Left-wing revolutionary government

United States supported guerrillas






El Salvador



This war between the Nicaraguan government, controlled by a party the Americans considered Communist, and American financed guerrillas has probably come to an end with the election of a government representing the guerrillas ("Contras").

The United States used economic embargo and other economic weapons as well as the guerrillas, many of whom were the former members of the brutal National Guard which had been controlled by the previous dictator.

Although the United States government was prohibited by its own laws from sending arms to the right wing rebels, its officials sent arms through unofficial bodies and used funds derived from illegal sources (Iranian arms sales), raising the question of unconstitutional actions by US officials and whether the US government is, as it claims, a government of laws.

Many Nicaraguans believed the American government (at least those of Reagan and Bush) would not object to the restoration of a dictatorship.

In 1992 fighting stopped. But if the government shows signs of restoring the rightwing dictatorship the leftists may resume the fight. The US government withheld the promised aid after the peace agreement, presumably because the new Nicaraguan government tried reconciliation with the Sandinista party rather than suppression, and some Sandinista officials, such as the commander of the army, remained in place. Reporters assume that the US government has demanded all these be dismissed before any aid can be offered. (Experience suggests that even then there would be very little money).

Subsequent elections re-elected the leftwing leader Ortega who proved no longer to support his former beliefs and is therefore acceptable to the US government.

Last revised 26/04/09


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