End All Aid To Chile
FOR A BRIEF period last week U.S. foreign policy appeared to be taking an historic turn. In a Senate debate over the moral implications of U.S. foreign aid, the use of torture and political imprisonment became important enough issues to move the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ban all U.S. aid to Chile. This moral effort was predictably short-lived. Two days after the Committee vote a joint House-Senate conference removed all restrictions on aid to Chile--thereby reaffirming the status quo of U.S. foreign aid, in which concern over the use of torture and political imprisonment is not a determining factor.
The Senate Committee's concern with the moral implications of U.S. aid to Chile was prefaced by a State Department controversy two weeks ago in which Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger '50 rebuked the U.S. ambassador to Chile, David H. Popper, for discussing "unrelated issues such as human rights and military aid in high level diplomatic talks."
The facts of the Chilean experience totally contradict Kissinger's view of the relationship between U.S. aid and human rights. The U.S. trained, equipped and advised the Chilean officer corps which carried out a coup in which, depending on one's sources, some 2000 to 37,000 Chileans have lost their lives. These officers were aided in their efforts by an $8 million CIA program to "destabilize" the Allende government. According to a recent Amnesty International report, these same officers now maintain concentration camps for some 6000 to 10,000 political prisoners where electrical torture and beatings are commonplace. These political prisoners are denied the most basic human rights while being subjected to summary court martial and possible execution at the discretion of the Chilean military regime.
In order to ensure maximum efficiency in the discovery and imprisonment of all political opposition, the Chilean junta created a new intelligence service last April. This new intelligence service combines the former Army, Navy, Air Force and civilian intelligence services into one organization. The sub-director of this new organization is Walter Rauff. Rauff is an ex-Nazi S.S. officer who is wanted for war crimes in West Germany. He is alleged to have murdered some 300,000 Jews. Rauff is the first known Nazi war criminal to ever be given a public job anywhere in the world.
The U.S. arms, trains and economically supports the Chilean junta. The link between U.S. aid and the plight of the Chilean people is direct. Continued U.S. support of the Chilean regime can only signify U.S. acceptance of the human wasteland it has created.
The moral perspective of U.S. foreign aid to Chile is not unique. It is reflected in U.S. support of dictatorial regimes the world over, from Brazil to South Vietnam. However, the concern for human rights shown by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Ambassador Popper is unique. As such it should be supported and echoed by Americans of all political persuasions who feel that torture and political imprisonment are wrong. It is time the U.S. stopped supporting regimes that must torture and murder to sustain themselves. Chile is a good place to start. The Congress should reject last week's vote and ban all U.S. aid to Chile.