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The Contra Leadership: A Who's Who

August 28, 1987

Adolfo Calero, 55, a director of the Nicaraguan Resistance, an umbrella group of civilian and guerrilla contra organizations, and top civilian in the Nicaraguan Democratic Force, a guerrilla group organized by the CIA . . . While heading the Coca-Cola bottling company in Managua, he was a leader of the conservative opposition to Gen. Anastasio Somoza years before the dictator was ousted . . . Organized and led a civic opposition movement that, from January, 1978, worked openly to destabilize Somoza and was a key to the Sandinista Front's military victory over Somoza's National Guard in July, 1979 . . . Left Nicaragua in 1982, over what he called Sandinista repression of internal political dissent.

Alfonso Robelo, 47, civilian leader of a Costa Rica-based contra organization, the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance . . . An engineer and industrialist, he was a leader of the civic opposition movement that destabilized Somoza's government in 1978-79 . . . Founded the Nicaraguan Democratic Movement, a political party that describes itself as social-democratic . . . Was a leader and top spokesman for the Broad Opposition Front, a coalition of political parties and other civic groups that campaigned actively for Somoza's ouster . . . A vocal supporter of the Sandinistas, he was a member of the Sandinista Front's first ruling junta but resigned in 1980, accusing the Front of Marxist-Leninist practices and of yielding to Cuban influences . . . Complained of harassment and fled into exile in 1982.

Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, 35, picked as a director of the Nicaraguan Resistance early this year . . . His father, for whom he was named, was for years the most visible public foe of the Somoza dynasty, combatting two generations of Somozas with his newspaper, La Prensa, once Nicaragua's only independent daily . . . The elder Chamorro's assassination Jan., 10, 1978, for which Somoza was blamed, sparked a civic resistance movement against the dictatorship . . . La Prensa's plant was burned in the waning days of Somoza rule but under the Sandinistas, the younger Chamorro rebuilt it and took over as editor . . . Went into exile in November, 1984, after years of clashing over Sandinista press censorship . . . Joined the contra civilian leadership in Costa Rica and edits Nicaragua Hoy, a weekly contra newspaper.

Alfredo Cesar, 36, a leader of the Southern Opposition Bloc, a contra group in Costa Rica that he represents on the board of the Nicaraguan Resistance . . . A Stanford-trained economist and one-time militant Sandinista who once described his role in toppling Somoza in these terms: "I carried out orders without faltering, including that of fighting, which was an honor, and bearing jail and torture, which was a duty." . . . Became a key economic policy maker for the Sandinistas as president of the Central Bank, a position from which he tried, he said, "to make the private sector . . . and international banking sources believe in the economic potential of the revolution" . . . Resigned in mid-1982, accusing the Marxists dominating the government's political leadership of making his job impossible.

Aristides Sanchez, 44, is responsible for rebel logistics and is said to serve also as chief trouble-shooter . . . Lacks formal military experience, but since leaving Nicaragua in 1980, has spent virtually all his time in the field with the anti-Sandinista forces in Honduras . . . A lawyer, he spent his early years looking after his powerful family's properties in Nicaragua, where his father was an official in the Somoza government . . . Described as tough and conservative and highly nationalistic, he is given much of the credit for the rebels' survival through the lean years when U.S. aid was interrupted . . . Together with Calero, he is seen as a hard-line member of the rebel leadership, and one of the few rebel leaders with the self-confidence to express disagreement to U.S. officials.

Azucena Ferrey, 42, the only woman among the directors of the Nicaraguan Resistance . . . Described by critics and admirers as a forceful, determined leader . . . First came to public notice for her uncanny ability to fire up a crowd . . . Was a leader of the Social Christian Party, which worked to oust Somoza, and helped to direct Nicaragua's internal civic opposition for seven years . . . Bolted to the contras last May, citing the Sandinistas' reimposition of a state of emergency last January, and police action against a march she organized for International Women's Day two months later . . . Now she often aims her anti-Sandinista appeals at women, focusing on such issues as education and compulsory military service, which were behind her decision in 1985 to move her 12-year-old son to Costa Rica.

Enrique Bermudez, 54, commander of the largest contra fighting force, the Nicaraguan Democratic Force, which he helped the CIA to organize in 1981 from a few hundred exiled members of Somoza's National Guard and Nicaraguan dissidents . . . Was himself a colonel in the guard under Somoza and defense attache to the Nicaraguan Embassy in Washington when Somoza was toppled. . . A graduate of the old Nicaraguan Military Academy, he has described himself as a career military officer . . . Received specialized training in Brazil and the United States . . . Served as Nicaragua's representative on several inter-American defense organizations before the Sandinistas took power and abolished the National Guard.

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