DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE
The Uruguayan Government and the Left
SPECIAL REPORTS axe supplements to the Currenti- Weeklies issued by the Office of Current Intelligence. The Special Reports are published separately to permit more comprehensive treatmentubject. They arc prepared by the Office of Current Intelligence, the Office of Economicthe Office of Strategic Research, and the Directorate of Science and Technology. Special Reports are coordinated as appropriate among (he Directorates of CIA but, except for the normal substantive exchange with other agencies at the working level, have not been coordinated outside CIA unless specifically indicated.
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THE URUGUAYAN GOVERNMENT AND THE LEFT
The leftist movement in Uruguay now standsrossroads, its future course and prospects for power directly tied to the rise or fall of Uruguay's economic fortunes. If economiccontinue to deteriorate, popularwill increase and the leftists, the Coraunist Party, will have anto exploit the resulting disillusionment to expand their influence and eventually attain political power* The government, however, haside-ranging program to revitalize the country and reverse the economic decline. If it succeeds, the left will be the long-run loser.
Both the government and the leftists have their strengths and vulnerabilities. Thehas the upper hand at present, but during the coming months, as it strives to get itsprogram off the drawing board, it will face an increasingly strong challenge. Agitation will heighten as the left attempts to defeat the govern ment's efforts and workers rebel at proposedmeasures. The outcome of the struggle will determine whether the Communists will continueosition to increase their power or whether they will exist onlyocal and irritating, but relatively unimportant, political minority.
ew years ago,conditions were relatively good, and generous government social security benefits robbed the leftissatisfiedfrom which to draw support. Under these circumstances theParty of Uruguay (PCU) was in no position to threaten the government and the government was willing to tolerate its existence.
Indirectly, however, this economic euphoria made possible
the first Communist organizational gains. ountry eager to grant worker benefits and to provide for the well-being of all, democratic labor leaders had, for lackause, lost their dynamism. Union mombers took little interest in labor elections and were not overly concerned when Communist Partyengineered the elections tohigh offices.
Communist influence in the labor movenentigh point during world War II and immediately afterward6 the party polled
five percent of the total vote) but declined with the start of the cold war and during the Korean conflict, pcu leaders were then devoted followers of Stalin and they Biade the mistake of local issues and trying to appeal to the Uruguayans on strictly ideological grounds. Zt was notarty shake-uphich brought to power tho present leader, Rodney Aris-mendi, that the PCU began to shift its emphasis back to the local scene and again concentrated on tha bread-and-butter trade union issues. In its comeback the party was greatly aided by the economic decline that began In the.
Gradually, PCU members began taking over leadership inunions and joining these unions together in federation.ore than two thirds of Uruguay's organized workers had been brought into the Communist-dominated National Workersand the last significant democratic labor confederation passed quietly from the scene. Renewed efforts by democratic union members to become anforce in the laborare showing some signs of success, but major gains are not expected for some time.
The emergence of younger, dynamic leadership in the PCU enabled it to match thisin the student movement. The National University's Federation of Uruguayan University Students isnot yetCommunists. Only aboutercent of thestudent body is politically
active, but that fraction by virtue of its organization, can appear to speak for the whole.
In the political realm, the PCU succeeded2 in bringing a number of competing leftist groupsarty-dominated electoral alliance called theLiberation Fronthe Front's percentage of the vote has goneercent since its birthercentrior to the Front's formation, thehad onlyercent4ercent
The PCU has0 members, of whomre active. In addition, its youth organization has an0 members,f whom are militants. The party, one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere, is disciplined and well organized and receives substantial support from the large Soviet Embassy in Montevideo. This contrasts sharply with most of the
Tlw Independent National Parly0actum of lb* National Partj '* Number of iwnatot* reduced to7 Constitution.
other leftist organizations, where infighting and lack of leadership are more the rule than the Despite gains in labor and student organizations, however, the PCU has never garnered moreercent of the vote and is still short of exerting great political pressure on the
Economic Deterioration Aids Coirjnunist Cause
The party's development has been affected as much by events outside its control as by its own efforts.
When econocdc conditions were good, the party either was forced to mark time or actually suffered setbacks. Since the end of the Korean War boomowever, the economy has been sliding steadily downhill because ofgovernment policies andworld markets for wool and beef. Output per capita has fallen and the cost of living has risen moreercent.
The resulting discontent has enabled the Communists tostrikes and studentthat have disruptedefforts to introduce programs and have thus perpetuated conditions favorable to Communist gains.
Comnunist influence over labor on economic issues has, in fact, increased to the point where the PCU has been able not only to call strikes but to persuade labor to persist until its demands are met. Indeed, the party has often had difficulty getting theto return to work and workers have on occasion accused the PCU of putting the party's safety and interests over those of the unions.
Generally, however, the party has been able to use its strength in labor effectively enough to interfere withstabilization programs- Its efforts have in large measures been aided by chronicand dissension within the ruling party which have prevented the executive from carryingoncentrated program of economic reform.
Dissension Develops on the Left
All has not run smoothly for the PCU, however. Recently it hasumber of problems that endanger its gains and its long-run power position. Host of the problems sten from the party's reliance upon peaceful, gradualist tactics to achieve power.
The PCU has always maintained that it would concentrate on legal methods, and because its electoral gains have been unspectacular, the government has been content to let it go about its business.and young people, generally found the party's pro-Moscowviews heady enough tothen as members and to keep then: enthusiastic and loyal. It was not until several years after Castro's triumph in Cuba that the party's policies were seriously questioned or challenged.
At first, the PCU struckarm relationship with Castro, and party leader Rodney Arismendi
requent guest in Havana. The PCU admired the Cuban success but maintained that Uruguay's flat topography was unsuited towarfare and that theconditions existing in the country prevented the PCU from following the Cuban road to power. This position appears to have been generally accepted and even now, when relations between Arismendi and Castro are somewhat strained, the Cubans appearto admit that Uruguay may be the exception to the doctrine that violent revolution must begin in the countryside.
As Cuban disagreement with the Soviet line on revolutionary strategy intensified, however, the polemics began having anin Uruguay. The more radical parties challenged the PCU's right to speak for tha Uruguayan left. At Cuba's Latin AmericanOrganization (LASO)in the summerhe Uruguayanit was put together by the PCU andajority of pro-PCUopenly on resolutions related to the Cuba/Moscow debate.
For the first time in many years the PCU found itselffrom within. Its youngperhaps spurred on by theof Argentina's Communist youth in defying conservative party elders andomantic admiration for the guerrillaan of action, began to desert the party in significant numbers. Many are believed to have joined the pro-Cuban Revolutionaryof Uruguayed by Ariel Collazo, which grew from
Other radical parties, roused from their lethargy by Castro's revolutionary pronouncements, jealous of the PCU's dominance? and encouraged by the MRO'sgradually begantheir political activities. As early asplacid Uruguay found itselfledgling terroristor the National Liberation Movementnspired by the writings of Mao, Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, and Debray, its members set about robbing banks and stealing ammunition and explosives. ew gun battles with police were fought in and near Montevideo. Other leftist groups began invading the PCU's labor stronghold, forcing the party to campaign hard to win union elections. Street fights
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between PCU members and radicals broke out in Montevideo.
The Cubans in the meantime had been quietly giving some funds and advice to the MRO and, although they may have retrenched somewhat by now, in7 they were stepping up their Their purpose was twofold. They saw in thoeans to propagandize theirviews, and they also hoped to use it eventuallyunnel for clandestineof propaganda, men, andto Cuban-sponsoredgroups in other Latin American countries.
The MRO began immediately putting the Cuban money to use and organizing the radical left against the Communist Party. with five other radical groups, the MRO reopened itsnewspaper Hpoca and begantridentlyline supporting the LASO resolutions. The MRO also began organizing guerrilla training camps and setting up clandestine communications networks in the interior.
The PCU reacted byore radical position itself. Party leaders sent youthfulto Cuba for training, with the idea that eventually they would fight in wars of liberation in other parts of Latin America. To prove its militancc and to shore up its prestige among the workers, the party organized strikes and antigovernment Byhe entire left was in ferment, and
public dissatisfaction with the government had been broughtew high,
The Government Retaliates
The government, however, has the police power on its side and its response to the newmilitance was to ban theparties and their newspapers. The parties' leaders wereand their meetings
The Communist Party wasby theand publications were left to carry on theirfree from open competition from other leftist groups. President Pacheco's action supported the PCU's argument that the time was not favorable nor the left yet strong enough to risk directwith the government. The Communists protested therepressive action, but in lackluster tones that barelytheir contentment with the misfortunes of their rivals.
The radicals1 defeat was by no means complete, however* Their polemics had forced the PCU toore active revolutionary position. Furthermore, after its initial crackdown, theeased up on the banned The Socialist paper, banned along with Epoca, is being publishedew name, and the government has made little effort to discover and break up secret meetings of the proscribed organizations. The pro-Havana/ pro-Moscow debate is heating up
again in the leftist press. The HRO is again talking about"revolutionary acts ofnd the leftists are trying to build labor agitation and political unrest back to the pre-December level.
This militance is more likely to take the form of urban unrest than rural terrorism. Both the Communists and the extremists are better organixed in the cities, especially Montevideo, andetter chance of creatingdisturbances there. The security forces are capable of controlling isolated incidents but probably would be unable to handle widespread, sustainedof violence.
Thus far this year there have been no spectacularlyleftist demonstrations or strikes, even though theMay Day demonstrations were larger and more violent than usual, and the workers seem
somewhat dispirited. asic discontent exists and the PCD should be able to creat significant disturbances if it decides to mount an all-out campaign.
Future Communist and Government Tactics
igh level of agitation will be sustainedong period of time depends in large measure on the success of government efforts to halt economic deterioration and to get the economy moving upward. Even should some progress be made, much will depend upon the government's ability to convince the people that it can beand that it willpormit tangible improvements in living standards.
Economic measures adopted thus far have had littleor psychological effect. The government has stopped publishing
8 SPECIAL REPORT 8
monthly cost-of-living reports, but inflation was approximatelyercent during the first three months Communistagainst needed austerity measures, suchroposed wage freeze, is gathering steam. If the party can defeat such vital stability measures, thefor continued leftist gains will steadily improve as the economy stagnates.
The government still sees little threat from the left, but it has awakened to the dangers of continued economic decline. It has finally devised and begun to implement an economic program which, if followed through, should start tho country on the road to recovery. The program stresses promotion of agricultural exports, reduction of budget deficits, and increased reliance on foreign aid to support more investment.
President Pacheco isto the success of this He and his top economic advisers also realize that much depends on preventingwage increases. If theappear to be interfering with this goal, Pacheco is likely to move against them--this time including the Communists. He might be encouraged to do so by persistentdenied by alland Argentine plans toshould economicappear to be producing enough
discontent toommunisteal threat.
The possibility ofeneral leftist crackdown will force the PCU to plan its tactics carefully. In the first place, it will want to exercise some control over the radical parties lest their activities antagonize the government and bring about retaliatory measures against the entire left. Therefore, the PCU will probably take the initiative in labor agitation, in the hopes of keeping it within reasonable bounds, and will try to pre-er-.o: or swallow up radicaltepped-up program of agitation will also be needed to keep the allegiance of the party's youth.
The government will consider itself lucky if it can keep the cost of living increase in8 to halfercent rise. But8 should produce enough discontent to keeppropaganda appealsto the workers. Thais determined to press ahead with its economicefforts, however, and should succeed unless it isby labor's demands. If it falters and allows economic deterioration to continue, the PCU will beood position to reap political gains1 when tho next national elections are scheduled. .LSEPgl'T
Page 9 SPECIAL REPORT 8Original document.