Back to Index

LATIN AMERICAN DICTATORS: "There is always a justification"

The issue of dictatorships and the US attitude toward them arouses strong feelings among Latin Americans, including Alejandro Winograd of Argentina. I select his from several messages, and we must leave it at that, having presented both sides: He writes:

"I found Tim Brown's statement slightly obscure. Because, even if he were right when saying that all those movements were communist (and he is not), that would not change the nature of dictatorships. It was Pericles who said that no threat (no matter how big) should be considered an excuse to suspend freedom and democracy. And he was right. The arguments against dictatorship are not at all related with the ideology or sincerity of revolutionary movements. Democracy should be given more respect than that. And, by the way, more credit.

Let's accept, for a moment, that Tim Brown is right when saying that the Cold War was a real war. And let's also accept that it was a World War. Well, I don't know how you see things there in United States. But, as far as I am concerned, it is a war that Argentina, and may other Latin America countries lost. During the Cold War years and, particularly, between 1976 and 1983 we lost most of the things that any civilized person (and I would like to think, all Waisers) appreciates. We lost, for example, the right of getting together with our friends; we lost the pleasure of walking home by night; the freedom of choosing what to read and what to think; the pride of being part of what we liked to consider a beautiful and great nation. We also lost the trust in our police, our army and our government, the love for our flag and our anthem, the smile and, in many cases, some good friends. We lost 10 or 20 or 50 years of social and economic growth. And many other things.

In 1982, when led by a criminal regime to an insane war, we also discovered that, in opposition with what Tim says, our so-called friends were the friends of our enemies (it has been clearly established that both Chile and the United States collaborated with the United Kingdom). And that the "free world" was not prepared to solve differences in a peaceful way. We do have to live with the fact that "those who are not with us are against us". But we do not have to accept that a gang formed by generals and admirals have the right to define who we are.

The members of guerrilla organizations were, in many cases, plain criminals. And criminals should be prosecuted and, eventually, punished under the law. But they should never be considered an excuse to break it".

Ronald Hilton - 11/17/01