RN:”Do not let this teach you to hate” & hunger comments


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,   Nov. 19

This posting includes two items relating to the Pinochet case. The first is
an article written by Francisco Letelier, the son of Orlando Letelier, who
was Salvador Allende's Minister of Defence (and who was assassinated in
Washington, DC in 1976).

I used one line from that article, "Do not let this teach you to hate", as
the title for this RN message simply because this is an important and
eternal truth.

This message also includes some interesting reflections on the editorial on
hunger I sent to this list yesterday. 

all the best, Jan

Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 11:07:05
From: Bill Koehnlein <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Francisco Letelier on Pinochet

The Los Angeles Times                           October 21, 1998


Pinochet: Slick public relations, lies
and diplomatic immunity in the end
could not save the dictator from justice.

By Francisco Letelier

It has been 25 years since I witnessed Hawker Hunter jets circle downtown
Santiago, Chile, and heard the bombing of the presidential palace, "La
Moneda." My family and I watched in disbelief as gray-brown smoke filled
the skies. We believed my father was in the palace at the time. Later we
learned that he had escaped the bombing and had been taken prisoner at the
Department of Defense. 

On that day, Sept. 11, 1973, many people died in Chile as a result of the
violent military overthrow of the constitutionally elected government of
Salvador Allende. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the newly appointed head of the
army, along with the heads of the air force, navy and police, initiated a
violent chapter in Chilean history. As minister of defense, my father had
worked closely with Pinochet. It soon became clear that the general was
the leader of the military junta and the main architect of the overthrow. 
Allende himself died in La Moneda that day. My family, like many others,
heard his legendary and moving words on Radio Magallanes during his final

"I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this gray
and bitter moment where betrayal threatens to impose itself. Continue
knowing, all of you, that much sooner than later, the great avenues will
open through which will pass free men in order to construct a better
society.... These are my last words having the certainty that this
sacrifice has not been in vain. I am certain that at least there will be a
moral sanction which will punish felony, cowardice and betrayal." I grew
into manhood believing completely in the truth and certainty of these

For a year, my father, Orlando Letelier, was imprisoned on Dawson Island ,
300 miles from the Antarctic circle. There the men who had worked with
Allende built barracks and were subjected to hard labor. Allende's words
resonated within me on the mornings shortly after the coup when my
brothers and I would encounter corpses floating in the Mapocho River, and
dark red stains on the paths of the carefully kept Parque Forestal. I was
young then and vowed that I would outlive Pinochet. My father survived the
camp and was eventually released into exile. He shared many stories with
his sons, but he always held certain things back, as if to protect us from
the intensity of the tortures and deaths he had experienced. In late
September 1976, my father and an American co worker, Ronnie Kar p en
Moffitt, were assassinated on the streets of Washington D.C. A hit squad
under orders from Pinochet, working with paramilitary Cuban exiles,
planted a bomb in his car and detonated it as my father drove past the
Chilean Embassy. I remember being pulled out of a high school classroom
and rushed to George Washington Hospital. The car passed the bomb site on
the way. There is an indelible image stored inside of me, of ambulances
and firemen cleaning up Massachusetts Avenue, hosing the blood away and
searching for the dismembered remains of my father's body. Isabel Morel,
my mother, was waiting at the hospital and she had just one message for
us: "Do not let this teach you to hate." For years my mother and others,
including my father's sister, Fabiola Letelier, in Chile, worked
tirelessly for justice and to indict the men who had authored the murder.

Over the course of almost 20 years, the men who had participated in the
murder were apprehended one by one and tried for their crimes. In 1995,
Manuel Contreras, Pinochet's right hand man and the head of intelligence
during the military regime, was imprisoned for his part in the murders.

Even after Pinochet stepped down from his official position as head of
the armed forces earlier this year and became a senator for life, he
continued to take great measures to keep justice away from his door. His
public relations efforts at whitewashing his legacy with myths about
economic booms and innovative social programs have been most successful in
Chile itself. It would seem that we Chileans are uncomfortable with
examining our dark underbelly too closely as if justice could stop its
sometimes slow but always steady course.

The world is filled with too many individuals who like myself have
witnessed crimes like those Pinochet is certainly responsible for. Many
individuals who keep the idea of a world society where justice, peace and
dignity are real, attainable and possible. As I now remember the last
words of Allende, they race through me like a wildfire, loud and powerful.
Pinochet has been arrested and the world has taken a part in bringing
about a new possibility for justice. There are some who, like me, are not
so concerned about whether Pinochet goes to jail -- he is, after all, 82
years old. It is more important that we as a world society recognize that
a man like Pinochet is someone who should be submitted to justice and
investigation. It is more important that the world know the truth. In my
country and around the world there are thousands like me who know that
Pinochet is a criminal, a man who gave orders and caused torture and death
throughout an innocent civilian population. Economic miracles and slick
public relations, diplomatic immunity and public titles cannot change or
erase this truth. We are celebrating the truth, which has always been
ours. Justice is real. There are others who are now bravely overcoming the
gray and bitter moments of Chilean history, just as I always knew there
would be.

Francisco Letelier, an artist, now lives in Southern California.

The Los Angeles Times                           October 21, 1998

From: •••@••.••• (James Crombie)
Subject: 1)Paraguayan documents re: El Condor and Pinochet sent to Spain,
2)Garzon as a twentieth-century folk-hero
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 01:07:01 -0400

The 13:00 UCT news from Radio Exterior on Nov.16 mentioned that the Buenos 
Aires newspaper Clarin of the same date had reported that those TONS of 
documents concerning Operation El Condor, and Pinochet's involvement 
therein, had been sent to the judge whose is piloting the Pinochet case, 
Baltasar Garzon.

The article, in Clarin, www.clarin.com or www.clarin.com.ar, is by Juan Carlos 
Algañaraz, Madrid Correspondent, and is entitled:

La justicia paraguaya envió a Garzón el "archivo del terro[r]"

(The Paraguayan Judicial System has sent the "Archive of Terror" to Garzon.)

Whatever happens in the House of Lords, it looks like Garzon will 
continue implacably building his case!  He's emerging as one of 
the folk heros of the twentieth century.  This latter theme is 
developed in a piece by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán in La 
Jornada of Nov. 14: "Garzon, entre Pinochet y Kissinger."

He writes: "It is understandable that the pedestrians of history 
see in the portrait of of Garzon features and gestures which 
materialize the last hope for justice in this world..."  Montalban 
remembers meeting Garzon when he was working on crimes of 
state terrorism in Spain -- presumably Montalban is speaking 
of the scandals surrounding the GAL (Grupo Antiterrorista de 
Liberacion) which eventually brought about the electoral 
defeat of Spain's socialist government.  Garzon at the time 
was being accused of going after socialist politicians "out 
of spite" ("por despecho").  Now he's going after Pinochet.

Putting assassination and torture "out of bounds" for ideologues 
of the left and the right is part of building "a liveable world."  
Happy reading,
James Crombie

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 12:43:20 -0500
From: Dave Moore <•••@••.•••>

dear rn,
i just read the rn's "the politics of hunger" - your posting of an article 
from "Le Monde Diplomatique." although it's been reported for years, i'm still
amazed each time i am reminded that most starvation is a political weapon that
governments weild against populations, usually of their own citizens. however,
this article is well beneath rn's usual quality.  rn usually screens articles 
for rational content, and comments on their weak/strong points.  i think rn 
was asleep at the controls on this one.
an outline or the article would look something like this:

1) there is inequality of wealth in the world, and
2) there are super-rich people/countries, and
3) there are super-poor people/countries
4) there is enough food to go around and
5) there is lots of aid in food and money given that
6) evil governments steal, manipulate and exploit, while 
7) they let their people (or select groups thereof) starve.
8) because evil governments purposfully starve and even torture their people, 
9) we need more and stronger government (but the government has to be     
sensitive and nice).

the only rational conclusion from this article is that the starved and 
tortured peasants of the world either need guns to overthrow their evil 
oppressors, or democracy, a free press, and an honest police force to protect 
them. since the former just turns the tables, and the latter can turn the 
tide, the latter is clearly preferred. 

the evils chronicled by this article have been repeated for centuries, around 
the globe, by governments against their people - it is an argument against the
evils of unfettered power.  to ignore the facts and pretend that this article 
somehow makes an argument for governments and against the free market system, 
insults our intelligence. this article and its conclusions are so internally 
inconsistent, it severely detracts from the truths it, and rn are trying to 

rn has had a consistent message: as megacorps slip from the control of nations
and their laws, and manage to become superior to them, even good and 
democratic systems will no longer be able to control megacorps - even for the 
overall good of the people. (even scarier is the fusion of the megacorp with 
evil regimes as described in the article above). what the world needs are 
countries with strong and democratic governments, controlled by its citizens.

it's like we're back in a twisted version of the late 1700's, but instead of 
the people of the colonies of north america trying to form a democracy to 
insure their future well-being, we're now faced with megacorps trying turn 
back the clock and colonize all the countries of world for their own corporate
well-being.  the article above does nothing to persuade anyone to this point 
of few, it is just socialist sophistry.

                                        cheers!  dave

Dear Dave,   Nov. 19

Thanks for the implicit compliment on the general quality of RN postings! 

I think your summation of the points of the article are pretty well bang on.
But (as I find is so often the case for women looking at the arguments that
men make:-) there is, to my mind, no need to be so "either/or" about it.

You say that the article concludes with essentially this message:

9) we need more and stronger government (but the government has to be     
sensitive and nice).

Then you say: 

rn has had a consistent message: as megacorps slip from the control of nations
and their laws, and manage to become superior to them, even good and 
democratic systems will no longer be able to control megacorps - even for the 
overall good of the people. (even scarier is the fusion of the megacorp with 
evil regimes as described in the article above). what the world needs are 
countries with strong and democratic governments, controlled by its citizens.

Is there really any contradiction between point #9 and how you characterize
the RN message?

I would add: I think, actually, that the article gives us examples that show
that world problems are NOT ALL to be blamed on corporate globalization.
(For instance, the famine in North Korea can only be blamed on corporate
globalization indirectly, I think.) It is good for us to be reminded of such
truths from time to time, lest we end up believing dogmatically in some
ideology which prevents us from seeing the truth. (Ultimate truths have more
to do with things like: "Do not let this teach you to hate" than with some
analysis of corporate globalization.)

Actually, you have gotten me to take the time to give Ramonet's article on
hunger a more attentive reading.

The main point I would take issue with is this one:

"Climate has become a marginal factor in major
famines. It is man who is starving man. "

I would say that climate IS both an important factor in famines AND that it
is part of the "man starving man" reality. For our over-consumption of
fossile fuels is contributing to the climate change which is causing
disaters (including floods and droughts) all over the place.

Thanks for your comments and obliging me to look at the article more closely

all the best, Jan