Forwarded from Anthony (reply to Nestor)

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at
Wed Feb 7 12:09:30 MST 2001

A late answer, but been having problems with my PC.

En relación a Forwarded from Anthony (reply to Nestor),
el 17 Jan 01, a las 9:56, Louis Proyect dijo:

> Hi Lou!
> Please post this.
> In reply to Nestor on reunifying Panama with Colombia, and on the slogan of "For
> a socialist united states of Central America."
> Nestor, please reread my post. We may indeed have strong disagreements, but I
> think this isn't one of them.

I stand gladly corrected. This is a point of agreement, and if we take this as
the point of departure, then we may increasingly enlarge our field of common
opinion (thus, action?).

> For the record, I am strongly for a platform of a "United Socialist States
> of Latin America." My own view is that historically and culturally spanish
> speaking Laitn America is much more of a nation than the United States of
> America.

Well, that is bold! Myself, I would not go that far...

> But the paragraph you took strongest issue with was not about this slogan,
> but the slogan of a "Socialist United States of Central America" INCLUDING
> Here is what I wrote,
> The Morenoist current, including their party in Panama which had a seat in
> Panama's Congress in the 1980's, called for the "Socialist United States of
> Central America" - including everything south of Mexico and North of present day
> Colombia. This is a platform point that makes sense geographically, a little
> less sense culturally, and not much sense historically.
> And to which you responded,
> The "point ... makes sense geographically, a little less sense culturally", as
> Anthony explains -will also comment-, but IMHO he is absolutely wrong in stating
> that it does "not much sense historically".

Yes, I absolutely misread you. Your criticism to that position is right on the
point, and I must apologize. When I answered I was thinking of Panama the home
of the ill-fated Amphictionic (that is, tendentially, unifying) Congress by
Bolívar. Yes, Panamá is a slice of Colombia made "independent" only to have
this new state lease a fraction of its own territory to the United States. Juan
Bosch, on his _El Caribe, frontera imperial_, wrote that

"lo que da al episodio panameño de la política imperial norteamericana en el
Caribe un tono de escándalo sin paralelo en la historia de las relaciones
internacionales es que Panamá fue creada república mediante una subversión
organizada y dirigida por el Presidente de los Estados Unidos en personal, y lo
hizo no ya sólo para tener en sus manos una república dócil, por débil, sino
para disponer en provecho de un país de una parte de esa pequeña república
[...] la llamada zona del canal [...] dada a los Estados Unidos por los
panameños en pago de los servicios prestados por el gobierno de Theodore
Roosevelt en la tarea de desmembrar a Colombia y de impedirle defenderse" (1).

It is thus no surprise that Colombia has delivered the FARC. As Bosch also
says, "lo que cada pueblo puede dar de sí [...] viene determinado por [...] la
calidad de las fuerzas que lo han conformado e integrado.  Las fuerzas que han
actuado y están actuando en el Caribe han sido demasiado a menudo ciegas,
crueles y explotadoras. Nadie puede esperar que los pueblos formados e
integrados por ellas sean modelos de buenas cualidades"(2).

> I think it makes more historical sense to be for reuniting Panama with
> Colombia - as oppossed to uniting it with the other Central American
> countries - as a transitional step towards a wider Latin American unification.

Yes, I completely agree. And, as Anthony points out, the difference in culture
is striking. I was amazed myself at the discovery of the strong "Mexican"
flavor of Costa Rican (the neighboring area to the North-West of Panama)
culture, as compared to the "Colombia coastal" one of Panama. So that, and here
I may differ with Anthony (in scope), the reasons for reunification of Panama
and Colombia  and not with what remains of the Isthmic Central America is far
more deeply embedded in history than a matter of chronology

> Why? Because the historic division of Panama from Colombia is far more
> recent than the historic fracturing of Central America into ministates - in fact
> is part of the living memory and political discussion not just of historians -
> but of common people in Colombia and probably Panama.

A hundred years, however, can weigh. In the end, the division between Austria
and Germany (hi, Johannes!) is only 130 years old. I believe that, once the
basic point is established (that is, that unification is the strategic goal,
and that no means will be spared in struggling for it), then it should be left
to the popular movement to define whither.

Let us think of Uruguay. Everything tends to link this country with Argentina
more than with Brazil (don't know if told the instructive story of the creation
of Uruguay, by the late 1820s), even the style of soccer -fútbol- they play,
and fútbol is, as you know, a most serious issue here in the River Plate Basin.
Let us think now, for a second, that a revolutionary process begins in Brazil,
and succeeds in gaining power. Let us also imagine that Argentina remains such
as it is now, a boot-licker of the United States just as Fidel has stated. What
would the Uruguayan revolutionaries stand for under such a situation?
Unification with Argentina, or with Brazil?

> As for the cultural unity of Panama and Colombia - I was referring to the
> fact that there is a coastal culture that sweeps along the Carribean from
> Nicaragua through Colombia and Venezuela to the border of Guyana - and
> includes Panama - that is quite different and distinct from other cultural
> zones in Colombia - and in Central America (including the altiplano zone in
> Colombia, and the hihgland coffee zones in Central America, particularly Costa
> Rica - including the large areas still dominated by indigenous cultures that are
> distinct from both the coastal and highland zones, and form each other.)

This is an excellent precis of the cultural geography of the area. Nothing to
add. Panamá, if anything, belongs to the "costeña" cultural area. I would only
do a precission, and point out that the Costa Rican upland culture is little
related with any indigenous culture, it is more an original product of a group
of Spanish poor farmers who were left alone in the last (and lost) corner of
the Highlands. They simmered in their own broth, so to say, under strong
influence from the Capitanía General de Guatemala to which they belonged (and
of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, that is Mexico) to which the Capitanía
belonged, and this only after it was created late in the 18th. Century.

> If Latin america was going to be divided into countries based on cultural
> homogenity - the map of the Andean and Central American region would have
> to be completely redrawn. (I am not advocating this in anyway - I like
> multiculturalism.)
> For similar reasons as I am for reuniting Panama with Colombia, I am for
> reuniting Gran Colombia.
> I see both as "transitional" to a United Socialist States of Latin America".
> I agree with you about the relation of this slogan to the Trotskyist
> heritage and progam.
> However, I differ with some Trotskyists, including many of my former
> Morenoist comrades, about whether or not to support a "United States of
> Latin America" whether or not it is initially socialist. I think any move
> toward uniting Latin American countries - independent of US imperialism -
> would be a step in the correct direction - including reuniting Panama with
> Colombia - or including a United States of central America which includes
> Panama.
> I see this issue as democratic and anti-imperialist, but also as
> transitional because of the self interest the various bourgeois factions of
> different countries have in the continued division of Latin America - and hence
> its subordination to the United States and Europe.
> I hope that I have at least made my position clearer than in my reply to
> Josh.

Not only you did. I am glad to see we are in the most seamless agreement! If
you can take hold of them there in Bogotá, I suggest you read the writings of
Manuel Ugarte, the Argentinean socialist of the early 20th. Century who
dedicated his lifetime to preach unity among Latin Americans as the only way to
install socialism. Of course, he was expelled from the Argentinean Socialist
Party because of that! Weren't we Argentineans an exceptional island of white
European civilization in the ocean of backward dark-skinned Latin America?


> I am very interested in reading your remarks on the subject Nestor, whether or
> not we do in fact have differences. I hope it turns out that this isa subject
> that we have substantial agreement on.

I repeat it still once more. We are in agreement on this MOST SUBSTANTIAL
subject. If we start from here, Anthony, then we can build a strong agreement
on other issues as well. As my friend Fernando uses to sign his postings,





(1) Bosch, Juan. De Cristóbal Colón a Fidel Castro. El Caribe, frontera
imperial. Barcelona, SARPE, 1985 (1st. ed. 1970). P. 41-42
(2) Ibídem

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at

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