To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
I read almost in disbelief, the CRIMSON article (Monday, Nov. 7) concerning the discussion on the Cuban problem held by the Cuba Committee of the Harvard-Radcliffe Liberal Union. The article quoted Dean Bundy, who said that, "The survival of the present Cuban government constitutes a challenge to the ideals of the Latin American republics." Dean Bundy also, "asserted that it would be difficult for us not to support a movement on the part of true Latin American liberals to depose the current regime."
In my opinion, it is not the Latin American republics, but the government of the United States, that is "instituting a challenge" to the government of Castro. In addition, there are few Latin American liberals who wish to overthrow the Castro regime. As I will try to show, the governments as well as the workers and peasants of Latin America are firmly behind the Cuban Revolution and Castro. Indeed, there are not a few people in certain countries of Latin America who wish that they too could throw off the yoke of a tyrannical government.
"The great success of the United States proposal at the recent OAS conference" (this was the document which attacked the Castro government), was characterized by the fact that the Foreign Ministers of Venezuela and Peru refused to sign it. Many others including the Foreign Minister of Mexico, in signing said that they supported the Cuban government though they did not approve of the Russian influence. U.S. prestige and pressure had won another battle, but this could hardly be an example of "Inter-American Amity."
It must be realized that the influence of the Soviet Union in Cuba was brought about by the inaction of our government. The original plan of the revolution had been to overthrow Batista and to carry out land reform. Nothing more. As soon as these things were accomplished, Castro came to the U.S. for aid. It was refused. With most of the peasants of Cuba starving, Castro had no choice but to take over many of the American owned factories and plantations. Also, he had no choice but to turn to the U.S.S.R. for economic aid. I repeat; Cuba turned to her friend, the U.S., for help in a time of need. After she was rudely turned back, Russia was the only alternative.
Popular support of Castro has been manifesting itself all over Latin America in the last few months. In El Salvador, large groups of students gathered before the U.S. embassy shouting, "Cuba si, Yanqui no." Last August 29, thousands of Venezuelans, demonstrating against the OAS decision, forced their government to give complete support to the Cuban revolution and Castro. In the capital of Ecuador, rioting workers and peasants, protesting against the slow and inefficient land reform program in their country, marched through the streets shouting, "Viva Cuba." In Argentines, even the "Congress of Christian Democratic Organizations" gave its support to the goals of the Cuban revolution.
To understand the Cuban revolution, and to understand what kind of a "challenge" it really presents, requires that we stop thinking of world problems solely in terms of our benefits. It seems strange to expect Castro or the Cuban people to honor the economic agreements and deals made by Batista, whom the overwhelming majority of Cubans abhorred. The American companies were, and were seen as, comrades of Batista's tyranny. If we forget that Batista murdered 20,000 Cubans, we cannot expect the Cuban people to do likewise. For the first time in sixty years, the Cuban people are free; only now do they have a democratic government. Cuba, if she is to remain free, must release herself from the 2 billion dollar strangle-hold created by the U.S. and its private citizens. I have already pointed out that the U.S. refused to give Castro aid when he was trying to raise his people from their knees. Instead, we cut the sugar quota. In the eyes of the people of Latin America, the U.S. has already answered the "challenge" in terms of economic aggression--terms only too familiar to those Latin Americans who still remember what happened in Guatemala.
The strange tyrant in Cuba (who arms the populace he "terrorizes") and his revolution, de present a challenge to Latin America and the U.S. For the former, the challenge is to accomplish a similar revolution without being forced into either of the world blocs. For the U.S. the only challenge that exists is to understand the Latin American, and then to aid Castro in his attempts to bring to the majority of Cubans--suppressed for so many decades--the kind of life we have and boast of. And indeed, this is the challenge given us by all Latin America, which will one day decide to wait no longer. Gregory Biss '64
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