Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the June 24, 2004
issue of Workers World newspaper


By Brenda Sandburg
San Francisco

As Ronald Reagan's funeral was under way in Washington, D.C., activists
gathered in San Francisco June 11 to commemorate the hundreds of
thousands of Latin Americans killed by death squads that were funded and
trained by the Reagan administration.

"This man is a murderer, a criminal who doesn't deserve any respect,"
said Zenaida Velásquez Rodriguez, whose brother was abducted by Honduran
security forces in 1981 and never seen again. "I don't forgive Reagan
and I hope he's going to hell."

Protesters led a funeral procession down Mission Street, the Latino
district, in honor of the more than 200,000
people killed in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guate mala and Honduras during
Reagan's reign from 1981 to 1990.

Several protesters carried a coffin while others held crosses inscribed
with the names of those murdered. Throughout the march one protester
read aloud the names of individuals who had been killed. The
demonstration was sponsored by Global Exchange.

In the week after Reagan's death the news media offered glowing reports
about his life. But Reagan's true legacy was brutal.

He slashed the safety net of domestic social programs. He ignored the
AIDS epidemic, which grew exponentially through his silence along with
refusal to provide federal funding to battle the disease. He supported
the apartheid government in South Africa. And he propped up brutal
military regimes in Latin America.

In the early 1980s, Reagan provided military aid and training for the
Nicaraguan contras trying to overthrow the Sandinista government. In
what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, Reagan's administration
secretly sold arms to Iran to fund the terrorist right-wing contras.

Rodriguez said the families whose loved ones were disappeared and killed
live with eternal pain.

"It's like having a wound that is open and bleeding all the time," she

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