“Everyone understood that if Violeta won, the war would end,” she said. The murders were calculated and systematic, with men and women ordered into buildings before being shot. [200] Marshall, Scott and Hunter, The Iran Contra Connection, 16. [199] Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State also knew more than they testified publicly though both opposed aspects of the arms-for-hostages scheme. Administration officials publicly denied any involvement in the coup even as they welcomed Armas to the White House and praised him as a “democratic leader.”  Three years later, the State Department published an ex post facto justification for the coup in “A Case History of Communist Penetration: Guatemala,” which described the Árbenz government as part of “a coldly calculated armed conspiracy to extend the system of the Soviets to a small and strategically located country in the hemisphere.”. Although Congress had banned U.S. aid to the Guatemalan government based on human rights abuses, the Reagan administration aided this government’s counterinsurgency war as well. Their presence in local communities compelled people to ask, “What were the conditions from which refugees were fleeing? The U.S. furthermore employed CIA operatives to mine Nicaraguan harbors and destroy oil storage facilities in early 1984. A … It was reported that Seal died with George H. W Bush’s personal card in his pocket, though retired FBI agent Del Hahn, said it was merely the South Florida Drug Task Force’s card, which Bush headed. The most daunting and immediate problem facing the new Sandinista government was an impoverished economy devastated by war. The lack of agreement on ideology and policy was of no concern to the Bush administration, as its only objective was to defeat the FSLN at the ballot box. A constituent assembly was elected in 1984, which in turn produced a new constitution in 1985. [162] According to Lynn Horton, in Peasants in Arms, “Out of a population of approximately 3.5 million, 30,865 Nicaraguans were killed during the war” (page xv). As the historian Robert A. Pastor writes, “each positive reformist step in El Salvador was followed by grotesque murders by right-wing death squads.”. It provided $20 million in emergency aid and economic assistance to the new Sandinista government, but at the same time secretly authorized covert aid to dissident political groups within Nicaragua. More than 80 U.S.-Nicaragua sister cities and at least 17 U.S.-Salvadoran partnerships formed during the 1980s, facilitating local interest, travel, and humanitarian aid projects. Political/Military Strategy for Nicaragua” (Plan to Overthrow the Sandinista Government), July 15, 1985, reprinted in Peter Kornbluh and Malcolm Byrne, eds., The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History (New York:  New Press, 1993), 50. In February 2014, Salvadorans elected Salvador Sánchez Cerén, a former FMLN commander, as president. 36, Issue 6, December 18, 2009, 106-107. The Commission found that 85% of the atrocities committed against civilians were carried out by the military government, and in predominantly rural areas; approximately 5% were committed by rebel forces. Cold War proxies end up in wars in which people lose their lives.”  Another concern was administration illegalities. The world economy went through a period of prosperity in the 1960s, then crisis and stagnation in the 1970s and 1980s, followed by the globalization boom of the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century. FMLN leaders also found safe haven in Nicaragua when needed. When, at times, negotiations progressed despite administration intransigence, U.S. officials fell back on the fail-safe argument that the Sandinistas could not be trusted to carry out any agreement. Two people were pardoned before trial and one case was dismissed when the Bush Administration declined to declassify information necessary for trial. As in El Salvador and Guatemala, the combination of deepening poverty, economic inequality, government authoritarianism, and repression of reform provided fertile soil for revolution. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2015). . It is to persuade Congress that Ortega cannot be trusted and there is a need to maintain [Contra] aid as an insurance policy.”  Negotiations, in other words, would never be allowed to undermine U.S. support for the Contras. A conservative wing of the human rights movement also arose. Fourteen people were charged with criminal offenses and eleven convicted including North, Poindexter, Secord, Clines as well as NSC staffer Robert “Bud McFarlane,” and CIA agent “Dewey” Clarridge. Armed groups in Latin America received those signals and resorted to political terror to preserve and protect their own power and the elite socioeconomic groups that they served. . The Reagan administration repeatedly lied about the human rights situation in these countries. In El Salvador, as in the rest of Latin America, the term “communist” was a catchall phrase for anyone opposed to the government, from students to labor organizers to religious workers. Congress approved the funds (shifted from other accounts), but exacted a pledge to limit the number of U.S. military advisors in the country to fifty-five. He replied: The guerrillas won over many Indian collaborators. The mines damaged seven vessels owned by six different nations. Several Latin American nations formed the Contadora Group to work for a resolution to the region's wars. “By any measure,” writes the sociologist Lynn Horton, “Nicaragua’s armed conflict of the 1980s took a devastating human and economic toll.”. Crisis In Central America: Regional Dynamics And U.s. Policy In The 1980s: Hamilton, Nora: Amazon.nl Selecteer uw cookievoorkeuren We gebruiken cookies en vergelijkbare tools om uw winkelervaring te verbeteren, onze services aan te bieden, te begrijpen hoe klanten onze services gebruiken zodat we verbeteringen kunnen aanbrengen, en om advertenties weer te geven. Between 1950 and 1972, more than 1,000 Salvadoran soldiers and officers received training at the School of the Americas in Panama. U.S. officials in Washington chalked up the military coup as “a gain” and noted with satisfaction that a “friendly government” had come to power. Missionaries and others familiar with developments in Nicaragua took the lead in challenging the administration’s diabolical image of Sandinista Nicaragua, and many vouched for the worthwhile programs of the FSLN government as well. [10]  The war contributed to a near-total economic collapse and paved the way for the Sandinistas electoral defeat in 1990. The two negotiating parties succeeded in establishing an equation in which Nicaragua would guarantee an end to arms transfers to Salvadoran guerrillas and limit the size of Nicaraguan armed forces in exchange for a pledge of non-intervention from the United States. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); The Contras, Cocaine and Covert Operations, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/index.html. Cuba’s subsequent misguided attempts to foment revolution in other Latin American nations provided the U.S. with an opportunity to expand its connections with military and police forces in the region. 85, No. In 1950, Assistant Secretary of State Edward Miller warned “the basic situation in the hemisphere is this. Aided by U.S. intelligence and military personnel, Guatemala became a police state. On May 10, 2013, in Guatemala City, a three-judge trial court convicted Ríos Montt of crimes against humanity and genocide for ordering the murder of more than 1,700 indigenous Ixil Mayans. Although the rebels had considerable support in the countryside, this did not prevent them from engaging in their own forms of violence against the civilian population. Decades of U.S. As part of the deal, the U.S. agreed to provide secret battlefield intelligence for Iran’s war against Iraq when the CIA had already provided Iraq with intelligence. On April 2, 1980, Congress approved Carter’s $5.7 million “non-lethal” aid package over the objection of critics who decried U.S. support for “gross violators of human rights.”, In January 1981, as the FMLN launched its so-called “final offensive,” the Salvadoran military and death squads killed 2,644 civilian noncombatants in that one month alone, according to the legal aid office of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of San Salvador. However, the manipulation was not the work of the Sandinistas – who had every interest in making these elections as demonstrably fair, pluralistic, and competitive as possible – but of the Reagan Administration, whose interest apparently was in making the elections seem as unfair, ideologically one-sided, and uncompetitive as possible. Hundreds of peace groups took up Central America issues around this time. Just as President Truman had sought to avoid being accused of “losing Vietnam” after allegedly “losing China” in 1949 (the U.S. began aiding the French recolonization of Vietnam in February 1950), so President Carter sought to avoid being accused of “losing El Salvador” after allegedly “losing Nicaragua” in 1979. We were using the drug money to finance the gun running operation.”[206], In 1996, Gary Webb published an exposé detailing how the Contras financed some of their counter-revolutionary activities through drugs including through connection with Los Angeles crack cocaine dealer “Freeway” Ricky Ross. The Alliance for Progress withered on the vine. To these ends, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruited, armed, and directed counterrevolutionary guerrillas, known as Contras, who terrorized rural communities, mined roads, and disrupted coffee harvests. Somoza was nevertheless re-elected in what was commonly regarded as another fraudulent election. [81]United States Department of Justice, Department of Public Affairs, “US Extradites Former Salvadoran Military Officer to Spain to Face Charges for Participation in 1989 Jesuit Massacre,” November 29, 2017; and Robin Maria DeLugan, Reimagining National Belonging: Post-Civil War El Salvador in a Global Context (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2012), 122. Discovering Central America in the 1970s and 1980s Even to many who paid attention to the rest of Latin America, Central America was terra incognita into the 1970s. By 1965, there were 34 U.S. military advisers in Guatemala. Several truckloads of Salvadoran soldiers arrived at the farming cooperative and, advised by spies, seized 20 young men and executed them on the spot. See also, Alejandro Bendaña, Una Tragedia Campesina: Testimonios de la Resistencia (Managua, Center for International Studies, 1991); Dieter Eich and Carlos Rincón, The Contras: Interviews with Anti-Sandinistas (San Francisco: Synthesis Publications, 1985); Christopher Dickey, With the Contras: A Reporter in the Wilds of Nicaragua (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985); and Lynn Horton, Peasants in Arms: War and Peace in the Mountains of Nicaragua, 1979-1994 (Athens: Ohio Univ. The. At its founding East Coast Conference in New York on October 11-12, 1980, participants declared that Salvadoran revolutionaries were engaged in a “just war of legitimate defense.”  CISPES itself was not a revolutionary group, nor did it send arms to the rebels; rather, it provided tangible assistance to the FMLN through projects such as Medical Aid to El Salvador, a Los Angeles-based operation that distributed aid to regions under FMLN control. 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