We know that George Bush went to El Salvador to crackdown on death squads but

edited December 2018 in Other Political Debate
We know that George Bush went to El Salvador to crackdown on death squads but I don't think that I remember hearing this story before. Writing at the Hill, John Solomon tells about Bush's 1983 visit to El Salvador where he was to deliver a message about the country's use of death squads.
The meeting place was chosen carefully by Bush’s advance team to accentuate the message. A few weeks earlier the villa had been the site of a suspected death-squad confrontation, and the walls and carpets were still stained with victims’ blood when Bush aides arrived to scout the location a few days before the meeting.
“It looked like a meeting had gone terribly wrong and no one survived,” Antonio Benedi, a trusted aide who accompanied Bush on the trip, told me back in 2011 when I worked for Newsweek.
A paint job was ordered but, otherwise, the site was kept the same. What better place to deliver a message of restraint than a crime scene where none had been exercised?
Bush began the meeting with a private conference in a back room of the villa with then-Salvadoran President Álvaro Magaña. Midway through it, some of the military commanders entered the villa with weapons and a commotion broke out with the Secret Service when the soldiers refused to lay down their arms. Bush asked for quiet.
When the time came to meet with the military leaders around a conference table, Bush wasted no time making his point. He slammed his fist on the wooden surface, startling some in the room.
Oliver North told me, years later, that the scene was like a Hollywood movie. The Americans were outnumbered 5 to 1, some of the people at the table were death-squad commanders, and any failure would doom Reagan’s entire strategy in Latin America.
North remembered Bush’s words exactly: “If the killings don’t stop and you don’t hold elections, we are going to cut off your aid and it will stop you dead in your tracks, and you know what that means,” he quoted Bush as telling the Salvadoran leaders.
Bush didn’t wait around for a response. He abruptly left, with North leaving behind a handwritten list of death-squad leaders the United States wanted removed from command.
Certain US officials and organizations were not squeamish about working with the country's death squads. However, US policy was to prop up a moderate civilian government led by the PDC's Jose Napoleon Duarte, to keep the Salvadoran right out of power, and to defeat the FMLN. US pressure against Salvadoran death squads seemed to work but it was always fleeting. Murders and atrocities would increase after US pressure dissipated.

Powerful Salvadorans believed that the US and PDC were going to lose the country to the communists. The US lecturing them about human rights was not something in which they were interested. And they did seem to believe US warnings about cutting off aid about poor human rights conditions. US Democrats wanted to embarrass the Republicans but putting them on the record about supporting a regime with an abysmal human rights record but they didn't want to actually have aid cut off and let El Salvador fall to the communists. The Reagan administration was going to pressure Salvadorans to keep a lid on death squad activities but they were not going to terminate assistance. Winning the Cold War in El Salvador and Central America was too important.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Music Forum - Political Prisoners - Sport Forums - talk Forums - Politics Forums - Fishkeeping Forums - Led Zeppelin - Pink Floyd