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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 02:56 AM
Original message
US influence in El Slavador's civil war
Oscar Alvarado
March 06, 2009

... According to the Robert White, US Ambassador to El Salvador in 1980, it was crucial that the United States bring to an end the officially-sponsored and tolerated violence through the withholding of military assistance. Further visible assistance (i.e. helicopters) would be interpreted by all sectors as support for the campaign of repression and would vastly undermine efforts to bring together the moderate elements of the governmental, military and popular organizations. These opinions were also expressed by Archbishop Oscar Romero before his death in 1979. Unfortunately, Ambassador White was removed from his post in 1981 as the US government, acting after the events in Nicaragua within a Cold War mentality, rapidly increased economic and military aid to the government and its security forces. This policy had three main effects:

a) Firstly, it introduced fresh resources into the conflict in an effort to stop the uprising via overwhelming military force. This alone had significant effects for the intensity and prolongation of the war (by facilitating the use of heavier tactics)

b) Secondly, it convinced centrist and moderate left groups that the primary American objective was not reforms or the cessation of violence but the elimination of the left-wing guerillas (strengthening the support that these groups had among most of the rural population, who were seeking change)

c) Lastly, this visible show of support to the right-wing, anti-communist government (who had been overlooking or encouraging the death squads) inspired the various, disorganized guerrilla groups to seek external assistance for retaliation (and thus further increased the parties and resources involved in the conflict) ...
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 06:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. Here's an opinion piece by DEMOCRATIC Rep. George Miller, written in 1988,
which was mentioned at the bottom of the original article, with the NY Times link. This is also very, good, sounding so completely contemporary:
October 21, 1988
El Salvador: Policy of Deceit
By George Miller; Representative George Miller is a Democrat of California.

LEAD: ''By most estimates, the war in El Salvador is stuck. Unhappily, the U.S. finds itself stuck with the war.''

The tired words of liberal Congressional critics? Hardly. This observation is drawn from a recently published report by four United States Army Lieutenant-Colonels that confirms what too few of us in Congress have been arguing for years: The truth is almost always the opposite of what the Reagan Administration tells us.

The work of the military analysts further illustrates the failure of the Administration's policy of building democracy in El Salvador while defeating the leftist rebels militarily.

The assessment of the military analysts, who spent the last academic year as national security fellows at the Kennedy School of Government, was based on highly classified documents and interviews with Defense and State Department officials, former United States military advisers and Salvadoran military officers. The report includes a host of additional findings that lambaste the United States' role in El Salvador.

The Administration has a long history of deceiving Congress about its intentions in El Salvador, as I, with Sen. Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon and Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, both Republicans, detailed in a 1985 report. For example, the Administration has evaded a 55-person cap on military personnel in El Salvador by redefining ''military personnel.'' According to the Army analysts' report, the number of American military service people ''exceeded 150'' in 1987.

Since 1981, Congress has been told that military personnel were stationed away from areas that would expose them to significant hostilities and thus, in theory, trigger the War Powers Act. Yet, the new report describes American military involvement in every facet of the war. And last month, three American advisers returned fire, for the first time, when they were caught in an attack on a base that has long been a target of the leftist Farabundo Marti Liberacion Nacional, or FMLN, rebels. It was the same base that witnessed, less than two years ago, the first (and, so far, only) killing of an American adviser in an attack in El Salvador.

In a 1987 update to the Congressional report, we concluded that the Salvadoran economy was deteriorating rapidly and that the war showed no sign of ending. Supporting our conclusion, the military analysts said: ''Since 1985, the war has settled into a fixed pattern. Despite reduced numbers, the FMLN remains a formidable foe, its attacks exacerbating the deterioration of the Salvadoran economy.'' They added that ''observers generally concede that the FMLN . . . can sustain its current strategy indefinitely'' and that ''an end to the war is nowhere in sight.''

In 1984, we were told that the newly elected Government of Jose Napoleon Duarte, backed to the hilt by Washington, would represent a credible, effective and moderate force that would implement genuine economic reform and bring peace to El Salvador. Those plans have gone nowhere.

With the far right's triumph in El Salvador's March legislative elections, the renewal of death squad activity and an increasing guerilla presence in San Salvador, our next President will find that El Salvador is the real troublespot in Central America.

We must attack the root causes of the war, specifically economic underdevelopment and gross social injustice. Again, the four military analysts concur, saying that ''American officers recognized . . . that victory required first addressing the grievances of the Salvadoran people.''

Unfortunately and, to me, inexplicably, the four military analysts do not call for the Administration to change course. But change is obviously needed. The Government of El Salvador is now being kept afloat by annual infusions of aid - almost $3.6 billion since 1980, including nearly $400 million more just three weeks ago. As in the Vietnam era, the Administration pursues, and Congress obediently supports, a policy without critically analyzing its impact.

We must redirect all our resources to a political settlement. This must include, first, encouraging negotiations and, second, dramatically shifting our present, overwhelming emphasis on war-related assistance to aid for true economic reform. The alternative is many more years of instability, death-squad murders and war.

Thanks for all the information.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:24 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. "The truth is almost always the opposite of what the Reagan Administration tells us."
Deja vu all over again, eh?

The truth about Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba--or about any Latin American country with a decent government (especially ones with resources that Exxon Mobil, Bechtel, et al, have been barred from, because they're such shits)--and the truth about a Bush Cartel client state like Colombia, with its narco-thugs government--"is almost always the opposite of what the Reagan...ahem...Bush administration told us." So, too with the truth about Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan...anywhere they have a war profiteer, drug cartel or resource interest. Lies, lies, lies!

I'd sort of pushed what fucking liars the Reaganites were to the back of my mind, because the Bush Juntaites were even bigger liars--on a simply mindboggling, Lewis Carrol scale (literally painting every last one of the white roses red). There is simply no topping them in U.S. history. But this George Miller article--"El Salvador: Policy of Deceit"--sharpens my memory. The Reaganwhacks were the precursors of the Bushwhacks in every way. The galling foretaste of Pukism. They just outsourced torture and murder.

This paragraph of Miller's could have been written about Colombia, today...

"We must redirect all our resources to a political settlement. This must include, first, encouraging negotiations and, second, dramatically shifting our present, overwhelming emphasis on war-related assistance to aid for true economic reform. The alternative is many more years of instability, death-squad murders and war."

We're now larding the nacro-thugs running Colombia with $6 BILLION in military aid, while their military and its death squads slaughter thousands of union leaders, political leftists, human rights workers, small peasant farmers--anyone who gets in their way, or merely to dress up corpses like leftist guerrillas to up their body count, to impress U.S. senators. Just as in El Salvador, back then, the Bush Junta didn't just support the wrong side, they armed them, trained them and lied about them every time they opened their mouths.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 06:41 AM
Response to Original message
March 7, 2009
El Salvadors Left Turn?
Mixed results for el frente in the countrys congressional elections.
By Jacob Wheeler

The day after the U.S. presidential election, Salvadoran presidential candidate Mauricio Funes congratulated President Obama.

These winds of change have begun to blow from the United States to refresh the global atmosphere, in need of more democracy and greater social justice, Funes said in a statement. The Americans have not been afraid to choose change, as they have staked out the future and not the immobility of the past.

Funes, who himself is on a nationwide Caravan of Hope tour, is the new face of the Faribundo Marti National Liberation front (FMLN). The partyborn from five bands of leftist guerrillas during El Salvadors civil war from 1980 to 1992is on the verge of winning its first presidential election on March 15.

A popular former TV journalist, Funes enjoys a double-digit leadas high as 17 percentage points, according to one December pollover his opponent, Rodrigo Avila of the incumbent right-wing National Republican Alliance (ARENA) party, which has held the presidency for 20 years.

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