The methods of the United States in colonized Latin America have not changed. They cannot change. Violence is not used in countries under Yankee administration just by accident. Three events during the past five years underscore the increasing martial tendency of U.S. policy in these countries: the intervention in Panama against a strike, the occupation of Nicaragua, and the recent declaration of martial law in Haiti. The rhetoric of goodwill is meaningless in the face of these events.
As in other countries, the military occupation of Haiti includes a group of Haitians who claim legal representation of the majority as vested by the imperialist forces. The enemies of freedom in Haiti, the betrayers of their independence, are without a doubt the most repugnant to a free Latin American sentiment. Hispanic America has long experience with these types of things. One begins to understand that what will save it is not the admonitions of U.S. imperialism, but a thorough and systematic work of defense, conducted with firmness and dignity, by those who will have by their side the new [progressive] forces of the United States.
— Variedades, Lima, 13 December 1929
José Carlos Mariátegui is one of Latin America’s most profound and yet overlooked thinkers. A self-taught journalist, social scientist, and activist from Peru, he was the first to emphasize that those fighting for the revolutionary transformation of society must adapt classical Marxist theory to the particular conditions of Latin America. He also stressed that indigenous peoples must take an active role in any revolutionary struggle. This article is an excerpt (p. 279) from José Carlos Mariátegui: An Anthology (edited and translated by Harry E. Vanden and Marc Becker), published by Monthly Review Press and available at bookstores in early October 2011. Cf. Randal C. Archibold, “Haiti Leader Is Opposed to Reduction of U.N. Force” (New York Times, 22 September 2011).
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