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October 18, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-18

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4

OPINION

The Michigan Daily

Page 4

Tuesday, October 18, 1983
Sinclair

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCIV-No. 36

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
U.S. acid rain policy poison

O NCE AGAIN the Reagan admin-
istration has displayed a
dismaying lack of results in combating
a deadly environmental problem -
acid rain. Once again Reagan's policy
actions speak louder than his words.
The latest round of U.S. negligence
involves talks with Canadian officials
on joint efforts by the two nations to
reduce pollution levels in North
America. The two nations agreed to
lower phosphorous pollutants in the
Great Lakes by 15 percent.
But the U.S. and Canadian gover-
nments are far apart on acid rain. It is
the Reagan policy that needs to
change.
Canadian officials and scientists
around the world recognize the
debilitating effects acid rain can have
on plant and animal life. Almost every
expert, save those "experts" in the
Reagan administration, agree that
acid rain is now a global problem.
According to University Natural
Resources Prof. David Hales acid rain
soon may make reforestation in cer-
tain areas of Europe impossible. Hales
was one of many international experts
who attended the First International
Biosphere Reserve Congress in Minsk,
U.S.S.R. two weeks ago. Hales argues

that the United States has to change its
"out of sight, out of mind mentality"
and help curtail sulfur dioxide
emissions that cause acid rain.
Amazingly, administration officials
contend they haven't been more active
in fighting acid rain because the issue
is too controversial. That's because
some of Reagan's biggest supporters
- the corporate board members in in-
dustry - are the polluters who bring us
acid rain. Their power plants burn high
sulfur coal and dump it into the at-
mosphere where the chemical changes
take place, producing acid rain.
So the conflict is between the ad-
ministration and, it seems, the rest of
the world. William Ruckelshaus, the
director of the Environmental Protec-
tion Agency, gives the problem lip ser-
vice by wearing a "stop acid rain" hat
and telling everyone how he drew up a
plan to act. But that is all the ad-
ministration seems willing to do on
this, or virtually any other, environ-
mental problem.
This time, though, the implications
are too frightening to ignore. Not even
a corporate official can live in a world
with a poisoned water system and
permanently diseased plants and
animals.

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Guess who s leading the ta
on p eace in Nicaragua-Cuba

Schooling the N.C.A.A.

IM NATION'S University presidents
are now moving on a long overdue
plan to effectively increase their con-
tho1 over the National Collegiate
Athletic Association.
Last month a group of college pre-
sidents, backed by the. American
Council on Education, proposed that
the N.C.A.A. form a special committee
of University chief executives to over-
see college athletics. The committee -
if it was backed by a majority of all
N.C.A.A. member presidents - would
have had the authority to create or
veto any N.C.A.A. legislation.
Now, after pressure from N.C.A.A.
officials to limit the committee's
power, the presidents have agreed to a
reasonable check on their authority
albeit a tough check to enact. Under
the new porposal the N.C.A.A.
delegates could overrule the commit-
tee with a two-thirds vote at their an-
nual convention.
The new proposal gives the presiden-
ts considerable control over N.C.A.A.
legislation, and yet ensures that their

authority is not grossly abused. It
strikes an effective balance between
the two sides.
Rounding up a two-thirds majority to
oppose the committee would be dif-
ficult. And it should be. With the ills
big-time athletics face today, the only
cure is a strong governing body closely
linked to academic - not athletic -
concerns.
College athletics has become so big
that it runs itself - often almost in-
dependently of the universities with
which teams are affiliated. N.C.A.A.
rules have been set by coaches,
athletic directors, and dedicated fans
for so long that college athletics has
become dangerously disconnected
from the educational goals of univer-
sities. The barrage of current N.C.A.A.
regulations, aimed at athletic rather
than academic success, threatens the
integrity of every member school.
The best solution is to link athletic
regulation with the academic core of
universities once again. The presiden-
ts' proposal is the strongest and most
assuring connection available.

By Nelson Valdes
MEXICO CITY - The rumors
first surfaced in late September
at this city's Siesta Palace Hotel,
where scholars from all over the
hemisphere were gathered for
the annual convention of the
Latin American Studies
Association.
Since last July, the word went,
talks toward a negotiated set-
tlement in Nicaragua had been
underway between represen-
tatives of the anti-Sandinista
guerrilla leader, Eden Pastora,
and a most unlikely team of
mediators - officials of the
Cuban government. The
meetings were said to have oc-
curred in Washington, D.C., and
Havana, as well as in Mexico
City. So far, neither the
Nicaraguans nor the Cubans
have repudiated the story.
FACTUAL or not, these rumors
dramatize an unusual new Cuban
diplomatic and political offensive
against the United States. Unlike
many earlier offensives from
Havana, it is based on calm
dialogue rather than torrid
rhetoric.
Interviews with Cuban officials
here suggest that the object of
this offensive is to isolate the
Reagan administration in its
own, more beligerent, Central
American and Carribbean
policies.
The shift in Havana's approach
has only taken clear shape in
recent months. When Ronald
Reagan first came to office, the
Cubans were confronted with a
significant upscaling of the per-
ceived U.S. threat against them
and opted for strengthening
Cuba's military posture. The
resulting arms buildup was
among the largest in post-
revolutionary Cuban history.
CUBAN sources say that this
effort was accomplished by a
diplomatic campaign in Moscow,
aimed at convincing the Soviet
Union to stand up to Reagan's
challenge. Some Cubans argued
for a policy of unmistakable con-
frontation, reminiscent of the
Soviet position prior to October
1962 and extending to the reem-
placement of Russian missiles on
the island. But they found the
Soviet Union unwilling.
In effect, the rebuff left Havana
with two choices - confront the
Americans alone or adopt an en-
tirely different approach which
entailed seeking negotiated
political solutions to their
region's simmering crises.
According to Cubans, the latter

BY THE middle of 1983, the
policy of dialogue had begun to
unfold. When the Contadora
group of Latin American coun-
tries sent a letter to Fidel Castro
requesting support for a
negotiated settlement in Central
America, the Cubans promptly
accepted and promised to with-
draw their personnel from
Nicaragua if the security of the.
Sandinista government could be
assured. The Cubans also
publicly favored negotiations
among the contending parties in
El Salvador.
On the U.S.-Cuba diplomatic
front, Havana initiated
proceedings to prosecute
hijackers of American planes and
even offered to take back those
Cubans who had illegally entered
the United States during the 1980
Mariel boatlift.
The Reagan administration did
not react in kind to these over-
tures. Instead, the secret war
against Nicaragua was stepped
up, the economic blockade again-
st Cuba was tightened, and large
U.S. military maneuvers in Cen-
tral America and the Caribbean
were launched.
THESE events reportedly led
the Cubans into a second internal
political debate. Ultimately, they
decided not only to maintain the
dialogue approach, but to carry it
further, bypassing the Reagan
administration altogether.
Hence, the Cuban effort to ser-
ve as mediators between the
Sandinista government and its
armed opponents along the Costa
Rican border. If the effort suc-
ceeds, it will close off action on
one of the two war fronts that the
Sandinistas now face. Moreover,
it will seriously weaken the
political image of the rebellion.
For unlike the ex-Somoza
National Guardsman invading
from Honduras, Pastora still
commands respect among some
Nicaraguans.
Washington's belligerence has
not been the sole factor in Cuba's
shift to "dialogue diplomacy." In
BLOOM COUNTY

a sense, their own history has
also led Cuba's talking to its own
opposition in exile. Interestingly,
the negotiations on Nicaragua
come at a time when Cuba is
trying hard to reopen dialogue
with Cuban exiles in the United
States.
THIS IS the second time that
such an attempt has been made.
The first occurred in 1978, when
Fidel Castro invited 75 Cuban
exiles to Havana. One of theme
was Carlos Dias Alegandro, now
a member of the Kissinger Com-
mission on Central America.
As a result of those talks, in
which I also participated, hun-
dreds of political prisoners were,
released from Cuban jails and
thousands of exiles were able to-
visit their relatives in Cuba.
In 1980, however, the first
dialogue came to an end with the
sharp deterioration in relations
between Havana and Washington
set off by the Mariel exodus -
and by Carter administration
charges of a new Soviet military
division in Cuba.
With the election of Ronald
Reagan, the prospect of con-
tinued contacts became even
dimmer. But recently, Cuban
authorities have quietly ex-
pressed interest in reactivating
the negotiations of three years
ago.

It is a mistake to assume that
the entire Cuban exile com-
munity shares the White House's
aversion to such a development.
Among other things, exiles are
upset with the failure of the
Reagan administration to honor
earlier visa commitments, made
in 1980, to Cubans who staged
mass protests outside the
American mission in Havana.
According to Wayne Smith,
then deputy representative in
Cuba for U.S. consular affairs,
the papers allowing these people
to join their families in the United
States has been approved prior to
the election. But once in office,:
the new administration barred all
refugees from Cuba - and in-
deed, since 1981, not a single
Cuban refugee has been legally
admitted.
Look for the next stage of the
Cuban dialogue offensive on this
issue in the months ahead:
breaching the Straits of Florida
over a matter which holds far
more importance than ideology
for many Cubans - family
reunification.

Valdes is a specialist
Cuban foreign policy at
University of New Mexico.
wrote this article for
Pacific News Service.

on
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columns should be typed,
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