Current Intelligence Weekly Summary
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY OfFrCf Of CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
NOT RE LEASABLE TO FOREIGN'jjx us* CONTINUED CONTROL ,
Poasant league*, fuundod in the oyand Social 1st leaders to agitate For ruralxist In many parts or Brazil's impoverished northeast. Tensions in this area haver benny rapid rises in food prices over the pant several months. Francisco Juliao, the most widely known league leader, lias recently Begun cooperating with Dragila- dissident Communist party, which Is pro-Pelplng and advocate* revolutionary violence. Peasant unrest is likely toignificant role in Brazil's congressional and state elections next October.
PEASANT LEAGUES IN NORTHEASTERN BRAZIL
leagues, founded in the mld-lvSOa by Communist and Socialist leader* tofor rural reforms, exist in many parts of Brazil's iei-povcrlshed northeast. Tensions in this area have beenby rapid rises in prices of several basic foods over the past fewhich have been accentuated byon the part of the sore prosperous. Drought in some areas of the interior has caused thousands of agriculturaland rhelr families to abandon their farms and seek work and food in the towns. Hunger riots have broken out, and there has been some looting of food stores.
Northeastern Brazil, an areaquare milesopulations rivaled in Latin Americaepressed area only by Bolivia and Haiti. Per capita Income is eetimated at leas0 annually, one third of tbefor Brazilhole. In Pisul. the most depressed state, annual income Is onlyollars perthan that of Communist China.
arrow humid belt along the coast, land Is devoted to sugar cane production but with considerably Inns efficiency than In other commercial sugar raising areas In Brazil or Cane planting, with low labor productivity, payswages. Urban growth and population Increases, together vlth little Industrial expansioncarcity of foodhave led to extremely high food prices lo relation to wages.
Most or the interior Is sd area of periodic drought. This is the area vhlchhave long had difficulty In controlling and vhlch Is the setting of Brazil's best-known literary vork. Rebellion In the Back landsthe factual account of a fanatic vho led
a rebellion for many years In the latter part of theh Century.
Although normal annual rainfall In the interior Is about 25 Inches, It occurs in cloudbursts which limit Its utility. Tor many years the economy consisted mainly of cattle-raising on a subsistence level. This la still one of the two most important sources of livelihood in the area,ardy variety of cattle has been developed which can feed on nothing hut cactus. There hasrAdual shift,toward raising cattle for export to the coastal cities, and with It hasradual concentration in landowner-ship.
Cotton has been introducedeading cash crop and is the region's mostmoney crop. Cotton, however, requires considerably more labor than tho previous all-cattle economy anda much higher degree of food cultivation. This has increased the area'sto severe drought, "hen droughtHoss of up to half the Interior's foot1 supplies, thousands of rural workers flooded the coastal zones and depressed the living atandarda of the residentwere already close to the subsistence level.
The Peasant leagues
The economic dislocations of8 droughtew Impetus for improving in the area, and the peasant leagues have gained strength. In the state of Paralba theyilitant popular organization. Elsewhere, however, the leagues are as yet badlyand some are inactive. Most are in the sugar zcne.wbllea smaller number have been founded in the area of periodic drought. Membership range* widely froner league, andare usually0 cents monthly for dues.
The leagues nave emphasized legal aid for rural workers, tenants, and small landholders, andot tho part-timeare said to be lawyers who are engaging in league activity with an eye to afuture. Legal advice for small landholders has particular Importance In Brazil, since only an estimated one percent of land title* arc clearly valid. Squatters, who can acquire legal titlelot of land after some years of living and raising crops on it, also require legal help.
A Brazilian magazine of national circulation highlighted the Importance of legal services for the rural poor in an account several months agoenant farmer's problems with his The tenant objectedummary doubling of his rent.
The year-old Son and his friends thereupon visited the tenant, unting "game" with the tenant's small son which ended In shooting him to death. Legal servicesin the area resulted In liberty for the landlord's son and prison, beatings, and suicide for the tenant.
Leagues In Paralba
The largest number ofleagues Is in the state of Pernanbuco, but those showing most activity In the past ten nonths are In the state of These leagues have achieved widespread that of tho conservative Social Democratic party--and at least the benevolentof the governor, hut they are opposed by largeand army elements.
The subversive potential of the Paraiba leagues wasIn1 when an army search of a farm near Sape uncovered Comnunlst party propaganda as well as literature on agrarian reformumberb-caliber pistols with ammunition, The farm belongedeasant league loader, and the army's discovery appears to have heightened tensions in the area. In1 the president of the peasant league of Sape was seriously wounded, andpril the actingwas killed by unidentified gunmen. Preliminaryindicates that the gunmen were hired by members of the "Syndicate ofnof landlords.
In early April army units were reported posted on all roads leading Trom the interior of the states of Paraiba, Per-nambuco. Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe, and Plaul. The army announced officially that the roadblocks were for theof controlling smuggling, but tbe army maneuver wattdesigned to find arms caches In peasant hands and tocheduled massby rural workers aroused over pril killing. Peasant league leaders in'* capital city were placed under house arrest,and one was apparently secretly deportedeighboring state.
The two-sided nature of possible violence was Indicated earlier this year when the manager of a large ranch In Paraiba and one of his assistants were killed with knives and hoes. The Paraiba governor appears to be sympathetic to tho rural workers, however, and in early Mayrotest to President Goulart against prolonged occupation of his state by the army, "which continues to occupy the streets and fields as if the solution of the crisis depended on the speed of their triggers."
The popularity of the Sape league may derive from the numerous welfare services which it has provided for Us members. At least prior to theof Its leader In April, itrimary school for Children of members and offered medical an'! dental rare as well as legal assistance to nembers and their families. In addition to paying the fees of oneone physician, and two dentistsull-time basis, the Sape league used the services of IS physicians and several lawyers on a part-time basis.
The program of the Sape league specially urges the lowering of land rental and costs and the alleviation of the requirement nade on the peasants to work two or threeeek for the landowner for aboutay. The Sape league, which covers an area of sisal, sugar, pineapple, and cotton holdings, collected the equivalent of0 onth from its members during the winter and 0 an In during the months which yieli'ed good crops. Itsis.
FrancIsco state deputy in Per-nambuco State, which has long been the cultural and economic center of the northeast--is the most widely known league leader. lie reportedly achieved his reputation by volunteeringawyer Lo defend theof the leagues7 when other lawyers refused to take the case. To protect his personal safety in an area where landowners traditionally have personally loyal gunmen, he is reported to haveist ofrominent landholders and told his followers, "If anything should happen toant to meet them ail in hell."
Juliao has not admitted nenbership in the Brazilian
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Communist party, but he has repeatedly avowed hit admiration for Fidel Castro and Mao Tse-tung. Julian visited Peiping1 and has visited Cuba three times In the past year. His wife and two daughters visited China earlier this year, and his daughters now havela school In Moscow. He has been crltlclaed by Brazilian Communists for advocatingwhen the party's policy is to seek control through peaceful means. The Communists have nevertheless tended towith him. One of the delegates to the International Comnunlst Agricultural Workers' Conference in Bulgaria in Aprileasant league leader; the otherember of the Rural Commission of theor pro-Moscow Brazilian Communist party.
The dissident or pro-Pci-ping Communist party of Brazil, which advocates violenceevolutionary line, is evidently also interested In the peasant leagues and seeking to Increase its Influence within them. Jullao and dissident Communist leaders have apparently agreed to join forces to advocateactivity, and the two key dissident loaders reportedly went to Cuba early in May at
Jullao's ins'lgatlon to receive Instruction in revolutionary techn nues.
Juliao's leadership Is de-nled by some Important league leaders. Aaslsresident of the Peasant Leagueof Paraiba. recently stated that Jullao has no influence In the Paraiba leagues and no following among the members there. He said that hisIs Independent and receives no support or counsel from Jullao or anybody else.
The October Flections
The increasing problem presented by peasant unrest, whether mobilized by peasant leagues or other organizations. Is likely toignificant role next October Inand nunlclpal elections throughout the area and In simultaneous gubernatorial elections scheduled In five
i northeastern states. Illiter-
. acy will Unit the direct voting strength of league members. One leader estimates, for exanple that onlyercent of league members in his Stat" are suf-
. ficiently literate to qualify
Nevertheless, rural reform is likely to becampaign Three0 resulted In active reform programs and relative peace in twolo Grande do Norte andthe Inttncialveness of Governor Gondiir in Paraiba has probably
] contributed to the repeated
I threats of widespread violence there. Moreover, Francisco
< Jullao probably has sufficient strength in his home state of
; Pernambuco to achieve election as federal deputy and thusational forum for agitation fur Th- peasant leagues.
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