POLITICAL STABILITY IN CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN THROUGH 1958

Created: 4/23/1957

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

(Superwdei)

POLITICAL STABILITY IN CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN8

he

DIRECTOR Or CENTRAL tXiEXIGENCE

The following intelligence organizations participated In the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and tht intelligence organizations Of the Departments Of State, tht Amy, tht Navy, tht Ait Force, and The Joint Staff.

Concurred tn by the

IXTlXUGENCt AOTISOKT COMMTTTa

on ttoncurring vert the Special Assistant, in' teUigence, Department of State; the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Department of the Army; the Director of Naval Intelligence; the Director of Intelligence, VSAT; and theDirector for Intelligence. The Joint Staff. The Atomic Snergy Commission Representative toC, and the Assist-ant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, abstained, the tubject being outsiie of their furtsdiction.

CENTRAL IKTELUOENCK AGENCY DIflSFMINATJON NOTIOt

POLITICAL STABILITY IN CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN8

the problem

To estimate probable developments In the Central American and Caribbean republics18 with particular reference to the prospects lor politicalthroughout the area.

conclusions

the period of this estimate, thetogether with the landed gentry and wealthy merchants, are likely to dominate the Internal politics of all the Central American and Caribbeanexcept Costa Rica. Reformist and popular elements, whose Influence has been checktJ for the past few years, are unlikely to upset the status quo.palace revolutions may occur.

The CommunlsU, whose Influence has been declining over the past few years, do not nowerious threat to any regime in the area. Communistare unlikely to increase except in Cuba, and possiblyalvador.non-Communist subversionexiled groups will continue to disturb the stability of the area.,

nasmuch as we do not believe that the Cuban government can fully restore public order or check the emergence of new civilian opposition elements, there is only an even chance that the Batistawill survive the period of thisA military-dominated junU would be the most probable successor. P

HtlU, th* Dominican Republic,llrtdor,u, Klctrtfua, CcsU and Ptnima. Thr foreign poutnlon* lo thr Caribbean Lrt cot Included.

B^BCBIT

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regime, remained loyal, and the opposition was disorganised and ineffectual During the pastonths, however, Batista's petition, has been considerably weakened by thepollUcal and mill fry unrest. Inntenslflsd student disturbances and demonstrations began to tale place, and tnatista, confronted with awithin the military, was forced to carry out an army purge. Inermath of this purge, there occurred an organised civilian assault on tn army barracks,antlregtme terrorist acts throughout the country, and widespread rumors ofand Invasion.

idel Castro, youthful leaderelf-styled reformist,atista revolutionary group, has become the regime's chiefFrom exile lr Mexico be apparently directed domestic underground opposition to Batista,e signed an agreement with an anti-Batista studentto collaborate In overthrowing the present regime.ecemberastro, with approximatelyenmalllanded In eastern Cuba, and today hc_er.illat^ffiHK3 which the Cuban government has thus far beenislodge from the mountains.

TfSe Potittcol Situation In tho

Island Republic?

uledilitary "strongulgenelo Batista, vbo returned to power In3 army coup. Untilhough the Batata regime vu generally unpopular, the army, the key to the stability ol the

ISuban UisurrecUonlsta,Including followers of Frio andCastro,pectacular butassault on the Presidential palace in an attempt to anil Batista.

he failure tf the regime to crushguerrilla operations, the intensification of antigovernment acta and ruthless counter-

terrorist activities, the repeated suspensions of constitutional guarantees, and finilly, the ehl.ft.lng of the revolutionary activity to the capital itself, have pUced the regime la real Jeopardy. Some responsible elements, -come wealthy businessmen andare apparently sympathetic to the Insurrectionists. Furthermore, there areof disaffection within the armed forces, particularly among the lower echelonof the army. However,the moment Batista appean still to have the loyalty at tbe leaders of both the military and the police. He is also favored by Cuba's current

(

economic prosperity and by an absence of alternate political leadership with widesupport.

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ET

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he ConuDunlsU do not nowerious threat to the stability of any regime In the area Communist Parties are Illegal Ln

every country, and all governments havea public position against Canmunlsm. JJTowever, only Guatemala has demonstrated real concern over the Communist menace; the other governments have tended to view their non-Communist opponents as more Immediate threats and therefore more dangerous.esult, the Communists have been able to carry on their activitiesariety of front organizations. By this means theyan Influence cut of proportion to theirnumerical strength. This Is the chief potential danger from Communism in the area.

xcept in Guatemala, where there has beensharp across-the-board decline, there have been no radical alterations In theof Communist operations over the past three years. Urban and plantation labor art the key sectors to which the Communists are directing their attention. Their success In this respect has been most marked ln Cuba, Costa Rica, Honduras, and most recently in El Salvador. Tbey also wield Influence In the educational systems, perhaps tno-AIn Cuba and Panama Control of student, youth, and women's groups Isji Drime.target, most importantly tn Cuba_J

Ccmmurust^hnrirluon or gov emment'Boot quantitatively significantthough Communists andIntellectuals apparently continue to hold official or advisory positions ln Cuba and Panama. The Communists have cotthe armed forces to any significant extent

SB. Communist strategy ovtr the long-term is to attempt tonited opposition front and within that framework to discredit the group In power. Tbey Identify themselves where possible with progressive andmovements and attempt to convert non-Oommunlst demand for social, economic, and political reform to Communist purposes. They attempt to discredit anti-Communist governments and to transform popularInto antagonism towardxcept In tbe case of Guatemala, theIn the area have generally eschewed deep Involvement In the subversive activities of non-Communisthe Communists of the area maintain their International contacts through thetrolled Latin Americanof Labor (CTAL) and World Federation Of Trade Unionsnd other front organizations. Over the past several years,otable Increase ln travel by local Communists and selected sympathisers to Soviet Bloc countries and to Communist-sponsored International conferences.of local Communist Parties with front organizations are most fully developed in Costa Rica and Cuba.

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WtNDIX A

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table 4income per cat ita, In USMUm.Wd

TABLE 8U6 PPtECT INVESTMENTS5 (Million Dollar*)

_cuflurt_ UUUtlea

0 coMMODrriK ab

percent Cf total EXPORTS

Ooffet Bmnu Cotton

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Original document.

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