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Private U.S. Aid to Sandinistas

September 13, 1985

Bill Curry's article (Sept. 2), "Private U.S. Aid--Boon to Sandinistas," documenting private U.S. citizens' aid to Nicaragua, will surely raise the ire of supporters of President Reagan's policy of hostility toward Managua. Such private aid is frequently denounced as "aid and comfort" to a Marxist enemy of democracy.

Enemies of democracy are found in any regime that gorges itself upon the labors of a subjugated people. To an extent, a variation of this unfortunate scenario may be found today in the failed promises of the Sandinista revolution. However, Nicaragua's present dilemma pales in comparison to the economic poverty and political tyranny forced upon generations of Nicaraguans by the deposed, U.S.-backed Somoza family.

Conservative critics of private aid ignore this reality, which ultimately led to the Sandinista revolt of 1979. Instead of seeking to diplomatically redress our differences with the Sandinista government, Nicaraguan tensions are heightened by a steady stream of bellicose White House signals and pronouncements.

Those Americans providing private humanitarian aid to Nicaragua are immediately concerned with the vast specter of human suffering, not dogma. The massive influx of labor and capital for health care, community improvements, education and technical assistance serve as a repudiation of the bizarre notion that the impoverished must suffer while Managua and Washington exacerbate discord.

The starving peoples of the world are not nearly as interested in ideology as they are in relief, and will by necessity gravitate toward sources of the latter. There is no communist government that can long compete against the United States in the arena of goods and services. These should be America's instruments of influence in Nicaragua. Those who now provide private humanitarian aid in that region are doing more for democracy than those advocating a belligerent stance.

Should it be the destiny of any Latin American state to abandon traditional democratic values, those freedoms will not ultimately be surrendered to ideological seduction; they will be pillaged by four ancient horsemen--war, famine, pestilence and hunger.

JAMES E. ROGAN

Glendale

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