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The Nicaragua Network joins the heartfelt expressions of grief for those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. At the same time, we view with dismay and disgust much of the news coverage and the pandering for political benefit on this, the second anniversary of the horrible tragedy.
We are struck by the arrogance and lack of historical or political context in breathless news descriptions of Sept. 11 as "the day that changed the world forever." In fact, many countries have their "9-11s", all too many of them due to US-sponsored terrorism or direct military aggression.
For 30 years people of good will have mourned the loss of life and liberty on Sept. 11, 1973 when the US-sponsored coup against the elected, democratic government of Salvador Allende in Chile resulted in Allende's death and the summary execution of over 3,000 leftists, students, labor and peasant leaders by the military government of Augusto Pinochet.
Over 3,000 people were incinerated just before Christmas in 1989 when US troops invaded Panama to "arrest" President and former CIA "asset," Manuel Noriega. In the process the US inexplicably bombed a ramshackle Panama City ghetto, setting off a firestorm in which between 3,000-4,000 impoverished people were burned beyond recognition.
Over 3,000 Cubans have been killed in acts of terrorism launched from US shores right up until today. The single bloodiest was on Oct. 6, 1976. In one of the first acts of airline terrorism, the Cuban exile group "Comandos de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas" placed a bomb in a Cuban commercial airliner which exploded enroute. The founder of the group, who was charged in Venezuela for the bombing, Orlando Bosch, walks free in Miami today. Bosch was quoted in the Miami New Times on Dec. 20, 2001 stating, "There were no innocents on that plane." The bomb killed 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese, and five North Korean cultural officials. Among the dead were nearly all the young men and women of the Cuban national fencing team.
These were discrete terrorist acts supported by US taxpayer dollars. Even greater tragedies - and loss of life - resulted from sustained US government support for brutal dictatorships, death squads, and faux democratic governments in Nicaragua (80,000 dead) El Salvador (70,000 dead), Guatemala (200,000 dead), and many other countries throughout the hemisphere.
This does not even count a similar sordid US record in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Yes, we mourn the loss of innocent life on Sept. 11, 2001, but we no less mourn the loss of innocent lives lost through our own government's support for, and exercise of, terrorism around the world. The value of a US American life is not one cent more than the value of a Nicaraguan peasant life, a Chilean labor leader, a Cuban fencing team member, or a Mayan Indian in Guatemala. Until the people of the US come to grips with our own culpability in the crimes against humanity perpetrated by our successive governments, and demand an accounting, there will be more 9-11s in this and other countries.
It is time - and past time - for us to unite to change US government policies that support and expand terrorism and imperialism. One step to building a movement capable of transforming our nation is to join the Oct. 25 March on Washington to demand an end to the occupation of Iraq, Palestine, and Guantanamo Bay Cuba and money for schools, healthcare and jobs rather than a military budget that exceeds that of the developed nations combined.
Chuck Kaufman, the National Coordinator of the US solidarity group Nicaragua Network. © Copyright Chuck Kaufman 2003 For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .