THE SITUATION IN BOLIVIA

Created: 9/14/1967

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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CONTENTS

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THE PROBLEM 1

CONCLUSIONS 1

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I. THE 2

II. THE POLITICAL BACKGROUND

ID. THE BARRIENTOS 5

IV. THE MILITARY 3

V. THE OPPOSITION 9

VI. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL 9

VII. THE10

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THE SITUATION IN BOLIVIA

THE PROBLEM

To estimate the situation in Bolivia and the probable impact of tho present insurgency on it, over the next year or so.

CONCLUSIONS

A. The present insurgency in Bolivia is organized and supported by Cuba. Its seriousness lies in the possibility that the insurgents may eventuallyallying point for many disaffected elements wliich hitherto have been unable to coalesce, r"

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the next year or so, there is little chance that thebe able to bring about the overthrow of the Barrientosit is also unlikely lhal the regime will be able to stamp out

prolongation and expansion of the insurgency wouldfinancial and psychological strains on Bolivia, greatlyeconomic development and social amelioration that are essential

to the achievement of stability in that country. Defense costs .. rotracted guerrilla war would add heavily to the already seriousW in tho national budget, would further limit public investment, and would threaten the government's stabilization program, f

D. If the government's counterguerrilla operations are protracted and unsuccessful, that would encourage other disafiected elements to undertake more active opposition to the government- It would also seriously damage the morale of the military. In these circumstances, the tenure of the Barrientos regime would become precarious.

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DISCUSSION

I. THE INSURGENCY

Armed resistance to central authority hu long been commonplace in (he Bolivian hinterland. Concern regarding the present insurgencyonsequence of conclusive evidence that it is organized and supported by Cube- From this source Ihe insurgents have received leadership and training, modern automatic wessons,ody of revolutionary

Inolivian army patrol clasheduerrilla band north of Camiri, in southeastern Bolivia (seeonth later Julea Regis Debray,

a French intellectual, and Ctro Roberto Bustos, an ArgentineW""

captured in the same area. Debrayriend of Fidel Cartioublicist

for his revolutionary theories; his arrest in itself ensured worldwide publicity

for the Camiri band. Debray and Bustos added to the sensation by declaring

that the leader of the guerrilla movement in Bolivia was none other than Ernesto

uevara.

disappeared in5 under circumstance! which raisedthat he was still alive Since then there have bees scores ofunconfirmed reports and rumors as to his whereabouts. Somewhathas recently become available, it suggestspresence insome time during the past year. But whether or not "Cbe" is In Bolivia,clear that the Camiri guerrillas are led by someone who keeps in contactand who is well versed in the Guevara doctrine of revolution.

A main theme of the CaslroGuovara-Debray doctrine is that city-bred 'revolutionary" parties cannotealas in Cuba, the revolution must originateuemlla movement in the remote hinterland. By its survival and continuing defiance,uerrilla movement willihe power lessness of the regime and will draw to itself true revolutionary spirits- Eventually the guerrilla movement will win the sympathy and support of the oppressed population and will itself constitute Ihe basis for theof the truly revolutionary political party. This theory is, ofecapitulation of tlie Cuban experience from the Caslroist point of view.

The available evidence indicates that the Camiri band numbers onlyen. Although the nominal commanderolivian, it is evident thatcadre is composed of Cubans and of Bolivians trained in Cuba. I

t appears that the

group had planned to spend more time in recruitment! and training, thatdiscovered before it was ready to begin active operations,hat

.leaders realize that its consequent dependence on its Cuban cadre may prove olitically disadvantageous byationalistic Bolivian reaction.

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Since their discovery these guerrillas have operated in an area extending horn Camiri northwardiles to Samaipata on Ihe Cochabamba-Santa Cru2 highway (seehis area lies in the eastern foothills of the Andes; the elevation varieseet It is sparsely populated; the availability of supplies, especially food, is meager. Access is limited by the north-south pattern of the ridgclines. Moreover, thick foilage on the slopes provides concealment for the guerrillas, They arc well protected fromand attack from the air. Army patrols approaching on foot up rugged strcambeds arc highly vulnerable lo being ambushed.

Countergucrrilla operations in such terrain would be extremely difficult for well-equipped, well-trained, and well-motivated forces.

The

guerrillas have several times managed to ambush army patrols, inflicting casual-lies without permitting die army units to close. The guerrillas, however, have been compelled to abandon their base camp, and the Bolivian army haskilled orew of them.

he Bolivian army numbers0 men, of whom onlyn MAP-supported units arc reasonablyts effectiveness is limited by the fact that its conscripts servene-year tour of duty,inimal period of service after the completion of basic training. The army has committed moreC0 men to oontainingamiri guerrillas, but few of them are from MAP-suppoited units,

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small guerrilla bands, in addition to that in theprobably exist in other similarly Inaccessible areas (seeomecomposed of ordinary, undisciplined Bolivian outlaws, but there arethat two such bands (those in the Alto Bcni and Chapare areas) mayconnected with the Camiri Insurgents. As yeteno active operations, but they could of course be used to divert andthe Bolivian counter guerrilla forces.

is evident that the initiative in launching the Bolivian insurgencyHavana rather than from any of the three local Communist

Since the Camiri band became

1 In addition, thereen In the air forcen tbe river and lake naval force. 'See the tablendor brief descriptions of political organization* Id Bolivia.

the Central Committee of the pro-Soviet party has publicly endorsed the guerrilla

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movrnttM

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Hlii short, the guerrillas ue quite willing to accept localassistance1 *as and when it suits their own plans, but are careful not to identify themselves with or subordinate themselves to any local Communist party. In accordance with Cuban doctrine, they expect to organize the true revolutionary party on the basis of tho guerrilla movement itself.

U. It is unclear whether the guerrillas have won the sympathy of the sparse rural population in the areas in which they operate, although it is notable that they have paid well for the food supplies they have taken and havemedical services to the villages they have entered. Their greatestsource of recruits is the large number of unemployed and bitterly disaffected tin miners, but the miners are generally reluctant to leave the Altiplano and so farmall number of them have actually been recruited. The distance of tho guerrilla zone from urban centers discourages the participation ofeeled students.

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II. THE POLITICAL BACKGROUND

Boliviaeal political and social revolutionut the resulting governments made only limited progress toward solving basic political and economic problems. The fervent nationalism of the revolutionary leaders could not transform the country into an integrated nation. More than half the population are Indians who speak Quechua or Aymaxi rather than Spanish; there are strong geographical and cultural barriers to the development of nallooal unity.

Initially2 revolution, sparked by crrmpeaino and miner militias and directed by the National Revolutionary Movementttempted to alter radically the existing social conditions.' It nationalized the tin mines, expecting

ita|or producer of Hn, Bolivia! per capita gross utional productacasda only that of Haitiell below0 average for latin America. Bolivia'! populationboutercent iulteiatn.

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thereby to gain the means to cany out its other intended reforms. It (teed the Indian from the control of absentee landlords, gave hiaa land and the vote, and sought to give him education. But the nationalized tin rnines produced deficits instead ofnd agricultural production fell These factors, combined with fiscal and managerial irresponsibility,taggering inflation. TheefiorU to control inflation and to rationalize tin production wereresisted by the miners, who virtually controlled the mines, as well aseft-wing faction of the MNR under Juan Lochia Oquendo. I

By runninghird presidential termazizable faction ol llie MNR (including former President Ileman Silesnto opposition. Forced thereby to seek military support, Paz grudgingly accepted the Air Force commander. General Rene Barnentos Ortuno, as bis running mate. Mutual ruipicioQ grew between the two, and Par, unable to control increasing resistance to his rule, was finally ousted by the military leadership inH.

HE BARRIENTOS REGIME

lthough the discredited MNR leadership was thrown out, the military leaders who took control pledged continuance of the MNR revolution. Tha two main figures in tho provisional government were General Barrientos and General Alfredo Ovcndo Candia, who became co-presidents. Barrientos en|oyedpopularity, based largely on the bold Searing he had shown in the face of several previous attempts to assassinate him. He prepared for election to the constitutional presidency by presenting himself as an advocate of Christian democracy and byoalition of miscellaneous political fragments called the Bolivian Revolutionary Front (FRB)table. In the election held6 Barrientos wonercent of tlm vote. This impressive victory was asribute to his skillful manipulation of disparate political forces as it was to his popular appeal.

1 The government tin enterprise, COMIBOL, ruSering from low world Un prices and worn equipment, wns further plngucdigh level of mismanagement and corruption. Asresult, production fell0 tons200 and tbe mines lostonth in the latter year.

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BOLIVIAN POLITICAL PARTIES

Tht BdiiMnRB) (Dtuolv-d.

Christian Movement (MFC)

Authentic Revolutionary Party <PBA)

party was created by Barrientos ns hu personal vehicle for0 presidential election. It It conv |toaed ol* Ills personal followers without much regard to Ideology; its popular lupport It drawn alinoat ei-olutlvaly from the camptsinot of the Cochabamba area.

Thla party ts an ofl.sliool of llie MNR. It is led by Walter Cueoonaoderate who left tha party ova. Pax's decision toecond term in lOeO. It thenotes, but amca then has dwmdled

of theeft (PIH)

a

party

itarted inanbt professes tboaarm far thannd asnong other the need for US aid. Theasnd it itrongnt

Democratic Party (PSD)

iscussion group alter tha MNBby businessmen and professionals,onsidered conatrvaMre in theolitical context- Iu present membership Is estimated to.

.Von-CornmUFvlii Opposition

Rcvohitionary Movement (MNK)

< Outlawed

u probably still the largest political party in Bolivia, butsplit into three racoons led by Pax, Sura, and Andrade. with Use first two ln eule. Tbr Pax faction woo $j6 percent of the vote in6 election; Use Andradeercent The Sjles faction did not participate in the

Party of tbe NaBoaabst Left (PRIN) (Outlawed

This party was formed4ehicJo lor Joan Ischial aapirationt after bis exptbioo from the MNR It draw Its strength from labor, being most irJjeoneJ among the miners, but its mSuenoe has

Socialist Filings (FSB)

by upper and middle class elements In thet originally drew its inspiration from Spanish aod Italian fascism. During the MNIl era It wui constantly plotting against the government, even tn ihe extent of launching an insurgency. It has ra-Raltied tome prestige since4 coup and now is the only opposition party with substantial repreicnla-tlun in congress,6 ft polledc.nenl of the

Democratic Party (PDC)

bdwcotlel. the party fa now bogged down In dlaWtica between youthful activist* and old prag-mabsta. It hat Girted unsuccessfully with Bajiirntns and with most upf eattiai parties.

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BOLIVIAN POLITICAL PARTIES (Continued)

Communiit Fatty of BoliviaOutlawed

Communist Forty ofOutlawed

Revolutionary Workers' Party (POn)

(Outlawed

Opposition

Thfa party hu aa etOmated roembwihlp. Politically It he* been relatively docile, having been content to cooperate wtih Pax in the past leriouily liaUted by lack of fundi at ptaaeat Most oltrength li concentrated in La Pax. the region arojnd the minei. andeiutt frontby thu partyote* In0ercent of the total.

Toil party iplit from the PCB in IMS, largely became of pertonal rlvanles within (he PCB kodarahlp.It accepted Cbinere recognition and financial aid andame to be labeled pro-Chtnnui. In present

J! BM hi UM

Aflat being apLt for antral yearv this ^ronfcyste" organization tSroietJcaDy has been umBedn totalot moreew lnii.ird. The POB ii meat influential In tbe mining region and among La Par. factory weaken.

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he electoral arrangement between Barnentos and the FRB proved to be no moreemporary expedient. Barrieotos' sure victory gave patronage and second wind to parties hitherto destined to oblivion. In return he was given political respectability and legitimacy. Despite constant avowals of support for the Front, Batrientos showed little subsequent interest in it. He prefers to ruleort of constitutional caudiUo. Opposition parlies, on occasion, havewith him about joining the government, but he has rejected overtures from both the Bolivian Socialist Falange (FSB) and the Andrade faction of tho MNR. As his most crucial support comes from the military, the breakup of the Front innd the reshuffling of the cabinet in August were of little real import. The individual parties of the former coalition continue to be aligned with the Barnentos government and their more important leaders are in the new cabinet.

IV. THE MILITARY

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oth Bairientos and the military realize that they depend on each other. Barnentos could not have become president and could not remain in officethe united support of the military. The military, for their part, doubt that they could control the country without such political and popular support as Barrieotos is able to contribute to the partnership. Both the military leaders and Banicntos realizeplit within the military would spell disaster. Both are therefore careful to avoid provokingplit.

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V. THE OPPOSITION

ut off from patronage and influence. Bolivian opposition parties areand powerless. They represent regional or special interests and findwith other parties difficult. Even the MNR is now divided, leader-less, and with little influence in important sectors of the population. Paz is in Peru, Lcchm in Chile, and Siles in Uruguay!]

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parties have sought to take advantage of the government'samong students and miners as well as its inability to end the Elements of the FSB have from time to time attempted to form alliances

the outbreak of the insurgency the MNR and PRIN were outlawed along with the three Communist parties.

Bolivian Communists are as fragmented as the non-CommunistDuring the MNR era the PCBive and let livewith the Paz Administration.

lit behaved

prudently enough to maintain its legal status,^

The

oup caught the PCB just as it was about to split into "pro-Soviet and "pro-Chinese"urther blow was dealt to the party inhen the government occupied the mines and arrested Communist and leftist labor leaders.

VI. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS

he revolution2 was followedrotracted period of economic deteriorationaging inflation.owever, the economy's growth rate has averaged over five percent annually, prices have been relatively stable, and international reserves have climbedow ofillion2illion inor the most part, this recovery has been spurred bygrowth of imports and exports, Increased domestic and foreign private investment, and large inflows of economic assistance.

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High tin prices have contributed to this improvement, but so has theeconomicBarrientos has pledged his government to aof stabilization and development and has instituted fiscal policies that seek to bring public revenues in aprsrosamate balance with public expenditures. He has also taken advantage of his freedom from doctrinaire political commitments to seek new foreign privateeresy to most Bolivian politicians.

Nowhere has this effort to improve tbe economy been more evident than in Barrientos' policy toward tbe state enterprises. Prior to4 coup these enterprisesajor drain on theow (heir efficiency has been increased, and in the case of tin has combined with higher world prices over the last three years to produce an operating surplus which has been used for public investment. On the other hand, the overall fiscal situation has weakened4 becauso of the growing hudgclury deficits of the central government. These deficits have had to be financed increasingly by the central bank since the elimination of US direct budget support. This Inflationary form of financing has risen from less than one percent of central4 toercent5 and aboutercentut has not yetarked effect on prices.

For most Bolivians, however, stabilization and development programs have little meaning.2 revolution raised expeolations, but did not permanently improve the standard of living for many. Impatience over the lack of progress in fulfilling its goals has created pockets of resentment in urban areas and among students and miners.4 coup not only ended the domination of labor over mine management, but theubsequent efforts to achievethrew hundreds of miners out of work and cut wages drastically.Barrientos has subsequently raised miners' wages, their politicalby him has left deep liatreds. While it succeeded in forcing the miners back to work, the government's decisive and nil hie js suppression ofin May and June has intensified the miners' disaffection-

Vlt. THE OUTLOOK

he Castro regime, during the session of tbe Latin Americanin Havana in July and, once again publicizedto encourage violent revolutions in Latin America Fidelregards the opportunities lor the insurgents in Bolivia as marelessen tho long run) than is tbe case with other active Insurgencywewill'make special efforts to sustain tha guerrilla operations in Boliviaand technical aid. This does not imply substantial logistical support.

in export) accounted forercent of foreign exchange earnings' from convnoditrhe average world price tor Bolivian tin rose from30igh.dropped6 and to0 in

' lo addtnon to COMIBOL, the meat important public enterprise* are tbe NationalCorporation, the Bohviao Development Corporntioo, aad the Bolivian National Railroad Enterprise.

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The guerrillas will be operating in almost inaccessible areas. Moreover. Cuban doctrine anticipates that, once launched, they will Uve off the country, obtaining even arms by capture. In any case, the ultimate success or failure of the Bolivian insurgency will depend on its ability to win adherents from the already disaffected elements of the Bolivian population.

Over the next year or so, there is Utile chance that the Insurgents will be able to bring about the overthrow of the Barricntos government. They themselvesore prolonged operation. The government is in firm control of the vital areas of the country: La Par, Cochabamba, and tbe mines. It will probably continue to receive the united support of the military establishment, on which Its tenure of office depends; tlie fragmented political opposition is not likely to be able to combine effectively against it. But it is unlikely that the government will be able to stamp out the insurgency.

The longer the guerrilla movement survives, the more it will tend to undermine tbe Barrier,tot government. Up to now guerrilla activity has had little effect on economic performance. Defense costsrotracted guerrilla war would add heavily to the already serious deficit in the national budget, would further limit public investment, and would tlirnoten the government's stabilization program. Prolonged insecurity would also discourage the foreign capital Investment that Bolivia needs to exploit its untapped resources. Moreover, labor unrest, especially in the mines, would hinder production, with widespread economic repercussions.

A protracted and futile Dountergnorilla campaign would encourageelements to increase their opposition to the government, whether or not they allied themselves directly with tho guerrillas. Even some of Barricntos' present political supporters might defect The government itself could stimulate resentment and opposition {as did the Batista regime in Cuba) if. through its frustration over the insurgency, it reacted brutally to student or miner')

Military morale would also be serioujtly damagedong and misuccess-ful campaign^

| Repeated failure against the Insurgents, combined with strain in mam taming control at the milieu.lealto disaffection in the annv. oarticululv among junior QaBcaTCas!

will almost certainly seek increasing aid, principally iromin coping with tho insurgency and with Its economic and financial coc- Although eager to obtain increased technical and material military

aid, he would be extremely reluctant toilitaryorce, by either the already concerned neighboring states or by the OAS. lest thatationalistic reaction and make patriotic heroes or the

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