SUMMARY OF NICARAGUA'S POSITIONS TOWARD MAJOR WORLD ISSUES
To give a picture of Nicaragua's position on various issues and countries, we give the following excerpts from speeches by Foreign Minister Miguel D'Escoto stating that position, or a synthesis of the position stated in said speeches. Unless otherwise noted, the positions were delineated in D'Escoto's speech at the Ministerial Meeting of the Non Aligned Coordinating Bureau, on June 4, 1982, or in a statement at a press conference in Managua on December 21, 1982.
United States: "Since July 19, 1979 ... we have publicly stated our desire to maintain relations with the United States of North America, within a framework of mutual respect and non intervention in the internal affairs of the countries. Nevertheless an examination of the campaign platform of the present Republican Administration would show veiled threats against our revolution and the existence of a political determination to destroy it.
"With the publication of the universally discredited White Paper, in January, 1981, the Reagan Administration began an all out campaign of unfounded and calumnious accusations .... Such lies were accompanied by economic pressures that included the suspension of new credits ... and the cut off of credit for wheat sales..
"In September, 1981 Thomas Enders, Undersecretary of State for Latin American Affairs of the State Department, visited Managua, which could have appeared to be a sign of an improvement of our relations with the U.S. but in reality had, as its only objective, to make a series of damaging and inadmissible demands...."
D'Escoto then went on to list the $19 million approved for covert action by the CIA against Nicaragua, the blowing up of two major bridges on March 14, the resulting State of Emergency, and on March 25, a petition by Nicaragua for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to examine the precarious situation in Nicaragua.
"We stated, on that occasion, that Nicaragua, like the Central American and Caribbean region, should not be considered a United States geopolitical reserve nor part of the so called 'strategic frontiers’. Such concepts threaten the sovereignty of our countries. We insist that Nicaragua cannot be considered a threat to the security of the United States. We are a small country whose primary objective is to preserve its independence and dignity and emerge from the poverty to which that same imperialism condemned it during so many years of cruel exploitation and dictatorship."
Honduras: "We must continue insisting on the necessity of reaching a better bilateral understanding between Honduras and Nicaragua and on the elimination of the Somocista groups operating in that country."
Nicaragua continues to press for high level dialogue with Honduras efforts which continue to be rejected. Miguel D'Escoto recently repeated that Nicaragua's problems are not with Honduras, but with the aggressive Reagan Administration policies that are using Honduras as the ideal country from which to attack Nicaragua. According to D'Escoto, the United States has the help of military strongman Gustavo Alvarez who aspires to be the new Central American Somoza and has turned his country over to the U.S.
Costa Rica: Relations have deteriorated since the assumption of power by President Monge. However, Nicaragua continues to press for dialogue to resolve conflicts between the two countries. Recent increases in counterrevolutionary activities from the Costa Rican border have added to the strain.
Guatemala and El Salvador: Normal diplomatic relations are maintained with both countries even though there is obvious sympathy in Nicaragua for the people's struggles going on in both countries.
Panama: "We insist on the necessity that the respect for the full completion of the Torrijos Carter Treaties and the maintenance of neutrality of the interoceanic channel be assured."
Cuba: "Nicaragua repeats its denunciation of the economic blockade against Cuba... and our support for the just demands of the Cuban people that the U.S. return the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Base..."
Granada: "We condemn the military and political pressures as well as the measures of economic boycott and hostile propaganda that the U.S. exercises against Granada...."
Puerto Rico: "We repeat our full support for the inalienable right of the Puerto Rican people to their free self determination and independence...."
Israel: "Faithful to its revolutionary principles, Nicaragua energetically condemns the warmongering, expansionist and criminal policy of Israel...."
Palestine: "Nicaragua considers that the Palestinian question is the key to the Middle East problem and we recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization as the only and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people...." Nicaragua also supports the right of the Palestinians to have their own state.
Libya: "Nicaragua wishes to express its solidarity with Libya and its repudiation of the U.S. policy of provocation which constitutes a clear danger to international peace and security."
Namibia/SWAPO: "Nicaragua wishes to reaffirm its support to the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) ... and the cause of the liberation of Namibia."
Angola: “We vigorously condemn the aggression against Angola by the racist regime of Pretoria and the U.S. abuse of its veto to avoid a condemnation of such action by the Security Council."
South Africa: "Nicaragua expresses its condemnation of acts of sabotage and subversion by South Africa against Mozambique... and of the mercenary aggression against the Republic of Seychelles, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
Korea, Vietnam, etc.: Nicaragua supports the reunification of Korea, and has expressed its solidarity with the National African Congress and with the Republic of Vietnam.
Poland: Nicaragua has taken no public, official position regarding the problems in Poland. A Foreign Ministry official did make the following observation, "We realize that Poland, as everyone knows, has serious problems and we understand that a large part of these problems are not only internal but are a result of a western policy of destabilization against Poland. The origin of the problems is not necessarily outside interference but the manipulation has certainly added fuel to the fire."
Afghanistan: In 1980, when the U.S. resolution was presented, the delegates had to consider several different aspects of the situation in Afghanistan. There was a new government which had asked for outside military help. There was also the situation of counterrevolutionary bands acting against the government. Nicaragua, along with countries such as Algeria, Zimbabwe, Syria and India, chose to abstain on the resolution. The resolution was seen as only presenting a partial perspective of the complex situation the perspective of the United States.
Nicaragua was the only country to explain that abstention. In its statement, Nicaragua called for dialogue without preconditions between the countries involved, between the various factions of the Afghanistan people. Nicaragua's vote did not support the USSR action, but neither did it accept the unconditional condemnation asked for by the U.S. Nicaragua feels that any examination of intervention in Afghanistan must also include a look at CIA and Chinese involvement in the area.
Cambodia: In the case of Cambodia, two principles of the non aligned movement are involved: non interference and opposition to genocide. Because of the genocide of the Pol Pot regime, Nicaragua supports the presence at this time of Vietnamese troops to prevent the return of that regime. Nicaragua also opposes the occupation of the seat in the U.N. by the Pol Pot representative. It is Nicaragua's opposition to the genocide, coming out of its own history under Somoza, that determines its position, even though it is a minority position in the U.N.
In the case of both Kampuchea and Afghanistan, Nicaragua feels that dialogue between the forces involved is essential and that without that resolutions in the U.N. may serve to polarize the situation.
In the more problematic issues in the U.N., Nicaragua has followed the principles of the non aligned movement. In cases such as Afghanistan, Nicaragua's position coincided with the least aligned countries of the movement.
THE SOCIALIST INTERNATIONALThe FSLN participates as an observer in the Socialist International organization, an international association of 75 political parties. The Socialist International is not a homogeneous group but does generally support the Non Aligned Movement, and to a greater or lesser degree, the movements of national liberation. The Socialist International has consistently supported the Nicaraguan revolutionary process, even though at times there has been a frank exchange of differences over certain aspects or incidents of the revolutionary process.
The FSLN is not a member of the SI for two basic reasons: 1 they have not asked nor been asked to become a member, and 2- (related to the first) there is a definite distinction between traditional parties like the Social Democrat parties of the SI and the national liberation movements of the Third World. They respond to different histories and at times have different priorities. Thus between the FSLN and the SI, there is understanding and mutual cooperation rather than complete identification.
However, the support of the SI has resulted in specific, concrete financial help for Nicaragua in spite of U.S. efforts to divide the SI and stop its support for Nicaragua.
Certainly the five countries in Western Europe that have Social Democrat governments have been a boost to Nicaragua in both diplomatic and economic areas. And the change in the West German Government also saw an immediate change in the official attitude of that country toward Nicaragua.
The main goal shared by the SI and Nicaragua is the conviction that peace must be the top priority. The SI realizes that a war anywhere in the world could be the spark to set off a conflict with world wide implications, and both the SI and Nicaragua see the explosive situation in Central America as a potential spark. And while Nicaragua faces the possibility of being attacked in more conventional terms, the SI countries of Western Europe are located in the area in which the U.S. concept of a "limited nuclear war" would he waged. Thus the efforts to preserve peace are a strong unifying bond between Nicaragua and the SI.
THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATESNicaragua is a member of the OAS, which has historically been a rubber stamp for U.S. policies in Latin America. It is now in a period of crisis – some feel in a period of transition to a new form of regional organization that will respond politically to the interests of the region.
The contradictions within the OAS were evident during the war in Nicaragua. The defeat of U.S. attempts to set up a collective intervention was the first major defeat for the U.S. in the OAS. In the wake of the Falklands conflict in which almost all of Latin America denounced the British action and supported Argentina's territorial claims, the contradictions have been even more evident.
Nicaragua feels that the OAS is an inadequate forum for regional problems and has insisted on exercising its legitimate option of bringing its problems directly to the U.N. The exercising of this option in March 1982, taking Nicaragua's crisis directly to the Security Council, set an important precedent for other countries who feel that the OAS cannot respond to their needs.
There was a noticeable difference in the situation within the OAS from October 1981, when Alexander Haig made a fiery speech threatening to invoke the Rio Treaty against Nicaragua, and the summer of 1982, when the U.S. support of Britain in the Falklands effectively eliminated the Rio Treaty as a U.S. tool against Nicaragua.
Thus, due to the internal crisis facing the OAS, which has become acute in the aftermath of the Falklands, it has become even less effective in dealing with Latin American problems, and the U.S. is not even using it as a forum to any great extent.
Latin American countries are seeing more need for cooperation and bloc actions to meet their economic needs. For that reason, Nicaragua sees an important need for strengthening Latin American organizations such as SELA (Latin American Economic System). It feel that Latin America must begin to work collectively to resolve its common problems and not allow itself to be used to further the U.S. interests in the area. Several other countries have recently called for the formation of a new regional organization, which would exclude the U.S. In the meantime, organizations such as SELA could play a more active political role in the problems of the area since the economic and political situations cannot be separated.
CONCLUSIONSNicaragua's foreign policy has brought both positive and negative repercussions. Its insistence on charting its own course has increased efforts by the Reagan Administration to destabilize the government. This was confirmed again in a Washington Post article of January 1, 1983 in which the CIA director repeated the Reagan Administration's intentions against Nicaragua. These overt and covert efforts have resulting in increasing incursions by anti Sandinista units camped in Honduras, and have caused a substantial death toll to Nicaraguan civilians.
However, Nicaragua's foreign policy has also opened up new channels of friendship and economic support from the Third World countries, the socialist countries and others.
Many political observers in Nicaragua see the U.S. attempts to paint Nicaragua as a staunch ally of the USSR as an attempted self fulfilling prophesy say it often enough and it will happen, or at least people will believe that it has. According to one FSLN official, the U.S. has little real fear of a Nicaragua firmly allied with Russia. "What it does fear, what it cannot cope with, is the maintenance of a system of relationship between Nicaragua and Western Europe, Nicaragua and the Arab countries, Nicaragua and the socialists that would be a strong example for other Latin American countries." Thus it serves U.S. interests to push Nicaragua closer to the east either to use that as a justification to militarily intervene or to hold it up as a specter to other countries who might be trying to get out from under the U.S. thumb. Thus, according to the FSLN official, Nicaragua has replaced Cuba as the number-one thorn in the U.S. side. In a sense Cuba has been written off, but Nicaragua is there and even more bothersome for NOT being in the eastern camp, for NOT being a hard line orthodox Marxist revolution. He goes on to say that Nicaragua's nationalism and ties to other Third World countries are more of a threat to U.S. hegemony than Cuba is at present, although Nicaragua realistically poses no threat to U.S. interests.
In looking into 1983 in relation to Nicaragua's foreign policy, the Non-Aligned conference in January will be a strong start in Nicaragua's efforts to maintain and strengthen its non aligned position and diplomatic efforts for peace.
With the assumption of its seat in the U.N. Security Council in January, it will have a substantial opportunity and responsibility not only for itself but for other Third World and non aligned countries – to use this forum to bring peace. Certainly indications are that the domestic emphasis on defense will continue in the face of increased attacks from Honduras and U.S. efforts to destabilize Nicaragua, but it will also maintain its emphasis on deepening diplomatic ties with as many countries as possible.