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
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
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
He didn’t like that Ortega because too friendly with the Cubans and the Soviets after the
The Sandinista leadership tried to kill pastora. He fled the country to costa rica and took
many of his men with him.
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
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,
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
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
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