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August 13, 1975
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25X1 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 :CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Secret Latin American Trends State Dept. review completed Secret 132 August 13, 1975 No. 0522/75 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 25X1 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 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 oc...,,sional 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. August 13, 1975 Chile: The Church Anr Human Rights . . . . . 1 Colombia: Foreign Banks And The Investment Climate 4 Uruguay: Possible Showdown Over Economic Policymaking 5 Guatemala-Belize: Situation Stalemated 6 El Salvador: A Warning To The Oppo:. i tion 10 Spiny Lobsters: Prickly US- Bahamas Issue 11 Costa Rica: Communist Secretary General May Resign 12 SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 SECRET Chile: The Church And Human Rights There are growing indications that the Catholic church in Chile is taking a stronger stand on human rights issues. Recent statements by church leaders suggest that they are concerned over the military government's suspected complicity in the reported deaths and disappearances of Chilean extremists, ac- counts of which surfaced in the South American press in mid-July and subsequently received wide publicity. The bishop of Santiago celebrated a mass last week for the families of 119 persons, mostly members of the MoverLant of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) , who allegedly were killed or wounded by government forces, or have been reported missing abroad under mysterious circumstances. The mass drew an overflow crowd and the bishop's sharp words about the need for Chileans to overcome "fear and insecurity" left no doubt among his listeners that he was rapping the junta's handling of the matter. The Interdenominational Committee for Peace in Santiago believes that stories of leftist deaths in clashes in Argentina were circulated by security forces concerned with accounting for the disappear- ances, especially in view of a then impending visit of the UN Human Rights investigating mission, which has since been cancelled. The committee claims that the facts support its thesis that the 119 individuals had been detained by the military government and died in custody, and that the bodies were disposed of in Chile. Although the evidence is still circumstantial, accounts of the killings in Argentina could be a cover for secret executions by Chilean intelligence and security agents. Chile's controlled newspapers claimed that a number of Chilean extremists were killed ir, gun battles with Argentine police, and that others were August 13, 1975 --1- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 SECRET killed in a purge by the MIR, but no proof has been offered by either country. Moreover, there is a strong possibility that right-wing Argentines under the control of former presidential adviser Lopez Rega collaborated with Ch.-'lean intelligence forces to plant false reports on the c--ashes. When these reports first began gaining interna- tional attention, the peace committee filed a request with the Santiago appals court to investigate the alleged disappearance3, but the court refused and the Supreme Court upheld the decision. Foreign Ministry sources have since stated that an investigation is under way, but the lick of official information is en- couraging a belief that the regime is engaged in a cover-up. Meanwhile, in a meeting with Cardinal Raul Silva several weeks ago, President Pinochet pledged that the government would look into the case. Church sources, however, claim that the Cardinal's entreaty did not make much of an in:)act on Pinochet. Shortly after the meeting, Cardinal Silva gave the first hint that the church was losing; patience with the government when he said he had "tole the highest authorities of my country" that without unity Chile could not have prosperity, peace, or justic-. He then appealed for a crusade for mutual respect a-:d tolerance. In a recent press statement, the Cardinal said he had no objection to publication of the peace committee's findings on the missing extremists, thereby implicitly encouraging its probe. The US Embassy assumes that Cardinal Silva 31so authorized or at least was aware of the mass offered lazt week for the families of the miss- ing persons. The church's views were echoed by the Papal Nuncio, who expressed shock and the "disquiet of ambassadors accrediteL in Santiago" over the fate of the missing Chileans. August 13, 1975 -2- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 While the church is not likely to engage in open polemics with the government, its spokesmen will un- questionably be more vocal in airing their misgivings about the government's conduct in dealing with human rights problems. Attention will probably be focused on two principal areas: ...The apparent failure of officials to explain satisfactorily the disappearance of persons presumably detained by security forces. ...Continued indications that the regime is not living up to promises that it would abide by new national security laws spelling out re- strictions against illegal detention and torture. Unless the Pinochet government takes some remedial action, the church will probably find itself on com- mon ground with those in the opposition parties and labor who are becoming more critical of the regime. I I August 13, 1975 -3- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 SECRET Colombia: Foreign Banks And The Investment Climate All foreign banks operating in Colombia--with one notable exception--are apparently prepared to comply with a government program of reducing foreign owner- ship in banks to 49 percent or less by , 1978 The exception is First National City Bank of New York, which maintains the largest foreign-owned bank- ing operation in the country. Citibank has all but rejected the "Colombianization" policy, but has in- dicated an interest in exploring other ownership formulas. The government, while very unlikely to make separate policy for Citibank, could probably be persuaded to relax the announced timetable. Officials of the Ministry of Economic Development may fear that the remaining foreign banks--including Bank of America, the other US-owned bank in Colombia-- will see their treatment as the first phase of a gradual takeover of other foreign businesses. If these banks begin advising their clients that the investment climate in Colombia is deteriorating, and if the Colombian con- gress should learn that such advice is being given, there is a remote possibility that the nationalistic legislators could turn their fears into a self-fulfill- ing prophesy. August 13, 1975 -4- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 SECRET Uruguay: Possible Showdown Over Economic Policymaking Efforts by politically ambitious generals to make economic policy decisions have provoked Economy Minis- ter Vegh into offering his resignation. This is the latest in a series of clashes between Vegh and General Gregorio Alvarez, Commander of the Fourth Army, who is now backed by General Abdor. Raimundez, Vice President of the Bank of the Republic. Although the military high command has acceded to Vegh's austerity policies in the past, several generals apparently regard the civilian minister as too powerful and not responsive to their directives. There are in- dications that opposition to Vegh is growing because of his close ties to international lending institutions and multinational corporations. The current confrontation between Vegh and the mili- tary was triggered by the armed forces' attempt last week to cancel the signing of a $110 million loan Vegh had negotiated with a consortium of foreign banks to be secured by Uruguay's gold reserves. President Bordaberry has refused to accept Vegh's resignation, but has not responded to his request for authority to implement his program without interference. In Vegh's previous dis- putes with the military he has been supported by Bordaberry, but both sides have eventually compromised their view to avoid a major political crisis. If Vegh leaves the cabinet, Bordaberry's prestige will suffer another blow. He has already lost most of his executive power and each confrontation with the mili- I seems to leave him in a weaker position. August 13, 1975 -5- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Guatemala-Belize: Situation Stalemated The latest round of talks over Guatemala's claim to Belize, the self-governing British colony, ended in deadlock last month and no date has been set for their resumption. The issue will now lie dormant until #eptember, when Belize will take it before the United Nations General Assembly. Talks ended after only one day when the parties could not agree on proposals to cede Belizean terri- tory to Guatemala. Guatemala stood firm on its demand to take all land south of 16" 30' latitude, an area equal to about one quarter of Belize, in exchange for acceptance of Belizean independence. Other proposals offered by the British ceding less Belizean territory were firmly rejected by Guatemala. Despite the impasse, Belizean Premier George Price is said to want the negotiations to resume. Until last month, he appeared willing to surrender some territory, although not nearly as much as the Guatemalans want. Lately, however, the premier has been encountering stiff opposition at home to his efforts to obtain settlement and his chief negotiator returned from the talks and said that Belize would yield none of its ter- ritory. Conservatives, angry at being excluded from the negotiations, accuse Price of being soft on Guatemalan demands. Price's major problem in the coming months will be to overcome this opposition while continuing to work for some sort of settlement. His next move will be to lobby for international support and attempt to use the UN to exert pressure on Guatemala. The Guatemalans are likely to counter Belizean at- tempts to gain international support with similar efforts of their own. They are said to be awaiting the World Court's hearing of the Morocco-Spanish Sahara dispute, which they regard as similar to the problem with Belize. August 13, 1975 -6- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 SECRET A UN resolution calling on the parties to nego- tiate a settlement may provide impetus for greater flexibility, but Guatamala's nationalistic and his- torical claims to Belize and the growing opposition there to any settlement that would give up territory are likely to lead to a continued impasse. August 13, 1975 -7- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 MEMO Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 SECRET Panama: Paredes To The Cabinet Last month, Agriculture Minister Gerardo Gonzalez was chosen by General Torrijos to be the new vice president, and was dutifully elected by the National Assembly. On August 9, Torrijos filled the vacancy in his cabinet by appointing Lt. Col. Ruben Paredes, the only military officer in that body. In part, Paredes probably owes his appointment to Us demonstrated competence both in military and admin- istrative matters. Although the government has announced that Paredes will concurrently maintain his post as As- sistant Chief of Staff for Personnel (G-1), the cabinet job will obviously leave him with less time for Guard affairs. Torrijos may view Paredes, who is one of the most popular top officers, as a potential rival, and may have taken this opportunity to weaken his ties to the Guard. Paredes has been G-1 since November 1972, when he was transferred from the important post of Chief of Staff for Operations (G-3). That move appeared to be a demotion, but he has continued to perform capably and has evidenced no resentment. Paredes has spent much of his time recently working on'the planning and construction of the Bayano hydro- electric project, the Torrijos administration's public works showpiece, and this will probably continue to receive his prime attention as minister. The new cabinet job may reduce two handicaps that Paredes has faced during his career with the Guard: Torrijos' wariness about officers who attain personal popularity, and the rivalry with the ambitious and astute G-2, Lt. Col. Manuel Noriega. The two officers are probably the most capable in the Guard, and have fre- quently locked horns. Thus far, however, they have shared a strong loyalty to Torrijos, and this probably August 13, 1975 -8- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 SECRET has kept them from permitting their differences to interfere with their work. The two played important roles in the October 1968 coup that brought Torrijos to power, and have worked to keep him there. Paredes was with Torrijos in Mexico in December 1969 when dissident Guard elements attempted a counter coup, while Noriega organized loyal forces that made pos- sible Torrijos' triumphal return to Panama City. I August 13, 1975 -9- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03~61A.-,T P86T00608R000300120032-2 El Salvador: A Warning to the Opposition President Molina's decision to take the politica_ offensive in the wake of the bloody clash between stu- dents and secrrity forces on July 30 has at least tem- porarily cowed the opposition. In the week following the clash, students temporarily occupied the capital's cathedral, an extremist group took over a radio station to broadcast a revolutionary message, and a bank guard was killed near the university. None of the incidents sparked further unrest; significantly, no political organization called for protests against t'-e government. Molina has publicly blamed the initial clash on a conspiracy directed by communist and opposition groups. Although he implicated organizations of almost every stripe, he singled out the major opposition Christian Democratic party for special attention and issued a not-so-veiled threat that the parties could be outlawed. He also warned students that even greater force might be used in the future to maintain order. The opposition surely recognizes--with legislative and presidential elections scheduled for 1976 and 1977 respectively--that the President's words are not to be taken lightly. Fraud is generally credited with pro- viding the government's edge in recent elections and Molina is probably uneasy about next year's prospects. Additionally, a hard line against students and leftist opposition is sure to win favor with the military. In recent years, the military-backed governments have resorted to electoral fraud to prevent any possi- bility that a Christian Democrat might win. This has helped to move the Christian Democrats into coalitions with the leftist and communist parties. As evidenced by his most recent performance, President Molina intends to cont;nue the hard line and perhaps press it further than him predecessors if the opposition mounts an ef- fective challenge. 25XV August 13, 1975 -10- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09'FI'86T00608R000300120032-2 Spiny Lobsters: Prickly US-Bahamas Issue US-Bahamian talks on the spiny lobster issue, scheduled to begin this week i- Nassau, appear head- ed for trouble. Having declared the profitable lobster a national resource of the Bahamas continen- tal shelf and therefore off-limits to foreign fisher- men, the government scheduled talks with the US to see if there is room for a reciprocal agreement on sharing the lobster take. e auras overnmen as a rea y created some ric- tion by rejecting a proposed agenda for the talks and by demanding a "formal representation from the United States Government before the commencement of discus- sions." Pending resolution of the issue, a sensitive one among the island fishermen, the Bahamian Government wants to restrict foreign lobster trapping only to US citizens actually working the traps. This would ex- clude many fishing boats having US captains or US ownership but crewed by Cuban exiles. Many Cuban emigres operate their own boats from Florida, and carry guns to assert their interests. The lobster quarrel will be sol:-'l in time with- out permanently damaging Bahamian-US relations, but Bahamian efforts to prosecute Cuban exile fishermen before the problem can be solved definitively could lead to armed clashes between Florida-based Cuban fishermen and Bahamian police and fishermen. I August 13, 1975 -11- SECRET 25X1 25X1 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 SECRET Costa Rica: Communist Se^retary General May Resign Manuel Mora Valverde, the grand old man of Costa Rican communism, may soon resign as secretary general of the Popular Vanguard Party, the country's communist party. According to a party member, the resignation will probably come before the party congress scheduled for March 1976. Mora's age (he is almost 66) and his poor health will probably be cited as the reasons. The Popular Vanguard Party received only four per- cent of the vote in the general elections of February 1974 and since then many members have dropped out, and the party has gone deeply into debt. Mora, worried about the financial hind, reportedly mortgaged his home to prevent creditors from foreclosing on the party's printing house. He has no personal money worries, how- ever. He lives in relative luxury and owns or has an interest in a variety of successful commercial enter- prises, including a radio station. Mora founded the Communist party of Costa Rica in about 1930 and has always been its leading figure. Under Mora's direction, the party has shunned violence in favor of achieving a peaceful transition to socialism. It has gained an air of respectability with Costa Rica's democratic framework. In May 1975, Mora achieved his long-sought goal of legality for his party. To attain these goals Mora has had to walk a tight- rope--not antagonizing the government on the one hand and avoiding allegations of collaborating too closely with it on the other. When his friend Jose Figueres left the presidency in 1974, P flora's influence at the highest government levels diminished. His relationship with the current president, Daniel Oduber, can at best be termed fair. August 13, 1975 -12- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 Approved For Release 2007/03/09 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000300120032-2 SECRET The party approximates a Mora family activity--his wife, son, brothers, and a cousin are all party mili- tants. The consensus among central committee members is that party Sub secretary General Humberto Vargas will succeed Mora. Mora, however, may want to keep the party leadership within the family. His brother Eduardo, a former subsecretary general who is currently serving in the National Assembly, is a possibility, but one party member has said Mora wants his son, Manuel Mora personally been training him for the post. Salas, to replace him. For the past two years, Mora has -13- Approved For Release 2007/03/09SE &E 6T00608R000300120032-2