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US: Support for Latin American dictators

Tim Brown refused to sign a lying US government document. John Heelan comments: "I applaud Tim's principled stand on the matter, it was extremely brave of him considering the US history of supporting right-wing dictatorships in Central and South America in support of American commercial interest in those countries (such as mining companies and United Fruit) , such as:

El Salvador (General Maximilio Hernández- 1932)
"A failed uprising organized by EI Salvador's Communist Party founder, Farabundo Marti, six weeks after Hernandez Martinez had seized power in a 1931 coup, sparked the General's crackdown on "communists." "Roadways and drainage ditches were littered with bodies," writes Raymond Bonner. "Hotels were raided; individuals with blond hair were dragged out and killed as suspected Russians. Men were tied thumb to thumb, then executed, tumbling into mass graves they had first been forced to dig." U.S. warships were stationed off-shore, ready to send in Marines to aid the General in case he ran into serious opposition.Hernandez Martinez was run out of the country in 1944, but his memory was celebrated as recently as 1980, when the Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez Brigade carried out a series of death-squad assassinations of prominent Salvadoran leftists. Farabundo Marti, killed during the purge, has also left a legacy: the rebels currently fighting the U.S. backed government of El Salvador call themselves the FMLN, the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front"

Nicaragua (The Somozas)
"The Marines invaded Nicaragua in 1912 and stayed until 1933, fighting but never defeating the revolutionary Augusto Sandino. They created the Nicaraguan National Guard and installed Anastasio Somoza Garcia in power. Then Sandino, who had signed a truce and put down his arms, was assassinated by Somoza. In 1935, General Smedley Butler, who led the Marines into Nicaragua, said: "[I was] a high class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and for the banks. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism - I helped purify Nicaragua for [an] international banking house." President Franklin Delano Roosevelt put it another way. "Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."

"A Christian has to walk around with his Bible and his machine gun," said born-again General Efrain Rios Mont, military ruler of Guatemala from March 1982 to August 1983. Rios Mont was one in a long series of dictators who ran Guatemala after the Dulles brothers and United Fruit, backed by the CIA, decided that elected President Jacob Arbenz held the country "in the grip of a Russian-controlled dictatorship" and overthrew the country's constitutional democracy in 1954. The succession of corrupt military dictators ruled Guatemala for over 30 years, one anti-communist tyrant after another receiving U.S. support, aid, and training"

Honduras (Roberto Suazo Cordova)
Honduras was the original "Banana Republic," its history inextricably intertwined with that of the U.S.-based United Fruit Company, but in 1979, when Anastasio Somoza was overthrown in Nicaragua (see card 7), Honduras got a new nickname: "The Pentagon Republic." In 1978 Honduras received $16.2 million in U.S. aid; by 1985 it was getting $231.1 million, primarily because President Suazo Cordova, working with U.S. Ambassador John Dmitri Negroponte and Honduran General Gustava Alvarez, allowed Honduras to become a training center for U.S. funded Nicaraguan contras. General Alvarez, who according to Newsweek, "doesn't care if officers are thieves, as long as they are virulent anti-communists," assisted in training programs and founded a special "hit squad," the Cobras. Victims of the Cobras were stripped, bound, thrown into pits and tortured. The Reagan Administration claimed ignorance of these human rights violations, but U.S. advisors have admitted knowledge"

Panama (General Manuel Noriega)
"The U.S. command post for covert Latin American operations is located in the Canal Zone where a series of figurehead presidents, some backed by General Manual Noriega, have involved Panama in U.S. intelligence operations. Noriega first met with then CIA Director George Bush in 1976 while Noriega was collecting $100 thousand a year as a CIA asset.Their friendly relationship persisted even after Noriegas' drug dealing was revealed by a 1975 DEA investigation. During the Reagan era, Noriega collaborated with Oliver North on covert actions against Nicaragua, training contras and providing a trans-shipment point for CIA supported operations that flew weapons to the contras and cocaine into the U.S."

(source for above comments:

This of course does not include Pinochet, (Chile) or Batista (Cuba). (I also think that Castro should be arraigned in the International Criminal Court for the repressive tactics of his regime over the last 50 years.)"

Ronald Hilton - 8/3/03