Friday, November 14, 2014

April 16, 2000, CNN's Cold War Series, Episode 18, Backyard: 1954-1990,

April 16, 2000, CNN's Cold War Series, Episode 18, Backyard: 1954-1990,

Central America, the Caribbean and South America become the battleground for a test of wills between the United States and the U.S.S.R. -- as the Cold War comes to America's "backyard."

Episode Script

Narration: In the late 1950s, Fidel Castro and his small band of Cuban guerrillas started a revolution that challenged the desire of the United States to control the Western Hemisphere.
Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba
"We couldn't think about the Cold War at that time, and besides we were naive. We really believed there was a certain international order. We believed in the existence of certain international principles. We believed that the sovereignty of nations would be respected."
Narration: To the United States, Castro's nationalism and left-wing policies were a Trojan horse for Soviet communism.
Interview: Oleg Daroussenkov, Communist Party Central Committee
"Up until that time, we had viewed Latin America as a distant, exotic continent with which we had virtually no relations. The Cuban Revolution changed all this."
Narration: From its birth in 1776, the United States had grown and grown. Where its flag did not fly, its troops or agents often intervened. In the 1950s, the Guatemalans dared to challenge an American business that controlled much of its economy.
The United Fruit Company of Boston owned half a million acres of land, the railroad, the port and telecommunications. But most Guatemalan peasants found it difficult to survive.
In 1950, Jacobo Arbenz was voted president -- he wasn't a communist, but some of his close allies were. A former military man, Arbenz sought to modernize Guatemala's backward society. Washington was alarmed.
Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA chief, Mexico
"What we faced here was the obvious intervention of a foreign power. Because these home-grown parties are not really home-grown, they're being funded or, er, advised by a foreign power -- i.e. the Soviet Union."
Interview: Nikolai Leonov, KGB officer, Mexico
"The Arbenz government, which had been in power from 1950, didn't enjoy any logistical support from the Soviet Union. We didn't even have diplomatic relations. There was no Soviet mission in Guatemala."
Narration: President Arbenz started a land reform program, buying up fallow land to distribute to peasants. In compensation, he offered the landowners the values they had themselves declared for taxes. United Fruit was offered just over a million dollars for its land. When Arbenz declared nationalization, the company, backed by the United States, claimed $16 million.
Interview: Jose Manuel Fortuny, Communist Party, Guatemala
"He saw that I didn't look very pleased. He said, 'Aren't you happy about the news?' And I replied, 'Now we're going to have to fight on two fronts: We're going to have to fight internally against the landowners, and also against the United States.'"
Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA chief, Mexico
"My, er, counterpart in Guatemala ... Guatemala City chief of station was sending in reports too about communist infiltration in the government, and of course he mentioned Jose Manuel Fortuny and some of the old-time Stalinist communists who were gaining favorable positions in the Arbenz regime."
Narration: In this impasse the U.S. named John Peurifoy as its new ambassador. Peurifoy had had experience of communist efforts to gain power in Greece.
Interview: Jose Manuel Fortuny, Communist Party, Guatamala
"Peurifoy said to Arbenz, "Mr. President, we can sort out all this business of the United Fruit Company so that you can come to a satisfactory agreement. The United Fruit Company is not the problem: the problem is the communists that you have in your government."
Interview: Alfonso Bauer, Agrarian Bank, Guatamala
"No less a figure than John Foster Dulles, head of the State Department, was part of the firm of lawyers acting for the United Fruit Company. His brother Allen was the head of the CIA. So it didn't take much of an effort on their part to persuade their president, a military man, Mr. Eisenhower, to give them the green light to overthrow Arbenz's government."
Archival Narration:
"U.S. Secretary of State Dulles takes the rostrum to urge united action by the Americas to outlaw international communist intervention in the Western Hemisphere."
Archival Footage: John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State, March 5, 1954
"This conference was shocked by the dastardly attack on members of the United States Congress by those who professed to be patriots. They may not themselves have been communists. But they had been subjected to the inflammatory influence of communism which avowedly uses extreme nationalism as one of its tools."
Narration: Arbenz once again put on his colonel's uniform as Guatemala prepared for war.
In Esquipulas, an important religious shrine in a very catholic country, the church helped organize the opposition to Arbenz.
A CIA operation, code-named PB Success, mobilized disaffected exiles and peasants into action.
Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA chief, Mexico
"What we wanted to do was have a terror campaign to terrify Arbenz particularly, terrify his ... his troops, much as the German Stuka bombers terrified the population of Holland, Belgium and Poland at the onset of World War II and just rendered everybody paralyzed."
Narration: The U.N. met in emergency session. Guatemala City was strafed from the air. Rebels invaded from Honduras. The CIA spread panic. Washington denied responsibility.
Archival Footage: Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
"The information available to the United States thus far strongly suggests that the situation does not involve aggression, but is a revolt of Guatemalans against Guatemalans."
Narration: The Soviets were warned.
Archival Footage: Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
"Stay out of this hemisphere. And don't try to start your plans and your conspiracies over here."
Narration: The American PB Success campaign brought the government down and drove Arbenz and his wife into exile. Nine thousand of his supporters were arrested. Many were kept in jail, without trial, for years.
Interview: Alfonso Bauer, Agrarian Bank, Guatamala
"They even set up anticommunist committees, where anyone could go and give the names of people who had been loyal to the revolution. These people would then be mercilessly kidnapped, killed and so on."
Narration: Among those who fled was a young Argentine doctor, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who went to Mexico and there met Fidel Castro.
Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba
"I remember my talks with him. He was terribly indignant and embittered by these events which had interrupted an endeavor which wasn't even radical. It was a relatively simple change, land reform, which was very just and necessary."
Narration: Five years later, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara had triumphed.
Ninety miles from Florida, in what the United States considered its own backyard, Castro established a regime soon to be allied with the Soviet Union. Archival Footage: President John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961
"Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house."
Narration: In 1961 John Fitzgerald Kennedy took over the presidency and with it a CIA scheme to send in an army of exiles to overthrow Castro, as they had earlier overthrown Arbenz in Guatemala.
Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA
"So I was yanked back from Montevideo, where I would have been content to spend the rest of my life, and told: 'What we're doing is reassembling the PB Success team, that is the Guatemala operational team, to take care of Castro.'"
Narration: At the Bay of Pigs, Castro's forces routed the CIA-sponsored invasion.
Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA
"Castro was secure, and he was beloved by millions in Cuba and so it was a different situation than Guatemala."
Archival Footage: President Fidel Castro, Cuba
"The worms, the privileged, the parasites, the sons of parasites, want to fly the flag of surrender. Ashamed of their crimes against the homeland. Beware, you won't confront playboys. You'll be up against men."
Narration: Castro, triumphant, was eager to take armed revolution into Latin America.
To combat the Cuban challenge the U.S. established in its Panama Canal Zone a sophisticated school. Here, counter-insurgency forces from all over the sub-continent were trained.
By the early 1960s left-wing revolutionary groups were fighting the authorities in Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and the Dominican Republic.
Archival Narration:
"Marines are ordered into the revolt-torn small island country by President Johnson. Five hundred leathernecks are put ashore by helicopter."
Narration: In 1965 U.S. Marines went in to crush the Dominicans, who were trying to restore their elected president.
Archival Footage: President Lyndon Johnson, May 1, 1965
"The American nation cannot, must not, and will not permit the establishment of another communist government in the Western Hemisphere."
Interview: Nikolai Leonov, KGB, Latin American Department
"The Soviet Union, especially after Brezhnev came to power in 1964, adhered to the principle of peaceful co-existence and dŽtente, and the relaxation of international tension. But the Cubans had a theory which can be described as 'let's have 100 Vietnams.'"
Narration: Che Guevara was behind the call for 100 Vietnams. In 1965 he went to the Congo and later to the heart of South America to spread the cause of violent revolution.
By late 1967 U.S. instructors were training Bolivian troops in guerrilla warfare. They set a trap for Che Guevara.
Interview: Dariel Alarcon, Cuban guerrilla fighter
"On more than one occasion he said, 'Our last battle is approaching. We have to prepare for it, and we must be very careful not to be taken prisoner -- especially the Cubans.'"
Narration: Che Guevara was captured alive.
Hours later, he was shot dead.
Five of Guevara's group escaped to the Bolivian capital, La Paz.
Interview: Dariel Alarcon, Cuban guerrilla fighter
"When we arrived in La Paz we managed to make contact with Salvador Allende in Chile. He gave us every kind of help. He mobilized his whole party in order to rescue us."
Narration: Chile had been calm in the 1960s. Washington's Alliance for Progress program spent millions of dollars backing Chile's Christian Democrat Government.
But in 1970 a coalition of the left and the center sought electoral victory. Unidad Popular was led by a doctor, freemason and Marxist bon vivant, Sen. Salvador Allende.
Interview: Arturo Alessandri, Chilean lawyer
"Allende was, er, depicted and, and, and identified with the socialist-communist parties, the left, er, in the midst of the Cold War, and he represented of course socialism and Marxism."
Narration: Worried that a Marxist would come to power in legitimate elections, U.S. business made its move.
Archival Footage: Harold Geneen, chairman, ITT Corporation, April 1973
"I directed that an approach be made to both the State Department and Mr. Kissinger's office to tell them that we have grave concern over the outlook for ITT's investment, and we were desirous of discussing our thoughts in Washington and willing to assist financially in any government plan to help protect private American investment in Chile."
Narration: The CIA was not far behind. Gen. Rene Schneider, the popular army commander who defended Allende's constitutional rights, had to be removed from his post.
Interview: Col. Paul Wimert, U.S. Embassy, Santiago
"The CIA gave me $250,000 to help us get rid of Schneider. I couldn't put it in my office safe, so I kept it in my riding boots. The money was done up like sausages in long strips. No one used it but me."
Narration: The CIA money dispatched to oust Gen. Schneider wasn't needed -- other plotters assassinated him.
The murder shocked the nation. Moderate politicians rallied to Allende and consolidated his election victory.
In the shanty towns of Chile there were high hopes as the newly elected president set out on reform -- without, he hoped, outside interference.
Archival Footage: President Salvador Allende
"The United States must respect the rights of the people to develop the economy the way it should be and they want it to be."
Narration: Allende's first big step, supported by all Chilean political parties, was the nationalization of copper, Chile's biggest industry, still under effective U.S. control.
Interview: Hortense Allende, widow of Salvador Allende
"When Salvador Allende nationalized copper, it wasn't an arbitrary measure. He did it to obtain the resources to alleviate the great poverty in our country."
Narration: Allende pressed on with what he called his "Social Revolution." School children were given a daily glass of milk.
The middle classes were on edge.
Interview: Arturo Alessandri, Chilean lawyer
"The fear was basically what would happen to the people, to the families, er, to the property, to your farms."
Narration: In the Chilean countryside, peasants, chanting pro-Cuban slogans, began seizing the land.
Interview: Arturo Alessandri, Chilean lawyer
"What happened afterwards confirmed the fears, because the government, on the one hand, started to expropriate land, started to expropriate industry."
Narration: Chile's economy was increasingly put under state control. This upset foreign financiers and the World Bank in Washington, which cut off credits.
Archival Footage: President Richard Nixon, filmed in 1977
"Chile of course is interested in obtaining loans from international organizations where we have a vote and I indicated that wherever we had a vote -- where Chile was involved -- that unless there were strong considerations on the other side that we would vote against them."
Narration: In November 1971, Fidel Castro arrived to support Allende's policy of change through the ballot box.
Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba
"We fully supported his policy. We trained people for his personal security. We were experienced in this because we had had to defend ourselves against those who had wanted to destroy us. We told him about this because we thought he had enemies who might try to take his life."
Narration: The dangers didn't just come from the right. Castro's Cuban policy of armed revolution found favor with Chile's extreme left, who were hostile to Allende's methods.
But most Chileans ignored the call to armed struggle.
As inflation mounted, the right attacked economically. CIA money helped pay for Chilean truck owners to bring the country to a standstill. At the U.N., Allende accused ITT of trying to provoke a civil war.
Archival Footage: President Salvadore Allende, December 4, 1972
"They propose economic strangulation, diplomatic sabotage, social disorder, to produce panic among the people allowing the army to overthrow a democracy and put in a dictatorship."
Narration: Moscow was the next stop. There Allende sought the money he needed to stave off bankruptcy. But the Russians, already spending a fortune to support Cuba, were unimpressed.
Interview: Nikolai Leonov, KGB, Latin American Department
"We had come to a conclusion. This regime would soon be toppled because they were trying through very democratic means -- without the use of arms -- to break the resistance of stronger opposition forces."
Narration: Santiago, Chile's capital. June 1973. With the government's popularity actually increasing, some frustrated right-wing military officers took to the streets in an attempted coup.
As the world's press recorded the failed takeover, Swedish cameraman Leonardo Hendricksen, his camera still running, was gunned down and killed.
Allende responded by placing greater reliance on the military. Gen. Augusto Pinochet was appointed as his loyal chief of the army.
Once again the truck owners paralyzed the world's longest and thinnest country. Shops closed for lack of goods. Hunger stalked the streets. Middle class housewives came out to bang their pots and pans in protest. The violent right laid their plots.
Interview: Nathaniel Davis, U.S. ambassador to Chile
"Certainly the situation was getting more and more ominous, and then we did have the possibility of learning something about it. Not because we were in touch with the plotters -- we were not."
Narration: Just after midday on Tuesday 11th September, under orders from Gen. Pinochet, British-made Hunter jets swooped over the Moneda presidential palace starting fires which were to burn for weeks.
Interview: Nathaniel Davis, U.S. ambassador to Chile
"My wife and our children were at the house and they had a marvelous view of the, er, of these planes, er, winging over and then dipping down and sending their bombs in to the Moneda."
Narration: That morning from the Moneda, Allende had broadcast to the nation.
Archival Footage: Salvador Allende
"Workers, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Go forward, knowing that sooner rather than later, avenues will open along which free men will walk, to build a better society. Long live Chile, the people, the workers."
Narration: Hours later, Allende was dead.
Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba
"He always said that he wouldn't be taken alive -- that he would die defending the Constitution. He kept his word."
Narration: Gen. Pinochet immediately stamped his mark on the country. In the capital, suspects were rounded up into the National Stadium.
Many, like folk singer Victor Jara, were never seen alive again.
Archival Footage: Joan Jara, widow of Victor Jara, filmed in 1974
"I know that he behaved with great moral courage. I know that he was a sort of a source of strength to his fellow prisoners. I know that he sang there. I know that they beat him down. I know that they broke his hands and his wrists. And I know that after two days they killed him off."
Interview: Col. Paul Wimert, U.S. Embassy, Santiago
"The people he got rid of ... shot ... at the stadium were all bad people. He was smart enough to know ... that you had to do it ... 100 percent. You can't go into it half-assed ... and do a little bit here and there. He went into it with a lot of force and did it."
Narration: When he entered the White House in January 1977, Jimmy Carter promised a new U.S. attitude to the rest of the world.
Interview: President Jimmy Carter
"I announced that human rights would be a cornerstone or foundation of our entire foreign policy. So I officially designated every U.S. ambassador on Earth to be my personal human rights representative."
Narration: In Nicaragua, U.S. ambassadors were used to a different role. In the 1930s, U.S. Marines had put the tyrant Tacho Somoza in power. More than 40 years later, Nicaragua was still ruled by a Somoza.
A politically moderate newspaper owner, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, dared to challenge the dictatorship.
Interview: Violeta Chamorro, widow of Pedro J. Chamorro
"So what happened to this person who wanted freedom? Well, they murdered him. Who murdered him? The Somoza forces."
Narration: Chamorro's murder electrified the cowed people of Nicaragua. Somoza declared a state of siege. The U.S. woke up to popular anger against the super-rich family which had been its ally for more than four decades.
Archival Footage: President Anastasio Somoza Jr., September 30, 1978
"I have been fighting the East-West ideological war since the inception of Fidel Castro so we've been under the attack of that Cuban government for almost 18 years."
Narration: From the hills where they had been secretly training for years, guerrillas emerged who proudly bore the name of the 1930s anti-Yankee rebel, "Sandino."
But in the town of Esteli, Somoza's World War II U.S. tanks carried the day. Two thousand people died in what became a dead city. The Sandinistas regrouped, pitting their rifles against Somoza's might.
Interview: Daniel Ortega, leader, Sandinista Front
"The front now entered the cities and knocked on the door of the capital for the first time in its history."
Narration: The Sandinistas' will to win triumphed; Managua went mad with joy.
Jimmy Carter had left it very late before abandoning the Somozas and accepting the new Sandinista government.
Interview: President Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua
"I said to Carter, the United States had to make good the historical damage they had inflicted on our country. Our party hymn still includes the words, 'Yankee -- the enemy of humanity.' We said to him that the only way to abolish that line would be for the attitude of the imperialist powers to change throughout the world."
Narration: The U.S. would not be lectured to. The tide of conservatism, which was to bring Ronald Reagan to power, was rising.
In Nicaragua, Somoza's land was shared out and the family's business monopolies were taken over. Education and health care became widely available.
But not everyone was happy with the revolution.
Interview: Oscar Sobalvarro, chief of staff, Contra army
"All those who didn't agree with the Sandinista policies were subjected to confiscations and imprisonment. Their lives were threatened. Many were murdered just for disagreeing with the Sandinista Front. This sort of thing turned many Nicaraguan peasants against the Sandinistas."
Narration: In the shadows, opponents of the revolution plotted their revenge.
Inexperienced Sandinista guerrillas struggled to run a war-torn country.
Interview: President Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua
"What we asked for was weapons so that we could defend ourselves -- that's what we asked of the Soviet Union, of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe, of the Algerians, of the Vietnamese."
Interview: Oleg Daroussenkov, Communist Party Central Committee
"We sent light weapons, helicopters, armored cars and other military equipment. There wasn't a large Soviet military presence but they did have Cuban advisers."
Narration: Throughout Central America protest mounted against right-wing military rule. In El Salvador the Catholic Church had become a haven for the oppressed.
On the concrete steps of the cathedral in San Salvador the military decreed that demonstrators for human rights should be discouraged -- nothing very new for El Salvador.
In a massacre in 1932, the military had killed up to 40,000 people. In 1979, the cameras were on hand to record the color of the blood.
Archbishop Oscar Romero was the cautious leader of Salvadoran Catholics. When he spoke out, the reaction from the right was immediate.
Interview: Sister Maria Figeroa, Archbishop Romero's secretary
"During the last months, the letterbox at the seminary where he had his office was full of anonymous letters practically every day, with death squad emblems on them. There was one death squad called The White Hand. There were many letters written on black paper with a white hand saying: 'We're going to kill you. We're going to tear you apart'."
Archival Footage: Archbishop Oscar Romero
"We must show that El Salvador has no need for confrontation. The only solution is to convert yourselves to the Lord."
Narration: In March 1980, as he was saying Mass in a private chapel, the archbishop was murdered by a single assassin's bullet.
At his funeral, the military struck again.
Interview: Sister Maria Figeroa, Archbishop Romero's secretary
"I only remember a bomb exploding, and then many shots being fired, and people running in all directions. It was a disaster: people running, knocking each other down, being hit by bullets. Many, many people were killed."
Interview: Ana Guadalupe Martinez, guerrilla leader, El Salvador
"The fact that they had murdered the archbishop of San Salvador, who was the highest church representative, and that they had no qualms about killing him, made us all feel practically defenseless. We said, 'Either we take the struggle into the open to the mountains, or they will kill us all here in the city.'"
Narration: On December 3, 1980, three U.S. nuns and a woman lay-worker started the long drive into town from San Salvador's international airport. On the way they were raped and killed. Their corpses were discovered in a shallow grave.
The killings, by El Salvador's National Guard, prompted President Carter to withdraw aid to the Salvadoran military. But within six weeks Carter had resumed funding an army whose atrocities continued.
Interview: Ana Guadalupe Martinez, Guerilla leader, El Salvador
"Everything consisted of beatings, electric shocks and rape, and in keeping me naked. As soon as I was taken to the headquarters I was undressed. My hands and legs were handcuffed. I was blindfolded so that I could not see the faces of my interrogators."
Narration: In town, those suspected of being sympathetic to the guerrillas were easy prey for government forces. At night, bodies were dumped on waste ground or left on city streets.
Like the Sandinistas in neighboring Nicaragua, the Salvadoran guerrillas wouldn't give up. The war damage was immense.
In the United States, the new Reagan administration blamed Cuba and Moscow.
Archival Footage: U.S. Secretary of State, March 22, 1981
Gen. Alexander Haig: "What we're watching is a four-phased operation. Phase one has been completed -- the seizure of Nicaragua. Next is El Salvador, to be followed by Honduras and Guatemala -- it's clear and explicit."
Other: "There is a Caribbean domino theory that's unfolding?"
Gen. Haig: "Of course. I wouldn't call it necessarily a domino theory. I would call it a priority target list -- a hit list if you will -- for the ultimate takeover of Central America."
Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba
"Look, if a Soviet-Cuban master plan actually existed we would have won the Cold War. (Laughs) If there had been a master plan. But unfortunately there was no such plan, quite the opposite. Cuba's actions conflicted with Soviet interests at that time."
Narration: In El Salvador, U.S. military advisers were hard at work bolstering the army against the guerrillas.
The Atlacatl Brigade was the crack unit. In 1981 it went on a search and destroy mission in the guerrilla-controlled Morazan Province.
At about 5 o'clock in the morning of December 11, it would go into action near the village of El Mozote.
Hundreds of civilians were slaughtered. The U.S. State Department said it could find no evidence of a massacre.
Interview: Rufina Amaya, El Mozote resident
"I saw the women clinging to each other, crying and screaming at them not to kill her. I fought for my children. I didn't want to let them go. I said I would die with them but they wrenched them from my arms. We heard them killing the children -- they killed them at night -- you could hear the screams for their mamas and papas."
Narration: As the Reagan administration moved to shore up the right in El Salvador and bring down the left in Nicaragua, neighboring Honduras became a base for all sorts of U.S. activity.
Honduras was the main place where a force was being trained to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. That force was the Contras.
Interview: Duane Clarridge, CIA chief, Latin America
"Some of them were former members of the National Guard of Nicaragua. A lot of them were just, you know, peasants from the mountainous areas between Honduras and Nicaragua, who'd been at war with somebody forever, and in many respects they were like a bunch of cattle rustlers."
Narration: The Contras were funded from Washington. This undeclared war upset the U.S. Congress.
An amendment by Rep. Boland of Massachusetts curtailed Reagan's funds for arming the Contras.
Archival Footage: April 14, 1983
President Reagan: "We are complying with the law -- the Boland Amendment, which is the law. We are complying with that fully and ..."
Woman Reporter: "Does that mean we are not arming or supplying any of the dissidents along the border? The Honduran border?"
President Reagan: "I am not going to get in ... I could not and would not possibly talk about such things."
Narration: Washington was planning another small war. On the Caribbean island of Grenada, where the British Queen Elizabeth was still head of state, a left-wing government was using Cuban contractors to build a new tourist airport.
The U.S. suspected a strategic motive.
In October 1983 when left-wing Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was assassinated by more extreme Marxists, Washington had an invasion plan ready for Reagan's approval.
Archival Footage: President Reagan
"At 5:15 this morning the joint force landed at two spots on Grenada. There is now firing and combat going on. There have been casualties."
Narration: The United States hadn't bothered to consult the British queen, or Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. It was all over in a few days.
Interview: John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Honduras
"I basically learned about the invasion of Grenada from the president of Honduras, who called me up to say, 'Do you know what's going on?' and I said, 'Well I have an idea but I don't know for sure.' And he said, 'Well you're invading Grenada,' and he said, 'Please tell the troops that when they're finished there to just keep on coming to Nicaragua.'"
Narration: Many welcomed the Americans. Within six weeks, their work done and President Reagan's image enhanced, the U.S. troops left.
In Nicaragua, Reagan's crusade against the Sandinistas was stepped up.
Interview: Duane Clarridge, CIA chief, Latin America
"The Sandinistas desperately needed to get hard currency for their exports to pay off their bank loans. So this was a time to put the mines into Corinto -- they've only got one harbor that counts -- and at the same time make sure we notified Lloyds of London the mines have gone in, so hopefully they put pressure on the shipping companies ... to stay out of there. Well it worked."
Narration: Nicaragua's precious stock of oil went up in smoke; the economy was reeling. And, all the while, ways had to be found to contain the U.S. backed Contra invasion.
The Sandinistas asked the Soviets for help.
Interview: Yuri Pavlov, Soviet Foreign Ministry
"The leaders in Moscow did not want to provoke the United States into giving more military aid to the Contras and to the Honduran government. Therefore these requests were politely denied every time the Sandinistas brought it up in Moscow."
Narration: The Sandinistas, with help from Cuba, vowed to defend their borders and the revolution.
Archival Footage: President Reagan, May 22, 1985
"The success of communism in Central America poses the threat that a hundred million people from Panama to the open border on our south, could come under the control of pro-Soviet regimes."
Narration: Angry at Reagan's continued support for the Contra war, the U.S. Congress, again led by Rep. Boland, voted in October 1984 to deny them any further assistance.
Interview: John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Honduras
"With the passage of the Boland Amendments, which ultimately prohibited assistance to the Contras, there was nothing more we could do than to bide our time."
Narration: To help pay for the continuing bloodshed in Nicaragua, Reagan's men secretly sold arms to Iran.
The American dollar, and the failures of the armed left, crushed Latin American revolutionary dreams.
Interview: Ana Guadalupe Martinez, Guerilla leader, El Salvador
"The United States saw a threat to their interests, because they thought it was a communist struggle. They didn't see us as citizens who wanted a democratic country where there was social justice and which offered opportunities to the majority."
Interview: Nikolai Leonov, KGB officer, Mexico
"The Cold War cost Latin America the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In Nicaragua alone, 50,000 died in the Sandinista revolution and another 50,000 died in the civil war. It was atrocious."
Interview: John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Honduras
"There were a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering, a lot of refugees, a lot of population movements. On the other hand, I think an equally if not more compelling case can be made than had we not done something to stop communist regimes from being established in the other Central American countries, other than Nicaragua, say that they had been established in El Salvador and then in Guatemala and possibly even Honduras during the 1980s, if we hadn't taken the steps that we took, I think the immediate suffering could have even been considerably greater."
Narration: 1990. Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega asks the Nicaraguan people to vote him president.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was there to see fair play.
Violeta Chamorro, Ortega's opponent, narrowly won a surprise victory. Washington spent nearly $10 million dollars backing her campaign.

Since 1946, the controversial School of the Americas has trained thousands of Central and South American soldiers the ABCs of thwarting communist insurgencies.

School of the americas

School of the Americas, Cold War training camp remains focus of controversy, by Bruce Kennedy,

CNN Interactive

(CNN) -- The intruder waited in his hiding place for just the right moment -- soon after his targets had gone to bed. He then put his plan into operation.

Earlier that day in 1983, Vietnam veteran and priest Roy Bourgeois had walked unchallenged into Fort Benning, Georgia, wearing surplus military fatigues. He had climbed up a tree near a barracks used by Salvadoran soldiers training with the U.S. Army, waited until "lights out," then unleashed his guerrilla protest.

Bourgeois turned on his electronic "boom box" that blared into the night air a recording of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero calling on his nation's soldiers to stop killing their countrymen. Romero was later killed while conducting Mass in San Salvador. Of the three men accused in Romero's assassination, two were graduates of the U.S. Army's School of the Americas (SOA).

Bourgeois served 18 months in a federal prison for his actions. But his protest paved the way for larger demonstrations against what some people call the "School of Assassins" -- but what SOA supporters say is an important tool in helping spread democratic values to Washington's allies in Central America and South America.

The end of World War II and the start of the Cold War ignited new concerns in the United States that Communists would attempt to infiltrate and subvert the country's southern neighbors. The U.S. Army started its School of the Americas in Panama in 1946. In 1984, under the terms of the 1977 Panama Canal Treaty, the school was moved to Fort Benning.
More than 63,000 Central and South American soldiers from 22 nations have trained at SOA since its inception. According to the school's Web site, instruction at SOA for its first several decades "focused on nation-building skills, then [was] altered in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to provide instruction necessary to the nations in Latin America to thwart armed communist insurgencies."

Opponents of the school, who maintain their own "School of the Americas Watch" Web site, claim SOA graduates "have been responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America."

Some of the more notorious individuals who have trained at SOA include:

Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, now serving an extended sentence in a U.S. prison on drug charges.

El Salvador's Roberto D'Aubuisson, who formed the death squads that killed Romero and thousands of others during the Salvadoran civil war.

Former Argentine President Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, accused of making thousands of people "disappear" during Argentina's "dirty war" of the 1970s.

SOA officials said that out of thousands of soldiers the school has trained, only about 300 have been accused of human rights violations.

Joe Leuer, a training specialist for course management who has worked at SOA since the early 1990s, said the connections that critics make between the school and the crimes allegedly committed by its graduates are tenuous at best.

D'Aubuisson, for example, "took a radio operator's course in the early 1970s. People want to connect the dots and allege the school which taught him how to operate radios efficiently also taught him how to create death squads," Leuer said.

The school insisted it was not responsible for the actions of individuals who ignored its training, which has always included instruction on the basic rules of warfare as set out in the Geneva Convention.

The SOA controversy intensified when a 1992 report declassified by the Pentagon in 1996 revealed the details of a manual used at SOA in the 1980s that advocated tactics such as beatings, false imprisonment, execution and bounty payments for enemy dead.

Following the report, the SOA curriculum was expanded to include instruction on international humanitarian law, human rights and ethical use of force.

"The school has never taught torture and never will," SOA commandant Col. Glenn R. Weidner told a November 1998 news conference. "We still do military training, but this is not the torture training that Father Bourgeois would have you believe."

According to SOA's Web site, the curriculum in the late 1990s focused "on supporting the primary foreign policy goals of the United States in the region -- consolidation of the effective democratic governance, respect for the rule of law, and economic development along free market principles."

Opponents were not appeased. They wanted the school shut down. Some protests were loud, such as the ones staged every November 16 for the past 10 years outside the gates of the school. They commemorate the killings in El Salvador on that date in 1989 of six Jesuit priests, deaths to which some of the graduates of the school have been linked. Notable among the protesters in recent years has been actor Martin Sheen, star of the TV drama, "The West Wing."

Other opposition took the form of efforts in Congress to cut the budget of the school. Finally, in October 2000, Congress voted to close the school in December and reopen it in January 2001 under a new name, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
Army officials hope that changing the school's name and making sure its curriculum stresses civilian control of the military and respect for human rights will blunt some of the criticism.

The new school will offer courses in such topics as anti-drug operations, disaster relief and peace support -- not just to military personnel but also to law enforcement officials and civilians.

Although the new law directs the school to comply with the "democratic principles" of the Organization of American States, opponents of the school have said the changes will only be cosmetic. They vow to continue protests.

"We see this as cosmetic," Bourgeois, a co-founder of School of the Americas Watch, said in November 2000. "It's like taking a bottle of poison and writing 'penicillin' on it."

A recent statement on the Web site of School of the Americas Watch calls on Americans to let Congress and new administration "know that we are not fooled by this attempt to dissociate the SOA from its brutal history and from the violence that graduates continue to perpetrate on our sisters and brothers in Latin America."

But the school's defenders such as training specialist Joe Leuer say the training it provided was important in post-Cold War Central and South America.

"By looking at where our graduates are working now," Leuer said, "on peacekeeping missions, de-mining missions, creating transparent [military] budgets, putting their military under civilian rule for the first time ... that's democratization. If you're trying to market a product that nobody wants, no one is going to buy it."

E-mail was the favorite means of communication for John Poindexter and Oliver North as they hatched a secret plan to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. Read the messages they tried to delete from public view.

In November 1986, as the Iran-Contra scandal broke, President Reagan's national security adviser, John Poindexter, and one of Poindexter's aides, Oliver North, began electronically destroying more than 5,000 e-mail messages in the memory banks of the White House computer system. What they apparently didn't know was that these messages were still retrievable from the e-mail system's backup tapes. Investigators from the FBI and the Tower Commission subsequently used these tapes to reconstruct the Iran-Contra scandal.
Below are some of these e-mail messages, made public after a six-year lawsuit brought by the National Security Archive and allied historians, librarians and public interest lawyers. Portions noted "Deleted, (b)(1)(s) exemption" have been deleted for national security reasons. Otherwise, the content of these messages, including abbreviations, misspellings, typographical errors, etc., are found here exactly as they appear in the originals. The NSA has made 4,000 of these messages available in a book, "White House E-mail," published by The New Press.
Oliver NorthJohn PoindexterArms for Hostages12/4/85
Oliver NorthRobert McFarlaneArms for Hostages2/27/86
Oliver NorthWilma Hall, aide to John PoindexterFunding the Contras4/21/86
Oliver NorthJohn PoindexterWays to help Contras5/6/86
Oliver NorthJohn PoindexterKeeping it quiet9/6/86
Oliver NorthJohn PoindexterIsraeli arms for Contras9/12/96
Vincent CannistraroJohn PoindexterContra operation revealed10/8/86
Robert McFarlaneJohn PoindexterIran-Contra, Donald Regan11/7/86
How to read the e-mail:
The computer system's code acronyms for the sender and recipient are at the top of each message. Thus, for example, a message reading "MSG FROM: NSOLN --CPUA TO: NSRCM --CPUA" is from NSOLN (initials for Oliver L. North, preceded by NS to indicate the National Security Council e-mail system) and is addressed to NSRCM (code for Robert C. McFarlane, Poindexter's predecessor as national security adviser).
NSOLN = Oliver North
NSRCM = Robert McFarlane, national security adviser (1983-1985)
NSJMP = John Poindexter, national security adviser (1985-1986)
NSWGH = Wilma Hall, aide to McFarlane
NSAGK = Alton G. Keel, deputy national security adviser
NSWRP = W. Robert Pearson, NSC deputy executive secretary
NSFEG = Florence Gantt, aide to Poindexter
NSPBT = Paul Thompson, deputy NSC executive secretary
OTHER - Vincent Cannistraro, NSC director of intelligence

In Mexico, there remain hints of the old conflicts that made Central America fertile ground for revolution. CNN Mexico City Bureau Chief Harris Whitbeck reports.

Mexico faces ironies of post-Cold War rebellion, by Harris Whitbeck, CNN Mexico City Bureau Chief

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico -- The highlands of southeastern Mexico are part of the same Guatemalan mountain range that served as one of the Cold War's bloodiest battlefields during the 1970s and '80s.

Mexico worked hard to keep the Guatemalan conflict from spreading. The government maintained a policy of non-intervention and resolved to solve conflicts through diplomatic channels.

Cuba's ambassador to Mexico, Abelardo Curbelo, describes his country's relations with Mexico as "exemplary" during some of the most difficult periods of the Cold War.

"Mexico did not join what happened in the rest of Latin America in the sense that everybody broke relations," Curbelo says. "While the rest of the Latin American countries took the side of the United States in the confrontation between the two blocs, Mexico stepped aside and distanced itself from the conflict."

In the name of neutrality, Mexico became a haven for many leftist movements. The Guatemalan and Salvadoran guerrilla organizations maintained offices in the capital. The country welcomed thousands of refugees from Central and South America. And Mexico helped broker peace between the warring sides in El Salvador and Guatemala.

However, while Mexico was helping find peaceful solutions for its neighbors, social and economic conditions at home were breeding a similar armed conflict within its own borders.

On January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect, Mexican leaders got a dramatic wake-up call. The Zapatista National Liberation Army staged an uprising in Chiapas and took over the main town of San Cristobal de Las Casas. Their goal was to remind the government that the inhabitants of Mexico's poorest state were not being included in the bounty that free trade promised.

The Chiapas uprising raised the specter of new, violent confrontations between leftist demands for social justice and capitalist desires for economic growth. Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes calls it "the first post-Cold War rebellion, because it's a rebellion that can no longer be satanized, or demonized as pro-communist, pro-Soviet or whatever."

After just two weeks of fighting, Mexico's government tried to apply the same diplomatic tactics it had used during the Cold War. According to Emilio Rabassa, Mexico's coordinator for peace talks in Chiapas, Mexico is "the first or only country in the world who has had this sort of conflict, that has unilaterally stopped or given a government cease-fire just 12 days after the uprising and immediately entered negotiations."

But today the conflict is far from over. Conditions that sparked the Zapatista rebellion still exist.

Entire communities in Chiapas have been displaced by violence. Roberto Perez and his family are one of about 90 families from their village, Yibeljoj, who now live in a refugee camp. They have to walk four hours a day to pick the coffee on their own land.

"The (government) paramilitary groups threaten us," he says. "They shoot at us everywhere in our community. That is why we had to leave. We aren't looking for trouble with anyone. We're just trying to fight for change, but peacefully. "

Conflicts like this did not end with the Cold War. As Fuentes explains, they were just put on hold. "For 50 years we postponed urgent social economic and cultural problems, because if you brought up those problems you were immediately labeled pro-communist, a puppet of the Soviet Union," he says.

"To a certain extent," according to Rabassa, "it was the atmosphere of the Cold War that shaped the mentality of some of the leaders during the '60s and '70s, when they came to Chiapas and started to organize their movement."

Today the Zapatistas draw from the romanticism of leftist guerrilla movements from the past but use the tools of modern capitalism to spread their message.

In the tourist markets of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Zapatista souvenirs are everywhere. You'll find Zapatista dolls, key chains and even T-shirts emblazoned with in-your-face Zapatista propaganda. And through their Web site, their struggle has attracted support from all over the world.

It's not the kind of free trade the Mexican government necessarily had in mind -- but that is just one of many ironies in today's Mexico. While the end of the Cold War has brought a relative peace to its neighbors, Mexico is caught up in the type of conflict it managed to avoid during much of the Cold War. So as Mexico works to lead Central and South America in trade and development, it must also work to resolve its own social conflicts that have been brewing for decades.

march hills 
dollspoverty soldier zapatistas 

Postwar U.S. presidents focused on fighting any Central or South American government's drift to communism. But did the superpowers have to treat the region's players as pawns in a greater game?

Were Central and South America "playgrounds" for the Cold War superpowers? Listen in on a debate on that subject, as featured on the weekly CNN program "Postscript" -- which accompanies the COLD WAR series.

CNN World Affairs Correspondent Ralph Begleiter, National Security Archive analyst Peter Kornbluh and regional experts Mark Falcoff and George Vickers consider whether the Cold War overemphasized what in another time would have been considered merely local conflicts.

Falcoff is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He has taught at several major U.S. universities and was senior consultant to the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America -- chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In the mid-1980s, Falcoff was a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Kornbluh is a senior analyst with the National Security Archive. He is currently head of the its U.S.-Cuba relations project. The NSA is a non-governmental research institute providing information from U.S. government and official archives for scholars, journalists, members of Congress, lobbyists and others.

Vickers is executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America, a center for policy analysis and advocacy that works to secure human rights in Latin America. He has served on several election observer delegations in Central and South America, and co-directed missions monitoring the implementation of peace agreements in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

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• Palacio de La Moneda: See Chile's presidential palace, site of the bloody 1973 coup
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Palacio de La Moneda: Site of Chile's 1973 coup

Palacio de La Moneda, Chile's presidential palace, is on one side of Constitution Plaza in Santiago. As its name implies in Spanish, the building was constructed in 1805 as a currency mint. In 1846, at the insistence of Chile's president, the building became the presidential residence and seat of government -- although its currency works continued until 1922.

In 1973, as unrest in Chile escalated, La Moneda became the focal point of an unfolding political crisis.

On the morning of September 11, 1973, President Salvador Allende was notified of unexpected troop movements in the port city of Valparaiso. Soon after, radio broadcasts reported the country was under military control -- and that the armed forces were calling for Allende's resignation.

Allende went to La Moneda that morning. His advisers, upon arriving, noticed that most of the carabineros, the national police who guarded the building, had left their posts.

Shortly before noon that day, two Hawker Hunter jet fighters of the Chilean air force began bombarding the building. Their bombs and missiles set fire to the building's interior, while several missiles appeared directed at Allende's offices.

Tanks and small arms fire also penetrated the building's exterior. Allende broadcast a defiant radio speech from La Moneda -- condemning the attack. He was died soon after, apparently a suicide.

Today, there are few reminders of the 1973 coup in Constitution Plaza. The carabineros have returned to their posts in front of La Moneda -- and only faded scars on the building's imposing front testify to the fighting that took place a quarter-century ago.

But Chileans still remember the events of September 11, 1973 -- and every anniversary of the coup, some still leave flowers and other mementos near the site of Allende's last stand.

• Central and South America: The conflicts during the Cold War -- and after,

Fidel Castro Cuban Leader

Howard Hunt, CIA

Ana Guadeloupe Martinez, El Salvador Guerrilla

John Negroponte, U.S. State Department

Daniel Ortega, Nicaraguan Sandinista Leader

Oscar Sobalvarro, Nicaraguan Contra Chief

Freedom Fighters' Manual
This illustrated document, prepared by the CIA in 1983, was meant to guide the anti-Sandinista "Contra" forces, as well as other Nicaraguans opposed to the Sandinistas, in "paralyzing the military-industrial complex of the Marxist state". Thousands of the manuals were air-dropped over Nicaragua from hot air balloons sent by the CIA from Honduras.
Recommending these dirty tricks be carried out by "cells" of no more than two people, the manual provides instruction in sabotage -- using available equipment or no equipment at all. Simple illustrations also show ways to passively resist the government -- as well as supplying instructions on how to make explosives and "Molotov cocktail" gasoline bombs.
The manual came to light in 1984, after an American journalist obtained a copy from a Contra in Honduras.
Click below to see excerpts from the "Freedom Fighter's Manual." The illustrations, originally published two per page, will load at left. The portions dealing with explosive and incendiary devices have been omitted.

Disruption in the workplace:
Public disruption:
Disabling vehicles:
Soldiers, desert!

''It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the ... American hand will be well hidden.''

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Before Salvador Allende was elected president of Chile in 1970, U.S. President Richard Nixon gave orders to prevent the socialist's rise to power. Hoping to prevent the creation of another Soviet ally in the Western Hemisphere, the CIA planned a coup.
The coup was to be carried out by retired Chilean Gen. Roberto Viaux. At the last minute, the CIA canceled the plot, but on October 22, 1970, Viaux attempted it on his own and was arrested. Allende was voted into office two days later.
The following cable, according to the National Security Archive, is from CIA Deputy Director of Plans Thomas Karamessines to Henry Hecksher, the CIA station chief in Santiago. According to the NSA, it contains orders from National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger to overthrow Allende and notes that the American ambassador in Chile has not been told of the plot.

CIA Operating Guidance Cable on Coup Plotting in Chile, October 16, 1970

Restricted Handling
Classified Message
CITE Headquarters
Immediate Santiago (Eyes Only)
1. [unintelligible] policy, objectives, and actions were reviewed at high USG level afternoon 15 October. Conclusions, which are to be your operational guide, follow:
2. It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. It would be much preferable to have this transpire prior to 24 October but efforts in this regard will continue vigorously beyond this date. We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and American hand will be well hidden. While this imposes on us a high degree of selectivity in making military contacts and dictates that these contacts be made in the most secure manner it definitely does not preclude contacts such as reported in Santiago 544 which was a masterful piece of work.
3. After the most careful consideration it was determined that a Viaux coup attempt carried out by him alone with the forces now at his disposal would fail. Thus, it would be counterproductive to our [blacked out] objectives. It was decided that [CIA] get a message to Viaux warning him against precipitate action. In essence our message is to state, "We have reviewed your plans, and based on your information and ours, we come to the conclusion that your plans for a coup at this time cannot succeed. Failing, they may reduce your capabilities for the future. Preserve your assets. We will stay in touch. The time will come when you together with all your other friends can do something. You will continue to have our support." You are requested to deliver the message to Viaux essentially as noted above. Our objectives are as follows: (A) To advise him of our opinion and discourage him from acting alone; (B) Continue to encourage him to amplify his planning; (C) Encourage him to join forces with other coup planners so that they may act in concert either before or after 24 October. (N.B. six gas masks and six CS canisters are being carried to Santiago by special courier ETD Washington 1100 hours 16 October)
4. There is great and continuing interest in the activities of Tirado, Canales, Valenzuela et al and we wish them optimum good fortune.
5. The above is your operating guidance. No other policy guidance you may receive from [blacked out] or its maximum exponent in Santiago, on his return, are to sway you from your course.
6. Please review all your present and possibly new activities to include propaganda, black operations, surfacing of intelligence or disinformation, personal contacts, or anything else your imagination can conjure which will permit you to continue to press forward toward our [blacked out] objective in a secure manner.
End of message

''A guerrilla armed force always involves implicit terror ... However, if the terror does not become explicit, positive results can be expected.''

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In the early 1980s, Nicaragua faced constant guerrilla warfare between the leftist Sandinista government and the Contra rebels. The U.S. government -- in its fight to stop the spread of communism in the Western Hemisphere -- secretly supported the Contra guerrillas with weapons and training.
The following document contains excerpts of an instruction manual provided by the CIA for guerrilla fighters. It includes detailed methods of gaining support through propaganda and selective violence.

CIA Manual: Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare

by "Tayán"
Guerrilla warfare is essentially a political war. Therefore, its area of operations exceeds the territorial limits of conventional warfare, to penetrate the political entity itself: the "political animal" that Aristotle defined.
In effect, the human being should be considered the priority objective in a political war. And conceived as the military target of guerrilla war, the human being has his most critical point in his mind. Once his mind has been reached, the "political animal" has been defeated, without necessarily receiving bullets.
Guerrilla warfare is born and grows in the political environment; in the constant combat to dominate that area of political mentality that is inherent to all human beings and which collectively constitutes the "environment" in which guerrilla warfare moves, and which is where precisely its victory or failure is defined.
This conception of guerrilla warfare as political war turns Psychological Operations into the decisive factor of the results. The target, then, is the minds of the population, all the population: our troops, the enemy troops and the civilian population.
This book is a manual for the training of guerrillas in psychological operations, and its application to the concrete case of the Christian and democratic crusade being waged in Nicaragua by the Freedom Commandos.
The purpose of this book is to introduce the guerrilla student to the psychological operations techniques that will be of immediate and practical value to him in guerrilla warfare. This section is introductory and general; subsequent sections will cover each point set forth here in more detail.
The nature of the environment of guerrilla warfare does not permit sophisticated psychological operations, and it becomes necessary for the chiefs of groups, chiefs of detachments and squadron leaders to have the ability to carry out, with minimal instructions from the higher levels, psychological action operations with the contacts that are thoroughly aware of the situation, i.e. the foundations.
Combatant, Propagandist Guerrillas
In order to obtain the maximum results from the psychological operations in guerrilla warfare, every combatant should be as highly motivated to carry out propaganda face to face as he is as a combatant. This means that the individual political awareness of the guerrilla of the reason for his struggle will be as acute as his ability to fight.
Such a political awareness and motivation is obtained through the dynamic of groups and self-criticism, as a standard method of instruction for the guerrilla training and operations. Group discussions raise the spirit and improve the unity of thought of the guerrilla squads and exercise social pressure on the weak members to carry out a better role in future training or in combative action. Self-criticism is in terms of one's contribution or defects in his contribution to the cause, to the movement, the struggle, etc.; and gives a positive individual commitment to the mission of the group.
The desired result is a guerrilla who can persuasively justify his actions when he comes into contact with any member of the People of Nicaragua, and especially with himself and his fellow guerrillas in dealing with the vicissitudes of guerrilla warfare. This means that every guerrilla will be persuasive in his face-to-face communication - propagandist - combatant - in his contact with the people; he should be able to give 5 or 10 logical reasons why, for example, a peasant should give him cloth, needle and thread to mend his clothes. When the guerrilla behaves in this manner, enemy propaganda will never succeed in making him an enemy in the eyes of the people. It also means that hunger, cold, fatigue and insecurity will have a meaning, psychologically, in the cause of the struggle due to his constant orientation.
Armed Propaganda
Armed propaganda includes every act carried out, and the good impression that this armed force causes will result in positive attitudes in the population toward that force; and it does not include forced indoctrination. Armed propaganda improves the behavior of the population toward them, and it is not achieved by force.
This means that a guerrilla armed unit in a rural town will not give the impression that arms are their strength over the peasants, but rather that they are the strength of the peasants against the Sandinista government of repression. This is achieved through a close identification with the people, as follows: hanging up weapons and working together with them on their crops, in construction, in the harvesting of grains, in fishing, etc.; explanations to young men about basic weapons, e.g. giving them an unloaded weapon and letting them touch it, see it, etc.; describing in a rudimentary manner its operation; describing with simple slogans how weapons will serve the people to win their freedom; demanding the requests by the people for hospitals and education, reducing taxes, etc.
All these acts have as their goal the creation of an identification of the people with the weapons and the guerrillas who carry them, so that the population feels that the weapons are, indirectly, their weapon to protect them and help them in the struggle against a regime of oppression. Implicit terror always accompanies weapons, since the people are internally "aware" that they can be used against them, but as long as explicit coercion is avoided, positive attitudes can be achieved with respect to the presence of armed guerrillas within the population.
Armed Propaganda Teams
Armed Propaganda Teams (EPA) are formed through a careful selection of persuasive and highly motivated guerrillas who move about within the population, encouraging the people to support the guerrillas and put up resistance against the enemy. It combines a high degree of political awareness and the "armed" propaganda ability of the guerrillas toward a planned, programmed, and controlled effort.
The careful selection of the staff, based on their persuasiveness in informal discussions and their ability in combat, is more important than their degree of education or the training program. The tactics of the Armed Propaganda Teams are carried out covertly, and should be parallel to the tactical effort in guerrilla warfare. The knowledge of the psychology of the population is primary for the Armed Propaganda Teams, but much more intelligence data will be obtained from an EPA program in the area of operations.
Development and Control of the 'Front' Organizations
The development and control of "front" (or facade) organizations is carried out through subjective internal control at group meetings of "inside cadres," and the calculations of the time for the fusion of these combined efforts to be applied to the masses.
Established citizens -- doctors, lawyers, businessmen, teachers, etc., -- will be recruited initially as "Social Crusaders" in typically "innocuous" movements in the area of operations. When their "involvement" with the clandestine organization is revealed to them, this supplies the psychological pressure to use them as "inside cadres" in groups to which they already belong or of which they can be members.
Then they will receive instruction in techniques of persuasion over control of target groups to support our democratic revolution, through a gradual and skillful process. A cell control system isolates individuals from one another, and at the appropriate moment, their influence is used for the fusion of groups in a united national front.
Control of Meetings and Mass Assemblies
The control of mass meetings in support of guerrilla warfare is carried out internally through a covert commando element, bodyguards, messengers, shock forces (initiators of incidents), placard carriers (also used for making signals), shouters of slogans, everything under the control of the outside commando element.
When the cadres are placed or recruited in organizations such as labor unions, youth groups, agrarian organizations or professional associations, they will begin to manipulate the objectives of the groups. The psychological apparatus of our movement through inside cadres prepares a mental attitude which at the crucial moment can be turned into a fury of justified violence.
Through a small group of guerrillas infiltrated within the masses this can be carried out; they will have the mission of agitating by giving the impression that there are many of them and that they have a large popular backing. Using the tactics of a force of 200-300 agitators, a demonstration can be created in which 10,000-20,000 persons take part.
Support of Contacts with Their Roots in Reality
The support of local contacts who are familiar with the deep reality is achieved through the exploitation of the social and political weaknesses of the target society, with propagandist-combatant guerrillas, armed propaganda, armed propaganda teams, cover organizations and mass meetings.
The combatant-propagandist guerrilla is the result of a continuous program of indoctrination and motivation. They will have the mission of showing the people how great and fair our movement is in the eyes of all Nicaraguans and the world. Identifying themselves with our people, they will increase the sympathy towards our movement, which will result in greater support of the population for the freedom commandos, taking away support for the regime in power.
Armed propaganda will extend this identification process of the people with the Christian guerrillas, providing converging points against the Sandinista regime.
The Armed Propaganda Teams provide a several-stage program of persuasive planning in guerrilla warfare in all areas of the country. Also, these teams are the "eyes and ears" of our movement.
The development and control of the cover organizations in guerrilla warfare will give our movement the ability to create a "whiplash" effect within the population when the order for fusion is given. When the infiltration and internal subjective control have been developed in a manner parallel to other guerrilla activities, a comandante of ours will literally be able to shake up the Sandinista structure, and replace it.
The mass assemblies and meetings are the culmination of a wide base support among the population, and it comes about in the later phases of the operation. This is the moment in which the overthrow can be achieved and our revolution can become an open one, requiring the close collaboration of the entire population of the country, and of contacts with their roots in reality.
The tactical effort in guerrilla warfare is directed at the weaknesses of the enemy and at destroying their military resistance capacity, and should be parallel to a psychological effort to weaken and destroy their socio-political capacity at the same time. In guerrilla warfare, more than in any other type of military effort, the psychological activities should be simultaneous with the military ones, in order to achieve the objectives desired.
Implicit and Explicit Terror
A guerrilla armed force always involves implicit terror because the population, without saying it aloud, feels terror that the weapons may be used against them. However, if the terror does not become explicit, positive results can be expected.
In a revolution, the individual lives under a constant threat of physical damage. If the government police cannot put an end to the guerrilla activities, the population will lose confidence in the government, which has the inherent mission of guaranteeing the safety of citizens. However, the guerrillas should be careful not to become an explicit terror, because this would result in a loss of popular support.
In the words of a leader of the HUK guerrilla movement of the Philippine Islands:
"The population is always impressed by weapons, not by the terror that they cause, but rather by a sensation of strength/force. We must appear before the people, giving them support with our weapons; that will give them the message of the struggle."
This is then, in a few words, the essence of armed propaganda.
An armed guerrilla force can occupy an entire town or small city that is neutral or relatively passive in the conflict. In order to conduct the armed propaganda in an effective manner, the following should be carried out simultaneously:

  • Destroy the military or police installations and remove the survivors to a "public place."
  • Cut all the outside lines of communication: cables, radio, messengers.
  • Set up ambushes, in order to delay the reinforcements in all the possible entry routes.
  • Kidnap all officials or agents of the Sandinista government and replace them in "public places" with military or civilian persons of trust to our movement; in addition, carry out the following:
  • Establish a public tribunal that depends on the guerrillas, and cover the town or city in order to gather the population for this event.
  • Shame, ridicule and humiliate the "personal symbols" of the government of repression in the presence of the people and foster popular participation through guerrillas within the multitude, shouting slogans and jeers.
  • Reduce the influence of individuals in tune with the regime, pointing out their weaknesses and taking them out of the town, without damaging them publicly.
  • Mix the guerrillas within the population and show very good conduct by all members of the column, practicing the following:
  • Any article taken will be paid for with cash.
  • The hospitality offered by the people will be accepted and this opportunity will be exploited in order to carry out face-to-face persuasion about the struggle.
  • Courtesy visits should be made to the prominent persons and those with prestige in the place, such as doctors, priests, teachers, etc.
  • The guerrillas should instruct the population that with the end of the operative, and when the Sandinista repressive forces interrogate them, they may reveal EVERYTHING about the military operation carried out. For example, the type of weapons they use, how many men arrived, from what direction they came and in what direction they left, in short, EVERYTHING.
  • In addition, indicate to the population that at meetings or in private discussions they can give the names of the Sandinista informants, who will be removed together with the other officials of the government of repression.
  • When a meeting is held, conclude it with a speech by one of the leaders of guerrilla political cadres (the most dynamic), which includes explicit references to:
  • The fact that the "enemies of the people" - the officials or Sandinista agents, must not be mistreated in spite of their criminal acts, although the guerrilla force may have suffered casualties, and that this is done due to the generosity of the Christian guerrillas.
  • Give a declaration of gratitude for the "hospitality" of the population, as well as let them know that the risks that they will run when the Sandinistas return are greatly appreciated.
  • The fact that the Sandinista regime, although it exploits the people with taxes, control of money, grains and all aspects of public life through associations, which they are forced to become part of, will not be able to resist the attacks of our guerrilla forces.
  • Make the promise to the people that you will return to ensure that the "leeches" of the Sandinista regime of repression will not be able to hinder our guerrillas from integrating with the population.
  • A statement repeated to the population to the effect that they can reveal everything about this visit of our commandos, because we are not afraid of anything or anyone, neither the Soviets nor the Cubans. Emphasize that we are Nicaraguans, that we are fighting for the freedom of Nicaragua and to establish a very Nicaraguan government.
Guerrilla Weapons are the Strength of the People over an Illegal Government
The armed propaganda in populated areas does not give the impression that weapons are the power of the guerrillas over the people, but rather that the weapons are the strength of the people against a regime of repression. Whenever it is necessary to use armed force in an occupation or visit to a town or village, guerrillas should emphasize making sure that they:

  • Explain to the population that in the first place this is being done to protect them, the people, and not themselves.
  • Admit frankly and publicly that this is an "act of the democratic guerrilla movement," with appropriate explanations.
  • That this action, although it is not desirable, is necessary because the final objective of the insurrection is a free and democratic society, where acts of force are not necessary.
  • The force of weapons is a necessity caused by the oppressive system, and will cease to exist when the "forces of justice" of our movement assume control.
If, for example, it should be necessary for one of the advanced posts to have to fire on a citizen who was trying to leave the town or city in which the guerrillas are carrying out armed propaganda or political proselytism, the following is recommended:

  • Explain that if that citizen had managed to escape, he would have alerted the enemy that is near the town or city, and they would carry out acts of reprisal such as rapes, pillage, destruction, captures, etc., in this way terrorizing the inhabitants of the place for having given attention and hospitalities to the guerrillas of the town.
  • If a guerrilla fires at an individual, make the town see that he was an enemy of the people, and that they shot him because the guerrillas recognized as their first duty the protection of citizens.
  • The commando tried to detain the informant without firing because he, like all Christian guerrillas, espouses nonviolence. Having fired at the Sandinista informant, although it is against his own will, was necessary to prevent the repression of the Sandinista government against innocent people.
  • Make the population see that it was the repressive system of the regime that was the cause of this situation, what really killed the informer, and that the weapon fired was one recovered in combat against the Sandinista regime.
  • Make the population see that if the Sandinista regime had ended the repression, the corruption backed by foreign powers, etc., the freedom commandos would not have had to brandish arms against brother Nicaraguans, which goes against our Christian sentiments. If the informant hadn't tried to escape he would be enjoying life together with the rest of the population, because he would not have tried to inform the enemy. This death would have been avoided if justice and freedom existed in Nicaragua, which is exactly the objective of the democratic guerrilla.
Selective Use of Violence for Propagandistic Effects
It is possible to neutralize carefully selected and planned targets, such as court judges, mesta judges, police and State Security officials, CDS chiefs, etc. For psychological purposes it is necessary to take extreme precautions, and it is absolutely necessary to gather together the population affected, so that they will be present, take part in the act, and formulate accusations against the oppressor.
The target or person should be chosen on the basis of:

  • The spontaneous hostility that the majority of the population feels toward the target.
  • Use rejection of potential hatred by the majority of the population affected toward the target, stirring up the population and making them see all the negative and hostile actions of the individual against the people.
  • If the majority of the people give their support or backing to the target or subject, do not try to change these sentiments through provocation.
  • Relative difficulty of controlling the person who will replace the target.
The person who will replace the target should be chosen carefully, based on:

  • Degree of violence necessary to carry out the change.
  • Degree of violence acceptable to the population affected.
  • Degree of violence possible without causing damage or danger to other individuals in the area of the target.
  • Degree of reprisal predictable by the enemy on the population affected or other individuals in the area of the target.
The mission to replace the individual should be followed by:

  • Extensive explanation within the population affected of the reason why it was necessary for the good of the people.
  • Explain that Sandinista retaliation is unjust, indiscriminate, and above all, a justification for the execution of this mission.
  • Carefully test the reaction of the people toward the mission, as well as control this reaction, making sure that the population's reaction is beneficial towards the Freedom Commandos.

For 45 years, the Cold War dominated world affairs.
From Yalta to Malta, the struggle between East and West fueled a succession of crises and flash points made ever more dangerous by the possibility of nuclear confrontation.
Click on the dates at left for a review of the Cold War turning points.


September 24, 1973, Time Magazine, The Bloody End of a Marxist Dream,

''Allende's downfall had implications that reached far beyond the borders of Chile ... (L)eftists will ruefully conclude that revolution is a surer route to power than the ballot box.''

The Bloody End of a Marxist Dream

(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from an article published in TIME magazine on September 24, 1973.)
For two terrible days last week, the capital of Chile turned into a bloody battleground. Planes roared in almost at rooftop level, firing rockets and sowing bombs. Tanks rumbled through the streets, tearing holes in walls with shells from their cannon. Infantrymen popped up in doorways, and the sound of their fire reverberated through the city. The principal target, the Presidential Palace, disappeared behind a veil of smoke and flames inside. Chile's Marxist President Salvador Allende Gossens, 65, died in his office as a military junta took over his country.
After his inauguration three years ago, Allende had stood on the small balcony outside his office in the palace to launch a great experiment. While thousands of his supporters cheered in the plaza below, he announced a unique undertaking: he intended to lead Chile along a democratic road to socialism. Last week the balcony still stood, although the palace was a smoldering ruin. So was Allende's Marxist vision for his country.
Week after week, as a succession of bitter strikes plunged Chile toward economic chaos, rumors had circulated in Santiago that the country was on the verge of a military coup. Even so, many Chileans dismissed the stones. True, Chile had large and well-trained armed forces. But unlike the colonels of neighboring Peru and the generals of Brazil, Chile's officers had by and large a nonpolitical tradition.
Chileans who thought that their country was somehow immune from military takeovers were wrong. Moreover, the coup that ended Allende's experiment in socialism proved to be extraordinarily violent even by Latin American standards. In the flurry of fighting that accompanied the golpe (coup) and in the two days of chaos that followed, several thousand people were killed or injured. The military claimed that Allende had killed himself rather than surrender. Allende's supporters insisted that he had been murdered. In a sense, the manner of his death was irrelevant. Almost overnight, he became an instant martyr for leftists the world over -- and a legendary specter that may well haunt Latin America for years.
Allende's downfall had implications that reached far beyond the borders of Chile. His had been the first democratically elected Marxist government in Latin America. Moderate Latins will certainly want no more such experiments because of Chile's experience; leftists, on the other hand, will ruefully conclude that revolution is a surer route to power than the ballot box. The U.S. was embarrassed by the coup -- though Washington insisted that it had taken no part. Anti-imperialists everywhere immediately assumed that Washington was behind his downfall. At week's end the U.S. had made no move to recognize the new government, but most observers expected an improvement in relations. The change of Chilean governments might also affect U.S. corporations; their sizable holdings had been taken over by Allende, but they now might at least be reimbursed for what they had lost by a more sympathetic government.
The coup was carefully planned and meticulously executed, reported TIME Correspondent Charles Eisendrath, who watched the action from a window overlooking the palace. Early last Tuesday morning, armored cars rolled across Santiago's broad Plaza de la Constitucion to block the portals of La Moneda, the somber 18th century-style Presidential Palace. As army sharpshooters took up positions, at least 100 armed carabineros -- Chile's paramilitary police -- jumped out of buses and double-timed across the square. Their mission, according to the secret order of the day, was "to restore institutional normality" in South America's most democratic nation and "stop a disastrous dictatorship from installing itself."
Allende had apparently heard rumors; at the uncharacteristically early hour of 7:15, he had driven to La Moneda from his comfortable villa in Santiago's Barrio Alto district. As the troops began to assemble outside the palace, General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, commander in chief of the army, telephoned an ultimatum to the palace. If Allende surrendered his office, he would be given safe conduct out of the country; otherwise he would be deposed by force. Allende refused. "I will not resign," he declared in a very brief radio broadcast. "I am prepared to die if necessary." He urged workers -- the most loyal and enthusiastic supporters of his socialist program -- to seize their factories as a sign of defiance. As Hawker Hunters of the Chilean air force swooped low over the palace, Allende made a final appearance on his second-floor balcony and waved to a small band of curious citizens whom the army had not yet shooed away.
Allende immediately recognized that he faced the worst crisis of his stormy three-year presidency. An hour before the military's ultimatum, he telephoned his wife Hortensia at their villa. "I'm calling from La Moneda," he told her. "The situation has become very grave. The navy has revolted and I am going to stay here." Allende was right. Even before the junta's troops surrounded the palace, the navy had announced that it had taken over and sealed off the port city of Valparaiso, 75 miles away. Marines from Valparaiso were advancing on the capital to join the soldiers, airmen and carabineros commanded by leaders of the coup.
Allende soon found himself isolated from all potential supporters. A radio station operated by his Socialist Party went silent after making a final appeal to enlisted men to disobey the orders of their officers. Another station operated by Allende's Communist partners in the ChileanUnidad Popular (Popular Unity) coalition went dead. Soon the only station left on the air in Santiago was one that identified itself as "the military government radio." Its first order, "The President of the republic must proceed immediately to hand over his high office."
A Mexican journalist in Santiago, Manuel Mejido, managed to interview 15 of the people who claim to have last seen Allende alive. According to his account, the President assembled close friends in the palace and told them: "I will not abandon La Moneda. They will only take me out of here dead." The group included ten members of the security force and 30 youths of a private guard known as el Grupo de Amigos Personales (the Group of Personal Friends).
General Pinochet's call was followed by one from the navy commander, Admiral Jose Toribio Merino Castro, who repeated the ultimatum. "I will not surrender," Allende declared. "That is a course for cowards like yourself."
As an attack on the palace became imminent, Allende gathered his remnant of supporters in one room of the palace. "Gentlemen," he said, "I am staying." He asked everyone to leave; no one did. Allende then ordered the women to go to the office of the palace major-domo and told the men to take up combat positions. There was a 20-minute attack by infantry and tanks. During a brief truce, General Pinochet again called the palace, giving Allende 15 minutes to surrender. Once more the President refused. When the attack halted, the women in the palace -- including one of Allende's daughters, Beatriz, 31 -- left for safety.
At noon, a pair of Hawker Hunters attacked the palace with bombs, rockets and tear gas. An hour and a half later, infantrymen entered La Moneda by a side door; their officers gave Allende ten minutes to surrender. "All of you go down without weapons and with hands up," the President told the handful of aides who had stayed with him. "Go and surrender to the army. I will be the last to leave." Then, according to Mejido, Allende shot himself.


December 5, 1973,  Izvestia, Latin America and the Chilean tragedy,

''The development of events in Latin America in recent years convincingly shows that the reactionary military dictatorships existing in a number of countries ... have no future.''

Latin America and the Chilean tragedy

(The following appeared in the December 5, 1973, edition of Izvestia and has been translated and condensed from the Russian.)

The events in Chile with new urgency have raised the question of the role of armed forces in the Latin America of today.

At the present time there are two types of military regimes in Latin America. There are the dictatorships that are in power thanks to the support of outside imperialist forces and the local oligarchy, whose interests and privileges they defend with a violence that takes on ever crueler forms with each passing day. But in recent years a new type of military regime has arisen that enters into conflict with imperialism since it throws off the latter's demeaning domination and institutes far-reaching socioeconomic reforms. These are predominately the regimes in Peru, Panama and Ecuador.

The traditional conservatism of Latin American armies, or, more precisely, of their officer corps, is explained primarily by the latter's social origin. Representatives of old aristocratic families, Latin American officers diligently served their own class, despised the "rabble," dealt cruelly with anyone who demanded radical changes and gradually degenerated into a caste that fiercely defends its privileges. The Pentagon has played a large role in reinforcing the conservative outlook of Latin American officerdom, never skimping on funds for the "military and political advanced training" of officers of Latin American armies in the halls of its own educational institutions.

The events in Chile speak with particular eloquence about how strongly the enemies of Latin America's independence are banking on militarism. Nevertheless, time makes its own significant adjustments in their calculations. Whereas 15 to 20 years ago the majority of officers in Latin American armed forces, as was pointed out earlier, were scions of well-to-do families, now the officer corps is being replenished to a considerable degree with representatives of the petty bourgeoisie and technical intelligentsia, government officials and teachers, prosperous peasants and, less commonly, skilled workers. An ideological demarcation is in progress among the officers. Alongside the supporters of the old oligarchic orders and the openly pro-imperialist alignments, various types of nationalist currents are making an appearance. Some nationalist officers dream only of a certain equality with the Pentagon and argue for preservation of the "national personality" of Latin American armies; other representatives of the nationalist currents go further, believing that the armed forces have an obligation to lead a national revolution as their colleagues did in Peru and some other countries of Africa and Asia.

The military government of President Gen. Velasco Alvarado, which came to power in Peru in October 1968, set out immediately on a path of independent domestic and foreign policy. Let us recall that one of this government's first and most important actions was to nationalize the holdings of the American monopoly International Petroleum.
All progressive forces in Peru view the process of the fundamental socioeconomic reforms being implemented by the country's patriotically oriented military leaders as an anti-imperialist and anti-oligarchic revolution directed toward the achievement of national independence and the surmounting of economic backwardness. The strength of the Peruvian revolution lies in the strong alliance between the armed forces and the people.

If even a country so dependent on the U.S.A. as Panama used to be resolutely refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the United States' occupying part of its territory and makes important moves to achieve full independence, the political climate in Latin America has definitely changed.

In February 1972, a government came to power in Ecuador that was headed by Gen. Guillermo Rodriguez Lara, commander of the armed forces. The new government adopted a policy of using the native natural resources in the interests of its own country, improving the lives of the working people, restricting the privileges of the exploitive oligarchy and developing relations with all countries of the world including socialist countries.

The development of events in Latin America in recent years convincingly shows that the reactionary military dictatorships existing in a number of countries of the continent have no future. It is impossible not to see that the liberation movement in Latin America is continually expanding through the inclusion of new social and political forces and the intensification of the activities of the proletariat.

Voices in countries of the continent are calling with ever increasing resolve for the creation of an inter-American organization of a new type based on the principle of equality to replace the Organization of American States. The outlines of such an organization already are appearing with ever increasing clarity. A front of Latin American states against U.S. monopolies is a characteristic of all recent inter-American conferences. The ruling circles of many Latin American countries are demanding a radical revision of economic and political relations with the United States. This is evidenced by the numerous regional conferences that have taken place without the participation of U.S. representatives. Resistance to attempts of the United States to force its foreign policy on the countries of Latin America and on the Organization of American States itself is building in intensity. The resumption of normal relations with Cuba, for one thing, is an issue whose time has come for the Latin American countries. The positions of a number of Latin American governments on the most important issues are converging, and ties with the countries of the world socialist system -- the decisive force of the anti-imperialist struggle -- are developing and strengthening.

The United States suspected Russia's interests in the Western Hemisphere long before the Cold War. In fact, fears about Russian territorial ambitions in the Americas were a primary motivation for the Monroe Doctrine.

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