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CAMPAIGN '88 : Robertson Draws Line

January 14, 1988|Bob Secter \f7

No fan of glasnost , tough-talking Republican Pat Robertson has big plans to stop what he thinks is Washington's coddling of worldwide communism. Last year, for example, he raised some eyebrows by suggesting that a long-range goal of his hoped-for presidency would be the elimination of communism from every country in the world, including the Soviet Union.

The longtime television evangelist hinted at a step toward that process this week when he told a group of ethnic Cuban leaders in Tampa, Fla., that, as President, he might consider arming anti-Castro guerrillas--something American leaders have been loathe to try since the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

He stressed that his actions might be constrained by U. S. laws. But, at the same time, Robertson said he would push to ship arms and supplies to anti-communist rebel forces "anywhere in the world, including Cuba."

"I do not think we should have a communist dictatorship 90 miles from our shores," he said. " . . . It's time we stop temporizing with communism."

Bold Nicaragua Plan

Robertson also has outlined a bold plan to overturn the communist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. He says he would break diplomatic relations with the Sandinistas and, instead, recognize the fractious coalition of anti-communist rebels, known as Contras, as the legitimate rulers of Nicaragua. Such a ploy could get around congressional restraints on arming and aiding the rebels, he believes.

As part of his plan, Robertson says the United States should also embark on a five-year, $5-billion economic aid program for all of Central America that is designed to wean the region from right- and left-wing dictatorships by fighting poverty and encouraging the growth of a strong democratically oriented middle class.

Robertson also told audiences earlier in South Carolina that he would eliminate tobacco growing by having the federal government buy up tobacco allotments--the federally granted rights to grow and sell the crop. "I'm on the side of the angels on this one," he said. But Joe King, head of the South Carolina Tobacco Assn., called the proposal "ludicrous and asinine."

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