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

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