Arias: War is not an alternative
San Jos'e, Costa Rica — The following remarks by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias are taken from an interview with the Monitor held on Thursday, Aug. 4.
On recent Sandinista crackdown: The Sandinistas ``have unmasked themselves.
``They are proving to the world that there is no political will in Managua, that they were not really honest when they committed themselves to democratize and advance toward a pluralistic society.''
On military aid to the contras: ``All I can tell you is more military pressure is going to allow the Sandinistas to find an excuse for more repression. ... [They will] use it to take more backward steps than they've already made, to eliminate all kinds of pluralism, and make the Nicaraguan government a much more authoritarion, tyrannical, and dictatorial regime.
``For the first time, Washington [instead of Nicaragua] is not isolated. But as soon as aid to the contras is approved again, once more they won't get the support of the Western Hemisphere.''
On humanitarian aid: The contras ``need to be fed. There are some people so poor that they are crossing the border into Costa Rica. This is why I am in favor of humanitarian aid.
``But I don't think the contras are an alternative as a military force in the near future.''
On the contras: ``When we criticize the Sandinistas, it is because of this identification between the government, the party, and the Army.
What would happen if [contra leader Col.] Enrique Berm'udez wins?
``It would be the same. Enrique Berm'udez would be part of the government and head of the Army. The Nicaraguans have fought for something different.
``The contras with Enrique Berm'udez as a leader is not an alternative.''
On contra-Sandinista negotiations: ``The hawks on both sides are dominating the scene now. ...
``These people fear freedom and democracy more than tanks and airplanes and machine guns. It is indeed very sad.''
On the peace plan: ``We cannot be entirely happy after a year of the Guatemala Accord. We haven't complied to what we have committed ourselves to do one year ago. But the alternative is not war.''