This envío finds us a little short-handed. Some of the staff are out of Nicaragua for the moment, either on vacation or in travel related to our Information Center. In spite of that and the pause in activity that the holidays bring, we wanted to make the effort to bring you our mailing this month as usual. We feel that regularity in sending our material in fundamental, especially in light of the present situation here in Nicaragua. So here we are!
On December 14, 1981, a Seminar on Racism and Racial Discrimination began in Managua which was sponsored by the U.N. This seminar, with participants from all over the world, was an important event for Nicaragua. The mere fact the U.N. designated Nicaragua as organizer and host country is a victory over the isolation to which some wish to submit Nicaragua. A substantial part of this envío is related to this seminar. The main article includes the principal paragraphs of the speech delivered by Comandante of the Revolution and Minister of the Interior, Tomás Borge Martínez, at the closing ceremonies of the seminar which took place on December 21 at the Rubén Darío Theater.
Within Nicaragua this Seminar pointed out a continuing and important problem area in the country, the Atlantic Coast. This issue also includes an interview with someone who is deeply involved in the situation on the Atlantic Coast, Moravian Minister Norman Bent. In many respects, this article is a continuation and update of our article in September. We suggest you reread it as it provides much of the background necessary to understanding the reality of the Coast.
The month of December saw a considerable increase in the actions of the counterrevolutionary bands on the northern border. Many members of the militia and many soldiers were killed and others were kidnapped and taken to Honduras. This provoked a strong reaction from all sectors of the Nicaraguan people.
On December 31, the Instituto Histórico Centroamericano published a communiqué denouncing the actions on the border. We are including this communiqué.
The continuous provocations by Somocista bands, whose base of operations is the Honduras-Nicaragua border, are not isolated incidents. They are part of a larger plan to destabilize the Nicaragua revolutionary process. The methods used to achieve this end include a blackout of information about Nicaragua, attempts at economic destabilization, and military action against the Nicaraguan people. These plans have the integral approval of the Reagan administration, as shown both by the many statements of administration officials and by continued presence of somocista training camps in Florida. These forces also have an ally within some sectors of the Honduran military.
An unexpected turn of events provided factual proof of the close ties between the Honduran military and the counterrevolutionary bands that operate on the border. On December 29, a Honduran Air Force plane crashed in Puerto Lempira killing 5 and injuring 25. Among the wounded were ex-Somocista Security Officer Steadman Fagoth Müller, his wife, Digna Rivera de Fagoth, and others connected with the Nicaraguan counterrevolutionary groups. Also on the plane was Leonel Luque, Honduran military officer, recently promoted to major, who is a key figure in the official Honduran support to the Somocista bands. The plane, a Douglas C-47, was on a military flight between Puerto Lempira, main town of Mosquitia on the Atlantic Coast, and Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras. The accident gave concrete proof, widely covered by the Honduran media, of the support in Honduras for the provocations carried on by the Somocistas.
On December 24, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister D’Escoto sent a strong note of protest to the Honduran government over the actions of these Somocista bands living in Honduras.
During the last few days of December, Comandante Lenín Cerna, head of State Security in Nicaragua, gave ample information about the counterrevolutionary activities. He gave details of the explosion aboard the Aeronica commercial airliner in the Mexico City airport on December. The plane was going from Managua to Mexico City with a stop-over in San Salvador. Only a delay in take-off saved the lives of the more than 100 people who were waiting to board. Comandante Cerna said in the press conference, “The U.S. doesn’t dare invade Nicaragua directly because the political cost would be too high. The other Central American armies also cannot accomplish this by themselves as they have too many problems in their own countries. The Somocistas are incapable of maintaining prolonged combat against us. For these reasons we think the alternative will be a combination of these possibilities which will be put into operation in as yet undetermined strategy.”
On December 31, Comandante Daniel Ortega presented the message of Government Junta to the people of Nicaragua. It said, in part, “1981 was a year of greater consciousness, of greater organization. But it was also a year of great failings internally…. The first great mistake that we discovered was in trying to resolve all problems at once. It was in trying to eradicate all the failings in a short time.” The self-criticism of much of the message was one of the most significant and impressive aspects. He announced that 1982 would be the year of “Unity in the Face of Aggression,” which signifies that that issue will have top priority. “There is nothing more helpful to confront aggression than the unity of workers, campesinos, teachers, students, professionals, religious, small, medium and large producers, merchants and industrialists; nothing greater and more forceful than the unity of the nation…. Unity in the Face of Aggression, so that we will be allowed to reconstruct our country in peace. Unity in the Face of Aggression, so that there is no intervention in Central America….”
In the first days of January, the report of a “massacre” of 200 Misquito Indians living in Honduras was reported in the international press, including the Washington Post. This “massacre” was attributed to members of the Sandinista Army who supposedly crossed the Río Coco for this purpose. Foreign Minister D’Escoto immediately denied these reports, calling them “false and absurd.” On January 7, the Minister of the Interior and Justice of Honduras completely denied the “massacre”, as did Charles Bazoche of the U.N. High Commission on Refugees. Bazoche said not one Misquito has been killed in Honduras. D’Escoto indicated that the whole thing was an invention to cover-up the ties between the Honduran army and the Somocistas, and he asked the U.N. to form a commission to investigate the false accusations.
So begins 1982. Innumerable hopes go with the beginning of a new year. But the daily struggle to consolidate the Reconstruction will mean confronting many problems. The external military provocations and the internal economic crisis are among the most serious, and only with the unity and participation of everyone will positive results be possible.
With warmest regards,
The Staff of the Information Center
Instituto Histórico Centroamericano