Communist Party Support for Cuban Dictator Batista
by Norman Berdichevsky (Aug. 2008)
The mindless support of the American and European Political Left for radical and “revolutionary leaders” has for the last ninety years preferred to ignore or “explain” the enormous contradictions between those regimes and leaders they have supported as “progressive” and the accepted jargon of political science discourse that Right means reactionary, “conservative” and/or ultra-nationalist, and religious whereas Left mean enlightened, beneficial to the working class, “liberal,“ secular and internationalist. In September 1934, Batista issued a declaration declaring that “The Communist Party in accordance with its own statutes is a democratic party which pursues its objectives within the margin of the capitalist regime and denounces violence as a means of political action, and a consequence of this, has the right to the same treatment as any other party in Cuba.” Batista resigned his military post as Chief of the Armed Forces and announced his candidacy for the 1940 Presidential elections. It was an honest one in in which he won with full Communist support, promising partial state control of the sugar, tobacco and mining industries as well as land reform. Batista also made anti-American statements to endear him to the Cuban working class which, in spite of U.S. intervention to help win In the 1940 election, although the Communists dominated most unions, anti-Batista candidates won 41 of 76 seats, receiving 225,223 votes, while Batista and the Communists won 35 seats and only 97,944 votes. In spite of this rejection of a popular mandate, the Cuban Communist Party urged continued support for Batista who, with their aid, managed to be elected president in spite of his poor parliamentary election results.
Jonah Goldberg’s brilliant new book “Liberal Fascism” has already become a seminal work and the cause of apoplectic fits among true die-hard Leftists. It ought to have been written 70 years ago but let us simply conclude “Better Late than Never.” For those of you who have not yet read this book, do so, the sooner the better. It lays bear the century long manipulation of the terms LEFT and RIGHT in political “science.” Those on the Left typically create a straw man, misleadingly confusing conservative and traditional values in favor of individual rights with limited government with the extremist, racist, ultra-nationalist, “religious” and “anti-popular” or "Fascist" forces that they call the RIGHT.
As Goldberg documents, this false dichotomy of LEFT vs. RIGHT obscures the basic similarities uniting the far RIGHT and LEFT that glorify and deify “The People” in abstract terms, promising ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE, albeit in the form of a demagogic leader who promises to wipe away all the humiliations of the past as well as the privileges of the "ruling class" once in power. What is of no concern to both the LEFT and the RIGHT are real individuals and their inalienable rights to Life,
It is worth dwelling on the Cuban story at greater length, if for no other reason than more than any other, it is so obvious and so close at hand, both geographically in its distance from American shores and by the presence of more than a million individuals who now reside in the United States and were personally involved and aware of how the Cuban Revolution came to power. It is all the more important to reveal the stark naked truth of the Cuban episode that has for the past fifty years elevated both Fidel Castro and Che Guevara into international icons on the level of pop-stars. The number of teenagers and would-be teenagers wearing Che or Fidel T-shirts probably exceeds those wearing any other emblem with the possible exception of the cross (probably more as a cosmetic adornment rather than a real religious symbol of faith).
Of course, all of this is a matter of simple research available in thousands of documents and first hand sources, but young people all over the world continue to sport their T-shirts in the self-induced hypnosis that opposition to the U.S. by Castro and the support given to him by the USSR and communist block as well as his fifty year long tenure in power and thousands of hours of speeches all vouchsafe that the Cuban regime deserves the support of The LEFT, if for no other reason than Castro opposed U.S. imperialism and overthrew a dictator and therefore, - as in Orwell’s book Animal Farm (Two Legs Bad; Four Legs Good!), i.e., the Communists were/are/always have been on the side of "The People.”
There were, however, many Cuban refugees in the
Lucy and her brother had registered Communist at the request of their father, a long time labor activist. There was no other “red” connection to Lucy but in addition, Desi revealed in several public appearances how he had fled
Batista and several puppet presidents under his control had “earned” the support of
Although many Afro-Americans were hoodwinked by Castro’s propaganda about the Cuban Revolution bringing “racial equality” to the island’s population for the first time, it was none other than dictator Fulgencio Batista, a "mixed blood," the descendant of Italian, Spanish, Chinese and African ancestors, who had been the victim of discrimination. He had not been allowed to join the Havana Yacht Club because of his mixed race, a factor he exploited because it focussed attention on the elitist character of the Cuban government and its old colonial heritage of racial prejudices. These prejudices were shared by none other than Fidel Castro‘s father, a wealthy land owner and sugar plantation owner who had supported the Spanish government against Cuban revolutionaries in the 1890s.
THE EARLY PARTY, 1920-1954
Surprisingly, The Cuban Communist Party had deep roots in
Communists played only a very minor role in the 1933 popular revolution that deposed the Cuban dictator Gerardo Machado (1925-1931). It was during this episode that “strong man” Fulgencio Batista with Communist support emerged on the national political scene. Latin American Communist Party leaders in late 1934 met for a conference in
The Cuban Communist party was led at that time by Blas Roca, its Secretary General. Decisions were made with Stalin’s blessing to support insurrection in
By the late 1930s, Batista and the Communists worked hand in glove to allow “free elections” in order to continue their control of the government, form a constituent assembly to produce a new constitution and legitimize the power of a puppet president, Frederico Laredo Bru.
In May 1939, 937 Jewish refugees on board the German passenger ship
The St. Louis affair was a terrible blot on the conscience of all those who opposed the Nazi threat and anti-Semitic policies. It also sits uncomfortably for the Castro regime who thus required a version of their own "Cuban history". Rather then admit that the totally corrupt Cuban government of President Bru (with Batista sitting in the wings) and actually controlling affairs with Communist support was responsible for refusing permission for the Jewish refugees of the St. Louis to seek safety, the version taught in Cuban schools today (and repeated by stooges of the Castro regime writing in to several internet sites about the St. Louis affair), is that the Roosevelt administration ordered the Bru government to reject the right of the passengers to disembark in Havana although they were in possession of Cuban immigration visas and landing permits.
The Cuban Communist Party took no steps to demand acceptance of the refugees. This is all the more reprehensible and disgusting since an earlier generation of Jewish refugees arriving on the island in the early 1920s gave support to the Cuban Communist Party out of all proportion to their miniscule representation in Cuban society. The great majority of Cuban Jews were however not Communists and had formed a committee to consult with President Bru in the hope that the refugees would be accepted elsewhere but appeals to half a dozen Latin American countries and the United States to accept the St. Louis passengers fell on deaf ears and they were ordered to return to Hamburg. At the last moment, Britain, Holland and Belgium agreed to accept the passengers. World War II began only two months later and at least 90% of them were murdered in the Holocaust.
The U.S. has nothing to be proud of in this story since U.S. Coast Guard boats shadowed the St. Louis to make sure that no attempt was made to dock and unload the "illegal immigrants" on American shores but the absurd attempt by the Cuban government to transfer the blame on the U.S. is typical of almost fifty years of Castro's regime.
Frederico Laredo Bru (a name that will "live in infamy") was driven by greed and a thorough disregard for any humanitarian concern. Although put in power by Batista, he also wanted to demonstrate that he was not just an insignificant puppet but could demonstrate his own power and pride by defying the Minister of the Interior, appointed by Batista, who had originally granted the visas to the St. Louis passengers.
Two close associates of Batista were also later to become high ranking Communist members of Fidel Castro‘s government, Juan Marinello (later a member of Castro's Politburo), who lost his attempt to win the post of mayor of Havana in the 1940 elections and Carlos Rafael Rodriguez (who eventually became Castro's Vice-President).
Batista’s popularity increased during the war years of his second official presidency, 1940-1944 due to the rise in prosperity caused by the Allies’ demands for sugar, nickel and manganese. As 1944 approached, Batista played a charade by appearing to “step down” as a true democrat. In this way, he would win additional good will support from the
As president, Batista was a strong, "democratic leader" but had to suppress an attempted coup by his chief of staff. He extended social welfare measures to workers in the countryside and declared war on the Axis Powers on December 9, 1941 followed by recognition of the
Once again however, a fairly honest election set back the Batistianos and the Communists. In 1944, Dr. Ramon San Martin Grau was an ex-University professor with substantial student backing and promises of a more honest regime. He won the popular vote in the presidential election and served until 1948. Despite his initial popularity, accusations of corruption tainted his administration's image, and a sizable number of Cubans began to distrust him.
Batista, who had garnered a fortune of twenty million dollars, the result of his being the real man in charge of Cuba since 1933, appeared to fade away yet communist leaders Carlos Rafael Rodriguez and Blas Roca wrote, in their 1945 book, En Defensa del Pueblo, that "the people's idol (Batista), the great man of our national politics" was not gone forever. Although the dictator enjoyed Communist Party support for well over twenty years of despotic rule, 99.99% of left-wing college students and many American journalists proudly wearing their Che T-shirts will assure you that "America has always supported corrupt dictators like Batista in Cuba". During a period of several years, Batista relocated to Florida 1945-48, and lived in Daytona Beach where there is still a museum of Cuban art with works that he had “borrowed."
Batista was a masterful politician who enjoyed the confidence and support of the propertied classes while he cultivated the Left, but the wealthy class in
The Latin American headquarters of the Comintern moved from
In 1948, a stooge of Batista, Carlos Prío Socarrás, was elected as a minority President but the Communists lost three seats in the Senate. Ominously, and forgetting all of his previous anti-American rhetoric, Batista ran his campaign from
At the same time and place as the Colombian events, Argentinian Communist Party member, Ernesto Che Guevara, who was present at the
The next day, as proclaimed chief of state, Batista moved into the presidential palace. The most radical opposition to Batista’s seizure of power came from the wealthy racist Cuban elite who had detested Batista as a “mixed-blood.” From 1948 to 1952, the Cuban Communist Party had lost control of the unions and the party was divided on whether to support him again. Batista suppressed all opposition newspapers but allowed the Communist daily "Hoy" to remain open, an obvious ploy to win continued communist support.
When Fidel Castro founded his “Revolutionary” Movement, Communists were automatically excluded from joining it and the Party denounced Castro‘s attack on the Moncada Barracks of July 26, 1953, in Santiago de Cuba. The American Communist daily newspaper "The Daily Worker", described the Castro led attack as "a putschist method peculiar to all bourgeois political factions."
When Castro ultimately succeeded, he and the Communists knew they were meant for each other regardless of the past. For Fidel, it was the discipline and support of an international force directed against “American imperialism” and capable of providing massive economic, diplomatic and military support. For the Communists, it was a simple shift to another “people’s idol.” Find the official website in Spanish of the Cuban Communist Party, and read the section marked "History". It contains not a word about the Party from its founding until January 1, 1959. This is how internal contradictions are typically resolved by totalitarian regimes.
Much water has passed under the bridge since then. Part of the self-delusions of those who identify themselves as “progressives,” or many liberals today is their immediate and most often mistaken gut reaction that the “masses” must be right when they emotionally respond to anti-Western and especially anti-American (and even more irrationally, anti-Israel, anti-Christian and anti-Jewish) rhetoric and jargon.
For the Marxist LEFT and many of those who call themselves “Liberals” today, there is no better litmus test for political correctness than the envy of the poor and downtrodden, a powerful forced that can be manipulated. No matter how fanatical, corrupt, degenerate and blind to any humanitarian consideration of such despicable characters as Batista and Bru, or Peron, and later Castro, Nasser, Arafat, Ahmadinejad, Mao Tse Tung, the Ayatollah Khomeini or Saddam Hussein were, they are thought to speak for "The People,” the "Nation," the “workers,” the “dispossessed,” the “poor,” the “homeless,” refugees etc. The failure to see in such leaders both a symptom and a basic cause of their nations’ problems is the continued malaise of much of the political LEFT.
In September 1934, Batista issued a declaration declaring that “The Communist Party in accordance with its own statutes is a democratic party which pursues its objectives within the margin of the capitalist regime and denounces violence as a means of political action, and a consequence of this, has the right to the same treatment as any other party in Cuba.”
Batista resigned his military post as Chief of the Armed Forces and announced his candidacy for the 1940 Presidential elections. It was an honest one in in which he won with full Communist support, promising partial state control of the sugar, tobacco and mining industries as well as land reform. Batista also made anti-American statements to endear him to the Cuban working class which, in spite of U.S. intervention to help win In the 1940 election, although the Communists dominated most unions, anti-Batista candidates won 41 of 76 seats, receiving 225,223 votes, while Batista and the Communists won 35 seats and only 97,944 votes. In spite of this rejection of a popular mandate, the Cuban Communist Party urged continued support for Batista who, with their aid, managed to be elected president in spite of his poor parliamentary election results.
In the 1940 election, although the Communists dominated most unions, anti-Batista candidates won 41 of 76 seats, receiving 225,223 votes, while Batista and the Communists won 35 seats and only 97,944 votes. In spite of this rejection of a popular mandate, the Cuban Communist Party urged continued support for Batista who, with their aid, managed to be elected president in spite of his poor parliamentary election results.
To comment on this article, please click here.
To help New English Review continue to publish informative historical articles such as this one, please click here.
If you enjoyed this article and want to read more by Norman Berdichevsky, click here.
Your shopping matters.
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/56-2572448 and Amazon donates to World Encounter Institute Inc.