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A Blast from the Past

By United Press International   |   Nov. 16, 2002 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

Today is Nov. 16.


This is the anniversary of a massacre that made Americans rethink the U.S. policy of supporting friendly but ill-behaved foreign governments.

On this date in 1989, six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper and her teenage daughter were shot to death at their residence in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. It soon became evident that the right-wing Salvadoran government -- a close ally of Washington -- included military officers capable of doing things like this if they suspected missionaries of aiding rebels.

Two years later, on this date in 1991, House Democrats reported that the Salvadoran defense minister, Gen. Rene Ponce, had planned the killings.


The United States established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union on this date in 1933.

And on this date in 1990, the Soviet Union indicated that it would approve the use of military force to oust Iraq from neighboring Kuwait. There were close diplomatic and economic ties between Moscow and Baghdad, but Saddam Hussein had been a bad boy in invading Kuwait and the U.S.S.R. decided to side with most of the rest of the world in not standing for that.


It was on this date in 1992 that a federal judge in Los Angeles refused to reconsider the Navy's appeal of an injunction that forced the reinstatement of sailor Keith Meinhold, the first openly homosexual person on active duty in the U.S. military.


The shuttle Discovery returned to Earth on this date in 1984 with an historic cargo: the first two satellites ever plucked from orbit.


And it was on this date in 1907 that Oklahoma became the 46th state admitted to the Union. Previously, Oklahoma had been known -- officially and on maps -- simply as "Indian Territory."


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

Topics: Rene Ponce
© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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