Cuba Again

The uncertainty which has characterized Cuban political alignments since the fall of Machado has apparently at last been dispelled. The final attempt at compromise was the elevation of Hevia to the presidency; affairs, however, have developed with such rapidity that compromise has become impossible and the two parties have been forced out in the open, thus clearly defining both the issue at stake, and the adherents on each side. On one side are the conservatives comprising the Nationalist party and the military forces controlled by Colonel Batista; arrayed against them is the Revolutionary junta which engineered the revolt against Machado and which included the radical ABC.

The compromise presidency of Hevia failed when Guiteras, Secretary of War and Interior in the Grau San Martin cabinet, announced that the radical steps which he supported must be carried out and that his arch-enemy, Colonel Batista, must resign. In order to accomplish this, at his instigation the employees of the Cuban utilities trust went on strike and the government was forced to take over the company; yesterday morning all employees in the departments of Communications, Interior, Justice, Public Works, Instruction, and Health went on strike. Senor Guiteras then retired into his stronghold in the provinces. With the gauntlet thus thrown down to them, the conservatives were forced to take vigorous action. Hevia was removed from office and the strong man of the Nationalist party, Colonel Mendieta, was put into the presidency, while Batista concentrated his troops in Camp Columbia and the city of Havana prepared for civil war.

There is not much question as to whether or not the United States will support either side or as to which side that will be. As was pointed out in this column several days ago. Mr. Roosevelt will be put in an impossible position if the Revolutionary party of Senor Guiteras is allowed to carry out its aims, chief among which is the confiscation of foreign property. The only possible solution is to prevent the Revolutionary party from winning in the civil war which will probably follow the present crisis. Nothing, of course, could be more helpful to the conservatives than prompt American recognition of the government of Colonel Mendieta and the American moral support which that recognition implies. While there are indications that Colonel Mendieta is not all that might be wished for from the point of view of American investments, this is certainly no time for splitting hairs; consequently, if Mr. Roosevelt wants to avoid future complications that are bound to be highly unpleasant, he will see that recognition is extended to the conservative government without any delay: for even with powerful American support it is evident that the conservatives are going to have a stiff battle overcoming the Revolutionary party because of its military power and even more because of the wide popular appeal which it has gained for itself. NEMO