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December 20, 2016
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August 17, 2006
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September 4, 1973
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25X1 Approved For Release 20D7102 08:CIA-RDPBST00675ROD2DOD120D44.5 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002Q01200e44-5 The Intensified Rivalry Between Brazil and Argentina -'C IAA DOCUMBIT SEVJCES BRANCU r LE COPY aid 1tJT DESTROY Secret O/NE Memorandum 4 September 1973 Copy No. Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 61 25X1 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 20 M 'EIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY OFFICE OF NATIONAL ESTIMATES 4 September 1973 THE INTENSIFIED RIVALRY BETWEEN BRAZIL AND ARGENTINA The intensified rivalry between Brazil and Argentina for leadership of South America, spurred on by the return to power of Juan Peron, could produces periodic sabre-rattling along the borders as well as diplomatic arid political confrontations on a variety of fronts. The rivalry 0.17, complicate US relations with both countries and with the region as a whole. The principal challenge to the US will be to maintain cordial and productive ties with Brazil while keeping Argentina from becoming an implacable enemy of the US and a force for carrying all of the Spanish-American nations in that iirection. Thic mamorevuium waa prepared in the 0ffico of Nat~onut Eotimatoo and was dioauo'ad with appropriate offices in CIA. Conrranto may be addrooood to: SECRET Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 SECRET 1. Juan Peron's resumption of power in Argentina is a nightmare come true for Brazil's military leaders. They did not got along well with Argentina's other chiefs, but they were at least happy to see the Peronist movement excluded from the government. The Peronist victory at the polls was a nasty surprise for the Brazilians, and, now that Peron himself is ready to resume the presidency, the Brazilians are especially concerned. 't'rey despise Peron and what he stands for, in particular his pointedly anti-Brazilian nationalism, his demagoguery, and his belief in a powerful labor movement. The Brazilians are worried about the security implications of having an implacable enemy back in power next door and the political implications of Peronist political attitudes infecting the Brazilian populace. In turn, Peron despises I,ne Brazilians and resents their accomplishments of recent years. On certain issues Peron may have gro1'n more mellow and cautious over time, but his firm conviction that Argentina must challenge Brazil for lcadc.,t ship in South America has apparently not diminished. 2. It does not take much to rekindle the bitter rivalry bet.wccr Argentina and Brazil. In effect, the t .v populations leave little in cor:rrxn except their 'Wrder. Argentina with its Spanish licri:age, European population, and co-stopolitan : ojihi5ticatit,rt cor r,a st . sharply with lir.azil's Afrt~-i'ortuluc c heritage, r.ulti-racial population, and leave grown culture. Argentina has a huge middle class ilnd a literacy irate of ove . 90 I rA-cnt; 1tr3: il's raiddlc class is X11, the gh grow ng, ? ~itti Approved For Release 2007 A . 9 a-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 SECRET and the literacy rate in Brazil is barely above 50 percent. The Brazilians consider the Argentines haughty, patronizing, and racist; the Argentines see the Brazilians as mongrel and uncultured. They are classic enemies. 3. For well over a century, the course of Argentine-Brazilian diplomacy has been one long struggle fnr leadership on the continent. They fought two wars over Uruguay in the nineteenth century, and, although they have not come to blows since, thoy have almost invariably been part of opposing alliances. For geopolitical reasons, Argentina has been allied most often with Peru, whereas Brazil has seen its interests generally coincide with those of Chile. The so-call buffer states between Brazil and Argentina (Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay) have been the chief targets of the various power struggles. 4. During the years of the first Peronist 'ovcrnment (1946-1955), Argelitina had clear- superiority in the economic area was by far the predominant power ir. the southern cone of South America. 'this is no longer the case. Brazil's ccon'xisy is booming, and its industrial exports arc expanding rapidly; Argentina is suffering from a frustrating pattern of stop and go growth and high inflatlor.. Moreover, Brazil's rdlitary?ir oscd political stability centrastrs sharply with the chiotic r^.anruvcring f; Atgcntinc politics. The acccx-panying Brazilian dyna,-lir~i and .;elf-ccni ide; c ,a led to ignificar,t change s in its rely ions with its rxihber s. Approved For Release 2007/0b ) !AIDP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 SECRET 5. Brazil has used its now economic might and political energy to become the predominant outside power in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. In May 1973, Brazil and Paraguay agreed to build the world's largest hydroelectric power plant at Itaipu despite strenuous objec- tions :From Argentina. Brazil offered Paraguay improved outlets for its exports and promised to purchase nearly all of the power generated by Paraguay's share of the complex. The Argentines, worxicd about jeopar- dizing clams on the lower Parana River, simply could not match Brazil's offer, In the last few months, brazil has also strengthened its eco- nomic and political ties with Bolivia. Brazil has agrecd to construct rr steel mill in Bolivia and a gas pipeline from Santa Cruz to Sao Paulo; ..vid Bolivia's Preside'it Banzcr, fearful that the friendship of the Argentine government Could no longer be counted on with Peron back in power, has agreed to move closer to Brazil diplomatically. In Uruguay, the ilrazilians have close tics with the anny, in part because of earlier assistance in coping with the Tupm :o terrorist:;. 0. ?il;c tram;-,bn:izonic highways, aside from opening new pcrspcc- t.ivc:; tar ccon,c ;air growth, are projecting Brazilian influence to and ~cnc uclna, the Guyazaas, and Colombia. And Brazil liar. made or rturr: to 111 the South k.iericunt countries with iLc:ah1c fptrolrurti ~IeposIts. tcazil is helping :t (incita~0ing t't?a:c':itel.a, i'oliVia, and l.c;u.a~'.or) to -xp1ot for oil and arranging to 1arC1a a=e l;4rtiv qt antt i t it+:-. of whatever Approved For Release 2007/&2JO? UA'~ZDP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 SECRET is discovered. All of this makes the Argentines extremely uncomfortable. The press in Buenos Aires continually harps on the dangers of Brazilian expansionism and makes a big point of supposed threats to Argentine security interests, such as proposed Brazilian expeditions to Antarctica and the planned launching of communications satellites. 7. The Argentines are also a :tremely sensitive to close tics be- twuen Brasilia and Washington. From the vantage point of Buenos Aires, it looks as though the US has chosen Brazil as its representative in the Southern Ilemisphore. In this context, th'. Argentines describe the Brazi- lia i role as "sub-imperialist". Every t ;ono a LIS official praises Brazil for its economic growth, political stability, and favorable attitude toward foreign investment, the Argentine -- shudder. President Medici's triumphal trip to Washington in December 1971 was especially galling, because it conjured up images of the US and Brazil combining; forces to keep other Sot' h American countries in check. 8. In retaliation, the Pcronists m v talking about leading a ?,trcngtheaacd union of Spanish-American nations. They are trying to join the Andean Pact, and are busily lobbying among its wi,hers in an {-ffor*_ ro erect barriers against Brazilian cconmic expansion and pel:- ti+cal in;1uc;ace. They are i ishit ., the 14-TV Ont Ole cr mt.ric. rxj t uvrk toor.ctlhcr to withstand pres=urrs of the US- = raz a l al l ianCe :~ta~1 tl:c;.` a: e wi3a;aine c?' ; : - 1 articaalarl'- in -tai 1e and Pena. Approved For Release 2007 :Fli-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 SECRET 9. 'Do Poronists are also pressing for unity of the labor move- ment in South /'unorica. Their call for a new labor central is not-. likel;r to got very far, but it is the sort )f initiative that irritates and worries the Brazilian military. Brhzil,'s planners know that it would he difficult to maintain high rates of economic growth if Brazilian labor unions became vigorous and demanding like their counterparts in Argentina. Consequently, the Brazilian government will be anxious to coin-ter any Argentine moves that smack of international syndicalism. 10. Argentina's relations with Chile have improved over the last few years, in laigc part because both countries feel an urgent need to seek allies. Chile also %las tense relations with Brazil and worries about Brazilian intervention in its internal affairs. Argentina has consistently extended credit to Allende' s regime, and trade between the two countries is extensivo, despite the chaotic economic situation in Santiago. Allende himself was the featured guest when Hector Cmnpora was sworn in as I'resi- dent. 'T'hus, despite their ideological differences, the Argentine and (iii lean govotwnnnts find it mutually advantageous to cooperate. Peron is l il:.ely to develop his own close relations with Allende because he l- r orally syrjaathizes with Allende's plight and feels thrcate eel by the c:l onc tics between the tt5 and Brazil. 11. nc I;ra:i :1:,?r gove nwcnt 1= ..'orricd about Argentine tics with I.c~43' t ailc and 01ba, and is rccxcupied '$tli talc subject of leftist Approved For Release 2007/0;;WA'DP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 2007/0ffl~ P85T00875R002000120044-5 countries with subversive inclinations. The Brazilians assume that Brazilian terrorists will be able to obtain a safe haven and physical support in Argentina, and they are worried about sabotage of the hydroelectric complex at Itaipu. Consequently, the Brazilians are stepping up their intelligence activities in Argentina. They also plan to maintain contacts with those elements of the Argentine armed forces who oppose the Peronists, expecially in the navy. 12. Outright military hostilities between the two countries are only an outside possibility, but the governments are in the process of reorienting and modernizing their armed forces just in case. Brazil plans to reinforce its units in Southern Brazil, to tighten border controls, to begin surveillance of suspicious Argentines in Brazil, and to purchase more military equipment. Argentina has reoriented sonic army divisions which noi"mally face the Chilean border, and is propar-ing to increase substantially its force of M41 light tanks. President Medici has told advisors that he is opposed to moving against neighboring countries, but that he is in favor of more contingency plasm i gig. As an example of Brazilian concern, Argentina has been chosen as the simulated target of the Brazilian Navy war games for 1973. In this atmosphere, it would not be surprising to sec periodic sabre- ratt I ing along the borders, whether from deliberate provocations or irgsulsivc reactions. Approved For Release 2007/0S j4RbP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 SECRET 13. US relations with Argentina are bound to worsen in any. case, as the Peronist Government seizes every opportunity to emphasize. its in- dependence in foreign affairs (e.g., its recent adhesion to the group of non-aligned nations). Even- the Brazilians on occasion will find it useful to take anti-US positions on issues of economic independence and national pride. Nevertheless, the intensified rivalry between Brazil and Argentina will complicate IT., relations with both countries and with the region as a whole. If the US becomes. more closely identified . with the Brazilian government, this will exacerbate the rivalry in the. southern cone and make it easier for Argentina to pull the ;spanish-speaking . coun- tries together. An expanded Andean Pact, determined to counterbalance the economic and political influence of both the US and Brazil, could cause serious problems for the US. On the other hand, any US overtures to Peron that emphasize Argentina's leadership role in South America. would infuriate the Brazilians, our most reliable and formidable allies in the area. 14. The US has little leverage with which to dampen down the quarrelsomeness of Brazil and Argentina. Both governments will be in the market for more military equipment and would prefer to buy it in the US, but there are plenty of potentiai sellers in Western Europe. too. At meetings of the OAS and other international bodies, where Argentine Approved For Release 2007/0 cAcCtie~RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 Approved For Release 2007/02/08 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000120044-5 SECRET and Brazilian diplomats will be competing for influence, the US will often be caught in the middle and. be unable to acconm,todate both coun- tries at the same time. IS . The principal challenge for the US will be to maintain the friendship of Brazil while keeping. Argentina. from becoming an impla-. cable enemy of the US and a regional. leader in that direction. Perhaps some points could be scored indirectly in the OAS framework by privately encouraging other South American countrie3 to work to assuage the Argentine-Brazilian rivalry, in the name of regional peace and harmony. Such an approach would. require. a public reduction of US emphasis on Brazil as the favored South American son. Approved For Release 2007/0 $'yU-TA'RDP85T00875R002000120044-5