THE SITUATION IN CUBA

Created: 11/24/1958

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INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

the situation in cuba

Submitted by the

DIE ECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

The foUoving intelligence organisations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central InteUiget te Agency find the intelligence organisation* of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and The Joint Staff. i

in by the

CNnXD STATES INTELLIGENCEoncurring vere The Director ofand Research, Department of State; the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army; Vw, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Intelligence,of the Navy; tht Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, VSAF; the Director for Intelligence, The Joint Staff; the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Special Operations; and the Director of the Notional Security Agency. The Atomic Snergy Commission Representative to the VSIBtetnnt Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, stained, the subject being outside of their jurisdiction.

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intelligence agency dissemination notice

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THE SITUATION IN CUBA"

THE PROBLEM

To analyze tbe present situation In Cuba and to estimate probable developments for tbe next few months.

CONCLUSIONS

3 November national elections and tbe prospective inauguration of Rivero Aguero onebruary bave bad bttle effect on tbe political and militaryIn Cuba Rebel kader Fidel Castro la continuing his guerrilla warfarebut his movement, Ir. combination with other existing opposition groups, probably cannot overthrow tbein the next few months. On the other band, the Cuban armed forcessuppress the guerrilla movement unless they become better trained,and equipped, and more strongly motivated, and unless tbe rebel forces are effectively isolated from external supply sources.

The Cuban armed force* remain,the most important element capable of breaking tbe political deadlock, bythe regime androup within the military would be likely to take sucb action if thereharp Increase In popular or laborto theliltary-dom-

or lha estimate wbtn aatd alont abould to Tor Official Vatjunta almost certainly could not restore peace to Cuba within the period of this estimate unless its membership and actions were sucb as to convince the revolutionary opposition that it wasto accordignificant influence In the provisional government.'

'rt- AuUWnt Chief of Staff for lnt*lllrence, Department Ofht Aaglftant Ohlrt of SUA,eparbneot Of the Airould havtead: Tht Cuban military remain* tht moatelement capablt of breaking thtand miMcv deadlcc* onJ rutorfne ordVr fn CaboCAfiecite dtpo<ln| the regime androup within tht military would to Bkelj le take fucbhtrt wereaharpis popular or labor oppose on lomt. turpi Uirnih mill loryouldm-.'j rttrtyt*rCcn#ft* miliary tie" anded Junta almott certainly could sot rr-atot pt art to Cuba within tht period ef thla eatimale unless IU mtmbtrehlp and action* Wereo tontine* tht revolutionary opposition that It waa prepared to arxordlpiincant influence lo tht proeialcmal (ov-

DISCUSSION

The Strength, ond Weaknesses ef Fidelf July Movement"*

S. To date, Fidel Castro has been unable to arouse sufficient popular support to overthrow the Batista regime, but the regime has itself been unable to prevent the expansion ofguerrilla operations. Thef July Movement now dominates most of the rural area of the Orient* Province and small groups of rebels also operate ln other parts of the Island.astro's armed forces have grownandful of Cuban filibusters to their present estimated strength of upwardsen. Although still unable tothe army in sustained combat in open terrain, they have performed effectively as sruerriUas. Tbey have virtually paralysed land transport within Orlente, including anland blockade of Santiago, the second city of Cuba. They have also held small towns in the province for cy irt periods of time. In the neighboring pro^'nee of Camaguey, the rebels control tome rv *reas and havewith transportation. The activities of the movement are being ex**nded ln the central and extreme westernebel underground organization operates In many cities and acts as liaison with othergroups, both ln and outside of Cuba. Tbe movement has supporting organizations In the US and In several Latin Americannotably Venezuela and Mexico, from which it has received significant financial and logistical support.

nS there was formed In Caracas the Frente Civlco Revolucionario (FCR)of representatives of ail revolutionary groups opposed to the Batista regime except the Communists, who were deliberatelyIts purpose was to unifyefforts. It has engaged primarily inand procurement activities outside of Cuba.

Movement leiivet Ita name from the date of CsJrtro'ittack on the military barracks

In Santiago In lt&s.

ft. Castro's lack of clarity about his objectives, beyond the elimination of Batista, has raised doubts about his long-range intentions arxmg manyf July opposition leaders who at the moment support him. Castro'spronouncements reflect doprogram, although they todicele definite concern for agrarian reform and theof public utilities. Be has stated that if successful he would initially replace theregimerovisional civilianheaded by Dr. Manuel Urrutia Ueo and Including representatives drawn from most political groups In Cuba* Be speaks of the restoration of democratic governmentransition period. There are bo Indications of the role Castro would seek to playew government, but It is likely that he would expect toosition of major Influence.

lthough Castro basidely varied followingIncluding some respected Cuban civic, business, and religious groupshe, unlike the revolutionary Junta Patriotic^ in Venezuela, has not been able to gainpopular support. Twice his attempts toationwide general strike have failed, largely because of Inability to obtain support tn tbe capital city of Havana.

astro has failed to convince tbe majority of the Cuban people that bis personality and program, In preference to Batista's, are worth fighting for. Cuba continues to enjoy relative economic prosperity,arge part of the population, probably concerned thatwould jeopardize their well-being, appear to hope that there caneaceful transition from authoritarian to constitutionalTbe Roman Catholic Church,apparently becoming Increasingly anti-Batista, continues officially toeaceful change of government Organised

Orrutls Ueoespected hot BtUe known former magistrateantiago court who Is bow in exile. Be Isonsidered to have btile poUUcal acumen.

labor has sot been willing to oppose tbe Batista regime under which it has received Important benefits. In spite of general dislike for Batista, little popular enthusiasm his been engendered for Castro outside of the province of Oriente, at least In part because his operations have been marked byof property and Irresponsible acts of violence.

n Its inception, thef July Movement was not an ti-American. Until last summer. It sought to cultivate US good will. Since then, however, rebel propaganda has stressed the supposed US prcftlCCCS for dictatorship ln the Caribbean area and has charged that Batista, with the cooperation of some USwas scheming to bring about USIntervention against the rebels. This propaganda line exploits widespread Latin American sentiments regarding dictatorship and Intervention, and, Indeed,ine Radio Moscow has utilized frequently ln itscalling for support to the anti-Batista forces. Recently, however, Castro'shas againesire- for US understanding.

fcV The Role of the Cubon Communists

n contrast to the situation In Venezuela, where the Communist party played anrol* in the revolution against the Perez Jimenez dictatorship and therebyrivileged political position, the CubanPartys such, has beenfrom both thef July Movement acd the Frente Civico Revolucionarioespite its recent strenuous efforts to get In In Caracas, the Venezuelan Communist Party has actually hindered FCR activities. In order to compel the FCR to admit the CubanParty.

Castro's control over his lung guerrillasot so firm that he can prevent Communist infiltration even if be ahould aolleged Communist sympathisers hold moderately Importantln the movement, especially among the troops led by Raul Castro. Some Communists have undoubtedly penetrated Its lower levels and its organization ln Mexico. Morxner, the nationalistic and antl-dJctatorahJp line of the movementorse which the Communists know well bow to ride (eg,f the revolution fails to make headway against the Batista regime, both Castro and tbe FCR will be under Increasing pressure to accept any help they can get.

Role of rhe Cubon Military

II. Tne continued support of the Cuban armed forces is the chief factor ln the Batista regime's retention of power. The principal military leaders are almostastro victory would adversely affect their military positions and personal fortunes: even the lives of some of them would be ln Jeopardy. Byargeof their forces In eastern Cuba, they have been able to retain control of the urban areas. Bcwever, it bas been necessary to retain the most reliable and effective Army units tn Havana to protect the regime. The forces committed against the guerrillas in tbe field have been composed largely of conscripts from urban areas not readily adaptable to theof anti-guerrilla operations. These forces are Inadequately led. trained, equipped, and supplied for the operations required to root out the guerrillas. Their chief deficiency, however. Is that, compared to the strongof the rebels, they lack the will to fight. Consequently, the Army's combattn the field have been Ineffective and In Oriente Province there have been somedefections to Castro's forces. Moreover, the Cuban navaJ and air forces have been unable to prevent the rebels from receiving supplies from overseas by sea and air.

3 November Notional Elections

aced with continued violent disorderby the growing opposition to his regime throughout Cuba. President Batista hasconstitutional guarantees for most of two years and has resorted increasingly lo authoritarian measures. Nevertheless, be

tided go through with national electionsovember and has declared that he will Install the newly elected president

IS. Batista permitted political parties tobut since constitutional guaranteessuspended, electoral activities were minimal and the public was generallyeven in those places where the rebels were unable to interfere with voting. Andres Rivero Aguero, Batista's band-pickedwas duly elected, and the government coalitiona;ge number of congressional seats and other offices. Although Rivero Aguero could probably haveompletely free election because of thr strength of the government's political machine and the lack of unity among the weak oonrevolutionary opposition, his election under the present chaotic Internal conditions can seem Utile moreham.

E. The Outlook for the Next Paw Months

We believe that the elections aed any subsequent efforts by Batista to withdraw from the limelight probably will htve little effect in resolving the political impasse In favor of the government. Even If Batista should leave the countrycontrary to his recent statement of Intentionsthe newly elected government would find it difficult to convince either Castro or the Cuban people that lt was no longer controlled by the forces and interests which bad kept the dictator In office. Moreover, economic difficulties are toon likely to be added to the government's other problemsesult of the continued disruption of production and transportation in Oriente Province and of heavy military expenditures.

Castro wili almost certainly continue his guerrilla warfare campaign. While be will probably gain some additional strength, there is little to indicate that important military or labor elements are about to shift theirto him. Similarly, the general public, despite the sham elections, does not appear on the verge of giving active support to Castro. Continued terrorist activities will almostantagonize business Interests in Cuba and elsewhere. It Is therefore unlikely thai Castro will be able to overthrow theprior to the inauguration of Rivero Aguero. j

A prolongttlorj and further intensification of widespread guerrilla warfare would further reduce the Cuban Oovernmeot's ability toadequate protection for American lives and property. OS private investments tn Cuba amount0 million, more than tn any other latin American country except Venezuela and Brazil. The rebels* method of exerting pressure by the destruction of and levies against property, regardless of theof ownership, viil certainly cause further damage to US interests, since USin Cuba are ao numerous and

A military solution of the guerrillacannot be achieved without extensivein the military posture of the Cuban armed forces. To overcome thedescribed inhere would be required:teady flow of arms, equipment, and ammunition for sustained combat operations;igorous training program to Improve the general physicalof the troops and to instruct them In guerrilla, antiguerrtlla, and mountainand (c) development of the professional competence and standards of performance of the leadersegTee which would Inspire the confidence of tbelr men. Such acould not be accomplished within the period of this estimate. In addition, means would have to be provided to cut off the logistical support which Castro nowby set and air from overseas. External military aid on the scale Indicated would beegarded In latin America asmilitary intervention In Cuba, withpolitical repercussions extending far

AadvUnt Chief of 6Uft for Intelligence,of the Army, and the Assistant Chief oi Staff, Intelligence, Department of tbe Air Force, tc vie* of the probability that popular and other reaction* ander rucfc elrcum/Unce* are Kxcly to be both favorable and an favorable, would delete this sentence as being Incomplete and In-eonduslvt.

RET

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Tbe Cohen military remains the most im-portaut element capable of br taking thedeadlock by means other Chan combat operations. Should the military conclude (as In Venezuela) that the effort required totbe regime In power is more than that object is worth* they have the power toit and toilitary junta for the purpose of bringingoliticalWe are unable to estimate thecircumstances in which the military eight decide upon this customary course of action. Tbe likelihood of their doing so would be Increased if thereharp upsurge in popular or labor opposition to the regime.*

fter the military, the most important element of support for Batista has been ihe powerful Cuban Labor Confederation (CTC) vhlch is tightly controlled by leaders who have so far held it tn line and have twiceto heed Castro's callseneral strike.

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'The AAsiaUnt Chief of ttaff for Intelligence, department of tba Army, and the Assistant Chief Of bUS,epartment Of theorce, vould Icjert theowing paragraph H

hln the army tothe regime iswn quantity. Tbe principal pertonaUUes report in rumors of possible coupeeen Kajorlaz-Tsmayo, the, andbe commander of the government forces In Orient* Province. However, both may be scheduled for early retirement, tt Is more likely that in any coup attempt the ktdei would come from officers

flow ever, the nature of the Cuban laborand Its notoriously calculating leaders Is such that, If tlie tide appeared to be shifting tn favor of the opposition, the CTC might par* toclpet*eneral strike against theShould this happen, the military would be faced with the choice of firing upon mobs in Havana or of calling upon theto resign. Inituation, the military would probably choose the latter course.

ilitary Junta by Itself would not be able to reestablish political stability,if the Junta included many of the present top military leaders who are closely associated with Batista. It would not be recognised by Castro or by the majority of toe Cuban peopleignificant change. However, If, *ts inunta were subsequently to purge Itself of the more objectionable initialreplacing them with younger and less venal officers, its chances for breaking the political impasse would substantially beThe situation would become even more favorable ifodified junta were successful in convincing the public of Itsto restore democratic processes. It Is possible that such success by the Junta would cause the Castro movement to loseOn the other hand. If the Junta desired to end civil strife quickly, it would probably hare to open direct negotiations with Castro. The letter's decision to come out of the bills would depend on the junta's ability tohim that he and his men would be safe from reprisals and that they would be able to take an active role in national political life.

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