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November 6, 1964
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61-12101 lease 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-0092-WO46001260090ember 1964 OCI No. 035%64A Copy No . SPECIAL THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT IN LATIN AMERICA OFFIC 25X1 GROUP I Exctuca c from automatic downgracing anti.:ectassification Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927AO04600120002-9 25X1 Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927AO04600120002-9 Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927AO04600120002-9 Approved For4a6lease 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-0092WO4600120002-9 SECRET THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT IN LATIN AMERICA The decisive victory of Eduardo Frei in the 4 September Chilean presidential election could mark the emergence of the Christian Democratic (CD) move- ment as an important political force, not only in Chile but elsewhere in Latin America. The CD move- ment is a relatively recent political development there, coinciding with the efforts of the Catholic Church in the early 1950s to apply its stated objec- tives of moderate social reforms throughout the hemi- sphere. Where the church made such efforts and where leaders of good caliber emerged, the CD parties have become, or seem likely to become, the political bene- factors of this new progressive church "image." Background Doctrinally, the Latin Amer- ican CD movement is similar to Christian Democracy in Western Europe., but with a more left-of- center orientation. The CD move- ment rejects both Communism and capitalism, advocating a "third force" based on papal encyclicals which encourage social, economic, and political reforms without "dehumanizing" the person and family. One of the fundamental ap- peals of the CD movement in Latin America is the fact that CD par- ties are based on an ideology. In this respect they differ from many Latin American political parties which have largely re- volved around some personality or have been in the pay of the local oligarchy. The CD move- ment's commitment to basic so- cial reform, combined with its opposition to Communism and "in- dependence" of the US, makes it very attractive to Latin Ameri- can student and middle class elements. Indeed, CD emphasis on the use of constitutional means to achieve major reforms creates a potentially vigorous competition for the Communists and other leftist-extremists. The CD movement is strl-ong- est in Chile, Venezuela, Pei-u, and El Salvador. Frei's im- pressive victory in Chile at- tests to CD strength there. In Venezuela, the CD party is known as the Independent Political and Electoral Organization (COPEI). COPEI, lately a junior partner in the coalition led by former president Betancourt, made gains in the general elec- tion last December. It has, however, chosen to remain inde- pendent of Raul Leoni's govern- ment, and will probably act as the "loyal opposition" until the next election in 1968. The Peru- vian CD party gained prominence in June 1963 when it joined an alliance with the reformist Popu- lar Action party, and contributed SECRET Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927AO04600120002-9 Approved For e''Iease 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927 AM04600120002-9 SECRET to President Fernando Belaunde Terry's margin of victory. The CD arty in El Salvador has be- come the only active, legal op- position party in the country. The Cl) movement in Latin America has its failings, how- ever. Chief among these is the tendency of some CD leaders to depreciate the Communist threat in Latin America. This is some- times accompanied by a decidedly anti-American viewpoint. Both factors may well be attributable to lack of political experience among the leaders of this rela- tively young movement, as well as 'to the CD "third-position" ideology. Political expediency sometimes makes it tempting to capitalize on popular sentiments by,being overly critical of "American imperialism" or overly tolerant of Communism and ultra- nationalism. Chile and Argentina provide examples of CD political inex- perience. CD labor leaders took their unions into Chile's most powerful, but Communist-domi- nated, labor confederation in 19612 in the mistaken view that they could work from within to take over the confederation. In- stead, they have had to follow the1 lead of the Communists. Simi- larly, CD political leaders in Argentina have relentlessly courted the Peronists until they are', now accused of advocating policies "more Peronist than Peron. " Alfredo Hoffman, president of the small CD labor federa- tion in Honduras,is a good il- lustration of irresponsibility within the CD movement. Hoffman has maintained close ties with Honduran Communist Party members, and made trips to Cuba in 1959 and 1961. He is violently anti- US, pro-Castro, and pro-Commu- nist. Similar misguided CD ideal- ists are liberally scattered throughout CD youth and student organizations. These relatively small, but vocal and determined, elements could eventually dis- credit and ultimately destroy a dynamic force for progress in Latin America if the more moder- ate CD leaders refuse to act to check them. Organized labor could con- tribute substantially to the de- velopment of well-organized CD political parties in the hemi- sphere,but it also offers the best chance for CD extremists to cause harm to the movement. Some of the more radical CD personali- ties are leaders in the Confedera- tion of Latin American Trade Unions (CLASC), the regional arm of the International Federation of Christian Trade Unions. CLASC leaders generally stress their anti-Communism, but equally em- phasize their opposition to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and its Latin American associate, the Inter-American Regional Or- ganization of Labor (ORIT). In some instances, such as at the SECRET Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927A004600120002-9 Approved Forlirlease 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927*A4600120002-9 SECRET fourth CLASC congress held in Caracas in Late 1962, ORIT has been attacked as a "tool of US capitaLism." In mid-1963 an as- sistant secretary of CLASC de- clared that ORIT is "an agency of the US State Department and an apologist for imperialism." More recent statements by CLASC leaders have condemned "the ma- neuverings of ORIT and the Ameri- can embassies in Latin America." CD unions have not developed significant strength in Latin America outside of Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. CD efforts among urban and rural labor contributed to the Frei victory in Chile, and strengthened the Romulo Betancourt administration in Venezuela. The CD labor confederation in the Dominican Republic is the second largest labor organization in the country with some 130 affil- iated unions. The emergence in 1963 and 1.964 of a dynamic, well- financed CD labor movement in Guatemala is considered by reli- able observers there to be the most important recent develop- ment in the field of organized labor. In addition, the CD la- bor arm in Nicaragua recently was characterized as the most vital non-Communist labor organ- ization in the country in terms of activity and effectiveness. Although labor is generally weak in Nicaragua under CD influence, it is seriously challenging the Communist-controlled General Con- federation of Labor for the Lead- ership of Nicaragua's Labor move- ment. National Appraisals Argentina: The Christian Democratic party (PDC) has failed to attract a significant elec- toral following. It has never received more than five percent of the vote in any of the five post- Peron elections. The uniqueness of the Argentine political sit- uation has forced the PDC to compete with the Peronists for the support of the country's la- bor movement. Its strategy of promoting Peronist-like catses has generally proved to be a failure, however. The PDC has also suffered from persistfnt party factionalism. Brazil: The Christian Demo- cratic Par y (PDC) is a relatively minor organization that has only Limited influence on national politics. It is essentially a regional party, with its strength concentrated in two or three southern states. Nevertheless, the PDC has steadily increased its electoral strength. Ire 1962, eighteen PDC members won seats in the 409-seat Chamber of Dep- uties, compared with eight in the 1958 elections and only three in 1954. In addition, the first CD senator was elected in 1962. One cabinet member of the present government--Transport Minister Juarez Tavora--is an active PDC member. The party is disunited over basic policy, with the mod- erate leadership being challenged by an extreme left-wing faction. Although there is little chance that the PDC will become a major political party in the near future, SECRET Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927AO04600120002-9 Approved For R%Iease 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-009204600120002-9 SECRET a few outstanding party leaders, such as Parana Governor Ney Braga, are likely to become prominent national leaders in the next few years. Bolivia: The Social Chris- tiOn Party SC) is a small, in- significant political organiza- tion without prospects for im- pr ving its position in the im- meciate future. It polled Less than 20,000 votes out of a total of ''over a million cast in the 1962 congressional election. Chile: The Christian Demo- cratic-7-a-rty (PDC) was formed ini1957, and soon became a domi- na.6t force among student groups. President Frei is more moderate inlhis views than some of his close party associates. The PDq program, however, calls for far,-reaching reforms Leading to brad economic, educational, and social development of Chile and redistribution of national in- come. The program includes ex- tensive policy changes relating to,taxation, money and banking, foreign trade, industry, mining, and agriculture. Colombia: The Christian Democratic - ocialist Party (PSDC) ha.s' remained small and generally uni!nfluential. In some instances itlhas supported Communist causes. Notable among these was its July 1963 support for the First Meet- ing for the Rights of Colombian Youth--sponsored and controlled by the Communists--and for send- ingl representatives to Havana in 19613 for Cuba.'s 26 July celebra- tidn. The PDC is expected, how- ever, to join right-wing politi- cal groups supporting Minister of War Ruiz if he decides to run for the presidency. Costa Rica: The Christian Democratic Party (PDC) is a small unregistered organization led by a professor at the University of Costa Rica. The party was founded in 1963. Cuba: If the present Com- munis regime were forced out of Cuba, a Christian Democratic movement would probably emerge as one of the more significant and influential of the many po- litica.l groups that would, be vying for influence and control. The existing Christian Democratic Movement (MDC) of Cuba was founded in early 1960 or late 1959 by democratic-minded Cuban middle- class leaders who had been back- ing Fidel Castro, but who were becoming alarmed at Communist inroads. The original MDC lead- ers included some of the most capable business and professional people then in Cuba. In 1961 and 1962 the MDC retained some resistance forces inside Cuba, but these are no longer opera- tional. The MDC as an organiza- tion is one of the Larger and more militant of the several hundred Cuban exile factions based in the Miami area. Dominican Republic: The SociaI Christian Revolutionary Party (PRSC)-.-which was formed in 1961--drew less than five percent of the total vote in the December 1962 elections, but the party has attracted many young and able members from its student organizations. The PRSC SECRET Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927AO04600120002-9 Approved For#i lease 2006/054 CCRIA-RDP79-00927%Q,'04600120002-9 professes to be anti-Communist, but its "anticapitalist" and "anti-Yankee" propaganda often rivals that of Communist and pro-Castro groups in the Domini- can Republic. In February 1964 an insurgent self-styled "left- ist revolutionary" group took over the PRSC national conven- tion, forcing the party's more moderate leadership to resign. Ecuador: Ecuador does not have a. CD party or movement in the usual sense of the term. The so-called Ecuadorean Social Christian Movement (MSC) has as- serted that its program is based on Christianity and on a. desire for economic and social justice. Considered within the context of a nation of pronounced reli- gious conservatism, however, this has generally meant a de- cidedly rightist orientation, out of step with the focus of the CD movement in the rest of Latin America. EL Salvador: The Christian Democratic Party (PDC) was founded in 1960 and has become the only really active, legal opposition party in the country. It is the only non-Communist party based on a, well--defined set of princi- ples rather than formed around a political personality. In the elections last March the PDC picked up 14 of the 52 seats in the legislature and the mayoralty of the capital of an Salvador. The party polled almost 26 per- cent of the vote; its strength lies principally in urban Santa Ana and San Salvador, but is growing rapidly in the rural areas. Guatemala: The small Guate- malan Christian Democratic Party (DCG) appears to be the most active, determined,and well-mo- tivated political group in the country. The Pera.lta government opposes the party, however, and may not permit it to participate in the next national elections. Despite the government's opposi- tion, the appeal of the DCG's philosophy is strong in Guatemala. The party has an excellent poten- tial to become an important po- litical force with broad appeal. Its important assets are a vigor- ous leadership, backing from the international Christian De,uo- cratic movement, and its support in the politically important university and labor movements. Haiti: An embryonic CD movemen exists in Haiti but, like all other opposition groups, it is suppressed and operates clandestinely. Honduras: There is no CD political-party in Honduras. A small Labor federation is affil- iated with CLASC, and is led by pro-Communist Alfredo Hoffman. Mexico: The ruling Irtsti- tutionalized Revolutionary Party's (PRI) long-standing domination of politics and labor has pre- vented the development of any significant CD movement in Mexico. SECRET Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927AO04600120002-9 Approved Fo lease 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-0092fi 04600120002-9 SECRET Nicaragua: The Social Chris- tian Party ) is a minuscule pol;itica.l organization, offering no threat to the established po- lit,ical parties. The PCS is both anti-Communist and anti- Somoza (the dominant family in Nicaraguan politics). It dis- plays little of the anti-US line followed by some CD adherents elsewhere in Latin America. The party is supported by Managua's leading opposition daily La. Pre,nsa. Panama: The small Panamanian Chris .ian Democratic Party (PDC) has been registered only four years. Its philosophy of social justice, however, makes it more soundly based than most Panama- nian parties which are largely personalistic or tied to finan- cia!1 interests. The PDC has sev- erall capable leaders who are out- spokenly anti-Communist. Paraguay: The Christian Democratic ocial Movement (MSDC), founded in 1960 with the passive blessing of President Stroessner, is of only minor significance in Paraguay. The party lacks com- petent leadership and, since 1962, has experienced harsh treatment from the government. Its strength lies with young professional peo- ple and students. Peru: The Peruvian Chris- tian Democrat Party (PDC) was founded in 1955, and gained po- litical prominence by joining a coalition with the Popular Ac- tion (AP) party to help elect Fernando Belaunde Terry to the presidency in June 1963. Two PDC members hold cabinet posi- tions, and another is one of Peru's two vice presidents. PDC support for AP-PDC candidates in Peru's muncipal elections in December 1963 contributed to the coalition's 60-percent nation- wide vote total. A PDC member was elected mayor of Lima in that election. Uruguay: The Christian Demo- cratic Party (PDC) has only lim- ited appeal in Uruguay. It is one of the few CD parties in Latin America which appears to be los- ing political strength. The party polled only 3 percent of the total votes cast in 1962 compared with 5 percent in 1954. The party is split by faction- alism. Party moderates are be- ing seriously challenged by a radical wing. Last August a group of disgruntled conserva- tives who had been unable to ac- cept the PDC's increasingly mili- tant public stands broke away to form a new group. Venezuela: The Social Chris- tian Party or Independent Polit- ical and Electoral Organization (COPEI) polled over 20 percent of the popular vote for its can- didate, Rafael Caldera, in the December 1963 elections. This was a 4-percent increase over the 1958 election. The party also won 49 of the 229 congres- sional seats compared to 25 in 1958. COPEI was a coalition partner in the administration of former president Betancourt; it has chosen to remain independent of the Leoni administration. SECRET Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927A004600120002-9 Approved ForQplease 2006/0 ~4RCIAA--RDP79-00927' 4600120002-9 SECRET Approved For Release 2006/05/24: CIA-RDP79-00927AO04600120002-9