The Cuban Revolution : Chapter 05 : Anarchism in Cuba
(1902 - 1990) ~ Russian Emigre and American Anarchist Activist : He rode the rails for the Wobblies, sometimes as a gandy dancer (or maintenance man), or else hopping boxcars, and he always looked for the chance to stand in front of a crowd and, in that broken cello of a voice. (From : IWW.org.)
• "The increasing complexity of society is making anarchism MORE and NOT LESS relevant to modern life. It is precisely this complexity and diversity, above all their overriding concern for freedom and human values that led the anarchist thinkers to base their ideas on the principles of diffusion of power, self-management and federalism." (From : "The Relevance of Anarchy to Modern Society," by S....)
• "Society without order (as the word 'society' implies) is inconceivable. But the organization of order is not the exclusive monopoly of the State. For, if the State authority is the sole guarantee of order, who will watch the watchmen?" (From : "The Relevance of Anarchy to Modern Society," by S....)
• "The very fact that autonomy, decentralization and federalism are more practical alternatives to centralism and statism already presupposes that these vast organizational networks now performing the functions of society are prepared to replace the old bankrupt hyper-centralized administrations." (From : "The Relevance of Anarchy to Modern Society," by S....)
Both anarchist ideas and the development of the Cuban labor movement trace back to the middle of the nineteenth century. Even today's Cuban communists recognize that:
...in spite of the efforts of Paul Lafargue (Marx's son-in-law, stationed in Spain) and other marxists, the proletariat of the peninsula (Spain and Portugal) were strongly influenced by anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist ideas. And these ideas carried over to Cuba in the last quarter of the 19th and first quarter of the 20th century, decisively influencing the Cuban labor movement which was invariable anarchist. . . " (Serge Aguirre; Cuba Socialista--a Castroite monthly--September, 1965.)
. . . During the whole epoch (from the 1890s until after the Russian Revolution) it was the anarcho-syndicalists who led the class struggles in Cuba, and the anarchist ideological influence that prevailed. . .)" (Julio de Riverend, Cuba Socialista, Feb. 1965)
In Cuba the anarchist movement did not, as in some countries, develop independently of the labor movement. They grew so closely together that it is impossible to trace the history of one without the other the forerunners and organizers of the Cuban labor movement were the Spanish anarcho-sylldicalist exiles who in the 1880s came to Cuba. It was they who gave the Cuban labor movement its distinct social revolutionary orientation, spreading the anarcho-syndicalist ideas of Bakunin and the Spanish internationalists--men like Enrique Messinier, Enrique Roig San Martin, and Enrique Cresci.
One of the early labor organizations was the Sociedades Economicos de Amigos del Pais (Economic Society of the Friends of the Country). We lack detailed information about the ideology of the Association of Tobacco Workers of Havana organized in 1866--but it was vaguely syndicalistic. The workers were passionately interested in self-education. The tobacco workers of Havana (like their countrymen in Florida) paid readers to read works of general interest to them while they worked. During the reader's rest period they avidly discussed what they had learned. An employer rash enough to interfere with these proceedings would be unceremoniously escorted from his premises.
In 1885, an informal federation of unions, Circular de Trabajadores de la Habana (workers' clubs) was organized. Two years later, it held a Congress in which two opposing groups, "reformists versus radicals" heatedly debated the future orientation of their organization.
The anarchist propaganda groups stressed the necessity for organization along anarcho-syndicalist lines, rejecting Marxian ideas on the necessity for parliamentary-political action by social-democratic political parties. In 1886, the Workers' Center was founded to spread the ideas of anarcho-syndicalism through its organ El Productor, (The Producer) founded and edited by the anarchist Enrique Roig San Martin.
In 1892, the first Workers' Congress celebrated the First of May by demonstrations for the independence of Cuba, which provoked the premature closing of the Congress by the Spanish authorities. The resolutions for the independence of Cuba were drafted by the anarchists Enrique Cresci, Enrique Suarez and Eduardo Gonzalez. The congress approved a resolution stating that " . . . the working class will not be emancipated until it embraces revolutionary socialism, which cannot be an obstacle for the triumph of the independence of our country. . ." (quoted by Maurice Halperin: The Rise and Fall of Fidel Castro, University of California 1972, p. 4)
Around 1874 the revered "apostle" of Cuban independence, Jose Marti, frequently referred to anarchist groups named for Fermin Salvochea, Bakunin and others. In his paper, La Patria, he printed articles by the anarchist Elisee Reclus and others. Marti wrote:
". . . we live in a period of struggle between capitalists and workers. . . a militant alliance of workers will be a tremendous event. They are now creating it. . . " (quoted Halperin, ibid. p. 6-7)
The anarchist Carlos M. Balino, active among the tobacco workers of Florida, was an associate of Jose Marti. And the Enrique Roig Club included the anarchist and socialist supporters of Marti. We cite these facts to demonstrate the social-revolutionary character of the independence movement which was not merely nationalistic.
Enrique Messenier became the first president of the Liga General de Trabajadores, organized by the anarchists in the 1890s. This period also marked general strikes of longshoremen in Cardenas, Regla and Havana. The Liga conducted the first general strike for the eight hour day, which was brutally suppressed by the government.
A contemporary intimate account of the state of the Cuban anarchist movement during the crucial years preceding independence can be gleaned from the report of Pedro Esteve, a pioneer of the 20th century anarchist movement which flourished in the United States. (A Los Anarquistas de Espana y Cuba; Reported to the International Anarchist Congress, Chicago 1893; published by El Despertar, Paterson, New Jersey, 1900.) Esteve was in close touch with the Cuban anarchists in Cuba and with the Spanish anarchist exiles in Cuba. The follouing remarks were based upon a frustrated propaganda tour cut short by the police after a three month stay.
The authorities tried to cripple, and if possible, extirpate our movement, not by outright violence--which would have aroused a storm of protest--but by a no less effective, persistent and devilishly clever campaign of petty harassments (landlords were pressured not to rent premises for our meetings.) While not resorting to open censorship, our weekly La Alarma was forced to suspend publication. It reappeared under the name Archivo Social and was again suppressed. Our Circulo de Trabajadores Workers' Center was closed down on false charges concocted by the "sanitation inspectors" etc., etc.)
The attentats of Emil Henry and other anarchist terrorists which precipitated the brutal persecution of the anarchist movement in Europe, likewise became the pretext for the Cuban government's crackdown on our movement...
Esteve recounts the effects of racism on the healthy development of the Cuban labor and socialist movements, for, in spite of the abolition of slavery and proclamation of equal rights, rampant racial discrimination was still common.
. . . not even the exemplary conduct of the anarchists who unfailingly welcomed the negroes on equal terms at meetings, schools and all other functions on a person to person basis, sufficed for a long time to shake the belief that all whites were their natural enemies... Nevertheless we continued our agitation with dedication and attracted to our ranks genuine proletarian elements. We held meetings in various Havana neighborhoods and in other cities and villages. We were invited to explain our ideas in nonacademic popular schools, and in our Center, we gave popular courses in sociology and other subjects...we also initiated other projects of workers' education...at the invitation of workers in the La Rosa de Santiago cigar factory, I gave a well received talk on anarchism . . . these are only a few examples...little by little, anarchists who had been inactive for a long time returned, and new adherents came to us . . . our movement revived slowly, but on firmer foundations...
1868 marked the beginning of the ten-year guerrilla war for independence from Spanish colonial domination, "El Grito de Yara. " On October 10, 1868, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, a wealthy sugar plantation owner in Oriente province attacked the village of Yara with less than 40 men. The attack was repulsed and only 12 men survived. "El Grito de Yara," ("The Call To Rebellion") became the symbol and watchword of the struggle for independence. More than 200,000 militants were killed in the ten-year war, uncounted thousands were wounded. Total casualties could not be estimated. The most prominent military leaders of the independence movement were General Maximo Gomeiz Gomez and Antonio Maceo. In 1869 Cespedes was elected President of the Provisional Republic. This, and El Grito de Yara earned him the title "Father of Independence."
Spain sent General Valeriano Weyler, "The Butcher," to extirpate the independence movement. He locked hundreds of thousands of men women and children into concentration camps. In Havana alone, 52,000 people perished. In rebel areas, cattle and crops were destroyed to starve out the freedom fighters and their families. The peasants retaliated by burning down vast Spanish owned sugar plantations. Weyler was recalled to Spain in 1879.
After the abolition of slavery in 1880, the big landlords expected the Spanish government to compensate them for the losses entailed by the emancipation of the slaves. But the condition of the workers remained practically unchanged. The Revista de Agricultura wrote:
. . . A worker in a sugar mill camp awoke at 2 a.m., drank a glass of hot water for breakfast, worked till 11 a.m. After a two hour lunch break the worker went back and worked till 6 p.m., ate supper and then worked several hours more. . . (quoted in Castro organ Cuba Socialista clipping--no date)
The most militant elements in the insurrections of 1895 for the independence of Cuba were primarily the peasants (and to a relatively Iesser extent thc numerically inferior urban workers). From the beginning to the end of the war for independence the international anarchist movement supported the revolts, and many young anarchists came to Cuba to fight with the Cuban people. Many anarchists were in the forefront of these struggles, among them Rafael Garcia, Armando Andre (one of the commanders of the rebel army, later murdered by the Machado assassins) and Enrique Cresci.
Anarchist participation in the independence struggles was based upon the following considerations: For the exploited, oppressed masses, bourgeois independence was of secondary importance. For them, abolition of colonial despotism also signified the end of their age-long servitude, and with it, the inauguration of a new era of economic equality, social justice and personal freedom. The people's struggle for independence simultaneously took on a social-revolutionary character. Anarchist propaganda, and above all ACTION, encouraged the masses to turn the struggle for political independence into the struggle for the Social Revolution.
The U.S. imperialists feared the social-revolution of the Cuban people as much as their Spanish colonial and domestic exploiters. In this connection the views of two well qualified historians are well worth quoting:
. . . during the negotiations for the treaty of peace after the victory over Spain [in the Spanish-American War, 1898] Spain expressed fear that if left to itself the island...might be prey to frequent revolutions with the result that neither property nor personal rights would be protected. To save Cuba from the possible consequences of 'premature' independence, Spain wished to have the United States keep at least a degree of control sufficient to insure order. . . (Chester Lloyd Jones; quoted in Background to Revolution, New York, 1966, p. 63)
Professor Jones points out that the United States shared Spain's fear of Revolution in Cuba and agreed to "...discharge its obligations under international law. . . " (p. 64)
And Professor William Appleton Williams sums up the true motivations of U.S. imperialism in respect to Cuban independence:
. . . the United States sought the prompt and permanent pacification of the island. . . to insure military control. . . and facilitate and safeguard United States economic predominance ... the United States thereby set itself in opposition to the Cuban revolutionaries as well as the Spanish government ... Cuba was to be reconstructed along lines satisfactory to the United States, and only finally handed over to the Cubans after such vital limits on their freedom of action and development had been established to insure indefinite American predominance ... (quoted in anthology Background to Revolution; pgs. 188-190)
With the defeat of Spain in the Spanish-American War, Cuba became an independent republic. It was the revolutionary masses of Cuba, the humble peasants and urban workers, who by their heroism undermined Spanish rule and made possible the easy victory of the United Statcs.
Between 1898 and 1902, the American military occupied and governed Cuba on the pretext that a transition period was necessary to prepare Cuba for self-rule. The American troops left after the first presidential election. But the Platt amendment of 1901 granted the U.S. the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and permanently occupy the Guantanamo Bay naval base. (The administration of the Isle of Pines was revoked in 1925.)
Tomas Fstrada Palma was elected President of the new republic in 1902. His fraudulent reelection in 1906 and the "liberal" coup which deposed him created the pretext for the second intervention of U.S. troops. The administration of Palma's successor Jose Miguel Gomez (1909-1912) was incredibly corrupt. He boasted, "...in all my life, I have heen jovial in spirit, with a smile on my lips. . ." Hubert Herring remarks: " ..with a smile, Gomez emptied the treasury and allowed his Cuban and American cronies to fatten on concessions. . . " (History ol Latin America; New York, 1955, p. 401) The new independent republic turned out to be just, or almost as reactionary as the deposed colonial despotism of Spain. Scarcely less bitter was the struggle between the oppressed people of Cuba and the corrupt new State with its bureaucracy and its military and police forces.
In the Spring of 1900, during the United States occupation, the group publishing El Mundo Ideal (The Ideal Society), invited the well known anarchist Errico Malatesta to tour Cuba and speak to the workers and peasants. But the Government expelled him. Upon leaving Cuba Malatesta wrote a farewell letter to his Cuban comrades, from which we excerpt the following passages:
". . . Upon leaving this country for which I harbor a strong affection permit me to salute the valiant Cuban workers, black and white, native and foreign, who extended me so cordial a welcome ...
". . . I have, for a very long time, admired the self-sacrifice and heroism with which you have fought for the freedom of your country. Now I have learned to appreciate your clear intelligence, your spirit of progress and your truly remarkable culture, so rare in people who have been so cruelly oppressed. And I leave with the conviction that you will soon take your place among the most advanced elements in all countries fighting for the real emancipation of humanity . . . "
". . . I assume that the libertarians fighting against the existing government will not put another government in its place; but each one will understand that if in the war for independence this spirit of hostility to all governments incarnated in every libertarian, will now make it impossible to impose upon the Cuban people the same Spanish laws, which martyrs like Marti, Cresci, Maceo, and thousands of other Cubans died to abolish..."
(Solidaridad Gastronomica--Anarcho-Syndicalist food workers union organ, Aug. 15, 1955)
In 1902, Havana tobacco workers, organized by Gonzales Lozana and other anarchists, called a general strike, the first under the Republic. This action, the famous "strike of the apprentices," sought to end the exploitation of apprentices, whose status had been, in effect, that of indentured servants bound to their employers for a given period. The tobacco workers were joined by the Havana port workers. The government tried to break the strike by force, provoking a violent battle in which twenty workers were killed. Using the threat of U.S. intervention, the government finally broke the strike.
The period between 1903 and 1914 was marked by many strikes in which the anarchist actively participated. Among the more important we list:
1903. During a major strike of sugar workers, the anarchists Casanas and Montero y Sarria were murdered by order of the then Governor of Las Villas Province, Jose Miguel Gomez, later President of Cuba. The long Moneda General Strike, led by the anarchists (Feb. 20th to July 15th) was called because the workers refused to accept payment in devalued Spanish pesetas. They demanded payment in American dollars worth more in purchasing power. Also in 1907, the anarchist weekly Tierra! was severely persecuted for inciting a railway strike for the eight hour day and other demands. The Tobacco workers again went on strike, this time for 145 days. They were joined by maritime, construction and other workers.
1910-1912. Anarcho-syndicalists played an important part in the strike of Havana and Cienfuegos sewer workers of June 1910. The bitter 1912 restaurant and cafe workers strike also involved anarchist militants. One of the most active strikers was Hilario Alonso. Other strikes of the period included the bricklayers strike for the eight hour day; the railway workers' strike; the violent Havana tunnel workers strike and the deportation of Spanish anarchists and syndicalists who were particularly militant.
During these years the anarchist movement flourished. The weekly Tierra! with its excellent articles from the pen of the most distinguished Cuban and Spanish writers; the libertarian journal, El Ideal, and the widespread circulation of works by Elisee Reclus, Kropotkin and other anarchists in popular priced editions.
This period also marked the significant growth of the workers' cooperative movement in which the anarchists were very active. Payment of a moderate monthly fee gave workers the use of recreation and cultural facilities, medical services and other benefits. The movement reached a total of 200,000 members. In spite of the opposition of industrialists, the workers organized producers' and consumers' housing and other cooperatives.
The anarchists also spearheaded the organization of agrarian cooperatives, a movement which the Castro government crushed in favor of State farms. The libertarian movement of Cuba had always given top priority, not only to the organization of urban workers, but also to peasant struggles. They built up peasant organizations throughout Cuba--in San Cristobal, Las Placios, Pinar del Rio--wherever there was the slightest opportunity. In Realengo 18, yentas de Casanova, Santa Lucia and El Vinculo anarchist militants like Marcelo Salinas, Modesto Barbieto, Alfredo Perez and many others fought bravely. Our unforgettable comrades Sabino Pupo Millan and Niceto Perez were militant peasant revolutionaries in the immense sugar plantations of Santa Lucia, and in Camaguey. During this period, and at least up to 1925, anarchists were the only militants influential among sugar workers. Millan was murdered October 20, 1945, by paid assassins of the Monati Sugar Company for stirring peasant resistance and organizing peasant cooperatives. Perez was also assassinated; the Peasant Federation of Cuba commemorated the date of his murder as "The Day of the Peasant: a day of struggle for the demands of the hungry and exploited agricultural workers."
The termination of World War I and the Russian Revolution fired the imagination of the advanced sections of the labor and radical movements around thc world. Many anarchists expected an immediate revolution and the realization of the just society worldwide. In 1919 a number of Cuban anarchists, succumbing to the revolutionary euphoria, issued a manifesto in favor of joining the communist Third International, dominated by the Bolshevik Party.
But with more complete and reliable information, and a more sober obiective analysis of Russian events, the Cuban anarchist movement entered a new phase. Enthusiasm for the Russian Revolution died out as the dictatorial outrages of the Bolsheviks became obvious and as critical comments from Kropolkin, Voline, Berkman and other anarchist refugees in Europe and elsewhere reached Cuba.
The years between 1917 and 1930 marked bitter and widespread class struggles: local and national strikes for more wages, the eight hour day, union recognition, campaigns against obligatory military service; tremendous demonstrations against scarcity and the high cost of living, etc. All these manifestations of popular rebellion called forth government persecution of the radical movement. Spanish anarchists were deported, halls closed down one day by the police were reopened the next; papers suspended one day, reappeared the next day under another name. In spite of the repressions, hundreds of young men and women joined the anarchist organizations.
The anarchists were feverishly active, above all in the labor unions among the tobacco workers, bricklayers and masons, gypsum workers, bakers, engineers, railroad workers, factories etc. The libertarians published the weeklies, Nueva Aurora and Labor Sana; the magazines, El Progreso, Voz del Dependiente (clerks), El Productor Panadero (bakers), Nueva Luz (New Light), Proteo, El Libertario, and other periodicals.
This agitation and strike activity resulted in the organization of the Havana Federation of Labor, and much later, the National Labor Federation of Cuba. Both these organizations adopted anarcho-syndicalist forms of struggle and organization. Here is a partial listing of the main events:
1918--Bloody strike of the Havana construction workers. Invoking the 1893 anti-anarchist law, the government tried to extirpate the anarchist influence in labor organizations by imprisoning anarchist organizers and activists on trumped-up charges of sedition and conspiracy to overthrow the state. The police opened fire on a demonstration called by workers, unions against the high cost of living.
1920--In April a national congress was called under the auspices of the Havana and Pinal Pinar del Rio Federation of Weavers, in which many anarchists held important posts. Corruption in government was rife. (In 1921, for example, Alfredo Zayas, nicknamed "the Peseta Snatcher" by his victims, was elected President of Cuba.)
1924--A congress of anarchist groups united all the anarchist tendencies into the newly organized Federacion de Grupos Anarquistas de Cuba. The tiny scattered papers were consolidated into one really adequate, well edited, well produced periodical. The new journal Tierra! (Land) attained a wide circulation, until forced to suspend publication by the Machado dictatorship. (Tierra! continued publication intermittently till the late 1930s).
Onc of Tierra's most brilliant collaborators, Paulino Diaz, took a very prominent part in a workers' congress held in Cienfuegos, which laid the basis for what later (1938) became the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC). But the anarchists never controlled the CTC, which became, and remains to this day, a quasi-governmental agency, dominated successively by the Grau San Martin, Batista, and Castro governments.
The first General Secretary of the National Confederation of Cuban Workers (CNOC) was the anarchist typographer, Alfredo Lopez. There were also socialist and communist groups in the CNOC. The growth of the anarchists had been severely curtailed as a result of the struggles under the regime of President Menocal, by deportations to Spain, and by police repression. Recognizing the need for a better organized and more efficient labor movement, the anarchists reorganized the craft unions on an industrial basis--based on factories and industries--regardless of crafts.
The anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists practically controlled one of the strongest unions in Cuba, Sindicato de la Industria Fabril (Brewery Union--SIF). With the cooperation of the anarchist groups, the anarcho-syndicalists also organized sugar cane and railway workers' unions in the province of Camaguey.
1925--A vicious campaign to obliterate preponderant anarchist influence in the SIF was launched by the Machado government which accused the anarchist militants Eduardo Vivas and Luis Quiros of poisoning the beer in a strike against the Polar Brewing Company. The Subsequent scandal prepared the way for an all-out offensive against the union and the anarchist movement. All of the organizers were persecuted. Some anarchist organizers went into hiding. Others were jailed and foreign-born anarchists deported. A few were driven to commit suicide.
But in spite of all the atrocities, the great mass of workers, who during the years still retained their libertarian spirit and approach to problems, continued to organize and spread anarcho-syndicalist ideas. When in 1925, at the Congress of the Cuban National Confederation of Labor (CNOC), in Camaguey, some agents of the employers proposed the expulsion of the anarcho-syndicalists, the Congress, far from approving expulsion, expelled those who made the motion for expulsion of the anarcho-syndicalists. In the same year (1925), paid assassins of the employers shot and killed the anarchist Enrique Varone, the most effective organizer of sugar and railway workers in Camaguey and Oriente provinces. The anarchists also organized the peasants and rural industrial workers into the Sindicato General de Trabajadores de San Cristobal, Province of Pinar del Rio.
On May 20th 1925, General Gerardo Machado, a semi-literate power-mad despot (later known as the notorious "Butcher of Las Villas") became President of Cuba. His election campaign was a well organized brainwashing publicity stunt. Posing as a paternalistic, benevolerlt democrat, he was, at first, immensely popular. Scarcely a dissenting note marred the chorus of universal acclaim. But the anarchist weekly Tierra! publislled a magnificent editorial ending with the words:
... We go with the common people, with the masses; but when they follow a tyrant: then we go alone! Erect! With eyes raised high toward the luminous aurora of our ideal!
In conjunction with the agitation in the University of Havana, ten people founded the Cuban Communist Party. The Party attracted intellectuals, students, and few workers. Until the mid-1930s it had little influence in labor circles. The Party was temporarily outlawed in 1927.
The Machado regime formed a government-sponsored union, Union Federativa Obrera Nacional (United National Federation of Labor--UFON) and forced all the legitimate labor organizations underground.
The anarchist labor movement was sadistically suppressed. Alfredo Lopez, the General Secretary of the CNOC (mentioned above) was thrown into the sea to be devoured by sharks. The long struggle for control of thc CNOC ended in 1930-31, when the communists, in league with the Machado government, connived by the foulest means to seize Control of the CNOC and the labor movement.
Nevertheless' throughout the many popular upheavals of the 1920s and 1930s, the anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists played a significant role. After the government suppression of the CNOC they were among the principal organizers of the independent and militant Confederacion General de Trabajadores (General Confederation of Labor.)
The bloody dictatorship of Machado was overthrown by a general strike and insurrection. The strike began with the walkout of the trolley and bus unions. While the communists controlled the bus union, the trolley workers' union was strongly influenced by the anarcho-syndicalists. The Havana Federation of Labor called a meeting of all unions to organize the general strike and elected a number of anarchists to the strike committee, among them Nicosio Trujillo and Antonio Penichet.
Day by day the strike grew into a formidable threat to the government. In a last ditch attempt to stay in power and break the strike, Machado gained the support of the Communist Party and in exchange for its cooperation Machado promised to legalize the Party and allow its bureaucrats to control several labor unions. The communists accepted Machado's offer and tried to break the strike. They failed. The strike precipitated the fall of Machado in spite of the efforts of the communists and their leader Cesar Vilar, to help him stay in power.
The Federation of Anarchist Groups issued a manifesto exposing the treason of the communists and urging the workers to stand fast in their determination to overthrow the tyrant and his lieutenants. We reprint extracts from the manifesto as translated in the organ of the Industrial Workers of the World, The Industrial Worker, Chicago, October 3, 1933.
The Anarchist Federation of Cuba, conscious of its responsibility in these times of confusion, feels obliged to expose before the workers--and public opinion--the base actions of the Communist Party. . . We believe that the truth is the most powerful weapon, and that is the weapon we use. We want everybody to know the truth. Here it is...
On August 7th (1933), when the general strike against Machado and his regime had the whole island in its grip, Machado was frightened and foresaw his imminent fall...At this juncture, the so-called "Central Committee" of the communist party controlled puppet union, National Labor Confederation [CNOC] . . . with the full authority of its Communist leaders offered and arranged an agreement with the Machado government. . .
The day after the machine gun massacre of unarmed people by the Machado assassins the Communist labor fakers were transported in luxurious cars provided by the military officers and Machado's Secretary of War to a banquet with Machado in the most expensive luxury restaurant in Havana--El Carmelo. At the banquet, Machado agreed to recognize the Communist Party legally, and grant other requests. . .
The communists made frantic appeals to the worhers to go back to work beause the employers granted their demands But the workers (including even the Havana bus and transportation union, controlled by the communists) refused. They decided to obey only their own conscience and to continue resistance until the Machado regime is overthrown or forced to flee.
Machado and his communist allies retaliated. No labor union was allowed to meet. The Havana Federation of Labor [FOH, founded by the anarcho-syndicalists], to which the largest number of nonpolitical labor unions were affiliated, could not meet because it did not have a signed authorization from the government. Only the communists, thanks to their betrayal, were allowed to meet. Armed with revolvers while all others were forbidden to hold or carry arms and constitutional rights were suspended, the communists held meetings, rode in automobiles burning gasoline supplied by the army because the filling stations were closed by the strike...
. . in conclusion we want the workers and the people of Cuba to know that the rent for the offices of the communist party labor front the CNOC is paid by the Machado regime, that the furniture was forcibly taken away from the Havana Federation of Labor offices with the permission and active help of Machado's Secretary of War...
From : Anarchy Archives
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