Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 65 | Noviembre 1986




Envío team

Vice President Sergio Ramírez announced on October 24 that all demobilized "cachorros" (men and women in military service) will receive cards giving them increased access to government services in recognition of their essential contribution to the country's defense. Among other benefits, they will be given preference in the agrarian reform programs that provide land to be worked in cooperatives and in scholarship programs to prioritized careers in technical schools and universities. They will also have preferential access to housing lots assigned by the Ministry of Housing and may use all city and inter-urban buses free of charge. The cards, which will be distributed beginning October 30, are good for three years. Those disabled as a result of war injuries will receive lifetime cards.

Within days of Ronald Reagan's signing of the $100 million contra aid package, two more brutal actions were carried out against the Nicaraguan people by his “freedom fighters.”

On October 2l, a US-manufactured anti-tank mine exploded under a pickup truck traveling near Pantasma, Jinotega, and carrying only civilians. Five people were killed and 34 wounded. Six of the wounded had to have either an arm or a leg amputated. Earlier this month, two technical advisers to the Agricultural and Agrarian Reform Ministry, were killed by contras on the road near Asturias, Jinotega.

Two days later, on the road between Santo Domingo and La Libertad, Chontales, contra forces kidnapped five Ministry of Construction (MICONS) drivers after their trucks were attacked and destroyed. Six MICONS workers have died in 1986 alone because of contra attacks. On October 13, contra forces ambushed a civilian bus traveling between Rancho Alegre and La Gateada, Chontales. Two were killed in the attack, 15 wounded and 2 others kidnapped. Alfonso Larios, of Muelle de los Bueyes, Chontales, whose wife was severely injured in the attack, blamed the Reagan administration for financing this sort of activity.

"I'm guilty of what they're accusing me of, those are the facts. How can I say that I wasn't transporting arms to the contra?" —Eugene Hasenfus. "Everyone's innocent until they are proven otherwise." —Enrique Sotelo Borgen, defense lawyer for Hasenfus.

Nicaragua has renewed agreements to import Brazilian products, in particular agricultural and industrial machinery. With $17 million in multilateral credits Nicaragua will buy fishing boats (reported in last month's Briefs), tractors and agricultural implements, according to Jorge Jenkins, Nicaraguan Ambassador to Brazil.

"Give my best to Comandante Ortega," were the words of a Salvadoran patient to Dr. Pedro Vallecillo, who headed up the Nicaraguan medical brigade that arrived in San Salvador on October 11 to assist in earthquake relief.

The Nicaraguan brigade—10 doctors and 4 nurses—was greeted with suspicion by Salvadoran authorities. They were detained for four hours upon landing in San Salvador, then taken to another site where they were detained several hours longer before they could begin work. The Salvadoran government also prevented the plane carrying them from landing at the airport that was receiving most of the international aid—where, of course, all the national and international press were located.

The brigade members were assigned to work with International Red Cross personnel in a health center, but soon expressed concern for the residents of San Salvador's poorest neighborhoods, those hardest hit by the quake. The grassroots organizations in these neighborhoods said they received virtually no aid for four days following the earthquake, and charged that many of the arriving donations were being funneled into the hands of the military or businessmen who were reselling the medicines, clothing and food to the thousands of needy victims throughout the city. Moved by this situation, reminiscent of what happened in Managua after the l972 earthquake leveled the center of the city, the Nicaraguan brigade began work in two of the most affected neighborhoods in addition to their work in the health center. When the brigade returned to Managua after two weeks, one member said, "We felt very proud to have represented the solidarity of our people with the people of El Salvador."

President José Napoleón Duarte outright refused another gesture of aid and solidarity. The Cuban government offered a completely equipped mobile hospital with l60 beds and the capacity for 400 outpatient consultations and 30 surgical operations daily. It had also planned to send a 43-person medical team to San Salvador. A stunned Nicaraguan commented, "Even Somoza accepted
Cuban help in l972."

Nicaragua will host the 77th meeting of the l03-member International Parliamentary Union next April. A multi-party Nicaraguan delegation headed by Comandante Carlos Núñez, president of the National Assembly, participated in its recent meeting in Buenos Aires.

The discussion of Nicaragua as the l987 site of the meeting turned into a political battle of sorts as officials of the US Embassy in Argentina tried to pressure the delegates into rejecting Nicaragua's bid, and naming Costa Rica as l987 host instead. Núñez said the naming of Nicaragua was a victory and added that the attending parliamentarians will thus be able to see Nicaraguan reality for themselves.

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