The report on U.S. citizens who are putting their muscle and skills to work alongside the people of Nicaragua brought to mind the flood of good will that resulted when a librarian friend of mine presented the national library in Managua with a needed card-duplicating machine, purchased with a number of $10 and $20 contributions. Such gifts and labor do far more to promote peace between our two countries than do the millions we spend outfitting an army that attacks and terrorizes poor villagers.
Polls show that although not everyone knows which side we are on, the American people are overwhelmingly against further military involvement in Central America. With the National Security Council now seeming to be the screen for information emanating from the White House, we need this kind of balanced news coverage more than ever.
Given our deepening involvement, isn’t it also time for congressional hearings on Central America of the sort that finally brought us to our senses in Vietnam? If we truly believe in the public’s right to know, these hearings should seek the widest possible input, including the opinions and advice of Central Americans living here.
It would be sobering to learn of the economic and international relations costs of our current policies, but encouraging if at the same time more sane alternatives could be explored.