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'Fanning the Flames--Again'

August 07, 1988

Why are there Americans (letters, July 26) who still side with those in control of Nicaragua?

Within the past few weeks, we've seen armed thugs, some in uniform, some in mufti, break up the largest political demonstration in eight years; the country's only privately owned newspaper shut down; a church-sponsored radio station shut down for reporting the demonstration; 12 and 13-year-old boys pressed into service by the Sandinista Army, or sneaking out of the country to avoid forced army duty. We've seen all this by videotape and eyewitnesses, yet there are some among us who persist in supporting the repression in Nicaragua.

Somoza, your contributors say, and his legacy are the problems. What relevance, I ask, is there in resurrecting Somoza's ghost?

In fact, wasn't Somoza murdered thousands of miles away by Sandinista killers using Russian grenades in Paraguay? Aren't thousands of Somoza's conscript army ( Guardistas ) still in Sandinista prisons, serving indeterminate sentences pronounced by Sandinista courts run by party functionaries, none of whom were schooled in the law? Hasn't a huge percentage of the Nicaraguan population fled to wretched neighboring United Nations' refugee camps?

Haven't thousands more fled to Mexico, the United States, Canada and Europe? Doesn't this mass exodus of the last eight years, ranging from a few multimillionaires to hundreds of thousands of peasant farmers, mean anything?

Expulsion of ambassadors aren't issues to be dealt with here, but the thousands of refugees scattered around the globe are.

When the majority of Americans don't know where Nicaragua is, or what a Nicaraguan looks like, or that 16-year-olds are "enfranchised" to vote there, or that the refugee camps bordering Nicaragua contain enough people to populate a large city in the United States, one has to challenge the information level, and overall political cognizance of those who continue to support the Sandinistas.



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