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WAISers vary from those who have little empathy for the poor of Latin America to those who are overwhelmed by it. Among these is Linda Nyquist, whose personal history explains her development, as it does in most people: "I'm somewhat dismayed by Tim Brown's comments. Castro and the Sandinistas most likely denied their socialist orientation because of lack of objectivity in viewing it from the US. Just mention the word and the free-for-all begins. Now we analyze to death their motives, etc. Why not take a look at what made their platform, whatever it was and whatever it became, popular? In all these countries it is the same; the abysmal living conditions prevalent for the masses under capitalist governments.

When I went to study in Mexico at age 19, and then lived there as a married woman, I was a Republican (yes, it's hard to believe). At some point prior to turning 25, I had the chilling realization that I was living a life of absolute comfort and self-indulgence because other people were not living AT ALL. Our wealth and privilege was based on paying those serving us the least amount possible. And there was an expectation that they "owed us" their labor, and loyalty, and that this demeaning work should be performed "with cariño." I burn with shame as I recall my political views at the time.

All this is leading to the question, what's the problem if Fidel and the Sandinistas are socialists/Marxists? If people have a problem with that, they are always welcome to come along and offer food, clothing, health care, education, and HOUSING to the masses. I suspect that these governments might be overturned in a real hurry. No trickle down, no spending lavish amounts to encourage tourism and foreign investment. I mean real and immediate change for the poorest elements of society. This is the appeal of leaders like Fidel and the Sandinistas. Here is a challenge: show us health conditions like those in Mexico (i.e. in Chiapas, Oaxaca, etc.,) in Cuba. Find us a population of consumers in Cuba who can NEVER see a doctor. Find a corresponding number of illiterate persons in Cuba. THEN let's talk about Marcos. "

My comment: Linda practices what she preaches. She spends much of her life helping the poor of Mexico. I understand her very well. Some years ago I was living well in Guadalajara, but appalled by the conditions in which the peasants of the area lived. I mentioned this at a cocktail party, provoking disbelief and denial among the guests. So I took them around the area in my car so that they could see. No problem for them."They will have their reward in Heaven." That was before Medellín II and the "socialist" reorientation of the Church.

Ronald Hilton - 3/9/01