Death of Three Good Men

The shots cracked through the hot dry summer air, and three men were killed, including Ruben Salazar, a noted Los Angeles Times columnist and local TV station manager.  An anti-war demonstration against the unpopular Vietnam War was raging in Laguna Park in East Los Angeles on August 29, 1970.  The protest organized by the National Chicano Moratorium Committee (NCMC) and Salazar, who was a lead reporter on Latino affairs, was covering the story.  Salazar was sipping a beer in the nearby Silver Dollar Café, when a Los Angeles County sheriff fired a tear gas canister into the restaurant. The Mexican-born Salazar was reporting on law enforcement abuses, and his death sparked outrage and condemnation among the Chicano and Anglo communities.  Salazar was later honored with a US postage stamp, among other commemorations.  (Please see December 19, 1969 for more on the NCMC.)

Misael Pastrana Borrero, President of Colombia

After a close election with a former military dictator, Misael Pastrana Borrero, a lawyer and former business executive, began his term as President of Colombia on August 7, 1970.  A lawyer and business executive, Borrero began his public service as a diplomat to the Vatican, and also served as Colombia’s Ambassador to the US and as Minister of several government agencies, including Development and Finance and Public Credit.  As expected, Colombia’s social and economic problems were a challenge for Borrero throughout his term.  As a conservative, he protected the rights of large landowners and commercial farms, and promoted the housing industry.  His reforms did not move rapidly enough for the disaffected workers, farmers, and students, who continued to call for stronger measures to transform the economy.