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September 16, 1957 - Image 54

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1957-09-16
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

..... ....

- --.-, .-. -.- - A- -4 -~ -.4

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Monday,

CUBA'S YOUNG

INTELLEC

ANN ARBOR'S BUS TERMINAL-The door flaps open and shut, the lines lengthen and shorten, people wait, shuffle, walk, sit, staid, come and go, and the busses
move in and out with their loads--and the ticket offices remain open, always selling to ladies with stuffed shopping bags, tired servicemen, pert coeds, white-haired men.. .

Bus

Terminal

Blues

'The Public Address System Blares Something Unintelligible ...'

By MICHAEL KRAFT
Daily Staff Writer
ON HURON street, almost hid-
den behind the stores of -'-wn-
town Ann Arbor, is the Grey-
hound bus terminal.
It's a place of movement, yet
the activity is often sporadic.
The baggage porter I e "s
against the back door, carefully
smoking a cigarette butt. On a
hard wood bench, a drunk sits in
undisturbed sleep. The ticket
clerks, chatting idly, wait for cus-
tomers.
Soon they drift in, one or two
at a time. A greyhaired woman
burdened with a suitcase and over-
flowing shopping bag shuffles up
to buys a ticket for Detroit. An-
other woman rushes to the win-
dow, seeking assurance that she
isn't late for the next Ypsilanti
bus.
The entrance continues to flap
open and a short lines forms
open and a short'line forms quick-
ly. Tickets sell briskly for Jack-
son, Ypsilanti and Detroit, the
most frequent destinations. Occa-
sionally, the clerk reaches for a
ticket to Flint, Toledo or Chicago,
the farthest transfer point from
Ann'Arbor.

FACING THE ticket booths and
seated among rows of stiff
benches, two construction work-
ers, their faces lined and ruddy -
perehaps from the sun, loudly
condemn the Detroit Tigers. Ignor-
ing them, the other waiting pass-
engers thumb through newspapers
or just stare at the opposite wall.
A boy of about five eludes his
mother and runs up and down the
aisles.
Finally, a bus pulls in and the
public address system blares some-
thing unintelligible about "Jack-
son, Three Rivers and Chicago."
His mother in tow, the buy rushes
out onto the loading platform, fol-
lowed by the other impatient tra-
velers.
As passengers embark, the porter
swings open the luggage compart-
ment doors and begins loading
packages and suitcases. T h e
throatly idle of , the engine, the
banging doors and the noise of
street traffic turn the loading dock
into a place of noisy excitement.
Finally, the passengers seat
themselves and the driver slams
the door. The bus roars away, leav-
ing only a trail of strong fumes.
The porter, his work finished
until the next bus in twenty min-
utes, ambles back into the waiting
room, fishing in his pockets for
another cigarette.

By DAVID A. MUNRO
ONE AFTERNOON last Novem-
ber a group of students at the
Universidad de Oriente sauntered
down to the highway that passes
the campus and flagged down a
passing bus. Most of them stood,
joking, in front of it to prevent
it from proceeding, while or.e. a
lettering artist with a black brush,
wrote "Abajo Batista" on its sides.
On the front, in smaller letters,
letters, he wrote "Arriba la revo-
lucion" and signed it with the
cryptic initials, "F E U, U de O."
This meant'Federacion Estudantil
Universitaria, Universidad de Ori-
ente.
The painting party stopped the
next bus and the next. Bored driv-
ers waited in their seats while the
students redecorated the vehicles.
Inside the university the signal,
no more than a whisper, spread
from classroom to classroom. By
common consent the students left.
The University authorities, who
could not do otherwise, announced
that there would be no further
classes .that day or the next. Thus
a revolution was signaled.
On November 30 came the first
climax. These same young men,
with others-grimmer, armed, uni-
formed as the "26 de julio" army-
attempted to seize the city of
Santiago de Cuba, home of the
University and second city of the
island.
Two days later, with Santiago
calmed, or at least cowed, under
-the carbines of a crack U.S.-train
ed regiment flown in fromdistant
:Habana, Fidel Castro landed on a
wild shore nearbyWith his follow-
ers from Mexico.
And some of our University stu-
dents, who had fought the unsuc-
cessful engagement at Santiago,
successfully made their way
through the roadblocks and pick-;
ets, the traps and the snipers, to
join Castro in the high Sierra
Maestra mountains. One of the
most daring and successful guer-
illa operations of all time was on.i
OF COURSE the guerilla army
in the hills needed supporting
organizations in the city. And
there began those internal pro-
cesses that so regularly mark the
growth of revolutions.
Food was needed, and the mer-
chants and the women banded to-
gether to collect it. Medicines were
needed, and the doctors and the
women accumulated it. Money wasj
needed, and clothes and arms and
transportation.t
Santiago, capital of the prov-I
Ince, became a city with a clandes-
tine purpose and with an elaboratet
underground to meet it. At its coret
were the women, wives of the im-
portant men of the city, women
with servants in their homes andt
time on their hands, women with1
sons or brothers or husbands in
the mountains.
Thus the pattern of revolutiont
in Cuba began to take shape. Uni-
versity students in the vanguard,
yes. Middleclass (and frequentlyr
middle-aged) women in the sup-
porting ranks, yes. Wide public
support among the literate, theX
alert, the educated, the urban,t
spreading out from Santiago tor
the province and to the whole
nation.
BUT. THIS still leaves a whole
section of the society unmovedt
and untouched. Below a certain
point in the Cuban socio-economic
scale the revolution has no mean-r
ing. To some, this is simply thes
coloring.n
The whites, say some whites,I
take all the risks while the blackss
sit back to take all the advantagesp
when the battles are won.
An instructor in the Univer-
sity's English Language Insti-a
tute, David A. Munro has justa
returned from one year as asso--t

ciate professor of English at S
Oriente University in Santiago, I
Cuba. He has contributed simi-
lar articles concerning the Cm- b
baisituation to the pages of
The Daily. a3

They're Staking Their Lives
On a Reawakening at Home

i

UNIVERSIDAP DE ORIENTE--The Santiago school is the scene of peace and quiet now, closed for
the duration since last November, when Cuba's students struck in protest of the government.

THE BUSY MAN-"The porter, his work finished until the next bus in twenty minutes, ambles
back into the waiting room, fishing in his pockets for another cigarette... ."

But a - little closer observation
shows that revolutionary vs. non-
revolutionary society is not sharply
cut, even on the blurred race lines
as they exist in Cuba.
It only seems so because color
is roughly correlated with socio-
economic position.
And the fact is that this is a
middleclass revolution, properly
and logically led by university stu-
dents, properly and logically sym-
bolized by Fidel Castro, young son
of a wealthy planter (29 years
old when he set foot on Cuba to
"liberate" it), and darling of stu-
dents everywhere down to the
flve-year-olders in pre-primario.
But there exists in Cuba a large
class below those who go to
schools, those who have salaried
jobs, those who do not live on
dirt floors. Most of them live in
the back country, where mud
roads and lack of radio (because
there is no electricity) have sealed
them off from the ideas and the
ferments of the city.
But many have come to the
cities. They have brought with
them their level of ignorance of
politics and sanitation, their un-
skilled approach to the economic
world, but have left behind their
countryman's self-respect and
dignity.
This is the unleavened lump of
resistance. It is composed of people
who are non-revolutionary be-
cause they are non-political, of
people little aware of how to better
their station by either the orderly
processes of democracy or the col-
lective action of revolution.
THIS SOCIAL cleavage between
revolutionary and non-revolu-
tionary gives the present conflict
its "class war" aspect.
The soldiery are the visible rep-
resentatives of the bottom class in
society. They are hired by the
military dictatofship. Not drafted.
And only the bottom class . in the
society can be attracted by the low
pay while remaining indifferent to
the ideological implications of the
job.
They are therefore easy to
"stereotype." They are said to look
at their job as a kind of vast WPA.
They are commonly categorized in
the terms arrogance regularly as-
signs to its inferiors: primitive,
animalistic,. indolent, ignorant,
icentious.
As a group they are feared
because, as their betters say, they
become beasts, they stampede in
continent, trigger-happy rage,+
and they may be fagrantly ma&A-

ipulated for their own and the
nation's destruction.
But the stereotyping goes the
other way, too. The social classes
from which the Army recruits are
taught that the revolutionaries are
gente mala, literally meaning "bad
people," but here including the
meanings of sick people, vicious
people, people afflicted with some
social infirmity which makes them
a public menace.
THIS SEEMS quite logical to
the mind of Cuba's bottom
classes. Doesn't the present be-
nign dictatorship give all these
jobs including maintaining a
standing army of 40,000? Haven't
the "good" white people of the
island always provided the jobs,
always protected and sold the su-
gar cane, always kept business
going?f
It can therefore be only hateful
and perverted people who burn
the cane, bomb the electric sys-
tems and disturb the peacetime
ease of normal army life.
Naturally, each stereotype pro-
duces a sort of moral sanction for
wiping the other out, for the mur-
der of Cuban by Cuban, and for
a general bloodthirstiness unlike
the comparative impersonality of-
internatione 1warfare.
It is heightened, insofar as there
is a racist basis for the mutual
animosity, by the fact that Presi-
dent Batista is a mestizo.
BUT THERE are also moderat-
ing influences which have pre-
vented murders on the streets get-
ting out of hand, even in Oriente
Province. It turns out that the
hired soldiers are not only indif-
ferent to the government cause
but frequently antagonistic.
The exact number of soldiers
who have chosen the guardhouse
rather than march upon the revo-
lutionaries in, the mountains is
kept secret, but the fact that they
tax the facilities of the military
jails cannot be concealed.
It also turns out that the young
revolutionaries are more impressed
with the new ideas of passive re-
sistance and civil disobedience
than with the torch of revolu-
tionary tradition. Even the bombs
which so regularly punctuate the
Saturday night silence of sophis-
ticated Habana, and which have
disturbed the peace of every town
in the realm, are hardly more than
accents in the long intellectualr
dispute.
They have been almost never

directed against people, and they
are only occasionally well enough
placed so that they knock out a
water-main or an electric power
nexus. But they do say to Habana,
"Do not celebrate. Don't go out.
Cuba is in travail and in mourn-
ing." Thus the direction of the
revoltion and its tone is almost
whelly in the hands of the revolu-
tionaries.
This brings us back to the Uni-
versity students, joking among
themselves as they paint slogans
on the buses, and to student lead-
er Fidel Castro. What has so pro-
foundly moved these middleclass
people that they stake their lives
and their treasure to win freedom
--and freedom not from any for-
eign devils but from one of their
own?
HE ANSWER of Cuban econo-
mists is "stagnation," a stag-
nation unfortunately imposed up-
on a people accustomed to the big
money, to an expanding economy
and even to a labor shortage.
They do not react with the
self-abnegation of older, caste-
ridder societies to whom hopeless-
ness and futile struggle are felt
to be the inevitable order of things.
They react with the violence of a
frontier people who run up against
sudden restriction and curtail-
ment.
The restriction upon this society,
-the "stagnation," is a matter of
record. In 1925 a Cuba with 3,000,-
000 people produced over 5 million
tons of sugar for the first time in
history.
And it was not until this year
(the seasonal "zafra," or sugar
harvest, is completed in April)
that a peacetime harvest once
again topped 5 million tons. But
today's Cuba has twice as many
people existing on the same sugar-
income.
Meantime, capital improvement
has been slow. No new sugar mills
have been built since 1925: in fact,
12 which were then in operation
have since been dismantled.
Some of those still in operation
are museum pieces, with towering
forty-foot cogwheels and vast,
brass-bound steam-engines work-
ing under whirling governors and
jiggling glass receptacles full of
yellow oil. Gone with the wind also
is the entrepreneurial spirit which
pioneered the one-time feverish
industrialization whose monu-
ments now dot the landscape.
OPPORTUNITY in private in-
dustry for the technically-
trained is thus limited by these

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