Chapter 18 - Taking on Soviet-Cuban Imperialism in Latin America and Africa

taking on Soviet imperial power throughout the globe but caused significant tensions in Latin America. A year later NSSD 10—82—U.S. Policy Toward the Americas as Result of the Falklands Crisis, issued on November 30, 1983, directs an NSC study on this issue and provides insight into Reagan’s Falkland policies.

NSDD 37 Directive on Policy and Public Information Coordination—May 1982. Reagan’s directive NSDD 37—Cuba and Central America, issued on May 28, 1982, highlights the need for a strong U.S. Latin America policy implementation and public information coordination to assure “a consistent and high level focus of all concerned agencies . . . to fully implement prior decisions and expand on our current efforts” to include:

An interagency group will be formed immediately under the direction of the Assistant to the President for Legislative Liaison to provide whatever support is required to obtain Congressional approval for the FY 82 supplemental requests for the region. (3) Our current public affairs and Congressional information programs will be improved. The public affairs effort shall be internationalized, targeting opinion leaders and organizations worldwide. (4)The Secretaries of State and Defense will review current personnel strengths in the region for adequacy to carry out our policy and forward appropriate recommendations.9

Reagan’s Westminster Speech—June 1982. Among the key Reagan speeches that expanded on his effort to build Congressional, public, and alliance understanding for assistance to those fighting for freedom and independence in Latin America and elsewhere in the battle against Communist ideology and military power, was Reagan’s British Parliament Address on June 8, 1982. This and other such speeches are cited in detail in Chapter 16.

A Public Report on the Cuban-Soviet Military Connection. A public diplomacy report on Cuban Armed Forces and the Soviet Military Presence, issued in 1982 by the U.S. International Communications Agency, provides graphic charts, photos, and text on relations, basing arrangements, and arms flows between Cuba and the Soviet Union. Soviet equipment provided to Cuba included:

T–62 tanks, BMP infantry combat vehicles, BRDM armored reconnaissance vehicles, anti-tank guns, towed field guns, BM–21 multiple rocket launchers and ZSU–23–4 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns . . . as well as . . . 200 Soviet-supplied MIG Jet fighters, with two squadrons of FLOGGERs . . . FOXTROT–class submarines, and single Kom-class frigate . . . Osa–and Komar–class missile attack boats . . . with SS–N–2 STYX ship-to-ship missiles . . . IL–62 long-range jet transport aircraft.10

In addition, Soviet forces in Cuba were reported as including a brigade of 2,600 men near Havana with one tank battalion and three motorized rifle battalions as well as at least 2,000 military advisory and support personnel. Eight charts provide considerable additional data.

3. An Early U.S. Intelligence Assessment of Soviet Imperialism in Latin America—1982

A U.S. Intelligence Assessment—June 1982. A special National Intelligence Estimate, SNIE 11/80/90—82—Soviet Policies and Activities in Latin America and the Caribbean, issued in June 1982, presents a comprehensive analysis of the Soviet-Cuban relationship and the stepped-up covert, subversive “active measures” intelligence activities conducted by them and their allies throughout Latin America. Subsequently declassified, it merits citing at some length:

[Stepped up Soviet Activity] Soviet activity and interest in Latin America have increased significantly in the past few years, and in the aftermath of the battle for the Falklands the Soviets and their Cuban allies will be probing for new opportunities. Since 1979, Moscow has moved more aggressively to exploit opportunities presented by pressures for revolutionary change in Central America and the Caribbean and by the willingness of Latin American states to deal with the USSR and its allies. The Soviet Union has helped to consolidate revolutionary regimes in Nicaragua and Grenada, has provided considerable aid—mainly through proxies and other third parties—to revolutionaries elsewhere in Latin America, and has intensified its efforts to develop favorable political and economic ties with such countries as Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Despite this intensified interest, geographic remoteness has tended to relegate Latin America—except for Cuba—to the periphery of Soviet security concerns.

[Book pg. 428]