A violent and divided left

It is good to see that the Monitor has not forgotten that an important election is coming up in El Salvador. However, the front-page article "For Salvadoran Left, Peace Proves to Hold as Many Battles as War," July 12, gives the impression that divisions on the left are a new phenomenon in El Salvador - as if leftists had been unified during the war.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Salvadoran poet and guerrilla leader, Roque Dalton, was killed by a rival comandante in 1975. So was Salvador Cayetano Carpio, the so-called Ho Chi Minh of Central America, in 1983.

These are only the most prominent examples of internal bloodletting. Unity was always surface level, demanded by Fidel Castro in exchange for military aid. With the cold war over and the left now positioning for elections, it is hardly surprising that old divisions are still making unity elusive. Matthew Shugart, La Jolla, Calif. Professor, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies University of California at San Diego

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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