International Solidarity-Hueys

Jon Flanders 72763.2240 at
Fri Aug 9 16:59:41 MDT 1996

 >>  How do you expect people to campaign for a "Yankees Go Home" position
vis-a-vis Peru when at the same time they go around telling the masses that
the US is in Peru helping to protect civilization from the Peruvian
"Pol-pots", the "criminal Stalinists", etc?  Aren't the masses more likely to
ignore such campaign even if it was possible for such people to agree to bring
it to the front burner of their own political activity? <<Adolpho O.

  Jon Flanders:

  First, I agree that some progress has been made in clarifying the issues
around Peru. I think there was some unnecessary static at first, when you
burst on the scene. We are all new to debate and discussion in cyberspace, and
it is easy to put it in the eighth notch, to use an railroad term, when the
fourth would do nicely.

  You, and others of your tendency, assumed more hostility than actually
existed to your views, and lines in the sand were drawn prematurely. Since
demonization, as you put it, of the PCP has piled up in the world press, it
will take a while and some patience to make your case. In the early days of
the Vietnam war, the NLF and VietCong had a similar problem.

  In the case of the Vietnam War, those of us who came to the US Out position,
did not couple it with denunciations of the Vietnamese. The liberals denounced
the Vietnamese while calling for negotiations that would save a position for
the US. Most people are full of contradictions, actually, and I am sure the
great demonstrations against the war were full of *unclarified* souls.

  The unequivocal anti-interventionists had differing assessments on the
politics of the Vietnamese, but united against the war. Peru, Mexico etc. will
be no different.

  I am aware right now of US plans to send ten Huey helicopters to Turkey, and
fifty to Mexico. How many to Peru? Columbia? These are weapons aimed straight
at peasant rebels in third world countries. Surely here in cyberspace, where a
fuller and more complete discussion can take place than in any newspaper, we
can carry on in such a way that you, Hugh Rodwell and Louis Proyect can agree
that stopping such genocidal plans can be worked on together while debating
politics in a civil way.

 ps. my wife, who speaks and reads Spanish fluently, is reading Vargas-Llosa's
"Light in the Andes" I shrink just thinking about your reaction to that


 By Norman Solomon / Creators Syndicate        Media Beat, May 16, 1996

 When the United States and Mexico went to war 150 years ago, the
 conflict stirred fierce arguments north of the Rio Grande. Controversy
 raged as Congress approved a declaration of war on May 13, 1846.

 Most newspapers endorsed the war with Mexico. The New York Herald
 claimed, "It is a part of our destiny to civilize that beautiful
 country." But in the same city, Tribune editor Horace Greeley
 demanded: "Is not Life miserable enough, comes not Death soon enough,
 without resort to the hideous enginery of War?"

 The Mexican war split the ranks of literary notables as well. Poet
 Walt Whitman was enthusiastic: "Mexico must be thoroughly chastised!
 ... America knows how to crush, as well as how to expand!" In
 contrast, Henry David Thoreau protested the war by going to jail
 rather than paying a poll tax.

 Today, far from clashing on the battlefield, the two nations are
 engaged in extensive military teamwork. The growing martial alliance
 is not debated in the United States, where few people even know it

 News watchers remain in the dark while the U.S. government provides
 Mexican armed forces with high-tech military equipment and training to
 suppress Indian peasants. The aid has grave consequences for human

 Despite a flurry of news coverage after indigenous Mayans launched an
 uprising in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas at the start of 1994,
 the U.S. role has stayed in the shadows.

 Yet, in his award-winning book "Rebellion From the Roots," journalist
 John Ross cites Bell-212 transport helicopters obtained from the
 United States: "There is little doubt that the U.S. aircraft was used
 by the Mexican military to wage war on the Indians of Chiapas." At the
 outset, Ross writes, those helicopters "were utilized by the military
 to ferry prisoners and the dead."

 When more than 100 Indians died in early January 1994, much of the
 lethal firepower came from the sky. Two months later, a Zapatista
 guerrilla leader known as Commandante Humberto told reporters in the
 town of San Cristobal: "We want the government of the United States to
 retire its helicopters because they are being used to repress the
 Mexican people."

 But, instead of pulling back from military entanglement, Washington is
 now plunging ahead. In late April, Defense Secretary William Perry
 huddled with his Mexican counterpart, Gen. Enrique Cervantes Aguirre,
 to "explore ways in which our militaries could cooperate better."

 The pair worked out an unprecedented deal. This year, the U.S.
 Department of Defense will give Mexico's air force about 50
 helicopters--Hueys--originally developed for combat. Delivery of
 the first dozen is set for early summer.

 Pentagon sources assert that this is the Defense Department's first
 direct transfer of aircraft to the Mexican military. "For us, it's a
 very big story, very important," says Jose Carreno, a Washington
 correspondent for the Mexico City daily El Universal. "We have been
 covering it. For whatever reason, the U.S. news media have not."

 In theory, the Huey helicopters will primarily serve Mexico's antidrug
 program. In practice, the Mexican command can do whatever it wants
 with them. "They don't have any strings attached," a top Mexican
 official explained on April 24. In any event, the copters are sure to
 strengthen the air power of a government that's still on a war footing
 with indigenous rebels.

 Political bloodshed persists in the Chiapas region, where Indian
 guerrillas receive wide support from a native population that has
 endured lifetimes of poverty and racial discrimination--along with
 violent repression from Mexican police and government troops.

 Amnesty International charges that human rights violators commit
 heinous crimes with "impunity" in Mexico. New documents from Human
 Rights Watch show that "government officials arbitrarily detained,
 tortured, and forced confessions from suspects" during a crackdown in
 Chiapas last year. Torture and killings of peaceful protesters also
 occurred elsewhere in the country.

 The latest independent reports make for grisly reading. But perhaps
 most upsetting is a statement by Human Rights Watch: "As it has in the
 past, the Clinton administration went out of its way to avoid
 criticizing the Mexican government on human rights issues."

 Apparently, the White House is convinced that few of us will notice
 its shameful silence--or consider the dire implications as the
 United States widens its military pipeline into Mexico.<<

  E-mail from: Jonathan E. Flanders, 09-Aug-1996

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