LATIN AMERICA BRIEF - SUPORT IN THE FACE OF FOREIGN AGGRESSION

Created: 1/3/1978

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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THE CHILEANII RESPOND BY PLEBISCITEANUARY TO PRESIDENT PINOCHET'S APPEAL FOR SUPPORT IN THE FACE Of* "FOREIGN AGGRESSION" ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE. DESPITE DISSENT WITHIN THE JUNTA, AND AGAINST THE JUDGMENT OF HIS CIVILIAN SUPPORTERS PINOCHET IS DETERMINED TO GAMBLE ON THIS "NATIONAL CONSULTATION -

THE CONSEQUENCES Or EXPOSING THE REGIME TO POPULARUILL ALMOST SURELY EXCEED WHAT PINOCHET HAD IN MIND WHEN HE SUBMITTED HIS POLITICAL BRAINCHILD- HE EVIDENTLY FORESAW AN EASY PERSONAL VICTORY IN PLAYING ON NATIONALISTIC SENTIMENT AGAINST FOREIGN CRITICISM. HE MAY ALSO HAVE COUNTED ON THE PERVASIVE FEAR THAT HAS DEVELOPED AMONG THE PUBLIC THAT THE MILITARY WILL SOMEHOW KNOW HOW EACH INDIVIDUAL VOTES (

PINOCHET DID NOT ANTICIPATE EITHER Hit IMMEDIATE OR LONGER RANGE RISKS IN THIS VENTURE- UNLESS THE VOTE IS OVERWHELMINGLY

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favorable and the election unquestionably clean- the prestige of the regime mill suffer and pinochet's personal chance to enhance the poutr or the presidency uill

air force general leigh still refuse^ to support the plebiscite- uith the junta's division nom in the public domain, some shakeup ih the governing body uill almost certainly be required after the vote is in- *no clear mechanism exists to prevent this shakeup froii becoming another embarrasing confront'tion within the

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a iongcr range risk arises froii pinochet's that the regime depends on populak support. is likelv to create demands for other expressions uill- "any

the plebiscite uill haveajor impact on the country's futuke- the junta mill not DC able to ignore these expectations mithout further political cost.

Original document.

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