Sandinistas Still Have Support in Nicaragua

The author of the opinion-page column "Curb the Sandinistas," Nov. 14, laments that the Sandinistas are being obstreperous these days in Nicaragua. He's quite right, but misses the reason why when he states that "the Nicaraguans so emphatically dismissed them [the Sandinistas]" in last year's election.On the contrary, the Sandinistas received a much larger plurality than any other ideological group. The winning UNO coalition [which supported current Nicaraguan President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro] involved more than a dozen disparate groups. Like it or not, the Sandinistas still enjoy great popularity. In addition, the "international" (but mainly United States) commission cited in the article is historically shortsighted when it refers to the "decade of Sandinista confiscations and nationalizations." How about the previous 50 years? During the Somozas' half-century of dictatorship, they and their henchmen acquired a huge proportion of the national wealth. Would justice be served by returning such property to these crooks? John C. Irvin, Jay, N.Y.

The fall of communism in the Soviet Union should indicate that support for the Sandinistas is nonexistent. Then what is the motivation behind this so-called "Sandinista appeasement" the author refers to? It is time to end the appeasement of the United States government in Nicaragua. If the Sandinistas do regain control, they will not turn back the progress of the current Nicaraguan government, but rather the progress of 100 years of US influence in that country. The hostility toward reform is not against Chamorro, but against the US. The barrier to peace in Nicaragua is the US. Jose L. Almanza, Harlingen, Texas

I find this column interesting. The commission cited by the author states that the Sandinista armed forces "apply the law without rigor or consistency." When I was in Nicaragua in July, I became aware of the lack of laws to enforce. The country is in chaos after 10 years of war, and to expect any government to establish a peaceful society in the midst of economic disaster is unrealistic. During my visit, I attended events in Esteli, Matagalpa, and Managua celebrating the Revolution, and I was struck by the enthusiastic support for the FSLN [Sandinistas] shown by huge crowds of people. The Nicaraguans have a multi-party system: If we leave them alone, they will sort things out. Mary Markus, Garden Grove, Calif.

This column's facts about Nicaragua are turned around. Instead of "seizing thousands of acres of private property from their hapless political opponents," the Sandinistas, in the last months of their government, enacted legislation to protect the land and homes of hundreds of thousands of small farmers and city dwellers which were being threatened by former Somoza regime individuals. The author advocates replacing the current commanders of the Sandinista-controlled Army and police, but their replacements could be ex-Contras, which would be even worse. We have only to look at El Salvador and Guatemala to know what new suffering would be inflicted upon the poor people. K.R. Dahmen, Austin, Texas

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