WHAT IS THE A.P.R.A.?
By Haya de la Torre
(Leader of the “United Front” Latin America
The struggle organised in Latin America against Yankee Imperialism, by means of an international united front of manual
and intellectual workers with a programme of common action, that is the A.P.R.A., the four initial letters of the following
words: Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (Popular Revolutionary American Alliance).
The programme of international action of the A.P.R.A has five general points which serve as a basis for the national
(1) Action of the countries of Latin America against Yankee Imperialism.
(2) The political unity of Latin America.
(3) The nationalisation of land and industry.
(4) The internationalisation of the Panama Canal.
(5) The solidarity of all the oppressed people and classes of the world.
The A.P.R.A is a young organisation formed by the young men of the new generation of manual and intellectual workers
of Latin America.
It was founded in 1924 and has organised sections in various countries in Latin America and also in Europe, where
the number of anti-Imperialist Latin American students is pretty large. The principal sections of the A.P.R.A. are at present
working in Mexico, Buenos
Aires, Central America, Paris and other places in which for political reasons the action of these sections is not publicly allowed. A Central Executive
Committee directs the action of all the sections.
The United Front
The A.P.R.A. organises the great Latin American Anti-Imperialist united front and works to include in its ranks all
those who in one way or another have struggled and are still struggling against the North American danger in Latin America.
Until 1923 this danger was regarded as a possible struggle of races –the Saxon and the Latin races– as a “conflict
of cultures” or as a question of nationalism. From the “Gonzalez Prada” Popular Universities of Peru a new conception of the problem has arisen: the economic conception. In 1924 the First Pan-American Anti-Imperialist
League was formed in Mexico and also the Latin American Union in Buenos Aires.
The Anti-Imperialist Leagues were the first endeavour of the international united front of workers, peasants and students
against Yankee Imperialism. The Latin American Union was founded as the Anti-Imperialist Frente
Unico of the Intellectuals. As a matter of fact, the Anti-Imperialist Leagues have no fixed political programme, but only
that of resistance to Imperialism, and the Latin American Union has simply intellectual activity. The A.P.R.A. was founded
in 1924, with a programme of revolutionary and political action, and it invites all the scattered forces to form themselves
in a single great front.
The Class Struggle
The history of the political and economic relations between Latin America and the United States, especially
the experience of the Mexican Revolution, lead to the following conclusions:
(1) The governing classes of the Latin American countries –landowners, middle class or merchants– are allies
of North American Imperialism.
(2) These classes have the political power in our countries, in exchange for a policy of concessions, of loans, of
great operations which they –the capitalists, landowners or merchants and politicians of the Latin American dominant
classes– share with Imperialism.
(3) As a result of this alliance the natural resources which form the riches of our countries are mortgaged or sold,
and the working and agricultural classes are subjected to the most brutal servitude. Again, this alliance produces political
events which result in the loss of national sovereignty; Panama, Nicaragua, Cuba, Santo Domingo, are really protectorates of the United States.
The International Struggle against Imperialism
As the problem is common to all the Latin American countries, in which the dominant classes are allies of Imperialism
in joint exploitation of the working classes, it is not an isolated or national question, but is international among the twenty
Latin American republics. But the governing classes encourage divisions among these republics, assisting the Imperialist plan
which fears Latin American unity (covering eight millions of square miles and about ninety millions of inhabitants). The governing
classes stir up national feeling and national conflicts, as in the case of Peru
against Chile, Brazil against Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia against Peru, etc. Every time that the United
States intervenes as an “amicable
mediator” they arrange matters purposely so that no definite settlement can be arrived at which might produce a principle
of unification. The recent question of Tacna and Arica between Peru and Chile is the clearest demonstration of this policy of Imperialism.
Imperialism cannot be Overthrown without the Political
Unity of Latin America
The experience of history, especially that of Mexico, shows that the immense
power of American Imperialism cannot be overthrown without the unity of the Latin American countries. Against this unity the
national dominant classes, middle class, landowners, etc., whose political power is almost always buttressed by the agitation
of nationalism or patriotism of countries hostile to their neighbours, are ranged. Consequently the overthrow of the governing
classes is indispensable, political power must be captured by the workers, and Latin America must be united in a Federation of
States. This is one of the great political objects of the A.P.R.A.
The Nationalisation of Land and Industries as the Sole
Means of Combating Imperialism
Within the capitalist system, and in accordance with the dialectics of its historical process, Latin America
would infallibly become a North American colony. The United States holdings of
values in the world (The New York Times,
June 27, 1926) are shown in the following table, exclusive of the war debts:
United States holdings in Asia……………………
States holdings in Europe………………… $ 2,000,000,000
United States holdings in Australia………….……
States holdings in Canada………………… $
States holdings in Latin America….….…
This introduction of capital into Latin America increases almost daily. From June to October, Imperialism has invested over $50,000,000.
The conflict between the United States and Mexico shows us that Mexico has not been able to nationalise the petroleum industry,
which to-day is still dominated by the menace of a North American invasion in defence of the interests of the Standard Oil
Company (North American capital in Mexico petroleum $614,487,263). The “Enmienda
Platt” of the Cuban Constitution and the cases of Santo Domingo, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Hayti prove
to us that national authority is lost in proportion as investments by Imperialism are accepted. The nationalisation of land
and industry under the direction of the producing classes is the sole means of maintaining the country’s power, and
is the correct policy for the countries of Latin America.
Latin American Political Unity pre-supposes the
Internationalisation of the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal in the power of the United States Government is one danger more to the sovereignty of Latin America.
The programme of the A.P.R.A. frankly proclaims the “internationalisation of Panama.” Dr. Alberto Ulloa, Professor of International Law in the University of St. Marcos, Lima, Peru, writes in support of this thesis: “The Panama Canal must be
internationalised... It is not possible to allow to the United States the exercise
of supreme rule in Panama.” (Open letter to the President of the Federation of Students of Panama,
The A.P.R.A. represents, therefore, a political organisation struggling against Imperialism and against the national
governing classes which are its auxiliaries and its allies in Latin America. The A.P.R.A. is the united front of the toiling classes (workers, peasants,
natives of the soil) united with students, intellectual revolutionaries, etc. The A.P.R.A. is an autonomous movement, completely
Latin American, without foreign interventions or influences. It is the result of a spontaneous movement in defence of our
countries in view of the experiences of Mexico, Central
America, Panama and the Antilles,
and the present position of Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela, where the policy of “penetration” by Imperialism is already keenly felt. For this our watchword is to
be the following: “Against Yankee Imperialism, for the unity of the peoples of Latin America, for the realisation of social justice.”
(Paris, October, 1926)