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October 20, 1966 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1966-10-20

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Communist Guerillas Take Hard Losses

In South America's Silent, Savag

. WI

GUATEMALA O)-High in iso-
lated, jungle-covered mountains of
Guatemala, Venezuela and Colom-
bia a silent, savage war is being
Bands of Communist guerrillas
engage in a deadly game of hide-
and-seek with army patrols of the
three nations.
Except in Guatemala, the guer-
rillas have taken some hard losses
in recent months.
Sharp ideological disputes -
based generally on conflicting soft
line or Moscow policies versus hard
line or "Peking positions"-have
deeply divided' the Latin American
The feuding at timtes ha, been
so bitter that government officials
privately admit some of the suc-
cessful strikes against. guerrillas
have been due to tips given by one
Communist group Informing on
Little Hope
InTanone of the three countries
do the guerrillas appear to have
aniy hope they can soon obtain
their goals of overthrowing exist-
ing governments, eliminating
"Yankee imperialism," and setting
up Communist regimes.
Some guerrillas, discouraged by
recent setbacks. have abandoned
the armed struggle.
Others, though their numbers
are not large, remain in the track-
less, rugged mountains, dedicated
t4 combat. waiting and hoping for
the political tide to flow their way.
They keep on the move: seeking
the aid of peasants, fearful of be-
trayal, avoiding army patrols-
unless they ,spot a chance for a
successful ambush and then they
strike hard.
Item: Bogota,. Colombia -on
August 19 fifteen soldiers were
killed and 16 wounded in a am-'
bus. in the southwestern Depart-
ment of Huila
Item: Guatemala City-May 15
fourteen soldiers were killed in an
ambush in the, northeastern de-
partment of Zacapa..
From Cuba. Communist leader
Fidel Castro, the ido of the guer-
rillas continually beseeches the
rebels to try harder.,
But to some Latin-American
revolutionaries it is Castro who is
somewhat out of touch with the
A Colombian Communist com-
mented after Castro's speech: "It's
all very well for him to tell us to
lead a revolution, but the Colom-
bian army is not a- paper tiger.
Each party must face its own con-
ditions and cannot follow the dic-
tates of someone from another
There is little doubt that secret
shipments of arms-and propa-
-ganda material-- are reaching the
rebels, much of it believed from
The guerillas, however, seize
most of their weapons in raids on
isolated military and police units.
or purchase guns from.,sugglers.
One of thebestorganized guer-
rilla groups in Latin America to-
day apears to be the Rebel Armed
Forces in Guatemala.
These guerrillas are commanded
by Luis Augusto Turcios Lima, 24,
a former Guatemalan army lieu-
tenant who received ranger train.
ing ,in Ft. Benning. Ga., n 1960.
On November 13, 1960, Turcios
was one of a group of young of-
ficers who attempted to oust Presi-
dent Miguel Ydigoras Fuentss.
Coup Smashed
The revolt was smashed but it
led to the formation of a guerilla
group led by 3Lt. Antonio Yon Sosa
-who also received U.S, training
--which is called the 13th of No-
vember Revolutionary Movement
of MR 13.
The MR 13 subesequently de-
veloped a "Chinese" political line
calling for active, armed rebellion

to establish a "revolutionary so-
cialist" regime in Guatemala.
Estimates ' of effective FAR
strength range from, around 75 up
to 300. Estimating guerrilla forces
is very tricky because the actual
number varies often; some mem-
bers are weekend guerrillas-hold-
ing jobs or attending university
classes during the. week-while
other may be sympathizers who
are occasionally called upon for
some duty.
FAR has a list of so-called "ene-
mies of the people" marked for
execution. In a recent mimeo-
graph bulletin FAR announced it
The Gargoyle
apologizes for its
Sept. 21st Issue
(or rather for the lack of it)
We knew it, would be a great
issLue! We even had 4,000 copies
printed up. But 'we 'still. ran out!
We're sorry if you were one of
these who missed us. However, we
.io have a clever suggestion. Get
yourself a special three issue sub-
scription to "Gorg" *for only 75c
(fantastic bargain) and get your
copy mailed to you direct.
wi-~ ~ t (: 2-+ AannvO r

had carried out two death sen-
tences against "comisionados mili-
tarries," local village authorities.
in Santa Rosa on May 6 and in
Escuintla on May 16.
The guerrilla movements. in
Guatemala, Venezuela and Colom-
bia have found some shootings and
holdups have been committed in
their names by criminals trying
to throw off police pursuit.
Many in Guatemala wonder why
the 12,000-man armed forces,
which successfully destroyed some
rebel units in 1962. have not been
able to eliminate the FAR and MR
13. Some observers believe army
leaders do not take the guerrillas
Col. Rafael Arriaga Bosque,
Guatemala's new defense minister,
said in an interview last month
that the guerillas "do not repre-
sent any danger to the government
because they do not have any base.
They have no support from other
sectors of the population."
With former law school dean,
Julio Cesar Mendez Montenegro,
now installed as a freely elected
president, many Guattmalans feel
the guerrillas will lose- some of the
sympathy they formerly had
among students, intellectuals and
Officials hope that if the new
government canhtake effective
steps to improve the impoverished
conditions of most peasants, the
guerrillanmovement will fade.
In Venezuela the guerrilla move=
ment-the Armed Forces of Na-
tional Liberation FALN-has been
seriously torn by ideological argu-
ments and personality clashes.
FALN action has dwindled con-
siderably from a peak about three
years ago when it carried out raids
on police and army units. con-
ducted kidnappings and holdups in
Caracas and blew up oil pipelines.
FALN has been described by the
Communist party of Venezuela as
it military arm. But not all mem-
bers of the guerrilla force are
members of the party.
. One major part of FALN con-
sists of members of the Movement
of the Revolutionary Left, an ex-
treme leftist group.
The Venezuelan army has been
carrying out a vigorous offensive
against the guerrillas who are lo-
cated principally in the western
states of Lara and Falcon.
Venezuela's peasants have never
given much support to the guer-
rillas. The Accion Democratica
party, which elected former Presi-
dent Romulo Betancourt and the

current President Raul Leoni, has
its main strength in the rural
areas of the country which gave
the party enough votes to over-
come electoral losses in the capital.
Lacking peasant support, suffer-
ing from internal Moscuw-Peking
feuds, inept organization and pur-
sued by aggressive army patrols,
the Venezuelan guerrillas have
been weakening recently.
In neighboring, Colombia there
are two main active guerrilla
groups. One is a hard line, pro-
Chinese group called the Army of
National Liberation ELN made up
of :Cuban-trained university stu-
dents, some teachers and other
leftist extremists from the capital
The other is the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARO)
made up of various Communist
guerrilla groups which were driven
out of "independent republics"
they had set up previously in rural
The army has been claiming
success in its drive to eliminate the

ew ar
And whether because of losses
suffered or due to a change in
strategy, the Colombian Commu-
nist party this year proposed that
the FARC seek to cooperate with
the ELN to form a common front.
Ideological Splits
Although the guerrilla move-
ments in Latin America have been
split by ideological fights, they still
have much in common:
-Many of the guerrillas have
been trained in. Cuba and they
hope to achieve a Castroist rev-
olution even though they may not
accept Castro's assertion that the
time is ripe for armed rebellion in
their own countries;
-They are. pledged to the vio-
lent overthrow of existing govern-
ments, to the elimination of U.S.
interests and influence, and the
establishment of Communist, or
revolutionary Socialist, regimes
-They are opposing freely elect-
ed goverments whose leaders are
keenly aware of the acute eco-
nomic and social problems in their

Six SOC Seats


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-Medium Pizza-one item. . . $1 .25
Spaghetti & Rolls.. . $1.00
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-/2 Fried Chicken .. $1 .00
Salad and French Fries
(These prices not good for delivery)

'Are Open

3 istration

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Oct. 31





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