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December 20, 2016
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January 12, 2006
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April 28, 1952
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Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-RDP91T01172R000300300009-4 as ?.,. M, 414 28 April 1952 OCI No. 5888 Copy No. 5 3 INTELLIGENCE MEMORANDUM I Isciment No, u U De.~~SS ~ sari, A art .. 6H 70.2 tJa.e: Office of Current Intelligence CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-R 'r01172R000300300009-4 Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-RDP91TO1172R000300300009-4 SUBJECT: Increased instability in Latin America The increased instability of several of the twenty Latin American governments during the past few months has resulted primarily frot in- flation and other economic and financial difficulties, from internal polit- ical tensions, from Argentine proselytizing, and, to a lesser extent, from Communism and anti=Americanism. During the past seven weeks there have been two violent changes of government, in Bolivia and Cuba, and the possibilities for other revolu- tions are increasing in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela. There follows a roundup of the internal situation in the principal Latin American nations, including those mentioned above- ARGENTINA. Peron's strict security controls since last September have prevented the organization of a revolutionary movement, but the govern- ment is ctremely worried about continued plotting, dissension among labor leaders, and labor unrest resulting from the critical economic situation. Argentina's intensified propaganda and labor activities have increased anti-US feeling, developed obstacles to hemisphere unity, and created dif- ficulties among labor in other Latin American countries. The increased proficiency of these activities has resulted in the establishment of a ' third-position Latin American Committee for Syndical Unity and increased Argentine influence among some important labor leaders, especially in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Panama. In Panama the Argentine Labor Attache was able to organize a pro-Argentine political group, and in several other countries pro-Argentine cultural spcieties have been esta- blished, Since most countries in the area have been traditionally suspicious of Argentina's motives, the latter's propaganda technique emphasizes the protection of Latin American interests, such as a just price'for raw materials, and capitalizes on nationalism and dissension within various trade unions. Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-RDP91T01172R000300300009-4 Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-RDP91TO1172R000300300009-4 NW I 14W BOLIVIA. The struggle for dominance between various factions of the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement could result in further violence. The strongest factions are President Paz Estenssoro's relatively moderate group and the extreme nationalists headed by Juan Lechin, Minister of Mines and Petroleum and an important labor leader. Lechin, who is pro- Argentine, has urged the miners to retain arms,twhich he would probably not hesitate to use to threaten or displace Paz Estenssoro. Peru and Chile are alarmed about possible Argentine and Communist the revolt and by current agitation in Bolivia. They fear that any new disorders in Bolivia might eventually spread. BRAZIL. Brazil is relatively stable. President Vargas' tenure pos- sibly could be threatened by a continuing division within the armed forces and by an increase in the current dissatisfaction of certain high-ranking army officers with his policies on Communism, economics and foreign affairs. CHILE. The political situation is unstable, and the country is ex- periencing economic and financial difficulties. A presidential election scheduled for September has precipitated increasingly vocal opposition to the weak government, and given rise to anti-US expressions. The most: popular presidential candidate today appears to be ex-dictator Ibanez del Campo, who is pro-Peron and who may attempt a coup if he loses. The Communist Party, outlawed in 1948, is now an active, relatively overt organization with 40,000 to 50,000 members. Penetration of organized labor is significant., and the government is reluctant to crack down. The vote potential of the Communists, who with important Socialist groups are backing a "popular front" candidate, is sought by most parties. Management-labor-government relations at the large US-operated copper mines which supply about 55 percent of United Stater copper imports, are at a low ebb. The copper workers of Anaconda's two large mines started a strike on 25 April. In view of extreme nationalist pre-election state- ments, the goveinment's insecure position, and its declared interest in raising the price of copper sold to the United States, it is uncertain in what quantity and at what prices copper will be available to the US during the rest of 1952. CUBA. General Batista's apparently secure position has the opposi- tion, much of it perhaps only vocal, of the majority of students, the Communists, some embittered army officers and others who did not benfit directly from the coup. Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-RDP91T01172R000300300009-4 Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-RDP91T01172R000300300009-4 1%W 140 COLOMBIA. Increased guerrilla activity throughout much of the country, along with a sharp division within the controlling Conservative Party, has forced the administration to rely heavily on the army. However, ,growing army dissatisfaction over the government's inept handling of the guerrilla problem has increased the possibility of a coup and a military dictator- ship. The Communists have played little part in the guerrilla disturb- ances. The government, meanwhile, is trying to reconcile the opposing factions, and possibly may have some success, ECUADft. The possibility of coup and counter-coup, always present, has been increasing with the approach of the 1 June presidential election. Earlier prospects for a "relatively normal" election have been upset by the unexpected candidacy of the twice-deposed rightist demagogue Velasco Tharra and by the withdrawal of the left-wing coalition candidate,, Salazar Gomez. The contest is now chaotic enough to encourage a bid for power from either the opportunistic Defense Minister, Diaz Granados, or the neo$fascist Mayor of Guayaquil, Guevara Moreno. Should President Plaza succeed in conducting an election despite these threats, a victory of a right-wing candidate might set the stage for a liberal revolt. GUATEMALA. Guatemala is at present under a greater degree of Com- munist inluence than any other Latin American country. A small hard core of Communists has exerted influence out of all proportion-to its size. Recently., however, there has been a growing anti-Communist movement which now extends to two of the xajor labor unions. Even if Communist influence should be drastically reduced, it is unlikely that there would be any diminution in the manifestations of nationalism and the campaign of harass- ment against US companies operating in the country. MEXICO. Until the 6 July elections., domestic political frictions may cause outbreaks of violence. These are not likely., however, to affect either the government's stability or United States interests. PANAMA. Current instability centers around the 11 May presidential election. The two chief candidates are former police chief Jose Remon and his cousin Roberto Chiari. Remon's supporters say that he will be Panama's next president, by fraud or force if necessary. Certain sup- porters of Chiari, however, assert that they will oppose a Remon victory by force. Ex-President Arnulfo Arias, who is aligned with neither side, probably holds the balance of voting strength. Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-RDP91T01172R000300300009-4 Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-RDP91TO1172R000300300009-4 Although Chiari's forces and, to a lesser extent, Remon's have both attacked US policies in the Canal Zone, neither candidate is basically anti-US. Panamanian Communists are more antagonistic to Remora than to Chiari, but have actively campaigned for neither candidate,'and in any case control few votes, The Argentine Labor Attache has reportedly cam- paigned with some success for Remon, PARAGUAY, The current situation now appears more favorable to re- volutionary attempts than a year ago. Tension can be expected to increase with political machinations in anticipation of the 1953 prepidential election. Maladministration, corruption, the high cost of living and food shortages have caused growing discontent, even, reportedly, in the higher army echelons, URUGUAY. A traditionally stable country, Uruguay is faced with serious economic and financial difficulties, and reportedly there is deep dis- sension in the newly-organized government. VENEZUELA. Prospects for trouble have remained at a fairly high level since the Constituent Assembly election campaign started last summer and it became clear that the governing junta intended to rig the results,. The chief threat to stability is the outlawed, leftist Democratic Action Party, whose exiled leaders have been plotting to regain power since they were overthrown in 1948. Capabilities of the Democratic Action have probably been reduced somewhat by the Cuban coup, which has made Havana unavailable as a base of operations, and by the fact that the army is apparently still united behind the Junta. Harassing ac-ativities and continued plotting, if not an actual revolt, can be expected, Approved For Release 2006/11/07: CIA-RDP91TO1172R000300300009-4