Involvementin NicaraguaNot very many Americans know the truththat lies beneath the U. S. ‘ involvement in Nicaragua. Most wouldbe surprised to find out that U.
S. armed forces and politicians violatedU. S. laws and deliberately sabotaged Nicaragua’s stable government by payingthe dictator’s henchmen to kill Nicaraguan citizens. The United Statesis considered one of the major superpower nations in this world. It is highly influential to other countries and often takes responsibilityto intervene with other another country’s problems?especially when it dealswith the spreading of communism.Order now
When Nicaragua’s dictatorship wasoverthrown by the popular Sandinistas, a communist regime was successfullyput in place. The U. S. immediately feared that Nicaragua’s surroundingcountries would eventually become communist due to the Domino Theory. The negative impact of becoming further engaged in the Nicaraguan politicswas destructive to both the U.
S. and Nicaragua. These actions destabilizedthe Nicaraguan economy, encouraged civil violence, and motivated membersof the American government to violate certain laws to continue their aidto the guerillas. To fully comprehend the negative impactsof U. S.
intervention in Nicaragua, one must be somewhat familiar with Nicaragua’shistory. The period in which the Somoza family ruled Nicaragua startedon New Year’s Day in 1937, when Anastasio Somoza Garcia had himself electedpresident. The Somozas ran Nicaragua as their own private estate;”. .
. all three Somozas were dictators who ran the affairs of their countryto their personal benefit and against the interests of the vast majorityof their countrymen” (Walker 16). Under their dominion, life forthe Nicaraguan citizens was harsh, because they suffered from abject poverty. They lived in inadequate housing, ate and dressed poorly, and were overallextremely oppressed by their leaders’ corruption. When the peoplefinally realized that life wasn’t going to get any better, they decidedto turn to their only other option, the communist Sandinista government. The U.
S. were so anti-Communist that they began to send large sums of moneyto Somoza’s Guardsmen (who the leaders of the Contras) in order to sabotagethe Sandinista government. One of the goals the U. S. would like toachieve when dealing with Third World nations is to help them become moreindustrialized and economically stable. Unfortunately, the oppositeof this occurred in Nicaragua.
Before U. S. involvement, Nicaragua’seconomy was reasonably sturdy in the sense that there was a consistentflow of money in and out of the country. “With increasing investmentin Nicaragua, as a result of the Alliance for Progress, and the CentralAmerican Common Market, this was a period of unprecedented progress” (Pastor,35).
It is obvious that stronger nations would not invest their timeand money into a country that was economically declining, thus displayingthat at this time, Nicaragua was doing quite well for a Third World nation. With the correct equipment and help from richer nations, Nicaragua couldhave benefited from the high quality of its land and resources, which wouldraise the citizen’s yearly income and help with overcoming destitution. U. S.
money for the reconstruction of Managua after the incredibly huge”Christmas Earthquake” in 1972 never reached where it was most needed. Instead, Anastasio Somoza Debayle (the president of Nicaragua at the time)”transformed a tragic national loss into a personal financial gain”(Pastor, 36). Somoza’s greediness enticed him to pocket the moneyinstead of directing the funds where they were intended to go. Thusvery little was done to help the disaster victims and this is just anotherexample of how his dictatorship was oppressive to the people. Thisquandary could have been simply avoided if the U. S.
had sent an officialto manage the money and secure its proper usage. Through the 1960’s, Nicaragua receivedfrom the U. S. $92. 5 million in economic aid, and $11 million in militaryaid.
From 1971 to 1976, Nicaragua received three times that amountin economic aid but less in military. (Pastor, 43) From thesestatistics, it seems that Nicaragua’s economy is being supported by U. S. funding more each year. It is fair to say Nicaragua’s economy wasdependent on U.
S. aid. When Somoza issued terror raids on his people,the U. S. chose to impose sanctions withdrawing all funding to Nicaragua. By advertising Somoza’s acts of human brutality, the U.
S. was able to persuadeother countries to consider terminating their current aid to Nicaragua. Not only did Nicaraguan slip further into debt, but also the situationworsened for the poverty-stricken people. “Nicaragua’s economy hadfailed to attain its prerevolution level in 1983. Investment hadstagnated or declined, depending on the sector. The external debt,which was high at $1.
5 billion in 1979, reached $3. 8 billion in 1983. Agriculture?the dynamic center of the economy before the revolution?declinedmarkedly. .
. . As the war intensified, the economy sank even further”(Pastor, 245). Nicaraguans were so focused on fighting that theydidn’t realize that their land was being destroyed and that there weren’tenough people to farm the existing crops. Although the U.
S. had intendedon using the sanctions as a way to promote human rights and to pressureSomoza to stop the killing, they exacerbated the failing economy. When the U. S. entered Nicaragua, it sentthe people mixed messages. They hoped that the violence would eventuallyend with the U.
S. ‘ help, but the U. S. did not take an active part in resolvingthat violence. They did not walk away either.
They carriedout their own agenda, which consisted of having a non-communist regime. They withdrew military aid from Somoza, because the American citizens disapprovedof Somoza’s brutal and tyrannical actions, but they would not support theSandinistas (the communist group trying to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship)either. Instead, the U. S.
financed Somoza’s Guardsmen, the only institutioncapable of restraining the Sandinistas if they came into power. Theconstant fighting and bickering among the different groups in Nicaraguahad caused the people to become impatient with the U. S. “You Americanshave the strength, the opportunity, but not the will.
We want tostruggle, but it is dangerous to have friends like you. . . Either helpus or leave us alone” (Pastor, 259). The Nicaraguans were verycommitted to ending the civil war that has haunted their lives for so long.
If the U. S. wasn’t going to help them achieve this goal, they should stopwatching them over their shoulders. Around 50,00 lives, or approximatelytwo percent of the population had been lost, but the Nicaraguans claimedthat “freedom, justice, and national dignity were sometimes worth sucha price” (Walker, 20).
When people feel strongly about changingsomething, they are willing to lose their valuables, pride, and sometimestheir lives to achieve it. By not letting the people know which sidethe U. S. opposed or supported, tension mounted between the groups, whichindubitably lead to a bloody massacre. “The U.
S. is not very knowledgeable. does not know how much blood, how many sacrifices, how much frustrationthat generations of Latin Americans have gone through” (Pastor, 281). The U. S.
worried so much about Nicaragua having a communist governmentthat they overlooked how many lives were lost in their effort to changethe government. If the U. S. had made it clear where they stood inthe situation, it would have resulted with in a lower death toll.
When the Sandinistas overthrew the Somozaregime in 1979, they became the government of Nicaragua. The “rebels”then were the ex-Guardsmen (men from Somoza’s military), who were now runningthe contra-rebellion. “Aid to the Contra’s had been prohibited by Congress” (History).
However, members of the ReaganAdministration and the CIA devised a scheme providing illegal funding “underthe table. ” The plan was to sell shipments of arms to Iran via Israel. The money paid was diverted to the Contra’s resistance force and was overseenby Lt. Colonel Oliver North. The transaction first took place in1985. (Jewish) The men indicted were: Secretary of Defense,Casper Weinberger; Head of the Sate Department’s Latin American Bureau,Elliot Abrams; Reagan’s National Security Advisor, Robert C.
McFarlane,among many others. (Men) The U. S. ‘ obsession with anti-Communistgroups brought a handful of its leaders to break congressional laws toprovide financial assistance to a group that had previously been engagedin a series of war crimes. They ignored the fact that the group ofmen they supported were ones that killed and abused Nicaraguan citizensduring the Somoza dictatorship. The only excuse that they were ableto use to uphold their actions in assisting the Contras was thatthey were in the process of destroying the Communist-backed Sandinistagovernment.
The U. S. participation during Nicaragua’stime of crisis caused its economy to become unstable, bolstered the civilwar, and inspired criminal activities by high level politicians and officialsin the U. S.
Nicaragua’s economy was at an all time high before theU. S. became immersed in it. As more aid was provided to the people,Nicaragua became more dependent upon the U. S.
for financial support. This caused further problems when the U. S. decided to sanction Nicaragua.
The people had expected the U. S. to stop the brutality when they enteredthe situation. Unfortunately, the U.
S. chose not to do anything andmerely observed the circumstances. If the U. S.
had let the Nicaraguansdeal with their problems their own way, more lives would’ve been saved. The U. S. feared that if communism were successful in Nicaragua, it wouldsoon diffuse to the surrounding nations.
When Congress halted theaid to the Contras, many government officials illegally earned money tosend to them. “The Nicaraguans are fully aware of the role the UnitedStates has played in Nicaragua and that the resentment against the Americangovernment is very deep. ” Although U. S.
politicians were capableof covering up the truth to the American public, the people most effectedby these traumatizing experiences will remember the U. S. ‘ involvement foryears to come. A more productive action on the part of the U.
S. wouldhave been to pick a side and support if or walk away and let the Sandinistagovernment rebuild Nicaragua on its own. Despite the U. S. ‘ effortsto help the dilemmas in Nicaragua, they were only able to worsen it.