Army troops backed by National Guardsmen patrolled this sprawling Cuban refugee relocations camp today after an afternoon and night of violence that left 67 injured.
The troops used jeeps or patrolled on foot in groups of two and four, armed with M16 rifles and riot sticks. Fleets of blue-white Arkansas Highway Patrol cars were parked on a camp perimeter, their occupants poised for a possible recurrence of the trouble that apparently grew out of the refugees' frustration over the slowness with which they are being moved out of the camp to begin new lives.
In all, 79 refugees were in Army stockades today on charges stemming from the Sunday violence, in which several refugees were hit by police gunfire during rock-throwing incidents. Three buildings at the fort were destroyed by fire and a fourth was heavily damaged in the aftermath of a breakout attempt. Fifteen troppers were among those injured.
About 1,000 refugees have been processed at this camp, one of four set up to relocate the almost 95,000 refugees who have fled Fidel Castro's Cuba in recent weeks.
Outside the stockades today, many of the estimated 19,000 refugees at this post -- 80 percent of them single men -- walked in groups or lolled on roped-off lawns.
In an area called "the boulevard," other refugees tried to peddle trousers, cigarettes and other items for un paco dinero -- a little money.
Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton joined with Sens. Dale Bumpers and David Pryor today in castigating federal officials for allegedly failing to provide adequate security at the camp.
"The White House has been getting some very, very poor information about the operation here." Pryor said. "The security here is very poor. But up until today, after we have had problems, no one seems to have taken notice of it."
The officials said they were especially upset by a "communications failure" that led to confusion over whether Army guards here were empowdered to use "resonable force" in quelling a disturbance. Sources said that during the initial phases of the violence, the guards let the angry refugees stream out of the camp unopposed.
Clinton said he thought that the soldiers had been authorized to use force to detain wayward refugees. But Brig. Gen. James Drumond, commander of the fort, said he had received no such authorization.
"Security at the fort was obviously inadequate," Clinton said, adding that state, county and local police provided the only real security at Chaffee before today, when President Carter increased the number of Army troops here from 600 to 2,000.
Presidential assistant Eugene Eidenberg assured Clinton and other elected officials today that the misunderstanding over the reasonable force order and been cleared up and that soldiers responsible for security do have the power to use necessary force to prevent further violence.
David Lewis, director of operations here for the U.S. Catholic Conference, said he has "yet to have anybody identify for me the key parts of the problem in moving these people" off the 72,000 acre reservation.
Lewis said the refugee outprocessing program has become bogged down in bureaucratic delays, including the failure of State Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service officials to define what procedures should be followed in moving out the refugees.
For example, he said that 9,775 refugees have asked his organization for help since the Chaffee camp opened May 18. The conference had found sponsors for 4,589 people, he said, but only 184 of those with sponsors have left the camp. About 200 other refugees have also left the camp, according to officials.
Lewis said he welcomed the beefed-up security, if only to provide a more orderly working environment.
"This whole program was being run on hearsay directed by the Cuban," he said. "We have had many Cuban relatives calling up their congressmen and saying that this should be done and that this should be done. The Cubans here were actually running the place."
Asked if he noticed any difference today, Lewis said: "Just look outside. We have about 800 extra National Guardsmen standing 40 feet apart with loaded M16 rifles. I suppose you might say that things are a bit more orderly."