A SURVEY OF COMMUNISM IN LATIN AMERICA (W/ATTACHMENT)
OCR scan of the original document, errors are possibleINTRODUCTION
1. His toreve lopmetit
Most ol the Latin American Communist parties formally came into being in the decade following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia The Communist Party of Argentina is the oldest party in the hemisphere, having been founded Each of the parties has looked to Moscow from the start for its ideology and guidance. None has drawn on Latin America's heritage of communal practices and traditions which have stemmed from the area's great Aztec, Maya, or Inca civilizations.
The activities of Latin American Communisthave paralleled the international movement from the very beginning, although the Latin Americans frequently have been slow in picking up the latest "line" from Moscow. Ideological schisms in Moscow in thethe splintering off of Trotsky and hisreflected In Latin America.
During thendatinCommunist parties followed Moscow's advice in isolating themselves completely from other working class parties. This tactic was later reversed in theurn to "popular front" activities when the Communists sought alliances with socialist and left-of-center nationalist parties in Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, and Uruguay. In Cuba and Brazil, Communists made overtures to the early Batista and Vargas regimes.
Latin American Communists followed the Moscow line in at first supporting the Stalin-Nazi pactnd then switched tactics when the Soviet Union was attacked by Germany The Communists basked in the light of their devotion to thecause in most of Latin America for theof World War II, and made particular headway in trade union movements. Their influence was especially strong at this time in the labor movements of Chile,
Cuba, Ecuador, Argentina,
Peru, and Venezuela. The Latin American Workers Confederation (CTAL) was formeddwith the Moscow-controlled World Federation of Trade Unions. The Communists were at their zenith6 in influence and general public acceptance. Their parties were either legal or at least tolerated in every country. They had members of congress in nine countries; three Communists held cabinet posts in Chile in6opular frontheaded by President Gonzalez Videla.
After the war the prestige of the Communiststo wane as they tended to become increasingly isolated from other popular, leftist parties. Only in Guatemala4 and in Cuba have they made great advances. However, the Communists were aInfluence in the Goulart regime in Brazil before the4 revolt. The Communists stillairly strong political position in Chile and serve as the power behind the terrorist forces in Venezuela. They are fully capable ofgrievances in every Latin American country to exacerbate smoldering local tensions. Themajor appeal of late has been to pose as the champions of social reform, saying that they could better carry out Latin America's social revolution if the workers, peasants, and intellectuals would but give them the power.
External Communist support is largely provided In the form of direct financial subsidies. The money usually is carried by special emissaries from foreign Communist countries. It is believed the Venezuelan Communist Party has receivedillionear in past years. The provision of travel funds for courses of training given to local Communists In European and Asian Communist countries ls anothersource of aid. Soviet guidance to localleaders is givenomplex system of personal contact and correspondence. Meetings are held in various East European capitals such as Prague. Some regional meetings are held in which Soviet party officials are present. Coordination for theseoften ls arranged through Czechoslovak embassies in Mexico City for Communists from Central America, and in Buenos Aires and Montevideo for South American
2. The Impact of Castroism
Fidel Castro's rise to power has greatlythe orthodox Communist parties of Latinbut lt has also caused them problems. Castro's adoption of Marxism-Leninismowerful boost for Communism throughout Latin America,untilut his brandery different one from that adhered to by most orthodox party leaders. The heart of Castro's revolutionary thoory is that social justice can bo attained by guerrillaview which runs directly counter to the teachings of orthodox Marxism-Leninism as propounded by Soviet ideologists and traditionally followed by most Latin American Communist parties. Traditional Communist Party doctrine maintains that to be successful acannot be launched before the mass of theclass has rallied to the party. The Latin Amer-ical Communist parties havoeneral rulethe line that "objective conditions" have not been 'right" for revolution in this hemisphere. They have followed the "via pacifica" route ofand infiltration, although nevertho alternative of "armod revolution."
Castro-Communism runs directly counter to this tactic. Che Guevara, in his famous book onwarfare (which is still widely circulated in Latin America) states:
"We consider that the Cubancontributed three fundamental lessons to the conduct ofmovements in Latin America. They are:
Popular forces canar against the enemy.
It is not necessary to wait until all conditions forrevolutions exist; can create them.
In underdeveloped Latinthe countryside is the basic area for armed fighting."
In effect, Castro's revolution and the Castroist "ideology"ery real challenge to the traditional leaders of the orthodox Communist parties of Latin America. Party leaders can ill. afford to antagonize innumerable Castroites Inside and on the fringe of their parties; nor do they want to pick anquarrel with the Soviet Union's sole Latinally. However, most have done little more than pay lip service to the Castroist tactic ofby guerrilla warfare (Guatemala and Venezuela are two notable exceptions). esult, most party hierarchies are being challenged to some degree by militant dissidents who are inspired by the Cuban model. Many of these are also influenced by the example of Peking.
It may well be that the major Impact thatrevolution has had on the Latin Americanmovement has been to set inadical revolutionary effort led by militants who areyounger and more activist than mostCommunist leaders, and whoort of Communist "wave of the future." As prospects for meaningful gains under the "via pacifica" strategy grow dimmer, these impatient militants will be even more convinced that "armed struggle" is the only way to achieve power in Latin America. They willto receive inspiration and probably someassistance from Cuba in this effort. They are not under the control of Castro (or Peking),in the sense that the Communist "old guard'* leaders are bound by discipline to Moscow. Some of the more radical militants appear to bemore formal lines of communication with Peking, feeling that the Cubans have become "revisionist" and moved closer to Soviet ideological positions.
The Cubans and the Latin American "soft-line" Communists are taking steps to remedy some of their friction producing differences. The highly unusual meeting of Latin American Communist party leaders held in Havana in4 had as one of its major purposes the seeking out of means forthe divisive tendencies which have so long hampered the Latin American Communist movement. The meeting alsoledgeoint strengthening of "national liberation movements" in the hemisphere and an agreement to promote
"solidarity with Cuba." Cuba's agreemont to stop noddling with local extremist groups not endorsed by the orthodox Comnunlst parties may be followed up by greater Initiatives on the part of tho "soft-line" Communists toore active part in those revolutionary activities presently woll under way in the hemisphere. This trend already seems to be well established in Venezuela. Guatomala,and Panama.
3. Current Trends and Outlook
The orthodox Communist parties do not pose the most immediate threat to the existing governmental structure in most latin American countries. Bather, militantparticular those in Venezuela, Peru, Guatemala, andare Inspired by the example of Castro and many of whom have had guerrilla training in Cuba constitute the most serious threat. These extremists may haveague understanding of Marxism-Leninism, but believe that tho road of terrorism and vlolenco is the only workable means for displacing oligarchic social systems and instituting popular reforms. These are thewithin but most outside the regular Communistare putting pressure on the traditional Communist leaders for more activist revolutionary tactics. Thus It seems likely that over the next year or two the localmight be forced toomewhat "harder" revolutionary line in the hopes of bluntingfron the parties' left wing that the leaders are "do nothing" revolutionaries. At the same time, the parties will probably suffer accelerated :as the militant left-wing extremists become less and less satisfied with the parties* nild approach to revolution. If the Cubans uphold their part of the Havana conference bargain andonly those groups endorsed by the local parties, the left-wing splintering may be confined to small extremist fringe groups.
In addition to taking steps to mollify their critics from the militant left, the Local Communist
leaders appear to be trying to stimulate theof broad "popular front" typecalled "national liberation fronts" into which they hope to pull elements of theleft in each country. This two-prongedwill enable the Communists to manipulatewith the left hand while at the same timeespectable "nationalist" pose with the right hand. This would enable them to be on the ground floor and perhaps more subtly control "popular" insurrections such as that which occurred in the Dominican Republic.
It seems likely that Havana increasingly is going to be faced with an Intruding competitor in the form of the Chinese Communists in bidding for the loyalty of some of the more militant leftist-extremists. This has already happened in Colombia and Ecuador, and both Havana and Peking arethe'Peruvian guerrillas as "examples" for other revolutionaries in Latin America to emulate.
For the short-run at least no Communist party in Latin America is likely to challenge seriously the existing governments. However, prevailingeconomic, and social conditions and the widespread demand for revolutionary changemost of the continent are ripe for Communist manipulation and exploitation. The greatest danger is apt to come in situations where the traditional society and institutions give way completely in the faceharp, spontaneous, and popular revolt against the old order. In the fluid aftermath, Communist elements would be likely to rise quickly to the fore and threaten to dominate the revolution.