Students, Professor Blast U.S. Role in El Salvador

Students and a professor expressed their opposition to U.S. aid to El Salvador at two distinct forums last night.

John Womack '59, professor of History, told a North House current events table that his "primary concern in El Salvador is that the gangsters lose."

Meanwhile, nearly 100 members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Committee on El Salvador met to organize a candlelight march to protest U.S. support for the Central American country's ruling junta.

Womack downplayed the importance of reports that the Soviet Union and Cuba are sending arms to Salvadoran guerrillas, noting that recent events are part of a 25-year-old Central American war.

Political Bluff


The administration's statements are a political "bluff" to change the world view of American resolve, he said. "It may also be a way of testing domestic water" to see if the "hostage-related patriotism" can be made into more general support of an aggressive foreign policy.

Womack said he would prefer to see a policy of non-intervention. He added that the administration will have some "sharp shocks" when it realizes that opposition to its policies is "not just isolated to places like Cambridge."

The El Salvador Committee organizers emphasized that the march is only the beginning of their plans to mobilize Harvard students against U.S. involvement in El Salvador. They have also proposed for a panel of Salvadoran activists on March 13, and they said they will deliver to Sen. Paul E. Tsongas (D-Mass.) petitions containing more than 1000 signatures obtained at Harvard opposing U.S. involvement.

"It's not just a bunch of crazy radicals." James B. Raskin '83, a committee organizer, said last night. "The Catholic church in El Salvador, many of whose leaders have been killed, have asked for an end to U.S. aid." He added that more than 20 Harvard student organizations are co-sponsoring the march.