Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaragua's Minister of Culture, told a K-School audience Saturday night that the Reagan administration's foreign policy makers have forgotten the lessons of Vietnam and view "complex problems of today's world in terms of East-West conflict."
Cardenal's speech--interrupted dozens of times by applause and cheers--capped a two-day conference of disarmament the drew 800 to Harvard for seminars and workshops.
Preservation of a Culture
Criticizing the United States for cutting off loans to Nicaragua's Sandinista government and for aiding the Salvadoran junta. Cardenal warned that his countryment would take up arms again to protect their two-year-old revolution against any aggression.
But he urged the throng gathered for the disarmament conference to keep its campaign peaceful. "In the case of nuclear' violence, there must not be violent protest." Cardenal declared, adding that mass action, civil disobedience, "even pacifism." should be used instead.
Cardenal read poems written in state-sponsored poetry workshops by Nicaraguan peasants, and told the crowd of the successes his country has had in battles with illiteracy and hunger.
Though he said anti-American sentiment is strong in Nicaragua, he assured the audience that American poets from Walt Whitman to Robert Frost were well-loved in the country.
Rev. William Sloane Coffin opened the conference--organized by the Boston/Cambridge Ministry in Higher Education--with a sermon on disarmament at St. Paul's Church Friday night.
Two Harvard faculty members. John Kenneth Galbraith, Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus, and Harvey Cox. Thomas Professor of Divinity, told an audience Saturday that the nuclear arms race was both militarily and economicallydamaging.
Cox--who called the jam-packed conference "one of the most encouraging signs [of public awareness] in many, many years"--said he and other speakers were trying to suggest "some very concrete steps we can take toward turning back from the' nuclear brink."
Galbraith said that the arms race of the last ten years "has been enormously damaging to the economic system we are supposed to be fedending." Calling for the conversion of many defense-related industries to peaceful uses, Galbraith said. "One substantial reason for the troubles of American industry is that dollars that could have gone to rebuilding [it] have gone instead to the Pentagon."
Vernon Grounds, former president of the Denver Theological Seminary, told a Saturday afternoon audience that although he is a leading--and longstanding--evangelical Christian, he is distressed by "evangelicalism's unconcern with regard for peacemaking."
Calling it "schizophrenic" to oppose abortion but not speak out against the arms race. Grounds said. "The moral horror cannot be hidden, nor should it he."
The conference divided by occupation into a series of "working groups" Saturday afternoon to plan strategies, form coalitions, and "network."
Most conference participants endorsed a call for a "nuclear freeze." and participants pledged to gather signatures and write legislators in favor of a halt on new weapons production."