Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
April 3, 2019
Document Release Date: 
April 12, 2019
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
August 18, 1977
PDF icon SANITIZEDLATIN AMERICA RE[15515930].pdf626.85 KB
Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 Latin America REGIONAL AND POLITICAL ANALYSIS 3.5(c) Sj.erit 212 RP ALA 77-053 18 August 1977 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 SECR ET LATIN, AMERICA 18 August 1977 CONTENTS This publication is prepared for regional specialists in the Washington community by the !Latin America Division, Office of Regional and %laical Analysis, with oc- casional contributions from other offices within the Directorate of Intelligence and from other agencies within the Intelligence Community. Comments and queries are welcome. They should be directed to the authors of the individual articles. Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 3.5(c) __Sfieffrr 3.5(c) Focus on Human Rights ,This is the first in a series of monthly arti- .cles that will appear in this publication dealing with human rights on a regional basis. !Today's commentary was written by ORPA's We hope that .this and subsequent articles will generate a dialogue among readers of this ,publication. Questions and comments may be addressed to the author. ,After six months of quiet diplomacy, public state- ments, and implied warnings of possible reductions in military and economic assistance, Latin American govern- ment leaders have become convinced of the sincerity of the ps commitment to the defense of human rights. More importantly, they are beginning to respond to the policy and are, at least, sensitized to the principle that rule of law and human liberty are values shared universally by all peoples and individuals regardless of govern- mental institutions. This does not mean that North American democratic institutions will immediately become the norm in all of Latin America. On the contrary, the military in most countries will remain in power in one form or another for the foreseeable future. What it does mean, however, is that most governments now appear ready and able to curb and possibly even to prevent the abuse of human rights that has occurred in the past. The most dramatic new breakthrough occurred last week in Chile when President Pinochet announced his de- cision to abolish the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA). New guidelines suggest that most of DINA's per- sonnel will be absorbed by a National Information Center which will be subordinate to the Interior Ministry. In addition, DINA's arrest and detention powers are being transferred to the national police (Carabineros) and the JudiCial Police within the Defense Ministry. While illegal activity is still possible under this arrange- ment, it appears that opportunities for repressive practices will be greatly reduced. RP ALA 77-053 18 August 1977 1 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 - The new agency will not report directly to the president. -- Both the Carabineros and the Judicial Police are highly regarded professional law enforcement organizations. -- Government sources report that Pinochet is now convinced that the Marxist threat to his regime .has significantly. Panochet's decision on DINA closely follows his announcement earlier last week that Chile would begin a phased transition of power to civilian rule culminat- ing in1 limited popular elections by 1985. Chile thus joins the governments of Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Uruguay that have announced their intention to hold elections in the next several years. Argentina reportedly has plans to direct its police to protect the rights of nonviolent political opposition. There also has been a reported change in thEy way in which the seturity services select subversive targets. In order to detain a .suspect, it will now be necessary to have sufficient proof that the suspect is, in fact, a subversive. The government is ordering the release of certain persons under arrest, and lists are being pub- lished in the press. Some persons who had previously "disappeared" have been plated at the disposition of the executive authority for trial and, depending on their 'charges, will be tried in either civilian or mili- tary courts. Finally, the National Intelligence Center will be abolished at the end of the year and its per- sonnel will be reintegrated into their original organi- zations. Operations against subversive organizations, 2 .!.t,C.FtEt RP ALA 77-053 18 August 1977 NR Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 which have been the responsibility of the Center, will be taken over by the armed forces, principally the army. Despite these changes, however, the government has in- creaSingly resorted to violence and abuse of human rights for internal political purposes not directly con- nected to the campaign against terrorism. Reasons for Change There are a variety of reasons for Latin America's changing view, of the US human rights policy. In partic- ular, there is a growing belief in the region that Washington's defense of human rights has become the major focus of US foreign policy. In that context, many Latin Americans believe that it is useless to.try to change the global strategy of a super power, which in the past has paid little attention to their arguments or existence. The Chileans, for example, have been debating whether the risks of internal subversion are so great that they have to risk jeopardizing their traditional good relations with the US, especially when there is no alternative benefactor. Thus, defending internal secu- rity raises the question .of external security--particu- larly regarding the possibility of war with Peru. A 3 syrdr RP ALA 77-053 18 August 1977 NR Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 11, Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 sEytfr June editorial in the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio summed it up best: "One does not have to stand fast nor ask for understanding from a wave breaking over him; One must duck and let it pass over. So it is in small countries' relations with large ones." Another factor in the changing outlook is that the internal security threat in the countries under military rule has diminished. Chilean President Pinochet and Argentine President Videla, for example, both appear to be confident that subversives, while they can cause iso- lated incidents, can no longer challenge the authority of the government or the process of forming new institu- tions. The Uruguayans and Paraguayans appear somewhat less confident in this regard. Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru have shown that they can handle potential dis- ruptions. The El Salvadoreans have not yet been seri- ously challenged. ' The argument would seem to follow that if draconian measures are no longer needed to maintain the security of the state, the country can move toward a full rule of law and normal political activity. Ecuador's an- nounced return to civilian rule in 1978 and the subse- quent announcements by Peru and Bolivia that they also would hold elections in coming years seems to have had a positive effect on Chile and Uruguay in that neither country wants to be isolated from A prevailing political trend. Moreover, none of the military governments wants to admit that a return to the rule of law would weaken its ability to maintain internal security. In addition to theSelidsitive factors for change on the human rights issue, there are several bilateral and multilateral problems among the South American na- tions that have continued to work against closer rela- tions in general and anti-US attitudes in particular. The threat of war in the Andes, resulting primarily from Lima's acquisition of large quantities of sophis- ticated Soviet arms, still inhibits full cooperative relationships among Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. There is also the continuing problem of Bolivian access to the sea. Chilean-Argentine relations, in general, RP ALA 77-053 la August '1977 4 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 !FS.51.15( have lipen good, but now there is some irritation because of the territorial dispute over the Beagle Channel. Argentine-Brazilian relations had been improving, but contrdversy over problems associated with the Itaipu Dam on the Parana River are causing difficulty. Brazil, in any case, has true international aspirations and does not want to get bogged down in any regional squabbles. Outlook: Change, but No Change Most Latin American governments are demonstrating that they are ready to accept the new US policy on human rights at least in theory, even though there may be some backsliding in some countries if security or other problems arise. The issue of democratic govern- nt., however, is another story. Most of the countries under military domination have come through some rough, unpleasant times combatting insurgency, disorder, and the "old politics." The military probably is not ready or willing to allow this situation to recur. In any case, Latin_Ampricaps have not had much experience with national repre's'entative government. Democracy in the area, in fact, has always been more accurately described as elite government with lip serv� ice being paid to the terms "popular suffrage" and "parliamentary government." The urge to play at being "democratic" and creating institutions that suggest self-yovernmeht has forever been present The bottom- line in Latin America, however', has always been pros- perity and economic security over democratic' institutions. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, the military seems to be the only traditional institution with the discipline:, power, and ability to provide a framework for economic and political stability in Latin America. The type of government that develops during the next decade,--the time frame for the projected return to "democracy" in most countries--will have some simi- larities to North American democratic institutions, but will have some significant differences, The most im- portant variance probably will be, that significant 5 ET RP ALA 77-053 18 August 1977 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791 NR policies and decisions will be made by the military either as direct participants in government or as back- ground directors. 3.5(c) a RP ALA 77-053 18 August 1977 6 1 Approved for Release: 2018/10/02 C06627791