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'Approaches to the Americas'

April 13, 1986

This is in response to Carlos Fuentes' article (Opinion, April 6), "Approaches to the Americas."

The real political choice for our hemisphere is to give a chance to democracy in every aspect, in every country, and not to be selective as to whom we support and whom we criticize. Fuentes, a brilliant writer, is one of those who very selectively chooses sides.

For him the big monster has always been and will always be the United States, no matter that he lives very comfortably in this country publishing books that most of his countrymen will never be able to read in English or Spanish.

He dreams about those two most loved American Presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, and what would they do in the present situation. Very conveniently he forgets that Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1933 and three years later Anastasio Somoza took control of Nicaragua. Soon after, FDR welcomed Somoza in Washington and old newsreels show them riding together in an open car.

In Cuba, in 1936, the Roosevelt Administration supported the impeachment of President Miguel Mariano Gomez by the Cuban Senate, which was controlled by Fulgencio Batista.

In the meantime, in the Dominican Republic, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was ruthlessly consolidating his power, while adhering to a policy of strengthening ties with the Roosevelt Administration.

President Kennedy started the involvement in Vietnam by sending advisers and blundered with the Bay of Pigs. The Cuban flag still has not been returned to a free Havana as JFK promised the Cuban community at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Fuentes insists that Mexico has given us one of the most secure borders. A country, that after years of revolution and strong nationalism has not been able to feed its own people, does not sound like a very stable country. Mexico is a country that is governed by a one-party dictatorship and ruled through corruption. Is the United States responsible for that? If President Miguel de la Madrid is such a great democratic leader, how come he has not prosecuted former President Lopez Portillo and used the ex-chief of police of Mexico City as a scapegoat in his pretense to clean up Mexico?

The injustices inflicted on the Mexican people by the Mexican government will, one day, create havoc in that country and Fuentes, then, will probably blame Washington.

Why doesn't Fuentes address Daniel Ortega? Why doesn't Fuentes address the abuses of the Sandinistas? While Fuentes enjoys the freedom of expressing himself here, the newspaper, La Prensa, in Managua, is subject to censorship. The head of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, Cardinal Obando y Bravo, who opposed Somoza, is now being accused of counterrevolutionary. How selective can you be!

No, we do not want Central America to become a new Vietnam, and American soldiers should never set foot in that part of the world. But, at the same time we do not want Central America to become another Cuba and the democratic struggle must be helped.


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