The USSR and the Cuban Revolution: Soviet Ideological and Strategical Perspectives, 1959-77

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The USSR and the Cuban Revolution: Soviet Ideological and Strategical Perspectives, 1959-77

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THE USSR AND THE CUBAN REVOLUTION Soviet Ideological and Strategical Perspectives, 1959-77

Jacques Levesque * * *

translated from the French by

Deanna Drendel Leboeuf

PRAEGER PUBLISHERS Praeger Special Studies New York

London

Sydney

Toronto

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Levesque, Jacques. The USSR and the Cuban revolution.

Translation of L'URSS et la revolution cubaine. Bibliography: p. 1. Cuba—Relations (general) with Russia. 2. Russia —Relations (general) with Cuba. 3- Cuba—Foreign relations—19594. Latin America—Relations (general) with Russia. 5- Russia—Relations (general) with Latin America. I. Title. F1776.3.R9IA813 301.29'7291'047 78-16168 ISBN 0-03-042261-2

PRAEGER PUBLISHERS PRAEGER SPECIAL STUDIES 383 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017, U.S.A.

Published in the United States of America in 1978 by Praeger Publishers, A Division of Holt, Rinehart and Winston, CBS, Inc.

89

038

987654321

English translation © 1978 by Praeger Publishers All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America

PREFACE

The Cuban Revolution was assuredly one of the major international events of the last quarter-century. Its importance stems from several factors, the first of which is the originality of the Cuban revolutionary process, especially the un­ expected turn it took following Fidel Castro’s victory in early January 1959. Other factors are the immense repercussions the Cuban Revolution had through­ out Latin America, its leaders’ dynamism and continental internationalism, and the new ideology and revolutionary undertakings to which it gave birth. We should also call attention to the shock the revolution produced in the United States and the weighty challenge it posed to the hegemony of that country in an area where U.S. power seemed incontestable. With the Soviet-Cuban alliance, this situation inevitably led to the most serious international crisis of the nuclear age. Finally, while continuing to defy the United States and having already estranged China, Cuba turned her hostility against the Soviet Union, her main economic and military supporter. For all these reasons, the Cuban Revolution has been the object of a con­ siderable body of literature. Biographies have been written on Cuban revolu­ tionary leaders and have been published in several languages. Books have been devoted to the revolutionary struggle in Cuba, to the economic policies and ideology of the new regime. Regarding the repercussions of the Cuban Revolu­ tion, much has been written on U.S. policy vis-a-vis Cuba and “Castroism” in Latin America. Entire works have been devoted to a single but important question-the missile crisis that occurred in the fall of 1962. However, no global, systematic analysis has as yet been carried out with respect to the significance and implications of the Cuban Revolution for the Soviet Union itself, which played a major role in supporting and giving direction to the new Cuban regime. This neglected analysis is the principal task to which this book addresses itself. Let us be clear: Cuban-Soviet relations have indeed been discussed and anlayzed in most works dealing with the Cuban Revolution, but always from the Cuban vantage point, that is, in terms of the freedom of maneuverability these relations allowed Cuba, as well as the limits they imposed on her, or these relations have been analyzed in terms of their implications for U.S. policy. What interests us here is the Soviet point of view. *

Unh.dTr KiS u°°uk apPeared in French b 1976> the has been partly filled >n the U ited States by Herbert Dinerstein, The Making of a Missile Crisis, October 1962 (Balti­ more: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976). iv

This book therefore does not deal with the Cuban Revolution itself, nor even with Soviet-Cuban relations in the narrow and common sense of the term. Its purpose is to present the Soviet Union’s ideological and strategic perception of the Cuban Revolution and the actions flowing from this perception. Ob­ viously, this will entail some review of events and situations in Cuba, but only to the extent that this helps us understand Soviet analyses and actions. Likewise, we shall ignore those details of Soviet-Cuban relations that have no significant political importance. The Cuban Revolution, as we shall see, aroused much interest in the Soviet Union and a variety of great hopes. It caused concern, posed dilemmas, and later became a source of frustration. The importance of the Cuban Revolution on a worldwide scale makes the Soviet analyses and policy dealing with it equally important. Thus, we shall see how the Cuban Revolution contributed to a reappraisal in the Soviet Union of the distribution of power in the world and the signifi­ cance of this reappraisal for Soviet policy vis-a-vis the United States and the socialist camp itself. We shall see how the Soviet appraisal of Cuba’s strategic importance evolved and was transformed concurrently with international events and Cuba’s internal political changes. The rapid and unexpected transformation of the Cuban Revolution into a socialist revolution, as well as Fidel Castro’s and his principal lieutenants’ changeover to Marxism-Leninism, posed new theoretical problems for the Soviet Union regarding the conditions necessary for the transition of societies to socialism. The conclusions drawn from the Cuban experience led the Soviet Union to see the revolutionary process in the Third World in a new perspective and to adjust a certain number of its policies accordingly. At the time Cuba joined the socialist camp, China was contesting Soviet leadership in that camp more strongly than before. In this context, Cuba’s role and actions as a socialist state took on special strategic importance both in maintaining Soviet authority and in neutralizing China’s authority. The analysis of all these questions has been given particular attention here. Special emphasis has also been placed on Soviet strategy and ideology con­ cerning the Latin Arperican revolutionary movement and process in the after­ math of the Cuban Revolution. We shall see how the Soviet Union evaluated the effects of the Cuban Revolution on the continent and to what extent the revolu­ tion caused Soviet analyses and policies to be modified. It was in this area that the sharpest tensions sprang up between the Soviet Union and Cuba from 1966 to 1968, following a period of unstable compromise. We shall endeavor to de­ termine their significance and the dilemmas they posed for the Soviet Union in its double role as head of the Latin American communist parties being attacked by Fidel Castro, and as Cuba’s protector. The Soviet Union’s strategic and ideological approaches to all these prob­ lems will be studied and presented concurrently. We believe that ideological formulations, whether they precede the elaboration of policy or follow it as V

justification very often contribute to direct or indirect clarification of the gen­ eral significance of that policy. Therefore, we have retained only those Soviet ideological formulations that are politically significant. It should also be made clear that we use the word ‘strategic’ in the broad sense, that is, in the political and not the military sense. This book is based essentially on what has been said and written on Cuba in the Soviet Union; in other words, on the newspapers, periodicals and books that deal with one aspect or another of the Cuban Revolution. As is the case for many other subjects, Soviet publications are infinitely more revelatory than one would at first imagine. In the case of Cuba, these publications are numerous. Thanks to the help of two research assistants, Elaine Sidorenko and Thomas H. Hassel, who worked with me for two years, more than 5,000 articles from Pravda and Izvestia were systematically inventoried and coded, regardless of their immediate relevance for. this study. This was done with the help of The Current Digest of the Soviet Press. The aim of this procedure was to establish a frequency table (see the Appendix) for a quantitative measure of the variations in Soviet interest in Cuba. The periodicals and books were sorted more se­ lectively, and only those items having political significance were retained. The Soviet works were evaluated in direct relation to the concrete actions of the Soviet government or Communist party. Our analysis of the Soviet works is based on the classic method generally employed for studies made of the Soviet Union, with its inherent insufficiencies due to the partial and fragmentary nature of the information contained in the sources, and the considerable job of interpretation left up to the researcher. It is not always easy to determine what constitutes the official point of view in Soviet writings. This is not a major problem with the official organs of the Party and the Soviet government, such as Pravda, Izvestia, or the journal Kommunist, but can prove difficult with books and periodicals in the social sciences. Here the official line is generally indicated by the constant recurrence of certain themes and arguments. However, we do run into differing and even contra­ dictory points of view. When it is only an academic matter having no particular political implication, as is often the case, it is considered of little interest for this book. Sometimes, however, these differing points of view touch on more im­ portant political questions, thereby pointing out a laxity or wavering of official position on the question, or even disagreement in the upper ranks of the Party. As will be seen, we were able to distinguish some of these disagreements with relative precision, by comparing them with the speeches and positions of the leaders. In other cases, we simply indicate the different points of view and offer explanatory hypotheses. In the spring of 1973, during the course of visits to the Soviet Union and Cuba, we held numerous discussions with Soviet and Cuban researchers and uni­ versity professors, which clarified several points. However, we still base this book essentially on Soviet political literature. Since facts about the Cuban Revolution and experience are of only indirect interest to us here-that is, to the extent that

they determine Soviet policy-we relied mainly on the abundant secondary literature on the subject. Among primary sources, we relied especially on the speeches of Cuban leaders and Cuban government declarations, the political im­ plications of which are more direct for the Soviet Union. It should be understood from the outset that the purpose of this work is to present and analyze the ideological and strategic perceptions of the Soviet Union in its internal logic and dynamics, and not to undertake a detailed critique of these perceptions. For this critique to be pertinent and exhaustive, we would have had to be familiar with nearly all the aspects and subtleties of the inner Cuban situation and the situation in a number of other Latin American countries that have been affected by the Cuban Revolution, and which for that reason fall under Soviet policy—the matter treated in this study. Several years of extra work would have been needed to acquire the necessary knowledge to carry out such a work. Consequently, though the following pages do contain several elements of critical reflexion, the reader will find no attempt at systematic discussion with regard to the pertinence of the Soviet Union’s approach and policies. Finally, I must thank the Canada Council which accorded research grants for three years to complete this study, as well as the Russian Research Center of Harvard University whose research fellowship for the 1972-73 academic year enabled me to profit from its documentary sources and a stimulating academic environment. I would also like to thank my research assistants, Elaine CarducciSidorenko and Thomas H. Hasell whose help was precious to me. I also want to thank all colleagues who read the manuscript, in part or in whole, and who were gracious enough to offer their suggestions and comments. .Andre Liebich was especially patient in doing it several times. For the English language edition of this work, I wish to thank the trans­ lator, Deanna Drendel Leboeuf, for her excellent work which is free of all errors of interpretation. Any ambiguities found in the text are due to the original version and not to the translation. Jacques Levesque

vii

CONTENTS

Page

PREFACE

iv

LIST OF ACRONYMS

xi

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

xii

PART I: FROM PRUDENCE TO ENTHUSIASM (1959-63)

INTRODUCTION

3

Chapter 1

THE CUBAN REVOLUTION AND EAST-WEST POWER RELATIONSHIPS

The Main Soviet Concern Terms and Conditions of Commitment Cuba on the Fringe of the Socialist Camp Cuba and the General Crisis of the World Capitalist System The Lessons of the Bay of Pigs - The Problems of Acknowledging Socialism in Cuba Soviet Missiles in Cuba Notes 2

THE CUBAN REVOLUTION IN THE INTERNATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT The Originality of the Revolutionary Process in Cuba Cuba as a Model: The National Democratic State Pro-Cuban Revisionism Stimulated by China’s Opposition Cuba as a Second Model: Revolutionary Democracy Cuba and the Revolutionary Process in Latin America Notes

PART II: FROM ENTHUSIASM TO DISENCHANTMENT (1963-68) 3

CUBA AND THE PROBLEMS OF UNITY WITHIN THE COMMUNIST MOVEMENT vin

« 8 ]3 20 25 27 30 38 AA

Chapter

Page

Readjustment of Soviet Priorities A Reconciliation Too Easily Won The Soviet Debate on Armed Struggle in Latin America Soviet Policies after Khrushchev’s Fall Notes 4

87 90 96 101 111

THE NEW RADICALIZATION OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION

115

The Tricontinental: Soviet Objectives The Tricontinental: Cuban Concerns and Objectives The Theorization and Institutionalization of the Cuban Political Challenge Soviet Reactions The Evolution of Soviet Policy toward Latin America Notes

115 119

124 132 138 142

PART III: FROM DISENCHANTMENT TO ACCOMMODATION (1969-77)

5

SOVIET-CUBAN RAPPROCHEMENT The Manifestations and Causes of Normalization New Points of Convergence in Foreign Policy A Revival of Soviet Optimism vis-a-vis Latin America Notes

6

7

147

147 153 157 161

TOWARD A REINTEGRATION OF CUBA INTO LATIN AMERICA

163

Cuba and Soviet-U.S. Detente Soviet Hopes and Disappointments in Latin America The Formalization of Soviet-Cuban Reconciliation The War in Angola and Cuba’s Role in Africa Notes

163 169 180 186 192

CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

195

'

201

Number of Articles Dealing with Cuba in Pravda and Izvestia

ix

203

Page

Chapter Number of Words in Articles Dealing with Cuba in Pravda and Izvestia

BIBLIOGRAPHY ABOUT THE AUTHOR

X

LIST OF ACRONYMS AAPSO

Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organization

CEMA

Council for Economic Mutual Assistance

CIA

Central Intelligence Agency

CP

Communist Party

CPSU

Communist Party of the Soviet Union

FARC

Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombianas

FNLA

National Liberation Front of Angola

FSLN

Sandinista Front for National Liberation (Nicaragua)

GMT

Greenwich Mean Time

LASO

Latin American Solidarity Organization

MAPU

Movimiento de Accion Popular Unitario (Chile)

MIR

Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria

MLF

Multilateral force

MPLA

Popular Liberation Movement of Angola

NLF

National Liberation Front (Algeria)

OAS

Organization of American States

OPEC

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

ORI

Organizaciones Revolucionarias Integradas (Integrated Revolution­ ary Organization)

PCI

Partido Comunista Italiano (Italian Communist Party)

PCP

Partido Comunista Portugues (Portuguese Communist Party)

PSP

Partido Socialista Popular (Cuban Communist Party)

SELA

Sistema Economica Latina Americana (Latin American Economic System)

UAR

United Arab Republic

xi

this distinction; for instance, they affirmed on numerous occasions that inter­ state relations between the Soviet Union and another country contributed to reinforcing factors favorable to socialism. Thus, in Latin America more than in Europe, the Soviet Union’s interstate relations were affected by Comintern policy. At the same time and inversely, the possibilities for action open to the Latin American Communist parties were a function of the Soviet Union’s re­ lations with Western powers, through the impact these relations had on Comin­ tern policy, or (following its dissolution in 1943) on the Communist movement. It can be said that in general, detente between the Soviet Union and these powers, as well as the flexibility of Comintern policies, favored the growth and influence of the Latin American Communist parties. This was the case following the Seventh Congress of the Comintern in 1935 which adopted the popular-front policy aimed at blocking the rise of fascism in Europe and at preventing the isolation of the Soviet Union following Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, an event that proved their previous policy to be erroneous. The Comintern’s new policies led to a popular front victory in the 1938 Chilean presidential elections. However, the Chilean Communists, un­ doubtedly in order to preserve their freedom of action, preferred not to occupy any ministerial posts in the government they had helped to elect. In Cuba, Com­ munists obtained legalization of their party in 1938 under Fulgencio Batista who at that time could still be said to have certain progressivist pretensions, if only because he allowed them to spread their influence within the trade-union move­ ment. In 1943, he even gave them representation in his government. It goes without saying that the growth of the Communist parties and the development of their influence did not necessarily imply progress toward social­ ist revolution in those countries where they operated. The distant prospect of socialist victory, and the assorted alliances and tactics this prospect justified in times of flexibility, earned several Latin American Communist parties a reputa­ tion for opportunism. It is difficult, however, to generalize on this point, and to do so, it would be necessary to do a case-by-case study of the very different con­ ditions under which the parties operated. For several of them, legal means and flexible tactics were precluded. Several engaged intermittently in armed struggle. The war between Hitler’s Germany and the Soviet Union, which placed the latter on England’s side, and then on the U.S. side, contributed to a considerable improvement in its relations with Latin America. The majority of the countries on the continent established or reestablished diplomatic relations with the USSR as a result of the war situation. On the other hand, the Cold War which de­ veloped between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1947 on brought about a chain reaction of breaches in previously established relations.JBy 1953, only three countries (Mexico, Argentina, * and Uruguay) maintained diplomatic

♦Relations between Argentina and the Soviet Union had been established after the

war.

xiii

relations with the Soviet Union. This clearly illustrated U.S. supremacy in the area and the fragility of Soviet positions. As these relations deteriorated, the Communist parties’ situation wor­ sened. Most of them found themselves isolated and weakened. This was not due only to U.S. influence; anti-American Peronist populism, for instance, caused great harm to Argentina’s Communist party which finally lost its base in the trade-union movement. A very important exception was the case of Guatemala, where the Com­ munists had participated in power more significantly than anywhere else, up to this point in time. This experience would determine Soviet policy in the wake of the Cuban Revolution. Communist influence in Guatemala had begun to be felt more significantly after the 1945 election of a leftist-oriented reformist presi­ dent, Juan Jose Arevalo, following intense social unrest which had forced the previous dictator to resign.2 Even though the Communist party remained illegal, several Communists were able to occupy key posts in the government and in the party in power, a party of revolutionary action. What might have passed for tolerance of the Communists on the part of the government changed character after the 1950 election to the presidency of Jacobo Arbenz, defense minister in the previous administration. His government, which lasted from 1951 to 1954, was considerably more radical than the previous regime. The Communists had supported Arbenz’s candidature, and he maintained personal relationships with several of them. In 1952, the Communist party was authorized to operate legally and in 1953, it was officially part of the government coalition. Among the im­ portant measures taken by the Arbenz government, special mention must be made of the agrarian reform which ran head-on into the all-powerful U.S. con­ cern, the United Fruit Company. Radicalization of domestic and foreign policy caused numerous internal dissensions which led the president to rely more heavily on the Communist party, with the result that Washington multiplied pressure of all sorts as its hostility grew. In Guatemala, this drove the govern­ ment to withdraw from the Treaty of Rio created in 1947 for continental de­ fense, having previously retired from the Organization of Central American States in 1953. The Soviet Union’s attitude regarding the Guatemalan events was one of caution and reserve. The government was considered bourgeois but progressive because of its anti-imperialist stance. The accusations of communism that the United States directed against it were denounced as groundless by the Soviet press, which pointed out that its programs were far from being socialist or Com­ munist. It seems certain that the Soviet Union did not encourage the Guatemalan Communist party to take power directly;a socialist regime in that country most certainly did not seem viable to the USSR. For that matter, strictly on the do­ mestic level, a Communist take-over would undoubtedly not even have been po^lb e;Jn spite °f ^s influence in the upper levels of power, the Communist party lacked solid foundations and the local army was hostile toward it. It is significant that the Soviet Union preferred not to establish diplomatic relations xiv

with Arbenz’s Guatemala. * It seems it preferred to avoid even the very weakest ties in order not to furnish the United States with any pretext for intervention, which the Soviet Union could have done practically nothing about. In 1953, the United States had taken steps to prevent the sale of U.S. or West European arms to Guatemala. This situation led the Arbenz government to solicit and conclude, in early 1954, a sale of Czechoslovakian arms which arrived in Guatemala in May on a Swedish ship. This incident furnished the ultimate pretext for affirming the penetration of international communism in Guatemala, and a few days later an army of exiles, formed in Honduras and trained by the CIA, crossed the border. By June 27, 1954, the Arbenz govern­ ment came to an end. The Soviet Union could merely register protest and add another item to its anti-American propaganda. The next area after Guatemala, where the Communists-or rather social­ ism—would under new circumstances make rapid headway, was to be Cuba. The Soviet Union would be obliged to react once again and adopt a position in the face of this new event. It is advisable here to say a few general words about the origins and the main political characteristics of the Cuban Revolution before examining the Soviet Union’s attitude and behavior toward it. On the eve of the revolution, Cuba’s economic and social situation was in many ways better than that of the majority of Latin American countries. Cuba was, of course, considered an under­ developed country and its strong dependence on the United States, as well as being an economy based on the sugar-cane monoculture, caused numerous problems. But the “Pearl of the Antilles” was not as backward an agrarian so­ ciety as many other countries in the area. A little more than the majority of its population lived in the cities. Social measures were more widespread here than elsewhere. Illiteracy occurred in only about 20 percent of the population, a low figure compared to other underdeveloped countries. Cuba’s relatively favorable situation in terms of overall statistics masked deep inequalities, however, especially between the rural areas and the cities (particularly Havana) that were privileged extensions of American society. The illiteracy rate, which was 11.6 percent in the cities, rose to 41.8 percent in the rural areas.3 A similar situation prevailed in living and housing conditions, with the average income figure being inflated by exceptional levels of income in the cities.! The general unemployment rate was high-in 1956-57, 16.4 percent-and notably affected the sugar-cane workers, since the high rate contributed to keeping labor costs in this sector at a very low level.

♦Contacts were made, however, through the Soviet embassy in Mexico City. There were also direct contacts with the Communist party. fThe national per capita income was $345 per year between 1950 and 1954, one of the highest in Latin America. However, per capita income for the peasants was $91.25. xv

The relatively “privileged” economic and social conditions in Cuba led many writers to say that conditions there did not require socialist revolution and that the revolution was the creation of Fidel Castro and some of his comradesin-arms. It must be noted, first of all, that the question of socialism was raised in Cuba only after the guerrillas’ victory. Moreover, even though misery does not necessarily engender socialist revolution, this misery need not be catastrophic for revolution to develop. Political factors are just as important and can, without being independent of them, impart new dynamism to economic and social con­ ditions. So in order to understand even the first stage of the Cuban Revolution, its main political components must be pointed out. The 1958 revolution is in keeping with the long tradition of ever-frustrated Cuban revolutionary nationalism and it constitutes the culminating stage of this tradition. This revolutionary nationalism, with its anti-American character, originated with Cuba s war of independence against Spain at the end of the last century. The war was headed for victory in 1898, when-as the poet, hero, and revolutionary martyr Jose Marti had feared—the United States intervened mili­ tarily to divert the war to its advantage. From this moment on, many of the revolutionary leaders once in power abandoned the anti-imperialist struggle while others renewed it. Thus, after the United States granted Cuba indepen­ dence under leonine political and economic conditions, President Estrada Palma, who had been Marti’s successor at the head of the Cuban revolutionary party 1 requested and obtained a second U.S. military intervention in 1906 to put down opposition to his regime. Under another president, the United States again intervened militarily in 1917 to put an end to social disturbances, to protect U.S. property from devastation by strikes and disorders rampant on the island. In fact, this occupation ended only in 1922. In 1928 General Machado, who in 1924 had been elected president on a nationalist platform and had won renown during the war for independence, carried out a coup d’etat and with the support of the United States, established one of the most tyrannical dictatorships ever. This situation caused a briefly successful revival of revolutionary nationalism. Students played an important role in the uprisings that led to the collapse of the Machado dictatorship in 1933. In conjunction with this movement, the “sergeants’ revolt,” led by Ful­ gencio Batista within the army, brought to power a person who would be­ come a great figure of Cuban nationalism for some time-Ramon Grau San Mar­ tin professor at the University of Havana. In his first term of office Grau San U s firns n°‘ S'°P i?"th Tbal denuncia “La revolution cubaine et 1’Amerique latine,” La vie internationale 12 (December 1963): 54-59. mierna 98. Ibid.

PART II From Enthusiasm to Disenchantment (1963-68)

Cuba and the Problems of Unity within the Communist Movement

READJUSTMENT OF SOVIET PRIORITIES The missile crisis had the effect of considerably shifting the nature of Soviet concern in regard to the Cuban Revolution. Integrated once and for all into the socialist camp, Cuba lost some of its strategic importance in the con­ flict between the Soviet Union and the United States. It gained some signifi­ cance, however, in the face of the necessity of consolidating the socialist camp around the Soviet Union. In fact, all of the general strategic concerns of the Soviet Union changed as a result of the missile crisis, not just those affecting Cuba. From 1960 to 1962, despite the development of the Sino-Soviet conflict, the Soviet Union had clearly spent most of its energy working to change the distribution of power between the socialist and the U.S. camps. This policy can be partly explained by the challenges presented by the Chinese themselves, but also by an intrinsic dynamism based on an overestimation of the Soviet Union’s new military and economic capacities. The program of the 22nd Party Congress held in October 1961, heralding the coming of the communist society, was an eloquent reflection of the race in which Khrushchev, in particular, saw himself victori­ ously involved. These efforts to shift power in favor of the socialist camp were felt everywhere: in Europe, with the constant pressure on Berlin; in the United States, with Cuba; in Africa, with the Congo; in Asia, with Laos. On a more general level, the Soviet Union did not hesitate to make shows of force (for the psychological effect) in order to manifest its determination, and to make sure that its good-will gestures would be better appreciated. The best example of this is undoubtedly the explosion in early 1962 of the 100-megaton bomb (the biggest nuclear explosion ever produced in the atmosphere) in the midst of gen­

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The USSR and the Cuban Revolution, 1963-68

eral protest in the West. Another example is the June 1961 meeting that took place between Khrushchev and Kennedy in Vienna, during which the Soviet leader adopted a rather threatening attitude, particularly concerning Berlin. He kept repeating to his interlocutor that the world was leaning and would lean even more toward communism without the Soviet Union ever needing to have recourse to war. He refused to acknowledge any Sino-Soviet difficulty. Kennedy left these talks feeling very pessimistic. The missile crisis apparently made Moscow realize the limits of what could be accomplished with a policy of confrontation and constant pressure vis-a-vis the United States. The Soviet Union experienced concretely, for the first time, all the inherent dangers of such a policy—not only the danger of a nuclear hecatomb, but also the implicit danger of having to pull back and suffer a serious political defeat in order to avoid the hecatomb. It seems that it was Khrushchev himself who was most shaken by the autumn 1962 experience, judging by his behavior during his last two years in power. Of course, he had always wanted a modus vivendi with the United States, but at the same time was working for the latter’s retreat. Following the missile crisis, priority was given to the modus vivendi with the adversary, rather than to its retreat. In a speech delivered before the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in December 1962, which was mainly intended to justify the compromise made at the time of the Caribbean crisis, Khrushchev spoke of the future need for other “reasonable compromises.”1 He requested once again that the Berlin question be settled, but this time issued no ultimatum. He expressed the hope of being able to sign a nuclear test ban treaty in the near future with the United States and England. This came about some months later, in August 1963. It represented the first Soviet-U.S. agreement to control the armaments race. The signatories of this treaty, which banned all but underground tests, promised to solicit the signa­ tures of their allies and of all other states. Implicitly, it was also a treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear arms. It was violently denounced by China in unprecedented terms as the most glaring proof that the policy pursued by the Soviet government is a policy of alliance with the forces of war as against the forces of peace, of alliance with imperialism as against socialism, of alliance with the United States as against China, and of alliance with the reactionaries of all coun­ tries as against all the peoples of the world.2

As a matter of fact, the Sino-Soviet conflict had taken a new turn since the settling of the missile crisis, one that is particularly important here. Since 1958-59, the Chinese leaders had felt that the Soviet Union’s attitude with respect to the United States was too soft, that it was sacrificing China’s interests and the interests of the international revolutionary movement to the imperatives of peaceful coexistence. The attitude displayed by the Soviet Union toward the United States had been one of the sources, if not the main

Problems of Unity within the Communist Movement

/

89

source, of the Sino-Soviet conflict. Since 1960, the conflict had had its highs and lows. The two parties involved did not yet refer to each other by name. In the wake of the November 1960 Conference of Communist Parties, it may have appeared that unity had been at least partially restored. However, China and the Soviet Union were soon extracting, each for its own use, the particular passages of the declaration issued at the conference which represented its own point of view. During the 22nd Party Congress in October 1961, Khrushchev tried to intimidate China by openly denouncing Albania, threatening it thereby with exclusion from the Communist movement. The Soviet Union wanted China to realize that it had firmly decided to do the same to China, if necessary. Even though China did not allow itself to be intimidated, a state of relative truce was reached during the early part of 1962. Apparently Khrushchev realized that he had stuck his neck out and he dared not yet carry out his threats. China itself was not prepared for total confrontation; it needed to gain further support from within the Communist movement. The Sino-Soviet conflict erupted again in the fall of 1962 with the brief Sino-Indian war, and even more importantly, with the missile crisis. If China was already of the opinion that Moscow yielded too easily to U.S. power, one can well imagine its reaction to the Soviet Union’s first really humiliating back­ down. On November 5, in other words only a few days after the agreement reached between Kennedy and Khrushchev, the Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) of Peking wrote that “to accept compromise or submit to the United States’ demands could only encourage the' aggressor and would not, in any case, guaran­ tee peace in the world.”3 The compromise was next qualified as a “full-blown appeasement policy, Munich all over again,”4 which left Cuba at the mercy of U.S. imperialism. Later on, the Chinese leaders would say that Khrushchev had gone from “adventurism” by installing missiles in Cuba, to “capitulation­ ism” by “hastily beating a retreat” as soon as his game was seriously opposed.5 As long as Khrushchev pursued a relatively aggressive policy vis-a-vis the United States, he could hope that Chinese accusations would fall on deaf ears and not be accorded much credibility in the Communist movement. Was not the survival of the Cuban Revolution up to 1962 to the Soviet Union’s credit? A Soviet success in Berlin or the success of the missile operation would certainly have put the Chinese leaders in an embarrassing position. Besides, they had demonstrated total solidarity with the Soviet government during the early days of the missile crisis when Moscow was taking a firm stand. They had no other choice: they who had accused Moscow of lacking solidarity in the struggle against the United States could hardly do otherwise than make common cause with the Soviet Union in all serious confrontations. Following the missile crisis, when Khrushchev decided to try to relax tensions with the United States, he almost certainly expected China’s hostility to sharpen and the Sino-Soviet conflict to become more acute. A break with China seemed not only inevitable to him at this time, but even desirable. In fact, the condemnation and ousting of China from the Communist movement

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The USSR and the Cuban Revolution, 1963-68

was becoming a necessity in order to prevent its influence from growing and to halt the increasingly virulent debates within the various parties. Consequently, during the last two years he was in power, Khrushchev brought most of his efforts to bear, no longer against the United States, but on organizing China’s expulsion and isolation by the international Communist movement (efforts, however, that proved abortive).6 In this task, Khrushchev first of all had to seek support or at least solid friendships in the inner core of the Communist movement, that is, in the socialist camp. The strategic im­ portance of Cuba for the Soviet Union during 1963 and 1964 lay in this context. In its relations with Cuba, the Soviet Union also adopted the important objective of harmonizing relations between Havana and the Latin American Communist parties. This problem and the debates surrounding it in Latin Amer­ ica had a lot to do with the Sino-Soviet conflict. They rapidly overflowed this context, however, without losing in the process any of their acuteness for the Soviet Union.

A RECONCILIATION TOO EASILY WON On October 28, 1962-the same day Khrushchev agreed to pull the Soviet missiles out of Cuba—the Cuban government, which was undoubtedly very poorly informed of what was going on in Moscow, set five conditions of its own for settling the crisis. These conditions were that the United States lift the blockade and that an end be put to all economic reprisals; that all subversive activities in Cuba cease; that an end be put to attacks by exiles; that reconnais­ sance flights over Cuban territory be suspended; and that the United States withdraw from its Guantanamo base.7 At no time had any of these conditions occupied a place in the bargaining between Khrushchev and Kennedy, and it is obvious that the Soviet leader was in no position to introduce them at the last moment. The crisis was therefore settled without these conditions being considered,8 which gave increasing credibility in Cuba to the Chinese accusation that the Soviet Union settled its problems with the United States at other peoples’ expense. What is more, without previously consulting the Cuban government, Khrushchev proposed as part of the settlement an inspection of Cuban territory under the aegis of the United Nations, in order to verify that all the missiles had been removed. The Cubans categorically refused this inspection which they considered an in­ admissible infringement on the sovereignty of their country. Fidel Castro’s public speeches were fairly moderate with regard to the Soviet Union; he confined himself to speaking of a “certain displeasure” and “misunderstandings. ” Nevertheless, one of the former PSP leaders, who hap­ pened to be more intimate with Fidel Castro than the others, went so far as to openly establish parallels with Munich.9 All this evidently caused the Chinese leaders to bolster their support of Cuba and to multiply their criticisms and denunciations of the Soviet Union.

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The October 31st editorial in the People’s Daily affirmed that the five condi­ tions Cuba had set for settling the crisis in the Caribbean were “totally justified and absolutely necessary.” On November 2 and 3, mass demonstrations were organized all across China in support of the Cuban people and the demands of its government. Even before this point, the Chinese press had always shown great sympathy for the Cuban Revolution. In many articles it put special em­ phasis on aspects of the Cuban experience generally not commented on in the Soviet press, such as the importance of armed struggle and its absolute relevance to the Latin American revolutionary movement.10 From the time of the missile crisis, and in the months that followed, everything indicated that Cuba had become the socialist country with which China felt the deepest community of interests and to which it attached the greatest importance. Not a day went by that the Chinese press did not reiterate its solidarity, support, and identity of viewpoint with Cuba in the struggle against U.S. imperialism.11 The Chinese leaders probably entertained no illusions regarding Cuba’s eventual alignment with China following the Albanian precedent. They knew only too well that they lacked the military and economic means to take the Soviet Union’s place. However, they did count on at least partial support from the Cuban leaders in the conflict that set them against Moscow. Even if Fidel Castro’s expectations had always pointed mainly in the direction of Moscow, he could not remain insensitive to the solidarity displayed by the Chinese leaders who openly expressed the thoughts he himself was entertaining about Soviet behavior in the fall of 1962. This was done in various ways. In late 1962 and early 1963, the Communist parties of Bulgaria, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany held their congresses. These congresses, in which delegations from numerous foreign Communist parties participated, were the stage of a visibly orchestrated campaign to denounce Albania and China. At each of these congresses, the Cuban delegate was careful not to criticize Albania or China, even implicitly.12 In East Berlin, he emphasized the im­ possibility of peaceful coexistence between classes, thereby affirming the neces­ sity of armed struggle. And the Chinese delegate passed up no occasion to reiterate his country’s position on Cuba. In a speech delivered in Havana in early January 1963 for the fourth anniversary of the revolution, Fidel Castro spoke openly for the first time about the conflict brewing in the socialist camp. He affirmed that Cuba would do everything it could to settle differences and restore unity—not just any unity however, but “unity in accordance with principles.” These remarks were very well received in Peking.13 In another speech delivered some days later on Janu­ ary 15, the Cuban prime minister denounced “tired-out theoreticians” who said that Cuba’s transition to socialism had been peaceful.14 This was a thesis circu­ lating in the Soviet Union15 which could be narrowly justified only to the extent that the transition to socialism was fixed at late 1960 or early 1961. Fidel Castro added that these “false interpretations of history did not square with the situation of the immense majority of Latin American countries.”

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Touching next on what was to become the principal apple of discord between Cuba and the Soviet Union, he criticized (but only by allusion) the lack of militancy displayed by several Latin American Communist parties. The Soviet Union seemed at first almost completely powerless to reduce the various signs of dissatisfaction Cuba was expressing and to reestablish cordial relations with her. As early as November 2, 1962, Anastas Mikoyan had been sent to Havana where, for over three weeks, he worked to pick up the broken pieces. Moscow had undoubtedly counted on his talents as a diplomat and on his credibility in Havana, based on his having established Soviet-Cuban relations there in February 1960. However, during his stay in Cuba he was obliged to make the Cuban leaders suffer another humiliation. After the October crisis, the United States had demanded that the Soviet Union remove the IL-28 bombers from Cuban soil. These bombers, outdated and abandoned, were to be used by the Cuban government for coastal inspection, but because of their capacity to carry nuclear bombs, Washington considered them as part of the offensive weapons that had to be removed.16 Unlike the missiles which were to remain under Soviet control, these planes had been given to Cuba. Mikoyan had to convince the Cuban leaders to give them back. It was not an easy job and must certainly have done nothing to improve Soviet-Cuban relations. The trip to Cuba of the Soviet deputy minister of foreign affairs, V. Kuznetsov, in mid-January 1963, bore no fruit. Nonetheless, it was undoubtedly during this visit that Fidel Castro’s trip of more than one month to the Soviet Union, from April 27 to June 5, 1963, was decided upon. * This was Fidel Castro’s first trip to the Soviet Union. It was during and at the end of this long stay that a Soviet-Cuban reconciliation emerged, which was all the more astonish­ ing in that it seemed to touch all areas. Fidel Castro was accompanied on this trip by the minister of finance, the deputy minister of foreign trade, and three of the chief leaders of the Cuban armed forces. Everywhere it moved inside the Soviet Union, the Cuban delega­ tion received an extremely warm welcome. Speeches were delivered on various occasions, the most revealing of which were those by Khrushchev and Fidel Castro on the occasion of the last mass meeting held at the Lenin stadium in Moscow on May 23. Khrushchev’s speech, and especially the joint communique signed by the two parties, are a perfect reflection of his determination to establish a modus vivendi with the United States and to isolate China. He stated very frankly what he expected of the Cuban leaders: We abide by Lenin’s proposition whereby, after the seizure of power, the problems of economic construction become the first

*The official visit ended on May 23, but Fidel Castro remained in the Soviet Union

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priority of the Communist Party and the people, and that our economic successes in the building of socialism have a decisive in­ fluence on world development.17

Prior to this, Khrushchev had stated that the eyes of millions of people in Latin America are now turned towards heroic Cuba, because it is on this island that the path has been paved for a happier and better life, the path towards socialism which will be taken by all the peoples of Latin America. If Cuba were thus the pole of attraction for socialism in Latin America, it was obvious from Khrushchev’s remarks that this attraction ought to operate in longrange terms through economic success. He thought it useful to specify on two occasions that “revolution is accomplished by the masses when the necessary conditions are ripe’’ and that “Marxist-Leninists believe that the question of the victory of a new social system is decided ... by the people of each country.” In sum, by reminding him that Cuba’s security vis-a-vis the United States was now guaranteed, what Khrushchev was preaching to Fidel Castro was very clearly and simply “socialism in one country.” The Cuban prime minister’s reply to his host’s speech was very accommo­ dating. He affirmed that the Cuban Revolution had not been the fruit of an ex­ portation of revolution.18 Supporting one of the favorite Soviet theses, he mentioned that the Cuban Revolution would never have been able to survive and develop without the continuous shifts in the international correlation of forces in favor of the socialist camp. He also stated, in contradiction to the Chinese positions, that “the outcome of the October crisis had obliged the United States to abandon its plans for aggression.” The joint declaration was even more accommodating and favorable to the Soviet Union. The important Soviet theses called into question by the Chinese (for example, those dealing with peaceful coexistence) were jointly supported by the two parties. They emphasized “in full unanimity, that under present conditions, the struggle for peace is humanity’s most important task.”19 An enumeration was made of all the conditions making peaceful coexistence pos­ sible. Even though Albania and China were not criticized explicitly, the declara­ tion stressed the fact that “any violation of unity [of the Communist move­ ment] would weaken the front for the struggle against imperialism.” Finally, “the two governments resolutely declared their adherence to the principle of the non-interference of states in the internal affairs of other countries.” Concerning the thorny question of armed struggle in Latin America, which was not explicitly mentioned, the joint declaration stipulated that “the practical forms and methods to be used in the fight for socialism in each country should be established by the people of that country.” This was more a con­ cession than a compromise on the part of the Cubans, since the sentence in the communique which was supposed to express the corresponding Soviet con­

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cession has only feeble implications: “The duty of every communist party is to march at the vanguard of those fighting against imperialism and for social­ ism.” The meaning of this rapprochement which was so favorable to the Soviet Union, and how it was made possible, needs to be explained. It must be men­ tioned, first of all, that a completely new direction was given the Cuban econ­ omy, probably only shortly prior to Fidel Castro’s visit to the Soviet Union. This reorganization consisted in abandoning the plans for stepped-up, multi­ lateral industrialization. These plans were abandoned because of the various coordination problems and upheavals in the Cuban economy resulting from this industrialization policy, and especially because of the inefficiency of a great number of enterprises that had been set up. It was decided that sugar cane would be the focal point of the Cuban economy and that industry would be developed in relation to agriculture and sugar production. Soviet observers obviously reacted well to this policy change and praised its advantages. They pointed out that concentrating efforts on agriculture (and not only on sugar cane) would allow the population’s standard of living to rise at a faster tempo. It was felt that the level of productivity in the sugar industry would have to be preserved before the single-harvest system could be elimi­ nated.20 It was true that sugar production had dropped since the revolution. It was thought that maintaining and increasing production in this sector would provide the financing, through exports, of industrial equipment. Of course, the development of Cuba’s other resources, such as nickel, and its transforma­ tion in Cuba were encouraged. Alluding to the Chinese slogan on self-reliance, one Soviet writer noted with satisfaction that “the Cuban economy has not followed the adventurist path of autarchy advocated by the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party.”21 Though the new Cuban economic policy was not expected to lead to a reduction in Soviet economic aid to Cuba (at least not in the immediate future), the Soviet leaders expected that it would make this aid more effective. The joint declaration signed in Moscow announced further Soviet aid in the form of important concessions. Previous long-term agreements had arranged for Soviet purchases of Cuban sugar at a fixed, planned price. These agreements were revised to raise the price paid by the Soviet Union and align it with world price levels, which were noticeably higher in 1963 than before. The price was to drop later without any modification of the agreements. Moreover, shortly before, Moscow had allowed Cuba to withdraw 500,000 tons of sugar from exports earmarked for the Soviet Union,22 to enable Cuba to sell them for hard currency on Western markets and thus improve its trading position. (This would mean an increase in the Cuban-Soviet trade deficit.) Undoubtedly, this change in Cuban economic policy was not the result of Soviet reservations about previous policy. The Soviet Union had previously expressed its reservations, but to no avail. What seem’s to be the source of this decision was a desire to rectify a very bad economic situation. It would

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appear that in 1963, the Cuban leaders, including the most internationalist, wanted to give high priority to its improvement. For instance, the speech de­ livered by Che Guevara in Havana for the International Worker’s Day on May 1 (during Fidel Castro’s stay in the Soviet Union), was devoted almost exclusively to the necessities of economic construction which he declared to be the main battleground.23 This contributed a great deal to bringing Cuba and the Soviet Union closer together. Khrushchev seems to have succeeded in convincing Fidel Castro of his determination to see that the United States respected the October 1962 agree­ ment of nonintervention in Cuba. A warning was given the United States to this effect in the text of the Soviet-Cuban communique, in addition to other even clearer warnings that had been issued very shortly before.24 Finally, even though the Soviet leaders were not able to guarantee that the five conditions imposed by Fidel Castro at the time of the October crisis would be respected, they did give him the means to see that at least two of them would be. Indeed, it seems that during his stay in the Soviet Union, Castro had been promised a massive flood of defensive armaments. This is what made him say upon his return from Moscow that Cuba’s military situation was one “of complete security.”25 It was later learned from the Cuban leader’s own mouth that the Soviet arms (for which no statistics have ever been published) had always been free. The results of Fidel Castro’s visit to the Soviet Union represented an im­ portant feather in Khrushchev’s bonnet concerning his policy vis-a-vis China.26 From then on he was able to fall back on the Cuban declarations in justifying Soviet policy during the missile crisis. This is without doubt why the Chinese abstained from including the Cuban issue in their famous 25-point proposal of June 1963, which they submitted as a basis for discussion between the Soviet and Chinese parties, and which in fact constituted a veritable indictment against the whole of Soviet policy, complete with supporting evidence.27 The Soviet victory was, however, incomplete. Unlike the socialist coun­ tries in Moscow’s orbit, Cuba continued to refrain from criticizing Albania and China. Furthermore, it refused to sign the treaty on the partial banning of nuclear tests. Finally, though Cuba could be considered closer to the Soviet Union than to China, the Chinese leaders and press maintained their favorable attitude toward Cuba, which placed the latter in an advantageous position in terms of its negotiations with Moscow. Khrushchev’s insistence that Cuba endorse peaceful coexistence and peace­ ful competition, and his determination to get Cuba to refrain from promoting armed struggle in Latin America, both illustrate the rigidity with which he pursued his policy against China in 1963-64. He sought a clear demarcation on all the questions dividing China and the Soviet Union. He even seemed ready in 1964 to abandon North Vietnam to the Chinese camp; North Vietnam’s posi­ tions were becoming pro-Chinese and its policy increased the risk of a con­

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frontation with the United States.28 This rigidity, moreover, caused him prob­ lems within the leadership of the Soviet Party.29 The issues at stake in the Latin American revolutionary movement were to make it very difficult to keep Cuba passive regarding armed struggle and difficult, therefore, to ensure that the joint Soviet-Cuban communique would be respected in its entirety.

THE SOVIET DEBATE ON ARMED STRUGGLE IN LATIN AMERICA As has been already mentioned, up until 1963 Soviet writers and politi­ cians refrained from taking a position on the issue of the pertinence of armed struggle in Latin America. This was one way of maintaining a certain neutrality between the Cuban position and that of the majority of the Communist parties on the continent. By 1963, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the Soviet Union to maintain this neutrality. With the intensification of the Sino-Soviet conflict, the debates in most of the Communist parties were becoming more heated. In late 1963 the Chinese openly called for scission and the formation of new parties, which in fact was a process already in progress. The armed-struggle debate was complicated by the fact that it involved not only the Chinese posi­ tions, but also the Cuban. Rejecting the whole of the Chinese positions as being scissionist did not solve the problem. Those who promoted the idea of armed struggle could point to Cuba and its good relations with the Soviet Union. Did not Fidel Castro state in his July 26, 1963 speech that “the people who will do what the Cuban people has done will have the firm support of the Soviet Union and of the whole socialist camp”?30 Under these conditions, it is almost certain that the Latin American Communist party leaders opposed to armed struggle increasingly pressed their Soviet counterparts to adopt a clear stance on the issue and to try to influence the Cubans. This last solution is the one for which Khrushchev first opted in the joint declaration of May 1963, which maintained an image of neutrality on the part of the Soviet Union, while in actual fact it favored the positions of the majority of the Communist parties. At the time of the joint declaration, the Cuban leaders made some effort to abide by the neutrality to which they had subscribed. During the first months of 1963, the Cuban press alternately praised the merits of armed struggle and those of political struggle.31 For Cuba there was no question, however of dis­ avowing the Castroist movement operating in any country whose Communist party was advocating the peaceful road. This, of course, created difficulties for such Communist parties. During the second half of 1963, Cubans were putting more and more emphasis on armed struggle. In September, Guevara published his famous opuscule Guerra de guerrillas, un metodo, and the Cuban press was a firming that conditions in Latin America were increasingly ripe for armed

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struggle.32 It was even openly admitted that Cuban volunteers were participat­ ing in guerrilla activities on the continent.33 The Soviet Union was thus forced into taking a position. This position was generally unfavorable to armed struggle up until Khrushchev’s fall in the autumn of 1964. It is interesting, however, and important to realize that this stance raised objections and opposition within the Soviet Union, weak at first in 1963, but stronger in 1964. Even though the Soviet Union adopted a position that opposed armed struggle, Khrushchev attempted, not without success, to keep on good terms with Cuba. In fact, in January 1964 Fidel Castro made another visit to the Soviet Union which resulted in the signing of a joint communique very similar to the one signed in 1963.34 Regarding the question of armed struggle, the communique approved in principle the revolutionary movement’s use of peace­ ful and nonpeaceful means in the struggle to abolish the capitalist system. This was a small concession this time on the part of the Soviet Union, which be­ trayed the true positions held by the CPSU’s first secretary. Judging by Khrushchev’s speeches in 1963-64, it is clear that opposition to armed struggle in Latin America came primarily from him. His opposition was not only a question of ideological preference; it also stemmed from circum­ stances, such as the confusion reigning at the time within the Latin American Communist parties, and his determination to come to terms with the United States. In this respect, it was not timely for the Soviet Union to appear openly tied to guerrilla movements on the “American” continent. The principal spokesman against armed struggle was the director of the Latin American Institute, S. S. Mikhailov. In the collective work that appeared in 1963 in celebration of the Cuban Revolution’s fifth anniversary, he wrote that “because of its original start and subsequent development,” the revolution has aroused “within the Latin American communist and workers’ parties a great interest in questions of revolutionary theory, of strategy and tactics of the working class struggle. . . . ”3S With such premises, Mikhailov’s subsequent remarks sound a bit astonishing. He wrote that “during discussion of these questions, especially regarding the peaceful and nonpeaceful roads .. . the Latin American communist and workers’ parties have arrived at common conclu­ sions ...” which “shows that the working class and its vanguard hope to effect socialist revolution by the peaceful road, without civil war.” Even though he said that the peaceful road was not considered an absolute, he made no mention whatsoever of the action and positions of the Venezuelan Communist party, which at that moment and since 1962, had been engaged in armed struggle as part of a common front including the Castroist MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria). The Communist party of Venezuela was not the only party involved in armed struggle. It was however the most important one, and the one on which the Cuban leaders based their greatest hopes. Not only did Mikhailov ignore the armed struggles going on in Latin America, but he criticized “the petty bourgeois elements participating in the

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national liberation movement and, who, as a rule, are inclined to adopt ‘ultra­ Left’ or ‘ultra-revolutionary’ viewpoints, and who express the opinion that the path of armed struggle is the sole means possible for victory of the revolution, of national liberation. . . . ”36 In his opinion, this was a “mistaken and simpli­ fied understanding of the situation,” a “mechanical transposing of the experi­ ence and peculiarities of the Cuban Revolution to all the countries of Latin America,” and “a refusal to take into account a whole series of objective and subjective conditions. ...” It is obvious that these criticisms could be directed not only to the Castroists on the continent, but also to those in Cuba. In another collective work written in 1964, Mikhailov repeated exactly the same arguments and added that exclusive insistence on armed struggle might isolate the vanguard from the masses and facilitate its destruction.37 In November 1963, the theoretical organ of the CPSU Central Committee opened its pages to a Latin American Communist leader to condemn the at­ tempts made to spread armed struggle throughout the continent.38 E. Rodriguez’s article (Uruguayan Communist party), though it took pains to be moder­ ate and delicately expressed, was nonetheless along the same lines as Mikhailov’s. It also warned against drawing mechanical conclusions from the Cuban experi­ ence, and pointed out that the Cuban Revolution had not “automatically solved the problem of the power relationships holding between the people and its oppressors in other countries,” even if it had accelerated the revolutionary pro­ cess. “Putchism” and “adventurism” were therefore to be avoided. Lenin’s LeftWing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, was duly quoted. In his conclusion, the author wrote, “Time and again, we are thankful for the Cuban Revolution which makes it possible, or rather which forces us, to talk about these ques­ tions once again.” This was a strange way of thanking Cuba, which the Cubans undoubtedly took for cynicism. The existence of differences of opinion in the Soviet Union on this issue of the pertinence of armed struggle in Latin America is revealed indirectly through the writings of certain authors, one of whom, Arnold Kalinin, a special­ ist in Cuban affairs, was undoubtedly more sensitive to the Cuban leaders’ viewpoints. Given that in 1963, the dominant tendency was clearly opposition to armed struggle, his opinions are expressed very discretely. In an article pub­ lished in Kommunist one month after Rodriguez’s article appeared, he wrote, “The Cuban experience of change towards socialism is of vital significance for Latin America, not only in general terms, but also with respect to several de­ tails and particular aspects. This is so because economic and social conditions are similar in many ways to other Latin American countries.”39 In a collective work also written in 1963, he took what might be qualified as a centrist posi­ tion. “The Cuban Revolution,” he wrote, “has contributed to a real clarifica­ tion of our understanding of the question of the paths to be taken to achieve victory in the national liberation struggle. It has shown us once again that a true revolution is only possible when it combines all forms of struggles, with the predominance of one form or another depending on the distribution of

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power, the place, the time, and present conditions.” He did not gloss over the fact that in Cuba “in the final analysis, it was armed struggle led by the rebel army and its leader, Fidel Castro, that became the decisive form in the strug­ gle.”40 It is revealing to note that in another contribution in the same work in which the author, A. F. Shul’govskii, was reviewing “the struggle of the patriotic forces of Latin America for economic liberation,”41 none of the armed struggles taking place was mentioned. Shul’govskii very strongly cited the example of Chile where unity among Communists, socialists and other leftist groups was developing to promote political action of the parliamentary brand. Speaking of the necessity of creating a single anti-imperialist front, he wrote that the Chilean experience had “immense importance.” “In no other country of Latin America is the struggle for an independent economy and for the strengthening of national independence anchored on such a highly organized power base of patriotic forces.”42 During the summer of 1964, the Soviet debate on armed struggle appears to have increased and led to polarization. This was reflected rather eloquently in two articles that appeared in the theoretical organ of the CPSU Central Committee. The first article condemned armed struggle with unprecedented explicitness.43 The authors advanced several reasons for their condemnation, the first and most important of which referred to what was considered to be the main political task of the moment-that is, the unification of all progressive forces within a single national liberation front. In this respect, any “artificial” attempts to step up the revolutionary process, such as turning to armed struggle, could result only in dividing the progressive forces. The fact that the authors offered specific examples to support their condemnation was a relatively new phenomenon. For instance, they wrote, “the armed peasant rebellions organized in Peru in 1963 by extremist elements” led to repressive measures against the Communist party, the trade unions, and other progressive organizations in this country. In Ecuador, so they said, armed struggle contributed to the success of the July 1963 military coup d’etat which led to the arrest of Communist party leaders. In the case of Venezuela, armed struggle was not explicitly disa­ vowed, probably because their positions were contrary to those of the Vene­ zuelan Communist party. However, the authors thought they should point out that Communist party membership there had dropped from 35,000 in 196061 to 20,000 “during the last two years,”* as a result of its being outlawed by the government and because of the repression it suffered. The general message of the article was that the situation in Latin America was not ripe for armed struggle. Considerable political work still had to be done to prepare for revolu­ tionary change, and armed struggle would prove to be only an obstacle to this work.

♦In other words, since it had been practicing armed struggle.

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Less than a month after the publication of this article, the journal Kommunist published another one on Latin America with a fundamentally opposite viewpoint. The author, A. M. Sivolobov, party cadre rather than researcher, used unprecedented bluntness in speaking in favor of armed struggle, thus revealing the proportions the debate had assumed. He affirmed that in many countries agrarian reform was so pressing a matter that it was practically inevitable that the peasants, frustrated by the half-hearted measures that most of the time remained a dead letter, would “move on to direct action,” seize the land, and take the means to defend themselves. This was presented as a situation de fait on which to base further understanding and actions. Urban movement activity— that is, Communist party action, should be adjusted to fit this situation even if the Communists did not have control over it. It was also considered necessary to “combine the urban mass revolutionary movement and the active peasant movement.”44 The author thought he could affirm quite bluntly that “in countries where dictators, valets of foreign monopolies, are in power, the de­ veloping of a broad fighting front, including armed struggle and the creation of partisan detachments, is a totally justified path.” He spoke favorably about several examples of armed struggle in Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, and Paraguay. As for Venezuela, he flatly contradicted the pessimistic views expressed by the authors of the previously quoted article by affirming that, despite police and army action, the people’s struggle is taking on an increasingly intense char­ acter and that “the size of the fighting units is constantly growing.” During the same period, in a rather esoteric paper, Arnold Kalinin preached coexistence between the Castroist-inspired guerrilla movements and the Com­ munist parties, in the absence of any closer form of unity. His moderating re­ marks, which were couched in the form of a reminder of the Cuban revolu­ tionary experience, were aimed at the more intransigent of the two-the guerrilla movements. Kalinin first of all pointed out that, contrary to certain theses popular in Latin America which held that the countryside was the sole center for political activity, the Cuban Revolution had not been exclusively a peasant revolution.45 Even though the Cuban Communist party had held certain mistaken views which had slowed down its “active entry into revolutionary struggle,” he wrote, nonetheless, it had “in the final analysis, taken the correct path” and made an important contribution to the revolution by mobilizing sympathetic urban workers. The mistaken positions to which he alluded were, of course, the de­ nunciation of the guerrilla movement as adventurist and the refusal to’support it until 1958. Kalinin thought it necessary to recall that in 1959, Fidel Castro had re­ fused to take up a campaign against communism and criticized those who did. *

*Kalinin thus did not mention the remarks Fidel Castro made earlier the same year which were just the contrary. y

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Kalinin stressed that the Communist party was right to keep “an autonomous place ’ in the ranks of the revolutionary organizations during the first stage of the Cuban Revolution,46 which is particularly interesting when it is recalled that the theses on revolutionary democracy were in full bloom at this time. He was probably not trying to contest the applicability of these theses to Latin America so much as he was trying to stress the necessity of preserving the Communist party’s importance prior to a seizure of power. As Kalinin seemed to be addressing himself to the Latin American revolutionary movement, he wanted to stress the fact that these Communist parties were the representatives of the Marxist-Leninist ideology to which Fidel Castro had finally rallied. What should be noticed here is that Kalinin, in his conciliating remarks, practically put the Communist parties on the defensive. One sometimes has the impression that in his efforts to defend them he tried to justify the very principle of their existence. The attitude of the Soviet adversaries of armed struggle, however, was quite different. In 1963, prior to these last writings, the armed-struggle issue was such a delicate matter that an unwatchful reader might not have been able to detect the divergences expressed by the authors of the various contributions. Indeed, those Soviet authors who were opposed to it sometimes said that the peaceful road was not an absolute, whereas those more favorable to it also spoke about the parallel necessity of other forms of struggle. Their positions might there­ fore seem complementary. However, there were certain very clear signs that permit a distinction between the adversaries and the defenders of armed strug­ gle. The former always wrote of the danger of drawing “mechanical conclusions” from the Cuban experience and of wanting to artificially step up the revolu­ tionary process. The latter never used this language. The former never placed in a favorable light the armed struggles going on in Latin America. The latter did, and frequently cited the example of Venezuela. The former preferred to use the example of Chile. However, as has been seen, from 1964 on, as the divergences became wider, all ambiguity disappeared. The existence of this debate proves that the Soviet ruling circles were not uniformly and unanimously opposed to armed struggle in Latin America during the 1960s, as is frequently believed. This becomes even clearer when one notes the manner in which the debate came to be settled after Khrushchev’s fall in October 1964. The 1963-64 debate also reveals that the positions on this issue adopted by Khrushchev’s successors were not simply the fruit of extemporaneous im­ provisation.

SOVIET POLICIES AFTER KHRUSHCHEV’S FALL If only the changes that came about in Soviet policy regarding the inter­ national Communist movement after Khrushchev’s fall are considered, there is

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reason to believe that his behavior in this area was one of the important reasons for his removal. Indeed, the new Soviet leaders hastened to work with other socialist countries and Communist parties to repair the damage caused to Soviet political authority by the conflict with China and the way Khrushchev handled it. They moved quietly and discretely, in a pragmatic and often very efficient manner. Without repudiating any of the general principles being challenged by China, they ceased their ideological polemics with that country and took steps to increase trade with it. They adjourned the conference of Communist parties that Khrushchev had called for December 1964 with the express intention of having China condemned and ousted from the movement, despite the opposition of several parties not even belonging to the Chinese camp. In this way they avoided not only a decisive split with China, but also and especially a move that would have accentuated and underscored their divergences with those parties which otherwise wished to keep on friendly terms with the Soviet Union. Even though the new Soviet leaders had no success with China (their hopes must have been dim), it was quite another story for countries like North Vietnam and North Korea. In early 1965, Prime Minister Kosygin visited these two countries and granted them multiform aid, with no demands for complete alignment on their part. North Vietnam was given much appreciated political and military support that Khrushchev, in his time, had not wanted to grant. These two countries, which were at the time politically much closer to China than to the Soviet Union, rapidly evolved toward a position of benevolent neutrality which was very poorly received in Peking and which satisfied Moscow. Still with the aim of improving their situation in the Communist move­ ment and socialist camp, the new Soviet leaders withdrew the various forms of pressure Khrushchev had put on Romania in order to force it into economic integration with CEMA (Council for Economic Mutual Assistance), which had been the cause of its rapprochement with China.47 Here again, this was done without abandoning the principles at stake and by increasing economic aid. This flexibility on the part of the new Soviet leadership considerably slowed down the deterioration of Soviet-Romanian relations. Soviet policy concerning Cuba and the Communist movement in Latin America seems to have been inspired by what is known as Togliatti’s memoran­ dum.48 The leader of the Italian Communist party, who died during his stay in the Soviet Union in August 1964, had penned a memorandum for his party, some days before his death, on the problems in the international Communist movement. In this memorandum he first of all expressed his doubts and reserva­ tions about the advisability of folding the International Conference of Com­ munist Parties, due to take place some months later. According to Togliatti, the unity of the Communist movement should not be sought in a negative way by condemning China, but rather by seeking concrete solutions to the problems confronting the various sectors of the movement. Since these problems, accord­ ing to him, differed from one part of the world to another, he proposed that a

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series of regional meetings be held by the West European parties, the Latin American parties, and so forth, maintaining that these meetings would have greater chances of arriving at positive, concrete results than would a world con­ ference, perhaps justified only after such meetings had taken place.49 Although the Soviet leaders did not apply Togliatti’s memorandum to all situations, it does seem that they applied it to Latin America. In fact, they managed to have a conference of Latin American Communist parties organized in Havana for December 1964 under the patronage of the new Cuban party. * The conference, which was the first of its kind since 1929, yielded important results.50 First of all, a compromise was reached between Cuba and the majority of the parties on the thorny question of armed struggle. The conference ap­ proved armed struggle in the case of six countries. According to the terms of the communique, all the participants accepted responsibility to “actively sup­ port ... the freedom fighters” of Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, and Haiti. The most significant armed struggles in Latin America were being waged in the first three countries, and has already been mentioned, it was on the struggle in Venezuela that the Cuban leaders based their greatest hopes. They had reason therefore to be satisfied. One paragraph in the com­ munique was specifically devoted to Venezuela, and underlined the importance of this struggle: “an active solidarity movement of all Latin American countries with the liberation struggle being waged by the people of Venezuela should be organized on a continent-wide basis.” The Communist parties of these six coun­ tries would continue therefore to participate in armed struggle alongside the Castroist groups, with the support of the other parties. The other parties could continue using peaceful means, with Cuba’s approval. This was an implicit con­ clusion of the communique, in that only six countries were to be supported in their armed struggles. The compromise contained a potential danger, however, for the majority of the parties, one that was undoubtedly limited by the terms of the communique: the fact that their approval of armed struggle in other countries might lead to the resurgence of this issue on their own agendas. The new Soviet leaders showed great adroitness in seeing that this con­ ference got organized. Their skill was soon to bear fruit. The fact that the conference was held under the aegis of the Cuban party in a sense established Cuba’s leadership of the Communist movement in Latin America. The first paragraphs of the communique dealt with the other parties’ commitments to Cuba. They affirmed their duty “to continue spreading the movement for solidarity with Cuba over the whole continent and to render the movement increasingly dynamic and well-organized.”51 This movement was

♦The precise date of the conference is not known. The communique issued after this conference and published by Pravda (January 19, 1965) only mentions that it took place “in late 1964.”

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to struggle, among other things, for suppression of the economic blockade and the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the Latin American coun­ tries and Cuba. The Cuban leaders were definitely very satisfied with the regional leader­ ship the Havana coordination meeting conferred upon them. This satisfaction was probably not shared by the more conservative Latin American parties. The outcome of this conference shows once again both that it is often wrong to identify the positions of these parties with those of the Soviet Union, and that the latter endeavored several times to play referee to these parties and Cuba. Moreover, by organizing this conference, it also protected the interests of these parties. In fact, the communique, which stipulated the necessity of holding further bilateral and multilateral meetings, made the Communist parties the favored revolutionary interlocutors of the Cuban Revolution in Latin America, to the disadvantage of the Castroist-inspired groups. It was the party-to-party relations within the context of the relations between Cuba and Latin America that were favored by this new formalization. Finally, it must be noted that none of the pro-Chinese Communist parties that had begun to form in Latin America were invited to the Havana conference. The communique even denounced them implicitly, not only by calling for the unity of the Communist movement, but also by stating that “all splinter tactics, no matter what their origin or nature, must be categorically condemned.’’ China chose to ignore the Havana conference. However, the Albanian press agency expressed discontent over the fact that the meeting took place “without the participation of Marxist-Leninist groups and Parties from Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and so forth.”52 The organ of the Central Committee of the Albanian Party wrote, “. . . it was with diabolic aims and in order to exploit, in the interests of their anti-Marxist plans, the sympathy that revolutionary Cuba enjoys among communists of various countries, that the Soviet revisionists organized this meeting in Havana. Regardless of the revisionists’ diabolical schemes, we are convinced that the Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries from Cuba will not fall into the revisionist trap.”53 Therefore, Cuba was given the benefit of the doubt. * It must be said that even if the condemnation and exclusion, from the Havana conference of pro­ Chinese groups in the Latin American Communist movement represented an important victory for the Soviet Union and the Communist parties on the continent, for Cuba it was not a very important concession to have made.

*In a report presented to Chou En-lai in March 1965 and made public only in 1977 Enver Hoxha was far more severe. He stated: “In Latin America, the Soviets really got their hooks into some leader who calls himself ‘communist’ and whose equivocal views, far from unifying the true revolutionary Marxist-Leninist forces, weakens them and help the revisiomst heads of other communist workers parties in Latin America and all modern re­ visionists.

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Neither before nor after the Havana conference had the Cuban leaders shown interest and sympathy for the pro-Chinese groups and parties in Latin America. The reason for this is undoubtedly related to the composition and political activity of these groups. According to Ernst Halperin,55 they recruited their members mainly from among the most conservative elements of the Communist parties—that is, the former Stalinists unhappy with the iconoclastic changes introduced by Khrushchev in the area of Soviet policy and ideology. Their activity was mainly verbal and consisted essentially in denouncing the revision­ ism of the Soviet Union and the Communist parties on the continent, and in distributing Chinese literature. Though they advocated armed struggle, they generally refused to engage in it under the pretext of waiting for their party to grow and for a more favorable juncture to present itself. This won them the scorn, not only of the Communist parties, but also of the Castroist groups. Certain Western observers ’6 saw the Soviet Union’s support of the Havana conference and of armed struggle in some Latin American countries as a decep­ tive tactic intended from the start to be quickly abandoned, and designed strictly with the purpose of isolating China and its partisans in the Communist movement. This interpretation seems too rash. It is true that the main Soviet objective was to neutralize China’s influence over Cuba and Latin America. However, even outside the Sino-Soviet conflict, the relations between Cuba and the Latin American Communist parties required efforts of harmonization. Finally, the support given armed struggle in some countries does not appear to be simply a circumstantial, tactical concession, but seems to stem from a prag­ matic appraisal of the Latin American situation. It must be pointed out that in 1964 armed struggle was at its strongest, and it was possible to entertain certain hopes for victory. It was possibly this kind of empiricism that in part motivated some Soviet authors to take a favorable attitude toward armed struggle, well before there was talk of the Havana conference. In general, even though the Soviet Union never (at least not openly) tried to foment, ab initio, armed struggle during the 1960s, it did manage to support some of the existing struggles that showed some hope of success. This was the case with Vietnam and Angola, among others. For this reason, it can be said that, in general, Soviet reticence concerning the armed-struggle issue is not the result of some form of dogmatism on the subject, but stems rather from a certain caution and pessimism, or even what they themselves call realism. The support that the new Soviet leaders extended to Vietnam and to the conclusions reached at the Havana conference obviously risked complicating their relations with the United States. It seems they were prepared to pay the price. Priority was clearly given to righting the Soviet Union’s situation in the socialist camp and the Communist movement. One might even say there was a deliberate toughening of attitude on the part of the Soviet Union toward the United States. During the years that followed, the Soviet leaders, while still making efforts to isolate China, pursued a policy of indirect confrontation with the United States. This was seen not only in Vietnam, but also in the Middle

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East, from the time of the June 1967 Israeli-Arab conflict. It is true that China made this task easier by contributing to its own isolation during the Cultural Revolution which took place from 1966 to 1970. During 1965, the Soviet Union showed many signs of adhering quite closely to the agreements drawn up at Havana between the Cuban leaders and the leaders of the Latin American Communist parties. As early as January, a Pravda editorial hailed “the patriots of Venezuela, Guatemala and various other countries,” who, “weapons in hand, continue a just battle to defend their national interests.”57 It should also be noted that in early 1965, S. S. Mikhailov was replaced as director of the Latin American Institute of the Academy of Sciences. Undoubtedly, one of the causes of his replacement was the fact that he had been the most prolific spokesman against armed struggle during the two last years of the Khrushchev period. He was named ambassador to Brazil and replaced at the Latin American Institute by B. T. Rudenko. It seems that in the case of the armed struggle in Venezuela, the Soviet Union did not limit itself strictly to political or verbal support. In March 1965, the Venezuelan police arrested two Communist messengers who had entered the country with $330,000, apparently meant to finance the armed national liberation front dominated at the time by the Communist party. The incident was known as the “Beltrami affair,” which was the name of one of the two messengers, an Italian citizen connected with the Italian Communist party. Even though it was never definitely established where the money came from, every­ thing seems to indicate that it was sent by the Soviet Union via the Italian party.58 It is interesting to note that the interest the Soviet leaders expressed in armed struggle in Latin America seems to have surpassed (perhaps accidentally?) the terms stipulated in the Havana Declaration. For instance, even though Peru was not mentioned in the declaration, in July Radio Moscow’s international service broadcast in the Quechua language favorable comments about the popu­ lar struggles which were developing into guerrilla movements in remote Peruvian regions.59 On July 7, a correspondent from the Tass Agency in Peru was arrested and accused of reporting biased news used by Moscow radio. The Peruvian presi­ dent Belaunde Terry stated thereafter that “Moscow and Havana radio were inciting-fortunately to no avail—our people to break the law.”60 It would un­ doubtedly be an exaggeration to say that the USSR was trying to intensify the armed struggle in Peru, when the Communist party in that country was still waiting to see what attitude to adopt toward the struggle. These incidents none­ theless reveal greater sympathy on the part of the Soviet Union toward the Latin American guerillas during this period. Regarding the evolution of Cuban policy, the Soviet leaders had reason to feel great satisfaction. Rendered confident by the understanding reached with the USSR, Fidel Castro began to find the Sino-Soviet polemic (reopened by the Chinese) increasingly annoying and detrimental, and began to display a cer­ tain anger over China’s determination to win acceptance of its political views in

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Cuba, as well as in the rest of the Communist movement. In a speech delivered on March 13, 1965 in Havana, he complained about the fact that it was “the little countries like Vietnam and Cuba”—those most threatened by U.S. im­ perialism—that suffered the most from the divisions reigning in the socialist camp. Without directly naming the Chinese, he called the polemic “byzantine and academic.” “I believe,” he said, “that as long as we shall have to confront the attacks of imperialism, it would be ridiculous for us to do as they did in the fable: to start arguing whether we are involved with greyhound dogs or boxers, or whether it is made of paper or iron.” Alluding to the distribution of Chinese polemic literature in Cuba, he said, “We want to make it known that it is our Party which handles the propaganda here . . . and we do not want the apple of discord to come here.” He thought it well to specify, obviously for the Chinese, that “Our enemies, our only enemies are Yankee imperialists. Our only irre­ ducible contradiction is with Yankee imperialism. The only enemy towards whom we are prepared to point our sword is imperialism.” He added, “Let no one believe we can be given lessons in revolutionary conduct.”61 It can easily be understood why this speech was reproduced in extenso in the Soviet press, while Peking chose to ignore it. The Soviet leaders must also have been delighted with Cuba’s presence at the Conference of Communist Parties held in Moscow in March 1965. In order to quiet the fears of several parties, the Soviet leaders had to promise that the conference would make no move to condemn or oust China from the Communist movement, and the promise was respected. Nonetheless, the purpose of the conference was to isolate China (which denounced the conference) and Cuba’s presence there somewhat contributed to this. A widening gulf was created between Cuba and China. This was not seen at this time as an irreversible process and the Chinese press limited itself to attributing Cuba’s participation in the Moscow conference to “na­ ivete.”62 Fidel Castro’s attitude toward China deserves some words of explanation. Remarks such as those just quoted are often interpreted as lip service that the Cuban leader felt obliged to pay the Soviet Union. This is an oversimplification: Cuba later received the same economic support from the USSR without Fidel Castro feeling the slightest obligation to give anything in return. Many have difficulty in understanding Cuba’s attitude toward China in any other way be­ cause of the ideological affinity that seemed to link these two countries so strongly: their revolutionary dynamism and the similarity of their strategies. Both focused on the Third World, the peasantry, and armed struggle. To exag­ gerate the unifying function of these similarities is to take a very intellectual view of things. The Cuban leaders, Fidel Castro in particular, were not intel­ lectuals. Ideological debates did not interest them. Castro’s revolutionary past and the way he arrived at Marxism speak volumes on this subject. What con­ cerned him above all was the immediate effectiveness of concrete revolutionary struggle in Latin America. And China had nothing to offer in that context but an “academic” debate and “lessons in conduct.” Similarly, as has already been

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pointed out, the groups in Latin America that appeared to enjoy the support of China were far busier (in the name of a correct ideological position) criticiz­ ing even those parties or movements involved in armed struggle, than in taking up armed struggle themselves. This is what made Fidel Castro consider the Chinese polemic harmful. On the other hand, the Soviet Union was supporting and giving aid at this time to some far more important parties that were in­ volved in armed struggle. Even if the Cuban leaders undoubtedly considered this aid insufficient, it was at least considered to be concrete aid. Moreover, the Soviet Union was supplying Cuba with free weapons, part of which Havana could send on to movements fighting on the continent.63 Therefore, in 1965 Fidel Castro very likely considered the Soviet Union relatively more efficient than China, not only because of the economic support Cuba was receiving from the USSR, but also because of the immediate and con­ crete contribution the Soviet Union was making to the Latin American revolu­ tionary movement. The USSR also had a cleaner record with Cuba by not trying to outdo Cuba in the matter of militancy-that is, by not giving Cuba “lessons in revolutionary conduct.” In early October 1965, Fidel Castro announced the transformation of the Unified Party of Socialist Revolution into the Communist Party of Cuba and the creation of its first Central Committee. The Soviet leaders must have seen this as the first step * toward solving a problem they had frequently raised: the neces­ sity of institutionalizing the Cuban Revolution along the lines of the model of the socialist camp—that is, by developing and strengthening the Marxist-Leninist party on all levels of society.64 This announcement must have not only satisfied the Soviet Union, but also the Latin American Communist parties. It put their closeness to the Cuban Revolution into relief and in this way strengthened, at least superficially, their own revolutionary legitimacy. In the same speech in which he commented on the constitution of the Communist Party of Cuba, Fidel Castro officially announced the departure of Guevara, who had disappeared from the Cuban political scene in April. Nu­ merous rumors were already circulating as to the reasons for his departure. There was talk of political elimination and even physical elimination. It was recalled that Guevara was in profound disagreement with Castro over the reordering of the priorities of the Cuban economy and the abandonment of the plans for massive, fast-paced industrialization; over Cuba’s positions regarding the SinoSoviet conflict; and over the compromise made on armed struggle in Latin America during the Havana conference. The letter written by Guevara and read by Fidel Castro in his October 3 speech perhaps lends some credibility to this last hypothesis. Guevara wrote, “Other sierras of the world are calling for the

’Indeed, this was only the first step; in 1974, the Cuban Communist party had not yet held its first congress.

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contribution of my humble efforts. I can do what you are not allowed to do be­ cause of your responsibilities at the head of Cuba. . . .” Twice Guevara stressed the fact that he “freed Cuba from all responsibility” for his future actions. In this extremely moving letter which showed deep friendship for Fidel Castro, one of Guevara’s sentences seems to capture the essential difference between himself and the leaders of the Latin American Communist parties. Reminding Fidel of the early days of the Cuban Revolution, Guevara wrote, “In a revolu­ tion, if it is real, one must triumph or die.”65 Regardless of the real reasons for Guevara’s departure, one thing is cer­ tain—the news must have been welcome in Moscow. Some months before his departure, in a speech delivered in Algiers, he had criticized the trade relations between the socialist countries and the Third World countries which were carried out on the basis of international prices “established on the basis of un­ equal exchange.” This is why, he said, “the socialist countries are, to a certain extent, accomplices in the imperialist exploitation.”66 Guevara’s departure was one of a whole series of facts which, from the Soviet point of view as well as the Cuban, marked an objective and important rapprochement between the two countries. The events that followed would show that it was a mistake to take this for a process of Cuban alignment with the Soviet Union. In fact, a number of events that occurred in 1965 were the source of dis­ sensions that would show up later. The first of these was the beginning of U.S. bombings of North Vietnam in February, which, as they continued, looked more and more like a challenge on the part of the United States to Hanoi’s allies—that is, to the socialist camp and primarily to the Soviet Union. The second event was the U.S. military intervention in Santo Domingo against Colonel Camano’s constitutionalists who were proposing to reestablish parliamentary democracy. The U.S. authorities believed (apparently for no valid reason) that the Cuban Revolution might be repeated in Santo Domingo. The suddenness and brutality of the intervention stirred up a great commotion in Latin Amerca and through­ out the world. The Soviet Union drew a connection between the two events and concluded that U.S. imperialism was leaning toward fascism. In July the World Marxist Review published an editorial entitled, “Stop the Drift to World War.” Another event behind this alarm, in addition to the Vietnam escalation and the intervention in the Dominican Republic, was the U.S. plan, Multilateral Force (MLF), to get West Germany to participate in a multilateral nuclear strike force. The first two acts remained “the most blatant” acts of aggression and brought to light how dangerous for world peace was this determination on the part of the United States “to hold back the course of history anywhere in the world.”67 As for Latin America, the Soviet leaders denounced this other version of the Monroe Doctrine, called “the Johnson Doctrine,” summed up in a sentence used by the U.S. president to justify Santo Domingo: “The American nations cannot, must not and will not permit the establishment of another communist government in the Western hemisphere.” Some months later, a resolution

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presented to the House of Representatives, which would have provided for an inter-American armed force to intervene when necessary anywhere in Latin America, was vigorously denounced. This plan, which never saw the light of day, was considered an appendix to the Johnson Doctrine, designed to give it international legitimacy.68 If nothing else, it was proof of U.S. determination. The intervention in Santo Domingo, the Johnson Doctrine, and in retro­ spect, the downfall of the Goulart government in Brazil in 1964 gave rise in the Soviet Union to a theory of U.S. backlash in Latin America, which would be fully developed a bit later. The events of 1965 inaugurated a period of Soviet strategical reappraisals of Latin America, characterized by wavering and hesitation. The editorial in the World Marxist Review already mentioned69 affirmed in a general way that the imperialist bombing and armed intervention cannot be stopped by protests alone . . .” and that “the imperialist aggression can only be stopped by a com­ bination of all adequate means-political and military, mass actions and state initiatives.” The article said nothing specific about the particular strategy to be adopted by the various sectors of the Communist movement. In October 1965, a conference was held in Moscow to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the 7th Congress of the Comintern which had adopted the popular-front line, following Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and the rise of fascism in Europe. This essentially defensive line was designed to defend democracy against fascism and to avoid war. In the paper he presented before the commemorative conference, which dealt with “the ideas of the 7th Comin­ tern Congress and the anti-imperialist movements in Latin America,” B. T. Rudenko set up a parallel between the situation created by the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s and the situation in Latin America in relation to the United States. He stated, “at present, the principal task of the Latin American people is to assemble all democratic and progressive forces. Latin American Communists are fighting precisely to attain this great and noble goal, to unite around themselves broader and broader popular masses.”70 Rudenko did not criticize armed struggle. He even spoke about the necessity of “mastering all forms of struggle.” However, once again the fact must be recognized that armed struggle is not very compatible, at least in the early stages, with the task of attaining a maximum level of popular unity through a program that is almost completely limited to defending national independence and achieving democ­ ratization. It seems that during the last half of 1965 the Soviet leaders became in­ creasingly sceptical regarding the guerrilla movement’s chances of success in Latin America. This scepticism resulted not only from the recent manifestations of U.S. foreign policy and from the Johnson Doctrine, but also from the ac­ cumulation of defeats suffered by most of the guerrilla movements on the Latin American continent during 1965. Despite these factors, the Soviet Union continued to adhere to the com­ promise reached by the Conference of Communist Parties in Havana and to

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openly affirm its support of armed struggle in certain Latin American countries. For instance, on January 6, 1966, in a speech delivered on behalf of the Soviet delegation at the Havana Tricontinental Conference, S. R. Rashidov, alternate member of the CPSU Politburo, stated, “We express fraternal solidarity with the armed struggle waged by the patriots of Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and Guat­ emala for freedom against the puppets of imperialism.”71 Following the Tricontinental, the theoretical organ of the CPSU Central Committee, Kommunist, published in the same issue two articles devoted to the conference. Even though the two articles necessarily dealt with the anti-im­ perialist struggle, the first did not breathe a word about armed struggle, which had been one of the important themes discussed at Havana.72 On the other hand, the second was a fairly detailed vindication of armed struggle. It affirmed that the Soviet Union, “since the days of Lenin’s peace decree, has defended the peoples’ right to use all means possible against colonial oppression, including up­ risings and national liberation wars, and continues to defend it.”73 These two very different articles are a good illustration of the divergences or at least the hesitations entertained by the Soviet leaders on the armed-struggle issue. Two sources of friction for the Cuban side, which date from 1965, should be mentioned. The first was the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam which was to become a factor of conflict with the Soviet Union in 1966. It should be noted that Fidel Castro stated as early as March 1965, “We are in favor of the socialist camp taking the necessary risks for Vietnam.”74 The second had to do with the Venezuelan Communist party which in the final months of 1965 was preparing to pull out of the armed struggle.75 Considering the importance Cuba accorded to the struggle being waged in that country, its disappointment was enormous, and this was partly why Castro later abandoned the compromise reached in 1964 with the Latin American Communist parties.

NOTES 1. See the summary in Kommunist 18 (December 1962): 12-19, “A Triumph of the Leninist Policy of Peaceful Coexistence.” The commentator explained that at the time of the missile crisis, the Soviet government had measured “the distribution of forces with a sober spirit.” 2. Statement of the Chinese government,Pekin Information 31 (August 1963). 3. Quoted by Francois Fejto, Chine-URSS, Vol. 2, Le conflit (Paris: Pion, 1966), p. 200. 4. Ibid., p. 202. 5. Ibid., p. 202. 6. Khrushchev failed in his 1963-64 attempts primarily because of the opposition or tergiversations of certain neutralist or even pro-Soviet parties. On this point, see W. E. Grif­ fith, The Sino-Soviet Rift (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1964) and W. E. Griffith, SinoSoviet Relations 1964-1965 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1966). 7. Revolution, October 29, 1962, quoted by A. Suarez, Cuba: Castroism and Com­ munism 1959-1966 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1967), p. 171. 8. The October 31, 1962 Pravda gave moral support to the Cuban demands.

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9. H. Thomas, Cuba or the Pursuit of Freedom (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1971), p. 1414. 10. Ying-Hsiang Cheng, Idylle sino-cubaine et brouille sino-sovietique (Paris: Armand Colin (Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques), 1973, 11. See Survey of China Mainland Press for the end of 1962 and the first months of 1963. 12. W. E. Griffith, The Sino-Soviet Rift, op. cit., pp. 67-103. 13. A. Suarez, op. cit., p. 171. 14. Ibid. 15. Especially see M. V. Danilevich, Rabochii klass v osvoboditel'nom dvizhenii narodov Latinskoi Ameriki (The Working Class in the Liberation Movement of the Latin American Peoples) (Moscow: Gospolitizdat, 1962), p. 318. 16. A. B. Ulam, Expansion and Coexistence (New York: Praeger, 1968), p. 676. 17. Pravda, May 24, 1963. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid. 20. M. A. Serebrovskaia, “Forming the Socialist Method of Production in Cuba,” chapter of the collective work Osvoboditel'noe dvizhenie v Latinskoi Amerike (Moscow: iz. Nauka, 1964), pp. 57-58. 21. B. S. Nikiforov, “Urgent Problems of Latin America,” International Affairs 8 (August 1964): 93-97. 22. A. Suarez, op. cit., p. 179. 23. Radio Havana, 1733 GMT, Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Washington. 24. See the Pravda editorial of April 17, 1963 written for the anniversary of the Bay of Pigs. It was at the end of February 1963 that Soviet Defense Minister Field Marshal Malinovski made the statement quoted in Chapter 1 to the effect that “an attack on the Republic of Cuba would mean the beginning of the third world war.” 25. A. Suarez, op. cit., p. 183. 26. A look at only the titles of the editorials and articles published in the Soviet press following the signing of the joint declaration is fully convincing: “An Indestructible Friend­ ship and Monolithic Unity” (Pravda, May 26, 1963), “Here is Real Internationalism” (Pravda, May 26), “Our Fraternal Family is Monolithic and Indestructible” (Izvestia, May 26), “Leninist Principles in Action” (Pravda, May 27), “An Event of Great International Importance” (Pravda, May 29). 27. See the text of the proposal in Peking Review, June 21,1963. 28. Donald S. Zagoria, Vietnam Triangle (New York: Pegasus, 1967), pp. 42-43. 29. F. Fejtd, op. cit., Vol. 2, pp. 218-20. 30. Hoy, July 27, 1963, quoted by A. Suarez, op. cit., p. 189. 31. Blanca Torres Ramirez, Las relaciones cubano-sovieticas (1959-1968) (Mexico: El Coliegio de Mexico), pp. 77-78. (This little 128-page book is based on Cuban and Occi­ dental sources). 32. Ibid., pp. 78-79. 33. Ibid., pp. 79-80. . January 23’ 1964- The communique expressed satisfaction about the fact that 1964 had been proclaimed “the year of the economy” in Cuba, etc. .. 35. S. S. Mikhailov, “The Cuban Revolution and the National Liberation Movement in Latin America,” chapter of the collective work Piat’ let kubinskoirevoliutsii (Moscow iz Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1963), pp. 17-36. 36. Ibid. , .. .37'SWS‘ Mikhailov> “The Main Characteristics of the Latin American National Liberation Movement at Its Present State,” in Osvoboditel’ noe dvizhenie v Latinskoi Amerike (Moscow: iz. Nauka, 1964), pp. 15-16.

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38. E. Rodriguez, “Cuba and Revolution in Latin America,” Kommunist 16 (Novem­ ber 1963): 100-106. 39. A. Kalinin and V. Gorbachev, “A Socialist Beacon for the American Continent,” Kommunist 18 (1963): 96-105. Kalinin’s remarks should be compared to Mikhailov’s in order really to appreciate their meaning. 40. Arnold Kalinin, “The Cuban Revolution, a New Stage in the Liberation Struggle of the Latin American Peoples,” in Ekonomicheskie problemy stran Latinskoi Ameriki (Moscow: iz. Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1963), p. 483. Part of this chapter by Kalinin is trans­ lated into English in Soviet Image of Contemporary Latin America, ed. J. G. Oswald (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970), p. 349. By error, Oswald attributed Kalinin’s article to A. F. Shul’govskii. Shul’govskii’s position, which is expressed elsewhere in this collective work, is very different. 41. This is the title of his article in Oswald, op. cit., pp. 452-72. 42. Ibid., p. 459. 43. M. Kudachkin and N. Mostovec, “The Liberation Movement in Latin America,” Kommunist 11 (July 1964): 121-30. 44. A. Sivolobov, “The Peasant Movement in Latin America,” Kommunist 12 (August 1964): 100-107. 45. A. Kalinin, “Some Political Problems in the Development of the Cuban Revolu­ tion,” chapter of the collective work entitled Osvoboditel’ noe dvizhenie v Latinskoi Amerike (Moscow: iz. Nauka, 1964), pp. 23-24. 46. Ibid., pp. 27-28. 47. Jacques Levesque, Le conflit sino-sovietique et I’Europe de I’Est (Montreal: Presses de 1’Universite de Montreal, 1970), pp. 141-90. 48. This is the opinion of D. Bruce Jackson, Castro, the Kremlin and Communism in Latin America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969), pp. 25-26. 49. Rinascita, September 5, 1964, published in French with the title Le testament de Togliatti (Paris: Francois Maspero (dossiers “Partisans”), 1964). Togliatti cited the ex­ ample of the Italian Communist party in which, so he said, discussions on the nature of im­ perialism and the driving forces of the revolution gave rise to interminable debate. In the discussions concerning what concrete, immediate steps to take, “the Chinese polemic re­ mains completely disarmed and impotent.” 50. This was the opinion expressed in “Militant Unity of Latin American Commu­ nists,” World Marxist Review 8, No. 3 (March 1965): 46-47. 51. Pravda, January 19, 1965, (ibid). 52. ATA, February 16, 1965, quoted by Daniel Tretiak, Cuba and the Soviet Union: The Growing Accommodation (Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, 1966), p. 10. 53. Zeri ipopullit, February 16, 1965, quoted by D. Tretiak, op. cit., p. 39. 54. Enver Hoxha, Entretien avec Chou En-lai (27-28 mars 1965), Editions 8 Nentori, Tirana, 1977. 55. Ernst Halperin, “China and Latin America,” The China Quarterly (January, February, March 1967). 56. D. Bruce Jackson, op. cit., Chs. 3 and 6. 57. Pravda, January 14, 1965. 58. D. Bruce Jackson, op. cit., pp. 45-56. 59. Moscow in the Quechua language, July 29, 1965, 0030 GMT, Foreign Broadcast Information Service, (Latin America), August 5, 1965. Also see New York Times, July 22, 1965. 60. Lima Domestic, July 28, 1965, Foreign Broadcast Information Service (Latin America), July 29, 1965. 61. Pravda, March 18, 1965. 62. W. E. Griffith, Sino-Soviet Relations, 1964-1965 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1967), p. 90.

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63. In November 1965, Fidel Castro referred to “the extraordinary help” the Soviet Union had given in terms of arms. See A. Suarez, op. cit., p. 230. 64. In 1964, A. Kalinin, in the collective work Osvoboditel' noe dvizhenie v l.atinskoi Amerike, op. cit., p. 29, wrote: “The most important task [for Cuba] is to complete the pro­ cess of creating the Party, which in fact got underway in the first months of the Revolution.” 65. The text of Castro’s speech and Guevara’s letter are translated into French in Fidel Castro, Discours de la Revolution (edited by Christine Gluksman, Le monde en 10/18, Paris 1966,pp. 209-20). 66. Hoy, February 22, 1965, quoted by D. Tretiak, op. cit., p. 24. 67. World Marxist Review 8, No. 7 (July 1965): 3-9. 68. “U.S. Imperialism declares war on the peoples of Latin America,” World Marxist Reviews, No. 11 (1965): 3-8. 69. Ibid. 70. B. T. Rudenko, Za edinstvo vsekh revoliutsionnykh i democraticheskikh sil (Moscow: iz. Nauka, 1966). English translation in Joint Publications Research Service (Washington: July 1966), No. 36, 691, pp. 88-92. 71. Excerpts from Rashidov’s speech may be found in Stephen Clissod, ed., Soviet Relations with Latin America, 1918-1968 (London: Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 161. D. Bruce Jackson (op. cit., p. 93) states that the Soviet Union “virutally disavowed” its delegation at the Tricontinental Conference. In response to protests on the part of certain Latin American governments, the Soviet government said that the delegates at the con­ ference represented “social organizations,” and not the Soviet government. This is, in fact, a very old Soviet practice dating from Lenin’s day, whereby no responsibility is taken for decisions made by the Comintern and its executive. 72. luri Boshkarev, “The Havana Conference Has Shown the Unification of Anti­ Imperialist Forces,” Kommunist 3 (February, 1966): 106-8. 73. G. Starushenko, “The Struggle Against Neocolonialism Is the Business of Every People,” Kommunist 3 (February 1966): 109-17. 74. Speech of March 13, 1965, Pravda, March 18. 75. See B. Jackson, op. cit., pp. 52-67.

4 The New Radicalization of the Cuban Revolution

THE TRICONTINENTAL: SOVIET OBJECTIVES The holding of the Tricontinental Conference in Havana in January 1966 was the result of good Soviet-Cuban relations. Indeed, it was due to Soviet efforts in the Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organization (AAPSO) that the Tricontinental Conference was able to take place. These efforts, however, were not motivated only by the Soviet Union’s concern for Cuba.1 Since 1963, the AAPSO, which according to Soviet expectations was destined to coordinate the anti-imperialist struggle outside the limits of the socialist camp and the Communist movement, had become one of the main arenas of the Sino-Soviet conflict. China, whose revolutionary strategy was directed toward the Third World, very naturally tried to increase its influence in the organization. In 1964, China managed to have Peking named the head­ quarters for the fifth solidarity conference. * The Chinese leaders counted a great deal on this conference to develop their country’s political leadership in the Third World..In 1965, it had become clear that one of China’s main goals was to have the Soviet Union expelled from AAPSO. China considered the USSR an industrialized country in the process of restoring capitalism and a neocolo­ nialist country that was participating in the exploitation of the Third World. The main argument invoked by China with AAPSO members was that the Soviet Union was a European state, not an Asian state. Moscow responded by trying to stress the Asian character of Siberia.

♦The first one had taken place in Cairo in December 1957 and had been sponsored by the USSR, Egypt and China.

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In fully supporting the Cuban idea of a tricontinental conference, the Soviet Union was hoping to counter Chinese influence in the Afro-Asian move­ ment by broadening the forum to include Latin America and by having Cuba play a major role. The ultimate Soviet objective was the dissolution of AAPSO and its fusion with a permanent organization for tricontinental solidarity,2 which would result in cancelling the fifth conference scheduled for Peking. The Soviet hopes for seeing China neutralized or even isolated, both at the Havana conference and in an eventual permanent organization grouping the three con­ tinents, were based on the way the Latin American revolutionary forces would be represented at the conference. During the AAPSO meetings held in 1965, the Soviet Union very cleverly proposed that this thorny question be left to the good judgment of the Cuban leaders and a Latin American planning committee proposed by Cuba. Given the harmonization of relations between the Latin American Communist parties and Cuba since late 1964 and the frictions be­ tween the Cubans and the Chinese, the Soviet leaders had reason to expect the Latin American delegations to favor them over China. They knew very well that the latter would not dare take the risk of confronting Cuba by opposing the idea that Cuba choose the Latin American representation. The situation was different from that in the Sino-Soviet conflict, for it would have been difficult for Peking to find revolutionary justifications for a Sino-Cuban conflict in the eyes of Third World anti-imperialist movements. Therefore, the Soviet Union expected to use the Tricontinental to kill several birds with one stone: to increase China’s isolation with regard to Cuba, and to reduce Chinese influence in the Third World, while at the same time en­ hancing Cuba s revolutionary prestige—all of which would make it possible to hope for a strengthening of Soviet-Cuban relations. However, although the Tricontinental Conference brought Moscow important and even unexpected satisfaction on the first points, these satisfactions did not engender what seemed to be their logical conclusions. Many observers expected the Tricontinental to be the stage of a heated Sino-Soviet confrontation and to point up more division in the anti-imperialist movement than unity. Fidel Castro was certainly conscious of this danger and decided to counter it. He understood that the best way to do so was to limit China’s and the Soviet Union’s margin of initiative by constantly affirming Cuban leadership. He also knew that, as in other similar circumstances the polemic initiative would likely come from China. (The means employed by the Soviet Union against China were far more in terms of organization than in the use of ideological arguments.) This is why, on the eve of the Tricontinental, Fidel Castro made a statement which because of its timing seems to have been designed to put China on the defensive or to neutralize it. In his January 2 speech, he affirmed that he had just learned from the negotiations under way for the Sino-Cuban trade protocol that the Chinese would not supply Cuba with the 250,000 tons of rice it had furnished in 1965. Peking’s offer for 1966 was for only 135,000 tons. According to Castro, the Chinese justified this by

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referring to China’s internal needs and the aid it was obliged to offer Vietnam. He said rather ironically that he understood and accepted this latter justification. But no matter what the case might be, announced Castro, the result was a re­ duction by half of the Cuban citizens’ rice ration (a product of daily consump­ tion). Although no direct reference was made to pressure and economic black­ mail, the accusation was implicit. This affair would very rapidly become ex­ plosive. At the time resolutions were being made at the conference in support of Vietnam, the Chinese delegation made several attempts to connect the struggle against imperialism with the struggle against revisionism. The great majority of the delegations, however, followed the Cuban example and refused to lend support to any point that might nourish a Sino-Soviet confrontation; the Chi­ nese delegation was obliged to back off. Although the Cubans did try to neutralize China, they had no intention of having this benefit the Soviet Union. Faced with the tensions that might be provoked by the Soviet plan for the disappearance of AAPSO inside a triconti­ nental organization, they decided to withdraw their support of the plan.4 What finally prevailed was the idea of a tricontinental organization that would take the form of a federation. In fact, it was decided to retain AAPSO and create a parallel organization called the Latin American Solidarity Organization (LASO). The two would function separately and join their efforts in a tricontinental organization. However, in the end, the fifth AAPSO conference which was to have taken place in Peking was called off in the wake of rifts that shook the organization. As the Tricontinental Conference was going on, a rather low-key debate on the rice question continued outside the conference between the Chinese and the Cubans. On January 10 the Chinese said that their rice shipments to Cuba in 1965 had been exceptional and that they had not promised to supply the same quantities in 1966. The 1966 proposal of 135,000 tons was, so they said, superior to what had been delivered in 1962 and 1963, and about equivalent to the 1964 supplies. They added that since negotiations between the representa­ tives of the foreign trade ministries were still in progress, the Cuban government could appeal to a higher level of the Chinese hierarchy in order to settle the issue.5 Fidel Castro waited until the end of the Tricontinental Conference to fully vent his anger concerning the points of contention with the Chinese.6 He speci­ fied that if the Cuban government had not appealed to the upper echelons of the Chinese government, it was to avoid begging; he felt the Chinese had tried to put them in a position where they would be obliged to beg. He accused China, this time explicitly, of having massively distributed its propaganda (through Chinese personnel stationed in Cuba) to army officers and those in charge of political work, and complained that this propaganda was often addressed even to their homes. He revealed that in September 1965, the Cuban government had lodged a complaint with the Chinese embassy, reproaching it for behaving

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exactly as the U.S. embassy had before it. In spite of this, he said, the flood of Chinese propaganda material in Cuba had not diminished. Probably in allusion to the Maoist groups in Latin America, Fidel Castro also said: “We manifested our protest against the slanderous campaign being carried out against the Cuban Revolution in certain parts of the world by elements closely linked with the Chinese government.” On the rice affair, he accused China of having joined de facto the U.S. blockade. He concluded by saying that it was not a simple matter of rice tonnage, but a much more fundamental, important question of knowing “whether, in the world of tomorrow, the powerful countries will continue to arrogate to themselves the right to blackmail, to practice extortion and pressure, to commit aggressive acts and to strangle the smaller countries—whether, in the world of tomorrow for which revolutionaries are fighting, the ugliest methods will prevail-methods of piracy, oppression and swindling implanted in the world with the emergence of class society by slave regimes, the feudal system, absolute monarchies, the bourgeois state and,in the modern world, the imperialist states.” The violence of these remarks must have really shocked Peking. They were as stinging and offensive (if not more so) as the remarks China was addressing at the time to the Soviet Union. Although the Chinese response was relatively * moderate, it was obvious that with such remarks, the bridges between Cuba and China were closed for some time to come. Shortly thereafter, as it approached the Cultural Revolution, China carried its sectarianism to great lengths in its relations with the socialist countries with which it was still on fairly good terms. Completely involved in the struggle against its own revisionism, it demanded its friends in the socialist camp to explicitly denounce revisionism and the Soviet Union. Not only Cuba, but also Romania, North Vietnam, and North Korea refused to do this. Consequently, throughout the Cultural Revolution, these countries were no longer considered socialist in Chinese texts. Only Albania, along with China, deserved to be called socialist. North Vietnam was, however, not explicitly criticized because of the struggle it was waging. It was even defended and supported, but only in that it was fighting imperialism, and not because it was a socialist country.8 After the Cultural Revolution, China adopted a more flexible position and again took to considering North Vietnam, North Korea, and even Romania as socialist coun-

’Peking retorted that Fidel Castro had joined the “anti-China chorus,” that his re­ marks revealed his lack of confidence in his own cadres and officers, and it reserved itself the nght to give a systematic answer at a later date.7 In the same article, the editorial board of Renmin Ribao attributed Cuba’s economic difficulties to the fact that the Cubans had not transformed “the Cuban sugar-cane mono-culture, which is a legacy of imperialism... . [B]ut what the Khrushchev revisionists call ‘the principle of international division of labor’ has been put into practice, which further aggravated this lop-sided situation.” The Chinese response was relatively moderate in relation to Castro’s remarks, and in view of the fact that it did not develop into an ongoing polemic.

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tries. This was not the case, however, for Cuba; the brutal 1966 rupture had left its scar. From as early as 1966, the rupture was so deep that it even affected, as will be seen, the factor that would have been most likely to unite the two countries—that is, the ideology of armed struggle. Unlike the Chinese texts that did not explicitly name the Castroist groups and the influence the Cuban Revolution was having in Latin America, the Latin American pro-Chinese parties and groups did not hesitate to name and denounce them. Their political barrenness, their continual attacks on the most active revolutionary groups, and especially on the only victorious revolution on the continent, largely contributed to the failure of Chinese influence over the revo­ lutionary movement in Latin America. * The Soviet leaders obviously had every reason to be delighted with the events that occurred in February 1966. For three years, one of the most funda­ mental and constant concerns of their policy had been to neutralize China’s influence over Cuba. The position taken by Fidel Castro on February 2 sur­ passed all their fondest hopes. The impatience the Cuban leader displayed with China was, in fact, part of a process of radicalization that the Cuban Revolution was undergoing, which would soon lead to a very tense situation with the Soviet Union. The first signs of this new radicalization were manifested at the Tricontinental, to which atten­ tion must now be redirected, this time outside the Sino-Soviet context.

THE TRICONTINENTAL: CUBAN CONCERNS AND OBJECTIVES The Cuban leaders had their own reasons for wanting the Tricontinental Conference to take place in Havana. This was quite clear from the way the Cuban delegation conducted itself at the conference and especially from Fidel Castro’s closing speech. The Cuban prime minister devoted a great deal of his speech to violently denouncing what he called a denigration campaign against the Cuban Revolution being carried out by the “Trotskyite movement” since Guevara’s departure. He read several press clippings which said, among other things, that the Cuban leadership was “Sovietophile,” that Guevara had favored the revolution s ex­ pansion to the rest of Latin America and therefore opposed the Soviet line,” and that he had been opposed to Soviet influence in Cuba. According to these same sources, this explained the reasons for Guevara’s elimination, which repre­ sented “one aspect in the worsening of the world crisis of bureaucracy.”9.

♦On the other hand, China was able to maintain good relations with the important revolutionary movements in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

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Fidel Castro intended to show that, contrary to these accusations, the Cuban Revolution had not set itself apart from the world revolutionary process. It was precisely by means of the Tricontinental that Cuba intended to play a most active role at the vanguard of the worldwide struggle. One of the important tasks that the Cuban delegation gave itself during the conference was to strengthen and develop the movement of solidarity and aid to Vietnam. This intention was manifest not only through the resolutions and commitments adopted by the participating members, but also at the level of tricontinental organization. Although it had played an important role in AAPSO, the Soviet Union was not elected to the executive secretariat of the new organi­ zation (nor was China, for that matter). Alongside the revolutionary movements, only three socialist countries were represented-Cuba, North Vietnam, and North Korea. The Soviet Union and China were requested to sit on a committee for aid and assistance to the national liberation movements.10 In a sense they were asked to help but not to lead. These proposals which were supported by Cuba are a good reflection of the Cuban attitude during the following yearsthat is, that the leadership of the revolutionary movement, if there had to be one, ought to be held by the forces in combat and the socialist countries on the line of fire, or at the vanguard of the struggle against U.S. imperialism. From the '‘Tr m u 'r,ncontinental on> Cuba tried to develop a privileged relationship with North Vietnam and North Korea and to ride tandem with them in the socialist camp. Because of their strategic situation, and by coordinating their efforts these three countries were in fact in a good position both to resist the demands made by the Soviet Union and China to align with them, and to de­ mand greater support. .u ^‘th ’,,'1concealed rePr°achfulness toward the Soviet Union, the head of the Cuban delegation at the 23rd Party Congress held in March 1966 stated in his address that it was ‘the right and the duty of progressive and socialist govern­ ments to repulse the bombings and criminal actions of imperialism in Vietnam by all means at their disposal.”11 The situation in Vietnam, he affirmed “poses a fundamental question of principle to the entire communist movemint and especially to the socialist countries.” zationXlLT the V‘Tm War ,he Objec‘ Of -"ifestationsof the radicaliXn Thf f for«'8n Policy; it was also one of the causes of this radicalizelion. The feelings of solidarity on the part of the Cuban leaders for their Vietna­ mese counterparts were based not only on principle, but also on someth,ng much deeper. As the U.S. bombings continued over North Vietnam and as Soviet protests and political gestures did not succeed or suffice to put a su>p to the Fidel Castro must have understood that socialist-camp membership donC» r had so“ght for ” lo"8 f" security reasons, offered only feeble protec­ tion. According to him, rt should not be possible for a small socialist country

*It was Ernst Halperin who drew attention to this fact

during personal conversations.

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to be bombed with impunity by masses of imperialist planes.”12 As the Soviet Union persisted in its refusal to take “the necessary risks” to end U.S. attacks on North Vietnam, Cuba’s vulnerability seemed even greater. In a speech de­ livered shortly following the Tricontinental, Castro stated, “We don’t believe that it’s a good idea for a people to depend on others for its security, or even to count too much on others for its defense; we witness this in Vietnam.”13 In this context, Fidel Castro and the Cuban leaders seemed to be more convinced than ever that the security or even the survival of the Cuban Revolu­ tion could be guaranteed only by extending the revolution to the whole Latin American continent. For this to succeed, it would be necessary to take ad­ vantage of U.S. involvement in Vietnam and “create two, three, several Viet­ nams,” in accordance with the formula Guevara used in a message sent to the secretariat of the Tricontinental a little later. This is why Fidel Castro, in his speech at the Tricontinental, spoke of the necessity for the Latin American peoples not to confront imperialism separately and to see to it that imperialism was forced “to fight against each oppressed people, and at the same time, all oppressed people united.” This strategy was bound to stretch the terms of the compromise reached at Havana in late 1964 between Cuba and the Latin American Communist parties and lead to frictions among them. These frictions were already preluded by Castro’s remarks at the Tricontinental when he affirmed that “it’s not a ques­ tion of being revolutionary in theory only, but revolutionary in praxis” and that “if revolutionaries would devote less time and energy to theoretical speculation and a bit more to practical work . . . and if we would finally understand that, sooner or later, all peoples, or nearly all, will be obliged to take up arms to emancipate themselves, then the hour of freedom on this continent will be close at hand.”14 Although the Vietnam War does explain several of Cuba’s frustrations and shows of aggression toward the Soviet Union, it is not enough, however, to ex­ plain in itself the radicalization of Cuban foreign policy and the resulting ten­ sions with the Latin American Communist parties. As has already been pointed out, the Communist party of Venezuela was trying in late 1965 to withdraw from the armed struggle. As a result, great distrust of the Communist parties and disenchantment regarding the agreement reached with them in 1964 were sown in Fidel Castro’s mind. The Tricontinental inaugurated a period during which the solidarity the Cuban Revolution had principally manifested toward the Latin American Com­ munist parties and the socialist camp was shifted to Vietnam and the Latin American guerrilla movements, regardless of whether they were Marxist-Leninist or not. This tendency became more marked as time went on. In March 1966, Fidel Castro commented on the Chilean example where, even after Frei had defeated the Popular Unity party, the Communist party was still pursuing an electoral strategy. He said that if this example were useful for anything, “it is not for pointing out a new path to the revolutionary masses, but

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for posing more intensely than ever, to all the revolutionaries on the continent, the question whether it is possible to win the revolution peacefully in the face of exploiting classes.” According to him, “the Chilean experience will serve as even greater justification of the Cuban road for the revolutionaries on the continent.”15 On July 26, referring to the difficulties encountered by armed struggle in Latin America, the Cuban prime minister stated, “Defeatest elements always emerge and when the revolutionaries suffer a loss, the former say: ‘You see, we were right, this road was a dead end.’ And the imperialists say: ‘You see, we too were right; the revolutionaries have failed.’ And this strange coincidence occurs between what imperialism and the oligarchies are preaching and what certain gentlemen and certain organizations who call themselves revolutionary are preaching.”16 These remarks were aimed, of course, at both the Communist parties that opposed armed struggle and at least some of the Soviet leaders. In the same speech, Fidel Castro made a lengthy denunciation of “pseudo-revolutionaries” who “proclaim the failure of the true revolutionary path” and who present the Cuban leaders as “warmongers, as maniacs of armed struggle.” In answer to objections generally raised against armed struggle and which concern the ripeness of objective and subjective conditions, the Cuban leader, citing the Cuban ex­ ample, affirmed that the main driving force of revolution had been struggle, which itself had been “followed by a growing elan of revolutionary consciousness.” The radicalization of Cuba’s foreign policy also had repercussions on its domestic policy, in this area as well, there seemed to be a move toward Guevara’s ideas. Fidel Castro emphasized the necessity of “forming the communist man” during the building of socialism which had to have its own laws and which could not “in any form be the same as those of capitalist society.” He laid stress on the political consciousness and revolutionary capacities of the Cuban people and on the possibility of building socialism without appealing to “the peso sign.”17 Criticism of the Latin American Communist parties also had its counterpart in Cuba with the criticism made of the Cuban old-guard Communists. Fidel Castro denounced the servile men who knew only how to copy the experience and errors of others in the building of socialism, who looked for recipes in manuals and who had no faith in the capacity of the Cuban people to find their own way to socialism. Such remarks naturally reflected on the Soviet Union. As though this were not enough, Castro thought it well to specify, without, how­ ever, naming the Soviet Union: It may very well happen that a country be­ lieves it is building communism, when in fact it is building capitalism.”18 Pre­ viously he had stated that he did not believe a true Communist society could exist “in the midst of a world where misery still reigned,”19 thus underscoring Cuba’s solidarity with the Third World. All these stances strangely resembled the Chinese positions, and in more than one respect. It is obvious, however, that they were not inspired by Peking. In fact, the radicalization of socialist revolutions, whether in Yugoslavia (in

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1948), in China, or in Cuba, seemed to produce a certain number of similar political reactions toward the Soviet Union.20 The Soviet leaders’ discontent with regard to the evolution of Cuban policy must, however, have been miti­ gated by the fact that this evolution was not coordinated with China’s. Any such coordination would have singularly reinforced the Chinese position. The Soviet leaders were obviously not the only ones to complain about Cuban political stances in 1966. The Latin American Communist parties, and especially the ones that had espoused the peaceful road, most certainly must have complained to the Soviet Union about Cuba’s violations of the 1964 agree­ ment. Since the Soviet Union had sponsored this agreement, they must have asked the Soviet leaders to see that it was respected and to intervene in this respect with the Cuban leaders. If the Soviet Union complied, and it probably did, it was with great discretion. Publicly (that is, in the declarations issued by the leaders and in Soviet texts) the Soviet Union, at first and then again, tried to steer clear of the forth­ coming confrontation. No reproaches were addressed to the Cuban leaders. Mos­ cow tried to hold fast to the letter, if not the spirit, of the Havana agreement as though no change had taken place. In May 1966, the Tass Press Agency broad­ cast a Colombian communique announcing the reorganization of guerrilla groups, supported by the Communist party of Colombia, and the creation of the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombianas) under the command of Manuel Marulanda. The communique asked Colombian workers and peasants to support the guerrillas’ just struggle.21 In July, Pravda published an article that was favorable to the Colombian guerrilla movement.22 As has already been seen, in his speech before the Tricontinental, the head of the Soviet delegation, S. R. Rashidov had expressed “his fraternal solidarity with the armed struggle being waged by the Venezuelan patriots. . . ,”23 while at that very moment the Communist party of that country was in the process of withdrawing from the struggle. This was undoubtedly not a dis­ avowal of the Venezuelan party, but only a desire to stay out of the debates raging in Venezuela, and to respect the 1964 agreements as long as the Com­ munist party did not formally modify its position. It seems certain in any case that the Soviet Union was not responsible for the Venezuelan party’s with­ drawal from the armed struggle. Neither Fidel Castro (even when Soviet-Cuban relations were at their lowest ebb) nor Douglas Bravo, the guerrilla leader ex­ cluded from the Politburo of the Venezuelan party and later from the party itself because of his determination to pursue the armed struggle, have ever accused the Soviet Union of encouraging this withdrawal. Of course, the Soviet Union could have used its influence in the opposite direction and swung all its weight in favor of the party’s pursuit of the armed struggle. However, Soviet scepticism, based on important defeats suffered by the Venezuelan guerrilla movement in 1965, undoubtedly precluded this possibility. The most Douglas Bravo and his colleagues could expect from the Soviet Union was its neutrality,

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which it could justify in Cuba’s eyes by hiding behind the principle of non­ interference in the internal affairs of other parties. In 1966, Soviet disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution was out­ wardly apparent only from the great reduction in the number of articles and space devoted to Cuba in the Soviet press. * No similar trend was observed in Cuban-Soviet economic relations. The Soviet leaders had apparently learned from their experience in the Sino-Soviet conflict; they realized that economic sanctions and ideological polemics contained a principle of conflictive accelera­ tion likely to get out of control. The Communist movement was divided enough as it was, and they seemed determined to avoid open conflict with Cuba.f Since the Soviet press continued its relative silence in 1967, the degree of Soviet disenchantment with Cuba during this period is best revealed through Fidel Castro’s speeches and Cuban policy making. Nevertheless, certain changes in the orientation of Soviet policy toward Latin America are revealed through Soviet political moves and texts not directly dealing with Cuba. These changes become even more significant in the light of the Cuban challenge which reached its peak in 1967. The Soviet interest in developing intrastate relations-that is, with the regimes in power in Latin America-was already noticeably more intense in 1966. The Soviet researchers were increasingly interested in the policies of these regimes in an effort to discover the positive or potentially positive aspects. Con­ tradictory opinions were expressed on questions dealing with, for example, the Latin American plans for economic and commercial integration. Although the researchers had observed shortly before that these plans contributed to the strengthening of U.S. monopolies on the continent, they now saw them as the means, given certain circumstances, of developing independence with regard to the United States.24 In short, the centers of Soviet interest in Latin America seemed to be shifting.

THE THEORIZATION AND INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF THE CUBAN POLITICAL CHALLENGE Of course, according to some of these illustrious revolutionary thinkers, we are nothing but petty bourgeois adventurers with no political maturity. Fortunately, the Revolution came before our maturity!

♦Naturally, Fidel Castro’s speeches were no longer being published. tThe rare Soviet texts that responded to the Cuban criticisms did so indirectly and with great moderation. For instance, Pravda of September 7,1966 stated, “Sometimes even today, certain doubts are expressed: is it possible to build a communist society while imaround"1 C°nt,nUeS r° W°rld? The Pr°blem °Ught be Presented the other way around, can imperialism hold out when confronted with a communist society

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. . . When we see sectors of the clergy becoming revolutionary forces, how can we resign ourselves to seeing sectors of Marxism become ecclesiastical forces? Fidel Castro25

The years 1967 and 1968 were the most difficult years in the history of Soviet-Cuban relations. More specifically, with respect to revolutionary strategy in Latin America, it was in 1967 that the divergences crystallized into their cul­ minating and most seriously consequential form. In January 1967 these divergences, which until then had been expressed more or less sporadically, entered into the realm of theory with the publication in Havana of Regis Debray’s book Revolution within the Revolution. One hun­ dred thousand copies of this book, based on the author’s long conversations with Fidel Castro, were published, and it became one of the basic texts studied by the cells of the Cuban Communist party.26 It systematically expounded the Cuban positions. Debray’s book does not discuss the advisability of armed struggle as against the peaceful road. The necessity of the former is taken for granted. What is discussed are the methods to be used in this struggle. The book begins by criticizing three concepts of armed struggle popular in Latin America: armed self-defense, armed propaganda, and the guerrilla base. Armed self-defense, experimented with in Colombia and in Bolivia, con­ sists of the peasants’ seizure of land in a given region, or the workers’ seizure of factories, and taking up weapons to defend their conquests. According to De­ bray, armed self-defense is a product of what Lenin called spontaneism and economism, in that it has only a partial and local character, is based only on a temporary weakness of the established power, and does not take the necessary steps to totally overthrow this power, which can be done only by a rebel army organized for that purpose. Armed self-defense, which was practiced especially by the Trotskyites, but also during a certain period by the guerrillas of the Com­ munist party of Colombia, exposes the peasants or workers to bloody and use­ less repression. The second concept Debray criticizes-armed propaganda-seems to have been inspired mainly by the Vietnamese example. It is based fundamentally on guerrilla efforts to develop popular backing through political work, which in return would swell the guerrilla ranks. It consists, for the initial guerrilla groups, in going from village to village holding political meetings, explaining the ob­ jectives of the revolution to the peasants, discovering their specific claims in order to better support them, and so forth. If this procedure was so fruitful in Vietnam, it was because of the very great density of the rural population, its homogeneity, a more concrete political consciousness due to a state of war with a foreign enemy-all factors that allowed the armed propagandists to move through the population “like fish in water.” According to Debray, it is a very different story for Latin America, because the rural population is far more

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sparse. The guerrillas, unable to fall back quickly on as yet nonexistent armed forces, are therefore far more easily locatable and more vulnerable to enemy attacks. As a point of departure, armed propaganda requires very great disper­ sion of meager forces which are exposed to the denunciations of Indian peasants or others, who often are initially distrustful. The third military line, the guerrilla base, was unsuccessfully practiced in Peru by the MIR. It consists in developing a rebel army and guerrilla force from a fixed base of support, a “security zone,” which acts simultaneously as a base for expansion and withdrawal and for material organization and logistics. According to Debray, this seems to be an imitation of the Chinese concept. If it was so successful there, writes the author, it was because of the extent and depth of the Chinese territory and the quasi inaccessibility of certain points, given the enemy’s means of communication at the time. Moreover, certain viable fixed bases were able to survive in Vietnam during the 1950s due to their proximity to the Chinese border, which provided rear-guard support, and was, according to De­ bray, a “decisive asset.” Under the conditions existing in Latin America during the 1960s, the guerrilla base would surely have been swiftly annihilated. The alternative to these three concepts of armed struggle and to the prob­ lems they raise is the mobile guerrilla unit, the guerrilla foco, like those which carried the Cuban Revolution to victory. The advantages of the Cuban approach are discussed alongside the critique of the other three concepts. Through its mobility, the guerrilla foco has enormous advantages vis-a-vis the enemy, com­ pared to the guerrilla base, in terms of flexibility. By comparison with armed propaganda, it allows the guerrillas to be regrouped rather than scattered, and makes them a significant striking force. It can strike out at enemy forces when and where it chooses. Such blows to the enemy are the best possible propaganda for the masses. This touches on one of the essential points of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary thought or strategy: “Action is one of the most efficient instru­ ments for winning acceptance of ideas with the masses,” he affirmed once again, shortly after the publication of Revolution within the Revolution.21 As the guerrilla foco expands, it may subdivide into various columns or mobile focos. In this way, the rebel army is built and developed until the total con­ quest of power is effected. The guerrillas may and must have contact points in the towns and villages for political reasons or for replenishing supplies, but the greater part of the revolutionary forces must be united in mobile focos situated in nonpopulated and barely accessible areas. Thus, the Cuban example with all its essential characteristics becomes the most pertinent model of armed struggle if not the only pertinent model, for all of Latin America. In addition to the first three concepts just mentioned, Debray criticizes a ourth concept of armed struggle which he calls the subjection of the guerrilla to the party. This last concept is distinguished from the other three by the qualitative and quantitative importance of the critique made of it in Revolution within the Revolution. The major part of the book is either directly or indirectly devoted to it. Essentially, the negative part of this critique is based on the

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Venezuelan experience of armed struggle, whereas the positive part is once again based on the Cuban experience. The subordination of the guerrilla to the party, as Debray recognizes, issues from a concept that is deeply anchored in the history of the Communist movement. According to this concept, the political must be distinguished from the military, which makes the guerrilla nothing but “the armed appendage” of the party. In Latin America, this way of seeing the guerrilla movement has had and can lead only to failure, in his opinion. First of all, the Latin American Communist parties are basically urban parties whose leadership is consequently grounded in the towns. Commanding the rural guerrillas from the towns raises, in the first place, a whole gamut of practical problems. It becomes very difficult to coordinate the party and its armed appendage. The guerrilla unit has to wait for instructions to come from the town, and it sometimes waits a long time. This not only detracts from its flexibility of action but can also make it dangerously tread water and become demoralized. Those commanding the armed struggle from the city are not familiar with the concrete conditions operating in the country and the instruc­ tions given are very often inadequate. According to Debray, this problem is seriously heightened by the particular conditions of Latin America, where the gap between city and countryside is much wider than elsewhere, for example, in Asia. The huge Latin American cities, “these large Yankee appendices,” are rather privileged places which make it easy to forget the difficult conditions under which the guerrilla unit functions. They also nurture particular political habits and a reformist mentality. Here Debray touches on a problem infinitely more important than the previous ones and which takes issue with the political tradition of the Latin American Communist parties. These parties have an old practice which consists in “basing the whole of a political line on the contradictions existing between enemy classes or divergent interest groups within the same bourgeois social class” and “the ensuing obsessive pursuit of alliances with one or another fraction of the bourgeoisie, of negotiated support. . . ,”28 They therefore have a tendency to use the guerrilla unit as one political tool among others. It becomes “a means of pressure on a bourgeois government, an element of political bartering” which may be abandoned, provided concessions are made to the party and to its freedom of action by the established power. Given the strategy practiced by these parties-of advance by stages, small though they may be-such compro­ mises may even be considered by the party as victories. According to Fidel Castro, this is exactly what happened in Venezuela whose example illustrates “the absurd concept which consists in wanting to direct the guerrilla movement from the city, in wanting to use it as a tool for political maneuvering.”29 Thus, because of the Latin American Communist parties’ tradition of action, the use of all forms of struggle means, in fact, the subordination of armed struggle to political struggle which in turn means, according to Debray, that the revolutionary method is used for reformist ends. It is thereby side­

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tracked from its goal which must be the destruction of the bourgeois state apparatus and the complete seizure of power in order to establish a socialist state. What is needed in fact is a military solution to the political problem; it is the political struggle that ought to be subordinated to the military struggle. Military command, as well as political command, should therefore belong to the guerrilla force itself and not to the party. Debray was well aware that the theory he was defending was rather un­ orthodox, but he wanted to concentrate on the contribution made to MarxismLeninism by the Cuban Revolution. He recognized the necessity of a vanguard in the revolutionary struggle. However, he said, there is no necessary, meta­ physical equivalence of vanguard and party. As the Cuban Revolution has demonstrated, the guerrilla force can and must be the vanguard of the revolu­ tionary movement; it is .the party in embryo. As in Cuba, it is the guerrilla force, because of its inherent revolutionary nature, that will give birth to and develop an authentically revolutionary party. It does not matter if the guerrillas have different ideological conceptions at the outset; “the guerrilla experience unifies,” and as Fidel Castro later said, “it is impossible for a man to practice revolution and not become a Marxist.”30 All these observations lead to the conviction that the revolutionaries’ principal task in Latin America “must center on the development of guerrilla warfare and not on the strengthening of existing parties or the creation of new ones, writes Debray,31 the last reference being to the pro-Chinese parties. Work must therefore be done outside the parties, which are trapped in outdated political concepts “eaten away by failure.” Two such concepts are the “theory of the four-class alliance which includes the national bourgeoisie,”* and the theory of stages preceding the transition to socialism—both concepts that favor and justify reformism. One needs “to arrive at the point from which the Cuban Revolution departed,” writes Debray. Rejecting verbal leftism, he affirms that, in the same way that Communist party membership is not justification enough for calling oneself revolutionary, neither is simply denouncing the party. To be considered revolutionary, one must practice armed struggle. One can now see how remote the Cuban position in 1967 was from the compromise painfully won by the Soviet Union at the Havana Conference of the Latin American Communist Parties in late 1964. Not only were the Communist parties practicing the peaceful road repudiated, but also the few parties still in­ volved in armed struggle. The only exception Debray mentioned was the Com­ munist party of Guatemala which, he said, had rejuvenated and completely

*Fidel Castro himself stated in his closing speech before LASO: “There exist the­ ses that are 40 years old,the famous thesis about the role of the national bourgeoisies for example. How hard it has been to fully convince ourselves, finally, that this idea does not apply to this continent; how much paper, how many sentences, how much empty talk have been wasted waiting for a liberal, progressive, anti-imperialistic bourgeoisie.”32

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transformed itself by adopting a strategy similar to the one Cuba proposed. Debray’s book, as well as the remarks of certain Cuban leaders, made clear, how­ ever, that many conversions of this sort were not to be expected. The preceding facts help in understanding how the radicalization of the Cuban Revolution was incompatible with the parallel radicalization of the Chinese revolution. With the Cultural Revolution in China, emphasis was placed on the militants’ ideological training through the assimilation of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, which was considered the indispensable “weapon” for revolutionaries all over the world. Mao’s writings stipulating that “politics should command the gun,” and not the reverse, were given universal significance. As early as the end of 1966, in obvious allusion to the Cuban theses, Peking leaders stated, “It is of vital importance that a considerable number of men in the revolutionary van­ guard [in Latin America] have started to accept President Mao’s theory con­ cerning popular warfare. They have criticized and repudiated the line which consists in not trusting the masses, but in trying to win an easy victory through actions undertaken by a band of guerrillas composed of a handful of people who go from one place to another. They have strongly underscored the fact that, in order to wage an authentic armed struggle, it is necessary to establish the leader­ ship of the proletarian party.”33 In 1967, it was affirmed in a more violent tone, “We must uproot from the Latin American continent the ideology of wandering rebel bands denounced by President Mao thirty years ago.. . ,”34 In spite of these basic differences, there are several striking and revealing similarities in the pattern of radicalization followed by the Cuban and Chinese revolutions. For instance, each country ultimately advanced its own revolution­ ary experience as the only possible revolutionary path-in Cuba’s case on the Latin American scale, and in China’s case on a worldwide scale. Apropos of this, the famous speech delivered in the presence of Mao Tse-tung by Lin Piao at the dawn of the Cultural Revolution, in which he proposed as a worldwide revolutionary strategy the encirclement of the towns by the countryside through armed struggle in the rural areas-the rural areas of the world being the Third World, and the towns the developed countries which would fall once victory was won in the rural areas.35 It is also striking to notice that neither China nor Cuba projected its experience as an exclusive model immediately following the victory of its revolution. At the time, their recent victory seemed to give the leaders confidence in the future. They began projecting their own model only quite some time after the revolution and at times when, under different conditions and for different reasons, they were feeling increasingly isolated and hemmed in. Some examples of these moments were the conflict with the Soviet Union in the case of China, the defeats suffered by the revolutionary movement in Latin America in the case of Cuba, or the U.S. escalation in Vietnam for both countries. It seems that when faced with an increasingly difficult situation, the leaders had a tendency to take refuge in what had made a success of their revolu­ tions as the only sure way out of the deadlock. An attempt could be made to extend this comparison to the Soviet Union’s and the Comintern s leftist course

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in 1928. However, such a study, which most certainly merits doing, cannot be undertaken here. Returning to the Cuban theses, it is ironic that it was the Soviets who were first to theorize on the Cuban experience-for example, on the growing possi­ bility that the revolutionary democrats would be able to switch over to MarxistLeninist positions during the developing process of a radical, authentic revolu­ tion. However, it is quite obvious that the Soviet theory had goals very different from those of the Cuban theory, it was meant to facilitate the rapprochement and fusion of the revolutionary democrats and the Communists, and not to set them against one another. In other words, to quote Debray, the Soviet theses were not intended to bring the Third World revolutionary movement to the point from which the Cuban Revolution departed, but rather to move it toward the point of arrival. Moreover, the Cuban thesis holding that revolutionaries need not, from the outset, learn the principles of Marxism-Leninism, came at a time when, as has been seen, the Soviet Union was rather disillusioned about the evolution of revolutionary democracy and was once again emphasizing the importance of the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist party in order to guarantee socialist transition. It can easily be seen how the “theorization” and the “absolutization” of the Cuban path posed serious problems for the Latin American Communist parties and for the Soviet Union in terms of the role of referee, which the latter tried to play between Cuba and those parties. As long as the Cuban leaders’ criticisms of the Communist parties were occasional, no matter how harsh they were, conciliation might always seem possible. However, from the moment Cuba began to propose a global, closed theory and strategy, and to demand sub­ mission to this strategy, it became increasingly difficult for the Soviet Union to maintain its position. The situation became even more serious in August 1967 with the first LASO conference, which raised practically to the institutional level the near break between Cuba and the Latin American Communist parties. Although no concessions whatsoever were made on the principles, it must have been a near break: out of tactical flexibility, the Cuban leaders in charge of the invitations to the conference, which were addressed to various revolutionary movements of the countries on the continent, allowed the Communist parties to dominate in three out of 27 delegations. * The guerrilla movements were the best repre­ sented in most of the delegations. The conference approved the essential elements of the Cuban theses on revolutionary struggle in Latin America.36 In spite of the opposition of the three above-mentioned delegations, two resolutions were adopted-one explicitly con­ demning the Communist party of Venezuela for its betrayal of the revolutionary

♦The three delegations are those of Uruguay, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.

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struggle, the other criticizing certain socialist countries for their economic relations with Latin American counterrevolutionary regimes. In his closing speech to the conference, Fidel Castro came back to this theme, this time naming the Soviet Union. He affirmed that “if internationalism exists, if solidar­ ity is a word which deserves to be uttered, the least we can expect from a state within the socialist camp is that it offer no financial and technical aid to any of these governments”37 involved in the blockade against Cuba and in the repres­ sion of the revolutionary movement. The Cuban leader affirmed that the conference had posed problems that were at the roots of the ideological struggle “between those who want to make revolution and those who do not want to make it, between those who want to make it and those who want to bring it to a halt.”38 Hailing the presence at the conference of the American black leader, Stokeley Carmichael, he stated, “There is no doubt that we have more sympathy for this kind of revolutionary than for the super-theorists who are only revolutionaries in word... ,”39 The most important remarks Fidel Castro made, however, were the follow­ ing: “We must say that as a Marxist-Leninist Party, we belong to the LASO; as a Marxist-Leninist Party, we do not belong to another group in the revolutionary movement, but to an organization which includes all true revolutionaries.”40 By this he meant, in substance, that Cuba did not belong to the Communist movement, but to a quite different organization. LASO was becoming in some sense a new International (with a regional character, less homogenous and disciplined than the others) led by a Marxist-Leninist party, which purported to replace a decaying Communist movement led, or at least sponsored, by the Soviet Union. The importance of Cuba’s challenge to the Soviet Union, at a time when the latter was trying to patch up the Communist movement around itself, can now be grasped. Cuba obviously refused to take part in the preparatory con­ ference of the world’s Communist parties which the Soviet Union organized in Budapest in 1967. The Cuban party was not the only party in power to refuse to participate in the Budapest meeting. The Vietnamese party also refused to attend in order to preserve its relations with China. However, unlike Cuba, North Vietnam was not taking the helm of an international organization which set itself against the pro-Soviet Communist parties, and it carefully avoided criticizing the USSR. To qualify these remarks somewhat, it must be said that the Cuban chal­ lenge was, of course, less serious than the Chinese challenge, and not only be­ cause of Cuba’s size. Whereas the pro-Chinese movement was mainly busy attack­ ing and systematically denouncing the Soviet Union and the pro-Soviet parties, the Castroist movement, faithful in spirit to its promoter, was above all geared toward action rather than toward the struggle against revisionism. Criticizing the Soviet Union and the Communist parties was clearly a secondary activity. De­ spite this fact, it was a weighty challenge, and we can easily imagine the Soviet disenchantment with Cuba.

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In the early days of the Cuban Revolution, the Soviet Union considered that the Cuban example contributed to enlarging and unifying the Latin Ameri­ can revolutionary movement; a great deal of its interest in Cuba was based on this belief. When the Cuban leaders became Marxist-Leninist, the Latin American Communist parties found themselves strengthened, which was a process the Soviet Union wished to encourage. Through its support of Cuba, the USSR wanted to boost its credit throughout Latin America and the Third World. Now, not only was Cuba rejecting unity with the Communist parties, but it was de­ veloping its own international organization and helping to discredit the Soviet Union in the eyes of the non-Communist revolutionary movement in the Third World. The height of the Soviet Union’s bitterness was undoubtedly caused by the fact that by financially supporting Cuba, it was contributing primarily to main­ taining what it considered to be a hotbed of division and opposition.

SOVIET REACTIONS Despite its discontent, the Soviet Union displayed remarkable flexibility and moderation, especially in view of the fact that this was not its customary attitude in similar circumstances. It expressed its discontent mainly indirectly. Did the Soviet Union have any choice other than tolerance? Violent de­ nunciations or economic reprisals against Cuba would have considerably weak­ ened Cuba’s international position which was already difficult. Serious deteriora­ tion of Cuba’s domestic economic and social situation and/or its complete inter­ national isolation might have been an invitation to the United States, or to the OAS, to intervene in one way or another to finish off the Cuban regime. Cuba’s fall would have been a victory for the United States and an important defeat for the Soviet Union, especially considering all the efforts made up to this point to support it. It would also have set a distressing precedent in the history of the socialist camp at a time when it was already fairly shaky. This hypothesis is not the only possible one, however, and to say that the Soviet Union had no alterna­ tive to the attitude it took would be taking an excessively deterministic view. Its history is full of examples in which it acted against what seemed to be its most obvious interest. Furthermore, the Soviet Union could have easily found justifi­ cation in the fact that the Latin American Communist parties were requesting sanctions against Cuba. Fidel Castro talked openly about this in his closing speech to LASO. Referring to a “disgusting conspiracy” on the part of “the reactionary mafia of the revolutionary movements,” he stated, “What they want is to create a conflict and have the socialist camp jojn the imperialist blockade against Cuba as well. And they do not hide it.”41 While continuing to show their disapproval of Cuba’s ideological positions by surrounding them with silence, the Soviet leaders judged that they ought to maintain normality in the area of state-to-state relations by continuing to give their support.

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This support was even given on specific issues about which the Soviet Union was most certainly not in agreement with Cuba. For instance, in the spring of 1967 a small group of Cuban citizens were arrested in Venezuela as they were trying to join the ranks of the Venezuelan guerrillas. The Venezuelan government decided to lodge a complaint against Cuba with the OAS and re­ quested that “steps” be taken. The Soviet Union issued several warnings to the United States and the OAS. In June, a Pravda article stated that the Cuban gov­ ernment could not be held responsible for the independent initiatives of its citizens, even if those initiatives coincided with the Cuban leaders’ own senti­ ments. The author wrote that when Lord Byron, “listening only to this own heart,” went to fight with the Greek patriots, no one dreamed of accusing the British government of intervening in Greece’s internal affairs. Imperialist propa­ ganda was vainly trying, he wrote, to revive the theory of exportation of the revolution. He added: “When peasant self-defense detachments were rising up in Colombia in the 1940s [guerrilla detachments led by the Communists] and en­ gaging in an unequal combat against the dictatorship, revolutionary Cuba did not yet exist. But the guerrilla detachments existed, because the conditions in these countries imposed this form of struggle on the popular masses.”42 Perhaps these remarks were addressed not only to the OAS; they were pos­ sibly also intended to remind the Cuban leaders that Communist guerrilla move­ ments existed in Latin America long before they did. On the eve of the conference of the OAS foreign ministers in September 1967 (that is, after the LASO conference), a Tass Agency declaration recalled that “the Soviet Union, true to its internationalist duty, has given and will con­ tinue to give Cuba the necessary assistance and support in its struggle for freedom and independence.. . ,”43 It is certain that events such as the Venezuelan incident complicated the Soviet task of defending the Cuban Revolution. The problem was apparently raised by President Johnson when he met with Prime Minister Kosygin in Glass­ boro in June 1967. According to a press release from France Presse, quoting Vice-President Humphrey, “President Johnson asked the President of the Soviet Council to speak about this problem [exportation of the revolution] to the Cuban Prime Minister.”44 If one can judge by the extreme coolness of the welcome Kosygin was given during his short visit to Cuba following the Glass­ boro meeting, one may assume that the subject was broached by the Soviet leader and that he informed his Cuban opposite members of the Soviet dis­ satisfaction on many other points. It seems this had no visible effect, however, as the situation developed. While the number of Soviet articles devoted to Cuba continued to drop in 1967, those that were written took on what might be called an increasingly sterilized character. Most of the political problems on which there was SovietCuban divergence were no longer discussed. Since there were many such prob­ lems, Soviet articles became increasingly insignificant. They ritualistically re­

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called the economic aid and support which the Soviet Union had granted Cuba, and which continued to permit the revolution to survive.45 Although the Soviet Union resisted the minimal requests made by the Latin American Communist parties for a condemnation of Cuba, it did agree to open its newspapers to them, within limits. Not only was this a concession to the parties, but it was also a way of openly letting it be known, without sticking its neck out too far, that it made common cause with them on the main points of the issues separating them from Cuba. The most violent article written by Latin American Communists and pub­ lished by Pravda was undoubtedly that of Rudolfo Ghioldi, member of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee of the Argentine Communist party.46 The author denounced the “petty bourgeois nationalists” who used the continental particularities of Latin America as a pretext for rejecting “the international importance of Marxism-Leninism.” He accused them of proposing revolutionary action that was “isolated from the process of class struggle” and that depreciated the role of the working class as a revolutionary force” and rejected it as vanguard. “Since Marxist-Leninist theory does not justify their actions, down with the theory,” he wrote ironically. According to the Argentine Communist, these adventurers were, “in one way or another, under the influence of Maoism.” Undoubtedly to show the Soviet leaders who their best friends were in Latin America, Ghioldi defended the Soviet Union by denouncing Cuba’s accusa­ tions of it. Alluding to Cuban criticisms of Soviet policy on Vietnam, he wrote that “Maoism and its related trends . .. blindly persist in demanding ‘an eye for an eye,’ proposing thus the dangerous game of war.” He also reproached them for “the most violent criticisms of the Soviet Union which is planning and effectively building communism” and for reviving “the Trotskyite thesis con­ cerning the impossibility of building communism in one country.”* By trying to compare Castroism to Maoism, the Latin American Commu­ nists whom Cuba most roused to indignation were undoubtedly demanding that Cuba be given the same treatment. However, one of the important reasons for the Soviet Union’s moderation lay in the gap between Castroism and Maoism Moscow certainly approved the struggle against Castroism in Latin America but there was no question of treating Cuba like China. Since it was difficult to separate Castroism from Cuba, the Soviet Union preferred to attack neither one nor the other. Although the Soviet Union imposed no dramatic sanctions against Cuba the Soviet displeasure was, however, manifested in the economic relations be­ tween the two countries. It took the form of a slowdown, rather than a cutback,

*This last criticism could not have been meant for the Chinese, but only for the

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in the increase of Soviet supplies being sent to Cuba. For example, during the 1967 negotiations, the Soviet Union refused to increase its oil deliveries by more than 2 percent, although Cuba had requested an 8 percent increase to satisfy the needs of its growing economy.47 Fidel Castro considered this a direct economic reprisal. Despite its limited nature and Cuba’s international situation which was more precarious than ever, the Cuban reaction was the same as it had been in the case of the much more direct economic pressure applied by the United States and China—the Cubans intensified their challenge. In an early January 1968 speech delivered on the occasion of the anniversary of the revolution, Fidel Castro announced strict gas rationing, blamed on the inadequacy of Soviet supplies, and launched the “micro-faction” affair, directed against the Soviet Union. Micro-faction was the term used to designate a group of 35 former PSP members who were led, it would seem, by Annibal Escalante. Escalante had ob­ tained authorization to be reinstated into the Cuban Party following a brief period of exile caused by the denunciation made against him in 1962. Escalante and the micro-faction (micro—to point up the numerical insignificance and the political weakness of the group) were accused of denigrating the Cuban Com­ munist party line, and of calling it adventurist and petty bourgeois, as several leaders of the Latin American Communist parties had done. They were also accused of having engaged in unauthorized relations with members of the Soviet embassy in Cuba to whom they allegedly made negative reports and recom­ mended that the Soviet Union impose economic sanctions against Cuba. This was a way of accusing the USSR of interference in Cuba’s internal affairs. The members of the micro-faction were arrested and put on trial. The testimony and documents concerning this affair indicate that if, in fact, there were contacts between the accused and members of the Soviet embassy, the latter were very aware of the Cuban leaders’ touchiness and were quite cautious. * Immediately following the micro-faction affair, the Cuban government stepped up the internal radicalization of the revolution. Fidel Castro announced the nationalization of every remaining private concern in the sectors of crafts and small business. At the same time, he stressed the necessity of self-reliance in Cuba’s economic development.48 He took the offensive as he usually did when confronted with a possible threat.

♦Thus, according to a report made by Raul Castro, some members of the micro­ faction, during a meeting with a secretary of the Soviet embassy, requested that the USSR issue protests to the Cuban government. The Soviet secretary, “Rudolf P. Shliapnikov, ex­ plained to them that if they, the Soviets, sent a note to Major Fidel Castro, he would be capable of publishing it and that would not be desirable. Consequently, they could do nothing, because people here would say the same things about the Soviets as they do about the Yankees.”49

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If the Soviet Union used secret diplomatic channels to protest the accusa­ tions implicating the USSR in the micro-faction affair, the Soviet press, on the other hand, remained silent about the event and related matters. Its determina­ tion not to poison things still predominated. However, the necessity or utility of openly clarifying Soviet positions on various political issues raised by Cuba had apparently begun to be felt in the USSR. This was accomplished in a nonpolemical fashion in a very limited number of articles. For instance, in March the director of the Latin American Institute of the Academy of Sciences signed an important article in Pravda on the tasks of the revolutionary movement in Latin America which, without explicitly criticizing Cuba, were just the opposite of most of the Cuban theses.50 This will be discussed later. By far the most important article directly concerning Cuba was written toward the end of 1968 for the journal of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations.51 It reassessed the history of the Cuban Revolution in the light of the arguments used in the polemic between the Latin American Communist parties and Cuba. First of all, the author accorded new value to the role of the working class and the PSP in the Cuban revolutionary process from 1958 to 1959, and tried to back up his arguments with concrete evidence. It may be recalled that from 1960 on, Soviet writers had considerably diminished the importance accorded the PSP. In 1968, then, this evaluation was partially reversed-partially, because the very blatant exaggerations of 1959 were not taken up again as such. The author of the article in the journal of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, of course, left the decisive role to the rebel army, but recalled the direct and indirect contributions made by the working class and the PSP. “Until the summer of 1958,” he wrote, “Fidel Castro’s partisans were not very numerous.” Even though the author did not specifically say so, it must be recalled that it was only in the summer of 1958 that collaboration began between the PSP and the rebel army. “Batista’s atten­ tion during this time,” he wrote, “was drawn to the demonstrationsand strikes in the cities where the principal punitive forces of the dictatorial regime were located.” This freed the rebel army to win local victories over a period of time and to enlarge its ranks and make the final attack. Also, wrote Popov, “as an overall judgment, we may say that the dictator­ ship did not realize all the consequences of the combined struggle of revolu­ tionary forces in the mountains and in the cities.”52 In this way, he implicitly justified the theory (if not the practice) of the Latin American Communist parties which had engaged in armed struggle. He did the same regarding the ad­ vantages of using legality. He recalled that in early 1958 Batista, believing he had crushed the principal guerrilla forces, had reestablished certain constitu­ tional guarantees and lifted press censorship in all but Oriente Province where the rebel army leadership was located. “The partisan forces profited from this that Fide|Pce?t eH°1UtSldeOriente Province.” Similarly, Popov stressed that Fidel Castro was able to play on “the contradictions within the bourgeoisie ” The traditional disagreements between the Oriente bourgeoisie and Havana’s

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ruling circles” were taken into consideration, he wrote. Consequently, it was necessary to avoid the subjective valuations made by “certain foreign sociologists and publicists” concerning the Cuban experience with armed struggle and to put it back into its objective context, rather than consider it “as an independent factor, detached from its social roots.” Popov’s strongest arguments were part of his implicit critique of the theses concerning total and immediate socialist revolution in Latin America, based on the Cuban experience. He recalled that the Cuban Revolution had been accom­ plished in distinct stages, even though they had been brief. In this respect, he underscored the fact that Fidel Castro had risen to power on an essentially liberal platform focused on agrarian reform, education, public health, and the acquisition of social and political freedom. This had given the revolution and the new regime a broad social base and allowed for its consolidation. Recalling (perhaps with hidden irony) Fidel Castro’s April 1959 trip to the United States, the Soviet author insisted on the fact that the ambiguity sur­ rounding the long-term direction to be taken by the Cuban Revolution had con­ fused the foreign enemy. Quoting Guevara, he indicated that one of the Cuban Revolution’s most important elements of success was related to the fact that “North American imperialism was disoriented and was not in a position to detect the depth of the Revolution. .. Becuase of this, it had not given Batista all the support it could have. From now on, “the partisan movement, in its Cuban variant, no longer constitutes an unexpected phenomenon for imperial­ ism.” It had therefore made massive efforts to crush the guerrillas in Latin America, and the means used to avoid an eventual repetition of the Cuban pro­ cess went as far as direct military intervention in the case of the Dominican Re­ public. Popov seemed to suggest that the Castroist-inspired guerrilla movements initially isolated from the masses, would consequently become more and more vulnerable. In reevaluating the Cuban experience and recent events, he wrote, “revolutionary vanguards cannot go wrong by trying to vary their search for new forms of armed struggle or other sorts of struggle as much as possible.” Finally, in an effort to enhance the value of the Communist parties and the importance they attached to the working class, the Soviet author recalled that, prior to the revolution, according to the Cuban leaders themselves, they possessed “knowledge of certain fundamental principles, certain elementary truths, of Marxism-Leninism” which had to have been a positive factor in their struggle.53 Similarly, he recalled Fidel Castro’s words in late 1959 to the effect that the working class had played the most important role in intensifying the revolutionary process during its second stage: “The working class is like a dis­ ciplined army, always ready and always in the first row. ... The fate of the na­ tion and of the Revolution is in the hands of the working class.” Finally, the moderate tone of this article, which is the most systematic one to have been devoted to the Cuban theses, should be noted. It contained no formal condemnation of either the Cuban leaders or the Latin American Castroist

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groups. It was far from being apologetic for the Communist parties, but it did defend them on the crucial points.

THE EVOLUTION OF SOVIET POLICY TOWARD LATIN AMERICA Up to this point, Soviet reactions to Cuba have been dealt with only in the light of Castro’s specific challenges, from 1966 on, to the Latin American Com­ munist movement and to the Soviet Union. It is now time to say a few words about the overall Soviet policy vis-a-vis Latin America from 1966 to 1968, which was affected, at least indirectly, by Soviet-Cuban tensions. It has already been noted that toward late 1966 the Soviet Union was showing a growing interest in the activities of the Latin American governments and in establishing or further developing relations with them. This interest became much stronger during 1967 and 1968, during which time negotiations got under way to establish diplomatic relations with Colombia, Venezuela, and Bolivia, and trade agreements were being reached or negotiated with Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. The Soviet Union had always desired interstate relations with the coun­ tries of Latin America. However, the 1967-68 thaw was, at the beginning, mainly due to the initiatives of the Latin American governments. As J. G. Os­ wald54 points out, these governments intended this gesture to denote .their independence with regard to the United States and to give their foreign policy a new look. To a great extent, this was facilitated by the Soviet-Cuban diver­ gences of which the Latin American governments were aware. These divergences made the Soviet Union look relatively inoffensive, and the Latin American gov­ ernments sought to exploit them. This was particularly flagrant in the case of the Venezuelan government which sought to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union * while involved in a bitter conflict with Cuba. This was a way of accentuating the tensions between the guerrilla movement and the Commu­ nist party on the one hand, and between the Soviet Union and Cuba on the other, while proving to the country that it was not under the thumb of the United States. Analogous reasons seemed to have motivated the Colombian gov­ ernment which, in fact, was able to establish diplomatic relations in January 1968. Thus, one might say that the Soviet Union benefited in a certain way from the radicalization of Cuban foreign policy. This helps one better understand the anger Fidel Castro expressed on these issues. However, for the Soviet Union the development of interstate relations with the countries of Latin America was more justified than ever. This can be explained by reference to the thesis on U.S. backlash in Latin America (the

♦These relations had been broken off during the Cold War in 1952

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pronounced increase of U.S. aggressiveness). This theory had begun to appear in Soviet literature following U.S. intervention in Santo Domingo in 1965, and reached its peak in 1966 and 1967. The backlash, considered to have started in 1964, was attributed to the Johnson administration, which was clearly distin­ guished from the Kennedy administration. The latter government had tried to counter Cuba’s influence in Latin America by reformist means, such as the Alliance for Progress, whereas the Johnson administration resorted mainly to brute force. This policy was blamed for the coup d’etat against the Goulart regime in Brazil in 1964 and the shots fired by U.S. marines at demonstrators in Panama, who the same year had called for the nationalization of the Canal. Other manifestations were the dramatic stepping-up of anti-guerrilla-force train­ ing and the participation of the Green Berets in the repression of Guevara’s guerrillas in Bolivia in 1967. In a context in which the U.S. determination to control Latin America was taking such dramatic proportions, any step in the direction of the Soviet Union, no matter how limited, looked all the more positive. With revolution seen as rather remote, any such move was considered progressive. Against this back­ ground of U.S. backlash, one might think for a moment-judging by the Soviet texts-that the Latin American bourgeoisie was being brought back into favor. Its progressive nature had been considerably denigrated since 1963, if not com­ pletely destroyed. For instance, in a book published in 1967, the authors pointed out that “the turn taken by American policy in Latin America” had sharpened the contradictions between the national bourgeoisie of the countries on the continent and U.S. imperialism, which in turn had increased the national bour­ geoisie’s determination to become independent, and had brought it to favor re­ lations with the Soviet Union.55 It is easy to see how far away they had moved from the Cuban theses. It could be said that U.S. aggressiveness had the effect of reinforcing the revolutionary character of Cuban policy, while it accentuated the reformist tendencies of Soviet policy. However, it must also be said that the propensity to enhance the value of the national bourgeoisie did not prevail in the Soviet Union. Two authors wrote in early 1968 that “in relation to the past, the participation of the bourgeoisie in the anti-imperialist movement is more and more passive,” and that when it entered into conflict with the U.S. monop­ olies, it was “against its will and often because it was pushed into it by the masses.”56 The director of the Latin American Institute affirmed that the na­ tional bourgeoisie was “incapable of accomplishing by itself any serious eco­ nomic and social transformations.”57 Whether the Latin American national bourgeoisie was progressive or not, and no matter what motivated it to develop relations with the Soviet Union, Moscow considered these relations to have a progressive function in them­ selves. In December 1967 Pravda stated, in response to Cuban criticisms: “The fact that the USSR has trade relations with the countries of Latin America does not mean (it goes without saying) that we approve the governmental policies of the countries in question. It would also be a serious mistake to consider these

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relations as the manifestation of any sort of support or assistance on the part of the Soviet Union to the reactionary oligarchical regimes of the various Latin American countries.”58 The author affirmed, however, that these relations did correspond to the fundamental interests of the countries in question “since they contributed to weakening their dependence on imperialist powers, primarily the United States.” The author also wrote that “each tractor, automobile, machine, tool or other piece of equipment shipped to Latin America carries with it the truth about the Soviet Union, and shows the Latin American peoples the enormous successes that the Soviet Union has scored in a short historical period thanks to the socialist system.” The desire to make political gains and propaganda through economic re­ lations with the Latin American countries was indeed an important part of Soviet policy. The Soviet Union seemed willing to further the aspirations of the Latin American countries which during the 1965 U.N. conference on trade and development had asked that they no longer be considered suppliers of raw materials. It was undoubtedly from a desire to underline the difference between its behavior and that of the U.S. that the Soviet Union agreed in the August 1966 pact signed with Brazil that 25 percent of the reimbursement on a credit of $100 million be made in manufactured or semimanufactured goods. In the agreement signed with Chile in January 1967, the same arrangement was made and the percentage was fixed at 30 percent.59 It needs to be emphasized that although the Soviet Union offered advantageous credit terms in an effort to en­ courage trade with these countries, during this same period it had a tendency to offer less advantageous terms in its economic relations with the countries of Asia and Africa.60 The desire to assure its economic presence in Latin America in­ deed seemed to have been strongly politically motivated. It should be pointed out that the Soviet Union was not totally insensitive to Fidel Castro’s protests or to the all-too-obvious desires of certain Latin American governments to exploit the Soivet-Cuban differences and to create confusion in the revolutionary movements of their countries. In his speech be­ fore LASO, Fidel Castro stated that the Soviet Union had consulted him on the advisability of reestablishing diplomatic relations with Venezuela and that the Communist party of that country had also been consulted. He indicated that both parties gave a negative answer. This was no doubt the reason nothing was done in 1967 or in 1968. Similarly, after Guevara’s guerrillas were crushed in Bolivia, the Barrientos government solicited an economic agreement with the Soivet Union by offering to open diplomatic relations, but this was refused.61 In the case of Colombia, credits were extended and diplomatic relations (which had been broken off in 1948) were reestablished in January 1968, despite Fidel Castro s protests. (The Communist party of Colombia had, however, agreed to this.) In certain cases, the Communist parties had a particular interest in the trade between their countries and the Soviet Union. For instance, in 1968 the head of the Communist party of Costa Rica apparently received a commis­

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sion (which he had agreed to turn over to the party) from the trade agreement reached between Costa Rica and the Soviet Union.62 The U.S.-backlash theory and the increased possibilities for interstate re­ lations caused the Soviet Union in 1967-68 to revise its expectations concerning the forces of political change in Latin America. Until 1966 the main force of change was seen in the revolutionary movement, which received a strong impetus from the Cuban Revolution. From 1966 on, but especially in 1967 and 1968, the perspective changed. With the conflict between Cuba and the Communist parties, and the implicitly admitted slowdown of the revolutionary movement, the hopes for future change became centered on state policies-hence the great importance given interstate relations. An important work published in Moscow in 196763 spoke of a “new stage” taking place in the shifting of the international correlation of forces in Latin America. The authors’ remarks made it clear that the various extracontinental and continental policies of the Latin American states (for instance, in the area of economic integration), with a view to strength­ ening the independence of these states, were the main expressions of this new stage. Obviously, this is not to say that the Soviet Union was becoming disin­ terested in the Latin American revolutionary movement—its direction and its strategy. However, the recent difficulties encountered caused them, in general, to fall back on very traditional policies when indicating future paths to be taken. For instance, the March 1968 article by the director of the Latin American Institute,64 dealing with the tasks of the revolutionary movement on the con­ tinent, drew up a list of the conditions necessary for success: (1) “the strength­ ening and consolidation of the revolutionary vanguard,” that is, the Communist parties; (2) the struggle for unified working-class action and the unity of the trade-union movement; (3) improved coordination between the struggle in the cities and the struggle in the rural areas, so that a “true alliance of workers and peasants might be possible”;* (4) the effort to win the support “of broad strata of the population which are potential allies” of the revolutionary forces; (5) col­ laboration with these groups on the basis of a joint program focused on “the struggle for deep social reforms, against imperialist domination and in favor of expanding relations with every country in the world.” The author spoke of the necessity of combining all forms of struggle, armed or otherwise, depending on the circumstances and the context, and avoid­ ing giving absolute status to one or the other. This was mainly a jab at armed struggle and the Cuban theses. As though it were not yet clear that the revolutionary process must pro­ ceed in stages, the author was explicit about it: “There is no doubt about the

*This was a reformulation of a previous criticism, as has been seen, with regard to the work of the Communist parties.

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fact that an objective base exists for the fusion of all currents in the liberation movements within a democratic and anti-imperialist popular front in an initial stage, and in the later stages for the fusion of authentically revolutionary forces within an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist united front.”65 Obviously, these stages appeared all the more necessary to the extent that the revolutionary movement was seen as having quite a hill to climb. Again, it can be seen how different these stances were from the Cuban positions.

NOTES 1. For further details on the origins of the Tricontinental and how it progressed, see the chapter in D. Bruce Jackson, Castro, the Kremlin and Communism in Latin America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969), pp. 68-94. 2. In his speech before the Tricontinental, the head of the Soviet delegation, Rashi­ dov, stated: “Our Conference should unite the anti-imperialist forces into a single movement of the peoples of three continents and hoist the militant spirit of Havana as its banner.” Text in S. Clissod, Soviet Relations with Latin America, 1918-1968 (London: Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 161. 3. The text of Castro’s speech was published by Pravda, January 7, 1966. 4. D. Bruce Jackson, op. cit. 5. “Facts on Sino-Cuban Trade,” Peking Review, January 14, 1966; and “Further Remarks on the Sino-Cuban Trade Question,” Peking Review, February 4, 1966. 6. Granma, February 6, 1966. 7. PekingReview, February 22, 1966. 8. See the text of Mao Tse-tung, Lin Piao, and Chou En-lai on the twenty-third anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, [Peking Informa­ tion 36 (September 9, 1968)] and compare it with the one sent on September 17 [Peking Information 38 (September 23, 1968)] by the same signatories to the Albanian leaders. Also see Section VII (on China’s relations with foreign countries) of the report presented by Lin Piao to the ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist party on April 1, 1969 [Peking Information, special issue, (April 28, 1969)]. 9. Fidel Castro, Revolution cubaine II (closing speech at the Tricontinental Con­ ference) (Paris: Francois Maspero, 1968), pp. 94-95. 10. D. Bruce Jackson, op. cit., pp. 88-89. 11. Pravda, April 2, 1966. 12. Ernst Halperin, Granma, March 15,1966. 13. Fidel Castro, Speech of May 1,1966. 14. Fidel Castro, Revolution cubaine, op. cit., pp. 91-92. 15. Quoted by D. Bruce Jackson, op. cit., p. 98. 16. Fidel Castro, op. cit., p. 106. 17. Speeches of May 1, August 29, and September 28, 1966, in Fidel Castro, Revolu­ tion cubaine, op. cit., pp. 122-84. 18. Speech of May 1,1966, ibid., pp. 133-38. 19. Speech of May 1, 1966, ibid. „ 20. Jacques Levesque, “Modeles de conflits entre 1’URSS et les autres Etats socialistes, Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique 7 no 1 (March 1974): pp. 135-42. ’ 21. Tass, Moscow, May 27,1966; Richard Maullin, Soldiers, Guerrillas and Politics in Colombia (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1973), p. 27.

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22. Pravda, July 2, 1966. 23. S. Clissod, op. cit. 24. “L’Amerique latine et le monde d’aujourd’hui,” La vie Internationale 9 (Septem­ ber 1966); “Latin Amelia’s Thorny Path of Industrial Development,” International Affairs 12 (December 1966); compare with Problemy ekonomicheskoi integratsii v Latinskoi Amerike (Moscow: iz. Nauka, 1965). 25. Fidel Castro, speeches of August 10, 1967 and January 12,1968. 26. The French text was published in Paris in 1965 by Maspero (Collection Cahiers libres, No. 98). The quotes that follow have been translated from the most recent French edition of Regis Debray, Revolution dans la revolution? et autres essais (Paris: Francois Maspero, 1972). Petite Collection Maspero, 38. 27. Closing speech at the LASO Conference, as it appeared in OLAS, premiere con­ ference de I’organisation latino-americaine de solidarite (Paris: Francois Maspero, 1967), p. 245. Cahiers libres 106-07. 28. R. Debray, op. cit., p. 189. 29. OLAS, op. cit., p. 251. 30. Speech of March 13, 1967. Text in Fidel Castro Speaks, ed. M. Kenner and J. Petras (London: Allen Lane, Penguin Press, 1970), p. 145. 31. R. Debray, op. cit., p. 201. 32. M. Kenner and J. Petras, op. cit. Speech of March 13, 1967. 33. New China News Agency, December 28, 1966, quoted by H. Carrere d’Encausse and S. Schram in L ’URSS et la Chine devant les revolutions dans les societes pre-industrielles (Paris: Armand Colin, 1970), p. 102. 34. New China News Agency, September 1, 1967, quoted in ibid., p. 103. 35. Lin Piao, Vive la victorieuse guerre du peuple (Peking: Editions en langues etrangeres). 36. OLAS, op. cit. 37. Ibid., pp. 258-59. 38. Ibid. 39. Ibid. 40. Ibid., p. 248. 41. OLAS, op. cit., p. 261. 42. Pravda, June 23, 1967. 43. Pravda, September 17, 1967. 44. Quoted by Raul Castro: “Nous calculons le rapport de force avec les imperialistes,” Partisans 38 (July-September 1967): 5-21. Although Raul Castro called this provoca­ tive imperialist propaganda, he did not deny that the subject had been discussed by Kosygin and Fidel Castro. 45. See the chapter dealing with Soviet-Cuban relations in SSSR i Latinskaia Amerika (Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye Otnosheniia, 1967), pp. 140-73. This tendency to be “sterile” is also apparent in 1968 texts (with a few exceptions, as will be seen). For example, see the book devoted to the tenth anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, Kuha, deciat' let revoliutsii (Moscow: iz. Nauka, 1968) and compare it with the one published for the fifth anniversary in 1963, Piat’ let kubinskoi revoliutsii (Five Years of Cuban Revolution) (Moscow: iz. Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1963). 46. Pravda, October 25, 1967. Shortly before, Pravda (July 30, 1967) had published an article written by Luis Corvalan, general secretary of the Chilean Communist party, which was rather conciliatory. While he himself took a moderately critical attitude toward Cuban positions, he expressed the wish that each party put forth its positions without this process degenerating into a polemic and exchange of accusations. 47. K. Devlin, “The Castroist Challenge to Communism,” in The Soviet Union and Latin America, ed. J. G. Oswald and A. J. Strover (New York: Praeger, 1970), p. 172.

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48. Speech of March 13,1968, in M. Kenner and J. Petras, op. cit., pp. 250-315. 49. Raul Castro, Granma, weekly review in French, February 11,1968. 50. Pravda, March 19, 1968 (English text in Current Digest of the Soviet Press 20, No. 12 [ 1968]. The whole article is reprinted in J. G. Oswald and A. J. Strover, op. cit., pp. 67-71 and Stephen Clissod, op. cit., pp. 162-66). The November 20, 1968 Pravda published a long article giving the positions of the Latin American Communist parties including the Venezuelan party and showing approval of these positions. Commenting on a statement made by the Argentine party on ultra-leftism, the author himself adopted the expression “petty-bourgeois extremists” to describe those who were promoting the Cuban theses. How­ ever, it is rather exceptional for a Soviet author to employ this kind of polemic terminology. 51. A. Popov, “Some Aspects of the Cuban Revolutionary Experience,” Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia 1 (January 1969): 28-37. 52. Ibid. 53. This argument was used frequently thereafter. B. V. Gorbachev and A. 1. Kalinin, “Cuba: Some Socio-Economic and Political Aspects of the Revolution,” Latinskaia Amerika 3 (March 1969): 21-41. 54. J. G. Oswald and A. J. Strover, op. cit., p. 186. 55. Strany Latinskoi Ameriki v sovremennykh mezhdunarodnykh otnosheniiakh (Moscow: iz. Nauka, 1967), pp. 445-51. Also see pp. 4 and 152. 56. B. Koval and N. Konovalova, “La lutte anti-imperialiste en Amerique latine,” La vie Internationale 3 (Moscow March, 1968): 69-73. 57. Pravda, March 19,1968. 58. Pravda, December 15, 1967. 59. Stephen Clissod, op. cit., p. 23. 60. W. W. Berner, “The Place of Cuba in Soviet Latin-American Strategy,” in J. G. Oswald and A. J. Strover, op. cit., p. 98. 61. S. Clissod, op. cit., p. 25, note a. 62. S. Clissod, op. cit., p. 23, note b. 63. Strany Latinskoi Ameriki v sovremennykh mezhdunarodnykh otnosheniiakh, op. cit., p. 4. 64. Pravda, March 19, 1968, op. cit. 65. Ibid.

PART III From Disenchantment to Accommodation (1969-77)

5 Soviet-Cuban Rapprochement

THE MANIFESTATIONS AND CAUSES OF NORMALIZATION From 1969 to 1974 relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union progres­ sively improved. In fact, it took less than two years for these relations to become normalized, and it can be said that by late 1970 they were excellent. This fast tempo is not surprising if the numerous radical adjustments previously made by Cuban leadership to new situations (or situations considered as new) are taken into account. From this perspective, what is surprising is the stability of SovietCuban relations from 1970 until the present. Several authors agree that Fidel Castro’s mild approval of the military intervention in Czechoslovakia carried out by the Soviet and the Warsaw Pact countries in August 1968 marked a turning point in the relations between the two countries.1 This analysis seems sound, as long as this event is considered the first bend on a curve that was not completed until 1969. In fact, in 1968, while approving of the intervention itself, Fidel Castro formulated certain criticisms of the Soviet Union that were directly in line with the political direction pursued by Cuba up to this point. He agreed with the Soviet leaders that several “un­ healthy” signs had become apparent in Czechoslovakia’s recent internal evolu­ tion—in its economic reforms, for instance. This evolution, according to him, seemed indeed to indicate a sliding toward capitalism. Consequently, even though the intervention had no legal basis and was a flagrant violation of Czecho­ slovakia’s sovereignty (Moscow affirmed the contrary), it was considered neces­ sary.2 However, noted Fidel Castro, the tendencies toward degeneration visible in the Czech society also existed to some extent in the Soviet Union. This led him to ask if the intervention in Czechoslovakia meant that the Soviet Union intended to rectify its own situation. In any case, this wish was expressed in his public speech. 147

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The Soviet press chose not to print the Cuban prime minister’s remarks, which were simultaneously approving and accusatory. But since a large number of Communist parties considered pro-Soviet, including such important parties as the French and Italian, reacted by condemning the invasion, Fidel Castro’s approval, even though qualified, was certainly welcomed in Moscow. The Soviet Union made a series of conciliatory gestures to which Cuba responded favorably. Mutual visits and contacts of various kinds multiplied.3 The trade negotiations in progress were concluded in early February 1969,4 leaving Cuba in a more favorable position. Paralleling this, Fidel Castro’s speeches became far less critical of the Soviet Union and the Latin American Communist parties, and Pravda went back to publishing extensive excerpts of these speeches. In April 1969 Fidel Castro inaugurated the founding of a Soviet-Cuban friendship society, whose significance lay both in the time it took to establish, and in the fact that it was finally established. One of the most convincing signs of this rapprochement between the Soviet Union and Cuba was Cuba’s participation in the International Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in June 1969. The speech given by Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, former PSP member and Cuban delegate to the conference, revealed that Cuba had not completely abandoned the positions that had been the source of its difficulties with the Soviet Union. Quoting the passage from the document that was to serve as the platform for the parties’ joint declaration, which stipulated that “at the head of the democratic, anti­ imperialist struggle, the Communist and workers parties are fighting courageously and selflessly for the demands of the masses and for revolutionary changes.. .,” Rodriguez judged it necessary to state the following: “We would not be candid with the Conference if we did not say that, in our opinion, this picture does not correspond to the actual situation in certain Latin American Communist par­ ties.”5 He also stated, quoting the same document: “Our Party thinks that it is not exactly correct to say that ‘the principal link in the united action of anti­ imperialist forces remains today, as yesterday, the struggle for world peace, against the threat of war’.” He specified, “The defense of peace cannot represent the principal link in the united action of anti-imperialist forces’, for that would limit our historical objectives. The anti-imperialist forces must consider the destruction and suppression of imperialism to be the principal link of their actions.”6 The Cuban delegation, which participated in the conference only as observers (nonetheless giving it the right to sign the joint declaration), finally chose, for these reasons and others, not to sign. However, the very fact that Cuba participated in the conference work represented an important step in its relations with the Soveit Union. * With this

♦Korea and North Vietnam did not participate in the conference. They chose to pre­ serve their relations with China. H

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move, Cuba marked its return to and membership (though conditional) in the Soviet-led Communist movement. Once again it found itself working alongside the Latin American Communist parties. Though it continued to have differences with them, its positions became more flexible. These divergences did not prevent Rodriguez from approving several points in the draft of the declaration and from affirming that his party judged “nevertheless that, in the peoples’ struggle against imperialism, the main bulwark is the Soviet Union” whose role has been “mani­ fested in our day by the support given the socialist revolution in Cuba.” In any case, the Soviet Union seemed satisfied with Cuba’s limited par­ ticipation, and continued to respond with various friendly gestures, thus rein­ forcing rapprochement between the two countries, especially in the area of state-to-state relations. For example, in November 1969,650 Soviet technicians working in Cuba, as well as the Soviet ambassador, spent a day cutting sugar cane.7 What prompted Cuba to relax its policies and seek better relations with the Soviet Union? The most frequently invoked reason is the fact that the Cuban economy was facing great difficulties in 1968 and was sorely in need of Soviet economic aid. This partial explanation, however, is valuable only in conjunction with other explanations. In fact, Cuba’s economic situation in 1967, and even in 1966, had been no better than it was in 1968, and it did not seek rapprochement with the Soviet Union at that time—on the contrary. It appears, then, that the most immediate explanation must be sought in the failure of Cuban policy in Latin America. It has been seen that in 1966, Fidel Castro was of the opinion that the setbacks being suffered by the armed struggle in Latin America were temporary and that developing a will to fight would rapidly correct this situation. In 1967, during the LASO conference, he had made remarks to that effect. However, the Latin American guerrillas continued to suffer defeat after defeat, despite Cuba’s costly contributions in organizational, political, and military support. The most painful defeat was definitely the fall of the Guevara guerrilla forces in Bolivia and Che’s death in October 1967. Not only had the Cuban leaders invested a great deal of hope and material aid, but some of their best men as well-among them, former members of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist party. In the days following the event Guevara’s death, too, was presented as a temporary setback. But with the passing months, the Cubans had to reconcile themselves to the hard truth and admit that not only were the Latin American guerrillas’ prospects for victory not imminent—they seemed to be fading into the distance. As long as the Cuban leaders were able to believe that revolutionary vic­ tories on the continent were close at hand, they must have considered Cuba’s economic difficulties fairly tolerable. But the moment these hopes were dashed, it became a different story. They felt it was urgent and necessary to consolidate and develop what had already been gained. Debates similar to those that took place in Soviet Russia during the 1920s must also have occurred in the Com­

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munist party leadership in Cuba. In any case, as early as the first half of 1968, the priorities of the Cuban Revolution were reordered and internal economic problems were given much greater importance.8 This readjustment of Cuban priorities did not immediately engender a move toward rapprochement with the Soviet Union, as has been seen. The Cuban leaders probably wanted to avoid humiliation and an admission that their Soviet counterparts were right. Though they were beginning to doubt the validity of their theses on the Latin American revolutionary process, they were not yet ready-and rightly so-to recognize the validity of the Soviet theses, even if events seemed to prove the latter right on several important points. It was only after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, then, that Cuba became open to rapprochement with the Soviet Union. The USSR seemed, for its part, satisfied with the new flexibility of the Cuban positions. This rapproche­ ment appeared useful and justified in view of the new priority given Cuban economic development. Though Soviet aid increased, the methods employed in the economic sphere remained very Cuban and were certainly not appreciated by Moscow. The Cubans continued to rely on moral incentives and political mobilization—meth­ ods the Soviet leaders must have considered voluntarist. The best example of this is the campaign for the production of 10 million tons of sugar, which was in full progress in 1969. This extremely ambitious goal, which would have set a new world record, was expected to set right Cuba’s economic and trade position. This became Cuba’s primary political goal in 1970 and everything and everybody were mobilized to this end. On May 20, 1970 Fidel Castro had to announce that the goal could no longer be reached. The harvest had hit 8.5 million tons, which was still a record. However, due to this concentration of energy on the cane harvest, the other sectors of the economy had been neglected, which caused drastic production drops and other serious disruptions. Because of poor coordi­ nation and inadequate planning—both products of haste—many resources and especially a great deal of energy were wasted. In his July 26, 1970 speech, Fidel Castro had to recognize the fact that this situation had caused justified “dis­ content and “aggravation” among the population. He engaged in an impressive autocritique without precedent in other socialist countries, openly accepting personal responsibility for the difficulties ensuing from the “10 million ton” affair. I think our apprenticeship —I am referring to the apprenticeship of the leaders of this Revolution—has cost us enough. ... Of course, when we spoke of illiteracy, we did not class ourselves among the even partially illiterate. It would be more precise to call us incompetent.... It is perhaps a thousand times easier to exterminate the mercenaries at Playa Giron in a matter of hours than to quickly solve the problem of industry. It is a lot easier to win twenty wars than to win the battle of development.” Despite all this, said Castro, the imperialists are mistaken if they “think that the people have any other choice but revolu­ tion. In the Soviet accounts of his speech, stress was laid on his remarks about “the necessity [in the future] of increasing the role of party and mass organiza­

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tions in the solution of production tasks and of clearly dividing the functions of the administrative and party machineries.”10 From this point on, Cuba indeed made an effort to strengthen its organizations and to go about its planning in a more empirical and balanced way. These efforts were encouraged by a very pro­ nounced increase in Soviet aid, which was bound to strengthen economic and political ties between the two countries. This point will be taken up later. It was not only for economic reasons that Cuba wanted to improve its relations with the Soviet Union; it was also for defense purposes. It has been seen how very sensitive Fidel Castro was to this problem in 1966, in light of the Vietnamese experience. In 1968-69, with the prospect of prolonged isolation on the continent and continuing U.S. hostility, the strengthening of Cuba’s defense was seen as an essential component of the intended consolidation of the revolution. Fidel Castro’s concern for Cuba’s defense was clearly expressed in the speech he delivered on the occasion of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In this speech,11 which was more provocative than conciliatory, the Cuban prime minister first quoted the Soviet declarations that they would never allow “anyone whomsoever to tear away a link in the community of socialist states.” He went on to ask: “Will they [the Soviet leaders] send in Warsaw Pact divisions to Cuba if the Yankee imperialists attack our country, or even threaten to attack, if our country requests it?” He requested that the Soviet guarantee also apply to Vietnam and North Korea. As Ernst Halperin so correctly pointed out,12 though the Brezhnev Doc­ trine could have been a threat for countries like Romania or Yugoslavia, this was not at all the case for Cuba. The Cuban leaders had reason therefore to back the Doctrine and to press the Soviet leaders to further develop its meaning and scope to their advantage. It seems that they tried to do so during the rapprochement that followed in the wake of the Czechoslovak events. In the speech he delivered in Moscow in June 1969 at the conference of Communist parties, C. F. Rodriguez concluded by saying, “Cuba will always unhesitatingly side with the Soviet Union in all serious conflicts, whether in its activities in the face of imperialist maneuvers which threaten to snatch constituent parties away from the socialist system, or in the face of provocations. . . .”13 The Czechoslovak case was not mentioned in this generalized formulation which reflected Cuba’s concern about defense matters. The Soviet Union responded to Cuba’s requests by increasing, replacing, and modernizing its military equipment. Though this was welcome in Havana, it fell below the Cubans’ hopes. However, a new and significant element emerged in 1969 in Soviet-Cuban military relations. In July, a fleet of eight battleships arrived and lay at anchor in Cuba for several days. The event would have had little importance except for the fact that it was the beginning of a regularly repeated operation. On May 8, 1970 another seven battleships, including a sub­ marine with nuclear capacity, arrived in Cuba for a stay of nearly a month.14 In September 1970, another nine ships arrived and spent four months in Cuba.

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Instead of dispatching troops to Cuba, the Soviet Union periodically sent detachments of their naval forces. This was undoubtedly a way of responding to the military commitment solicited by the Cuban leaders. It must be pointed out that this response corresponded perfectly with the Soviet Union’s general strategic objectives. After 1962, the Soviet general staff and leaders had very quickly drawn the obvious conclusions from their missile-crisis defeat. What they had sorely lacked at that time, other than nuclear parity which would have strengthened their overall position, was forces for local dissuasion, especially in the naval sphere. For that reason they were making considerable effort to develop their naval power, while continuing to work for nuclear parity (which today has virtually been achieved). The war then being fought in Indochina by the United States was again concrete proof of the need for a navy to exercise military pres­ sure or dissuasion in far-away regions. The results of these efforts to increase their naval power have recently been shown in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean by a very significant Soviet naval presence, which is the subject of much talk in the West. Commenting on the Soviet Union’s naval expansion, Soviet Admiral Gorshkov stated in 1970, “Soviet navy ships are constantly on the ocean, including the stamping grounds of the NATO strike fleets. The presence of our ships in these regions ties the imperialists’ hands and deprives them of the opportunity freely to interfere in the peoples’ internal affairs.”15 At that moment, this was probably as much a wish as it was a statement of actual capacity. Thus, the visits and sojourns of Soviet military ships in Cuba in 1969-70 seemed to fit into the overall plans for Soviet naval expansion. The visits were probably also part of more specific goals. They represented the first step toward a shift in the local military balance in the Caribbean area. Fidel Castro was surely aware of these goals and could only approve them. In a speech delivered on April 22, 1970, in answer to the U.S. demands that Cuba abandon military ties with the Soviet Union as the condition for lifting the economic blockade, he retorted: We shall never break our political ties with the Soviet Union or even what they call military ties. On the contrary! So far as we are concerned, we will always be ready to increase our military ties with the Soviet Union.”16 The message was perhaps intended as much for the Soviet as for the U.S. leaders. In late September 1970, an announcement made by a White House spokes­ man caused quite a commotion in the United States. He said that certain in­ formation led him to believe that the Soviet Union was setting up a permanent nuclear submarine base in Cienfuegos de Cuba. Following an exchange of diplo­ matic notes, the Soviet government announced on October 13 through the Tass Agency that this information was false, that the Soviet Union had “always strictly observed the agreement reached in 1962” and that it would continue to observe it “so that the American side will also strictly abide by the agreement ”17 However, he affirmed the absolute right of Soviet ships to “make visits and conduct business” in Cuban ports. Soviet military ships and submarines with

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nuclear capacity did indeed continue to make long visits to Cuba after this incident. A permanent, fully equipped base in Cuba would certainly have given Soviet naval forces greater logistic flexibility and made it easier to rapidly ex­ pand its forces in the area. However, Soviet presence in the Caribbean has been maintained and seems destined to grow. Leonid Brezhnev, head of the Soviet Communist party, was undoubtedly confident in the Soviet Union’s rather favorable position in the world distri­ bution of power,18 when he stated during a Kremlin reception in honor of Fidel Castro in June 1972: “Socialist Cuba is a stable component of the world socialist system. Its international positions, its interests and its security are fully guaran­ teed, not only by the Cuban Communist Party’s firm policy and by the heroism of its revolutionary people, but also by the political support and weight of the USSR and the rest of the socialist community. We have already said this several times and we shall repeat it today in the most responsible manner.”19 In spite of these reassuring words, it is strange that to this day no treaty for security and mutual assistance has been signed by the Soviet Union and Cuba.

NEW POINTS OF CONVERGENCE IN FOREIGN POLICY While concentrating their attention and energy on developing the economy, the Cuban leaders showed unprecedented patience with regard to the revolu­ tionary process in the Latin American countries. On July 14, 1969 Fidel Castro spoke about this issue: “We are not in a hurry. ... We will wait while one by one, they break with the past, while, one by one, they develop their revolution. . . . How long will we wait? For as long as is necessary, ten, twenty, thirty years if necessary—though nobody thinks even remotely it will take that long.”20 A corollary to this patience was greater receptiveness on the part of the Cuban leaders to the methods used in the social and economic struggle in Latin America, which up to this point they had considered inadequate and unpromis­ ing. With the possibility of prolonged isolation, it was becoming necessary to cultivate every possible occasion and situation likely to reduce this isolation to any degree. This development was clearly reflected in Cuba’s attitude toward Peru in 1969-70. In October 1968 a coup d’etat had brought to power in that country a military government led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado. The new govern­ ment was not long in showing its rather radical anti-American nationalism. Un­ like the nationalism of many other governments, theirs was not merely verbal. Only a few days after the coup d’etat, the Velasco government announced the nationalization of the International Petroleum Company. In December 1968 Prime Minister Montane Sanchez presented a program proclaiming the state’s right to nationalize industries of vital importance to the nation’s economy. Measures were taken to exercise various state controls over banks and private

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enterprise. The Peruvian Communist party, which was tolerated by the govern­ ment, gave it “critical support,” with the accent on support more than on criti­ cism. On June 24, 1969 the Peruvian government proclaimed a most radical agrarian reform law. Contrary to what had happened elsewhere in Latin America, the law was actually enforced. Following a period of cautious observation, the Cuban leaders decided to support the new regime. In November 1969 Fidel Castro declared that the Peruvian junta was playing “a revolutionary role.” In a speech delivered in April 1970 to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of Lenin’s birth, he af­ firmed that “When we speak of our support to the revolutionary movement, we ought to say that this support need not be expressed exclusively in favor of guerrilla movements. . . . Any Latin American government which sincerely and consistently undertakes the economic and social development of its country, and its emancipation from the imperialist yoke may count on the support of our people and our Revolution.”21 Cuba’s attitude regarding Peru, and its shift from a “maximalist” policy in Latin America to one of greater flexibility, contributed to actually drawing the Cuban and Soviet governments closer together. For years the Soviet government had tried to take advantage of every possible occasion in Latin America, and had advised Cuba to do the same. Of course, Cuba had not gone to the extent of practicing the same sort of empiricism as the Soviet Union. The situation in Latin America did not offer many opportunities to do so. However, the relaxa­ tion in Cuban foreign policy facilitated compromise with the Soviet Union and produced greater tolerance with respect to the gradualist policies so dear to the Latin American Communist parties. It would be a mistake to attribute this evolution in Cuban foreign policy primarily to Soviet influence. Cuba was moved in this direction, which ran contrary to the earlier ideology of the Cuban leaders, by the situation prevail­ ing on the Latin American continent. Here again it is useful to make a compari­ son with China. During the years preceding and including the Cultural Revolu­ tion, China pursued a policy of relentless struggle, as much against the Soviet Union as against the United States, and encouraged armed struggle in the Third World. This policy became more marked during the Cultural Revolution, reach­ ing the point where, as was seen, it even ceased to recognize as socialist countries those nations, such as Vietnam and North Korea, which refused to denounce the Soviet Union. In 1969, China consequently found itself more isolated on the international scene than ever before. In its revolutionary policy and in its opposition to the Soviet Union, it had counted at first on the existing Communist parties, then on the creation of new Communist parties and on the armed revolutionary movement in the Third World, whose successes in 1969 were minimal. Because of its isolation in the Communist movement and the socialist countries, and its broader isolation in a situation of Soviet military pressure, China was forced to relax its ideological demands with respect to some socialist countries. Also, from 1970 on it made a considerable effort to develop

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its state-to-state relations with a large number of countries including the United States. Promotion of the revolution, though not abandoned, was very clearly pushed into the background in the context of China’s international priorities. Analogous reasons seemed to have motivated Cuba to relax its foreign policy in a similar way, even though in Cuba’s case the change was slower-paced and less spectacular. It was the rise to power in October 1970 of Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government in Chile that was to bear the most eloquent testimony to this evolution in Cuban foreign policy. That event also contributed to reinforcing the Soviet-Cuban rapprochement. Although Allende rose to power by the peaceful road so hotly criticized by Fidel Castro, this did not prevent the latter from giving Allende his full support or from hailing his victory as a great historical and revolutionary event. One of the Allende government’s first steps was to reestab­ lish diplomatic relations between Chile and Cuba. This measure, and even more, Fidel Castro’s triumphal one-month visit to Chile in late autumn of the following year, marked the reappearance of Cuban influence on the Latin American con­ tinent. During this visit, which strengthened all types of relations between the two countries, Fidel Castro visited mines, schools, and farms, and delivered many speeches—many extemporaneously. In several of the discussions he had with people he met, he was called upon to comment on the Chilean situation. One of his answers was, “If 1 were asked what is going on in Chile, 1 would answer in all sincerity: a revolutionary process. ... A process is not exactly a revolution. It is very important to understand this. . . .”22 Speaking of the dif­ ferences in the revolutionary process in Chile and in Cuba, he added, “The path of revolution means precisely that one must take advantage of every juncture, every possibility, to move forward.” Some of Fidel Castro’s remarks reflected the doubts he entertained con­ cerning Chile’s future: “The question that obviously arises, at least for a visitor, is whether the historical law concerning the resistance and violence of the ex­ ploiters will apply to Chile. Indeed, never before in history have the reactionaries, the exploiters,the privileged of a social system resigned themselves to peacefully tolerating change. In our opinion, this question is essential and holds great in­ terest for us.”23 Rather than answer his own question, the Cuban prime min­ ister preferred to express the hope that the Chilean revolutionaries and leaders would know how to remain masters of their “new situation.” In a press con­ ference given on the eve of his departure from Chile, the words he uttered ring

out today hke a warning:

The failure of a revolutionary process costs dearly. Defeat costs nations and popular movements dearly. ... In our opinion, the [revolutionary] process is under way. It is indispensable that revolu­ tionaries realize this. The reactionaries certainly realize this! It acts according to a strategy, a plan, at the instigation of a foreign power. One clearly sees the CIA’s hand in most of its acts. We recognize

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methods it used for a long time against our country. It is obvious. One would have to be blind not to see it!24 Though Fidel Castro’s remarks in Chile show that his position on armed struggle had become more flexible, without having completely changed, they also demonstrate that on certain other issues, such as the role of the party, he had completely abandoned the former Cuban position. “In Cuba,” he said, “it is not the Party that made the Revolution, but the Revolution that made the Party. . . . Cuba’s specific case and the particular circumstances under which the struggle took place do not allow us to conclude that we should abandon the Leninist concept as to the necessity of a vanguard party. From this point of view, the revolutionaries’ first duty is to organize this party.”25 These remarks must have really pleased the Latin American Communist parties, as well as the Soviet Union. However, Fidel Castro said nothing about the vanguard role in Chile belonging exclusively to the Communist party. In fact, while on good terms with the Communist party of Chile, Cuba was maintaining equally good relations with the socialist party which also called itself Marxist-Leninist and was participating in the Popular Unity government. Good relations also existed between Cuba and the MIR. The MIR was strongly influenced by Castroist ideology and though it did not participate in the Allende government, it sup­ ported it and pressed for its radicalization. One can imagine that in the conversa­ tions Castro had with President Allende, whom he had known personally for several years, he defended a line similar to that of the MIR. Upon leaving Chile in early December 1971, the Cuban prime minister made a stopover in Peru where he met with General Velasco Alvarado. Later, he also met with the president of Ecuador. Within a few days, he had seen three Latin American heads of state, whereas in the previous ten years he had met with none of them. Cuba was finally emerging from its long continental isola­ tion, to the great satisfaction of the Soviet Union. The Soviet prime minister’s visit to Cuba a few days prior to Fidel Castro’s trip to Chile was glaring proof of the importance given Soviet-Cuban rapproche­ ment. The warm welcome he received contrasted sharply with the way he had been received on the occasion of his previous visit in 1967. A joint communique was signed at the end of the visit, which contained a long list of foreign-policy issues involving all the regions of the world, on which Cuba and the Soviet Union expressed their common viewpoint.26 It was undoubtedly at Cuba’s specific request that the first two countries mentioned in the communique were Vietnam (and the revolutionaries of Indochina) and North Korea. This was to recall the signatories’ pledge of solidarity with them. Cuba apparently insisted on main­ taining the tandem it had formed with these countries. Just as they were doing it made more or less successful efforts to win acceptance for its positions while remaining on good terms with the Soviet Union.

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A REVIVAL OF SOVIET OPTIMISM VIS-A-VIS LATIN AMERICA The improvement in Soviet-Cuban relations from 1969 on led to renewed interest in Cuba on the part of the Soviet press and a noticeable increase in the space accorded it. * However, this interest never reached the heights of the early 1960s,t which may seem paradoxical in view of the fact that during the period covered by this section (1969-77), Soviet-Cuban relations, whether state-to-state or party-to-party, were better and more stable than they had ever been before. But it is this very stability that explains the difference in the ideological and strategic importance accorded to Cuba at the beginning of each of the last two decades. Because of this stability, Soviet texts on Cuba become less interesting from 1969-70 on, and more banal for the observer seeking new and meaningful elements of the dynamics of Soviet foreign policy. For this reason this third section is relatively brief. The situation in Latin America in the early 1970s did give rise, however, to political reappraisals in the Soviet Union in which the role attributed to Cuba, though limited, was nonetheless of some importance. Cuba’s direct or indirect involvement with Latin American events makes it relevant to take a look at the Soviet analysis. Though the Soviet texts from 1966 to 1968 concealed an implicit pessimism in connection with the backlash theory with regard to the state of the Latin American revolutionary movement, this changed from 1970 on. A renewed optimism, which would continue to grow, was nourished by the situations in Peru and Bolivia, and by the Popular Unity victory in Chile in the fall of 1970. Moscow believed that the revolutionary movement had been given a new im­ petus through a dialectical relationship with the backlash that preceded this period. Perhaps a few words should be said about the situation in Bolivia at that time, which is little known. In 1969, General Ovando replaced Barrientos and began to pursue a nationalist and reformist policy. This policy gave rise to division within the army. In July 1970, rightist forces in the army attempted to overthrow the movement. This attempt failed and power was seized by General Torres who greatly accelerated the radicalization of the Bolivian political pro­ cess. The Torres regime was taking a path similar to Peru’s when it was over­ thrown by another military coup d’etat a year after it had risen to power. This put an end to Soviet interest in Bolivia. The revolutionary measures undertaken in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile were not the only causes for optimism in the Soviet Union; another factor was the policy being pursued by several nonrevolutionary states in Latin America, which consisted in maintaining a certain distance from the United States. It has already

♦See Figures A.l and A.2 in appendix. |On this point, Figures A.l and A.2 are particularly revealing.

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been noted in this regard that according to the Soviet leaders, the U.S. counter­ offensive in Latin America, especially the intervention in Santo Domingo, had caused several governments to keep their distance from Washington, either out of reformism or out of concern about giving themselves a nationalist image in their own countries. According to Soviet authors, this tendency grew with the development of the revolutionary movement. One of them spoke of a crisis in the OAS.27 He pointed out the difficulties the general secretary of the OAS had encountered in determining the meeting place of the organization’s general assembly scheduled for the summer of 1970. Due to the organization’s unpopu­ larity, the governments of several countries refused to allow the session to take place in their territories. The government of Santo Domingo finally agreed to host the meeting, but after a wave of demonstrations and protests shook the country with the announcement of this news, the meeting was cancelled and had to be held in Washington. The author also expressed satisfaction with Secretary of State Rogers’s failure during the Washington meeting in proposing collective measures to fight subversion in Latin America. From the time of the military intervention in Santo Domingo, U.S. authorities had made abortive attempts to introduce such measures in one form or another. For instance, the OAS had al­ ready refused to include the Inter-American Council for Defense which was com­ posed of representatives of the Latin American general staff as part of its per­ manent organization. The U.S. secretary of state’s renewed efforts in 1970 were seen by Moscow asan attempt to extend the “Guam Doctrine” to Latin America. This doctrine, which had been formulated by Nixon in Asia, was intended to shift an important part of the burden of keeping order on that continent from the United States to its Asian allies. The burden had been particularly costly, both economically and socially, in the case of Vietnam. The attitude the Latin American governments manifested in the OAS toward Cuba once again became Moscow’s best measuring device for appraising the degree of anti-American sentiment. For instance, the fact that during the general assembly held in the summer of 1970, Peru-but also Colombia, Trinidad, and Tobago—asked that the sanctions against Cuba be removed was considered particularly indicative of current developments. Still, with respect to interstate relations on the Latin American continent the Soviet leaders considered the Andean Pact and the way it had evolved to be of great importance. The pact, which had been established in 1969, was an economic and trade association of five countries: Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador. The purpose of this economic association was not only to widen a protective market for national enterprise, but to limit the penetration of foreign capital and control its operating conditions, such as those relating to the reex­ portation of profits. Soviet authors saw the Andean Pact as a particularly useful superstructure for efficiently coordinating and strengthening the struggle against U.S. domination on an international scale. Soviet optimism was based on the fact that the Andean Pact included the three most, radical countries on the continent—Chile, Peru, and Bolivia. These countries were in the majority and

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therefore were in possession of a precious international tool. In October 1970 the Bolivian president, General Torres, stated: “1 consider that at the present time all the conditions are ripe for Bolivia, Peru and Chile to join their efforts in the struggle against imperialism, for our countries have much in common.”28 His remarks were considered meaningful and important in the Soviet Union. With regard to the social forces of political change operating in the Latin American countries, the radicalization process taking place in the Catholic church on the continent and in certain national armies was considered by Soviet authors to be a new and particularly significant and promising phenomenon. Of course, the Soviet leaders had already noted and analyzed the revolutionary role the military was able to play in certain Third World countries, such as those in the Middle East. This role was attributed to weak capitalist development in those countries, accompanied by the relative political autonomy enjoyed by the “in­ termediate strata” to which the military belonged. As seen in Part I, these funda­ mental conditions, along with several others, could have caused the military to move toward the Left. However, until the late 1960s this was not thought likely to happen in Latin America. The army and church were considered to be insti­ tutions particularly well controlled by the upper bourgeoisie and latifundists whose economic standing was more solid and stable there than anywhere else in the Third World. For the Soviet Union, the Peruvian and Bolivian situations pointed up an important change in this respect.29 A similar tendency was ob­ served in Panama (though to a lesser degree) where the junta in power was step­ ping up its demands for sovereignty over the Panama Canal. The fact that anti­ imperialist currents had penetrated the armies of these countries was, according to them, a sign that the national liberation movement against the United States was becoming more widespread and radicalized. Soviet authors were perhaps warning themselves when they said that “the role of the armed forces in the national liberation movement in Latin America must not, of course, be overestimated.” However, they did raise their expecta­ tions that the petty bourgeoisie would rally at least partially to working-class positions, for a decisive shift in the correlation of forces. In taking note of the numerical growth of the Latin American petty bourgeoisie, they pointed out that from 1930 to 1966, the number of students in institutions of higher learn­ ing had risen from 248,900 to 880,OOO.30 As in other sectors of the petty bourgeoisie, but here in even greater proportion, not only were their numbers growing, but also their anti-imperialist sentiments. This appraisal of the importance of the middle strata corresponded per­ fectly to that of the Chilean Communist party and the Allende government whose whole strategy was aimed at winning the backing of these strata.31 In the polarization that was taking place in Chile, the Popular Unity government was of the opinion that the forces capable of attracting the middle strata to their side would win out. It was because of the importance accorded the petty bourgeoisie and the middle strata that the Soviet leaders were also interested in the leftist currents

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running through the Catholic church in Latin America which, according to them, was displaying the same process of evolution. Again it was considered very en­ couraging that the most radical elements coming from the Christian Democrats, namely the Movimiento de Accion Popular Unitario (MAPU), in Chile were participating in the Popular Unity government. The repercussions were bound to be positive. This phenomenon was not exclusive to Chile, but was a tendency that seemed to be growing in Latin America. A declaration published by 400 Peruvian priests on April 18, 1970 stated: “The history of private ownership of the means of production shows most clearly the necessity of limiting or sup­ pressing it altogether for the public good. A new man and a new society cannot be created on the paths of capitalism.”32 At the same time that hopes were being built on the leftist evolution of the petty bourgeoisie, the idea was abandoned (this time for good) that the national bourgeoisie was playing or could in the future play a progressive role in Latin America. One author wrote that there no longer existed “in Latin America any sort of homogenous national bourgeoisie whose contradictions with im­ perialism were irreconcilable and who consequently possessed a significant revolutionary potential. 33 This author, a specialist on Chile, was making this judgment about Frei s Christian Democracy in Chile which had previously been represented by other authors as a vehicle for the interests of a progressive national bourgeoisie. In order to dissipate any possible ambiguity due to the inherently positive connotation of the expression “national bourgeoisie,” A. F. Shul’govskii proposed that the expression be abandoned altogether. “It seems,” he wrote, “to be necessary to replace the expression ‘national bourgeoisie’ when applied to the independent capitalist countries of Latin America by the expres­ sion ‘local bourgeoisie.’”34 The Soviet leaders were coming around topositions that had already been emphatically formulated by several Latin American Com­ munist parties. * Soviet optimism grew as more tangible successes began to be scored by the revolutionary movement in Latin America in 1970 and 1971. This was reflected in the appearance of socialism on the agenda set for the revolutionary process. Soviet authors spoke more readily about socialism for Latin America, though they continued to consider it not an immediate and all-absorbing task for any country. For Chile, however, socialism was no longer a phenomenon of the dis­ tant future. Consequently, the gulf between Cuba and the continent, so deplored earlier, seemed to be closing up on the social level, as well as on the level of interstate relations. This is why it could be said that “having become the outpost for socialism in the Western hemisphere, Cuba has clearly defined the class nature of the confrontation between the forces of imperialism and oligarchy on

thev didAeLth°U8n "k01 allauthorsabando"ed theuseofthe expression “national bourgeoisie,” they did cease attributing to it any potential or actual progressive character.

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the one hand, and the popular, anti-imperialist forces of national unity on the other,” while pointing out “more clearly, the prospects for development of the revolutionary process on the continent.”35 The fact that the Soviet leaders were quicker to speak about the possi­ bility of socialism in Latin America did not mean they had abandoned the theses concerning the necessity of passing through stages on the way. Efforts were made to try to clarify the number and the social and political aims of these stages for different countries.36

NOTES 1. See Ernst Halperin, “Soviet Naval Power, Soviet-Cuban Relations, and Politics in the Caribbean,” in Soviet Seapower in the Caribbean: Political and Strategical Implications, ed. James D. Theberge (New York: Praeger, 1972), pp. 91-92; and Edward Gonzalez in Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Revolutionary Change in Cuba (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1971), p. 95. 2. The text of Fidel Castro’s speech may be found in the French language weekly edition of Granma, August 25, 1968. 3. Pravda, September 9, October 8 and 23, November 6, December 17 and 24, 1968. 4. Pravda, February 3, 1969. 5. Conference internationale des partis communistes et ouvriers-Moscou 1969 (Prague: Editions Paix et Socialisme, 1969), pp. 307-8. 6. Ibid., pp. 309-10. 7. Gonzalez in Mesa-Lago, op. cit., p. 96. 8. Edward Gonzalez, Cuba under Castro: The Limits of Charisma (Boston: Hough­ ton Mifflin, 1974), pp. 142-43. 9. Granma, August 2, 1970. 10. Tass Agency press release, cited by Gonzalez, op. cit., p. 215. 11. Granma, August 25, 1968. 12. E. Halperin, op. cit., p. 92. 13. These remarks were well received in the Soviet press {Pravda, June 12, 1969). They were also reprinted in the article “Chronology of the most Important Events in SovietCuban Relations, 1960-1970,” Latinskaia Amerika 3 (May-June 1970): 219-44. 14. For further details on the kind of ships and the frequency of their visits to Cuba from 1969 to 1972 see Theberge, op. cit., Ch. 1, Table 1, p. 9. 15. Quoted by Donald W. Mitchell in Theberge, op. cit., p. 36. 16. Granma, May 3, 1970. Quoted by Leon Goure and Julian Weinkle, “Soviet-Cuban Relations: The Growing Integration,” in Cuba, Castro and Revolution, ed. Jaime Suchlicki (Miami: University of Miami Press, 1972), p. 184. 17. Pravda, October 14, 1970. 18. Perhaps he was also relying on the statement made by a White House spokesman following the autumn 1970 incident over the port of Cienfuegos, in which the United States reaffirmed its nonintervention policy. See Foy D. Kohler, “Cuba and the Soviet Problem in Latin America,” in Jaime Suchlicki, op. cit., p. 137. 19. Pravda, June 28, 1972. 20. Quoted by Foy D. Kohler, op. cit., pp. 135-36. 21. Granma, May 3, 1970. 22. Fidel Castro au Chili: discours et declarations (Paris: Editions sociales, collection “Socialisme,” 1972), p. 107. 23. Ibid., pp. 111-12.

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24. Ibid., p. 116. 25. Ibid., p. 140. 26. Text of the communique may be found in Pravda, November 1, 1971. 27. S. Gonionski, “La crise de 1’organisation des Etats americains,” Im vie interna­ tionale 1 (1971): 25-31. 28. B. Antonov, “L’Amerique latine contre 1’emprise des Etats-Unis,” La vie Inter­ nationale 8 (1971): 52-57. 29. “Latin America in the World Revolutionary Process,” Latinskaia Amerika 2 (March-April, 1971): 5-15. Also see B. Antonov, op. cit. 30. Ibid. 31.1. Zorina, “Chile, a New Stage in History,” Latinskaia Amerika 1 (JanuaryFebruary, 1971). 32. “Les decisions du gouvernement pe'ruvien,” Temps Nouveaux 35 (September 1970): 16-17. 33.1. Zorina, Les paradoxes du reformisme latino-americain,” Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia 1 (January 1970): 37-47. 34. A. F. Shul govskii, “Radical-Left Conceptions of the Democratic Anti-Imperialist Revolutionary Processes,” Latinskaia Amerika 4 (1972): 59-78. 35. “Latin America in the World Revolutionary Process,” Latinskaia Amerika 2 (March 1971): 5-15. 36. For an interesting attempt at clarification and classification, see U. Larin, “Latin America, Social Diversity and Path of Development,” Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia 3 (March 1971): 93-105.

6 Toward a Reintegration of Cuba into Latin America

CUBA AND SOVIET-U.S. DETENTE The year 1972 marked a very important turning point in Soviet-U.S. rela­ tions. From the time of Nixon’s visit to the Soviet Union in May 1972 until December 1974, the world witnessed an era of Soviet-U.S. detente and con­ certed action that had not been seen since the Second World War. This period of detente was much more extensive than it had been during the last two years Khrushchev was in power, precisely because of the amount of cooperation in several areas that accompanied it. It appears that the event that acted as catalyst for this turning point was the surprise announcement of Nixon’s upcoming visit to China. This announce­ ment was made simultaneously in Peking and the United States in July 1971. It corresponded to the new direction taken by Chinese foreign policy following the Cultural Revolution, during which China had found itself completely iso­ lated and under increasingly heavy Soviet military pressure at its borders from 1969 on, because of the serious border incidents that had flared up during the spring of that year. Until 1971, official Chinese texts maintained that U.S. im­ perialism and Soviet social-imperialism were enemies of equal status. * However,

♦Up until the Cultural Revolution, the United States had been the main enemy. Dur­ ing the author’s stay in China in July 1971, he asked several people whom they considered to be the main enemy. Students generally answered unhesitatingly: the United States. In the upper ranks of the party and state, however, the cadres refused to make a distinction be­ tween the Soviet Union and the United States.

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it was not hard to see that the Soviet Union was gradually becoming the main enemy. After the Cultural Revolution, China tried to end its isolation, first of all by developing relations with middle-sized powers. Though the ping-pong matches between the Chinese and the Americans hinted at the possibility of a rapprochement, no one expected anything as rapid and spectacular as Nixon’s visit to China. The event was indeed noteworthy: since the end of the Second World War, no U.S. president in office had ever visited the Soviet Union, be­ cause of the state of Soviet-U.S. relations. * Although China had based the SinoSoviet conflict throughout the 1960s on the necessity of intensifying the strug­ gle against U.S. imperialism, it was the first to receive an American president. The announcement of this visit was made less than two months before the dis­ appearance and death of Lin Piao, and the rumors circulating with regard to his opposition to rapprochement with the United States are probably well founded.! It did not take the Soviet leaders very long to understand that this rap­ prochement was directed against them. President Nixon took it upon himself to make this quite clear. Some days before his departure for China, he stated that the United States had no very serious bones of contention with China. But, he said, the Soviet Union was—on the contrary—the party primarily responsible for tensions in the Middle East and the deterioration of the situation in Indochina. (The National Liberation Front of South Vietnam was involved at the time in an important offensive in which Soviet-made tanks were used in large numbers.) It was obvious that the United States wanted its spectacular rapprochement with China to worry the Soviet Union and intended to use it as a lever in negotiations. Very shortly after the announcement of his visit to China, Nixon received an invitation to make an official visit to the Soviet Union. Some months later, shortly after the U.S. president’s stay in China, Brezhnev expressed his deep concern about Sino-American relations in the very same terms used by China during the 1960s to denounce Soviet-U.S. relations. “One cannot help noticing certain statements made by participants in the Peking talks which make us think that their dialogue has overflowed the context of bilateral relations between the USA and China. For example, how else can this statement made during a Shang-

u Ihe, V1Slt Elsenhower was supposed to make to the Soviet Union reciprocating Khrushchev s visit to the United States in the fall of 1959 was cancelled by the Soviet Union after the U-2 incident occurred and the 1960 summit meeting fell through The plans for Johnson’s visit never took shape. ’ fThe author was in Peking the day the announcement was made of Nixon’s coming visit and he had the opportunity to discuss it the very same evening with high-ranking offi­ cials of the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry. One of them stated that it was necessary to really understand the meaning of the invitation made to Nixon. He admitted that it could e subject to misinterpretation” and that “even some members of the Chinese Communist par y (at the time, these had to be high-ranking members) had experienced difficulty in really understanding the meaning of it.

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hai banquet be interpreted: ‘Today our two peoples [American and Chinese] hold the future of the whole world in their hands’?”1 In April 1972—in other words, during the interval between Nixon’s visits to China and the Soviet Union—the United States escalated its war in Vietnam to heights the previous administration had not dared to approach. It mined the ports of Haiphong and the North Vietnamese coast to the point that landings of Soviet and East European supplies were noticeably slowed down, if not alto­ gether interrupted. Several observers feared a major international confrontation, and the situation was considered the most dangerous since the 1962 missile crisis. But no crisis arose after all. It was thought that the Soviet leaders would at least cancel or postpone Nixon’s visit. Even Kissinger said he expected this. However, the visit took place as planned, while the blockade of North Vietnam, a Soviet ally, continued. This was indeed an unprecedented event. Kissinger’s strategy seemed to hit the mark and was perhaps even more successful than he had expected. Alarmed by the Sino-American rapprochement, the Soviet leaders were determined not to allow their relations with the United States to worsen, even at a very high political price. Their strategy apparently consisted in showing both the Chinese and the U.S. leaders that the Soviet Union had a lot more to offer the United States than had China in a policy of detente and cooperation. At the same time, of course, they tried to make maxi­ mum use of the situation. Important results were achieved at the 1972 Moscow summit meeting. First of all, the first agreement on strategic arms limitation was finalized. This agreement, though favorable to both parties, was, in the opinion of several ex­ perts, slightly more advantageous for the Soviet Union in that allowances were made for the latter to quantitatively “catch up.”2 At the same time, the agree­ ment allowed for a cutback in Soviet military expenditures, expected to facilitate development in other sectors of its economy that had fallen behind. The Soviet leaders intended to take advantage of detente to get this technological upgrading financed by U.S. credit. (The most advanced Soviet technology had been used essentially to develop military equipment.) The U.S. interlocutors seemed quite ready to make things easy for them. Nixon’s and Kissinger’s most immediate concern at the time of the Moscow summit meeting was to find an “honorable” way to end the direct military com­ mitment of the United States in Vietnam. Until this point in time, the Soviet Union had refused to act as intermediary and mediator between the United States and North Vietnam, and had referred the U.S. representatives back to the Hanoi government. This attitude changed after Nixon’s visit to the Soviet Union. The Soviet leaders began working to promote settlement. It was Kissinger him­ self who let it be known, after the Paris agreements were signed in January 1973, that negotiations had been resumed between the United States and North Viet­ nam, some months after the Moscow summit meeting, only when the Vietnamese finally agreed to separate the cease-fire and U.S. troop-withdrawal issue from the fate of the Thieu regime. Up to this point, Hanoi had insisted that a coalition

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government be established in Saigon before or at the time of a cease-fire. * There is every reason to believe that the Soviet leaders played a prominent role in getting their Vietnamese counterparts to accept this compromise. They tried to convince the Vietnamese that U.S. withdrawal and Washington’s recognition of the realities of the battlefield—the existence of two armies and two governments in South Vietnam—were most crucial for them. Peking probably adopted a similar attitude. Kissinger’s jaunts back and forth between China and the Soviet Union worried both countries, neither of which wanted to allow the other the benefit of unilateral detente with the United States. Under these conditions, the North Vietnamese leaders understood that neither China nor the Soviet Union would increase its military support at the risk of damaging relations with the United States and, though they were not completely satisfied with it, they had to accept the compromise that led to the Paris agreements. Barely a month after Nixon’s visit to the Soviet Union-that is, in late June 1972—Fidel Castro traveled to Moscow, no doubt at his own request. It was clear that the prime minister needed reassurance. The U.S. blockade of the North Vietnamese coastline had not hindered the Moscow summit meeting in any way; in fact, Soviet-U.S. detente took a considerable leap forward during the meeting. This gave Fidel Castro good reason to fear that small countries like his own and North Vietnam, which were most seriously at odds with the United States and which greatly depended on Soviet support, would pay at least part of the bill for this detente. It is obvious that the Soviet leaders worked hard to reassure Fidel Castro during his stay in the USSR. In a speech delivered at the Kremlin during a recep­ tion in honor of the Cuban prime minister, Brezhnev said that it was out of “re­ spect for the legitimate interests of all countries and peoples that we have under­ taken talks at the Soviet-American summit meeting.”3 He added that in a con­ text of detente, it was even more necessary to pursue and even intensify ideo­ logical struggle. It was in this speech that Brezhenv found it necessary to say that Cuba’s interests and security were solidly protected by the Soviet Union: “we have said that several times and we repeat it today in the most responsible fashion. In answer, Fidel Castro used Brezhnev’s own words, as though to lock him into his promise: “We receive with deep gratitude your statement on Viet­ nam and the assurance that the Soviet Union will continue to give all necessary help and support to the heroic people of Vietnam, until the victory of their just cause.” J It seems, then, that Cuba identified itself more than ever with North Viet­ nam during Soivet-U.S. detente (with all its inherent risks). Once again, on Fidel Castro’s insistence,the joint communique signed at the end of his visit mentioned North Vietnam and North Korea at the top of the list of those countries toward which the Soviet Union and Cuba reaffirmed their duty of solidarity.4 Out of the three socialist countries with difficult international positions, Cuba was, de-

which Td’d "ec,i0“in v“t“in .he country were to agree upon i„ formation and Xta 'W° eX'S""g f°rC“

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spite everything, still the best situated. Its isolation could not be compared with that of North Korea. In July 1972—that is, immediately after Castro’s visit to the Soviet UnionCuba joined CEMA. Until then, it had participated irregularly in the work of this organization, and only as an observer. The fact that Cuba had not pre­ viously joined CEMA and seemed to prefer bilateral economic relations with CEMA member-countries was interpreted as a desire to remain independent. Cuba’s decision to join the ranks of CEMA can be explained by both eco­ nomic and political factors. On the political level, because of the Soviet-U.S. rap­ prochement, anything that would integrate Cuba more fully into the socialist camp and consequently increase Soviet responsibility toward Cuba must have seemed reassuring to the Cuban leaders. Obviously, the latter would have pre­ ferred military integration. This seemed out of the question however, since Washington could have interpreted it as a challenge, just at a time when the main Soviet goal was to relax tensions with the United States. Cuba’s decision to join CEMA can probably best be explained by eco­ nomic factors. The Soviet Union showered Cuba with very important advantages upon its entry into CEMA. These advantages were revealed in December 1972 in the agreements signed in Moscow by Fidel Castro and Brezhnev in the wake of negotiations that had taken place after the Cuban prime minister’s visit in June.5 First of all, the Soviet Union agreed to postpone initial payment on the Cuban debt for 15 years. This debt amounted to several hundreds of millions of dollars and was the result of deficits Cuba had accumulated in its trade with the Soviet Union. According to observers, this was in reality as good as cancelling the debt altogether, or at least abandoning any prospects of recovering it. The agreements signed in Moscow also fixed the long-term prices the Soviet Union would pay for Cuba’s main export goods (sugar and nickel) at a level above world market prices in effect at that time. * Among other projects, the agreements arranged for partial Soviet financing of textile and metallurgical factories in Cuba and a large power plant on the Isle of Pines, as well as the re­ construction of the ports of Havana and other cities whose inadequacies had caused many delays and problems in the economic relations between the two countries. Commenting on these agreements, one Soviet author justified them by quoting Lenin’s remarks about the primacy of politics over economics. Accord­ ing to that author, “the political interests of socialist countries, like their victory in the economic competition with capitalism and the strengthening of their international position” must “in certain situations, inevitably, have priority over economic interests.” These considerations applied to Cuba because of “its really difficult and complex strategic position.”6 At the same time, this most recent Soviet aid was given with the hope that economic management would become more efficient in Cuba. This hope seemed

♦From 1973 to 1980, the Soviet Union was to gradually increase the price for sugar from 120 to 200 rubles per ton. This was equivalent to an average of 11 cents a pound for that period.

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well founded, by Soviet criteria. As has already been pointed out, the failure to achieve its goal of 10 million tons of sugar in 1970 marked the end of Cuba’s economic “voluntarism.” From that point on. Soviet advice in matters of plan­ ning, enterprise management, and the calculation of costs and productivity was heeded much more seriously. Obviously, the Soviet leaders were quite pleased with this turnabout and expressed themselves in rather eloquent terms. Soviet specialists in Cuban affairs spoke about Cuba’s “new stage”:

Correct use of the objective economic laws of socialism. . . , im­ provement of the management system, of inventory control, of the organization of labor and distribution are the important premises of good management. Changes in this respect are becoming noticeable in Cuba. The Leninist thesis—build socialism not with enthusiasm alone, but with the help of enthusiasm, by harmoniously combining material and moral incentives .. . -is finding its way.7

The authors also noted the fact that since then, “the law is considerably rein­ forcing discipline on the job through moral, administrative and material measures. The establishment of employment records which give the main characteristics of positions held also contribute to making evaluation of the merits of each worker more objective and precise.” It is changes of this sort that cause some to speak of “Stalinization” and satellization in Cuba. Because of the path its internal economic consolida­ tion has taken, there are indeed several characteristics of the East European countries to be seen in Cuba. However, the differences remain numerous and important. During a stay in Cuba in 1973, the author was struck by many of these differences. They were particularly visible in the educational system, for example, where emphasis on the relation between practical work and theoretical work made it resemble the Chinese system more than any other. For instance there were no full-time students in the Cuban universities. There were only student-workers, or worker-students, depending on the ratio of time devoted to studies and work outside the university. Similarly, several of the methods em­ ployed in agriculture, as well as the “micro-brigades” in construction, reminded one more of China than of Eastern Europe. The importance still accorded to mass mobilization (though less than in the past) was particular to Cuba In a study published in 1971, shortly before Cuba joined COMECON two U.S. authors indicated that the members of this organization seemed to have no economic interest m Cuba joining their ranks. They spoke about the limited needs of CEMA members for Cuban export products, which were very limited Moreover, Cuba s chronic inability to fulfill its foreign trade commitments was bound to cause disturbances in the organization. According to them this is w y, m the short run at least, Cuba’s admission to CEMA will have to be justi­ fied more in terms of political and psychological benefits for the Soviet Union

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than in any economic advantages.”8 The way in which the Soviet Union made use of Cuba’s adherences to CEMA seems to confirm the truth of these remarks. The Soviet leaders knew from experience that detente with the United States and intensified economic relations with that country and other Western countries could have a centrifugal effect in the socialist camp. This is why they made considerable efforts to increase the cohesion of the socialist camp, while continuing to pursue detente. One of the favored tools used was CEMA, which they sought to strengthen. Moreover, it was this integrating institution that might be most threatened by detente and economic cooperation with the West. Cuba’s adherence therefore contributed politically to strengthening CEMA. Up to this point, this institution had grouped together only the European socialist countries; the Asian countries (except for Outer Mongolia) had stayed on the sidelines, it was the same in the case of the Warsaw Pact, which meant that the pro-Soviet socialist camp was confined to Europe. Cuba’s adherence was there­ fore proof of CEMA’s expansion and international importance. Consequently, the Soviet Union used Cuba’s membership to justify its efforts to strengthen CEMA. This is what made some Soviet authors say, when commenting on Cuba’s entry into the international organization, ‘‘this move on the part of the Cuban government which favors the tasks of socialist construction, contributes at the same time to greater cohesion of the socialist community, to consolidation of the world socialist system.”9 Similarly, approval on the part of the “enfant terrible” of the socialist camp, not only of CEMA, but also of Soviet foreign policy, contributed to strengthening Soviet authority in this camp and in the Communist movement. Stressing the very close relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union, one Soviet author recently wrote:

The Soviet Union and Cuba consider that they must contribute to their utmost to consolidating the cohesion and power of the com­ munity of socialist countries, to promote close cooperation among them, which is an important factor for the growth of their eco­ nomic and political potential.10

SOVIET HOPES AND DISAPPOINTMENTS IN LATIN AMERICA Detente and rapprochement with the United States did not modify the Soviet assessment of the Latin American political situation in 1972 and 1973 until the coup d’etat took place in Chile in September of that year. Until then, their optimism had been growing. The coup d’etat that had been carried out by right-wing military forces in Bolivia seemed to be compensated for by the fact that power had been seized in Ecuador in February 1972 by “patriotic officers.” Moreover, Panama was multiplying its efforts on the international level to acquire the Canal, and Chile, Peru,andCuba were becoming more activeon the continent.

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The fact that the Soviet Union maintained and even increased its interest in Latin America was not indicative of any change in policy or action toward those countries. If good relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had no effect on Soviet policy, it was because this policy was already in­ direct, limited in scope, and not directly offensive to the United States. Since the missile crisis and the U.S. intervention in Santo Domingo, the Soviets had been aware of how limited their possibilities were for direct action in that part of the world. Since they were not involved in hot spots such as Vietnam or the Middle East, they had no compromises to make with the United States in those areas. It is clear, however, that they hoped for and pressed for a change in the status quo in Latin America, as long as this implied no direct confrontation with the United States. This was, moreover, perfectly compatible with their concept of peaceful coexistence. Soviet texts in 1972-73 made it clear that the Soviet leaders were con­ vinced that a situation falling within these conditions was becoming more and more visible. The path being followed by Chile seemed ideal in this respect. The Allende government’s plans for transformation in stages meant that Chile was not working toward a total break with the other Latin American countries or even with the United States, in spite of the retaliatory measures, such as block­ ing credits, that Washington had taken against it. The Soviet Union did not have to run a blockade with all the economic and political responsibilities that would have entailed, which would have multiplied with time. Chile did not call for Soviet military support, which would have given the United States a reason for organizing a counterthrust. Soviet economic aid to Chile was handled indirectly and discretely in order to avoid causing dangerous alarm. For instance, the East European countries shared among themselves the credit extended to Chile in order to require from the Soviet Union only a modest sum. In early 1973 the credit officially extended to Chile by the socialist countries amounted to $463 million. Of this amount, the Soviet Union contributed only $259 million.11 Soviet economic aid to Chile was actually quite modest in comparison with that already accorded other countries. One might wonder whether the desire to avoid provoking a reaction on the part of the United States can alone explain this fact. Another element might be considered: it is possible that the Soviet Union wanted to let the Chilean leaders know that it could not or did not want to support Chile financially at costs that might grow geometrically, should the breach with the world capitalist system widen. This explanation is related to the first. Some writers, inclined to the most Machiavellian interpretations, suggest that by withholding further economic aid to the Allende regime, the Soviet Union did not want it to survive. This explanation seems very dubious how­ ever, in view of the open and verifiable manifestations of Soviet policy and expectations. What apparently made the Soviet leaders more optimistic about Chile’s survival under the Popular Unity government and about the possibility of a profound change in the status quo in Latin America was the growing complexity

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of the continent’s political chessboard, which in turn made it more complicated for the United States to intervene on the continent. The Soviet authors began to make a distinction among three groups of countries. The grouping was not based, this time, on similarities in social and economic structure, but rather on the current policies of the regimes in power. The first group was composed of revolutionary countries including, in order, Cuba, Chile, and Peru. The second was composed of countries that were considered reactionary and pro-imperialist, such as Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and certain countries in Central America. Brazil was considered the leader of this group because it had agreed, in some sense, that the Guam Doctrine be applied in Latin America and had acted as a “sous-gendarme” on the continent. Situated between these two groups was a third, more heterogenous group of countries considered reformist, such as Mexi­ co, Venezuela, and Colombia. This group also included, on the Left, Ecuador, Panama, and after March 1973, Peronist Argentina. Certain authors placed Pan­ ama on the line between the reformist countries and the revolutionary countries. The countries in this third group and their policies were considered ex­ tremely important in that they prevented an excessive polarization that would have put additional pressure on Chile and Peru and increased the room to maneuver for the United States. In a 1968 article written before Soviet-Cuban relations had improved, in which the author criticized the Cuban theses on armed struggle and the possi­ bility of the Cuban experience being repeated elsewhere in Latin America, the Soviet scholar A. Popov (as has been already pointed out) stressed how unex­ pected the turn of Cuban revolutionary events had been for the United States. He mentioned the steps the United States had taken to prevent a repetition of the Cuban example. He added that another unexpected and advantageous situa­ tion might eventually “arise in other Latin American countries, in a new junc­ ture.”12 Apparently, this new juncture did occur, and Chile and Peru were consid­ ered new cases that had taken the United States by surprise. The fact that the Popular Unity government had been elected in a perfectly legal fashion made it very difficult for the United States to intervene directly, and this would have been even more unjustifiable in a context of international detente. Similarly, the United States was unprepared for the unexpected radicalization of the military in power in Peru. The fact that revolutionary measures in Peru were being taken by the army also made it very complicated for the United States to intervene indirectly through the military. In Chile it was the military that finally proved fatal for the Allende gov­ ernment. Did the Soviet leaders entertain any illusions about this eventuality? During the three years the Popular Unity government was in power, Soviet texts stressed the fact that progressive tendencies were increasing in the Chilean army, as they were in certain other Latin American countries. The Soviet Union counted, in fact, on the growing strength of the Left and the “legalists” in the army, in the hope that this might dissuade the military Right from effecting a

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coup d’etat. Moreover, it appears that the Soviet leaders tried-by indirect means, of course—to be influential in the Chilean army. According to Le Monde, the Soviet government offered President Allende free military equipment. This would have required Chilean soldiers and officers to travel to the Soviet Union to learn how to handle these arms (and vice versa) which would have contributed to breaking somewhat the circuit of special relations between the Chilean and U.S. armies. President Allende refused this offer out of fear that his acceptance might cause a dangerous disturbance in his own army. Peru, however, accepted the same offer. The author was in Moscow in March 1973 at the time of the Chilean legis­ lative elections when a 7 percent increase in votes was registered in favor of the Popular Unity government, in comparison to the vote in the presidential elec­ tion. This was significant, considering the difficult economic situation in Chile at that moment. The time alloted to Chilean news reports on Soviet radio and television before and after the elections was a sign of the importance accorded to what was happening in Chile. The optimism displayed in Moscow following the elections was not only official; it also showed up in private conversation. Specialists on Latin America considered that both this success and time itself would lead to a favorable evolution in the Chilean army against a coup d’etat. The importance accorded Chile is easy to understand. The ideal model the Soviet Union had long advocated was finally being put to the test. However, even though the news space given the Latin American situation noticeably increased during Popular Unity years, the Soviet leaders themselves refrained from making any strong statements on Chile, just as they avoided putting too much emphasis on the Communist role in the Popular Unity government.13 Though the Soviet Union undertook no important measures to support the new revolutionary or nationalist states in Latin America, Soviet authors did insist on the importance of strengthening relations and international cooperation with the other states of the middle group.14 According to their writings, the ideal institutional formula would have been an organization of Latin American states with no U.S. participation. But they limited themselves to pointing out the weakness of the OAS and foretelling its collapse in the not-too-distant future. The existing institution that was most favored remained the Andean Pact. The Soviet authors praised its merits, but all in all were only moderately optimistic concerning its future. They were well aware that the Pact had run up against a number of difficulties. For instance, it had been weakened by the collapse of General Torres’s government in Bolivia and the shift in policy there. However, the fact that Venezuela adhered to the Pact in 1973, and after some hesitation had finally accepted the rules concerning the limits imposed on for­ eign capital, partially compensated for this weakening. In Colombia, groups opposing the Andean Pact had requested that Colombia’s membership, which had been granted under the same terms with respect to foreign capital, be de­ clared unconstitutional. Finally, thanks to the “role played by the progressive

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forces” in that country, the Colombian parliament voted a constitutional amend­ ment in March 1973 which kept Colombia in the Pact. While continuing to encourage nationalization and the public sector, Soviet authors warned against the methods being used by U.S. capital to counter or adjust to this process, which was picking up speed in Latin America. One of them pointed out that, instead of requesting the denationalization of state enter­ prises as they had done previously, several large U.S. companies were now trying to acquire shares in the enterprises of the public sector, which benefited them in several ways. Among other things it provided them with a guarantee against nationalization as well as with state protection and subsidies.15 A certain amount of satisfaction was expressed about the steps taken in the Andean Pact to counter this new trend. In addition to working through the Andean Pact, the Soviet Union also en­ couraged acting within the framework of the Economic Commission for Latin America which is part of the United Nations, and in which Cuba is represented. The special meeting of the U.N. Security Council held in Panama in March 1973 was considered an important event for internationalizing continent-wide opposi­ tion to the United States. This time, not only Cuba, but also the Soviet Union itself was present. Washington’s Latin American policy was severely criticized, in varying degrees, by several countries on the continent, among them some that were far from being revolutionary. The United States was placed in the embar­ rassing position of having to use its veto in order to prevent the passage of a resolution demanding that the 1903 Canal Zone Agreement be annulled, and that the Zone be put back into Panama’s hands. The whole Latin American situation and the events taking place there led one Soviet writer to say that “the revolutionary process is developing faster there than in the other regions of the non-socialist world.”16 Naturally, Cuba, Chile, and Peru were principally relied on to continue shift­ ing the international distribution of power on the continent. These countries might operate jointly or individually, within international institutions or through bi­ lateral relations with other states. Each at a different level, they formed the tandem (with Cuba still in front) that indicated the direction being taken by the anti-imperialist movement. During a meeting of the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America held in Quito in March 1973, the Cuban delegate, Carlos Rafael Rodriguez stated: Since the popular, socialist America of which we are dreaming does not yet exist, our duty is to find the possible forms of association with the different social and political regimes of Latin America as­ piring to independent development, which must join together, and which can count on Cuba’s support.17 Because of Cuba’s new flexibility and its desire to encourage all anti-imperialist tendencies, no matter how weak, the Soviet Union was again ready to grant it

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the leadership of progressive forces in Latin America. Once again, Cuba was spoken of as the vanguard of these forces. It was affirmed that it “legitimately enjoyed the authority of a combatant against imperialism.”18 Indeed, Cuba’s isolation on the continent was diminishing. From 1970 to 1973, Chile, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and Argentina established diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. The blockade was being chipped away. This made Brezhnev say that the fact that the “con­ siderable strengthening in Latin America of heroic revolutionary Cuba’s po­ litical positions” was “an important testimony” to the changes taking place on the continent.19 One author characterized the situation by saying, “in the history of international relations, the early 1970s will be associated with the collapse of revolutionary Cuba’s isolation.”20 In fact, the end of Cuba’s isola­ tion was due as much to the moderation of its policy as it was to the changes that had taken place on the continent. The Soviet Union’s optimism was cut short by the military coup d’etat in Chile on September II, 1973. It generated and continues to generate fiery re­ action from the Soviet press. Indeed, one would have to go back several years in the Soviet press to find remarks on Latin America as violent as these.21 The strength of this reaction is, it would seem, a measure of the hopes that had been raised by the Chilean experience. What is so noteworthy about the Soviet reaction to the Chilean coup d etat is that it was not limited to denunciations and vast propaganda and pres­ sure campaigns. The coup also generated modifications, or important restrictive clarifications, of the theses on the possibility of peaceful transition from capital­ ism to socialism. These clarifications or revisions took the form of analyses or comments on the lessons to be learned from the successes and errors of the Chilean Revolu­ tion. For instance, one of the Soviet specialists on Latin America, M. F. Kudachkin, wrote in an important article that “the social revolution, even as its demo­ cratic, anti-imperialist stage of development, cannot totally and exclusively use the old military-bureaucratic apparatus of the state and adapt itself to it.”22 Applying this general formulation to Chile, the author stressed that “all repres­ sive military and police machinery remained intact and in fact, preserved, its anti-popular essence. In the whole of its three years of existence, the popular government did not once adopt measures against the National Congress and judiciary organs.” Though the author led one to believe that the use of strictly legal means may have been justified during the initial phase, he stressed the fact that “the change of circumstances, and the tactics being used by the class enemy no doubt necessitated a change in tactics and actions which were more resolute on the part of the parties of the Popular Unity.” Recalling Lenin’s words on the necessity for the revolution “to know how to defend itself,” one of the author’s most significant observations was formulated in the following way: “The Chilean Revolution lost an important battle because it had no really popular armed forces (workers militias, armed combat groups and detachments of communists and socialists).”

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Little importance might have been accorded such remarks, had they been made by only a few Latin American specialists. However, the main lines were picked up by the secretary of the CPSU Central Committee in charge of relations with foreign Communist parties, Boris Ponomarev. Commenting in June 1974 on the Chilean events, he wrote: The guarantee that the revolution will proceed peacefully is not to be based on a correlation of social forces within which the bour­ geoisie dares not implicate itself in civil war, but also on constant efforts to prepare the revolutionary vanguard as well as the masses (not only in word, but also in practice) to resort to the most decisive means of struggle should the situation demand it.23

He, too, insisted on the necessity of creating a new state apparatus and, alluding to the illusions that had been entertained as to the Chilean army’s neutrality, he affirmed that “no army exists outside politics, outside the state.” As can be seen, these analyses appear in a barely disguised critique of the Chilean Communist party and the Popular Unity government. One might be in­ clined to wonder if this is not a continuation of a well-known practice in the history of the Comintern and the Soviet Union of making the foreign Commu­ nist parties bear the weight of Moscow’s strategic and political errors. In any case, it is striking that none of these criticisms had been even implicitly ex­ pressed in Soviet texts (among those accessible) prior to the September 1973 coup. These criticisms were not simply part of a temporary reaction in the Soviet Union. They continue to be expressed today, with more or less clarity.24 In February 1975 the Soviet journal Latinskaia Amerika published some of the papers delivered at a high-level meeting devoted to the Chilean experience. * Kudachkin confirmed that in the Soviet Union, “discussions were going on about the various problems relative to the Chilean revolutionary process,” and analyses were being done “on the causes of the temporary defeat.”25 However, his remarks were noticeably more cautious than they had been a year earlier. He was more evasive when dealing with “the issue of the work to be done within the army and the creation of revolutionary armed forces.” The director of the Latin American Institute, V. V. Volskii, who participated in this meeting, men­

*The meeting took place on October 31, 1974, in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of Allende’s election victory. It was a meeting of the scientific Council of the Latin American Institute, in which members of the United States Institute, the International Workers’ Movement Institute, the Institute of World Economy, and the Institute of Inter­ national Relations participated. Boris Ponomarev and one of the leaders of the Chilean CP took part in the meeting. However, not all the remarks, including those made by Ponomarev, have been published.

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tioned “the very important problem” of the army, but devoted himself mainly to explaining that the peaceful road remained a very real possibility.26 Is one to conclude that the hardening of Soviet theses which followed Pinochet’s coup is being “de-escalated”? One cannot be so sure. A year after the account of this colloquium was published, the same journal published an article with a different tone. The author was trying to show that no equation should be made between the peaceful path and respect for bourgeois legality. According to him, the coup d’etat is explained by the Allende government’s desire

to respect not only the peaceful path all down the line, but also all the elements of bourgeois legality existing at the time the popular candidate to the presidential elections was elected, and even the additional limitations imposed by the bourgeois parties following the elections, all of which left the new regime practi­ cally disarmed in the face of any attack whatsoever on the part of the reactionary forces.27

In his conclusion, the author said that “the thesis of the 25th CPSU Con­ gress, on the necessity for the revolution to know how to defend itself, gives as the task for the present (not limited to one country or one continent) the search for means to put this theoretical proposal into practice.”* In fact, debates had already gotten under way in various Communist parties shortly after Allende’s death. Naturally, the parties closest to taking power felt the most immediate concern about the Chilean experience. However, the practical conclusions they drew from the experience were in certain cases completely opposite. For instance, Chile was an important catalyst in the formulation and defense of the Italian Communist party’s (PCI) program (the “historical compro­ mise ). For the PCI leaders, Chile, where the Popular Unity party was in the minority, had shown that it was impossible to undergo transformations as radical as those required for transition toward socialism without the support of the majority of the population. A majority of only 51 percent was considered insufficient. A much greater majority, such as that which had favored the Chilean coup d’etat, would be required to prevent dangerous polarization. The PCI proposed a governmental compromise with the Christian Democrats, and in this it counted on the progressive elements of that party. The compromise would be made on the basis of reciprocal concessions, which would in itself mark an important step forward for the PCI. The distribution of power in the coalition

*In his report to the 25th CPSU Congress in early 1976, Brezhnev spoke briefly about the lessons to be learned from Chile when he recalled that according to Lenin the revolution must “know how to defend itself.”28

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would be determined periodically by universal suffrage. The moment chosen to introduce changes, and the dimensions they would be able to assume, would depend on this distribution of power. In this way the reactionary forces would be deprived of a significant social base and would be effectively isolated. During the summer and early fall of 1975—that is, during the rapid ac­ celeration of the Portuguese revolutionary process-the Portuguese Communist party (PCP) seems to have drawn radically different conclusions from the Chilean example. These conclusions were very similar to those formulated by Moscow. While supporting the left wing of the armed-forces movement, the PCP was working for polarization and tried in September 1975 to sharpen dif­ ferences within the army. It supported all measures likely to upset the state apparatus, such as the organization of popular power which, by July 1975, was questioning the role of the newly elected constituent assembly. It favored the take-over of most of the media by the revolutionary government or the trade unions. The agricultural laborers’ unions led by the Communist party pressed for land seizures and their widespread transformation into collective farms (in the south), even when this went further than previsions made in the agrarian reform law. Armed groups were even formed among the revolutionary peasants in the south. Thus, contrary to the Italian Communist party’s experience, the PCP leaders believed that the Chilean events argued for a far more aggressive policy than the one that had been put forward in Chile. * It may be pertinent to mention here that the Soviet Union, which had without apparent reserve supported PCP strategy despite the complications this could entail for European detente, appears to have seen in the Portuguese revolu­ tionary process important similarities to the Cuban experience. Moscow counted on the radicalization of the military leaders of the April 1974 revolution, rather than on the seizure of power by the Communist party. As had been the case in Cuba, the PCP was not strong enough to become the main force in power. The approved policy consisted in constantly supporting the military Left while pressing for its radicalization (at the risk of not being in control of the process). No attempt was to be made to assume the leadership of the revolutionary move­ ment. A fact that seems particularly significant is the nomination of Arnold Kalinin in early 1975 as Soviet ambassador to Lisbon. At the time, Kalinin was in his early forties and was not a career diplomat. During the 1960s, prior to occupying a diplomatic post in Cuba, he had been a young research fellow at the Academy of Sciences and one of the most prolific specialists on Cuban affairs. (His writings have been abundantly quoted in the preceding pages.)

*It is obvious that the Chilean experience is not the only factor explaining the PCI and PCP strategies. The traditions of the two parties, their respective strengths, and the po­ litical situation in each of the two countries are just as important, if not more so, in deter­ mining their strategies.

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Basing his views on the Cuban example, he had been one of the promoters of the “national democracy” theses prior to their formal adoption. During the latter half of the 1960s, as tensions were growing between Fidel Castro on the one hand, and the Soviet Union and the Cuban Communist party on the other, he had always maintained in his writings a more open attitude toward Fidel Castro than had other Soviet writers. The Cubans themselves seemed quite interested in the Portuguese events. Intense activity, noted by journalists, stirred the Cuban embassy in Lisbon in * 1975. Another sign of this interest is the visit to Cuba in July 1975 of the most charismatic of the Portuguese military leaders, General Otelo de Carvalho. How­ ever, events in Portugal took a turn different from those in Cuba. Without going into the reasons behind this, it can be said that the Portuguese armed-forces movement, whose origins were quite different from those of Fidel Castro’s rebel army, lacked the latter’s homogeneity. None of the leaders of the Portuguese military Left enjoyed the uncontested authority that Fidel Castro had over his troops. In the course of events, their initial unity of views and action went to pieces and this led to their defeat. In terminating this digression engendered by discussion of the Chilean coup d’etat, it should be noted that, curiously, the Cuban leaders have not often expressed themselves openly about the lessons to be learned from this experi­ ence. When they did speak up, it was obviously to express and accentuate their former doubts about the peaceful path. The Cuban vice prime minister, Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, stated in 1975: I think the Chilean example confirms one thing: that the reactionary sectors are never willing for changes to be made by peaceful means. It also confirms that in order for the peaceful path to be possible, conditions must be very different from those which existed in Chile. . . . The peaceful path is possible under very precise, well-determined conditions, and only if the partisans of the peaceful path possess the necessary accumulation of strength to strike a decisive blow at the enemies of the peaceful path; and the reactionary bourgeoisie is, in principle, an enemy of the peaceful path.30

These remarks were more explicit than those he had made in Moscow. The Soviet analyses on Chile, however, must have brought the Soviet and Cuban parties closer together in their views, while they widened the gap between the Soviet and Italian Communist parties. It goes without saying that the Chilean coup d’etat struck a cruel blow to Soviet hopes for Latin American evolution. It is a fact that Allende’s fall inaugu­ rated a period of rightist successes in several countries on the continent.

♦The author was in Lisbon during the summer of 1975 and was able to follow these events closely.

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Just as had always happened in periods of revolutionary reflux, the Soviet leaders, and in their trial the political journals, began to accord much more im­ portance to interstate relations. They expected positive changes to come about, mainly via the policies of the governments in power.31 Accompanying this attitude was an optimistic front that could be maintained only by refusing to face reality. For instance, although observers agreed that General Velasco Alvarado’s removal in 1975 as Peru’s head of state marked a turn to the Right, Soviet authors even tried to show that the government reorganization marked an intensification of the revolutionary process.32 They continued to list Peru first, after Cuba, among those states with progressive policies. After Peru came Panama and Ecuador. To this ranking order which is recognized by everyone, the authors added the Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, Guyana, Honduras, and Venezuela.33 Although the country attacked most frequently and harshly is obviously Chile, followed (though in not so great a measure) by Brazil and countries such as Uruguay and Paraguay, there seems to be a great deal of tolerance with regard to Argentina’s military regime. It is true that this tolerance is shared by the Argentinian Communist party in an effort not to alienate and weaken the moderate elements of the junta that directs its repression mainly against the Peronist Left and its armed movements. The Soviet Union’s silence on this matter can probably best be explained by the rather important economic rela­ tions it has with Argentina, which it intends to preserve, especially during a period in which interstate relations are considered so important. Asa matter of fact, the Soviet Union is Argentina’s main foreign trading partner. The fact that Argentina is a rival of Brazil34 and that the Soviet Union does not want to en­ courage this rivalry should also be considered. A difference can be noted be­ tween the USSR and Cuba in that the Cuban press regularly publishes rather un­ favorable information on Argentina.35 In relation to the action of the Latin American states on the international level and their concerted policies to increase their independence, Soviet authors, though continuing to praise the Andean Pact, could not completely close their eyes to the disruptive policies of Pinochet’s Chile concerning such issues as the policy for the control on foreign capital.36 In terms of international organiza­ tions, their hopes fell back on the Latin American Economic System (SELA).37 This new organization, which was established in October 1975 on the initiative of Mexico, groups together 25 states throughout Latin America and the Carib­ bean, including Cuba, which immediately gives it a positive mark in the eyes of Soviet observers. Its aim is to coordinate subregional organizations (such as the Andean Pact), and define common economic policies to be later defended at the United Nations or at international conferences. The SELA program provides for establishing controls on foreign capital and setting up Latin American multina­ tionals. On paper, the goals of the new organization are very ambitious indeed, but the political heterogeneity of its members makes it doubtful whether it can actually accomplish much.

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In the area of inter-American relations, the event most satisfying for the Soviet Union since the Chilean coup d’etat was probably the OAS meeting held in the Ecuadorian capital on November 13, 1974. The main item on the agenda was the lifting of the sanctions the organization had imposed on Cuba. The resolution presented by Venezuela, Colombia,and Costa Rica obtained a majority of the votes—12 countries in favor, 3 opposed, and 6 abstentions. The United States announced its abstention only at the last minute. Some months earlier, Kissinger had said he was opposed to the removal of the sanctions. But because of the dimensions already assumed by the movement to normalize relations with Cuba, Washington undoubtedly felt it necessary to partially relax its position. Despite the majority vote, the resolution had no legal force because of OAS statutes requiring a two-thirds majority. However, at the end of the meet­ ing, the 12 countries that had voted for the resolution declared themselves free from any commitment to the OAS with respect to Cuba.38 According to a jour­ nalist from Le Monde, this was a double victory for Fidel Castro.39 The first victory lay in the results of the vote, and the second in the fact that the dis­ mantling of the blockade was effected contrary to OAS regulations, thus weak­ ening the organization even further.

THE FORMALIZATION OF SOVIET-CUBAN RECONCILIATION Three events occurred in 1974 and 1975 that underscored the renewed ties between the Soviet Union and Cuba: Brezhnev’s visit to Cuba, the second Havana conference of the Latin American Communist parties, and the first congress of the Cuban Communist party. From January 28 to February 3, 1974, immediately following the festivi­ ties in celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, Leonid Brezhnev made an official visit to Cuba. Cuban authorities had extended several invitations to Khrushchev (noted in the Soviet press) both before and after the missile crisis. Though they had always been formally accepted, they were never actualized, probably to avoid annoying the United States. By the time Khru­ shchev s successor had consolidated his power and began to travel abroad, Soviet-Cuban relations were too poor for him to visit Cuba. The trip made by the CPSU general secretary therefore symbolized the final stabilization of relations between the Soviet Union and Cuba, as well as the consolidation of Cuba’s position vis-a-vis the United States. At the same time, it corresponded to a period in which Cuba’s internal economic situation became markedly strengthened. Brezhnev’s visit and the accompanying events seem to have been well calculated to define the meaning, limits, and conditions of Soviet-U.S. detente, as the Soviet leaders saw it at the time. In order to make it very clear to the United States that the consolidation of Cuba’s status, which his trip implied, was not intended as a challenge to the United States, Brezhnev sent Nixon a friendly message from his plane as he approached the American coastline. On

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the other hand, the long speech he made at the mass meeting held in Havana on January 30 was rather harsh, and the place it was delivered was meant to em­ phasize the Soviet Union’s firmness on certain issues. It must be remembered that Soviet-U.S. relations were still strained in several areas. Following the October 1973 war in the Middle East, the United States had practically evicted the Soviet Union from Egypt and had undertaken negotiations in the area all alone. The second round of strategic arms limitation talks was making no head­ way. The European Security Conference was dragging along and had reached an impasse on the issue of the freedom of movement and ideas. The U.S. Congress was slowing up the process of adoption of a trade bill favorable to the Soviet Union. Finally, the Chilean events, though they had not caused direct confronta­ tion between the Soviet Union and the United States, had contributed to souring the atmosphere. Under these conditions, Brezhnev, in order to register a growing opposi­ tion in Moscow to a detente that was proving not to be very favorable to the Soviet Union, had to show his teeth. This reaction was probably encouraged by the fact that the leaders in the Kremlin were beginning to see the limits to the Sino-American rapprochement that had earlier pushed them into seeking detente with the United States. It was in this light that Brezhnev affirmed in Cuba that “we are not pacifists. We are not, in any way, for peace at any price and, obviously, we are not in favor of the social and political processes taking place in various countries being frozen.”40 He was referring to the situation in Vietnam and the Middle East, and thought it well to recall that although the idea of peace is able to make great headway because it is deeply rooted in the minds and will of the people, “imperialism has in no way changed its aggressive nature.” Concerning Cuba more specifically, Brezhnev confirmed the trend, which was becoming more apparent in Soviet literature, of recognizing Cuba’s leader­ ship in Latin America: “Cuba is the first socialist country in the Western hemi­ sphere. This is its role and historical responsibility.” Given the excellent state of Soviet-Cuban relations, Moscow considered that Soviet influence in Latin America would be strengthened through the assertion of Cuba’s positions and influence. For instance, in reference to Brezhnev’s visit to Cuba, Moscow pointed out that “it was the first time a General Secretary of the C.C. [Central Commit­ tee] and the CPSU had gone to Latin America.” The visit was presented as “an event of worldwide importance.”41 However, Cuba was lacking a few characteristics necessary to make its contribution and membership in the world socialist system entirely exemplary. The most important of these lacunae was the fact that its Communist party did not function as a “normal” institution, since it had not yet held its first con­ gress. This is why the Soviet leaders said in the joint declaration that everything that could be done “to improve the organizational structure of the Cuban Com­ munist Party” and “to prepare for a Party congress” would be of “fundamental importance.”42

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As for the Cubans, Fidel Castro was comforted by Brezhnev’s hard-line speech and fully supported Soviet foreign policy. Brezhnev’s welcome was an exceptionally warm one; the Cuban leaders had waited such a long time for this visit and all it symbolized. Acknowledging Brezhnev’s presence at the Havana meeting, Fidel Castro let himself be carried away by his usual propensity to exaggerate: it was “the first time in history that a people belonging to the com­ munity of Latin American nations has had the opportunity to receive such a remarkable revolutionary.”43 Brezhnev himself was probably surprised by these remarks. Not only did Fidel Castro approve Soviet foreign policy, but in an allusion to China, he even denounced the “so-called leftists and renegades” of the revolu­ tionary movement who “serve the interests of imperialism.” This was initially thought by the author to be a concession demanded by Brezhnev that Castro had agreed to, somewhat against his will. This initial impression was based on conversations with several Cuban personalities in April and May of 1973, during which they systematically refrained from condemning China and said that Cuba did not want to take sides in the Sino-Soviet conflict. However, the hypothesis of a forced concession on the part of Fidel Castro does not really hold up. His remarks about China were far stronger than the stipulations in the joint SovietCuban declaration being negotiated by the two parties, which was limited to denouncing “revisionism of the right and ‘of the left’” and “chauvinist and hegemonic tendencies.”44 It seems that Fidel Castro was moved by personal annoyance with China, even though he did not go so far as to name China ex­ plicitly as did the Soviet leaders. This annoyance, which had not shown up for some years, had reemerged some months earlier during the conference of nonaligned countries which took place in Algiers in early September 1973. During this conference, several coun­ tries had placed the Soviet Union and the United States on the same footing and in opposition to the Third World countries. Fidel Castro heatedly protested this trend. He said, among other things, that “any attempt to oppose the non-aligned countries to the socialist camp is profoundly counterrevolutionary and benefits imperialist interests exclusively. Inventing a false enemy can have only one goal: to dodge the real enemy.”45 Denouncing “the theory of the two imperial­ isms, he criticized those who helped give credit to this theory, those who, on the basis of “so-called revolutionary positions, lamentably betray the cause of internationalism.” Obviously, these remarks were most welcome in the Soviet Union. As a revolutionary state belonging to the Third World, Cuba made a precious contri­ bution to countering Chinese propaganda essentially directed at the Third World. Under these circumstances, there is nothing astonishing about the fact that Brezhnevs visit to Cuba generated official euphoria in the Soviet press. Words and formulas never before used were evoked to celebrate Soviet-Cuban friendship. For instance, up to this time, the press had spoken only about the aid and support the Soviet Union had accorded Cuba. Now they spoke of Cuban

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economic support for the Soviet Union in difficult times. They recalled that “during the imperialist blockade of the land of the Soviets, Cuban workers ex­ pressed their solidarity by sending Lenin a collection that had been taken up in 1922.,46 Also, during the war against Hitler’s Germany, “the workers in the Cuban sugar industry sent the USSR 40,000 sacks of sugar, those in the tobacco factories, a million cigarettes, etc.. . In June 1975, an international conference was held in Havana in which 24 Latin American and Caribbean Communist parties participated. This confer­ ence was the second of its kind. The first, it will be recalled, had taken place in late 1964 and had inaugurated a brief period of harmony for Cuba, the Soviet Union, and the Latin American Communist parties. This second conference was all the more indicative of recent evolution in Cuban policy, in that the tensions between the Soviets and the Cubans had been principally born of the far more bitter conflict that had developed between Cuba and the Latin American Communist movement. Even though this conference was made possible by the fact that Fidel Castro had moderated his position con­ cerning the immediate revolutionary possibilities in Latin America, it is hard to see what interest he had in holding the conference. Cuba had always kept on good terms with a few Communist parties such as the Uruguayan, and since 1969 its relations had indeed improved with other parties; but was it really in its interest to be recognized once again as leader of a movement which it had so strongly discredited and which was certainly not moving uphill? There is every reason to believe that it was due to the Soviet Union’s insistence that Fidel Castro agreed to organize the meeting. It is well known how important the Soviets consider this kind of formal manifestation of the unity of the Commu­ nist movement. Though at first glance the conference appeared to put Fidel Castro in the position of eating humble pie, the final document reveals that negotiations be­ tween Cuba and the Latin American parties had been intense. The changes that had already occurred in Cuban policy, relative to its 1967 positions, were registered in the joint declaration.47 However, Fidel Castro obviously obtained some concessions from the other parties. For instance, the declaration does not state, as is usually the case in meet­ ings of the Communist movement, that the Communist parties are the ex officio vanguard of the working class and the revolutionary forces. The text even speci­ fies, when speaking about the parties’ revolutionary role, that

this role is not guaranteed only by virtue of the social forces they represent and the exact theory that guides them. They will fulfill it to the extent that they become the most firm combatants for national and social liberation, taking authentic vanguard positions in the struggle, through practice. . . ,48 Another passage of the declaration, curiously and laboriously penned, recognizes—as a result of victories won by the Soviet Union, Cuba, other socialist

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countries, and Asia—“the existence of a Left of various shades, some of whose organizations call themselves Marxist-Leninist.” While pointing out that they had disagreements with the latter, the signing Communist parties agreed to “take into account that some of these movements are guided by the purpose of defeat­ ing imperialist oppression and advancing toward genuine socialist positions.”* It appears that Fidel Castro had this clause written into the declaration in order to protect and legitimize his special ties with revolutionary groups such as the MIR in Chile, the Puerto Rican Socialist party and the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) in Nicaragua. Affirming the need for all forms of struggle, the declaration saluted armed struggle and the experiences of guerrilla forces, “some of which are still fighting heroically today.” The Latin American parties obviously had no trouble standing behind passages like these, now that armed struggle was no longer, in practice, a subject of conflict with Cuba, since the latter had stopped considering armed struggle as the primary or sole criterion of revolutionary action. Concerning the Chilean experience and the lessons to be learned from it, the declaration seemed to reflect a compromise. Although it confirmed on the one hand “the need to avoid isolation in the task of social transformation,” it also stipulated that “the Chilean experience evidently shows that revolutionary movements cannot discard any way of democratic access to power and that it must also be fully prepared and ready to defend with the force of weapons the democratic achievements. It should be noted that this last statement went much farther than anything the leadership of the Chilean CP had admitted to date. It resembled far more the position of the MIR. Of course, the Communist parties also enthusiastically declared their sup­ port for Peru, Panama, and Ecuador. They congratulated Fidel Castro on the re­ marks he made at the Algiers conference in defense of the Soviet Union. De­ tailed praise was lavished on the Soviet Union and its foreign policy, and China was condemned by name. Finally, the participants of the gathering declared themselves in favor of holding another world conference of Communist parties. With the Havana meeting, the Soviet Union was finally able to consider that Cuba had properly resumed its place in the Communist movement. Six months later, more satisfaction came with the institutionalization of the Cuban Revolution by means of the first congress of its Communist party, followed in 1976 by the establishment of its first constitution. The first congress of the Cuban Communist party was held December 1722, 1975. This was the congress the Soviet leaders had so long awaited as the “culmination ... of the formative process of the Cuban Marxist-Leninist van­ guard.”49

*The declaration specified however that the Communist parties would cease to have an open attitude toward groups that were “anti-Soviet” or “anti-Communist.”

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Fidel Castro presented a long report50 to the congress in which he gave the history of the Cuban revolutionary movement from the end of the last century. He summed up Cuba’s political and economic experience since 1959 and pre­ sented the general outline for a five-year plan (1976-80). This plan provided for an annual economic growth rate of 6 percent.51 As he pointed out, this was be­ low the average for the 1971-75 period, which had been 10 percent. * The Cuban prime minister stated that maintaining this growth rate presented “an objective difficulty,” in that it surpassed “the possibilities of our import ca­ pacity.” This undoubtedly means that Cuba will have to face a drop in Soviet aid, if not in absolute terms, at least in terms of the growth rate it enjoyed in the early 1970s. Since the Cuban economy has achieved a certain amount of stability following its revival, the Soviet Union probably intends to stabilize its flow of aid which had taken the form of considerable trade deficits allowed Cuba. Fidel Castro, moreover, complained about this implicitly. Speaking of the underdeveloped countries’ painful situation (with which he obviously identified Cuba), due to weak price levels for their export products, and aggravated by growing energy costs and inflated prices on imported manufactured goods, he added: “The socialist camp does not yet possess a production and trade capacity capable of compensating for the disastrous effects provoked by this situation. . . .”52 Even if Cuba sells its sugar to the Soviet Union at above world market pricest and buys Soviet oil at preferential prices, the fact still remains that these preferential prices are established on the basis of world prices and retain a relationship with them. Fidel Castro devoted a rather long passage of his speech to stressing the limits of what could be attained on the material level and invited his listeners not to “fall into unbounded ambition.” In the area of economic management, Fidel Castro’s report contained a detailed self-criticism of Cuban practices prior to 1971. For instance, he re­ called that in 1967 all receipts and payments among the various branches of the state sector were suppressed, and the state budget consequently abolished and “replaced by an allocation of funds to cover the wage bill and . .. transactions with the private sector.” The purpose of this was to reduce market relations in order that communism might be attained more quickly. Fidel Castro cited the disastrous repercussions these methods had had, and accused himself and other Cuban leaders of “exaggerated self-esteem,” blaming these faults on “chauvinism and the petty bourgeois spirit.” He also said that “in building socialism, we did not take advantage of the rich experience of other peoples who had embarked on this path long before we did.”53

♦For the years 1961-65, the average growth rate of the GNP was 1.9 percent; in 1966-70, 3.9 percent. fFidel Castro said that the prices paid by the Soviet Union were “remunerative and satisfactory.”

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These words most certainly had a soothing effect on Suslov, the guardian of Soviet orthodoxy, who represented his party at the Cuban congress. Though Fidel Castro made no criticism of his country’s former foreign policy, Suslov very paternalistically said, “We can say with certitude that the Communist party of Cuba is today heading in the right direction in all areas of national and international life.”54 One of the themes that constantly recurred in the many articles published in the Soviet Union during 1976 in celebration of the first congress of the Cuban party was the fact that the documents of the congress confirmed the validity “of the general laws” of socialist development tried and tested by the experience of the Soviet Union.55 Suslov had expressed this same idea. Whereas Cuba’s eco­ nomic policy had been practically ignored during the 1960s, the various develop­ mental approaches tested by Cuba since the revolution were now serenely dis­ cussed.56 The fact that the Soviet Union attached so much importance to the con­ gress is a good illustration of its fetichism concerning political structures. Despite its greater flexibility on the issues of transition to socialism and the strategy of the revolutionary movement, the Soviet Union still wanted to consider itself the most advanced model, if not the only possible model, of socialist society. In 1976, the Cuban CP congress was especially valued at a time when Eurocommunism as exemplified by the French, Italian, and Spanish Communist parties was rejecting nearly all the Soviet Union’s methods and experience and preventing the latter from holding a world conference of Communist parties in an effort to keep their distance from it. Although the Cuban Revolution had represented in the early 1960s a challenge and a stimulus for whatever revolutionary tendencies remained in the Soviet Union, it is paradoxical to see the latter now using Cuba to justify its most conservative features, that is, its political structures and institutions. Better still, Cuba’s revolutionary character allows the Soviet Union to present these features as the natural and necessary outcome of the revolution in progress.

THE WAR IN ANGOLA AND CUBA’S ROLE IN AFRICA Cuba’s decisive military commitment in Angola in the fall of 1975, along with Agostinho Neto’s Popular Liberation Movement of Angola (MPLA), gave rise to greatly varying interpretations. To some, the Soviet Union was behind this enterprise, which definitively confirmed Cuba’s “satellization.” To the Chinese in particular, Cuban soldiers were mercenaries working for the Soviet Union. To others, Cuba’s decision had been made in complete autonomy. Ac­ cording to the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, who was intimate with the Cuban leaders, the decision to send a Cuban expeditionary force to Angola was made on November 5, 1975, in Havana.57 Other sources have confirmed that in early November, there were only a few hundred Cuban instructors in Angola.58 The massive shipment of combat troops sent from Cuba thus seems to

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have been a reaction to the arrival of South African troops in Angola on October * 23. At that moment, the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) army, rival organization of the MPLA, supported by Zaire regulars and aided by the CIA, were at the gates of Luanda. The MPLA, which one month earlier had controlled 12 out of 16 provinces in Angola, threatened to be crushed at any moment. According to Garcia-Marquez, the Cuban decision made on November 5 was communicated to the Soviet leaders only afterwards. This is obviously difficult to verify.t In the opinion of another observer who was closer to the MPLA than to the Cubans (the latter never spoke of Soviet hesitation)^, Cuba twisted the Soviet Union’s arm.59 In a report from Luanda, he said that the Soviet Union, which for years had supported the MPLA with varying degrees of enthusiasm, hesitated to send too sizable an amount of military material prior to the date fixed for independence, November 11, and recommended negotiations among the rival movements. He also mentioned as proof of the Soviet hesitation that the continuous airflow of Soviet material began only in early December, after the first important victory had been won on November 25 at Ebo by Cuban troops which had been shipped to Angola more than two weeks earlier, exclu­ sively by Cuban means of transport. Given the state of Cuban-Soviet relations in 1975, it is not very likely that the Cuban leaders failed to consult their Soviet counterparts before getting in­ volved in the war in Angola. And though it may be true that the Soviet leaders were initially hesitant, it is clear that close Soviet-Cuban collaboration was not long in coming. This much said, when the whole Cuban dossier in this affair is examined, it is perfectly obvious that Cuba’s commitment was far more a product of Cuban considerations and political logic, than a response to Soviet demands or solicita­ tion.60 First of all, it should be noted that Cuba’s African policy, and even its presence in Africa, did not begin with the war in Angola. It is only with this event, however, that Western observers began to take notice that Cuba already had military instructors and technicians in several countries of Africa, including the Congo (Brazzaville), Guinea, Algeria, Mozambique, and Somalia. More­ over, Cuba’s interest in Africa dates back to well before its 1969 reconciliation

♦South Africa feared that a MPLA victory (the MPLA being the most radical of the three Angolan nationalist movements) would shift the equilibrium in the regional forces to its disadvantage, and worsen its already difficult situation in Namibia. fNovember 5 seems dubious as the date of the decision, unless contingency prepara­ tions had been made prior to the final decision. In fact, Cuban combat troops began arriving in Angola by plane very shortly after this date. jTo the cenisary, Garcia-Marquez writes that “the Cubans knew they could count on the solidarity and material aid of the USSR....”

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with the Soviet Union. One may recall Guevara’s 1964 African tour, at which time he established contacts with Amilcar Cabral and Eduardo Mondlane, revo­ lutionary leaders of Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, respectively.61 It was later learned that after leaving Cuba and prior to arriving in Bolivia, Guevara had gone to the Congo (Leopoldville) in 1965 to take part in the Lumumbaist guerrillas.62 A year later, Agostinho Neto made a visit to Cuba. The Tricontinental held in Havana in 1966 was very important in terms of allowing the Cuban leaders to establish ties with African revolutionary leaders. Thereafter, the journal Tricontinental, sponsored by the Cuban government, provided them with a forum and means of expression. Furthermore, it seems that partisans of the MPLA and other African movements received military training in Cuba.63 In fact, the Cuban expedition to Angola recalls directly the activist foreign policy of the 1966-68 period, which the Cubans had been forced to abandon in Latin America. The nationalist, anti-imperialist MPLA, built through armed struggle, was far more to Fidel Castro’s instinctive taste than the juntas of Peru or Ecuador. Confronted with an increasingly static situation in Latin America, Angola was an exceptional opportunity for Cuba to turn back to its fundamental impulses. In April 1977, Fidel Castro stated that “Africa today is imperialism’s weakest link. . . . Imperialist domination there is not as strong as in Latin Amer­ ica. Therefore, there are very real possibilities for a fundamental revolution on the African continent.”64 Fidel Castro must have seen his collaboration with the Soviet Union in the Angolan war and in his African policy, not as a mark of satellization, but as the effective backing he had in vain solicited in the past for Latin America. In defending Cuba’s commitment in Angola, Fidel Castro and the Cuban press found themselves back in the spirit of the 1960s. Angola contributed to partially recreating the atmosphere of popular mobilization typical of those years. As Garcia-Marquez pointed out,65 after a long line of failures in various areas, Cuba needed a tangible success that would be a mobilizing force. It is possible that another internal problem also carried some weight in its considera­ tions. An important part of the Cuban population is black. Despite all the efforts made since the revolution to achieve racial equality, the problem is not com­ pletely resolved. Sending a contingent into an African country to struggle against South Africa could have strengthened the nationalist sentiments of these blacks, and contributed to social cohesion in the country. It is no accident that the Cuban expedition was baptized “Operation Carlotta” for a black woman slave who in 1843 died in Cuba after having led a slave rebellion. So when Fidel Castro stated that Cuba was not only a Latin American country, but also a Latin African country, these were not empty words. The Cuban contingent in Angola, estimated at 12,000 men, included a large number of blacks. This created a positive psychological impact in Africa, which Fidel Castro echoed with his typical lyricism, when he said:

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African blood was spilled at Giron (Bay of Pigs), . . . and Cuban blood was spilled along with that of the heroic fighters of Angola. . . . Those who in the past had reduced man to slavery and sent him to America would undoubtedly never have imagined that one of these peoples who had received the slaves would send its fighters to struggle for the freedom of Africa.66

One success leads to another, it is said, and this is exactly what happened with Cuba, whose action in Angola made it very popular throughout Africa. The hostility of the African countries toward South Africa and their feelings of im­ potence and frustration vis-a-vis that state, which enjoys the tolerance (to say the least) of the Western powers, certainly fed Cuba’s popularity. Fidel Castro was able to obtain part of the credit for this victory during his triumphant 40-day tour of Africa in early 1977, which took him to Libya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, and Algeria. * During this trip, he also met with the revolutionary leaders of Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa. Through these visits, ties were obviously strengthened with the countries that were receiving Cuban aid. This aid has not been limited to the military sphere; Cuban physicians are working in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Somalia, among other countries. It seems that, “everything considered, Cuban assistance abroad in terms of medical personnel and, in particular, physicians, is one of the most sizable in the world.”67 Similarly, in 1976, 200 Cuban experts built three schools and a center for artificial insemination in Tanzania. Cuban aid has also been given to fisheries, the sugar industry, and to education. It seems that Cuban advisors and technicians adapt more easily to African conditions than do their Soviet or East European counterparts, and that they are far more appreciated by their African hosts. The positive spill-over effects of Cuban commitment in Angola have not been limited to Africa. A strong wave of sympathy for Cuba has developed in several Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad, where the majority of the population, or at least a large proportion, is black. Moreover, Cuba for some time has had relations with the radical governments of Jamaica and Guyana, which somewhat worries the United States.68 The Angola affair gave a new impulse to the role Cuba had always wanted to play in the Third World (where until recently priority had been given to Latin America). This role is obviously in line with Soviet interests, as will be seen. However, the significance the Third World has for Cuba is far greater, and of a different nature, than for the Soviet Union. A quick look at Cuban newspapers immediately indicates that the Third World is by far Cuba’s primary interna­ tional concern. In a speech delivered on December 2, 1976, Fidel Castro heatedly denounced the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Accord­

*South Yeman, which is situated outside Africa, should be added to this list.

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ing to him, “the fact that Algeria, Iraq and other nations pursuing a progressive international policy are among the oil-producing countries” has “brought nearly all the underdeveloped countries to take up sides” with these countries. After violently attacking Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the emirates of the Persian Gulf, he spoke of OPEC in the following terms: The facts prove that an excessive and abusive price increase on one raw material on the world market through ‘monopolistic’ and unilateral action on the part of the few countries which possess the product can only be effected at the price of reducing the value of all other raw materials and all the other products on which the huge majority of the world’s underdeveloped countries depend. This is not the way to suppress unequal exchange, which is now even more unfavorable to this majority of countries: to the contrary, this is a manifestation, not of solidarity among exploited peoples, but of narrow-minded, egotistical nationalism. It is one thing to steal from the rich; another, to rob the poor!69 Obviously, the Soviet Union has never denounced OPEC, and for obvious reasons. Being itself the world’s biggest oil-producing country, it has greatly profited from the new world prices. Even if Soviet oil is now sold to COMECON member-countries at about 40 percent below the world market price, the price those coiintries must pay has more than doubled since the oil crisis. This was not the first time Fidel Castro had spoken out on the oil issue. During the Havana conference of Communist parties held in June 1975, he had persuaded the parties to endorse an earlier Cuban proposal that part of the sup­ plementary sums acquired through the oil price increase go into a credit fund for underdeveloped countries. This proposal was aimed at least implicitly at the Soviet Union.70 The purpose of the preceding pages has been to show that instead of trans­ forming Cuba into a simple executor of Soviet desires, the war in Angola has contributed to breathing new life into Cuban foreign policy, based on its natural options. However, it is also true that Havana’s present African policy corresponds to Soviet interests. Though it may be true that the Soviet leaders hesitated before getting really involved in Angola, reactions on the part of the U.S. Congress, in a postVietnam context, must have soon convinced them that the risks were low and the advantages considerable. The victory there has put them in an excellent political position for the imminent confrontation taking shape in southern Africa around Rhodesia, Namibia, and South Africa, with the latter fighting with its back against the wall. It has also been seen how Podgorny closely trailed Fidel Castro as he made his tour of Africa, so that the Soviet Union might bask in Cuba’s popularity. Here, it was not simply a case of Soviet-Cuban interests coinciding. Fidel Castro’s speeches in Angola and in the countries he visited show that he did all he could

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to tighten relations between these countries and the Soviet Union. This would explain, for instance, the meeting he organized between the presidents of Ethio­ pia and Somalia to prevent the Soviet rapprochement with Ethiopia from harm­ ing that country’s relations with Somalia. * As was not the case in the 1960s, Fidel Castro now agrees to keep his for­ eign political activity more or less within the scope of Soviet policies while work­ ing to broaden these limits. Divergences continue to exist, as has been seen, but they no longer develop into conflicts, because of Castro’s acceptance of more compromises. If Cuba did not work hand in hand with the Soviet Union, it would obviously not have the material means to pursue activities of the present scope and variety. For the Soviet Union, one of the advantages of Cuba’s action in Angola has been the bitter setback suffered by China in this affair. In order to counter the Soviet support of the MPLA, China financed, trained, and armed the FNLA, either directly or via Zaire, and found itself on the side of the losers. It was reproached for being on the same side as South Africa and this fact was used against it. Even though its reasons were obviously different from those of South Africa, its refusal to support the MPLA was bound to prejudice its good relations with countries like Algeria and Tanzania which were deeply involved on the side of the MPLA. Similarly, at this moment, China’s fear that the erosion of South Africa’s position might benefit the Soviet Union places it in an ambiguous posi­ tion and underscores its declining influence in Africa. Cuba’s intervention in Angola slowed up normalization of its relations with the United States, which seemed imminent in 1975. It is known that the Soviet Union, too, is hoping that the U.S. embargo will soon be lifted; important savings would result for both Cuba and the USSR. Fidel Castro seems to have taken this delay rather lightly and appears to be quite willing to pay the price. During the closing ceremonies of his party’s first congress, he stated rather ironically:

It is very strange that the president of the United States, Mr. Ford, is threatening us on this matter. We once had relations together: they were broken off. ... At the present time, there is nothing left to suppress, so they suppress hope. This is why we can say that the president of the United States has ‘placed an embargo on hope’ !71 Some observers have thought Castro was trying by these words to tell the United States that if the latter hoped to exercise any sort of influence over

*As for the current intervention in Ethiopia, it is much more difficult to trace autonomous Cuban interests. Here it contradicts previous Cuban policy of support for one of the liberation movements of Erythrea. It is bound to damage Cuba’s image in the Third World.

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Cuba, it had better have relations with Cuba.72 At this point, one may wonder whether economic relations with the United States, which will probably be re­ newed in the near future, will affect Soviet-Cuban relations. Should the Cuban economy gradually turn toward the Western hemisphere, even in a limited way, its economic dependence on the Soviet Union would be proportionally reduced. This might generate resurgence of their differences which had been absorbed without having really been settled. It is difficult, however, to be affirmative on this point. As has been seen throughout this book, for Cuba political considerations have very often proved to be more important in determining foreign policy than economic needs. Cuba’s political options and the mode of development it has chosen, as well as the weakness of world sugar prices, make an important shift toward the Western hemisphere doubtful. Concurrently, the present political situation in Latin America makes it likely that differences with the Soviet Union will be kept in a rather low key.

NOTES 1. L. I. Brezhnev, Les Decisions du XXIVe Congres du PCUS, programme d’action des syndicats sovietiques (Moscow: Editions de 1’Agence Novosti, 1972), p. 38. 2. Albert Legault and Georges Lindsey, Le feu nucleaire (Paris: le Seuil, 1973). 3. Pravda, June 28, 1972. 4. Text of the communique in Pravda, July 6, 1’972. 5. Pravda, December 24, 1972. 6. B. V. Gorbachev, Cuba: Some Questions on Economic Integration with the Socialist Countries,” Latinskaia Amerika 3 (March 1973): 6-26. 7. Boris Gorbachev and O. Daroussenkov, “Cuba: nouvelle etape de 1’edification socialists," Sciences sociales 4 (1973): 95-108. 8. Leon Goure and Julian Weinkle, “Soviet-Cuban Relations, the Growing Integra­ tion, in Cuba, Castro and Revolution, ed. J. Suchlicki (Miami: University of Miami Press 1972), p. 176. 9. B. Gorbachev and O. Daroussenkov, op. cit. 10. B. Gvosdariov, “URSS-Cuba: unite des vues et des positions,” La vie interna tionale 4 (April 1974): 3-8. 11. “Chili: la politique economique du gouvernement de 1’Unite Populaire ” La vie Internationale 4 (April 1973): 114-15. 12. A. Popov, “Some Aspects of the Cuban Revolutionary Experience,” Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia 1 (January 1969): 28-37. 13. See R. Hamburg’s chapter in Soviet Policy in Developing Nations, ed. Roger Kanet (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973). 14. Among other works, see A. N. Glinkin, “Tendencies and Prospects of AntiImpenahst Cooperation Between States,” Latinskaia Amerika 5 (May 1973); 15-29;and 6 (June 1973); 6-22; also V. Bouchouev, “Amerique latine: premiere annee de la nouvelle decenme, La vie internalionale 3 (March 1972): 52-59. 15. S. Gonionski, “Amerique latine; la lutte pour la ‘deuxieme liberation’,” La vie internationale 11 (November 1972): 42-48. 16. V. Bouchouev, op. cit. 17. Granma, March 27, 1973.

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18. B. Gorbachev and O. Daroussenkov, op. cit. 19. Quoted by V. Bouchouev, “Les nouveaux horizons de 1’Amerique latine,” La vie Internationale 5 (May 1973): 38-45. 20. A. N. Glinkin, op. cit. 21. Compare with articles in the same journal concerning Latin America during the previous years, V. Bouchouev, “Revolution et contre-revolution en Amerique latine,” La vie Internationale 5 (May 1974): 31-37. 22. M. F. Kudachkin, “The Experience of the Chilean Communist Party for the Unity of Left Forces and Revolutionary Transformations,” Voprosy istorii KPSS 5 (May 1974): 48-60. 23. B. Ponomarev, “The World Situation and the Revolutionary Process,” Revista International (June 1974). 24. For a detailed and sophisticated analysis of Soviet relations to Chilean events in 1924, see Leon Goure and Morris Rothenberg, Soviet Penetration in Latin America, (Miami: University of Miami Press, 1975). 25. M. F. Kudachkin, “Some Lessons From the Revolution,” Latinskaia Amerika 2 (February 1975): 59-66. 26. V. V. Volskii, “The Paths of Transition to Socialism,” Latinskaia Amerika 2 (February 1975): 66-71. 27. S. A. Mikoyan, “The International Policy of the Party,” Latinskaia Amerika 4 (April 1976): 6-12. 28. L. I. Brezhnev, Otchet tsentral’nogo komiteta, KPSS, i ocherednye zadachi partii v oblasti vnutrennei i vnesnei politiki (Moscow: Politizdat, 1976). 29. France nouvelle, March 24, 1975. Also see Icommunisti italiani e il Cile (Rome: Editori reuniti, November 1973). 30. France Nouvelle, March 24, 1975. 31. See S. Glinkin’s very typical article, “Des changements en Amerique latine,” La vie internationale 1 (January 1975): 54-62. 32. Y. Gvozdev, “Les modeles latino-americains de developpement,” La vie inter­ nationale 2 (February 1976): 80-88. 33. Ibid.; and A. Glinkin and P. Iakovlev, “Latin America: The Present Stage of Confrontation with Imperialism,” Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia 7 (July 1976): 17-33. 34. A. Atroshenko, “US-Latin America: More Open Relations?,” Mirovaia eko­ nomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia 6 (June 1976): 93-101. 35. Granma (weekly review), November 8 and 21, 1976; December 5 and 26, 1976; January 16, 1977; February 6, 13, and 37, 1977. 36. N. Zaitsev, “Amerique latine: Tendances de developpement,” La vie interna­ tionale 12 (December 1976): 56-64. 37. Ibid.; S. Michine, “Amerique latine: Deux tendances de developpement,” La vie internationale 6 (June 1976): 61-69; and “The Present Stage of the Revolutionary Libera­ tion Struggle in Latin America,” Latinskaia Amerika 5 (May 1976): 6-22. (See V. V. Volskii’s remarks, p. 21.) 38. Le Monde, November 16, 1974. 39. Ibid. 40. Pravda, January 31, 1974. 41. B. Gvosdariov, “URSS-Cuba, unite des vues et des positions,” Im vie Interna­ tionale 4 (April 1974): 3-8; and V. A. Garegorodstev, “An Event of World-Wide Impor­ tance,” Latinskaia Amerika 3 (1974): 6-18. 42. Pravda, February 5, 1974. 43. Pravda, January 31, 1974. 44. Pravda, February 5, 1974.

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45. Granma (Weekly Review), September 16, 1973. 46.0. Daroussenkov, “Cuba-URSS: deux compagnons d’armes,” La vie interna­ tionale 2 (February 1974): 47. See the entire text in the English version, “Declaration of the Meeting of Com­ munist Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean,” Granma (Weekly Review), June 22, 1975. ’ 48. Ibid. 49. O. Daroussenkov, “Cuba construit le socialisme, ” La vie Internationale 11 (No­ vember 1975): 16-23. 50. Complete text may be found in the proceedings published with the title, Le premier congres du parti communiste de Cuba (Moscow: Editions du Progres, 1976). 51. Ibid., pp. 70-71. 52. Ibid., p. 117. 53. Ibid., p. 132. 54. Ibid., p. 341. 55. Among other works, see O. Daroussenkov and A. Trepetov, “The Victorious Thrust of the Cuban Revolution,” Kommunist 3 (February 1976): 101-10; M. S. Zubatkin, “An Event With a Truly Historical Significance,” Latinskaia Amerika 3 (March 1976): 2337; E. la. Sheinin, “The Cuban Communist Party’s Road Towards the Development of Economic Management,” ibid., pp. 38-52. 56. S. B. Volkov, “The Problem of Choosing the Structure of the Popular Economy: Cuba’s Experience,” Latinskaia Amerika 4 (April 1976): 31-45. 57. Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, “Operation Charlotte, ou les Cubains en Angola,” Liberation, Paris, January 27, 28, and 29, 1977. Fidel Castro himself specified this date in a speech delivered on April 19, 1976. See F. Castro, Angola: Giron africain (Havana: Ediciones politicas, 1976), p. 20. 58. T. Hodges, “The Struggle for Angola,” The Round Table 262 (April 1976)- 17380. 59. Paulo Fernandez, “Les Cubains en Angola,” Liberation, September 16,17 and 18, 1976. 60. For an interesting contribution on this question, see Abraham F. Lowenthal, “Cuba in Africa: A Speculative Interpretation” (Paper presented at the Conference on Contemporary Trends and Issues in Caribbean International Affairs, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, May 23-27, 1977). (To be published in the forthcoming book, Revolutionary Cuba in the World Arena, ed. M. Weinstein. 61. “L’Afrique et la tentation cubaine,” Jeune Afrique, April 16, 1976. 62. Garcia-Marquez, op. cit. 63. Jeune Afrique, op. cit. 64. Interview with Simon Malley, Afrique-Asie 135 (May 16 to 29, 1977): 8-21. 65. Garcia-Marquez, op. cit. 66. Castro, Angola, Giron africain, op. cit., p. 13. 67. Le Monde diplomatique, February 1977. 68. James Reston, “Castro and Caribbean,” International Herald Tribune March 18,1976. 69. Granma, December 3, 1976. 70. Declaration of the Meeting.. ., op. cit. 71. The First congress..., op. cit., pp. 320-21. 72. A. Lowenthal, op. cit.

Conclusion

Globally considered, the internal and external experience of the Cuban Revolution and Soviet-Cuban relations are certainly one of the most rewarding episodes in its foreign policy for the Soviet Union. Of course, the Cuban Revolution cost the USSR a great deal, not only materially, but also in terms of political risks and complications. However, for the Soviet Union the last few years seem to have brought ample compensation for the earlier difficulties. Even in late 1968, when the situation was beginning to improve considerably, how well things would go could not have been foreseen. On the domestic level, the Cuban economy is now stabilized and making headway in some areas. In this respect, Cuba could be favorably compared to several Latin American countries, not only in terms of social achievements, which have been evident for some time now, but also in terms of economic achievements. Looking back, one can even see certain positive aspects in the errors Cuba committed in its strategy for economic development, and in the Soviet flexibility in this area, despite frequent disagreements. Indeed, Cuba gained its own experience. Its present course is then the result of this experi­ ence, and not the result of some model forced upon it from without, as had been the case for Eastern Europe in the 1950s. It is often heard said that since 1959, Cuba traded one dependence for another. This is an oversimplification. Cuba is indeed entirely dependent on the Soviet Union for a whole series of vitally important products, but it is obvious here that dependence does not automatically become economic exploitation. Furthermore, the element of control must be considered. There is no foreign property in Cuba today. Even though Soviet advisors are now more seriously heeded than ever before, economic levers and decisions are definitely in Cuban hands. The Cubans are primarily responsible both for their errors and their suc­ cesses. 195

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With regard to foreign policy, Cuba is returning to the Latin American fold. With the situation in Latin America constantly shifting, Cuba’s activity on the continental and international scene can become important. Though this activity may primarily take the form of influencing relations between states, this does not preclude the growth of Cuban influence on the revolutionary situation in Latin America. This influence will obviously be more diffused, less direct, and therefore much less spectacular than that which the Cuban leaders hoped to exercise in the mid-1960s. The flexibility displayed by the Soviet Union during the years when rela­ tions were difficult has definitely paid off. The fact that this attitude bore posi­ tive fruit may have an effect on Soviet behavior in its future relations with other socialist states. As has been already mentioned, it was not usual for the Soviet Union to show restraint in moments of disagreement with others. Its refusal to engage in a polemic with Cuba in 1967 stems partly from previous experience. It had adopted a similar attitude toward Romania, subsequent to Khrushchev’s fall, which made it possible to keep ever-present tensions between that country and the Soviet Union at a subcrisis level. Although the Soviet experience with Cuba could lead to greater flexibility in situations of conflict with other socialist states, the historical dossier constituted of Soviet relations with Yugoslavia, Hungary, Albania, China, and Czechoslovakia is too recent and too heavy for much to be expected in this area. This is not the only area in which Cuba contributed to the Soviet learning process. It has been seen how the originality of the Cuban revolutionary process, after the 1959 victory, led Soviet theorists and politicians to modify their tradi­ tional, rigid approach to the problems raised by transition to socialism. Even though the most sanguine projections from the Cuban experience proved to be unfounded, Cuba did generate new ways of appraising political situations. The Cuban Revolution occurred during a particularly dynamic period for Soviet foreign policy. The most tangible, spectacular political success born of Khrushchev’s dynamism was the survival of the revolution and its transformation into a socialist revolution. Cuba is the only country in the world to have become socialist in the last 20 years (1955-75). This is not a very good record, but the uniqueness of this success makes it all the more important. Given that the Soviet commitment in Cuba and its success there were products of the Cold War, one may rightly wonder if the Cold War climate was not indispensable for the Cuban Revolution’s survival. Indeed, in today’s context of detente and cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union, which the latter seems to consider very important, it seems highly unlikely that the Soviet leaders would be able to take the risks they took then and challenge the United States so directly. Revolutionary countries and forces may well have reason to be nostalgic about the Cold War. However, generalizations should not be made. Although it is certain that for Cuba the Cold War was beneficial in many ways, this does not seem to be the case everywhere else. For instance, had Allende’s Popular Unity government

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come to power during the Cold-War years, it might have received more sub­ stantial economic aid from the Soviet Union; but the Soviet Union most proba­ bly would never have taken the military risks and made the same commitments in Chile that they had in Cuba, because of Chile’s fragile domestic situation. It should be recalled that the Soviet Union began to commit itself in Cuba only when it was assured that Fidel Castro’s regime had achieved great internal solid­ ity. In a situation like that in Latin America, one cannot see how the Soviet Union could have taken the risk of being deeply involved with a regime that was being threatened on two interrelated fronts. Although the Cold War proved profitable for Cuba, it certainly was not so for Vietnam. It was largely because of this Cold-War climate, and what it im­ plied—such as the domino theory and the idea of a confrontation with a homo­ genous Communist bloc commanded by Moscow-that the Kennedy administra­ tion committed itself in Vietnam. The muted Soviet response to the escalation of the U.S. intervention was quite surprising. It is true that the Soviet Union had learned from the Cuban experience, and more specifically from the missile crisis, that it was limited in what it could accomplish. But by a fascinating, dialectical turnabout unintended by the Soviet leaders, their low-keyed response actually contributed to a great extent to undermining the U.S. cause in Vietnam. Gradu­ ally, U.S. public opinion stopped seeing the Vietnam War as a confrontation be­ tween two blocs which would have decisive consequences, and started to see it as a war being fought by Vietnamese revolutionary forces, completely independent. It became increasingly difficult for the U.S. government to continue to attract support for the war. So, it was in a context of Soviet-U.S. detente that the United States began slowly withdrawing its troops, and was later defeated in its war in Vietnam. This situation, so it seems, did not prevent the Soviet Union from stepping up its shipments of arms during the months preceding the fall of Saigon. But it was careful not to put out any propaganda that might lead people to believe this was its own war, which in any case it was not. One can imagine that if it had done so in a cold-war situation, the U.S. president would have had no difficulty in obtaining from Congress not only increased military aid for Saigon, but also (if necessary) authorization to resume bombings over Indochina. This type of analysis in terms of the international situation should not let one lose sight of the events that are most determinative, which are very often, if not most often, those that occur in the home field, inside the countries con­ cerned. This has been the case for Vietnam, Cuba, and Chile. On the other hand, it must also be realized that in some cases it may be international events that prove decisive. Even under these conditions, it is difficult to make a general statement as to whether the Cold War was or was not, in fact, favorable to the revolutionary movement. If the present international situation, characterized by detente, remains stable, perhaps the coming years may provide an answer to this question. During the Cold War, the sphere of influence enjoyed by the United States was seriously undermined by Cuba, and that of the Soviet Union especially by

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China. It remains to be seen whether detente between the two superpowers will contribute to further erosion of these spheres of influence. The U.S. sphere of influence seems the most threatened in the short run, because of its vastness and heterogenous nature. However, even if the U.S. sphere of influence should shrink, or new socialist states emerge, this does not necessarily mean that the Soviet sphere will expand. There are numerous examples to the contrary. The way in which Soviet policy has evolved with respect to the Cuban Revolution and Latin American problems makes it very clear that the Soviet Union is not a status-quo power, contrary to what is often heard and what China was contending in the early 1960s. Moreover, China’s positions have changed a great deal. During a period of revolutionary impatience, China reproached the Soviet Union for freezing an international distribution of power that favored the United States. As the Sino-Soviet conflict became increasingly bitter in recent years, China denounced the same policy of coexistence as a cover for Soviet expansionism, which it considered to be most dangerous. In a very alarmist fashion, China saw a decline of the United States. It is China’s perspective with its own particular logic that has changed, more than Soviet policy itself. Indeed, one must not expect to see the Soviet Union trying to shift the international distribution of power by means of direct military action This would be contrary not only to its theory, but also to its practice over the past several years. The Cuban experience demonstrated that it was not the Soviet Union that initiated the resulting political disequilibrium on the international scene. It did no more than respond to a political situation that it had not createdand when it responded, it was with great hesitation, because its means were too’ limited to handle the situation. However, circumstances played in favor of com­ mitment and risks. The internationalism that lies at the roots of the October Revolution-that is, the desire to promote revolution in the world-has followed winding paths has experienced setbacks and mutations, and has assumed very dubious forms’ But it has never disappeared and remains an essential factor for explaining Soviet foreign policy. In spite of the problems it may cause the Moscow leaders it can­ not be set aside without challenging the very foundations of the Soviet regime, ough it has been muted, it remains an important element in contemporary Soviet ideology, side by side with the theses on peaceful coexistence. It is sup P°sed t° work in a dialectical relationship with those theses, but it is a relation­ ship that remains precarious. However, at a time when the Soviet Union-more han ever before-has the economic, political, and military means to support this internationalism, there is no reason for it to disappear front XT mi8h* be inclined '° 'hink 'hat internationalism is only a front for the Sovtet desire for worldwide military hegemony. But the front can be just as tmportant as that whtch it disguises. A look at Soviet policy vis-a-vis in America, as outlined earlier, reveals that the Soviet Union is just as interested in a change of regime in these countries, as it is in direct military advantage Obviously, the two aspects are necessarily related and can rarely be completely

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dissociated. Though the quality and depth of the political and social changes sought by the Soviet Union may be questioned, it is clear that this policy is di­ rected toward a radical change of regime, whether long-term or temporary, illusory or real. One might be tempted to give some credit to Peking’s current fears about the danger of Soviet military and political hegemony in the world. The Chinese leaders believe that any increase in the strength of a Communist party, or even of a coalition of political forces associated with a Communist party, necessarily reinforces Soviet power and leads to establishing regimes in those countries which, in essence, are identical to the Soviet Union. According to Peking, this is the worst possible alternative, which justifies its support for any political force whatsoever that is able to oppose it everywhere in the world, even in areas re­ mote from the Soviet Union. If Peking’s apprehensions were well founded, there would indeed be reason to worry. The experience of Eastern Europe, where the Soviet model had been imposed, speak volumes on this matter. However, these apprehensions arise from a much too Manichaean view of reality. In fact, in every country in the world where socialism has been backed by the Soviet Union, but established by internal forces and not by the presence of the Soviet army, the domestic and foreign policies that developed became very different from, and even contradictory to, Soviet policy and interests. This was the case in Yugoslavia, Albania, China, Vietnam, and Cuba (in the 1960s). Even Romania, whose Communist party was one of the weakest in Eastern Europe, which never would have been able to seize power without the presence of Soviet military forces, succeeded in unsettling Soviet hegemony, though with greater difficulty than other countries. Pluralism in the socialist world is not only highly desirable, but is there to stay. However, it is true that it is passing through a difficult period at this moment due to the extreme bitterness of the Sino-Soviet conflict, which has be­ come even more acute in the last few years. It has become very difficult for a socialist state to remain neutral, as can be observed at this very moment in Indo­ china. Although it was Cuba’s choice to align itself with the Soviet Union, for reasons already mentioned, it is not at all certain that it would be able to return to its 1960-70 position of neutrality, even if it so desired. Similarly, Romania’s situation at the moment is much more uncomfortable than it was in 1964-65. Although total reconciliation between the Soviet Union and China, to the former’s advantage, is neither possible nor desirable, it may still be possible for the two countries to reach a modus vivendi which would reinforce the irreversi­ ble trend toward pluralism observed in the socialist world. Under present conditions, it seems highly unlikely that a socialist experi­ ence in Western Europe, for example (that is, outside the Warsaw Pact zone), regardless of the importance of the Communist party’s role, would pattern it­ self after the Soviet model. It is more probable that development would be determined by internal conditions.

200

I

The USSR and the Cuban Revolution, 1969-77

Even under the hypothesis of Soviet military hegemony on a worldwide basis (which is highly abstract speculation), the Soviet Union would not be able to control the internal developments of a large number of countries. After all, it was socialism’s expansion outside USSR borders that struck the crudest blow’to the notion of a single socialist model.

APPENDIX

203

FIGURE A .l

Number

o f Articles Dealing with Cuba in P ravda and Iz v e s tia

000'009

000'009

700,000

800,000

900,000

nbr of words

000'006

204

T

8 CM

ioo.ooo|

1960

221.650

1959

10 co M

looo'oot

|

FIGURE A. 2

213.575

1961

699,375

1962

Number

417.500

1963 250,425

1964

I

65,175

85.275

i

39,800

I

19.975

1968

1

43.800

1969

1

132,355

95.125

1

1972

1971

1970

1

1

Cuba in P ravda and Iz v e s tia

1 1

_________ ___ l

1

i i

i

i

i