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December 16, 2016
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January 6, 2005
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March 3, 1967
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Approved FoirRelease 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00900 00020004-6 ecret 25X1 DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE WEEKLY SUMMARY Special Report Christian Democracy in Latin America Secret N2 38 3 March 1967 No. 0279/67A Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05700020004-6 25X1 Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05700020004-6 Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05700020004-6 Approved For4Qelease 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-0092P 05700020004-6 SECRET 25X1 CHRISTIAN DEMOCRACY IN LATIN AMERICA The decisive victory of Eduardo Frei in the Sep- tember 1964 Chilean presidential election led many to hope that Christian Democracy would develop signifi- cantly throughout Latin America, competing with Com- munism on ideological grounds and offering an alterna- tive, democratic route to social and economic progress. No such trend has yet developed. The Christian Democratic movement's appeal is to students and middLe class, a relatively small percentage of the population in most Latin American countries. Its concepts of basic social reform and the dignity of the human person may appeal to the workers, but they still cast their vote on a pragmatic basis for the least objectionable of the established parties that have an immediate chance of governing. The movement's progress is likely to be hampered by its lack of strong leaders and effective labor or- ganizations to compete against the entrenched posi- tions of other political movements. Current Balance Sheet The Christian Democratic movement is generally agreed to be of current political signifi- cance in only four Latin American countries--Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and El Salvador. In only one of these--Chile-- is the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) the governing party. Frei's solid victory in the 1964 presi- dential election was followed by an even more impressive showing in the March 1965 congressional election. However, the party's reform program has run into dif- ficulty in the upper house of Congress, which is still con- trolled by the opposition; no progress has been made in weaken- ing Marxist domination of the urban labor force; and Frei's moderation has been increasingly challenged by the left wing of his own party, which may capture control in the next two or three years. The only other Christian Democratic party with a claim to a role in government is the one in Peru. It was brought into a pre-election coalition by the dominant Popular Action Party in 1963 and, although it gained only four percent of the votes, it holds two cabinet posts. Its voting strength has been weakened recently by the defection of a dissident faction which formed a separate Popular Christian Party. 1 SECRET Approved For Fkel ase 2005W IAR 26 1i-0092iA66f76k0004-6 Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927A005700020004-6 JH IAN C~EMQc L I AME ICI Country with active Christian Democratic Party O Country with weak Christian Democratic Party 0 Country without Christian Democratic Party EDUARDO FREI President of Chile, Latin America's Christian Democratic leader. RAFAEL CALDERA Venezuelan presidential aspirant and number-two Latin American Christian Democrat Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927A005700020004-6 Approved Foil '-Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-0092 05700020004-6 SECRET 25X1 Venezuela's Christian Demo- crats (COPEI) have strong hopes of duplicating the victory of the Chilean party in 1968 and appear to have narrowed the gap between their 22 percent of the elector- ate in 1963 and the governing Democratic Action's 32 percent. COPEI Secretary General Rafael Caldera, one of the few Latin American CD leaders of interna- tional stature, is expected to be the party's standard bearer in his fourth try for the presi- dency. He has recently come out in favor of a politically expe- dient move to the right, thus filling the vacuum of the center- right of the Venezuelan political spectrum and opening new sources of support. In El Salvador, the PDC garnered 31.2 percent of the votes in the March 1966 legisla- tive election and one of its leaders, Jose Napoleon Duarte, retained the mayoralty of San Salvador. In less than six years the PDC has become the leading opposition party. It has little chance of capturing the presi- dency in 1967, but should be a strong contender by 1972, with Notre Dame - educated Mayor Duarte the likely candidate. Applying even the most gen- erous criteria to the judgment of potential, there are not more than four other CD parties--in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Brazil, and Guatemala--that might develop as moderately important forces over the next five years. The Dominican Revolutionary Social Christian Party (PRSC), led by Coanabo Javier, has aban- doned, at least for the time being, the irresponsible policies it adopted after the April 1965 re- volt and has moved toward the po- litical center. The party has made its opposition to the Bala- guer government clear, but has also indicated that it intends to operate within bounds acceptable to the President. The PRSC hopes that this moderate line will in- crease its following and enable it to improve on the poor showing it made in the 1966 elections. The party has developed a small but talented cadre, primarily from the university ranks. The Panamanian PDC was reg- istered some five years ago and polled only 3.1 percent of the votes in 1964. Although it con- tinues a minuscule party, it has made significant organizational strides and its philosophy of social justice gives it roots lacked by most Panamanian parties, which are largely personalistic or tied to financial interests. The PDC is currently negotiating with the mass-based Panamenista Party of Arnulfo Arias--Panama's largest--in hopes of forming a coalition for the May 1968 elec- tions. The CDs have offered to provide the Panamenistas with much-needed administrative skills in return for a share of the as- sembly seats in the next election. A long-range goal would be to acquire support within Arias' party and inherit his mass fol- lowing when he passes from he scene. The Brazilian PDC polled only four percent of the vote in SECRET Approved FoPR asd 2005 2ALC 79-00%2 5900020004-6 Ank, Mk Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927A005700020004-6 SECRET 25X1 1962, but the party had signifi- cant strength in three important south-central states (Parana, Sao Paulo, and Guanabara). Like all other Brazilian parties, it was abolished during a political reorganization under the Castello Branco administration. Most of its members then affiliated with the progovernment ARENA party and campaigned under its banner in the November 1966 congressional elections. It is unlikely that there will be any significant ex- pansion in the number of politi- cal. parties--the new Brazilian constitution sets down stringent standards that virtually eliminate the possibility of a repetition of the former proliferation of parties. The former PDC has made no attempt to reconstitute itself, but its former members will prob- ably join with like-minded con- gressmen to pursue policies con- sistent with Christian Democratic ideology. The Guatemalan PDC was only recently recognized as .a legally as some streng in ETM youth and student movement and some growth potential among the campesinos who make up more than half the population. Current direction of the party leaves much to be desired; its leader, Rene de Leon, appears honest, but he has little organizational flair or popular appeal. With more vigo- rous leadership and the develop- ment of a middle-echelon cadre, the party might develop signifi- ca.ntly--particularly if the in- cumbent Revolutionary Party (PR) administration fails to resolve basic problems confronting it. The remaining nine Chris- tian Democratic parties--in Ar- gentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Uruguay--show scant promise of developing into forces of national importance over the next five years. Leadership of even modest stature exists only in Argentina (Salvador Alende, Horacio Sueldo) and Bolivia (Remo di Natale). Party Youth Wings As with all political groups in Latin America, the vast major- ity of CD party militants come from student organizations in the local universities. In most countries of the hemisphere, CD voting strength on the campus is much greater than the political strength of the parent party. A few examples illustrate this point: In Panama, the party polled 3.1 percent of the national vote in 1964 (and probably would poll not more than. 5 percent to- day), but its university youth got 12.8 percent in the January 1966 campus election and 24.4 percent in January 1967. The Dominican PRSC received 5.4 per- cent of the vote in 1962 (and its present strength could well be lower because of internal divi- sions and leadership conflicts), but its youth wing on the campus garnered 40.2 percent of the vote in May 1966. In Venezuela, COPEI polled 22 percent of the vote in 1963; .its student wing on the campus of Central University, however, polled 40.2 percent of the vote in 1966. SECRET Approved Fc - leas4e 209/j: P79-0"2M@ 057100020004-6 Approved FoaoRelease 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-0091x4005700020004-6 SECRET Several CD leaders, most notably Frei in Chile and Caldera in Venezuela, have expressed con- siderable concern over the grow- ing radicalization of party youth wings. In several countries the positions assumed by CD youth groups (or important wings) are almost indistinguishable from those of pro-Communist youth ele- ments. In Venezuela, the wing of the COPEI youth headed by Marta Sosa is so "far out" it has earned the sobriquet "the Astronauts." In Panama, the dominant wing of the CD youth has assumed positions at least as radical as the Communists. And in the Dominican Republic the Social Christian group in the Na- tional University, while differ- entiating itself from the Commu- nist students on certain issues, has frequently taken a parallel line. The great concern of respon- sible party leaders is that these students, as they progress from campus to parent party, will swell the ranks of the radical wings and push the parties further left. Other observers, however, expect the "hotheads" to mellow once they participate directly in party life and cope with hard political reality. Both views can be defended. Some mellowing is inevitable, but in the past ten years the demand for revolu- tionary (even convulsive) change has mushroomed--and among the youth the cry has assumed much greater proportions. The Labor Arm A major influence in tae development of the Christian Democratic movement will be the actions and attitudes of its labor organization, the Latin American Confederation of Chris- tian Trade Unionists (CLASC;. So far, as an organized force, it has been a dismal failure except among the campesinos. Its orly impact and sole purpose up t.c this time has been as a political action instrument with primary appeal to the working classes. In this role, it has earned a reputation for independent action and irresponsibility that has re- flected negatively on the whole movement despite CLASC's vigorous claims that it is not subservient to the Christian Democratic po- litical leaders. In spite of the apparent differences between CLASC and SECRET Approved Fot'RgPeasb 2005 E142LC1 79-0092 5800020004-6 Aft A Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927A005700020004-6 S EC RE`I' the CD movement, a closer and more formal relationship appears to be in the offing. Last April, officials of CLASC who are also officers of the Christian Demo- cratic parties met in Montevideo to arrange closer coordination between the two groups. To ac- complish this goal, they proposed that both the CD party labor de- partments and CLASC be granted formal representation in the Christian Democratic Organiza- tion of America (ODCA), the re- gional grouping formed in 1949. The plan has not yet been implemented, but eventual ODCA approval appears likely. Closer CLASC identification with the CD political movement may have an adverse effect on CD youth wings, which--being further left than their parent parties--have identified more closely with CLASC's revolutionary image. Since the first of the year, CLASC has intensified its ef- forts to create its own youth groups and appears to have made some progress, especially in Central America. The Role of ODCA In its 17 years of existence, ODCA has not evolved beyond a sort of fraternity held together more by negative factors such as hostility to the US, to capital- ism, and to the oligarchies, than by any basic agreement among its members on doctrine or principles. Moreover, the individual parties have made very clear that they will fight any effort--whether impose standards and controls that will impinge on their freedom of action. In general, ODCA takes a slightly less hostile line on US policies than that of its member parties. This probably results from the influence of its president, Rafael Caldera of Venezuela. The organization's two vice presidents are Hector Cornejo Chavez of Peru and Rene De Leon of Guatemala. Tomas Reyes Vicuna of Chile is its secretary general. 25X1 Only in Central America has there been any move toward a more cohesive unit geared to area problems. A smaller regional. group, the Christian Democratic Union of Central America, was or- ganized last July. It now has five member parties, in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, and a sixth may be 25X1 formed in Honduras. SECRET Approved Ffra gleap 2 Q11/RZ : PdWP79-0g9VA0065-T00020004-6 Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05700020004-6 Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05700020004-6 Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05700020004-6 SECRET The modest progress made by the Christian Democratic movement in the past two and a half years suggests that its development will be much slower and less ex- tensive than many anticipated in the first flush of enthusiasm following the Frei victory. One major problem is its failure to reach the lower so- cial classes and to develop a significant worker base. Its strength in the universities and its ability to compete with Communist groups on the campus create unfounded optimism. The "inspirational" approach that attracts the college student has no comparable appeal among the inadequately educated lower classes. Neither does a victory for one party seem likely to have 25X1 SECRET Approved #$Mele?se dff?74'dADP79 O fAbd5700020004-6 Approved Fo elease 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-0092 005700020004-6 SECRET any major effect on the fortunes of another. What appears to emerge from CD gains or losses in recent elections is rather solid evidence that the national parties will sink or swim on the basis of their own leadership abilities, organizational talents, and approach to local issues. In- ternational events count for lit- tle, and the influence of ODCA and the successful CD parties for even less. 25X1 25X1 SECRET Approved For I e1gese 2005/arl TACIA4MM-00937 }57&9020004-6 Aft~ Approved For Release 2005/01/27: CIA-RDP79-009275700020004-6 SECRET SECRET Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05700020004-6 S'ecr rved For Release 2005/01/27: CIA-RDP79-00927A0Q 00020004-6 Secret Approved For Release 2005/01/27 : CIA-RDP79-00927AO05700020004-6