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March 12, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-12

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OPINION

Thursday, March 12, 1987

The Michigan Daily

4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCVII, No. 110

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

New leaders,
old oppression

HAm RECENTLY "celebrated" the
one year anniversary of Jean-
Claude Duvalier's ouster. Last
February, the United States press
greeted the ex-President-for-Life's
departure with grand
announcements of "victory for
democracy" in on-location reports
from "liberated Haiti." Yet, one
year after Duvalier and the news
crews have left, misery and
oppression remain the reality of
this poor country's existence.
The removal of Duvalier has not
proved sufficient to alleviate the
suffering of the Haitian people.
This results in part because the
dictator left "his people" a legacy of
corruption and staggering poverty.
The government which now rules
the island nation is headed by
Duvalier's former Army Chief of
Staff and contains many of the
Dictator's old henchmen. Familiar
patterns have begun to resurface
with the disappearance,
harassment, and imprisonment of
government critics.
But Haiti's most pervasive form
of oppression is economic. This
Carribean country was already
poorest in the Western hemisphere
anal conditidns seem to '=be
worseing. The Haitian population.
continues to be divided between the
few living in splendor and the vast

majority struggling for survival.
Some have described the present
situation as "Duvalierism without
Duvalier." In some ways this is a
more insidious system than the old
regime. Duvalier had become so
extravagant and conspicuous in his
exercise of power that he was a
publicity liability. For countries,
such as the United States, who had
supported Duvalier and profited
from their relations with Haiti, it
became increasingly costly in terms
of image to be associated with the
dictator. It was also feared that
building protest might lead to a
revolution more serious than the
change of guard which eventually
occurred. Instead, Duvalier has
been. conveniently removed,
allowing United States aid to
increase and the bleeding of Haiti
to continue.
Haiti's experience follows a
recent pattern. Two other
examples lie to Haiti's south,
Guatemala and El Salvador, where
more or less cosmetic changes in
leadership have belied greater
hardship and facilitated more
extensive United States support.
The similar experiences of Haiti
and other countries should serve as
a forewarnin g i nat-rore significant
action than perssnnel change is
necessary to relieve a people's
suffering.

Associated Press
A native woman walks past a grafitti-marred painting on a building in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, recently. The painting depicts the United
States, Canada, and Japan against a reversed U.S. flag as they drink the blood of Haiti, where the departure into exile of a year ago of
President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier resulted in increased u.S. aid. Today the United States is viewed with distrust by many
Haitians.

4

Against a tax rollback

CDLA
By Roberto Javier
Frisancho
Recently, I was quite amused to read
an article by someone who said that
"despite its recent disavowal, the
Coalition for Democracy in Latin
America (CDLA) supports the
mercenaries, known as the contras, who
are trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan
government." (Daily, 1/19/87) His
evidence for making this claim, was that
he attended one of the meetings of CDLA
last term. QpX of the members was
quoted as saying "We support the
contras." This was the member's opinion
* only and not the group's. CDLA has no
official stand on them, while its members
may. The important point to make is
that the group consists of liberals and
conservatives (some who support the
rebels and some who don't) who have one
thing in common: they want
democracy in Latin America. Thus, no
label can really be placed on CDLA
except that it is consistently biased
against undemocratic regimes.
Then he stated that I "also supported the
contras but could not say so." I think he
has a bit of a comprehension problem.
To clarify my position on the Nicaraguan
resistance, let me begin by saying that I,
like the author, also support revolutions
but, unlike him, with certain conditions
of which one of them is a degree of
respect for human rights. This reserva-
tion, unfortunately is not shared by the
author. Though he denies it, in my
opinion he supports the "glorious" rebel
movement of the Maoist Sendero
Luminoso in Peru who are trying to
overthrow the democratically elected'
government of the popular Alan Garcia.
Now President Garcia isn't exactly a
Reagan Administration puppet. In fact he
has harshly criticized the U.S. as being
"imperialist" and openly supported the
Sandinistas. The point is that Sendero
Luminoso is so far to the left that any
government, right of the foul line in left
field, to them is fascist. Also, they have
been condemned by all human rights
organizations as ones who hold no respect
at all for human rights and make the
Nicaraguan contras look like they are out
on a Sunday school picnic. Only the
Khmer Rouge of Cambodia have been
Roberto Javier Frisancho is a
sophomore in the College of Engineering
and President of the Coalition for
Democracy in Latin America.

wants democracy
compared to them in their tactics of rumored that a civilian leader of the
ruthlessly exterminating anyone who gets Nicaraguan resistance, Arturo Cruz, a
in their way. Sendero Luminoso also is former Sandinista Ambassador tq
against the current government of Deng Washington, intends to resign (Cruz has
Xiaoping in China not because he hasn't recently resigned - ed.). So, until
made enough democratic reforms but serious reforms are made, I will not even
because he has made one reform too start to think about supporting them.
many. In other words, Sendero However, all this information about,
Luminoso wants China to go back to the the rebels is trivial because he couldn't;
days of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolu - care less whether they were Hell's Angels,
tion where the sky was red with blood. or the Sisters of Mercy. He is more
During the period of Mao's reign of upset that they want to confront the'
terror, millions of Chinese were extermi - Marxist Sandinistas in the first place.
nated not only by the usual way of being Citings of contra brutality are just=
murdered, but also as a result of excuses to avoid the topic of the ones at
unrealistic Maoist agricultural policies, the cause of the conflict in the first place:,
which produced the famine of 1959-60: the Sandinistas.
"By a conservative estimate, 30 million Now, if this author must label the
people died of starvation in the dreadful "front" I belong p, he might as well get
Three Bad Years." (The Nation, July it right. I rconsider myself a neoliberal or
5/12, 1986). more specifically a "Scoop" Jackson
Democrat. Proceeding from redefining
Since he supports Sendero Luminoso, the front that I supposedly fake for the
it is not surprising that he says Deng group, he says that I am secretly trying,
Xiaoping is a "fascist" [the person in "to get the Michigan Student Assembly
question denies this and other assertions to finance the visit of a prominent contra
by Frisancho about his opinions - ed.] leader to campus by posing as a liberal."
Plus, to top it off, he has had made racist Not that of course he would have any
remarks about the Chinese saying, "they problem with a rebel of the left-wing E
don't want freedom or know what it is." persuasion, say a member of the
(author referred to denies this statement Communist NPA, who caused 1000
- ed.) These are the same Chinese who people to be killed in the first 1.00 days of
in recent months, by the thousands, have the Aquino government (this was down
taken to the streets carrying signs having compared to the previous year in that,,
the words of "freedom" and "democracy" time period), and are trying to topple it..
on them. They, like Sendero Luminoso, But to address this accusation, the Nicara -
do not like the Deng Xiaoping guan that I was referring to is Humberto
government but for very different reasons. Belli, a former Marxist and collaborator
They want democratic liberalization while with the Sandinistas who became ;a
Sendero Luminoso wants a society in convert to Christianity in 1977 and later
which millions of people would be worked as an editorial page editor of La
enslaved and have to carry out the master Prensa, the only independent newspaper,
plans of the rich bourgeoisie like this in Nicaragua (that was closed in June of
author. 1986). He left his country in 198,
Now, to get back to the topic of the because of the total imposition of
Nicaraguan rebels, I support them in censorship in March of that year. This'
theory because the Marxist Sandinistas man is not exactly a former Somoza
have betrayed the revolution that supporter or a contra. But then agair,
overthrew the vicious dictatorship of from the point of view of the author and'
Anastasio Somoza. But in reality, I the Marxist Sandinistas, anyone who is
cannot support them because of their cur- against the revolution (contra la
rent makeup. For them to gain real sup - revolution) must be a "contra." Now one
port, they must make serious reforms sees how easy it is to assume things. +
such as getting rid of all the former While I am not saying that the author
Somocistas like Enrique Bermudez is a Marxist or a Maoist (no, not me of
(former commander of the National course, I would never even have such
Guard) and also Adolfo Calero who has thoughts) <--SUBTLE HUMOR, he is
been implicated in a plan to kill the great not fooling anyone when he tries to
Eden Pastora (who I may add is a real pretend that he supports "peace" and"
Sandinista). Also, all human rights "justice."
violators should be punished or at the Persons attacked in this article for,
very least made to leave the rebel holding certain beliefs deny that they hold
movement. It is because of this lack of them. The editor published the article as
progress on these issues that it has been an opinion about other opinions.

T HE 1987 FEDERAL TAX reforms
provide a $170 million windfall for
the states, leaving the lawmakers in
Lansing with the privilege of
deciding how Michigan's taxpayers
will receive the benefits. Governor
Blanchard should use these funds
to invest in a brighter future, rather
than simply reduce taxes.
Blanchard's program is to slash
taxes and should be opposed for its
regressivity. Seemingly beneficial
to all, the proposed tax cut will
result in higher taxes for more than
100,000 taxpayers, most of them
being in low income brackets.
Among these low income tax -
payers paying more would be
many senior citizens, dependent
minors with part-time jobs, and the
blind.
In addition, the tax cut shows no
appreciation of Michigan's past
problems. In light of Michigan's
recent history of deep recession,
fiscal drought, and program cuts,
Governor Blanchard should
advocate holding the tax rate steady
for higher income brackets while
using the windfall to finance needy
state programs and decrease
marginal tax rates for lower income
taxpayers.
Governor Blanchard and other
lawmakers seem to have forgotten
the problems of the early eighties .
Only a few years ago the state was
mired unemployment and fiscal
difficulties. The University,
lacking state funding, was forced
to chop programs and enact other
austerity actions. Further, the

history of the business cycle and
the flight of industry overseas, not
to mention the current federal debt
crisis should reason enough for
any lawmaker with foresight to
support programs to guard against
future difficulties. A "rainy day"
fund would help rectify inevitable
future revenue deficits.
Many present needs require
Governor Blanchard's attention
and deserve monies from the
federal windfall. In a time when
higher education's coffers are
shrinking at an alarming rate,
Governor Blanchard should direct
a significant portion of these
rebated tax dollars to Michigan's
universities and colleges. Students
could benefit from lower tuition
increases next year, as well as
better funding for more professors
and research. Other worthy causes
which desperately need funding are
welfare and programs for the
homeless, reconstruction of the
state's highway, and retraining and
relocation programs for displaced
auto workers.
Governor Blanchard should pay
careful attention to the present
needs of his constituents, remem -
ber past hard times, and see eco -
nomic traps on the horizon. His
proposed across-the-board tax
decrease would hurt the poor who
need assistance the most. Governor
Blanchard should reconsider his
plan and opt instead to hold tax
rates constant for most taxpayers
while allocating the federal dollars
to the many needy state programs.

-.L:z

LETTERS
Teach-in looks at

T''

To the Daily:
Each student at this
university is a participant in
the escalation of the Arms
Race, through the University's
policy of accepting funding for
"defense related" research. The

are today, in "peacetime," as
dependent on DoD funding as
they were in 1967 at the height
of the Vietnam War.
Active community concern
over U of M's involvement in
weapons research resulted in

military and
of M has progressed to less, In respo
from being the second highest and the
recepient of DoD funds in 1967 consens
to being the twelfth highest will be
recepient in 1986 (New York 7:30 in
Times, Sat. 2/28/87). The lure Speaker
of URI funding threatens this Universi

U,

nse to many questions,'
quest for a student
us -on this issue, there,
a teach-in tonight at',
room 124 East Quad;
rs will focus on the'
ity's connection to theI

i

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