I have worked (and lived part time) in Nicaragua for just over ten years, but I am still a citizen of the U.S., and stay abreast of what's happening at home. Viewed from a distance, perhaps the vision is different than a close up look. What I see concerns me.
I came to Nicaragua the first time in 1984 on assignment to do a photo layout, and spent two months in Managua and traveling throughout the country. I was surprised by what I saw. It didn't match anything I had read in print or seen on television news.
I returned to Nicaragua a decade later because I felt strongly that the truth had never been told to the American public, and I wanted to write an honest history of the years of revolution and counter-revolution that had taken the country to its knees.
It took ten years of research, interviews with hundreds of Nicas who had lived the experience, and interviews with some former members of U.S. government agencies to fully uncover a clear picture of what happened, and because of the fear of the people who were involved, the book I wrote was written as fiction. But it does tell the accurate history, and that story is horrifying.
Our government supported a group of terrorists – the Guardia Nacional – in brutalizing the Nicaraguan citizens for ten years until those citizens finally gave up, cried uncle, and voted for a president that the U.S. government supported.
By that time the country was in economic devastation, the people poorer than they had been at the time of the revolution, and the elite had their wealth safely secured in Miami banks. The government elected in 1990 took swift action to shut down the programs instigated by the rebel government designed to improve quality of life. Reading schools and free medical clinics were closed, never to be reopened.
Is history repeating itself. Many of the same people who were involved with the Reagan administration in destroying this Central American country are today involved with the Bush administration.
In the 1980's in Nicaragua that administration called its action a war against communism although there was never any valid indication that the FSLN (Sandinistas) were communist. The U.S. government used paid terrorists they called Contras to brutalize the Nicaraguan population into voting their way. Today they call it a war on terrorism and are repeating the actions taken in Nicaragua, only it is the citizens of Iraq who are now under the heel of the most powerful nation in the world.
Are we tyrants? Surely not. If not, why are we allowing our government to repeat tyrannical actions?