CIA Manual – Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfare

Intellectual social critics (such as professors, teachers, priests, missionaries, etc.), generally feel that the government ignores their valid criticism or censors their comments unjustly, especially in a situation of revolution. This can easily be shown by the guerrilla cadre at meetings and discussions, to be an injustice of the system.

For all the target groups, after they have established frustrations, the hostility towards the obstacles to their aspirations will gradually become transferred to the current regime and its system of repression.

The guerrilla cadre moving among the target groups should always maintain a low profile, so that the development of hostile feelings towards the false Sandinista regime seems to come spontaneously from the members of the group and not from suggestions of the cadres. This is internal subjective control.

Antigovernmental hostility should be generalized, and not necessarily in our favor. If a group develops a feeling in our favor, it can be utilized. But the main objective is to precondition the target groups for the fusion in mass organizations later in the operation, when other activities have been successfully undertaken.

Organizations of Cells for Security

Internal cadres of our movement should organize into cells of three persons, only one of them maintaining outside contact.

The cell of three persons is the basic element of the movement, with frequent meetings to receive orders and pass information to the cell leader. These meetings are also very important for mutually reinforcing the members of the cell, as well as their morale. They should exercise criticism of themselves on the realization or failures in carrying out individual subjective control missions.

The coordination of the three-member cell provides a security net for reciprocal communication, each member having contact with only an operational cell. The members will not reveal at the cell coordination meetings the identity of their contact in an operational cell; they will reveal only the nature of the activity in which the cell is involved, e.g., political party work, medical association work, etc.

There is no hierarchy in cells outside of an element of coordination, who is the leader, who will have direct but covert contact with our guerrilla comandante in the zone or operational area. The previous diagram does not indicate which new operational cell is the limit, but it indicates that for every three operational cells, we need a coordination cell.

Fusion in a “Cover” Organization

The fusion of organizations recognized by the Sandinista government, such as associations and other groups, through internal subjective control, occurs in the final stages of the operation, in a tight connection with mass meetings.

When the guerrilla armed action has expanded sufficiently, armed propaganda missions will be carried out on a large scale: propaganda teams will have clearly developed open support of the institutions; the enemy system of target groups will be well infiltrated and preconditioned. At the point at which mass meetings are held, the internal cadres should begin discussions for the “fusion” of forces into an organization – this organization will be a “cover” source of our movement.

Any other target group will be aware that other groups are developing greater hostility to the government., the police and the traditional legal bases of authority. The guerrilla cadres tn that group – for example, teachers – will cultivate this awareness-building, making comments such as “So-and-so, who is a farmer, said that the members of his cooperative believe that the new economic policy is absurd, poorly planned and unfair to the farmers.”

When the awareness-building is increased, in the sense that other groups feel hostility towards the regime, the group discussions are held openly and our movement will be able to receive reports that the majority of their operatives are united in common, greater hostility against the regime. This will be developed and the order to fuse/join will come about. The fusion into a “cover” front is carried out thusly:

~ Internal cadres of our movement will meet with people such as presidents, leaders, and others, at organized meetings chaired by the group chief of our movement. Two or three escorts can assist the guerrilla cadre if it becomes necessary.

~ Publish a joint communique on this meeting, announcing the creation of the “cover” front, including names and signatures of the participants, and names of the organizations that they represent.

After releasing this communique, mass meetings should be initiated, which should have as a goal the destruction of the Sandinista control.


The development and control of the “cover” organizations in a guerrilla war will give our movement the ability to create the “whiplash” effect within the population, when the order for fusion is gives. When the infiltration and internal subjective control have been developed parallel with other guerrilla activities, a democratic guerrilla commander will literally be able to shake up the Sandinista structure and replace it.



In the last stages of a guerrilla war, mass concentrations and meetings are a powerful psychological tool for carrying out the mission. This section has as its objective giving the guerrilla student training on techniques for controlling mass concentrations and meetings in guerrilla warfare.

Infiltration of Guerrilla Cadres

Infiltration of guerrilla cadres (whether a member of our movement or outside element) in workers’ unions, student groups, peasant organizations, etc., preconditioning these groups for behavior within the masses, where they will have to carry proselytism for the instructional struggle in a clandestine manner.

~ Our psychological war team should prepare in advance a hostile mental attitude among the target groups so that at the decisive moment they can turn their furor into violence, demanding their rights that

have been trampled upon by the regime.

~ These preconditioning campaigns must be aimed at the political parties, professional organizations, students, laborers, the masses of the unemployed, the ethnic minorities and any other sector of society that is vulnerable or recruitable; this also includes the popular masses and sympathizers of our movement.

~ The basic objective of a preconditioning campaign is to create a negative “image” of the common enemy, e.g.:

Describe the managers of collective government entities as trying to treat the staff the way “slave foremen” do.

The police mistreat the people like the Communist “Gestapo” does. The government officials of National Reconstruction are puppets of Russian-Cuban imperialism.

Our psychological war cadres will create compulsive obsessions of a temporary nature in places of public concentrations, constantly hammering away at the themes pointed out or desired, the same as in group gatherings; in informal conversations expressing discontent; in addition passing out brochures and flyers, and writing editorial articles both on the radio and in newspapers, focused on the intention of preparing the mind of the people of the decisive moment, which will erupt in general violence.

In order to facilitate the preconditioning of the masses, we should often use phrases to make the people see, such as:

The taxes that they pay the government do not benefit the people at all, but rather are uses as a form of exploitation in order to enrich those governing.

Make it plain to the people that they have become slaves, that they are being exploited by privileged military and political groups.

~ The foreign advisers and their counseling programs are in reality “interveners” in our homeland, who direct the exploitation of the nation in accordance with the objectives of the Russian and Cuban imperialists, in order to turn our people into slaves of the hammer and sickle.

Selection of Appropriate Slogans

The leaders of the guerrilla warfare classify their slogans in accordance with the circumstances with the aim of mobilizing the masses in a wide scale of activities and at the highest emotional level.

When the mass uprising is being developed, our covert cadres should make partial demands, initially demanding, e.g. “We want food,” “We want freedom of worship,” “We want union freedom” – steps that will lead us toward the realization of the goals of our movement, which are: GOD, HOMELAND and DEMOCRACY.

If a lack of organization and command is noted in the enemy authority, and the people find themselves in a state of exaltation, advantage can be taken of this circumstance so that our agitators will raise the tone of the rallying slogans, taking them to the most strident point.

If the masses are not emotionally exalted, our agitators will continue with the “partial” slogans, and the demands will be based on daily needs, chaining them to the goals of our movement.

An example of the need to give simple slogans is that few people think in terms of millions of cordobas, but any citizen, however humble he may be, understands that a pair of shoes is necessary. The goals of the movement are of an ideological nature, but our agitators must realize that food – “bread and butter,” “the tortilla and red beans” – pull along the people, and it should be understood that this is their main mission.

Creation of Nuclei

This involves the mobilization of a specific number of agitators of the guerrilla organization of the place. This group will inevitably attract an equal number of curious persons who seek adventures and emotions, as well as those unhappy with the system of government. The guerrillas will attract sympathizers, discontented citizens as a consequence of the repression of the system. Each guerrilla subunit will be assigned specific tasks and missions that they should carry out.

Our cadres will be mobilized in the largest number possible, together with persons who have been affected by the Communist dictatorship, whether their possessions have been stolen from them, they have been incarcerated, or tortured, or suffered from any other type of aggression against them. They will be mobilized toward the areas where the hostile and criminal elements of the FSLN, CDS and others live, with an effort for them to be armed with clubs, iron rods, placards and if possible, small firearms, which they will carry hidden.

If possible, professional criminals will be hired to carry out specific selected “jobs.”

Our agitators will visit the places where the unemployed meet, as well as the unemployment offices, in order to hire them for unspecified “jobs.” The recruitment of these wage earners is necessary because a nucleus is created under absolute orders.

The designated cadres will arrange ahead of time the transportation of the participants, in order to take them to meeting places in private or public vehicles, boats or any other type of transportation.

Other cadres will be designated to design placards, flags and banners with different slogans or key words, whether they be partial, temporary or of the most radical type.

Other cadres will be designated to prepare flyers, posters, signs and pamphlets to make the concentration more noticeable. This material will contain instructions for the participants and will also serve against the regime.

Specific tasks will be assigned to others, in order to create a “martyr” for the cause, taking the demonstrators to a confrontation with the authorities, in order to bring about uprisings or shootings, which will cause the death of one or more persons, who would become the martyrs, a situation that should be made use of immediately against the regime, in order to create greater conflicts.

Ways to Lead an Uprising at Mass Meetings

It can be carried out by means of a small group of guerrillas infiltrated within the masses, who will have the mission of agitating, giving the impression that there are many of them and that they have popular backing. Using the tactics of a force of 200-300 agitators, a demonstration can be created in which 10,00-20,00 persons take part.

The agitation of the masses in a demonstration is carried out by means of sociopolitical objectives. In this action one or several people of our convert movement should take part, highly trained as mass agitators, involving innocent persons, in order to bring about an apparent spontaneous protest demonstration. They will lead all of the concentration to the end of it.

Outside Commando. This element stays out of all activity, located so that they can observe from where they are the development of the planned events. As a point of observation, they should look for the tower of a church, a high building, a high tree, the highest level of the stadium or an auditorium, or any other high place.

Inside Commando. This element will remain within the multitude. Great importance should be given to the protection of the leaders of these elements. Some placards or large allusive signs should be used to designate the Commando Posts and to provide signals to the subunits. This element will avoid placing itself in places where fights or incidents come about after the beginning of the demonstration.

These key agitators of ours will remain within the multitude. The one responsible for this mission will assign ahead of time the agitators to remain near the placard that he will indicate to them, in order to give protection to the placard from any contrary element. In that way the commander will know where our agitators are, and will be able to send orders to change passwords or slogans, or any other unforeseen thing, and even eventually to incite violence if he desires it.

At this stage, once the key cadres have been dispersed, they should place themselves in visible places such as by signs, lampposts, and other places which stand out.

Our key agitators should avoid places of disturbances, once they have taken care of the beginning of the same.

Defense Posts. These elements will act as bodyguards in movement, forming a ring of protection for the chief, protecting him from the police and the army, or helping him to escape if it should be necessary. They should be highly disciplined and will react only upon a verbal order from the chief.

In case the chief participates in a religious concentration, a funeral or any other type of activity in which they have to behave in an organized fashion, the bodyguards will remain in the ranks very close to the chief or to the placard or banner carriers in order to give them full protection.

The participants in this mission should be guerrilla combatants in civilian clothes, or hired recruits who are sympathizers in our struggle and who are against the oppressive regime.

These members must have a high discipline and will use violence only on the verbal orders of the one in charge of them.

Messengers. They should remain near the leaders, transmitting orders between the inside and outside commandos. They will use communication radios, telephones, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, or move on foot or horseback, taking paths or trails to shorten distances. Adolescents (male and female) are ideal for this mission.

Shock Troops. These men should be equipped with weapons (Knives, razors, chains, clubs, bludgeons) and should march slightly behind the innocent and gullible participants. They should carry their weapons hidden. They will enter into action only as “reinforcements” if the guerrilla agitators are attacked by the police. They will enter the scene quickly, violently and by surprise, in order to distract the authorities, in this way making possible the withdrawal or rapid escape of the inside commando.

Carriers of Banners and Placards. The banners and placards used in demonstrations or concentrations will express the protests of the population, but when the concentration reaches its highest level of euphoria or popular discontent, our infiltrated persons will make use of the placards against the regime, which we manage to infiltrate in a hidden fashion, an don them slogans or key words will be expressed to the benefit of our cause. The one responsible for this mission will assign the agitators ahead of time to keep near the placard of any contrary element. In that way, the comandante will know where the agitators are, and will be able to send orders to change slogans and eventually to incite violence if he wishes.

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