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Fuentes' Prayer for Argentina

June 11, 1987

I was as moved by Carlos Fuentes' article as I have been riveted this spring by accounts of President Alfonsin's courageous efforts to protect Argentina's democracy.

It has been inspiring to follow the story of this remarkable leader's struggles to deal with the threat of the military as Argentina seeks to bring that brutal institution to justice, a justice that is a requirement of their national healing.

In the midst of the frustrating confusion of "Irangate" in our own country, it is heartening to turn one's attention away from that for a moment and realize that by supporting Alfonsin and the "new, vital Argentine society" we could really be doing something to support democracy in Latin America.

Fuentes is absolutely right when he states that "Alfonsin's prayer for democracy in Argentina deserves full international support."

The media, the U.S. government, and the American public all have a role to play in this support. The media should be diligent and thorough in their coverage so that we all have the information we need. The government should provide full official voice of its backing, including sending a representative to put some flesh on the bones of its support. Our government should be down there asking them how can we help, what can we do to contribute to your efforts? This would add some much needed credibility to our national claim of commitment to assisting democracies in our hemisphere.

Finally, the American public can flex its muscle by letting Congress know that we want to participate in the international support of this hopeful yet still fragile democracy. After all the shameful things we have done in Latin America both historically and recently, it would be a great relief to finally find ourselves participating in support that is constructive, nonviolent, and highly principled. It is the least we owe the Argentines and the least we owe ourselves.

VALERIE STEVENSON

San Diego

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