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'Reagan Is Wrong' in Nicaragua

March 03, 1985

With regard to your editorial (Feb. 24), "Reagan Is Wrong," I would like to submit this opposing viewpoint.

Your position is that the presence of a militant Marxist government in Nicaragua is not the concern of the United States, and the removal of that government should be the responsibility of the Organization of American States. This is an "easy" position to take since it requires no immediate risk or commitment on our part. It also makes us appear to be "peacemakers." Unfortunately, it is a very shortsighted cop-out.

We can all remember the non-action of the OAS in dealing with the crises of Cuba in 1962 and Grenada in 1983. It was only after Presidents Kennedy and Reagan had the courage to take decisive positions on their own initiative that matters were brought to a favorable conclusion. We can assume that the OAS would be even less able or willing to take decisive action regarding Nicaragua.

President Reagan clearly recognizes that the Sandinista regime has become merely an extension of the Soviet empire, which has proclaimed repeatedly its intention to dominate the world, destroying all free and democratic institutions in the process. In opposition, Ronald Reagan has committed himself to the idea that democracy must be restored to Nicaragua, either by the Sandinistas or by others. Based on his past record, you should bet that this will happen.

If these comments seem a bit rash, let me say that if England and France had experienced in the mid-1930s the type of courageous leadership shown by President Reagan, Adolf Hitler would have been crushed when he moved into the Rhineland. There never would have been a Munich, a World War II or a Holocaust.


Sherman Oaks

I refer to your editorials (Feb. 22), "Wrong Way in El Salvador," and "Reagan Is Wrong."

These editorials show the usual perceptiveness of The Times and its courage to criticize government and officials in the interest of the public and the nation.

The President has used ambiguity, tricks and falsehood as tools of policy and to disguise his true intentions, never more sure than in the case of Central America. He has defied Congress and through the CIA and the military has continued to send American personnel and heavy military equipment to brutal right-wing groups so they can continue to oppress the people. The President calls this "saving democracy."

This area is an American colony. The United States has always preferred to have pliable governments there, no matter how murderous the regime. The record makes this clear. One of the President's most blatant falsehoods is that the United States has never interfered in the affairs of other governments. We have done just that in 52 cases in South and Central America. We have also done it elsewhere.

Our leader is now making an appeal to the American people for support to override Congress. He has already broken the law in sending military aid and personnel after a law was passed to restrain such action.



Your courageous editorial brought much reason to the sadly mismanaged U.S. relations with Nicaragua.

Nonetheless, I question your harsh indictment of a revolution that, among other accomplishments, has provided literacy and education for an entire population, health facilities and care, which prompted the World Health Organization in 1983 to praise Nicaragua for its "model program" in health delivery, and an agrarian reform that gives all citizens access to land. The Nicaraguan revolution contains much that is positive and could well serve as an example in a region notorious for its iniquitous social statistics.

You spoke of "repression" in Nicaragua, but your newspaper has never furnished evidence to demonstrate that the alleged repression is a government policy. In fact, your sensible words about the "broad-based" support for the Sandinistas and about the 1984 elections ("fair by regional standards") seem to undercut your own charges.

The United States spends tens of billions of dollars each year on "intelligence." Yet, our woeful ignorance--and certainly our government's ignorance--of, first, what has been accomplished positively in Nicaragua and, second, what the revolution signifies to most Nicaraguans and Latin Americans, is monumental. Policies based on ignorance lead to certain disaster. Such is the present case of U.S. policy in Central America.


Professor of

Latin American History


Your excellent editorial, "Reagan Is Wrong," is very much to the point of truth and wisdom. As a taxpayer, and voter, I feel President Reagan and his friends in our Pentagon, must allow all Central American nations to conduct their own governments in their own manner.

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