Thank you for Kenneth Freed’s excellent article (“El Salvador’s Land Reform Plan Plants Seeds of Conflict, Despair,” Part I, June 25). In the last nine years, our government has spent over $4 billion in El Salvador. Seventy thousand lives have been lost in that country’s war. And yet, the fundamental problems facing the Salvadoran people have barely been addressed. Chief among them, as Freed points out, is the glaring inequality between the wealthy landowners and the impoverished peasant population. In the early 1980s, there were some very limited efforts at land reform. However, since the right-wing Arena government came to power, even the few peasants beneficiaries of those programs have been being kicked off of their modest plots of land.
When will the Bush Administration and Congress wake up to the fact that by supporting the Arena (i.e. “death squad”) government, they are only adding to the misery and suffering of the Salvadoran people? When will they realize that, like the courageous students in Tian An Men Square, the Salvadoran people want meaningful democracy and not just half-hearted reform?
When will they realize that a negotiated solution to the war is not an option, but a necessity? The truth is that most of the Salvadoran people, regardless of their political beliefs, are tired of the long and arduous war. Enough is enough.