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December 12, 2016
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July 9, 2001
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April 30, 1975
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Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Secret No Foreign Dissem NIL gup~~ H Secret 126 April 30, 1975 No. 0507/75 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Latin American Trends Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 No Foreign Dissem/ControZZed Dissem Warning Notice Sensitive Intelligence Sources and Methods Involved NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION Unauthorized Disclosure Subject to Criminal Sanctions Classified by 005827 Exempt from general declassification schedule of E. 0. 11652, exemption category: ? 5B (1), (2), and (3) Automatically declassified on: Date Impossible to Determine Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET LATIN AMERICAN TRENDS This publication is prepared for regional specialists in the Washington com- munity by the Western Hemisphere Division, Office of Current Intelligence, with occasional contributions from other offices within the Directorate of Intelligence. Comments and queries are welcome. They should be directed to the authors of the individual articles. CONTENTS April 30, 1975 Panama: Government Seeks Treaty Support ............................... 1 Peru: Still a Part-Time President ............................. 3 Brazil: Communists and Congress .............................. 6 Argentine President Strengthened .......................... 7 Colombia: Painful Memories ............. 9 Sugar Producers To Seek Price Stabilization ......................... 11 Ecuador: A Possible Image Problem--Again ........................ 13 SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET Panama: Government Seeks Treaty Support Top administration officials have begun a series of visits that will eventually include most hemisphere nations in a quest for new commitments of support for Panama's position in the canal treaty negotiations with the US. The round of trips was begun by the team of Vice President Sucre and Foreign Minister Tack, who on April 17 delivered to Brazilian President Geisel a letter of appreciation from General Torrijos for Brasilia's dem- onstrations of support. Later in April Tack met with two of the chiefs of state who had. been present at last month's summit meeting in Panama City: Colombian Pres- ident Lopez and Venezuelan President Perez. The foreign minister told the press that in addition to informing the two leaders about the status of the canal issue, he had discussed Panama's aspiration to gain a seat on the UN Security Council this fall and the meeting of the OAS scheduled for May. The Panamanians almost certainly hope to obtain an endorsement of their canal aspirations at that gathering. The canal negotiations was one topic covered by Torrijos during a whirlwind-visit to Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala on April 23-5. In the case of Guatemala, however, the trip may have proved to be counterproductive, as the Laugerud government has strongly criticized Torrijos' violation of a promise not to reveal the substance of the discussions to the press. One reason for the emphasis on securing com- mitments of foreign support is concern about the op- position to a new treaty in the US. The Panamanian media, which usually reflect the government's atti- tudes, are closely following developments in Congress and in Indochina to determine their impact on the treaty negotiations and the subsequent ratification April 30, 1975 -1- SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/SECREDP79T00865A000800350001-6 process. Apparently reflecting this uncertainty, Panamanian officials both publicly and privately maintain that the US executive branch should con- tinue to negotiate in good faith even if the pros- pects for congressional ratification are not bright. Torrijos' primary objective is still to get a domes- tically defensible draft treaty; he feels that at that point his international support could help persuade the Congress to ratify the pact. (CONFIDENTIAL/NO FOREIGN DISSEM) April 30, 1975 -2- SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET Peru: Still a Part-Time President We continue to receive reports that President Velasco has been unable to resume his full duties as chief executive, following a stroke last February 28. Velasco attended a cabinet meeting earlier this month and met with the Australian prime minister in April 24, but information from in- dicates that top military leaders doubt that he is as strong as he would like them to believe. There is no move yet to force the President to step down, and cabinet officers, including Prime Min- ister Morales Bermudez, feel that direct action against Velasco at this time would be unnecessary and counter- productive. They apparently will try instead to en- courage Velasco's family in efforts to pressure him to lessen his workload or relinquish power. Morales Bermudez' influence continues to grow in contrast to Velasco's sagging credibility. Not only is the prime minister able to draw on long-standing respect for his competence, but many officers apparently find his low-key, professional style of leadership a welcome change from Velasco's high-handed, arbitrary manner. We have received few details on how much power Morales Bermudez has exercised during Velasco's illness and lengthy convalescence. The picture is further clouded by Velasco's efforts--certain to continue--to impress those around him with his will to remain in power. We continue to believe, however, that Morales Bermudez will gradually assume increasing responsi- bilities and solidify his position as Velasco's suc- cessor. Time is working against the'President, and each day he is unable to reassert his authority lowers the odds that he will be able to hold on to an effec- tive leadership position for an extended period. (SECRET/NO FOREIGN DISSEM/CONTROLLED DISSEM) April 30, 1975 -3- SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 25X6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Next 1 Page(s) In Document Exempt Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET Brazil: Communists and Congress Security officials are seeking to discredit a number of opposition congressmen by publishing a list of legislators said to be linked to the illegal Communist Party. The information is based on exten- sive interrogations of an arrested former congress- man who was a member of the Communist central com- mittee and provided information on party organization and activities. The published information says the Communist Party entered into contact with the congressmen prior to last fall's elections, in which the op- position made substantial gains, and supported their candidacies. Those named are among the most out- spoken critics of government policies and alleged abuses of power, including torture and the holding of political prisoners. Although no charges have been placed against the congressmen, security of- ficials have called for the arrest of five other in- dividuals said to be Communists. The security officials may hope eventually to force the cancellation of the mandates of at least some of the congressmen mentioned, thus depriving the opposition of some of its most effective leaders. There is, of course, precedent for removing members of congress. One deputy was stripped of his mandate as recently as last year and imprisoned after pub- licly insulting the visiting Chilean head of state. Security officials undoubtedly realize that they need a much stronger case than they now appear to have to press for the ouster of one or more con- gressmen, given the climate of political liberali- zation fostered by President Geisel. Thus they may be content to let their recent action serve merely as a warning against further civilian attacks against them. (CONFIDENTIAL) April 30, 1975 S-6- Approved For Release 2001/08/O0RCIA RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET Argentine President Strengthened President Peron has emerged relatively unscathed from a series of meetings with labor and political leaders over the past three weeks. This, plus the fact that Mrs. Peron has gotten her wishes on the line of presidential suc- cession, has strengthened her position considerably. The meetings were held against a backdrop of rising criticism of Mrs. Peron's leadership and the govern- ment's inability to halt the economic decline. There were rumors that a dramatic con- frontation would occur with labor bosses and politicians pushing for Lopez Rega's ouster. Some thought the military might join the campaign. Several sources also reported that labor was planning to demand a larger role in policy making. President Peron Addressing Labor Leaders Some of these issues were raised during the sessions but the outcome was generally inconclu- sive and anticlimactic. Criticism was aimed in Lopez Rega's direction and there were complaints about Gomez Morales' handling of the economy. The participants also pointed to the absence of pres- idential consultations with them. Mrs. Peron re- sponded by stoutly defending all her ministers-- particularly Lopez Rega and Gomez Morales--and April 30, .1975 -7- SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET promising to meet with her interlocutors more often. An important factor in the turnabout of Mrs. Peron's political fortunes was the Peronist vic- tory--however modest--in the provincial elections in Misiones on April 13. There was great fear in Peronist circles that leftists would make a good showing. When they failed, Lopez Rega was credited with masterminding the defeat. He also undoubtedly manipulated his son-in-law's reelection on April 25 to the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies, where he now stands next in line for the presidency. Lopez Rega's roughshod tactics in the bal- loting for congressional offices will cause new strains in the government's political coalition, already beset by economic problems and labor's cam- paign for a greater share of power. Despite all this, public dissatisfaction with the government will have to worsen considerably before the Pres- ident--or Lopez Rega--is seriously challenged. (SECRET/NO FOREIGN DISSEM) April 30, 1975 -8- SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET Colombia: Painful Memories Colombia's state-owned radio network has re- ported the alleged political murder of a prominent Conservative Party leader. Such a report--partic- ularly if true--must recall to many Colombians the violent 1940s and 1950s, a period during which vir- tually open warfare between Conservatives and Lib- erals claimed more than 100,000 lives. In the present case, Conservative Hernando Alvarez Correa, a former national congressman and former mayor of Caicedonia in the Conservative strong hold of Valle Department, apparently drove into an ambush on a highway near Caicedonia. Alvarez Correa was questioned last year in con- nection with the murder of a Liberal Party official in the same area. It is puzzling that the government radio net- work has suggested a political motivation for the murder, meaning in the Colombian context that it reflected differences between the two major parties rather than within either one of them individually. It is doubly puzzling in that the radio arm of the present Liberal administration has apparently im- plied that a Liberal killed Alvarez Correa. The explanation of this anomaly probably lies in the government's apparent effort to play up guer- rilla operations, crime, and even anti-government demonstrations to prepare the public for the imple- mentation of a state of siege. It seems likely that a network copywriter, aware of a general guideline to make the most of crime and violence, decided in- dependently to use the murder of a Conservative to rekindle fears of the inter-party Violencia. April 30, 1975 -9- SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET The murder itself was most likely a guerrilla attack, and can be dismissed as unfortunately one of many such operations in rural Colombia. The radio net- work's allusion to political violence can probably also be dismissed as the work of an overzealous writer. High administration officials must surely have seen to it by now that no further network mention of Liberal- Conservative warfare is made. Nevertheless, this pre- sumably spurious reference, after so long a period of relative silence, must have sent a chill through both parties and perhaps resensitized them to this old-- but not gone--issue. (CONFIDENTIAL) April 30, 1975 (-10 - Approved For Release 2001/> 8` A RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET Sugar Producers To Seek Price Stabilization According to a New York Times article on April 25, about 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries agreed during a closed-doors meeting last week in the Dominican Republic to lobby jointly at the May 15 meeting of the International Sugar Organization (ISO) in London for a stabilized sugar price at be- tween 20 and 30 cents per pound. (The price of sug- ar has recently been 20 to 25 cents, compared with an all-time high of 65 cents last November.) While the Times story has not yet been confirmed, there is considerable evidence that the Latin American and Caribbean producers do intend to seek at least a min- imum price structure. For the scheme to be success- ful and still avoid the label of an OPEC-style pro- ducer cartel, the ISO is an ideal forum because it includes a wide spectrum of both consumers and pro- ducers. The 20-cent minimum - 30-cent maximum is intended to ensure profitability for the producers without damaging long-term sales volume or imposing serious hardships on consumers. The nations represented at the meeting in the Dominican Republic account for about half of the world's sugar exports but only 30 percent of the world's production. Cuba attended; Chile, Uruguay, Grenada, and Surinam refused invitations; and the United States and the British, French, US, and other Dutch dependencies in the Caribbean were not invited. Prior to the meeting, Cuba and Mexico were the strong- est advocates of a sugar cartel, setting relatively high prices; even among those nations which ordinar- ily oppose such arrangements, however, there was general agreement on the need for somehow limiting the wide swings in sugar prices. April 30, 1975 -11- SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET Under the heading of related business and despite some serious disagreements, the delegates made substan- tial progress toward converting their ad hoc meetings into a permanent regional sugar institution., Proposed at the first producers' conference at Cozumel, Mexico, in November 1974, this new Group of Latin American and Caribbean Sugar Exporters will operate an information exchange service, promote technical cooperation, and do the groundwork for future regional and international sugar. The conferees approved a budget of $658,000 for a permanent secretariat in Mexico and agreed to finance expenditures by contributions based on each member's volume of sugar exports. At Brazil's insistence, draft statutes were dropped from the agenda and now will be transmitted to the individual governments for their com- ments. The secretariat will attempt to work out any ob- jections and to obtain consensus on any necessary modi- fications. (CONFIDENTIAL) April 30, 1975 -12- SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6 SECRET Ecuador: A Possible Image Problem--Again Civilian politicians and journalists are con- tinuing their anti-government propaganda campaign, encouraged by the Rodriguez administration's over- reaction to their preliminary attacks. In mid-April, two prominent lawyers who have apparently been politically inactive during the Rodriguez years were arrested for complicity in the distribution of a document purporting to list jour- nalists being paid by various government departments. One of the lawyers, Enrique Gallegos, may have been charged because he was a campaigner for populist Assad Bucaram, whose presidential potential in 1972 caused Rodriguez and the military to take power. The other, German Alarcon, has almost no political background, having headed the National Civil Registry and been an officer of the National Federation of Lawyers. The government has also issued a vaguely worded arrest order for Julio Prado, the widely respected ed- itorialist and former foreign minister who has been the most outspoken press critic of the regime. Prado is taking advantage of his situation by writing from underground. He has pledged to appear in court if he is charged with libel. After several years of increasing technocratic sophistication, the military government is reacting to the sudden thrusts of opposition with all the sen- sitivity it showed in its early months. The progress achieved during the years since then could be jeopard- ized if the public's present image of the administra- tion begins to sour. (SECRET/NO FOREIGN DISSEM) April 30, 1975 -13- SECRET Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : CIA-RDP79T00865A000800350001-6