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March 29, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-29

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Page 4

Tuesday, March 29, 1983

The Michigan Daily

Nicaragua. brews its own socialism

By Matthew Levine
ESTELLI, Nicaragua - Nicaragua functions
at many levels. What concerns most U.S.
policy-makers is the "Marxist-Leninist ten-
dencies" of the current Junta of the Gover-
nment for National Reconstruction (JGRN)
and the "single party power" enjoyed by the
National Directorate of the Sandinista National
Liberation Front (FSLN).
Viewed as a top-down bureaucracy, the
FSLN, which is composed only of three San-,
dinist leaders, is seen as the single, ultimate
power over the political and economic policies
of a "totalitarian" government. The FSLN
does indeed have considerable governmental
influence, but a trip to the countryside, where
most Nicaraguans work and live, can help
manifest the extent of this Sandinist om-
AT THE COMPLEJO Darayli, a state farm
in the Province of Estelli less than 50 kms. from
the Honduran border, over 400 coffee workers
live and work at over 3,500 ft., placed more
than five hours travel over mountainous roads
from the central Sandinist government in
This "State Production Unit" (UPE) is under,
the direct auspices of the Nicaraguan Institute

for Agrarian Reform, located in the nearby
shell-shocked village of Estelli. The UPE is a'
complex of coffee, citrus, pine, and cattle far-
ms centrally run from a bi-level roughsawn
The farmhouse has a history of its own. It
was built in the twenties by the U.S. Marines
occupying this rich northern territory. It was
equipped with barracks, an armory, stables
and a torture chamber in the long and narrow
basement. A trip downstairs still finds the
metal rings where the shackles were strung
from the rafters to hold their prisoners im-
mobilized and spread-eagled.
A.C. SANDINO, a national hero and the
namesake of the Sandinistas, was a
Nicaraguan general who would not submit to
the presence of these U.S. troops in the late
twenties and early thirties. He is said to have
tried to free his crucified companions on at
least one occasion. Bullet holes are still evident
in the walls and a quick strut through the
roughsawn planked interior or through the
dark basement brings on a vivid picture of how
things might have been on one of those early
summer mornings.
Regulations are set by the JGRN for all cof-
fee farms; state, private, and collective.
Alcohol is prohibited, and guidelines are set for
minimum wages and nutrition. Although these

typewritten rules are clearly posted for all to
see on a bearing wall by the front door, they are
certainly not followed to the letter. The high
level Sandinist Directorate seems as far away
as to where the coffee is to be exported to, and
the UPE administrator and his staff bear the
brunt of the decision-making power. For better
or worse, this farm complex is run by the young
male staff responsible for the daily operation of
the farm and all aspects of its planning.
It's interesting that here on a socialistic,
planned farm there are capitalistic
motivations for the harvesters. Cutters are
paid according to what they pick and there is no
common interest and no future plans for
change. Surely this is a good example of a
mixed economy or a mixed-up one.
"RUNNING A farm of this size is relatively
new to us," submits a short statured Pedro, one
of the farm's staff members. "There are many
things for us to learn about ourselves and our
positions. The FSLN sends us guidelines but the
decisions are ours," right or wrong.
For the workers there is a weekly meeting
every Monday at 3 p.m. sponsored by the
Association of Rural Workers (ATC), where a
wrinkly-clothed organizer gives a pep-talk and
permits the workers to speak their minds.
Santos Casco, representing the ATC,
delivered a moving speech about the necessity

for "production and defense," but judging by
the faces of his audience, they wished he was
moving on. His delivery, according to one im-
patient observer, was "too long, too boring and
just unbelievable." During a 35 minute
monologue, where he read communiques by
the FSLN about the military manuevers going
o less than an hour from here just beyond the
Honduran border, he unsparingly exaggerated
the extent of the U.S. involvement and their
goals, and called on the workers to respond by
cutting 20 latas per day.
THE WORKERS responded by showing no
visible interest, asking no questions and being
thankful that the incessant barking of this un-
collared dogmatist was over. Asked about the
meeting, farm chief Gomez replied, "I don't
know why they even send him, he's crazy."
Gomez says he is "quite happy with the current
level of production, the average cut being
greater than 4.5 latas per day."
Although current production here is at a
record high, and the daily routine has become
ritualized, everybody seems to like to look back
and compare. "Before the revolution, there
were no meals, no housing was provided and
the cutters had to walk to and from the field,"
reveals Eduardo, a beefy Salvadoran
agronomist in exile. "Then, coffee prices were
much higher on the world market yet the cut-

ters earned only half as much as they do now."
But these answers, although accurate, are
unknowingly part of an institutionalized
monotone that is automatically fired at
inquisitive visitors; based on an underlying
fear they have of losing their chance to shape
the future.
The process of expansion and growth of the
coffee industry is very slow, deliberate and
decentralized. Most money earned here is
diverted to develop more foreign exchange and
this development money is shared with other
important industries such as cattle, cotton,
sugar cane, mining, and bananas.
Such industries involve hundreds of thousan-
ds of peasants, organized at many levels. The
enormous economic problems facing a San-
dinist Nicaragua demand innovative solutions.
Success depends on contributions from
creative, competent, and content people at all
Nicaragua cannot function as a top-down
bureaucracy. Without equitably enlisting the
strength and energy of its determined
populace, Nicaragua would surely crumble;,
and without respecting their abilities and'.
freedoms, so would the Sandinistas.
Levine has been traveling in Central
America and is a frequent contributor to
the Daily.

__ _ _ -

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan



Vol. XCIII, No. 140

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Three Mile Island's
unanswered questions
Y ESTERDAY'S fourth anniversary Residents of Harrisburg and Mid-
of the Three Mile Island disaster dletown have yet to receive much
probably will not be remembered as a compensation for the physical and
turning point in the cleanup of the emotional cost of the accident. Though
nation's worst nuclear power accident. they won a class action suit for more
Instead, the anniversary will be than $25 million in 1981, only a fraction
another frustrating day for those of that has been turned over and that
struggling to overcome the effects of remains in a trust fund.
the disaster. Worse, the emotional impact on the
The charges of waste and community cannot be measured.
mismanagement of the cleanup People that once felt safe in the shadow
procedure, the continuing fears of the of the reactors now live in fear. In a
fesidents of Harrisburg and Mid- non-binding referendum, the area
Yetown, Pa., and the unanswered residents voted two-to-one to per-
.questions raised by the accident manently shut down the disabled reac-
represent the three areas of concern tor.
which need to be addressed before Despite that vote plans move ahead
nuclear power can claim a spot in the for revitalization. Somewhere along
nation's energy supply picture. the line, the power company forgot the
Officials of the General Public old adage "the customer is always
Utilities Corporation, which operates right."
Three Mile Island, have yet to respond Industry officials generally have
to complaints made by some of those failed to answer persistent questions of
working on the cleanup. At least two whether the benefits of nuclear power
officials - supporters of nuclear are worth the risks of more Three Mile
power as an energy source - were Islands. No one knows the costs in-
fired after they made repeated claims volved, no one knows the extent of the
tlat safety violations were common- safety problems, and no one even
place during the cleanup. knows if communities -like Harrisburg
Estimates for how much the cleanup and Middletown can trust the answers
will cost and how long it will take are they get from the "experts."
continually being raised and Four years ago the mishap at Three
lengthened. General Utilities officials Mile Island almost forced a realization
estimate that the cleanup will continue of the worst fears about nuclear power.
for at least five more years, while the Must those nightmares become fact
ceeanup costs have already exceeded before the problems are solved and the
$350 million. questions are answered?




m~ ORwo! I NM A


pLAtkY1N@ T


Diag discussion disrupts class

To the Daily:
I honestly believe that free
speech is an essential right in a
free society. On the other hand, I
believe that this freedom has
been abused on this campus. I
wonder why the University
allows people to practice their
freedom of speech on the diag at
noise levels that interfere with
classes in Mason Hall and the
surrounding libraries.
I'm not talking about people
playing frisbee when the weather
is nice (that noise is not difficult
to block out). I'm talking about
people with loudspeakers and
bullhorns, chanting slogans and
making speeches. I'm talking
about Crusaders for Christ
having shouting matches with
local derelicts or just shouting in
frustration at the crowd.

I just wrote the University my cause is pissed-off at me. They
third thousand-dollar tuition will call me a reactionary, a
check for this semester. The racist, an atheist. I'm just a
University has a responsibility to student. I'll make you guys a
its students to protect their right deal. I will promise to read one
to hear a lecturer or study in the piece of social reform, political,
library. or religious literature a week; I
Now everyone with a social will even promise to varticioate
Daily typos annoying

To the Daily:
I find it extremely annoying
each morning to be met by a
newspaper construed with
typographical errors. What has
happened to the Daily's copy
editor? Or, for that matter,
where are the proofreading prac-
I cannot stress how serious this
problem has become. I feel that
when your patrons can find

Donje versus decadence

miscellaneous "typos" on the
front page (ranging from pun-
ctuation problems to spelling
errors) day in and day out in ad-
dition to the numerous errors
throughout paper, something is
I must say I begin to lose con-
fidence in the Daily's ability to
cover stories - to accurately and
adequately report the news - if
you can't even spot copy errors.
Maybe some of your readers are
not as nitpicky as I am, but it
bothers me and detracts from the
crux of the articles. I believe it is
a great disservice to the talent on
To the Daily:
On March 16, the Daily published
on its front page, a photograph of
a black law student dressed in
jungle garb. The photo was cap-
tioned as follows: Law students
sporting war paint and grass
skirts perform in the Law
Library as partof their induction
into the Barristers' Club, a social

in silent protests for issues or
groups which I support (such as
Afirmative Action, FLOC, SNR,
ERA) if you will please stop
-Stan Braude
March 24
your staff to let typographical
errors go - probably errors that
were not even in the author's
original draft.
I suggest you amend this
problem immediately by spen
ding a little more time and
energy on your pride and joy, The
Michigan Daily. I think you can
solve this problem by either
being cautious yourselves or
hiring someone specifically to
proofread - one who, like me,
has an eye for it and sore one at


To the Daily:
I would like to share an ex-
perience with you.
It was a typical Thursday and I
was on my way to a typical dor-
mitory meal. Among the few
things I like about dormitory life
is the walls are bulletin boards.
Signs, posters, and 'Free Take
One's' 'construct a colorful
collage. There was this one sim-
ple, black and white Xeroxed
sign. No flashy colors, but it still
caught my eye. Maybe I noticed
it because the words, "Don't Let

loud conversation. They were
complaining over what "little"
they had. One complained her
father hadn't let her use the Visa
card all month. He had really
cramped her style. The other girl
carefully listened, stroking her
golden chains. They were no
more than two feet from Donje's
sign. The sign calls out to them to
help. They do not respond as they
do not care the slightest for Don-
je. Some live in glut as others live
in poverty. Is this fair?
Overhearing the girI made me

- Karen Mysliwlec
March 19

on a


criticized for "creating" the con-
troversy surrounding the Sigma
Alpha Mu party. The variation in -
treatment the Daily has given to
the Barristers' induction and the
Sigma Alpha Mu party is eviden-
ce that the Daily does create con-
troversy - but only at its whim.
I think it is obvious that the
Daily has preconceived notions
about these two organizations.


rn ' _____________

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