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NCJ Number: 69327 Find in a Library
Title: URUGUAY - TERRORISM VERSUS DEMOCRACY
Journal: CONFLICT STUDIES  Issue:14  Dated:(AUGUST 1971)  Pages:COMPLETE ISSUE
Author(s): R MOSS
Corporate Author: Institute for the Study of 12/12a Golden Square
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1971
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Institute for the Study of 12/12a Golden Square
London, W1R 3AF, England
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE BACKGROUND AND STRATEGIES OF URUGUAY'S TUPAMARO TERRORISTS ARE REVIEWED IN THIS SHORT REPORT FROM AUGUST 1971.
Abstract: THE TUPAMARO MOVEMENT WAS FOUNDED IN 1962-1963 BY RAUL SENDIC, A FORMER LAW STUDENT, WHO HAD BEEN ACTIVE AS A UNION AGITATOR AMONG THE POVERTY-STRICKEN SUGARBEET LABORERS OF THE NORTH. IN 1971, AN ESTIMATED 3,000 MEMBERS WERE ACTIVE, AND THEIR SUCCESS WAS GAUGED BY THE FACT THAT THE POLICE WERE UNABLE TO LOCATE A SINGLE TUPAMARO HOSTAGE. THAT A TERRORIST MOVEMENT SHOULD PROVE EFFECTIVE IN A COUNTRY WITH WELFARE STATE INSTITUTIONS AND A DEMOCRATIC WAY OF LIFE IS PARADOXICAL. THE TWO KEY ELEMENTS IN THE MOVEMENT'S STRATEGY HAVE BEEN (1) TO DEMORALIZE THE POLICE AND THE ARMED FORCES BY SUBVERSIVE PROPAGANDA AND A CAMPAIGN OF SELECTIVE TERRORISM, AND (2) TO DRIVE THE GOVERNMENT TOWARDS THE USE OF 'COUNTERTERRORISM' IN ORDER TO WIN OVER LIBERALS AT HOME AND ABROAD AND WEAKEN THE EFFECTIVENESS OF URUGUAY'S CONGRESS. THEY HAVE SUCCEEDED TO SOME EXTENT IN BOTH GOALS. THE TUPAMAROS ARE ESSENTIALLY A MIDDLE-CLASS MOVEMENT RECRUITED FROM DISAFFECTED STUDENTS, MINOR CIVIL SERVANTS, AND PROFESSIONAL MEN WHOSE ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS HAVE BEEN DISAPPOINTED, AND THEIR INFLUENCE IN THESE CIRCLES EXPLAINS, IN PART, THEIR SUCCESS. MEMBERS ARE ORGANIZED AS CELLS, OR 'FIRING GROUPS,' OF FOUR OR FIVE MEN, AND THE GROUP LEADER IS THE LINK-MAN WITH OTHER CELLS. THEY KEEP THEIR POLITICAL GOALS PURPOSELY VAGUE IN THE HOPE OF DRAWING SUPPORT FROM ALL LEFT-WING POLITICAL PARTIES ON THE BASIS OF ANTIAMERICANISM, A BROAD COMMITMENT TO SOCIALISM, AND FAITH IN THE PRIMACY OF THE DEED. A NETWORK OF SECRET AGENTS INSIDE THE ADMINISTRATION AND THE ARMED FORCES SIMPLIFIES THEIR OPERATIONS; AND THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN WEAKENED BY POOR INTELLIGENCE, AN INABILITY TO PURSUE A SUSTAINED COUNTERINSURGENCY PROGRAM, AND BY ITS OWN CORRUPTION AND INCOMPETENCE. THE TUPAMAROS SEE THEMSELVES AS THE AGENTS OF A CONTINENTAL REVOLUTION, AND THEY HAVE MAINTAINED CLOSE LINKS WITH GUERRILLA GROUPS IN OTHER COUNTRIES. THEY HAVE PROVED ONCE AGAIN THAT THE SYSTEMATIC USE OF VIOLENCE CAN ERODE A COUNTRY'S DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND CREATE THE CONDITIONS FOR CIVIL WAR. FOOTNOTES WITH REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Terrorist profiles; Terrorist tactics; Tupamaros; Urban guerrilla warfare; Uruguay
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69327

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