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In Chapter 7, the anarchist drama turns savagely to tragedy with still growing repression by Latin American governments and the United States to crush radicalism. Yet, not all was lost. Anarchists continued to work in their communities while maintaining transnational linkages, especially with the Spanish-language press in New York City. Longtime anarchists in Cuba and Puerto Rico, exiles in Mexico City, small groups and individuals in Panama City, Guatemala, and Colombia, a newspaper in Costa Rica, and others struggled in the early years of the global Great Depression to keep alive traditional anarchist critiques while confronting what they saw as the latest threats to humanity: Socialist Parties, Stalinist Communist Parties, and fascism – both European and tropical varieties.
Chapter 5 reflects on the role of US neocolonialism from the eve of the Great War to the mid-1920s. In 1916, anarchists launched the first general strike against the US-controlled Panama Canal. Several months later, both Panama and Cuba declared war on Germany within hours of President Wilson’s war declaration. Cuba developed a military draft law modeled on the US law. Puerto Rico’s residents acquired US citizenship in 1917, and thus the island’s male population became eligible for the draft. Anarchists throughout the network emerged to challenge this new wave of regional militarism. Around the same time in Puerto Rico, a pro-independence movement began forming. Anarchists debated the meaning of the island’s independence from the USA, asking just how “free” and independent could a nation be in the “American Mediterranean”? Finally, anarchists began a campaign to counter the growing US friendship with dictators who ruled so-called “banana republics” for the benefit of US corporations. As such, anarchists continued their long critique of US expansionism in the Caribbean, reflecting their long role as anti-imperialist actors in Latin America.
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