DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE
Status of Insurgency in Venezuela
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence8
Status of Insurgency in Venezuela Summary
Active insurgency in Venezuela in the past year has been sporadic and small scale when compared with the high level of leftist activity that preceded3 presidential elections. This isin part to the government's increasinglycounterinsurgency program as well as towithin and between the guerrilla bands. The' insurgency effort is further hampered by the present policy of the pro-Soviet Communist Party of Venezuela to postpone armed struggle in favor of participating in the political processes through its electoral front, the Union for Advancement. In anticipation that some extremists may attempt to disrupt theelections to be held in December, thehas increased its security precautions andcapable of coping with the problem.
Not*: Thie memorandum uae produced eolety by CIA. It was prepared by the Office of Current Intelligence and coordinated uitk the Office of national Eetimatee and the Clandeetine Services.
The Nature of the Insurgency Movement
insurgency movement in Venezuela is
a long-standing effort which has persisted despite the insurgents' inability to seize power, disrupt the economy or political processes, orilitary coup. Over the years the insurgents havesweeps, internal bickering, logistical problems, and undependable outside support. By surviving, the insurgents have accumulated experience and have demonstrated that they are not to be destroyed easily. Their numbers have been reduced, but theyarassment capability and continue to conduct operations in both urban and rural areas.
insurgency movement is split intoforces: the dissident Communistof National Liberation (FSLN) under theof Douglas Bravo Mora; the predominantlyCastroite Movement of the Revolutionary; and the now dormant guerrilla force ofCommunist Party of Venezuela (PCV).
The Armed Forces of National Liberation
Bravo, leader of the FALN, orCommand FLN/FALN (CUFF) as its membersto be called,ormer PCV polltburoone of the hard-liners expelled from theParty in6 for refusing to acceptdecision to de-emphasize armedguerrillas operate in the states ofFalcon, and in the traditional guerrillaLara, Trujillo, and Portuguesa states. the FALN strength vary, with somewhere between
ndhe most probable. There have been recent reports, however, that Bravo's group has become badly split over tactics and that one faction under the command of his chiefuben Petkoff, has agreed to merge with the MIR. Radio Havana has sharply criticized: Bravo recently for refusing to engage the enemy directly in urban areas. Petkoff reportedlyore aggressive line, which is
It is not yet confirmed, there
is some evidence that another group of Bravo'shas deserted him and is operatingin the west. Despite these internalthe Bravo forces have been credited with many recent actions in the west, including attacks on electoral registration boards, bank robberies, and raids on small towns to obtain supplies, including medicines.
The Movement of the Revolutionary Left
Potentially, the most important of the guerrilla forces is the Caetro-supported KIR. It can probablytrengthard-core members plus an unknown number of partisans. This force has been painstakingly rebuilt since thewiping out of the terrorist forces in the east.
The MIRuerrilla force in easternEzequiel Zamora Front with aboutembers located in the El Bachiller, and the Antonio Jose de Sucre Front of someen operating in the states of Monagas, Sucre, Anzoategui, and Delta Amacuro. There arereports that most of the El Bachiller force moved in September to join with the Antonio Jose de Sucre band. The MIR alsomaller group
of unknown size and composition in the western part of the country.
forces operating in the easta large supply of explosives thatthem to attack bridges, pipelines,routes, and power relaytargets which have not been exploited inmonths. In addition, it appears that asof the government's recent amnesty ofprisoners, several former members stay soon
be able to rejoin the MIR band. Others who have
been abroad for guerrilla training may even now be in transit to Venezuela.
the Communist Party, the MIR hasthat favors armed struggle and anothergreater gains in peaceful participation Moises Moliero, the secretarythe MIR, recently published an article inorgan Izouierda calling for participationconditions in the general elections toin December. Moliero's article,at the urging of the Communist Party, isfrom traditional MIR policy and mayyet another disputeeadershipby internal strife.
The Communist Party's Attitude toward the Elections
Party policy at the moment is
to avoid all types of subversion and terrorism prior to the elections. The guerrilla forces of the party, consistingucleus of someen, are reportedly at present concentrating on organizing and building for future operations. In line with this policy, party leaders have sought as far as possible tothe MIR and the FALH from initiating actions that would provoke government repression andthe party's electoral front, the Union for(UPA). In the eventilitary golpereakdown in civil order, however, theParty would quickly abandon its pacific role and attempt to be in the vanguard of the protesters.
the official position ofParty Is the temporaryoad to power, the clandestinethe party, the Metropolitan Militaryis working as in the past on anplan for insurrection in Caracas and
is attempting to organize cells throughout the city The actual organization work, however, isslowly, and apparently no action cells have been formed in Caracas. Most of the planning is on paper and the members of the MMC seem to be resigned to the fact that it will still be on paper at the end of the year. Although MMC members have specific
authority and instructions from the partythey are getting little support from party leaders and cadres, who are concentrating theiron the CPA and preparations for the elections.
the party decided to abandon itsit could probably countairlyof men who are already trained andguerrilla tactics. The Simon Bolivar Frontwest is still technically in existence, but it
is not presently organizedighting unit and reportedly suffered major lossesecentraid. The Manuel Ponte Rodriguez Front in the east is also engaged only in training andactivities. Its membership is believed to be abouten.
capabilities of the PCV forfairly high in terms of its ability toroblem for the government, butlow from the strategic standpoint. Thein the field are armed and could ambushand attack small towns, but they wouldsuffer high losses in the process. Recenthave released many capable, trainedand terrorists who could contributethe launching of organized violence shoulddecide that the time is ripe.
Government Counterinsurgency Capabilities and
Against this array of guerrilla forces, the government has fieldedattalions ofand heavily armed antiguerrilla troops supported byndelicopters.
Although the majority of the population supports the federalistoricalof mountain people to any government has been exploited in some areas by the guerrillas. This
is especially true in the east,eduction of tho labor force by the oil companies8 has caused an economic slowdown that the government has been unable to reverse.
In Falcon State, the FALN has madeuse of Douglas Bravo's family ties to gain logistical support and information. In Yaracuy State, long disregarded by the government, thewere able toeries of rest areas and to gain the support of the residents.
In an effort to counter this situation, the government through its military civic action program has engaged in basic development projects in rural areas, including the construction by Army engineers of access roads, schools, and buildings. In addition, the army and national guard provide medical and dental facilities in rural towns and settlements.
The general effectiveness of thes counterinsurgency campaign and the present disarray in subversive groups make it unlikely that the subversive forces will be able to carry out more than token harassment of the elections.Original document.