LAR: JAMAICA: PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE

Created: 8/15/1980

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

gunmen, probably will keep trying to checky extremists in bis camp to increase the alreadylevel of violence. nevertheless, theith or without Hanley'slikely toanother escalation of terrorism if theirassessment of party election prospects flags in the weeks ahead. iBB^fll

Since April, radicals in Hanley's entourage,!

Party and of Edward Seaga's Jamaica Laborthe polls strongly favor to win the election. esult, casualties resulting from political warfare in the first half of this year exceeded the comparable period inManleytate ofat midyear. In recent months, Jamaica has compared with the most violence-ridden metropolitan centers of North America in murders per capita. The voters'at least temporarily has been deflected from economic issues to violence. fjaf

The PHP's effort to deflect voter attention has been accelerated in the past several weeks by an anti-CIA campaign, by terrorism against public institutions, and by vicious attacksalf dozen of theolice stations and outposts. Hanley argues, probably persuasively to some Jamaicans distant from the ghettos, that the campaign of violence is an effort by the JLF to sabotage the government's economic recovery program. |

Political violence hasart of Jamaican politics since, when the two major parties fought in the shops* on the estates, and in the street* to establish their powerful union affiliates. 6 the late founder of the JLP, then chief minister of the government, was tried for manslaughter for leading his supportersatal confrontation rfith PNP loyalistsabor dispute. By the, the intense rivalry had divided Jamaica into two political camps that have since excluded all other groups from control of both Parliament and organized labor. H

Since, political warfare has increased and taken more sinister forms. Politicians in Kingston hava organized armed gangs at the constituency level, in some cases to hold their turf forcibly at election time and in others to counter assaults of rival gunmen. In turn, public housing projects and politically defined neighborhoods have created their own "defense" squads. Kingston's ghettos have been swelledootless population of unemployable young males who are easily recruited to the ranks of political thugs, bj^

The announcement of elections6 and again last February amountedeclaration of political war resulting in hundreds of killings of both JLP and PNP activists. Opposition gangs have expanded their "territorial rights" to capitalize on growing anti-government sentiment among the people. Ruling-party gunmen, on the other hand, inctinctively have moved to deliver the vote for their political patrons, whose defeat they believe would result in the loss of their localprobably their lives at the hands of "occupying" rival gunmen.

PNP Offensive

Host evidence since6 indicates the PNP, which has had the most ground to lose in this period, is determined to cut back the JLP's firepower in the slums. uling-party thugs drove out opposition supportersousing project and gutted by fire another full block of JLP dwellings. inister of National Security Thompson helped arrange the murders

of fiva alleged JLP thugs by the any, sad last year he approved the assassination by the police of the JLP'a foremost gang leader* who was attempting toeaas-fir* among Kingston's rival gunmen. _

The JLP has maintained an uneasy discipline over its activists because it fears that major ghsttowould reault in martial law, further atrengtheningand, it appears, nonetheless, that PMP loyalists have suffered many of the record-high casualties this yesr. The POT recently called off at leaat one terrorist raid because it believed the JLP had greater firepower in the area, mmasj

Weapons

The weaponry used by opposing gunmen has become more sophisticated over the past two decades. In con- reat with the clubs, machetes, and occaaional smell arms of the early brawls,6 large caches of arms and ammunition have been uncovered by police. This year,6 rifles have been need in several terrorist attacks, ssmsi

hriving marijuana trade with North America. Prospects

escalation of the violence probably would hurt their campaign, would encounter reaiatance from Henley, and would leadhowdown with the ill-equipped but still formidable security forces.

Hanley, fearing for iia own safety and apparently convinced that greater violence would be counterproducti last aonth reportedlyelt to the distribution of anas to PHP thugs after he narrowly skirted an attack by opposition militants. In recent weeks* bo has granted the securityare now under the moot professional leactershlp inpowers to impose curfews, cordon off areas to conduct searches, and carry out special intelligence operations. In addition, be has called up the army reserves and hasoint military and police communications cente r. ffffff^biaffff]

The apparent modification of the radicals* strategy, however, will neither elisdnate traditionalwhich top party leaders can strxt more easily thanprotect us personnel in Jamaica from further attacks. The anti-us propaganda campaign in the streets and on themedia will continue as atactic and will sustain hostility toward Washington among action-prone extremists, bbj

moreover, if the radicals again conclude they cannot win the election outright, they can be expected at least to consider repeating the mors vicious of this year's campaign.

Original document.

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