LATIN AMERICA REVIEW - CHILE: TERRORISM STILL COUNTERPRODUCTIVE

Created: 1/7/1982

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Review

Latin America

Declassified and Approved for Release0

chile: terrorism still counterproductive

Movement of the Revolutionary Left's recently expanded operations so far have hadinimal psychological and political impact. The kir's efforts to assassinate government officials have not yetthe public's sense of security nor have they shakei domestic or foreign business confidence in the regime's ability to maintain order. Moreover, the MIR also has failed to provoke the security services into overreacting and thereby alienating the public. In fact, the security forces have used good intelligence and improvedskill to score several successes. They seemthat they can continue to restrict the MIR to isolated, although sometimes dramatic, acts of terrorism. The Pinochet regime probably actually bene.'its from such incidents because the violence reinforces the President's claim that continuing restrictions on political life are necessary.

increased Scope of Operations

The HIR has been trying to broaden the scope of its campaign against the regime by:

base camps in the countryside,

reportedly hoping to promote rural insurgency.

a Democratic Youth Front at the University

of Santiago with the communists to try to provide support for propaganda and political agitation.

from minor assaults and bank robberieB

executed by auxiliary members to more significant operations, such as the attempted assassination of the Supreme Court President, which was carried out by high-level guerrillas. IffffliffallllllH

The decision to step up activities has been costly for the terrorists. ovember, three days after the assault on the Supreme Court President, the police, killed four MIR leaders near the Foreign Minister's residence, thus apparently forestalling another assassination attempt. In sweeps carried out from June to November, security forces destroyed two rural base camps in the mountains of southern Chile, seizing large caches of mur.iti_ killing orcore of MIR operatives.

Cuban Support

Cuban President Castro apparently remains undaunted by the prospectong and often unrewarding struggle against the Pinochet regime. Havana's ideologues are genuinely convinced that armed struggle is the only way to achieve true social change in Chile. In their view, the existence of active MIR units servesallying point for the disaffectedeminder that the Pinochet government has not smothered all resistance. Moreover, the MIRistas who survive this difficult period will have earned, at least in Cuban eyes, the right to claim for themselves the leadership of the entire revolutionary movement once it gains Romanturn--Cuba supported the FSLN in Nicaragua for years under similar circumstances. In addition, supporting an insurgency in Chile, even anone, satisfiesegree the Castro regime's thirst for revenge against the forces that overthrew President Allende. Bammml

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Leftist Disunity

he siost part, the MIR has been unable to convince the other leftist parties to join it in revolutionary violence. Although exiled Communist Party leaders, man" of whom are in Moscow, have ple.dged support for violent confrontation, domestic party members haveotable reluctance to go beyond propaganda and agitation.

leftist parties haveront organi-

zation, the socialist convergence, which has rejected violence and instead is trying to rebui- "

_ provides the regimeustification

for continued repression, thuseturn to civilian government. Consequently, the moderate left

landestine political infrastruc-ture among student, intellectual, and labor groups.

ably will be able to

do little more than maintain informal contacts with elements of the nonviolent left. The MIR may derive some

'*activities among studlnt and labor organizations, but it cannot expect the Conver-aencetorisK association with guerrilla operation*.

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Prospects

While the MIR ishreat, its prospects for destabilizing or even severely disrupting Pinochet's rule remain slim. The present quiet in the countryside as well as traditional peasant conservatism bodes ill for the terrorists' hopes of promoting rural insurgency. In addition, the MIR probably will continue to sufferby exiles who return from overseas to find that the revolutionary potential is far less than they had expected. Finally, efforts to unify the left to take violent action are not likely to be productive under presentespite Cuban promises of substantial aid. tHmmmmmmmi

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General Pinochet continues toormidable foe for any revolutionary movement. He retains both military backing and considerable popularity among civilians. The regime's greatest potential vulnerability is the economy, which, although still strong, has begun to slow down. Foreign investors have not lost confidence in thehowever, and Chile's improved international image, particularly its better relations with the United States, have raised Pinochet's domestic standing. Finally, the security services' recent successes have demonstrated the government's ability to respondeffectiyely to the terrorists without overreacting. H

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