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The Sandinista revolution

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Title:
The Sandinista revolution the effects of the United States foreign policy
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Guanipa, Enier
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Language:
English
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106 leaves : ; 28 cm

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1979 ( fast )
Diplomatic relations ( fast )
Politics and government ( fast )
Foreign relations -- United States -- Nicaragua ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- Nicaragua -- United States ( lcsh )
Politics and government -- Nicaragua ( lcsh )
History -- Nicaragua -- Revolution, 1979 ( lcsh )
Nicaragua ( fast )
United States ( fast )
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History. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of Political Science.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Enier Guanipa.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
21114888 ( OCLC )
ocm21114888
Classification:
LD1190.L64 1988m .G82 ( lcc )

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Full Text
THE SANDINISTA REVOLUTION:
THE EFFECTS OF THE UNITED STATES
FOREIGN POLICY
by
Enier Guanipa
B. A., University of Colorado, 1985
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of Political Science
1988


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
Enier Guanipa
has been approved for the
Department of
Political Science
by
Stephen Thomas
Date /^/ 7/ /

Ill
Guanipa, Enier (M.A. Political Science)
The Sandinista Revolution: the Effects of the United States Foreign Policy
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Lawrence Mosqueda
This thesis is a historical narrative of the revolutionary process in
Nicaragua. The purpose of this study is two-fold. First, it analyzes the
Nicaraguan revolutionary process, grounded in a desire of the Nicaraguans
to overthrow the Somoza regime established in 1936 with the help of United
States intervention. Second, it presents a critical analysis of United States
foreign policy from 1926 to 1988.
The study describes the efforts of the Sandnista goverment to
institute policy, economic reform and demonstrate how these efforts
enable the goverment to shape the direction of the revolutionary process in
the interests of the lower classes.
The various peace plans (Contadora, Arias, and Esquipulas I, II and
III) are also analyzed. The consistent United States pattern of thwarting
acceptance and implementation of any of these peace plans is shown.
The results of this study include the conclusions that the
revolutionary movement as a whole was not committed solely to the
overthrow of the Somoza regime. The movement also sought agrarian
reform, changes in social class structures, economic stability, and self-
determination without outside intervention.
It is further concluded that the intervention of the United States
has often been more of a hindrance than a help to the development of the


IV
economy of the country and that such intervention has served the interests
of United States business instead of for the good of the Nicaraguan people.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. 1 recommend its
publication.
Faculty member in charge of thesis


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. NICARAGUA'S HISTORY: AN OVERVIEW
Background Information ..............
Power Struggles in the Republic .....
Zelaya's Reforms ....................
Politics of Subordination ...........
Zelaya and Samoza Compared ..........
Build-up of Samozan Power ...........
Nicaraguan Political Practices ......
Controlling Dissident Formations ....
Formation of New Classes ............
The Final Crisis ....................
II. PROGRESSIVE STEPS IN THE REVOLUTION
Introduction.........................
Organizing Revolutionary Groups .....
The Insurrection ....................
III. POLICIES OF THE REVOLUTION .............
Land Reform .........................
The Literacy Campaign ...............
Mixed Economy .......................
Banking System ......................
Infrastructure ......................
Health Program ......................
I
3
4
6
8
9
10
11
12
14
17
24
24
25
31
36
36
38
40
45
46
48


VI
CONTENTS (Continued)
IV. UNITED STATES INTERVENTION IN THE NICARGUAN
REVOLUTION .................................... 54
Background of United States Foreign Policy... 54
U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua .............. 58
Carter ................................... 58
Reagan ................................. 59
Costs of the War .............................. 67
The Contras ................................. 72
V. EFFORTS AT PEACE.............................. 81
Contadora ................................... 31
Arias Agreement .................... 87
Esquipulas ............................. 39
VI. CONCLUSION.................................... 96
BIBLIOGRAPHY......................................... 101


TABLES
4.1 Structure of Nicaraguan Foreign Trade ............ 62
4.2 U.S. Foreign Assistance to Honduras .............. 64
4.3 U.S. Voting Record on Loans to Nicaragua ......... 70
4.4 Counter Revolutionary Activities ................. 76


CHAPTER I
NICARAGUA'S HISTORY: AN OVERVIEW
In order to understand the causes of the insurrection by the
Sandinistas in Nicaragua it is necessary to review the abuses of the Somoza
regime. The purpose of this chapter is to point out the constant repression
of the people and the stagnation of the economy because of the control of
the Somocistas. It explains the old regime's concept of class structure,
limited opportunities for participation in political processes, and the
inability of the masses to change policy by any other method than violence.
The regime of Somoza that was overthrown by the Sandinistas in
1979 was not merely a group of people with political power, now was it
simply a dictatorship with military control of the country. The Somoza
dictatorship was the central power of the country. The Somoza
dictatorship was the central power that controlled all the institutions
around which any state revolvespolitical, economic, financial,
transportation and education.
In essence, the Somoza family became the sole authority over all
activities in Nicaragua and held this authority for almost half a century.
However, it is unlikely that Somoza could have gained and retained such
widespread control over Nicaragua's institutions without economic and
military assistance from the United States. In 1939, three years after
Somoza, with United States assistance, murdered Sandino and siezed
control of Nicaragua. The United States provided the Somoza regime with


2
$2 million in credit and a group of military advisors to train a strong
national guard. This military and economic aid, it will be demonstrated in
this thesis, was a determining factor in keeping in power the most corrupt
dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.
Anastasio Somoza was assassinated by Rigoberto Lopez Perez in
1956, and Anastasio's son, Luis, succeeded him. In 1967 a younger son,
Anastasio, Jr., assumed the presidency. He was overthrown by the
Sandinistas in 1979 and murdered in Asuncion, Paraguay in 1980*.
To understand the establishment of the Somoza dynasty it is
necessary to sumarize the events that resulted in his establishment as the
ruler of Nicaragua. Augusto C. Sandino was not a political theorist but a
leader of guerrilla forces in an insurrection that lasted from 1927 to 1933.
These years of revolution were primarily directed against foreign
domination by foreign ownership, (i.e., the United States) and management
of Nicargua's total economy. Augusto Cesar Sandino was murdered in 1934
2
by the National Guard whose chief was Somoza Garcia.
The bourgeoisie is identified as comprised of economic groups
that own the means of production and employ the labor forces through the
various activities of commerce, industry and finance. In colonial
economies or dependent economies the bourgeoisie has a level known as
the "comprador bourgeoisie." This highest level of the bourgeoisie acts as
an intermediary between the foreign capital and the local market. This
group works in close relationship with foreign companies and usually
opposes any movement or activity that would change the existing condition
of dependency upon foreign interests.


3
In underdeveloped countries there also exists the "national
bourgeoisie" which promotes the growth and development of the internal
market and is usually not tied to foreign monopolies or foreign interests.
This group must struggle against the power of foreign capital or conciliate
with them. The course of action depends upon which course will support
the local interests. In Nicaragua small business men, shop owners and
intellectuals found an accomodation within the Sandinista system and still
support the revolution.
Background Information
The Nicaraguan social structure is an outgrowth of the Spanish
colonization of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Until recently it
reflected the system of social privileges and class values established at
that time. The development of dependent capital in the sixteenth century
prepared the way for United States intervention in Nicaragua/*
The country has large lakes and rivers offering easy access to its
riches. Its position on the Pacific and Caribbean provides ties to the major
markets of the world. A small number of persons received large land
grants from the Spanish crown to form the original nucleus of a wealthy
upper class. By the beginning of the nineteenth century the country's
commercial life was controlled by a small group of Europeans living in
Central America. Thus, the social structure came to be characterized by
the domination of native-born Spaniards and national elites over poor
Mestizos and the indigenous population. There also developed an embryonic
bourgeoisie of artisans, traders, and scribes who identified themselves as
distinct from the lower classes and whose interests were tied to the upper
class.5


4
Upper class army and Church officials were able to keep their
social and economic power within this traditional society and were also
able to use the political process to promote its own interests. On the other
hand, the rural population and the poor peasants remained at the bottom of
the social structure and had little voice in political matters. These people
became the backbone of the revolution, because by 1978 the agricultural
sector constituted 50.5 precent of the economically active population. The
service sector accounted for 31.8 percent and the industry accounted for
17.7 percent of the economically active population. The service sector
accounted for 31.8 percent and the industry accounted for 17.7 percent of
the enconomically active population.^
Power Struggles in the Republic
Almost from the beginning of the republic in 1863, the struggle
for power was focused in two political parties: Conservative and Liberal.
The Conservative Party was in the hands of landowners and rich
commercial elites. Families from these classes were owners of coffee
haciendas and cattle. They conducted the major business of the nation and
represented the previous European aristocracy. Educated primarily in
foreign universities and with means to travel to other countries, the were
attracted to everything foreign. Their unconditional friendship with the
United States served to guarantee their economic interests. Of particular
importance was the interest of both Nicaragua and the United States in
building interoceanic canal through Nicaragua. The Brian-Chamorro
Treaty, signed in 1914 and ratified in 1916 gave the United States exclusive
rights, in perpetuity to build a canal in Nicaragua. The proposed canal


5
would bring prosperity to the country and help the Conservatives who did
not have military strength or popular backing to maintain themselves in
power.
Another factor in the power struggles was the traditional role of
the Church in Nicaragua. Membership in the Catholic Church was almost
universal in Nicaragua and the Conservative Party has always been the
party of the Church. This tradition lost its impact only when liberal
leaders also began professing loyalty to the Church. A chief source of
wealth of the Church was the practice of the Conservative elite to
bequeath property to the priests or the Church at the death of the owner to
O
secure priestly interpositions on behalf of their souls/
It was against these practices that the Liberal Party gave its
attention. The consitution of 1893 under Zelaya separated Church and
State and guaranteed freedom of religion and free secular education. The
Liberal Party favored free trade, modernization of the country's
infrastructure, appropriation of communal lands and the creation of a
mobile labor forceJ
There were constant armed conflicts between the Conservatives
and Liberals that caused serious damage to the economy and prevented the
consolidation of the national bourgeoisie. It was these conflicts that
permitted a foreign adventurer, Williamn Walker, to declare himself
president of Nicaragua in 1856, and eventually led to United States
dominance in Nicaragua. The association of the Liberal Party with Walker
caused it to be discredited and his defeat was followed by 36 years of rule
by the Conservative Party.''


6
Other factors affecting the history and development of
Nicaragua included the following:
I) Beginning with the independence of Central America in 1821, Great
Britain exercised the preponderance of power in the seas and among the
foreign powers with regard to Central America. This influence reached the
point that Robert Charles Frederick was crowned Miskito King under the
protection of the British in 1825. The sudden death of Frederick in 1842
precipitated a period of anarchy and the British seizure of the port of San
Juan del Norte in 1848. ^
In 1846, France was trying to complete the construction in
Nicragua of the Canal Napoleon de Nicaragua. Great Britian was
interested in maintaining control of the seas and considered construction of
a canal through Nicaragua. The acquisition of California and the gold rush
initiated United States propositions to Nicaragua for establishing a cheap
overland route from the Atlantic to the Pacific.Finally, the United
States challenged the dominance of Great Britain and the clayton Bulwar
Treaty of 1850 provided that neither nation would control or fortify any
canal through Nicaragua.^
Zelaya's Reforms
The social structure of production and the preparation for
capitialism took place in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
Between 1870 and 1890 the Nicaraguan government ordered the sale of lands
not used by native communities and in 1881 ordered the recruitment of
labor. These measures gave legal support for the penetration of outside
corporations in the field of agricultural production.


7
General Jose Santos Zelaya became the President of Nicaragua
by popular revolt against Conservative regime. This Liberal leader owed
his ideas on politics and economics to education and conviction. The
Zelaya constitution of 1893 introduced reforms to public and private
institutions to modernize the social, political and economic structure. The
constitution promoted incorporation of large holdings into coffee
production by confiscating ecclesiastical property. Supported by the
exportation of coffee, major improvements were planned for the expansion
of the railways and new steamship lines.*'*
However, Zelaya found the treasury empty as most incoming
executives of Nicaragua did and resorted to contradictory measures. He
opened the doors to foreign investment and have broad concessions for
mining and the exploitation of lumber and bananas. By granting leases to
foreign investors, Zelaya facilitated the domination of the economy by
North American corporations. Zelaya then decreed taxes on foreign
trade. When Americans refused to pay these taxes, Zelaya's troops
resorted to terrorization and conflict with the United States who furnished
air to anti-Zelaya rebels.^
Although Zelaya's reforms benefited the rising coffee industry he
practiced other methods that were repressive. His conservative opponents
were thrown into prison and their properties were confiscated. He ran the
government operations as if they were private business deals and handed
out concessions to his friends. Many loans and obligations to foreigners
were irresponsible.
In 1909, Zelaya was convinced that he could not succeed with the
United States so openly opposed to him. He resigned from the presidency


8
after a stern note of denunciation from the United States Secretary of
State Knox.
The Conservatives again regained political power but were
subordinates of the United States. The Conservatives controlled the state
until 1926 but the processes of the state were collapsing. Foreign debt
reached such high proportions that the United States took over the Customs
Office, the banks, and the issuing of money. In this way the United States
could direct the country's income into paying off the debt.
In 1916 Emiliano Chamorro led a coup d'etat that became known
as the Constitutional War. The Liberal Army was composed of both
bourgeoisie and worker-peasants groups. This led, in turn, to a new class
consciousness and they drew leaders from among the mine workers.
By 1927, a special presidential envoy, Henry L. Stimson, was sent
from Washington to impose terms. Included in these terms was the handing
over of all arms to the United States Marines until the establishment of the
National Guard under the supervision of United States officers. The pact
was signed by the leaders of the Constitutional War except the 31-year-old
I ft
Augusto Cesar Sandino.lo
Politics of Subordination
The United States stated that it had three basic objectives in
creating the National Guard: I) to replace the army and police with a well
disciplines, adequately trained and equipped force; 2) to establish internal
order and suppress the constant uprising against the government; and 3) to
eventually change Nicaragua's armed forces into a non-political force to
guarantee constitutional order. The National Guard was corrupted by the
first national director, Anastasio Somoza Garcia, who was hand picked by


9
United State intervention and who used the Guard to prepetuate himself
19
and his family in unlimited power.17
The revolutionary outcome of this situation was the organization
of an army by Sandino. Under his leadership guerrilla warfare continued
for the purpose of expelling the United States Marines. His program was
directed toward national self-determination, non-intervention by the
United States, and restoration of the constitution through popular vote, and
land reforms. The war was limited to the countryside with a small and
weak organization of the working class. The middle class was weary of war
and there were massacres of the peasant population. These limitations
allowed the United States to isolate Sandino's army and build up the
National Guard.
Zelaya and Somoza Compared
Anastasio Somoza Garcia seized power in 1936 and tried to use
the popular slogan "Zelaya the Reformer and Somoza the Peacemaker" to
link his party to Zelaya but there were many differences between the two
presidents.
Zelaya Somoza
Rise to power by popular revolt Assassination of Sandino and
coup d'etat against his uncle,
Sacasa
Liberal by education and Undefined liberal principles,
conviction chosen by U.S. to end the
Sandino Affair


10
Policies conflicted with Policies could not control the
U.S. interests foreign economic interests
that conflicted with interests
of Nicaraguan people^
Build-up of Somozan Power
Somoza and his supporters built up his armed forces through the
Lend Lease Programs of the United States, and the National Guard was
essential to consolidate his power. The National Guard became a force of
occupation within its own country, replacing the United States Marines.
The Guard was used to maintain control over any rivals in the army or
police and to eliminate them. Gradually power was expanded to control
internal revenue and the national railroad, then to communication, postal
and immigration services. Military control was established over imports of
guns and ammunition. Eventually, even the National Sanitation Service was
??
put under military control.
An astute politician, Somoza transformed civilian institutions to
limit the political influence of the military. They were also used to gain
support of various sections of society or to undermine the strength of any
independent organization. These civilian institutions were manipulated to
give the illusion of a constitutional democracy to a dynasty that became
77
more and more oppressive.
For the elite ruling classes, the government of Somoza created
ideal conditions for accumulating wealth but they were also the victims of
the sole power of Somoza. Suppressing workers and breaking of strikes
translated into a high rate of profit. Loyalty from political parties gained
them seats in Congress, government posts, independent commercial


interests, and independent banking interests. On the other hand, the
Somoza family used the loans made by the State and the United States to
finance their own enterprises. Thus, they always dictated the economy and
represented competition in every field too strong for other businesses to
compete or survive.
The death of Anastasio Somoza in 1956 did not lessen the power
of the regime. One factor in strengthening the dynasty was the American
Ambassador, Thomas E. Whelan's declaration that his government would
recognize only Luis Somoza (elder son of Anastasio Somoza and then
President of the Nicaragua Senate) as the immediate successor.^
Nicaraguan Political Practices
In Nicaragua, mass participation in political life, especially for
changing conditions of society, was never encouraged. A poorly educated
population under a structure of prolonged oppression and exploitation
allowed the preservation of remannants of the old system committed
primarily to preserving the interests of the wealthy. The masses of
Nicaragua sensed that decision making always remained in the hands of the
privileged and learned that elections only served to express dissatisfaction
with the system. Political participation by the masses found its expression
in violence. By controlling the electoral process, the party in office could
get the most votes. Fraud and vote buying was common and was used for
re-election, thus, corruption made revolution the only way to remove a
power structure.
During the pre-revolutionary period Nicaragua was a democracy
in name only regardless of provisions for free elections. In 1947 Somoza
staged a coup d'etat only 27 days after the election of Leonardo Arguello


12
and sent the newly-elected president into exile. The new dictator adopted
a new constitution to legalize his term in office.^
One characteristic of the Somozas was that they never had a
problem with maintaining their power because of the constitution. When
they lacked popularity, they managed to find constitutional alternatives for
political expression through others. Their relationships with puppet interim
presidents is one type of example. For instance, in 1966, Rene Shick (a very
popular, but manipulated president) died of a heart attak two days after
97
Somoza Debayle was announced as a candidate.
Although they were disenchanted with the system and widespread
expectations of fraud, leaders of the opposition made political
arrangements with the administration. An example is the "Pacto de los
Generales" made between the National Liberal Party (the administration)
and Emiliano Chamorro, chief of the Conservative Party. It was agreed
that there would be no foreign supervision of the coming national elections
and that the defeated party would be guaranteed one-third of the seats in
the new assembly. The actual result was that the National Liberal
majority approved a new constitution that gave a few liberal provisions
such as women's sufferage but extended the president's term from four to
six years; gave the president power to decree laws related to the National
Guard without consulting Congress. Further, it gave Somoza absolute
power over the State and the military the ability to control the electoral
and legislative machinery. 7
Controlling Dissident Formations
It was important to the Somozas to extend their power beyond
the limits of mere political competition. After the assassination of


13
Sandino, Somoza organized and mobilized a large military apparatus to
suppress any political contender. However, it was imperative for Somoza
to have opposition to run against during elections.
In 1944, Somoza collaborated with the Nicaraguan Socialist Party
and sponsored legislation through Congress to create a Labor Code that
theoretically met the most urgent demands of workers. With the support of
the Nicaraguan Socialist Party, Somoza got a huge vote in the elections.
Just a few months later he created conditions to destroy the emerging
party, and after 1945 any militancy from Labor groups met unmerciful
10
repression. The Labor Code was never implemented.
In spite of United States support of Somoza's dictatorship, many
liberals abandoned him and new organization emerged within the old
tranditional parties. Massive mobilization of liberals against Somoza
during the 1940's began.
The Independent Liberal Party led the national opposition after
splitting from the Nationalist Liberal Party in 1944. The Independent
Liberal Party (PLI) participated in the national elections of 1947 by
combining forces with a part that had lost prestige and influence with the
masses. Their candidate, Enoc Aguado Farfan, lost the election, but the
PLI was active in mobilizing all national sectors -- including workers,
students and peasants. Sectors of the working class had their own
organization but they were recruited by the PLI. After 1973 it was said
that the party had been inflitrated by Communism. The party refused to
compromise with Somoza when the Sandinista Front was fighting the
revolution. The PLI claimed its principles were anti-imperialism, auto-
O I
determination and non-intervention.1


14
In 1957 the Social Christian Party broke from the Genuine
Conservative Party. A solid block of opposition was formed with the PLI
and the Nicaraguan Socialist Party. The Social Christian Party was formed
by young Catholic intellectuals under the leadership o Pedro Joaquin
Chamorro Cardenal. They had been inspired by a papal encyclical (Pro XII),
by lay Catholic humanism and Christian democratic ideas from Europe.
Chamorro Cardenal kept anti-communist prejudices and through his paper,
La Prenso, he maintained debates with leftist groups and sectors of
organized labor. During the seventies, Chamorro founded the
Democratic Union of Liberation and made an alliance with the Socialist
Party and the Independent Confederation of Workers.
Formation of New Classes
After World War II the economy of Nicaragua changed with the
exporting of agricultural products. Cotton production increased and the
export of coffee and meat helped to develop the modernization of the
economy. The economic changes also resulted in social changes.
Agricultural lands passed into the hands of the most privileged and
produced an imbalance when rural workers migrated to the cities,
especially to Managua. These people became the target of economic
exploitation as work expanded in industry and commerce and in the State
bureaucracy. The economic and social development of the wage-earner
class took place so rapidly that some believe it was intentionally created.
There also developed an emerging capitalist class of cotton
plantation owners. Both the wage-earners and the cotton plantation owners
were dependent on the state for technical and financial assistance. This


15
dependence strengthened the political dominance of the Somozas and
OO
legtimated the dictatorship.--
In the face of the strong political legitimation of the regime, the
struggle for power of the traditional political parties continued. They were
able to maintain their economic independence from the state during the
1950's by the production, internal sale and exportation of coffee and
cotton. After the Cuban Revolution in the 1960's the United States
introduced economic strategies designed to avoid the propagation of the
Cuban example. Part of this strategy was the "Alliance for Progress" at
the continental level and the "Central American Common Market" (CACM)
at the regional level. These measures were accompanied by agrarian
reform and distribution of income.
Somoza's reform amounted to a colonization plan that would
pacify the peasant by reducing the pressure on land forming part of export
production. About 16,500 families received titles to agricultural land and
many others were settled in agrarian colonies, mostly on the Atlantic
Coast."^
The Alliance for Progress was not successful because the reforms
did not remove the power held by the dominant classes. The government
continued to rotate around the axis of the dynasty, the latifundists and in
industrial financiers. The Common Market also only opened the door to the
establishment of multinational corporations. By taking advantage of free
commerce and low customs duties these multinational corporations were
able to monopolize industry. In addition, they absorbed industries that had
already been establishedAceitera Corona became United Brands, Galletas
Cristal became Nabisco, Matasa was acquired by US Steel, and Industria
Ceramica South America was controlled by American Standard. These


16
powerful corporations were able to accomplish a degree of industrialization
and modernizaton in Nicaragua. Unfortunately, the state bureaucracy and
agrarian exports grew on a parallel with the industrial and this gave
Somoza control over its development.^
For foreign corporations, the Common Market was simply a way
of creating new investment opportunities; for the ruling class, the
Common Market meant the indefinite postponement of domestic reforms.
The collapse of the Common Market in 1970 was the logical outcome of
these unresolved contradictions.
The Conservative Party was another victim of the consolidation
of power by the Somozas. Because it was unable to gain control through
elections, rebellions, or coup d'etas. The Conservative Party was forced
into financial dependence of the state, and a pact was made between the
07
Conservative leader Fernando Aguero and Anastasio Somoza Debayle.
However, the disenchanted people were pushed by a desire for personal and
political freedom by expanding control and increasing concentration of
wealth of the Somozas.
New organizations were formed that were independent of the
traditional political parties. There was a weakening of the Liberal-
Conservative conflict in the 1960's. This created a political vacuum that
was lated filled by the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional. Because
they were politically isolated, the Sandinistas were accumulating
experience. It was a time for them to study and analyze the work of
revolutionary theorists. They could plan practical actions and examine the
past failures.


17
The middle classes of Nicaragua were not taking up the void and
filing the vacuum left by the traditional political parties because they did
not recognize the impending crisis. They did not see the necessity of their
active participation to make a predominant middle class. By this failure,
they allowed the contradictions of social and economic structure of the
society to reach irreversible conditions without some kind of revolt. The
crisis for the dictatorship made it possible for the Sandinistas to fill the
OQ
vacuum.
The Final Crisis
The failure of the Central American Common Market brought on
economic crisis that Somoza was unable to resolve. The decline in
economic development and private investment produced unemployment,
and then the earthquake of 1972 destroyed a large part of the capital,
Managua, and thousands of citizens lost their lives or were dislocated.
However, the destruction created new opportunities for investment and
employment to replace everything that had been destroyed. But Somoza
increased his personal fortune by organizing his own bank, insurance
company, financial institution and construction firms. This created
conflict between Somoza and the traditional bourgeoisie because they had
been excluded from opportunities created by the earthquake.
There were other factors that contributed to the rising tide of
indignation and dissatisfaction of the people. By smuggling and evading
taxes imposed on other sectors, the Samozas were able to realize even
further profits. Somoza permitted the National Guard to plunder and loot
the commercial sections of Managua or to sell international relief
materials. By using the control of government to distribute international


18
relief funds through the political party of the majority, recipients had to
comply with arbitrary rules to qualify for aid. Ignoring the desperate needs
of the people, Somoza and his allies channeled much fo the international
aid funds into their own pockets.
To finance reconstruction after the earthquake, debts were
contracted with other countries, international institutions and private
banks. In 1972 the government received over $120 million and in 1973 this
figure doubled. Again in 1974 over $185 million was borrowed. This rapidly
accelerating debt (up to $800 million in 1977) was administered by the
inefficient and dishonest banks of Somoza. Very few of the designated
reconstruction projects are known to have received any of this aid. Instead
the Somozas increased their fortunes and their allies became rich while
OQ
foreigners got large financial shares and commissions.
Another factor leading to the final crisis was the gradual decline
of the traditional support of the Church for the Somozas and the ultimate
participation of the clergy in active revolutionary armed struggle in a just
war.
Some of the events that precipitated this situation were related
to events after the earthquake of 1972. In 1973, Somoza offered the Bishop
of Managua, Miguel Obando y Bravo, $8 million to reconstruct the
cathedral if the Bishop would appear publicly at Somoza's side. When a
mass was held in the Central Plaza (now known as Plaza de la Revolucion)
to commemorate the earthquake, Somoza attended so that he could be
photographed with the people and improve his popularity. Instead, the
parishioners chose this moment to demonstrate and Somoza was infuriated
with the Church. Through his paper, Novedades, Somoza asked the
Archbishop to define his position in relation to the revolution. The


19
response of the Church described the situation as "institutional violence."
By January 1978, three groups could be identified within the Church:
1) a small group of Somoza supporters
2) a non-violent group represented by Bravo who were interested
in mediation with Somoza and afraid of a Sandinista victory.
3) a Christian Based Community group working actively for
Sandinista triumph.
The turning point for the Church was the assassination of the
editor of La Prensa, Joaquin Chamorro Cardenal, on February 8, 1978. The
bishops published a pastoral letter which accepted the armed struggle based
on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas who favored a just war. Some
priests began to participate in revolutionary duties and were killed in
action.^
The Sandinists National Liberation Front had emerged from
isolation to become the accepted organization of choice to lead the popular
sectors. Its political program for a post-Somoza government received
broad and enthusiastic support.
The United States policy, announced by President Carter,
regarding human rights violations permitted the denunciation of Latin
America's worst human rights offenders Chile, Argentina, Paraguay,
Haiti, El Salvador and Nicaragua. This new policy contributed to the final
crisis and made the extreme oppression of the people visible.*^
As the participation of the masses increased, the whole structure
of Somozas power was threatened. The whole system of corruption,
repression and exploitation could not fall faster, in spite of its many
weaknesses, because there was no alternative apparatus to replace it. With
the fall of the dictatorship there was a need to reconstruct State


20
institutions. The failure of the national bourgeoisie and Washington to find
a formula of power to replace rule by the masses would mean the loss of
control of the national economy.


NOTES CHAPTER I
^ Newsweek, September 29, 1980; Ignacio Briones Torres, "Angustia
y esperanza de Nicaragua," Combate 3 (July-August 1961): 44-50.
O
Sergio Ramirez, Introduccion al pensamiento Sandinlsta
(Managua: Coleccion El Chipote, 1981), p. 27.
O
Jorge Detrinidad Martinez, Diccianasio politico-filosofico
popular (Managua: Educiones Monimbo, 1980), p. 14.
^Thomas W. Walker, Nicaragua: The Land of Sandino (Colorado:
Westview Press, 1981), pp. 47-62.
%en G. Burnett and Kenneth F. Johnson, Political Forces in Latin
America (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1968), pp. 57-59.
^Thomas Walker, op. cit., p. 48.
^Carmen Deere and Peter Marchetti, "Worker-Peasant Alliance in
the First Year of the Nicaraguan Agrarian Reform," Latin American
Perspectives VIII (Spring, 1981): 41.
o
Dana G. Munro, Five Republics of Central America: Their
Political and Economic Development and Their Relations with the United
States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1918), p. 25.
Q
7Ephraim George Squier, Nicaragua its People (New York: Harper
and Bros., I960), pp. 657-679.
'^Edelberto Torres Rivas, "Sintesis Historica del Proceso
Politico," in Edelberto Torres Rivas, et al., Centroamerica: Hoy (Mexico:
Siglo XXI, 1975), p. 123.
^Richard Millett, Guardians of the Dynasty (New York: Orbis
Books, 1977), p. 19.


22
1 7
^La Mosquitia en la revolucion (Managua: Centro de
Investigationn y Estudios de la Reforma Agraria, 1981), p. 38.
13
Ephriam George Squier, op. cit., p. 380.
'^Robert Naylor, "The British Role in Central America Prior to
the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850," Hispanic American Historical Review
40 (August I960): pp. 361-382.
'^Mosquitia en la Revolucion (Managua: C1ERA, 1981), pp. 42-43.
'^Harold Norman Denny, Dollars for Bullets: The Story of
American Rule in Nicaragua (New York: Dial, 1929), pp. 64-80.
'^Rodolfo Puiggross, "Discurso en la jornada de solidaridad con el
pueblo de Nicaragua," Suplemento en Gaceta Saninista 6/7 (December 1975
and January 1976): I, p. 2.
I ft
George Black, Triumph of the People: The Sandinista
Revolution in Nicaragua (London: Zed Press, 1981), p. 13-17.
'^Richard Millett, op. cit., pp. 47-53.
^Richard Millett, op. cit., p. 20.
21 Ibid., p. 251.
77
Carlos Perez Bermudez and Onofre Guevara Lopez, El
movimiento obrero en Nicaragua (Managua: Ediciones Davila Bolanos, 1981)
p. 113.
22NACLA: Report on the Americas, February 1976, pp. 10-12.
2^Richard Millett, op. cit. p. 231.
7C
JMaj. Edwin N. McClellan, "Supervising Nicaraguan Elections,
1928," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. LIX (January, 1933).
7 S
Eduardo Crawley, Dictators Neve Die (London: C. Hurst and
Company, 1979), pp. 101-114.


23
?7
Roberto Gutierrez Silva, "Revelaciones intimas de la mediacion
politico de 1950 entre Chamorro y Somoza," Revista Conservadora VI1
(September 1963): 13-77.
^Britannica, Book of the Year 1951, p. 507.
29
George Black, op. cit., p. 29.
orj
Fausto Amador, "Rising Opposition to Somoza Dictatorship,"
Intercontinental Press, 28 November 1977, p. 1314.
^Britannica, Book of the Year 1948, pp. 532-33.
32
Jesus Miguel Blandon, Entre Sandino y Fonseca Amador
(Managua: lmpresiones y Troqueles S.A., 1980), p. 55.
33
Epica Task Force, Nicaragua: A People's Revolution,
(Washington D.C., 1980), pp. 3-6.
^Diana Deere and Peter Marchetti, op, cit., 0. 46.
^Gaceta Sandinista 8-9 (February-March 1976), pp. 16-17.
V
Susanne Jones, "The Roll of the United States in Shaping the
Central American Common Market: A Case STudy in the Politics of
Foreign Aid." Barkeley (Mimeo n.p.), 1972, p. 101.
37
Epica Task Force, op. cit., p. 5.
Ibid., p. 4.
39
J7Francisco Lainez, Terremoto'72: elites y pueblo (Managua:
Editorial Union, 1977), pp. 136-203.
^Michael Dodson and Tommie Sue Montgomery, "La Iglesia en la
revolucion Nicaraguense," Nicaracua 2 (April-June 1981), pp. 145-149.
Thomas W. Walker, ed., Nicaragua in Revolution (New York:
Praeger Publishers, 1979), p. 63.


CHAPTER II
PROGRESSIVE STEPS IN THE REVOLUTION
Introduction
In this chapter some aspects of the Nicaraguan revolutionary
process will be discussed and ideological perspectives assessed. Also, the
development of the armed struggle led by the Sandinistas from 1961 to 1979
will be examined.
After the departure of the U.S. Marines in 1933 the Sandinista
lebellion shifted to political tactics. But the assassination of Sandino by
the National Guard in 1934 altered conditions and destroyed the political as
well as the military strength of the movement. The death of the Sandinista
(
leaders and the exile of the guerilla fighters marked the decline of
revolutionary activity.
Without leadership and with dispersion of those who were active
in the revolutionary movements that began in 1926, it is important to
examine factors that contributed to the prolonged period of revolutionary
activities. There were factors of internal weaknesses in Nicaragua as well
as some international conditions that affected the Sandino Revolution.
Among the weaknesses of the Sandino revolution we can see that
there were these apparent flaws:
1. failure to prepare effective leaders to replace Sandino;
2. failure to coordinate political and military procedure;
3. weakness of the working class and poor organization
caused by economic conditions;


25
4. failure of the Nicaraguan people to understand the need
for political reform after military success.
International conditions at that time included:
1. weakness of world socialism (it existed only in Russia);
2. existence and challenges of Fascism;
3. prestige gained by the U.S. through its fight against Fascism*.
The resistance movement declined but never disappeared. There
was a period of prolonged political strategy, accumulation of human and
material forces, and both national and international strategy. In 1956
Anastasio Somoza Garcia was assassinated by Rigoberto Lopez Perez. This
action destroyed the myth that the dictatorship was indestructible. It
helped to show the masses that it was possible to respond to violence by
violence and put an end to the bourgeois opposition. The event marked a
renewal of popular activity and led to the eventual creation of the
y
Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN)/
Initially, the people of Nicaragua began to break away from
historical practices in accepting the coalition of the political parties and
made possible the acceptance of the vanguard organizational activities of
the FSLN. The next step before the insurrection itself was the
development of amassing political and military power within the country
and also outside the country. The process also included plans to consolidate
revolutionary organizatons into a single popular front to establish governing
mechanism following the eventual overthrow of the dictatorship.
Organizing Revolutionary Groups
In the early stages of the revolutionary movement, the
traditional political parties struggled to remove Somoza. They had failed


26
in attempts at armed revolt and Somoza had gained favorable arrangements
through his various pacts with political parties.
The struggle against the dictatorship gained visibility in 1959
when many demonstrating university students were killed and injured. As a
result, Marxist oriented groups began to study political theory and coupled
it with the Sandinista's past experiences. Most of the students in these
groups became part of the organized efforts of the Nicaraguan Patriotic
Youth which reached into important sectors of the workers and students,
and led to the founding in 1962 of the Revolutionary Student Front. When
the FSLN suffered military defeats in 1963, collaboration between the
Revolutionary Student Front and the Popular Civilian Committees helped
to build support for the armed sector of the struggle. This was through an
effort to establish a semi-legal network that was clandestine because there
was no extisting political operation adequate to support the armed forces
of revolution.
Opposition to the Revolutionary Youth Front took at least two
strong steps: 1) long lists of names of both professionals and students who
were anti-Somoza were sent to the American Embassy (to be anti-Somoza
was tantamount to being a communist), and 2) the Catholic University was
established in Managua and support by Somoza to control revolutionary
activities of students. The result was that the National Youth Front and
Nicaraguan Youth Front were dissolved.^.
Street demonstrations were organized to protest the high cost of
living, poor health and housing conditions and other social problems. The
organization and participation of the people was a critical factor for future
confrontations with the government. It was essential to the mobilization of
workers, peasants, students, intellectuals and others within the population.


27
During I960 and 1961 the FSLN was organized and its leaders
defined its purpose as the overthrow of Somoza's dictatorship and the
destructions of the bureaucracy the military and economic structures
that maintained the power of the dynasty."* Between I960 and 1967 progress
was made by guerrilla actions, but in 1967 the movement emerged with the
support of the peasants. In a central region of Nicaragua, at Pancasan, the
guerrillas suffered a military defeat against Somoza's National Guard and
were forced to retreat. However, Pancasan was important because of the
significant revolutionary ties with the peasants and the beginning of many
of them joining the ranks of the FSLN.^
From the time of Sandino in the 1920's I930's, no single
organization had pointed the way to successful overthrow of the Somozan
dynasty until the acceptance of the FSLN. The presence of a revolutionary
vanguard in the mountains and the cities had a marked impact both
nationally and internationally. The ultimate goal was not the changing of
the men in power, but the overthrow and removal of the exploiting classes
so that those who had been exploited for such a long duration could rule.
Several events marked the development of the struggle that brought the
Sandinistas into the role of the vanguard.
One of these situations was the establishment of a guerrilla front
in the mountains of Zinica in 1969. The composition of the guerrilla army
was not different from the one at Pancasan. Now the guerrilla army was
almost exclusively made up of peasants who knew the terrain and were
supported by the peasant population. Although it did not succeed militarily
at Zinica, the situation marked the adoption of the strategy of a prolonged
popular war in the mountains.^


28
On December 27, 1974, a FSLN unit entered the house of Jose
Maria Castillo Quant where a party was held in honor of American
Ambassador Turner Shelton. After several of Somoza's closest associates
were held, the government gave in to the demands of the FSLN: freedom
for thirteen Sandinistas held in Somoza's jails, one million dollars and
transmission of a 12,000 word communique, explaining to the people the
terms of this action.
There was a continuing development of the ideology of the FSLN
among the urban and rural working class and students. The revolutionary
forces formed study groups and even in difficult guerrilla situations,
Q
printed and distributed newsletters and periodic literature/
An active international campaign was organized in support of the
Sandinistas through various human rights and solidarity committees
organized in Europe, Latin America and the United States. This world-wide
campaign drew respect for the revolutionary movement and ended the
international isolation of the movement. The dictatorship, on the other
hand, grew more and more isolated internationally.
During this stage of the struggle, the FSLN intended to establish
a government that would guarantee national independence and the
continuation of an anti-imperialist and anti-reactionary struggle. From the
Sandinista point of view, a popular democratic government was to be a true
people's government representing all sectors of the Nicaraguan society. It
was determined not to reform the system of exploitation but to guarantee a
freedom from foreign and bourgeois domination that would continue after
the Somoza dynasty was overthrown.'
The concept was not only the removal of the Somoza dynasty but
the destruction of the system it represented and a rebuilding by:


29
1. establishment of a Revolutionary People's Government;
2. immediate nationalization of the finances of the wealth of the
Somozas and of the financial sector;
3. state intervention in agricultural production;
4. national sovereignty without political or economic domination;
5. developing national industry and peasant participation in their
own interests;
6. creating social and cultural changes, both rural and urban,
that favored the impoverished;
7. maintaining independence internationally and supporting world
revolutionary causes;
8. organizing and mobilizing the working class and peasants to
train them in democratic processes;
9. replace the National Guard with a workers' and peasants'
army;
10. control of the banks, fighting high living costs and
unemployment, increase
wages, nationalize foreign monopoliesJ ^
The Sandinista process reached its most active stage between
1974 and 1978 that was preparation for insurrection and civil war. The
steps leading to this were the development of the revolutionary vanguard,
organization and alliance of the working class and the peasantry with the
strength of the popular army in the mountains and cities.
To ensure its success the Front worked in conjuction with other
organizations: political, trade unions, issue-oriented groups, military and
paramilitary. There was an organized and active campaign of creative


30
Sandinista agitation and propaganda taken to the masses with political
slogans. They built a military infrastructure that made possible the
mobilization, organization and preparation of commando training,
transportation of arms and supplies, manufacture of bombs, incendiaries,
intelligence, safe-houses, and direct and indirect underground
communications. A solid offensive to break and take control of the
defensive positions of the enemy was developed as well as a plan for
17
organized retreat to avoid disbanding or disorderly withdrawals.
' The support of the masses was important and active as they
fought against the military elite and informers. The people used automatic
rifles and homemade bombs and even made cannons and mortars using a
I 1
lathe shop for arms repair.
Another activity to strengthen Sandinista unity and to ensure
success of the revolution was inflitration into the National Guard and other
agencies of the pro-Somoza government. The purpose was to win the
sympathy of as many junior officers as possible, of some senior officers,
and to increase the antagonisms that already existed between junior and
senior officers.
Some the of the conditions favorable to the objectives of the
revolution were the moral and political weakness of the regime, the
discrediting of the Somoza regime both inside and outside the country,
recognition internationally of the regime's human rights violations.
As the tolerance of power shifted and the regime became
progessively weaker, the revolutionary leaders made some bold demands,
such as:


31
1. elimination of the Black Code: a Law of Censorship that
closed ratio stations, levied fines and used other methods of repressing on
the media;
2. freeing of political prisoners;
3. explaining the disappearance of peasants.'**
It was in this atmosphere that Pedro Joaquin Chamorro was shot
on his way to work in downtown Managua in January of 1978. Fifty
thousand poured into the capital to attend his funeral. Rioting followed the
funeral and more than a dozen Somoza family businesses were burned and
five people were killed. The official investigation produced four gunmen
and five prominent Somocistas were implicated. Among them was the
manager of a blood plasma export company that Chamorro was attacking in
his newspaper, La Prensa. The death of Chamorro released the bitterness
that had been boiling for many years and shook the economic and political
structures of the Somocismo.
The Insurrection
The people had become aware of the fact that violence appeared
to be the only means of overthrowing the tyranny and there followed
generalized activities in many forms: political strikes, popular local
uprisings, armed struggle within the cities, and finally, a general strike.
The general strike was an attempt of the non-Somocista bourgeoisie to
demobilize the workers and prevent their participation in revolutionary
actions. Many employers tried to dissuade the workers from leaving their
homes and taking to the streets. The purpose was to encourage peaceful
resistance with the coalition of a Broad Opposition Front, Frente Amplio
Opositor (FAO). All the organizations of the bourgeois democratic


32
'opposition joined the FAO and hoped that the FSLN would also join. The
agenda for FAO's negotiatons were to require the Somoza family to leave
the country; to form a national government; to implement a sixteen-point
program that included agrarian reform, release of political prisoners, and
educational improvements.'^
The FAO was really the effort of a group of bourgeois
oppositionists, who tried to put themselves forward to find a solution
through compromise with the United States and, by negotiations with the
Somocitas. The ouster of Somoza would leave intact the apparatus of
repression and exploitation used by the dictatorial regime. For instance,
the National Guard would be reorganized by a Technical Council named and
chosen from among top officers recognized for good conduct and
discipline. Thus, the FAO represented interests that would function and
thrive like the old order and the structure for Somozism without Somoza.'^
Until the middle of 1977 the political forces against Somoza were
divided, but by 1978 the forced against Somoza were united. The Movement
of Popular United (MPU) was an organization that served to combine
various groups of dissent within the population. It served to unite popular
sectors which had been the target of political, social, cultural and
economic repression. The formation of the National Patriotic Front was
the result of these efforts for unity. The Constitution of the National
Patriotic Front (FPN) was signed February I, 1979. Among those signing
this document were the Independent Liberal Party, the Group of Twelve,
the Social Christian Party, the Worker's Front and the Confederation of
Nicraguan workers.
The insurrection itself was the opening of military fronts in the
mountainous zones, in areas not familiar to the National Guard. These


33
actions drew battalions of the National Guard away from the cities where
massacres were conducted. Defeats suffered by the National Guard
contributed to the decline in morale. From the mountains the
revolutionary forces pushed into the cities. These operations opened the
way for widespread activity of the masses in the form of revolutionary
brigades, commandos and militias. The military activity in the cities made
it possible for the populace to destroy the enemy's rearguard. The political
repercussions of the military struggle on the fronts were less significant
because of the distances and the difficulties of spreading information.
However, Radio Sandino contributed to the popular mobilizaton and
agitation that prepared the masses for final insurrection. The active
resistance of the people of Managua, for instance, paralyzed the enemy and
made it possible for the Sandinista forces to relocate where the
19
revolutionary forces needed strengthening.
Guerrilla warfare, the method of armed struggle that depends on
support from the masses in this area of struggle, was successful. As a
result the whole dictatorial apparatus was overthrown and the dynasty lost
all its resources and the revolutionary government was not required to co-
exist with any Somoza remanants, imitations or substitutes.^


NOTES CHAPTER II
^On the General Political-Military Platform of struggle of the
Sandinista Front for National Liberation for the Triumph of the Sandinista
Popular Revolution (Pamphlet), (Managua: National Leadership of the
Sandinista National Liberation Front, May 1977).
^George Black, Triumph of the People: The Sandinista Revolution
in Nicaragua, (London: Zed Press, 1981), pp. 32-33.
^Alejandro Bendana, "Crisis in Nicaragua," NACLA: Report on
the Americas XII (November-December 1978), pp. 32-33.
^Humberto Ortega, 50 anos de lucha Sandinista, (Mimeo, n.p.,
1976), pp. 93-94.
*On the General Political-Military Platform, op. cit., p. 12.
^Ignacio Gonzalez Janzen, "La dinastia de los Somoza," Historia
lllustrada, No. 38 (July 1979), pp. 4-19.
^George Black, Triumph of the People: The Sandinista Revolution
in Nicaragua (London: Zed Press, 1981), p. 84.
Jaime Wheelock, Diciembre Victorioso (Managua: SENAPEP,
1979, pp. 70-90.


35
^On the General Political-Military Platform, op. citl, pp. 11-16.
10lbid., p. 16.
' Ibid., p. 16.
'^Humberto Ortega, op. cit., p. 63.
^Harold N. Denny, Dollars for Bullets (New York: Dial, 1929),
p. 321.
'^SEPLA; Seminario Permanente sobre Latino America, No. 4,
(December 1979), p. 10.
'^lbid., p. 10.
*^lbid., p. 6.
'^Bernard Diederich, Somoza (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1981),
p. 21.
I ft
Fausto Amador and Sara Santiago, "Where is Nicaragua Going?"
Intercontinental Press, 11 June 1979, p. 581.
I 9
7Humberto Ortega, Sobre la insurreccion (La Havana: Editorial
de Ciencias Sociales, 1981), pp. 31-39, 52-57, 68-69.
^lbid., pp. 16-17.


CHAPTER 111
POLICIES OF THE REVOLUTION
Land Reform
This chapter discusses the changes made by the revolutionary
government that were announced in the program of 1980, the first
anniversary of the revolution. The chapter focuses on the practical
problem of implementing those changes, specifically the nationalization of
components of the economy, the creation of new structures and
mechanisms of governement and to overcome the final obstacles to the
construction of a new society.
The revolutionary government announced the program on July 19,
1980, the first anniversary of the revolution. However, in response to
pressure from the private sector, it withdrew the program to make
modifications. This was necessary to prevent the law of agrarian reform
from eroding national unity and undermining progress towards Nicaragua's
mixed economy
From 1979 to 1981 the revolution used temporary measures to
alleviate pressures for the land. In many of the farms confiscated from
Somoza, peasants who had formed cooperatives were allowed to use,
without charge, the land they needed as an emergency measure to increase
basic grain production. The rental price of land was lowered by decree
from $41 to $5.80. The law was established that any landless peasant,
merely by presenting his request to the Ministry of Agriculture, could rent
idle land at $5.80 per acre per yearJ


37
During the Somocismo only 24,000 families were allowed access
to credit. The vast majority of rural producers suffered at the hands of
usurious merchants. In 1980 the number of families in the formal credit
system with subsidized credit rates jumped to over 97,000 families.
The Nicaraguan land reform was, perhaps, the first land reform
to take into account the interests of both the landless peasant and the rural
entrepreneur. It should be pointed out that the abundance of land in
Nicaragua relative to its population made possible this original experiment
y
in land reform.
In order to avoid a drastic drop in production, the land reform,
made maintaining and increasing production the primary criteria of its
program. This need was accomplished without disregarding the require-
ments of justice and redistribution of land to the poor peasants. The first
article of the law guaranteed the right to private property to every owner
who was using his land for productive purposes. In other words, the main
target of the new law was that idle was land abandoned or dedicated to
pasturing cattle in an overly wasteful way. The law punished only those
owners with more than 850 acres of idle or abandoned land in the interior.
It is estimated that there were, at the time of the revolution, nearly two
million acres of such idle land in Nicaragua. All of the individually titled
properties of a family controlling more than 1,700 acres was liable to
expropriation. This measure was justified by the fact that some of the
worst exploiters of the poor peasantry had multiple properties which they
had taken from the poor through economic extortion.
The law of agrarian reform contained very strict provisions
against exploitations of the peasantry through such practices or
sharecropping, a form near servitude. If this occurred, rather than


38
expropriating that land, the government would give the share cropper
peasant family title to land on one of the idle or abandoned properties in
the area.^ The production criterion also played an important role in
determining who would receive the land. The most negligent of the large
producers would be expropriated, the most dedicated poor peasants would
benefit from the land reform.
The most important innovation in the Agrarian Reform Law was
the creation of the Agrarian courts to review the demands of individuals
affected by the resolutions or sentences dictated by the Ministry of
Development and Agrarian Reform.* The decisions of these agrarian
courts cannot be appealed.
The Literacy Campaign
The first major step in the transformation of the national
educational system was to slash the rate of illiteracy in the nation.
After six years of revolution, Nicaragua was experiencing a real
educational explosion. The Literacy Campaign slased the rate of illiteracy
from fifty percent to twelve percent and made possible establishment of
2,639 educational centers with 1,252 new buildings. The number of students
grew from 500,000 to 1,005,318 in 1983-1984.^
In spite of the physical hazards involved in carrying out this
notable effort, the members of the cultural brigades successfully worked
with the most vulnerable section of the country: the peasantry. In the
remote rural areas of the country, the brigades faced disease, the
inadequate diet of the peasantry and the terrorists attacks of the CIA-
supported Somocista-Contras.


39
In some respects, the Nicaraguan literacy campaign taught new
ideological concepts of the revolution. The campaign was a teaching-
learning experience of the revolution, in the revolution and for the
revolution. In other words, it was a political project in the sense of being a
project of liberation in which all the organizations of the country
paticipated. The methods used in the literacy campaign stemmed from the
and were compatible with Sandinista revolutionary principles. Methods
used include popular participation and dialogue, study of both local and
national history, understanding of the contradictions between popular and
official language, and the capacity of the adult population for permanent,
continuing education.^
The Nicaraguan literacy crusade made significant contributions
to the methodology of universal popular education not only for Nicaragua
but also for the whole world. This was recognized by international
organizations of education such as the United Nations Educational
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which in September 1980
granted the UNESCO award to Nicaragua.
From the political point of view, the literacy campaign was a
project of peace. The international solidarity sought by Nicaragua was not
for arms but for liberation from ignorance. The literacy campaign was a
project of integration of the peasantry into national life. For the first time
in the history of Nicaragua, a reverse migration took place as the youth of
Q
the cities migrated to the countryside.
Deeply affected by this project of integration was the
Nicaraguan Atlantic Coast. The crusade attempted to unite the Atlantic
and the Pacific coastal regions, which traditionally had been separated. In
the Atlantic Coast, 78.07% of the population did not know how to read or


40
write. A literacy campaign in Miskito, Sumo and English began in Octorber
1980. Some 11,800 persons of the Atlantic Coast learned to read and write
in their native languages.
Above all, the eradication of illiteracy was the corner-stone for
future educational projects. Important changes could be expected to follow
in Nicaraguan society, not only in the building of knowledge but also in
individual attitudes and social transformation after generations of isolation
and obscurism.
Mixed Economy
Under the Somoza model, Nicarguan capital did not exist except
within a framework of dependence. The base of the economy was agro-
exportation. The agricultural sector directed toward internal consumption,
to feed the people, was left virtually abandoned. The system was aimed at
exporting solely to gain foreign currency. The internal economy was
attended to only minimally. Under this system the small producer was
never able to get state aid or credit.
The small producer began to receive credit only after the
Sandinista Revolution. The Plan for Economic Reactivation established
measures for raising the production of domestic food supplies. The plan
called for the domestic producton of 68% of the country's four basic food
grains rice, corn, beans, and sorghum with the rest to be imported.
The structure of the mixed economy is such that 55-60% of the
economy is in private enterprise. People's enterprise has 40-45% of the
economy. The mixed economy established investments within the country
to supply the basic needs of the population.


k I
The external component of a mixed economy is a political
pluralism. This means having many external ties and the diversification of
foreign commerce and credits. In 1983 international production increased
5.1%.
The National Plan for Economic Reactivation in benefit of the
people was the first attempt to reorganize the national economy directing
the use of the productive resources in a rational manner, to distribute its
benefits according to the needs of the whole population and not only to the
benefit of a few administrators. The plan brought together wage workers
with small producers and artisans, and professionals and technicians in a
single unbreakable project of national unity. It also meant integrating the
businessmen and offering these businessmen the support of the
government. This was necessary to reactive their sector of the economy in
order to achieve the goals in production which this plan has set for the
private sector. In the past the workers had to fulfill the objectives in
production established by the owners of the captial. Those objectives
existed only in the function of the particular interests of each enterprise
and were determined by the benefits they could generate.^
The goals of the government for national unity can be
summarized in the following principles: democracy with transformation
and development of the economy, social welfare and self-determination.
At the same time, the government was a republic that became more and
more defined in four to six years and gained the characteristics of a
political pluralism. The society contained a mixed economy, popular
participation, non-alignment and national defense.
In 1979 Nicaragua became a member of the movement of
nonaligned nations. Since that time Nicaragua has voted in the United


42
Nations in favor of human rights, of limiting the arms race. It has also
been in favor of decolonization and movement toward national liberation
and for multilateral agreements that would regulate international trade.
Nicaragua has voted according to its principles of nonalignment, with
respect for self-determination of all nations, and has avoided voting with
either capitalist or socialist blocs.
The Program of Economic Reactivation in benefit of the people
has seven political objectives:
1. The defense, consolidation and advancement of the
revolutionary process.
2. The reactivation of the economy in the interest of the lower
classes.
3. The maintenance of national unit.
4. The construction of the Sandinista State.
5. Strengthening of the Area of Public Property.
6. Establishing and maintaining internal and external balances.
7. Initiating the process of transition to a new economy.* *
The plan specifically pressed for cooperation from the private
capitalist. The private sector still had considerable control over a large
portion of Nicaragua's industry and agricultural exports. The plan was that
the property of these capitalists would not be siezed as long as they kept up
the production and followed the guidelines of the economic plan.
Data taken from the 1981 Economic Program showed that Plan 80
almost met the main targets of production recovery. Agriculture reached
76% of its 1978 level (80% of the plan); industry was at 82% (87% in the
plan). This was attributed to the unexpected good response of peasant
farmers and cooperatives; to price incentives and technical assistance for


k 3
maize on the one hand and to the positive response of the Area of Public
Property (APP) and medium manufacturers. The Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) was back to 83% of its 1978 level in 1980 (a little less than 91% in the
plan)J^
The Plan for Economic Reactivation had several different
objectives; such as, measures for raising the production of domestic food
supplies and key agricultural export products (cotton, coffee, sugar), basic
industrial goods (medicines, clothing, educational materials, construction
supplies, fertilizers and pesticides). The goal was for an increase of 22% in
order to match the 1978 level of production.
The revolutionary Government believed that the only solution to
the economic crisis was social peace and national unity through a mixed
economy controlled by the logic of increasing justice for the majority. This
meant not only increasing production, but also redistributing income.
One of the most important measures for achieving the
redistribution of income was the creation of new sources of employment
through government spending.
The complexity of the public and private sectors was the key
goal given to the mixed economy. In this new vision of a mixed economy,
the Sandinistas expected the public sector to be more responsive to the
market forces and the private sector more responsive to human needs.
Private enterprise was invited to cooperate in return for
guarantees of reasonable profits and security of ownership so long as the
laws were obeyed and activities such as tax evasion, capital flight, and
sepculation were avoided. The Sandinista State government assumed
administrative functions over all foreign commerce and banking of the
country.


The government had the intention of raising rural wages more
rapidly than urban wages in order to work toward the long term objective
of narrowing the income differential between town and country. The
expansion of popular living standards would be in the form of the "social
wage". Therefore, the government expenditures for health,
education,housing and social services would have to increase, but also had
to be contained within reasonable limits of expenditure.
The Sandinista State promotes private enterprise when it turns
over land titles to peasants, and when it provides credit, technology and
general assistance to small farmers and livestock owner. The Government
of National Reconstruction created two institutions for management of the
Area of Public Property (APP). These were the Instituto Nicaraguanse de
Reform Agraria (INRA) which is the Nicaraguan Institute of Agrarian
Reform and the Corporation of People's Industries (C01P). The INRA
administered agrarian reform and the COIP was in charge of more than 250
nationalized industries.
The political approach of the Sandinista government was that the
APP was the axis of the new economy and had to be consolidated,
strengthened, developed and enlarged. The strategic plan of the APP was
not to spread misery or force the workers to be satisfied with scraps from
the employer's tables. The purpose of the APP was to create a strong
economic base to meet the growing needs of the people. The workers in
the APP had to show that they no longer worked for a social class whose
traditional interests were the accumulation of individual wealth and
personal gratification. The intention was to raise the standard of living of
the working people and to use the surplus generated by the APP in new
investments that would permit autonomous accumulation. At the same


45
time, the development of new projects or sources of work would generate
social benefits in the area of health, education, housing and transportation.
Banking System
It was necessary to restructure the banking system to make this
an instrument for economic management and planning. The number of
banks was reduced from more than twenty to only five. Within the
framework of the new financial order, the banks incorporated
representatives of other state institutions to insure the best possible
coordination of credits with production.
The nationalization of the banking sector meant that the
country's financial resources, for the first time, were able to be distributed
in rural credit programs within the guidelines of the general revolutionary
project.
The nationalization of the foreign trade, combined with the new
laws for progessive taxation on exports, meant that the profits on
agricultural products could be collected directly and administered by the
state for the benefit of Nicaraguan society as a wholeJ^ Credit was
expanded by 54% to encourage and support production. This expansion of
credit was for the benefit of small producers, agrarian as well as
industrial. By 1984 the availability of rural credit was four and one-half
times greater than the highest amount ever provided during the Somoza
administration. Special attention was given to small cattlemen who


46
received 268 million cordobas as compared to 12.5 million cordobas in
1978. Credit for small industry doubled in the first five years after July 19,
1979, when the Saninistas came to power. Rural credit benefited the
cooperatives and other joint forms of production. Rural credit reached
55% of land in use and benefited 97,400 small producers, of which 75%
belonged to one of the 2,500 cooperatives or other type of association. In
contrast, the 1978 program benefited 37,500 small producers, of which only
11% were associated with 27 cooperatives. 15
Infrastructure
The expansion of the country's infrastructure and basic service
required large investments on the part of the Government of National
Reconstruction. In the case of roads, transportation and housing, millions
of dollars were spent in local and regional programs.
Two major projects begun early in the 80's were construction of
the Tuma-Waslala-Puerto Cabezas Highway, 462.2 kms., costing 140 million
cordobas; and the Rio Grande-Siuna Highway, 166.9 kms., cosing 355 million
cordobas.
The government gave special priority to the needs of the
Atlantic Coast through the newly-created Nicaraguan Institute of the
Atlantic Coast. In 1983, work began on the final states of a new railway to
link Nicaragua's Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The first stage, the 200 kms.


47
railroad from the Pacific Port of Corinto to the capital (Managua) required
three to four years for completion at an estimated cost of $200,000,000
U.S. dollars. Total project costs, including the 150 kms. second stage from
Managua to the new port of El Bluff was about $500,000,000 U.S.
dollars.*^ Financing for the project came from Central Governement funds
for the local currency cost elements of the project, while rolling stock,
locomotives, rails, and other equipment (such as signaling system) were
financed by lines of credit from countries like Spain, Bulgaria and
Argentina.'^
In order to develop public transportation in the urban areas, the
Ministry of Transportation invested more than nine million dollars in 200
buses purchased from Brazil.
The Ministry of Housing and Community Development completed
repair of housing damaged during the revolutionary war. This work
benefited 4,676 families at a cost of 32 million cordobas. The construction
of new housing was completed in the neighborhoods of San Jacinto in
Managua and in the Monimbo District of Masaya. The first 100 housing
units out of a projected total of 500 were completed in the mining centers
of North Zelaya (Siume, Rosita and Bonanza) with an investment of 20
million cordobas. The Housing units were added to the housing projects El
Porein and Emir Cabezas in the city of Leon at a cost of 30 million
cordobas. Housing went up elsewhere to meet the needs of workers such as
the sugar mill, rice and tobacco plantation workers in the cities of
Chimanduga, Rivas and EsteliJ
In urban housing reform, 85, 198 city dwellers benefited from a
program that distributes confiscated housing; and steps were taken to
increase that number by 40,050. Special projects with the participation of


k 8
friendly nations (Libya and Spain) made possible additional new housing,
such as the newly-constructed neighborhood of the New Libya.
Health Program
The impact of the dictatorship's practices was very detrimental
to the health of the Nicaraguan people. The old Somocista State
maintained for many years a model of exploitation in the area of health
which was manifested in high rates of mortality, malnutrition, and
contagious diseases. There was a lack of health services and sanitary
conditions in the rural areas.
During the Somoza dictatorship, the articulation between health
services and the social structure was made basically on political and
ideological levels. On the ideological level, the services were intended to
create a humanitarian image for the regime. On the political level, health
services were used to decrease social tension, particularly in the zone of
guerrilla struggle.
The Sandinista government assumed responsibility for
transmitting information about health to the people in general and for
individual and collective participation in the area of health. The creation
of the National System of Health made health care a right of the people. It
centered particularly on the health of the mother, the child and the
19
worker.
By 1985-1986, the Sandinista State was devoting more of its
national budget to health than was any other Latin American country, in
spite of the economic difficulties and problems created by the constant
outside aggression. The main objective of the Sandinista health program


49
was first to use its limited resources to eliminate the causes of the major
health problems facing the nation by applying preventive methods and then
in the future to turn attention to curative medicine.
The Ministry of Health organized a series of campaigns for
disease immunization, eradication of malaria-carrying mosquitoes and
cleanup of dumps and sources of water contamination. These campaigns
were carried out with involvement of people through some organizations
such as trade unions, block committees, the national women's organizaton,
schools, etc. Infectious diseases have been controlled through vaccination
campaigns. There were 101 cases of polio in 1979, for example, but none in
1981 or 1982. There were 1,270 cases of measles in 1979, but only 226 in
I982.20
By the year 1984, the number of health posts (first aid clinics)
had grown from 56 to about 200, with an ultimate goal of 400. Six hospitals
were being built to supplement the 36 government and 9 private hospitals
and 32 private clinics with beds. In 1986 sixty physicians were graduated.
Governement plans called for increasing the number to 240 within a year
and doubling that number soon afterward. The average number of doctor
visits per year doubled from l.l in 1982 to 2.2 by 1984. In Managua, about
half of the births were in hospitals by 1983, compared to 25% four years
before. Following the creation of 334 new oral dehydration centers,
diarrhea dropped from first to third place as the cause of death in children.
As a result of all these efforts, infant mortality dropped from an
estimated 120 deaths per 1,000 live births before the revolution to 89 per
1,000 in 1984.21


50
In 1981, the Revolutionary Government increased by five times
the amount expended for social programs over the 1978 expenditures under
Somoza. The last budget of the dictatorship included 530.3 million
cordobas (16.1% of the total budget). This figure includes the Ministries of
Health, Education, Social Welfare and Culture the last two of which did
not exist as such under the Sococismo. This constitutes an increase of
27
about 2,000 million cordobas.


CHAPTER III NOTES
^The Philosophy and Policies of the Government of Nicaragua, op.
cit., p. 40.
^Ibid, p. 40.
^lbid., p. 41-42.
^Land title under agrarian reform conveys the property with the
only limitation being that it cannot be sold. Title is given to protect the
interests of the peasant's family and production itself. Barricada
Internactional 20 August 1951, p. 5.
^Barricada International, I August 1981, p. 8.
^Speech made by the government Junta coordinator Daniel Ortega
on July 19, 1983, at the fourth anniversary celebration in Leon. Nicaraguan
Perspectives, 7 (Winter 1983), p. 16.
^The Popular Adult Education Program was structured to favor a
solidification of the knowledge gained during the Literacy Crusade and to
provide methodology more systematic and scienctific. Popular Adult
Education is flexible, collective, active and directly related to production.
Adult Education in Nicaragua, a publication of the Ministry of Education,
Managua, 1981.
O
Consultants from UNESCO participated in the planning as well as
Paulo Freire, the renowed Brazilian educator whose teaching techniques
formed the basis of the Crusade. Annie O'Connor, "Literacy Campaign: A
Brigadista Shares his Experiences," Nicaragua Perspectives, July 1981.


52
Q
Carrying out the crusade depended heavily upon Nicaraguan
youth, just as had been the case during the insurrection. Hence the
experience of the Crusade contributed significantly to the maturation of
young people by permitting them to live the hard reality of the
countryside. "Entrevista con Francisco Locoyo," Encuentro: Revista de
Universidad Centroamericana 17 (1980).
'^Secretaria Vocional de Propaganda y Education Politico,
Propaganda de la Produccion (Managua: Centro de Publicaciones Sylvio
Magaga, 1980) p. 35.
' ^The Philosophy and the Policies of the Government of
Nicaragua (Managua: Agencio Nueva Nicaragua, 1981), p. 104.
12
George Black, Triumph of the People: The Sandinista
Revolution in Nicaragua (London: Zed Press, 1981), pp. 201-203.
13
^Report of the Junta of the government of National
Reconstruction of Nicaragua, May 4, 1981, p. 37.
'^Ibid., p. r.
I5lbid., p. 5.
^Latin America Weekly Report, 23, July 1983, p. 4.
*^lbid., p. 4.
^Latin America Weekly Report, 14, May 1982, p. 10.
19
^Report of the Junta of the government of National
Reconstruction of Nicaragua, May 4, 1981, p. 44.
^Tom Frieden, "A Revolution Under Guns, The Nation, 17
December 1983, pp. 630-633.


53
? I
Los Angeles Times, 25 August 1983.
77
Report of the Junta of the Government of National
Reconstruction of Nicaragua, May 4, 11981, p. 37.


CHAPTER IV
UNITED STATES INTERVENTION
IN THE NICARAGUAN REVOLUTION
This chapter discusses the strategies used by the United States to
impede implementation of the program and consolidation of the Sandinista
revolution. Also, the direct aggression through the combination of internal
and external forces is analyzed.
Background of the United States Foreign Policy
The beginnings of the United States foreign policy toward
Central American countries began in the minds of the founders of the
American Constitution who assumed that some day the nation would
include Mexico and the areas of Central America. In 1810, Mexico and then
Central America gained independence from Spain. In 1823, the Monroe
Doctrine warned European nations not to interfere in the Western
Hemisphere.
The United States was able to develop Central America's
dependency by industrial and economic development and by insuring that
dependency through one or two crop exports. Further dependency was
developed militarily with the building of the Panama Canal and its
operation for the benefit of the United States.
From time to time the United States sent Marines to Central
America, especially Nicaragua, to put down revolutions and decide who was
to govern.


55
We do control the destinies of Central America and we do
so for the simple reason that the national interest absolutely
dictates such a course. There is no room for any outside
influence other than ours in this region.
Until now Central America has always understood that
governments which we recognize and support stay in power,
while those which we do not recognize and support fall.
Nicaragua has become a test case. It is difficult to see how
we can afford to be defeated.
Nicaragua's virtual colonial status, as columnist Walter Lippmann
noted in 1926, meant that the country was:
. .not an independent republic, that its government is the
creature of the State Department, (and) that management of
its finances and the direction of its domestic and foreign
affairs are determined not in Nicaragua but in Wall Street/
The United States dominance of Nicaragua was particularly
marked by its nearly continuous military presence from 1912 to 1933. The
United States financial advisors directed the fiscal and monetary policy and
subordinated the economy to outside creditors. With this strong United
States dominance, Nicaragua was unable to develop any political structure
for leadership. When the United States ended its occupation, it established
the National Guard to put down uprisings, to rule by suppression. When
civil war broke out in 1936, Somoza gained control of the entire country in
eight days. Warmly received by Washington, he addressed Congress in 1939
and received $2 million in credit and a group of advisers to help run banks
and railroads in Nicaragua.
Throughout history, the aid that has been provided by the United
States to the small Central American countries has been more military
than economic. The assistance that has been given has had a twofold
purpose: I) to ensure that there are no defections from the capitalist


56
ideology, and 2) to facilitate the penetration of foreign capital into those
countries.
Policy makers in the United States have used four relationaiza-
tions to justify the military aid programs:
1. The "boomerang thesis", or the argument that if the United
States does not supply arms to Latin American rules, they will turn
elsewhere for weapons.
2. The "bulwark thesis" which sees in the military support of
Latin America the best defense against Communism.
3. The "hemisphere thesis" or the argument that the arms
supplied and the training of military units are part of the overall United
States strategy for defense of the Western Hemisphere in the event of
attack.
4. The developmental thesis" which argues that the military can
perform in all sorts of civil action.
One more thesis should be added: the security and interests of
the United States business interests is part of the rationalization.
Dictatorships in Nicaragua, Chile and Guatemala have proved
that the policy of strengthening the military regimes in Latin America has
jeoparized any local efforts to establish stability. The use of the military
for counter-insurgency purposes has contributed to more political unrest.
The present Central American conflict is the direct consequence of large
scale assistance to military elites.
There have been large amounts of military aid given to
Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua which have crippled the
economies. Repressive political systems have never represented the will of
the people of these countries, but those governments have been kept in
power by force and strong influence from outside^. Two essential rights of


57
any sovereign nation are self-determination and a viable economy. These
elements of democracy were denied during the Somoza regime. Nicara-
guans were not assured economic security nor was production ever oriented
toward meeting the people's needs. Even before the revolution, real
economic growth was hindered by the gradual increase of military
assistance and tightening of economic ties to United States capital.
The most serious obstacle faced by the Latin American countries
is not caused by failing to integrate them into capitalism, but by the way
the internationl system of laws and economics failed to help their
development.^
An example of how dependence was created through military aid
is shown in the following figures: between fiscal years 1950 and 1978,
Nicargua received $7.7 million in Military Assistance (MAP) grants, $5.6
million in Military Assistance (MAP) grants, $5.6 million in foreign military
sales (FMS) credits, $5.2 million in Excess Defense Articles (EDA) and $11.6
million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) grants.^
Most of the equipment in Nicaragua's arsenal before the
revolution was of United States origin, including tanks of World War II
vintage. Between fiscal years 1961 and 1978, the United States trained
5,670 Nicaraguans under the MAP and IMET programs, making the
Nicaragua military and the highest per capita recipients of United States
training in all Latin American. Private United States companies in the
years 1971-1978 sold Nicaragua $4.1 million in military equipment under the
Commercial Sales Program.
The continuing debate in the United States over economic aid to
Nicaragua reflected the two different views in Congress. One side
represented the interests of transnational banking capital in controlling the
relations of the United States in Nicaragua. This view was an


58
accommodationist view that coincided with the interest of both the banks
and the United states government -- a view that began in the early days of
the United States involvement in Nicaraguan affairs. In 1911, when the
State Department wanted to reduce European influence, it asked Wall
Street to go into Nicaragua and support European loans with North
American capital.^
The other side of the debate consisted of hardliners in Congress
who were intent upon blocking any attempt to give aid to Nicaragua.
United States Intervention in Nicaragua
Carter
The strategy of the Carter Administration was to contiain the
Sandinistas Revolution by establishing favorable conditions for the
bourgeoisie and the deposed National Guard.
The covert war started during the Carter Administration.
Despite Carter's moralistic view of the world, his approach to Nicaragua
was based on the historical premise of his predecessors that the U.S. had
a right to control revolutionary change within Central America.
The objective of U.S. policy during the 1978-1979 popular
insurrection aginst Somoza was to prevent the Frente Sandinista de
Liberacion Nacional (FSLN) from taking power. When the Sandinistas took
power, the U.S. sought to intervene with economic leverage and covert
operations to shape the character and direction of the new revolutionary
government. Carter's policy toward the Nicaraguan insurection rested on
the assumption that Somoza was expendable, but that the institutional
structure of his regime, particularly the Nicaraguan National Guard had to
be saved to stop the Sandinista revolution. If Somoza could be induced to


59
resign, U.5. officials reasoned, power could be transferred to "derate
elements." If the National Guard remained intact, it would prevent the
FSLN from playing a prominent role in a post-Somozan government.
Carter's government hoped to moderate the course of the revolution. It
shifted its policy from hostility to cautious accommodation. The
administration advanced $15 million in emergency reconstruction aid to
Nicaragua and pushed a $75 million economic assistance package through
congress. The Sandinista leaders even received an invitation to the White
House. However, covertly the Carter administration took another tack.
The U.S. began setting the stage for a counter revolution. On July 19, U.S.
operatives mounted a clandestine mission to evacuate commanders of the
Nicaraguan National Guard who had been unable to flee Nicaragua. Dozens
of Guardsmen and their families were air-lifted to Miami on a DC-8
disguised as a Red Cross plane and piloted by an American known as Bill
Furillo. In Miami these guardsmen could recorganize and renew their fight
o
against the Sandinistas.
In late 1980, President Carter authorized the CIA to pass funds
to anti-Sandinista labor, press and political organizationsan operation
resembling thae agency's destabilization campaign against the Socialist
government of Salvador Allende in Chile a decade earlier.
When Ronald Reagan took office on January 20, 1981, he inherited
Q
a CIA covert operation against the Sandinistas that was already in place.
Regan
The Reagan administration would go beyond Carter's
containment policy into a policy aimed a "rolling back" the Nicaraguan
revolution.


60
After President Reagan took office, U. S. policy toward
Nicaragua was directed away from accommodation of any kind. The
Reagan administration aligned itself with the most conservative forces in
the area, leaving to Nicaragua no alternative than to increase its military
power,
Under President Reagan the United States again assumed the
right to armed interference in the domestic affairs of countries with
regimes that Washington labels as objectionable.'' The entire foreign
policy is based on the idea that any world conflict must be seen as East-
West confrontation. In Central America this has resulted in a permanent
military presence in this region. This is the basis for Reagan's hostility to
the Sandinista government and to rhetoric of losing any part of that region
to communist ideology.
The Reagan Administration has forced Nicaragua to look for
assistance from Socialist nations such as Bulgaria, East Germany, and the
Soviet Union. This has been done by divesting Nicaraguan of most external
financial aid and forcing them to divert their scarce resources to the
military.
Economic sanctions deprived Nicaragua of $345 million in lost
trade and loans in 1983, while U.S. pressure internationally resulted in the
loss of an additional $1,125 million in multilateral loans since 1980.'^ It was
only a few days after taking office that Reagan suspended most forms of
economic assistance to Nicaragua.
Nicaragua was banned from government programs which
promoted U.S. foreign investment and trade, such as, trade credits of the
import-export banks and the insurance of United States investments
offered by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Another


61
suspension cut off Nicaragua's supply of bread by suspending $9.8 million
previously authorized under Public Law 480 (Food for Peace) this was in
the form of food credits for the purchase of wheat. Also in the area of
trade, the Reagan administration cut Nicaragua's quota of 59,000 tons of
sugar exports for fiscal year 1983 by 90% to only 6,000 tons. This reduction
meant a loss of $15.6 million in export earning in a period of severe
I 1
shortage of foreign exchange for Nicaragua. Table I, Structure of
Nicaraguan Foreign Trade, which follows, gives an indication of the trend
from 1980 until mid-1986. This table gives the impact that the United
States foreign exchange policies had on Nicaragua.)
Another action fo the United States to prevent the consolidation
of the revolution was to aid in the preparation for a counter revolutionary
war. Military aid was given to other governments in the region. In
Honduras the Somocista National Guard was trained, first by Argentina and
later by Israel to carry out terrorist attacks inside Nicaragua. It was
intended to create panic in the civilian population and destroy the
infrastructure and means of production. There were even murders of
teachers during the Literacy Campaign.
The United States Naval Blockade (19 ships with 16,456 troops, 12
fighter jets) off the coast of Nicaragua was used to stop shipments of food,
medicines and armaments into Nicaragua and complemented the terrorist
activities within Nicaragua.*^
There were also some outright acts of war. On October 10, 1983,
a counter revolutionary commando squad shelled the Port of Corinto. The
explosion caused an estimated minimum of $5 million in damage. Another


62
TABLE 4.1
STRUCTURE OF NICARAGUAN FOREIGN TRADE
EXPORTS AND IMPORTS
Percentage by Region
1980 1984 1985 1986
United States 30.4 14.9 7.3b 0
Central America 28.1 9.2 6.8 7.4
Latin America 13.5 12.8 8.5 7.1
Western Europe 17.6 25.2 28.0 37.7
Eastern Europe 1.0 15.4 28.8 27.2
Japan 3.0 9.9 7.7 9.0
Canada 2.6 2.9 1.6 2.4
Cuba - 4.0 4.4 4.2
Others 3.8 5.7 6.9 5.0
TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Forecast
January-May 1985
Sources: Nicaraguan Ministry of Trade
Overseas Development Council/Center for International
Policy
such action was the CIA backed operation of mining three Nicaraguan ports
to isolate the country internationally.^
The United States used Honduras as an instrument of
intervention. Honduras offered extraordinary military advantages by its
geographical location and as a state with military and political structure
willing to collaborate with the United States.^ A permanent military
presence of the United States by the construction of military bases in
Honduras was created. After 1979, $13 million was allocated for
modernization of runways at Camayagua, Ceibu and San Pedro Sula
airfields; for strategic roads and bridges; and for setting up sophisticated


63
communication centers, and for drilling wellsJ^ (The table which follows
on U. S. Foreign Assistance to Honduras shows in millions of dot jars the
extent to which the United States extended aid to Honduras.)
In 1981 the "Halcon Vista" naval operations on the Atlantic Coast
along the Nicaraguan shores were intended to warn Cuba and the Soviet
Union that the/ would not be permitted to continue intervening in Central
America. During the same year a combined Deployment Operation was
mounted in Mosquitia (only 40 Km north of the Nicaraguan border) with the
participation of 600 United States soldiers and 4,000 Honduran soldiers.
. IO
The cost of these joint manuevers was $5.2 million.
To establish a pattern of using the manuevers as a pretext for
construction of military bases the United States Army Engineers upgraded
a dirt airstrip at Puerto Lampura on Honduras' Atlantic coast to handle
United States fighter and transport planes. Ten United States C-130 cargo
planes, thirteen helicopters, and two United States Navy landing craft
participated in this operation.
Big Pine II began on August 3, 1983. These maneuvers involved
11,000 American soldiers, including seventy men from the U.S. Army
Special Forces, 2,100 U.S. Marines and two Pacific battleship groups. These
exercises lasted six months -- longer than any previous maneuvers in U.S.
military history. They included aerial bombing, airlifts, amphibious
landings, and counter insurgency techniques. Big Pine II officially


64
TABLE 4.2 U.S. FOREIGN ASSISTANCE TO HONDURAS
(Millions $)
FY82 FY83 FY84 FY85 (est) FY86 (req) FY87
Development
Aid 31.1 31.3 31.0 44.3 43.2 51.0
(Loans) (19.5) (24.0) (17.3) (19.8) (15.6) (20.3)
(Grants) (11.6) (7.3) (13.7) (24.5) (27.6) (30.7)
Other Economic Aid 2.7 3.2 3.8 5.0 5.3 5.4
(Loans) - - - - -
(Grants) (2.7) (3.2) (3.8) (5.0) (5.3) (5.4)
Food Aid 10.1 I5l5 20.2 18.4 18.3 17.8
(Loans) (7.0) (10.0) (15.0) (15.0) (15.0) (14.0)
(Grants) (3.1) (5.5) (5.2) (3.4) (3.3) (3.8)
ESF 36.8 56.0 40.0 147.5 61.2 (90.0)
(Loans) (35.0) 11.0 (6.0) - - -
(Grants) ( 1.8) (45.0) (34.0) (147.5) (61.2) (90.0)
Military
Aid 31.3 48.3 77.4 73.9 79.7 88.8
(Loans) (19.0) (9.0) - - - -
(Grants) (12.3) (39.3) (77.4) (73.9) (79.7) (88.8)
TOTAL 112.0 154.3 175.3 289.1 207.8 253.0
(Loans) (80.5) (54.0) (38.3) (34.8) (30.6) (34.3)
(Grants) (31.5) (100.3) (134.1) (254.3) (157.3) (218.7)
Total U.S. aid FY46-86: $1,334.25 Million (current $) $1,998.30 Million
(constant 1987 $).
Hondura's rank among U.S. aid recipients: FY85-8th
FY86-9th
Source:
CRS, Jonathan Sanford, "Honduras: US Foreign
Assistance Facts," November 25, 1986.


65
ended on February 8, 1984; however, the Department of Defense announced
19
that U.S. military maneuvers would continue indefinitely.
In March, the U.S. special forces conducted a series of
"emergency deployment readiness exercises" to make the point, according
to the American Embassy in Honduras, that the U.S. was still in the region
and would remain there.
During the Grenada I exercises, U.S. combat engineers
constructed two more air strips: one at Jeamstown on the
Nicaraguan/Honduras border, and the other at Cucuyagua in northern
Honduras. By mid-1985 the U.S. had built or modernized eight airstrips,
two training centers, two radar stations, four military base camps, and a
twelve-mile long "tank Trap" near the Nicaraguan frontier at a cost of
more than $50 million. The Grenada I exercises was a name clearly chosen
to remind the Sandinistas of Grenada that involved 1,200 American
2D
personnel.
Ocean Venture was a massive Caribbean naval exercise deploying
over 30,000 men in April 1984. In November 1984, the month of Nicaragua's
elections, the Pentagon conducted four unnamed military maneuvers in
Honduras and a large naval exercise off the Gulf of Fonseca.
Big Pine III, involving 4,500 troops was held from January to
April 1985. In April and May, Universal Trek deployed over 6,000 Marine;
Navy and Army troops into Honduras to practice amphibious and air
assaults on the Atlantic Coast near Puerto Castilla.


66
In May 1987, the Pentagon began its largest operation to date.
Solid Shield brought 50,000 U.S. personnel to the region for a mock attack
on Nicaragua. By then U.S. war games constituted a permanent
component of Reagan administration policy in Central America. High level
administration officials told the press that U.S. military exercises in
Honduras would continue indefinitely "each year for the foreseeable future,
??
and perhaps for as long as 20 years."
In 1981 Washington issued a white paper indicating the flow of
arms into El Salvador. This proved to be an embarrassment when the
credibility was destroyed by the North American press. In spite of no other
evidence of Nicaraguan intervention, the administration consistently uses
this issue to justify its policy toward Nicaragua.
The problem with the Reagan administration's Nicaragua policy
is not so much that it is immoral, as that it is a muddle. Policy is made
more on the basis of images than on realities, through tactical reactions to
events rather than through a broader strategy, and without thinking where
United States actions will lead and what the likely consequences will be.
The United States is creating a mess in Central America that will plague
future generations here and there.
The Reagan administration argues that there are three issues
preventing cordial relations; interference in El Salvador, the military
buildup of Nicaragua, and the alleged destruction of pluralism in Nicaragua
society. The Sandinistas are not the only target of Reagan's war. The final
component of U.S. policy is a systematic campaign to enlist "hearts and
minds" at home by manipulating public perceptions of U.S. policy toward
Nicaragua. Through concerted "public diplomacy" the Reagan Adminis-
tration has sought to convince the North American public, the Congress,


67
and allied governments that the Sandinistas constitute a threat to U.S.
national security and that the U.S. is a force for peace and democracy in
Central America.
Seven years of official exaggeration, misinformation, and
rhetorical fabrication have obscured how U.S. intervention in Nicaragua
evolved, why it continues, and what it means for North American society.
The Iran-Contra Scandal, which has shaken the foundation of American
politics, is but the most visible price of intervention.
A former U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, Frank McNeil,
describes the United States vision of Central America as a fantasy of our
own creation.
Central America is a Fantasy Isthmus, a region of the
American mind, peopled by our own political demonds, where too
often expedience rules, and rhetoric substitutes for policy. 4
Costs of the War
E.V.K. Fitzgerald has estimated several direct and indirect costs
to Nicaraguan by the war between 1980-1984.
A. Direct material loses during that period were $97.1 million,
and production losses due largely to the disruption of
agriculture totaled $282.5 million.
B. Defense spending: military spending ballooned to one-fourth
the national budget by 1983, one-third by 1984, and about one-
half of the budget in 1985.^ In 1984, therefore, defense
spending amounted to about 15% o Nicaragua's gross domestic
product (GDP) and by 1986 it escalated to about one-fourth of
the GDPfe


68
C. Loss of production of key primary products: goods produced
mainly in the war zones lumber, fish, metals, corn and bean
production have suffered dramatic declines. An estimate of
$282.5 million was lost in 1980-1984, with some 60% of those
losses taking place in 1984 alone.
The lost production of basic grains obliged Nicaragua to import
corn and beans. Lost coffee, lumber and seafood exports from 1982 through
1984 are estimated to have totaled over $300 million.
These direct effects have lead to indirect costs.
A. Defense spending is necessarily subtracted from any
resources that could be spent for health, education, and
productive investment that the rest of the budget
represents. Drastic cuts in the education budget since 1984,
for example, have dramatically reduced school construction
and maintenance, curtailed the availability of educational
materials, and forced the suspension of a free textbook
program. Similar serious disruptions have occurred in
health care and urban services and have contributed to public
dissatisfaction.
B. Decline in export earnings, which has forced the government
to implement a Draconian austerity program to curtail all by
the most critical imports. Economic austerity has reduced
the amount of fertilizers, oil, industrial raw materials, repair
parts, agricultural machinery, trucks and other essential
materials for production, and so has diminished the
productivity of the Nicragauan economy.


69
C. Inflation: Military spending has swollen government
expenditure, much of which has been financed simply by
printing money, a powerful contributor to the inflationary
spiral in 1985 and 1986.^
D. Increased foreign borrowing: External debt had risen to a
staggering $4.7 billion by 1985 almost double the annual GDP
so that debt service has slowed economic growth. In 1981 and
1982, Nicaragua spent about 20% of its total export earnings
on debt service. Since 1983, the government has continued to
borrow abroad; however, it has re-negotiated its debt package
to reduce debt service to about 10% of export earnings each
year.
Other problems have slowed the Nicaraguan economy and
disrupted its development. The United States has worked to deny
Nicaraguan foreign credit since 1981. Reagans administration cut off the
United States credits and grants in 1981, and successfully pressured private
and multilateral lenders to stop lending to Nicaragua. Under United States
pressure the World Bank suspended credit to Nicaragua in 1982 and the
Inter-American Development Bank followed suit in 1983. (The table which
follows on the United States Voting Records on Loans to Nicaragua for the
years 1982-1983 shows the consistent pattern of the United States in voting
against loans for Nicaragua. Further, it indicates the inadequacy of the
United States reason for voting against financial loans to Nicaragua that
would be of benefit to the general population of that country.)


TABLE 4.3 U.S. VOTING RECORD ON LOANS TO NICARAGUA
Institution Date (approved) Amount (millions) Project Vote Reason given
World Bank Jan. 1982 16.0 Municipal development No Inappropriate macro-economic policies
IDB Jan. 1982 0.5 Agriculture No Inappropriate macro-economic policies
IDB Jul. 1982 0.5 Fishing co-ops No Inappropriate macro-economic policies
IDB Sept. 1982 34.4 Hydro- electric power No Inappropriate macro-economic policies
IDB June 1983 2.2 Road con- production No Inappropriate macro-economic policies
IDB July 1983 0.5 Furniture production No Inappropriate macro-economic policies
IDB Sept. 1983 30.4 Fishing industry rehabili- tation No Inappropriate macro-economic policies
Source: Department of the Treasury memorandum, "U.S. Negative Votes and Abstentions in the MDB's
for Economic and/or Financial Reasons," June 19, 1984, pp. 3-4.
--j
o


71
This United States and multilateral credit boycott has had four
effects:
- It forced Nicaragua to turn to the Socialist bloc for an
increasing portion of its aid.
- It cut the overall amount of foreign credit available to
Nicaragua to about half the 1982 levels by 1984.
- it raised the cost of credit by forcing Nicaragua to replace
low interest multilateral loans with bilateral loans on higher
interest terms.
- The credit crunch has also retarded government investment
79
in developmental projects.
An estimate of the war's economic damage to Nicaragua
approaches $1.5 billion.
To show that Nicaragua was forced to seek loans from other
lenders we find that in 1987, $80 million in grants were given by Sweden,
Spain, Finland, Norway, Canada, Argentina, Yugoslavia and India. Italy and
Nicaragua have signed a $150 million agreement for long-term credits and
development projects. Sweden gave $60 million in development in 1987,
Italy $50 million, Soviet Union $50 million, Spain $22 million and Canada
$10 million.
In the fall of 1986 India pledged $10 million in easy-term credit to
Nicaragua under whcih the Nicaraguan government would buy India
on
textiles, machinery and consumer goods.
For Nicaragua, the cost of maintaining the decline of the counter
revolution has been growing economic deterioration. One indicator that
clearly shows this is the rate of inflation:


72
1984 - 33%
1985 - 220%
1986 - 657%
1987 - 1200%
Another indicator is the drop in foreign currency from exports:
1984 -$385 million
1985 - $294 million
1986 - $218 million
As a consequence of the economic crisis, the full production and
other factors, it is estimated that 50% of the economically active
population has moved into the informal sector of the economy. Without
hard currency to bring in inputs for production, and with difficulties in
improving labor stability, the specter of an ever worsening spiral of
scarcities and high inflation continues.
To these concrete factors of the crisis must be added the direct
effect of the war on the economy. In 1987, alone the economic impact of
the destruction totaled $376.7 million. In April 1987 the U.S. Government
renewed the economic embargo it had imposed on Nicaragua in May 1985
and continued to pressure international organizations not to provide loans
to Nicaragua.
The Contras
The contras' top leadership has been selected by the Reagan
administration, which first created the Nicaraguan Democratic Force
(FDN) and then its umbrella organization, the United Nicaraguan
Opposition (UNO).


73
The "founding fathers" of the contras are National Guardsmen
who fled Nicaragua after Somoza's defeat. In exile, many worked initially
as hired killers in the Guatemalan death squads or participated in
extortions and robberies.
A recent congressional study noted that 46 out of 48 positions in
^ I
the FDN's military command structure are held by former Guardsmen.
The contras early activities consisted of spreading violence and
terrorism throughout Central America. In Guatemala, Legion members
committed robberies, kidnappings, and deathguard murders on contract for
right-wing oligarchs who provided some initial funding for contra
operations.
The FDN received the bulk of CIA resources and thereby
emerged as the vanguard of the counter revolution. The organization and
its leaders were, according to Edgar Chamorro, a former member of the
3?
FDN directorate, "nothing more than executions of the CIA's orders."
The contras kidnapped 60% of their ranks -- the contras raided
villages and routinely forced young men to march backto FDN base camps
in Honduras. Edgar Chamorro explained how this was done.
FDN units would arrive at an undefended village,
assemble all the residents in the town square and
then proceed to kill in full view of the others
all persons suspected of working for rthe Nicaraguan
government or the FSLN, including police, local
militia members, part members, health workers,
teachers and farmers from government sponsored
cooperatives. In this atmosphere it was not diffi-
cult to persuade those able-bodied men left alive to
return with the FDN units to their base camps in
Honduras and enlist in the force.
Contra leaders and their supporters were assisting Colpmbian
drug smuggling, transporting narcotics through Costa Rica to the U.S.


74
Contra forces had received funds from known drug traffickers and rebel
members were directly engaged in the drug trade.
In December 1985 the Associated Press reported that officials
from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the FBI, and Customs had
reliable evidence that contras were involved in guarding and refueling
cocaine-laden planes at remote airstrips in northern Costa Rica and
transporting drugs to a stash house in San Jose for shipment to the U.S.
Colombian traffickers were paying the contras $50,000 a load for
assistance. One Nicaraguan rebel told U.S. authorities the money "would
go for the cause" of fighting the Sandinistas.^ According to Eden Pastora,
small planes using John Hull's landing strips in northern Costa Rica were
"linked to narcotics trafficking." One classified CIA National
Intelligence estimate indicated that in 1985 ARDE had used $250,000 in
cocaine money from Colombian drug smugglers to pay for contra arms and
or
aircraft. Another contra financial supporter, Norwin Meneses, was also a
$1.68 million a month cocaine trafficker. A confidential 1984 DEA report
described Meneses as "the apparent head of a criminal organization
responsible for smuggling kilogram quantities of cocaine into the United
States." Meneses hosted California fund raisers for the FDN and met
several times with Adolfo Colero and Enrique Bermudez in Honduras. He
also employed FDN members in his drug business. One of them, Renato
Pena-Cabrera, the FDN's San Francisco spokesman, was found guilty of
37
cocaine possession in 1985. '
The contras Human Rights record is the worst record among
insurgent groups in Central America. Their reputation for murder, rape,
pillage, and attacks on unarmed civilians in health centers and schools has
undercut President Reagan's best efforts to depict them as "freedom


75
fighters" and the "moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers." The record
also shows that contra operations have often been aimed at "soft" civilian
targets rather than military objectives.
The $100,000,000 in contra aid voted by the Congress of the
United States in 1986 set aide at $300,000 for the promotion of human
rights in its activities, but even contra partisans do not claim any
significant progrress. The February 1987 American Watch Report states:
During 1986, a major human rights problem in Nicaragua
was widespread and continuing violation of the laws of war
regarding treatment of civilians by the contra forces. The
leadership of the contra organization has taken no meaningful
steps to investigate and punish these abuses, which range from
civilians, to selective murder, mis-treatment, and kidnapping.
A significant number of kidnap victims are children.
In October of 1988 rebels killed nine people, including two children, a
pregnant woman, and a Sandinista Army official by firing on a bus at 9:30
38
a.m.
The table which follows on Counter Revolutionary Activities
shows one four-month period of counter revolutionary kidnappings, murders
or civilians, and military casualties.
Allegations of drug trafficking and diversion of funds to private
accounts continue to cast suspicion on contra lenders and others who are
the subject of continuing investigation by Congressional committees.
In May of 1988 it was stated that in the three months since the
Congress had cut off military aid to the contras, thousands of rebels went
to Honduras to create a mini-state on the border. The Honduran military
works closely with them, as a matter of fact, one of the contra camps is
only 500 yards from a Honduran military post. The contras assumed control
39
over an area covering about 120 square miles.


76
TABLE 4.4
COUNTER REVOLUTIONARY ACTIVITIES
APRIL I TO JULY 30, 1988
April/May June July
Counter Revolutionary Activities (Ambushes, attacks on Sandinista 178 n/a 79
Army troops and cooperatives and settlement, and sabotage)
Nicaraguan military casualties 80 77 n/a
Nicaraguan military deaths 18 15 39
Civilian deaths 24 9 29
Civilians wounded 26 9 25
Civilians kidnapped 312 184 98
Counter revolutionaries who took amnesty 49 99 NA
Violations of Nicaraguan airspace from Honduras and Costa Rica 43 32 46
(espionage and contra supply flights)
Flights coming from the United States for electronic and photo- graphic spying 79 6 9
Source: Nicaraguan Ministry of Defense communiques.


77
The confrontation between Nicaragua and the imperial politics of
the United States has been going on for over a decade. What Nicaragua has
been defending for many years of pain, death and hope is the right to
sovereignty and self-determination for the countries of the third world.
The Sandinista government is politically more flexible and
economically less inept than its detractors admit. United States pressure
has forced Sandinista leaders to adjust and innovate in order to defend their
regime, but it also appears to have strengthened rather than weakened
their will and capacity to rule.


CHAPTER IV NOTES
* Department of State memorandum on the Nicaraguan situation,
approximate date January 2, 1927. Signed by Robert Olds, Under Secretary
of States.
^Walter Lippman, 1926.
O
-Walter LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in
Central America, (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1984), pp. 64-69.
^Seymour Martin Lipset, et al., Latin American Radicalism
(Boston, Mass.: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1971), pp. 234-235.
^K. T. Fann and Donald C. Hodges, eds., Readings on U.S.
Imperialism (Boston, Mass.: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1971), pp. 234-235.
^Institute for Policy Studies, Nicaragua Fact Sheet: Security
Assistance (Washington, D.C., April, 1981).
^Harold Denny, Dollars for Bullets (New York: Dial, 1929, p. 11.
Q
Christopher Dickey, With the Contras: A Report in the Wills of
Nicaragua (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985), p. 55.
Q
7The Los Angeles Times, March 3, 1985.
'^Richard Newfarmer, From Gunboats to Diplomacy: US Policies
for Latin America (Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press, 1984),
pp. 120-121.
'' New Times, December 1983.
'^Counterspy 8 (March-May 1984), p. 13.
'^Barricada, II May 1983.


79
'^Roy Gutman, "Nicaragua: American's Diplomatic Charade,"
Foreign Policy 56 (Fall 1984), p. 16.
^Los Angeles Times, 12 April 1984.
^Contemporary Marxism 8 (Spring 1984)
^Ibid., pp. 81-83
l8lbid., p. 84.
^ ^The Washington Post, March 21,1984.
20lbid, March 22, 1985.
21 Ibid., March 22, 1987.
22New York Times, February 24, 1984.
OO
^ Viron P. Vaky, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
Washington, D.C., Number 70, Spring 1988, Foreign Policy.
2^The Washington Post, March I, 1987, OP-ed column.
75
E.V.K. Fitzgeral, "Una evolucion del costo economico de la
agresion del Gobierno estaunidense contra el pueblo de Nicaragua," (Paper
presented to the Latin American Studies Associaton, Albuquerque, New
Mexico, April 1985).
26lbid, p. 7.
22Ibid, p. 12.
28lbid, p. 16.
79
* Barricada International, Augsut 28, 1986, p. 6.
28Forbes, August 22, 1988, pp. 38-39.
O I
Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus, "Who Are the
Contras?" (Washington, D.C., April 18, 1985).
82Affidavid to the World Court, September 5, 1985, p. 23.


80
^The Associated Press, December 20, 1986.
^Interview for the CBS program "West 57th Street", June 25,
1986.
36The Washington Post, December 26, 1986.
37
The San Francisco Examiner, June 23, 1986.
^Rocky Mountain News, Sunday, October 30, 1988, p. 55.
^The Denver Post, May 19, 1988, p. I6A.


CHAPTER V
EFFORTS AT PEACE
The various peace plans that have been presented, revised and
rejected are discussed in this chapter. The discussion will show that
through the long period of counter-revolutionary activities and attemps to
negotiate peace, the United States has consistently thwarted any and all of
the plans that strive for self-determination and non-intervention for
Central American countries.
Contadora
The Contadora peace plans are so-called because the foreign
ministers of Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela met on the small
Panamanian island of Contadora. The Contadora support group is composed
of Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay. The actual parties to the process
are Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
The contadora peace treaty is a document drafted by eight Latin
American nations. It calls for a reduction of armed forces, a ban on
foreign military bases and advisers, respect for nations' borders and
democratic rights in each Central American nation.
In January 1983, in response to escalating United States
intervention, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama established a forum
for ending the conflict in Central America. In a communique, these foreign


82
ministers stated that they had:
decided to join forces.. in order to insure the observance
of the principles of non-intervention, and free determination
of Central American peoples.
Reagan officials paid lip-service to Contadora, viewing it as a
propaganda tool. The Sandinistas saw Contadora as a means to secure a
stable peace. In September 1984, they announced their intention to sign a
Contadora-prepared treaty which committed all nationas in the region to
end external support for insurgent movements, to expatriate foreign
military bases, and to set a ceiling on the growth of military forces. These
were the same demands the United States had made on Nicaragua and were
the stated goals of United States pressure.
Over the past five years the Contadora agreement has gone
through several drafts. The central thrust of all the drafts has been to
extricate the region from big-power rivalries. To accomplish this, the
Contradora agreement would require the five Central American nations to:
- Cut off arms imports. Not another Soviet helicopter or rifle to
Nicaragua, no more military aid to El Salvador.
- Expel all military advisers (Cuban and Soviet) out of Nicaragua
and American advisers out of El Salvador and Honduras.
- Stop arms smuggling. No aid for the Salvadoran guerrillas from
Nicaragua and no military aid from the United States to El Salvador.
- Bar foreign military exercises, close foreign military bases.
- Limit army sizes.
- Let in verification commission with powers of on-site inspection.
A careful analysis of the most recent Contadora draft indicates
that it strikes a balance between the Nicaraguan and United States


83
positions, it asks each side to give up something it wants in order to attain
the larger goal of peace.
Although the State Department insists that Nicaragua is to
blame for blocking Contadora, the fact remains that Nicaragua is the only
government that has stated in writing its willingness to sign an
agreement. The September 1984 agreement was not just a working draft.
Rather it was officially transmitted to the five Central American nations
for signatures. Two weeks later Nicaragua said it would sign.
The official United States position is that the United States
supports the Contadora process and "will act in accord" with any agreement
signed by all the Central Americans. The real United States position,
however, is one of determined obstruction of any agreement that would set
limits on United States military activity in a region where it has always had
a free hand.
Behind the scenes the Reagan administration took steps to
thwart the signing of any Contadora treaty that would ratify the Sandinista
government and restrict United States intervention in the region. On
September 21, 1984 after Nicaragua agreed to sign the Contadora
agreement, the United States initiated "intensive consultations" with Costa
Rica, Honduras and El Salvador, who then insisted on further revisions. A
month later the National Security Council could exult in a secret memo.
This classified background paper was prepared for an October 30, 1984
National Security Council meeting attended by President Reagan.
We have effectively blocked Contadora group efforts to impose
the second draft of the revised Contadora Act.


84
The document also reveals that the Reagan administration
undertook "intensive efforts' to pressure Guatemala to join the core group
to form four nations that oppose the treaty. It states:
We will continue to exert strong pressure on Guatemala to
support the basic core four position.
To maintain the facade of "showcase diplomacy" during the 1984
presendential campaign, President Reagan accepted Nicaragua's
longstanding offer to enter into bilateral talks in June 1984. The United
States envoy, Harry Schlaudeman, and the Nicaraguan Deputy Foreign
Minister, Victor Tinoco, met nine times at the Mexican resort of
Manzanillo. The initial session at Manzanillo promised success but the
talks came to a standstill when Schlaudeman presented new United States
proposals that called for major security concessions and internal political
change in Nicaragua. The United States demanded that the Sandinistas
expell all Soviet and Cuban advisors within nine months of a bilateral
agreement and that they hold a new election. In return, according to the
proposals, the United States would do nothing to alter its military and
paramilitary aggression against Nicaragua other than take Nicaragua's
concessions "into consideration'^
While publicly continuing to support the negotiations, the Reagan
administration privately rejoiced:
We have trumped the latest Nicaraguan/Mexican efforts to
rush signature for an unsatisfactory contadora agreememt.
In January 1985, sixteen months and two drafts after it had agreed
to sign the Contadora agreement, Nicaragua's basic position was to insist
on a return to the agreement of September 1984 when it had originally


85
agreed to sign. Everything since then, Nicaragua believes, had moved the
agreement closer to the United States position and weakened the
restrictions on United States military presence }n the region.
The Reagan administration unilaterally broke off the talks
claiming that Nicaragua was using bilateral negoiations to undermine
Contadora. In fact, it was Reagan's unwavering support for the Contras
and refusal to recognize any treaty that permitted the Sandinistas to stay
in power that blocked any peaceful resolution.
A confidential briefing paper prepared for Assistant Secretary of
State Elliot Abrahams in August 1985, indicated Washington's attitude
toward Contadora:
(0)ur interests continue to be served by the process.
Nevertheless, its collapse wouldn't be a total disaster
for United States policy.
In January 1986, ministers from the Contadora nations and the
Contadora support group met in Caraballeda, Venezuela to revive the peace
process. The Caraballeda initiative endorsed by all the Central American
nations, the EEC, and Japan explicitly called for a "termination of external
support to irregular forces operating in the region." That is an end to
United States support for the Contras. However, when the foreign
ministers of eight major Latin American nations personally presented this
request to Secretary of State George Shultz on February 11, 1986, he
summarily rejected it.


86
In March 1986, the Pentagon released a report opposing
Contadora on the ground that a peace treaty would increase the likelihood
of war. During the time the Contadora Act is in effect, according to the
Pentagon's conclusions:
.. .the restrictions imposed by the Act will
result in a significant reduction in the military
capability of Nicaragua's neighbors. The United
States strictly complies with the agreement,
with reduction in presence and support to
Central American nations and no support to the
Democratic Resistance Forces. Nicaragua
begins violating the agreement. At the three
year period, Honduras and Costa Rica ask the
United States for assistance to contain
Nicaragua's efforts to subvert its neighbors
. .(and) the United States Government
would have to agree to a protracted
commitment of United States forces with major
impact on its world-wide responsibility^
The problem with the United States policy is that the Reagan
administration is not sincere about its policy objectives. Nicaragua has
already demonstrated flexibility about the Contadora peace process,
including a willingness to send home Cuban military advisers, to prohibit
the establishment of Soviet or Cuban bases, and to refrain from supporting
insurgencies elsewhere in the region.
The Sandinistas showed, in fact, a willingness to reach a solid,
verifiable agreement, in return for an agreement from the United States
and its friends in Central America neither to invade Nicaragua nor to assist
insurgencies against it.


87
To date, bilateral negotiations between the United States and
persons from the region have not provided a workable answer to these
problems. Also, United Nations involvement in the conflict has been
opposed by the United States, which prefers to keep Central America an
issue of the Western Hemisphere; and, therefore, removed from the
influence of the United Nation's Third World Coalition.
Arias Agreement
On February 15, 1987, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias
presented a modified peace plan based on the Contadora Act. It presented
Liberal Democratic visions of an alternative Central American policy
wihtout the Contadora's security provisions. Arias was dealing with the
political issues first; and then, after trust had been built up among the five
presidents, he proposed moving on to the more difficulty security questions.
Arias also realized that a United Staes invasion of Nicaragua
implied serious costs for Costa Rican society as a whole, endangering the
democratic model of which Costa Ricans are so proud.
These objective factors were combined with other, more
subjective, ones. Although the Costa Ricans are anti-Sandinista based on
their deeply rooted anti-communist sentiments, and anti-Nicaraguan for
reasons that include a deep-seated racism, they are not willing to


88
involve themselves actively in a military conflict. In this sense, they are
peace-loving people. Arias was intelligent enough to grasp the importance
o
of this cluster of factors and use it to win the election.
As President, Arias opposed the military route and lent his
support to a political solution to the region's problems. But at first he used
this route to seek a political capituation on the part of the Sandinista
government. During his inauguration, in the presence of a number of the
Contradora and Support Group countries' presidents, Arias unsuccessfully
tried to secure their signatures on a document making nearly the same
demands of Nicaragua as Reagan had in 1985, such as:
-Dissolution of the National Assembly.
Q
-New elections to be held immediately, etc.
Arias was seeking the same objectives as Reagan, but using
political, rather than military, means. It wasn't until the beginning of 1987,
when the irreversible decline of the counter-revolution was apparent to all,
the Democratic Party in the United States had won November elections to
Congress and Reagan was bogged down by the Iran/Conta scandal, that
Arias changes his position. His new Peace Plan, a creative variation of the
latest Contradora Plan, provided for a truly negotiated solution.*^
Although the Reagan Administration expressed verbal support for
the proposal, it was confident that, thanks to the docility of Honduras and
El Salvador, it would be able to change the plan to make it work against
Nicaragua.
On June 4, 1987 in Paris, as President Arias was winding up his
European trip looking for support for his peace plan, he described his


89
initiative as within the framework of the Contadora concept. In this
statement he only reflected the reaction he had received from the
European governments that he had visited. All of them were interested in
maintaining that framework.''
The Arias plan does not offer any guarantees of peace and
promotes skepticism regarding progressive steps for maintaining peace.
History is littered with diplomatic documents
which purport to reconcile conflict among
nations, or among people who would become
nations. But the Arias plan pretends to do
something even more: to rearrange the
political order within countries.
The Arias plan was seen by some as a variant on the Contadora
Treaty, and in May of 1986 the Central American Presidents met in
Esquipulas but were unable to sign the agreement.
Esquipulas
In the little town of Esquipulas, the five presidents of the five
Central American countries had a meeting for the purpose of getting an
agreement for the region without the intervention of the United States.
The agreements are referred to by the name of the town where the
meetings took place.
The characteristics of Esquipulas was the effort of the five
governments to legitimize themselves by establishing self-determination


90
without the domination of United States presence. They established the
International Commission on Verification and Follow-up (CIVS) to express
their sincere desire for peace that would establish democratic, pluralistic,
and participitory governments with free expression at the polls. It was
their desire to break the economic stagnation of the region and remove the
legitimacy of political-military struggles.
The first meeting in May 1986 established the National
Reconciliation Commission and the International Commission on
Verification and Follow-up. These commisions were to follow up on the
accords regarding amnesty, cease-fire, democratization and free election.
In each country there were to be National Reconciliation Commissions with
one government representative, one representative of the legal opposition
parties, one Catholic bishop and one notable citizen who did not serve in
either the government or in the ruling party.
The CIVS was to begin at the same time and would be made up of
the foreign ministers of the Contadora, the support group and from Central
American countries, the secretaries general (or their representatives) of
the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Outstanding
matters of security (arms control, verification and limitation) would
13
continue to be negotiated through the Contadora Group.


91
Later, on August 7, 1987, a summit meeting was held in
Guatemala and was known as Esquipulas II. The objective was that the
social forces waging war in Central American should negotiate peace terms
among the nations affected by the armed conflicts.
The peace accords signed at Espuipulas II sought to have the
social forces waging war in Central America achieve by political means
what they have been trying to do through military means. For the rebels in
arms and those who support them, this implied abandoning war as a form of
struggle. At the same time the Central American governments were to
widen internal political space to further democracy. Actually, the
Guatemala accords were agreement for both peace and democracy. The
Central American presidents determined that their actions in favor of
peace and democracy should be executed within the constitutional
framework of each country.
Esquipulas 11 was a tool to prod the Central American
governments and movements into a more Western democracy. Its intent
was to be a regional political (not military) accord at the highest level by
involving presidents and with the support of the United Nations, the
Organization of American States and the Contadora and Support


92
Countries. The more the Contadora and Support Countries defend the
principles of Latin American sollutions to Latin American conflicts, the
characteristic of self-determination and non-intervention into the internal
affairs of other states become more valid. This validity is reinforced by
increased participation of the civilian society into the affairs of the
government, the peace accords, and human rights in general.^
On January 15-16, 1988, a new presidential summit was held in
San Jose, Costa Rica and is known as Esquipulas 111. It was concluded that
the actions carried out so far by the governments of Central America had
not been entirely satisfactory. As a consequence of this summit, there was
agreement to fulfill their obligations in an unconditional and unilateral
manner without further excuses.
Three significant elements emerged from comparison of
Esquipulas II and III. First, the Costa Rican summit does not cancel but
endorses the essential content of the Guatemala accords; i.e., the
substitution of strictly political forms of struggle for military forms. Also,
it ratifies, without additions or subtractions, all the specific measures that
the Central American governments and the other countries should take to
achieve peace and democracy in the region.
Second, Esquipulas III drastically alters the procedure for
fulfilling the accords, substituting unconditional and unilateral compliance
by the governments in the shortest possible time for the mechanism of


93
gradual and simultaneous compliance by all countries within specific
deadlines.
Third, the Costa Rican summit gave the responsibility for
verification and follow-up to the Central American foreign ministers who
comprise the Executive Commission of CIVS. This task was previously the
responsibility of CIVS as a whole, composed of the Secretary General (or
their representatives) of the United Nations and the Organixation of
American States and the foreign miminsters of the eight Contadora and
Support Group nations as well as the five Central American nations. This
measure has the intention of pushing to the side the contadora and its
Support Group, the Organization of American States and the United
Nations.^
The willingness of the leaders of these five countries, couples
with the efforts of other Latin American Countries, indicates that the
responsibility for peace within their own region and within their own
borders is not the responsibility of other world powers. Consistently, these
nations have pressed for the right of self-determination and non-
intervention.
Esquipulas I identified the problems and the procedures for their
solution at the highest levelthat of the presidents of the five countries.
Esquipulas II demonstrated that while the military alternative provides no
solution, the political alternative is extremely complex and difficult. The


Full Text

PAGE 1

THE SANDINISTA REVOLUTION: THE EFFECTS OF THE UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY by Enier Guanipa B. A., University of Colorado, 1985 A thesis submitted to the F acuity of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Political Science 1988

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Enier Guanipa has been approved for the Department of Political Science by Stephen Thomas

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iii Guanipa, Enier (M.A. Political Science) The Sandinista Revolution: the Effects of the United States Foreign Policy Thesis directed by Associate Professor Lawrence Mosqueda This thesis is a historical narrative of the revolutionary process in Nicaragua. The purpose of this study is two-fold. First, it analyzes the Nicaraguan revolutionary process, grounded in a desire of the Nicaraguans to overthrow the Somoza regime established in 1936 with the help of United States intervention. Second, it presents a critical analysis of United States foreign pol icy from 1926 to 1988. The study describes the efforts of the Sandnista goverment to institute policy, economic reform and demonstrate how these efforts enable the goverment to shape the direction of the revolutionary process in the interests of the lower classes. The various peace plans (Contadora, Arias, and Esquipulas I, II and Ill) are also analyzed. The consistent United States pattern of thwarting acceptance and implementation of any of these peace plans is shown. The results of this study include the conclusions that the revolutionary movement as a whole was not committed solely to the overthrow of the Somoza regime. The movement also sought agrarian reform, changes in social class structures, economic stability, and selfdetermination without outside intervention. It is further concluded that the intervention of the United States has often been more of a hindrance than a help to the development of the

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IV economy of the country and that such intervention has served the interests of United States business instead of for the good of the Nicaraguan people. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Faculty member in charge of thesis

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CONTENTS CHAPTER I. NICARAGUA'S HISTORY: AN OVERVIEW Background Information Power Struggles in the Republic Zelaya's Reforms ............................ Politics of Subordination ...................... 3 4 6 8 Zelaya and Samoza Compared . . . 9 Sui ld-up of Samozan Power . . I 0 Nicaraguan Political Practices . . II Controlling Dissident Formations ... 12 Formation of New Classes ..... 14 The Final Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 II. PROGRESSIVE STEPS IN THE REVOLUTION 24 Introduction . . . . . 24 Organizing Revolutionary Groups . 25 The Insurrection . . . . . . . . . . 31 Ill. POLICIES OF THE REVOLUTION 36 Land Reform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 The Literacy Campaign . 38 Mixed Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Banking System ..... ... . 45 Infrastructure ... 46 Health Program 48

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vi CONTENTS (Continued) IV. UNITED STATES INTERVENTION IN THE NICARGUAN REVOLUTION . . . . . . . . . 54 Background of United States Foreign Policy . 54 U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua . . 58 Carter Reagan ................................... ................................... 58 59 Costs of the War . . . . 67 The Contras ......................... . . . . 72 V. EFFORTS AT PEACE .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 81 Contadora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Arias Agreement. . .. 87 Esquipu las ......................... . . . 89 VI. CONCLUSION . . 96 BIBLIOGRAPHY . . I 0 I

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4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 TABLES Structure of Nicaraguan Foreign Trade ..... U.S. Foreign Assistance to Honduras U.S. Voting Record on Loans to Nicaragua Counter Revolutionary Activities 62 64 70 76

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CHAPTER I NICARAGUA'S HISTORY: AN OVERVIEW In order to understand the causes of the insurrection by the Sandinistas in Nicaragua it is necessary to review the abuses of the Somoza regime. The purpose of this chapter is to point out the constant repression of the people and the stagnation of the economy because of the control of the Somocistas. It explains the old regime's concept of class structure, limited opportunities for participation in political processes, and the inability of the masses to change policy by any other method than violence. The regime of Somoza that was overthrown by the Sandinistas in 1979 was not merely a group of people with political power, now was it simply a dictatorship with military control of the country. The Somoza dictatorship was the central power of the country. The Somoza dictatorship was the central power that controlled all the institutions around which any state revolves--political, economic, financial, transportation and education. In essence, the Somoza family became the sole authority over all activities in Nicaragua and held this authority for almost half a century. However, it is unlikely that Somoza could have gained and retained such widespread control over Nicaragua's institutions without economic and military assistance from the United States. In 1939, three years after Somoza, with United States assistance, murdered Sandino and siezed control of Nicaragua. The United States provided the Somoza regime with

PAGE 9

2 $2 million in credit and a group of military advisors to train a strong national guard. This military and economic aid, it will be demonstrated in this thesis, was a determining factor in keeping in power the most corrupt dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. Anastasio Somoza was assassinated by Rigoberto Lopez Perez in 1956, and Anastasio's son, Luis, succeeded him. In 1967 a younger son, Anastasio, Jr., assumed the presidency. He was overthrown by the Sandinistas in 1979 and murdered in Asuncion, Paraguay in 19801 To understand the establishment of the Somoza dynasty it is necessary to sumarize the events that resulted in his establishment as the ruler of Nicaragua. Augusto C. Sandino was not a political theorist but a leader of guerrilla forces in an insurrection that lasted from 1927 to 1933. These years of revolution were primarily directed against foreign domination by foreign ownership. (i.e., the United States) and management of Nicargua's total economy. Augusto Cesar Sandino was murdered in 1934 by the National Guard whose chief was Somoza Garcia.2 The bourgeoisie is identified as comprised of economic groups that own the means of production and employ the labor forces through the various activities of commerce, industry and finance. In colonial economies or dependent economies the bourgeoisie has a level known as the "comprador bourgeoisie." This highest level of the bourgeoisie acts as an intermediary between the foreign capital and the local market. This group works in close relationship with foreign companies and usually opposes any movement or activity that would change the existing condition of dependency upon foreign interests.

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3 In underdeveloped countries there also exists the "national bourgeoisie" which promotes the growth and development of the internal market and is usually not tied to foreign monopolies or foreign interests. This group must struggle against the power of foreign capital or conciliate with them. The course of action depends upon which course will support the local interests. In Nicaragua small business men, shop owners and intellectuals found an accomodation within the Sandinista system and still support the revolution. 3 Background Information The Nicaraguan social structure is an outgrowth of the Spanish colonization of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Until recently it reflected the system of social privileges and class values established at that time. The development of dependent capital in the sixteenth century prepared the way for United States intervention in Nicaragua.4 The country has large lakes and rivers offering easy access to its riches. Its position on the Pacific and Caribbean provides ties to the major markets of the world. A small number of persons received large land grants from the Spanish crown to form the original nucleus of a wealthy upper class. By the beginning of the nineteenth century the country's commercial life was controlled by a small group of Europeans living in Central America. Thus, the social structure came to be characterized by the domination. of native-born Spaniards and national elites over poor Mestizos and the indigenous population. There also developed an embryonic bourgeoisie of artisans, traders, and scribes who identified themselves as distinct from the lower classes and whose interests were tied to the upper class.S

PAGE 11

4 Upper class army and Church officials were able to keep their social and economic power within this traditional society and were also able to use the political process to promote its own interests. On the other hand, the rural population and the poor peasants remained at the bottom of the social structure and had little voice in political matters. These people became the backbone of the revolution, because by 1978 the agricultural sector constituted 50.5 precent of the economically active population. The service sector accounted for 31.8 percent and the industry accounted for 17.7 percent of the economically active population. The service sector accounted for 31.8 percent and the industry accounted for 17.7 percent of the enconomically active populationJ Power Struggles in the Republic Almost from the beginning of the republic in 1863, the struggle for power was focused in two political parties: Conservative and Liberal. The Conservative Party was in the hands of landowners and rich commercial elites. Families from these classes were owners of coffee haciendas and cattle. They conducted the major business of the nation and represented the previous European aristocracy. Educated primarily in foreign universities and with means to travel to other countries, the were attracted to everything foreign. Their unconditional friendship with the United States served to guarantee their economic interests. Of particular importance was the interest of both Nicaragua and the United States in building interoceanic canal through Nicaragua. The Brian-Chamorro Treaty, signed in 1914 and ratified in 1916 gave the United States exclusive rights, in perpetuity to build a canal in Nicaragua.8 The proposed canal

PAGE 12

would bring prosperity to the country and help the Conservatives who did not have military strength or popular backing to maintain themselves in power. 5 Another foetor in the power struggles was the traditional role of the Church in Nicaragua. Membership in the Catholic Church was almost universal in Nicaragua and the Conservative Party has always been the party of the Church. This tradition lost its impact only when liberal leaders also began professing loyalty to the Church. A chief source of wealth of the Church was the practice of the Conservative elite to bequeath property to the priests or the Church at the death of the owner to secure priestly interpositions on behalf of their souls.9 It was against these practices that the Liberal Party gave its attention. The consitution of 1893 under Zelaya separated Church and State and guaranteed freedom of religion and free secular education. The Liberal Party favored free trade, modernization of the country's infrastructure, appropriation of communal lands and the creation of o mobile labor force. I 0 There were constant armed conflicts between the Conservatives and Liberals that caused serious damage to the economy and prevented the consolidation of the national bourgeoisie. It was these conflicts that permitted a foreign adventurer, Williamn Walker, to declare himself president of Nicaragua in 1856, and eventually led to United States dominance in Nicaragua. The association of the Liberal Party with Walker caused it to be discredited and his defeat was followed by 36 years of rule by the Conservative Party. II

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Other factors affecting the history and development of Nicaragua included the following: 6 I) Beginning with the independence of Central America in 1821, Great Britain exercised the preponderance of power in the seas and among the foreign powers with regard to Central America. This influence reached the point that Robert Charles Frederick was crowned Miskito King under the protection of the British in 1825. The sudden death of Frederick in 1842 precipitated a period of anarchy and the British seizure of the port of San Juan del Norte in 1848.12 In 1846, France was trying to complete the construction in Nicragua of the Canal Napoleon de Nicaragua. Great Britian was interested in maintaining control of the seas and considered construction of a canal through Nicaragua. The acquisition of California and the gold rush initiated United States propositions to Nicaragua for establishing a cheap overland route from the Atlantic to the Pacific.l3 Finally, the United States challenged the dominance of Great Britain and the clayton Bulwar Treaty of 1850 provided that neither nation would control or fortify any canal through Nicaragua.l4 Zelaya's Reforms The social structure of production and the preparation for capitialism took place in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Between 1870 and 1890 the Nicaraguan government ordered the sale of lands not used by native communities and in 1881 ordered the recruitment of labor. These measures gave legal support for the penetration of outside corporations in the field of agricultural production.

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7 General Jose Santos Zelaya became the President of Nicaragua by popular revolt against Conservative regime. This Liberal leader owed his ideas on politics and economics to education and conviction. The Zelaya constitution of 1893 introduced reforms to public and private institutions to modernize the social, political and economic structure. The constitution promoted incorporation of large holdings into coffee production by confiscating ecclesiastical property. Supported by the exportation of coffee, major improvements were planned for the expansion of the railways and new steamship lines. IS However, Zelaya found the treasury empty as most incoming executives of Nicaragua did and resorted to contradictory measures. He opened the doors to foreign investment and have broad concessions for mining and the exploitation of lumber and bananas. By granting leases to foreign investors, Zelaya facilitated the domination of the economy by North American corporations. Zelaya then decreed taxes on foreign trade. When Americans refused to pay these taxes, Zelaya's troops resorted to terrorization and conflict with the United States who furnished air to anti-Zelaya rebels.l6 Although Zelaya's reforms benefited the rising coffee industry he practiced other methods that were repressive. His conservative opponents were thrown into prison and their properties were confiscated. He ran the government operations as if they were private business deals and handed out concessions to his friends. Many loans and obi igations to foreigners were irresponsible. In 1909, Zelaya was convinced that he could not succeed with the United States so openly opposed to him. He resigned from the presidency

PAGE 15

after a stern note of denunciation from the United States Secretary of State Knox. 8 The Conservatives again regained political power but were subordinates of the United States. The Conservatives controlled the state unti I 1926 but the processes of the state were collapsing. Foreign debt reached such high proportions that the United States took over the Customs Office, the banks, and the issuing of money. In this way the United States could direct the country's income into paying off the debt. In 1916 Emiliano Chamorro led a coup d'etat that became known as the Constitutional War. The Liberal Army was composed of both bourgeoisie and worker-peasants groups. This led, in turn, to a new class consciousness and they drew leaders from among the mine workers. By 1927, a special presidential envoy, Henry L. Stimson, was sent from Washington to impose terms. Included in these terms was the handing over of all arms to the United States Marines until the establishment of the National Guard under the supervision of United States officers. The pact was signed by the leaders of the Constitutional War except the 31-year-old Augusto Cesar Sandino.IB Politics of Subordination The United States stated that it had three basic objectives in creating the National Guard: I) to replace the army and police with a well disciplines, adequately trained and equipped force; 2} to establish internal order and suppress the constant uprising against the government; and 3} to eventually change Nicaragua's armed forces into a non-political force to guarantee constitutional order. The National Guard was corrupted by the first national director, Anastasio Somoza Garcia, who was hand picked by

PAGE 16

United State intervention and who used the Guard to prepetuate himself and his family in unlimited power.l9 9 The revolutionary outcome of this situation was the organization of an army by Sandino. Under his leadership guerrilla warfare continued for the purpose of expelling the United States Marines. His program was directed toward national self-determination, non-intervention by the United States, and restoration of the constitution through popular vote, and land reforms. The war was limited to the countryside with a small and weak organization of the working class. The middle class was weary of war and there were massacres of the peasant population. These limitations allowed the United States to isolate Sandino's army and build up the National Guard. Zelaya and Somoza Compared Anastasio Somoza Garcia seized power in 1936 and tried to use the popular slogan "Zelaya the Reformer and Somoza the Peacemaker" to link his party to Zelaya but there were many differences between the two presidents. Zelaya Sornoza Rise to power by popular revolt Liberal by education and conviction Assassination of Sandino and coup d'etat against his uncle, Sacasa Undefined liberal principles, chosen by U.S. to end the Sandi no Affair

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Policies conflicted with U.S. interests 10 Policies could not control the foreign economic interests that conflicted with interests of Nicaraguan people20 Build-up of Somozan Power Somoza and his supporters built up his armed forces through the Lend Lease Programs of the United States, and the National Guard was essential to consolidate his power. The National Guard became a force of occupation within its own country, replacing the United States Marines. The Guard was used to maintain control over any rivals in the army or police and to eliminate them. Gradually power was expanded to control internal revenue and the national railroad, then to communication, postal and immigration services. Military control was established over imports of guns and ammunition. Eventually, even the National Sanitation Service was put under military control. 22 An astute politician, Somoza transformed civilian institutions to limit the political influence of the military. They were also used to gain support of various sections of society or to undermine the strength of any independent organization. These civilian institutions were manipulated to give the illusion of a constitutional democracy to a dynasty that became more and more oppressive. 22 For the elite ruling classes, the government of Somoza created ideal conditions for accumulating wealth but they were also the victims of the sole power of Somoza. Suppressing workers and breaking of strikes translated into a high rate of profit. Loyalty from political parties gained them seats in Congress, government posts, independent commercial

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II interests, and independent banking interests. On the other hand, the Somoza family used the loans made by the State and the United States to finance their own enterprises. Thus, they always dictated the economy and represented competition in every field too strong for other businesses to compete or survive.23 The death of Anastasio Somoza in 1956 did not lessen the power of the regime. One factor in strengthening the dynasty was the American Ambassador, Thomas E. Whelan's declaration that his government would recognize only Luis Somoza (elder son of Anastasio Somoza and then President of the Nicaragua Senate) as the immediate successor.24 Nicaraguan Political Practices In Nicaragua, mass participation in political life, especially for changing conditions of society, was never encouraged. A poorly educated population under a structure of prolonged oppression and exploitation allowed the preservation of remannants of the old system committed primarily to preserving the interests of the wealthy. The masses of Nicaragua sensed that decision making always remained in the hands of the privileged and learned that elections only served to express dissatisfaction with the system. Political participation by the masses found its expression in violence. By controlling the electoral process, the party in office could getthe most votes. Fraud and vote buying was common and was used for re-election, thus, corruption made revolution the only way to remove a power structure. 25 During the pre-revolutionary period Nicaragua was a democracy in name only regardless of provisions for free elections. In 1947 Somoza staged a coup d'etat only 27 days after the election of Leonardo Arguello

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12 end sent the newly-elected president into exile. The new dictator adopted c new constitution to legalize his term in office.26 One characteristic of the Somozcs wcs that they never hod c problem with maintaining their power because of the constitution. When they locked popularity, they managed to find constitutional clternctives for political expression through others. Their relationships with puppet interim presidents is one type of example. For instance, in 1966, Rene Shick (c very popular, but mcnipulcted president) died of c heart cttck two days after Somozc Debcyle wcs announced cs c ccndidcte.27 Although they were disenchanted with the system end widespread expectations of freud, leaders of the opposition mode political arrangements with the administration. An example is the "Pccto de los Generales" mode between the Notional Liberal Party (the administration) end Emilicno Chcmorro, chief of the Conservative Party. It wcs agreed that there would be no foreign supervision of the coming notional elections end that the defected party would be guaranteed one-third of the sects in the new cssembly.28 The cctucl result wcs that the Notional Liberal majority approved c riew constitution that gave c few liberal provisions such cs women's suffercge but extended the president's term from four to six years; gave the president power to decree lows related to the Notional Guard without consulting Congress. Further, it gave Somozc absolute power over the State end the military the ability to control the electoral end legislative mcchinery.29 Controlling Dissident Formations It wcs important to the Somozcs to extend their power beyond the limits of mere political competition. After the assassination of

PAGE 20

13 Sandino, Somoza organized and mobilized a large military apparatus to suppress any political contender. However, it was imperative for Somoza to have opposition to run against during elections. In 1944, Somoza collaborated with the Nicaraguan Socialist Party and sponsored legislation through Congress to create a Labor Code that theoretically met the most urgent demands of workers. With the support of the Nicaraguan Socialist Party, Somoza got a huge vote in the elections. Just a few months later he created conditions to destroy the emerging party, and after 1945 any militancy from Labor groups met unmerciful repression. The Labor Code was never implemented. 3D In spite of United States support of Somoza's dictatorship, many liberals abandoned him and new organization emerged within the old tranditional parties. Massive mobilization of liberals against Somoza during the 1940's began. The Independent Liberal Party led the national opposition after splitting from the Nationalist Liberal Party in 1944. The Independent Liberal Party (PLI) participated in the national elections of 1947 by combining forces with a part that had lost prestige and influence with the masses. Their candidate, Enoc Aguado Farfan, lost the election, but the PLI was active in mobilizing all national sectors--including workers, students and peasants. Sectors of the working class had their own organization but they were recruited by the PLI. After 1973 it was said that the party had been inflitrated by Communism. The party refused to compromise with Somoza when the Sandinista Front was fighting the revolution. The PLI claimed its principles were anti-imperialism, autodetermination and non-intervention.31

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14 In 1957 the Social Christian Party broke from the Genuine Conservative Party. A solid block of opposition was formed with the PLI and the Nicaraguan Socialist Party. The Social Christian Party was formed by young Catholic intellectuals under the leadership o Pedro Joaquin Chamorro Cardenal. They had been inspired by a papal encyclical (Pio XII), by lay Catholic humanism and Christian democratic ideas from Europe. Chamorro Cardenal kept anti-communist prejudices and through his paper, La Prensa, he maintained debates with leftist groups and sectors of organized labor.32 During the seventies, Chamorro founded the Democratic Union of Liberation and made an alliance with the Socialist Party and the Independent Confederation of Workers. Formation of New Classes After World War II the economy of Nicaragua changed with the exporting of agricultural products. Cotton production increased and the export of coffee and meat helped to develop the modernization of the economy. The economic changes also resulted in social changes. Agricultural lands passed into the hands of the most privileged and produced an imbalance when rural workers migrated to the cities, especially to Managua. These people became the target of economic exploitation as work expanded in industry and commerce and in the State bureaucracy. The economic and social development of the wage-earner class took place so rapidly that some believe it was intentionally created. There also developed an emerging capitalist class of cotton plantation owners. Both the wage-earners and the cotton plantation owners were dependent on the state for technical and financial assistance. This

PAGE 22

dependence strengthened the political dominance of the Somozas and legtimated the dictatorship. 33 IS In the face of the strong political legitimation of the regime, the struggle for power of the traditional political parties continued. They were able to maintain their economic independence from the state during the 1950's by the production, internal sale and exportation of coffee and cotton. After the Cuban Revolution in the 1960's the United States introduced economic strategies designed to avoid the propagation of the Cuban example. Part of this strategy was the "Alliance for Progress" at the continental level and the "Central American Common Market" (CACM) at the regional level. These measures were accompanied by agrarian reform and distribution of income. Somoza's reform amounted to a colonization plan that would pacify the peasant by reducing the pressure on land forming part of export production. About 16,500 families received titles to agricultural land and many others were settled in agrarian colonies, mostly on the Atlantic The Alliance for Progress was not successful because the reforms did not remove the power held by the dominant classes. The government continued to rotate around the axis of the dynasty, the latifundists and in industrial financiers. The Common Market also only opened the door to the establishment of multinational corporations. By taking advantage of free commerce and low customs duties these multinational corporations were able to monopolize industry. In addition, they absorbed industries that had already been established--Aceitera Corona became United Brands, Galletas Crista! became Nabisco, Matasa was acquired by US Steel, and Industria Ceramica South America was controlled by American Standard. These

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16 powerful corporations were able to accomplish a degree of industrialization and modernizaton in Nicaragua. Unfortunately, the state bureaucracy and agrarian exports grew on a parallel with the industrial and this gave Somoza control over its development. 35 For foreign corporations, the Common Market was simply a way of creating new investment opportunities; for the ruling class, the Common Market meant the indefinite postponement of domestic reforms The collapse of the Common Market in 1970 was the logical outcome of these unresolved contradictions. 36 The Conservative Party was another victim of the consolidation of power by the Somozas. Because it was unable to gain control through elections, rebellions, or coup d'etas. The Conservative Party was forced into financial dependence of the state, and a pact was made between the Conservative leader F err-lando Aguero and Anastasio Somoza Debayle. 3 7 However, the disenchanted people were pushed by a desire for personal and political freedom by expanding control and increasing concentration of wealth of the Somozas. New organizations were formed that were independent of the traditional political parties. There was a weakening of the Liberal-Conservative conflict in the 1960's. This created a political vacuum that was lated filled by fhe Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional. Because they were politically isolated, the Sandinistas were accumulating experience. It was a time for them to study and analyze the work of revolutionary theorists. They could plan practical actions and examine the past failures.

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17 The middle classes of Nicaragua were not taking up the void and filing the vacuum left by the traditional political parties because they did not recognize the impending crisis. They did not see the necessity of their active participation to make a predominant middle class. By this failure, they allowed the contradictions of social and economic structure of the society to reach irreversible conditions without some kind of revolt. The crisis for the dictatorship made it possible for the Sandinistas to fill the vacuum.38 The Final Crisis The failure of the Central American Common Market brought on economic crisis that Somoza was unable to resolve. The decline in economic development and private investment produced unemployment, and then the earthquake of 1972 destroyed a large part of the capital, Managua, and thousands of citizens lost their lives or were dislocated. However, the destruction created new opportunities for investment and employment to replace everything that had been destroyed. But Somoza increased his personal fortune by organizing his own bank, insurance company, financial institution and construction firms. This created conflict between Somoza and the traditional bourgeoisie because they had been excluded from opportunities created by the earthquake. There were other factors that contributed to the rising tide of indignation and dissatisfaction of the people. By smuggling and evading taxes imposed on other sectors, the Samozas were able to realize even further profits. Somoza permitted the National Guard to plunder and loot the commercial sections of Managua or to sell international relief materials. By using the control of government to distribute international

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18 relief funds through the political party of the majority, recipients had to comply with arbitrary rules to qualify for aid. Ignoring the desperate needs of the people, Somoza and his allies channeled much fo the international aid funds into their own pockets. To finance reconstruction after the earthquake, debts were contracted with other countries, international institutions and private banks. In 1972 the government received over $120 million and in 1973 this figure doubled. Again in 1974 over $185 million was borrowed. This rapidly accelerating debt (up to $800 million in 1977) was administered by the inefficient and dishonest banks of Somoza. Very few of the designated reconstruction projects are known to have received any of this aid. Instead the Somozas increased their fortunes and their allies became rich while foreigners got large financial shares and commissions. 39 Another factor leading to the final crisis was the gradual decline of the traditional support of the Church for the Somozas and the ultimate participation of the clergy in active revolutionary armed struggle in a just war. Some of the events that precipitated this situation were related to events after the earthquake of 1972. In 1973, Somoza offered the Bishop of Managua, Miguel Obando y Bravo, $8 million to reconstruct the cathedral if the Bishop would appear publicly at Somoza's side. When a mass was held in the Central Plaza (now known as Plaza de Ia Revolucion) to commemorate the earthquake, Somoza attended so that he could be photographed with the people and improve his popularity. Instead, the parishioners chose this moment to demonstrate and Somoza was infuriated with the Church. Through his paper, Novedades, Somoza asked the Archbishop to define his position in relation to the revolution. The

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19 response of the Church described the situation as "institutional violence." By January 1978, three groups could be identified within the Church: I) a small group of Somoza supporters 2) a non-violent group represented by Bravo who were interested in mediation with Somoza and afraid of a Sandinista victory. 3) a Christian Based Community group working actively for Sandinista triumph. The turning point for the Church was the assassination of the editor of La Prensa, Joaquin Chamorro Cardenal, on February 8, 1978. The bishops published a pastoral letter which accepted the armed struggle based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas who favored a just war. Some priests began to participate in revolutionary duties and were ki lied in action.40 The Sandinists National Liberation Front had emerged from isolation to become the accepted organization of choice to lead the popular sectors. Its political program for a post-Somoza government received broad and enthusiastic support. The United States pol icy, announced by President Carter, regarding human rights violations permitted the denunciation of Latin America's worst human rights offenders--Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Haiti, El Salvador and Nicaragua. This new policy contributed to the final crisis and made the extreme oppression of the people visible.41 As the participation of the masses increased, the whole structure of Somozas power was threatened. The whole system of corruption, repression and exploitation could not fall faster, in spite of its many weaknesses, because there was no alternative apparatus to replace it. With the fall of the dictatorship there was a need to reconstruct State

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20 institutions. The failure of the national bourgeoisie and Washington to find a formula of power to replace rule by the masses would mean the loss of control of the national economy.

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NOTES CHAPTER I 1 Newsweek, September 29, 1980; Ignacio Briones Torres, "Angustia y esperanza de Nicaragua," Combate 3 (July-August 1961): 44-50. 2sergio Ramirez, lntroduccion al pensamiento Sandinista (Managua: Coleccion El Chipote, 1981), p. 27. 3 Jorge Detrinidad Martinez, Diccianasio politico-filosofico popular (Managua: Educiones Monimbo, 1980), p. 14. 4Thomas W. Walker, Nicaragua: The Land of Sandino (Colorado: Westview Press, 1981), pp. 47-62. 5 Ben G. Burnett and Kenneth F. Johnson, Political Forces in Latin America (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1968), pp. 57-59. 6Thomas Walker, op. cit., p. 48. 7 Carmen Deere and Peter Marchetti, "Worker-Peasant Alliance in the First Year of the Nicaraguan Agrarian Reform," Latin American Perspectives VIII (Spring, 1981): 41. 8 Dana G. Munro, Five Republics of Central America: Their Political and Economic Development and Their Relations with the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1918), p. 25. 9 Ephraim George Squier, Nicaragua its People (New York: Harper and Bros., 1960), pp. 657-679. IOEdelberto Torres Rivas, "Sintesis Historica del Proceso Politico," in Edelberto Torres Rivas, et al., Centroamerica: Hoy (Mexico: Siglo XXI, 1975), p. 123. 11Richard Millett, Guardians of the Dynasty (New York: Orbis Books, 1977), p. 19.

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12La Mosguitia en Ia revolucion (Managua: Centro de lnvestigationn y Estudios de Ia Reforma Agraria, 1981), p. 38. 13Ephriam George Squier, op. cit., p. 380. 22 14Robert Naylor, "The BritishRole in Central America Prior to the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850," Hispanic American Historical Review 40 (August 1960): pp. 361-382. 15Mosguitia en Ia Revolucion (Managua: CIERA, 1981), pp. 42-43. I6Harold Norman Denny, Dollars for Bullets: The Story of American Rule in Nicaragua (New York: Dial, 1929), pp. 64-80. 17Rodolfo Puiggross, "Discurso en Ia jornada de solidaridad con el pueblo de Nicaragua," Suplemento en Gaceta Saninista 6/7 (December 1975 and January 1976): I, p. 2. 18George Black, Triumph of the People: The Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua (London: Zed Press, 1981), p. 13-17. 19Richard Millett, op. cit., pp. 47-53. 20Richard Millett, op. cit., p. 20. 211bid., p. 251. 22carlos Perez Bermudez and Onofre Guevara Lopez, t!_ movimiento obrero en Nicaragua (Managua: Ediciones Davila Bolanos, 1981) p. 113. 2 3NACLA: Report on the Americas, February 1976, pp. 10-12. 24Richard Millett, op. cit. p. 231. 2 5Maj. Edwin N. McClellan, "Supervising Nicaraguan Electi.ons, 1928," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. LIX (January, 1933). 26Eduardo Crawley, Dictators Neve Die (London: C. Hurst and Company, 1979), pp. 101-114.

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23 27Roberto Gutierrez Silva, "Revelaciones intimas de Ia mediacion politico de 1950 entre Chamorro y Somoza," Revista Conservadora VII (September 1963): 13-77. 28Britannico, Book of the Year 1951, p. 507. 29George Black, op. cit., p. 29. 3Fausto Amador, "Rising Opposition to Somoza Dictatorship," Intercontinental Press, 28 November 1977, p. 1314. 31 Britannica, Book of the Year 1948, pp. 532-33. 32 Jesus Miguel Blandon, Entre Sandino y Fonseca Amador (Managua: lmpresiones y Troqueles S.A., 1980), p. 55. 3 3Epica Task Force, Nicaragua: A People's Revolution, (Washington D.C., 1980), pp. 3-6. 34Diona Deere and Peter Marchetti, op, cit., 0. 46. 35Gaceta Sandinista 8-9 (February-March 1976), pp. 16-17. 36susanne Jones, "The Roll of the United States in Shaping the Central American Common Market: A Case STudy in the Politics of Foreign Aid." Berkeley (Mimeo n.p.), 1972, p. 101. 37Epica Task Force, op. cit., p. 5. 38 Ibid., p. 4. 39Francisco Lainez, Terremoto '72: elites y pueblo (Managua: Editorial Union, 1977), pp. 136-203. 40Michoel Dodson and Tommie Sue Montgomery, "La Iglesia en Ia revolucion Nicaraguense," Nicaracua 2 (April-June 1981), pp. 145-149. 41 Thomas W. Walker, ed., Nicaragua in Revolution (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1979), p. 63.

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CHAPTER II PROGRESSIVE STEPS IN THE REVOLUTION Introduction In this chapter some aspects of the Nicaraguan revolutionary process will be discussed and ideological perspectives assessed. Also, the development of the armed struggle led by the Sandinistas from 1961 to 1979 will be examined. After the departure of the U.S. Marines in 1933 the Sandinista I ebellion shifted to political tactics. But the assassination of Sandi no by the National Guard in 1934 altered conditions and destroyed the political as well as the military strength of the movement. The death of the Sandinista (' leaders and the exile of the guerilla fighters marked the decline of revolutionary activity. Without leadership and with dispersion of those who were active in the revolutionary movements that began in 1926, it is important to examine factors that contributed to the prolonged period of revolutionary activities. There were factors of internal weaknesses in Nicaragua as well as some international conditions that affected the Sandino Revolution. Among the weaknesses of the Sandino revolution we c;:an see that there were these apparent flaws: I. failure to prepare effective leaders to replace Sandino; 2. failure to coordinate political and military procedure; 3. weakness of the working class and poor organization caused by economic conditions;

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25 4. failure of the Nicaraguan people to understand the need for political reform after military success. International conditions at that time included: 1. weakness of world socialism (it existed only in Russia); 2. existence and challenges of Fascism; 3. prestige gained by the U.S. through its fight against Fascism 1 The resistance movement declined but never disappeared. There was a period of prolonged political strategy, accumulation of human and material forces, and both national and international strategy. In 1956 Anastasio Somoza Garcia was assassinated by Rigoberto Lopez Perez. This action destroyed the myth that the dictatorship was indestructible. It helped to show the masses that it was possible to respond to violence by violence and put an end to the bourgeois opposition. The event marked a renewal of popular activity and led to the eventual creation of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). 2 Initially, the people of Nicaragua began to break away from historical practices in accepting the coalition of the political parties and made possible the acceptance of the vanguard organizational activities of the FSLN. The next step before the insurrection itself was the development of amassing political and military power within the country and also outside the country. The process also included plans to consolidate revolutionary organizatons into a single popular front to establish governing mechanism following the eventual overthrow of the dictatorship. Organizing Revolutionary Groups In the early stages of the revolutionary movement, the traditional political parties struggled to remove Somoza. They had failed

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26 in attempts at armed revolt and Somoza had gained favorable arrangements through his various pacts with political parties. The struggle against the dictatorship gained visibility in 1959 when many demonstrating university students were killed and injured. As a result, Marxist oriented groups began to study political theory and coupled it with the Sandinista's past experiences. Most of the students in these groups became part of the organized efforts of the Nicaraguan Patriotic Youth which reached into important sectors of the workers and students, and led to the founding in 1962 of the Revolutionary Student Front. When the FSLN suffered military defeats in 1963, collaboration between the Revolutionary Student Front and the Popular Civilian Committees helped to build support for the armed sector of the struggle. This was through an effort to establish a semi-legal network that was clandestine because there was no extisting political operation adequate to support the armed forces of revolution.3 Opposition to the Revolutionary Youth Front took at least two strong steps: I) long lists of names of both professionals and students who were anti-Somoza were sent to the American Embassy (to be anti-Somoza was tantamount to being a communist), and 2) the Catholic University was established in Managua and support by Somoza to control revolutionary activities of students. The result was that the National Youth Front and Nicaraguan Youth Front were dissolved.4. Street demonstrations were organized to protest the high cost of living, poor health and housing conditions and other social problems. The organization and participation of the people was a critical factor for future confrontations with the government. It was essential to the mobilization of workers, peasants, students, intellectuals and others within the population.

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27 During 1960 and 1961 the FSLN was organized and its leaders defined its purpose as the overthrow of Somoza's dictatorship and the destructions of the bureaucracy--the military and economic structures-that maintained the power of the dynasty. 5 Between 1960 and 1967 progress was made by guerrilla actions, but in 1967 the movement emerged with the support of the peasants. In a central region of Nicaragua, at Pancasan, the guerrillas suffered a military defeat against Somoza's National Guard and were forced to retreat. However, Pancasan was important because of the significant revolutionary ties with the peasants and the beginning of many of them joining the ranks of the FSLN.6 From the time of Sandino in the 1920's1930's, no single organization had pointed the way to successful overthrow of the Somozan dynasty until the acceptance of the FSLN. The presence of a revolutionary vanguard in the mountains and the cities had a marked impact both nationally and internationally. The ultimate goal was not the changing of the men in power, but the overthrow and removal of the exploiting classes so that those who had been exploited for such a long duration could rule. Several events marked the development of the struggle that brought the Sandinistas into the role of the vanguard. One of these situations was the establishment of a guerrilla front in the mountains of Zinica in 1969. The composition of the guerrilla army was not different from the one at Pancasan. Now the guerrilla army was almost exclusively made up of peasants who knew the terrain and were supported by the peasant population. Although it did not succeed militarily at Zinica, the situation marked the adoption of the strategy of a prolonged popular war in the mountainsJ

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28 On December 27, 1974, a FSLN unit entered the house of Jose Maria Castillo Quant where a party was held in honor of American Ambassador Turner Shelton. After several of Somoza's closest associates were held, the government gave in to the demands of the FSLN: freedom for thirteen Sandinistas held in Somoza's jails, one million dollars and transmission of a 12,000 word communique, explaining to the people the terms of this action.a There was a continuing development of the ideology of the FSLN among the urban and rural working class and students. The revolutionary forces formed study groups and even in difficult guerrilla situations, printed and distributed newsletters and periodic literature.9 An active international campaign was organized in support of the Sandinistas through various human rights and solidarity committees organized in Europe, Latin America and the United States. This world-wide campaign drew respect for the revolutionary movement and ended the international isolation of the movement. The dictatorship, on the other hand, grew more and more isolated internationally. During this stage of the struggle, the FSLN intended to establish a government that would guarantee national independence and the continuation of an anti-imperialist and anti-reactionary struggle. From the Sandinista point of view, a popular democratic government was to be a true people's government representing all sectors of the Nicaraguan society. It was determined not to reform the system of exploitation but to guarantee a freedom from foreign and bourgeois domination that would continue after the Somoza dynasty was overthrown. I 0 The concept was not only the removal of the Somoza dynasty but the destruction of the system it represented and a rebuilding by:

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29 I. establishment of a Revolutionary People's Government; 2. immediate nationalization of the finances of the wealth of the Somozas and of the financial sector; 3. state intervention in agricultural production; 4. national sovereignty without political or economic domination; 5. developing national industry and peasant participation in their own interests; 6. creating social and cultural changes, both rural and urban, that favored the impoverished; 7. maintaining independence internationally and supporting world revolutionary causes; 8. organizing and mobilizing the working class and peasants to train them in democratic processes; 9. replace the National Guard with a workers' and peasants' army; I 0. control of the banks, fighting high living costs and unemployment, increase wages, nationalize foreign monopolies. II The Sandinista process reached its most active stage between 1974 and 1978 --that was preparation for insurrection and civil war. The steps leading to this were the development of the revolutionary vanguard, organization and alliance of the working class and the peasantry with the strength of the popular army in the mountains and cities. To ensure its success the Front worked in conjuction with other organizations: political, trade unions, issue-oriented groups, military and paramilitary. There was an organized and active campaign of creative

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30 Sandinista agitation and propaganda taken to the masses with political slogans. They built a military infrastructure that made possible the mobilization, organization and preparation of commando training, transportation of arms and supplies, manufacture of bombs, incendiaries, intelligence, safe-houses, and direct and indirect underground communications. A solid offensive to break and take control of the defensive positions of the enemy was developed as well as a plan for organized retreat to avoid disbanding or disorderly withdrawals.12 The support of the masses was important and active as they fought against the military elite and informers. The people used automatic rifles and homemade bombs and even made cannons and mortars using a lathe shop for arms repair .13 Another activity to strengthen Sandinista unity and to ensure success of the revolution was inflitration into the National Guard and other agencies of the pro-Somoza government. The purpose was to win the sympathy of as many junior officers as possible, of some senior officers, and to increase the antagonisms that already existed between junior and senior officers. Some the of. the conditions favorable to the objectives of the revolution were the moral and political weakness of the regime, the discrediting of the Somoza regime both inside and outside the country, recognition internationally of the regime's human rights violations. As the tolerance of power shifted and the regime became progessively weaker, the revolutionary leaders made some bold demands, such as:

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31 I. elimination of the Black Code: a Law of Censorship that closed ratio stations, levied fines and used other methods of repressing on the media; 14 2. freeing of political prisoners; 3. explaining the disappearance of peasants. IS It was in this atmosphere that Pedro Joaquin Chamorro was shot on his way to work in downtown Managua in January of 1978. Fifty thousand poured into the capital to attend his funeral. Rioting followed the funeral and more than a dozen Somoza family businesses were burned and five people were killed. The official investigation produced four gunmen and five prominent Somocistas were implicated. Among them was the manager of a blood plasma export company that Chamorro was attacking in his newspaper, La Prensa. The death of Chamorro released the bitterness that had been boiling for many years and shook the economic and political structures of the Somocismo.l.6 The Insurrection The people had become aware of the fact that violence appeared to be the only means of overthrowing the tyranny and there followed generalized activities in many forms: political strikes, popular local uprisings, armed struggle within the cities, and finally, a general strike. The general strike was an attempt of the non-Somocista bourgeoisie to demobilize the workers and prevent their participation in revolutionary actions. Many employers tried to dissuade the workers from leaving their homes and taking to the streets. The purpose was to encourage peaceful resistance with the coalition of a Broad Opposition Front, Frente Amplio Opositor (F AO). All the organizations of the bourgeois democratic

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32 opposition joined the FAO and hoped that the FSLN would also join. The agenda for F AO's negotiatons were to require the Somoza family to leave the country; to form a national government; to implement a sixteen-point program that included agrarian reform, release of political prisoners, and educational improvements.l7 The F AO was really the effort of a group of bourgeois oppositionists, who tried to put themselves forward to find a solution through compromise with the United States and, by negotiations with the Somocitas. The ouster of Somoza would leave intact the apparatus of repression and exploitation used by the dictatorial regime. For instance, the National Guard would be reorganized by a Technical Council named and chosen from among top officers recognized for good conduct and discipline. Thus, the FAO represented interests that would function and thrive like the old order and the structure for Somozism without Somoza.16 Until the middle of 1977 the political forces against Somoza were divided, but by 1978 the forced against Somoza were united. The Movement of Popular United (MPU) was an organization that served to combine various groups of dissent within the population. It served to unite popular sectors which had been the target of political, social, cultural and economic repression. The formation of the National Patriotic Front was the result of these efforts for unity. The Constitution of the National Patriotic Front (FPN) was signed February I, 1979. Among those signing this document were the Independent Liberal Party, the Group of Twelve, the Social Christian Party, the Worker's Front and the Confederation of Nicraguan workers. The insurrection itself was the opening of military fronts in the mountainous zones, in areas not familiar to the National Guard. These

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33 actions drew battalions of the National Guard away from the cities where massacres were conducted. Defeats suffered by the National Guard contributed to the decline in morale. From the mountains the revolutionary forces pushed into the cities. These operations opened the way for widespread activity of the masses in the form of revolutionary brigades, commandos and militias. The military activity in the cities made it possible for the populace to destroy the enemy's rearguard. The political repercussions of the military struggle on the fronts were less significant because of the distances and the difficulties of spreading information. However, Radio Sandino contributed to the popular mobilizaton and agitation that prepared the masses for final insurrection. The active resistance of the people of Managua, for instance, paralyzed the enemy and made it possible for the Sandinista forces to relocate where the revolutionary forces needed strengthening.l9 Guerrilla warfare, the method of armed struggle that depends on support from the masses in this area of struggle, was successful. As a result the whole dictatorial apparatus was overthrown and the dynasty lost all its resources and the revolutionary government was not required to coexist with any Somoza remanants, imitations or substitutes.20

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NOTES CHAPTER II I On the General Political-Military Platform of struggle of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation for the Triumph of the Sandinista Popular Revolution (Pamphlet), (Managua: National Leadership of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, May 1977). 2George Black, Triumph of the People: The Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, (London: Zed Press, 1981 ), pp. 32-33. 3 Alejandro Bendana, "Crisis in Nicaragua," NACLA: Report on the Americas XII (November-December 1978), pp. 32-33. 4Humberto Ortega, 50 anos de lucha Sandinista, (Mimeo, n.p., 1976), pp. 93-94. Son the General Political-Military Platform, op. cit., p. 12. 6 1gnacio Gonzalez Janzen, "La dinastia de los Somoza," Historia lllustrada, No. 38 (July 1979), pp. 4-19. 7 George Black, Triumph of the People: The Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua (London: Zed Press, 1981 ), p. 84. 8Jaime Wheelock, Diciembre Victorioso (Managua: SENAPEP, 1979, pp. 70-90.

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p. 321. 35 9on the General Political-Military Platform, op. citl, pp. 11-16. I Olbid., p. 16. II Ibid., p. 16. 12Humberto Ortega, op. cit., p. 63. 13Harold N. Denny, Dollars for Bullets (New York: Dial, 1929), 14sEPLA: Seminario Permanente sobre Latino America, No.4, (December I 979), p. I 0. 151bid., p. I 0. 161bid., p. 6. 17sernard Diederich, Somoza (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1981 ), p. 21. 18Fausto Amador and Sara Santiago, "Where is Nicaragua Going?" Intercontinental Press, II June 1979, p. 581. 19Humberto Ortega, Sobre Ia insurreccion (La Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1981 ), pp. 31-39, 52-57, 68-69. 20tbid., pp. 16-17.

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CHAPTER Ill POLICIES OF THE REVOLUTION Land Reform This chapter discusses the changes made by the revolutionary government that were announced in the program of 1980, the first anniversary of the revolution. The chapter focuses on the practical problem of implementing those changes, specifically the nationalization of components of the economy, the creation of new structures and mechanisms of governement and to overcome the final obstacles to the construction of a new society. The revolutionary government announced the program on July 19, 1980, the first anniversary of the revolution. However, in response to pressure from the private sector, it withdrew the program to make modifications. This was necessary to prevent the law of agrarian reform from eroding national unity and undermining progress towards Nicaragua's mixed economy From 1979 to 1981 the revolution used temporary measures to alleviate pressures for the land. In many of the farms confiscated from Somoza, peasants who had formed cooperatives were allowed to use, without charge, the land they needed as an emergency measure to increase basic grain production. The rental price of land was lowered by decree from $41 to $5.80. The law was established that any landless peasant, merely by presenting his request to the Ministry of Agriculture, could rent idle land at $5.80 per acre per year. I

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37 During the Somocismo only 24,000 families were allowed access to credit. The vast majority of rural producers suffered at the hands of usurious merchants. In 1980 the number of families in the formal credit system with subsidized credit rates jumped to over 97,000 families. The Nicaraguan land reform was, perhaps, the first land reform to take into account the interests of both the landless peasant and the rural entrepreneur. It should be pointed out that the abundance of land in Nicaragua relative to its population made possible this original experiment in land reform.2 In order to avoid a drastic drop in production, the land reform, made maintaining and increasing production the primary criteria of its program. This need was accomplished without disregarding the requirements of justice and redistribution of land to the poor peasants. The first article of the law guaranteed the right to private property to every owner who was using his land for productive purposes. In other words, the main target of the new law was that idle was land abandoned or dedicated to pasturing cattle in an overly wasteful way. The law punished only those owners with more than 850 acres of idle or abandoned land in the interior. It is estimated that there were, at the time of the revolution, nearly two million acres of such idle land in Nicaragua.3 All of the individually titled properties of a family controlling more than 1,700 acres was liable to expropriation. This measure was justified by the fact that some of the worst exploiters of the poor peasantry had multiple properties which they had taken from the poor through economic extortion. The law of agrarian reform contained very strict provisions against exploitations of the peasantry through such practices or sharecropping, a form near servitude. If this occurred, rather than

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38 expropriating that land, the government would give the share cropper peasant family title to land on one of the idle or abandoned properties in the area.4 The production criterion also played an important role in determining who would receive the land. The most negligent of the large producers would be expropriated, the most dedicated poor peasants would benefit from the land reform. The most important innovation in the Agrarian Reform Law was the creation of the Agrarian courts to review the demands of individuals affected by the resolutions or sentences dictated by the Ministry of Development and Agrarian Reform.5 The decisions of these agrarian courts cannot be appealed. The Literacy Campaign The first major step in the transformation of the national educational system was to slash the rate of illiteracy in the nation. After six years of revolution, Nicaragua was experiencing a real educational explosion. The Literacy Campaign slased the rate of illiteracy from fifty percent to twelve percent and made possible establishment of 2,639 educational centers with 1,252 new buildings. The number of students grew from 500,000 to 1,005,318 in 1983-1984.6 In spite of the physical hazards involved in carrying out this notable effort, the members of the cultural brigades successfully worked with the most vulnerable section of the country: the peasantry. In the remote rural areas of the country, the brigades faced disease, the inadequate diet of the peasantry and the terrorists attacks of the CIA supported Somocista-Contras.

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39 In some respects, the Nicaraguan literacy campaign taught new ideological concepts of the revolution. The campaign was a teachinglearning experience of the revolution, in the revolution and for the revolution. In other words, it was a political project in the sense of being a project of liberation in which all the organizations of the country paticipated. The methods used in the literacy campaign stemmed from the and were compatible with Sandinista revolutionary principles. Methods used include popular participation and dialogue, study of both local and national history, understanding of the contradictions between popular and official language, and the capacity of the adult population for permanent, continuing education} The Nicaraguan literacy crusade made significant contributions to the methodology of universal popular education not only for Nicaragua but also for the whole world. This was recognized by international organizations of education such as the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESC0),8 which in September 1980 granted the UNESCO award to Nicaragua. From the political point of view, the literacy campaign was a project of peace. The international solidarity sought by Nicaragua was not for arms but for liberation from ignorance. The literacy campaign was a project of integration of the peasantry into national I if e. For the first time in the history of Nicaragua, a reverse migration took place as the youth of the cities migrated to the countryside.9 Deeply affected by this project of integration was the Nicaraguan Atlantic Coast. The crusade attempted to unite the Atlantic and the Pacific coastal regions, which traditionally had been separated. In the Atlantic Coast, 78.07% of the population did not know how to read or

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40 write. A literacy campaign in Miskito, Sumo and English began in Octorber 1980. Some 11,800 persons of the Atlantic Coast learned to read and write in their native languages. Above all, the eradication of illiteracy was the corner-stone for future educational projects. Important changes could be expected to follow in Nicaraguan society, not only in the building of knowledge but also in individual attitudes and social transformation after generations of isolation and obscurism. Mixed Economy Under the Somoza model, Nicarguan capital did not exist except within a framework of dependence. The base of the economy was ogre exportation. The agricultural sector directed toward internal consumption, to feed the people, was left virtually abandoned. The system was aimed at exporting solely to gain foreign currency. The internal economy was attended to only minimally. Under this system the small producer was never able to get state aid or credit. The small producer began to receive credit only after the Sandinista Revolution. The Plan for Economic Reactivation established measures for raising the production of domestic food supplies. The plan called for the domestic producton of 68% of the country's four basic food grains --rice, corn, beans, and sorghum-with the rest to be imported. The structure of the mixed economy is such that 55-60% of the economy is in private enterprise. People's enterprise has 40-45% of the economy. The mixed economy established investments within the country to supply the basic needs of the population.

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41 The external component of a mixed economy is a political pluralism. This means having many external ties and the diversification of foreign commerce and credits. In 1983 international production increased 5.1%. The National PI an for Economic Reactivation in benefit of the people was the first attempt to reorganize the national economy directing the use of the productive resources in a rational manner, to distribute its benefits according to the needs of the whole population and not only to the benefit of a few administrators. The plan brought together wage workers with small producers and artisans, and professionals and technicians in a single unbreakable project of national unity. It also meant integrating the businessmen and offering these businessmen the support of the government. This was necessary to reactive their sector of the economy in order to achieve the goals in production which this plan has set for the private sector. In the past the workers had to fulfill the objectives in production established by the owners of the captial. Those objectives existed only in the function of the particular interests of each enterprise and were determined by the benefits they could generate. I 0 The goals of the government for national unity can be summarized in the following principles: democracy with transformation and development of the economy, social welfare and self-determination. At the same time, the government was a republic that became more and more defined in four to six years and gained the characteristics of a political pluralism. The society contained a mixed economy, popular participation, non-alignment and national defense. In 1979 Nicaragua became a member of the movement of nonaligned nations. Since that time Nicaragua has voted in the United

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42 Nations in favor of human rights, of limiting the arms race. It has also been in favor of decolonization and movement toward national I iberation and for multilateral agreements that would regulate international trade. Nicaragua has voted according to its principles of nonalignment, with respect for self-determination of all nations, and has avoided voting with either capitalist or socialist blocs. The Program of Economic Reactivation in benefit of the people has seven political objectives: I. The defense, consolidation and advancement of the revolutionary process. 2. The reactivation of the economy in the interest of the lower classes. 3. The maintenance of national unit. 4. The construction of the Sandinista State. 5. Strengthening of the Area of Public Property. 6. Establishing and maintaining internal and external balances. 7. Initiating the process of transition to a new economy.ll The plan specifically pressed for cooperation from the private capitalist. The private sector still had considerable control over a large portion of Nicaragua's industry and agricultural exports. The plan was that the property of these capitalists would not be siezed as long as they kept up the production and followed the guidelines of the economic plan. Data taken from the 1981 Economic Program showed that Plan 80 almost met the main targets of production recovery. Agriculture reached 76% of its 1978 level (80% of the plan); industry was at 82% (87% in the plan). This was attributed to the unexpected good response of peasant farmers and cooperatives; to price incentives and technical assistance for

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43 maize on the one hand and to the positive response of the Area of Public Property (APP) and medium manufacturers. The Gross Domestic Product (GOP) was back to 83% of its 1978 level in 1980 (a little less than 91% in the plan).l2 The P Jan for Economic Reactivation had several different objectives; such as, measures for raising the production of domestic food supplies and key agricultural export products (cotton, coffee, sugar), basic industrial goods (medicines, clothing, educational materials, construction supplies, fertilizers and pesticides). The goal was for an increase of 22% in order to match the 1978 level of production. The revolutionary Government believed that the only solution to the economic crisis was social peace and national unity through a mixed economy controlled by the logic of increasing justice for the majority. This meant not only increasing production, but also redistributing income. One of the most important measures for achieving the redistribution of income was the creation of new sources of employment through government spending. The complexity of the public and private sectors was the key goal given to the mixed economy. In this new vision of a mixed economy, the Sandinistas expected the public sector to be more responsive to the market forces and the private sector more responsive to human needs. Private enterprise was invited to cooperate in return for guarantees of reasonable profits and security of ownership so long as the laws were obeyed and activities such as tax evasion, capital flight, and sepculation were avoided. The Sandinista State government assumed administrative functions over all foreign commerce and banking of the country.

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44 The government had the intention of raising rural wages more rapidly than urban wages in order to work toward the long term objective of narrowing the income differential between town and country. The expansion of popular living standards would be in the form of the "social wage". Therefore, the government expenditures for health, education,housing and social services would have to increase, but also had to be contained within reasonable limits of expenditure. The Sandinista State promotes private enterprise when it turns over land titles to peasants, and when it provides credit, technology and .general assistance to small farmers and livestock owner. The Government of National Reconstruction created two institutions for management of the Area of Public Property (APP). These were the Institute Nicaraguanse de Reform Agraria (INRA) which is the Nicaraguan Institute of Agrarian Reform and the Corporation of People's Industries (COIP). The INRA administered agrarian reform and the COIP was in charge of more than 250 nationalized industries. The political approach of the Sandinista government was that the APP was the axis of the new economy and had to be consolidated, strengthened, developed and enlarged. The strategic plan of the APP was not to spread misery or force the workers to be satisfied with scraps from the employer's tables. The purpose of the APP was to create a strong economic base to meet the growing needs of the people. The workers in the APP had to show that they no longer worked for a social class whose traditional interests were the accumulation of individual wealth and personal gratification. The intention was to raise the standard of living of the working people and to use the surplus generated by the APP in new investments that would permit autonomous accumulation. At the same

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45 time, the development of new projects or sources of work would generate social benefits in the area of health, education, housing and transportation. Bonking System It was necessary to restructure the bonking system to make this on instrument for economic management and planning. The number of bonks was reduced from more than twenty to only five. Within the framework of the new financial order, the bonks incorporated representatives of other state institutions to insure the best possible coordination of credits with production. The nationalization of the bonking sector meant that the country's financial resources, for the first time, were able to be distributed in rural credit programs within the guidelines of the general revolutionary project.1 3 The nationalization of the foreign trade, combined with the new lows for progessive taxation on exports, meant that the profits on agricultural products could be collected directly and administered by the state for the benefit of Nicaraguan society as a whole.l4 Credit was expanded by 54% to encourage and support production. This expansion of credit was for the benefit of small producers, agrarian as well as industrial. By 1984 the availability of rural credit was four and one-half times greater than the highest amount ever provided during the Somozo administration. Special attention was given to small cattlemen who

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46 received 268 million cordobas as compared to 12.5 million cordobas in 1978. Credit for small industry doubled in the first five years after July 19, 1979, when the Saninistas came to power. Rural credit benefited the cooperatives and other joint forms of production. Rural credit reached 55% of land in use and benefited 97,400 small producers, of which 75% belonged to one of the 2,500 cooperatives or other type of association. In contrast, the 1978 program benefited 37,500 small producers, of which only II% were associated with 27 cooperatives.15 Infrastructure The expansion of the country's infrastructure and basic service required large investments on the part of the Government of National Reconstruction. In the case of roads, transportation and housing, millions of dollars were spent in local and regional programs. Two major projects begun early in the 80's were construction of the Tuma-Waslala-Puerto Cabezas Highway, 462.2 kms., costing 140 million cordobas; and the Rio Grande-Siuna Highway, 166.9 kms., cosing 355 million cordobas. The government gave special priority to the needs of the Atlantic Coast through the newly-created Nicaraguan Institute of the Atlantic Coast. In 1983, work began on the final states of a new railway to link Nicaragua's Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The first stage, the 200 kms.

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47 railroad from the Pacific Port of Corinto to the capital (Managua) required three to four years for completion at an estimated cost of $200,000,000 U.S. dollars. Total project costs, including the 150 kms. second stage from Managua to the new port of El Bluff was about $500,000,000 U.S. dollars.l 6 Financing for the project came from Central Governement funds for the local currency cost elements of the project, while rolling stock, locomotives, rails, and other equipment (such as signaling system) were financed by lines of credit from countries like Spain, Bulgaria and Argentina.l7 In order to develop pub I ic transportation in the urban areas, the Ministry of Transportation invested more than nine million dollars in 200 buses purchased from Brazi I. The Ministry of Housing and Community Development completed repair of housing damaged during the revolutionary war. This work benefited 4,676 families at a cost of 32 million cordobas. The construction of new housing was completed in the neighborhoods of San Jacinto in Managua and in the Monimbo District of Masaya. The first 100 housing units out of a projected total of 500 were completed in the mining centers of North Zelaya (Siume, Rosita and Bonanza) with an investment of 20 million cordobas. The Housing units were added to the housing projects El Porein and Emir Cabezas in the city of Leon at a cost of 30 million cordobas. Housing went up elsewhere to meet the needs of workers such as the sugar mi II, rice and tobacco plantation workers in the cities of Chimanduga, Rivas and Esteli.l8 In urban housing reform, 85, 198 city dwellers benefited from a program that distributes confiscated housing; and steps were taken to increase that number by 40,050. Special projects with the participation of

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friendly nations (Libya and Spain) made possible additional new housing, such as the newly-constructed neighborhood of the New Libya. Health Program 48 The impact of the dictatorship's practices was very detrimental to the health of the Nicaraguan people. The old Somocista State maintained for many years a model of exploitation in the area of health which was manifested in high rates of mortality, malnutrition, and contagious diseases. There was a lack of health services and sanitary conditions in the rural areas. During the Somoza dictatorship, the articulation between health services and the social structure was made basically on political and ideological levels. On the ideological level, the services were intended to create a humanitarian image for the regime. On the political level, health services were used to decrease social tension, particularly in the zone of guerrilla struggle. The Sandinista government assumed responsibility for transmitting information about health to the people in general and for individual and collective participation in the area of health. The creation of the National System of Health made health care a right of the people. It centered particularly on the health of the mother, the child and the worker.19 By 1985-1986, the Sandinista State was devoting more of its national budget to health than was any other Latin American country, in spite of the economic difficulties and problems created by the constant outside aggression. The main objective of the Sandinista health program

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49 was first to use its limited resources to eliminate the causes of the major health problems facing the nation by applying preventive methods and then in the future to turn attention to curative medicine. The Ministry of Health organized a series of campaigns for disease immunization, eradication of malaria-carrying mosquitoes and cleanup of dumps and sources of water contamination. These campaigns were carried out with involvement of people through some organizations such as trade unions, block committees, the national women's organizaton, schools, etc. Infectious diseases have been controlled through vaccination campaigns. There were 101 cases of polio in 1979, for example, but none in 1981 or 1982. There were 1,270 cases of measles in 1979, but only 226 in 1982.20 By the year 1984, the number of health posts (first aid clinics) had grown from 56 to about 200, with an ultimate goal of 400. Six hospitals were being built to supplement the 36 government and 9 private hospitals and 32 private clinics with beds. In 1986 sixty physicians were graduated. Governement plans called for increasing the number to 240 within a year and doubling that number soon afterward. The average number of doctor visits per year doubled from 1.1 in 1982 to 2.2 by 1984. In Managua, about half of the births were in hospitals by 1983, compared to 25% four years before. Following the creation of 334 new oral dehydration centers, diarrhea dropped from first to third place as the cause of death in children. As a result of all these efforts, infant mortality dropped from an estimated 120 deaths per 1,000 live births before the revolution to 89 per 1,000 in 1984.2 1

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50 In 1981, the Revolutionary Government increased by five times the amount expended for social programs over the 1978 expenditures under Somoza. The last budget of the dictatorship included 530.3 million cordobas (16.1% of the total budget). This figure includes the Ministries of Health, Education, Social Welfare and Culture--the last two of which did not exist as such under the Sococismo. This constitutes an increase of about 2,000 million cordobas.22

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CHAPTER Ill-NOTES 1 The Philosophy and Policies of the Government of Nicaragua, op. cit., p. 40. 2 Jbid, p. 40. 3 Jbid., p. 41-42. 4 Land title under agrarian reform conveys the property with the only limitation being that it cannot be sold. Title is given to protect the interests of the peasant's family and production itself. Barricade lnternactional 20 August 1951, p. 5. 5Barricada International,. I August 1981, p. 8. 6Speech made by the government Junta coordinator Daniel Ortega on July 19, 1983, at the fourth anniversary celebration in Leon. Nicaraguan Perspectives, 7 (Winter 1983), p. 16. 7 The Popular Adult Education Program was structured to favor a solidification of the knowledge gained during the Literacy Crusade and to provide methodology more systematic and scienctific. Popular Adult Education is flexible, collective, active and directly related to production. Adult Education in Nicaragua, a publication of the Ministry of Education, Managua, I 98 I. 8 Consultonts from UNESCO participated in the planning as well as Paulo Freire, the renowed Brazilian educator whose teaching techniques formed the basis of the Crusade. Annie O'Connor, "Literacy Campaign: A Brigodisto Shores his Experiences," Nicaragua Perspectives, July 1981.

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52 9carrying out the crusade depended heavily upon Nicaraguan youth, just as had been the case during the insurrection. Hence the experience of the Crusade contributed significantly to the maturation of young people by permitting them to live the hard reality of the countryside. "Entrevista con Francisco Locoyo," Encuentro: Revista de Universidad Centroamericana 17 ( 1980). I Osecretaria Vocional de Propaganda y Education Politica, Propaganda de Ia Produccion (Managua: Centro de Publicaciones Sylvio Magaga, 1980) p. 35. II The Philosophy and the Policies of the Government of Nicaragua (Managua: Agencio Nueva Nicaragua, 1981 ), p. I 04. 12George Black, Triumph of the People: The Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua (London: Zed Press, 1981 ), pp. 201-203. 13Report of the Junta of the government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua, May 4, 1981, p. 37. 141bid., p. r. I 5 1bid., p. 5. 16Latin America Weekly Report, 23, July 1983, p. 4. 171bid., p. 4. 18Latin America Weekly Report, 14, May 1982, p. 10. 19Report of the Junta of the government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua, May 4, 1981, p. 44. 20Tom Frieden, "A Revolution Under Guns," The Nation, 17 December 1983, pp. 630-633.

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21 Los Angeles Times, 25 August 1983. 22Report of the Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua, May 4, 11981, p. 37. 53

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CHAPTER IV UNITED STATES INTERVENTION IN THE NICARAGUAN REVOLUTION This chapter discusses the strategies used by the United States to impede implementation of the program and consolidation of the Sandinista revolution. Also, the direct aggression through the combination of internal and external forces is analyzed. Background of the United States Foreign Policy The beginnings of the United States foreign policy toward Central American countries began in the minds of the founders of the American Constitution who assumed that some day the nation would include Mexico and the areas of Central America. In 1810, Mexico and then Central America gained independence from Spain. In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine warned European nations not to interfere in the Western Hemisphere. The United States was able to develop Central America's dependency by industrial and economic development and by insuring that dependency through one or two crop exports. Further dependency was developed militarily with the building of the Panama Canal and its operation for the benefit of the United States. From time to time the United States sent Marines to Central America, especially Nicaragua, to put down revolutions and decide who was to govern.

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55 We do control the destinies of Central America and we do so for the simple reason that the notional interest absolutely dictates such a course. There is no room for any outside influence other than ours in this region. Unti I now Central America has always understood that governments which we recognize and support stay in power, while those which we do not recognize and support fall. Nicaragua has become a test lase. It is difficult to see how we can afford to be defeated. Nicaragua's virtual colonial status, as columnist Wolter Lippmann noted in 1926, meant that the country was: not on independent republic, that its government is the creature of the State Department, (and) that management of its finances and the direction of its domestic and foreign 2 affairs are determined not in Nicaragua but in Wall Street. The United States dominance of Nicaragua was particularly marked by its nearly continuous military presence from 1912 to 1933. The United States financial advisors directed the fiscal and monetary policy and subordinated the economy to outside creditors. With this strong United States dominance, Nicaragua was unable to develop any political structure for leadership. When the United States ended its occupation, it established the National Guard to put down uprisings, to rule by suppression. When civil war broke out in 1936, Somozo gained control of the entire country in eight days. Warmly received by Washington, he addressed Congress in 1939 and received $2 million in credit and a group of advisers to help run banks and railroads in Nicoragua.3 Throughout history, the aid that has been provided by the United States to the small Central American countries has been more military than economic. The assistance that has been given has had a twofold purpose: I) to ensure that there are no defections from the capitalist

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56 ideology, and 2) to facilitate the penetration of foreign capital into those countries. Policy makers in the United States have used four relationaiza-tions to justify the military aid programs: I. The "boomerang thesis", or the argument that if the United States does not supply arms to Latin American rules, they will turn elsewhere for weapons. 2. The "bulwark thesis" which sees in the military support of Latin America the best defense against Communism. 3. The "hemisphere thesis" or the argument that the arms supplied and the training of military units are part of the overall United States strategy for defense of the Western Hemisphere in the event of attack. 4. The developmental thesis" which argues that the military can perform in all sorts of civi I action. One more thesis should be added: the security and interests of ' the United States business interests is part of the rationalization. Dictatorships in Nicaragua, Chile and Guatemala have proved that the policy of strengthening the military regimes in Latin America has jeoparized any local efforts to establish stability. The use of the military for counter-insurgency purposes has contributed to more political unrest. The present Central American conflict is the direct consequence of large scale assistance to military elites. There have been large amounts of military aid given to Guatemala, Honduras, E I Salvador and Nicaragua which have crippled the economies. Repressive political systems have never represented the will of the people of these countries, but those governments have been kept in power by force and strong influence from outside4. Two essential rights of

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57 any sovereign nation are self-determination and a viable economy. These elements of democracy were denied during the Somoza regime. Nicaraguans were not assured economic security nor was production ever oriented toward meeting the people's needs. Even before the revolution, real economic growth was hindered by the gradual increase of military assistance and tightening of economic ties to United States capital. The most serious obstacle faced by the Latin American countries is not caused by failing to integrate them into capitalism, but by the way the internationl system of laws and economics failed to help their development.s An example of how dependence was created through military aid is shown in the following figures: between fiscal years 1950 and 1978, Nicargua received $7.7 million in Military Assistance (MAP) grants, $5.6 million in Military Assistance (MAP) grants, $5.6 million in foreign military sales (FMS) credits, $5.2 million in Excess Defense Articles (EDA) and $11.6 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) grants.6 Most of the equipment in Nicaragua's arsenal before the revolution was of United States origin, including tanks of World War II vintage. Between fiscal years 1961 and 1978, the United States trained 5,670 Nicaraguans under the MAP and IMET programs, making the Nicaragua military and the highest per capita recipients of United States training in all Latin American. Private United States companies in the years 1971-1978 sold Nicaragua $4.1 million in military equipment under the Commercial Sales Program. The continuing debate in the United States over economic aid to Nicaragua reflected the two different views in Congress. One side represented the interests of transnational banking capital in controlling the relations of the United States in Nicaragua. This view was an

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58 accommodationist view that coincided with the interest of both the banks and the United states government--a view that began in the early days of the United States involvement in Nicaraguan affairs. In 1911, when the State Department wanted to reduce European influence, it asked Wall Street to go into Nicaragua and support European loans with North American capita1.7 The other side of the debate consisted of hardliners in Congress who were intent upon blocking any attempt to give aid to Nicaragua. United States Intervention in Nicaragua Carter The strategy of the Carter Administration was to contiain the Sandinistas Revolution by establishing favorable conditions for the bourgeoisie and the deposed National Guard. The covert war started during the Carter Administration. Despite Carter's moralistic view of the world, his approach to Nicaragua was based on the historical premise of his predecessors --that the U.S. had a right to control revolutionary change within Central America. The objective of U.S. policy during the 1978-1979 popular insurrection aginst Somoza was to prevent the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (FSLN) from taking power. When the Sandinistas took power, the U.S. sought to intervene with economic leverage and covert operations to shape the character and direction of the new revolutionary government. Carter's policy toward the Nicaraguan insurection rested on the assumption that Somoza was expendable, but that the institutional structure of his regime, particularly the Nicaraguan National Guard had to be saved to stop the Sandinista revolution. If Somoza could be induced to

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59 resign, U.S. officials reasoned, power could be transferred to "derate elements." If the National Guard remained intact, it would prevent the FSLN from playing a prominent role in a post-Somozan government. Carter's government hoped to moderate the course of the revolution. It shifted its policy from hostility to cautious accommodation. The administration advanced $15 million in emergency reconstruction aid to Nicaragua and pushed a $75 million economic assistance package through congress. The Sandinista leaders even received an invitation to the White House. However, covertly the Carter administration took another tack. The U.S. began setting the stage for a counter revolution. On July 19, U.S. operatives mounted a clandestine mission to evacuate commanders of the Nicaraguan National Guard who had been unable to flee Nicaragua. Dozens of Guardsmen and their families were air-lifted to Miami on a DC-8 disguised as a Red Cross plane and piloted by an American known as Bill Furillo. In Miami these guardsmen could recorganize and renew their fight against the Sandinistas.8 In late 1980, President Carter authorized the CIA to pass funds to anti-Sandinista labor, press and political organizations--an operation resembling thae agency's destabilization campaign against the Socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile a decade earlier. When Ronald Reagan took office on January 20, 1981, he inherited a CIA covert operation against the Sandinistas that was already in place. 9 Regan The Reagan administration would go beyond Carter's containment policy into a policy aimed a "rolling back" the Nicaraguan revolution.

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60 After President Reagan took office, U.S. policy toward Nicaragua was directed away from accommodation of any kind. The Reagan administration aligned itself with the most conservative forces in the area, leaving to Nicaragua no alternative than to increase its military power, 10 Under President Reagan the United States again assumed the right to armed interference in the domestic affairs of countries with regimes that Washington labels as objectionable.11 The entire foreign policy is based on the idea that any world conflict must be seen as EastWest confrontation. In Central America this has resulted in a permanent military presence in this region. This is the basis for Reagan's hostility to the Sandinista government and to rhetoric of losing any part of that region to communist ideology. The Reagan Administration has forced Nicaragua to look for assistance from Socialist nations such as Bulgaria, East Germany, and the Soviet Union. This has been done by divesting Nicaraguan of most external financial aid and forcing them to divert their scarce resources to the military. Economic sanctions deprived Nicaragua of $345 million in lost trade and loans in 1983, while U.S. pressure internationally resulted in the loss of an additional $1,125 million in multilateral loans since 1980.12 It was only a few days after taking office that Reagan suspended most forms of economic assistance to Nicaragua. Nicaragua was banned from government programs which promoted U.S. foreign investment and trade, such as, trade credits of the import-export banks and the insurance of United States investments offered by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Another

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61 suspension cut off Nicaragua's supply of bread by suspending $9.8 million previously authorized under Public Law 480 (Food for Peace)-this was in the form of food credits for the purchase of wheat. Also in the area of trade, the Reagan administration cut Nicaragua's quota of 59,000 tons of sugar exports for fiscal year 1983 by 90% to only 6,000 tons. This reduction meant a loss of $15.6 million in export earning in a period of severe shortage of foreign exchange for Nicaragua.13 Table I, Structure of Nicaraguan Foreign Trade, which follows, gives an indication of the trend from 1980 until mid-1986. This table gives the impact that the United States foreign exchange policies had on Nicaragua.) Another action fo the United States to prevent the consolidation of the revolution was to aid in the j:>reparation for a counter revolutionary war. Military aid was given to other governments in the region. In Honduras the Somocista National Guard was trained, first by Argentina and later by Israel to carry out terrorist attacks inside Nicaragua. It was intended to create panic in the civilian population and destroy the infrastructure and means of production. There were even murders of teachers during the Literacy Campaign. The United States Naval Blockade (19 ships with 16,456 troops, 12 fighter jets) off the coast of Nicaragua was used to stop shipments of food, medicines and armaments into Nicaragua and complemented the terrorist activities within Nicaragua.l4 There were also some outright acts of war. On October 10, 1983, a counter revolutionary commando squad shelled the Port of Corinto. The explosion caused an estimated minimum of $5 million in damage. Another

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TABLE 4.1 STRUCTURE OF NICARAGUAN FOREIGN TRADE EXPORTS AND IMPORTS Percentage by Region 1980 1984 1985 1986 United States 30.4 14.9 7.3b Central America 28.1 9.2 6.8 Latin America 13.5 12.8 8.5 Western Europe 17.6 25.2 28.0 Eastern Europe 1.0 15.4 28.8 Japan 3.0 9.9 7.7 Canada 2.6 2.9 1.6 Cuba 4.0 4.4 Others 3.8 5.7 6.9 TOTAL I 00.0 100.0 100.0 0 F orecost b-January-May 1985 Sources: Nicaraguan Ministry of Trade Overseas Development Council/Center for International Policy 62 0 7.4 7 .I 37.7 27.2 9.0 2.4 4.2 5.0 100.0 such action was the CIA backed operation of mining three Nicaraguan ports to isolate the country internationally.! 5 The United States used Honduras as on instrument of intervention. Honduras offered extraordinary military advantages by its geographical location and as a state with mi litory and pol iticol structure willing to collaborate with the United States.l6 A permanent military presence of the United States by the construction of military bases in Honduras was created. After 1979, $13 million was allocated for modernization of runways at Comoyagua, Ceibu and Son Pedro Sulo airfields; for strategic roads and bridges; and for setting up sophisticated

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63 communication centers, and for drilling wells.17 (The table which follows on U.S. Foreign Assistance to Honduras shows in millions of dollars the extent to which the United States extended aid to Honduras.) In 1981 the "Halcon Vista" naval operations on the Atlantic Coast along the Nicaraguan shores were intended to warn Cuba and the Soviet Union that they would not be permitted to continue intervening in Central America. During the same year a combined Deployment Operation was mounted in Mosquitia (only 40 Km north of the Nicaraguan border) with the participation of 600 United States soldiers and 4,000 Honduran soldiers. The cost of these joint manuevers was $5.2 million.18 To establish a pattern of using the manuevers as a pretext for construction of military bases the United States Army Engineers upgraded a dirt airstrip at Puerto Lampura on Honduras' Atlantic coast to handle United States fighter and transport planes. Ten United States C-130 cargo planes, thirteen helicopters, and two United States Navy landing craft participated in this operation. Big Pine II began on August 3, 1983. These maneuvers involved II ,000 American soldiers, including seventy men from the U.S. Army Special Forces, 2,100 U.S. Marines and two Pacific battleship groups. These exercises lasted six months --longer than any previous maneuvers in U.S. military history. They included aerial bombing, airlifts, amphibious landings, and counter insurgency techniques. Big Pine II officially

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64 TABLE 4.2-U.S. FOREIGN ASSISTANCE TO. HONDURAS (Millions$) FY82 FY83 FY84 FY85 FY86 FY87 (est) (req) Development Aid 31.1 31.3 31.0 44.3 43.2 51.0 (Loans) (19.5) (24.0) (17 .3) (19.8) (15.6) (20.3) (Grants) (I 1.6) (7.3) (13.7) (24.5) (27 .6) (30.7) Other Economic Aid 2.7 3.2 3.8 5.0 5.3 5.4 (Loans) (Grants) (2.7) (3.2) (3.8) (5.0) (5.3) (5.4) Food Aid 10.1 20.2 18.4 18.3 11 .a (Loans) (7.0) (10.0) (15.0) (15.0) (15.0) (14.0) (Grants) (3.1) (5.5) (5.2) (3.4) (3.3) (3.8) ESF 36.8 56.0 40.0 147.5 61.2 (90.0) (Loans) (35.0) 11.0 (6.0) (Grants) ( 1.8) (45.0) (34.0) (147 .5) (61.2) (90.0) Military Aid 31.3 48.3 77.4 73.9 79.7 88.8 (Loans) (19.0) (9.0) (Grants) (12.3) (39.3) (77.4) (73.9) (79.7) (88.8) TOTAL 112.0 154.3 175.3 289.1 207.8 253.0 (Loans) (80.5) (54.0) (38.3) (34.8) (30.6) (34.3) (Grants) (31.5) (I 00.3) ( 134.1) (254.3) (157 .3) (218.7) Total U.S. aid FY46-86: $1,334.25 Million (current$) $1,998.30 Million (constant 1987 $). Hondura's rank among U.S. aid recipients: FY85-8th FY86-9th Source: CRS, Jonathan Sanford, "Honduras: US Foreign Assistance Facts," November 25, 1986.

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65 ended on February 8, 1984; however, the Department of Defense announced that U.S. military maneuvers would con;inue indefinitely.19 In March, the U.S. special forces conducted a series of "emergency deployment readiness exercises" to make the point, according to the American Embassy in Honduras, that the U.S. was still in the region and would remain there. During the Grenada I exercises, U.S. combat engineers constructed two more air strips: one at Jeamstown on the Nicaraguan/Honduras border, and the other at Cucuyagua in northern Honduras. By mid-1985 the U.S. had built or modernized eight airstrips, two training centers, two radar stations, four military base camps, and a twelve-mile long "tank Trap" near the Nicaraguan frontier at a cost of more than $50 million. The Grenada I exercises was a name clearly chosen to remind the Sandinistas of Grenada that involved 1,200 American personnel. 20 Ocean Venture was a massive Caribbean naval exercise deploying over 30,000 men in April 1984. In November 1984, the month of Nicaragua's elections, the Pentagon conducted four unnamed military maneuvers in Honduras and a large naval exercise off the Gulf of Fonseca. Big Pine Ill, involving 4,500 troops was held from January to April 1985. In April and May, Universal Trek deployed over 6,000 Marine; Navy and Army troops into Honduras to practice amphibious and air assaults on the Atlantic Coast near Puerto Castilla.

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66 In May 1987, the Pentagon began its largest operation to date. Solid Shield brought 50,000 U.S. personnel to the region for a mock attack on Nicaragua. 21 By then U.S. war games constituted a permanent component of Reagan administration policy in Central America. High level administration officials told the press that U.S. military exercises in Honduras would continue indefinitely "each year for the foreseeable future, and perhaps for as long as 20 years. ,.22 In 1981 Washington issued a white paper indicating the flow of arms into E I Salvador. This proved to be an embarrassment when the credibility was destroyed by the North American press. In spite of no other evidence of Nicaraguan intervention, the administration consistently uses this issue to justify its policy toward Nicaragua. The problem with the Reagan administration's Nicaragua policy is not so much that it is immoral, as that it is a muddle. Policy is made more on the basis of images than on realities, through tactical reactions to events rather than through a broader strategy, and without thinking where United States actions will lead and what the likely consequences will be. The United States is creating a mess in Central America that will plague future generations here and there. 23 The Reagan administration argues that there are three issues preventing cordial relations; interference in El Salvador, the military buildup of Nicaragua, and the alleged destruction of pluralism in Nicaragua society. The Sandinistas ore not the only target of Reagan's war. The final component of U.S. policy is a systematic campaign to enlist "hearts and minds" at home by manipulating public perceptions of U.S. policy toward Nicaragua. Through concerted "public diplomacy" the Reagan Administration has sought to convince the North American public, the Congress,

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67 and allied governments that the Sandinistas constitute a threat to U.S. national security and that the U.S. is a force for peace and democracy in Central America. Seven years of official exaggeration, misinformation, and rhetorical fabrication have obscured how U.S. intervention in Nicaragua evolved, why it continues, and what it means for North American society. The Iran-Contra Scandal, which has shaken the foundation of American politics, is but the most visible price of intervention. A former U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, Frank McNeil, describes the United States vision of Central America as a fantasy of our own creation. Central America is a Fantasy Isthmus, a region of the American mind, peopled by our own political demonds, wht::jtf too often expedience rules, and rhetoric substitutes for policy. Costs of the War E.V.K. Fitzgerald has estimated several direct and indirect costs to Nicaraguan by the war between 1980-1984. A. Direct material loses during that period were $97.1 million, and production losses due largely to the disruption of agriculture totaled $282.5 million. B. Defense spending: military spending ballooned to one-fourth the national budget by 1983, one-third by 1984, and about one half of the budget in 1985.25 In 1984, therefore, defense spending amounted to about IS% o Nicaragua's gross domestic product (GOP) and by 1986 it escalated to about one-fourth of the GDP\2

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68 C. Loss of production of key primary products: goods produced mainly in the war zones--lumber, fish, metals, corn and bean production have suffered dramatic declines. An estimate of $282.5 million was lost in 1980-1984, with some 60% of those losses taking place in 1984 alone.2 6 The lost production of basic grains obliged Nicaragua to import corn and beans. Lost coffee, lumber and seafood exports from 1982 through 1984 are estimated to have totaled over $300 million. These direct effects have lead to indirect costs. A. Defense spending is necessarily subtracted from any resources that could be spent for health, education, and productive investment that the rest of the budget represents. Drastic cuts in the education budget since 1984, for example, have dramatically reduced school construction and maintenance, curtailed the availability of educational materials, and forced the suspension of a free textbook program.27 Similar serious disruptions have occurred in health care and urban services and have contributed to public dissatisfaction. B. Decline in export earnings, which has forced the government to implement a Draconian austerity program to curtail all by the most critical imports. Economic austerity has reduced the amount of fertilizers, oil, industrial raw materials, repair parts, agricultural machinery, trucks and other essential materials for production, and so has diminished the productivity of the Nicragauan economy.

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C. Inflation: Military spending has swollen government expenditure, much of which has been financed simply by printing money, a powerful contributor to the inflationary spiral in 1985 and 1986.28 69 D. Increased foreign borrowing: External debt had risen to a staggering $4.7 billion by 1985 almost double the annual GOP so that debt service has slowed economic growth. In 1981 and 1982, Nicaragua spent about 20% of its total export earnings on debt service. Since 1983, the government has continued to borrow abroad; however, it has re-negotiated its debt package to reduce debt service to about 10% of export earnings each year. Other problems have slowed the Nicaraguan economy and disrupted its development. The United States has worked to deny Nicaraguan foreign credit since 1981. Reagan's administration cut off the United States credits and grants in 1981, and successfully pressured private and multilateral lenders to stop lending to Nicaragua. Under United States pressure the World Bank suspended credit to Nicaragua in 1982 and the Inter-American Development Bank followed suit in 1983. (The table which follows on the United States Voting Records on Loans to Nicaragua for the years 1982-1983 shows the consistent pattern of the United States in voting against loans for Nicaragua. Further, it indicates the inadequacy of the United States reason for voting against financial loans to Nicaragua that would be of benefit to the general population of that country.)

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TABLE 4.3 -U.S. VOTING RECORD ON LOANS TO NICARAGUA Institution Dote Amount Project Vote Reason (approved) (millions) given World Bonk Jon. 1982 16.0 Municipal No Inappropriate development macro-economic policies IDB Jon. 1982 0.5 Agriculture No Inappropriate macro-economic policies IDB Jul. 1982 0.5 Fishing No Inappropriate co-ops macro-economic policies IDB Sept. 1982 34.4 HydroNo Inappropriate electric macro-economic power policies IDB June 1983 2.2 Rood con-No Inappropriate production macro-economic policies IDB July 1983 0.5 Furniture No Inappropriate production macro-economic policies IDB Sept. 1983 30.4 Fishing No Inappropriate industry mocro-economi c rehab iiipolicies tot ion Source: Deportment of the Treasury memorandum, "U.S. Negative Votes and Abstentions in the MOB's ""-J for Economic and/or Financial Reasons," June 19, 1984, pp. 3-4. 0

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effects: 71 This United States and multilateral credit boycott has had four -It forced Nicaragua to turn to the Socialist bloc for an increasing portion of its aid. It cut the overall amount of foreign credit avai I able to Nicaragua to about half the 1982 levels by 1984. -It raised the cost of credit by forcing Nicaragua to replace low interest multilateral loans with bilateral loans on higher interest terms. -The credit crunch has also retarded government investment in developmental projects.2 9 An estimate of the war's economic damage to Nicaragua approaches $1.5 billion. To show that Nicaragua was forced to seek loans from other lenders we find that in 1987, $80 million in grants were given by Sweden, Spain, Finland, Norway, Canada, Argentina, Yugoslavia and India. Italy and Nicaragua have signed a $150 million agreement for long-term credits and development projects. Sweden gave $60 million in development in 1987, Italy $50 million, Soviet Union $50 million, Spain $22 million and Canada $10 million. In the fall of 1986 India pledged $10 million in easy-term credit to Nicaragua under whcih the Nicaraguan government would buy India textiles, machinery and consumer goods.30 For Nicaragua, the cost of maintaining the decline of the counter revolution has been growing economic deterioration. One indicator that clearly shows this is the rate of inflation:

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1984-33% 1985220% 1986-657% 19871200% 72 Another indicator is the drop in foreign currency from exports: 1984-$385 million 1985-$294 million 1986-$218 million As a consequence of the economic crisis, the full production and other factors, it is estimated that 50% of the economically active population has moved into the informal sector of the economy. Without hard currency to bring in inputs for production, and with difficulties in improving labor stability, the specter of an ever worsening spiral of scarcities and high inflation continues. To these concrete factors of the crisis must be added the direct effect of the war on the economy. In 1987, alone the economic impact of the destruction totaled $376.7 million. In April 1987 the U.S. Government renewed the economic embargo it had imposed on Nicaragua in May 1985 and continued to pressure international organizations not to provide loans to Nicaragua. The Contras The contras' top leadership has been selected by the Reagan administration, which first created the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN) and then its umbrella organization, the United Nicaraguan Opposition (UNO).

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73 The "founding fathers" of the contras are National Guardsmen who fled Nicaragua after Somoza's defeat. In exile, many worked initially as hired killers in the Guatemalan death squads or participated in extortions and robberies. A recent congressional study noted that 46 out of 48 positions in the FDN's military command structure are held by former Guardsmen.31 The contras early activities consisted of spreading violence and terrorism throughout Central America. In Guatemala, Legion members committed robberies, kidnappings, and deathguard murders on contract for right-wing oligarchs who provided some initial funding for contra operations. The FDN received the bulk of CIA resources and thereby emerged as the vanguard of the counter revolution. The organization and its leaders were, according to Edgar Chamorro, a former member of the FDN directorate, "nothing more than executions of the CIA's orders.'a2 The contras kidnapped 60% of their ranks --the contras raided villages and routinely forced young men to march backto FDN base camps in Honduras. Edgar Chamorro explained how this was done. FDN units would arrive at an undefended village, assemble all the residents in the town square and then proceed to kill-in full view of the others all persons suspected of working for rthe Nicaraguan government or the FSLN, including police, local militia members, part members, health workers, teachers and farmers from government sponsored cooperatives. In this atmosphere it was not diffi cult to persuade those able-bodied men left alive to return with the FDN units to camps in Honduras and enlist in the force. Contra leaders and their supporters were assisting Colombian drug smuggling, transporting narcotics through Costa Rica to the U.S.

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Contra forces had received funds from known drug traffickers and rebel members were directly engaged in the drug trade. 74 In December 1985 the Associated Press reported that officials from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the FBI, and Customs had reliable evidence that contras were involved in guarding and refueling cocaine-laden planes at remote airstrips in northern Costa Rica and transporting drugs to a stash house in San Jose for shipment to the U.S. Colombian traffickers were paying the contras $50,000 a load for assistance. One Nicaraguan rebel told U.S. authorities the money "would go for the cause" of fighting the Sandinistas. 34 According to Eden Pastor a, small planes using John Hull's landing strips in northern Costa Rica were "linked to narcotics trafficking."35 One classified CIA National Intelligence estimate indicated that in 1985 ARDE had used $250,000 in cocaine money from Colombian drug smugglers to pay for contra arms and aircraft.36 Another contra financial supporter, Norwin Meneses, was also a $1.68 million a month cocaine trafficker. A confidential 1984 DEA report described Meneses as "the apparent head of a criminal organization responsible for smuggling kilogram quantities of cocaine into the United States." Meneses hosted California fund raisers for the FDN and met several times with Adolfo Colero and Enrique Bermudez in Honduras. He also employed FDN members in his drug business. One of them, Renato Pena-Cabrera, the FDN's San Francisco spokesman, was found guilty of cocaine possession in 1985.37 The contras Human Rights record is the worst record among insurgent groups in Central America. Their reputation for murder, rape, pillage, and attacks on unarmed civilians in health centers and schools has undercut President Reagan's best efforts to depict them as "freedom

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75 fighters" and the "moral equivalent of our Founding F others." The record also shows that contra operations have often been aimed at "soft" civilian targets rather than military objectives. The $100,000,000 in contra aid voted by the Congress of the United States in 1986 set aide at $300,000 for the promotion of human rights in its activities, but even contra partisans do not claim any significant progrress. The February 1987 American Watch Report states: During 1986, a major human rights problem in Nicaragua was widespread and continuing violation of the laws of war regarding treatment of civilians by the contra forces. The leadership of the contra organization has taken no meaningful steps to investigate and punish these abuses, which range from civilians, to selective murder, mis-treatment, and kidnapping. A significant number of kidnap victims are children. In October of 1988 rebels killed nine people, including two children, a pregnant woman, and a Sandinista Army official by firing on a bus at 9:30 a.m.38 The table which follows on Counter Revolutionary Activities shows one four-month period of counter revolutionary kidnappings, murders or civilians, and military casualties. Allegations of drug trafficking and diversion of funds to private accounts continue to cast suspicion on contra lenders and others who are the subject of continuing investigation by Congressional committees. In May of 1988 it was stated that in the three months since the Congress had cut off mi I itary aid to the contras, thousands of rebels went to Honduras to create a mini-state on the border. The Honduran military works closely with them, as a matter of fact, one of the contra camps is only 500 yards from a Honduran military post. The contras assumed control over an area covering about 120 square miles. 39

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TABLE 4.4 COUNTER REVOLUTIONARY ACTIVITIES APRIL I TO JULY 30, 1988 AErii/Mal Counter Revolutionary Activities (Ambushes, attacks on Sandinista 178 Army troops and cooperatives and settlement, and sabotage) Nicaraguan military casualties 80 Nicaraguan military deaths 18 Civilian deaths 24 Civilians wounded 26 Civilians kidnapped 312 Counter revolutionaries who took amnesty 49 Violations of Nicaraguan airspace from Honduras and Costa R icc 43 (espionage and contra supply flights) Flights coming from the United States for electronic and photo-79 graphic spying Source: Nicaraguan Ministry of Defense communiques. 76 June n/a 79 77 n/a IS 39 9 29 9 25 184 98 99 NA 32 46 6 9

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77 The confrontation between Nicaragua and the imperial politics of the United States has been going on for over a decode. What Nicaragua has been defending for many years of pain, death and hope is the right to sovereignty and self-determination for the countries of the third world. The Sondinisto government is politically more flexible and economically less inept than its detractors admit. United States pressure has forced Sondinista leaders to adjust and innovate in order to defend their regime, but it also appears to hove strengthened rather than weakened their will and capacity to rule.

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CHAPTER IV NOTES 1 Department of State memorandum on the Nicaraguan situation, approximate date January 2, 1927. Signed by Robert Olds, Under Secretary of States. 2walter Lippman, 1926. 3walter LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America, (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1984), pp. 64-69. 4 Seymour Martin Upset, et al., Latin American Radicalism (Boston, Mass.: Porter Sargent Pub! ishers, 1971 ), pp. 234-235. 5K. T. Fann and Donald C. Hodges, eds., Readings on U.S. Imperialism (Boston, Mass.: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1971 ), pp. 234-235. 61nstitute for Policy Studies, Nicaragua Fact Sheet: Security Assistance (Washington, D.C., Apri I, 1981 ). 7 Harold Denny, Dollars for Bullets (New York: Dial, 1929, p. II. 8Christopher Dickey, With the Contras: A Report in the Wills of Nicaragua (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985), p. 55. 9The Los Angeles Times, March 3, 1985. 1 ORichard Newfarmer, From Gunboats to Diplomacy: US Policies for Latin America (Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press, 1984), pp. 120-1 21. II New Times, December 1983. 12counterspy 8 (March-May 1984), p. 13. 13Barricada, II May 1983.

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14Roy Gutman, "Nicaragua: American's Diplomatic Charade,11 Foreign Pol icy 56 (Fall 1984), p. 16. ISLos Angeles Times, 12 April 1984. 16contemporary Marxism 8 (Spring 1984) 171bid., pp. 81-83 I 8 1bid., p. 84. 19The Washington Post, March 21, 1984. 201bid, March 22, 1985. 211bid., March 22, 1987. 22New York Times, February 24, 1984. 79 2 3viron P. Vaky, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C., Number 70, Spring 1988, Foreign Policy. 2 4 The Washington Post, March I, 1987, OP-ed column. 25E.V.K. Fitzgeral, 11Una evolucion del costo economico de Ia agresion del Gobierno estaunidense contra el pueblo de Nicaragua," (Paper presented to the Latin American Studies Associaton, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Apri I 1985). 261bid, p. 7. 2 7 1bid, p. 12. 281bid, p. 16. 29Barricada International, Augsut 28, 1986, p. 6. 30F orbes, August 22, 1988, pp. 38-39. 31 Arms Control and Foreign Pol icy Caucus, "Who Are the Contras?" (Washington, D.C., Apri I 18, 1985). 32Affidavid to the World Court, September 5, 1985, p. 23.

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1986. 3 4 The Associated Press, December 20, 1986. 351nterview for the CBS program "West 57th Street", June 25, 36The Washington Post, December 26, 1986. 37The San Francisco Examiner, June 23, 1986. 38Rocky Mountain News, Sunday, October 30, 1988, p. 55. 39The Denver Post, May 19, 1988, p. 16A. 80

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CHAPTER V EFFORTS AT PEACE The various peace plans that have been presented, revised and rejected are discussed in this chapter. The discussion will show that through the long period of counter-revolutionary activities and attemps to negotiate peace, the United States has consistently thwarted any and all of the plans that strive for self-determination and non-intervention for Central American countries. Contadora The Contadora peace plans are so-called because the foreign ministers of Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela met on the small Panamanian island of Contadora. The Contadora support group is composed of Argentina, Brazi I, Peru and Uruguay. The actual parties to the process are Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The contadora peace treaty is a document drafted by eight Latin American nations. It calls for a reduction of armed forces, a ban on foreign military bases and advisers, respect for nations' borders and democratic rights in each Central American nation. In January 1983, in response to escalating United States intervention, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama established a forum for ending the conflict in Central America. In a communique, these foreign

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82 ministers stated that they had: decided to join forces in order to insure the observance of the principles of and free determination of Central American peoples. Reagan officials paid lip-service to Contadero, viewing it as a propaganda tool. The Sandinistas saw Contadero as a means to secure a stable peace. In September 1984, they announced their intention to sign a Contadero-prepared treaty which committed all riationas in the region to end external support for insurgent movements, to expatriate foreign military bases, and to set a ceiling on the growth of military forces. These were the same demands the United States had made on Nicaragua and were the stated goals of United States pressure. Over the past five years the Contadero agreement has gone through several drafts. The central thrust of all the drafts has been to extricate the region from big-power rivalries. To accomplish this, the Contradora agreement would require the five Central American nations to: -Cut off arms imports. Not another Soviet helicopter or rifle to Nicaragua, no more military aid to El Salvador. -Expel all military advisers (Cuban and Soviet) out of Nicaragua and American advisers out of El Salvador and Honduras. -Stop arms smuggling. No aid for the Salvadoran guerrillas from Nicaragua and no military aid from the United States to El Salvador. -Bar foreign military exercises, dose foreign military bases. -Limit army sizes. -Let in verification commission with powers of on-site inspection. A careful analysis of the most recent Contadero draft indicates that it strikes a balance between the Nicaraguan and United States

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83 positions. It asks each side to give up something it wants in order to attain the larger goal of peace. Although the State Department insists that Nicaragua is to blame for blocking Contadora, the fact remains that Nicaragua is the only government that has stated in writing its willingness to sign an agreement. The September 1984 agreement was not just a working draft. Rather it was officially transmitted to the five Central American nations for signatures. Two weeks later Nicaragua said it would sign. The official United States position is that the United States supports the Contadora process and "will act in accord" with any agreement signed by all the Central Americans. The real United States position, however, is one of determined obstruction of any agreement that would set limits on United States military activity in a region where it has always had a free hand. Behind the scenes the Reagan administration took steps to thwart the signing of any Contadora treaty that would ratify the Sandinista government and restrict United States intervention in the region. On September 21, 1984 after Nicaragua agreed to sign the Contadora agreement, the United States initiated "intensive consultations" with Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador, who then insisted on further revisions. A month later the National Security Council could exult in a secret memo. This classified background paper was prepared for an October 30, 1984 National Security Council meeting attended by President Reagan. We have effectively blocked Contadora group e-tforts to impose the second draft of the revised Contadora Act.

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84 The document also reveals that the Reagan administration undertook "intensive efforts' to pressure Guatemala to join the core group to form four nations that oppose the treaty. It states: We will continue to exert strong on Guatemala to support the basic core four position. To maintain the facade of "showcase diplomacy" during the 1984 presendential campaign, President Reagan accepted Nicaragua's longstanding offer to enter into bilateral talks in June 1984. The United States envoy, Harry Schlaudeman, and the Nicaraguan Deputy Foreign Minister, Victor Tinoco, met nine times at the Mexican resort of Manzanillo. The initial session at Manzanillo promised success but the talks came to a standstill when Schlaudeman presented new United States proposals that called for major security concessions and internal political change in Nicaragua. The United States demanded that the Sandinistas expell all Soviet and Cuban advisors within nine months of a bilateral agreement and that they hold a new election. In return, according to the proposals, the United States would do nothing to alter its military and par ami I itary aggression against Nicaragua other than take Nicaragua's concessions "into consideration"4 While publicly continuing to support the negotiations, the Reagan administration privately rejoiced: We have trumped the latest Nicaraguan/Mexican efforts to rush signature for an unsatisfactory contadero agreememt.S In January 1985, sixteen months and two drafts after it had agreed to sign the Contadero agreement, Nicaragua's basic position was to insist on a return to the agreement of September 1984 when it had originally

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85 agreed to sign. Everything since then, Nicaragua believes, hod moved the agreement closer to the United States position and weakened the restrictions on United States military presence in the region. The Reagan administration unilaterally broke off the talks claiming that Nicaragua was using bilateral negoiotions to undermine Contadero. In fact, it was Reagan's support for the Contros and refusal to recognize any treaty that permitted the Sondinistos to stay in power that blocked any peaceful resolution. A confidential briefing paper prepared for Assistant Secretory of State Elliot Abrahams in August 1985, indicated Washington's attitude toward Contadero: (O)ur interests continue to be served by the process. Nevertheless, its collopsi wouldn't be a total disaster for United States policy. In January 1986, ministers from the Contadero notions and the Contadero support group met in Corobolledo, Venezuela to revive the peace process. The Corobolledo initiative endorsed by all the Central American notions, the EEC, and Japan explicitly called for a "termination of external support to irregular forces operating in the region." That is on end to United States support for the Contros. However, when the foreign ministers of eight major Latin American notions personally presented this request to Secretory of State George Shultz on F ebruory II, 1986, he summarily rejected it.

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86 In March 1986, the Pentagon released a report opposing Contadora on the ground that a peace treaty would increase the likelihood of war. During the time the Contadora Act is in effect, according to the Pentagon's conclusions: the restrictions imposed by the Act will result in a significant reduction in the military capability of Nicaragua's neighbors. The United States strictly complies with the agreement, with reduction in presence and support to Central American nations and no support to the Democratic Resistance Forces. Nicaragua begins violating the agreement. At the three year period, Honduras and Costa Rica ask the United States for assistance to contain Nicaragua's efforts to subvert its neighbors (and) the United States Government would have to agree to a protracted commitment of United States forces with major impact on its responsibility. 7 The problem with the United States policy is that the Reagan administration is not sincere about its policy objectives. Nicaragua has already demonstrated flexibility about the Contadora peace process, including a willingness to send home Cuban military advisers, to prohibit the establishment of Soviet or Cuban bases, and to refrain from supporting insurgencies elsewhere in the region. The Sandinistas showed, in fact, a willingness to reach a solid, verifiable agreement, in return for an agreement from the United States and its friends in Central America neither to invade Nicaragua nor to assist insurgencies against it.

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87 To date, bilateral negotiations between the United States and persons from the region have not provided a workable answer to these problems. Also, United Nations involvement in the conflict has been opposed by the United States, which prefers to keep Central America an issue of the Western Hemisphere; and, therefore, removed from the influence of the United Nation's Third World Coalition. Arias Agreement On February IS, 1987, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias presented a modified peace plan based on the Contadora Act. It presented Liberal Democratic visions of an alternative Central American policy wihtout the Contadora's security provisions. Arias was dealing with the political issues first; and then, after trust had been built up among the five presidents, he proposed moving on to the more difficulty security questions. Arias also realized that a United Staes invasion of Nicaragua implied serious costs for Costa Rican society as a whole, endangering the democratic model of which Costa Ricans are so proud. These objective factors were combined with other, more subjective, ones. Although the Costa Ricans are anti-Sandinista based on their deeply rooted anti-communist sentiments, and anti-Nicaraguan for reasons that include a deep-seated racism, they are not willing to

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88 involve themselves actively in a military conflict. In this sense, they are peace-loving people. Arias was intelligent enough to grasp the importance of this cluster of factors and use it to win the election.8 As President, Arias opposed the military route and lent his support to a political solution to the region's problems. But at first he used this route to seek a political capituation on the part of the Sandinista government. During his inauguration, in the presence of a number of the Contradora and Support Group countries' presidents, Arias unsuccessfully tried to secure their signatures on a document making nearly the same demands of Nicaragua as Reagan had in 1985, such as: -Dissolution of the National Assembly. -New elections to be held immediately, etc.9 Arias was seeking the same objectives as Reagan, but using political, rather than military, means. It wasn't until the beginning of 1987, when the irreversible decline of the counter-revolution was apparent to all, the Democratic Party in the United States had won November elections to Congress and Reagan was bogged down by the Jran/Conta scandal, that Arias changes his position. His new Peace Plan, a creative variation of the latest Contradora Plan, provided for a truly negotiated solution. 1 0 Although the Reagan Administration expressed verbal support for the proposal, it was confident that, thanks to the docility of Honduras and El Salvador, it would be able to change the plan to make it work against Nicaragua. On June 4, 1987 in Paris, as President Arias was winding up his European trip looking for support for his peace plan, he described his

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89 initiative as within the framework of the Contadora concept. In this statement he only reflected the reaction he had received from the European governments that he had visited. All of them were interested in maintaining that framework. II The Arias plan does not offer any guarantees of peace and promotes skepticism regarding progressive steps for maintaining peace. History is littered with diplomatic documents which purport to reconcile conflict among nations, or among people who would become nations. But the Arias plan pretends to do something even more: to the political order within countries. The Arias plan was seen by some as a variant on the Contadora Treaty, and in May of 1986 the Central American Presidents met in Esquipulas but were unable to sign the agreement. Esguipulas In the little town of Esquipulas, the five presidents of the five Central American countries had a meeting for the purpose of getting an agreement for the region without the intervention of the United States. The agreements are referred to by the name of the town where the meetings took place. The characteristics of Esquipulas was the effort of the five governments to legitimize themselves by establishing self-determination

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90 without the domination of United States presence. They established the International Commission on Verification and Follow-up (CIVS) to express their sincere desire for peace that would establish democratic, pluralistic, and participitory governments with free expression at the polls. It was their desire to break the economic stagnation of the region and remove the legitimacy of political-military struggles. The first meeting in May 1986 established the National Reconciliation Commission and the International Commission on Verification and Follow-up. These commisions were to follow up on the accords regarding amnesty, cease-fire, democratization and free election. In each country there were to be National Reconciliation Commissions with one government representative, one representative of the legal opposition parties, one Catholic bishop and one notable citizen who did not serve in either the government or in the ruling party. The CIVS was to begin at the same time and would be made up of the foreign ministers of the Contadora, the support group and from Central American countries, the secretaries general (or their representatives) of the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Outstanding matters of security (arms control, verification and limitation) would continue to be negotiated through the Contadora Group.13

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91 Later, on August 7, 1987, a summit meeting was held in Guatemala and was known as Esquipulas II. The objective was that the social forces waging war in Central American should negotiate peace terms among the nations affected by the armed conflicts. The peace accords signed at Espuipulas II sought to have the social forces waging war in Central America achieve by political means what they have been trying to do through military means. For the rebels in arms and those who support them, this implied abandoning war as a form of struggle. At the same time the Central American governments were to widen internal political space to further democracy. Actually, the Guatemala accords were agreement for both peace and democracy. The Central American presidents determined that their actions in favor of peace and democracy should be executed within the constitutional framework of each country. Esquipulas II was a tool to prod the Central American governments and movements into a more Western democracy. Its intent was to be a regional political (not military) accord at the highest level by involving presidents and with the support of the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the Contadora and Support

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92 Countries. The more the Contadora and Support Countries defend the principles of Latin American sollutions to Latin American conflicts, the characteristic of self-determination and non-intervention into the internal affairs of other states become more valid. This validity is reinforced by increased participation of the civilian society into the affairs of the government, the peace accords, and human rights in general.l4 On January 15-16, 1988, a new presidential summit was held in San Jose, Costa Rica and is known as Esquipulas Ill. It was concluded that the actions carried out so far by the governments of Central America had not been entirely satisfactory. As a consequence of this summit, there was agreement to fulfill their obligations in an unconditional and unilateral manner without further excuses. Three significant elements emerged from comparison of Esquipulas II and Ill. First, the Costa Rican summit does not cancel but endorses the essential content of the Guatemala accords; i.e., the substitution of strictly political forms of struggle for military forms. Also, it ratifies, without additions or subtractions, all the specific measures that the Central American governments and the other countries should take to achieve peace and democracy in the region. Second, Esquipulas Ill drastically alters the procedure for fulfilling the accords, substituting unconditional and unilateral compliance by the governments in the shortest possible time for the mechanism of

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gradual and simultaneous compliance by all countries within specific deadlines. 93 Third, the Costa Rican summit gave the responsibility for verification and follow-up to the Central American foreign ministers who comprise the Executive Commission of CIVS. This task was previously the responsibility of CIVS as a whole, composed of the Secretary General (or their representatives) of the United Nations and the Organixation of American States and the foreign miminsters of the eight Contadora and Support Group nations as well as the five Central American nations. This measure has the intention of pushing to the side the contadora and its Support Group, the Organization of American States and the United Nations.15 The willingness of the leaders of these five countries, couples with the efforts of other Latin American Countries, indicates that the responsibility for peace within their own region and within their own borders is not the responsibility of other world powers. Consistently, these nations have pressed for the right of self-determination and non intervention. Esquipulas I identified the problems and the procedures for their solution at the highest level--that of the presidents of the five countries. Esquipulas II demonstrated that while the military alternative provides no solution, the political alternative is extremely complex and difficult. The

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94 Joint Declaration of Esquipulas Ill of the five presidents ratifies the Esquipulas II Accord and commits each government to compliance. It includes dialogue to arrange cease-file, general amnesty, cessation of aid to irregular groups, non-use of territory to support such groups, and democratization.

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CHAPTER 5 END NOTES 1 New York Times, October 3, 1984. 2National Security Council, "Background Paper," p. I. 31bid. 4New York Times, November 2, 1984. 5washington Post, November 6, 1984, p. 15. 6confidential agenda for the "Chiefs of Mission Conference," Panama, September 8-1 0, 1985, p. 4. 7 Op. cit., NSC, "Background Paper," p.3. 8Envio (Managua, Nicaragua: lnstituto Historico Centroamericano), Vol. 6, September 1987, pp. 3-4. 9 1bid., p. 3-4. I 0 1bid., p. 5. II Envio, July 1987, p. 3. 12Mark Folcoff, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 85, No.6, June 1988, pp. 17. 13Envio, September 1987, p. 4. 14Envio, Vol., 7, No. 81, Apri I 1988, pp. 60-61. 15Envio, Vol. 7, No. 80, February-March 1988, p.l7.

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CONCLUSIONS As a whole the Sandinista revolutionary movement had as its goal a commitment to more than overthrowing Somoza. It was an effort to institute political, social and economic changes. Changes through the creation of new structures and mechanics of government. This meant the nationalization of some parts of the economy and the development of education toward political awareness of the general population. The Sandinista government is based on ideals that include freedom from exploitation, oppression and backwardness. A major goal of the revolutionary movement was the guaranteed freedom for the worker-union movement that would inClude the organization of peasants, students and women. It also had promised to develop agrarian reforms with a policy that would effectively redistribute the land. The plan also included the elimination of drastic inequities of housing, health care, education and living conditions suffered by the general population under Somoza. The Nicaraguan foreign policy assumed a position of independence and non-alignment as a means to eliminate the tranditional submission to the United States dominance. The Nicaraguan situation is not a situation that can be attributed to any one particular U.S. administration, past or present. There has been a cumulative effect of the U.S. policies toward dictatorships in the region that were paternatistic protection of oppressive regimes. There is a need

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97 for the U.S. diplomats and politicians to act more prudently, to recognize the needs of the populace, and to react with compassion and creativity. As long as the United States is unwilling to accept social and political alternatives of self-determination by the middle-class and the poor in Central American, there is little hope for peaceful resolutions and improved relations. Nicaragua has been the surrogate battleground of East-West interests and only Nicaraguan blood has been spilled. Direct military invervention is not a realistic action and is not morally acceptable. Continued military aid to the contras is not a viable option to the pursuit of peace. Nicaragua is a good example of the failed U.S. foreign policy in Central America. There has been a tactical shift in U.S. foreign policy aimed at maintaining its political and economic dominance over Nicaragua. The Carter administration tried an accommodationist view that represented the interests of the transnational banking capital in controlling the relations of the U.S. in Nicaragua. The Reagan administration's policy attempted to roll back the revolution. By using the rhetoric of losing Nicaragua to the Communist bloc, the Reagan administration suspended all economic aid to Nicaragua after 1980. Aid to the private sector became more focused, and wheat and sugar quotas were cut drastically to destabilize the economy. In order to prevent the consolidation of the revolution, several lines of acton were put in motion

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98 including a naval blockade, mining of the Nicaraguan ports, economic and military support given to counter-revolutionary forces stations in Honduras, and eventually an economic blockade. Basically, the pol icy failed because it did not consider the need to inspire the majority of the people with a reasonable alternative to either leftist revolutionary regimes or suppressive greed-ridden dictatorship. The Reagan administration intended Nicaragua's economic deterioration to enhance the effects of their military aggression. However, the grave economic deterioration has not automatically provoked a political crisis as hoped, and the counter-revolutionaries have been unable to exploit the economic crisis. There is no denying that there has been some effect on the Sandinista support but it has never reached the proportions intended by the U.S. The Nicarguan people have not forgotten the urban reforms, which between 1979 and 1983 benefitted a third of the urban population by giving them access to their own homes. They have not forgotten that the Agrarian reform has helped 57% of the rural people. The successes of the literacy campaign and several ground breaking health campaigns were achieved before the Reagan Administration used direct aggression against Nicaragua. All these improvements have left their imprint on the nation's consciousness, helping the people recognize tht the cause of the economic crisis does not automatically turn into a political-ideological crisis. Nicaragua has produced a revolution that is a unique mixture of Marxist ideology, fierce nationalism, and Christian militancy. Perceptions of this revolution differ so widely among North Americans that it is

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99 scarcely possible to believe they are looking at the same phenomenon. North Americans are making political choices concerning the people of that small tropical nation of scarcely three million people, mostly children, which may literally mean life or death for them. It is evident that diplomacy offers the best hope for bringing the Sandinistas and the Central American nations into reasonable participation in Latin American affairs. There is a need to focus more on the people in a war-ravaged land, to recognize their need for self-respect and selfdetermination, and a recognizable place in the family of nations. This is similar to action taken in regard to German and Japan after World War II, and more recently toward China and Russia. United States intervention in Nicaragua has come full circle. For over seven years President Reagan has disregarded American principles and flouted congressional suthority to advance his own low-intensity war against the Sandinistas. But the Congress has also acted passively in the fact of clear-cut illicit operations following the disclosure of the mining of harbors, distribution of murder manuals, support for mercenaries, and constructon of unauthorized military bases that were beyond U.S. law. Nicaragua's goals, as could be expected, are diametrically opposed to those of the U.S. While the Reagan Administration finds it necessary to scrap the Esquipulas accords in order to achieve its objectives, the Nicaraguan government has continued to work within the framework of negotiations established by this accord, as the most viable way to reach a peaceful solution to the U.S.-Nicaraguan conflict. While the U.S. is trying to unite the four other Central American countries to isolate Nicaragua, the Sandinista government is seeking

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100 another meeting of the five Central American nations, with the proposal that they revive the fulfillment of the Esquipulas II accords. The United States should follow the stated intent of its forefathers: The true America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition. She might become the dictatress of the world; she would not longer be the ruler of her own spirit. -John Quincy Adams July 4, 1821 Now that the U.S. has entered an era of warmer relations with Russia, it seems reasonable to expect that the same accord would be extended to all people on this hemisphere. Although there is not agreement with the political ideology of Russia, there has been an about-face in the direction of change in attitude toward the nation--acceptance. This is the policy that will gain the U.S. the most in this hemisphere as well.

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