US Should Halt Aid To Nicaragua

THE discovery of a hidden arsenal belonging to Guatemalan guerrillas is another example of the blatant disregard for law and order condoned by some elements in the Nicaraguan government. For this reason and other flagrant abuses by Nicaraguan government officials, the United States should stop sending financial aid to Nicaragua unless its government meets certain conditions.

Three years ago, Nicaraguans voted for freedom, equality, and democracy. The sad reality in Nicaragua today, however, is that the Sandinistas continue to control military democratic reforms and the mechanisms for resolving human rights and property rights claims.

More recently, the reports of possible links between international terrorist organizations and some elements of the Nicaraguan government are dis- turbing. The documents and secret arms cache uncovered by the May 23 explosion raise many questions about the presence of international terrorists in Nicaragua. Certainly some elements of the Nicaraguan intelligence service had full knowledge of the arsenal, the collection of false passports, and the documents pertaining to the terrorist kidnapping ring directed at business people from all over Latin America.

Regretfully, the news that foreign terrorists in Nicaragua might be involved in international terrorist activities is a blow to the positive relationship the US has attempted to build with the Chamorro administration.

I, along with 30 other representatives and six US senators, have written to President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro to ask her to investigate and distance her government from these serious allegations. Assistance from US taxpayers to Nicaragua should be conditioned on the implementation of true democratic reforms and respect for human rights, as well as for protection of property rights in Nicaragua. As of yet, there is no significant progress in these areas. The Nicaraguan government must do more to stop human rights violations and the growing lawlessness in Nicaragua today. Until viable steps have been instituted, the US should halt further economic aid to Nicaragua.

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