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%Intro ROBERT MacNEIL: Good evening. Leading the news this Thursday, an American journalist was kidnapped in Beirut. A second marine will be court martialed in the Moscow Embassy sex spy scandal. Violent anti government protests continue to grow in South Korea. We'll have details in our news summary in a moment. Judy Woodruff is in Washington tonight. Judy? JUDY WOODRUFF: After the news summary, we spend most of the NewsHour on two U. S. allies in trouble. First, South Korea. We hear from the State Department point man, then get opposing views on what the U. S. should do from a journalist and an historian. Next, another country torn by internal discord -- Panama. We have a documentary report from correspondent Charles Krause. Then, minorities and AIDS. A report from Atlanta on how blacks are getting worst of all. And finally, essayist Roger Rosenblatt addresses his daughter's graduation.News Summary MacNEIL: Another American has apparently been taken hostage in Beirut. He is Charles Glass, 36 year old former correspondent for ABC News. Glass and the son of the Lebanese Defense Minister were kidnapped yesterday in a suburb of Moslem West Beirut. Police said 14 gunmen stopped their car, pulled Glass out, hit him with rifle butts and pushed him into a silver Toyota. When his companion, Ali Osseiran, protested, they took him, too. Glass, who left ABC in March to freelance and write a book, covered the TWA hijacking in 1985. Glass interviewed the pilot, John Testrake from the tarmac as the Moslem hijacker held pistol to Testrake's head.
CHARLES GLASS: Do you have any thoughts on whether the United States should ask Israel to release the people it's holding in Israel? TESTRAKE: No, I have no comment. GLASS: Have you heard anything from TWA while you've been here? MacNEIL: West German television reported that Lebanese security officials think there may be a connection between that interview and Glass's kidnapping. West Germany is holding Ali Hamadei, alleged to be one of the hijackers. The State Department condemned the kidnapping as apparently another terrorist attempt to manipulate the United States through our concern for our citizens. Glass is the first Westerner kidnapped since Syria sent troops into Beirut in February to quell factional fighting. Eight other Americans are being held hostage. Judy? WOODRUFF: If former White House aide, Oliver North, wanted to tie the Congressional Iran contra Committees in knots, he has succeeded. At least temporarily. The House Select Committee met for several hours today, trying to decide how to respond to North's decision yesterday not to testify privately before his public testimony. North contends that private testimony could be used against him in criminal proceedings. After today's meeting, Committee Chairman Lee Hamilton said the committee still wanted a private deposition from Col. North.
LEE HAMILTON, (D) Indiana: We are asking our attorneys to negotiate some kind of an agreement with the attorneys for Col. North, which will permit an executive session with Col. North prior to the public testimony. If this agreement is struck, he has the assurance that the exposure will not be as great to certain kinds of criminal prosecution, and we have assurance that he will appear, and that he will appear under circumstances which permit us to know ahead of time reasonably what he will testify to on the large issues at least. WOODRUFF: The Senate Select Committee is meeting this evening to decide how it wants to respond to North. Chairman Daniel Inouye said yesterday he would recommend the committee go ahead and accept having only public testimony from the marine lieutenant colonel. MacNEIL: In South Korea, anti government protestors took to the streets for the 9th straight day, as demonstrators grew more numerous in many cities outside the capital. There was near anarchy in Seoul and other cities around the country, as angry students battled with riot police. At one point, a group of students overpowered a police unit and burned its gear. The police responded with barrages of tear gas. But militant students still managed to disrupt traffic and then halt all trains into Seoul by storming a suburban railroad station. In Washington, the Reagan Administration endorsed a House Resolution calling on the Korean Government to resume talks with opposition leaders. The riots began after President Chun Doo Hwan broke off those talks. In the Senate, stronger action was proposed. A group of senators introduced a bill calling for economic sanctions against South Korea. Two of the sponsors explained their reasons.
Sen. EDWARD KENNEDY, (D) Massachusetts: Again and again and again, in South Africa, in Chile, and now in South Korea, the Reagan Administration has shown its own contempt for the struggle for democracy in other lands. There is no justification for American trade assistance that subsidizes dictatorship in South Korea. Sen. BARBARA MIKULSKI, (D) Maryland: This is not why Americans fought on Pork Chop Hill. This is not why we went to defend the 39th parallel. We went to South Korea in the '50s only now to find what we defended and hoped to move for democracy has now turned into a mockery of the sacrifices of American lives and an insult to the continued economic investment that America has made. WOODRUFF: Another U. S. Marine will be court martialed for allegedly fraternizing with Soviet women while stationed at the U. S. Embassy in Moscow. The Commandant at the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, decided last night that Staff Sergeant Robert S. Stufflebeam, who worked at the embassy during much of the same period as another guard, Sgt. Clayton Lonetree, will stand trial on nine different charges. Unlike Lonetree, those charges do not include espionage. Stufflebeam was arrested as a result of the investigation into Lonetree's activities. MacNEIL: Airport security came under fire in Congress today, with the release of a report showing that security checks miss 20% of weapons passengers carry. The report by the General Accounting Office was the subject of the hearing by the House Transportation Subcommittee, whose members said the public was at risk of hijacking. But Raymond Salazar, Director of Security for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that an 80% detection rate was an effective deterrent.
RAYMOND SALAZAR, FAA: While we would like to achieve a goal of 100% on all screen tests, I do not think, recognizing the state of the art in screening equipment and basic human frailties, that such goal is achievable. We believe that an 80% rate is an effective deterrent. Terrorists and othercriminals intent on hijacking or sabotaging an airliner, are not going to try when the odds of being detected at a screen check point are at least four out of five. Rep. CARDISS COLLINS, (D) Illinois: It disturbs me no end to think that every time somebody gets on an airplane they might be playing Russian roulette with their lives. It just does not make good sense to me. Not at all. And as my hope -- and I guess I'm making a statement rather than asking any questions -- but it's my hope that the FAA will become very serious about this matter, because it is a very serious matter. MacNEIL: The FAA pledged to study x ray and metal detection devices, and said it would report back to Congress in three months. WOODRUFF: The Senate and the House finally got together on a budget agreement today -- one that will be sure to touch off a confrontation with President Reagan over taxes and defense. A joint House Senate Conference Committee approved a plan cutting next year's estimated deficit by about $37 billion, by imposing $19 billion in new taxes and trimming Mr. Reagan's military spending goals. Immediately after the agreement was reached, President Reagan issued a statement calling it ''an offer I can refuse. '' MacNEIL: And that's the news summary. Now it's on to the U. S. 's dilemmas in South Korea and Panama, AIDS among minorities, and a Roger Rosenblatt essay. South Korea WOODRUFF: Our first focus segment looks at South Korea, the Asian country where 33,000 American soldiers died in combat in the early 1950s. It's back in the news as protests against the military government grow in size and intensity. The riots have put the Reagan Administration, strong backer of the government, on the spot. We'll talk about what the Administration is and should be doing in South Korea. But first, some background. [voice over] Student protests are a centuries old tradition in Korea, but the demonstrations over the past two weeks have been more violent and vicious than usual. The protests appear to have spread beyond the students to at least part of the expanding, but usually conservative, middle class, the people who have benefited most from South Korea's economic boom. And the demonstrators are pursuing an avowed goal with increasing intensity to get rid of what they call the military dictatorship. The latest round of riots was triggered by a ceremony last week, which many Koreans took as the final sign that the military government had no intention of giving power to civilians. President Chun Doo Hwan handed over the leadership of the ruling Democratic Justice Party to another general, Noh Tae Woo. They grew up in the same town, were classmates at the military academy, and were allies in the military coup that brought Chun to power in late 1979. No will be the ruling party candidate when an electoral college chooses a new president in December. The opposition, which wants a direct popular election, says it will boycott the indirect election, which it has no chance of winning. The Seoul government had heralded Chun's announcement last year that he would step down, as proof that it was capable of making peaceful political change, especially on the eve of the 1988 Summer Olympics. The switch in leaders has become instead a focus of opposition protests. In part, because President Chun reneged on a second political promise -- to allow an open debate on a new constitution, which would eventually open the way for civilian government. The United States has 40,000 troops in South Korea, helping that army defend its part of the divided peninsula from the communist regime in the north. North Korea has never officially abandoned its Korean goal of taking over the South. The Reagan Administration has urged the South Korean government and its domestic opposition to refrain from violence and confrontation.
PHYLLIS OAKLEY, State Department: We think that real progress can come only through dialogue and a willingness for all sides to compromise. WOODRUFF: Beyond that, administration officials have said they are reluctant to publicly pressure the Chun government, a position which Secretary of State Shultz reiterated yesterday on a trip to Asia. There are indications that the Korean problem is pressing on an already crowded administration agenda. The Pentagon's point man on the issue, Richard Armitage, told the New York Times, ''Frankly, we're really busy. I'm up to my ears in Kuwait and contras and the normal press of business. '' Congress is showing signs of impatience. A House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee today drafted a bipartisan but nonbinding resolution urging South Korea to press ahead with democratic reforms. It may pass unanimously. Also today, a group of Democratic senate liberals urged the administration to adopt trade sanctions unless South Korea moves to democracy.
Sen. KENNEDY: The current situation is both a challenge and an opportunity for the United States and for American diplomacy. Yet the Secretary of State instead of forthrightly calling for steps towards democracy, urges restraint, and tilts toward the regime. WOODRUFF: Another major foreign policy dispute appears to be brewing over a country that all sides agree is critical to U. S. interests in the Pacific. To understand exactly what the Reagan Administration is doing to influence events in South Korea, we turn to William Clark. He is Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Secretary Clark, just how concerned is the Reagan Administration about what's going on over there? Do you view it as a crisis, or what? WILLIAM CLARK, State Department: Obviously we're quite concerned about what's going on in Korea at the present time. Since the beginning of this year we have been urging both sides to sit down and start the process of democratization, to start the process of building a political system that will allow the election of a government that is much more broadly based and represents the feelings of the people. It was because we were concerned about this type of confrontation that we began that early. WOODRUFF: Why do you then hear Democratic senators, like Senator Kennedy we just heard, saying the Administration is clearly tilting toward the regime. And he had some even stronger language earlier in the program. Sec. CLARK: I'm very much aware of that. But I think we have tried to make our position clear that we have not taken sides as to the type of government, the type of democratic progress that should be made. We are not picking our candidates in a Korean election. What we are saying is there are some basic fundamental democratic improvements that have to be made, which include freedom of the press, release of political prisoners, things of that nature. WOODRUFF: All right. Specifically, what are we asking them to do? And are we giving them a time on it? I mean, you've got people rioting in the streets. How much more time is the United States going to give the Chun government? Sec. CLARK: I think what we have to consider here is it is not a question of the United States giving the Chun government. The United States can tell the Chun government what its principles are, but the people of Korea are in fact going to develop the type of system that suits them. This was part of the problem in the beginning. WOODRUFF: So we just stand back and do nothing? Sec. CLARK: We make our position very clear. WOODRUFF: How do we do that? What do we -- do we sent letters? Do we have our ambassador go and visit -- ? Sec. CLARK: We do it in a variety of ways. Obviously, my appearing on this show is another way of making the position of the United States and this administration clear to the people of Korea. It is not shut off, as is the north. WOODRUFF: Well, for example, is the administration pleased with the fact that Mr. Chun has picked a successor who is -- in the words of some -- a military crony of his, a former general, someone who certainly comes out of the military establishment. Sec. CLARK: I think if you will look at Dr. Seegar's statement when he appeared before Congressman Solar's subcommmittee -- WOODRUFF: This is the Assistant Secretary of State for Asia -- Sec. CLARK: Assistant Secretary of State for Asian Affairs -- Asian Pacific Affairs. He said that we were disappointed by the statement by President Chun on April 13th that did away with debate on constitutional change. Obviously, having an election under a constitutional -- an electoral system that is not regarded as representative of the people's will, is not the way you develop a broadly based and supported government. WOODRUFF: Is that all we do? We say we're disappointed and let it go at that? Sec. CLARK: We keep trying to get both sides to sit down and begin talking about the basic principles that have to go into building a democracy. Hopefully, not in the streets. WOODRUFF: What does it take for the administration to take a more public posture? Or is that just not in the cards? Sec. CLARK: I think our posture has been quite public. And we have stated it quite forcefully so that I don't think it's the time to threaten Korean with economic sanctions as ''You must do it the way we say. '' I don't think we can pick a particular form that will suit Korea. There is debate whether to be a parliamentary government or a directly elected president. That's for the Koreans to decide. WOODRUFF: Even though you have a senator -- Senator Mikulski of Maryland we heard earlier, saying that what the Koreans are doing -- what the Korean regime is doing, is making a mockery of U. S. policy over there. Sec. CLARK: Cleary, we speak out against violence, and that's violence by both sides. And that includes what is happening in the streets of Seoul and in many other streets in Korea. It is tragic. WOODRUFF: Mr. Clark, stay with us. Robin? MacNEIL: We broaden the debate now with two people who have been following the situation in Korea from outside the policy making area of Washington. They are Karen Elliot House, Foreign Editor of the Wall Street Journal. She just returned from a trip from South Korea, where she met with both opposition and government leaders. And Bruce Cumings, a professor of history at the University of Chicago, the author of two books on Korea. He joins us from Public Station WCNY in Syracuse. Mr. Cumings, first of all, is the Reagan administration doing the right thing? BRUCE CUMINGS, University of Chicago: No, I think the Reagan Administration is not doing the right thing and has not been doing the right thing for the entire tenure of Chun Doo Hwan's power, since his coup in1980. The Reagan Administration in fact has supported Chun and is in many ways a co author of the repression going on. The Reagan Administration, for example, twice has invited Chun to visit Washington, immediately after the Reagan inauguration, and then again in April 1985 Chun came to Washington, and that was announced just before some very important elections in February of 1985. So that's just two examples of what I think is a really general pattern of the Reagan Administration -- not so much in engaging in quiet diplomacy, as engaging in quiet support of an authoritarian regime. MacNEIL: Do you agree with that, Karen Elliot House, that it is in effect siding with a co author of the repression? KAREN ELLIOT HOUSE, Wall Street Journal: I think they could probably be a bit more forthcoming stating the concerns about the Chun government. But I don't agree with some of the things we heard from the senators. I think one of the things that one has to bear in mind here is the U. S. getting overly involved in saying, ''If you don't do this, and if you don't do that,'' is simply going to encourage the opponents of the regime further into the streets, and precipitate, perhaps, the very military coup that we don't want, and that the people of Korea don't want. MacNEIL: Well, let's ask Mr. Cumings what he does think the administration should be doing. How far should they go now in public and in private, Mr. Cumings? Mr. CUMINGS: I don't really expect this administration to do much. And therefore I have to start like that. I would very strongly support the call for economic sanctions for example that came from the Senate today, with Senate Kennedy and Harkin and Mikulski. It's a very strong statement. But I would go beyond that. I would for example call for a reevaluation of our security relationship with South Korea. I really think when people understand the nature of our relations, our military's relation, particularly with the South Korean relations, one comes to the view that the only way South Korea will fully democratize is when we put distance between ourself in that military regime. I might add that those who fear military coup in the next few week or something like that, might reflect on the fact that there was a military coup in 1980, and the same people are still in power, and Chun Doo Hwan wants to pass on power to a co coup maker, Noh Tae Woo. MacNEIL: That's true, isn't it, on that last point? Ms. HOUSE: Yes, but for the first time in Korean history, they do have a president stepping down without bullet through his head. If he indeed goes forward with that. And yes, Noh Tae Woo is a general. But frankly, speaking from having met both of the other -- the two Kims, this is not really a debate in Korea about democracy, (unintelligible). It's a debate about power. The two Kims are as power hungry as the military are. MacNEIL: They're the two so called opposition leaders. Let's come back to that point in a moment. Back to you, Mr. Cumings. When you say reevaluate the military relationship, does that mean pulling the 40,000 U. S. troops out? Mr. CUMINGS: Well, it might ultimately mean that. But before that would happen, we could get an awful lot of mileage out of simply reviving what has been an issue on the plate of a number of administrations, going back to the Kennedy administration, really, which is to say that first of all our 40,000 troops there don't really provide a lot of security for the United States and probably would be pulled out in a general conflagration in that region. Secondly, they have the dire effect of creating a kind of trip wire deterrent, where we're going to be involved in a new Korean War regardless of how it starts. MacNEIL: So how would you reevaluate the military relationship to bring pressure on this regime? Mr. CUMINGS: I would suggest just what I said. First of all, that our security arrangements for years have suggested that those troops are not really there to defend against a war, but to prop up a regime, and therefore to put some distance between us and the Korean military, we would say we're reevaluating and perhaps reviving a schedule for the withdrawal of American troops. I can assure you, nothing would send a message to the South Korean generals faster than that. MacNEIL: Are you suggesting that the U. S. military relationship with the Korean military sometimes undermines the U. S. policy, which is to democratize Korea? Mr. CUMINGS: Well, I think that we tend to think of American policy as though it were uniform. I think there are many times when the State Department and the Embassy has been on the side of gradual change toward democratization in South Korea. I really don't think that's the position of the rank and file military officers there who interact on a daily basis with the South Korean military officers. I think it's also true that our intelligence agencies like the CIA have worked very closely with the KCIA, or the security agencies over there. I don't think they're pressing them for democratization. Those are two of the pillars of Korean repression. MacNEIL: Do you have a view on that, Ms. House? Ms. HOUSE: I think Mr. Cumings makes a very good point on that. That the government does not speak with one voice -- MacNEIL: The U. S. government? Ms. HOUSE: The U. S. Government does not speak with one voice in enunciating the policy, and therefore what comes through is rather muffled. MacNEIL: So doing something like what Mr. Cumings suggests, announcing they were going to reevaluate -- Ms. HOUSE: I think that's a foolish thing to do, because we're not going to pull the troops out. This administration's not going to pull the troops out, and the Koreans know that. And if we were indeed to pull the troops out again, that's probably precisely one of the pretexts that would be used by the government to say -- or by some junior military man to say -- ''Well this is the time we've got to step up and get martial law, and really get control of this thing, because we'll be invaded by the north. '' I mean, it would use the security vacuum as a pretext for the need for a much more repressive fulltime controlled martial law government. MacNEIL: You wrote a piece in your newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, the other day on your return from Korea, suggesting that the situation is essentially stable there now, and that there are lots of positive values in South Korea as it is, and that the U. S. should hesitate to put such pressure on that it upsets all of that. Am I summarizing that --? Ms. HOUSE: I was trying to analyze whether one -- if you project what's going to happen during what's clearly going to be a tumultuous period between now and next February when a new president is supposed to be in place -- will that work, and will you get a new president in place, or will you get total anarchy and upheaval and no telling what. And my feeling is that because there are lots of fundamentally stable thing about the country, a good economy, a very intelligent set of technocrats that run the country and the economy, an opposition that's rather unpopular -- the government is more unpopular, but the opposition is unpopular as well -- and a desire to have the Olympics as a sort of manifestation that Korea's grown up -- all will tend to keep things moving forward with a lot of turmoil in the streets admittedly. But when February comes, Noh Tae Woo will be there. He's rather eager to -- he says -- to discuss electoral law reform with the opposition. MacNEIL: So what does that add up to in terms of the pressures on the U. S. government from the senators we heard about and people like Mr. Cumings and so on, to do a lot more? Where do you come down on that? Ms. HOUSE: I think probably the administration in its heart of hearts is probably pleased to hear Ted Kennedy and Barbara Mikulski if they're saying things like that. Because it allows them to go privately to the Koreans and say, ''See, we've really got a problem. There's a lot of pressure on us, and where we don't want to put a lot of pressure on you, you've really got to keep moving forward. '' But I think there's only so much South Koreans will do. They're not going to, for instance, allow Kim Dae Jung -- the Kim who's under house arrest -- to become president of Korea. And the big trick for this handpicked successor is to try and get the other Kim broken off from Kim Dae Jung and get him to run in the election and so there's some legitimacy in the election. And that probably will happen. MacNEIL: The risk you see is pushing too hard of producing a really unstable Korea, which would not be in the American interest. Ms. HOUSE: Another military coup, and more repression. The Korean -- there is a military government in place. But the trend of the last seven years, while I wouldn't choose Korea as a place to live right now, is certainly toward slightly more freedom of the press, a little more loosening up on all kinds of things. It's a long way from where it ought to be. MacNEIL: Let's go back to Mr. Cumings. If you push as hard as you suggest, Mr. Cumings, might you not get a worse situation than you have now? Mr. CUMINGS: Hard for me to imagine a worse situation than has existed in the streets of Seoul for the last week. It's a situation where frankly I'll be surprised if this government survives in any shape or form. I do believe, as was stated earlier, that South Korea and the society, does have many elements of stability. I think the element of instability for really the last 25 years, has been the military and politics. I've been saying -- and others have been saying -- that this system itself breeds instability. It bred instability in 1979 and 80 when South Korea just collapsed and the entire political system was in tatters for about six months, followed by a very bad bloodletting in the city of Quangjiu in May of 1980, followed by another military coup. Here we are, seven or eight years later, with exactly the same thing happening. While the Korean economy has been doing very well, the urban middle class, urban working class has been growing. It's just that these two classes, these two groups of people do not have representation in the political system. And that, to my mind, is the central element of instability in South Korea. MacNEIL: How do you respond to that, Secretary Clark? Sec. CLARK: I would respond first that it should be very clear that this administration does not believe that inducing a fear of security into the political dynamic of Korea is the way to promote democratic progress, and we won't do that. We're very firm on standing with Koreans against the military threat from the north. Within that, however, this administration will continue to make its position clear on the principles it believes are necessary to broaden the support of the government, because in that way as well, the only true stability, the only true security will come from a government that indeed has a broader base support than the current one. MacNEIL: Ms. House, you wrote rather scornfully I thought that there is not a Philippines analogy here. Would you just say why you don't think there is? I mean, the Philippines, the United States went in and really publicly and privately pushed very hard. Ms. HOUSE: Well, among other things, there is no Cory Aquino figure in Korea, popular potential leader. As I said, neither of the two Kims is very popular. The American government in my view is not nearly as organized and coherent from the State Department through to Korea with both the military and the diplomatic arm in Korea to effectively push in Korea as we were in the Philippines. And the role of the church in Korea is nowhere near what the role of the church was in the Philippines -- which is a largely Catholic country, and I think the church in Korea is something that can -- MacNEIL: Do you disagree with that, Mr. Cumings? Do you think there are levers the U. S. can actually push that could be as effective as they were in the Philippines? Mr. CUMINGS: I disagree with much of what's just been said. I don't know of any tests of the two Kims popularity, other than election in February of 1985, when the opposition party did extremely well in spite of the ruling party's attempts to stack the election. I was in Korea at that time, and I was struck then by the deep unpopularity of the Chun government. I believe myself that Kim Dae Jung would win a direct presidential election hands down. And that's why there won't be a direct presidential election in South Korea. I think Kim Young Sam probably also would win. I do know that Chun Doo Hwan would never win, and that's why he won't hold an election, and that is a central political issue right now. As to American levers against the Chun regime, I don't believe that we get anywhere in South Korea by pussyfooting through quiet diplomacy. That's been going on since the Korean War, and it really hasn't had much effect. The Northern threat is always invoked as a reason why we can't push the South Koreans. And yet when you invoke the northern threat, you get the South Korean generals everything they need to make an argument for themselves, for their own group to stay in power. I don't believe there's a military threat from the north that is direct and immediate. I believe the north has been thoroughly deterred since 1953 by the American Security commitment, whether their troops are on the ground or not. And therefore, I simply don't believe that the military threat from the north is anything other than the best legitimation existing for the South Korean military to stay in power. MacNEIL: You want to respond briefly to that, Mr. Clark? Sec. CLARK: I find myself for once in agreement with the professor. I think the north has been deterred by the American Security posture in South Korea. And I think we should continue that. I do not think we should add fear of the north to the many political problems that the Korean public is facing at the present. MacNEIL: Well, we have to leave it there, Mr. Secretary. Thank you, Mr. Cumings, Ms. House, thank you. Judy? Panama WOODRUFF: Next we look at another U. S. ally under siege, Panama. Where last week thousands of protestors took to the street, demanding an end to almost 20 years of military rule. Today, the situation in Panama was described as tense but calm. The two congressional committees heard testimony from administration officials about U. S. policy towards that troubled country. Because of the canal and important U. S. military bases, Panama's political stability has always been a concern of the United States. But as correspondent Charles Krause reports, some experts are saying that the Reagan administration hasn't been concerned enough about Panama.
CHARLES KRAUSE: The crisis began with charges of government corruption, election fraud and political murder. Then demonstrations, police repression, a state of emergency. Once again in Panama last week, a country of vital importance to the United States was at the brink of political upheaval. And once again Washington was perceived to be on the wrong side, ignoring those Panamanians who for years had urged the United States to end its support of Panama's increasingly unpopular military regime. ROBERTO EISENMANN, Publisher, La Prensa: That is exactly the position I have been taking, and many other democratic Panamanians have been taking now for years. That the examples have been there -- ever since the Shah of Iran case. And for God's sake, get on the right side, get on the democratic side before it's too late.
KRAUSE: Roberto Eisenmann, outspoken and influential, is publisher of La Prensa, Panama's leading opposition newspaper. From exile in Miami, he says that the current crisis in Panama was predictable, but that the Reagan administration was simply not interested. Mr. EISENMANN: The attitude is, ''Don't give me another problem. Panama is not a crisis. Don't talk to me about Panama. We did Panama. '' AMBLER MOSS, former U. S. Ambassador: I think the failure to look ahead in so many situations, has been over the years perhaps the biggest shortcoming in American foreign policy. And I think that while Salvador and Nicaragua were able to command the headlines every day, we haven't thought much about Panama in a long term way for a long time.
KRAUSE: Ambler Moss was U. S. Ambassador to Panama from 1978 to 1982, under both the Carter and Reagan administrations. He's now dean of the School of International Studies at the University of Miami. Mr. MOSS: Because of Panama's geographic position, it's always been important as a crossroads between the Atlantic and the Pacific. The canal will continue to be important. We have military bases there. I think the fact is that if things begin to go wrong in Panama, this will be infinitely more serious than something going wrong in El Salvador, even though what's most active and what's hottest always gets our most immediate attention.
KRAUSE: To ensure that things didn't go wrong, the United States has relied on the Panamanian defense forces since 1968, when the army overthrew Panama's last freely elected government. That coup was led by Omar Torrijos, the charismatic and popular general who negotiated the Panama Canal Treaties with the Carter Administration and retained effective power in Panama, until he was killed in 1981. His eventual successor and Panama's current strong man is another general, Manuel Antonio Noriega, the target of last week's demonstrations. Described as shrewd, power hungry, and corrupt, Noriega has made little effort to hide the fortune he's amassed over the years. Noriega's home in Panama City, his ranch and his beach house rival those of the Batistas, the Trujillos and the Samozas, U. S. backed dictators of yesteryear. But despite the excess and the parallels, Noriega has managed to ingratiate himself with the Reagan administration in Washington, and until now to neutralize his opponents in Panama. Although the country has had a series of titular presidents, there's never been much doubt that Noriega is the man who runs things in Panama. Mr. MOSS: I don't think there's any doubt about that. The way he runs them has to be explained, because the way the military has always run things in Panama except during the time of Torrijos has not been by direct military rule. Pinochet style. But generally from behind the scenes. KRAUSE: But the United States has essentially known this and gone along with this. Isn't that true? Mr. MOSS: The United States has known it, has gone along with it, yes, in the sense that it hasn't intervened to change things. Mr. EISENMANN: They look at the short term and they say dealing with a dictator -- they're using a book that's actually out -- waltzing with a dictator seems to be easier and more efficient than waltzing with a democracy where you have to -- a congress to talk to and people to convince on certain U. S. policies. There's no doubt that the U. S. has supported this dictatorship. Mr. MOSS: Mr. Eisenmann may have a point, and certainly the friendliest between the United States and the Panamanian defense forces in the short run enhances the preservation of U. S. interests. I still think in the long run what the United States has been working at in both the Carter and the Reagan administrations, is an attempt to favor those elements in Panama which will help wean the military away from power.
KRAUSE: Ironically, it was power struggle within the Army high command itself that sparked the current crisis. The most serious challenge to military rule in 20 years. The crisis began when Noriega forced out his second in command, and longtime rival, Col. Roberto Diaz Herrera. Diaz then turned on Noriega, publicly charging him with the plane crash that killed Torrijos, and the murder four years later of Dr. Hugos Spadafora, who was beheaded after he accused Noriega of trafficking in drugs. Diaz also admitted that the military had rigged Panama's presidential elections three years ago to ensure their handpicked candidate, Nicholas Ardito Barletta, would win. It was the charge of election fraud more than any other that led to last week's demonstrations. What angers Eisenmann and other opposition leaders is their belief that the Reagan Administration not only knew about the election fraud, but went along with it. Mr. EISENMANN: The United States was clearly on the side of a fraudulent election. Because they felt that Barletta was the right man for the transition, and because they thought they didn't like (unintelligible). Well, you can't play the democratic game and sit there and feel that you have a right to choose who should be president. Mr. MOSS: I don't think anybody's ever seen any direct proof to this point of fraud in the elections, although that's the widespread rumor. KRAUSE: Is there any question, though, that the United States would have preferred Barletta as the President, vs. Anufo Arias? Mr. MOSS: The United States didn't take an official position, but of course Barletta had a lot of support in the United States. The Secretary of State George Shultz was his former economics professor at the University of Chicago where he was absolutely brilliant. I don't think, however, the United States intervened in any way to throw the outcome of those elections one way or another. Mr. EISENMANN: Oh, no, he's completely wrong. I mean, Ronald Reagan came out and ratified President Barletta in his fraudulent capacity before even the people that were making the fraud had ratified him. I mean, it was that kind of a situation.
KRAUSE: Barletta's opponent, Anufo Arias, was viewed as unpredictable in Washington and as an enemy by Panama's defense forces. But Eisenmann says he warned U. S. diplomats at the time that a president beholden to Noriega could never ensure political stability in Panama. Mr. EISENMANN: What happened was exactly what we said was going to happen. The military installed him, the military dethroned him 11 months later, and this has gone on. We've had five civilian presidents in three years -- you know, the Kleenex presidents. You use them, then you throw them away.
KRAUSE: Eisenmann was right. Barletta lasted less than a year before he was forced out in 1985. Since then, Panama's economic and political problems have gotten worse. Yet despite reports of corruption, charges of murder, and growing disaffection, the State Department made no effort to distance the United States from Noriega until the current crisis was well under way. Today, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Richard Halwell called congressional attention to a very public meeting last week between the U. S. ambassador in Panama and an opposition leader, then under house arrest. But Halwell used the words, ''strict neutrality'' to describe administration policy. RICHARD HALWELL, Dep. Asst. Sec. of State: We have not taken sides with regard to the opposition over the government, nor do we intend to do so except to stress our strong desire to see democratic reforms take place.
KRAUSE: Eisenmann says the administration appears to be playing both sides. Mr. EISENMANN: What I'm saying is there are some positive indications of a possible shift, but there is no clear indication of a change in official policy at this point. KRAUSE: Why can't the United States just come out and say, ''Look, this is bad, this is wrong, this isn't democratic, we're against it. '' Why can't they do that? Mr. EISENMANN: Because they still feel that Noriega might win this one. And if he does, they want to be on his side. Mr. MOSS: I think it's much too early to tell what's going to happen in the short term. And I think even if the United States hypothetically felt Noriega ought to leave, thinking that and doing something about it are two entirely different things. Because I think that ultimately that's something which the Panamanians are going to have to decide without the United States intervening to either back him up or throw him out. Mr. EISENMANN: I think that the protests will have its lulls, its ups and downs. But it seems to me that this one is so completely spontaneous, completely authentic that it is not going to stop until Noriega is ousted or leaves the country.
KRAUSE: For the moment, the protests and demonstrations in Panama have come to an end. But with the church, the Chamber of Commerce, students, businessmen, many unions and much of the media against him, Noriega and his regime are increasingly isolated. As a result, the Reagan Administration almost inevitably will have to become more involved -- if only to protect U. S. interests here. Because of the canal, 14 military bases and the U. S. southern command, political stability in Panama remains of vital importance to the United States. Aids,Community at Risk MacNEIL: Next tonight, a documentary report on one aspect of the AIDS menace and its incidence among blacks. Blacks make up only about 12% of the U. S. population, but about 25% of all AIDS victims in America are black. That statistic alarms many black leaders, who fear the disease will continue to affect blacks disproportionately unless education and prevention programs are stepped up. Reporter Bob Bahr has a report on how the black community in one city, Atlanta, is responding to the AIDS crisis.
BOB BAHR [voice over]: The Spellman College campus in Atlanta. Here among the aging oaks and century old buildings, one of the nation's leading black colleges for women, the freshman class is having its first lecture about everything that they need to know about AIDS. MARGIE GAY PETERSON, Counselor: We talk about a high risk group. Now we talk about a high risk behavior. And it is said that the only people safe totally from AIDS are dead. So you keep that in mind.
BAHR: Margie Gay Peterson is in a battle to raise black awareness to AIDS. And her battlefield is this Spellman College classroom. Ms. PETERSON: AIDS is preventable. You won't abstain. Then that's why I have these condoms. Yeah. You may pass them around --
BAHR: Part of the lesson here is that nationwide there are three times as many cases of AIDS in the minority community proportionately than in the community at large. And that a surprising number of those cases are black women and their babies. Ms. PETERSON: And many times I find tears coming to my eyes, because we still think -- not me, them, they, those -- those people over there -- it's not us -- people are still doing that even today. Every time you turn your radio on, every time you open your newspaper, you see something about AIDS. Yet, for whatever's going on, we're still ignorant, and we still turn our backs. And that hurts. It hurts me to know, it hurts others to be ignorant and not open up to learning.
BAHR: In the minority community, AIDS is not just a disease that primarily affects homosexuals. It strikes black heterosexual men and women in disproportionately large numbers. Pregnant women can pass it to their babies. Sixty percent of the children with AIDS are black. Drug addiction and the use of dirty needles by IV drug users is now the leading cause of AIDS in the minority community. According to some studies from one half to three quarters of the addict population in major American cities now test positive for the AIDS virus. But because it may be three years or more for these cases to develop, the full impact of these statistics may not have been felt. Ms. PETERSON: No case of AIDS is known to have been caused by being around a person with AIDS. MAN: It's not contagious in the sense like you got a cold and cough and give it to me that way. Ms. PETERSON: That's right. Okay.
BAHR: Margie Gay Peterson counsels addicts and recovering addicts like this man to practice safer sex. Infected IV drug users can infect others, even if they have no symptoms themselves. That's one of the important reasons that over half of the small but growing number of women with AIDS are black. Lula Moseley, a friend of Margie is one of them. She is 38, the mother of four, and she has never used drugs. She contracted AIDS two years ago from her husband and IV drug user. He has no symptoms. Earlier this year, the two women talked to a group of young people. LULA MOSELEY: There's nothing that's more frightening and sad than to become ill, be hospitalized, and they tell you you have AIDS. And at this time you know there's nothing that we can do for you. People who have been judgmental about people, people who thought that they had everything in life all figured out, people who just thought they had nothing to worry about with the disease. It's gonna knock. It's gonna knock at a whole lot of doors. Ms. PETERSON: We know that AIDS is deadly. If we then don't take heed to the risk reduction methods, then what we're doing is killing each other. And somewhere along the way, we have to think about black on black killings in another form.
BAHR: There are some who feel the black community has been reluctant to confront AIDS because of the fear of further discrimination. Marquis Walker has AIDS. MARQUIS WALKER: My people don't want anything else attached to them that is going to be an avenue to discriminate against them. So they become very fearful. A lot of African Americans live with constant fear of discrimination. And so they look at it and say, ''Now we've fought the civil rights movement and we're beginning to get a chance to have better jobs, and things are moving ahead. Now this. '' Rev. JOSEPH LOWERY, Southern Christian Leadership Conference: God, our father, we're so thankful for this day. We're so thankful for this opportunity to assemble together to receive information, and education on the problem of AIDS in our community.
BAHR: Earlier this year, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was founded a quarter century ago by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. , to battle racial discrimination, held a day long seminar to make the black community more conscious of AIDS. Rev. LOWERY: Do you think AIDS is a problem in your community? Families are not discussing this problem. The churches are not discussing this problem.
BAHR: There are some here who believe that AIDS as a social issue will challenge the black community in a way that it hasn't been challenged since the darkest days of the civil rights movement of the '60s. The Rev. Joseph Lowery heads the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In his congregation, Coretta King, the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. , listened recently as he preached about AIDS. Rev. LOWERY: God's calling us to reinforce the concept of family. And commitment. And I believe that -- and we in the black community -- and you know we have to -- if white folks are that worried about AIDS, we've got to be worried (laughter). When white America has a bad cold, we have pneumonia (laughter).
BAHR: Lula Moseley needs no prodding to recognize the seriousness of AIDS. In just over a month she has become so ill that it takes almost all the strength she has to address this community meeting. Ms. MOSELEY: Get ready. It's coming. It's coming. For some of those, you who are sitting there, it might be there already. Rev. LOWERY: They're talking about 200,000 to a quarter of a million people over the next five years. And the statistics are frightening when you think about 20%, 23, 24, or even 25%, of those people being black. So it's an issue that we've got to put on the front burner of every black institution, church, the school, elected officials, our businesses, all of us to deal with it, because it threatens our very survival. Ms. MOSELEY: People need to know what we are dealing with.
BAHR: In just two months, AIDS has ravaged Lula Moseley's body. But she remained concerned about others. Ms. MOSELEY: No matter how good you feel, somewhere down the line you're talking about death. People have to realize the realness of this thing. MacNEIL: Early yesterday morning, that lady, Lula Moseley died. She was 38 years old. Graduation WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, some final words for high school graduates from essayist and commencement speaker, Roger Rosenblatt.
ROGER ROSENBLATT [voice over]: Your official commencement speaker will tell you not to forfeit your idealism as you graduate high school, not to be greedy, to help your country, to always be true to yourself. [on camera] Your more personally devoted commencement speaker agrees with all of that, buttering his speech, sitting in the back. But he has special wishes for you, too. Idiosyncratic of course. What you'd expect from an oddball. [voice over] People always said you resembled him. What he wishes you first is a love of travel. Travel will hold you back from doting on your troubles, and once you've seen enough, you will recognize foreign places as monument to human range. The logic of Athens, the fortitude of London, the grace of Paris. A city for every facet of the mind. He would have you love the past as well. In Jerusalem recently he walked the old city, brushing thousands of years of faith and murder. He would like you to see yourself as history, to wonder what you would have thought or shouted as Jesus struggled up the Via dela Rosa. He hopes that you will be your own past, too. The past means possibility. He also wishes you a love of animals, which you feel already. He hopes it lasts nd grows. Animals, too, draw people out of excessive self interest. Their existence a statement of need. He hopes that you always love music -- even the noisy boredom with which you nuke the house these days while he harbors a prayer that in later years will follow Vivaldi and Bix Biederbeck. If you learn to love jazz, you'll have a perpetual source of joy at the ready. Jazz is serious joy. Much like yourself. TEACHER: It's called the Bolshevik Revolution.
ROSENBLATT: He hopes that you learn to love words for its own sake. You have to be lucky for that. Of course, he wishes you luck. And find the job that grows out of dreams. Something to do with helping others in your case, he should think. Since he has seen your natural sympathy at work ever since your smallest childhood and has watched you reach to your friends with straightforward kindness. Friends he knows you will have in abundance. He wishes them you. He hopes that you will always play sports just as ruthlessly as you play sports now. He hopes that you will always seek the company of books, know the value of solitude, be curious about the news. Believe it or not, he even hopes that you will always be crazy about clothes, particularly once you establish your own source of income. Fashion plate. Charge plate. A pinch of vanity, a pound of fun. On you, high style looks good, kid. In general, he wishes that you see the world generously, that you take note of and cry out against all the Lebanons of violence, the Africas of want. But that you also rear back and bless the whole. This is not hard to do. Concentrate on details and embrace what you fear. You must love the world as it is. The way a father loves a daughter, helpless and attached as he watches her stretch, bloom, rise, passes tutelage to her independent miraculous ascendancy. But you must never let go entirely. As he will never let you go. You gave birth to each other. And you commence together. Goodbye, my girl. MacNEIL: Again, the main story of this day. Another American, aformer ABC news correspondent, was kidnapped in Lebanon. Good night, Judy. WOODRUFF: Good night, Robin. That's our NewsHour for tonight. We will be back tomorrow night. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thank you and good night.
The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
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This episode's headline: South Korea; Panama AIDS, Community at Risk/Graduation. The guests include In Washington: WILLIAM CLARK, State Department; In New York: KAREN ELIOT HOUSE, Wall Street Journal: In Syracuse: BRUCE CUMINGS, University of Chicago; REPORTS FROM NEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENTS: CHARLES KRAUSE, BOB BAHR FROM Atlanta, ROGER ROSENBLATT. Byline: In New York: ROBERT MacNEIL, Executive Editor; In Washington: JUDY WOODRUFF, Chief Washington Correspondent
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Chicago: “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” 1987-06-18, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 20, 2024,
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