Suez was built without benefit
of public treaty.
7. In accordance with the Treaty of 1903, the United States
acquired certain rights for "the construction, use, occupation, and
control by the United States of the Canal Zone for the purposes
of the efficient maintenance, functioning, sanitation, and protec-
tion of the Canal and auxiliary works."
8. The basic concessions of this treaty were perpetual in char-
acter, and were so characterized by Article 1, which read, in part,
as follows: "The United States of America shall continue to main-
tain the Panama Canal for the development and use of interoceanic
commerce, and the two Governments manifest their desire to co-
operate in every way possible for the purpose of ensuring the full
and perpetual enjoyment of the benefits of every kind which the
Canal should offer to the two nations which have made its con-
struction possible, as well as to all nations interested in world trade."
(Italics mine.)
9. Needless to say, the treaty in force between Panama and the
United States had its basis in the Canal itself, which became a



dramatic and magnificent part of the civilization of mankind upon
its completion in 1914, even though six more years were to inter-
vene before President Belisario Porras, of Panama, and President
Woodrow Wilson, of the United States, met to dedicate it in 1920.
10. The Treaty granted to the United States certain jurisdic-
tional rights over the Canal Zone which were to be "as though
sovereign." This involved certain new norms in international law.
Panama retained the maximum attributes of sovereignty, but juris-
diction within the Canal Zone, a strip forty-five miles long by ten
miles wide, fell to United States authorities. This jurisdiction,
needless to say, extended over the territorial waters of the Canal
Zone to the three-mile limit, and included air space over the Canal
11. Likewise established was the pattern for the defense of the
Canal and for measures to be taken in case of an aggression prej-
udicial to the interests of the two contracting parties in the inter-
oceanic waterway.
12. The revenues derived from the Panama Canal do not imply
a direct source of income for the Republic of Panama. The
United States makes an annual payment of $430,000 to Panama
for reasons which are unrelated to the revenues from tolls and
other charges levied on vessels using the Canal. Here, too, is to
be found another basic difference between the Panama Canal and
the Suez Caanl, which is a direct source of dividends for share-
holders in the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez.
In short, the differences between the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty on
the Suez Canal, and the United States-Panamanian Treaty on the
Panama Canal, are as fundamental as they are manifest. The first
was a consequence of the Suez Canal. The second had as a con-
sequence the Panama Canal.


It would be impossible to treat fully all the complex aspects of
this matter, or to predict what the future holds in store for the
Panama Canal and the Pan American Highway. But of one thing
we can be sure: The Caribbean will continue to be an area of
incalculable importance, across which will course the great routes
of the world in the service of America and of humanity.



MY COMPANY is complimented, and I am honored, with this
opportunity to address a gathering which, in the main, according
to my impression, is more concerned with academic views than
with those which we in commerce would normally consider of a
more practical nature. I should not say that I am in strange
company, but certainly the circumstances are unusual. I will there-
fore take the liberty of telling a little of my background and that
of the Alcoa Steamship Company in relation to the Caribbean.
My first knowledge of the Caribbean came in the years 1915 to
1919 in Trinidad when, as an enforced World War I refugee, I
was unofficially adopted by local friends. My experience in those
impressionable years left with me a knowledge of Caribbean life
which few are privileged to have. After twenty-one years in the
United States, I returned to Trinidad for six years as District
Manager for Alcoa, a position which brought me in close contact
with officialdom from all parts of the world and most of the
leading people of the eastern Caribbean. During the fateful years
of 1942-1945, Trinidad was the center of shipping's strenuous war
effort in the South Atlantic; the meeting place of convoys, and
the transfer point of millions of tons of bauxite, which contributed
so much to America's success in the war.
The Alcoa Steamship Company was born from the need to
transport bauxite ore, discovered in Dutch and British Guiana over
thirty years ago, to the United States. From small sample ship-
ments, the traffic has grown to a movement of nearly four million




tons of ore annually. Alcoa is now responsible for the traffic from
Dutch Guiana, the British Guiana traffic being handled by a
Canadian company.
Sending ships in ballast on long voyages to load bulk ore cargoes
is not usually economical, so it was not long before Alcoa sought
paying cargoes to decrease the cost of getting ships to the mines.
The result is that Alcoa ships now serve fifty-nine ports in the
Caribbean, carrying general cargo and passengers, all vessels with
some few exceptions returning with full cargoes of bauxite ore.
Alcoa's effort to obtain a major share of southbound traffic has
developed an organization working continually to improve trade
and tourism in the Caribbean. The area covered does not include
Central America, which is properly of the Caribbean, but is com-
posed of all the islands of the Greater and Lesser Antilles, ex-
cepting only Cuba and including the South American continent
from Venezuela through the Guianas.


I have used the title, "The Caribbean: America's Second Best
Customer," not necessarily to draw attention to a statistical position,
but as an expression of my belief that, in spite of the varied
national and racial backgrounds found in the Caribbean, more
American influence is present in that area than in any other
like area in the world. Trade figures are sometimes misleading in
that they are usually based on units subject to variable factors.
The Caribbean is one of America's top customers and will, I
believe, constantly hold this position because, apart from its in-
creasing commercial demands, American products and the American
way of life meet enthusiastic support in the area.
The lifeline of revenue of this Caribbean region is kept flowing
by its two types of trade: commodity and tourist. It is an area
of great contrast: on the one hand a powerful, affluent economy
such as Venezuela's, capable of purchasing, through the develop-
ment of its natural resources, an unceasing supply of United
States goods and services; and on the other hand, islands and
countries which seem consigned to an inexorable future of struggle
and want. And there are, at the same time, a few countries mid-
way between these extremes; and as they emerge with greater

80 The Caribbean

progress with each passing year, they become fine examples of
what can and has happened through wise planning and enterprise.
It does not contribute to an easy solution that the largely under-
developed area we call the Caribbean is logically a geographical
entity, but one which in actuality is an eclectic potpourri of widely
differing political units.
With but one or two exceptions, it is not in the tradition of
these islands and countries to show a favorable trade balance.
And so in effect there is a constant scrambling to get and stay
ahead of the game, a sort of perpetual deficit financing. For most
of the units of this territory, it can be said that there is no security
in the one-crop agricultural economy they have cultivated-or
inherited. In a day of complete absentee ownership and no labor
costs, the system worked after a fashion, but now with so many
wagons hitched to one star, we have the anomaly of a seventeenth-
and eighteenth-century economy beset with twentieth-century com-
plexities and desires. Each year the population of this area swells,
and at the same time its great potential as a consumer market
I have often heard the casual visitor to the Caribbean comment,
on his return to this country, on the poverty and low standard
of living found in the Caribbean. Comments of this kind are
always relative and certainly may be justified when American
standards are used, but anyone who has known the Caribbean for
the last forty years, as I have, is constantly amazed at the rise
in standards during these decades, and particularly in the last
ten years. Where shacks made of kerosene oil boxes were an
accepted type of residence years ago-and I am sorry to say there
are still a few left-neat, attractive houses have appeared by the
tens of thousands throughout the area, the families of oil-box
shacks and flour-bag clothes being replaced by modestly but
smartly dressed men, women, and children, living in modern
dwellings, expressing the results of better education and a growing
pride in a more dignified civilization. In many places, government
has been active in housing plans, but I feel, in the main, that
government activity has been supplemental to a normal desire for
better living.
It is interesting to look at recent figures for exports from the
United States to the area served by Alcoa. In 1939, exports from


the United States amounted to about one quarter of a million
dollars; in 1949, the figure had risen to over a billion dollars.
The purchase of American goods in practically every category
rose nearly 300 per cent during that period. It is particularly
interesting to find that in machinery and vehicles, if one ac-
cepts these commodities as basic factors in the American way of
life, the exports from the United States to the area increased
over 500 per cent during the last decade. It is true that a fair
percentage of increase in imports may be assigned to oil develop-
ment in Venezuela, and that a number of islands are suffering
from overpopulation and limited means for producing wealth.
Yet, in spite of pessimism expressed by some economists, I have
little doubt that, given unrestricted trade unbeset by exchange
controls and limited world supply of goods, the Caribbean would
have shown even greater progress since my earlier days there; and
certainly there is ample promise of a golden era as the future
Of course no Caribbean unit is going to progress very much if
it depends entirely on an outside influence to help it along. It
must have the willingness, and the spirit and the fire, to work
within, and to use what outside opportunity is offered. And here
is where I see real hope for the Caribbean. For on my recent trips
there, it seems to me that there is an emergence of a consciousness
of the necessity of enterprise, of a local business aptitude, and of
an increasing appreciation of the hard goods identified with a
high standard of living. This consciousness is being visibly ex-
pressed by numerous industrial plants springing up in all parts
of the Caribbean-some to meet local needs, others to compete in
world markets. Recent industrial developments include cement,
beer, paper, bottles, time recorder machines, flour processing, and
textiles. Many of the countries are engaged in publicity campaigns
extolling their low cost virtues and pleasant environments in an
effort to attract industrial plants from the United States and


The background of the present peoples of the Caribbean has
been the subject of many studies, because in that area, in contrast


The Caribbean

to most world areas, it is difficult to find amongst the popula-
tion what would truly be a "native." Every race and every na-
tionality have contributed to the population from all over Europe,
Africa, India, the Near and Far East. The peoples who could be
considered as natives, the Caribs and the Arawaks, have long since
become a memory, destroyed by an invasion over the past few
centuries of more numerous and sturdy immigrants.
The national strains which up to now appear to have held on to
their original dominance are the French, the British, and to some
extent the Dutch, with some Spanish strongholds in Cuba and
Puerto Rico and particularly on the mainland of South America.
The most dominant strain of all, however, is that which originated
with the involuntary immigrants from Africa. The British and the
Spanish kept more or less to the lands taken over by their mother
countries, but the French families moved and spread as opportunity
and circumstances permitted; throughout the Caribbean, French
surnames are found, many of the families being traced back to
emigration from Martinique and Guadeloupe because of volcanic
and hurricane disasters. Throughout the Leeward and Windward
Islands is found the only language which bypasses the national
language of the island concerned-patois, basically French, but
with a smattering of Spanish, English, and words of local origin.
The only indication, except perhaps for color of skin, of African
influence is the sound and rhythm of the local music. This music
is commonly referred to as "Calypso," and I do not think any
authority would disagree with my belief that it stems from the old-
time singing fireside reports given the tribes by messengers and
nomads in various parts of Africa.
From all this national and racial vortex is slowly arising what
could be accepted as a new race of people, their skins an indi-
cation of their African and Eastern origin, their outlook an ex-
pression of the shrewd, enterprising, and freedom-loving nature
of many of their forebears who were responsible for their present
Several illustrations will indicate something of the racial mixtures
in the Caribbean which I think are of pertinent interest.
Of Surinam, or Dutch Guiana, it is said that the Dutch received
it in exchange for Manhattan Island. I do not know how the
Dutch feel about the exchange now, but at least we can be glad