PROSPECTS FOR STABILITY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC OVER THE NEXT YEAR OR SO

Created: 4/20/1967

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

Prospects for Stability in the Dominican Republic over the Next Year or So

Submitted by

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

y (he UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARDindicated overleaf7

The following intelligence organization! participated in the preparation of this estimate:

The Genital Intelligence Agency ond the intelligence organization* of thoof Slate and Defense, and Ihe NSA.

Concurring:

Vice Adm. Rufus L. Taylor. Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Mr. Thomos I,he Director of Intelligent* ond Research, Department of Stole

Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Carroll. Director, Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Marshal! S. Carter, the Director, Notional Security Agency

Abstaining!

Dr. Charles H. fteichardt. for the Assistant General Manager. Atomic Energyand Mr. William O. Oegar, tor the Assistant Director. Federal Buieou af Investigation, the subject being outside of their jurisdiction.

material contain* information within the meaning of iho oipionaj mission or revelation of which

Motional Defense of ihe UnitedSC., theanner to an unauthorized person is prohibited.

CONTENTS

Page

CONCLUSIONS

DISCUSSION

I. THE BALACUER ADMINISTRATION

Tbe Continuing US Role

D. THE MILITARY

THE POLITICAL

THE DOMINICAN ECONOMY

V. THE OUTLOOK

PROSPECTS FOR STABILITY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC OVER THE NEXT YEAR OR SO

CONCLUSIONS

tensions and ttunrtoils which are endemic inhave recently been exacerbated by developments followingto assassinate General Antonio Imbert Barrera inare, however, that President Balaguer will continue toadroitly enough to retain power during the period of

military leadership will probably bold togetherWc do not flunk that these men have given up thethe military establishment is the final political arbiter, butBalagucr's policies and they see no viable alternative to him.

political opposition on the extreme left is inand disarray and likely to remain so (or some time. One orthe Communist splinters may again undertake sporadic urbanany attempts they might make at insurgency In thewill probably be unsuccessful.

sec more reason for concern in the possibility thatmight become increasingly vulnerable to charges ofThis it an issue on which he Is already underimportant civilian elements of left and right. TheseBalaguer will almost certainly seek adherents among thewe think it unlikely that tbey will enlist enough rnilitaryduring the period of this estimateuccessful coup.

so, the combination of political and economic pressurescould impel him toore authoritarian mode

performance of the Dominican economy will continue tothan the badutigh levelarge trade deficit. Balagucr will almostunder increasing pressure to raise taxes and perhaps toof which would intensify his political problems.

economic progress will dependontrollingof US economicevere cut would not only haverepercussions but would undermine Balaguer'sposition as well.

DISCUSSION

peech In Intc February. President Joaquin BnUgucr likenedpolitics toest nfe would nor. fault his judgment oo the matter. Intrigue, venality, corruption, arbitrariness have long been the rule, not the exception, among Dominican officials. Plotting against the government hasavorite national pastime, andhen the assassination of Trujillo endedars of absolute and brutal dictatorship, there have been seven changes of government.

Much the most serious outbreak was the revolution in5 which caroe near to full civil war; order was restored only after the landing of US troops and the stationing ia the Dominican Republic of an Inter-American Peace Force, numbering at one stagenalaguer was chosen President in an orderly election and since then political affairs have movedmoother [asbKin. But the fears and enmities of the past are still operative and much uf the governments time and energy must go to efforts simply lo keep the lid on. Inhe attempt to assassinate General Antonio Inibert Barreraevival of tension.

I. THE BALAGUER ADMINISTRATION

espite his past close association with the Trujillo dictatorship. Balagucr is personally honest and is regarded by most Dominicans as an intellectual He is eager to advance the general welfare and believes that the Dominican Republic needs strong leadership.trong political base, he conceives of governing primarily in terms of political maneuver awl manipulation of the individuals and interest groups with the most political weight. He tends to be highly suspicious of any he sees as potential rivals; he does not typically appoint strong figures to Cabinet posts; he delegates little lesponsibdity and then usually only to his inner circle of influential advisors, who probably even more than the President, distrust the opposition and lean toward authoritarian methods. Oftentimes his motivation inew appointment or fasome more complicated maneuver appears obscure, perhaps because he seems to act in response to pressures from tbe inner circle. He is intensely wucciucd about all actions and tactics of opposition parties, and he has come toumber of the leaders of Joan Bosch's left-of-center Dominican Revolutionary Party (PHD) as little better than Communists.

alaguer has had fair success in his various maneuvers to keep organized opposition groups divided and off balance. He hasew of theii leaders by means of Cabinet jobs or other patronage, and ho has quietly done what he could to encourage their natural tendencies to fragment or simply become less active. However, his political style and policies have encouraged the "outs" to collaborate in opposition to the "ins."

Balaguer administration's program lias not attracted wideBalaguer's lack of political appeal comes partly from hissuch as tighter controls on Imports, reduction ofrimming of someutback in the numberemployees in the big government sugararder trytaxes. To convince the vested interests of die necessity formeasures is never easy and Balaguer's style of governing hasit easier. Efforts at economic development are gaining momentum,efforts are concentrated in the countryilde with little being eitheror accomplished in Santo Domingo. Also, because of theviolence, important political segments have been alienated.strongest thing going for him In the broad relationship of histbe politically influential elements is their reluctance to take theanother civil war.

concentrating on various political manipuUtions. the Dominicanhas foregone any systematic effort to turn bis Reformist Party (PR)active, enduring political base, and he lacks the personality tomass appeal. The fact that Balaguer carried someercent of thetht' elections of0 does not mean that he has anything closedegree of effective political support al prevent, because the greatDominicans tend to be politically apathetic between elections,1is, of course, sustaineduch greater extent in Santogenerally in the countryside, where Balaguer's strength has been greater.

major weak point fords vulnerability to charges ofAlthough most Dominicans (including Bosch) absolve himexcesses of the Trujilloumbereal and passionate fearpossible return to the brutal Trujillo methods,umber of otherspolitical ammunition in the issue. Moreover, certain of tbeactions have lent themselves to ominous Interpretations byon the left and the right Sometimes they picture him as theas the captiveeo-Trujillista clique. As evidence, theyhis former chief military aide. Colonel Neit Nivar Seijas, and severaladvisors, who are trusted Balaguer colleagues from Trujilloalso cite policethe roundup in late Januaryleftists" suspected of plotting And they express alarm at apolitical murders which the admin titration is seemingly unable toof Balaguer's opponents havetep farther and charged thatresumption and conduct of reUtions with the Duvaiierof Haiti isign of TrujUloist tendencies,

has become the most Important issueesult ofattempt In March against the perennial rightwlng plotter Ceneral

' The population is predominantly rural and leas than AS percent literate. In the DominKjo etc coo nt tnuun Bosch won withUgher percentage of the total than did Balagueret when the Dominican military leaders ousted Botch Inhere was no ublic protest.

Irabert. In an effort to squelch widespread rumors that the assassins were backed by some of his own advisors. Balaguer has taken several actions to show his determination to solve the crime and deal resolutely with tbeHis administration haseward. He has appointed as new Minister ot* Interior and Police, Luis Amis ma Tie. Imbert's longtime associate and fellow survivor ot" the group that killed Trujillo And be has said that Amiama wouldree hand to carry out tbe ms-esdgatioo.

effective in quieting hnmerhate criticism over the Imbertappointment of Amiama to Balaguer's Cabinet hasighlyinfluence into thean with political aspirationsown, Amiama represents elements of the aotl-Trajillo oligarchy whosehave been limited by Balagucr and who have long been atwith him and Im intimates because of their past roles in theAmiama has already managed to force out of office one ofenemies, tbe chief of the national police. And he is causing theto bo pursued in the military establishment so intensively as toresentment. Apart from officialmiama hasmeeting with PHD Secretary General Jose Francisco Peru Gomezmay hope to use to further his own ambitions.

The Continuing US Role

Balaguer government realizes great advantages and somethe strong US role oo the Dooihncan scene It Ends the UShelpful. Its ecooomy dependsontinuing Sow of USItowerful prop in the realization throughout theparticularly within tbe militarythefirmly behind Balaguer.

IL On the other hand. Balaguer has the problem of reconciling strong dependence on the USosture of national independence. He is keenly aware of the increase In anti-US sentimentumber of elements in the population since the5 revolution. Although he publicly concedes US influence, he finds ways to avoid the appearance of being entirely the US puppet. He is by no means timid in negotiating many aspects of aidHo speaks of the independent .minded Frei of Chile as the Latin American leader he most admires. And he tries to play up any political differences with the US: for example, after the conference In Buenos Aires at tbe Organization of American States, he announced (hat tbe Dominicanhad opposed tbe US by voting against formationerrrunejit Inter-American Peace Force.

II. THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT

alagucr has been able lo make certain changes which have improved his positionis the military: he has dismembered and dispersed within the army the powerful Fourth Brigadecssin's olde has sent

abroad, retired, or reintegrated tho residuum of Constitutionalist military; he has replaced the Chiefs of Staff of the Air Force and Army; hc has reduced the influence of certain of tbe former military cliques hy retiring some officers and sending others into "goldeninally, many officers have come to feel that they can best protect their own positions and that of theeasonable degree of cooperation with Balaguer.'

It is quite clear, nonetheless, that Balaguer does not completely trust bis top military commanders, nor they him. This is reflected hi the President's connections with the Trujifiista Colonel Nivar, formerly his chief rrrllitary aide and at present commanding officer of the First Brigade in Santo Domingo; Nlvar is widely suspected and despised wHhio the armed forces. Many of the military leaders who support Balaguer do so because it is advantageous to them at present, because they approve of many of his policies and because they see no better alternative. At the same time the armed forces haveto functionowerful interest group, and we believe tbey have not given up the idea that the military establishment is the final political arbiter in the Dominican Republic.

A key position in the military is that of Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, who acts as Minister of Defense and has also assumed certainof the Service Chiefs.uffer between the President and the Chiefs of the Services, he has the task of reconciling what hitherto have beencivilian, chief executive and the Dominican military establishment At present, the position is held by General Enriqueerez, who was appointed under the Provisional Government but who seems fairly responsive to Balaguer and has so far managed to retain the support of the Service Chiefs.erez has been subject to growing criticism from below, however, particularly for bis cooperation with Amiama in pressing the investigation among the military of the Imbert shooting. The present Service Chiefs of the army and navy appear to be loyal to the government and to have reasonable control over their officers. The air force is traditionally less disciplined and its officers are more susceptible to rightist coup overtures.

III. THE POLITICAL OPPOSITION

leading opposition party, Bosch's PRD, has lost considerableis still suffering from the shock of defeat and the defection intoof some of its conservative and moderate leadership. The PRD'stoosition of "creative opposition" was rejected by thePRD leaders were harassed by the police, party stalwarts have beengovernment jobs, and its minority representation in the legislature hashut ignored. The PRD was especially bitter over what it regarded aspersecution in condoning if not actually initiating poUce attacksConstitutionalists. Except in Santo Domingo, the party has lost much

"The Dominican military establishment coosbts at present ofn army ofavy; and an air force.

influence in hs former bailiwicks. It do longertronghold in labor or In the State Sugar Council, and its hold on the Santo Domingo city government is under attack from tho government as well as from party dissidents.

The feeling of persecution, combined with the defection of key PiiD moderates, hasote mililant group to take over the leadership. The elder statesman of the party, Juan Bosch, now in voluntary exile In Europe, has more or less abdicated, and bis young protege, Jose Francisco Pena Gomez, has taken the helm. The new PHD leaders have responded to Balaguer's offer of awith them by saying that there could be no dialogue untiltook steps to end persecutions and eliminate corruption. The PBD's former partner on the democratic left, the smaller Revolutionary Social Christian Party (PRSC) cautiously agreedialogue, but remains basically critical of the government. Although the PRD has threatened that it wouldresistance movement regardless of ideologies" if the present situation continues, it has also said that it would not work to overthrow Balaguer unless all other forms of protest were silenced. The meetings with Amiama suggest that the PRD expectsove against Balaguer may come from the right.

The extreme left, always divided, has further fragmented. The three major extremist parties still exist: the Revolutionary Movement ofunehe Dominican Popular Movement (MPD) and the DominicanPartyheargest of tbe three, and tho only one permitted to participate in the6 elections, has suffered the greatest setback Its percentage of the vote was far below the minimum required to keepegal party. Since then some of its leaders have defected to the MPD and have urged that that organization now be regarded as tbe true party of the proletariat. MPD strength has suffered, however, from the expulsionroup for trying to actRedhisocecded to institutionalize itself into the Communist Party of the Dominican Republiche founder of the MPD had been ousted earlier; he lias formed still another group, the Orthodox Communist Partyespite their differences and small numbers, the extremists have some strength or influence among students and in labor. Leadership of one labor confederation, FOUPSA-CESITRADO, is divided between representatives of the MPD and the MRIJ4*

The most custjnet threat to Balaguer in the short run comes from his opponents among the economic and social elite. Many of them were former members of the defunct National Civic Union and controlled economic and

'The actual number of adherents to these various extremist parties is harddetermine accurately, since their memberships are Intate of Sua. Our best estimates are:

PCD 25

MPD

PCRD 50

Thew five parties vary widely In the extent to which their Ideology and alms can be Identified with those of foreign Communists, whether Soviet, Chute te, or Cuban. One or another hat solicited support from each of these eitemal sources, but without significant success.

pob'tical life during the tenure of the Council of Stare and under the Itcid government. Tbey more than other groups chafed under Tnijlllo and after bis deathar more anh-Trupllo stand than did the PRD. Aligned with this grouping are Amiama and Imbert, the two surviving members of theto assassinate Trujillo. Tbe potential of these elements to embarrass Balaguer is high, but their potential to overthrow him depends, more thanelse, on the amount of support they can obtain among the Dominican mUitary.

IV. THE DOMINICAN ECONOMY

Blessed with some of the most fertile land ia the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has been cursed by the inability of generations of Dominicans to use it effectively. The ratio of people to land is already fairly high, and the rate of population growth (estimatedercent annually) is probably one of the highest in the world. Agriculture absorbs half the labor force and produces someercent of the GNP. Per capita CNP is considerably below the average for Latin America. The problems of underemployment in agriculture andin the urban areas are chronic.

The economy was seriously disrupted by the revolution ofS: CNP fell nearlyercent, unemployment rose to perhapsercent of the urban labor force, sugar production decreased, and thereharp drop in export earnings. Recovery has been painfully slow: itajor aim of the Balaguer government merely to restore the economy to the levelhe CNP increased modestly but probably less than the growth in population. There was no significant reduction in the level of unemployment. The administration of economic affairs suffered from ineptitude in theand from Balaguer's insistence on personal supervision over most finaiy-tnl transactions. The government was not able to realize its goal for public investment, and private investors held back to "wait andn spite of an unusual increase in the Dominican sugar quota for sale to the US, the total value of Damiiucan exports remained below tbatnd the trade deficit was the largest in Dominican history. In short, even with an infusion ofillion fa US economic aid, the overall Dominican economicwas poor.

On the positive side, the government has provided some encouragement to private investors and hasumber of its own development projects, primarily in the basic agricultural sector. Efforts are being made to improve the technical level of Dominican agriculture, improve the farm credit system, rehabilitate the irrigation system, extend and improve market roads, bring new land into cultivation, diversify production, and to improve the general level of education in the countryside. It is too early for these projects to show much accomplishment but some results are evident,oundation is being set for future progress.

B

government also has established basic policies designed toBudget deficits have been held within limits that could beinternal borrowingubstantial number of surplus workersdischarged from the public payrolls and from the government-ownedof tbe sugar industry. Most wages have been held in line, althoughfound it prudent to rescind earlier cuts in salaries of the military andofficials. The fiscal and wage restraints undoubtedly slowedof economic recovery, but were probably necessary in view of tbeof inflation in the Dominican economy.

V. THE OUTLOOK

The major Issue Uitensifying divisions between pro and antigovernmcnt groups will be neo-Tru/iffiimo. As the contest between these groupingsthe likelihood increases that military officers will be drawn in on one side or tbe other. Certainly one of Balaguer's main preoccupations during the next year or so will be to prevent the emergenceightist civilian >milii try combination against him. Although be wiD attempt to maneuver around and through rightist civilian groups, he may eventually be forced toard choice among thorn. The combination of tbe political situation and his austerity program could impel himore authoritarian mode of government.

While we foresee no expansion of Balaguer's limited base of mass support, we see no substantial growth in tbe strength of the left-of-center politicaleither. Relations between the government and the I'HSC arc likely to continue cool but not hostile. Relations between the government and the PRD wuT almost certainly deteriorate further. We think it unlikely, however, that the PRD,arty, will choose during the period of this estimate to go into violent opposition to the government and make coaurion cause with the extrememall number of radical PRD members may, of course, da preciselyore likely course foe Use PRD leadership would bo de facto collaboration with Amiama and some elements of the anti-TnijUlista right.

We think the divisions and dissensions among tho far leftists will persist and wiD sharply limit their capabilities to make trouble. The evident disarray of tho several Communist parties oould even serve to dLscourage further such an enthusiastic, would-bo backer as Fidel Castro. Tho Communists may resume sporadic urban terrorism, particularly In Santo Domingo, hut any attempts they may make at Insurgency In the countryside wiD probably prove unsuccessful.

The marriage of convenience between Balaguer and the militarywiD probably remain essentially Intact for the next year or so. There will be frictions,ew In the military are likely to engage in plotting with anti-Balaguer politicians. The military may come toomewhat greater degree of influence on the President than it does now. hi any case, be is likeh/ to move cautiously, if at all, on policy changes whlcb would directly affect the military, eg, the mililaiy budget, the salaries and allowances, accepted devices for graft, plans to restructure the military establishment. On most other matters.

SECRET

however. Balaguer will probably cootmue to reach deeMoot without military counsel ul (hough he will, of course, keep military attitudes io mind: wc do not think he willprisoner" of the military.

The ecooomy will do better in some ways7 than it didat the improvements will not generally be of the kind that bring politicalThe recovery in CNP will probably beigher rate thanhough tbe level of CNP is unlikely to exceed thethe amount of investment, particularly in tbe public sector, will probably Increase. At the same time, the value of exports wiU remain relatively low, and tbe trade deficit could run mote than (SO million, its levelmport controls will have to be maintained, and the inflationary pressure, contained thus far, will probably grow. Balaguer will almost certainly come under increasing pressure to raise taxes and perhaps toof which would pose major politicalparticularly with respect to Balaguer's rightwing opponents.

In any case, US backing will continue to be on essential pillar of support for Balaguer. Thia backing cannot insure that be will retain power, but loss of it would hurt him badly. If. for instance, the Dominican military came to feel that the US was withdrawing its backing or becoming lukewarm about it. the chancesoup would riseevere cut In US economic aid would thus not only have major economic repercussions, but wouldBalaguer's political power position as wellay, the US oldto the Dominican Republic has become similar to tbe Soviet aid relationshipuch less expensive scale.

Assuming continuation of US support, chances are that Balaguer will maneuver adroitly enough in the primitive arena of Dominican politics to retain power during tbe next year or so- Nevertheless, charges of neo-TnulJ/itmo could weaken his tenure byew and stronger alignment of forces against him. Furthermore, assassination istandard political tactic in the Dominican Republic, and Balaguer has his full quota of political enemies.

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