LATIN AMERICA REVIEW - CHILE: REVIVAL OF MIR TERRORISM

Created: 8/8/1980

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Chile; Revival of MIR Terrorism".

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The Movement of the Revolutionary Lefti-Chile's largest subversive organization, appears to have launched its most important activity! in five years. Cuba,is supporting the initiative, suggesting that the Castro regime,;encouraged by the Sandinista successes in Nicaragua,.has become more willing to aid selectedgroups elsewhere in the hemisphere.! The MIR does not pose an immediate threat to President Pinochet's government;[but resurgent violence could heighten social tension andjgive weight to the arguments of regimewho.oppooe liberalization. I

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ver the past severaleries ofjterrorist acts has ended.the period of relative calm that followed the government's repression of the MIR4

since the military toppled President Allende seven years ago; ammmmmmm

ome, incidents are probably the work of government agents or extreme{rightists who hope to blacken the MIR's reputation'and tojustify renewed government repression. The MIR and|its associated fronts, however, have claimed credit'for severalr.recent bombings,ndother operations also hint of MIR involvement.

; The renewed activity reverses the MIR'sfive yearsne of several organizationsby Che Guevara during, the MIR generally supported the. Allende,administration. After his'it reverted to secret, violent operations. security forces killed many of the organization's members, its leaders were forced to flee, and 'onlyardcore adherents remained in the country. Chilean

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Cuba's support for the MIR'a offensive underscores its increasingly optimistic assessment of the prospects for hemispheric revolutionaries. Leftist coups in Grenada and Suriname, and particularly the triumph of the Cuban-backed sandinista movement in Nicaragua, have prompted Havana tc reevaluate its policies. The Cuban leadership apparently.has decided that conditions for revolution: are again propitious. In theuba concentrated^ on establishing diplomatic relations with its neighbors.:

improve bilateral ties, however,umber of:setbacks. Peru's nationalistic militarycooled toward Havanaoderate came to power five .'yearsenezuela's new president reversed his predecessor's moves toward closer relations with Cuba. Guyana and Ecuador have turned down:fishing agreements with Cuba, and Argentina's military regime, whiletrade ties, has severed many of the political links established by the Feron government.

These events have strengthened the positions of those in the Cuban leadership who believe that armed struggle often is more effective than diplomacy in

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furthering Cuban objectives in Latin America.* Castro emphasized this view in his annual speech onuly. He pointed to Allendefs overthrow and the recent coup in Bolivia as demonstrations that the only formula for true liberation was that used by Cuba, Grenada, and Nicaragua.

Castro probably realizes that the MlR's chances of seriously damaging the Chilean regime in the short run are slim. His investment in the operation, however, is probably so cheap as to justify involvement despite the poorcost of training and infiltrating the Chilean militants cannot be high. Moreover, Castro's hatred of the Pinochet regime, which stems from his deep personal Involvement withovernment, may have caused hira to overestimate its vulnerability.

Prospects

The MIR hopes to create disruptions that will keep the government off balance and cause it to take highly repressive measures that will alienate the populace and harm Chile's image abroad. So far, the government has tightened security measures, conducted massive Manhunts, and made numerous arrests, but has not yet rounded up any key leaders. In addition, the director of nationaloderate who has tried to end abuses, has resigned under pressure and been replaced by an officer who may be more likely to use repressive tactics.

government will probably find it harder to crush the MIR today. Cuban aid, while limited, is more substantial than in the past and.appears to be focused more on training MIRor operations in Chile. Such aid should permit the MIR to continue provocative acts,-increasing the likelihood that regimeWill'hat firmerieasureBrareeturn^to. strong-arm .tactics'.&ver ^time-drive some. regimeupportersopposition:'andicause;;those; leftistsjwho have, beenant ;to resor^rtofviblsnee to Malignwith the extremists.

Original document.

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