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Reagan Policy in Central America

April 21, 1985

The article by Michael Ledeen (Editorial Pages, April 12), "In Grenada, a Lesson on Nicaragua," ignores the fact that the constant threats and relentless pressures of the Reagan Administration have pushed the Nicaraguan government into close relations with Communist countries. Where else could they go? The Somoza oligarchy looted the treasury when they fled. We are repeating history.

It appears that we accept oppression, injustice and corruption in the regimes we support in Central America. This has dismayed our allies and many Americans as well. The pride of a great nation, deeply embarrassed by Vietnam, has been hurt by the defiance of peasants. We are also concerned that we might have to give up our commercial exploitation, which has gone on for generations with the collaboration of the ruling class.

We first interfered in Nicaragua in 1842 and there have been many more interventions since then in Central America and also further south. A recent case is successful covert action in Chile that helped replace a socialist democracy with a military despotism. President Reagan's statement that we never interfere in other countries' affairs is an attempt to rewrite history.

The truth is that this Administration is deliberately bypassing our own laws, violating agreements and international law in trying to overthrow a government in Nicaragua recognized as legitimate by the majority of its people and many foreign governments, including some of our allies.

These people must not be allowed to go on suffering from a double tyranny. Thousands of innocent people were murdered under Somoza's regime. Some of the murderers are trying to get back in power through counterrevolution aided by our military weapons and the CIA. We are using them as our agents.

The allegations that Nicaragua has become a Soviet outpost and a dump for military equipment in preparation for a Soviet takeover or adventures in the area is simply an attempt to justify our own misdeeds. Tiny Central America lives in our giant shadow.

The Sandinistas will negotiate but certainly not on hostile terms that would keep their country enslaved to an upper class that has treated the common people as dirt and been like a garrison for the United States. In the eyes of the people their past leaders have been traitors and their countries de facto colonies.

Let us urge Congress to repudiate the Administration's arrogant policies.



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