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September 1, 1981
PDF icon CUBA PROMOTING ARMED STRU[15515109].pdf889.78 KB
Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 National Foreign Assessment Center Cuba: Promoting Armed Struggle in South Americ 3.5(c) An Intelligence Assessment pproved for Release: 2618/10/01 C05136430 3.5(c) PA 81-10372 81-10372 September 1981 Copy 295 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 3.5(c) Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 National Foreign `I Assessment Center Cuba: Promoting Armed Struggle in South America 3.5(c) An Intelligence Assessment Information available as of 1 September 1981 has been used in the preparation of this report. This assessment was prepared by Office of Political Analysis. Comments and queries are welcome and may be directed to the Chief, Latin America Division, OPA, 3.5(c) The assessment was coordinated with the Office of Strategic Research, the Office of Economic Research, the Directorate of Operations, and the National Intelligence Officer for Latin America. 3.5(c) 3.5(c) pproved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 -Serra PA 81-10372 81-10372 September 1981 3.5(c) Key Judgments NR NR Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Cuba: Promoting Armed in South America gle 3.5(c) SectFr- Since the overthrow of President Somoza in Nicaragua in 1979, armed struggle has played an increasing role in Cuba's policy toward Latin America. A trend�which shows no sign of abating�has been established toward greater risk-taking and growing dependence on violent revolution as a mainstay of foreign policy. Cuba's hard line has Soviet blessing. The Soviets have come to acknowl- edge that under certain circumstances rebel groups can serve as the revolutionary vanguard more effectively than can the local Communist party. 3.5(c) In countries where prospects for revolutionary change are dim, Castro probably believes that a rise in terrorism will provoke enough government repression to lead to mass alienation, one of the factors necessary for revolutionary success. Havana is willing to train guerrillas even from Argentina and Uruguay, where there is little chance of overthrowing the government, in part because the trained insurgents constitute reserves that can fight elsewhere in fulfillment of their "international duty"�as they did in Nicaragua in 1979. iii Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 "ectli PA 81-10372 September 1981 S.d Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 3.5(c) The Castro regime may revise its tactics as a result of setbacks, but its commitment to violent revolution will not change. Any falloff in its support for Latin American revolutionaries would require events similar to those of the late 1960s�a series of major guerrilla defeats, Cuba's virtual isolation in the hemisphere, and strong pressure from the USSR. ,eere( 3.5(c) Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 seret 3.5(c) Cuba: Promoting Arme:r_SII ell le 3.5(c) in South Americ NR y,Se Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 NR Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 SKI-et The Cubans and the Soviets constantly tout the Sandinista example as evidence of the critical role played by leftist unity and international support in achieving and retaining power. They view these as requisites for legitimizing the revolution and safe- guarding it against counterrevolution and outside interference. Although leftist forces also must strengthen their paramilitary capabilities and try to exploit legitimate paths to power until those paths prove fruitless, unity is seen as the linchpin. (c) If the unified left succeeds through elections, as Salvador Allende did in Chile in 1970, the possession of a strong paramilitary capability protects the leftist leadership and provides insurance against the armed forces which, in Cuba's view, are irreversibly opposed to revolutionary change. The Cubans faulted Allende for not developing a paramilitary force strong enough to prevent the coup that unseated him in 1973, and they are determined to make sure that other revolu- tionaries who achieve power through elections do not make the same mistake. (c) On the other hand, if the left does not succeed by legitimate means, it can claim that the only way to right social ills is violent revolution, thus providing theoretical justification for armed struggle. A strong paramilitary capability is therefore required regard- less of the success or failure of the electoral effort, and the earlier it is created, the sooner the left will be prepared to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. (c) Supporting South American Revolutionaries Havana's enthusiasm about developments in Central America quickly grew to include South America. South American revolutionaries and other leftists visiting Havana in early 1979 received much the same advice as their Central American counterparts. 5x-�t 2 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 NR 3.5(c) NR Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 f4 Fidel Castro surrounded by leaders of the Nicaraguan Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSL,N) at 26 July 1979 celebrations in Cuba 3.5(c) Reflecting the level of Havana's interest, Fidel Castro became personally involved in some of these efforts. In December 1980 the Cuban leader reported2y met with the secretary general of the Chilean Communist Party and pledged to support the party's efforts to unite the left against Pinochet. Castro also urged the Communist Party to adopt armed struggle and to coordinate its activities more closely with the Move- ment of the Revolutionary Left. 3.5(c) Havana's tactical advice was accompanied by a sharp increase in direct support to South American insur- gents, particularly those from Chile, Colombia, and to a lesser extent Argentina. In the last case, Havana focused its efforts primarily on activities outside Argentina. For example, Cuba employed a number of Montoneros in the so-called "Internationalist Bri- gade" that fought alongside the Sandinistas in Nica- ragua in 1979. The Cuban media, meantime, provided favorable coverage of all such exploits 3 NR pproved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 NR Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 NR Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 NR Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 In sum, Castro will continue to promote, and perhaps escalate, revolutionary activity throughout Latin America�albeit less recklessly than in the 1960s. Havana sees prospects for a successful revolution as brightest in Central America and therefore will con- centrate its efforts in that region. Nevertheless, the Cubans also will continue to support insurgent groups ,. in South America. The Cuban leader sees promising opportunities through promotion of insurgency to advance Cuban objectives in the region and to restore r a sense of revolutionary momentum at home in a period when little else seems to be working to his regime's advantage. 3.5(c) .59s.set� 6 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Appendix Cuban Support of Revolutionaries in Selected South American Countries 7 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 �Zet Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Cuban Diplomatic Relations in Latin America August 1981 United States Mexico Belize � The Bahamas !DIGb ' Cuba Dominicanit,bulic Haiti Jamaica 1972 GualernelyHondur�ras^� El Salvcdais.r.' Nicaragua 1979 Costa Rica Nanabia, 74 Ecuador -; Peru ' 1:rcsan Chile I I Diplomatic relations [E73 Suspended relations No diplomatic relations 1S74 Relations established or reestablished I I aSuspended in March 1981 bNonresident ambassador c c Dominica 19 0 bb 51.0 Luc. 1 972 1979 b St. Vincent and .bados the Grenadines w""a1979 . t - 'Trinidad and Tobago 1972 b Venezuela 1172 Guyana i French Guiana ' S riname i(France) 1 Argentina truguay Brazil South Atlantic Ocean 3.5(c) 8 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 3.5(c) Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 >Seal( Known and Suspect Guerrilla Infiltration Routes into Argentina, Chile and Colombia United States hiorth Atlantic Ocean With intermediate stops in South and Central America Guidern El Icaragua Costa Rica c . Pan4rna, I �is- *BOGOTA Colombia )4. Republic Hat With intermediate stops in Mexico and Central America Dom.'" SI v,nceni ond sI Lca the Grenadines Grena,,, a Os Trinidad and Tobago Venezuela With intermediate stops in Europe French Guiana ' (France) Ecuado Peru Brazil South Pacific Ocean Bolivia Paraguay Guerrilla Infiltration Routes Air Land/Sea Argentine --- Chilean Colombian SANTIAGO* Chile Valdivia. South Atlantic Ocean 3.5(c) 9 pproved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 3.5(c) �e�t Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Argentina Until the military coup in March 1976, Havana used its diplomats in Buenos Aires to maintain contact with Argentine revolutionaries and the Chilean MIR. in the mid-1970s the Cubans met regularly with the Montoneros and the 3.3(b)(1) People's Revolutionary Army (ERP), providing them with funding and instructions on psychological oper- ations, propaganda, and recruitment, as well as advice on military, labor, and student operations. 3.5(c) NR 3.3(b)(1) Following the coup in 1976, the Argentine Govern- ment launched a highly successful campaign to root out subversives. 3.3(b)(1) 3.3(b)(1) In August 1976 two Cuban Embassy employees were kidnaped and never found; Havana strongly suspected they had been killed by rightist elements in the Argentine Government. As a result, the Castro re- � gime sharply curtailed its subversive activities in Argentina. 3.3(b)(1) 3.3(b)(1) Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 NR Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Approved for Release: 2018/10/01 C05136430 Set By 1978 the ERP's once-formidable treasury was seriously depleted, its arsenal had shrunk to a few small arms and explosives, most of its leaders were dead or in exile, and fewer than 150 inactive members remained in the country. The Montonero organiza- tion, similarly devastated, was reduced to probably no more than 250 members in Argentina, and only a few hundred were in exile�including most of the leaders. 3.5(c) Havana's economic ties with Buenos Aires also have been a constraint against blatant support of subversive groups. The Argentines, who saw the Cuban market as a means of expanding their exports, extended a $1.2 billion line of credit in 1973, much of which was used through the mid-1970s to finance purchases of industrial and transportation equipment. In recent years, however, the level of trade has begun to decline (see table). Continuation of this trend will lessen Havana's incentive to avoid antagonizing the Argen- tine Government. 3.5(c) The first sign of a shift in policy toward Argentina came in 1978 when Cuba invited the Montoneros to the World Youth Festival in Havana in direct contra- vention of the wishes of the Argentine Communist Party. In early 1979 Cuba organized, armed, and transported an "internationalist brigade" of Latin American revolutionaries�including Cuban-trained Montoneros�to participate in the struggle against the Somoza regime. Havana report- edly offered the Montoneros financial assistance, not- ing that the Argentine Communist Party did not merit such support because it was too conservative and was not working actively enough against the military regime. At the time the Cubans indicated that if the Montoneros were successful, Havana could provide financial assistance to other revolutionary vanguard movements, such as those in Colombia and Uruguay. 3.5(c) By late 1979 Cuban efforts to promote a more aggressive guerrilla strategy in Argentina briefly bore fruit. the Montoneros were actively infiltrating more members into Argen- tina and that terrorist activity inside the country had been revived. The Argentine security service launched a major crackdown, however, and most infiltration ,t