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uan Rey

In Latin America: Stalinism and Counter Revolution at Work

(6 December 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 49, 6 December 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Editorial note: While it is impossible for the author of this article or Labor Action to vouch for the authenticity of the “Rancagua document.” the central and unimpeachable fact remains that Stalinism has entered into an open alliance with the military and feudo-bourgeois reaction throughout Latin-America. This coalition of native totalitarianism and Stalinism represents a serious danger to the very existence of the organized Latin- American working class movement. Yesterday, Stalinism supported American Imperialism and its “Democratic” colonial agents; today it supports the anti-American sector of the feudo-bourgeoisie – but always the Stalinist line conforms to the reactionary interests of the Russian ruling class and its foreign policy. – A.S.


Three revolts have shaken Peru in the last few weeks: 1) that of Colonel Llosa in Arequipa province; 2) the Callao uprising, ascribed to the APRA; 3) the revolt led by General Odria which terminated in the ousting of President Bustamente. The military counter-revolution was the consequence of the political defeat of the APRA, in particular, of the abortive Callao “revolution,” ascribed to the APRA by the Bustamente government. Although our evaluation that this abortive “revolution” ended in a counter-revolution is correct (see last week’s Labor ActionEd.), we must complete our analysis with new facts received from trustworthy sources, which throw much light on the reactionary role of Stalinism, and particularly on the intense and effective work of Eudocio Ravines, prominent Peruvian Stalinist, suspected of being the secret agent of the MVD (GPU).

The Chilean Socialists, headed by Bernardo Ibanez, have published an extensive Rancagua Document, discovered in a local branch of the Chilean Stalinist party long before the Peruvian events. This document reveals an extensive and secret plan directed against the APRA as well as against the Chilean, Bolivian, and other governments; the point of the plan being to crush the anti-Stalinist working class and petty-bourgeois democratic forces, and to overthrow the governments of Peru, Chile and Bolivia in order to install, totalitarian dictatorships even though they might be rightist or militarist in character.

The Chilean Minister of Interior after reading the document declared that:

“This information indicates that E.R. (Eudocio Ravines) is pursuing a wide plan of bringing together all the anti.-Aprista, anti-government, and anti-American forces. His influence in the rightist group is strong and proven by the large contributions of money which he receives.” ... “R. (Ravines) thinks that money and ‘action’ will do the trick, and counts on the unmistakable readiness of the Peruvian government to engage in anti-Aprista acts.”

Directed Against Anti-Stalinists

Ravines is a mysterious personage. After his stay in Moscow, he became the supervisor of the Communist parties in Central America and Mexico. In 1936 he came to Chile as supervisor of the CPCH, and became its boss and “purger.” In 1945 the dictator Manuel Prado brought him to Lima to counteract the power of the APRA. Since then, Ravines (with government support) has dedicated. himself to fabricating crimes and attacks on the union movement and the APRA.

According to the Rancagua document, the Stalinist effort has been directed mainly against the anti-Stalinist working-class forces, especially the Peruvian APRA, Chilean Socialism, the CIT (Inter-American Labor Federation), as well as the bourgeois democratic and anti-Russian governments. The document states “The situation is splendid and the plan is developing normally. This does not mean that we can rest content and that we shall not give R. (Ravines) the aid he requests, particularly with respect to the task entrusted him by L. (presumably Lombardo Toledano). We must cooperate and see to it that the congress is defeated as it should be” (here the reference is to the CIT congress held in Lima). The document recommends that the actions of the leaders of the Peruvian Federation of Labor, Sabrosa and Aliaga, and Ibanez of Chile, be watched because “they continue to harm the Continent with their betrayals.”

Without being able to quote more extensively from the Stalinist document, we can say that events completely confirm its plan, directives and program. In Peru three revolutions have taken place secretly directed by Ravines. When the Llosa uprising was defeated in Arequipa, an “opposition” group was formed inside the APRA which incited a revolt in Callao. Trustworthy sources reveal that the central leadership of the APRA knew nothing of the Callao action, but that it was the work of an opposition group led by Ravines’ agents. Haya de la Torre, leader of the APRA, was surprised in bed by the police in the middle of the “revolution.” All that Ravines needed was the “action,” since he had the money and the “willingness” of the Bustamente government to engage in anti-Aprista actions.

The Bustamente government persecuted the APRA, declaring it outside the law and blaming it for the aborted revolution, while the secret Russian agent Ravines rubbed his hands, feeling sure of “control of the rightists.” A few days after the Callao incident the Odria revolution broke out. Bustamente was forced to leave the presidential palace. In La Paz, Bolivia, Colonel Llosa declared that Ravines was with the military junta. The Odria government has outlawed the Peruvian Communist party, but Ravines has

been invited to collaborate, assuming the role of the counselor and “gray eminence” of the Peruvian military government. It appears that the persecution of the APRA and the entire Peruvian working-class left is due to the plan elaborated by Ravines.

Repercussions on Continent

The events in Peru have had their repercussions on the entire continent. In Chile, connections between the Stalinists and the military circles have been discovered; in Bolivia the leaders of the Stalinist PIR planned a coup, in an understanding with ex-president General Toro. Besides this, a wide totalitarian plan, supported by a general strike of miners, railroad and factory workers, was prepared in order to overthrow the Hertzog government. The miners and factory workers are controlled by the MNR (Nazi) party; the railroad workers under Stalinist control. The Nazi-Stalinist blow failed but the danger continues to exist.

The plan against the APRA was linked with workers’ actions to take place in Bolivia, particularly in the mines, and in northern Chile which is also a mining district. In Paraguay a totalitarian military coup was also prepared. The famous assassination of the newspaperman Grana Garland in Lima (ascribed to the APRA) which touched off the campaign of the Peruvian reactionaries against the APRA and the workers’ movement, was really the work of the MVD and Ravines, according to the Rancagua document. The Peruvian government attorney-general, who knew about the assassination, worked as the tool, perhaps indirectly, of Ravines and tried to blame Bernardo Ibanez, president of the CIT and head of the Chilean Socialist Party as “author” of the Rancagua document. But recent events, the Stalinist alliances with the totalitarian parties, and Ravine’s activities tend to confirm and prove that this document contained instructions from the central Stalinist leadership in Latin-America which is located in Mexico.

The Stalinist document reveals only the personal and concrete details of the political tactic outlined: the alliance with the native-Nazi and totalitarian forces in Latin-America against the anti-Stalinist workers’ movement and the anti- Stalinist bourgeoisie. It must be admitted that the MVD and Ravines have had complete success in this action. The campaign against the APRA initiated with Grana Garland’s assassination in Lima set the Peruvian reaction and its military circles into motion. The same Bustamente government which emerged from the elections thanks to APRA support was pushed toward an anti-Aprista and anti-working class policy, a policy which ultimately brought about its downfall. Lacking a working class base, Stalinism knew how to manage and direct the Peruvian feudo-bourgeoisie and militarists against the petty-bourgeoise democracy represented by APRA, and the workers’ movement.

A similar series of events seems to be occurring in Chile, where the reactionary militarists are acting as the instruments of Stalinism. In Bolivia, the party of Liberalism, the party of the big mining interests acted in conjunction with the Stalinist PIR. In the service of the most reactionary right-wing elements, the Stalinist “political line” does not shrink from provocations, assassinations, “revolutions” and penetration of the United States intelligence service, which has often fallen into the traps set by the MVD and acted as its instrument. If it is true that the American embassy had a hand in the Callao events (the American ambassador in Lima having been asked to leave Peru) then he played the part of Ravines’ puppet. On the other hand, we have much information which proves that the American secret service in Bolivia also plays the part of a tool in the hands of the MVD, favoring the PIR and the MNR in their joinLaction against the government, and combatting the anti-Stalinist sectors of the working class. It is not however our task to teach the American diplomatic service and the FBI the methods of struggle against the MVD. They learned enough at Bogota.

Against Stalinism and Bourgeoisie

Our task consists of tearing away the mask and exposing the reactionary politics of Stalinism in Latin-America, which, lacking its own bases and incapable of independent action, gives all its support to the most reactionary Nazi and military groups on the continent, trying to “maneuver” them against the anti-Stalinist workers’ movement. We believe that the activities of the Stalinist agent Ravines in Peru will convince many workers of this.

Our second task consists of forging an independent working-class front directed against both the feudo-bourgeoisie as well as against the totalitarians, and giving support to the APRA, the Chilean Socialists, and the CIT. in its struggle against the Stalinists. Part of this task is the initiation of a campaign in defense of the APRA leaders, the trade unions, and the APRA prisoners in Lima who are threatened wifh capital punishment by the hangman, Odria, and his native Machiavelli, Ravines.

Liberty for Haya de la Torre, leader of the APRA, Sabrosa, leader of the Peruvian Labor Federation, and hundreds of other union and labor leaders being tortured today in Lima’s jails.

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