Notes on the Inter-war Period
If the historical moment in the inter-war period is carefully studied, the development of the monopolistic mode of production in Cuba is strikingly attentive. The number of sugar factories fell from 1190 in 1878 to 500 in 1895. Sugar production, however, grew from 597,000 tons in 1878 to over 1 million in 1895. This is explained by the fact that small and old mills were transformed into large sugar mills with modern machines and techniques. The new plants contributed to the development of transport and communications, which reduced local isolation. The new power stations needed more cane, so cane large states increased. The landowners of Las Villas, Camagüey and Oriente (Cuban provinces) cannot compete with the owners of the West because of the losses suffered by them during the war. In this way they ruined and sold their factories and lands and became settlers. Between 1878 and 1895 the United States made significant investments in Cuba, mainly in sugar, mining and tobacco. In 1895 its investments amounted to 50 million pesos. Also at this stage the United States intensified its commercial control over Cuba. As a consequence of war and economic transformations demanding skilled labor, Spain decreed the abolition of slavery in 1886. The abolition of slavery led to an increase in the national proletariat. In 1892 the First Regional Worker Congress was held in Cuba, where economic demands were addressed, but also the right of workers to fight for independence. From exile Cuban workers would be the main support of the next stage of struggle.
The Inter-war Period and the Situation in Cuba
Since the signing of the Zanjon Pact agreements, two fundamental political parties have emerged in Cuba: the Liberal Party (Autonomist) – composed mainly of wealthy Cubans – and the Constitutional Union Party, made up mostly of Spanish owners. During this stage changes accentuated the colonial structure, economic deformation and dependence on the outside. All this required the need for a war of national liberation. In the inter-war period, exactly between the years 1879 and 1880 the Guerra Chiquita (Small War) develops. This was prepared by Calixto Garcia to the front of the Cuban Revolutionary Committee of New York. Quintin Banderas, Jose Maceo and others joined in Cuba. Although this war failed because of its lack of preparation, lack of foreign aid, the late arrival of Calixto Garcia and the absence of Gomez and Maceo, it was evident the validity of the Cuban independence ideology. This failure served as a lesson to the Cubans. Another attempt to resume the fight during this stage was the frustrated Gomez-Maceo Plan, which consisted of a conspiracy led by these heroes from the outside with the aim of giving continuity to the struggle. This plan also failed because of a number of organizational factors and the inability to articulate actions with a broader and united movement.