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 Nicaragua v. United States

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kosovohp
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PostSubject: Nicaragua v. United States   Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:25 am

Upon assuming office in 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan condemned the FSLN for joining with Cuba in supporting Marxist revolutionary movements in other Latin American countries such as El Salvador. Under the Reagan Doctrine, his administration authorized the CIA to have their paramilitary officers from their elite Special Activities Division begin financing, arming and training rebels, some of whom were the remnants of Somoza's National Guard, as anti-Sandinista guerrillas that were branded "counter-revolutionary" by leftists (contrarrevolucionarios in Spanish).[56]

This was shortened to Contras, a label the anti-socialist forces chose to embrace. Eden Pastora and many of the indigenous guerrilla forces unassociated with the "Somozistas" also resisted the Sandinistas. The Contras operated out of camps in the neighboring countries of Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south.[56] As was typical in guerrilla warfare, they were engaged in a campaign of economic sabotage in an attempt to combat the Sandinista government and disrupted shipping by planting underwater mines in Nicaragua's Corinto harbour,[57] an action condemned by the World Court as illegal.[58][59] The U.S. also sought to place economic pressure on the Sandinistas, and the Reagan administration imposed a full trade embargo.[60]

U.S. support for this Nicaraguan insurgency continued in spite of the fact that impartial observers from international groupings such as the European Economic Community, religious groups sent to monitor the election, and observers from democratic nations such as Canada and the Republic of Ireland concluded that the Nicaraguan general elections of 1984 were completely free and fair. The Reagan administration disputed these results however, despite the fact that the government of the United States never had any observers in Nicaragua at the time.

The elections were not also recognized as legitimate because the Nicaraguan Democratic Coordinator, considered the main opposition group, and the only group of democratic opposition in the country did not participate in the elections. The Nicaraguan Democratic Coordinator did not participate in the elections due to the government's lack of response to its document "A Step Toward Democracy, Free Elections" issued in 1982. The document was asking the government to re-establish all civil rights: freedom of speech, freedom of organization, release of all political prisoners, cease of hostilities against the opposition, lifting the censorship on the media and abolishing all the laws violating human rights.[61][62]

After the U.S. Congress prohibited federal funding of the Contras in 1983, the Reagan administration continued to back the Contras by covertly selling arms to Iran and channeling the proceeds to the Contras (the Iran–Contra affair).[63] When this scheme was revealed, Reagan admitted that he knew about the Iranian "arms for hostages" dealings but professed ignorance about the proceeds funding the Contras; for this, National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North took much of the blame.

Senator John Kerry's 1988 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report on Contra-drug links concluded that "senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras' funding problems."[64] According to the National Security Archive, Oliver North had been in contact with Manuel Noriega, a Panamanian general and the de facto military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989 when he was overthrown and captured by a U.S. invading force.[65] He was taken to the United States, tried for drug trafficking, and imprisoned in 1992.[66]

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