Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 6 | Noviembre 1981



Halcón Vista And The Response Of The Nicaraguan People

The threats from the U.S. government against Nicaragua and Cuba increased in intensity and passion. The Reagan administration spoke of a naval blockade and of direct military intervention.

Envío team

I. Immediate Precedents:

The establishment of the State of Economic and Social Emergency.

In the last envío we analyzed in detail the State of Economic and Social Emergency which was declared by the National Reconstruction Government on September 9, 1981. We included a synthesis of the initial reactions by diverse sectors of Nicaraguan society and we indicated that we would continue covering developments in following envíos.

Through a series of laws and measures the State of Economic and Social Emergency established the rules of the game which would guide efforts to confront the economic crisis. The different social sectors (workers, campesinos and business persons), along with the political and trade union blocs, were asked to understand and confront the emergency situation and to contribute their fair share to the resolution of the crisis. This solution would have to be national in character, with no social sector paying a higher price than any other.

The State of Emergency affects the entire society and constitutes the general context in which the mobilizations in response to Halcón Vista gain their significance.

II. The Popular Response to Halcón Vista

A: During the first few days of October, the Nicaraguan people began to become aware of “Halcón Vista” (Hawk’s View) which was scheduled to take place October 7, 8 and 9. Halcón Vista refers to a series of joint military training operations between U.S. and Honduran forces on the Atlantic Coast of Honduras, near Nicaragua. With the U.S. amphibious warship “Fort Schelling” as their base of operations, the troops practiced landing maneuvers onto a “country x” and also practiced the interception of ships which might attempt to bring arms and soldiers into Honduras. Samuel Dickenson, adjunct director of the Interamerican Defense Council, who was in Honduras at the time, was widely quoted in the press as indicating that the maneuvers were part of an overall plan that Washington is trying to carry out in Central America… and this is to give confidence to the countries of Central America in the eventuality that they are attacked by Cuba or Nicaragua… The motives behind these maneuvers and the tension in U.S.. Nicaraguan relations caused the Nicaraguan leadership to consider carefully the aggressive and threatening character of Halcón Vista. Nicaragua has made public moves for peace, both within the U.N. and with other countries of the region, especially Honduras. Yet there are sectors within the Honduran military who would be very content with a military conflict with Nicaragua and who are encouraging aggressions against Nicaragua through their support of training camps for the Somocista ex-National Guard in Honduras.

B: On October 3, 1981, Comandante Humberto Ortega, Defense Minister of Nicaragua, spoke of the threat, both immediate and potential, that the maneuvers posed for Nicaragua. At the same time, he announced a national mobilization called the Benjamín Zeledón Patriotic Anti-Interventionist Campaign. This campaign would take place during the entire month of October, culminating on October 7, 8 and 9. The campaign would mobilize thousands of persons around the following objectives:

1: To demonstrate the spirit and the anti-interventionist sentiment of the Nicaragua people.
2: To demonstrate popular support for the measures announced in the national State of Emergency.

Initially the campaign was to be held in two parts. The first mobilization would take place principally in Managua from October 4 to 13. Yet spontaneous massive mobilizations began throughout the country in the first few days of the campaign. It was therefore decided to hold the entire campaign between October 4 and 13.

The spontaneous character of the demonstrations and the clear perception on the part of the participants of what was at stake is difficult to portray and yet was palpable to those present at the mobilizations. Often there were discussions in classrooms, factories and markets before the demonstrations. The people participated with excitement and enthusiasm. The discussions and demonstrations did not unfold in an atmosphere of anger or aggression, but rather one of unity and determination. Those participating expressed that they will not easily lose what has cost them so much to obtain. The demonstrations themselves had an educational aspect. The leaders explained the principal problems facing Nicaragua, the economic emergency, the aggressive policies of the Reagan administration and the delicate and critical world situation. This dialogue was one of the most significant aspects of the mobilizations and is becoming a permanent characteristic of the Nicaraguan process.

The heightened political activity and excitement were not limited only on the massive mobilizations. Revolutionary night-watch hours were lengthened in the neighborhoods. Smaller political acts took place in each barrio on a daily basis. There were parades of the popular militia and the army reserves were on active duty. The whole nation was on a state of alert. Slogans generated during the mobilizations expressed the strong anti-imperialistic and anti-interventionist, but not anti-American, sentiments of the crowds.

III. Outline of the mobilizations throughout the country during the campaign.

IV. Some aims of Halcón Vista and the significance of the mobilizations.

A: Halcón Vista sought:
1: To pass unnoticed as if it were just another of the routine military maneuvers that the U.S. carries out in the region.
2: To be a demonstration of force by the Reagan administration in Central America.
3: To give a strong warning to Nicaragua, as part of a more global policy which includes credit cuts and press and diplomatic campaigns against Nicaragua;
4: To intimidate the Nicaraguan and Central American people.
5: To strengthen and fortify Honduras in order to increase, among some internal sectors, the predisposition for a military confrontation which would favor Reagan’s policy in the area.

B: The mobilizations of the Nicaraguan people demonstrated that:
1: Halcón Vista would not pass unnoticed as just one more maneuver. The Nicaraguan people knew about Halcón Vista, questioned it and analyzed it. The popular mobilizations in Nicaragua, while having their own peculiarities and special political context, were another denouncement of the bellicose policies of the Reagan administration, in the same way as were the huge mobilizations in Europe.

2: There is a weakness in the Reagan administration’s policies. The whole military apparatus wears down when confronted with people who organize themselves and struggle for their liberty and their right to self-determination.

3: Halcón Vista failed to realize many of its goals. The Nicaraguan people, their patriotism aroused, became more organized, increased their participation in the militia and revolutionary night watch and other community activities. Halcón Vista did not succeed in intimidating the Nicaraguans.

4: Halcón Vista was a good parameter by which to measure the attitudes of the different political, social and economic sectors of Nicaragua.

V. Effects of the Mobilizations in the Actual Political Situation:

To the Reconstruction Government this massive mobilization signified a reaffirmation of popular participation. In the present circumstance, at a popular level, this participation is the result of the vote of confidence of the people to its leadership as shown by its organizational capacity.

This popular participation legitimizes in this moment the decisions made by the government in its efforts to reconstruct the country. The mobilizations remain a political fact in Nicaragua a demonstration of the support the leadership still enjoys. In spite of the discontent of minority sectors of the society, Nicaragua’s workers, small and medium producers, professionals, and youth once more demonstrated that they still support the government they elected during years of struggle against the dictatorship, the government they continue to elect in their daily participation in this revolutionary process.

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