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Democracy in Central America

August 30, 1987

So Arturo Cruz is concerned about democracy in Central America (Op-Ed Page, Aug. 20). How touching. Was he concerned about democracy when he was on Lt. Col. Oliver North's payroll to the tune of $7,000 a month? Was he concerned about democracy in Nicaragua under the Gen. Anastasio Somoza dictatorship, when thousands were tortured by the National Guard and he lived comfortably in Miami and Washington, D.C.?

There are a few contra dictions in Cruz's eloquent essay praising the Arias peace plan. First he asserts that, "Peace is firm if, as in Costa Rica, its preservation is entrusted to a government that neither yields to foreign pressure nor resorts to domestic repression." Costa Rica receives more aid per capita from the U.S. than any other country in the world except Israel. As a result of foreign pressure from the U.S., Costa Rica provided bases for contra attacks and allowed the building of an airstrip to service the contras.

Cruz praises Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez for recognizing, ". . . the parallel between the Nicaraguan rebels and their Salvadoran counterparts." There are no parallels. The Salvadoran rebels control one-third of the territory in El Salvador and are based within that country because they have popular support. The contras on the other hand, are based in Honduras, as well as trained and funded by the CIA. If they had popular support, they would be based within Nicaragua and would be fighting from the mountains as the Sandinistas did for 10 long years. The reason they do not have popular support, as has been amply documented by various human rights organizations, is because they systematically rape, torture and mutilate Nicaraguan civilians.

Cruz may now call himself the "president of Democratic Action for Nicaragua," but he is still a contra.

TRISH O'KANE

Los Angeles

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