The Soviet Role in Latin America
THIS ESTIMATE IS SUBMITTED BY THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AND CONCURRED IN BY THE UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD.
Tho followinggcnizoticrs participated in thehe estimate.:
Thc Citn'rol Irtolligctfite Age'ey ond ih- intelligence crgan if orient themmx ol StoleDetente, one!.
Th? Deputy Director ol Central
Tho Difoilix ol Intelligence ond Research,of Stole The Director. Defense Intelligence Agency The Director. Notional Socvril, Agency
Thc Attitlunt Central Managet. Ar.vnx Energymillion, ore! rhe Amtlav la the Director, 'ederol Bureau ol Investigation, th* tubrtcioj'ii-J* ol iheir iur<cili<ii<m.
within lhe meaning of llie- espionage mission or reve'olijn of which in any.
Thii motr.no!ational Orients of th* LV-iied
SC.u on unoxlhoriced person ii proHibit-d
THE SOVIET ROLE IN LATIN AMERICA
CHANCINC ENVIRONMENT IN LATIN AMERICA
MOSCOW'S PERCEPTION OF ITS OPPORTUNITIES IN LATIN
III. THE INSTRUMENTS OF SOVIET POLICY IN LATIN AMERICA
A Diplomatic Relations
and Subversive Efforts
Relations With Communist Parties
Air and Sea Communicalions
D Cultural, Educational, and Propaganda Matters
E Military Activities
THE SOVIET ROLE IN LATIN AMERICA
I. Over tbe put few years, the political environment in Lalin America hat altered dramatically, arid the pace of change is clearly accelerating Radical approaches to problems arc gaining ever wider support. In severaleadersew stripe have taken over and have begun to make far-reaching changes. Nationalismowerful motive force in this process. The Soviets are well aware of these developments, and theirand their activities have grown This paper examines recent trends in the area (ea-eruding Cuba) and their implications for the position of tlie US and thc future role of the USSR, in Ihe main for the next five years or so, but somclimcs for longer periods, lis main conclusions are contained in.
I. THE CHANGING ENVIRONMENT IN LATIN AMERICA
2 The process of change in Latin America is mainly in response lo forces operating (hurt, rather than to US or Soviet actions. Yet lhe process has important implications for llie
roles played by both Washington and Moscow in the area The preponderant position of the US is eroding, and at an accelerating pace, for complex reasons rooted in economicsocial pressures, and history.the Soviet Union and other countries as well are more and more looked to by nationalistic elementsalancemerican preponderance, often forportunistic reasons.
ationalismtrong and growing force in Latin America, and it is increasingly taking on an anli-American coloration. This is so(ho US is the dominant oxtemal force, and the Lalms have bitter memories ofand economic pressures going back manyal leaders, eager to stress theirfrequently complain about US hegemony and paternalistic interference US firms arc tlie ones most affected by schemes of nationalization. The Latins occasionally lake actions which they recognize as affronts to thc US, such as ihe capture by Ecuador of US tuna-boals operating withinile territorial limit that it claims. Several govern ments are actively seeking to diversity their purchases of arms, sources of aid. and trading partners
spread ol nationalism creates both opportunities and problems lo* tht Sovieis. It provides ihe USSR with an opening (or policies and actions designedpeed lhe erosion of US influence and lo increase its own. The Soviets have something to offer to those whoounterweight to the USiversification of purchasing and trading patterns. At the same lime, theof Latin Americans to run their own affairsonstraint on the expansion of Soviet influence. Thc military-populistin IVru, for instance, is certainly oul to assert its independence of the US, and it has sometimes done so abruptly andbut it remains wary of the Soviets and is of no mind to become thc client of any power. Thc Mexicanelief that the USSR was involved with the Revolutionary Action Movement (MAR) was sufficient to get five Soviet diplomats expelled from the country.
icatcr or lesser degree, all Latin American countries suffer from deep seated economic and social problems which relist solution. Increasing social unrest andpopular expectations have contributed to political instability and the growing radi-cahiation of Latin American institutionsis unevenly distributed, and in most of tho countries small ruling classes ilill possess most uf the money, land, and material goods. Unemployment and underemployment, high birth rates, overcrowded and rapidly growingcontribute to social and political tensioni and to impatience wiih present in-stitutions None of these conditmns is entirely new, bui modem means of communicationrowing political awareness havelo raise tlie level of expectations of lhe increasliiK numbers of undeipnvilvRt'Ci. and to reveal lhe gap between svhol is and what could Ik*
Latin American intellectuals, socially-minded military officers, and clerics are in-creasingly persuaded that drastic changes in the established order are necessary. Thc US is seen as the center of capitalism and as tbe advocate of free enterprise, and thus as an opponent of such change. Consequently, the US and what it stands for are on theThe local oligarchs, moreover, hasx* been traditionally associated in the public mind with US businessmen snd diplomats US aid is increasingly regarded as politicallyand self-serving, the Alliance for Progress ts widelyailure.
The Soviets, claiming lo be the exemplars of socialism and supporters of tlve svorking man, stand to gain from this growing anti-capitalist. aoti-US sentiment Marxism has longonsiderable following imong Latin American intellectuals, especially at the uni-versitie* Unfamiliar ity with thc Soviet Union makes it easier for Moscow tu appearounterbalance to US influence in thc region-To many Latin Americans. US conceptsfamiliar and shopworn, in contrast to those of Iho Soviets. Latins share little history with Russia but. as tbey see it. rather too much with the Colossus of the North.
S. In many ways, Lalin Americanare casting off US influences because they feel capable of directing more of their own affairsense they are tight More than most countries in the Third World, the advanced nations in Latin America have lhe skills and resources needed to modernize their societies and some prospects fornew markets and sources of capital. Among the iniporlam constraints have been the lark of institutions to suit soeii-lies grow-ing moreeluctance lo invest at home for tlie long term, am! ibesr ownand willingness to rdy on the US and others lo do things for llseni Tho political, social, and economic reforms now being ap-
in many Lalln American countries are designed to tackle these problems. Out of this process is graduallyense of confidence and identity.
Most of tlie military coups in the past few years have been engineered not byfiguresonservative bent as in earlier times, but by officerseformist bent, who more than in thc past are from the middle and lower classes. In general, thc new military strongmen, whether of the left or right, are convinced that civilian politicians have shown themselves to be incapable of adjustinghanging world, and feel an obligation to slay in office for some time to direct thcof their countries. All are nationalists and statists, even thc devoutlysuch as the military rulers of Brazil Most are out to demonstrate their independence of the US. Some, as in Peru, share thc anti-capitalist and anti-US attitudes described above-
The military regime in Peru isnew in Latin America. The rulers of Peru arc far removed from the old fasliioned courff'i'os. whose strength and appeal were personal rather than institutional. Morebetter trained, androgram of action, the new breed is out to makesocial and economic changes and to reduce the inequalities in Peruvian society. Confronting powerful local and foreigninterests andounterweight to members of thc American RevolutionaryAlliance in popular organizations, tliey have enlisted the services of local Communists to rally labor and olher groups in support of government programs, lhc goals of thcare probably shared by junior officers In many other countries who tend to he better educated, more widely traveled, and closer to thc lower and middle classes than their elders. Officers such as these are likely to exercise polilical power in other Latin American counlries over the next decade.
he new regime ineftistof Communists. Socialists, non-Marxist Radicals, and some splinter parties, posesdelicate problems for the US and provides new opportunities to thc Soviets Preudent Allende's victoryindication of the via padfica that Moscow has been publicly advocating in Latin America for years. Thc Chilean Communist Party, easily thc best organixed and strongest in South America,ajor role in the niling coalition. Allcndc, however, is an outspoken nationalist and svould certainly not considerisciple of Moscow. His Socialist Party is on the whole far more militant than the Communist Party and has frequentlywith it. From time to time, Allende himself has been at odds with theleadership. Nevertheless, he sees manyin dealing with the USSR, andhe can as*oid Castro's dependence on Moscow. His electoral victory has given new hope to Communists elsewhere in Latin America. If he makes MBit progress towards alleviating Chile's massive social andproblems, this would further bolster the cause of Marxist parties in Latin America and prospects for popular fronts
utside Cuba and Chile, theParries io Latin America do not exert much political influence, nor arc they the most vigorous or effective exponents of social change. Many of their leaders are In their seventies; they are preoccupied, in most cases, not with fomenting revolution but withconfrontations and seeking respect,or legality. Youthful. left-wing romanticstin America, fascinated by Che Cuevara and other guerrilla heroes, tend to regard the Soviets and the orthodoxParties as "oldar left Marxist groups like the Leftist Revolutionary Movement (MIR) in Chile and terrorist organizations such a* thetn Uruguay are con-
of Ihc: more staid Soviet-sponsored groups Their acts of violence reflect bsdly on thc Soviets and their local clients, who are often tarred will) the same brush.
hc established order is itself indisarray For example, internaland conflicts ol goals are dearly visible in the Roman Catholic Church. In much of Latin America, strong dements ol the Church are actively seeking to improve the lot of the poor and oppressed Some priests, for example in Argontirsa, Brazil, and Colombia, have gone so far as to cooperate with terroristthese churchmen are of len more militant than the local Communists. Many of the new breed share short term goals with theto organize rural workers inor to suppoit Allendes reforms inand they rail against the capitalist system and thc oppressive nature of current regimes. Nevertheless, the traditional mistrust ofis strong in thc Chuich and in most Church-affiliated groups. The hierarchies in many countries remain concerned abouttheir prerogatives in rdigton,and culture Thc Chuich will resist such threats as it perceives to its institutionalthough its effectiveness may be limited by internal divisions
ntipathy to the Soviets is stillin Latin America While importanttraditionally sympathetic to thebusiness and professional elites, publishers, the military, and theoftenthemselves with ultra-nationalist and anti-US forces, such elements remain by and large antagonistic to the USSR So do most other Latin Americanstake ia the prevailing system 'lhewho arrand largely ignorant nf the outside svorld. arc particularly hostile to outsiders and foreignChe discovered in Bo-hvta. Moreovei, most poori retain some aspects uf the peasant outlook; they too
distrust strangers and imported ideas, and usually seek lo improve their lot bya local demagogue or caudlilo.
mosl Latinare moving towards sometheir countries' relationship with theThis is chiefly outesire tocounterbalance to thc US Influence inand to mollify left-wing elementsown countries- Anotherhe
desire to take advantage of the Soviet presence Iu bargain with thc US, on such matters as
trade and invostrnent.
II MOSCOW'S PERCEPTION OF ITS OPPORTUNITIES IN LATIN AMERICA
Moscow regardedas being, in btoadiece with other parts of thesvorld, and subject to .ougfalypatterns and tempos of change- Thisn doctrinal foundation, but it alsoIhc qualities which these variousbackwardness, politicaland. until quite recently, theirbeyond lhe reach of Soviet militarythis broad scheme of things,long resided near the outerthe USSH"sreasons In addition lo the lackties and cultural aflinity, thenever developed any economicFrom thc standpoint of geographythe area was on Ihe peripheryconcern, as the Middle East andnot- Most important, thc SovieisAmerica as securely bound to dieand ccooomically. andthe US had the means in keep it solime to come
he USSR expended little effort duringo develop bases ofn Latin America- The Soviets provided some support to local Communist parties,
lor the most part were fuel ion ridden and enervated. Moscow's experience with them gave It .small cause to feel confident of either their revolutionary commitment or theirskills.ewhey svete of little use to the Russians and were
generally lepaid with contempt or indiffeience.
Soviet diplomatic representation, tlioughsomewhat during and after World War
If, was thin and sporadic until recently.
Tlic Soviet effort tooothold in
Guatemala in theailed.
IB.talin's successorsore active policy toward the Third World The Soviet approach to Latin Americamany of the features of its approach in other areas; whereas previously Moscow had relied almost exclusively on clandestine and conspiiatoiiul methods, the accent isow was on developing overteconomic, and cultural In Latin America, however, one element vital to Soviet policy elsewhere In thc Third World was missing: military aid Tins was due bothack of receptivity on Ihe part oft! lis and to some respect for US sensitivities on thc part of the Russians Latin America, thus, stilla special case, and, while thcwere gtadually improving their image and extending their presence, their vistasnarrow until the advent of Castro-
ith Castro's profession of Marxism-Leninism and his alignment with the Soviet Bloc, the USSRresence In Latin America which ii might haveong time acquiring by other means, thoughace anday not of its own choosing, Moscow evidently decided, after some Imitation in accepting Castro's self-declared affiliation, that it had In-cn handed an easy opportunity botholitical bridgehead into Latin America at large and lo make anstrategic gain over the US. 'Ihcof the Cuban missile crisis2 and
the coulaimnent of Caslioism to Cuba proved this calculation overly optimistic, la the years immediately thereafter, Moscow's problem wa* to recover from the consequences of thband toounder balance between opportunity anddated aim was lo keep its alliance with Cuba fromils iclations with the rest of Latin America.
he USSR's Latin American policy seems no longer encumbered by the confu-skxi and disarray which set in after the Cuban crisis. The failure of guerrilla efforts in Bolivia and Peru and Ihc victory of the popular front in Chile have helped conflim tlse general coi-rectness of the via pacifica and taken some of the wind out of the sails of the Maoists and CastroisU- For these reasons aad because of his increased economic dependence on the USSR. Castro's capacity to complicate Soviet relations wiih left-wing fortes and with Latin American governments has for now beenhe has become more selective in his support of violent revolution and has muted his criticism of Ihe pro-Moscow Communist parties. These circumstances may causeto hope that it can help to hasten tbc decline of tlie US position and lhat with time many Ijilin American governments will look increasingly to thc USSR.
he Soviet perceptiontin America, as of the rest of the world, is shaped in part by ideological preconceptions But these are for tlie moil part ambiguous enough to permit the USSR considerable flexibiUly in advancing thr practical aims of the Soviet state. Ideologically, the USSR Ls committed to the spiead of revolution and to the eventual establishment of additionalase of Latin America, theof change is promising in the USSR's view, seeming in some respects to confirm its belief that history is going its way. But lhe situation lo still sufficiently variegated and
as to warrant tome uncertainly about future development* Moreover, the USSR might not welcome more client regime*oi die political and economic obliga Horn il might have lo assume and the danger of arousing strong counteractions in the US and among olher Latin American counlries.
hc experience of recent years has shown ihc Russians that it is not an -easy matter to harness nationalism in theworld to (heir purposes, and that influence lost by the US is not automalleally influence gained by thc USSR. This iain Moscow's approach to Uie military-populist regime in Peru and Allende'i popular unity government in Chile. At first, the Soviets viewed the military takeover in Peru as an old-style barracks revolution; soon they came to realize that the regime is bentasic rest met uring of Peruvian society,iminution of die US presence. Nonetheless, the Soviets turned down some of Velasco'sfor economic assistance and stalled on others. They are probably still unsure of where Peru Is heading and rulucianr at this time lo gel Involved economicallyaige scale. They were, of course, pleased with Allendc's election, but realize that they would not be doing either themselves oravor by greeting him too warmly at this stage. Although statc-io-stale relationsember of the Central Committee has been appointed Ambassador to Santiago, the Soviets Iiave seen no need to assumeor military obligations to Chile.is anxious at this stage not to ring alarm bells within Chile, the rest of latin America, and the US.
ie Russians are still relatively new to tlie scenetin America and still carryeavy load of ideological baggage Differences in nalional character andbetween them and the Latins no doubt also Impair their perception of the environ-
ment. Hut tbc number of Soviets with area knowledge has grown and many .of them arc accumulating experience on the spot. Soviet representatives in Latin America andin Moscow can, in addition, draw on an expanding body of work on the area being
done in Soviet academic establishments.
which, if still far from being objective, seems to be moving closer to an appreciation of Latin American realities. Thus, thc USSR's
assessment of its position and possibilities in the area Is corning to restomewhat more
solid base ol expertise and working knowledge.
n it) dealingstm America. Mas cow still pays considerable attention to de-selopments in Washington. Moscow surely recognizes that many influential Americans Iiave bcconiu critical of thc nature and scope of US commitments abroad. Tlie Soviets are conscious uf thc fact that there is muchin the US with foreign aidthat protectionist sentiment is growing, and that tlie US Congress is increasinglyto military aid and to thc sale oftypes of arms which the Latin American military insist on buying, llie Sovietsbelievu that the US ir so identified with forces of thc status quo that the US isincreasingly out of tunc with thetrends in Latin America.
oscow undoubtedly sees opportunities for itself in all these trends, and user tune will move to lake advantage of them. Ceilainwould argue for caution, however. Thc costs entailed in providing aid would put some limits on Soviel readiness to provide substitute assistance. Any precipitous move to expand Soviet military involvement in laslin America woulderious worsening of the general climate of Soviel-AmencatNonetheless, there are many things tin: Russians cun do In Latin Americaabandoning their low prolile. gradualist
approachodest tales ol arms and more political contact with the elites).
2G. Tlie Soviets are extending Iherange of their naval operationseans of enhancing their internationaland prestige. They also have aniu improving their overall operational capabilities, with respect, for example, toantisubmarine, andoperations. Tlie establishment of ain the Caribbean supports these aims, svhile contributingeduction of USand gives symbolic reinforcement to their commitment to Castro.
oscosv probably sees its present naval activities in the Caribbean as laying thefor the eventual developmentroader military presence in Latin America at large. It probably discerns obstacles to the establishmentroader presence because of competing claims on its present mlhtaiy resourcesn thehe great distances involved, and the need for additional port facilities. Nonetheless, theprobably believe that within the next few years they can make their naval presence in thc Caribbean continuous, perhapsa presence elsewhere around South America, andew Latin nations to accept Soviet arms, equipment, technicians, and possibly some help in constructing naval facilities. They svould hope in this way lo add to their political weight in thc areasvhile placing some constraints On US military options there.
here is no doubt much that isin Moscow's thinking about the areahole, as well as aboul its separate parts, and much that is provisional in its approach. But thc Soviets recognize that anti-US feeling is on the rise in Latin America, and their public statementselief that the
US is unable to cope effectively with the cuirents ruiining against it. Tlie improvement of their osvn image in thc area and thcthey have gained in their dealings svith the Third World probably give them some confidence that they can exploit current trends. The shifting political climate may lead them to conclude that their earliernnd objectives were too modest.
III. THE INSTRUMENTS OF SOVIET POLICY IN LATIN AMERICA
A. Diplomatic Relations
he USSR has been able to expand its diplomatic relations in the last decade toall of thc major Latin Americanand many of the smaller ones. Tlie embassy staffs, while still small in comparison ssith other Soviet missions in the "Third World, are growing in numbers and expertise. Most Soviet diplomats are actingorefashion than previously and are trying toapport svith Latin American governments by appearing moreof their needs and aspirations. Yet the Soviets often find it difficult to overcome the latent suspicions of Latin Americans who are aware of earlier examples of Russian meddling in the internal affairs of other Third World countries; such incidents as the recent Soviet embarrassment in Mexico tend to keep such suspicions alive, ln order to dispel them, thc USSR is attempting through itsand otherwise to project an image ofSoviet Unionistant but posverful friend of the Latin American people-
a. Inhe USSR hadrelations svith only three Latincountries (Argentina. Mexico, andow it has relationsuba. Mexico, Costa Rica, and all the couiil.-ies of South America except Paraguay. This dramatic change has resulted partly
tbc efforts of lutein American govern-merits to underline their independence of the US. and partly from tlieoviet diplomatic mission no longer threatens Use stability of localhus, Latin Americanhave come to believe that theof diplomatic relations, such aspotential for trade and aid, outweigh the disadvantages. Tbe odds are good that, in the next several yean, tbe Soviets willission in allew latincountries.
b. Soviet diplomats in Latin Arnericamuch Uke other diplomats.proficient In Spinith or Portuguese, they work with influential groups andand cultivate Individuals Inpositions. By and Urge, theirhas been quite "correct" and their profile fairly low. They tend to be more knowledgeable aboutAmerican habits and Interests than they used to be. andar better Impression than the diplomats of earlier eras.
B. Covert and Subversive Efforts
espite Moscow's emphasis onovert ties with Latin American countries, it continues toariety of covert activities, judging these countries to beto such tactics and Inefficient Inwith them. The USSB funds mostparties and encourages or acquiesces in the insurgent tactics espoused or empkiyedew af themn Haiti andut itid to the weak and often ossified local Cornmunbt leaderships does not win tbe hearts and minds of the tnuilant or Idealistic youth In univer-sities and elsewhere wlw seek more immediate aod drastic change than the Commuoiit parties offer. Wherever Soviet diplomatic and trade fruitions have been established in Latin Amer-
ica, Soviet intelligence officers mud openly, and where required clHiidcilinely..wilh the Latin Amcitcaiii tliey deem uiflunitial;leaders, trade union figures, government officials, ur members of th< oligarchy. Io thc gray area between diplomacy and subversion, this expansion of personal retattonihips is used to increase Soviet Influence locally as wdl as toariety of anti-US purposes and to promote such current objectives as tbe recognition of Cuba
The hoc separating overt and covert Scrriec activities ia Latin Arrterica is blurred. In keeping with the pattern elsewhere ia thc Third World, about halfoviets assigned to minions there are known or suspected Ditelhgence offiom. Ahnon ill thefficers mend much of their time prrfoniing the work of foreign service officers, including the cultivation of inlluential people. Tlie Soviets find thii activityor ipotting and evaluating potential agents. In Peru, they area range of contacts among inQuraual Peruvians outside llto govemmenj^
b. Moscow Is also trying toetworb of Illegals tn Latin America,oviet intelligence officers documented as Ijiini. Many of these are targeted agaiast the US rather than against Latin America. The nororiously poor record-keeping of Latin Americansr relatively easy toovietatinan Alihough iUegsls commu.-ucate thirdly with Moscow, the presence of large Soviethelps lo provide them with support.
Refo'tons With Ctsmrnwnrsfo Moscow, the orthodox LatinCommunlit parties .n- essentiallyof Soviet policy. With rare
ivisions in (lie Venezuelan and Mexican parties over the invasion of Czechoslovakia, (he Lalin parties haveed Ihe Soviet line more consistently than have the Wesl European Communist Parties. This loyalty is in many cases the expressionalf-century commitment to Ihe Soviet way of doing things.Moscow has traditionally subsidized the Latin American parties, in an amount currently estimated alear. Moscow provides training in the USSR for promising young Communists and trips for the veteran party leaders and functionaries. The willingness of most of the Latinparties to follow Moscow's direction closely derives in part from their small size, their limited political prospects, and their strong need for outside support.
d. Most pro-Soviet Latin American par-tics arc occupied primarily with political tactics. They would likemulate the Communist Party of Chile andhare of power through Ihe electoral process. All, however, have developed clandestine cadres, even such legal parties as those of Colombia, Venezuela, and Uruguay. Some of these cadres were trained in guerrilla warfare inew parties, including those of Colombia and Argentina, havepublicly that violence may bein their own countries to achieve and hold power.
Insurgency and Jen at ism
c. Soviet policy towards the use ofvaries from country to country. On tlie whole, Moscow is leery of associating itself with any kind ol terrorismlin America at this time. The Sovieis traditionally have not condoned high-level politicalkidnappings, or bombings; Ihey look upon indiscriminate terrorism asand are concerned for the safety of their Own 'iiv and diplomats in
Latin America. Moscow worries about groups like the Tupamaros being to lhe left of Ihe orthodox Communis! Parties and fears that these outfits may give the leftad odoi that all leftist organizations will be repressed.
the moment, thc GuatemalanParty seems to be lhe onlyengaged in violence. Itshas directed the assassinationsof security officials in recenthas pursued tins violent courseyears, though thegroup lias been generallyThe party maintains goodMoscow, and in its policyemphasizes traditionalThe Haitian Communist Party,group in exile, is thc onlythis hemisphere that is encouragedby both Moscow and Havana.Communist Party has awhich has been dormant for theyears.
tenuous, indirect connectionsthc USSR and_extreniistoin cause problemsoviet diplomats, allKCB officers, sverc expelledafter the police interrogatedof thcroup formed inby Mexican studentsLumumba Friendship UniversityAfter leaving Lumumba, theyguerrilla training by Norththe Mexicans have beenof covert Soviet activitiesman Russian Embassy insince these sverc directed at lheCentral America rather thanexplusions svill make more of athe rest ol Latin America thanincidents in Argentina or Uruguay,
Soviet diplomat* ate frequentlyjtersonae non fiiatae. Already the Costa Hicani are having second thoughts about permitting the SovieU to open anan lose.
C Economic Relation*
osfict spokesmen hove often talked about the desirability of upanding trade with Latin America, but thc results have generally been disappointing to both Latins andThc USSR buys relatively small amounts of Latin Americas agricultural commodities, and has given little indication that it isto absorb mirch larger quantities overall. Moreover, Latin American businessmen have generally been reluctant to purchase Sovietgoods when US or European goods were available Instead. The USSR has extended far fewer credits to Latin America than to other aieas in thc Third World. The Lalin suspicion of Soviet products andadvisors plus problems with servicing and spare parts mako It very difficult for the Soviets to advance much in this field. Where they can, the Soviets try to exploit economic relations to obtain political entree or leverage Coffee purchases in Costa Rica and Colombia lave been used for these purposes.
Trade ond Aid
a. Economic relations between Latin America and the USSR continue to present an appeaiance ol greater involvement than is actually thc case. Nevertheless, Soviet and Latin efforts to rxpand economic ties have borne some fruit, though trade levels are still very low. Nine Latin Americanhave formal commercial relations with thc Soviets, in some cases simplyay to demonstrate their economic indeperidence of theaim countries hope loarge export market in the USSR for surplus agricultural commodities and
look upon Moscowotential source of financing fur ambitious development proj-
b. Total Latin American trade with thexcept for Cuba, was8 million, less than one percenttin America's svorld trade. Incomplete data0 suggest that thc figure probably' did not exceed0 level ond mayt is difficult torend in ihis trade, for it fluctuates sharply from year to year.
c Latin American count rim in general continue loavorable balance of trade with the Soviets. Althoughis have been reluctant toSoviet manufactured goods. laitinare put off by llie price, quality, and specifications or design of many Soviet products and remain skeptical aboutand the availability of spare parts for mi-dunery and equipment. Castro, who has had no little experience with the Russians, has advised Allendc to keep his credit good with West European suppliers Moscow has made II clear that its level of purchases from Latin America will depend to aextent on Latin Americanto increase imports of Sovietgoods *od to correct unfavorable trade balance.
d Soviet roonoimc assistance lo Latin America, except for Cuba, lias lieenThis is especially true when it is measured against Latin America's(or development financing and against Inflows from international financialand lhe US.oviet credits have amounted7ere 4of theillior Moscow extended to underdeveloped countries Lalin American
1minify by country breakdown of Soviet trail?aim America. in<ludins; Oibu, ice Tabid I
governments have only drawn onercent of these credits, mainly because of consumes resistance lo the purchase of SovielSovicl ciedtls are cuuenlly mostto Ihc new regimes in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.illion worth ol new It us. sian or.ihti to Latin Americallillion went to Peru and Bolivia. Following Allendc's election, the Chilean Covernntenl entered inlo negotiations wiih Moscow about using some Idle Soviet credits forishing port at Valparaito."
c. Moscow occasionally uses its economic activity for very specific political goals. For example, the Soviets Ixiught coffee owned personally by President Figueres of Costa Rica. Tlie purchase preceded discussions aboutoviet mission in San Jose, Soviet purchases of surplus Ecuadorian bananai strengthened the Sovicl political position there, and Moscow's willingness to buy Colombian coffee has opened doors to them tn conservative circles in Bogota
Air ond Sealie Peruvian earthquake in0 provided Moscowolden opportunity to demonstrate iu ability to help Latin American* The Cubans beat them to the punchonth andery effective operation; thc US wat also quick to showoncern. Moscow then hastilyammoth airlift of supplies bul lost one large transport plane en route and failed to airange adequate stopovers and servicing After meeting only onn third o( ilsdeliveries, Moscow cancelled theand ended up sending the remaining relief supplies by sea Although thc Soviets muffed it logistically, thev still sueceeded inavorable impression.
uithcr breakdown of credit* drawing* "iiiorncluding Irioir caIcikI^iI in Ctiha Tabic II.
g. The problems of this operation Iwought home to Moscow some of the geographic constramU on its potential lor quickto situations in Latin America. Since then, the Soviets have stepped up thetr efluiis lo establish more air routes to Latin America and to find some customers for Soviet rivilian aircraft. Negotiations are under wayew Moscow-Havana -Lima-Santiago air route, but Rrar.ll turned down the requestoscow-Dakur-Rio-Santiago route.
h Thc Peruvians have discussed theofmillion worth of Sovietaircraft and cargo planes, and theItavc offered tu train Peruvian airline personnel and lo maintain hangars in Lima. The Peruvian airline is losing money,and may just beit ofshopping Tlic Chilean Government airline showed some interest in purchasing Soviet aiicraft. but decided to buy more Rovingnstead, if financing can be arranged Chileans tealize that it is easier tonified air fleet, to get US spare parb. and to have the planesin rhe US. Uruguay has chimed in with some inquiries to Moscow aboutfishing boats and civilian aircraft. Over the next five years, one or another airline may experiment with Soviet aircraft, but we doubt that this will catch on ihioughout the continent
ultural, Educational, and Propaganda Mo tiers
here are fewer obstacles to theof Soviet cultural, educational, and propaganda activities in theussian per-fnrinii i. athletes, and scientists aie welcomed whetevcr they arc permuted to travel; the USSR's anti-US propaganda flourishes in those countries with relatively open societies and little cenvoiship. An education in the USSR
less appealing loiin Americans lhanhe US or Western Europe, but ihere are young Communists aod rejects from olher schools lo fillalin American contingent al places like Lumumba University in Moscow. Hy and large. Soviet cultural activiUes have enhanced the USSR's reputationreat and civilized power but thus far appear lo have had only marginal effect in promoting Soviel political influence.
a. The USSR now has culturalwith most Lalin American countries and is showing some sophistication inthem. The circus and soccer teams are popular everywhere; Sovietballetilms, books, andexhibits am welcomed by most cosmopolitan audiences, despite expensive tickets and inefficient bookingin several cities The traditionalof the Latin American elite forand cultural attainment hasMoscow with many goodto make friends and appear less crude. It is doubtful, however, that their efforts have greatly bolstered Sovielinfluence.
b. As in olher parts of the Third World, the Soviets haveajor effort to attract impressionable students to the USSRaitin Americans are studying Ihere now, and anre InEurope. Thc largest contingents atare from Ecuador, Chile, and CoIomlWa. over the years, most have come from the first two plus Bolivia and Mexico. The poor caliber of many of the students and lhe difficulty they have In finding jobs upon their return have severely limited the el fectiveness of thc Soviel programs Those who were already well on llie way lo he-tominc true believers have generally come
home more dedicated lo communism. Most students, however, end up eitheror disappointed with the Soviets.
c Moscow uses ils broadcasting and press facilities torosving amount of increasingly sophisticated propagandaariety of languages (currently SOeek of radio broadcasts exclusive of programs beamed athey are also placing press items, films, and canned radio and television programs with local outlets on an increasing scale, and apparently to some effect The moil effective technique seems lo he lo seize on stories or situations lhal put thc USadinking tlie US with thc privileged classes and svilh unpopular business practices. Sovietis most widespread in Chile, Peru, and Uruguay, because each ofide variety ofnewspapers, magazines, news broadcasts, and friendship associations.competition svith Cuban propaganda has been reduced since Havana began to rut down its ievolution-mongeruig
E. Miliiary Activities
he huge distances involved and US sensitivity to military operations in its back-yard have heretofore limited the Soviet mill-'ary presence in Lalin America Moreover, until recently, no Latin Americanoutside Cuba svould have been willing to permll Soviel port calls- hy naval vessels or to contemplate purchasing Russianequipment In the last few years, bow-ever, thc Soviet miliiaryhehas expanded significantly Soviet ships have put in al several islands, and thcof Cienfuegos in Cuba have provided some services for Soviet naval combatants, including nuclear-powered submarines. In South America, the Soviets have found at leas! one couniry willing lo flirt svith an offer
Migs ;G<nd two willing lo permit Aeroflot to pass throughegular basis (Peru andlut the Sovieu face stiffhe arms market (in recent yean. Western Furcate has supplied over half of the arms purchased by Latin American countries) and are inhibited by the orientation of most Latin American military leaden towards the US.
miliury activities inhave largely centered on theDuring thc last IS months, thoincreased the frequency andtheir naval visits to the region. Thisestablish some sort of continuousin an area of great sensitivityUS and. irtdirectly. to supportIn addition toand naval visits to Cuba andin nearbyew Sovietand some Soviet research shipsin at several Caribbean ports Theparticularly attractiveoceenographic and other scientificThe local citizens appearthose visits, but Moscow willto probe in the Caribbean.
Soviets have only begun toAmerican countries outside ofmilitary assistance or procurementSince the US has become lessto give or sell certain kinds oi armsAmerican governments,ui thb field arc unprcwingLatin governments are muchlo turn to West European aimsto the USSR. In the past foursuppliers In Western Europehave sold approximately SI.Iworth ofuiprncnttin America: Biitishother naval equipment; Frenchtanks, and Alouctte helicopters;
Canadian transport aircraft: West Cerman submarines and fighters, and Italian jet trainers.
e. Ecuador, however, has become the first non-Communist country in this hemisphere since Cuatemala in thcoan arms deal with Moscow. President Vdasco has already demonstrated histo forego all US rnilitary assistance but irmains nervous about thc recentof Peru's arsenal. His- government has become the main svindow shopper for arms in Europe and has already purchased some equipment from France, the UK. and West Germany. Now Ecuadorian officials have shown interest in Soviet offers to sell jet fighter-bombers and other aircraft. Ecuadorians are exceptionally difficult to do business svith and are concerned about what Soviet training personnel mightuito. Though Migs are cheaper and easier to service than Mirages, thc Ecuadorians seem to be leaning towards West European suppliers
The next several years will probably sec many more changes in Latin America. Thc predominant trend is likely tourther growth of nationalism manifestedariety of ways The U5 will almost certainly bear the brunt of both spontaneous and deliberate antiforrign acts, and more US-ownedsvill be nationalized. US political"ill probably sat; further
The SovieU will continue to encourage these trends. They are likely to |itdgc, for some yean ahead at least, that they can best do this just by maintaining tlieir low profile,out of mischief, mid taking advantage of favorable trends not necessarily of their osvn making. Consequently, they will probably continue lo favgr popular front ladies The Soviets will Iry to develop influence in non-
parties, llie governmentllie military and security services, and oilier important sectors of Latin American society. 'Ihey will do what they can toand reinforce thc anti-US aspects of Latin American nationalism and to use theirpresence and their advancereat power to further reduce US influence in the area. Their aim would be to sec installed^ in Latin America governments hostile, to thc US and friendly lo tliem.
hc Soviels are also likely to secchances to become more actively involved in forcing the pace of change, and they will certainly continue to develop Com muni si cadres for the long pull. It is improbable that the particular circumstances which produced Castro's alignment with Moscow will recur elsewhere, but there may be other suchin LaUn America which the Soviets will attempt to exploit. At some point, Castro may revive his efforts to goad the USSR intoa more adventurous policy. Competition with the Chinese for influence in leftist move-incuts svill continue toactor in Sovietthoughajor one. For all these reasons, thc Soviets course is not likely toentirely fixed bul will to some degree be responsive to developing opportunities and pressures. The Soviets will, of course, have to be careful to avoid overplaying their hand. An aggressive policy would risk offending Latin American sensitivities, tarnishing the image of respectability that the Russians arc trying to Convey, andtrong US response,
idi of Latin America will continue to seek alternatives to dependence on either the US or the. USSR. In their search for customers for their products or sources of militaryand capital, Latin governments are likely lo look increasingly to Western Europe and Japan. Roth Japan and the EuropeanCommunity am about to implement preferential tariff policies for thc manufac-
tured exports of underdeveloped counlries. New trade connections with Japan-andEurope may lead to deals involving thc investment of capital in Lalin enterprises, on twins more favorable totin American countries than In thc past.
Tlie Soviet approach will be conditioned by considerations of realpolitik. In, the Russians will probably judge that they have more to gain in thc long term by developing positions of influence in thc more politically significant and more economically advanced countries, such as Argentina and Brazil, than in, say, Bolivia or Haiti. Rutbased on local conditions will affect these perspectives. In countries run by leftist regimes, the Soviels will seek to takeof thc reformist atmosphere to make themselves useful and to improve their image a; constructive and helpful. Over tlic longer term, the Soviets may find opportunities in countries where the governments are currently less responsive to thc demands and frustrations of the bulk of the population. Though different in many ways, both Argentina and Colombia have ineffectual governments, hampered by weak or decaying political institutions. Both regimes arc faced with strong pressures for reform from populist movements and other groups. In several other countries, such as Braril and Paraguay, Ihc presence of hard-line, authoritarian military regimes inhibits theof moderate political groupings and tends to polarize society between forces of thc extreme right and left. Unless these regimes pay more attention to some of their nations' fundamental social and economic inequalities, it will become increasingly difficult for them to hold onto power, except through armed repression, or lo yield it to political moderates-It will be some lime, however, before such pressures are likely to become irresistible.
Thc Soviets will continue to watch events In Chile very closely. If Alletide man-
io ilay in office, continues lo cooperate(he Communists, and shows tomet; of succeeding. Moscow will piobably be more forthcoming with support. Thr. Soviets have urged Allende to proceed cautiously and have given Ihc impression lhat they arc nut committed to come to his rescue should In-get into economic trouble. Nonetheless, if hi* regime fallers for eeonomie reasons, Moscow svould piobably help to bail him out. Chile is more richly endowed andtronger ami more balanced economy (ban Cuba, and, in the near futuie nt least, thc USSH would almost itainly not have to assume thc kind of burden il has been carrying in Cubaecadu. Most Chileans, in any event, svould be reluctant to see Iheir countryoviet dinit. If Allende and the Communiti Pnrty should split. Moscow would probably Iry to avoid taking sides. Thc exclusion of the Communists from (he coalition would be an embarrassmenthe Soviets, but Ihis svould not necessarily cause an estrangement between them and Allende. They might, in the end. decide ih.it thc preservation of Iho Allende governmcni was more important to them than the Communist Party's immediate advantage
ho Soviets will aluiosl certainlytheir capabilities for military
operations in the Thud World. Geographical factors, limitations on economic and militaiy resources, and domestic and international im lltical considerations willearing on bow far and hosv fast the Sovieis proceed, hi (he case of Latin America, thc Soviets will probably continue trying to expand their nasal operational capabilities. They may also seek lo acquire additional shore facilities, attempting to test Mi- limits of US tolerance al various stages of this process. We do not believe, hosv-
ever, that the USSR would alternpt. in Ihe face of certain US resistance, lo obtain Ihe kind of arrangements it now has in Egypt, for instance. Such an action would, besides being provoca-live to the US and offensive to Lalinattitudes, piobably be consideredfor Soviet political aod militaryAt thc same lime, the Soviets may find it feasible to obtain shoreto Ihose they now have inrrprovistoning, and minor repairs. Tho USSR might be able to negotiate with Chile and perhaps one or two other countries for tbc use of maintenance facilities *or its naval vessels. Lalin countries will be receplive to such exercises as port and airfield visits lo show lhc flag and cooperation on scientific matters. Moscow may also find customers foi its arms, and some governments willingrant overflight and landing rights.
ho overall expansion of the Soviel presence in Latin America over the next sev-iral years will cause problems for thc US. The Sosicts are likely to increase their influence in more Latin American countries Thc US hegemony svill continue to erode, though thc beneficiaries will in many cases beand Western Europe, Hie US. however, has sine* World War II lieen Lairn America's mafor trading partner, main source of foreign private capital,disbuiser of foreign aid, paramount supplier and trainer of technological andtalent, and major foreign source for military training and materiel. All of this will not chanceew years time. The US will almost certainly remain lhe predominantposver in the area and the one whose policies and presence are the most important lo lhe region.
SOVIET ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO LATINl97ll
Million US Dollars
0 ii 0
of Payments Credits ..
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
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