Reagan's Bid for Contra Aid

March 18, 1986

Congress is expected to act this week for or against President Reagan's request for $100 million in aid to the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters (contras) .

The focus of national attention has been directed almost entirely on the legitimacy of the Freedom Fighters and their relative ability or inability, depending on one's point of view, to successfully prosecute a democratic revolution against the Marxist-Leninist regime of the Sandinistas.

The debate over this issue is a question of neither legitimacy nor viability with respect to the Freedom Fighters. Their struggle to win a national democratic referendum for the people of Nicaragua against a backdrop of Sandinista tyranny and bloodletting stands on its own merit.

Those who oppose the President's $100-million aid package ($30 million non-lethal, $70 million in discretionary military support) are trying to assure the American people that such assistance is not necessary. Opponents of the aid program suggest that the Sandinistas are simply reform-minded nationalists who are no threat to anyone.

Those who believe that line are challenged by both the Sandinista record after five years in power and the alarming growth of Soviet-Cuban presence on Nicaraguan soil.

The truth is that the Sandinista-led government of Nicaragua represents a seedbed for Marxist-Leninist revolution in Central America. It is a virtual proxy of the Soviet Union, and it is avowedly the professed enemy of the United States and our way of life.

The Reagan Administration has rightly recognized the Sandinistas for what they are--exporters of communist revolution and an aircraft carrier of sorts projecting Soviet power and influence into Central America and the entire Western Hemisphere.

More important, the President's aid request for the Freedom Fighters is sending a loud and clear message to the Soviets that he intends to sustain the integrity of U.S. security and interests wherever they are being challenged--especially in this part of the world.



Vaporean is Orange County chairman of Citizens for America.

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