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February 17, 1967
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,, Approved For Release 20D21g1130 : CIA~RDPBSTW675R002U0635tlD01.9 ' ",~ Approved For a ea 3Op2/Q1/3. :CIA-R P85T00875R00 ~CRI?;T ~~ 25X1A BOARD or NATIONAL ESTIMATES SPECIAL MEMORANDUlyI No, ~-67 IIRRARY f Il.E COPY 1~7F bruary 1907 DU NOT DESTROY ,_ ~, Approved For Release 2002/01/30 :CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001.-9 Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 S-E-C -R -E-T CENTRA L ~N'I'ELLIGENCE AGENCY 17 February 1967 SPECIAL MEMORANDUM N0. 1-67 SUBJECT: Latin American Insurgencies Revisi~ced* Generally speaking, i~asurgencies in Latin America have retrogressed over the past, year and their prospects for the coming year are not bright. Fidel Castro continues his efforts to stimulate revolution, 'but the Soviets, as well as most Com- mttnist leaders in the area, seem increasingly skeptical about the efficacy of this apr~roacb. and increasingly inclined to peaceful, united-Front tactics. Nonetheless, there is con, tinning potential for unrest and political d~.sturbances in a ntunber of Latin American countries which clo not now have active insurgencies; such conditions are particularly apparent in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti and Panama. +~ This memorandum was produced solely by CZA. It was prepared by the Office of National Estimates and coordinated with the Office of Current Intelligence and the Clandestine Services. GROUP 1 Excluded from automatic S-E-C -R-E-T downgrading and declassification Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 Approved For Release 2002/01/~~:~I~-_~~85T00875R002000150001-9 1. In the year since we published NIE 80~~0-66: Incur en.- in Latin ?.merica, t~~ insurgent movements which we discussed therein have not prospered. In general they have taken one step backwards anZt seem undecided about what to do with the other foot. In part this reflects a lack of popular response; in part the in- creased effectiveness of government security x'orces. 2. Although Fidel Castro has been continuing his verbal efforts to stimulate revolutions and has provided some additional aid and trainingr this has neither given mayor new impetus to elx?eady active insurgencies, nor caused any new one to take the field. Fidel has quite candid]~y explained the why of this: simply that Latin Amerman Communists presently include too few bold revolutionaries and too many pseudorevolutionists, defeat- ists and theoreticians. His approach is direct and simple; atop talking, get out there and fights and this action will sooner or later create the conditions for success. 3? To this, most other Latin American Communist leaders wearily reply that you can't start a successful revolut2on at the drop of a "barbudo." The m+sin Sob, the orthodox Communists say, is to develop revolutionary consciousness in people who are still unready for revoluticn; taking to the hills without this Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 . Approved For Release 2002/ /30 : CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 -C R-~-T extenoive groundwork is futile c~nd likely to end in ignominious defeat, as it did i~ Peru. Re~ectiag the universality of Ficlel's theory, these Communist leaders cite the vast differences among countrieo and conditio~~s for revolution. Lven one advocate oY armed struggle, a Guatemalan Communist writing in the October issue of Problems of Peace and Sorialiem, said "we believe that the people and their vanguard, the Marxist-Leninist party must find their own path of revolution. The specific national conditions, historical, traditions, and concrete s:ttuations in tLe different countries lay their imprint on each national revo- lutionary process." 4. C~oviet policy in Latin America appears to reflect increasing doubts about the efficacy o~? armed struggle as a revolutionary tgctie in most Latia countries. To Castro's dis- may, the USSR has sought to expand its commercial and diplomatic relations with Latin countries, iacluding the target of Fidel'8 more virulent propaganda, the Frei government of Chile. Moreover, Soviet propaganda emphasizes the political approach. In a review of the world Communist situations for example, a January Pravda article appraised the p~spects for Communism in Latin America without mentioning Cuba or Fidel. emitting mention of any -3- Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 S-E-~-R-E-T insurgent groups or even countries is which there are going insurgencies, it praised the growing membership of Latin American Communist parties and cited Communist representation in Panamanian, Uraguayan~ and Chilean parliaments. Under the general headings Asia,, and Latin America -- Resistance to Neocolonialism, armed struggle was referred to as a mes.ns for achieving political iadependence~ but no specific refererrp was made to it in the Latin American context. The stress in the case of Latin America was placed instead on the necessity to work for the unity of the workers class and the "broadest possible social forces." 5. In late 1965-early 1966 there were four farrly active ("limited operational" in the language of NIE 8090) insurgencies in Latin America -- in 'Venezuela, Guatemala, Colombian and Peru. 'rhe one in Peru was quickly defeated and its organization largely destroyed. The one in Colombia we described at that time as having "barely emerged from the incipient stage;" since then it seems to have receded slightly. Endemic banditry continues to pose more of a problem in the Colombian countryside than do Communist guerrillas. Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 Approved For Release 2002/01/3~-~EOViec$~5T00875R002000150001-9 ',Phe Case 5. After five years the Armed Forces of National Libera- tion (FALN) in VEnezt~.el~:, a,~e stii.l. function:ing, but; are stilt. badly split and have been hurt?by the arrest of many leadere. Two hard line factions, one called the Movement of the Revolu- tionary Left and the other led by FALN dissident Douglas Bravo, between them number around 300 men. They aro trying separately to stean pressure from the soft line in the Venezuelan Communist Party to forsake armed struggle and return to political action, and to this end, are both supported by Fidel Castro, though it is clear that Bravo is his favorite revolutionary. Last July the Bravo g~'oup was aided by a morale-boosting infusion from Cuba of 20-30 additional Venezuelan insurgents. In. November and early December it rekindled revolutionary embers by launch ing a series of attacks on property and on key officers of the armed forces. Its evident aim with the latter tactic was to widen the breach betweer.:'~rezuelan military ?.eaders and the Leona government, and perhaps to provoke the military to seize power. 7. A _olpe was probably averted by the Leona government's willingness to accede to military demands for a crackdown on -5- Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 Approved For Release 2002/01~:'~1~'~C~85T00875R002000150001-9 insurgency. Its amnesty cam;~aign (which had sought to lure the half-hearted out of the hills) was cancelled, constitutie~~nal guarantees were suspended and the CJatral University at Caracas was raiQed. Yet even this show of force did not fully placate the mi:Litary forcNs. They sti.l7, charge that the government is not giving them adequate support in the anti-guerrilla efrort and they demand that sterner measures be taken. Other factors such as antipathy to poLi.ticians and to the goverrnnent's of favoring officers sympathetic to the ruling Democratic Action Pcrty~ have added to military discontent. S. The Soviet Union, in an ap~.__~ent reversal oP its pa at policy of support for the armed struggle in Venezuela, now seems to be favoring the soft line. From 1962 to early 1966 it had supported the FALN with funds and propaganda rearing perhaps that to igpore this movemen~ would be to risk increased Chinese influence in L~~tin America. There was less reason for such Pear after Fidel~s relations the Chinese had so markedly cooled. The Soviet decision to stop their also came at a time of deep internal dissidence within the FALN~ which seemed tc dim its prospects. Although the Soviet radio and press have not officially condemned armed struggle in Venezuels~ tb~eir once -6- Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 ? Approved For Release 2002/01/3(G?~Iidi=~PT00875R002000150001-9 extensive propaganda in its fcvor has eased, and e~a:ri;ain party publicationu have featured articles by ndvocvtes of the soft line. At the time of Bravo's renewal of violence 3.t~. Late 166, tnc USSR was negotiating with Venezuela for diplomatic relations, appaz~antly in hopas of exporting finished goods rather than revo- lution. The Guatemalan Case g. In Guatemala neither the Castro backed Armed Rebel Fc,r~ea (FAR) nor Yon Soaa's Revoltationary Movement of 13 November (M4t13N) ha3 been able significantly to improve its position in the last year. The military did not prevent the Mendez Montenegro ~xovernraent from taking office; two top FAR leaders have been killed; and, in spite of some efforts at unification, the two insurgency movemeni,e remain estranged from each other. The FAR's leaders have complained about shortages of arms, food, and other supplies, and have cr~.ticize3 some of their patrons in the Guatemalan Workers' Party (pro- Moscow Communist; for lacking militancy. The ma,~or change in the ins~,srgency situation, however, has resulted from the Guate- malan Army taking to the field in a sustained effort which, for the first time, has managed to put the guerrillas on the defensive. Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 . Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 S-E-C-R-E-T As a result of military operations the insurgent forces, whose strength had risen in the early part of 1966, have been depleted somewhat -- to about 250 activists in the FAR and 100 in fine M~t13N. 10. To a far greater extent than in Venezuela, however, the Guatemalan insurgency has raised the political temperature and caught the mildly reformist Mendez government in a squeeze play between guerrilla and "gorilla." Left wing terror and the oli- garchy's antipathy to the Mendez government has begotten right wing terror. Elements from Castillo Arm~ss' old party, the National Liberation Movement (MLN) have undertaken their own counte.-guerrilla operations and have tried to win the army over to their side. For the moment Mendez has been able to survive coup plots and kee,Q the right from being a current threat. Ordering the troops to the field was instrumental in easing tensions, but the chances fora owl a from the right will in- crecF;e if the insurgency drags on. ].l. Neither of the two insurgency groups seems to be getting much aid Prom outside the country. Though Yon Sosa may be receiving trifling amounts of aid from Trotskyites in Mexico; Castro no longer provides it and the Soviets never did. Evidence of outside support for the FAR is also sketchy; it Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 Approved For Release 2002/01/30S-CI~RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 has apparently relied on ransoms from kidnappings fog much of its financing. The most recent clear indication of Cuban material. support came last September, when the Mexican police broke up a ring connected with the Cuban embassy in Mexico which had been smuggling US-made rifles into Guatemala since early February of 196. Tne Soviets, as far as we know, have not been prairiding jaterial assistance; however, since the Moscow-oriented Guatemalan Workers' Party' continues to back the FAR insurgency efforts, the USSR seems tacitly to be sup- porting them too. Insurgency Prospects 12. Of the four insurgencies which were relatively active a year ago, there seems little chance during the coming year of resurgence of the one in Peru, and the one in Colombia is un- likely to reach serious proportions. During this time period, neither the insurgency in Venezuela nor that in Guatemala will become strong enough to seize power itself, but one or the other might p,,ovoke a military seizure of power. 13. Castro and Che Guevara have contended that a military coup inevitably and nearly automatically produces a Fituation -9- Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 ' Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 S-~-C-R-~-T favorable to the ultimate seccess of insurgency. Actually, the room for slippage between. cup and lip in the process is very large. For Castro's approach is based on what transpired in Cuba, where his revolution was without a Communist label and had extensive middle class support. .Ironically, what happened in Cuba i~w~ had something ox" the effect of an inocu- lation against revolution elsewhere 3n the area; indeed, Che himself hss made the point that, because one Cuba )'zappened, the chances of a second Cuba have become ama].ler 'ra+;her than greater. 14. One problem that could face insurgents after they had provoked a military ~ would b~, an increased military effort against them -- possibly one of such scope and effectiveness that it wiped them out. Under these conditions, replacement insurgents would be hard to find; 15? It does not necessarily follow, however, that a mili? tart' takeover would mean an extended period of harsh a~ci re- pre~oive role which would sor~i alienate the population. Oa~].y certain of the military governments of Latin f~merica have be~ paved like that; others have been constructive in var;ous ways, - 10 - 25X6 Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 Approved For Release 2002/01/3(~:.~~5T00875R002000150001-9 and the dedicatian of Latin Americans to rel,~?raentative insti- tutions is not so strong that they are immediately and auto- matically alienated by a military leadership. Perhaps the most important weakness for the insurgents after a og lpe is that they, and Communist movements as a whole, havE so ::ar built up very 1?lttle backing and sympathy among the masses in Latin America -- they particularly lack support among the rural peasantry. They axe now increasing their efforts to gain ouch support in a number of countries, but a?;; beat this wi11 be a long run process. 16. The kind and e~ttent of popular reaction to a o~ 1pe would, of course, vary from country to country. Where the right is entrenched and political institutions are still. relatively weak, as in Guatemala, a of a proba?~ly woul& not -~enefit the insurgents to the extent +.hat it might in Venezuela where there is broader support for present political institutions and where a military regime would be likely from the reginning to encounter active opposition from a number of groups in the population. 17. In sum, prospects in the short ruu axe not bright for aqy of the s presently active . The potential for violence and unrest -- which could conceivably develop into Approved For Release 2002/01/30: CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9 ' Approved For Release 2002/01/ 0:CIA-RDp85T00875R002000150001-9 -E-C -R-E-~1 insurgency -~- is probably greater in somo chronically unstable countries such as Dolivia or Haiti, which are not now plagued by active insurgencies. There is, of tour?e, variation over timo as to which countries may be particularly vt~~;z~~.erable.~ Tt~r the coming year we would list, along with Bolivia and Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Panama. SHERMAN KENT Chairman 25X1A * A year ago in NIE 8090 the countries we listed in this category were Bolivia, Dominican Repub:ic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Panama. The governments in Ecuador and Honduras now seem slightly more stable and the potential in- surgents there less effectual. Guyana, on the other hand, has become cause for greater concern; it became independent in May 1966 and the British security force was wlthdrawn. Approved For Release 2002/01/30 :CIA-RDP85T00875R002000150001-9