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October 06, 1976 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-10-06

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El e :4d3ta Baly
Eighty-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Ml 48109






Wednesday, October 6, 1976

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Debate two Debate one




TER will be debating again tonight,
this time about defense and foreign
policies, and there is no overriding
reason to suspect that the candidates
will be any less cardboard than in the
first political TV game show of Sep-
tember 23. The debates have not yet
proven to be debates. So far, all the
two candidates have done amounts to
an exchange of carefully prepared
statements, providing for a rather dis-
appointing spectacle if not a pitiful
They'll be talking about real issues
tonight, but Carter is still going to
promise a new hope for America while
Ford advocates conservatism and sta-
tus quoism - probably resorting to his
ridiculously simple-minded placebo
statement, "We are at peace!" Neither
of these approaches are convincing. By
them, the debates are just legitimized
ad-hype if the first one has indeed set
the pattern for the rest.
Ford and Carter's emotional thrusts
are unexciting, uncreative, formula-
sales packages based on buzz words
and other routines generally associat-
ed with selling cars. This second per-
sonality contest based upon who can
make relative rhetoric sound the most
sincere - and the other sound very
bad -- is both a shame and an affront
to the people of this country.
Nevertheless, watch the second big,
gloriously anachronistic debate. May-
be we'll be surprised to learn that Ford
and Carter have smelled the coffee of
dissatisfaction and sensibly reordered
what they have to say, as dubious a
proposition as that may be. If they
haven't - which is more likely - the
least we can do is fire off a few letters
to our representatives demanding
democratic realism of our appointed,
annointed or elected officials, esT)(-il-
ly those trying to get elected.
Ford and Carter may surprise us by
coming on straight, and the world
might start spinning in the other di-
rection. If that sounds cynical, It is no
worse in proportion to the insult the
debates, as they are now, inflict upon
our system.
Watch 'em and weep and try to keep
your fingers out of the Quaalude jar.

James Carter

ON SEPTEMBER 21, the normal quiet
of Washington's Embassy Row was
shattered by a time bomb which killed
Dr. Orlando Letelier, former Chilean
Ambassador to the United States, and
his Institute for Policy Studies colleague
Ronnie Moffit, Dr. Letelier, a political
moderate, had been deprived of his citi-
zenship only days before, thanks largely
to his efforts to discourage foreign as-
sistance to the repressive miltary gov-
ernment of General Augusto Pinochet.
However much the violence surprised
Washingtonians, its intended victim was
prepared for it. "They are going to kill
me," he had told a New York Times
reporter some months earlier.
The death of Ms. Moffitt, an Ameri-
can, and the extension of terrorism to
the very capital of the United States has
provided us with a taste of what, for
millions of Latin Americans, is regular-
lv - administered bitter medicine. Politi-
cal murders, torture, and imprisonment
without charge have become the rule,
rather than the exception, in much of
the Spanish and Portuguese - speaking
western hemisphere. According to Unit-
ed Nationsestimates, the whereabouts
of more than 8,000 Chileans who "disap-
peared" during the September, 1973,
coup are still unknown. Some 360,000
others have been fired from their jobs
as a result of political or union activities,
including a great number of the coun-
try's academics. The entire Economics
faculty of the Catholic University in
Santiago, 90 per cent of whom are mem-
bers of the conservative Christian Dem-
ocratic Party, have been discharged. In-
fants are routinely taken from parents
tinder pressure to provide testimony
against opponents of the regime. The
terror respects no barriers, it is di-
rected at anyone, old or young, leftist
or centrist, male or female, who ob-
jects to the tactics of the military junta.
While Americans have heard a great
deal about the abuse of human rights in
Chile, less is known of equally-dreadful
conditions in other Latin American na-
tions. Argentina is currently at the
mercy of roving "death squads" which
Frank Viriano is a graduate student in
the Program in American Culture and a
ember of the AnnA Arbor Committee
for Hluman Rights in Latin Amnerica.

account for nearly 2,000 political assas-
sinations annually. Of late, their chief
targets have been Argentine Jews. With
the approval of the government, explicit-
ly anti-semitic propaganda is distributed
in the schools. Some students are re-
quired to read Hitler's Mein Kampf. One
group has actually declared "total war
against the Jews." Since March 24, Con-
gress has been closed, political parties
banned, union membership made illegal,
and 10,500 people incarcerated.
In Brazil, which boasts Latin Ameri-
ca's most robust economy, with a GNP
of more than $100 billion, artists and in-
tellectuals who call attention to the
ironic presence of the continent's largest
population of the desperately poor, have
reason to fear for their lives. Recently,
the entire staff of Rio's Museum of Mod-
ern Art was arrested for such activities
- or simple association with them. The
Museum's film collection was destroyed
by police because it included the works
of Russian cinema pioneer Sergei Eisen-
stein. Vladimir Herzog, news director of
the state-owned educational television
network, committed suicide after intense
grilling by security officials.
IN URUGUAY, Paraguay, Peru, Co-
lumbia, Mexico, and elsewhere, efforts
to improve the conditions of dislocated
Indian tribes and peasants bring harsh
penalties. Seven students who protested
the lavish expenditures of the govern-
ment of El Salvador on the Miss Uni-
verse Contest, while famine is the daily
lot of many, were publicly executed. The
list of atrocities goes on and on, most of
it well documented by the United Na-
tions Commission on Human Rights and
by the Organization of American States.
The offending governments are of wide-
ly-divergent economic philosophies:
some, like Peru, are of the left: others,
like Chile, reactionary. Common to them
all, is disdain for the basic right to hu-
man dignity which citizens of the United
States and Canada take for granted.
Sympathy for the plight of the abused
anywhere should be sufficient to arouse
deep concern among Americans. There
are, sadly, other compelling reasons for
us to take belated notice of develop-
ments in Latin America. The hard truth
is that such conditions could not prevail
without the tacit - which is not to say
inactive - support of the United States
government, and financial encourage-
ment from American business. We can

only guess how painful a recent special
report in Business Week must have been
for exiled Chileans, Argentines, and oth-
ers. "There is good news coming out of
Latin America for the hundreds of
U. S. and other foreign companies with
a stake in this vast region," the report
began. And later: "Chile is the model,
in purest form, of the new strategy of
economic development based on market
competition free enterprise, and an 'op-
ening to the exterior."' Dow Chemical,
which gave us napalm and defoliant war-
fare in Vietnam, calls it "one of the
world's major growth opportunities."
ITT, cited by the Congress of the United
States as a major contributor to the
chaos which destroyed the elected gov-
ernment of Salvador Allende, admits to
intense involvement in the internal poli-
tics of many Latin nations. The leaders
of the present regime in Chile, however,
seem quite undisturbed. "To be per-
fectly frank, they have never brought
up the subject," says ITT Latin America
vice-president J. W. Guilfoyle.
U. S. Congressional hearings also re-
vealed that the Central Intelligence Ag-
ency poured at least $400,000 into efforts
to dislodge Dr. Allende and promote in-
stability. The U. S. Treasury Depart-
ment's Export-Import Bank withheld
credit from Chile during the Allende
years, and U. S. Agency for Internation-
al Development funding was cancelled.
Assistance from private banks depend-
ing on U. S. loan guarantees fell from
$220 million to $35 million. By contrast,
combined support from foreign sources
in the eighteen months which followed
the military takeover has amounted to
a staggering $622 million.
MOST AMERICANS can plead ignor-
ance, perhaps, in defense of their half-
hearted response to a tragedy for which
their own political and economic leaders
bear significant responsibility. The news
media, which have traditionally consid-
ered Latin American affairs only when,
as in Chilehthey are impossible to ig-
nore, have shed far too little light on the
rise of terrorism to our south. We must
respond to it now as a fait accompli.
Nevertheless, our response is crucial,
and our belated confrontation with the
facts important.
In the week of November 14-20, the
Ann Arbor Committee for Human Rights
in Latin America, a politically-non-par-
tisan organization of students, faculty,

and members of the community, will
sponsor a teach-in on "Terror in Latin
America." The event is designed to meet
the problem of ignorance head-on. Inter-
nationally - renowned experts on Latin
American politics and economics, exiled
artists and intellectuals, representatives
of the United Nations and other concern-
ed groups will be in Ann Arbor for a
series of lectures, workshops, and panel
discussions treating the crisis. Partici-
pants will examine such topics as the
role of the churches in Latin American
politics, the prevalence of torture, the
plight of women and minority groups,
economic factors in the rise of totalitar-
ian government, restraint of academic
freedom, and much more.
It is hoped that the teach-in will call
attention, perhaps on a national scale,
to the seriousness of the crisis in Latin
America and provide concerned Amer-
icans with opportunities to help ameli-
orate conditions there. Despite the
harshness of their methods, repressive
regimes have proven sensitive to inter-
national protest. Well-coordinated cam-
paigns have resulted in the release of
some political prisoners. In addition, the
legislative means to exert American
pressure on offending nations was passed
by Congress this year. American assist-
ance may now be revoked for any gov-
ernment which abuses the human rightly
of its own citizens. If the law is to be
effectively enforced, .however, Ameri-
cans must make their concern known
to their representatives in Washington.
The teach-in marks an ambiguous an-
niversary for the University of Michi-
gan. Just a decade ago, the nation's first
teach-in on the War in Vietnam was held
here. Then ,as now, the media portray-
ed American students as apathetic, self-
centered, and interested only in "doing
their own thing." Within two years, that
image had undergone a rather complete
Then, as now, the lack of interest was
related to a lack of knowledge. Our ig-
norance of the realities of Southeast Asia
heled forge a disastrous commitment
to governments which had little popu-
lar support, which systematically de-
nrived people of their rights as human
beings, and which indulged in the most
appalling sorts of political corruption.
Will we learn anything from our own re
cent history? Or will we make the samo
awful mistake again?

Gerald Ford

News: Bill Turque, Tim Schick, Stu
McConnell, Liz Kaplan, Liz Slowik
Editorial Page: Rob Meachum, Tom
Arts Page: Lois Josimovich
Photo Technician: Chris Schneider

Letters should be typed
and limited to 400 words.
The Daily reserves the
right to edit letters for
length and grammar.


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Pacific News Service
in the United Nations en-
clave here, was not an unusual
one. Guests included diplomats,
journalists, university profes-
sors, officials of foundations and
several of those chic, thirtyish
women who are the diplomatic
equivalents of snow bunnies.
In one corner, two Cuban dip-
lomats were engaged in a heat-
ed argument. What was unusual
was that they were arguing
with each other, rather than
with Americans. Whether the
Cubans were aware of it or
not, their amicable but lively
debate had a highly favorable
effect on the other guests.
"I've visited many commu-
nist countries," said one U.S.
foreign policy expert, "and you
just never see a pair of Rus-
sian or Chinese officials dis-
agree with each other in pub-
lic. I find the Cubans likeable
and impressive."
While United Nations member-
ship is important to Cuba,
Cuba's New York mission is ab-
solutely vital to its growing dia-
logue with Americans - a dia-
logue that is more lively than
ever, despite the fact that the
two countries have had no dip-
lomatic relations for more than
fifteen years.
The objective of Cuba's dip-
lomacy in New York is so clear
that not even the Cubans them-
selves make any secret of it.
Though the official course of
U.S.-Cuban detente has been
blocked following the Cuban
military intervention in Angola,
an unofficial, behind-the-scenes
Cuban effort to promote renew-
ed diplomatic relations is flour-
FROM THEIR UN mission,
Cuban diplomats armed with
invitations to Havana have been
seeking out Americans they be-
lieve will be influential policy-
makers after the presidential
election, whoever wins.
As a result, the trickle of im-
-t- -1 T C -;ctn o i,,-

sonally conservative, even when
they favor major liberalizations
in U.S. foreign policy, and there-
fore their personal reactions are
especially interesting. Most such
visitors dislike the communist-
style austerity of Cuba. But
they are greatly impressed by
Cuba's social accomplishments,
and they remark again and
again about the absence of se-
cret police, the lack of fear
among Cubans, their friendli-
ness and their frankness, even
in political discussions with
still would prefer a liberal de-
mocracy like Venezuela," said
one such visitor, Robert Bond,
who is a research fellow at
New York's Council on Foreign
Relations. But, he added, "if
one is to choose between the
dictatorship in Chile and the dic-
tatorship in Cuba, I would pre-
fer Cuba. Castro has not only
given the people bread. He has
given them dignity."
Even during the darkest days
of the U.S.-Cuba confrontation,
Americans and Cubans retained
much in common for the sim-
ple reason that historically no
other Latin American country,
not even Mexico, has been so
close to the United States. The
expertise of Cuba's America
watchers clearly remains great
and the Cubans seem correctly
to have recognized that they
can only gain by giving Ameri-
cans a largely unimpeded look
at themselves and the socialist
society they have built since
Castro entered Havana in 1959.
Why, nonetheless, are the Cu-
bans so eager to re-establish
diplomatic relations with a coun-
try which historically has ex-
nloited Cuba, and which, since
1960, has done everything from
blockade the country to conspir-
ing to have its national leader
bans point out that it was nev-
er Cuba that broke off dinlo-
matic relations with the United
States. or withdrew from the

borne Pell. "Yet in spite of the
total independence they now
have from America, we are
still terribly important to them.
It is almost as though by re-
establishing ties with Washing-
ton they would gain the final,
ultimate legitimacy."
Cuban officials frankly state
that they would benefit from re-
newed trade ties with the U.S.
and from access to American
technology. And in return, high
ranking Cuban officials, in mar-
athon conversations with visit-
ing Americans, have offered
the possibility of what once
were some unthinkable conces-
recently returning from Cuba,
these include an end to the
propaganda war with the U.S.,
some form of reconciliation with
the Cuban exile community in
America, which amounts to ten
per cent of the entire Cuban
population, an end to Cuban
pressure at the UN and else-
where for Puerto Rican inde-
pendence and even discussing
the question of compensation
for nationalized U.S. holdings
in Cuba.
Cuban officials, while strong-
ly defending the Angola inter-
vention, state that it was a
product of unique circumstanc-
es, among them Dr. Kissinger's
own unwarranted hostility to the
MPLA. They point out that they
have counselled the government
of Angola to establish diplomat-
ic relations with all nations, in-
cluding the U.S.
And they express the hope
that Dr. Kissinger's present Af-
rican diplomacy will succeed to
the extent that another Angola-
type situation - and hence an-
other need for Cuban interven-
tion - will not arise again.
The question cannot help pos-
ing itself: Is the Cuban eager-
ness for relations with the U.S.
a function of the same dissatis-
faction with the Soviet Union
that ultimately has driven coun-
tries as diverse as Ghana,
Egypt and China into better
relations with Washington?

Russian presence, while very
important, is discreet, respect-
ful of Cuban sovereignty and
that in unusually frank discus-
sions with Cubans no trace of
irritation with the Soviet Union
emerged. "Of course, they can
never forget what Khrushchev
did during the missile crisis,"
one such American remarked.
"But there also is the fact that
Moscow itself favors Cuban-
U.S. detente."
Both the Cuban mission in
New York and the foreign min-
istry in Havana are watching
the U.S. presidential election
carefully, and have attempted
in a low-key but consistent man-
ner to build bridges to the Car-
ter camp.
The Cuban effort already may
have enjoyed some important
successes. At a recent private
but high-level meeting at the
Center for Inter-American Re-
lations in New York, recent vis-
itors to Havana discussed their
There was no apparent hos-
tility to the idea or re-establish-
ing relations with Cuba at the
meeting. Indeed, the atmosphere
was one of guarded but real
optimism that U.S.-Cuban rela-
tions sooner rather than later
can be restored on a mutually
respectful basis.
ly say that they have no illu-
sions that the road back to cor-
rect relations with the U.S. will
be an easy one, whether Ford
or Carter wins in November.
And they correctly point out that
U.S. concessions on the Pana-
ma Canal may complicate any
eventual U.S.-Cuban rapproche-
ment by making either Ford or
Carter even more reluctant to
permit an eventual return of
the U.S. Guantanamo base to
Cuban sovereignty.
But the Cubans are equally
convinced that their patient, low
key good neighbor policy to-
ward individual members of the
U.S. foreign policy community
is successfully building a do-
mestic appreciation of Cuba's
accomplishments, and friendly


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