Created: 10/27/1965

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible





SUBJECT: Seme PeropectiveB on the Dcclnicen Problem


The DcalnlcBn Republic Istate of suspendedand tbe provisional government headed by Garcia Godoy baa the task, in effect, of reconciling irreconcilable0. If be seems to be favoring tbe rebel cause, be risks intervention by the armed forces; if he leans to the other aide, be risks newof rebel violence. The underlying political trend in. is to the left, which enhances the prospectseft-of -center candidate, if elections are held as planned. Ifandidate won, his government would probably be anti-US and de military vould likely seize power to keep out this kind of regime,ilitary take-over would cause sizeable elements of tbe left to turn to systematic terrorism and guerrilla activity.





SUBJECT: Some Perspectives on tie Dcoinican Problem

1. Since tbe end of Spanish colonial ruleo, the Do-inicao people Lave passed about one-third of their history under occupation by foreign military fcrcee (French, Haitian, Spanish, US). Even when the country has been Independent, it has known only turmoil and civil war or military dictatorship, lhe latest dictatorial rulethe thirty years of Trujillo which ended with hie assassinationeft new scare on tbe old scars of the body mlitic. 3he Trujillo reign not only prevented the developQent of political leaders and normal political life.

social-economic structure in equally unhealthy.

In these spheres,. hss had no revolution ana very little reform, de Bosch government3 kindled popular expectations of dramatic econoaic and social chance. But it actuallylittle during its seven months in office. Per capita GNP in. is not much below tho overage for Latin Acericaa countries. But tha distribution of wealth and income is starkly unbalanced, She upper and middle classesless thanercent of the populationhave almost all of vbet there ia to hsve. The otherercent of the people are have-nots, the great majority of them living In grinding poverty. Some tiro-thirds cf the total population lives outside the soney eccncay, scraping by onfarming. Roughly one-third of the Dominican labor force Is completely unemployed, and under-eaploynent in also prevalent. In short, the basic econodc and social conditions which determine the lot of the mass of Dccinlcensotential source of exeat political pressurea source so for tapped toimited extent.

Denial can Bepublic's very high birth ratenot only coaiplicatea tho economic problems but alsopolitical Impact. At present nearly half tbe population is

under Many Dominican ycung people, especially ln urban areas, have already been attracted to the various parties vhich cell for radical change. Teenage kids played en active role on the rebel side in tho recent fighting. Moreover, the size and composition of the electorate le rapidly changing. . has universal, obligatory suffrage for all citizens overnd all married citizens of whatever age. This means that if elections are held ee planned ln the late spring of next year there will heualified to vote who were not old enough to do so in the2 electionsthe enly free elections ia Dominican history. (Tho total vote cast2)

k. Under the Trujillo dictatorship tho armed forcesraetorian guard ensuring the dictator's absolute control over virtually every aspect of life. In return they received certain perquisites,hare in Trujillo's institutionalized system of graft. During the last several years, however, there has been increasing evidence that the younger, US-trained officers areense of professionalism and reacting against the corrupt and reactionary tendencies of their seniors, many of wbren were personally associated with the Trujillo dictatorship. the military establishmenthole atill considers

itself an elite group cot answerable to civilian authority when its basic prerogatives are threatened.

Political Tendencies

Ccoiclean political attitudes and institutions areprimitive; the parties are young and highly personalis-tic. arge proportion of the rural peasantry is not yet politicallyonsiderable number, despite their own sparse lot, continue to yearn for the good old days of stability under Tru^illo, "the Benefactor." Even so, ln2 Juan Bosch drew strong support from tbe countryside in piling up someercent of the total vote and in obtaining nearly twice as many votes as ale closest opponent.

But there were special circumstances in that election, and Bosch's image was then auch brighter than it is nov. It is worth noting that in September hen the Dominicanthrew Bosch out, there were no significant publicof protest. olitical poll taken early this year (before the rebellion began in April) indicated that former president Joaquin Balaguer (who wasandidates) vouldore popular presidential candidate than Bosch. Balaguer has tho

- k

political advantago of popular identification with both the stability of the Trujlllo era and the expulsion of the Trujillo family.

rebellion gave new impetus to the politicalthat was already underway. The basic trendovementstrength to the left. In teres of elections thisthe advantageeft-of-center combinationRevolutionary Party ^ttD7 and the extreme Balaguer's Reformist Partys aparty, would have considerable attraction, butparties probably would not commend many votes. rightists are coming to rely more and more heavily onforcesounter to the political challenge posedby the left.

Tribulations of the Provisional Government

Garcia Godcy, an experienced diplomat andof decent, liberal instincts, if not great strength ofhas now hold office as preaident of the provisionalfor nearly two months. Given tho inherent instabilitysituation, this ln itself la no moan accomplishment.

Garcia Gcdoy vas selected because he uas acceptable to all sides. ISiere uas not much competition for the job. He has the tash, in effect, of reconciling Irreconcilables. Baere is no broed political base at the center on which he can rely.

9. Moreover, the Dominican adversaries) have little ccmonnany on eech side are clearly more interested intbe battle than in reaching compromise. Die struggle for dominant Influence in the university, in the labor unions, and ln various government-run enterprisestill going on. Shoot-ins affrays are being perpetrated by both rebel extremists and rightist vigilante groups. Garcia Godoy's every action and appointment la carefully scrutinized: if he seems consistently to be favoring the rebel cause, he risks intervention by the armed forces; If he leans to the other side, he risks newof leftist violence. Many In the military are deeply concerned, cot only about the provisionalumber of leftists to goveraaent positions, but about bis failure to use forceful measures to collect the rebels' arms. Some military units may defy the government's authority and set out on collecting expeditiono of their own.

10. Die one Important stabilizing factor le tbe Inter-American Peace ForceurrentlyCO strong and the OAS mission headed by Ambassador Bunker. Twice during tbe eight weeks the provisional government has been in office ihe intervention of Ambassador Bunker and the commanders of tbe IAPP has been required to prevent the an military chiefs free) unseating Garcia Qcdoy. The senior Brazilian officers in the IAPP are, however, now becoming restive because of their sympathy for the Dominican military's opposition to Garcia Godoy's policies. This attitude may make it increasingly difficult to maintain tho international character of the IAPP.

U. The Institutional Act, upon which the authority of tho provisional government rests, specifies that presidentialare to be held at some tinearcho. Thus Garcia Godoy could have seven months more of trying to keep hia feet on the tightrope. Ihe last three months might be especially taxing because that would be the period of formal campaigning for the presidency. (Garcia Godoy himself is not permitted to run.)

It io, of ccurse, tco early to sake any very specific election predictions. Indeed, the elections may net be held on schedule at all. If they are held. It la not yet clear who the candidates would be or what party coot 1cations say be worked out. Although there cayandidate or two of the extreme right (for instance, the exiled Generalessln has been talking about throwing his hat in theost rightist backing will probably be for Balaguer, running on the ticket of hisPartyenter-conservative candidate. Similarly, althougi one of the Communist parties mayominee of lta own, most leftist backing will probably go to the candidate of Bosch's PRD party. It might be Bosch himself, Counano, leader of the revolution, orarty figure not so well known.

Seme observers believe that Balaguer vould winontest over any man the PRD could put up. Ihey argue that much of Bosch's old magic is goneparticularly because of histo return to tbe DJU while the fighting was going on. Tboy dlssdss Caamano as not politically shrewd enough. They note that Balaguer still has tuch prestige and la widely respected, and

predict thet nocy IVr* r< rma will rote for hla as the nan who Bight bring back order and tranquillity.

I1-. Ihoso are all points of some merit. But there ore ECoe broader considerations certain to have Impact. We think, for example, that the expansion ln slro of the electoratethose vhc have politically awakened during the pest few years and the large additional number of young people now qualified to votewill strongly favor the left. We believe that many will vote for the "candidate of the revolution" because they see this movement as their only hope for rapid Improvement in their depressed living conditions, lhe Insistence by the PRD party and the leaders of the revolution of their determination tothe Bosch constitutionith its provisions for agricultural reform and various other measures to improve the lot of the masses,owerful Initial Issue for the campaign. Nationalistic resentment against tho US Intervention is also likely to favor the partleB of the left. On balance, we think tho candidate of the left will bc in the stronger vote-gettlng position.

15. Ifandidate von the election, bis government would probably bo anti-US and Ctsnunist-lnfluenced. Ihe Dominican

military leaders would be likely to seize power to prevent the installation ofovernment. Indeed, if the electioneftist candidate seemed likely, the military vould probably intervene before the voting took place.

16. In the eventilitary takeover, or even if Balaguer or someone like him won the presidency, sizeable elements of the left (and not only the Communists) would probably turn to systematic terrorism and guerrilla activity. Although the military might be able to cope with thisInitially, their repressive actions would tend to antagonize the people and to lead eventually to another round of revolution.



Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic: