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Opposes all nuclear weapons and the Strategic Defense Initiative (missile defense)
“Our major focus today,” says DISARM, “is opposing the U.S. embargo against Cuba and alleviating the devastating effect of this policy on the health of the Cuban people.”
Describing itself as “a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes peace, social justice, and human rights,” the Disarm Education Fund (DEF) was established in 1976 as a gun-control organization whose aim was “to ban all private ownership of handguns, and to require the licensing and registration of all rifles and shotguns.” In the 1980s, DEF’s interests branched out into the realm of nuclear weaponry. The group opposed not only America’s development of such an arsenal, but also what it called "such first-strike systems as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, a.k.a. 'Star Wars')." The characterization of SDI as a "first-strike system" is extremely misleading, given that it is in fact intended to be a defense against a first strike.
"Our support for the Plowshares movement," says DEF, "to 'turn swords into plowshares,' reflects our ongoing commitment to a world without nuclear weapons.” A member organization of the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, DEF characterizes itself as “an early and persistent advocate for a reduction of the bloated [American] military budget and the redirection of government resources to education, the alleviation of poverty, and other human needs."
DEF states that during the 1980s it "became a prominent critic of the U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of other nations in the Americas,” a stance it “vigorously maintain[s]” to this day. Reporting that it has been “especially active in protesting Washington's role in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala,” DEF claims that "[t]hroughout El Salvador's long civil war," its members "worked to end U.S. military aid and support for the right-wing death squads, while helping the country's popular liberation movement gain a still-fragile peace." "We helped build the movement to cut off Washington's support for the ‘Contra’ war in Nicaragua and end U.S. interference in that beleaguered country's politics," adds DEF.
DEF endorsed the Million Mom March, a May 2000 anti-gun rally in Washington, DC that drew some 750,000 participants and has since evolved into a national organization with the same name.
DEF identifies its current “primary focus” as helping “our neighbors in Central America and the Caribbean” -- by delivering “life-saving medicine and funds to Cuba and Mexico.” “And,” says DEF, “we are launching new programs to reach out to our neighbors in Guatemala and Nicaragua -- countries whose extreme lack of essential health care has amplified the suffering caused by misanthropic U.S. policies of both the past and the present.”
DEF declares that all of its programs "center around one core principle: [A]n immoral and unjust U.S. foreign policy -- particularly the practice of ‘punishing’ foreign governments by withholding medicine from civilians --has had a devastating impact on innocent people around the world." DEF works "to reverse and address this travesty" by: “supplying medicine and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics; providing teams of specialists and surgeons to treat local citizens; launching public education campaigns to mobilize concern here at home and achieve change; advocating to change U.S. government policy – especially the devastating embargo on Cuba; [and] empowering local people by educating health care workers and creating self-sustaining systems.”