Is It Necessary (1)San Salvador nestled in its hollow at the base of an old volcano. TACA airlines 747 swept to the south and landed on a high plain outside the city. Soldiers and Guardia Nacional scrutinized debarking passengers with the suspiciousness of soldiers who never know exactly who the enemy is nor from which quarter he may attack.

I stood in line at customs to be searched. The search was thorough.

Esta used un periodista?”

“Si. I am an American journalist.” I showed him my credentials from Consolidated Press International and Tulsa Tribune.

“For the war?”

“Yes, for the war.”

I hitched a ride to the capital in the back of an old pickup truck. Refugee shanty towns clung to the sides of canyons as we neared the city, and many people walked along the road. Truckloads of troops sped back and forth.

There was no doubt that the country was at war. It was the 1980s and that was why I came to Central America—to look at guerrilla warfare and the making of revolution.

So far, since crossing the Rio Grande, I had logged hundreds of miles by plane, truck, bus, ox-cart, and on foot. What I was seeing reinforced my conviction that the United States was inextricably involved in revolution and guerrilla war—like it or not. (And later in the War on Terror).

Transistor radios strapped between the horns of oxen and TV antennas on grass thatched huts are encouraging people long kept illiterate, ignorant of outside influences, and tied to the land to question why they have so little when others have so much and why government remains abusive and unresponsive to their demands.

“Is it necessary?” people are asking, and the asking is creating a growing restlessness throughout underdeveloped Latin America.

I met Autberto in San Salvador at a cheap guest house not far from the central market.

“Come, I will show you,” he said.

Ninety percent of all Latin Americans live in poverty. Autberto showed me the scenes: ragged people swept like garbage into canyon slums; the old and the crippled turned into beggars; children running the streets hustling colones. A street vendor sold papusas and little cakes and candy while her ragged 10-year-old daughter slept on a piece of cardboard. Pedestrians stepped over her with hardly more than a glance.

“They have eyes and they have ears,” said Autberto. “They know there is a better way of living. They ask for something Norte Americanos take for granted. They ask only for the opportunity to do better.” (TO BE CONTINUED)

“The wife of a former mayor of Beverly Hills hosted events for the latest tin-pot socialist dictators and declared the hero communist Marxists in Latin America as no concern of hers. “I don’t regard them as a threat to my way of life.”

From Crushing The Collective: The Last Chance to Keep America Free and Self-Governing, by Charles W. Sasser. Now available at most fine bookstores, on WND.COM, Amazon.Com, and BarnesandNoble.com.