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Saul Landau - final details

30 August 1999

From Latin America Committee ...

Final details of visit, Media release and article by Saul on Pinochet question.

National Programme for visit of Saul Landau

* Dunedin:

Friday 3rd Sept. Burns 1 lecture theatre Otago University 5:15pm The Uncompromising Revolution (1988): Cuba and Castro at Middle Age 6:15pm Social - Food, refreshments and conversation 7pm Labouring on the Border's Edge (1999) with introduction by Saul Landau 8:15pm The Sixth Sun: Mayan Uprising in Chiapas (1996) Tickets: Door Sales $5 unwaged/ $8 waged [One ticket covers the entire evening of films ] Contact Michael Tritt tel 03 473 6333

* Christchurch:

Saturday 4th Sept. Knox Hall Lounge, 28 Beasley Ave 7.30pm The Sixth Sun: Mayan Uprising in Chiapas (1996) Labouring on the Border's Edge (1999) with introduction by Saul Landau Contact Joe Davies 03 3662803

* Blenheim

6th Sept Tuesday Meeting with Federated Farmers 7.30pm: Marlborough Movies. Function with Saul Tel 03 577 7593 Ian Ewen-Street Tel 03 573 7226 Alison and Norman Fletcher

* Nelson:

Monday 6th Sept: St Johns Methodist Hall 320 Hardy Street, Nelson. 5.30pm The Uncompromising Revolution 6.15pm Mexicali food served 7pm The Sixth Sun

Tuesday 7th Sept: St Johns Methodist Hall 320 Hardy Street, Nelson. 7pm Laboring on Border's Edge with Saul Landau Gwen Struik/Bray tel 03 548 3323, 03 576 5125

* Wellington:

Thursday 9th Sept: National Library 5.30pm/7.30pm Contact Paul Bruce 04 3898 699 5:15pm The Uncompromising Revolution (1988): 6:15pm Social - Food, Refreshments [koha] and conversation 7pm Labouring on the Border's Age (1999) with Saul Landau 8:15pm - 9pm The Sixth Sun: Mayan Uprising in Chiapas (1996) Tickets: Door Sales $8 unwaged/ $10 waged [One ticket covers the entire evening of films ]

* Auckland:

8th Sept: 11.15am Video showing Reclaiming APEC conf. Bruce Dyer 03 546 8032
Saturday 11th Sep: 7pm: Functions Rm, Auck Student Univ Bldg, 7pm Labouring on the Border's Age with Introduction Saul Landau The Sixth Sun: Mayan Uprising in Chiapas (1996) Contact: APEC Monitoring Group, ph/09 302 5390 extn 833 Esteban Espinosa ph/fax 09 636 8776, 09 2769443 Email:

LAC website at Tel 04 3898-699


APEC Monitoring Group:

Reclaiming APEC:


Films that challenge the popular western views of such events as the Cuban revolution and the Zapatista revolution in Mexico, will feature in a unique collection being exhibited throughout New Zealand in September by internationally-known film maker, playwright and author Saul Landau.

Hosted in New Zealand by the Latin America Committee and the Alternative APEC Programme, Mr Landau's films will also offer a different viewpoint to the impact of the "free market" and globalisation to that offered by the Government's pro-APEC agenda. The tour begins in Dunedin on Friday 3 September and concludes in Auckland on 11 September.

Latin America Committee spokesperson Paul Bruce says Mr Landau has gained an international reputation for the quality of his films on social, political and historical issues and the issues of world-wide human rights. He has won the Letelier-Moffit Human Rights Award and the George Polk Award for investigative reporting as well as an Emmy for his film Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang, and is at present supporting a petition for the extradition of former Chilean President Augosto Pinochet to United States following his trial in Spain. See articles Landau was also a close associate of Orlando Letelier, Chilean Ambassador to the United States under the government of Salvador Allende. Letelier was leading a Chilean Democracy campaign in Wshington in 1976 when he was killed by a car bomb planted on the orders of General Augusto Pinochet. This attack was carried out on US soil and resulting in the death of a US citizen, Ronni Moffit. Another of Landau's associates, Juan Gabriel Valdes, is currently serving as Chile's Foreign Minister, and is arguing for Pinochet's return to Chile.

Landau's films to be shown in New Zealand will include The Sixth Sun, about the Mayan uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, featuring an interview with Zapatista leader Commandante Marcos; Labouring on the Border's Edge, dealing with the Maquila industries set up on the border zone of Mexico and the United States; and The Uncompromising Revolution, which includes a revealing "warts 'n all" expose of Fidel Castro. This film presents an entirely different perspective of the Cuban revolution and Castro to that popularised by western political propaganda.

Paul Bruce says Labouring on the Border's Edge deals with the disastrous social and environmental effects of industries set up on the borders of Mexico since Mexico became part of the North American free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Companies and manufacturers have taken advantage of Mexico's lack of effective labour laws and human rights and environmental protection to establish "sweatshop" style factories producing consumer goods at low cost for the United States market.

Another dimension to the impact of free market on indigenous people's rights will be presented by The Sixth Sun which details the struggle by indigenous Mayan Indians for recognition and the restoration of their land, a struggle that the Mexican Government has labelled as terrorism rather than revolution. The showing of The Sixth Sun has been supported by the Trade Aid Movement in New Zealand.

Trade Aid has a partnership with Mayan Farmers in Chiapas who grow organic coffee for sale under Trade Aid's ORECO brand name in New Zealand. This "fair trade" relationship helps free the Mayan farmers from the poverty trap and allows for some profits to go toward community initiatives such as health and education. The international human rights community has criticised the Government of Mexico for ignoring indigenous Mayan claims and for doing little to help Mayans recover from the displacement and marginalisation of their culture that has occurred ever since Spanish conquest and colonisation. Organic coffee produced from beans grown by the Mayan farmers will be available at some film evenings.

Saul Landau will be available to talk about Mexico's globalization process, the meaning of NAFTA, the Indigenous revolt in Mexico, modern Cuba and US-Cuban relations and also the Pinochet case. ENDS:

For further information contact:
Paul Bruce, Latin America Committee Tel (04) 3898 699
Steve Attwood, Education Coordinator, Trade Aid, Ph (03) 3853535.


By Saul Landau

The US government has yet to take a strong stand in the Augusto Pinochet case. The issues for Washington in the Pinochet case are terrorism and human rights, subjects that carry great weight for the US' international posture.

Since last October, British authorities have held the former Chilean dictator on a request from the Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzon. In September Pinochet will get a British Court hearing to determine if the Spanish charges against him for crimes against humanity, genocide, and terrorism conform to British law. If so, Pinochet heads for Spain to stand trial.

Secretary of State Madeline Albright initially chimed in to let Pinochet go home. She echoed the views of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former President George Bush and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Then Ms. Albright retracted her remark and the US has taken no official position on Pinochet's extradition to Spain. The Department of Justice has offered some classified previously documents to the Spanish judge and has interviewed several witnesses. Earlier this month, Juan Gabriel Valdes, Chile's new foreign minister, met with Secretary of State Madeline Albright supposedly to discuss trade and commerce. But behind the economic issues, Valdes petitioned her to help free Augusto Pinochet from British detention. Juan Gabriel Valdes, like Chile's last foreign minister, belongs to the left. Indeed, I knew him as an exile during the early years of Pinochet's military government. In 1976, he was my colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies where we both worked with Orlando Letelier. I had known Letelier in 1971-72 as Allende's ambassador to Washington. He then became Defense Minister and on September 11, 1973, the morning of the military coup, Letelier was arrested and sent, without charges, to a concentration camp near the South Pole. A year later, thanks to international pressure, Pinochet released Letelier, against whom no charges had been filed, and I invited him to join me as a colleague at the Institute for policy Studies, a left of center research center in Washington DC. Letelier accepted and subsequently asked Juan Gabriel Valdes to help him in his campaign to restore democratic government to Chile. At IPS, we believed in Letelier's cause, but saw his campaign to restore democracy as just beginning. Pinochet, on the other hand, saw Letelier as an immediate threat to his illegitimate military rule, so much so that he mentioned his name twice in a June 1976 conversation with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who blessed Pinochet with an official visit. Pinochet cited Letelier as a source of his problems with Washington. Congress had passed legislation cutting off aid to Pinochet's government because of human rights violations. Kissinger told Pinochet that even though he would address the OAS, meeting in Santiago, on human rights, Pinochet should understand that the speech was not directed at him. An official record of their conversation has Kissinger assuring Pinochet that he "approved of his methods."

In June of this year, the US government released thousands of classified documents, which show that Kissinger had ample evidence that Pinochet's regime was practicing routine torture of tens of thousands, mass executions and other egregious human rights violations.

It shouldn't have surprised Kissinger that on September 21, 1976, about three months after their cozy conversation in Santiago, Pinochet's agents detonated a bomb underneath Letelier's car, killing him and Ronni Moffitt, an IPS colleague.

Juan Gabriel Valdes mourned with the rest of us. But, like most of Letelier's comrades in high places in the exiled Popular Unity government, he did little to seek justice for their murdered comrade. Perhaps, the bombing terrified them, just as Pinochet had intended. The FBI, however, traced the killings back to the head of Chile's secret police. But the Justice Department stopped just short of indicting Pinochet himself. During the Reagan and Bush years, US officials again coddled Pinochet and the assassination trail to Pinochet in the Letelier-Moffitt case trail grew cold. Then, last year Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzon announced that the facts against Pinochet were sufficient to indict him. And former Assistant US Attorney Lawrence Barcella reminded the Justice Department publicly in a Washington Post article that Washington was remiss in its duties in following up leads to Pinochet in the Letelier case. Indeed, Barcella said it was "inconceivable" that the Letelier killing could have occurred without Pinochet's authorization.

Ironically, Valdes like his socialist predecessor has put forth the notion that sovereignty demands that Britain return the 83 year old dictator to Chile, where both left and center parties have acceded to Pinochet's immunity, gone along with his amnesty provisions and accepted the bitter fact that he made himself Senator for Life, thus further fortifying himself against the law.

Despite all this, Valdes insists that Pinochet can still get tried in Chile and he also concedes that Washington has the right to ask for his extradition for the Letelier-Moffitt murders should the department of Justice have enough evidence to do so. The Letelier-Moffitt killings have always remained exempt from amnesty provisions.

The question is why the US government has not made clear that it supports the more comprehensive Spanish case, which would solidify international law against terrorism, crimes against humanity and genocide and why it has not declared that it could also extradite Pinochet should the Spanish case not deliver justice in the Letelier-Moffitt killings.

From statements issued by Valdes and the State Department emphasizing trade over human rights and terrorism, one would think that the new world trade order has created a sense of false priorities in the United States and Chile. It's time to demand consistency with principles: urge the British to send Pinochet to Spain and, after his trial there, seek his extradition to Washington for the terrorist murders committed there.


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