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February 1, 1976
Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Research Study � .Whither Argentina: New Political System or More of the Same? V 85. FR 76-10012 February 1976 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY OIRECTORAYE_OF_INTFLLIGENCE OFFICE OF POLITICAL-RESEARCH February 1976 WHITHER ARGENTINA: NEW POLITICAL SYSTEM OR MORE OF THE SAME? by NOTE: This Study was prepared-by the Office of Political Research. - Other agencies and CIA offices were consulted, but the study has - not been formally coordinated and does not represent an official -CIA position; The Issuing office Is aware that the complex mailers discussed lend themselves-to other Interpretations. Comments on th ...er wIILe welcomed by the author, who may be reached PR 76 10012 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 CONTENTS- .i- flat SUMMARY 1 THE DISCUSSION . . . .� . � . . ....... -. . . � 5 . --INTRODUCTION 5. II. THE TRADITIONAL SYSTEM . . . ��.99.6�.� 5 A. The Ni Mary . . . . . . . ... 6 B.- The PerOnists , . � . . . . . . � ,� � � . 8 C. Other Political Fortes- .' .- .,..O. 9 . � . 9. : D. The Traditional Political Culture . III. THE FORCES _OF CHANGE . � � � � 12 A. New Political forceS ... 12 8. Effect on Established Political Forces . 13 C. The Changing Political Culture . . . . 14 1Y. THE FUTURE 18 � Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 ----Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 - SUMMARY - WHITHER ARGENTINA: NEW POLITICALSYSTEM OR MORE OF THE SA :Argentina seems on the verge of repeating a familiar poIIIcal cycle.1 an elected civilian government is falling Into lower and tower repute bs it is progressively overwhelmed by problems of Its own making and by political and economic dilemmas that have remained unsolved for the last forty years. In the wings a 'divided and reluctant armed forces ieiheing - - propelled to take over the government agatn._ Locked in an Immobilism of their own making,-Argentine political forces have been unable to break this political cycle in which the military intervenes to take-power_from an ineffectual civilian government, only to give it back when they cannot govern effec- tively either. - --:The Immobilization of the Argentine system has two underlying dimensions. Politically, the basic deficiency is a lack-of respected institutions through which conflicts among groups: can be mediated. Thus, the efforts of any one group_to_stImelate_major political change are quickly cancelled out by the opposition of competing groups. On the economic side no grouphas had sufficient strength to take the measures necessary to revitalize a stagnant economy. For decades two or three-years of-slight or moderate .growth have been followed by one or more-disastrous-years-in-which the previous increment of growth-is-wiped out. This time, howevere-Argentine politIcsemay not repeat Itself.-- The argument of this paper Is that there are new forces loose In the Argentine society which have-so-undermined the traditional institutions and processes-that a basic change in the political system is likely to occur itIlhe-next one to three years. These new forces are both political and economici-and their effect is to erode the consensus that allowed.the traditional system to function. This consensus rested on respect for two implicit rules of Argentine politics: -- violence was permissabie-to express grievances and show strength, but only if carefully limited. Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 No political group sought the total elimination of an other (i.e. any defeat was perceived as only a temporary setback). These rules prevailed because no group was afraid, hungry or angry enough to challenge them. None had as much political power or economic wealth as It wanted, but each was comfortable enough to avoid taking the chance of losing permanently what 'It did have. Since about 1970 this common understanding of how politics should be played has been threatened by the riseief guerrilla/ terrorist groups which disregard the rules of limiting vio- lence and of not seeking to-eliminate other power contenders. Violence has changed in kind and intensity. Where once strikes and demonstrations were the common occurrence, these have now been supplanted by kidnappings, assassinations, bombings, and armed attacks. Less of life from political violence has risen dramatically from an average of 40 deaths per year during 1967-72 to over 1,000 in 1975. The breakdown in polltical_rules is now being exacerbated by the most virulent inflation Argentine has ever eXperienced. Prices rose 335 percent In 1973 compared with an average yearly - rise of 30 percent during 1967-74. The effect has been to intensi- fy the pursuit of narrow_sectorakinterests by Argentine political and economic groups. PerticularlyAn-Ate labor 'sector, fear Is growing that the old methods- will to protect the working class' share-of-the-Argentine economic pie Militancy Is rapidly increasing as unemployment grows and real. wages decline And the Army and security forces are being brought ln to break up strikes declared "Illegal" ane_SubVersivell_by the government. What is the probable outcome of the sharp, upward spiral In political violence and Increasing perceptions of economic disaster? HOe possibility isfor:_the:old system of political Immobilism to continue. Another is for_civil war. Neither of these alternatives seems very likely. Preservation of the old system for more than another year or so depends on the re-establishment of-the old political rules and the minimum consensus that.used_to exist.: But the likeli- hood of this seems increasingly-40Uhttul. As violence by both the left and right increases, -the previously respected norms --on expected treatment of politicalopponents-seem-likely to Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 erode further. Moreover, there Is little prospect that the Old consensus can be revived unless the economy can be stablized. This cannot be done, however, without a severe austerity program which would be almost certain to hurt organized labor's ecenomic position and further undermine Its faith In the old system. The odds for civil war are greater than for the indefinite centinuation of political immobilism. More turmoil is likely since the strength of the guerrilla/terrorists is growing and greater labor militancy Is developing, especially at the local union level.- But sustained internal war is not likely unless the Armed Forces stand aside or split into warring factions -- neither of which seems in the cards at this point. Indeed, the most probable-course of events Is for the spiral of increasing political violence and economic breakdown to lead to an Indefinite takeover of the government by the Army. This time the rule of the Army would likely.be much harsher and ' more authoritarian than any time in the past because: � The.Argentine society will be much closer to erarchy than on any previous occasion of Army intervention and, hence, the measures to restore order and stimulate economic recovery will have to be much more severe in order to succeed. -- The limits on using violence will hive largely disanpeared, so that the Army will be lest inhibited by cultural constraints from forcibly suppressing any political opposition. Up to now the Army has lacked the unity of will and pur- pose.to use force to restructure the Argentine political System. It has always been a loose_assemblage of highly politicized factions which formed short-lived coalitions to remove Ineffec- tual civilian leaders but which generally began to fall apart after taking over direction of the government. Past faction- alism in the Army may be about to give way to a new unity, however. The evidence is uncertain but thereare-indlcations that a new "hardline" mentality Is growing among many military officers, particularly those who have fought the guerrillas. Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 pproved for Release. 2018/09/17 C00011322 These officers are reported to feel that the guerrillas, and the social and economic conditions that spawn them, can only be eliminated by a total change in the existing political and economic system. While this mentality may be spreading as officers who have fought guerrillas are rotated outside the combat zone, It apparently has not yet reached the high command level. The top Army leadership still remains reluctant to take power directly because of the immensity-of-the problems they would face and their memories of the frustrationsof past military rule. They are hoping that, If they must take power again, they can do so on a wave of-popular support that,w411 enable theMito govern without major opposition. :This tiMe, however, It seems-increasingly unlikely that the Generals could rule benignly for long, The most likely scenario Is that they will take power again with the super- ficial backing of a wide:spectrum of political forces but that -political-and economic problems have assumed such proportions that-partial-and patchwork solutions simpty will not hold. Thus, eitherJhey will eventually be forced to respond by imposing severe eulhoritarlan-rule-themselves, or -a rising generation of Arp',Intine.Army-officersi increasingly unfettered by the constraints and divisions of the past, will impose it in their place. In short, .basic and far-reaching changes stem likely In Argentina To Monitor these land their implicationsfor US interests) will require increased scrutinyof-the attitudes' of Argentine military offic,:-Ts at the middle as well as the top ranks. Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 -Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 INTRODUCTION for twenty years (ever since the overthrowof Juan Peron in -.1955) Argentina has stagnated both politically and economically Wherher_reled by civilians or the military it has known only brief periods of political calm or economic-growth.--Elected civilian _regimes have alternated in office w1-i coop-installed military governments, and both have ruled with equal Ineffective- ness- 4- THE DISCUSSION Argentiqa seems on-the-verge of the same charade that has _been played out twice since 1955 an erected civilian government Is telling into lower and-lower repute as it is progressively overwhelmed by problems of-its own making and by political and economic dilemmas that:have remained unsolved for the last forty years. In the wings Is a diVideerArmed Forces; being propelled .... by events to again take-over the government, yet unwilling to be pulled into another no-win situation: - i.e., because it has neither-the strength nor the-will to govern decisively, it will reign but not rule. This time, howevereArgentleeeeotitles may not repeat it-e self. The argument of this paper Is that there are new forces at loose in the Argentine society that have so undermined the traditional institutions and processes which have set the boun- daries for past politics thata basic change In the Argentine - political system Is likely to occur In the next one to three yeers. This paper will (I) describe the political forces and rules-of-behavior which characterized the crumbling old system, (2) outline the evidence which suggests that change is underway, and (3) speculate about what new political system may rise out of the debris of -the old. II. THE TRADITIONAL SYSTEM . On the surface the Argentine political system aepears to change each time an elected-civillan-goveremeht is removed in favor of an auttoritarianemtlitary_regime. In actuality,- until very recently, the political forces, the rules that govern their behavior, and the issues over which they have struggled have changed ,Nardly at all. Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322..w- Argentina has been the epitome of Samuel Huntington's �praetorian society .n in such a society all major Social forces are highly politicized. Groups oppose each other directly on a wide range of basic issues since there are no respected politi- cal Institutions through whichtheir conflicts can be mediated. Furthermore, there are no generally accepted means for resolving differences; each group tends_to use the"coin" which makes maxi- mum use of the resources most available to it. "The wealthy bribe, students riot;- workers strike; mobs demonstrate; and the thilitary coup.�* In the Argentine setting the two most powerful forces, and the only ones capable of taking significant political initiatives, have long been the military and_the Peronist movAlent. They have .been the crucial actors for several decades. and their relationship Is the pivot around which most of Argentines politics have turned since 1955. A. T122211121:1 Argentina's Army (the primary military political actor) was modeled deliberately after the Prussian Army with its strong em- phasis that the military should_function as a professional, apoli- tical guardian of society's institutions. Yet almost simultaneously with the professionalization of the Argentine Army it also became one of the most politicized armies in Latin America. These two processes are opposites. One tends to orient the loyalties of the officer corps towards the military_as an independent institu- tion. The other pulls loyalties towards individual ooliticians or political parties and involves the officer corps in factional politics. The effect of these countervailing pressures has been to create tensions In individual_officers and in the corps as a whole. These tensions have been present within the Army through- out the 20th century-and underlie much of the ambivalence that the Army high command has demonstrated as to whether it should Or should not be directly involved in running the coaltry. The political pattern that has consequehtly_developed has been fairly consistent.' The pattern-begins-with an already factionalized *Samuel P. H4ntington, (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1968) p. 196. Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322-- Army in which some officers have close personal and party ties with various middle or upper class party leaders. Most of the others are generally apolitical but are quite susceptible to being led by officers who feel strongly about professional or political issues. On numerous occasions over the last several decades this existing disunity has been exacerbated by the de- liberate efforts of elected civilian Presidents to develop a secure political base in the military by manipulating military promotions ane assignments In order to reward followers and punish critics. In almost every case a counter-reaction has then set in, and a movement to re-establish military profes- sionalism and to remove the Army from politics burgeons. Even- tually, an ad hoc coalition Is formed between-those.wanting the Army to return to the barracks and those whose careers have been adverseiy affected by the political maneuvers of the President, and the President Is removed from office by temporarily united Army. A military government is next Installed. Direct involvement In ruling the country, rather than unifying the Army, results in even greater deterioration , of professional norms. Eventually, a grbuadswell develops within the military to return the government to elected civilian rule in the vain hope that the military can, once again, get out of politics and find a unifying professional identity.* *This was the pattern-that-occurred when took power In 1955 from Juan Peron and filen gave way to elected civilian President Arturo Prondizi-in-1958. SiMilarly,:aondizi was overthrown in 1962 but the Army, after briefly ruling through his constitutional successor7as-a7puppet President, permitted the election of Arturo Illia In 1963. Next, it forced Illia from office in 1966 but, after-sevenyears of indecisive military rule, allowed elections and the return to the Presidency - of Peron in 1973. The dilemma ofthe Argentine professional soldier Is best ceptured in a-communique issued by the Army Secretary of War in April 1966. when the "legalists" In the Army were strug- gling with self doubts over whether to remove illia and subject the military to the divisive pressures of governing: "The Army... makes known to public opinion.-that it does not believe in 'military government' as a solution for Argentine p roblems...that experience has demonstratedthat the-Army,-In-the-function of government, Is converted into a deliberative body and discipline is corrupted,: which leads to anarchy destroying what so much vigilance and sacrifice have cost the institution." Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Since 1955 the tension between politicization and profes- sionalization has been complicated by another basic division within the military about what to do with the Peronist movement. - Although the Army has been generallyanti-Peron throughout this period, two major factions have continued to dispute the issue. One group has believed that Peronism must be eradicated entirely for the country to regain its political health. This group has tended to coincide with those officers who believe that the miliw tary should take over the government indefinitely and impose harsh rule. The other, more broadly-based and influential group, has also been. against Peronism as a movement but has supported' the rt-integration of Individual. Peronists into the political pro- cess in Order to defuse them as a unified, populist'political force, it has also generally supported the return Of the government to civilian hands after a period of "cleansing." Most recently, this group came to believe that the only salvation of the Argentine society and, especially, the milltaryas an -institution would be to remove itself from power and let a chastened and aged Juan Peron take office, hoping that the responsibilities and pressures of. power Might cause the Peronist movement'elther to destroy or reform itself. This feeling led-tolte Army's Withdrawal from politics and the return to power of Peron in 1973. In summary, the Army as a political actor Is most accurately seen as a rooSe assemblage of interest groups which come together -in-short-lived coalitions on occasion to overthrow ineffectual national leadership butwhich almost always begins to fall apart as soon as itJakes over the government-. B. The Peronists The most important of the other political forces in Agentina is the Peronist movement. like every other group in Argentina it has always been faction ridden. The move-- -ment itself can only be defined very imprecisely as an aggre- gate which, after Peron's-overthrow-in-1955;--WaS-iinified - primarily by the demand that he, or those purportedly associated with him, be returned to political power. In total Strength its adherents have numbered from about one-fifth to one-half of adult Argentines,- with the exact numberdepending on the issue in dispute. The one issue that has best served to unite Peronists has been their determination to keep the advances in economic well-being and status they made under Peron and to resist beingmade.thesacrificial lambs of any government program, whether civilian or military, Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 to reinvigorate the stagnant economy. Their power Iles in their control of the labor movement. Over the last two decades the trade union sector, based on the General Confeder- ation of Labor (COT) with a total affiliation of over three million workers, developed a reasonably efficient and well financed bureaucratic structure. As befits a powerful, well- entrenched movement, it has not been revolutionary or radical in orientation, but rather has usually pursued bread-and-butter union, issues. And, although the economy has stagnated for twenty years, union leaders have generally succeeded in keeping wages up and the prices down of items most critical to workers' welfare (such as wheat and beef). C. Other Political Forces For the purposes of tbis essay-the_other-major-traditional epolitical forces can be mentioned very_briefly�_One set of these forces comes from a fairly highly developed middle class and consists of commercial-interests-estoerated with theexport economy, native fedustrialistsi-professional politicians, and government civil servants Some are more organized than others, but the interests of these groups are often diverse and in con- flict. In most cases the influence of these forces on the poli- tical system has. been narrowly directed to the defense of the _Interests of their own particular-group, and they have demonstrated little ability, unlike the military and_Peroniste, to affect the system as a whole. - The tonservative rural oligarchy_is the final sector worth noting.---it has little organized national-political-expression but has, when defending its own interests, considerable political Power, Its influence comes from-itsTcontrol-oVer the production of Argentinats two major exports, grain andbeef, and through personal ties with Important government and military leaders D. :The Traditional Political Culture Despite appearances to the contrary the Argentine'political system, at the level of basic institutions, political forces, and the rules by which politics is played, has-been remarkably consis- tent and stable, at least until recently.- It can essentially be -described as a veto system ie which- all political actors or forces follow these basic rules: Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 I. No single political force Is strong enough to Impose its will permanently on the others. 2. Each Is strong enough to block the major political initiatives of the other, and 3. There is no commonly accepted basis for -the formathan of governing-coalitions although temporary coalitions to overthrow the govern-- meat-of-the-moment can be formed. These rules work (if only to prevent efficient governMent) because they are imbedded In a commonly-shared political culture in which each of the actors subscribes to basicallyithe same values and expectations of behavior. The most important elements of this common culture are the following: I. Political institutions have not modernized as rapidly as economic-Institutions so that the ttwo systems are Increasingly incongruent. The economic system demands that the citizen respond in a highly rational and-functional manner, In contrast, in the political sphere the citizen responds In a much-more-particularistic way and "national" interest is defined in-e very narrow manner, usually encompassing the welfare of only the specific group making the-definition. Each group tends to believe thatAmprovements in economic-and political benefits cannot te mutual: what other groups_gain, it must lose. 2. Limited violence has become-instUtutionalized as a legitimate method-of-expressingirievances or bringing about. political change. Because-of the weakness of political institutions for managing change "...the component elements of the power elite In Argentina -- such-as-officers, officials, and party leaders - ere-prepared to press their dis- agreements to a point that calls for a show of force, or even a limited-usepf force, instead of relying on mutual consent that Is achieved after:peaceful persuasion."* *Jeane Kirkpatrick, Leader and Vanguard in Mass Society: A Study Of Peronist Argentina (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1971) p. 93. = 10 = Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 u.15wialramATT7O�ved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 - The amount of violence that Is permitted under the rules of the game has generally had very :definite. limits, however.: It has also been highly --stylized, particularly on the part of the military, - and has 'led to little bloodshed. These limits. are clearly evident in the recent abortive rebellion of a portion of the Argentine Air Force and the way Ii whichit was put down: threats to bomb each side into submission were uttered but actual bombing and strafing runs were made only on runways and other unoccupied areas. 3.: A final point-is that for most of modern Argentine history a common understanding has . existed that no political force will seek permanently to eliminate any other political force.* Peronist, military, oligarchy or middle class, each group - has believed that a culture In which political . defeat Is perceived as_only temporary best serves its own interests sincerit-can never besure_ of being on the winning-side of the resolution . of any particular issue. - Nor has any group, because-of factionalism in Its ranks and the power of other groups, ever been confident It could win In a terminal struggle. Finally, even while the Argentine economy-has stumbled� along, it has been beneficent enough to give every important group at least a good part of what it wants. In essence then. until-very recently, no group has been-afraid, hungry, or angry enough to take the chance of losing permanently Oat it already has. * This is commonly the rule in Iraitional-Latin-American political systems. Charles W. Anderson, Politics and Economic chylge In Latin America (Princeton, New Jersey i D. Van Nostrand Co., inc.:7767) pp. 104-106. Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 � III. THE FORCES OF CHANGE A. New_Polittcal Forces: Since about 1970, new po:Itical forces have developed on the left whichpose a serious threat to the continued functioning of theold political system. These forces exist mainly as rural guerrillas/urban terrorists, but they also have some expression -in organized political party groupings, in the student movement and, most recently, at the local level In organized labor. The first signs of Argentine participation in guerrilla/ terrorist activities appeared in the-late 1950's.1and, especially, in the early 1960's when two Marxist groups sent members to Cuba for training. Then, in 1966,TrOtSkylte party, the Revolutionary Workers Party (PRT), began_to_sponsor bank robberies and kidnappings, primarily to secure financing. By 1970 the PRT spawned a faction - calling itself the People's ReVolution'ary Army (EIRP), which launched a-sustained guerrilla campaign,-especially,in Tucuman "Province. While ERP fortunes have fluctuated considerably since 1970, it has remained steadfastly dedicated to the violent overthrow of the government-and-the imposition of a Marxist revolutionary political systeM, it held to this position even when the supposed worker's hero, Juan Peron,- returned to power In 1973. The,other major current of: uerritietterrortSt activity has .been sponsored by radical Peronists. -As previously noted, the Peronist movement has always had factions of varying colorations,_ , but the polarization into moderate and radical camps accelerated greatly with the return of Juan Peron to power in 1973. After his return as President, Peron took generally conservative positions on most important political and economic -issues Most old-line,- labor-oriented Peronist-leaders-responded-favorably to this con- servatism,!but many of theyounger leaders who were associated with the youth and student sector were7severely disillusioned. They reacted In traditional Peronist_fashion by assassinating selected cOnservative Peronist-leaders, but they-did not directly attack the:government.-tThis changed in September 1974 after Mrs. Peron took office, following her husband's death, and showed herself to be even more conservative than he. The radical Peronists broke with her, went underground as-tte Montoneros terrorist -movement, end began a violent campaign against the political establishment and, especially, against the police. - 12 - Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Effect on Established Political forces The existence of active and often successful forces engaged in Political terrorism has had a heavy impact on most other Argentine political forces. The effect on the military has been at least. three-fold. First, it has created some degree of unity in the Officer corps. The Army, which has not fought a war In over 100 years, is now engaged in combat against an enemy which the Armed Forces high command has declared must be exterminated. Secondly, combatting the guerrillas-In-the-countryside and the terrorists In the city has inexorably dragged the military deeper into politics. Extraordinary powers were-given to the Armed Forces by Anti-Subversion laws, an-expanded National Defenso.law, and a State of Siege, all declared by the congress In 1974 and 1975. And in Tucuman Province the Army has taken some civil as well as military powers as It attemps to _destroy the ERA. All this has served to heighten the ever present tension between professional- ization and politicization: a growing numberof military men -believe Mrs. Peron must be replaced by an administration, if necessary military controlledo-icapable of giving Argentina law and order. Other officers, particularly those In the high command who have the freshest memories-of the frustrations of past military rule, are desperate-to keep the Army at least one step removed from direct control of government. A third military reaction to the-existence-of new guerrilla/ terrorist political forces hasbe n-the growth of a "hardlin0 political mentality amon s e officers. re beg nn ng to eetthat-both-the-gueerillas and the social and economic conditions that spawnthem can only be eliminated by a total change in the political and-economic system.--They: - - have grown to despise the civilian politicians (and even some of the military leaders associated with-them)-who run the corrupt old system. This, of course,: IS parallel_ to the-attitudinal- -- - change which Many Brazilian, Peruvian-and Chilean-officers underwent prior to deciding that only the military can govern effectively and that national defense and national development are inextricably linked. - The Peronist movement has also been deeply influenced by the emergence of the new-radical left political forces. In part the _Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 effect has been even more direct than on the military since the Montoneros terrorists are formerly loyal Peronists who are now in violent opposition to a Peronist administration. The existence of this alternate pole of attraction for Peronists seems to be contributing to the breakup of the movement as an even vaguely unified political force. The split appears to be three-way. One ever-diminishing faction remains loyal to Mrs. Peron. It no longer controls a majority in the congress and it Is rapidly 16sing control over the all-important base of the Peronist move- ment, the trade union structure. A second faction, also poli- tically conservative, wants Mrs. Peron to step down In order to -save Peronism. It has strength at the national level In both the labor union movement_and Justicialista (Peronist) Party. The third grouping is composed of radicalized workers who formerly supported the Peronist movement but now seem increasingly at- tracted to the Montoneros cause. Their influence Is showing at the local union level, where wide-spread strikes are breaking out that the once-dominant national labor leadership seems unable to control. C. The Changing Political Culture One of the major.consequences_of_the_emergence of the guerrilla/terrorists and_their_associated political:allies as Important actors on the Argentine political stage is that the values that underlay the behavior of the traditional political forces and the stability Of-the-established system are under- going serious challenge.: The challenge threatens to undermine the old system and cause_its-breakdown. _ -This Change In values and the erosion of the former Implicit agreement on_acceptable political behavior are'most clearly demOnstrated_in_two areas�first, the previously accepted limitations on political violence seem to have been permanently breached. Secondly, the unspoken agreement that defeat Is only temporary and that no political group should seek the final - elimination of-any other group appears to have broken down. Political violence In Argentina has changed in the last few years In both kind and Intensify,- Where once strikes and demonstra- tions were the common occurrence, these have eow been sup lanted by kidna.l,in.s, assassinations, bombin s, and armed attacks - 14- Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 PROMMINILIMINSVIIMEammimamormamApproved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 The change along the second dimension --that actors seek to dominate but not eliminate other actors -- Is most clearly seen In the at of the guerrilla/terrorlsts and in the feetUngs that seem to be evolving In a large part ofithe Army and security services. The ERP and the Montoneros are both dedicated to the violent overthrow of the current 'bourgeois" democratic system and Its replacement by a radical authoritarian form of government. At the moment, In pursuit of this goal,-the ERP Is concentrating on assassinatUan-of military officers and the disruption of the Army as an-institution while the Montoneros are directing a large part of their terrorist activity at the police and other security officials. Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 The Army is responding to this threat with corresponding brutality. As one headline expressed it, "Guerrillas in Argentina Battle Army In a War Without Prisoners." Torture, battlefield "Justice," a fuzzing of the distinction between active guerrilla --and -civilian supporter, the use of arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, and the support of right-wing-"death" squads have all been noted as increasingly common Army (and police) tactics. As more and more military and police are exposed to the notion that all means are justified in order. to eliminate subversion . and the threat to the state posed by .the guerrilla/terrorists, the previously obeyed norms on expected treatment of political opponents - seem likely to erode further.-- A change in attitude-and-values, less obvious than that occurring because of the conflict betwee;1 the guerrilla/terrorists and the Arry, may also be-taking place in the labor sector. The once-hierarchical trade union movement-seems-to be breaking apart, primarily because of increasing-doubts on the part of many workers that, In the face of the worst-infielonAn-Argentina's history, their natiCnal leadership can.adequately protect their economic interests. : Unauthorized_loCarStrikes are taking place with increiting frequency which protest both economic grievances and what local union members perceiveas-a-lack of responsiveness to labor's needs on the part of an unrepresentative and self-perpetuating clique of national union-leaders. Labor's problems will probably_worsen_for at least the next- year. Inflation soared_to_335:percent_in 1975 (the highest In the - world) from an average-of-about 30 percent yearly -during-1967-7C.: Meanwhile, ln 1975 wages rose-1150175 percent at the most and unemployment climbed steeply from negligible levels to over six percent. Massive wage Increases, the tool traditionally used by Argentine labor to _keep real wages up,-111.11 only accelerate - the deterioration of the economy by:feeding-inflation. Moreover, severe political infighting-is occurring among national trade union leaders (some-want Mrs. Peron to step -down, some do - not) which will weaken the ability oi the labor movement to act as a coherent pressure group in Making both economicand political demands. The probable result of thesetrends Is that the fragmen- tation of the labor movement will grow and some workers, particularly those exposed to reported penetration of local.unlons by the Montoneros, will resort to increasingly desperate and violent measures to attempt to protect their interests. -- -16- Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 pproved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Labor strife and the spectre of uncontrollable agitation is causing a hardening of attitudes towards unionized workers among the military and security services, both of which have recently been Involved in breaking strikes declared "Illegal" and "sub- versive" by the government. Generally opposed to Peronism as a political movement, a growing number of officers are beginning to perceive workers and even their "normal" economic demands as a threat to national security which must be suppressed. One Argentine general is quoted as having said that "In order to save 20 million Argentines from socialism, it may be necessary to sacrifice 50,000 lives." Confrontation between labor and.the militaryihas occurred In the past, most notably In 1969=.70 during the Military regime of General Ongania. In order to bring Argentina's political and economic problems under control-,--Ongania,--when he took office --in 1966, attempted to-establish euthoritarlan_controls on the political System by closing Congress and suspending all political parties. He also tried, with considerable initial success, to impose an austerity program on the economy by, among other things,- a temporary wage freeze. in late 1967 d1968 the economy began to recover and, although real wages declined through this period, strikes and demonstrations were few and Only partially successfu1 because the labor movement was divided about to what-extent-it-should-cooperate with government. In May 1969, however, serious disorders broke out. There was a general strike on 30th-May which led to a violent confrontation with the polict_irwhich f0-30 people were killed. _Onganla responded to the labor agitation by sus- pending some unions, intervening and reorganizine-the COT to place it under government control, and declaring a state of emergency. At this critical juncture, however, he faced a united labor movement under Peronist-tontrol but. had at his back a divided Army which would not support-his authoritarian policies if that meant violently suppressing organized labor and other political opposition-. By October 1969 the Onganla government began to grant massive gage increases anda general strike Called in November by a supposedly government-controlled COT Was 75 percent successful. Erosion of thestabilization program continued through 1970 and by early 1971_control over the country's economic problems had_been:lost-_, The old veto system continuedto function under Onganla and prevented him from holding to effective policy initia- tives In major part because the consensus on how to play - 17 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 politics prevailed. That consensus was minimal In that It prescribed what behavior to avoid -- unlimited violence and the total elimination of one's opponent -- rather than general agreement on what procedures and institutions to use to resolve conflict. Now, however, under the Impact of the emergence of new political forces uncommitted_to past political values and whose grievances are directed at the traditional political system and not just the way it functions, even that "negative" commitment appears to be dissolving. Thus, there is a strong possibility that the old veto system itself may soon breakdown. IV. THE FUTURE i:The fact that a politital'culture is probably changing and that new political forces are7enterinethe scene does not lead immediately_to conclusions-about_when_a change_in the political system may occur or,what-form the new system may take:. Certainly, the overt political emphasis In-Argentinatoday is to make the old system last one day longer by_linding some "constitutional" way of persuading Mrs. Peron--+1 step down In favor of a legal successor. The top Armyleadership still remains extremely reluctant to take power directly. If economic and political conditions deteriorate further and the milittry_is_forced to:step in, the-top commend hopes that Mrs. Peron and her croniesin government will have so discredited themselves that the military-will be able_to take over on a wave_of - broad public (including labor) support. In short,- there are no. Indications the current top military leadership has plans to radically restructure the political systemAn-order to-endithe political-- - - and economic immobilism to which_the_old veto system had led. How long can-the-old system-persist, with or -without military in power? its continued functioning for-mote than another year or so depends on the re-establishment of the old political rules and the minimum consensetJhatutedto:exist-The likelihood of this seems Increasingly doubtful. As violence by both the left and the right grows-,---the-previously7reSpected norms on expected treatment of political opponents seem likely to erode further. In addition the economic and political_issues now demanding resolu- tion are becoming so intensely felt that they cannot be temporized for long. Important social and political forces -- workers, business- - men, the military and security services -- are being injured to a degree never experienced before. The dilemma-for the old political system is that dealing ef- - eCtively with these issues ranging from hyper-inflation to the Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 pproved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322_ threat of anarchy from the guerrilla/terrorists -- will take severe measeres which will also hurt powerful groups. No government, civilian or military, functioning within the present system has either the political muscle or institutional strength to overcome the veto of these political forces who would have to make the sacrifices necessary_to resolve Argentina's problems. Nor is there -MUCh hope that the particularlistic political culture will disappear overnight so that labor, business, government workers, professional t-politicians, agricultural interests and othar important groups can be persuaded voluntarily to make the essential sacrifices In the name of some higher national Interest., e. One possible outcome of the spiral of-increesing political :violence and economic breakdown Is civil war.- The odds for this are greater than for the -indefinite continuation of political im- mobllism, but-internal war-is still not the most likely outcome of the current situation The guerrilla/terrorists have probably not reached the peak of their potential to Wreak havoc, especially if they continee to infiltrate and gain sympathizers In the labor --moVeMent. This increases the likelihood of higher levels of turmoil as work stoppages and demonstrations spread at the local union level. - Simultaneously, however, greater militancy'at.the local level Is contributing to the splintering of:theT-Peronist movement, and it is losing whatever tenuous unity It had as a national Political force. It Is doubtful:the guerrilla/terrorists could spark a civil war unless (l) they draw widespread support from moderate as well as radical Peronitts and the Army stands aside, or (2) the military Itself splits into warring factions. Neither ofethese developments seems likely at this point. Rather than-continuation of the status .9112 or civil war it seems more likely that the sense ofAesperation developing among Argentine political forces will propel,one of them to overcome its past factionalism and to seize-power in order to attempt to impose its will on the soCiety. -There are three groups that theoretically have the capability to seize power and suppress opposition: the PeronIsts, the guerrilla/terrorists, and the Army. Of these three the Army Is the only group, now or In the foreseeable future, with sufficient national-pgwer and organiza- tion to be able to undertake-successfully-the forcible restructuring -of the politiCal systert4 What_the Army still lacks to play this role is unify of will and purpose There are indications that this unity is developing, as cited earlier, but the biggest Imponderable today is how extensive is-the belief within the - 19 - Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322 Army that It must take over and change the political system to save the country, and how fast hat mentality Is growing. For this reason, it may be a mistake to see the sudden seizures of power by the military in Brazil, Peru, and Chile and their subsequent, almost Immediate, Implantation of far reaching authoritarian rule as the model for the probable course of events In Argentina. It is likely to happen more slowly in Argentina* in two cot more stages rather than in a single move. Thus, one possible scenario is for Mrs. Peron to be removed in favor of a civilian successor, who will also be unable to control events; for a still divided military subsiquently to take over in an ostensibly temporary capacity to attempt to restore calm; anO.finally, when traditional techniques have worked neither for the civilians nor the military, and, as violence and economic disorder continue to escalate, for a "hardline mentality""to rise to dominate the Army. At that point, either the current Army leadership would be forced to impose harsh, authoritarian rule or a new generation of Army officers, Increasingly unfettered by the constraints and divisions of the past, would probably remove them and impose it in their place. Whatever the exact scenario, the conditions seem ripe for permanent changes in the Argentine political system. New political forces have emerged and are having a heavy impact on the traditional political forces, political and economic problems have assumed proportions that will not long admit to temporizing or inaction, and the basic value consensus-that made the oldlsystem possible has probably broken down. To monitor the likelihood of basic and far-reaching changes in Argentina (and their implications for US interests) continued scrutiny of the attitudes of military officers at the middle as well as top ranks will be required. ----Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C00011322