169. National Intelligence Estimate1
THE SITUATION IN BOLIVIA
To estimate the situation in Bolivia and the probable impact of the present insurgency on it, over the next year or so.
- The present insurgency in Bolivia is organized and supported by Cuba. Its seriousness lies in the possibility that the insurgents may eventually provide a rallying point for many disaffected elements which hitherto have been unable to coalesce. The threat posed is more a function of the inherent fragility of Bolivia’s political, economic, and social structure than of the insurgents’ own strength and capabilities.
- Over the next year or so, there is little chance that the insurgents will be able to bring about the overthrow of the Barrientos regime, but it is also unlikely that the regime will be able to stamp out the insurgency.
- A prolongation and expansion of the insurgency would impose severe financial and psychological strains on Bolivia, greatly hindering the economic development and social amelioration that are essential to the achievement of stability in that country. Defense costs for a protracted guerrilla war would add heavily to the already serious deficit in the national budget, would further limit public investment, and would threaten the government’s stabilization program. In these circumstances, Barrientos would become increasingly dependent on US aid. Although eager to obtain technical and material military aid, he would be extremely reluctant to sanction a military intervention in force by the already concerned neighboring states or by the OAS.
- If the government’s counterguerrilla operations are protracted and unsuccessful, that would encourage other disaffected elements to undertake more active opposition to the government. It would also seriously damage the morale of the military. In these circumstances, the tenure of the Barrientos regime would become precarious.
[Omitted here is the Discussion section of the estimate.]
- Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–R01012A, O/DDI Registry. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet this estimate was prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency with the participation of the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State and Defense and the National Security Agency. The United States Intelligence Board concurred in this estimate on September 14.↩