The history of Marxist ideas in Latin America, 1890-1977

Marxism in Latin America

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Revised Edition

edited by Luis E. Aguilar

Although Marxism came late to Latin America, Marxist theories and practices have been of vast importance to Latin American countries, especially during the last decade. Luis Aguilar has revised and updated his 1968 anthology of articles by Latin Americans by adding eleven new articles, including writings by Fidel Castro on Cuba's Involvement in Angola and articles by and about Salvdore Allende and the failure of the Chilean socialist experiment. This new section is preceded by six groups of articles covering the time from 1890, when Marxist thought was first developing in Latin America, to the period of the Cuban Revolution and its aftermath and including the criticism and self-criticism of the sixties. The book is the only collection of primary and interpretive documents on Marxism by Latin Americans.



"The guerrilla conflict has posed no end of problems as to its necessity, methods, and objectives. In Guatemala, one of the countries where the struggle has been most tenacious and prolonged, the Communist Party has been accused, at one and the same time, of being 'pacifist' and wanting to control the direction of the guerilla movement. In the [following] article, José Millá, one of the principal guatemalan communist leaders, maintains the classic posture of 'flexible unity' in the face of what he calls 'provocations' of certain groups. The rupture of the Communist Party of Guatemala with Jon Sosa and the 13th of November Movement, which is merely sketched here, became explicit and public in the Tricontinental congress (Havana, January 1966) when Turcios Lima, then chief of the Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (FAR) was extolled as the legitimate representative of the guerrilla struggle, while the 13th of November Movement was stigmatized as Trotskyist."

"In the struggle agains the military dictatorship importance is attached to building a united front of all democratic forces.

"An event of considerable significance was the establishment of the United Resistance Front (FRU) which comprises all the democratic political groupings, including our Party. The FRU, founded following the military coup of March 30, 1963, is a political alliance for the purpose of overthrowing the reactionary regime and forming a democratic government.

"Another important event was the creation of the Rebel Armed Forces (FAR). The news of the formation of these forces had repercussions throughout the country. The FAR is a military-political alliance uniting all political groups and movements which support or help the armed struggle. Our Party is making an active contribution to its cause. The armed struggle in Guatemala is waged under a unified leadership.

"True, beginning with last July, provocateurs who wormed their way into the "November 13" organization (one of the bodies belinging to the FAR) have been busy sapping the unity of the armed forces, trying to get their commander, Jon Sosa, to support their sectarian line, which completely ignores the real situation in Guatemala.

From "Problems of a United Democratic Front in Guatemala" by José Millá



Introduction to the Revised Edition

Part I: Background, 1890-1920
Chronology of Important Events • Marx and Engels on Latin America • On the Death of Karl Marx, José Millá • The Future Cuban Socialist Party, Diego Vicente Tejera • Ideological Background of the Workers' Socialist Party of Puerto Rico, Santiago Iglesias • Argentina and the Problems of Socialism, Juan B. Justo • Socialism Is More than Marxism, Emilio Frugoni
Part II: The Emergence of the Communist Parties and the "Hard Line" Period, 1920-1935
Chronology of Important Events • The Dawn of Social Revolution in Chile, Luis Emilio Recabarren • Yankeeland and Marxism, José Carlos Mariátegui • The Gaucho Legend and the Spirit of Our Revolution, Aníbal Ponce • The Organization and Immediate Claims of Forestry and Agricultural Workers, The Confederation of Latin American Labor Unions • The Communist Party and the Cuban Revolutionary Situation, The Communist Party of Cuba • The Situation of the Latin American Communist Parties on the Eve of the Seventh Congress of the Comintern, The Communist International
Part III: The Popular Front and World War II, 1935-1945
Chronology of Important Events • A Program of Action for the Victory of the Chilean Popular Front, The Communist Party of Chile • Batista, Grau, and the Roads to National Unity, Blas Roca • Brazilian Communists in the Fight for Democracy, Luís Carlos Prestes
Part IV: Cold War and New Crisis, 1946-1959
Chronology of Important Events • The End of the War and the New American Imperialism, Rodney Arismendi • Consequences of Imperialist Penetration in Chile, Julio César Jobet • Oligarchies and the Agony of Bourgeios Democracy, Antonio García • Crisis on the March, Caio Prado, Jr. • The Left and the Socialist Revolution in Argentina, Silvio Frondizi
Part V: The Cuban Revolution and Its Aftermath, 1959-1968
Chronology of Important Events • Cuba, Historical Exception or Vanguard in the Anti-Colonial Struggle? Ernesto (Ché) Guevara • The Lessons of the Cuban Revolution, Alvaro Mendoza Díez • Dangers of Empiricism in Latin American Revolutions, Jorge Abelardo Ramos • New Trends in Catholicism and the Policy of the Chilean Communist Parties, Orlando Millas • The Chinese Line and the Latin American Communist Parties, Victorio Codovilla and Rodney Arismendi • Problems of a United Democratic Front in Guatemala, José Millá • Has the Revolution Become More Difficult in Latin America? José Manuel Fortuny • The Peruvian Revolution, Luis F. de la Puente Uceda • The Duty of Marxist-Leninists and the Revolutionary Line, Fidel Castro • Dilemma of Leadership: The Guerrilla, Alfredo Fernández and Óscar Uanetti • Dilemma of Leadership: The Communist Party, Joint Declaration of the Communist Parties of Colombia and Venezuela • Dilemma of Leadership: To Whom Does the Vanguard Belong? Luis Sanchez
Part VI: From the Peruvian Military Revolution to Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1968-1977
Chronology of Important Events • Cuba's Support of Soviet Action against Czechoslovakia, Fidel Castro • Leninism or Militarism?: The Dilemma of the Urban Guerrilla, João Quartim • Should the Left Support the Peruvian "Revolution"…An Independent Marxist Explains Why It Should, Ismael Frias • Should the Left Support the Peruvian "Revolution"? An Independent Marxist Gives and Implicit Negative, Anábal Quijano • Should the Left Support the Peruvian "Revolution"? The Communist Party Answers in the Affirmative, Jorge del Prado • And Later Qualifies Its Support, Jaime Figueroa • Proletarian Conscience and Marxist Rhetoric, Pable Gonzalez Casanova • Chile: A Perilous Way to Socialism; The Extreme Left, the Communists, and Reformists, Salvador Allende • The Extreme Left, the Communists, and Reformists inside the Chilean Government, Gerry Foley • The Socialsits against Reformism in the Government, Carlos Altamirano • The Failure in Chile and the Future of a Strategy, Velodia Tetodlian • Conference of Communist Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean • The Communist Party of Ecuador Supports the Military Junta • The International Dimension of the Cuban Revolution: Africa…China…U.S.A., Fidel Castro
Part VII: Criticism and Self-Criticism
The "Stalinist" Parties in Bolivia and Cuba, Carlos Salazar Montejo • A headless Proletariat in Mexico, José Revueltas • Our Errors, Venezuelan Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) • Self-Criticism,The Communist Party of Brazil • The Venezuelan Communist Party Replies to Fidel Castro, The Central Committee of the Venezuelan Communist Party • The Left on Trial, Teodoro Petkoff • Maoist Criticism of the Tupamaros, Partido Marzista-Leninista (Maoista) del Uruguay

Appendix: Diplomatic Relations of the Independent Latin American States with the U.S.S.R.
A Bibliographical Note


About the Author(s)

Luis E. Aguilar is a Professor at Georgetown University.

Subject Categories

Latin American/Caribbean Studies
Political Science and Public Policy



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