Nicaragua denounces contra aid. Ortega says more US aid means more sacrifices for Nicaraguans
A note of weary defiance appears all that Nicaragua's ruling Sandinistas have to offer in the face of what they see as determined United States hostility. In his speech Wednesday night, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega Saavedra reacted to the US House of Representatives' vote giving $100 million to the anti-Sandinista guerrillas with a familiar litany of complaints against Washington.
The vote confirms the US's ``terrorist policy'' toward Managua, Ortega argued, showed ``cynical'' disregard for regional peace negotiations, and moved Washington a step closer to direct military intervention.
President Reagan is morally ``worse than Hitler'' for imposing his policy on Congress against the trend of US public opinion, Ortega charged.
``President Reagan has signaled his plans to continue his policy of state terrorism against the Nicaraguan people, and Congress has apparently backed that up,'' said Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry official Alejandro Bendanas after Ortega's talk. ``But we remain convinced that it [the aid] does not reflect the sentiment of the American people. . . .''
Renewing US aid to the contras ``could translate in time into a new military escalation . . . leading to the intervention of US troops themselves in our country,'' Ortega said.
The rebels alone, he insisted, ``are never going to provoke the downfall of the revolution, not with $110 million, nor with $1,000 million.'' (Throughout his televised speech, Ortega incorrectly referred to the aid package as $110 million.)
This echoed repeated statements by Nicaraguan officials that US aid to the rebels will not significantly dent Managua's military advantage over the guerrillas. But Ortega warned that the fresh money would mean ``more difficulties on the economic level, more shortages, more sacrifices'' for Nicaraguans already hard pressed by economic crisis.
``We will not accept this blackmail, and we shall go on defending our revolution,'' Ortega said.
He also had harsh words for the House bill's offer of $300 million in aid to Nicaragua's Central American neighbors. This move, he charged, was designed to ``openly buy those governments so as to involve them in [Washington's] terrorist policy of aggression against Nicaragua.''
Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, all US allies, appear to be distancing themselves from the three-year-old Central American peace process of Contadora, which Managua sees as the only hope for a negotiated settlement to regional turmoil. Ortega said these countries had become ``accomplices'' in US policy as a result of Washington's ``combination of blackmail and purchase.''
Facing the prospect of congressional support for Reagan's stance on Nicaragua, and of ``undisguised hostility'' from neighboring governments, the Sandinistas have few places left to turn, Ortega said.
``The Nicaraguan people's best ally is the Nicaraguan people,'' he said. ``We shall go on defending our revolution with our own possibilities and resources, counting on solidarity from the peoples of Central America, Latin America, and the world.''