MIKE WOITALLA: A preemptive strike

I always look forward to World Cup qualifying play in this region of North and Central America and the Caribbean ù also known as CONCACAF, and lately, TFC. At this year's draw, all 35 nations in the region entered. Believe me, it will be exciting. We've got Latin-style soccer, the swift and skillful Caribbeans, and countries like Honduras and Costa Rica that combine the two. In this region, a nation of 270 million people plays a country of 3.6 million and it's the big one that has a losing record in the matchup. But there's one thing I don't look forward to, and will now take a preemptive strike on the references that will appear about the war 30 years ago between El Salvador and Honduras that is attributed to World Cup qualifying play. The so-called "Soccer War," also known as the 100-hour war, will rear its head during qualifying. When it does, keep this in mind: The two countries had been amassing reasons to hate each other for more than 100 years. Their border dispute had existed for 130 years. A 1960 Central American trade agreement greatly favored El Salvador to Honduras' disadvantage. A year before the qualifying games, Honduras passed a law that prohibited Salvadoran immigrants from owning land and evicted many from property they had occupied for years. A month before the games, 57 Salvadoran families were expelled from Honduras and El Salvador, some reports say, closed their border to them. Each nation was run by military dictatorships trained in atrocities at the School of Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. When the games started, the governments blatantly encouraged hatred and the violence that occurred at games in each nation. The leaders seized their opportunity to wage war. About 3,000 people died in four days. But it wasn't about soccer. FANS, LET'S HEAR YOUR VIEW Click here to log onto (Soccer) American Graffiti. Then click on the topic titled "YOUR VIEW: A preemptive strike" and respond to MIKE WOITALLA in 200 words or less. Best responses may be reprinted in Soccer America Magazine. If YOUR View is selected, we'll send you a cool T-shirt and pin... Because You're FANATIC.
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