The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 45, Issue 2

Article 4
Ojos Que No Ven: The Communist Party, Caribbean Migrants and the Communist International in Costa Rica in the 1920s and 1930s

J.A. Zumoff


Unlike in the United States of America, very few black Caribbean immigrants to Costa Rica became communists. This article looks at three factors that explain these differences. First, the racial demographics in Costa Rica, especially Limón. Since in the interwar years, the black population in Costa Rica consisted of recent migrants, racial oppression seemed peripheral to politics. Second, the lack of regular interaction between the Communist Party and the Communist International hindered communists’ adopting a position on the role of black people in Costa Rica. Finally, the late foundation of the Communist Party (in 1931) made it more difficult for the party to recruit black supporters, given the changing role of West Indians in Costa Rica, and by allowing the growth of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association.