June 21, 1969 Page 17.
On October 8, Peru's president, Belaunde Terry was overthrown in a
bloodless militarily coup by pro-nationalist" officers angered by his
refusal to nationalize Standard Oil's International Petroleum Company.
The military then seized the I.P.C. holdings and demanded from the
United States $1 billion worth of profits taken from the country by the
I. P. C. over the past 40 years.
Behind the move lies the fact of more than four decades of robbery by
Rockefeller's Standard Oil. The oilfields which the militarists have
recently moved to nationalize were grabbed off by Standard in the 1920.
In the years following, Rockefeller acquired title to 135,000 acres of
choice Peruvian land in the name of the Cerro de Pasco Corporation, and
in 1964, through the agency of Chase-Manhattan Bank, bought up the
38-branch Banco Continental of Peru. Subsoil rights to the oil-bearing
area of Peru were originally held by British capitalists who acquired
them from a corrupt government in violation of a law prohibiting the
alienation of such rights from the nation. Title was transferred to an
English-owned company in Canada, International Petroleum, whose stock
was later bought up by Standard Oil of New Jersey.
Once before, in 1963, the Peruvian Congress moved to nationalize the
oilfields but retreated when the British government, on the grounds that
it had been party to the original award, and the Canadian government, on
the ground that the company was "Canadian", resisted nationalization.
With Britain and Canada ready and willing to run interference for the
Yankee billionaires the United States government was able to remain
discretely in the background, stating only that they would accept
any settlement satisfactory to the company. Now Washington finds it
necessary to take direct charge, claiming that the Canadian
incorporation of the company is meaningless, that the United States is
the aggrieved party.
(This is an interesting development in view of the claim advanced in
some quarters that Canada is an imperialist country in her own right
because some U. S. -owned subsidiaries handle a certain amount of
overseas investments from here. When a push comes to shove, the Yankees
are quick to show who is the real boss of the show.)
When Belaunde Terry made some quite modest demands on Standard and other
interests, amounting to no more than a request for payment of back
taxes, the United States, aided by Britain, put pressure on his
government. Belaunde finally capitulated to the pressure and exonerated
the company completely from paying any back debts to Peru.
Just as in all Latin American countries, living conditions for the
Peruvian working people are absolutely deplorable. Unemployment,
starvation, "homes" constructed of cardboard and tin, tens of thousands
of sick and hungry people huddled into the poverty ghettoes known as
"barrios", than rim the cities like Lima, and landless peasants who own
not even a patch of soil on which to grow a few vegetables, even as
Yankee land-grabbers carve out virtual kingdoms for themselves. The
already unbelievably horrible conditions of the people grow daily worse
while a few foreign investors reap untold wealth from the tortured land.
A relative handful of traitor puppets have been content to sell-out the
country's natural resource and act as overseers and hangmen for U. S.
imperialists. The payments made to this traitor class are invested
abroad, against the day when they will have to flee the wrath of the
Resentment against these conditions, arising from foreign domination and
exploitation, has been intensifying over the years to the point where
workers and peasants have mounted sharp struggle against the imperialist
exploiters and the regime of national betrayal. The only response of the
imperialists to date has been a demand for more repressive measures and
an increase of taxes on the Peruvian people to provide still move
facilities for the exploiters and to pay the expenses of the state
Given the conditions that exist in Peru it is inevitable that the middle
class and the lower ranks of the national bourgeoisie would be squeezed
economically and become resentful toward the regime, particularly since
they are not allowed a share of the profits of national betrayal. These
groups entertain desires to transform the administration into one that
more closely represents their class interests. Out they carefully avoid
mobilization of the masses and revolution. Rather than chance an appeal
to the working people, they will seek means to achieve their ends by
"peaceful and orderly methods" if the opportunity should present itself.
And in Peru the opportunity did, indeed, come to hand.
The officer corp of the armed forces is manned mainly by members of
those dissatisfied elements and when the crisis in the semicolonial
economy becomes sharp enough they tend to side with the class group from
which they sprang--especially if there appears to be real hope of
success. In Peru conditions were ripe for this type of action and the
army was able to organize a coup that completely avoided any appeal to
the mass of the people.
Instead, the militarists use the visit of some Russian warships and
hastily-signed trade agreements with Russia's eastern European colonies
to try to bolster their image of "national independence" from U. S.
imperialism. But without a mass base the army administration cannot
last. "The internal contradictions that tear apart the various elements
that support the dictatorship will cause it to break up from within, and
U. S. pressure front without--including armed intervention if deemed
necessary--will hasten the development of the internal factors. The army
administration will quite soon be confronted with the choice of
mobilizing the masses for revolutionary anti-imperialist resistance, or
of coming to terms with the foreign exploiters, which will mean
Being exploiters themselves, and panic-stricken at the idea of armed
revolution, it is a foregone conclusion that this administration as
presently constituted, will choose the path of capitulation to the
imperialists. The fight for national independence in Peru will make real
advances only when the working people take over the leadership of the
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