Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Saint Reagan's bloody legacy in Central America

"When I give food to the poor, I'm called a saint. When I ask why they are poor, I'm called a communist." -Archbishop Dom Helder Camara. This essay is part of an occasional feature on this blog that presents compelling stories from elsewhere in the world, particularly Africa, that are little reported in the American media. It's part of my campaign to get people to realize there is a lot going on in the world outside the US, IsraelStine and the Trumped Up Enemy of the Month. A list of all pieces in this series can be found found here.

As the clowns seeking the Republican presidential nomination fall over themselves to claim to be Ronald Reagan, a couple of articles I read recent cast a different shadow on the late Republican's legacy in Central America.

In The New York Review of Books' blog, the excellent Alma Guilermoprieto ran a chilling piece on the new ganglands of El Salvador. The country was the location of the most bloody of central American wars in the 1980s, as the Reagan administration backed a brutal junta and savage right-wing death squads which murdered tens of thousands of people, including most infamously Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Another mass murderer backed by Saint Reagan was Efrain Rios Montt, the military dictator of Honduras. He has been indicted on charged of genocide for his alleged role in mass war crimes and human rights abuses in the 1980s.

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