The Return of the Cold War "Terrorists"
by George Friemoth
Marin Interfaith Task Force on Central America
newsletter, Spring 2002
President Bush has filled many of his government's most senior
policy positions that directly affect Latin America with a slate
of dedicated "Cold Warriors" who, as Kate Doyle points
out in NACLA, "now threaten to revive the poisoned and polarized
atmosphere of the Reagan era."
These appointees can safely be called terrorists because they
were deeply involved in former President Reagan's Contra war against
Nicaragua. As Noam Chomsky points out, the United States is the
first country in history to be convicted of international terrorism
in a world court tribunal and to be condemned by the United Nations.
He says there are many cases of US-sponsored terrorism in the
world but the US role in the ContraSandinista war is "totally
uncontroversial." So who are these people now in charge of
our Latin American foreign policy?
* Elliott Abrams, National Security Council (NSC), Special
Advisor on Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations,
was convicted of Iying to Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal
in 1991. He helped hide some of the worst human rights abuses
reported in Central America in the 1980s. Bush senior pardoned
Abrams in December 1992.
* John Negroponte, US Ambassador to the UN. Served as ambassador
to Honduras from 1981 - 1985. Human rights groups charge Negroponte
with covering up political killings and purging information from
embassy human rights reports that implicated the military and
CIA in disappearances of civilians. His appointment took place
two days after the terrorist attacks in the US despite intense
opposition from human rights groups.
* Otto Reich, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere
Affairs, is an ultra-rightwing Cuban American dedicated to overthrowing
the Castro government. At the height of the Contra war, Reich
headed Reagan's propaganda office that in 1987 was found by the
Comptroller General to be "engaged in prohibited, covert
propaganda activities." Reich is known to have associations
with terrorists like Orlando Bosch convicted in 1976 for the bombing
of a Cuban airliner with 73 people on board. In 1990, he was instrumental
in getting Bush senior to pardon Bosch who now lives in Florida.
Because of strong opposition to his appointment in the Senate,
George Bush made the appointment after Senate adjourned in January
* Roger Noriega, Ambassador to the Organization of American
States (OAS), is another Cuban American who served as a senior
aide to Senator Jesse Helms, former chair of the Foreign Relations
Committee. Noriega helped promote Helms' xenophobic, anticommunist
and anti-Castro agenda in Congress. He is a leading proponent
of the US supported war in Colombia.
* John Poindexter, Director of Information Awareness Office
(IAO), a new agency "to counter attacks on the US,"
was the mastermind behind the Iran-Contra scam (guns for hostages).
Along with Oliver North, Poindexter was found guilty of conspiracy,
obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence. The convictions
were overturned on appeal. With his IAO position, Poindexter again
becomes one of Washington's most powerful men.
* John Maisto, Special Advisor on Latin America at the NSC,
was chief of mission at the US embassy in Panama during the 1989
invasion to topple Manuel Noriega and the Ambassador to Nicaragua
at the time of the electoral defeat of the Sandinistas in 1990.
His dedication to Washington's war on drugs and counterinsurgency
does not bode well for alternative strategies in the Americas.
Source: NACLA Report on the Americas, November/December 2001.
Kate Doyle is a senior analyst of US policy in Latin America for
the National Security Archive.