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August 14, 1987 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly Summer Weekly, 1987-08-14

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OPINION

The Michigan Daily

Friday, August 14, 1987

Page 5

w .

97 Years of Editorial Freedom
No. 13S
Unsigned editorials represent the majority views of the Daily's
Editorial Board. Cartoons and signed editorials do not
necessarily reflect the Daily's opinion.
Strange bedfellows

Be wary of bike

FOR YEARS, humanitarian
activists have been attempting to
halt deportation from the United
States of Salvadorans. Recently
these activists have gained a
surprising ally - President Duarte
of El Salvador.
President Duarte's concern is
more political than humanitarian.
Duarte fears the political and
economic effects the large-scale
return of Salvadoran refugees might
have on his frail claim to power. El
Salvador already has over 50 percent
unemployment and an influx of
deportees would worsen the sit-
uation. Furthermore, the money
sent from refugees in the United
States to their families in E 1
Salvador constitutes a major source
of income to the country. The
double blow of increased
unemployment and decreased
income could weaken an already
ailing economy to a point that
would provoke a rightist coup.
The other threat to Duarte would
come from the left. Duarte is well
aware that most of those who have
fled El Salvador have done so at the
behest of death squads or because of
other threats posed by the military.
Upon their return, these people
would swell the ranks of the
insurgents.
Duarte's fears have been
heightened by the so-called
"immigration reform" which is
designed to facilitate greater
deportations. For this reason Duarte
has asked that Salvadorans be
exempted from the law's
expulsionary provisions and be
given temporary harbor in the
United States. Duarte was refused
by his good friend in the White
House.
As much as one may enjoy the
White House finally denying aid to
Duarte, one must be disappointed
that Reagan will not comply with
the petition for temporary stay of
deportations to El Salvador. There
are many better reasons for granting
asylum to Salvadorans than
presented in Duarte's self-serving
calculations.
One of these reasons is alluded to
in Duarte's appeals. Many who
have fled E Salvador have done so
because their political or class
standing made perilous continued
residence in their native country.

They would be in equal or greater
danger upon being deported. A
study by the American Civil
Liberties Union focusing on only a
small number of deportees to El
Salvador, 7,400, found evidence
that nearly one hundred of them had
been murdered or "disappeared."
Despite such evidence of danger,
the United States government has
practiced a policy of aggressively
deporting Salvadorans. The Refugee
Act of 1980 made demonstration of
a "well-founded fear of persecution"
upon returning home the sole
requirement for receiving political
asylum in the United States. This
Act was meant to correct the abuse
by which asylum applicants from
"anti-U.S." countries were accepted,
while those from ally countries
were rejected. Unfortunately, the
Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) has nullified the act
by discriminatory enforcement. A
January congressional report critical
of the INS found that "those who
described torture to support their
asylum request had an approval rate
of 4% in El Salvador cases, 15% in
Nicaragua, 90% in Poland and 64%
in Iran." In addition, of the four
countries examined, only
Salvadorans were actually deported
after being denied asylum.
The INS has also received strident
criticism from the courts. This
year, the Supreme Court ordered the
agency to be more liberal in its
consideration of asylum applicants.
The INS has been reprimanded in
other cases for verbal and physical
abuse of asylum applicants,
Salvadorans in particular. Unfort-
unately, tongue-lashings from the
judicial branch leave the INS
unaffected and unreformed.
Given the discretion, the INS
will discriminate. Thus, this
discretionary power must be
curtailed by legislative action.
There is a bill before Congress
presently that would accomplish
this task. The Moakley-DeConcini
bill would grant temporary stay of
deportation to Salvadoran refugees
until such a time as it is safe for
them to return to their native land.
This is the best solution short of
discontinuing the U.S. aid which
results in people fleeing from El
Salvador in the first place.

A GROUP OF MICHIGAN
STUDENTS have decided to take
legal action against the" Student
Bike Shop. It is about time. The
Student Bike Shop owner's are
notorious for their rude behavior.
Last year, one of the owners
punched a customer. Others have
claimed that the owner has told
them to "go to hell" when they
have complained. However, it is
not illegal to treat customers poor-
ly. It is illegal to charge for ser-
vices never performed and that is
the allegation of the lawsuit.
Student Bike Shop is easily the
most visible bike shop in the
campus area. Many students have
their bikes fixed there because they
are unaware of other shops. A little
investigative research is beneficial
for any student who needs a repair
or spare parts. There are currently
four outstanding claims at the
Washtenaw County Community
Services against the Student Bike
Shop.
As a customer, if you are
unhappy with the services received

it is your problem. One dissatisfied
customer had his gears "fixed." He
rode the bike around afterwards and
the gears were still slipping. When
he brought it back the mechanic
told him that the gear cable was too
long and therefore had been severed
by the reflector. He then said he
would fix it but it was not the bike
shop's fault. It was the bike ow-
ner's fault because the owner had
not told the mechanic that the cable
was too long. What are the respon-
sibilities of a "mechanic" anyway?
Another customer had a flat tire
repaired. He was told that a new
inner tube was put in. Shortly
thereafter the tire went flat again
ana he pulled it apart. The "new"
inner tube had a patch on it. When
a co-owner of the bike shop was
confronted with this he became very
upset and denied that an old tube
was used. He is still denying it.
Student Bike Shop seemingly
plays an estimates game. The cus-
tomer with the gears story was
given an "estimate" of $20-25. The
final bill ended up being over $40.

shop
The customer had asked to be
notified if the bill was to be over
$30. He was not notified. This is
only one part of a possible esti-
mates game. If you rent a bike you
must agree to an estimate of the
bike's worth that they set. This es-
timate can be very high; for exam-
ple, they may place the worth of a
used Schwinn at $175. If this bike
gets stolen you will be charged for
the estimated amount. The bikes
that are rented are used Schwinns
and not worth anywhere near $175.
In fact, if-you were trying to sell
that same used Schwinn to the
Student Bike Shop they may offer
you somewhere around $50 or less.
There are other bike shops in
town and close to campus. Campus
Bike and Toy Center is right next
to Cottage Inn on Williams. It
offers the same options as Student
Bike Shop. The difference is that
the owners are polite and words like
"mechanic," "estimate," and "ser-
vice" are defined in the traditional
sense. You should go there and
avoid the Student Bike Shop.

Prospects for peace improve

THE TROUBLED REGION of
Central America, which for years
has been wracked by war, now faces
the prospect of peace. In a n
extraordinary display of regional
solidarity, the five presidents of
Central America signed a peace plan
built largely upon the proposals of
Costa Rican President Arias. While
not a sure-fire guarantor of peace,
the plan is still significant in that
the Central American leaders have
taken a first step toward the
cessation of hostilities, and have
put regional initiatives above
externally-crafted "solutions."
The plan calls for opening a
dialogue with unarmed opposition
groups in the various countries and
the declaration of political amnesty.
In addition, it seeks a cease-fire in
the regions various guerilla wars -
namely the insurgency of the CIA-
spawned Contras in Nicaragua and
the peasant guerillas in El Salvador.
Other key points in the plan are
the cut-off of all outside aid to
guerilla groups; a stipulation that
the territory of one state cannot be
used to attack another; and the
lifting of state of emergency
measures, including censorship,
imposed by the Sandinistas in
response to Contra aggression.
Although the plan does not
address many tough questions, it
does represent a clear break with the
past. In the past, the initiatives of
the Central American states have

routinely been subordinated to those
of Washington. The recent meeting
of the five presidents in Guatemala
City had all the appearances of
following this pattern. It was not
mere coincidence that President
Reagan offered his own "plan" to
resolve the region's conflicts the
very week the Latin presidents were
scheduled to meet. The Reagan plan
proposed conditions upon Nicaragua
which were likely to be rejected. It
was widely seen as a ploy to garner
increased military aid to the
Contras, after such aid expired on
September 30. But irr Guatemala
City, the Central American
presidents made it clear - and
rightfully so - that a truly
successful peace plan must
originate in the region itself and
address the issues as seen by
Central Americans, not the
"threats" perceived by their
Northern neighbor. The presidents'
rejection of Reagan's plan in favor
of the Arias proposal demonstrated
an uncommon resolve and is to be
commended. It is positive because

it opens up the possibility of peace
via negotiations, rather than
military force. While a lot depends
upon the ability of each Central
American state to practically
implement the guidelines and
principles of the plan, the U.S. role
is equally important.
As the Iran-contra hearings
revealed, the Reagan administration
has demonstrated a single-
mindedness towards a military
solution in Nicaragua that has
breached ethics, laws, and constitu-
tionality. The president says he
"supports" the Arias plan yet
insists that the "interests of the
Nicaraguan resistance" must also be
protected, and Vice President
George Bush has declared that the
United States will not leave the
Contras "dangling in the wind."
Peace in Central America is in the
United States' interests as well as
the regional powers, but such
comments cast shadows upon
Washington's sincerity and are not
helpful at a time negotiations are
underway.

Can you draw? Do you want to depict
political or cultural criticism? The Daily is
looking for people with cartoons, collages
and other graphic works. Call 747-2814.

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