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'A Ballad for Nicaragua'

February 21, 1988

I read Eduardo Galeano's ("A Ballad for Nicaragua--a Pitiful Place, Yet So Desired by the Powerful," Op-Ed Page, Feb. 16) words with astonishment--not at their beauty but at their very existence. His succinct version of the truth is a welcome addition to the debate over Nicaragua, which for so long in the Congress and mainstream media has been a weary cycle of Contra-funding arguments. The central postulates--that Nicaragua must somehow be "contained" and that the Sandinistas betrayed their revolution--are never challenged, even by the most avid anti-Contra partisans.

It's an Orwellian debate: El Salvador shoots its people and both sides laud it as a desirable democracy. Nicaragua gives its people guns and both sides condemn it as a repressive regime. But to stray from the accepted arena of discussion, to recognize the Nicaraguan revolution as exemplary and, more important, theirs to carry forth . . . that, in Galeano's words, "is considered a sign of stupidity or poor taste."

Meanwhile, the two factions that make the decisions will keep arguing over how best to bleed the Nicaraguans dry: proxy armies, economic pressure, political threats, constant terror.

KELLY GARRETT

Los Angeles

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