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That small Caribbean nation, Cuba, in which the United States has always manifested an interest, if not so fraternal an interest as the name "big-brother" implies, is again providing variety in our daily news diet of Roosevelt and the "New Deal." Another of the periodic general strikes has occurred in Cuba, with the usual consequences of disorder and military rule.
It would be fairer to judge Cuba's propensity for strikes and revolutions on an economic rather than racial basis. Attempts to find the cause in Latin temperament are interesting speculation but do not present the whole picture. Cuba's constant dissatisfaction with government is firmly grounded in its extensive sugar fields, and their relation to the United States. It is a familiar, unsavory story of a small group, in this case beet sugar growers in the South, obtaining a high protective tariff on Cuban sugar, despite the fact that it is economically unsound. The result of setting up such lofty tariff walls in the past few decades has been a paralysis of Cuba's mainspring of economic life, the sugar industry.
In the present disturbance President Carlos Mendietia has refused to resign and Colonel Batista, the head of the army, and real power behind the present government, has instituted martial law, while the remaining labor unions which had not yet been called out are now going on strike. Although the government is being supported by two strong parties, the Menocalistas and the Marianistas, a serious revolution does not appear improbable.
Many in the United States are watching developments with uneasy interest and wondering if our government "will find it necessary to send a few cruisers to Cuba, as it did last year, to preserve law and order," and protect investments totaling over a billion dollars. In Cuba it is not necessary to be a Communist to be a flery opponent of domination and discrimination by the United States, rather it is a test of Cuban patriotism. Cuban revolutions, strikes, and disorder, which we are inclined to view merely with academic interest, except when our pocketbooks are affected, might well become things of the past if the United States were willing to make more equitable a tariff which is slowly driving to self destruction a nation which American effort and money helped to build.
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