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November 18, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-18

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a

OPINION

_

Page 4
Ex-contra

Friday, November 18, 1988

The Michigan Daily"

0

_, , _ .

opp

Edgar Chamorro is the former head of
the FDN, the main Contra group based in
Honduras. He is currently a senior fellow
at the International Center for Develop-
ment Policy in Washington D.C.
Chamorro accepted political amnesty and
since then he travels frequently and freely
in Nicaragua. He works together with the
loyal opposition in Nicaragua today-a
group opposed to the war and the CIA.
Chamorro spoke with Daily news writer
Paul de Rooij at Harvard University on
Nov. 13, 1988.
Daily: Mr. Chamorro, could you
explain why it is the case that we
perceive that the conflict in
Nicaragua right now is diminish-
ing?
Chamorro: It is the case because the
emphasis of the U.S. administration has
been to use their forces inside Nicaragua
[and supply them with] money and propa-
ganda to influence the political debate in-
side Nicaragua. So, I have noticed an in-
crease in the polarization of the political
parties in Nicaragua. Many of the political
parties now side with the contras, and the
Sandinistas have been left on the other
side. I see this as an influence of the
polarization created by the present policy.

I also noticed that the newspaper L a
Prensa, Radio Catolica, and many other
news media, especially radio newscasts,
have been abused by influence coming
from the United States. I have read this
and I have heard this from several people
that the U.S. may have been
"instrumentalizing" those newspapers and
people working inside Nicaragua for the
purpose of creating a black and white pic-
ture, e.g., that there is no possibility of
change without using force or without
keeping the contras.
There has been a deterioration in the
political life inside Nicaragua, and I blame
this on the U.S. created polarization. The
other aspect that I found deteriorating in
Nicaragua is that the private sector is
taking a very negative attitude that is seen
in meetings of COSEP [Council for
Private Enterprise] and pronouncements of
the private sector that are very negative of
the government in Nicaragua. During the
recent crisis La Prensa and the political
parties were away from the reality of
Nicaragua and the tragedy resulting from
the low-intensity war that has been waged
against Nicaragua.
D: How is the political climate in
Nicaragua, especially for political
organization work? Is there re-
pression, or are people able to
freely associate and organize?
C: Well, people are freely associating.
The problem is a practical problem that
parties have been multiplying in the last
two or three years. We have now in
Nicaragua a situation where we have more
than 22 political parties. Eighteen or so of
these parties have been created to have this
huge opposition to the Sandinista gov-
ernment. I believe that there is a lot of ar-
tificiality due to the money coming from
outside of Nicaragua to foment these
political parties, and to give the impres-
sion that there is a strong opposition to
the Sandinistas. But I do not believe that
this opposition is strong, it is not an op-
position that has unity. They have not
been able to come with a clear political
alternative.

loses U.k
D: Would you say that the contras
are going to disappear? We hear a
lot in the U.S. that there is a
split in the leadership, and that
they are filtering back from
Nicaragua into Honduras, and
there is talk that they are going
to be resettled to the U.S. Do you
see this happening, or has this
been an electoral ploy of some
sort?
C: I believe the latter, this is an electoral
ploy. This was not a time to make waves
in the press about the contras, [they] tried
to keep the contras in a low profile. I be-
lieve that the contras will come back once
Bush is installed, and he probably will
keep the same policies as Reagan's, the
policy of negotiation from strength. That
means that he'll keep the contras. The
contras have internal problems and.divi-
sions, but the CIA will be able to get
strongest man they have, Bermudez or
some other, in a capacity to lead the con-
tras again.

D: You once wrote
New York Times
stated that the
strategy was to
population. Is this
egy of the contras?

intervention

a letter to the
in which you
contras' only
terrorize the
still the strat-

D: Could you explain what hap-
pened in Nicaragua a few months
ago when [U.S.] ambassador
Melton was kicked out of Man-
agua? Was he overseeing or ob-
serving a demonstration by one of
the opposition parties? What ac-
tually happened to your knowl-
edge?
C: I don't believe that he was personally
involved in the demonstration, but there
were people from the U.S. embassy who
have been giving money and advice to the
political leadership of the people that put
together that demonstration. I know that
Mr. Melton went to Nicaragua with a very
negative attitude. He was only talking to
the opposition; only building bridges with
the opposition. He was not talking to the
government at all. He was perceived in
Nicaragua as a Trojan horse, who was go-
ing to bring about the fall of the Sandin-
ista government from the inside by orga-
nizing unions and political parties. So, I
believe that the Sandinistas saw this as a
threat to stability. They accused him of
serious destabilization, a topic on which
he is an expert.
D: How independent is La Prensa?
Is it just a mouthpiece for the
CIA? And I also would like to
know how Nicaraguans regard that
newspaper.
C: There is a group of Nicaraguans that
like La Prensa because it is a paper with a
great tradition, and it represents the
historical opposition to any government.
And La Prensa is saying what some sec-
tors in Nicaragua want to hear. La Prensa
is not an objective or independent paper, it
is paid by the CIA.
D: Could you also tell us about
cardinal Obando y Bravo. How
much is he connected to the CIA,
or is he actually an independent
force?
C: Basically he agrees with what the U.S.
is doing. He has never been a critic of the
contras, and he never has come out
strongly against the policies of the U.S.
On the contrary, he has been very

complacent with what is going on. He
disappointed me by not being a mediator
or reconciliator of the Nicaraguan family.
He lost his neutrality by always siding
with the critics. I believe that he took i
political position. Now how much he's
being used, or how much aware he is of
being used, I don't know.
I don't know if the CIA is paying him
directly. But I do know from documents
that I have seen that Oliver North and
other U.S. officers have been paying high
church officials of Nicaragua to make
them belligerent. And there also has been
aid from the U.S. to influence the position
of the church by constantly supporting the
base communities organized by the
Catholic church as a way to oppose the
policies of the Sandinistas. I do believe
that there has been enough money going
to the church to make them lose credibil-
ity.
D: What are the prospects in the
coming years? What do you think
is going to happen in Nicaragua?
What do you view as a likely
outcome? .
C: Well, the most likely is that the San-
dinistas will stay in power. They are not
going to fall. Secondly, the United States
is not going to invade, because they are
not in a position to do so. The only al-
ternative that I see is a political
accommodation, and a change of the pre-
sent policy to a policy of realistic accom-
modation with the government that after
all was elected by the Nicaraguans.
[The U.S. may] try to influence the next
election, but I do not see how they could
alter the normal course of events in
Nicaragua. That is, that the Sandinistas are
a reality, they came to power and they are
going to stay in power. The best way will
be to work with the electoral process
inside Nicaragua, and to let the
Nicaraguans decide. I don't believe that the
U.S. can continue to go on with the same
rhetoric. I think that the next admin-
istration will change course, [but]
probably not in the covert action area.
They will keep covert action going, but
they will probably emphasize a different
approach, and I don't know what that will
be. I just don't see the next administration
rushing to invade Nicaragua.

C: It has been the strategy in the sense
that one of the purposes of this war is to
make life miserable to people. This is
done by terrorizing as well as by destroy-
ing the economy by damaging the infras-
tructure of the country. So, I do believe
that in a low-intensity war terrorizing is
part of the strategy to make people leave
areas of the country to move to the cities
or out of the country.
As a matter of fact, radio propaganda has
been telling Nicaraguans to leave the
country. The propaganda has been to scare
people out of Nicaragua to create a politi-
cal vacuum. This is a situation created on
purpose to debilitate the Nicaraguan gov-
ernment, and also [to] leave the image that
the Sandinistas are persecuting the
population forcing people leave. This will
justify the policy of the U.S. to keep on
fighting against the Sandinistas because
nobody wants to stay inside Nicaragua.

Ex-contra leader Edgar Chamorro

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

I

. .. ........ .... ....
............ to.the.d..or

4

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No.52

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.

Its UN,

not US

THE UNITED NATIONS will convene
before the end of this year to try to re-
solve the Palestine and Israeli conflict.
'nfortunately, Yasir Arafat, chair of
the Palestine Liberation Organization
might not be allowed to testify.
If U.S. officials succeed in blocking'
Arafat's visa, he would be denied ac-
cess to address the United Nations at
its headquarters in New York.
These U.S. officials include 51 U.S.
senators who sent a letter to Secretary
of State Shultz, imploring him to deny
the visa. Shultz responded by saying
that he has "no desire whatever to see
Arafat in the United States." Further-
more, if Arafat applies for a visa,
Shultz "will apply severe scrutiny to it
in the light of applicable law and regu-
lations and other circumstances perti-
nent at the time.".
According to U.N. regulations, the
United States cannot deny access to
people who are invited to address the
assembly unless they are a "security
threat."
Arafat is not a "security threat." The
-PLO is not going to sacrifice its chair-
man just to commit terrorist acts inside
the United States. If it wanted to ter-
rorize the United States, it could easily
get less prominent PLO members into
the country.
The PLO also renounced terrorism in
areas outside of Israel at the recent:
Palestine National Council meeting.
The U.S. government should believe

succumbing to terrorist demands. The
PLO has made no threats against the
United States. Shultz would be
exercising shrewd diplomacy by
allowing all parties to participate in the
U.N. meeting.
Security is not the concern of the 51
senators. Their letter asserted: "Arafat
should be denied access to our country
until he and the PLO renounce terror-
ism as a tool of foreign policy." They
are exploiting the privilege of having
U.N. headquarters on U.S. soil by
hypocritically using the visa as a tool of
foreign policy.
The United States is trying to black-
mail the PLO into changing its foreign
policy by denying Arafat the right to
speak. Just because the United Nations
is located here does not mean that it is
the property of the United States.
Not issuing the visa is censorship.
After all, it would prevent the United
Nations from receiving important PLO
testimony that it needs to make a sound
and fair decision. Arafat deserves to
plead the Palestinian case, but will be
denied this opportunity because the
U.S. government is suddenly afraid of
words.
There is, however, a loophole in the
regulation that traps Arafat in a Catch-
22. The president of the United Nations
Council on Foreign Relations said that
they will not extend an invitation to
Arafat "unless and until a visa is is-
sued." The regulation says that the

Fed.
Society
defends
format
To the Daily:
I am writing in response to a
letter by Mike Cohen, entitled
"Protest Feds on Campus", in
which he asserted that Univer-
sity President Duderstadt in-
vited the Federalist Society to
host its national convention at
the law school next semester.
Cohen went on to accuse Dud-
erstadt of "kissing up to the
far right" to "further his racist
and sexist aims." He (Cohen)
also make a series of vague but
vicious attacks against the
Federalist Society.
1. President Duderstadt did
not invite, nor was he even
aware of the fact that the Uni-
versity of Michigan chapter of
the Federalist Society is host-
ing the organization's national
symposium this March, 1989.
Cohen's claims to the contrary
are either hallucinations or
blatant lies.
2. Cohen's assertion that
"[it] is no secret that the
Federalist Society... supports a
variety of racist and sexist
views" is sheer nonsense. The
Federalist Society has been
widely praised for its efforts to
promote respect for the
Constitution, which specifi-
cally guarantees the rights of
racial minorities. The Michi-
gan Chapter of the Federalist
Society was founded by a
woman, and a woman has held
the office of President or Co-
President of the Chapter since

Such censorship is clearly for-
bidden by the First Amendment
of the Constitution, and it is
therefore no wonder that Cohen
opposes the Federalist Soci-
ety's defense of that Constitu-
tion.
Lastly, I am concerned that
the stated policy of the Daily
Opinion Page to "not print
material which is factually in-
correct" was completely ig-
nored with regard to the above-
mentioned letter. Responsible
journalism mandates that edi-
tors make at least some at-
tempt to confirm the factual
content of all printed letters. In
this case, every alleged "fact"
turned out to be completely
false.
While Mr. Cohen is cer-
tainly entitled, thanks to orga-
nizations like the Federalist
Society, to his misguided po-
litical opinions, he has clearly,
with the help of the Daily,
overstepped the bounds of ci-
vility by first fabricating
events, then by making a series
of vicious accusations based
upon those fabrications.
-Janice Seale Kielb
November 2
Thank you
for your
support
To the Daily:
On Monday October 31, the

Latin American Solidarity
Committee (LASC) conducted
a bucket drive to raise
emergency funds for the
victims of Hurricane Joan in
Nicaragua. Thanks to the
generosity of the students of U.
of M. and the citizens of Ann
Arbor, we were able to raise
one thousand dollars, which
will be on its way to Nicaragua
by the time you read this letter.
On behalf of Pastors for Peace,
through whom we raised the
money, LASC would like to
thank those of you who
contributed for your generous
support. Given the incredible
poverty of Nicaragua, as well
as the U.S. government's
refusal to aid Nicaraguan'
hurricane victims, every bit
raised here that Monday
represents an especially
meaningful contribution. In the
.finest tradition of our sister-
city relationship with Juigalpa,
Nicaragua, the citizens of Ann
Arbor have again demonstrated
their solidarity with our sisters
and brothers in Nicaragua.
-Kathryn Savoie
November 2
Last day
to give
gift of life
To the Daily:
"I don't have time!!" "I'm

scared of needles!" "I'll do it
tomorrow!" "I need my end
ergy!" I've heard these excuses
all too often when asking
someone to hive blood. But we
can't give excuses to those
who desperately need this
blood.
In the Southeastern Region
of Michigan alone, over 1,000
pints of blood are used a day.
Unfortunately, the donations
are not able to sustain the even
increasing need for blood. To.,
day is the last day of the U. of
M. vs. OSU Blood Battle.
There are valid reasons foi
not giving blood: medical,
weight, illness. However
those without these excuses
must decide if their reasons are
legitimate or not. It doesn't
take that mush time - just 30
minutes. and it's not very
painful.
-John C. Lin
November 3
Correction:
Yesterday, the Daily printed
a dated letter by Libby Adler
which incorrectly stated that
Salaam-Shalom, the Arabj
Jewish peace project meet at
p.m. on Sunday in the fish
bowl. The group now meets
on Sunday at 7 p.m. in thd
Michigan Union room 2209;
The Daily opinion page apolog
gizes for this mistake.

t 14,

CF

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