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U.S. Relations With Nicaragua

August 21, 1988

Nina Shea's commentary "With Crackdown, Sandinistas Shatter Myths" (Op-Ed Page, Aug. 1) seems absurd when juxtaposed with news stories in your same edition:

On page 1: "Israel Jails Palestinian Moderate" tells of a pre-dawn raid in which a Palestinian activist was arrested and is to be jailed for six months without formal charges or a trial because he publicly advocated a compromise solution between Jews and Arabs.

On page 2: An American human rights group charged the Chilean government with torture of political prisoners; the Paraguayan Roman Catholic Church decried the government's cancellation of a religious ceremony.

The point, of course, is that the Reagan Administration has not instituted a trade embargo and armed the opposition in Israel, Chile or Paraguay. But are the "freedoms" that Reagan complains are denied Nicaraguans available in Israel, Chile, or Paraguay--or El Salvador, for that matter? Hardly.

Reagan's policy toward Nicaragua is both hypocritical and self-defeating. After having spent several billion dollars promoting a development model he endorses in El Salvador, does anyone seriously claim that the average person's life there is better than in Nicaragua?

Surely Reagan's preoccupation with Nicaragua is mostly an attempt to cover up his failed policy in El Salvador.


Ilsa Vista

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