Causes of continuing conflict in Nicaragua

(Hoover Institution on War Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, 1995 - available on Amazon)

Dr. Timothy C. Brown


New Preface
By 1995, the outside world’s interest in the Nicaragua had evaporated, even though neither the Contra War nor the Sandinista Revolution had ended. By the end of 1990, the Contra armies had been disarmed and they and their accompanying families had gone back to their ancestral homes in the northern Segovia mountains, convinced by promises made by the United States government that we would protect them and their families and help them restart their lives. But we had broken all our promises to them. During the five years since 1990, we had poured $1.5 b. in US taxpayer dollars but, with few exceptions the beneficiaries of this American largesse were Nicaragua’s traditional elite and the Sandinista Front’s senior cadre. Meanwhile, since we had disarmed our former allies but not their enemies, violent attacks on them and their families had become endemic. As a result many of the America’s former allies had taken up arms yet again. The resulting conflict was known as the Recontra War. But only a few outside observers cared. One of them was former Governor of Nevada, Mike O’Callaghan. a member of the Carter electoral observation team during the 1990 Nicaraguan elections. In a December, 1994 article in the Las Vegas Sun, O’Callaghan defended the Recontras, saying that, “They had blazed at least one pathway by which the Northern campesino masses may defend themselves." Causes of Continuing Conflict in Nicaragua is a 1994 study of their war after their war.

Nicaraguan Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo said in a December 1994 interview in Managua that, “All the promises made to (the former Contras) have been broken” and the Organization of American States, the OAS, had verified that, since June of 1990, the United States’ one-time Nicaraguan allies had been the victims of more than 1,500 attacks, almost all involving violence against them by Sandinistas. Of these, 283 had been homicides. And these were just those the OAS had been able to document. High as that number was, according to other well-informed sources, at least twice that many had died. My own estimate, based on months of in-country research, was closer to 3,000. Although it was the Contras that had made her election possible, once elected Conservative President Violeta Chamorro had opted to align herself with the Sandinistas and allow the Sandinista People’s Army and National Police to keep their guns. When she did, violence against the former Contras became inevitable. In short, for our former allies, the war has not ended. Since 1994, by manipulating Nicaragua’s constitution and judicial system, the Sandinistas have successfully regained the presidency,  found ways to perpetuate themselves in power and, ironically,  reach a tacit understanding with the countries traditional elite. Today, the oligarchy dominates the country’s market place: The Sandinistas dominate its politics. The Somoza’s would have felt right at home.  
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