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3 U.S. Servicemen Die in El Salvador

The editorial (“A Conflict That No One Can Win,” Jan. 4) supporting the negotiation process in El Salvador is greatly appreciated and critically needed. The negotiations have wide support within the country as the means to ending the conflict and repression of the past years. Recently there have been news articles about El Salvador that potentially impact the arguments for restoring full military support to the government which continues the violence against the population.

The first news articles are about the sales of arms by Sandinistas to the FMLN (Farabundo Marti Liberation National) guerrillas of El Salvador. What has been omitted from any reports is the sales of arms by Nicaraguan Contras to the FMLN. This practice has been ongoing over the past years during the time the Contras have received aid from the United States.

The second and most current event, the shooting down of a U.S. helicopter and the deaths of three U.S. military advisers, is a tragedy. There have been a number of helicopters shot down in El Salvador in the past few months. They are the same type of helicopter, Hueys, which are used by the Salvadoran military to rocket rural areas regularly.

I cannot understand the continuation of U.S. aid to a country that practices torture and assassination of the civilian population-political opposition, union and other organizations, church workers, teachers and medical-care workers.

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What are the U.S. interests that are being protected and have been protected for the past decades at the cost of approximately 75,000 Salvadoran civilians during the past 10 years?

The negotiation process is the hope of the people of El Salvador. They need peace, an end to the military repression, freedom to associate and organize, answers to the whereabouts of the disappeared and justice for the many massacred.

LYNNE HALPIN, Chair, Peace With Justice Commission, Southern California Ecumenical Council, Los Angeles


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