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Lecture 5

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HIST 1500
William M.Last

Lecture 5: Nicaragua  Biggest country in central America  1963 – Somoza family ruled Nicaragua.  He was the archetype of the central American dictator. His idea of opposition was to have none. He was not a nice person.  Nicaragua had a large military.  Wealth concentrated at the top was worse in Nicaragua than anywhere else in central America.  It was no surprise that there was constant opposition to the Somoza regime  Cardenal – catholic priest, well versed in liberation theology. He criticized Somoza fairly openly.  Late 60s, full blown revolution in the countryside happening.  By 1979, the opposition had carried the revolution to the capital  Sandinistas – revolutionaries. They were lead by Daniel Ortega. He was a Marxist that was friendly with castro and he had many contacts with the soviet union  1979, the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza regime.  The Sandinista leaders took over the mansions, cars, servants, etc.  Some people that were part of the revolution didn’t agree with that. They didn’t want to be like the Somoza regime.  Pastora – the toughest Sandinista leader of them all. He went to the palace and fought Somoza’s guards.  He didn’t like that Ortega because too friendly with the Cubans and the Soviets after the revolution.  The Sandinista leadership tried to kill pastora. He fled the country to costa rica and took many of his men with him.  Contras  ARDE – pastora founded this group  Calero – engaged in a power struggle with Ortega and lost. He fled to Honduras.  FDN – Calero’s group  80s - Reagan admin very anti-communist. Reagan thought that el Salvador was so close to America, that they couldn’t have communism there.  Regan giving money to el salvador  Reagan sent CIA operatives to make contact with contra groups. They sent Dwayne Clarige.  He talked to Calero’s group and then told the CIA that these groups were lazy.  He sees Pastora’s group and tells CIA that we need to back them. They’re tough, disciplined, etc.  The CIA starts funneling money and weapons to both groups (1981).  Roberto D’aubuisson – called blowtorch bob in America. He was a cold hearted killer. He had been army officer in el Salvador. Didn’t have many close friends. He was feared by many.  Leader of the 1 death squad.  Now he had increased financial support from Reagan admin. Formed political party Arena. It was right wing, capitalist, anti-communist.  December 1981 – he launched operation rescue. Go out in countryside and take care of the FMLN guerillas. They came upon a village in el salvador, el mozate, and killed everybody there.  Clarige asked them about the incident and they denied it.  Clarige told ambassador to Honduras about it.  The American government said that they didn’t know anything about it.  Arena party blamed it on the FLMN.  Nobody in Washington or Congress believed that it was the FLMN.  The guerillas in the countryside depended on the FLMN.  Congress’ response to this was to outlaw all aid to th
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