CUBAN POLICY TOWARD LATIN AMERICA -- NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

Created: 6/23/1981

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Cuban Policy Toward Latin America

THIS ESTIMATE IS ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF

THE NATIONAL FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BOARD CONCURS, EXCEPT AS NOTED IN THE TEXT. /

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cuban policy toward latin america

THE ESTIMATE

TVo tears ago, Cuba reverted lo much more militant support of revolutionary Insurgents, especially In Cenlra) America. Castro seesort unities through the promotion of insurgency toihe cause of revolulion In the region,ense of revttlutlotv ary momentum it home, and enhance Cuba'ihelping sympathetic regimes come to power In the area and by pursuing policies to justify and possibly increase Soviet aid and support for Cuba. Serious domestic economic and politictl problems and other adversities have made Castro more rather (ban less militant on behalf of regionala reflection of hit frustrations over these problems and of the Increased Influence of his hardline advLsen. Despite Castroigns It of an interest In reducing bilateral tensions with the United States (par for Ihe course with new US administratloniX he almost certainly will not make any significant foreign policy concessions to improve relations. Under mostmuch shortanger of impending US military action threatening hisprobably will continue and even eipand his support of regional revolutionaries.

Soviet perception of the opportunities In Latin America created by the revolution In Nicaragua appears to have lagged Castro's,however, Moscow not only has backed Castro's return toIn Central America but haa stepped up its own efforts lo exploit Instability and support Cuban activities In support of Insurgents.almost certainly will continue to encourage and to underwriteassistanceegree of revolutionary momentum and to undermine (he US position In the region. It also hopes to keep (he Uniled States embroiled In Latin America and with it* allies In Western Europe over how to respond, and to exploit anyof the Vietnam syndrome here. Only if the United States were to raise substantially the costs and risks to the Soviets of their troublemaklng In the region would (he Soviets pullthat could be onlytheir support for the Insurgents,US polilkal pressures could lead Moscow lo be moretactically. Soviet circumspection with respect to Latininsurgencies, however, would not imply any reduction In Moscow*'i determination to retain Its stake In Cuba- Any US military challenge lo

The Snvirt-tuprmrtcd Cuban challenge- lo US regional interest* will coiillnue lo be fnrmidable. Curia Ij supported by ibe revolutionary *ov' ernmenlt in Nicaragua and Grenada, and usually by Meafco. Prominent out-of-office leadenew other countries have close ties withCuba has strong cUndesllne networks and sources of supportpectrum of rationalists,nd radicals; and social and economic pressures In many countries will present new opportunities for ihe growth of pro-Cuban radical movements.

Nationalism and suspicion of US Intentions run high in Latin America, even in the more conservative countries, and have reduced the ability of lb? United Stales lo direct evenls or to mobilize anti> Castro measures- However, greater US political, economic, and security Involvement in thenot likely In the near term to alleviate subsUntially the root causes ofshore up beleaguered governments, help bring about nonviolent change, and thus reduce Cuba's ability to gain the advantage.

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Latin America alaas* hat had huth pnnr.lv ini- pnbri under Casl'rv. despite ujtalimtml and active Cuban inirJictarnt in Africa andkrtr in ihe TrWtd WnrlrJ Castro's prruslerard.ru latin Arm-tirs and ihe Canhbran haindrrrut US Influence and enhance tuthe malrlr ihr nana the pi nw alar ej rrvolutirvnan gov-nn-ynii lhal ksnk In Havanan licet lo hu eeenmltmenlcveJulloriary causes. Castro ia Influenced bi ka clear liraand aepeadrnc* aa ihe USSA. and ta diivca bv ho hnai.hiy toward and lea. of Ihe Unitede area US andn ihe ret mo aa IrirxuncilaUr la el feci, thrre-fore. heom renin* need to eapand Cuba'i In-flurnce in order lo curb WaarUngtoe'1 freedom of action lo laofale and being preaaure on Havaaa.

The USSR holds similartoward ihrthough MoscowraI heaterom pet it ton withStale* than doe* Havana necBiaeoreignti objective! in lain America tpedtacarty, Ilo ueu Ihe client lo >hkh theolicy Cob* a

Uea and ihe survival ofregime alietf tdU-diatehr depend on asanJve soviet erorvomac aad military lid, and thus an Soviet approval Because of ihe scope of shared objective* as -etl as close coruulta-tana* >tth Soviet officials aad aoareneat of the km its ofar ranee. Cub*1 has had corosd-erablr latitude i* Lmrtlrrrwssllrai lU poracariule. Caalmenllarly on hb own frtitlallve In hb hcane region, ai coot raitedaler Soviet contioh over Cuban aetlvtik* ha Africa and the Middle Fast, la* ihr IftOOs, ihat led le tharp tactical difference* with Mea-co* over ihe utility of Cuban tupped for weak Irtaur-arrtf croupa attarUvatlng *ted reblionamoderate and coraervallve governments.

Dunnaj rnoat ofie Castro IcaVaed the Soviet line of rmphaiiiing dirJcerutlk and ceenrtsercial reUltona, henounced /evcJulkoo. Taro* -thn lime -ilh Sovieteverted to muchilitant supporl of revolutionaryetaily i>erle* Al the umt lime. Caalro hasgrraler bcitutercncc toward a1a-cuRy Colombia andThu sharpuU" prkeitir* lellrvli Castro'i arnar of greater puti-ntla) u* revaautinnari vtctooei through inar, force than he had tarfor* the aoeeet* of ihe SamJinoUt aa Kh-aragua In

mphasb on support of Iruu/gcnrtcsVcuUi frustration over domettkttagnanl economy and aersou* defktetarte* in bum ang, transon. public srMces. food, andurner genda Popular fruslrstinn andhardship have led thehardline rlrrnenla *f ahlch have been slrenglhencd by CathanSou* ta outside issues such as rrv-Juteai-ary duly, ihe threat to Cuban secuiliy, andlh Third World comhrrsicai support furo growt east of Castro'i limited gains frtstn cultivating regional1 and from srlbaeks to hb Inlernalratval prestigeesult of ihe Soviet invasion of Afghanistan la short Caalro see* promising opcairlunilk*h promotion of liuurfency la advance Cuba* obsectivrs In the region and toense of reve-hxkxuri momentum al home when little else seems leramg to hb regimei advantage

Drspile the USSR's Iradillonal caution rrgarding d. red bvolvrmrrJ In Insurgency In Latin America, ihe Sovtrtj too saw greater opcaxlunalirs for advancing ihrir Inteiests In the regionrsull of the Sardinista victory Ineginning inkiucoa not atslr backed Castro's retura lo militancy la Central Amettca but abo tlrpped up IU own effortsspanit IrtaltUlhy and aursfsort Cuban rftoru Inafthough artararirtg for aar MrstAes for Sars-adoran Irdbt ealremlstL It the United State* weie aubalarttiaJIv lo raise lha costs and rtsis to ihe Soviets of their treubarrnatlrtg la the reglotv the* would be likely to dtsgslayime greater tactical Mcacow would be likely te rr-cosntrieeaj lae-tkal out ionavana aaand lo urtetericore as slieng desire loS-Cuban military erer-frontalieA

hifl In Soviet tactics anuldhnge In long term ohiectlvetndercul and sup-planT US loiauence In Utla America, butccoanitton of the raSataclr* lo their imlvlkio aruhe

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irrr-wat m" realiire*e mrawre ol Cuban auiitirwr lo iruur-

degree of, t-

lum. and at* lo Ito thr United Stale* embralrd aa LatinndIUIn Wcsletft Europe

met how lo respond anderjrhou an| -n- rrrd km of

ihr V'n-tnana iindreerirad realon it* part of ihr USSR raeerssarity Implyaato to- hi tilt la

n Carl,krfy to are any arrfouso Cuba ai arttaai tot US-So*tcl rrUthsfat.rM iharp inrrraar In Soo-ari military ihlpmeot* to Caaba probablytolrndrrj to male tht* point, aarf aa provide lor Cuban rrt/anJer of arma to thr Niraraguan regime and lo regional Iru^crtU

Tor thru part, Cuban leader* arc now morrabout US cou rite tineathan al anytheot convincedefendS militaryIn the star aceormal defensethe Soviet! deipite hit eflorti to gel one. Heas theeipoaed edge of ihe-orIdrime tartetSagainst Soviete where Hisof cearacera during the Invasion ofIbe forlah cruU bear witness to hase CuUaa have given rignab ofla reducing bdalcrsl lerrWcrra, pHrnajOypunitive US actions and -ecoedanry totactic ihey have employedBees inr of ewie-ot

brtgbt erred cooceen about US Intentions, Castro has teenporarOy reduced the actual level of bia lopport la Salvador aa Insurgent! and might do to lo othernal rev,JuiJnrurtrv But his c're para ted antagonism toward trse United States has not dlmlnbhcdl and. aa ka ihe put. he slrraost cerlairdy would not male aaya foreigno puppedImprove US rel.iIn fad, has rararatt Uefy retponae to ope* US permrre would be to atep up (th) tsoublernaklragIs throw the United Si*tea onto the defesrara**.

Outsooe

Cattra while mindful of US warning* and Soviet coearern thai he avoid actions thatouldS military response toward Cubaajor US-USSR cnus.rntinue met ihe neit yraiproi ide urnng hading tn ihe rev ntuiand -t. no- . he Ira***

tforti ail be In thr Central Anvr<caa andregion, albeitan eye on Southaiditance earlier this year tn thr

r-auegenu in Colombu and hia prrssutrs on left-fati lisn to preparenf> ably Indlcaleontinues la arehr bnl course for Verpfrsg the UaJled States at las| and for wrvtving aay forerf ad dsowdowm

When diplomacy falh to actors* Cuba'ii vulnerable country. CaUro trtfl attempt toeconocuc and aorta!eJ<loland pomti of irrrrUcau -ih the United Stales.done primarily through youth, labrar, politlcatart*nil*ihim that are lympalhetlc lofreeal groupa lor radicalllgood use>evetocsmenlal

- to leleded countries, earning good will andt ihe same lime Although Cuba ta hard currency poor, at can provideaid inch ii dodoes, teachers, corulrttctloMand 'i uc aulitance. Cr>rvsldersble media and propa-gandabo provided, eilnfllna the virtue* of Cuba, ihe Soviet Union, andile crrtidling ih* United States

f Cuban combat forcea la Latin Arj-ieelearuj.rgrnt grroupt ta not as*th-iraated la the near term Deserts ruch roe In Angola and Dhkfria. Cuba and the Soviet Union doaJdei the presence of Cuban Iroopt there loirect provorjikm ha US Interesti a* Cubanb* Latin America would. The greatest potential for ihe use of Cuban Iroopa Id the regloa would be In responseiIous threat lo ihr Sandlntala govrrnnrreoJ la Klraragua.

Caalro haa mote Influence andHake la Nicaragua than he has evn had In acouatry. Havana wtaT contlBue lopoiilleil, lechnicsl aadaupcasrlthe revoeulloruuy regime. hlillUrytraining will be provided by both Cuba andCastro'i crsrramUmenl lo the regime'* sursitslinterne that hr trould be arongli motivated lo(orrei to defend ihe Sarrdinblai againstar of impemling

US military retahalion esperiaffy if backed by urgent Sovieteter bim if heCuban Inlerventioo could quklly HalHliar theIon,

V bnUnf CuKanbi i.illmilitary HJprJiei in

.ah ihr LNicaragua, and attf-

laanary triumph. In rnprof lo US prruurrvn hjir thirpj) cm hid ihr flow of arm*Rot oilrf. lrw rcruptruraai (rem* of aaataUnc* hairca umilaili reduced guerrillaornbal planning andruppon Cubaill not abandon thr iruurgcnts ind. even nndrt akarpr* US prr-uurev Caalro all probably (finer for wffictrrtt citcrnal aid to under-me ihr Insurgents' rood nurd potencynd destructive force. Mr probabli >ouU cooaideeresumption of roorc generous and cemirsicoou* support If thegain military and political momrntiim He will abo continue hit campaign to ducted il US assurance to ihr Junta Inor. In any raw. he probably Isopet lhal eipatvdrd US Involvement InSalvador wlfl Increaae Latin American and European poLlkral backing for ihe revolutionaries and thus provide pert eel km for Havana aaal-ai US reuliation.

CuafrmeU. Caitro aaaigru less immediacy to the triuirtjency In Cuatemala, *hich ta not aa advanced aa the one In EJ Salvador. Noncthelra.1 core tlnue gradually and guardedly lo eipand it* aupport lo arr-natlheo revolutionary (toupa If the Salvadoran laaurgenU either lucceeded in gauving ronliof of Ir* country or filled outright, Cuba *ould coraider aharplv eipending laotinre lo Cuatrmalan Irraur-grrui. to sustain rev- lot-j'i momentum la Central Aaaerica.

FJi'uhinaitro wfj| continue lo try lo cultivate sprang, friendly, rupoortlr* irUlloe-thips with these countries he believe* will beat benefit Cuba'iexample, ilrilca. -thick has attp-porled the Kkanguaa SandlnUta* and has rratklaed US policy inSalvador Panama, trough leeora faithful friend.Im garter* to Cuba political r- one-ai the sarne lime,orrrVhard linemodeiale and coruervallve governments, lo-grthrrhi* milrlanry ia Omral Araerlca. baa al irady ilrained relations tvfth Colombia. CoaU Rica, Ecuador. VrnriucU.jenber of other countries in the region, tome withh he had rarevioualymprove reUlwr.Irarfrnaa-

inglithe hrmujJvrr aa pWairardtradmnarv goiernnu>nii.

increaae Cuban criticismalandand

vie* most af iht democratic gmernmenii a> reactionaryah reisikma either remaining end or detrriorallras,

A number efCubaniri uncertainty about USIrral lo rrvtiein him from puihing eoedroMalional policies men aver vigeeously and widely than at preiraa Ite mayr cheeked, at least In the near trim, by llw rrlsllie ab-aenc* oftdifiona and cspabdilan tai some target count riev and by the prow, recti for Irgrtl-mate change* in government In the leg km that anukj be fa-wable to Cuba. Moreover. Kas raoar pragmatic adiisen are likely lo warn lhal more confrnMaliiMU in the region would undercut Cuban chance* for abroad wpport for CerWral Amerkin iroorgrnti

We nonethelesi believe lhalomepcrhapa ZO percentCastro, in tract ion to terku*problems or foreign policyI adopt more betligerent policie* In Latin America gen-eralty thanave estimated. Inlluallon he would cctfirtude lhal Increased hoaiillly ailh the United Stairs was La- vitabte. and would falaliuicahy accept thr coetaequeiicei of more aggressive pursuit of revolutionary brMllruough* Cuba aould then be even more eager thanow to help leftist ritrem-tsti to organise and launch armed revolt, and lopurely vengeful and Irrrorui methods lo arakeo regiocul govemmenu and nndermlnr US Inlcresu. Sue* aggreadve polkrie* would lend to undercutoverall obiectlves In Central *. -

. '. Ihe more prudent Castro'i actl.Ulei tat torsport ofa Arrwrlcsahe rnorr blety Cuba would be to anake legnlfk-ant and tasting gains in the region. Br pelterittr earebettrating broad political and Wernatienil upport for leiolu-Itonary movements, Caalro aouldhe roali lo the Urulcd States of deierring ihevr auccr-o. eilhrr io (he target countries or by attempting directly lo eon* strain Cuba.

But almost whatever courser..in iheseta ehjflenge tokvulll riira-tinue lo he formidable. Distatr Culni mani arsk-

wS

- etains rxsnaiassets (orMl

inlerrsu

Maaaoe rtnli'aryid etwoetik- tupoort front the Soviet Union

llli rupported b> iV revoiutlonary toveenrnentt ha Nkiimx and Crenads. and tajuaftv bv Meiko

Prominent out -ot* office Woden In Veneiwela andfew other crxmtrtes hat* close lies *Hh Hs'irta, and one or saoee of them may (ale greater Influenor thretsgh elections during the nail fro rears

Cuba has itront clandestine net verb and sources of rupportpectrum of rssttonal-tsti kfilsta. and rtdkab throuahout ihe reason

Mounting asriil andressures in nunseesent ne* opport unrtles for the gsemth of pro-Cuban radical movements

Katieeaham and suaparton of US intention* naaeeea Ua thend have reduced the ability of (he United Stales laei*nobillt* anil-Castro rear*-auen In the OAS Of bv Other rate*a*

Creater US pontic* I. economic, andolverrtenl In (heable not llbly in the near term lortbatanllailv the root notes af iat-tlability and ihe pressores for change. eouU vorll le reduce Cuba'l abilityainhelpln* to addresi pressure* through non violenty shoring ip brLrifuered govern menu and by ratting the eosii and rub of Cuban militancy

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