May 21, 1984 - President-elect from El Salvador Josè Napoleon Duartè visits the U.S. and lobbies President Reagan and Congress for military aid, despite rotten Human rights record. Iran continues to attack shipping in Persian Gulf, brings condemnation for Arab League and hints of U.S. involvement. Hindu-Muslim riots claim 100 in Bombay. Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov celebrates 63rd birthday with 19th day of hunger strike.
May 21, 2012

Josè Napoleon Duartè - his claim of being able to sell ice to Eskimos was put to the test.

May 21st, 1984 started off with a visit to Capitol Hill from Salvadoran President-elect Josè Napoleon Duartè. The reason for his visit was simple - money. In an effort to persuade Reagan and Congress to cough up $68 million in military aid, Duartè did his best to convince the powers-that-be that El Salvador was going to be a brand-spanking new country.

All this, amid the release of a report by Amnesty International claiming that El Salvador had been knee-deep in Death Squad executions since 1979 and some 40,000 were believed to be dead as the result. The report went on to say it had no reason to believe it was going to improve it's Human Rights record, since the Duartè government had been showing, maybe not direct involvement, but certainly tacit complicity.

And the sales pitch continued.

Meanwhile, news from the Persian Gulf was unsettling as Iran was continuing to attack and sink ships, most notably oil tankers. The move brought condemnation from the Arab League as the majority of ships sunk belonged to the Saudis. There were hints the U.S. would possibly play a role in this current Persian Gulf crisis, but what form the role would take remained to be seen. But nothing was ruled out.

Reports from Bombay estimated some 100 dead following rioting between Hindus and Muslims over the weekend. The violence was the latest in a series of tense confrontations between the two religious groups.

And Soviet Dissident Andrei Sakharov was celebrating his 63rd birthday while on his 19th day of a hunger strike in an undisclosed Soviet prison. The strike was in protest to Moscow's refusal to grant Sakharov's wife, Yelena Bonner a visa in order to seek medical treatment. The Soviets claimed it was Bonner who was the real dissident, manipulating Sakharov by brain-washing him.

And so it went, this May 21st, 1984 as reported on The CBS World News Roundup and the 9:00 am (PDT) Network news with Richard C. Hottelet.

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