The Acts of the Democracies




USA and Nicaragua

Nicaragua breaks diplomatic relations with the USA after CIA plots to assassinate the popular president, Daniel Ortega.

Ortega had won a free and internationally observed election with 63% of the vote. In spite of this, the USA's President Reagan begins a trade embargo on Nicaragua, secretly mines its ports, destroys agricultural collectives and health clinics, and uses its influence in the World Bank to block previously agreed loans to the country.

Although condemned by the World Court, the USA continues this destabilisation until 1990 when a USA backed party, the National Opposition Union is elected by a small margin.

The USA undermines the World Court. On previous occasions, the USA had used the Court against various states but on this occasion, the Court was denounced and its ruling ignored. The USA newspaper, New York Times, supports of the USA refusal to accept the Court's ruling, calling the Court a "hostile forum."

The USA State Department Legal Adviser, Abraham Sofaer, states:

"The United States does not accept compulsory jurisdiction over any dispute involving matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the United States, as determined by the United States."

This "domestic jurisdiction" is the destabilisation of another country's democratically elected government.

The UK government of Margaret Thatcher supports and endorses USA actions in Central America. The Rupert Murdoch owned UK newspaper, The Times states: "[The USA actions] maintain and strengthen the forces of democracy in an area threatened with a communist takeover."

Oxfam, an international development organisation that works in nearly 80 developing countries, states that Nicaragua is "exceptional in the strength of [its] government's commitment... to improving the condition of the people and encouraging their active participation in the development process".

Horatio Arce, one of the Contra rebels destabilising Nicaragua, would admit in 1988 that he was trained in a USA base in the southern USA and was funded by the Agency for International Development from the USA embassy in Tegucigalpa in Honduras. He admits: "We attack lots of schools, health centres and those sort of things. We have tried to make it so that the Nicaraguan government cannot provide social services for the peasants, cannot develop its project... that's the idea".

Viron Vaky, USA Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs supports using the Contras because "a longer war of attrition will so weaken the regime, provoke such a radical hardening of repression, and win sufficient support from Nicaragua's discontented population that sooner or later the regime will be overthrown by popular revolt, self destruct by means of internal coups or leadership splits, or simply capitulate to salvage what it can."

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