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Stand up and honor our Latin America activists.

The world has learned, thanks to Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary, that the U.S. government conducted 204 underground nuclear tests during the last half-century without any public mention, the last as recent as 1990. Eighteen of those tests, O'Leary said last week, occurred during the Reagan-Bush years.

Additionally, cold warriors conducted 800 radiation tests on humans, many of them unaware of the risks. Some human guinea pigs were injected with highly radioactive plutonium. It's refreshing to see the government fessing up. And good to find an appointed official who understands she is a care-taker, and not owner, of our government.

Slowly, truth has a way of coming out. However, it appears it will take many more years for all the deceit of the Cold War years, justified in the name of "national security," to surface.

Truth has a way of cleansing wounds. As such, it is a necessary ointment. Using it, we better understand the precious nature of our democracy as well as those forces that continually threaten it.

Speaking of truth becoming public, were there real justice in our land, President Clinton by now would have proclaimed a month of national celebration to honor those many thousands in our communities who exposed U.S. government Latin American policy lies during the 1980s.

These men and women, many from our parishes, religious communities and interfaith groups, acted out of deep religious convictions to bring light to darkness. They deserve our nation's praise.

History will show that while U.S. officials repeatedly lied to us through the 1980s - as we can document they did through the release of 12,000 CIA papers that deal with U.S. policy in El Salvador (NCR, Nov. 19) - not all citizens capitulated to deceit. Our Latin American peace and justice networks resisted throughout.
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Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 17, 1993
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