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Refusal to Allow Oxfam Shipment

September 12, 1986

Thanks to The Times for the report (Sept. 4) about the fact of the Reagan Administration's refusal to allow the respected private relief agency, Oxfam America, to ship $41,000 worth of farm equipment to private Nicaraguan agencies to help relieve hunger in Nicaragua.

The more the media help the people to know the facts of our government's actions in such situations, the less confused people will be and the more effectively we can implement our commitment to democracy.

This most recent act of the Administration is outrageous and suggestive of a cynical attitude toward the poor and suffering people of Nicaragua. No wonder the Nicaraguan characters in a Doonesbury cartoon all agree that they would rather have "vile, repressive Sandinistas" in charge than "freedom-loving contras. "

Former Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-Ark) in his 1966 book, "The Arrogance of Power," writes: "It is only when the Congress fails to challenge the executive, when the opposition fails to oppose, when politicians join in a spurious consensus behind controversial policies . . . that the campuses and streets and public squares are likely to become the forums of a direct and disorderly democracy."

I very much hope that it will not become necessary once again for our nation to endure such a "direct and disorderly democracy," with all the indeterminate suffering and final outcome that that could involve.

This latest Administration act, however, can only increase the nearly two-thirds of the American people reported in respected polls to be opposed to the contra war in Nicaragua.

The risk of a direct and disorderly expression of democracy here at home is growing.

TOM CLAGETT

Los Alamitos

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