Created: 11/6/1969

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Intelligence Memorandum

Urban Terrorism in Latin America





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Urban Terrorism in Latin America


A recent upsurge of urban terrorism maya whole new stage of revolutionary activity in Latin America. Revolutionaries and reformers of all types are now becoming increasingly awaro that the key to political power lies not in thewhere insurgency has thus far failed, but in the cities. Their activities, which range from outright terrorism to nonviolent demonstrations, tend to disrupt order rather than seriously threaten any government at the present time.

A background section) isby sections on Brazil, Argentinaolombia, Venezuelauatemaland the Conclusions are presented in

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The change of emphasis from rural guerrilla activity to urban terrorism in Latin America may be the result of the failure of rural insurgents tomuch support from peasants or from the local pro-Soviet Communist Parties. In addition, many of the hard-core professional guerrillas, including "Che" Guevara, have been killed, imprisoned, or Many others have simply become disillusioned with the personal hardships involved in conducting rural guerrilla operations.

The majority of the urban-based terrorist organizations are pro-Castro, although there are several pro-Peking Communist parties involved, which apparently are operating without assistance from China. There is little evidence thus far thatsupport for terrorists has amounted to more than training and propaganda; there is no evidence ofand Chinese cooperation in aiding terrorists. Moreover, it appears that Castro's preoccupation with next year's sugar harvest, his pessimism toward the abetment of rural guerrillas following Guevara's death, and his apparent agreement with the Soviet Union to cooperate with the "via pacifica" policy of the pro-Moscow Latin American Communist Parties, have curtailed the amount of funds available at thetime for active and would-be Latin guerrillas.

Because of the lack of funds, manyguerrillas are being drawn into the cities, where money and arms can generally be fairly easily obtained through petty holdups, racketeering, and bank robberies. They have been joined, in an "odd-couple" relationship, by "nonprofessional" agitators from among the ranks of workers and students. Some -of these are convinced that they cannot secure change through normal political processes; others areinterested in generating unrest and in gaining publicity rather than in promoting revolution. The mutual antiestablishment bias of all of them,makes them alliesort and probablyfor the growing number of loosely coordinated or completely uncoordinated terrorist incidentsfor one cause or another. An additionalof course, is the high level of strictly criminal activity that is present in every city.

Urban Terrorism in Brazil

mostthe moment,urbanby aofgrow intoproblemgovernment. the pastthe riselevel ofhas beeninavesincebut isin Rio de BelOother major Thetheincludedcars,sell guns,buildings,posts, andand USpersonnel. Ambassador towas kidnaped onandthe ransom of 15

leftist extremist prisonersGeneral* Examining Terrorist Damage

many of whom had been Involved in urban Most of this group have gone on to Cuba and may try to return to Brazil at some future date.

subversive groups responsible foractivities include individuals withbackgrounds. Students probablylargest single element, but manual laborers,


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professional persons,military men, andguerrillas are also present- The groups use many different names in order to confuse security officials and to create the impression that they are more numerous than is actually the case. Probably the most effective organization was led byCommunist Carlos Mari-ghella, who was killed bypoliceovember. Marighella's group, sometimes bearing the name NationalAction rom the outset devoted moreto urban areas than the usual pro-Castro Some of Marighella's followers received guerrilla training in Cuba, but although

Havana offered Marighella arms and financialapparently did not want to commit histo outside influence or direction. His deathevere blow to Brazilian terrorists who might now possibly attempt some spectacular action botheprisal andid to restore badly damaged Several key Marighella lieutenants are still at large.

is sex

6. Another important group is the ArmedVanguard-Palmaresn which renegade army captain Carlos Lamarca is the best-known figure. This organization probably was responsible for the assassination of US Army Captain Charles Chandler -in Sao Paulo in Both the AWL and the VAR have links to terrorist groups that areby students,including the "red-wing" sector of the Peking-line Communist Party of Brazilhe Revolutionary Brazilian Communist Partynd thehich was named after the date of Che Guevara's capture (He diedctober.) The ANL and theointly claimed responsibility for the kidnaping of US Ambassador Elbrick. One of the key figures in the planning

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and execution of the kidnaping was Marighella's chief lieutenant, Joaquin Camara Ferreira.

all of the terrorist groups havecellular structure, which ensures thatof some members does not compromise theorganization. In August, for example,broke up the headquarters of thenamed after Fidel Castro'suly, but the terrorists were able to regroupdifficulty. oint operation by alland military security agencies in Saoresulted in the acquisition ofinformation from arrested subversives. Theof involvement of Marighella's supportersPaulo terrorism is becoming increasinglythese interrogations. Marighella was planning

to expand the terrorism campaign to other urban areas, such as Brasilia, and toampaign of rural terrorism against selected targets in the northeast.

Uruguay's Urban Terrorists

In Uruguay, the National Liberation(MLN), (commonly referred to as the Tupamaros after the Inca resistance leader, Tupacs the main terrorist group. Itlandestineorganization that espouses the violent overthrow of the government and the creationsocialist" state. It was founded during the, and is made u? largely of members of the ex-Socialist Party who have lost faith in thesystem. The MLN prides itself onand avoids the development of systematic relationships with other Uruguayan leftists,revolutionary movements, or foreignew Tupamaros have traveled to Cuba forowever;ertain amount of liaison with, and possibly assistance from, like-minded groups in Brazil and Argentina reportedly exists.

The Tupamaros enjoy considerable support among the country's more militant university and secondary students. The number of regular members may be as high, butesult ofpolice action during the summer andre now in jail. On the other hand.


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the close compartmentation of the organization, which has in effect separated the MLN into manysections, has made police operations against it difficult. The Tupamaros have also shown that they are capable ofide range of subversive acts. Moreover, by the careful selection oftargets and such acts of benevolence as the distribution of stolen meat at Christmas in the workmen's section of Montevideo, they have had some success in portraying themselves as the Robin Hoods of Uruguay.

10. ctober, when theyulti-bank robberyaid on police headquarters near Montevideo, the Tupararos suffered their mostsetback to date. During the ensuing gun battleombined force ofroops andthree Tupamaros were killed and approximatelyere arrested. The rest of the band escaped leaving leaflets saying that Che Guevara's death was not in vain. Continuing investigations andsince the clashctober havein several rroreand the discovery of an arms cache in theespite the cost of their abortive attack, thestill enjoy the open support of the country'sstudents and at least the radical faction of the Communist-controlled National Conventions of Workers.

11. Although there is no evidence of collusion, the Tupamaros' activities areapplauded by the an ties tablishment, antigov-emment, pro-Soviet Communist National Convention of(CNT) that has staged strikes and demonstrations threatening the government's

stability. The CNT is helped in turn by the extreme leftist University Students' Federation (FEUU).

Argentine Terrorists

The Argentine Communist Party National Committee of Revolutionary Recoveryas been an exponent of urban terrorism since It was founded by the pro-Sovietof Communist Youth which was expelled from the Communist Party7isagreement over armed struggle. The federation changed its name to the Argentine Communist Revolutionary Party (PCRA) early this year. This group is only one of several independent organizations that have recently emerged as an extreme left-wing opposition force. Another new group is the Movement of the ArgentineLeft (HIRA). MIRA is reported to have links with Cuba and China and with extremist Catholic groups generally operating outside of the Church such as the Camilo Torres Command, as well as the revolutionary priests belonging to the "Third World Movement." it also has some contacts with the Uruguayan Tupamaros, and some individual Uruguayans may have taken part in terrorist attacks last April.

The recent spate of bombing incidents against US firms in Cordoba and Tucuman, against precincts of the federal police and gendarmerie in Cordoba, and against the USZS Library in Buenos Aires, appear to be the work of an extremely small group of left-wing extremists, probably numbering no moren the country but with apparently top-level national coordination. The terrorists are believed to be organized into small cellsersons and spring from such extremist grouos as the Trotakyite Labor Partyhe pro-ChineseVanguard Partynd the dissidentRevolutionary Party (PCRA). Their purpose is to engender an atmosphere of "prerevolutionary While the targets of the bombings were almost exclusively American, the campaign is not per se anti-American, but merely reflects the fact that attacks on US installations more readily engender publicity.

in Brazil and Uruguay, so-calleddemands by students and workers areby the Argentine terrorists who arethemselves as allied During the week0 October,ombs were detonated against USand government buildingscountry. These attacks simultaneouslystudent celebration of the secondthe death of Che Guevara, who was born inand demonstrated leftist opposition toeconomic policies.

Urban Terrorism in Other countries

Urban guerrilla activity has also taken place in Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. In Bolivia, remnants of the National Liberation Army, the Organization formed by Che Guevara, have been threatening toguerrilla operations, concentrating this time on urban terrorism. So far, however, theirhave been confined to sporadic bombings and assassination attempts. Many of the terrorists were rounded up when Inti Paredo, their leader, was killed last month.

Guerrilla activities in Colombia are still concentrated for the most part in the countryside, but since mid-summer there have been severalof violence in Medellin, the country'slargest city. Colombian security forces have traced the perpetratorsroup attempting to reorganize the country's sagging rural guerrilla forces.

In Venezuela, the main guerrillahe Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN) and the Movement of the Revolutionary Leftindicated that they intend to concentrate on urban terrorist operations rather than rely strictly on rural guerrilla activity. There have been several outbreaks of violence in the cities this year,at the time of the proposed visit ofRockefeller in early June and when President Caldera was inaugurated in March. The Rockefeller episode culminated in the largest bank robbery in

Venezuelan history, in Puerto La Cruz in late June. The robbers scribbled anti-Rockefeller slogans on the bank's walls, thus symbolizing some sort of unity with students in other cities who had rioted against the visit.

16. Coupled with renewed activity in the rural areas are frequent reports of terrorists' plans for the cities. Primary targets are theof US-owned companies such as the Rockefeller interests, Sears outlets, and US oil company Periodic threats against USincluding members of the embassy and consular staffs, are received. The recent armed robberyS consul and his family in Caracas, however, does not appear to have been politically motivated. Nevertheless, rumors persist that some form ofterrorism is to start soon.

19. Terrorism including many incidentsCity has almostay of life US Ambassador Mein and two USwere assassinated last year, andincidents--including bombings,andcontinuedvearate ofo

rorist groups plan to recapture internationalto Guatemalan insurgency by assassinating important local political figures and the USor other members of the US mission. At least two members of the embassy have received threats on their lives.

Although violence has continuednormal'* level around the country, Guatemalanhave concentrated forear onstructuring supply networks, and Thus, many terrorist incidents appear to be opportunistic actions rather than planned Planned kidnapings appear to have netted the groups several hundred thousand dollars,

There are several indications that the Communists may soon try to mount an all-outcampoign, possibly to coincide with the



opening in November of the presidential political campaigns. During October there were severalmurders in various parts of the country directed against military officers and labor leaders.

In the Dominican Republic, theurban terrorism that has plagued the Balaguer administration throughout its three and one-half years of rule seems likely to continue. Although violence has always been an integral part of the country's political scene, urban terrorism hasmore institutionalized in recent years, partly because of the bitter heritage ofnd the innumerable "scores" left unsettled. The few attempts by the Dominican Communists toural base have been dismal failures, and terrorism, like the country's political life, is likely to remain centered almost solely in the capital of Santo Domingo.

Urban terrorism has been increasing over the last six months, undoubtedly reflecting theof theresidential election which is likely to be the occasionignificant rise in terrorist activity. Some Communist groups have usod robberies to raise funds and assassinations to enforce political intimidation and garner publicity. Members of political parties on both the left and right are not above lending at least their tacit support to an urban campaign aimed at unseating the Balaguer administration. Zn any such campaign, US installations or personnel could provide tempting targets for publicity-soaking "nationalistic"owing to the past history of USin Dominican affairs.


terrorism is likely to increasefuture. Guerrillas need money to operate,is readily available to them in the cities. agitators (students and workers)that they can gain quick andfrom easily publicized urban terroristviolent demonstrations, especially those aimed

at the US. Extremist student groups now view the "university struggle" (universities in Latin America

are located in the cities)ossible starting pointeneral urban struggle. The official Communist parties realize the potential of urban trade union and student disturbances and areto unite the two factions. Suchin creating urban disturbances may bringloser working relationship between pro-Castro and pro-Moscow Communists, who have already been forced to participate to some extent in extremist activities in order to bring them under control. Moreover, it is likely that Fidel Castro willdetermined to aid revolutionary movements in Latin America, wherever it is economically possible and politically feasible for him to do so.

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