Nicaragua: War Won’t Bring Peace : Sandinistas’ Opposition in Managua Begs U.S. to Back Off

<i> Agustin Jarquin Anaya is a board member and former president of the Social Christian Party in Nicaragua. His comments were translated by Nancy Plankey and Fernando Moreno of Loyola Marymount University</i>

Violence is not an adequate means to resolve the problems of Nicaragua; only through civic initiatives can the problems be resolved in an adequate and consistent way.

We in the Social Christian Party believe that Nicaraguan solidarity must be expressed in three aspects, simultaneously:

--Opposition to an eventual North American invasion and the presence of U.S. arms, troops, etc., in and around Nicaragua.

--Opposition to the growing arms race that the Soviet Socialist Bloc encourages in Nicaragua with personnel, military advisers and sophisticated arms.


--Opposition to the establishment of a non-democratic system in Nicaragua; that is, we seek the fulfillment of the original program of the Nicaraguan revolution.

At present, because of the confrontation between the Sandinista front government and the Reagan Administration, we see a vicious circle. On the one hand, the Sandinista front pretends to justify its arms buildup by the military activity that takes place around the Nicaraguan border; on the other hand, this military activity is justified by those who push it because of the growing arms buildup that the Sandinista front promotes. These arms buildups to “balance” the military equilibrium can end only in destruction and death. It is urgent to break this vicious circle.

It is evident to us that the groups raised in arms (known in the United States as contras ) have two sources for their activities and development: the logistic and material support that comes mainly from the U.S. Administration, and (what we consider the most important) the totalitarian and sectarian policies of the Sandinistas, which are indirectly motivated by the support from the U.S. Administration to encourage these groups to take arms.

If the Sandinista government were to press ahead with a democratic system, as was conceived in the original principles of the Nicaraguan revolution, there would be few Nicaraguan citizens who would opt for the military route, since they could express their dissidence through civic means.


The closure of the political space and the shutout of civilians, the confusion of the state and party, and the confusion between the army and the party, the trampling of civilian freedoms (to organize, to move around, to express oneself, etc.), the manipulation done through the sectarian content of education in the country, the implementation at the national level of civilian control structures--all these, and more, promote frustration in important sectors of the country. In their frustration, these people unfortunately see the military route as the only way to introduce political change. Therefore, the policy of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) is an important cause of the state of war under which the country lives.

We don’t think that prosperity and well-being will come about with an agreement with the United States. We recall that the past governments of the Somoza dictatorships had excellent relations with the governments in Washington (Republican and Democratic), without that translating into stability or peace for Nicaragua. Yet, without doubt, good relations with the North American government are important for our development, since the United States is a power close to our country, and because we share with it the Western values of democracy and freedom.

Because of this, what is fundamental to the resolution of our crisis is not a resumption of “the Manzanillo dialogue” between Nicaragua and the United States. Rather, it is an understanding among all Nicaraguans, which can be achieved only through a national dialogue, with participation of all sectors.

The imposition of a totalitarian system on the people of Nicaragua is the opposite of what was wished for, and for which tens of thousands of Nicaraguans died, and to which we committed ourselves before the Organization of American States. As long as the governing party, the Sandinista front, persists with this policy, the crisis will deepen and will lead us Nicaraguans to a debacle. And the main responsibility will be that of the FSLN.


The isolation of the FSLN (which we oppose vigorously) is as harmful as the unconditional support that is given to them despite their faults. Both extreme positions foster the radicalness of the front, which induces a greater polarization, bringing us closer to disaster.

The defense of Nicaragua and of its democratic revolution depends on a democratic opening of the FSLN, and on an agreement among all Nicaraguan sectors to struggle together to fulfill the promise of the revolution.

But time consumes us as the polarization and the arms buildup advance.