is without its flaws and serious faults. There are the nagging questions of press freedom, the close identification of the government with the ruling party \(not an unusual phenomenon in Latin Amerits Catholic bishops, the fiasco with the Miskitos, and instances of lack of due process for political prisoners. Nicaraguan officials readily admit their mistakes and accept blame. They refuse to let La Prensa \(which they say will have total freedom during come a CIA vehicle, as was El Mercurio in Chile or The Daily Gleaner in Jamaica. The government does not allow the reporting of specific locations of foodstuff or commodity shortages \(although it allows mention of general to hoarding. Sergio Ramirez referred us to U.S. history of wartime censorship, the Sedition Acts, and to the fact that the U.S. even today will not let Sandinista leaders \(or other prominent political and literary leaders, for that Carlos Fernando Chamorro of the Sandinista La Barricada alluded to U.S. and British press censorship in the Grenada invasion and the Falklands war and wondered whether the New York Times would be censored if troops were massed on the Canadian and Mexican borders, as the contras are massed on the Honduran and Costa Rican frontiers. Given the relative proportions of the countries, the contra war is comparable to having 950,000 foreign soldiers at the U.S. borders and 2,000 American deaths per month, with Washington spending $32 billion annually to defend the country. Nicaragua is not perfect after five years. But, after 200 years, neither is the United States. Should our national policy be one of covert subversion and economic strangulation, or should it be one of healthy respect and gentle urging through incentives, especially in view of our notoriously poor history in Nicaragua? Nicaragua has scheduled elections for November 4. The U.S. complained that the elections were too far off when they were first set for 1985 and then griped when the date was moved up. Now, the Reagan administration is unhappy with enfranchising 16-year-olds, although not even the opposition in Nicaragua complains about the voting age. Fifty percent of the population is under 18 years of age. It is doubly a young country. Nicaragua is a country in experiment, trying to build a mixed, planned economy \(60% of which is still private ment, with a belief in religious support, frightens American economic interests. If Nicaragua succeeds, it will be an example for all Latin America. The trip was a deeply emotional experience, teaching us much about the poverty afflicting the Third World and the complicity of our country in perpetuating that poverty and shoring up undemocratic regimes. Wisconsin State Sen. John Norquist noted with chagrin that more money is spent on Disneyland than on Nicaragua’s entire budget. There was little we could do there, except make a small effort to show our good will. The Texas delegation bid farewell by raising enough money among ourselves to donate a building for a health clinic in Chaguitillo. Perhaps our gift in a way was an attempt to assuage some of our guilt. But, more important, it was a sign of support for a suffering people and perhaps a hope that some day our country would try to help build a democracy rather than give money to shed blood. BOOKS AND THE CULTURE Apologies to the Earth: Treating the Victims of War By Dana Loy Austin R. CHARLES CLEMENTS’S book comes at a crucial time. While Ronald Reagan warns us of a communist takeover in El Salvador, and Congress approves increased mili tary funding for that small country, the press calls Salvadoran president Duarte “charming.” But Clements, a family physician, offers a humanistic, behind the-scenes look at El Salvador, based on journals he kept between 1982 and 1983. He’s one of the few North Americans to have lived with the Dana Loy is a freelance writer doubling as advertising specialist for the Observer. Salvadoran rebels over a sustained period of time. In Witness to War, Clements shows WITNESS TO WAR: An American Doctor in El Salvador By Charles Clements, M.D. Bantam Books, 1984, 268 pp., $15.95 us the people who suffer when U.S. bombs fall on their homes. Most are civilians. Many are children too terrified to emerge from their crude shelters when the Huey helicopters have gone. Terrified, that is, if they are still breathing, or if they remain conscious after an arm or a leg is blown off. Reagan would have us believe that the Russians are just around the corner in El Salvador, marching in lock step with Nicaragua and Cuba toward our southern border. Clements, though, who lived with the rebels for nearly a year-anda-half, never saw anyone from those countries and notes that, in the region where he worked, outside forces provided the insurgents with no weapons. All were captured or bought from government army personnel. The only non-Western weapon Clements saw in El Salvador was one rusty RPG II grenade launcher from China. 18 JUNE 15, 1984
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