"If the situation in Mexico continues to be one of corruption, fraud and the strangling of democracy, then vast infusions of U.S. taxpayers' cash will only open up more opportunities for corruption and fraud . . . . if Mexico wants U.S. help, the Mexican people have no choice but to bring about fundamental political reform. . . . the word 'fraud' hardly describes a situation where the announced results bear very little relation to the actions of the voters. I say to the Mexican government, open up your electoral process to review and inspection. Let impartial international observers review the electoral system . . . Mexico deserves no help from the international community until this is done."

-- Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, in an opening statement at a June 17 hearing on the Mexican debt situation.

Then Again . . .

Four months ago, February 19, following the presidential elections in the Philippines, Helms had this to say on the Senate floor in opposition to a resolution declaring that the elections were fraudulent:

"As for fraud in elections in the developing world, I think that we can all agree that it is a way of life. I certainly do not condone this immoral and unethical behavior but . . . .I do not think that the American people want us to be continually meddling in the affairs of foreign nations any more than they want the bureaucrats in Washington meddling into their affairs at home. . . . . Who are we, after all, to impose our standards of conduct on the rest of the world? . . . we should recognize the sovereignty of other nations, and restrict our role to that of persuasion and leadership. Can we expect that developing countries will immediately have the standards that the developed nations have achieved after many long years of work? Can we insist that every nation evolve exactly in our pattern? . . . I submit that nonintervention and tolerance might be more appropriate than intervention and intolerance, particularly when the nation involved is an ally and willing to work with us."