Thank you. Pat who was just speaking has thanked many people but she forgot to thank herself and Pat infact has done the bulk of the work in the sister city relationship.
There are times when one wishes one was smarter than one is so that when one looks out at the world and sees the problems one wishes one knew the answers and I dont know the answers. Sometimes I think one wishes one is dumber than one is so one does not have to look out into the world and see the pain that is out there and the horrible situations that are out there, and not know what to do.
I think what I would like to start off by saying that is what is going on in terms of the US relationship to Nicaragua has nothing to do with Nicaragua. The nature of the conflict is based on the fact that for the past 150 years or so the US government in its wisdom has decided that Latin-America should be a colony of the US government. That countries that attempt stand up to do things for their own people instead of US corporations are not to be tolerated.
What is going on in Nicaragua, and lets not get into all the details of whether the Sandinista are wright or wrong on the issue. If you understand that for the last 30 years the United States has overthrown governments in Guatamala, Dominican Republic, murdered Salvador Allende in Chile. They overthrew the government of Grenada. They attempted to overthrow the government of Cuba. They overthrew a government in Brazil. And now are attempting to overthrow the government of Nicaragua.
I think, though all of you know that I am no great supporter of The President of the United States, but there is one good thing I can say about him. That he is an honest and straight forward man. What he has said to Daniel Ortega and the people of Nicaragua… He has not gotten involved in these wishy washy terms of liberalism or international law. He has been quite upfront about it. And he said before the people of the world that “If you wish to survive before the people of the world, you can. All you have to do is get down on your hands and knees and say uncle. Thats all.”
That is an interesting principal of international relations.
What he has said is that we in the United States are strong and powerful and we can destroy you anytime we want, and all you have to do is get down on your knees and send in Rambo and Sylvester Stallone.
The basic crime being committed by the people of Nicaragua is that the government there has the strange and unusual idea that the people should try and attempt and do something for the people of Nicaragua rather than United States corporations. A very strange idea for an independent nation to have. And if the United States relationship to Latin America for the last 50 years, which is:
Samoza Yes, Ortega No.
Batista Yes. Castro No.
Pinochet, mass murderer, torturer destroyer of democray. Yes.
Loans, military money. Yes.
Salvadore Allende, democratically elected by the people of Chile. His political party gaining in strength. No. Overthrown by the CIA and murdered. 30,000; 40,000 Chileans killed. Yes Pinochet.
When I was a kid going to school and Im sure you all had the same experience I learned something about American History. And I think many of us are very proud to be Americans. many fantastic things, a boldness, an energy exists in this country that does not exist anywhere else in the world. But what I think we did not learn and are not proud of and what we do not intent do accept brute bullied strength and we are not prepared to accept this nation dominating poor and weak nations trying to do decent things for their people.
I think if the sister city relationship means anything it means we believe that human beings on a face to face level are able to communicate to each other. Are able to work out problems based on mutual respect. That as Americans what we want of our nation is to be brave and bold but not with guns and machine guns and napalm.
I am not impressed with Reagan’s tough warlike rhetoric. If he wants to do something gutsy and brave, for a guy that does so well on tv a master of the media. What I would do is challenge him to sit down before the tv cameras of the world and talk to Ortega and other people of Nicaragua. A conversation based on mutual respect. Does he have the guts to do that? Im not sure that he does. Im not sure he has the answers to the questions the people of the world would throw at him.
We live in a world today where there are several hundred million people starving to death right now. We live in a world where all the superpowers spend a trillion dollars a year on weapons, nuclear bombs, sophisticatednerve gases that can wipe people out and kill them. Yet with all the brilliance and all the fine technology and all the medical research and robots, civilization has not advanced an iota in thousands of years. All these people can do is say to each “we are strong you are weak, do it our way or we are going to kill you’. A very profound, civilized remark.
I think we are here today is to show Reagan and many people that do ont have the courage that we have, because what goes on in this country through the television and media is that over and over again the president says that Nicaragua is communist, is terrorist. If you say it over a hundred times it becomes truthful and then suddenly you see the professional politicians getting less and less bold in saying the president is wrong. Because the truth of the matter is appealing to peoples hatred and anger is very good politics. It has always worked and is working today.
You will find college teachers less likely to speak out. Social workers less likely to speak out about the imperialism that goes on. I think our task is to say we are not afraid of that. We reject that mentality.
The real challenge of the civilization and the US and it is a difficult challenge and noone has easy answers. In a world which is economically disintergrating . The conditions in the 3rd world today are as real as they have ever been. And the challenge, the real challenge for tough people… Reagan thinks he is tough… the challenge is how to use our resources, our wealth, our energy not in military adventurism, but in working with people through the third world. In cooperation and mutual respect so that children dont have to starve. Die of diseases which our people know the answer to. Where people can read and write where people can learn to relate to each other. That is the challenge we face. And the guns, and the bombs and the contras are going in exactly the wrong direction.