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Bush Nominates CIA-Linked War Criminal as Next Ambassador to the United Nations

by Laetitia Bordes [fwd. by IWA] Friday, May. 25, 2001 at 1:41 AM
seamascain@mymailstation.com 218.879.8628 International Workers Association, 323 Fourth Street, Cloquet, Minnesota, 55720 - 2051

John D. Negroponte, President Bush's nominee as the next ambassador to the United Nations? My ears perked up. I turned up the volume on the radio. I began listening more attentively. Yes, I had heard correctly. Bush was nominating Negroponte, the man who gave the CIA-backed Honduran death squads open-field when he was ambassador to Honduras from 1981to 1985.

The U.S. Section of the International Workers Association [the

Syndicalist International] circulates the following statement written by

Laetitia Bordes of San Francisco, California. This statement is circulated

at the request of the AIT-California Collective, a group of the IWA. If you

would like more information about the IWA, send an e-mail to any of the

addresses given at the end of this message.



John D. Negroponte, President Bush's nominee as the next ambassador to

the United Nations? My ears perked up. I turned up the volume on the

radio. I began listening more attentively. Yes, I had heard correctly.

Bush was nominating Negroponte, the man who gave the CIA-backed Honduran

death squads open-field when he was ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to


My mind went back to May 1982 and I saw myself facing Negroponte in

his office at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa. I had gone to Honduras on a

fact-finding delegation. We were looking for answers. Thirty-two women had

fled the death-squads of El Salvador - after a series of assassinations in

1980 - to take refuge in Honduras. Some months after their arrival, these

women were forcibly taken from their living quarters in Tegucigalpa and

pushed into a van. They "disappeared." Our delegation - a delegation of

women - was in Honduras to find out what had happened to THESE women. John

Negroponte listened to us as we exposed the facts. There had been

eyewitnesses to the capture, and we were well-read on the documentation that

previous delegations had gathered.

Negroponte denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of these women. He

insisted that the U.S. Embassy did not interfere in the affairs of the

Honduran government, and it would be to our advantage to discuss the matter

with the latter.

Facts, however, reveal quite the contrary. During Negroponte's

tenure, U.S. military aid to Honduras grew from million to .4 million;

the U.S. launched a covert war against Nicaragua and mined its harbors, and

the U.S. military trained Honduran military to support the Contras.

John Negroponte worked closely with General Alvarez, Chief of the

Armed Forces in Honduras, to enable the training of Honduran soldiers in

psychological warfare, sabotage, and many types of human rights violations,

including torture and kidnapping. Honduran and Salvadoran military elites

were sent to the School of the Americas to receive training in

counter-insurgency directed against people of their own country. The CIA

created the infamous Honduran Intelligence Battalion 3-16, that was

responsible for the murder of many people in Nicaragua. General Luis Alonso

Discua Elvir, a graduate of the School of the Americas, was a founder and

commander of Battalion 3-16. In 1982, the U.S. negotiated access to

airfields in Honduras and established a regional military training center

for Central American forces, principally directed at improving fighting

forces of the Salvadoran military.

In 1994, the Honduran Rights Commission outlined the torture and

disappearance of at least 184 political opponents. It also specifically

accused John Negroponte of a number of human rights violations. Yet, back

in his office that day in 1982, John Negroponte assured us that he had no

idea what had happened to the women we were looking for.

I had to wait 13 years to find out. In an interview with the

BALTIMORE SUN in 1996, Jack Binns, Negroponte's predecessor as U.S.

ambassador in Honduras, told how a group of Salvadorans, among whom were the

women we had been looking for, were captured on April 22, 1981 and savagely

tortured by the DNI - the Honduran Secret Police - before being placed in

helicopters of the Salvadoran military. After take off from the airport in

Tegucigalpa, the victims were thrown out of the helicopters. Binns told the

BALTIMORE SUN that the North American authorities were well aware of what

had happened and that it was a grave violation of human rights. But it was

seen as part of President Ronald Reagan's counterinsurgency policy.

Now in 2001, I'm seeing new ripples in this story. Since President

Bush made it known that he intended to nominate John Negroponte, other

people have suddenly been "disappearing," so to speak. In an article

published in the Los Angeles TIMES on March 25, Maggie Farley and Norman

Kempster reported on the sudden deportation of several former Honduran

death-squad members from the United States. These men could have provided

shattering testimony against Negroponte in the forthcoming Senate hearings.

One of these recent deportees just happens to be General Luis Alonso Discua,

founder of Battalion 3-16. In February, Washington revoked the visa of

Discua, who was Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations. Since then, Discua

has gone public with details of U.S. support of Battalion 3-16.

Given the history of John Negroponte in Central America, it is indeed

horrifying to think that he should be chosen for high office at the United

Nations. Will he act to ensure that the human rights of all people receive

the highest respect? How many people, I wonder, know who John Negroponte

really is?

Laetitia Bordes

San Francisco, California


Yours for workers' freedom,

S mas Cain, National Secretary of the IWA in the U.S.

Jeff Hilgert, International Secretary of the IWA in the U.S.

Tom Gilliam, National Treasurer of the IWA in the U.S.

Catherine McDonald, MidWest Regional delegate

[Duluth, Minnesota]

Tom Carr, Western Regional delegate

[Oakland, California]

Wade Rawluk, Northeast Regional delegate

[Bronx, New York]

The AIT-Maine Collective

The AIT-Minnesota Collective

The AIT-California Collective

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