Research Assignment: Marti and the Threat of Imperialism

In “Marti Anti-Imperialist,” Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring uses a number of Jose Marti’s works to illustrate the threat of imperialism in Cuba and in Latin America. Around the end of the 19th century—which is when Marti’s works were being written and published—the threat of imperialism was double ended. That is to say, it was coming from the existing presence of Spain and the looming presence of the United States.

Notably, the main focus of both Marti and Roig de Leuchsenring’s writing is the threat of imperialism from the United States and not from Spain. By the end of the 19th century the fight for Cuba’s independence from Spain was strong, thus the majority of the people (unlike Marti) failed to perceive the potential threat of the United States. Roig De Leuchsenring explains that at this time, “the Spanish market was gradually disappearing from Cuba… and was being replaced almost entirely by the United States, which was rapidly becoming the only one” (6). The United States was helping remove the Spaniard’s power in Latin America by replacing it with their own. Roig de Leuchsenring shares a multitude of Marti’s work in which Marti pleas for Latin America to resist the Americans’ imperialism. However, Marti’s work is in vain because shortly after his death, the Americans intervened in Cuba (54).

Roig De Leuchsenring believed Marti had a deep understanding of the Americans since Marti had lived in the United States (22). In hindsight, Marti’s knowledge allowed him to correctly predict the true ambitions of the United States in Cuba. Marti admired and mistrusted the United States. He admired their ability to grow independently from other states. At the same time, he mistrusted them because of their capitalist and imperialist ambitions. Roig de Leuchsenring points out that Marti never relies on the support of the United States, to gain Cuba’s independence: Instead, Marti wishes to grow Latin America independently. Marti believes the strength of Latin America lies in their culture—in what makes them unique (23). He wishes to use this strength to socially, economically and politically grow Latin America, and to give them freedoms they had never had before.

Regardless of his death, his vision would have been a difficult accomplishment. For one, Cuba was in a delicate balance between the power of Spain and the United States. In comparison to both of those countries, Cuba had a limited amount of power. Therefore it would have been difficult to gain its independence without the support of the United States. Additionally, Spanish power was actively being rejected in Cuba. The people would have wanted the quick solution that the United States offered and they would not have viewed the United States as a threat. After all, the United States was not physically conquering. In the end, there would have been no way for Marti to prove the United States self-interest until it was too late.

Works Cited

Roig de Leuchsenring, Emilio. Marti Anti-Imperialist. Ministry of Foreign Relations, 1961

9-Commerce, Coercion, and America’s Empire

This week, I was very entertained with the readings as I never would have imagine reading about the effects of the banana market. Thinking about it, I never realized how much banana is available for consumption today in america. Since bananas are only grown in warm climat, it is almost miraculous that they are available to us all year long. That being said, since they are available (and they are easier to handle than other fruits) it is no wonder that there was a sudden boom in this market.

It is undeniable that the United States played a crucial role in this market. It is equally undeniable that they helped make advancements in terms of commerce and even employement. But I wonder what would have happened if the United States had not been the ones in control. Would these Latin American countries have been able to tap into the industry and prosper? Or would they have been unable to benefit from the potential? Considering the problems that Latin America faced, I believe they would have been unable to. Mainly because I feel they lacked the cooperation from the various people (in different social classes) that would have been necessary to make it work.

On another note, I had never before thought of the United States as an empire. I realized this week that this is probably because the United States does not have colonies. Instead they either incorporate the land/people into their country or they form beneficial ties with them.

In any case I feel like they do have imperialistic tendencies because they tend to want to have control. Other countries, like Canada, adopt policies to protect their economy and culture from that of the united states. In Canada’s case, it is more about remaining seperate and being able to identify themselves without the United states. For Latin America it seems different. Through the readings, I get the feeling that it is a fear for their power as well as respect for it. I find that Latin America has a hard time deciding whether they want to be like the US  or be completely seperate. When they talk of technology it is more likely the first option but in terms of culture it is more likely the second. In any case it is nearly impossible to completely eiminate the United states presence in culture as is demonstrated through disney’s cartoons. During this period in time, it is also economically hard to seperate from the United states as the countries become dependant on them.

My question for this week is; are ties with the united states more beneficial or more harmful?

10- Power to the People

The radio in Latin America really illustrates the effect media can have. It is astounding how much the radio influenced society in Latin America. It enabled them to grow their culture (through music) and more importantly it granted them the ability to more actively participate in social changes and politics. Power to the people- that is what radio brought to the people of Latin America, specifically those of the lower classes.

I found myself being entertained by the state’s attempts of controling the media. It is almost humourous to read how much effort the state would put in, just to be widely ignored and even mocked by the people. In a way, the ability for the lower classes to choose when they wanted to listen was the most power they had ever been granted. Before, they were often constrained by the people in power and subject to whatever changes the people in power made. The poorer Latin Americans may not have been up to date as to what was going on as they may not have had access to the information–or they may not have been able to read. Seeing that, it is not surprising that the radio became a popular media. After all it was a Rich source of information and culture.

Overall the radio also brought unity to the people–they all had access to the same information. That being the case, I find it interesting how the recounts of the speech in argentina are different. Everyone having access to the same information could lead us to believe that people would think similarily. However, the retelling of the speech in various diffeent perspectives goes to show that it was not necessarily the case.

Since differrences in latin america are deeply rooted, it would be hard for any media or person to really unite everybody. What the radio allowed, was for people that shared similar views to rally up against those that did not. In the era of the radio, people who had previously been ignored were the centre of the stage. In a way, the radio allowed for a more democratic state and for an overall improvement for the way of living for many. Even so, the radio to me is clearly not a sustainable solution for alot of the problems thst Latin America faced.

My question for this week is; would Latin America have socially and politicaly advanced as much as they did with the radio, if they did not have it? What would the consequences be if there was no radio?