------------------------- Via Workers World News Service Reprinted from the June 24, 2004 issue of Workers World newspaper -------------------------
REAGAN GETS A DIFFERENT SEND-OFF
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 said.
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