San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Reagan Was the Problem, Not the Sandinistas

In response to Mr. Howard Cox’s Perspective “A Revolution of Capitalism and Corruption” published in The Nica Times Feb. 26, I really think Mr. Cox needs to read some more about Nicaragua’s history and talk to people who know it.

In his article, he talked only about how the Sandinistas did damage to Nicaragua in the 1980’s. But he didn’t mention how former U.S. President Ronald Reagan financed the contra war by selling drugs and guns to Iran. Even after the U.S. Congress cut off funding, Reagan continued to fund the contras, which is why they called it “the secret war of Ronald Reagan.”

Mr. Cox never mentioned how Reagan sent over 300,000 landmines to Nicaragua. Even today, there are still about 7,000 thousand landmines in the northern part of the country.

It’s funny how in his article Mr. Cox never mentioned Benjamin Linder, the U.S. engineer from California who was killed by contras while trying to help a community in Matagalpa in 1988. Linder was killed in a cowardly manner, shot from behind with a U.S.-made M-16.

Mr. Cox also never mentioned that in 1985, when Daniel Ortega became president for the first time, we had UN electoral observers who confirmed the elections were won cleanly. Yet Reagan did not care what this international organization had to say and instead imposed an embargo against Nicaragua like the U.S. embargo against Cuba. What right did Reagan have to mess with Nicaragua’s internal issues?

Let’s also please remember Bill Stewart, the American journalist working for ABC news when he was killed by Somoza’s National Guard on June 20, 1979. As Stewart drove through a checkpoint, the National Guard told him to stop the car and to get out and lie on the ground. One of the national guardsmen kicked Stewart in his ribs before killing him and his interpreter Juan Espinoza with an M-16. There is a monument in Managua (barrio el Riguero) built in their memories.

When Somoza finally fled in 1979, he took with him more than $900 million from the Nicaraguan treasury, leaving the country bankrupt. The Somoza dynasty killed more than 200,000 Nicaraguans, 80 percent of whom were civilians. The U.S. government supported these terrorists.

The Sandinista government in the 1980’s found a country where 72 percent of the population was illiterate – the legacy of the Somoza family trying to keep Nicaraguans ignorant and under their control. Ortega, with help from Germany, Russia, and Cuba, started the Literacy Crusades, which aimed to teach the entire population how to read and write. After three Literacy Crusades, illiteracy fell to under 12 percent.

In the late 80’s President Ortega filed an international lawsuit against the U.S. in The Hague and won. The

International Court

determined that the U.S. government must pay Nicaragua $17 billion for all the damages from the war. Unfortunately, then-President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro said Nicaragua would not accept the money and pardoned the debt.

In the ‘80s, the Sandinista government, using Russian radar, discovered that the U.S. was doing flyovers in the “Blackbird,” the fastest airplane in the world.

The aircraft flew very low every morning over Granada and Masaya. That was back in 1988, when I was only 8 years old. My mom would tell me to hide and get down under the table every time we heard that terrible sound from the airplane (although by the time the sound from the plane reached us, it was already over Costa Rica).

Robert Callahan, the current U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua, helped train the contras in the 80’s at the U.S. Army base Palmerola, Honduras.

I think The Nica Times should show all the progress that this current Sandinista government has made so far. For instance, we don’t have electricity blackouts like we did before 2007, when the power outages lasted up to 10 hours a day.

Education and health services are now for free. If you go to LeninFonsecaHospital, the best specialized hospital in Nicaragua, you will find 99 percent of the people receiving all the services for free – services that cost thousands of dollars in U.S. hospitals.

Children are being fed in the public schools for the first time in Nicaraguan history, and UNESCO has declared Nicaragua to be illiteracy-free.

President Ortega, with the help of ALBA, is trying to rescue our poor country. Mrs. Rosario Murillo, Ortega’s wife, is a very intelligent and smart woman educated in Europe. She speaks five languages and is behind a lot of the progress in Nicaragua. Mrs. Murillo is giving opportunities to single mothers by giving them small loans to support their children.

President Ortega and the FSLN have brought a lot of progress to Nicaragua – more than any other government in a short amount of time.

More and more people now own a chunk of land and their children go to school for free, something less to worry about. Also thanks to the FSLN, Nicaragua is the third-safest country in the Americas behind Canada and Chile, according to INTERPOL.

That’s because Nicaragua has one of the best intelligence units in its National Police. At the same time, the Army is guarding the borders. If Honduras bordered Costa Rica, Costa Rica would have already been full of Mara Salvatrucha gang members.


Nicaraguan-born Camilo Faciane, 28, was adopted in the U.S. and lived in New Orleans for seven years. He is now an INTUR-certified tour guide and lives in Granada with his daughter.

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