On April 28, 1987, Ben Linder, a Portland engineer working to bring electricity to rural areas of Nicaragua, was murdered by U.S.-backed contra forces near Cua-Bocay. Ben had been involved with PCASC and was interviewed for the Central America Update (PCASC newsletter) about his work in Nicaragua the previous year.
On April 29, a vigil was held at the Federal Building in honor of Ben and was attended by over 1,500 people. On May 10, PCASC members participated in a Memorial Celebration and tree-planting ceremony held at Wallace Park. PCASC also held a petition drive against contra aid, which brought in over 4,000 signatures.
Portland City Council and Multnomah County Commission passed resolutions honoring Ben and condemning contra aid. Oregon State Legislators also signed a strong letter calling for an immediate halt to contra aid. The Ben Linder Memorial Fund, nourished by phonebanks, mailings, and advertisements, raised more than $25,000 to continue Ben’s work in bringing hydroelectric power to rural Nicaragua. On September 25th, 26th and 27th, PCASC and other organizations organized the Conference in the Spirit of Ben Linder. The conference featured workshops and speakers focused on U.S. policy in Central America with all proceeds going to the Ben Linder Memorial Fund.
More information about Ben Linder and his work can be found here.