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U.S. Policy in Nicaragua

April 29, 1986

This is in response to your editorial (April 20), "Helpful Delay," about aid to the contras in Nicaragua.

Your appeal for the pursuit of peace by negotiations is honorable, but your dismissal of crucial facts is not. I believe the efforts of the Contadora Group have been exhausted to an exasperating degree, as seen by the breakdown of negotiations between the Contadora nations recently.

Your repeated desire for a negotiated settlement conveniently ignores the fact that the Sandinistas have broken every promise they made to the Organization of American States in 1979 when they gained power. They promised to establish a pluralistic Nicaraguan democracy. They have instead established a pro-Cuban, pro-Soviet Marxist-Leninist state and declared a "revolution without borders"--a common euphemism for destabilizing its neighboring countries.

How willing would you be to take my word on any future agreements if I had broken every previous agreement so far?

Abandon your Neville Chamberlain posturing.

The Sandinistas betrayed the Nicaraguan revolution that threw off the right-wing dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. Listen to Arturo Cruz, Alfonso Robelo, Eden Pastora and many other credible Nicaraguan democrats who fought against Somoza and are now forced by the brutal repression of the Sandinistas to join Nicaraguan rebels to form the United Nicaraguan Opposition: UNO. It is our obligation as free people to help these rebels.

Despite their technical shortcomings right now, the rebels are an authentic army of Nicaraguans, mainly peasants fighting for their liberty against a repressive tyranny supported and maintained in power by the Soviet Union. Today the rebels are many times larger than the Sandinistas ever were.

In spite of this, it is often said that rebels have no substantial support within their country. If (forgetting the size of the rebels) that were true, the Sandinistas would not have to evacuate towns and villages sympathetic to what is clearly a burgeoning national struggle.

I appeal to the editors of The Times to give the rebels a more objective look, rather than continue to cast a blind eye on Nicaragua's last chance for democracy--no matter how tenuous that chance may be. Freedom is worth fighting for!

ROBERT MILTENBERG

Los Angeles

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