Marines in Santo Domingo

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Fifty Years Later - Introduction by Art Perlo

For the 50th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic (April 28, 1965), Political Affairs republishes Victor Perlo's pamphlet, Marines in Santo Domingo. First, some background.

In late April, 1965, units of the 82nd Airborn Division boarded transport planes.  In mid-flight, orders were opened and their destination revealed. "Where's the Dominican Republic?" the troops asked. Their mission, they were told, was to "protect American lives."

"These American lives that we were protecting were pretty much business people," recalls Craig Gauthier. As a young African American growing up in Louisiana, Gauthier had experienced Jim Crow as a fact of everyday life. He wanted to become a doctor, but unable to afford college, he joined the army straight from High School.

"Most of the black people we encountered were very poor. In our discussions it brought us back to how these people were catching hell just like we were in the United states. We would say, what the hell are we doing here? We should be home fighting instead of here trying to protect these white folks from the 'rebels' Made you think about what you were doing in terms of oppressing another group of people who pretty much looked like you."

 

 

Above: the cover of the original pamphlet June 1965

The U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic was soon overshadowed by the far larger and longer war in Vietnam. But its history is worth revisiting, and not just for the historical significance of a 50 year anniversary.

When confronted with U.S. foreign policy today that supports dictators and ignores massive repression, or opposes, subverts, or invades popular governments (as in the Dominican Rrepublic in 1965), critics are likely to question why our government follows such short-sighted policies, or acts against "our fundamental values."

How to explain Washington's growing campaign over the past year to replace the government of Venezuela by economic, diplomatic and covert warfare - a government that has won repeated elections because it reduced poverty and unemployment and improved education and health for the 99%? Why is the United States now isolated in South America, with that continent voting unanimously to condemn U.S. "sanctions" against Venezuela? What forces bring such policies to dominate the State Department, the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House?

Victor Perlo answered that question in 1965. Weeks after the invasion, his pamphlet Marines in Santo Domingo was issued and quickly went through two printings. Perlo, chief economist for the Communist Party, was known internationally for his analyses of U.S. imperialism. In Marines in Santo Domingo, he traces the history of U.S. intervention in the Dominican Republic, and the U.S. individuals and corporations with property and other interests in that country - the "business people" that Gauthier and his comrades in the U.S. armed forces were sent to protect. He exposes the real reasons for U.S. involvement - the profits of sugar and mining companies and Wall Street investors. Perlo writes,

"Imperialism does not mean only direct annexation and conquest of countries. It can be expressed in indirect ways as well through domination of nations and peoples by means of financial and economic power, by "dollar diplomacy," corruption of politicians, alliances with reactionary forces, etc. The U.S. has employed both open and direct and disguised and indirect colonial methods."

Marines in Santo Domingo is not only fascinating history. This example of the corporate interests behind  U.S. foreign and military policy in the Dominican Republic helps understand U.S. foreign policy that today, as in 1965, seems confused, contradictory, and hypocritical. The lesson from 50 years ago - follow the money - is as true today when we look at trade agreements like NAFTA and the proposed fast-track to approve the Trans _acific partnership (TPP).

His experiences in the Dominican Republic drove Craig Gauthier to find out more. "It opened up so many questions for me that it made me feel we had to do something here about our situation as African Americans... It seems as though the Dominican people [and other Caribbean countries] were set up as a place... [with] low wages and benefits  and use those people as leverage" against workers in the U.S.

(Quotes are from an interview with Craig Gauthier in March, 2015. Gauthier went on to become active in the Black Panther Party, the Young Workers Liberation League, and the Communist Party. He was a leader in the first successful organizing drive in Connecticut of Hospital Workers Local 1199 (now one of the state's largest unions), and later served as president of Machinist's Union IAM Victory Lodge 609 at Winchester in New Haven. )

 

MARINES IN SANTO DOMINGO!

By VICTOR PERLO

Editors' note, 2013 - The original pamphlet was published in June, 1965. It has been scanned, converted to text, and proofread. This text follows the original to the best of our knowledge unless otherwise noted with the notation ED2013. However, scanning and transcription errors are always possible. Accent marks for Spanish names, present in the original pamphlet, are not maintained in this text. We gratefully acknowledge the use of the document scanning facilities at the New Have Free Public Library.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victor Perlo is a New Yorker, with a background in mathematics, statistics, and economics (M.A., Columbia University) During the 1930's he was one of the group of young government economists who assisted in the New Deal reform measures. An economic consultant for many years, he is best known for his books and periodical writings. The frequently cited American Imperialism has received world-wide recognition, being translated into a dozen languages. He is also the author of The Empire of High Finance, The Negro in Southern Agriculture, Militarism and Industry, Bitter End in Southeast Asia (with Kumar Goshal) and other books and pamphlets. He writes a weekly column, "Dollars and Sense," for The Worker and People's World.

First Printing 7,500 Second Printing 7,500

Published by New Outlook Publishers

P.O. Box 189, Cooper Station, New York, N. Y. 10003

June, 1965 printed in the U.S.A.

 

THE 1965 INVASION

On the 28th of April 405 U.S. Marines landed in the capital of the Dominican Republic. In two weeks there were 22,800 servicemen ashore, and 10,500 on nearby vessels. A few days earlier a revolution had broken out to restore the democratically elected regime of Juan Bosch, overthrown by amilitary coup in 1963. U.S. advisers ordered Gen. Elias Wessin y Wessin, a graduate of the U.S. Army School in Panama and a high participant in the 1963 coup, to bomb and strafe the capital to defeat the revolution. Using American planes, he did, killing 1,500 civilians. Instead ofcapitulating, the revolutionists distributed arms among the people. With the support of the population everywhere, the revolution neared final success.

At this point the U.S. troops entered, occupied a major portion of Santo Domingo, and, driving a corridor through the city, isolated most of the revolutionary armed forces and population in a corner.

Here a majority of the members of the last elected Congress met and chose Col. Francisco Caamano Deno Constitutionalist president, when Bosch chose not to return. Countering this, "Johnson's special envoy, John Bartlow Martin, then engineered the formation of a military-civilian junta under Gen. Antonio Imbert,"[1] the top leader of the 1963 reactionary coup.

Formally adopting a policy of neutrality, the U.S. forces in practice did everything to strengthen the ultra-right Junta and weaken the Constitutionalist government forces. They frequently probed the territory held by the latter, and fired at them. They paid millions to the Junta to distribute as salaries. They sent thousands of the national police through their lines to strengthen the Imbert forces, and supplied them with heavy weapons. Horrified Americans saw this on their TV screens, and saw a top Presidential representative coldly lie in denying it to reporters. "Dominican Junta Routing Rebels; U.S. Troops Help,"[2] said a typical headline as the combined U.S.-Junta forces took the northern part of the capital, destroying many buildings and killing many civilians. In the area they occupied, the Americans put up signs: "Leaving U.S. Sector!" They stopped and searched all civilians. They turned over thousands "on suspicion" to the Junta, which filled the prisons, shot opponents who surrendered, and executed hundreds without trial.

President Johnson flooded the country with FBI and CIA agents. When his CIA head, Admiral Raborn, exhibited some squeamishness, Johnson ordered him on the telephone: "After I tell you this, I don't want to hear anything but the click of the telephone. I want 75 of your people in the countryside down there today. And if you need a submarine to get 'em in, we'll get you one"[3]

When the Constitutionalists refused to capitulate, Johnson, hesitating to face the political repercussions of an all-out assault on them, sent a mission of top officials to impose a "compromise" regime. All candidates had to be cleared by the FBI, as if seeking employment in Washington. The U.S. also sought after-the-fact approval by the Organization of American States for its intervention. The Latin American countries with more or less democratic governments, and even some with dictatorships, refused. But the majority of the dictatorships finally concurred, by a vote just making the required two-thirds. The U.S. strove to internationalize its interventionist force, but only Brazil, under a military dictatorship established with U.S. help a year earlier, sent a significant number, 1,250. Two others sent token forces.

Strong disapproval of the U.S. intervention was expressed by the governments of Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela, among others; and by leading figures and the press in most countries of the world. Demonstrations of protest were held in many places, and near revolutions - with an anti-U.S. emphasis - broke out in Bolivia and Colombia. At home substantial editorial, Congressional and college opposition appeared. Over 100 U.S. academic specialists on Latin America signed a public letter of protest.

There was "a surge of anti-American sentiment" in the Dominican Republic. "The Yankees are the killers," the people cried when Americans appeared.[4] Predominant pro-Constitutionalist sentiment was reported all over the country. But, protected by the U.S. occupation, the U.S.-organized National Police, for 40 years the chief instrument of dictatorship in the Republic, maintained reactionary control and arrested those demonstrating support for the Constitutionalists. The heads of both houses o£ the Dominican Congress appealed to the parliaments of the world for help in ending American occupation.

Ignoring world-wide opposition, the Johnson Administration indicated its intention of continuing the occupation indefinitely, of imposing a protectorate on the Dominican Republic in the name of the O.A.S.

The Johnson Administration may be expected to try a whole succession of maneuvers whereby it will have a leading voice in selecting a government that will be given the label of "constitutional" and "democratic." But the principle must be recognized that the United States has no right whatsoever to even participate, no less lead, in picking a Dominican Government. Moreover, it must be remembered that all of the influence of the present Washington Government, no matter what its protestations to the contrary, is exerted to impose a reactionary, anti-democratic, subservient government.

These are the bare facts. How was U.S. intervention justified? First, President Johnson said it was to evacuate American citizens who might be harmed in the fighting. But nobody had threatened them, nor was there reason to expect their being hurt: American civilians have not been attacked in repeated Latin American coups and revolutions. This excuse has been used as the opening gambit for scores of colonial conquests. The United States has no more legal right to invade another country to protect its citizens than an African country would have to invade the U.S. to protect its visiting citizens from racist assaults.

Within a few days those foreigners who wanted to leave did. So Johnson changed the reason for intervention to preventing a Communist takeover. The names of 58 alleged Communists among the 20,000 armed men on the Constitutionalist side were published.

Furthermore, Johnson claimed the right and announced the intention to intervene anywhere in the hemisphere where power might be taken by groups he considered Communist-dominated. Since the U.S. maintains similar lists for every country in the world, no country is safe from invasion by American troops, regardless of the size or influence of the Communist movement in that country.

The merits of the excuse will be discussed later. We shall also show that excuses virtually identical to both used now were used to justify U.S. intervention in the Dominican Republic 50 years ago.

In a special Memorial Day program on the Dominican Republic, the CBS reporter on the spot, Bert Quint, said, "There were downright lies by spokesmen for the United States State Department," and that this was repeated day after day. The President made frequent statements to the American people, seeking to justify each day's actions, which his subordinates were forced to retract soon after - after the action had been taken and could hardly be undone.

When it became evident that the invasion was proving a political liability, Johnson stopped claiming credit for it. The blame was put on, and accepted by, the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, W. Tapley Bennett, Jr. In fact, all responsible American officials and generals involved are to blame, headed by the President. The blood of thousands of murdered Dominicans is on their hands.

They systematically confused, distorted, and lied because their aims and actions could not be justified in law or morality. While they are personally responsible for their choice of course, they were acting according to the dictates of very powerful and evil social forces, whose evolution we shall trace first in the long history of U.S.-Dominican relations.

INTERVENTION FROM PIERCE TO WILSON

In 1853 William L. Cazneau left his home at Eagle Pass, Texas, suddenly, to avoid arrest. He fared well in Washington, and was sent as Agent of the U.S. Government to the young Dominican Republic. The Texas adventurer reported, "The soil is unimaginably fertile - mines of gold, silver, copper, coal, are omnipresent. Timber concessions, salt concessions, railroad concessions, public utility concessions... available for American citizens, if only an American protectorate is negotiated..."[5]

President Pierce instructed him to prepare for annexation by negotiating acquisition of Samana Bay as a coaling station for the U.S. Navy. The negotiations failed because the Dominicans, mostly Negroes or of mixed ancestry, feared having American racism and slavery foisted on them.

In 1868 the U.S. Navy helped unpopular President Baez stay in power, in exchange for one treaty providing for annexation, and another for a 99-year lease of the naval base. The Reconstruction Senate refused to ratify either.

But thirty years later, the U.S. started its major overseas expansion with the war on Spain. The campaign for taking over Dominica was resumed, and not halted until the objective was attained.

In 1898 the U.S. Secretary of State organized a secret military expedition which was defeated by the Dominican defenders - a miniature "Bay of Pigs!" The U.S. renewed its demand for the Samana Bay base. American capitalists obtained sugar lands, control of .the National Bank, and administrative control of the Dominican customs.

A liberal nationalist political trend developed, opposing the looming foreign warships and the grasping foreign capitalists. But in 1903 American troops landed temporarily to "protect" a sugar estate, and in 1904 to help a pro-American clique in internal fighting.

In 1905 Theodore Roosevelt, threatening invasion, forced the conclusion of a formal agreement turning over the customs to American receivership, with 45% of the proceeds to go to the Dominican Government, 55% to pay creditors. U.S. officials slashed rival claims, accepted inflated U.S. claims. This arrangement was thrust on the country in a formal convention in 1907, along with U.S. control over duty rates and all Dominican financial transactions. The U.S. Navy guns rammed the agreement through the Dominican Congress, despite the opposition of most members and provincial governors.

By a $20 million bond issue, Kuhn, Loeb & Co. obtained control of the foreign debt. The customs control agent was Santiago Michelena, representative of the National City Bank, run by William Rockefeller and the Standard Oil crowd. Thus the country became the economic property of two of the most powerful Wall Street groups.

In 1912 Wilson, advocate of the "New Freedom," won the presidency over conservative Taft and "Big Stick" Roosevelt. He appointed as Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, veteran presidential candidate campaigning as an anti-imperialist. Historian Arthur S. Link writes that "Latin America - indeed the entire civilized world - confidently expected" that Wilson and Bryan would keep their eloquent promises of non-intervention, and Wilson's promise to free the southern republics from the stranglehold of foreign concessionaires. But "the administration... violated all its general professions... The years 1913 to 1921 witnessed intervention by the State Department and the navy on a scale that had never before been contemplated..."[6]

In 1914 Wilson, threatening invasion, forced the Dominicans to accept U.S. election supervisors and voting booth observers. In 1915 the U.S. demanded appointment of a U.S. financial adviser to control all finances, and a U.S. officer to head the armed forces.

The President, Jimenez, elected under U.S. supervision, temporized and persecuted the nationalists. In 1916 the latter revolted, and the Congress impeached Jimenez. American outright intervention began. Initially "American troops were landed, nominally for the protection of the American legation, the Receivership General, and the foreigners within the capital."[7]

More troops followed, and soon occupied a corridor cutting off Santo Domingo from the rest of the country. After attempting in vain to set up a pro-American government and army, the Americans on May 15, 1916 formally announced the occupation of the country;

"for the purpose of supporting the constituted authorities and to put a stop to revolutions and... disorders... It is not the intention of the United States Government to acquire by conquest any territory in the Dominican Republic nor to attack its sovereignty, but our troops will remain here until all revolutionary movements have been stamped out and until such reforms as are deemed necessary to insure the future welfare of the country... are in effective operation."[8]

Comparing these events with those of 1965, it seems as if the State Department desk men dusted off the old script for Johnson, only changing the word "revolutionary" to "Communist"! Everything was similar - the popular overthrow of a U.S.-imposed government; the futile attempt to restore it through puppet forces; the initial invasion "to protect foreigners"; the ultimate massive invasion "to prevent revolutionary (or Communist) takeovers"; and the vague promise of later benefits - much later. Even the military tactics were similar.

U.S. troops occupied the whole country, encountering bitter resistance from the armed people in many cities.

The Dominican occupation was, in some ways, the most oppressive of the American interventions in the Caribbean:

"... the U.S. Navy governed directly, without setting up a puppet government... The occupation carried on ruthless fighting, jailed or killed the outstanding intellectuals, writers and artists, closed down newspapers, roughed up honorable citizens, perpetrated wanton killings in the main streets ... incredible and horrifying brutalities... gave the United States a black eye everywhere in the world. A flame of protest swept over Latin America."[9]

Despite the terror, a Union Nacional Dominica was formed in 1920 and launched a campaign for independence without enslaving agreements. It obtained preponderant political influence. Many prominent Americans called for evacuation, among them AFL President Samuel Gompers, who declared that the occupation conditions did not conform to the principles of modern civilization. Under these pressures, the U.S. began to negotiate evacuation.

FROM HARDING TO JOHNSON

Washington dragged out the negotiations four years, until Dominicans could be found to sign its terms:

1.    Continued U.S. customs control until all foreign debts were paid; continued U.S. overall financial supervision.

2.    Adoption of a U.S.-drafted electoral code.

3.    Supplanting of the old army with a new Policia Nacional Dominicana, a constabulary to be trained and officered by Americans, to be well paid, and charged with maintaining order throughout the countryside.

Point 3 was most resisted by Dominican nationalists. It meant continued U.S. domination over all sugar plantations, already mainly foreign owned, where the most frightful conditions of life prevailed for the workers. It was these "policemen" that the "neutral" American troops let through their lines to join the Imbert forces in the Santo Domingo fighting of 1965.

The eight*-year old formal occupation was ended in 1924, but the U.S. retained an effective protectorate under its dictated terms.

Marine Col. Richard M. Cutts, training the constabulary, became Dominican kingmaker. He selected ex-criminal Rafael Trujillo, and "sponsored young Trujillo's rapid rise in the Dominican Army. Later Generalissimo Trujillo frequently consulted Colonel Cutts. Under Marine Corps sponsorship Rafael Trujillo scrambled rapidly up the promotion ladder and in 1930 was Chief of Staff of the Dominican Army."[10]

Then he seized power, establishing the longest and one of the most oppressive dictatorships of this century. Tens of thousands were killed, while the Trujillo family and close associates enriched themselves along with the Americans.

He paid off the Kuhn, Loeb debt twenty years ahead of time. Only then, in 1940, did formal U.S. collection of the customs cease, but American banking domination continued. After World War II Trujillo gave the U.S. what no previous government dared to give - the Samana Bay base, now used as a guided missile tracking station.

The U.S. Government, which subjected the Dominicans to this monstrosity for 31 years, now arrogates to itself the right to select new rulers for these long-suffering people in the name of freedom and self-determination!

World condemnation of the Trujillo regime's outrages grew until the Organization of American States was forced to condemn it in 1960. Washington decided Trujillo had outlived his usefulness. In 1961 he was assassinated by a group including Imbert, much as the CIA organized the discarding and assassination of its Vietnamese puppet Ngo Dinh Diem, two years later. Trujillo associates were able to keep power for another half year, but the democratic movement grew, prisoners were released and exiles returned. The people demonstrated for reforms and for jobs for the 45% of workers unemployed. Early in 1963 middle-of-the-roader Juan Bosch was elected President.

But the U.S. was preparing to end this democratic interlude promptly. In March 1962 it sent a 44-man Marine mission to train anti-guerrilla forces. American police organized "riot-police" squads. Bosch, on inauguration, proposed moderate reforms, and started to reduce dependence on the U.S. Within a week he was attacked by Business Week for proposing a "revolutionary constitution" and land reform, "which would prohibit operations of U.S.-owned sugar companies."[11] A month later he was denounced for awarding a $150 million hydroelectric-irrigation contract to a Swiss syndicate instead of Americans. Washington saw the "red menace" in these pricks to the Wall Street pocketbook, and demanded he persecute Communists. Washington "would not relish a military coup... but it could happen. Whatever develops... the U.S. has made it plain it will not let the Communists gain control in Santo Domingo. The Government of... Bosch... may not survive the year."[12]

Two days after this appeared in print, the coup against Bosch broke out, headed by none other than Washington's man Imbert. Business Week conceded:

"Dominican Republic military commanders last week threw out President Juan Bosch, the Caribbean nation's first freely elected president in more than 30 years - on the pretext of 'saving the country from Communism.'

"And in the now familiar pattern, the rebellious generals called in leaders of minority right-wing political parties to set up a puppet civilian junta, which would provide a facade of respectability for the military."[13]

Substitute President Johnson for "Dominican commanders," and the U.S. Marines for "rebellious generals," and you have here an almost exact description of the most recent events. Johnson's "red menace" is as much a pretext as the "gorilla" generals. In fact, he is using it as a cover for foreign conquest.

Now Johnson has added something. He tries to legitimize aggression by getting official approval and token participation by the Organization of American States. The N. Y. Times headline "U.S. Lets O.A.S. Play Bigger Role in Santo Domingo"13a is a characteristic giveaway. The O.A.S. is merely a grouping of State Department and Pentagon clients, in no way representative of Latin American countries. It has been said, appropriately enough, in the U.N. debate that the O.A.S is merely the colonial department of the U.S. The effective, if illegal, expulsion of Cuba was proof that the United States wants it only as a collection of yes-men. U Thant was correct to charge that the U.S. was using it to exclude the United Nations from its proper peace-making role in the Dominican Republic.

THE ROOTS OF INTERVENTION

From Cazneau, the Texas bad man, to Johnson, the Texas politician, a common drive has motivated U.S. policy towards Dominica - to attain control over and ownership of that country, its people and its wealth; to make it a strongpoint of U.S. military power - in short, to establish colonial rule, in fact if not in name. Followed sporadically during the 19th century, that policy was pressed with increasing vigor in the 20th until virtually complete colonization was established in 1916, and maintained, openly or in disguise, ever since.

The present crisis arises out of aggression to maintain colonial rule, against the best organized attempt yet of the Dominican people to end it.

The policy persisted in Democratic and Republican Administrations, with overt imperialists like Theodore Roosevelt, and those who promised a new deal for Latin America, like Wilson and Kennedy. Obviously a common force propelled these diverse politicians. That force is modern imperialism, which amounts to the same thing, whether expressed in the arrogant words of Senator Beveridge of Indiana:

"American factories are making more than the American people can use... Fate has written our policy for us; the trade of the world must and shall be ours. We will build a navy to the measure of our greatness. Great colonies, governing themselves... will grow about our posts of trade."[14]

Or in the salty language of Marine Gen. Smedley Butler:

"I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers... I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank to collect revenue in... I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916... In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested..."[15]

Or in the restrained understatement of diplomat Sumner Welles, American Commissioner in the Dominican Republic 1922-25:

"The foreign policy of the United States was determined by the immediate requirements of a limited privileged class in the United States, rather than by a true appreciation of the ultimate national interest. In the policy adopted towards the Dominican Republic the above held true."[16]

Or in the scientific conclusion of the British economist Hobson:

"It was Messrs. Rockefeller, Pierpont Morgan, and their associates who needed imperialism and who fastened it upon the shoulders of the great Republic of the West. They needed imperialism because they desired to use the public resources of their country to find profitable employment for their capital which otherwise would be superfluous."[17]

It is customary for American textbooks to admit imperialism as a "past" sin, which the United States has long since discarded. Discussion of current international issues is posed solely in political terms. Official propaganda treats foreign investments as a separate category, a form of benevolent "foreign aid," helping other countries rather than robbing them. In fact foreign investments are more important than ever, and do more damage to U.S. international relations and to the countries where they are placed than in the now admitted "bad old days."

Imperialism does not mean only direct annexation and conquest of countries. It can be expressed in indirect ways as well through domination of nations and peoples by means of financial and economic power, by "dollar diplomacy," corruption of politicians, alliances with reactionary forces, etc. The U.S. has employed both open and direct and disguised and indirect colonial methods.

Latin America was the initial place for U.S. imperialist expansion, and remains one of the most important areas of U.S. direct investments - that is, ownership of mines, plantations, oil fields, banks, factories, etc., increased from $300 million in 1897 to $2 billion in 1919. Thus "gunboat diplomacy" powered a seven times multiplication of U.S. investments. Since World War II, atomic blackmail, the Organization of American States, and the CIA were used as a further accelerator of these investments. They increased from $2.8 billion in 1943 to just under $10 billion in 1963. Besides, there are $7 billion of bonds and other portfolio investments.

Between 1948 and 1964 U.S. companies multiplied their extraction of oil from Latin America 2-1/2 times, of iron ore 9 times, of bauxite 4 times, and of copper 1-3/4 times. U.S. Corporations' income from investments in Latin America increased from $50 million in 1905 to over $500 million in 1950 and over $1,300 million in 1964. Other types of receipts, equivalent to profit, raised the real total to at least $2 billion in 1964. Just as much was taken out through unequal terms of trade. The fall in the prices of exports relative to the prices of imports between 1954 and 1964 cost Latin America $2.1 billion.

The total "take," then, came to over $4 billion. The $2 billion, excluding the price factor, absorbed half of the $4 billion received for sales of Latin American goods to the United States on the average for 1963 and 1964. Apologists claim that new investments provide an offset. But new U.S. investments, government and private, averaged only one billion dollars in 1963 and 1964. And half of that billion was cancelled out by monies pumped out of Latin America by wealthy residents who feel safer with their wealth in the masters' banks than put to work developing their own countries.

No longer can Latin American poverty and underdevelopment be attributed primarily to technical backwardness, ignorance and illiteracy, the heritage of former European colonial rule, etc. Latin America remains a continent of mass misery and hunger, of enormous social injustice, of per capita incomes one-tenth the U.S. level, of industrial backwardness, of mass illiteracy, mainly because of the economic burden of U.S. big business exploitation, and the political burden of U.S. military and diplomatic intervention.

The history of U.S. relations with the Dominican Republic is repeated, with variations, for most of the Caribbean and Central American countries:

"At one moment North American officials directed the financial policies of eleven of the twenty Latin American countries, while in six these banking agents were backed by American troops on the spot."[18]

Since World War II the United States has used additional instruments and methods for extending domination over Latin America. Government and international banks have taken over the main job of assuring collections for the private companies, and of dictating economic policies to Latin American governments. Through Inter-American bodies and bilateral military treaties with 12 Latin American countries, the Pentagon has increased its grip on the armed forces of the continent.

It has trained the most reactionary militarists in modern techniques of suppression, encouraged them to build their armed forces, and supplied them with a half billion dollars worth of weapons. It has known military bases in Cuba (Guantanamo), Puerto Rico (one-eighth of the land area), Trinidad, Brazil, Argentina, Haiti, and Nicaragua, and over 70 military missions in Latin America. The FBI has major establishments in every Latin American country, where it maintains "long lists of alleged subversives" who "thereafter cannot secure visas to the United States, and are often hounded in other Latin American countries."[19] CIA activities in Latin America are no longer denied, but rather a subject of self-adulation, especially for such "exploits" as the destruction of democratic government in Guatemala for the United Fruit Company in 1954.

AMERICAN ULTRA-RICH OWN DOMINICA

When Theodore Roosevelt delivered ultimatums to Santo Domingo, he stressed financial and political demands equally. Now the former are kept secret. In the forests of newsprint covered with reports on the current crisis, I have come across only one specific reference to the involvement of American corporations - a one-inch note in the specialized Journal of Commerce:

"South Puerto Rico Sugar Company stated that... (its) sugar plant facilities in the Dominican Republic have not been damaged... Crop operations, which had been interrupted for about two weeks by those disturbances, were resumed on May 8."[20]

But government reports and company records reveal the major facts (not all) about U.S. ownership of the Dominican economy, and what it has done to labor and living standards there in 60 years of effective U.S. rule. The Commerce Department published an incomplete estimate of U.S. direct investments in the Dominican Republic of $108 million in 1962. The figure of $250 million given by Dominican officials in 1961 is more realistic.[21]

The South Puerto Rico Sugar Co. (5 Hanover Square, N. Y.) gets two-thirds of its sugar from the Dominican Republic and, despite its name, only one-third from Puerto Rico (aside from a new acquisition of Florida cane). Since the Cuban revolution, it is the largest U.S. owner of sugar cane plantations in the world. It has 120,000 acres in cane, 110,000 acres of pasture with choice livestock, and 45,000 reserve acres in the Dominican Republic. It also owns a sugar mill, a furfural plant, a private railroad system, a dock and bulk sugar loading station. It owns directly one-third of Dominican sugar output, and controls an additional amount through its marketing.facilities.

While Americans have never heard of this company, the names of its key directors and their connections are quite familiar:

  • G. D. Debevoise, president, formerly with J. P. Morgan & Co.
  • Alfred M. Barth, head overseas department, Chase Manhattan Bank.
  • Edward M. Carey, director of Rockefeller's Commonwealth Oil Refining Co. (of Puerto Rico).
  • James A. Moffett, 2nd, lifetime executive of Standard Oil and related companies.
  • Frederick R. Pratt, chairman of the stock option committee, major Standard Oil heir.
  • John S. Guest, partner, Kuhn, Loeb & Co.
  • Dewy, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood, general counsel, Rockefeller group law firm.
  • Chase Manhattan Bank, transfer and dividend paying agent.

 

Obviously this company is solidly in the Rockefeller sphere of influence, but with participation for other top Wall Street houses. Did the Rockefeller group acquire its share when they controlled the National City Bank, and the bank ran the Dominican customs? Did Kuhn, Loeb get in the picture when it controlled the foreign debt of the Dominican Republic? These are fair questions, which call for an answer.

The next largest U.S. interest in the country is Aluminum Company of America, which owns the Cabo Rojo bauxite mine. This largest U.S. aluminum producer, owned by the billionaire Mellon family, obtains most of its ore at low cost from three Caribbean countries. The Dominican mine was opened in 1959 and produces nearly a million tons a year.

The United Fruit Company, for decades the overseer of several Central American countries, has "only" several thousand acres in bananas in the Dominican Republic, but has been planning a major expansion there. United Fruit Co. is part of the Boston group of financial and industrial companies. So is Gorton's of Gloucester, Inc., a large fish packing company, owned by the Bundy family, of McGeorge Bundy, the president's foreign policy adviser and would-be Dominican kingmaker.

The First National City Bank still has a Santo Domingo branch, thereby certainly continuing to play a leading role in the country's finances.

Alcoa and National City Bank have a net worth exceeding the entire national income of the Dominican Republic. The Mellon and Rockefeller families - of Alcoa and South Puerto Rico Sugar, respectively - each own more than five times the Dominican national income. According to the theorists of benevolent U.S. corporate investment, they should have brought high living standards to the country whose economy they dominate. What are the facts?

During the four years 1960-63, the United States got 74% of Dominican exports and supplied 54% of its imports - a fine commentary on the island republic's "independence"! More significant, while trade with the rest of the world was balanced, the Dominican Republic sent $494 million to the U.S., more than twice as much as the $233 million it received.

How is that possible? Because half of the U.S. imports are paid for not by goods or services, but by profits from the exploitation of the country. During 1960-62 the Dominican Republic paid $52 million for shipping and insurance - the expenses of the U.S. trade and transportation monopoly; $58 million for profits, royalties, home office fees, etc., on foreign investments; and $97 million for "errors and omissions," a combination of secretly extracted foreign investment profits and runaway profits of wealthy Dominicans. The total of $207 million, or $69 million per year, approximates the annual trade balance. So the country has nothing to show for the surplus. Its gold reserves were a trifling $3 million in 1964, compared with $10 million four years earlier. It is therefore at the mercy of Wall Street banks for daily necessities, aggravated by the discouragement of food output by U.S. and native latifundists.

The average profit take of $69 million came to one-eighth of the national income. Suppose the U.S. had to pay one-eighth of our national income as a tribute to foreign owners. That would be $64 billion in 1964 - more than all public spending on education, .health, welfare and highways; or more than all private spending on autos and other durables. Imagine what this loss would mean to the "affluent society" and the "American way of life!"

The effect on a poor country - the Dominican Republic's per capita income in 1963 was $188 versus $2,513 for the United States - is disastrous. It has brought the island people one of the lowest living standards in Latin America, the lowest wage level, hunger and swollen bellies.

It has left no financial resources for national development, caused continued economic backwardness and one-sidedness. Manufacturing accounts for under one-tenth of the gross national product, and 85% of all manufacturing consists of food processing.

The 86,000 workers and employees in Dominican manufacturing averaged $405 per year in 1960, a fall from $452 in 1948. Every other Central American and Caribbean country supplying statistics showed a much higher average, and some two or three times as high.[22] Wages are low everywhere in Latin America. In the Dominican Republic they are abysmal.

A recent newspaper account tells of typical servant's wages in Santo Domingo of 80 cents per day. The U.S. Commerce Department published figures permitting calculation of wages of agricultural workers employed by U.S. companies in Latin America in 1955. While grossly inflated, they are useful for purposes of comparison. Here are the annual averages: Cuba: $1,300; other countries, $951; Dominican Republic and Haiti (mainly the former) $390.[23] The Cuban workers, earning three times as much, were driven to revolution; consider how much motive the Dominican workers had!

--------------------------------------------

from FORTUNE magazine - MAY, 1965:

"LITERLLY HUNDREDS OF CORPORATE EXECUTIVES ARE ON THE PRESIDENT'S FAMOUS TELEPHONE LIST, AND FIND THEIR COUNSEL SOUGHT AND CONSIDERED IN HIGH ECONOMIC MATTERS; SCORES HAVE READY ACCESS TO THE WHITE HOUSE TO ARGUE THEIR CASES ON MATTERS OF POLICY THAT MIGHT AFFECT THEM!"


Let's see what the two largest U.S. corporations there get out of this suffering. Until 1960 South Puerto Rico Sugar had to sell most of its crop in Europe. But when the Cuban quota was divided up, the Dominican Republic, having the next largest U.S. sugar investment, was favored. South Puerto Rico profited greatly from the excess of the consumer-subsidized U.S. price over the world market price. Its after-tax profits went up from $1.8 million in 1959 to $3.7 million in 1961 and $8.1 million in 1964. A few million in income taxes went to the Dominican Republic, but only a token amount to the U.S. Government. Thus the owners contribute nothing to the hundreds of millions U.S. taxpayers spend to uphold their "right" to mercilessly exploit the Dominicans.

There are large additional "insider" profits from official salaries and benefits ($400,000 per year), and stock option deals (yielding $660,000 in profits during 1962-64). The officials are best situated for using their inside knowledge for speculative profits in sugar and on the stock market. Just before and after the overthrow of Bosch they bought thousands of shares of company stock. But in the months before the constitutionalist revolution they sold thousands of shares. After Trujillo's assassination, Dominican workers organized and gained some improvements. Sugar workers fought bitterly against the National Police organized by the U.S. to repress them. In 1962 the company complained of many strikes among its 20,000 peak-season workers, and of 800 fires in the cane fields, some allegedly the result of sabotage. Strikes and stoppages alternated with negotiations for eight months until a 2-year contract was signed in August 1963, retroactive to Jan. 1. It provided a 30% wage increase and other benefits, leading the company to decry an alleged 100% rise in labor costs.

Thus the few months of a more or less freely elected regime, the Bosch Administration, created a situation wherein sugar workers won the first real improvement in decades.

The company was acutely dissatisfied, even though its profits continued to rise. The previously cited article predicting Bosch's overthrow continued: "Sugar production, backbone of the economy, is down sharply. Economic analysts point to labor unrest - some Communist-inspired - and mismanagement at the huge government-owned sugar complex."[24]

After the ensuing military coup, the sugar company immediately attacked the workers. According to a recent prospectus, a strike - or was it a lockout? - started when the old contract expired Jan. 1, 1965. A new contract was signed on Feb. 18, but many workers stayed out until March 22, so some production was lost. Under the new contract "labor costs will be reduced." In short, with the aid of the generals' regime, the workers were defeated and their miserable wages cut.

What about the Alcoa operation? Dominican statistics permit a rough estimate that Alcoa employed 600 workers at its bauxite mine, and paid $900,000 in wages and salaries per year, in 1960-61. Presumably this increased somewhat by 1963. Separate statistics on Alcoa's Dominican operation are not published, but conditions are similar to other Caribbean bauxite operations. U.S. Government statistics covering all U.S. and Canadian mining companies in the area (virtually all in bauxite) show a 1962 profit of $83 million on an investment of $176 million, or 47%.[25] These profits are based on a low valuation of bauxite, with much of the profit transferred to the concentration and smelting stage. Applying area-wide ratios to the Dominican mine provides the following picture for 1963:

item

Millions of dollars

Value of bauxite shipped

10

Wages paid in Dominican Republic

1.5

Taxes paid in Dominican Republic

1

Profits reported

4

Value of aluminum ingots made from the bauxite

85

Value of finished shapes made from the bauxite

200

Thus the bauxite workers and the Dominican government together get 3% of the value of the aluminum ingot derived from their ore, and barely one per cent of the value of the final product. These examples illustrate the essence of the relationships between U.S. corporate investors and Latin America: incredible exploitation of labor and virtual robbery of natural resources. To end that, to reclaim for labor a more reasonable share of the value of its work, to reclaim for the country the fruits of its soil and labor - that is the economic content of the national liberation struggles surging up in the entire hemisphere, including the Dominican Republic.

NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLES AND COMMUNISM

Secretary of State Rusk and UN Representative Stevenson frequently denounce "so-called" national liberation struggles. But these are real, not fictitious. They are attempts to win freedom from imperialism, from formal or informal colonial domination, from foreign exploitation and poverty. They carry out in practice the United Nations resolution calling for the liberation of all colonies, and exercise the United Nations Charter right of all nations to decide their own destinies, and even the Organization of American States charter prohibition of intervention in the internal affairs of a member.

On a world scale national liberation struggles have won unprecedented victories in the past two decades. Long, difficult, heroic, they have sometimes been comparatively peaceful (India, Ghana); sometimes requiring bitter armed struggles (China, Algeria, Cuba). The former was possible where, fearing the insurgent tide following World War II, the imperialists and colonialists retreated in time, and were compelled to allow scope to the peaceful, democratic expressions of the people. Where the imperialists crushed democracy; repressed, imprisoned, tortured and murdered all who strove for freedom, armed struggle was necessary.

The U.S. imposed the latter course on the Dominican people. Without further, direct U.S. intervention, they would have won this latest battle easily, owing to the very small number of wealthy and corrupt supporters of imperialism in the country. Now, pro-administration commentators concede, they will not give up the struggle, but will carry on the struggle as long as necessary.

As stressed by Bosch in regard to his country, the modern national liberation movement is as just as our own war for independence two centuries ago, and far more progressive socially. By opposing it, the United States Government has become the world stronghold and self-appointed policeman of reaction.

At the turn of the century, U.S. presidents cited the Monroe Doctrine - a unilateral policy of eliminating European influence in Latin America - as a basis for intervention. True, the European imperialists were also out to grab Latin American territory, but the U.S. cited the doctrine even when there was no possibility of European intervention - as in the Dominican intervention of 1916 - on account of World War I conditions. More important, the Monroe Doctrine was aggressive because it was not used to liberate Latin countries, but to substitute U.S. for European imperialist domination.

Now nobody can claim a threat of European conquest of Latin America. President Johnson has declared instead the "Johnson Doctrine" whereby the United States will intervene promptly and forcibly to defeat national liberation struggles that might otherwise be victorious in Latin America - and not only there. While repeating, for the record, as Theodore Roosevelt and Wilson did, that "We seek no territory. We do not seek to impose our will on anyone,"25a the Johnson Doctrine seeks exactly to grab control of territory and impose U.S. imperialist will on everyone.

Johnson justifies his aggression against the Dominican Republic as being to protect the people there from Communism, which he identifies with "slavery and subversion." Washington uniformly identifies all national liberation struggles with Communism. But by its nature, the national liberation struggle is conducted by a united front of all the main social groups and political forces within a country except those bought by and subservient to the foreign rulers. And that is true in Santo Domingo:

"For the Dominican explosion was not... the explosion of a single social group, of one ideological faction... This civil war ... is, instead, a paroxysm of exploding frustration by people who for generations had known nothing but defeat or tyranny. ... If the Dominican revolution has brought together colonels and privates, lawyers and bricklayers and teachers and students, it has also opened the doors to joiners from under every political banner."[26]

Nor can a national liberation revolution be imposed by any political group by conspiracy, subversion, or that weird Dulles-Johnson concoction, "internal aggression." There can be no struggle for basic change without economic and social, as well as political grievances, to provide the fuel for it; fuel which needs but a spark to light it, and must, sooner or later get it. Even the Wall Street Journal, which is wholly callous to all considerations of human welfare, concedes that that fuel is present in Dominica:

"... the tiny country had grown into a towering symbol of everything that was wrong in Latin America... The ingredients of change were readily at hand: Poverty, illiteracy and other social ills, all crying out for quick treatment... a bloated oligarchy to be squeezed down, politically and economically, to more reasonable size; a potentially rich economy; progressive political forces hungering for reform."[27]

Communists are among these progressive political forces. The Communist movement in the Dominican Republic is small and far from being the dominant force in the Dominican people's revolution, a fact so obvious that the Administration was forced to retreat from its original charge of Communist domination. But if modern history is any guide, they are likely to be a significant force, a particularly courageous, consistent force in the struggle.

Communists have played a leading role in the very biggest national liberation victories of all history, and a lesser role in other very important victorious struggles. But they have always supported these struggles, and have usually played some part.

From the earliest days of scientific socialism, Marx exposed and denounced the evils of colonialism and racism with all the passion and eloquence he employed against the oppression of labor. The 20th Century Communists, from Lenin on, have always considered the national liberation struggle of the colonial and semi-colonial peoples as having a vitality for human progress comparable with that of the working class struggle for socialism. Indeed, the Russian revolution itself was in no small part a battle for national liberation as well as for socialism.

As the number of Communists and the influence of Communism have grown in recent decades, so has the weight and number of Communists in many national liberation struggles. Some Americans disagree with Johnson only because they realize he is wrong to say the Dominican revolution is Communist dominated, but imply that his intervention would be justified if Communists did lead. But this represents, in principle, a capitulation to the aggressors. Nobody can call for the exclusion of Communists, or the restriction of their role in the struggle, without objectively striving to strangle the struggle. Experience has shown that repeatedly! And no outsider has the right to dictate how much of a role Communists should play in Dominican affairs. That is up to the Dominicans to decide.

But regardless of the role of Communists, the issue in the Dominican Republic today is not Communism, or to be more precise, socialism. It is not the objective of the national liberation movement in the Dominican Republic to establish a socialist society; but to free the country from outside ownership and control, to accomplish land reform and basic social reforms, to improve living conditions and win for labor and peasants their basic democratic rights; and to start the development of the industry of the country and the diversification of its agriculture.

The U.S. Government claims generally - and under the Kennedy Administration Alliance for Progress program spelled out to some extent this claim - that it stands for most of these things. But its opposition to the national liberation movement and its alliance with reactionaries shows that its real policy is one of opposing these progressive advances, as well as socialism.

Of course, later the victorious national liberation movement in the Dominican Republic may take a socialist course. In that connection some comments are in order on Johnson's obscurantist identification of Communism with slavery.

An enormous official and big business advertising campaign, using lies, slanders, distortions, and adversely slanted slogans, has tried to inculcate in the American people a fear of socialism. Contrary to this campaign, of which Johnson's speeches are part, the socialist system has liberated a billion people already from national oppression and economic exploitation. It has brought the swiftest economic, scientific, and cultural progress, the swiftest rise in living standards, the widest participation of the population in public affairs - in all history.

Communists, in addition to advocating socialism, also follow the Marxist-Leninist approach to economic, political, and social problems. But more and more political leaders, and hundreds of millions of people not adhering to this world outlook, have come to consider the socialist system as the best, and indeed, the only way forward to economic progress and independent development in this century.

The leaders of many newly independent countries of Asia and Africa, with varying ideologies, have announced programs to build socialism. In Latin America, also, the limited and spotty economic progress has taken place to a considerable extent through expansion of the state sector of basic industry and social services. Here too, socialism may well become the objective of social development as countries free themselves from U.S. domination.

Johnson, in his crude attacks on "Communism," is really attacking substantial social and economic progress in Latin America, preventing significant reforms within the capitalist framework. His policies tend to keep Latin America permanently in backwardness, poverty, and hunger, the prey of United States corporations.

If there is to be any peace and progress, capitalist and socialist countries must coexist for a long time. The peoples and governments of the world recognized this fundamental fact by signing the United Nations Charter. Johnson's policies undermine the United Nations Charter by forcibly forbidding any people to make important changes or to adopt socialism. While falsely accusing the Communists of exporting national liberation revolutions, he is exporting colonialist counter-revolutions.

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND CUBA

American imperialists hate the Cuban revolution above all. It freed 7 million people from complete U.S. economic domination, and from a particularly bloody U.S.-sponsored dictatorship, and did it right under the ominous shadow of American guns and bombs. Despite continued U.S. economic warfare, sabotage, political and military harassment, Cuba has accomplished more social, economic and cultural advance in six and one-half years free of the U.S. than all Central America has in 65 years of U.S. domination. Now even the majority of U.S. journalists, writing for newspapers hostile to the Cuban revolution, describe the impressive gains of the people.

U.S. corporate investments in Cuba were valued by their owners at $849 million in 1957, second in Latin America only to those in oil-rich Venezuela. The U.S. Government, acting as spokesman for the owners, refused the reasonable Cuban offer of compensation, and refused even to negotiate when the Cuban government exercised its inalienable right of eminent domain to nationalize these investments.

The Cuban people decided to build a socialist society, the first in the Western Hemisphere. The American imperialists fear the Cuban revolution, because it is serving as an example to all of Latin America. They launched the treacherous Bays of Pigs attack, defeated by the Cubans. They have never given up their aim of invading and destroying Cuba. Goldwater, applauding the occupation of Santo Domingo, asked - and now how about Cuba?

Johnson has adopted his foreign policy in some other respects. There is much danger that he will also follow this advice to invade Cuba, especially if he is successful in destroying the Dominican revolution and reimposing American colonial-type rule over that country.

By crushing the Dominicans, and creating a nominally inter-American counter-revolutionary force prepared to intervene at a moment's notice anywhere in Latin America, the U.S. Government hopes to thwart all future progress in the continent, and to permit the big corporations to multiply their exploitation of its people without restraint. By successfully invading Cuba, the United States would throw all Latin America back a half century, and impose a dark night of terror on the continent.

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Intervention in the Dominican Republic, and preparation to invade all other Latin American countries that express their right of self-determination, pose a number of serious threats to the people of the United States.

It threatens us economically. U.S. corporations increasingly use foreign installations to replace higher-wage domestic output. This increases unemployment and undermines wage standards at home. It also squeezes out domestic small business. Examples are Puerto Rican light industry, Panamanian shipping, and Venezuelan oil. If U.S. corporations, under the guns of the Marines, expand hemisphere-wide without hindrance, losses to American labor will become much more serious.

Also the burden of taxes will rise to cover the high costs of intervention.

It threatens our civil rights. The attack of U.S. imperialism against Dominica is mainly an assault on colored people. American colonialism is invariably racist. The U.S. officers in the Dominican Republic, as in Vietnam, are largely white southerners of the same type as Negro-hating sheriffs and Klansmen at home.

Bennett, the U.S. Ambassador in Santo Domingo, is a rich white Georgian, and Mann, Johnson's chief hatchet man for Latin America, a rich white Texan. Not accidentally, Johnson's intensified foreign aggression has been accompanied by his glaring failure to enforce civil rights laws domestically. A free hand for American racists in Latin America means a freer hand for them in the U.S.

It threatens us politically. McCarthyism cannot be packaged "for export only." The big corporations insisting on persecutions of Communists in Latin America as the first step in persecuting all anti-imperialists there, are the backers of the John Birch Society, J. Edgar Hoover, and HUAC. The attacks of the Administration and its journalistic hacks against opponents of its foreign policy, the revival of HUAC anti-Communist hearings, are the first symptoms of an attempted major revival of McCarthyism. If its foreign aggressions are not checked, reaction may succeed in posing a new and more severe wave of repression at home.

It threatens us socially. War and social progress are incompatible. There is danger, unless the people are alert and battle that even some of the mild Johnsonian reform measures will be put into cold storage with the tacit connivance of the Administration.

It violates the elementary, human standards of morality and conscience which most Americans stand by, despite years of brutalizing propaganda.

It threatens our existence. These days, every limited war contains the seeds of a world thermonuclear cataclysm. The Soviet-U.S. confrontation over Cuba in 1962 posed the imminent threat of such a catastrophe. The firm stand of the Cuban people and government, the last-minute agreement whereby Kennedy called off the already ordered invasion of Cuba, and Khrushchev withdrew Soviet medium-range missiles, averted it. Repeatedly the Soviet Union has since said it would again come to Cuba's defense if Cuba is invaded or threatened with invasion. This would be just assistance, on the part of the USSR, or any other country.

Aggression against the Dominican Republic coincides with escalated warfare against the Vietnamese people, the most ominous threat to world peace. And it is logical that many Americans demand the end of both of these brutal and immoral wars.

The Administration sometimes pretends to regard Soviet promises of assistance to other socialist countries it attacks as a bluff. It may choose to ignore that promise and invade Cuba. That might well prove the most disastrous gamble in human history - if not the last.

During 1965 the most important anti-imperialist movement among the American people in decades has sprung up. Hundreds of thousands have directly expressed opposition to the criminal U.S. war against the Vietnamese people, and now to the intervention in the Dominican Republic, through student and professor teach-ins; through advertisements of professors, ministers, teachers, technicians, writers; through a record flood of letters and telegrams to Senators, Representatives, and the White House. Public opinion polls reveal the partial or total disagreement of tens of millions.

The majority of the world's governments, and the overwhelming majority of people, oppose United States actions. In Brazil, the U.S.-sponsored dictatorship give some support to U.S. intervention in Latin America. But an American in Brazil wrote to the New York Times from Rio de Janiero: "Here... what stands out... is the amazing extent and intensity of the reaction against the United States."[28]

Freedom-loving Americans welcome this growth of worldwide opposition to U.S. imperialism and Wall Street colonialism. But in the final analysis it is up to the people of the United States to stop this scourge of the peoples and menace to world peace.

The opposition among the American people must be multiplied numerically and in depth. Only scattered American labor leaders have repeated labor's 1920 stand against U.S. intervention in the Dominican Republic. Many more unions, leaders and members, have to end the disgraceful acquiescence and support to Washington aggression tendered by Meany and Dubinsky. All American labor, all forces of the civil rights movement, the intellectuals, all progressive elements and groups, regardless of differences in political viewpoint and on other issues, should unite to stop our government's foreign aggressions and interventions and to preserve world peace.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE RIGHT NOW?

With all the criticism of U.S. policy in the Dominican Republic, there is much confusion about alternatives. Some critics say: We shouldn't have gone in, but since we did, we can't get out until there is some settlement. Otherwise there will be "anarchy," a "power vacuum," a "slaughter."

But the U.S. can do no good in the Dominican Republic now. It has established itself as the enemy of the Dominican people. All they want from the Americans is to get out. The Dominican people will take care of the rest. The Constitutionalist forces claim to be able to take care of the National Police, and prevent a military dictatorship, if only the reactionaries are deprived of U.S. assistance.

All positions, strong points, and areas now occupied by the Americans must be turned over to the Constitutionalist forces, and on no account to the U.S.-created right-wing forces.

On leaving, the Americans should leave the Constitutionalist forces their weapons, as compensation for the damage they have done and the weapons they have previously turned over to the right-wing forces of the illegal Junta.

On no account may the Americans leave airplanes, tanks, or artillery in the hands of the Junta, for possible use against the population.

All this should be done immediately, without delay or any kind of negotiations or outside political meddling.

Simultaneously, the United States should recognize the legitimate Constitutionalist government.

The U.S. should announce its adoption in practice of a policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of Latin American countries.

To give practical meaning to this declaration, it should remove all its military missions in Latin American countries, remove all its FBI and CIA agents, destroy its lists of "subversives," recognize the Cuban government and end its economic and political warfare against that country, as well as its acts of military harassment.

The U.S. should give up its military bases in Latin America, especially the Guantanamo base in Cuba, and the bases in Puerto Rico.

The U.S. should unconditionally offer independence to Puerto Rico.

The U.S. should announce a new policy towards foreign investments in Latin America. It should recognize that relations between private investors and Latin American countries are solely within the province of the Latin American governments concerned. It should explicitly relinquish any claim of right to intervene in matters concerning such investments, while offering to participate in negotiations concerning compensation when Latin American governments decide to nationalize U.S. investments.

The U.S. should adopt a policy of negotiating, preferably in conjunction with the UN Trade and Development Board, agreements to pay adequate prices for guaranteed quantities of Latin American products on long-term contracts. The U.S. should adopt a policy of long-term credits to Latin American governments for economic development projects owned by these governments, according to their own programs, and without demands for U.S. ownership participation.

The democratic right of the people to self-determination includes the right to order their economic life as they see fit and to take control of the industries of their country. The people need not only political, but also economic freedom.

If such policies are adopted, the rising and just hatred of Latin Americans will be converted to friendship. American working people will benefit directly from the rapid rise in wage standards in Latin America, and the growth in trade as living standards rise there. The whole world will benefit from the relaxation of tensions and the reopening of possibilities for disarmament.

However, we cannot expect that the big business circles which run the Johnson government will adopt such policies of their own volition. They can be made government policy only by a mighty movement of the American people to that end, joining with and reinforcing the worldwide fight against American imperialism. It is in the self-interest of the American people - economically, socially and politically - to put an end to the present disastrous course.


[1]    Business Week, May 29, 1965

[2]    N. Y. Times, May 20, 1965

[3]    Ibid., Magazine, May 23, 1965

[4]    Ibid., May 15, 1965

[5]    Sumner Welles, Naboth's Vineyard, N. Y., 1928, Vol. I, p. 144

[6]    Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910-1917, N. Y., 1954, p. 93

[7]    Welles, op. cit.t Vol. II, p. 769

[8]    Ibid., p. 777

[9]    Carleton Beals, Latin America: World in Revolution, N. Y., 1963, p. 127

*              The original text was eighty - however, it is clear that eight is correct. --ED2013

[10]  N. Y. Times, June 1, 1961

[11]  Business Week, March 2, 1963

[12]  N. Y. World Telegram, Sept. 23, 1963

[13]  Business Week, Oct. 5, 1963. 13a. N. Y. Times, May 28, 1965

13a          N. Y. Times, May 28, 1965

[14]  Quoted in Quincy Howe, A World History of Our Own Times, N. Y., 1949, pp. 128-9

[15]  Common Sense, Nov., 1935

[16]  Welles, op. Cit, Vol. II, pp. 692-3

[17]  J. A. Hobson, Imperialism, A Study, London, 1938, pp. 77-78

[18]  J. T. Whitaker, Americas to the South, N. Y., 1939, p. 3

[19]  Beals, op. cit., p. 291

[20]  Journal of Commerce, May 12, 1965

[21]  N. Y. Times, June 1, 1961

[22]  United Nations Statistical Yearbook, 1963, Table 73, p. 202

[23]  U.S. Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Investments in the Latin American Economy, Tables 48, 49, pp. 145, 146

[24]  N. Y. World Telegram, Sept. 23, 1963

[25]  Survey of Current Business, August, 1963

25a          N. Y. Times, May 29, 1965

[26]  N. Y. Times, May 16, 1965

[27]  Wall Street Journal, May 4, 1965

[28]  N. Y. Times, May 30, 1965

 

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  • This article is a very good history of US intervention in the Dominican Republic, something I actually participated in as a US Peace Corps volunteer (1977-79). There is one error repeated many times, Dominica is an English speaking country in the eastern Caribbean and should not be confused with the Dominican Republic.

    Posted by Blair Bertaccini, 04/30/2015 9:10pm (6 years ago)

  • As an historian all too familiar with this wretched history, Victor's fine article remains very timely, since the interventionism that he describes both went back to 19th century "filibustering" expeditions, early 20th century "gunboat" diplomacy, and sadly the later "proxy war" against Nicaragua and support the Salvadorian dictatorship under Reagan. It continues in Latin America today in the attacks on Venezuela.
    There was one point though that was later revealed with the investigations and publication of classified documents that the Vietnam War brought about. Initially, the Central Intelligence Agency supported Juan Bosch's election in the Dominican Republic as a non_Communist "left" alternative to Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution. But when Bosch really did win the "hearts and minds of the people" by advancing policies that threatened the Dominican exploiting classes and U.S. corporations, the plug was pulled and he was overthrown. The marine invasion was really the largest U.S. invasion in Latin American history. When there was criticism against the U.S. invading a country in the name of defending "democracy" to prevent the restoration of a democratically elected president ousted by a military coup, the official argument was that their were "57 Communists" found among Bosch's constitutionalist supporters. That was the source of a "credibility gap," as the term went at the time, because the number 57 at the time was associated with the number of Heinz soups
    Norman Markowitz

    Posted by norman markowitz, 04/16/2015 5:32pm (6 years ago)

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