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August 9, 1976
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onmn_r_u.lem.m.r.r7 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 M. .MOPANDUM � r.crEcT?, Terrorism in South America J.0145,76 No, 0751/76 August 9, 1976 Woproriom flourinhen on the bonen of politics. :0!; is the delunion of thone who have lont the capacity to dntinguiah between hope and death. Trving Howe "The Ultima-te Price of Random Porro7,," AModern terrorism invites repression. The quer- rilla intent on provoking his enemy�the govern- ment.--iuto acts of counter-terrorism so widespread d so brutal that the .general. public becomes ali.en- ned. from the government and sympathetic ti tnstep- � ',Jire cause. The lmxediate goal, according.to Carlon Oarighela, the slain Brailian ipostle.o..7 urbam. guerrilla uarfare, is that "the political stuation. (�):f the country will become a military situation, and the � of violence, the mistaken and various calamAties � fall upon the people will he put down to 'errors' hv ie government bodyguards." Ac violence bnclets violence, according to this Oectrine, the fabric of society is torn apart, demo- � c institutions give way to anthoritarian decrees, � a.rmed repression supplants political freedomn 'the aim of terrorism is to make life unbearable for ordinary people, in the hope that they will eventually Thin paper wan prepared by the Office of Current Inteil,igenee, Western Hemisphere Division of the Central toil onceAgency. Ali commentn and auerien nhould be addrenned to the author, CONFIDP 3.5(c) 3.5(c) Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 AV. 1-,CIML,TrIAOKTIT7\T Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 become embittered and exasperated with their government and clamor for change. Such a situation, Marighela argued, could lead to the seizure of power by the guerril- lo what he described as "a climate of collapse." Impleved against colonial regimes, such tactics have p7:077en successful, as in British-mandated Palestine and C7prus. This hope has not been fulfilled, however, h any Latin American nation. Yet, it is precisely in 17:hose countries where political violence has become the major policy preoccupation�Uruguay and Argentina�that 'nrrorism has been the strongest single catalytic force in recent military coups .d'etat. As anpolitical weapon modern terrorism dates from the French Revolution where it was employed by the in- . surrectionary government to instill fear and respect for now authority in the general populace. Then, as uf.716, terror consisted of symbolic acts designed to in- � .nence political behavior by extraordinary means, en- tailing the use or threat of violence. For example, . in Cnatemala, Uruguay, and Argentina, leftist guerrillas tlace(fl heavy emphasis on the symbolic nature of their violent acts�kidnaping and killing military officers and police chiefs, foreign diplomats, and wealthy husi- nessmen�both domestic and foreign.� The concept of terror may be old, but its effects .are magnified by modern technology. The modern terror- ist's arsenal includes incendiary devices, sophisticabed bombn, and hand-held missiles. Modern psychological r;tilelies have provided new techniques of interrogation an." intimidation. More important, the conditions of contemporary living and space-age communications systems have facilitated the growth and the impact of urban - political violence. Today terrorists feed on the. frus- trations generated by crowded living- conditions domio- naked by and dependent on technology, and thrive on in- stantaneous dramatic communication of their acts by the electronic media. Television and, to a lesser extent, radio have given new meaning to the 19th Century anarchist view � of terrorism as propaganda by deed. Now guerrilla groups can attract national or even world attention to their cause.. The term "guerrilla theater is an apt descrip-. tion since terrorism is often drama consisting of:. . Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 Carefully staged kidnapings, as in the abduction of the Born brothers, two wealthy Argentine in- dustrialists whose seizure by Montonero gnerril- lan consisted of an elaborate maneuver designed to divert their automobile from most of their bodyguards, in which the terrorists masqueraded as street construction workers and policemen. Ritual trials and executions, such as the now famous killing of US AID official Daniel Mitrionn hy the Trpamaros in Uruguay, or the "capital pun- " hment" of US honorary consul John Egan.after Argentine authorities failed to meet terrorist demands to show several captured guerrillas "alive and well" on television. Newspapers have also been exploited by Latin American guerrillas. One of the conditions for the release of the Porn brothers was the publication of a Montonnro adver- tisement in prominent newspapers all over the world. Po:berto Santucho, the recently slain leader of the Ar- gentine Peoples Revolutionary Army, invited correspond- nuts to guerrilla press conferences. One spectacular operation in 1973 saw guerrillas seize the editor of a prominent Buenos Aires newspaper, and insist that the pup or print terrorist advertisements�in direct violation of a rnenntly enacted ban on news of query:Arm activ:itien. Tte newspaper complied with the demands to secure the na:"fe return of j_ts editor, and in retaliation right-wing coun- ter-terrorists sabotaged the printing pressen. Parther afleld, the terrorist attack at the Munich Olvmnic Carnes gained its perpetrators the services of satellie-relayed n;.-ernatinnal television. Such events dramatically illustrate the fact that terrorist tactics are aimed primarily at the people watching and only incidentally at the victims--who often arn innocent bystanders. The random quality of the vio- Jenne heightens the terror and often exaggerates the actual threat posed by the guerrilla. In renlity,..gunr- rilla.groups in South America have never posed a.direct�� challenge to any government. Most of the groups have en too small and weak to engage security forces directly, and in �the battles that have occurred, as in Argentina, tne guerrillas have taken most of the blows. An one soholar has observed, "terror may be the weapon of lonely -.fanatics or a huddle of conspirators intent upon forcing .history through their own self-sacrifice and otheinpeo- plc's blood, but rarely is it the weapon Of mass movements COILET111771-de. � Approved for for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 Approved-6i' Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 engaged in public politics." The two most prOminent examples of South�American nations where terrorism currently exists�Colombi.,,I.and Argentina�support this viewpoint, Terrorism in Colom- 1)1a stll has many of the characteristics of banditrv. enr leftist groups, most of them based in rural areas, ,2ommit robberies, armed assaults on police outposts and � smaU army patrols, and kidnapinqs�occasionally of wo.k7 Colombians or foreigners who are held for ransom . (mploitation. The guerrilaa hands do not constitute srr'Lnus subversive threat, but they are a continuing - source of irritation and concern for security officiaJs. In Argentina, the Peoples Revolutionary Army (EPP) has lost its image of invincibility after more than �ear of harassment by military forces, Hundreds of guerrillas have been killed�including the leader, Poheri:o Santucho�and even morn are in prison. The or- lnzation's treasury, once estimated in millions of rnHas is said to have dwindled to about f%ioofino0. addition, the ERP has lost hideouts, weapons, ammu- ticn, and documents containing valuable operational in- :erma.tion. It is doubtful that the EPP will ever regain itsfrmnr prominence, 'ohn other major Argentine group, the Montennros, has suffered as well, More than seven months have ,'L-Ilased Hice t*ontonere chieftain Roberto Quieto was calr.7e't bv rocuritv forces. During that period the querril3i,1 Jinv made ro imown attempt to free him or to secure his re- One of the reasons for their failure to respond may be that Quieto has cooperated with the security No cannot determine how much the information pro- vided by Quieto has hurt: the organization, hut lack of recent violent activity suggests that 'the leftist Peron- let are on the defensive. . The serious reverses the remnants of the group Monteneros, who have long tional Liberation Front." suffered by the ERP may force to try to-link up with the advocated a broad-hased "Na- Efforts to form such an alli- ance in the past failed. The Montoneros, in fact, new may he reluctant to affiliate with the survivors because they fear the EPP has been penetrated by the police'. AxAother possibility that is being taken nerious7y by outh American security forces is that several guerrilla groups are forging operative alliances to engage in trans- rational or international terrorist activities, Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 Official concern has been fueled by recent confirma-� tion of�..the existence of an organization known as the P.,evolutionary Coordinating Junta, consisting of guerrilla roprescIntatives from Bolivia, Uruguay, Chiln, Argentina, nnd� pessibly Paraguay_ The Coordinating Junta was orig- inl=lv� organized under the leadership of the Peoples Rev- olutionary Army, however, and despite reports of repre- sentatives.. based in several Furopean countries., available nvi6ence indicates that its headquarters in still in Ar- gentina and that most of its funds, and probably its mem- come from the FRP- If it is indeed a creature .nf ;:rcTontine terrorists, it has probably suffered with the Oecline in their activity and strength. On the other 'S:rA the fact that the Junta has not taken credit for � any terrorist operations�as is the customary practice c-) individual guerrilla ..organizations�does not mean that ithas been inactive. It would appear from captured gnerrilla documents that the organization takes its co- ordinating function seriously and exists for that purpose anc'J to provide logistical support to member groups. �;.t is the fear that individual guerrilla groups throughout South America will Unite that has motivated � �-,t'recent intensification in cooperation among security �oicials in the Southern Cone. At present intelligence vicr,.s in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paragnav, slIji Uruguay share information on terrorist tsrgetis, rch,d� � there are reports of plans to cooperate more extensively., l'enpite the fact that guerrillas seem to be losing !:1-le battle in Argentina and are only a minor threat elsewhere in South America, it is unlikely that terrorism .111 disappear. Few terrorist groups anywhere have a- ehieved of their long range objectives, hut the use of terrorist tactics always attracts publicity and fre- r,;uentiv wins concessions. In South America, therefore, political, extremists � will probably continue to establish links, and form al-n� linacos, if only for the sake of convenience in particular operations. The development and deployment of sophisti- cated small arms and precision-guided munitions and their likely acquisition by terrorists is a serious new threat. c.T1 the other hand, the fear that terrorists will obtain and oypiode nuclear weapons seems to he exaggerated. The .arvival of any guerrilla movement is contingent on some 1-cit public support- Mass murder would be Cbunterpro- iN7e. Nevertheless, the possibility that guerrillas viIi threaten to nse nuclear weapons in order to take � Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 advantage of a mass hostage situation cannot be ruled ont. Until now leftist guerrillas in South America have not been completely indiscriminate in their use of ter-' orir,t tactics, but have restricted their targets to identified political enemies. In contrast, counterter- roristo and in some cases government forces have threat- '. (Ined or murdered prominent liberal members of society not linked in any known way to the guerrillas. This is of courF:e the response that the guerrillas seek. Yet � some repressive measures are officially justified .and accepted by a frightened population on the grounds that they redwte the effectiveness and attractiveness of ter- rorism. Greater government controls over the news media . with regard to reporting terrorist incidents would di- minish the publicity that terrorists apparently crave. A tonc7her official stance on granting political asylum already evident in Argentina and Uruguay,. and South 2\mn7ixmln countries in general have taken an increasingly 7.olighr stance on yielding to terrorist demands. 'f:errorism poses a continuing threat to human lib- erties and to human life. . Last year more people died th Argentina as a result of political violence than have been killed in Northern: Ireland in the past five years. .� In. all strategies of terror, there is an inherent tend- nnCy t:r1 go beyond the limits previously accepted, formally er *nformally, by both rulers and ruled. It is just this , ."nne: stop further" that makes terror momentarily effec- tive and, to some people, exciting. Except, perhaps, in the most disciplined kinds of actions against precisely selected individual targets, the strategy of terror can 1..trmF,:eest only through a steady abandonment of moral re- rtraints. Regardless of the intentions the terrorists bring to their act, it tends, out of desperation and _.trongh�repetition, to become increasingly unselective. Indeed it is precisely the increasing unselectivity that mo.kos terrorism so frightening. There are, however, political limits to the ef- ectiveness of terrorism. Over forty years ago, one scholar, J. B. Hardman, defined those limits: An a complete revolutionary tactic terrorism has never attained real success. Governments-, whether con- _ tetvative or revolutionary, are not inclined to retreat � before acts of terror directed against hey persons The �� uM to power is not weakened by the exercise of power, (2.2ac..1.4itnringl. � Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499 and positions made vacant through the explosion of hcalbs are readily filled., On the other hand, the will '10 revolution requires a stronger force than the heroism of isolated individuals or even of small, well-rIrganised croups� The art of revolution must be sustained by the interested will of a large proportion of the population f-Ad by concerted mass operations," cal4p7trrrTla Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 CO2869499