YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Tear Gas Breaks Up Salvadoran Protest Against Carter Visit

February 10, 1986|Associated Press

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — U.S. Embassy guards hurled tear gas into a crowd protesting the arrival of former President Jimmy Carter, and conservatives called for a two-hour work stoppage today.

About 200 demonstrators gathered outside the residence of U.S. Ambassador Edwin G. Corr shortly after Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, arrived Sunday night from neighboring Nicaragua.

Security agents said the protesters burned effigies of Carter, Cuban President Fidel Castro and Salvadoran President Jose Napoleon Duarte. They waved signs reading, "We Love Reagan, We Hate Carter," and "Carter, the blood of the people condemns you."

One demonstrator tried to climb a wall around the residence, and a Marine guard threw a canister of tear gas in response. The demonstration broke up within an hour.

Right-wing groups called for a two-hour work stoppage "to repudiate" the Carters' visit.

The conservative newspaper Diario de Hoy said today, "Diplomatic circles called the Carter visit yesterday an act of stupidity." Newspapers also claimed Carter's policies as President had "delivered Nicaragua to communism."

Withdrew Support

Carter's withdrawal of support for Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979 was seen as instrumental in helping the Sandinista rebels gain control of the government in July of that year.

Carter, who is writing a book about Latin America and is on a fact-finding tour of the region, spent three days in Nicaragua. He ends his tour this week in Mexico.

The former President said at a Managua news conference before leaving for El Salvador that he found evidence of human rights violations in Nicaragua and was unsatisfied with the Sandinista government's performance.

He said, "I have not changed my views of 1979 and I still have hopes that the goals (originally set by the Sandinistas) can be achieved.

"What I would like to see is a country that achieves reconciliation, where there's political pluralism, respect for rights and economic progress," he added.

Carter said he disagrees with President Reagan's support for the contra guerrillas fighting to oust the Sandinistas.

Support Growing

However, reports of human rights violations in Nicaragua were "attracting a lot of attention among Americans," he said, adding that congressional support is growing for Reagan's request to renew lethal aid to the anti-Sandinista rebels.

Asked if he had seen evidence of repression of the Roman Catholic Church in Nicaragua, he said, "There is no doubt that it exists, as well as a lack of freedom of expression and certainly, violations of human rights."

Carter met Saturday with President Daniel Ortega. The Georgia Democrat had planned to meet Sunday with Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, Roman Catholic archbishop of Managua and a leading critic of the government.

But the cardinal was in neighboring Honduras and was prevented by unspecified "reasons outside his control" from returning in time to meet Carter, the Rev. Bosco Vivas said.

Los Angeles Times Articles