Page4 Thursday, February 11 1982 The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Repression in El Salvador
Vol. XCII, No. 109
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
as U. S. military
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
THE UNIVERSITY, through its dis-
regard for precautionary health
measures, carelessly brought the
potential for asbestos exposure to
every student and worker who last
month walked through the -Michigan
Union or the Frieze Building.
Fear spread quickly late in January
when it was speculated that
renovations in the two University
buildings were uncovering possibly
It was believed that the clouds of
dust produced by new constructin ac-
tivities contained asbestos, a
The complaints of asbestos, first
published January 30 in the Daily,
sparked a belated University in-
vestigation. Officials, who neglected
to look for asbestos before the
remodeling, decided that late testing
was preferable to no testing and
rushed buildings samples off to the
University's Department of Environ-
ment and Occupational Health and
As fear and speculation on the
presence of asbestos grew, the state
stepped in and began its own inquiry.
The University, meanwhile, hastened
to amend its negligence by instituting
safety measures, such as sealing off
potentially contaminated areas of both
buildings, a move that was enacted a
F-RQM ALL SIDES the Reagan
administration's proposed budget
finally is receiving the harsh criticism
it deserves. The time is thus ripe for
Congress to transform this criticism
into political action and change the
budget proposals before they become
Next fiscal year's budget has been
announced, and its pending deficit,
which was supposed to shrink under
Reagan's plan, has ballooned to $91.5
billion. The president discarded his in-
famous promises of a balanced budget
by 1984 some time ago, but the hopes
for minor progress toward that goal
were still plausible only last week.
Now this goal is nowhere in sight.
The ,problem behind Reagan's
budget quandary is a simple one. The
administration cannot, as it has at-
tempted to do with its new budget, in-
crease military spending by $40 billion
and at the same time cut taxes. The
numbers for a balanced budget simply
don't ladd, up. Federal revenues are
decreasing due. to tax breaks while
military expenditures are increasing.
A budget deficit was inevitable.
Earlier, the administration had
hoped that slashing federal aid
programs would compensate for lost
tax revenues and increased military
spending, but the aid cuts necessary to
balance the budget would border on
bit too late for comfort.
The tests, however, revealed no
asbestos in the Frieze Building
materials, but asbestos was uncovered
in the Union pipe insulation. Univer-
sity health officials claimed that the
news was fortunate, since construction
had not yet reached these pipes.
But this seemingly happy conclusion
cannot excuse the , University's
careless handling of the matter. The
precautions now in effect were long
overdue. Even more frightening,
asbestos testing might never have oc-
curred if public outcry had not prodded
University officials into action.
The University could avoid
repeating such needless danger to
students and workers by forming and-
adhering to a definitive safety policy
for its construction sites. Before
knocking down any more walls, the
University should make use of its own
environmental testing centers and
make certain it endangers no more of
the Ann Arbor community.
The University's negligence has not
produced substantial harm during this
asbestos scare, but unless such blun-
ders are prevented in the future,
serious damage to the population's
health could occur. A strict con-
struction health code is needed to
assure that dangerous cases such as
this one will never happen again.
Ramon Cartdona is a member of the El
Salvadoran teacher's union, a rebel labor
group that is closely affiliated with the
guerrilla Revolutionary Democratic Front
forces. Cartdona, who was born in El
Salvador, appeared on campus as part of
the Central American Teach-in this
weekend and conducted a workshop on
current agricultural conditions in El
Cartdona spoke with Daily Opinion
Page Editor Julie Hinds about the extent
To peoplewho aren't involved in political ac-
Cartdona: Yes. The recent massacre of
nineteen civilians in one of the suburbs of San
Salvador, from the information that I have, is
that troops just came in. They came in, chose
different places, and rounded people up at
random. They do this because they need to
terrorize the population. Whenever there are
suburbs or rural areas, where there is
believed to be sympathy for the opposition
forces, they do these kinds of things, whether
a person is a member of an opposition forcq or
not. It is a means of intimidating and
terrorizing the rest of the villages who in fact
do nothing to help the government's op-
Daily: Have there been any agricultural
Cartdona: There have been several tries, in
1976, and other times, but the big landowners
refused reforms. When Duarte came in he
announced three phases of reforms. The first
phase carried out and appropriated about 15
percent of the land for redistribution, but af-
inhumane. The social services cuts
already in effect and the cuts proposed
in Reagan's New Federalism payment
switch are a shoddy excuse for passing
the budget buck. The poor may not be
able to survive under the ad-
ministration's proposals and even-
tually the consequences will be felt.
Yet Reagan stands by his plan.
"Before the budget came out you could
hear the sounds of knees jerking all
over Washington. Despite all the talk,
there is a deafening silence on alter-
natives," Reagan said yesterday in
Iowa. The Democrats should either put
up or shut up, he added.
So now the Democrats must come up
with an alternative, and they must do it
fast'. There already has been one
Democratic proposal for a freeze on
federal spending until 1984, which
might reduce the deficit to $40 billion
by that year. The initial reaction to this
alternative has been reserved, but
legislators in Washington realize that a
better budget strategy than the current
Reagan plan is necessary.
It can only be hoped that our elected
leaders in Congress will revise
Reagan's budget with sensitivity
and intelligence. Reagan's budget
plan, a shameful political ploy that
ignores economic realities, will
hopefully be opposed and defeated by
responsible Congressional leadership.
of the government's repression in El
Salvador and the aims and purposes of
the revolutionary guerrillas.
Daily: What is the current strength of the
Revolutionary Democratic forces? Will they
be strong enough to take over the existing
Cartdona: We think we could if it weren't
for massive U.S. aid-in terms of training
Salvadoran troops, sending military advisors,
and sending millions of dollars of military
aid. Now we're getting $55 million more in
U.S. aid. Remember we're talking about a
country of five million. That's a lot of aid. In
terms of Salvadorans who will die, it will be
For our military strength, we've been
fighting since 1970, so we've developed the
means necessary, the confidence of the
people, the support of the people to carry out
what we call a successful people's war. It's
not an isolated war; the army lives with the
people, mingles with the people. In that sense,
we cannot be destroyed. If we are to be
destroyed, Robert White, former U.S. am-
bassador to El Salvador, said himself that 35
percent of the population will have to be
Daily: Secretary of State Haig recently said
the United States would do "whatever is
necessary" to support the existing gover-
nment of El Salvador's President Duarte. Do
you think U.S. troops may be introduced into
Cartdona: We're really afraid of that. But
with people like Haig, like Reagan, and others
we're truly afraid that when it is seen that
elections serve no purpose, when the junta
breaks down militarily, they (Duarte's
government) might in a desperate move in-
volve other Latin American dictatorships,
and eventually U.S. troops, unless the people
in the United States create an opposition
movement to stop such intervention.
Daily: Reagan certified to Congress that
the Duarte government has made im-
provements concerning human rights? Is that
Cartdona: No. If that were true, how come
thirty, forty, fifty people are still being killed
just within a 24 hour period?
And killed in the most atrocious man-
ner-multilations, wholesale massacres. No,
on the contrary, there has been an increase of
the killing of civilians by the army and by its
Daily: How far does the repression extend?
fine, but they will have to pay taxes and pay
due wages and they will have to allow
workers the freedom to organize, which up to
this moment they do not allow, We're talking
about settting- up an economic base whereby
the workers can enjoy the benefits of produc-
tion. We want to involve the people, not just,
let them vote or express an opinion once ina,
while, but make them organize the changes in,
their own communities.
In foreign realtions, we want to keep
relations with all countries of the world, but";
be non-aligned with any superpower and be in.
favor of dentente.
Daily: When was the last time you were in
Cartdona:In January of last year. In Mar
ch my name appeared in one of the leading
newspapers linked with that of what the
government calls "terrorists." Then I knew I
was irn danger if I went back, for when youi
name appears in the newspapers it's as if you
are on a government hit list.
ter that for three years very few land titles
have been reclaimed for the peasants. And
those who have been given land are said to be
members of paramilitary organizations. The
land reforms have been used to occupy the
countryside and spread the reign of terror.
If Duarte really meant to help the landless
peasants, he would have implemented phase
two, which involved the redistribution of 50
percent of private lands. Maybe that would
have helped. That would have broken the
strength of the huge landowners, and the cof-
fee plantation owners. But land reforms have
not been established and have, as Duarte
said, been postponed indefinitely. The land
reform has been a sham, only created to give
the junta some legitimacy abroad.
Daily: What sort of government would the
Revolutionary Democratic Front set up if'
they were to gain power. What changes do
Cartdona: What we want to set up is a
pluralistic democracy with a mixed economic
base. Deep and profound structural changes
have to take place in the society. One of the
most fundamental changes involves the land.
We must stop two percent of the people from
controlling 60 percent of the land, often the
best land. And the workers in urban areas of-
ten receive very little money. Not even
Daily: What were your reasons for joining
the teacher's union and becoming involved,
with the Revolutionary Democratic Front?
Cartdona: I was attending a university in 195
at the time El Salvador was holding the Miss
Universe pageant and wasting thousands of
dollars on it. There was a student protest over
spending all that money; over 30 people were
killed. It was one of the first massacres in San.
Salvador. I was shocked by it. That got me in-
volved in politics.
Daily: What about your recent tours of
college campuses. What is the mood of
students toward El Salvador?
Cartdona: I've found a very bad attitude
among students toward Reagan's policies.
I've been to 28 states and I've found sym-
pathetic audiences. It's evident that people
are saying no to U.S. involvement in El
Salvador. The Reagan administration is sup-
porting a brutal, criminal dictatorship. The
way that the United States is acting militarily
in El Salvador, the conditions exist to have
another war like the one in Vietnam where the
troops may land but they won't get out next
week. They'll stay there a long, long time. We
in El Salvador don't want that to happen
because it will mean more human beings
killed, not only El Salvadorans, but North
Americans as well.
enough to subsist on.
porations want to stay
There will be an in-
in El Salvador, that's
Dialogue is a weekly feature of the
Daily''s Opinion Page and appears every
By Robert Lence
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Hands off A meric
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