European ignorance?

Thomas Kruse tkruse at
Tue Oct 27 18:33:39 PST 1998

bhoddi writes to Louis:

>No, every case of smallpox cannot be chalked up to genocide, nor
>can the other European diseases.
>The point is not to minimize the colonial crime but to put it into
>correct perspective.
>Your stridency seems particularly out
>of place given the fact that even the most bourgeois among us are
>embracing Native American culture with New Age fervor. Of course your
>enthusiasm for indigenism is not entirely unconnected with that trend.
> peace

Golly, that oughta get a blistering response, calling Lou a new ager. So I'll interject a variant. In South America -- part of the figures on death, certainly -- the problem the Spaniards faced in the 1560s on was a serious shortage of labor.

I was just in Potosi (here in Bolivia), visting the Casa de la Moneda, one of three mints the Spaniards built to coin silver (the others were in central Mexico and Lima).

The guide was very knowledageble; she explained in detail Spain's failures in importing slaves. Seems they just coudn't adapt to the altitude and cold, and died in droves. (They were also illegal under Spanish law, but that wan't a big problem.) Some also escaped, and established colonies (maroonage it's called?) in the Yungas (steep valleys) north of La Paz, the basis of the afro-bolivian communities of today.

But listen fellas, now that the defintion of genocide has been resolved, how about tossing some weight behind the movement to get Pinochet, Banzer, Videal, Stroessner (etc.) behind bars? here's an example of what a couple of groups are doing:


ICFTU OnLine... 230/981027/JK

"UK Government has historic role to play in Pinochet's case", says ICFTU

Brussels, October 27, 1998 (ICFTU OnLine): "The United Kingdom's status as one of the original signatories of the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal places historic responsibilities on HM's Government" in the case of General Augusto Pinochet, ICFTU General Secretary Bill Jordan said in a letter sent today to the Home Secretary Jack Straw. Recalling that the London Agreement of 8 August 1945 on the prosecution and punishment of major war criminals established the principle of universal jurisdiction for the repression of crimes against humanity, Jordan said the UK Government "should spare no effort in order to ensure that justice follows its full course in the case". He urged Mr. Straw to co-operate fully with judicial authorities in handling any formal extradition request received from the Spanish government.

The ICFTU also welcomed the news that requests for General Pinochet's arrest and extradition warrants were now expected from the Swiss, French and Swedish authorities. "This sends a strong signal to people in the highest offices that anyone may be held accountable for egregious human rights violations such as torture and mass murder or forced disappearances", it said today in a statement released in Brussels. "But whether or not this signal translates into a permanent deterrent against grave and consistent human rights' offenders hinges to a large extent on the important decisions to be taken in the forthcoming days or weeks by Britain's judicial authorities", it added.

Hundreds of Chilean trade unionists were amongst the victims of Chile's military junta which ruled the country from 1973 to 1990. In a statement issued last week, the ICFTU last week declared it was actively examining possibilities to launch a civil suit against General Pinochet, quoting "immense physical, moral and financial damages" suffered by the organisation and, in particular, its Chilean members, as possible legal grounds for launching a case.

The Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) represents 125 million workers world-wide, through its 206 affiliated national trade union centres in 141 countries and territories.

Contact: ICFTU-Press at: ++32-2 224.02.12 (Brussels). For more information, visit our website at: (


Now, send letters to the following; tell them to honor the INTERPOL petition in the cases against Chilean and Argentinian Military Juntas, and adopt all necessary measures to facilitate the interrogarion of the accused, Pinochet, in Spain.

UK Govt:

>- Secretary of State for Home Affairs The Rt Hon Jack Straw, MP
>Home Office 50, Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AT
>Fax: 44 171 273 3965

>- Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs The Rt Hon
>Robin Cook, MP
>Foreign and Commonwealth Office Downing Street London SW1A 2AL
>Fax: 44 171 270 3539

>- Cabinet Office The Rt Hon Dr Jack Cunningham, MP Downing Street London
>Fax: 44 171 270 0196

UK Parliament:

>- Chair of Parliamentary Human Rights Group Rt Hon Ann Clwyd, MP House
>of Commons London SW1A OAA Fax: 44 171 219 5943

>- Chair of Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Rt Hon
>Donald Anderson, MP
>House of Commons London SW1A OAA

>- Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn, MP House of Commons London SW1A OAA Fax: 44 171
>219 2328


Tom Kruse / Casilla 5812 / Cochabamba, Bolivia Tel/Fax: (591-4) 248242 Email: tkruse at

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