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December 20, 2016
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November 15, 2006
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July 1, 1977
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Approved 0Release 2007/03/06: CIA-RDP79R03A002800070001-7 25X1 Top Secret Interagency Intelligence Cuban Support for Nationalist Movements and Revolutionary Groups Top Secret NI IIM 77- 1 -1 25X Cnn 147 Approved For Release 2007/03/06 : CIA-RDP79R00603A00280~6001- ? 25X1 Approved For Release 2007/03/06 : CIA-RDP79R00603AO02800070001-7 Approved For Release 2007/03/06 : CIA-RDP79R00603AO02800070001-7 Approved Release 2007/03/06: CIA-RDP79R0 3A002800070001-7 Top Secret CUBAN SUPPORT FOR NATIONALIST MOVEMENTS AND REVOLUTIONARY GROUPS * SUMMARY During the past several years, the Cuban government has provided only very limited and selective support for Latin American revolu- tionary groups. - There has been no evidence of Cubans operating with any insurgent group since 1971. - There has been no evidence of Cuba supplying any rebel group with arms or ammunition in the last few years. - Cuban training in guerrilla methods and tactics continues at a modest level, but there is no indication that this has increased significantly and we do not expect it to. Cuban- trained guerrillas leaving the island, ostensibly to return to their native land. - Cuba has provided limited financial assistance to some groups, but most have been forced to rely upon other means to meet the bulk of their financial requirements. Cuban assistance to such organizations seems designed principally to maintain contacts and, in some cases, to keep the groups alive. Cuban policy has turned toward channeling assistance to local Communist parties and encouraging broad alliances of "progressive" political groups. In Latin America, Havana has concentrated on: - building diplomatic ties and participating in regional and sub- regional economic organizations; and - providing technical assistance and/or limited military training to a few left-leaning governments, e.g., Guyana and Jamaica. Approved For Release 2007/03/06 : CIA-RDP79R00603A002800070001-7 Approved For R se 2007/03/06: CIA-RDP79R00603A 800070001-7 Top Secret I Cuban support for national liberation movements in Africa is of a different genre, since in recent years it has been directed against colonial regimes and white-minority governments in Rhodesia and Namibia which are opposed by all independent black African states. Cuban aid to Angola's governing MPLA is a special case which: - began as support for an anticolonial nationalist movement operating against the Portuguese, - later supported the MPLA against rival nationalist movements and other foreign intervention as Neto seized power in Luanda following the collapse of Portuguese resistance, and - finally became primarily a counterinsurgency effort against continuing guerrilla operations by three nationalist groups that survived the MPLA's assumption of power from the Portuguese. The South African invasion of late October 1975 hastened the recognition of the MPLA government by other African states, thus somewhat belatedly but conveniently lending some substance to Cuban claims that the dispatch of combat troops was in response to a request from a legitimate government. As in Latin America, the Cubans have emphasized development of diplomatic relations with African states and assistance to politically sympathetic governments. There is little or no evidence that the Cubans are directly supporting subversion against established black African regimes. In the Middle East, Cuba has provided token assistance to Palestinian nationalist groups. Reports that Cubans are training the Algerian-backed Polisario movement in the Western Sahara remain unconfirmed. Approved For Releo Top Secret se 2007/03/06 : CIA-RDP79R00603A002800070001-7 Approved FRelease 2007/03/06: CIA-RDP79R0 Top Secret 1 3- DISCUSSION Background 1. Fidel Castro has been involved in subversion and armed struggle since 1947. Almost every Latin American country has felt his interference at least once. His involvement has ranged from personal participation in an expedition launched against dictator Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic in 1947 to sending Cuban combatants to operate with insurgent groups in Guatemala, Venezuela, and Bolivia. Castro's foreign policy is strongly influenced by his perception of Cuba as the first country in Latin America to be liberated from imperialism and of himself as the individual chiefly responsible for that achievement. Therefore, Castro views himself and Cuba as pathfinders for the "liberation" of Third World nations. 2. In the early and mid-1960s Castro attempted to employ-on a massive scale in Latin America and a more limited scale in Africa-the same tactics that had brought his success in Cuba. Havana became the center for subversive operations against other Latin American countries. Cuban support-including money, weapons, training, propaganda, and Cuban personnel-was provided to revolutionary groups in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Central America, and the Caribbean. During this period Latin Americans received guerrilla warfare training and political indoctrination in Cuba. With the single exception of his struggle in Cuba, however, Castro's revolutionary efforts in Latin America have amounted to an unbroken string of failures. 3. Castro's subversive activities were not confined to Latin America; he became involved with revolu- tionary movements in Africa in 1961 when the Cubans extended limited guerrilla warfare training to a few African extremist groups. Links were established with guerrilla organizations in Angola, Portuguese Guinea, Cameroon, Congo (Leopoldville), Rhodesia, Zanzibar, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. advisers, led by Che Guevara, train and assisted the Congolese rebels in the Congo rebellion during the mid-1960s. Some of the Cubans became involved in Approved For Release 2 the fighting as combatants. Diplomatic relations were established with Algeria, Congo (Brazzaville), Ghana, Tanganyika (later Tanzania) and Guinea which served as centers for Cuban activities in the region. 4. The Tricontinental Conference, held in Havana in late January 1966, was an effort by Castro to assume a major role in the leadership of revolutionary movements throughout the world. The conference was attended by more than 500 delegates and resulted in the formation of the African-Asian-Latin American Peoples Solidarity Organization (AALAPSO). This body was created to coordinate the activities of all antiimperialist rebel movements. Havana was desig- nated as the location of the organization's headquar- ters and a Cuban was appointed AALAPSO Secretary General. At the conclusion of the conference, Cuba sponsored the formation of the Latin American Solidarity Organization (LASO) with headquarters also in Havana. Controlled by Cubans, it was designed to act as a support mechanism for Latin American guerrilla groups. 5. During the latter part of the 1960s, however, the Cubans experienced a series of setbacks. Guevara's effort to organize a revolutionary offensive in Africa failed and he returned to Cuba in 1966. In 1968, most Cuban advisers in Congo (Brazzaville) were ex elled. Similar reversals occurred in Latin America. 6. The Guevara fiasco is generally seen as a watershed in Cuba's foreign policy, but it was not the only factor that influenced Castro's decision to alter his tactics. He was experiencing strong pressure from 1 LL D07/03/ii0`g':S61 !RDP79R00603A002800070001-7 25X1 25X1 25X1 25X1 Approved For Rose 2007/03/06 : CIA-RDP79R006031 800070001-7 Top Secret the USSR to abandon guerrilla movements and cooperate with local Communist parties. Cuba was virtually isolated from the rest of the hemisphere and the Cuban economy was experiencing serious prob- lems. Consequently, in 1968 Castro began to disengage from the guerrilla groups and improve his ties with Communist parties in Latin America. At the same time he sought to establish government-to-government contacts with "progressive" countries in Latin Amer- ica and elsewhere. 7. The process of disengagement provoked com- plaints from leaders of guerrilla movements in Venezuela and Colombia. Castro responded with a bitter attack on his critics, stating that true revolution- aries willing to fight and die could always count on Cuba's assistance, but pseudorevolutionaries who fumbled away opportunities would get nothing. Fidel's break from large-scale support of violent revolution was neither quick nor clean. He was impressed by the headline-grabbing exploits of the Tupamaros in Uruguay and Carlos Marighella in Brazil, and for a short period espoused and promoted urban terrorism. This too was deemphasized, however, following the death or capture of important pro- Cuban rebel leaders in Bolivia, Brazil, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Panama in late 1969 and 1970. 8. To project a more respectable image, Havana began a gradual expansion of cultural, sports, and technical exchanges with other nations. The Cubans attended an increasing number of international meetings and conferences. Economic, medical, and technical assistance became a standard Cuban offering to underdeveloped nations in Africa and the Carib- bean; trade ties and eventually diplomatic relations followed. The new policy achieved rapid success. The Cuban government now has diplomatic relations with 11 Latin American and 34 African nations. The Current Picture: Overview 9. The Cuban government is still providing limited support to a variety of revolutionary and terrorist groups, but, e believe that the level of assistance is neg igi a compared to Castro's revolutionary offen- sive of the 1960s. Havana is probably in contact with most of the remaining guerrilla movements in Latin America, but there has been no evidence of direct Cuban participation with an active guerrilla force Training in guerrilla methods and terrorist tactics in Cuba is continuing, but at a reduced level. Propaganda support does not compare with the vitriolic hyperbole of the past. The two Cuban-created revolutionary support organizations, LASO and AALAPSO, have been allowed to wither. Partly because of Havana's reduced support and partly because of their own desire to function independently, the revolutionary groups still in existence have acquired necessary arms and funds by robberies and kidnapings. 11. Despite Havana's success in establishing formal diplomatic ties with many governments in Latin America, Castro retains deep antipathy toward several regimes. His strongest enmity is reserved for the military government of Chile. After the overthrow of the Allende government in September 1973, Castro promised the antijunta Chileans "all the aid in Cuba's power to provide." The divisions within the Chilean left, however, have forestalled any significant Cuban operations against the Pinochet regime. 12. So far, Havana has given limited support to the Chilean revolutionaries. There is little doubt that the Cubans maintain contact with most of the antijunta groups. 2 AAproved For Release 2007/ddfhgeGrllA-RDP79R00603A002800070001-7 Approved Ffelease 2007/03/06: CIA-RDP79R00 A002800070001-7 13. Other reporting indicates that the Cubans have little interest in sponsoring a major campaign against the Chilean regime. Guatemalan rebels with considerable material assist- ance as well as training and guidance. The rebels were soundly thrashed by government security forces in the late 1960s and since 1970 Cuba has sharply reduced its assistance. Nevertheless, there is evidence of some Cuban support for both the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and the Guatemalan Army of the Poor (EGP). Uruguay 14. Elsewhere, there is evidence of meager Cuban support for revolutionary groups opposing rightist military governments. 15. There has been little evidence of Cuban subversive actions against Bolivia since the Banzer regime took power in 1971. Some propaganda support has been provided the Bolivian National Liberation Army (ELN) since its resurrection from the Guevara 16. In past years Guatemala was a major focal point for Cuban subversive efforts in the hemisphere. Its importance to Castro as a target was exceeded only by Venezuela and Bolivia prior to 1967. Cuban involve- ment with Guatemalan subversives began in 1962 and during the rest of the decade, Havana supplied the 20. The Cubans, however, may have reduced or suspended their contacts with Argentine subversives since mid-1976. 25X1 25X1 3 A rove For Release 2007/03/~f St,`fAt RDP79R00603A002800070001-7 Approved For Rose 2007/03/06: CIA-RDP79R00603f 800070001-7 while the primary emphasis is still aimed at aiding legitimate governments, guerrilla groups have not August two Cuban embassy employees were been foresaken. Support for the insurgents operating kidnaped and never found. against the white minority governments of Rhodesia ubans suspected that they were killed by and Namibia has increased sharply. There are rig tist a ements in the Argentine government. There probably a few hundred Cuban military personnel in have been no reports of Cuban involvement with Mozambique, some of whom are reported to be Argentine revolutionaries training and assisting the Zimbabwe People's Army. 21. In the Caribbean, Havana has provided support for proindependence groups in Puerto Rico; inde- pendence for the island has been a major Cuban propaganda theme since the early 1960s. The Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP), the largest of the proindependence groups, maintains a permanent representative in Havana. The Cubans have provided the PSP with extensive propaganda support, some financial assistance, and a limited amount of training. This training reportedly has included courses in urban guerrilla tactics, sabotage, and weapons handling. The The Current Picture: Africa and the Middle East 22. Havana's failures in Africa in the late 1960s prompted Castro to shift tactics in this region also. From 1971 to 1975 activities in the Middle East and Africa were oriented toward establishing political and economic ties with "progressive" governments. Small numbers of Cuban economic, and occasionally mili- tary, advisers were dispatched to assist with the problems of underdevelopment. Cuba simultaneously continued its support for the liberation movements operating against the Portuguese colonies and some of the Palestinian terrorist groups. Angola, Mozambique, and Namibia 23. Cuba's sudden military intervention in Angola in 1975 dramatically accelerated Havana's African involvement. This massive buildup of forces in Angola was followed by modest increases in the number of advisers assisting other governments in the region; Appr4 he Cubans apparently are giving some assistance to Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union which has set up a guerrilla training camp in Angola. The Cubans may have provided some training and logistics support for the Katangans who invaded Zaire. There is no credible evidence, however, .that any Cubans accompanied the insurgents into Zaire. 24. Havana sharply increased its aid to the South- West African People's Organization (SWAPO) follow- ing the visit of its leader, Sam Nujoma, to Cuba in October 1976. 25X1 25X1 J 25X1 25X1 The SWAPO guerrillas have 25X1 been cooperating with a joint Angolan-Cuban offen- sive against Jonas Savimbi's insurgent National Union forces still active in southern Angola. SWAPO will not be able to threaten Namibia until a secure base has been established in Angola. 25. The Cubans have been providing limited support to several Palestinian nationalist groups at 25X1 is aid reportedly includes military and 25X1 political training as well as propaganda support for the Palestinian cause. Although the majority of Cuba's assistance goes to Yasir Arafat's Fatah, the Cubans reportedly have also aided the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP) and the more radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. 4 ved For Release 2007/d3FO@e5 lA-RDP79R00603A002800070001-7 Approved Folelease 2007/03/06: CIA-RDP79ROO A002800070001-7 Top Secret 26. The Palestine Liberation Organization, which serves as an umbrella organization for most Palestinian commando groups, established a perma- nent office in Havana in 1974. I idel Castro has met with Arafat occasions, Nayif Hawatma leader o the PDFLP, visited Cuba last January and reportedly received a Cuban promise for continued training and logistics assistance. Approveq Western Sahara 27. There have been several reports that the Cuban government has provided training and logistics sup- port for the Algerian-backed Polisario movement which seeks independence for the Western Sahara. The area, formerly the colony of Spain, was parti- tioned by Morocco and Mauritania in 1976. The presence of Cubans has not been confirmed, but we annot rule out the possibility that a token number ay be involved in guerrilla training within Algeria. President Boumediene's strong nonaligned position and Algeria's capability to provide effective training would tend to rule out any more than symbolic Cuban assistance. 5 To Secret For Release 2007/03/06: CIA-RDP79R00603A002800070001-7 25X1 Approved For Release 2007/03/06 : CIA-RDP79R00603AO02800070001-7 Next 6 Page(s) In Document Exempt Approved For Release 2007/03/06 : CIA-RDP79R00603AO02800070001-7