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...
1. Generalities ~
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.
2. 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 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 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.
3. 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; ad 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 guerilla 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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
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.
7. 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 sociopolitical 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.
1. Generalities ~
The objective of this section is to familiarize the guerrilla with the techniques of psychological operations, which maximizes the social- psychological effect of a guerrilla movement, converting the guerrilla into a propagandist, in addition to being a combatant. The nature of the environment in guerrilla warfare does not permit sophisticated facilities for psychological operations, so that use should be made of the effective face-to-face persuasion of each guerrilla.
2. Political Awareness ~
The individual political awareness of the guerrilla, the reason for his struggle, will be as important as his ability in combat. This political awareness and motivation will be achieved:
- By improving the combat potential of the guerrilla by improving his motivation for fighting.
- By the guerrilla recognizing himself as a vital tie between the democratic guerrillas and the people, whose support is essential for the subsistence of
- By fostering the support of the population for the national insurgence through the support for the guerrillas of the locale, which provides a psychological basis in the population for politics after the victory has been achieved.
- By developing trust in the guerrillas and in the population, for the reconstruction of a local and national government.
- By promoting the value of participation by the guerrillas and the people in the civic affairs of the insurrection and in the national programs.
- By developing in each guerrilla the ability of persuasion face-to-face, at the local level, to win the support of the population, which is essential for success in guerrilla warfare.
3. Group Dynamics ~
This political awareness-building and motivation are attained by the use of group dynamics at the level of small units. The group discussion method and self-criticism are a general guerrilla training and operations technique.
Group discussions raise the spirit and increase the unity of thought in small guerrilla groups and exercise social pressure on the weakest members to better carry out their mission in training and future combat actions. These group discussions will give special emphasis to:
- Creating a favorable opinion of our movement. Through local and national history, make it clear that the Sandinista regime is "foreignizing," "repressive" and "imperialistic," and that even though there are some Nicaraguans within the government, point out that they are "puppets" of the power of the Soviets and Cubans, i.e. of foreign power.
- Always a local focus. Matters of an international nature will be explained only in support of local events in the guerrilla warfare.
- The unification of the nation is our goal. This means that the defeat of the Sandinista armed forces is our priority. Our insurrectional movement is a pluralistic political platform from which we are determined to win freedom, equality, a better economy with work facilities, a higher standard of living, a true democracy for all Nicaraguans without exception.
- Providing to each guerrilla clear understanding about the struggle for national sovereignty against Soviet-Cuban imperialism. Discussion guides will lead the guerrillas so that they will see the injustices of the Sandinista system.
- Showing each guerrilla the need for good behavior to win the support of the population. Discussion guides should convince the guerrillas that the attitude and opinion of the population play a decisive role, because victory is impossible without popular support.
- Self-criticism will be in constructive terms that will contribute to the mission of the movement, and which will provide the guerrillas with the conviction that they have a constant and positive individual responsibility in the mission of the group. The method of instruction will be:
(a) division of the guerrilla force into squads for group discussions, including command and support elements, whenever the tactical situation permits it. The makeup of the small units should be maintained when these groups are designated.
(b) Assignment of a political cadre in the guerrilla force to each group to guide the discussion. The squad leader should help the cadre to foster study and the expression of thoughts. If there are not enough political cadres for each squad or post, leaders should guide the discussions, and the available cadres visit alternate groups.
(c) It is appropriate for the cadre (or the leader) to guide the discussion of a group to cover a number of points and to reach a correct conclusion. The guerrillas should feel that it was their free and own decision. The cadre should serve as a private teacher. The cadre or leader will not act as a lecturer, but will help the members of the group to study and express their own opinions.
(d) The political cadre will at the end of every discussion make a summary of the principal points, leading them to the correct conclusions. Any serious
difference with the objectives of the movement should be noted by the cadre and reported to the comandante of the force. If necessary, a combined group meeting will be held and the team of political cadres will explain and rectify the misunderstanding.
(e) Democratic conduct by the political cadres: living, eating and working with the guerrillas, and if possible, fighting at their side, sharing their living conditions. All of this will foster understanding and the spirit of cooperation that will help in the discussion and exchange of ideas.
(f) Carry out group discussions in towns, and areas of operations whenever possible with the civilian population, and not limit them to camps or bases. This is done to emphasize the revolutionary nature of the struggle and to demonstrate that the guerrillas identified with the objectives of the people move about within the population. The guerrilla projects himself toward the people, as the political cadre does toward the guerrilla, and they should live, eat and work together to realize a unity of revolutionary thought.
The principles for guerrilla and political-cadre group discussions are:
- Organize discussion groups at the post or squad level. A cadre cannot be sure of the comprehension and acceptance of the concepts and conclusions by guerrillas in large groups. In a group of the size of a squad of 10 men, the judgement and control of the situation is greater. In this way, all students will participate in an exchange among them; the political leader, the group leader, and also the political cadre. Special attention will be given to the individual ability to discuss the objectives of the insurrectional struggle. Whenever a guerrilla expresses his opinion, he will be interested in listening to the opinions of others, leading as a result to the unity of thought.
- Combine the different points of view and reach an opinion or common conclusion. This is the most difficult task of a political guerrilla cadre. After the group discussions of the democratic objectives of the movement, the chief of the team of political cadres of the guerrilla force should combine the conclusions of individual groups in a general summary. At a meeting with all the discussion groups, the cadre shall provide the principal points, and the guerrillas will have the opportunity to clarify or modify their points of view. To carry this out, the conclusions will be summarized in the form of slogans, wherever possible.
- Face with honesty the national and local problems of our struggle. The political cadres should always be prepared to discuss solutions to the problems observed by the guerrillas. During the discussions, the guerrillas should be guided by the following three principles:
- Freedom of thought.
- Freedom of expression.
- Concentration of thoughts on the objectives of the democratic struggle.
The result desired is a guerrilla who in a persuasive manner can justify all of his acts whenever he is in contact with any member of the town/people, and especially with himself and with his guerrilla companions by facing the vicissitudes of guerrilla warfare.
This means that every guerrilla will come to have effective face-to- face persuasion as a combatant-propagandist in his contact with the people, to the point of giving 5-10 logical reasons why, e.g. a peasant should give him a piece of cloth, or a needle and thread to mend his clothes. When behaves in this manner, no type of propaganda of the enemy will be able to make a "terrorist" of him in the eyes of the people.
In addition, hunger, cold, fatigue and insecurity in the existence of the guerrilla acquire meaning in the cause of the struggle due to the constant psychological orientation.
4. Camp Procedures ~
Encamping the guerrilla units gives greater motivation, in addition to reducing distractions, and increases the spirit of cooperation of small units, relating the physical environment to the psychological one. The squad chief shall establish the regular camping procedure. Once thy have divested themselves of their packs, the chief will choose the appropriate ground for camping. He should select land that predominates over the zone with two or three escape routes. He will choose among his men and give them responsibilities such as:
- Clean the camp area.
- Provide adequate drainage in case of rain. Also build some trenches or holes for marksmen in case of emergency. In addition, he will build a stove, which will be done by making some small trenches and placing three rocks in place; in case the stove is built on a pedestal, it will be filled with clay and rocks.
- Build a windbreaking wall, which will be covered on the sides and on the top with branches and leaves of the same vegetation of the zones. This will serve for camouflaging and protecting it from aerial visibility or from enemy patrols around.
- Construct a latrine and a hole where waste and garbage will be buried, which should be covered over at the time of abandoning the camp.
- Once the camp has been set up, it is recommended that a watchman be positioned in the places of access at a prudent distance, where the shout of alarm can be heard. In the same moment the password will be established, which should be changed every 24 hours. The commander should establish ahead of time an alternate meeting point, in case of having to abandon the camp in a hurried manner, and they will be able to meet in the other already established point, and they should warn the patrol that if at a particular time they cannot meet at the established point, the should have a third meeting point.
These procedures contribute to the motivation of the guerrilla and improve the spirit of cooperation in the unit. The danger, sense of insecurity, anxiety and daily concern in the life of a guerrilla require tangible evidence of belonging in an order for him to keep up his spirit and morale.
In addition to the good physical conditions in which the guerrilla should find himself, good psychological conditions are necessary, for which group discussions and becoming a self-critic are recommended, which will greatly benefit the spirit and morale of the same.
Having broken camp with the effort and cooperation of everyone strengthens the spirit of the group. The guerrilla will be inclined then towards the unity of thought in democratic objectives.
5. Interaction with the People ~
In order to ensure popular support, essential for the good development of guerrilla warfare, the leaders should induce a positive interaction between the civilians and the guerrillas, through the principle of "live, eat , and work with the people," and maintain control of their activities. In group discussions, the leaders and political cadres should give emphasis to positively identifying themselves with the people.
It is not recommendable to speak of military tactical plans in discussions with civilians. The Communist foe should be pointed out as the number one enemy of the people, and as a secondary threat against our guerrilla forces.
Whenever there is a chance, groups of members should be chosen who have a high political awareness and high disciplinary conduct in the work to be carried out, in order to be sent to the populous areas in order to direct the armed propaganda, where they should persuade the people through dialogue in face-to-face confrontations, where these principles should be followed:
- Respect for human rights and others' property.
- Helping the people in community work.
- Protecting the people from Communist aggressions.
- Teaching the people environmental hygiene, to read, etc., in order to win their trust, which will lead to a better democratic ideological preparation.
This attitude will foster the sympathy of the peasants for our movement, and they will immediately become one of us, through logistical support, coverage and intelligence information on the enemy or participation in combat. The guerrillas should be persuasive through the word and not dictatorial with weapons. If they behave in this way, the people will feel respected, will be more inclined to accept our message and will consolidate into popular support.
In any place in which tactical guerrilla operations are carried out in populous areas, the squad should undertake psychological actions parallel to these, and should proceed, accompany and consolidate the common objective and explain to all the people about our struggle, explaining that our presence is to give peace, liberty and democracy to all Nicaraguans without exception, and explaining that out struggle is not against the nationals but rather against Russian imperialism. This will serve to ensure greater psychological achievements which will increase the operations of the future.
6. Conclusions ~
The nature of the environment in guerrilla warfare does not permit sophisticated facilities for psychological operations, and the face-to-face persuasion of the guerrilla combatant-propagandists with the people is an effective and available tool which we should use as much as possible during the process of the struggle.
1. Generalities ~
Frequently a misunderstanding exists on "armed propaganda," that this tactic is a compulsion of the people with arms. In reality, it does not include compulsion, but the guerrilla should know well the principles and methods of this tactic. The objective of this section is to give the guerrilla student an understanding of the armed propaganda that should be used, and that will be able to be applied in guerrilla warfare.
2. Close Identification with the People ~
Armed propaganda includes all acts carried out by an armed force, whose results improve the attitude of the people toward this force, and it does not include forced indoctrination. This is carried out by a close identification with the people on any occasion. For example:
- Putting aside weapons and working side by side with the peasants in the countryside: building, fishing, repairing roofs, transporting water, etc.
- When working with the people, the guerrillas can use slogans such as "many hands doing small things, but doing them together."
- Participating in the tasks of the people, they can establish a strong tie between them and the guerrillas and at the same time a popular support for our movement is generated.
During the patrols and other operations around or in the midst of villages, each guerrilla should be respectful and courteous with the people. In addition he should move with care and always be well prepared to fight, if necessary. But he should not always see all the people as enemies, with suspicions or hostility. Even in war, it is possible to smile, laugh or greet people. Truly, the cause of our revolutionary base, the reason why we are struggling, is our people. We must be respectful to them on all occasions that present themselves.
In places and situations wherever possible, e.g. when they are resting during the march, the guerrillas can explain the operation of weapons to the youths and young men. They can show them an unloaded rifle so that they will learn to load it and unload it; their use, and aiming at imaginary targets. They are potential recruits for our forces.
The guerrillas should always be prepared with simple slogans in order to explain to the people, whether in an intentional form or by chance, the reason for the weapons.
"The weapons will be for winning freedom; the are for you."
"With weapons we can impose demands such as hospitals, schools, better roads, and social services for the people, for you."
"Our weapons are, in truth, the weapons of the people, yours."
"With weapons we can change the Sandino-Communist regime and return to the people a true democracy so that we will all have economic opportunities."
All of this should be designed to create an identification of the people with the weapons and the guerrillas who carry them. Finally, we should make the people feel that we are thinking of them and that the weapons are the people's, in order to help them and protect them from a Communist, totalitarian, imperialist regime, indifferent to the needs of the population.
3. 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 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 communications: 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 discussion 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.
4. 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 could carry out acts of reprisal such as rapes, pillage, destruction, captures, etc., it 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 guerrilla recognized as their first duty the protection of citizens.
- The command tried to detain the informant without firing because he, like all Christian guerrillas, espouses nonviolence. Firing 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 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.
5. 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 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 or 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 predictable reprisal 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 populations reaction is beneficial towards the Freedom Commandos.
6. Conclusions ~
Armed propaganda includes all acts executed and the impact achieved by an armed force, which as a result produces positive attitudes in the population toward this force, and it does not include forced indoctrination. However, armed propaganda is the most effective available instrument of a guerrilla force.
Armed Propagnada Teams (APTs)
1. Generalities ~
In contact with the very reality of their roots, in a psychological operation campaign in guerrilla warfare, the comandantes will be able to obtain maximum psychological results from an Armed Propaganda program. This section is to inform the guerrilla student as to what Armed Propaganda Teams are in the environment of guerrilla warfare.
2. Combination: Political Awareness and Armed Propaganda ~
The Armed Propaganda Teams combine political awareness-building with armed propaganda, which will be carried out by carefully selected guerrillas (preferably with experience in combat), for personal persuasion within the population.
The selection of the staff is more important than the training, because we cannot train guerrilla cadres just to show the sensations of ardor and fervor, which are essential for person-to-person persuasion. More important is the training of persons who are intellectually agile and developed.
An Armed Propaganda Team includes from 6 to 10 members; this number or a smaller number is ideal, since there is more camaraderie, solidarity and group spirit. The themes to deal with are assimilated more rapidly and the members react more rapidly to unforeseen situations.
In addition to the combination as armed propagandist-combatant each member of the team should be well prepared to carry out permanent person- to-person communication, face-to-face.
The leader of the group should be the commando who is the most highly motivated politically and the most effective in face-to-face persuasion. The position, hierarchy or range will not be decisive for carrying out that function, but rather who is best qualified for communication with the people.
The source of basic recruitment for guerrilla cadres will be the same social groups of Nicaraguans to whom the psychological campaign is directed, such as peasants, students, professionals, housewives, etc. The campesinos (peasants) should be made to see that they do not have lands; the workers that the State is putting an end to factories and industries; the doctors, that they are being replaced by Cuban paramedics, and that as doctors they cannot practice their profession due to lack of medicines. A requirement for recruiting them will be their ability to express themselves in public.
The selection of the personnel is more important than the training. The political awareness-building and the individual capabilities of persuasion will be shown in the group discussions for motivation of the guerrilla as a propagandist-combatant chosen as cadres to organize them in teams, that is, those who have the greatest capacity for this work.
The training of guerrillas for Armed Propaganda Teams emphasizes the method and not the content. A two-week training period is sufficient if the recruitment is done in the form indicated. If a mistaken process of recruitment has been followed, however good the training provided, the individual chosen will not yield a very good result.
The training should be intensive for 14 days, through team discussions, alternating the person who leads the discussion among the members of the group.
The subjects to be dealt with will be the same, each day a different theme being presented, for a varied practice.
The themes should refer to the conditions of the place and the meaning that they have for the inhabitants of the locality, such as talking of crops, fertilizers, seeds, irrigation of crops, etc. They can also include the following topics:
- Sawed wood, carpenters' tools for houses or other buildings.
- Boats, roads, horses, oxen for transportation, fishing, agriculture.
- Problems that they may have in the place with residents, offices of the regime, imposed visitors, etc.
- Force labor, service in the militia.
- Forced membership in Sandinista groups, such as women's clubs, youth associations, workers' groups, etc.
- Availability and prices of consumer articles and of basic needs in the grocery stores and shops of the place.
- Characteristics of education in the public schools.
- Anxiety of the people over the presence of Cuban teachers in the schools and the intrusion of politics, i.e. using them for political ends and not educational ones as should be.
- Indignation over the lack of freedom of worship, and persecution, of which priests are victims; and over the participation of priests such as Escoto and Cardenal in the Sandinista government, against the explicit orders of his Holiness, the Pope.
Note: Members of the team can develop other themes.
The target groups for the Armed Propaganda Teams are not the persons with sophisticated political knowledge, but rather those whose opinion are formed from what they see and hear. The cadres should use persuasion to carry out their mission. Some of the persuasive methods that they can use are the following:
Interior Group/Exterior Group. It is a principle of psychology that we humans have the tendency to form personal associations from "we" and "the others," or "we" and "they", "friends" and "enemies," "fellow countrymen" and "foreigners," "mestizos" and "gringos."
The Armed Propaganda Team can use this principle in its activities, so that it is obvious that the "exterior" groups ("false" groups) are those of the Sandinista regime, and that the "interior" groups ("true" groups) that fight for the people are the Freedom Commandos.
We should inculcate this in the people in a subtle manner so that these feelings seem to be born of themselves, spontaneously.
"Against" is much easier that "for." It is a principle of political science that it is easier to persuade the people to vote against something or someone than to persuade them to vote in favor of something or someone. Although currently the regime has not given the Nicaraguan people the opportunity to vote, it is known that the people will vote in opposition, so that the Armed Propaganda Teams can use this principle in favor of our insurrectional struggle. They should ensure that this campaign is directed specifically against the government or its sympathizers, since the people should have specific targets for their frustrations.
Primary Groups and Secondary Groups. Another principle of sociology is that we humans forge or change our opinions from two sources: primarily, through our association with our family, comrades, or intimate friends; and secondarily, through distant associations such as acquaintances in churches, clubs or committees, labor unions or governmental organizations. The Armed Propaganda Team cadres should join the first groups in order to persuade them to follow the policies of our movement, because it is from this type of group that the opinions or changes of opinion come.