Created: 1/18/1966

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bneora buxqy's office

office of national estimates


special memoranduh6 subject: Guatemala'a Dlltmna

1. Guatemalaeading Into another political crisis -The Ingredients axe all too familiar In latin America: nail conservative oligarchy exercising economic and military powereformist political opposition enjoying vide but lU-orgsnixed support from an impoverished electorate. In the present instance the precipitating factor is Chief of State EnriqueeclBion to holdarch. Ma believeilitary coup, either before or shortly after the elections, is likely.

2- Peralta came to power3ill tary coup, carried out toresidential election which the left vould probably have von. Peralta thus enjoyed the support of tbe "upper sector" (the vell-to-do and those aspiring to thatut he has never acquired much popular following, in part because


of Ma personalityhe la the antithesisharismatic Latin leadernd in part because of hla record ln office, marked by repressive political measuresailure to move forward on the country's problems. Recently his inability to coctroi terrorism, vhich now takes the form of kidnapping wealthyhas weakenedosition with the "upper sector" as veil.

The Coatendlcg Forcca

3. The right la presently represented by two presidential candidates. One Is Juan de IUob Agullar, who enjoys the official blessing of Peralta but has little personal following. Tbe otherormer Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Miguel Angeltronger figure vho has the support of the ultra-conservative Movement of national Liberation and some military figures. Both vent toeftist victory, but Ponciano faces tbe additional problem that Peralta may rig the election to Insure the victory of his favorite, Agullar.

ft. The left also is badly divided, but so far Peralta hao permitted only one leftist candidate to enter the race. He la Julio Cessr Mendez Montenegro, leader of the moderate Revolutionary



Party. The "upperregards Mendezommunist, as lt docs any reformist. Actually, there hare never been many Communists In Cuutenala; the present estimate Is, of whom only0 are active. istinguished professor of lav, does notro-Comeunist record, but his party, seeking the united support of tbe entire left,has ln recent months been moving toward closer cooperation with leftist extremists. Rememt ranee of the growth of Communist Influence under Presidents Arevalo andustifies some misgivings as to whether Mendez as President could contain the Communists. ree and fair election, Mendez would probably vio, but the outcome of Guatemalan elections Is usually determined by official control of the returns outside of the capital city.

Future Developments

Thereood chance that the prospectendez victory will prevent the elections frcn taking place at all. Peralta, anxious though he is to cult, may reverse himself and call them off. If he does not, Pooclsno may succeed ln his current efforts to recruit military backingoup. Others on the conservative side are playing the same game.


Should the election* occur, and in the unlikely event that Mender vere permitted to win, the odds are that he would not he allowed to take office. It is possible, but unlikely, that tbe "upper sector" would acquiesce In his assumption of office,on Its Influence In tbe Rational Assembly, the Armed Forces, and economic circles to hamstring his reform program. This wouldighly unstable situation and probably would not last long.

All these possibilities are variationsingle theme. The political center has little strength In Guatemalan politics. At least for the lamellate future, the right has the powerbasically militaryo impose ita willumerically much larger left. The process of accomplishing this may be more or less orderly, more or less outrageous, but It Is likely to drive the moderate left further toward extremism and to enhance the prospects for extreme leftists taking over Its leadership.

At the same time this process Is producing an Increase sentiment on the right as well aa on the left. continues to Identify the OS with the "upper sector,"of those on the right are beginning to feel that the IBequivocal in backing theirTHE BOARD OF RATIONAL

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