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July 21, 1983 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1983-07-21

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OPINION
Page 6 The Michigan Daily Thursday, July 21, 1983

4

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCIII, No. 25-S
93 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by students of
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
Hank the Knife
SOUND THE horns, roll out the red carpet,
Henry's coming back to town. His
mission:To head a "bipartisan" national com-
mission on Central America for his dining pal,
President Reagan.
Who does the President think he's fooling?
After all, Henry Kissinger heading a "bipar-
tisan" commission on Central America is like
the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan
leading a "bipartisan" commission on racism.
It's a disturbing thought, but one can almost
hear the cheers that must have echoed through
many a Washington office from the Kissinger
worshippers when the news came that he was of-
ficially getting involved with politics again.
Had President Reagan appointed Kissinger
to a commission dealing with the Middle East
or China, one might be able to accept the
rationale - maybe. But in no way is
Kissinger appropriate for heading a com-
mission on Central America.
President Reagan's move was purely
political. His policies in Central America have
been unpopular and so far, unsuccessful. So,
like he did with Social Security and the MX
missile, the President has turned over a con-
troversial political issue to a supposedly first-
class nongovernmental commission. This is
dangerous because when the commission hands
out a "bipartisan" decision, it is a "package"
decision that must be accepted in full. Fur-
thermore, it is politically risky for the
President or Congress to oppose or even modify
it.
Kissinger has made no bones about what the
U.S. policy in Central America should be. No
one ought to be surprised, therefore, when the
commission in the near future recommends
sending U.S. troops to Honduras, a military at-
tack on Nicaragua, and a military approach to
El Salvador.
Unfortunately, what many seem to forget
about the great diplomat Kissinger is that he
has the blood of Vietnam and Chile on his han-
ds. The secret bombing of Cambodia and the
CIA- backed overthrow of the democratically
elected Marxist president of Chile, Salvador
Allende, are just two examples of Kissinger's
style of diplomacy.
The only hope of avoiding direct U.S. military
involvement in Central America is if Congress
sees through the commission's "package"
recommendations, which inevitably will call
for even tougher policies there.
Until then, don't -be surprised if Richard
Nixon is appointed as special prosecutor for
the debategate scandal; Phyllis Schaffley is
named head of a "bipartisan" commission on
ERA; and Meir Kahane is appointed to lead a
commission on the Palestinian problem.

Return of the death squad:
Rightist butchers prowl Guatemala
-- tification. Only three of the 19 vic- "A kind of coup may have in
By William Orme tims were identified before fact occurred," he told this
- burial, among them the mayor of correspondent. "There seems to
SANTA LUCIA-COTZAM- a small south coast village. have been an internal restruc-
AGALPA, GUATEMALA - "We encountered more bodies turing of the military that has left
- The farmhand was describing (between June 30 and July 3) Rios Montt with far less freedom
how he found the bodies. "It was than we had in all the time since of action than he enjoyed
just like it used to happen," he the 1982 coup," said Ricardo before."
said. "They were thrown right off Rodriguez, a fire department Ironically, the near coup June
the bridge, with no clothes except rescue unit chief in Escuintla 29 may have restored some of the
for their undershorts. One was Province, adding that it appeared popular appeal of the president,
shot in the back. The other three to him to be "the work of the whose policies and bullying
were strangled and you could still right." leadership style had alienated the
see the rope marks." The chief of police here confir- business community, virtually all
Spread along both sides of med that eight apparent death active political party members
Guatemala's main south coast squad victims were found in San- and most of the country's 5-
highway, the 2,000-acre Popoya ta Lucia alone, compared to just million-strong Roman Catholic
sugar cane plantation had in the two during the previous six mon- majority. There is now
past been a favored local dum- ths. And local press reports, not widespread, if reluctant,
ping ground for right-wing death independently confirmed, in- recognition that another military
squads. But on March 23, 1982, dicate that the bodies of another usurper probably would be even
when Guatemala's president, 11 death squad targets were less satisfactory to civilian
Gen. Romeo Lucas Garcia, was discovered in the south coast and critics.
overthrown by Gen. Efrain Rios capital city vicinity in the same "Who else is there? Does the
Montt, the clandestine killings four-day period. army have anybody better to of-
stopped. More significant than the num- fer?" asked one Guatemalan
Plantation manager Mario ber of deaths, suggested several merchant who has been a vocal
Arriola says that while "at least well-informed Guatemalans, is critic of the president's economic
40" bodies were tossed from the the fact that the resurgence of management.
Popoya river bridge in the two death squad activity coincided "My own feeling is that Rios
years before the coup d'etat, in with the military challenge to Montt has made a deal with the
the 15 months since then only one Rios Montt. It could signify a right and these killings are one
corpse had appeared - until the rightward realignment within consequence," remarked a priest
last week of June, when Lucas Guatemala's officer corps. in a parish near here. "But I no
Garcia's successor himself was Rios Montt and his advisers, longer look forwardto the idea of
nearly deposed in a coup.. though conducting a brutalcon a coup ,"ade tepris,'h
Rios Montt quashed most terinsurgency campaign in the admits he once relished the
civilian dissent. But with senior n highland c h prospect of the Evangelical
military officers also publicly claimed well over 1,000 noncom- president's ouster. Unfor-
demanding his resignation and batant lives, had actively worked i aely, Rios Montt is looking
someprvtl threatening to tosprsthamyuevid like e may be the best of a bad
morblize their troopsagains doeatuh ss arempoysuperv ted lot."
him, the president bowed to the considered the roving hit men Some analysts believe the
army's main demands. The chief counter-productive politically death squad upsurge could prove
concession announced was the and unnecessary from a security to be temporary, pointing out that
dissolution of Rios Montt's Coun- sadon.Bto h lnain the abductions and killings could
l of Advises, comprised of the standpoint. But on the plantations all have occurred on June 29,
six young junior officers who had som e senio miany mn owne s when some local military chiefs
stage-managed the Evangelical them, are said to consider sum- mistakenly thought Rios Montt
Christian general's 1982 ascen- mary execution a defensible had been overthrown But forthe
sion to power. response to farm labor recients murdersouneverthes
Many cvilian observeeriow organizers, persistent peasant were an unwelcome reminder
a r tha hearmy's assertin land claimants and left-leaning that the death squad apparatus
ofisheacy"- as former community leaders, remains intact and can be reac-
presidential candidate Alejandro On June 30, Alejandro tivated wheneve te
Maldonado termed it - will fur- Maldonado was driving on the ivated whenever the
ther delay Guatemala's return to south coast highway near Cocales "These were Indian workers,
electoral government and could and saw one of the recent death humblee le, and to kill them
spark a new spiral of human squad victims being hauled out of like thpep ist te kilepurest
rightsabuses the river. Maldonado, the criminality, farm manager
endig urencappathese - Christian Democrats candidate Arriola said bitterly. "We had 15
cerns i th apparn e in the annulled 1982 elections and months of pace here, and now it
emergence of right-wing violence a man many believe to have been looks like this stuff is starting u
in the country's export-oriented the legitimate winner of thes p
south coast agricultural region. fraud-plagued balloting, called all over again.
Aside from the four dead this new spate of killings a "very Orme wrote this article for the
discovered here recently, disturbing" sign. PacificNews Service.

I

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another nine bodies turned up
between June 30 and July 3 along
the stretch of road between
Popoya and the small town of
Cocales, 10 miles to the west.
Elsewhere, on and near the main
highway, six more were found.
According to local residents
and government officials, the vic-
tims - all males and almost all
identifiably Indian - in
traditional death squad style
either had been beaten to death
or strangled with nylon twine and
then stripped to deter iden-

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