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Nicaragua's role in revolutionary internationalism

US Department of State Bulletin, Oct, 1986

Nicaragua's Role in Revolutionary Internationalism Before addressing the specific reasons for this present Security Council meeting, I feel it imperative to point out that this is the 11th time the Sandinista regime has come to this Council to lay out a, by now, standard litany of complaints.

Nicaragua seeks yet again to divert the Council's attention away from Nicaragua's own behavior in the region. It is about time we ceased being fooled by Sandinista propaganda; it is about time we recognized that it is Nicaragua's aggression which is the source of the conflict in Central America.

The members of this Council should, by now, be familiar with the facts concerning Nicaraguan aggression. The United States has provided abundant--overwhelming--evidence of Nicaragua's misdeeds. It is, nonetheless, evident that the Sandinistas remain consummately skilled in obscuring their odious record of subversion, aggression, and armed attack.

Nicaragua has stated in the most solemn terms that "it has never supplied arms or other material assistance to insurgents in El Salvador or sanctioned the use of its territory for such purpose, it has never permitted Salvadoran insurgents to establish a headquarters or operations base or command and control facility in Nicaraguan territory and has never permitted its territory to be used for training of Salvadoran insurgents." Nicaragua has made similar statements not only at the International Court of Justice but in innumerable other fora as well. There can be no pretense that this categorical assertion is a slip of the tongue or an ill-considered, ill-informed, or unauthoritative statement. And yet, it was--and is--entirely false.

An essential element of Nicaragua's foreign policy from the very beginning has been its continuing support of subversion in Latin America. This support has been active, deliberate, substantial, and sustained. At a meeting for party activists barely 2 months after coming to power, the Sandinista leadership committed itself to support for revolutionary struggle beyond its borders. Later that year, as recounted by former commanders of the Salvadoran FMLN [Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front], the Sandinistas established facilities and sites within Nicaragua for use in training guerrillas from other Central American countries.

Sandinista Aggression

in El Salvador

The principal target of Sandinista aggression has been El Salvador. Nicaragua has since 1979 provided massive support to the guerrillas seeking to overthrow that country's government. That support has included training; command-and-control headquarters and advice; and weapons, ammunition, and other vital supplies. Nicaragua has served as a rear-area sanctuary for the guerrillas and headquarters for their political arm. The interaction of the Sandinista leadership with that of the FMLN and FDR [Revolutionary Democratic Front] has been constant and intimate. Nicaragua has publicly identified itself with the goals and methods of the Salvadoran guerrillas.

The evidence of this activity is real, varied, and massive. Documents captured in El Salvador establish the key Nicaraguan role in unifying, supplying, and sustaining the FMLN. That role was crucial in 1980-81, as shown in the documents published by the United States in February 1981. Documents captured from FMLN commander Nidia Diaz in April 1985 made clear that the nature of Nicaragua's support for the rebels had remained substantial. Aerial photography, released by the United States, shows the very airfield from which many of those supplies were flown.

Guerrilla commanders captured or defecting from 1981 to the present day have, one after another, described in compelling detail the dependence of the Salvadoran guerrillas on Nicaraguan-supplied weapons and supplies, on safehaven in that country, on communications and command services from Nicaragua, and on training conducted in or facilitated by Nicaragua. The deaths of two top guerrilla leaders in Managua in 1983--and the attendance of top Sandinista leaders at their funerals--underscored that the FMLN leadership has operated out of Managua with the full collaboration of the Sandinistas.

Weapons captured from, or remaining in, guerrilla hands have been traced through official U.S. shipping and production records from Vietnam through Nicaragua to the rebels. The elaborate smuggling network developed by the Sandinistas is attested to by such irrefutable physical evidence as the large trailer truck crammed with weapons and ammunition captured by Honduran authorities en route from Nicaragua to El Salvador in 1981. This pattern continues. Several months ago a Lada automobile on the same Nicaragua-El Salvador route crashed and was found to contain weapons, ammunition, demolitions and cryptographic equipment, and letters to the Salvadoran guerrilla leadership.

Finally, there were the confessions of the Sandinistas themselves. They have on several occasions stated their capacity to halt the aid being given to the FMLN. At the International Court, one of its ruling comandantes has sworn that his government "never" had a policy of sending arms to Salvadoran guerrillas--while presenting an affidavit that it had not done precisely that "in a good long time."


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