LBJ LIBRARYory ReviewDocument # 3-
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Castro's Subversive Capabilities in Latin America
by thm DIRECTOR Of CENTRAL INTEUIGENCE
I Im by tU
UNITED STATES INTEUIGENCE BOARD
Tht followinghis tstimait:
enu of State,
of Novo, opo^on,Chief of Sloff, Intelligence. .
Director for .diligence. Joint ;
As^ton, lector, Federa, Bureau ' * '
... irector ef th. National Security' Aaer^ '
Thb moteriol contoim Wormotion within the meoning of the etplohc
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Castro's Subversive Capabilities in Latin America
To describe and evaluate Castro's capabilities, with Soviet help for carrying out subversion and sabotage in Latin America after satisfaction of all US conditions relative to the withdrawal of strategic weapons systems from Cubaonsequent USnot to Invade.
NOTE: In this estimate wc have considered Castro's raw capabilities taking note of, but not working out in detail. US and Latin American capabilities for counteraction.
dangerously unstable situation that prevailsmuch of Latin America is the product of fundamentaland historic circumstances; it is not the creationand the Soviets. Castro's efforts, with Soviet help,this situation by means of subversion and sabotageproduced significant results. Propaganda exploitationand Cuba as symbols of revolution has probably beento date than other subversive activities. Castro'sin Latin America had waned by the time of thecrisis and was further reduced by the revelation thataccepted Soviet strategic missile bases on Cuban soilthe manner of the Soviet decision to withdraw them.
of an agreement between the US andwhereby the strategic weapons systems would beand the US committed not to intervene in Cuba withleave Castroew immunityreater freedom
lor subversive actions throughout Latin America. The extent to which this potential is realized will depend upon the situation in Cuba, Soviet policy toward Cuba, and the policies andof the other Latin American governments and of the US with respect to the Castro threat. There are many targets in the hemisphere vulnerable to Castro-Communist subversion andand the Soviets are likely to assist Castro in reaching them by contributing both to his security at home and to his capability for action overseas. As in the period before the missile base crisis, the effect of Castro's subversive activities will depend not only upon his capabilities but upon the attractiveness of the Cuban example and the willingness of the American governments to take determined counteraction. This willingness will probably be weakened by fulfillment of the US commitment not to invade
C. We have ejcamined how Castro's subversive potential would be afTected by alternative courses of Soviet policy regardingirtual withdrawal ofontinuation of economic and military support ranging from present up to substantially increased levels. We believe thatould considerably reduce Castro's subversive potential, and that the Soviets are unlikely to elect it. We conclude that Sovietould maintain Castro's potential for subversive action at least atlevels or actually raise it to the point where he couldamphibious and/or airborne subversive operations against close-in targets.
I. CASTRO'S SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES BEFORE THE MISSILE BASEims
L From the time of hia accession to power Fidel Castro has sought to gain acceptance of the Cuban revolutionodel for others and of iuraself as the leader of revoluUonary forces throughout Latin America He has constantly sought to foment revolutions in other Latin American States. Moreover, Castro has generally had the support of the Slno-Sovlet Bloc in the pursuit of these aims.
began his career of sponsorship for revolutions9 with landings of small rebel forces in Nicaraguathe Dominican Republic, and Haiti. None of these werehe turned to other means.
From the beginning, propaganda has been one of the principalon which Castro has relied. In addition to the mainof Radio Havana for external listeners, which havereat deal of revolutionary content, he has beamed special programs devised to stimulate revoluUonary action to each ofozen selectedajor effort has been made through Prensa Lottna, the Cuban news service, to disseminate Castro-Communist propaganda Printed propaganda has also been sent from Cuba into most other Latin American states, and Cuban diplomatic missions and personnel have actively disseminated it. Students returning from indoctrination in Cuba have helped establish Cuban Institutes for Friendship amons: Peoples which have functioned as propaganda outlets.
Thousands of Latin Americans have been brought to Cuba0 foreign trainees are believed to be there now. Many hundreds have been trained ln revolutionary techniques and guerrilla warfare Cuba has beenain transit point for travel between Latin America and the Bloc.
Financial aupport has been provided by Cuba to revolutionarygroupsumber of countries, although the cases on which we have reports involved relatively small sums of money. Arms shipments have
'See Annex a
'Peru. Ecuador, Colombia. Venenielo, Honduras, and the Dermlnlcan Republic.
also been reported, but the evidence ls unclear as to quantities shipped and the extent of Cuba's role in these transactions. We believe that there is an extensive agent net In Latin America directed from Havana.
astro has associated himself with revolutionary activist groups throughout Latin America. In most cases these have been Communist, but where the regular Communist Partyegal orline he has not hesitated to support dissident Communistn Brazil, and non-Communistn Guatemala and El Salvador. In some cases he has sponsored new revolutionaryn Panama, Colombia, and Peru. In Chile he hasopular front coalition made up of Communist and moderate leftists.
nstances of financial and material support sent by Cuba toIn other countries which have come to our attention are probablyart of the total effort. Even so, the effort seems to have been relatively small and Ineffective. Yet along with the political and psychological stimulus which Castro's influence has provided, Cuban subversive activities have perceptibly strengthened activist revolutionary groups. Dangerous situations subject to exploitation by Castro and the Communists existumber of Latin Americannotably Venezuela, Brazil, British Guiana, the Dominican Republic, and Bolivia. These dangers arise from political and social tensions which existed long before Castro came to power. They might lie dormant for some time; but with Castrootential detonator, they are more likely to blow up. The detonatlve compound will exist as long assurvives, whatever may happen to Castro personally.
ho most dangerous aspect of Castroism has been Its broad appealymbol of revolutionary change and nationalist assertiveness in Latin America. Propaganda from Cuba has taken advantage of this fact and has almost certainlyore Important Influence in the Latin American situation than Castro's other subversive activities.01 Castroismorce to be reckoned with politicallyumber of Latin American countries. Certainfelt obliged to move in the direction of neutralist and leftist This influence waned, however, after Castro identified himself with the Bloc In Nevertheless, the appeal to Castro'scontinued toource of major concern to almost alland seriously restricted their willingness to associate themselves, at least publicly, with the US.
II. CASTRO'S SUBVERSIVE POTENTIAL IN THE AFTERMATH OF AN AGREEMENT UNDER WHICH THE SOVIETS WOULD WITHDRAW THEIR STRATEGIC MISSILES AND THE US GIVE ASSURANCES THAT IT WOULD NOT INVADE CUBA
subversivehis disposition to usebe enhanced by the sense of security provided by suchas are retained in Cuba after the withdrawal of SovietTheombers, if retained, and other modernin Annex B. would be Important In thisSnot to invade Cuba will further strengthen his sense ofreprisal and almost certainly encourage him to intensifyactivities in other Latin American
Rtiponie ot* Coi*ro Supporters to Missile Base Crisis
supporters throughout Latin America, with fewexceptionsabotage of oil facilities in Venezuela),respond to the missile base crisis with effective acts of sabotageimpressive public demonstrations. Two Important limitingbe taken into account in judging this response, however. to alert Latin American governments led them to makepreparation, Including deployment of security forces andofondition of readiness which Is unlikely toindefinitely. There also may have been somethe activist followers of Castro whether they should makeeffort in response to the announcement of the US blockade, orthe anticipated US Invasion. Moscow's apparent failure tomay have contributed to the confusion. It ts ourthat the response to Castro's appeal for attacks on theIts friends indicates that his power to commandat least In the circumstances of the missile base crisis, Is limited.
Support Which Castro Can Expect in the Future
range of Castro's support has been, we believe,by events since Castro declaredommunist.of the fact that he had allowed the Soviets to establishunder exclusive Soviet control has alienated manygenuine neutralists, and even revolutionaries seekingeconomic betterment San Tiago Dantas. formerly Foreignunder President Goulart and an author of Brazil'sand leading Mexican officials have publicly expressed
activist revolutionaries are probably the only importantwhich Castro can now count, but even their support hasrendered less effective by differences on the question of Sovietwith Castro and with Latin American Communist parties.
esources: lor Continued Subversive Activityrms. (See Annex B) Castro has substantia! stocks of arms ln addition to Soviet Bloc materiel there arc stores of arms inherited from the Batista regime not being used by Castro forces and available for distribution outside Cuba. In the past he has apparently beenin his efforts to use arms for subversive purposes by problems of transport and delivery. He has at his disposal, however,ransports belonging to Cubana airlines which could be used to deliver arms under certain circumstances. Thes now ln Cuba arefor subversive purposes. However, they could be used for air drops. Cuba has many small craft suitable for infiltration of men and arms. hronshtadt subchasers,l motor torpedo boats, andomar missile boats obtained from the Bloc could also be used for arms deliveries. If the projected trawler base is built up.both Cuban andbe used for arms deliveries. If Soviet submarines call at the trawler base or at other Cuban ports, they, too. could be used in support of subversive activities. We see no evidence that Cuba has or isophisticated amphibious warfare capability, and all the means of delivery of arms by sea noted above would be vulnerable to precautionary measures by Latin Americanand naval forces.
apparatus. Castro's propaganda machineFor the time being, however, his diplomatic missions arefind it harder to disseminate propaganda than in the past, bothof new precautions by local governments and because of ain the numbers of cooperative volunteers outside thegroups.
Money and equipment. Despite differences between Castro and the USSR concerning dismantling of the missile bases, we believe that the Soviets will continue to supply Castro with money, supplies, andfor subversive activity. The Soviets have certainly supplied Castro with sophisticated instruments of intelligence collection, sabotage, and clandestine cornmunicatlons.
Organization. The organization of Castro's subversive assets throughout Latin America was shown by the recent crisis to be loose and otherwise faulty. We estimate that Castro willtrong effort to strengthen and improve ft, and that he will continue to receive support in this effort from the Soviet apparatus, both in Cuba itself, where the Soviet Ambassadoreteran officer of the KGB. and In other Important centers of Soviet activity such as Mexico City and Montevideo.
Other Factors on Which Casfro's Subversive Capability Willf the US and USSR reach and Implement the agreement stated In the problem Castro will gain an immunity which he lacked before the missile base crisis. He will, furthermore, still have most of the arms and equipment which were delivered in the post-July buildup, as well as enhanced capabilities provided by accelerated training. Presumably his enemies will have about the same, or less, freedom to engage in propaganda, sabotage, support for resistance activities, and other actions designed to overthrow Castro than they had before thecertainly not more. Unless Castro is gravely endangered by internal political and economic problems, there Is no reason to believe that anti-Castro activities are any more likely to jeopardize his position than they did before the crisis.
ituation tn Cuba. Castro's ability to engage in subversivewill be influenced significantly by the strength and stability of his position at home. Heightened political and economic difficulties in Cuba would restrict Castro's subversive effort, while the more secure he is at home, the more freedom and strength he is likely to have for subverting other governments and re-establishing his prestige andCastro's position ln Cuba will depend in part on his own policies, but is likely to depend even more upon those of the Soviets.
IS. Alternative Soviet poUctes. There are several courses of action with respect to Cuba which the Soviets are likely to consider. Some leaders may argue that the whole policy of economic and military support for Castro should be abandoned along with the plan for the deployment of strategic rnisslles in Cuba. We believe, however, that the Soviet stake in Cuba as an ally andoviet center in Latin America is still too high to abandon. The stake in Castroerson, however, Is questionable. If the Soviets didecision tosupport either from Castro or from Cuba, we believe that Cuban capability for subversion in Latin America would be greatly reduced, at leastime. This capability would be reduced more in the case of the Soviets' withdrawing support from Cuba than in the case of their abandonment of Castro alone.
n alternative course would be for the Soviets to continue to extend economic and military assistance. Such assistance could range all the way from the amounts necessary to maintain Cuba in its present condition. Including support of the expanded military establishment, to substantial Increases.olicy would probably reduceiderably Castro's internal problems and thus give him additionalto engage in external subversion and sabotage. Additions tostocks of small arms would not in themselves change hisfor subversive activity, as he already has supplies of surplus arms However, if the Soviets were to provide substantial additional air and
sealLTt capabilily. the Cubans would be able to mount large-scale subversive interventions In neighboring countries. Furthermore,degree of success Is achieved in improving Cuba's position and ln expanding kts physical resources, Cuba's net capability for subversion and sabotage will in the last analysis largely be determined by the overall situation ln Latin America.
e do not believe that Castro or the Soviets can yet foresee what the effects of the recent crisis will be over the long term on their The crisis has probably created difficultiesolitical and psychological nature that neither of them can readily solve, however determined they may be to do so. Castro may have been moved by the treatment he has received at the hands of the Soviets to consider modifying his relationship with them and seeking to Improve hiswith the OAS and possibly even the US We believe, however, that he is unlikely to And feasible ways of reducing his dependence upon the USSR. The Soviets certainly must consider that they have effective means of exercising control over Castro. Furthermore, hisassertions of continued loyalty to Marxism-Leninism make It unlikely that he is seriouslyestoration of relations with the OAS. or that he could succeed If he tried,
olicy of other American nations. Castro's subversive capabilities will be greatly Influenced by the policies and actions of other Latin American nations, as by those of the US, We believe that the high state of security alert that has prevailed sincectober and the show of unity that marked the recent crisis are unlikely to last. There is sure toevival of nationalist sentiments. On balance, however, we believe that the prospects for countersubversive action by Latin American States, on their own and in conjunction with the US. are Many responsible Latin Americans will have interpreted recent events to mean that firm and united action can be effective against the Soviet threat from Cuba. However. Latin American governments will probably be less willing to take coordinated action againstInroads If the US commits itself not to invade Cuba.
likely Futureor Cuban Sabotage
he extent of Castro's capabilities for sabotage and otheractivity in Latin America will depend upon the complicated factors noted above. Whatever his capabilitiese will not beoss for targets against which to use them Some of the more obvious targets are:
a. US missions and personnel. US missions and personnel all over Latin America were designated as targets for attack in the various calls for action which went out during the recent crisis. Action against
OUHcal and propaganda value tothat it tends to show public opposition to US policy. It is alsoeasy for Castro to promote attacks against official USa crisis situation and to get help from all the various elementsopposed to American influence in the area. Future attacksanticipated ir, situations ln which Castro feels that the publicof US policy exists or can be stirred
targets vulnerableimited sabotage effortfor sabotage will be mining, industrial, and businessin which therearge proportion of US capital, which areassociated with the US, or which are so important to thethat damage to them would create difficulties forwhich are anti-Castro and cooperating with the US. OuVenezuela, Including the oil and water pipelines to the refineriesParaguana Peninsula, and similar facilities are likely to betargets for Cuban sabotage. Installations for the handline of iUCeIy anama
and communications faculties are generally vulnerableand are appealing targets to Cubans and other Latinparticularly to countries which are cooperating withand whose communications media are taking an anti-Castrotelegraph, radio and television facilities, and mostparticularly electric power and transformer stations, aretargets. Selection of targets for sabotage will depend on theof particular facilities but even more on the varying accessand Communists to access oi
targets susceptible to exploitation. PoUticalLatin America, in almost every case characterized bvfrom below upon relatively conservative and generallygovernments, provide Castro with opportunities forpoUtical activity. Particularly unstable situations include
(I) Venezuela, where Communist-Inspired disorders have beencheck by the government, but where continuedleftist violence may lead the mUitary to takea country such as Venezuela, where the stablUty of anand anti-Communist government depends heavilyman, assassination is another
Nicaragua, where Communist-led groups, in anticipation of coming elections, may seek to incite or exploit violence acainst the Somoza regime.
Guatemala, where President Ydigoras' position is weak and uncertain.
The Dominican Republic, where the problems ofeneration of dictatorship have proved almost more than the caretaker government can handle, and where some political groupings amenable to Castro's influence are seeking toooting.
Bolivia, where the struggle for dominance within the ruling MNR Party between the moderates and those on the far left is ready-made for exploitation by Castro.
Brazil, where Communists have penetrated the government and military to some limited extent, the tide of nationalist and antl-US feeling ls strong, and depressed socio-economicand inefficient government administration provide Castro many opportunities, especially ln the northeast.
HIGHLIGHTS OF CUBAN SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES IN OTHER LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES TO DATE
uban subversive activities of one sort or another have been directed toward virtually every other Latin American State. Cuban Embassies have been without exception centers for propaganda and efforts to cultivate receptive local groups, whether they be Castroite, regular Communist, leftist, or simply disgruntled with the existinghe Cuban Embassy isisburser of funds,'for subversive purposes. Radio propaganda from Havana has been and is being beamed at each of the Latin American States, sometimes tailored to have particular local impact. Sympathetic nationals from the other Latin American States havo been encouraged and given financialto come to Cuba for varying lengths of time for training, goodwill visits, or for purposes of instruction and coordination of subversive
he aboveeneral pattern. There are, of course, significant variations and different degrees of effort, depending on how Castro's regime views the importance and vulnerability of the target country. The followingummary, country by country, of the most tvDical reports of Cuban subversive activity available to
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