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Nobel Prize for President Arias

October 27, 1987

Perhaps Arias' surprise upon learning of his designation as Nobel winner was because he had never thought of his plan as a peace plan. Perhaps he had always instinctively thought of it as a device for getting the best possible deal from a strong Soviet-backed Nicaragua if and when the U.S. finally "bugged out" on its Central American interests and commitments.

For years Costa Rica was the greatest beneficiary of and most dependent on U.S. protection. Costa Rica really believed 40 years ago that the U.S. would carry them and so has no military force to meet the superior force of the Sandinistas.

Castaneda lays it out indirectly, pointing out that Arias "has understood that no negotiating process in Central America will work if it requires symmetrical concessions (between the Contras and the Sandinistas) and procedures--Arias has tacitly accepted the indisputable fact of regional life: that (the) Contras cannot be placed on the same level with the Sandinistas or even El Salvador's guerrillas." Does that sound like a peace plan or a surrender?

Apparently The Times' editorial writers, a good segment of the U.S. Congress and other Sunday supporters of the Sandinistas "have understood" it that way also.

R.A. MOORE

Palos Verdes Estates

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