NID - CHILE: POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF PAPAL VISIT

Created: 3/31/1987

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Implications ol Papal Visit

Chile's opposition parties, tha Pinochet government, and tha hierarchy ol Ihe Catholic Church have conflicting objectives for the visit ol Pope John Paul II beginning tomorrow. Although the visit will not overcome Chile's growing political crisis, It probably will help to strengthen tha moderate opposition, further discredit tha far left, and somewhat restrict President Pinochet's room lor political maneuvering. Tha Communists and their allies want to exploit tha Papal visit by dramatising repression In Chile, end Pinochet hopes to use It to show trial he has good relations with the Vatican. Moderate opposition leedars hope the visit will encourage tha armed forces to accept tha needransition to civilian rule despite Pinochet's continued resistance.

|opinlon polls show most Chileans hopa tha

Pontiffs presence willlimate tor reconciliation and help to reverse the trend toward political poLmzation. Tne government iseavily on the visit to boost it: international legitimacy. Pinochet, however, strongly distrust* Ihe Chileanbishops are divided over how strongly to presa for soaai justice andfears that its activist wing may Used the Church into open opposition. He therefore recentlyaw legating poiiKaJand substantially reduced the number ofiews mese moves as an atlernpt to curry

favor with tne vaucan.

minimum, tne Lommur several disturbances lo provoke tha security forces intokilling and injuring demonstratorsand embarrassing Ihe government. |_

The Communists* terrorist affiliate hastruce" lorwhile the principal leftist polllical coalition has organized aand petition-signing campaign aimed at informing the Pope"othernd coalition leaders have publicly askedjfiafJHbjfftflHBV;ivernmentunits In Santiago

to quell demonstrations.

continued

3 6 a

m iii

Leaders of moderate opposition parties iniend to lego any effortI toot or to cooperate with lha far

'are concentrating on internal

over whelner lo register under tha new. highly restrictive political parties law and onatfonal campaign lor if oe dect-ons. The moderate opposition wants lo aved street protasis during the visit because the government would use such events to discredit them and because they realize the publ* would not welcome disruptions during the Pope'sJJ

In his public appearances, the Pontlll probably willpiritual booal and message ol hope to Chiles poor, without giving Pinochet any comfort. The moderates realize thai they must lollow responsible policies afterlt to improve prospects for an accommodationforces and to promote open eiedttnsH

They consider it vii.il for the Poni.lf to oncIoTTolrTse WrejPTIvflHjTO'ciy. The head of the newly formed conservative polilical coalition recently caned openly for political liberaliiation, an end to political exile and human rights abuses, and collaboration with the moderatetance the moderates hope will encourf the Pope to 5peak out in support of thr- oppos<lion's objectives |

Outlook

Pinochet probabry win fafl ino portray me Pope's viall asof ivs government, aithouoh he probably wtNthe national pride stirred by thia first Papal trip to Chae. Thelikely will be the moderate opposition parties, alongChurch's activist wing, especially if the overall impact ofmessage is loood of nationala sense thai social Improvements and political liberalizationaccelerated. The Communists probably will becomeisolated if they follow through on plans to Inciteviolence during ihe visit.I

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