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Why do people in the US have so little knowledge of history?

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  • Why do people in the US have so little knowledge of history?

    I am very interested in finding out why so few people remember the things that happen in the not too distant
    history. I am thinking of Latin American history, why
    is it that people don't remember all the things that I
    remember about our history?

    When thinking about Chile and Allende, for example, why
    do people forget the suffering of all those people during
    9/11/73? It was a pivotal point, an anchor point in turning
    people's heads. Allende was willing to be invaded, have thousands tortured and killed but told the whole country, no matter what happens, don't pick up a gun. He truly believed in social justice and democracy. He wanted social change without guns, he believed in the power of the ballot and not the bullet.

    Then I remember the death of the first US Journalist and how his father tried to find out what happened to him. That is why I believe we are going to see the same thing happen in Iraq. This young journalist wanted the people in the US to know what was going on in Chile so the US government had him killed. This is what people have writen about that journalist.

    Documents may help lift veil in 1973 murders of U.S. journalists in Chile

    Peter Kornbluh, director of the Chile Documentation Project of the National Security Archive, with recently declassified documents

    Government releases declassified information
    June 30, 2000
    Web posted at: 8:24 p.m. EDT (0024 GMT)

    'An unfortunate part in Horman's death'

    Chile's traumatic political past

    A widow's search for the truth

    Weeks after arrest, body found

    Horman's theory

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. government on Friday released 500 pages of declassified documents that may reveal details about the deaths of two U.S. citizens killed in Chile in 1973, and whether U.S. officials were involved.

    In 1976 documents released earlier this year, a U.S. Department of State official wrote that circumstantial evidence indicated U.S. intelligence may have played a role in the death of journalist Charles Horman.

    He and another journalist, Frank Teruggi, were arrested and killed shortly after former Chilean president and dictator Augusto Pinochet's military coup.

    The documents released also include some relating to the 1985 disappearance of Boris Weisfeiler, a Russian emigre and mathematics professor.

    President Clinton ordered the U.S. government to begin releasing thousands of pages of documents related to Chile, following Pinochet's 1998 arrest in London on charges of torture and killings during his regime.

    'An unfortunate part in Horman's death'
    "There is some circumstantial evidence to suggest U.S. intelligence may have played an unfortunate part in Horman's death," the State Department official wrote in the declassified 1976 document released in February.

    "At best, it was limited to providing or confirming information that helped motivate his murder by the government of Chile. At worst, U.S. intelligence was aware the government of Chile saw Horman in a rather serious light and U.S. officials did nothing to discourage the logical outcome of government of Chile paranoia," the official wrote.

    The CIA has always insisted it was not involved, directly or indirectly, in the killings.

    Chile's traumatic political past
    U.S. officials during the Nixon administration feared a communist takeover in Chile. Some had worked for years to block left-wing politician Salvador Allende from Chile's presidency, and after he was democratically elected, worked to undermine his administration.

    By September 1973, Pinochet's right-wing military forces had ousted Allende, beginning a regime that would last until 1990. Allende died in the coup.

    Pinochet was released from house arrest in London in March, after judges ruled him medically unfit to stand trial -- in the face of extradition requests from several countries whose citizens were killed or went missing in Pinochet's Chile.

    Pinochet has returned to Chile where he faces the possible loss of immunity for alleged human rights abuses during his regime.

    It is thought that more than 3,000 people were executed during Pinochet's regime, more than 1,000 of them immediately following the coup. In a notorious incident, thousands were rounded up at the National Stadium in Santiago before being tortured, imprisoned or killed.

    An affidavit obtained by CNN & TIME earlier this year detailed testimony from a Belgian prisoner at the National Stadium, Andre Van Lanker. He described the death of Teruggi, his cell mate, saying that Teruggi was so severely tortured with blows and electric current that Chilean officials decided to "finish him off with bullets."

    Chile's Deputy Minister Geraldo Muno, himself once imprisoned and tortured under the junta, said it is possible that the same thing happened to Horman.

    A widow's search for the truth
    But Joyce Horman says her husband was arrested and killed by the Chilean government because he knew too much about a U.S. military operation during the Pinochet coup.

    Joyce Horman has spent the past quarter-century working to uncover the truth surrounding her husband's death. Her story was told in the 1982 film, "Missing."

    As Pinochet's military forces attacked the presidential palace in Santiago, Charles Horman, 31, and a friend from New York were sightseeing in the coastal town of Vina del Mar, according to Joyce Horman.

    Because of the coup, they found themselves trapped in a hotel there for five days, where they encountered U.S. military officers. Charles Horman talked to them and overheard other conversations, Joyce Horman said, which could have put him in danger.

    "He learned of American encouragement, involvement, enthusiasm, taking credit for the coup, that kind of attitude and that kind of really unabashed enthusiasm for the coup." Joyce Horman told CNN & TIME. "He was not supposed to know and that it would be dangerous information," she said.

    But Judd Kessler, an aid officer at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago at the time, does not find Horman's theory plausible.

    "That someone from the U.S. government should have killed Horman because he 'knew too much' is, to me, incredible," he said.

    If the possibility of American involvement in the coup was a secret, Kessler said, "it was the worst kept secret in Chile."

    "There wasn't one person in Chile, certainly not any person of the left, who didn't absolutely believe that the United States had organized the coup and was behind the whole thing," he said.

    One of the U.S. officers gave Charles Horman a ride back to Santiago to the small house that he rented with his wife, who was not home at the time. Joyce Horman returned to find the house ransacked.

    "My house was torn apart and I didn't know where Charles was for a while. And then I knew that he had been taken and was in the hands of the Chilean military intelligence. And then I heard he had been taken to National Stadium," where thousands of people thought to threaten the new regime were taken and tortured and sometimes killed.

    Weeks after arrest, body found
    Horman sought help from U.S. Embassy officials who agreed to help her look for her husband, but refused to search National Stadium. Fearing for her safety, Joyce Horman requested and was denied refuge in the U.S. Embassy. Other nations were providing refuge for their citizens in Chile.

    Weeks after Charles Horman was arrested, his bullet-ridden body was found, along with Teruggi.

    But it was more than two weeks after her husband's corpse was found before U.S. officials notified Joyce Horman about her husband's fate, and more than six months before his remains could be returned to the United States.

    Horman's theory
    Joyce Horman said she believes a U.S. investigation into the killings may have been stalled to allow time for the Pinochet regime to tighten its grip on the country, while maintaining U.S. support.

    "If they knew that an American had been killed, there would have been a very different relationship between Chile and the United States," Joyce Horman said.

    "As long as they could keep those deaths from actually being known, it would affect and impact the relationship with the U.S. with the Pinochet government. In those two weeks, a lot of consolidation of power took place in Santiago by the Pinochet regime," Joyce Horman said.

    CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor contributed to this report, written by Thom Patterson.

    Chilean court strips Pinochet of immunity
    June 5, 2000
    Pinochet's lawyers argue he is too ill to stand trial
    April 28, 2000
    Pinochet opponents ask court to lift immunity
    April 27, 2000
    Hearing opens in Chile on lifting Pinochet's immunity
    April 27, 2000
    Chilean court to consider lifting Pinochet's immunity
    April 24, 2000
    Families hold out hope to see Pinochet put on trial
    March 13, 2000

    Presidencia de la Republica de Chile
    Chilean Web Sites
    Spotlight on Chile
    Augusto Pinochet Ugarte
    Amnesty International Online: human rights
    • United Kingdom/Chile: Pinochet

    This happened in 1973 now the government seems to be adopting the same policy, kill the journalists, deny
    it later.


  • #2

    Yautia, hope you and everyone on this forum are doing well, I am guilty of this also, but I am learning from all of you here who know! Thanks! P.S. I do remember the awsome beauty of Puerto Rico and wonder how anyone could committ a crime against anyone in this beautiful place. God Bless you and everyone!


    • #3
      the reason is it has nothing to do with the united states.

      lets see now in europeean countries they don't even teach people about the struggle of those american-blacks during slavery and long afterwards lets see does your country chile teaches their students about native americans in the united states afri americans and white americans the land destroyers.

      batistas mafia in cuba before the revolution which had whites ahead of everyone else ever wondered why most cuban exiles were white they did not escape cause of economic reason they escaped for racial prosparity reasons my grandfathers land is the most advance in latin america today. and the people know who created salsa it was the afro-cubans


      • #4
        Europeans are very knowledgeable people as opposed to the americans.

        Peedi, hate to disagree about the knowledge of europeans. I agree with Yautia that americans are not cognizant even of their own history but on my visits to european countries I haver found them to be very knowlegeable on world affairs and specially what is going on in the Caribbean and Latin America. We have very intelligent discussions and this is on ALL levels of society, from the taxi driver to the higher echelons of their societies. Usually they complain to me about why americans are so arrogant and unrefined and sooo ignorant. I have seen it with my own eyes how some americans are so obnoxious that they ruin it for everybody else, something not to be proud of. Why do you think the "Ugly American" moniquer is still in vogue?

        Chile had their 911(9-11-73) with the CIA playing the role of the terrorists, they got Allende and assasinated him, we are still waiting for the capture of Bin Laden and all the other Bush terrorists.


        • #5



          • #6
            I have said it a thousand times: WE DO NOT READ!

            Even in this forum, you can tell people only halfway read other peoples' posts before replying. Much less the majority outside of here who don't read even when their life is at stake...


            • #7
              Americans tend to see all Latin American histories as inferior to their own. That contributes a littlle to the lack of interest.