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'Reckless and Wrong'

September 01, 1985

You've been told that the contras are "freedom fighters" out to save Nicaragua from its tyrannical government. The truth? Not only are the contras the enemy of 90% of the population, but they're ruthlessly cruel in their actions. Instead of bombing and burning political targets, they ruin farms, hospitals and energy plants, as I saw in Esteli. Women captured by the contras are often molested. In one incident, a 13-year-old girl told of 72 contras raping her.

You've been told that the Sandinista's popularity is declining and the contras are growing. The truth? Not only have the educational and medical accomplishments of the Sandinistas raised their popularity, but the contras grow only when they pay mercenaries or kidnap peasants.

You've been told that the present government in Nicaragua is a threat to our security. The truth? Not only are the Sandinistas harmless infants to the wolf-hungry world, they're also so poor they can barely support themselves. Almost half of their budget must go to the military to fight the contras, leaving nothing but their sense of unity.

You've been told that the Sandinistas are looking to befriend the Soviet Union and thus become a communist state. The truth? Not only would the Sandinistas much prefer a good relationship with the United States, their only hope of survival is to turn to communist nations since the United States refuses to trade with them.

We need to stop interfering in other countries, to look at the pain we are causing them, and listen to their cries for freedom. A high school student, I have been to Nicaragua, I have talked to the people and I know the truth.

TESSA CHARNOFSKY

Los Angeles

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