STATEMENT ON EL SALVADOR -- CERTIFICATION ISSUES BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON

Created: 8/2/1982

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DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

STATEMENT ON EL SALVADORCERTIFICATION ISSUES

BEFORE THE

Unproved lor Release tiOV lirjj

SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN2

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nitCI STATEMKNT

SFRC HEARING ON ELSSUES

Chairman, Certification Issuea for El Salvador are not areas that the Central Intelligence Agency specifically hss targelted for either collection or

assessment of that country's performance concerning certification questions. This assessment was agreed upon by the National Foreign Intelligence Boardeeting chaired by the DCJ on tT July IBIS.

Mtnough some abuses continue to occur, the monthly rate of politicaleclining and tha Salvadoran government and military leaders continue to work toward curuman and clvD rights abuses, and to respond to the public's Interest In participatory government as underscored by thearch constituent assambly elections. Hevertheless, their efforts continue to be hampered by the weaknessesalvador's unsophisticated body poll. These Include arrinabQlty to separata partisan and personal goals from common national priorities,ailure to put aside Ideological conflicts that In tha past nave thwarted the democratic process.

Despite the rigidity of the poll ileal system and tha myopia of certain of lu key

participants, lhe prospects for continuingslow andgenerally positive. The civilian government has so far been characterized generally by pragmatic compromise, with the result thai political, economic, and social reforms are continuing and violence has been reduced. This position has been reinforced by the military high command, which distinguished Itself as the major moderating force during the fractious political negotiations that followed the election. Led by Defense Minister Garcia, the armed forces appear increasingly aware of the psychological dimension ofar and cognizant that the Insurgents are the ultimateny abuses.

On the issue of El Salvador's efforts to comply with Internationally recognized human rights:

- We have no InferEl

Salvador's civil and criminal Jus lice system, but scene progress apparently has been made ln strengthening the ocjrts and Improving enfcrcement of existing laws that protect thj citizenry. constituent assembly has, for example, unanimously appointed an Independent supreme court and Is preparing toew constitution. Political prleooera remanded to drfl authorities, meanwhile, appear to be well-treated andflSjaBasfaaatvisited frequently by family membera, church organizations, International relief agencies, and foreign diplomats. Persona are also held In facilities of the military and the aecurlly forces; their treatment varies from reasonable to harsh.

- Although violence remains endemic, the number of political killings Is declining and is now at lu lowest level slr.ce the irscurgents* "final

offensive'1 of. Tin' monthly nvrruije of political deaths for lhal year, whileate standsecrease ofercent. In our judgment, this downward trend reflects the greater emphasis on large engagements between bonafide combatants-more in rural thaneasures taken by government and insurgent leaders to reduce Indiscriminate violence In an attempt to build greater popular support, extreme rightist death squads which have been lass active2 than previously, and some potential victims on both the extreme left and right going underground or Into extle^

military leaders have repeatedly demonstrated public and private concern over the need to Improve tha human rights conduct of their troops. We believe they recognize that of tidal exeaaaea alienate the civilian populace, damage the government Internationally, reinforce the position of the truurfants, and moat Importantly Jeopardise TJJJ. military and economic assUtsnce.

On tha Issue of El Salvador's progress In achieving control over all elements of its armed force*

military leadership la continuing Its efforts to purtlsh human rights violators within armedanks and to curb souses by rlfhtwins; paramilitary forcea. We believe tha resolve likely hai been strengthened by recent Indications that the emphasis on human rights Is aiding the effort against the Insurgents.Qhe Army snd the security

'"Politicalncludes deaths of civilians and ofMuty militaryreports of clreunisUnees which conform to tha following basicaras criminalttributed to tha ejrtfemTleft or governmentvictim reported apprehended (that U, taken from home cr vehicle) and killed onor later found dead. In addition, "political deaths" takes Into account theof armed forces of the extreme left andextramarlaht. It ta asince pressbasis fornot

attribute deaths to 'poeticalJsWrrWPrrW violence may be Intentionally disguised ss political violence.

nviliun courtsnlisted men

charged with assault, rape, or murder. Since January of this year, nn additional SO personnel have been arrested for these crimes and are In jaD awaiting trial by civilian courts. Moreover, several civilian members of rightist death squads have been niiprchended and charrrcd with specific political killings.

The human rights doctrine that Is now part of the curriculum for new cadets In El Salvador's military academy underscores the armed forces' growing sensitivity to the political fallout of continued abuses. The military's decision to modernize lis policies and methods complements the efforts ofraineri, who are schooling SaWadoran officers and enlisted men to respect the rights of olvlllsni and Improve their treatment of prisoners and defectors. Wa believe the performance ofralnad units is not only tactically superior to that of regular troops, but that their lenslllvity to clvDlarrs has diminished popular support for the guerrillas In certain areas of the country.

Other military units, meanwhile, have begun using Improved human relations techniques to Inspire defections among the Insurgents and enlist the confidence of the local population. Although tha number of defections appears modest aolargely to the Insurgents* strict control over their cadre and supportvillagers are returning to their towns and fields because of the improved Image of the local armed forces,ew cases, Army commanders have ordered their troops to spare settlements known to house guerrillas In order to provide civilian refugeesome to return to.

Therowing awareness of the psychological aspect of warfare has been particularly pronounced In Cabanas Department. Last

year, this northern border region was the focui of inlenv nurrrilla activity, and government forces appeared as politically isolated from tho local populace as they were militarily from the Insurgents. Thrmirjh humanitarian and material support toew strategy of small unit patrolling and stricter control over clvD defensedepartment commander has all but eradicated guerrilla operations In the region and has won the confidence of the local populace.

continue to occur In all parts of the country, of course, particularly with regard to taking prisoners, trestmant of non-combatnnt guerrilla supporters, and fire discipline In populated areas. Nevertheless, on balance we believe the trend toward Improved control over the armed feces* has continued this year.

On the Issue of lmplamantlng essential economic and political reforms, Including land reforrat

Progress on political reforms clearly Is evident In the successful transitionour-man cfvu-mllltary Juntaivilian govern-nentman constituent assembly, an Independent civilian executive branah,uprema court. In at cltlon, banking and commercial programs ara being Implemented. Implerotation of agrarian reforms has continue*this year,ull third ofd titles under the two-year-old Phase III program having been distrlNited since January.s on track, wjth compensatory paymentsew former landowners beginning.eneficiaries of the program are preparinghird successful harveet In theJalL

Prospects ara favorable for further advances In socio-economic and politicalwith occasional lapses and problems with Implementation. Reform Issues are subject to hen tod disputes, almost as

much within parties as amonp (hem. Mocli-rnli's and hjirilliners seek in varying degrees to maintain, expand, limit, or reverse the process of nil reforms. Nevertheless, the final referee will continue to he the military, whose leaders appear convinced that the agrorion and other programs must continue if the government is lo receive the domestic and international support necessary to rebuild the economy and defeat the Insurgents.

The military has demonstrated Its commitment on the political front by honoring iu) pledge to initiate democratization. Senior military officers were instrumental in breaking the political deadlock In the weeks following thearch election. Their preacrlptlon forovernment of national unity has resulted inhare of power for the liberal Christian Democrats and has helped reduce the Influence of far right groups In tha government. The military recentlyix-man oommlttee to hnlp the executive over major policy hurdles and to mediate serious partisan disputes.

Theommitment to reforms seems borne out by the strong response of tho armed forces to the confusion caused by tha assembly decree of lr May revising Implementation of Phase in of the agrarian reform. At Jtat time. President Magana, In an attempt to bolster sagging export produtiion caused by landowners' fears that renting their lands would ba tantamount to forfeiting them to tenant farmers,roposal to tha constifient assembly. The proposal stipulated that peasants seeking to cultivate new cash crop lands In the next growing season would not be eligible to receive titles to those lands fo/Jhet time period. The conservative majority In the assembly, however, expanded the proposal to include lands used for livestock and basic food crops, thus effectively postponing new claims by renters to most land available under Phsse in.

Doittuslic and intermitioniil rvncliiMi tu wlmtvirwnlotential rollback in the whole reform process inspired immediate set ion by thr Christian Democrats, peasant organizations, the military, and ihe Magana government to ensure that no such rollback would takr place.

Senior military officers thus pressed for an acceleration of the land titling process. Slnca early June, members of the hightandem with leading governmentdistributedrovisional and permanent titles to peasant beneficiaries. Moreover, the armed forces have quickly Intervened to reinstate about half ofeasant renters whom landowners had Illegally evicted-

Prospects for continued progress In the Land reform seem favorable. The recent appointment of an Army colonel to head the government agency In charge ot distributing titles to peasants underscores the military's resolve to accelerate the process-enior military officer has been appointed to the new five-man presidential oommlttee that will oversee any further legislative action on landop leader of the country's largest peasant organization also serves on the committee.

On the Issue of El Salvador's commitment to hold free elections and begin discussions with all major political factional

political parties. Including those allied with the extreme leftere invited to participate In the constituent assembly elections ofillion ballots castevere political and psychological setback to the far left.ew allegations of electoral fraud have been madei flHfe or no evidence has been produced to substantiate these, and we share the broadly held Judgment that the Integrity of the electoral process was maintained. The

military showed itrofessioiiHlisni in Mifi'iimnhritv of the balloting by providing effective logfeticul support to the elections commission, accommodating1 foreiipi observers in their trips around the country, and protecting the voters against Insurgent attacks.

For months guerrilla leaders had said they would kill anyone who participated In the elections. When it was evident that the elections would occur as scheduled, QuUlermo Ungo and other political leaders of the extreme left coalition made pledges that they would not hinder the balloting. Nevertheless, the guerrillasong prepared, major military campaign to disrupt the electoral process; they succeeded only In pre-empting the voting In certain eastern towns where they concentrated their largest forces.

In our Judgment, the massive turnout was attributableumber of factors. Including!

Unprecedented open registration, which enabled participants to case their ballots anywhere in the country while reducing the clianees of reprisals by the extreme left and right.

Higher than anticipated public confidence ln thahe proceedings.

Public anger and frustration over the economic and social impact of two years of guerrilla violence.

the mandate of tho electorate, however, will ba difficult. Alleviating El Salvador's traditional socio-economic disparities and political backwardness would prove challenging even in tlwabaenceuerrilla war-and It Is our Judgmentrotracted struggle will continue for some time, probably Into the period of the next elections. Nevertheless, the government appears relatively stable, and we expect that the elections

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