INTRODUCTION: The American government has made a significant change of policy towards the military junta in El Salvador.
GV Peasant farmers at land title presentation.
SV INTERIOR Members of ruling junta seated, watching presentations.
SV Titles being presented to farmers by junta as other farmers watch. (3 SHOTS)
SCU U.S. Senator Charles Percy, Head of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaking in Washington, D.C.
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
SEQ. 4: PERCY: "I don't think we ought to leave any, er, close any options. I simply feel it's time for us to take a stand. I have long said we have to take a stand in this hemisphere. The Monroe doctrine is as long a foreign policy position as this nation has ever had. Everyone in the world should understand that we have a special responsibility in the Western hemisphere, and we intend to fulfil that responsibility, hopefully always in co-operation with other nations in this area, such as OAS. But certainly, we have a stake in the stability of the Western hemisphere, and we intend to fulfil our responsibility. The administration intends to do so. They will do it, I believe, with the backing of Congress."
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The American government has made a significant change of policy towards the military junta in El Salvador. For the first time, the administration of President Reagan said on Wednesday (17 February) that it supported economic reforms and democratic changes in El Salvador that would lead to a popular, elected government. The United States is backing the junta in the undeclared civil war against leftist guerrillas.
SYNOPSIS: Reforms brought in by the El Salvador government have included land titles which were handed over to peasant farmers in the capital on Monday (16 February).
According to the junta, 150,000 titles will eventually be given to small farmers. The country's tenants were given ownership of their land last year, but soon began complaining of forced evictions by right-wing squads. To stop the evictions, the junta passed title legislation to give the peasants official proof of ownership. In Washington, Senator Charles Percy, head of the Foreign Relations Committee, called for greater emphasis on human rights -- and continued support of the junta.