FSLN Statement on the Peace Process
The following message of the FSLN National Directorate, delivered by the vice coordinator of the National Directorate’s executive commission, Comandante Bayardo Arce, has been widely defined in the US media as a hard-line speech and was attributed directly to Arce. We present here an unofficial translation of the message, for our readers to judge the content and tone for themselves.
Message of the FSLN National Directorate to the Extraordinary Session of the Sandinista Assembly Meeting of October 19, 1987, to provide follow-up to the peace process opened with the signing of the Esquipulas II accords.
From the Sandinista National Liberation Front to the People of Nicaragua and the International Community:
I. When the Sandinista National Liberation Front began its struggle, it wrote the achieving of power into its revolutionary program in order to be able to establish a democratic, free, just and peaceful society in Nicaragua.
While the victory standards were being raised by the hands of the people in the Plaza of the Revolution on July 19, 1979, before a single political or administrative measure had yet been taken, the most reactionary sectors of the United States initiated a continual and treacherous campaign of deliberate distortions and lies against Nicaragua.
With the preparation of the Santa Fe document, the lines of the US foreign policy toward Nicaragua, which in essence means the strategy of exterminating the very existence of the nascent Sandinista Popular Revolution, were laid out.
Starting with the election of President Ronald Reagan, the literal fulfillment of the Santa Fe document began, and the first steps were taken to regroup the Somocista National Guard.
President Reagan imparted force to his administration’s political discourse, participating fully in the organizing, financing, military training and supplying of modern weaponry to the counterrevolution, designating as heads of the mercenaries high-level Somocista National Guard officers distinguished by their old ties to the Pentagon and known as notables in the administration of genocide and barbarity, and civilians hired as a political cover, among them one widely known as a veteran CIA agent in Nicaragua.
The US government, in keeping with its interventionist conduct, of which Nicaragua has been a victim several times in its history, committed itself unconditionally to the counterrevolutionary forces who, conforming to the laws that rule processes of change, emerged as a counterpart to the revolution. The oligarchy, the criminals, the exploiters who were organized under imperialist leadership as an antithesis to the popular victory constitute its negation; but to guarantee the gains achieved, the Sandinista National Liberation Front gave arms to the people forever.
Fulfilling its initial program, the Revolutionary Government initiated a Literacy Crusade that began the democratization of education.
Converting the aspirations of the Nicaraguan people and, in particular the peasantry, into reality, the Agrarian Reform process was begun energetically. Land, for the first time, was given over irreversibly to those who work it.
II. The Sandinista Front’s National Directorate emphasized that a mixed economy, political pluralism and nonalignment form an intrinsic part of the Nicaraguan revolution.
To the historic decision to construct a new, fully human way of life within Nicaragua’s particular conditions, imperialism and its allies have responded with war, capital flight, economic embargo, electoral abstention by the political groups most subordinated to imperialism, and explicit pressures on numerous governments to isolate Nicaragua.
The incidence of these external factors generated the Central American conflict, but Latin America's own survival instinct expressed itself in the formation of Contadora and its Support Group to obstruct and impede the promised direct intervention of the United States in Nicaragua.
In 1984, when the Contadora Group proposed the signing of a peace accord for Central America, the Government of Nicaragua was the only regional government that decided to sign it without change.
When the President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, proposed his peace program for Central America, the government of Nicaragua accepted it as a basis for negotiations; when the Central American Presidents met in Guatemala, ours was willing to sign a general peace accord.
On August 17 of this very year, the Sandinista National Liberation Front made a public statement valuing the importance of the accord and committing itself to strict fulfillment of it.
III. For the people of Nicaragua and for the Sandinista Front, the fact that the Central American Presidents have signed a peace accord, despite the efforts of the US Administration to deny or limit it, was a source of deep satisfaction.
Autonomy, the laying down of arms by contra fighters, repatriation and the cease-fire accord agreed to in the Atlantic Coast were a prelude to and are Nicaragua's compliance and more with the search for peace.
On the basis of the Esquipulas accords, the Government of Nicaragua, marked by good faith and with the support of the people, have taken relevant and concrete steps to contribute to regional peace and ratify the fulfillment of said accord with deeds. The Nicaraguan government has been unequivocal in its unilateral steps leading toward this goal.
* In the first moment, our government withdrew its suit against Costa Rica in the International Court of Justice at The Hague, and postponed its suit against Honduras.
* On August 12, barely five days after signing the Esquipulas Accords and in fulfillment of them, the Government of Nicaragua invited the Bishops’ Conference and the legally registered opposition political parties to select their representatives to the National Reconciliation Commission, to the head of which it has appointed Cardinal Obando.
* Thirteen days later, on August 25, the Government of Nicaragua led in complying with the accord by naming the National Reconciliation Commission. That same day it announced its authorization for the return of several expelled priests, to stimulate the peace project even more.
* On September 1, through a decree signed by the President of Nicaragua, the National Reconciliation Commission was installed.
* Twelve days later, prisoners of Central American origin who had been combatants with the mercenary forces, sentenced for violating the law regarding maintenance of public order and security, were pardoned.
* That same day, September 13, the decree known as the Absentees Law was annulled and the political parties were called to initiate the National Dialogue on October 5.
* Six days later, September 19, the reopening of the newspaper La Prensa was authorized.
* Three days after that, September 22, despite the continuation of the war and the existence of the Emergency Law, the government lifted prior censorship of the means of communication and ordered the reopening of Radio Católica. At the same time it proceeded to establish a unilateral cease-fire.
In addition, since the Esquipulas Accords, broad liberties have been allowed so that the political parties may express themselves freely in assemblies, gatherings and demonstrations on public streets.
IV. On November 5, the process of simultaneous compliance with the commitments taken on in Guatemala will begin.
Nicaragua, it is obvious, has been in the lead in fulfilling those commitments, while the US administration has sabotaged them totally. The response of the US Government to the search for peace favored by the Nicaraguan Government has been to reaffirm its desire for aggression and death.
To the political opening, it has responded with grotesque lies, violating the responsible exercise of freedom of expression with extraordinary cynicism.
To the cease-fire proposal, the Government of the United States has responded with more crimes and more intransigence, supplying the mercenary forces with modern infantry and anti-air weaponry, and increasing the activity of the US Central Intelligence Agency against our country.
To the call to the National Dialogue, the enemy has responded by undermining the prospects for an internal political understanding.
To the peace mandate of Esquipulas, the US government is responding by pressuring, through direct and indirect means, the Congress and public opinion of its country so that its announced request for $270 million to sustain the mercenary army will be approved.
Our firm and explicit will to comply with the accords has been more than demonstrated already, since without being obliged to, we have taken important decisions before the time periods stipulated by the Guatemala Accord. We cannot continue acting unilaterally when our genuine wish for peace comes up against imperialist obstinacy, with its confessed vocation for terrorism and death.
We reiterate: the Esquipulas Accords demand simultaneous compliance with each and every one of the signed commitments. Amnesty cannot be conceded while the mercenary forces continue murdering our brothers. The State of Emergency cannot be suspended while shots are being fired at no risk against our peasants, elders, women and children, while the aggression organized by the United States, which is precisely what gave origin to the State of Emergency, remains in effect.
V. When we are only a few days from initiating the process of executing the Accords in the framework of simultaneity, the enemy has responded to the desire for Amnesty, intending that we absolutely forget the crimes committed, that we turn our backs on the rivers of blood and tears of a half century of tyranny. For the people of Nicaragua and, thus, for the Sandinista Front, such intent is intolerable.
Contradicting the Esquipulas Accords, the United States has insisted that we sustain a political dialogue with the counterrevolutionary leadership, which in essence would mean replacing the internal political parties with the puppet and mercenary representation of the US Government.
The counterrevolution is not only the antithesis of the Revolution. Revolution and counterrevolution are irreconcilable. The counterrevolution implies the eradication of gains and of principles, the return to the past, to tyranny, injustice, institutionalized exploitation, crime, torture, brutality. The Sandinistas will never accept the return to the past.
Furthermore, the counterrevolution has been, as the whole world knows, organized, financed, led and armed by the US administration.
The leaders of the counterrevolution are salaried workers of the US administration, subject to being fired or removed, as is well known. The counterrevolutionary leadership lives comfortably in the United States, Honduras and Costa Rica, and receives its pay in dollars.
The counterrevolutionary leadership is a group of provocateurs charged with presenting the legally and politically unacceptable demands of imperialism, and thus providing President Reagan with arguments for sabotaging the Esquipulas II Accords and obtaining approval of new funds for the counterrevolution from the US Congress as well as its support for the continuation of his interventionist policy in Central America.
Their justification for maintaining themselves in arms loses value and credibility as the Esquipulas process advances, as is evidenced by Nicaragua’s unilateral and unquestionable steps and its compliance with the totality of the Accords.
The people of Nicaragua and the Sandinista National Liberation Front declare that in no way, in no place, with no intermediary, will there ever be political dialogue, direct or indirect, with the counterrevolutionary leadership.
VI. There is, nonetheless, a way out of the war: that the Esquipulas Accords be strictly fulfilled. Fulfillment of these Accords, and this must be left clearly and sharply defined, implies that there must be a cessation of all aid to the counterrevolution by the United States and the Central American governments, without subterfuge or delaying maneuvers. As long as platforms of aggression against Nicaragua continue to exist in neighboring countries, as long as the counterrevolution is not ordered to renounce its war against the legitimate Government of Nicaragua, the Esquipulas Accords will not have been fulfilled.
The Sandinista Front, with the same faith and confidence in the prospects for peace, reiterates its support for the Guatemala Accords and reaffirms its determination to defend them as the only and expressly peaceful solution in Central America, understanding that said commitments "form a harmonic and indivisible whole. Their signing entails the obligation, accepted in good faith, to simultaneously comply with what has been agreed to in the time periods established."
The Sandinista Front will defend its right not to accept any demand that is not included within the letter and spirit of Esquipulas with the same uncompromising will with which it is defending and will defend the fulfillment of the Accords signed in Guatemala.
The FSLN is a revolutionary organization that has historically committed itself to lead a revolution. This means fulfilling the unshirkable principles of defending national sovereignty, sponsoring a profound transformation in the structures of foreign domination, ending the exploitation of workers. These are our most sacred commitments; they are the commitments we have signed with the blood of our martyrs. We defend the Esquipulas Accords because they are respectful of the historic commitments of our revolutionary vanguard, consecrated in our Constitution.
We Sandinistas will never turn our back on our Historic Program because to do so would be an attack on the very existence of the revolution and would betray the martyrs, the sacrifice, the enormous price that we paid in the years of struggle against the Somocista tyranny, and which we continue to pay to defend the integrity of our sovereignty and the dignity of the nation.
Nicaragua has complied, is complying and will continue to comply with every letter of the Esquipulas Accords in the framework of simultaneity.
The Sandinista Front reiterates, as President of the Republic Daniel Ortega expressed in the United Nations, its wish to initiate a direct and unconditional dialogue with the US government.
VII. The FSLN yearns for peace, but not the peace of cowards and vacillators, not the peace that implies surrender and renunciation of our national dignity.
The Sandinista National Liberation Front will not retreat a millimeter in the intransigent defense of the people's gains.
The Sandinista Front will not lower its guard. As long as the struggle for peace does not triumph with the instruments of international policy, diplomacy and negotiation, we will continue fighting with renewed heroism, weapons in hand, until imperialist aggression is defeated and peace is won—a dignified and durable peace that permits us to fulfill our duty and our right to build a society in which freedom, justice, democracy, national sovereignty and the power of the people acquire their full dimension.
Free Homeland or Death!
Managua, October 29, 1987