72763.2240 at compuserve.com
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.
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
>>U.S.-MEXICO MILITARY TIES: UNEXAMINED AND GROWING
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
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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