BOLIVIA: OUTLOOK FOR GARCIA MEZA

Created: 8/23/1980

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

SPECIAL ANALYSIS

BOLIVIA; outlook for Garcia Mozj

The military regime of General Garcia Meza hoe entered its second month in pouer but its future ie not promising. It cues its survival to repression, funding from drug traffickers, and Argentine ate. Although many military offioere abhor the regime's actions, they fear that the military as an institution uculd be destroyed if civilians returned to pouer. If Garcia Uasa does not consolidate his control soon, he is likely to be replaced by another hardline officer, mm

Garcia Meza and his backers have sidelined most civilians who could lead an organized resistance, and civilian resistance is now limited to sporadic sniping and bombings. eople have been detained, and the current calm has been achievedombination of military and paramilitary terrorism, curfews, and tight control of the news media.

Hernan Siles Zuazo, winner of the presidentialin June, has proclaimed himself president, but his government-in-hiding has failed to attract support. The Catholic Church has condemned the regime's human rights abuses, but it also has failed thus far to rally any opposition, m

sources of Support

Many in the regime hierarchy have extensive ties to the illicit narcotics industry, and some are personally involved in illegal drug operations. Drug traffickers in the city of Santa Cruz reportedly have0 million to finance government operations; the regime is likely to continue to look to them for supplementary financing in return for letting them operate' freely.

The Argentines*^,

aro alsoup tne government. They reportedly-elavohort-terra loanillion, and probably are prepared to offer

more,

The Military Threat

Discontent within the military poses the most serious threat to Garcia Heza. Moderate officers, proud oi their

profession, fear that continued brutality and corruption

will so blacken the reputation of the armed forces that they may never be able to restore public trust and could

even become targets for violent civilian reprisals.

These officers do not hold troop commands and do not pose

an immediate challenge to Garcia Mcza.

Military hardlinersar more serious Meza. They would like to replace hin bOCAUM of his administrative incompetence and their own urges for powor and the spoils of office. They probably would continue Garcia Meza's repressive policies and drug For their part, the Argentines would support any hardline government that claimed to suppress ImW

Chances of Another Coup

These officers have no immediate grounds for ousting Garcia Meza. Certain situations could evolve to the point, however, where they mightoup could bo justified.

A confrontation with the Church, which threatened to revive civilian resistance, in one possibility. Another io tho regime's falluro to obtain recognition from moreandful of countries and continuing widespread international opprobrium. hird possibilityrisis in tho economy. Shortages of flour, meat, and vegetables have caused prices to soar, and normal

Top jaeret

0

services end production patterns have been disrupted. Strikes by tin miners haveoss of atillion in export earnings so far, and miners may still be engaging in production slowdowns. The regime's economic problems are now being compoundedlowdown in wheat deliveriesail-rate dispute.

External payments problems can be weathered for atew months. International lenders are continuing to disburse previously agreed upon loans, and the debt rescheduling agreed to in July is being carried out, but foreign bankers are nervous. If international help dries up, however, the regime willerious financial squeeze by tho end of the year. ^Bj

Original document.

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