Ortega Taunts Reagan at U.N. on Contra Aid Plan; U.S. Walks Out

From Times Wire Services

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega met with frequent applause today as he taunted President Reagan and called on the United States to respect the Central American peace pact and to negotiate directly with his government.

When at one point the United States delegation, led by U.S. Ambassador Vernon Walters, angrily walked out of the U.N. General Assembly chamber, Ortega said:

“Some people find their ears hurt when the truth is spoken and they are incapable of listening.” He was answered by a loud round of applause.


Ortega harshly attacked Reagan for requesting more aid for the contra rebels trying to bring down the leftist Sandinista government, saying the request defies the accord signed by five Central American nations Aug. 7.

“I’m sure he hasn’t even read the agreement,” Ortega said contemptuously.

“Let President Reagan recall that Rambo exists only in the movies,” Ortega said to more hearty applause in the chamber.

Reagan said in a speech to the Organization of American States on Wednesday that he will ask Congress for $270 million in aid to the contras to ensure that the Sandinistas abide by the peace plan.

The pact, signed by the presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and endorsed Wednesday by the United Nations, calls for an end to foreign support for rebel forces in Central America.

“So far, no willingness is evident on the part of the United States government to respect that agreement,” Ortega said.

Ortega also condemned the United States for supporting dictator Anastasio Somoza, who was ousted in the 1979 revolution that brought the Sandinistas to power.


“Then, the United States was not concerned about freedom in Nicaragua,” Ortega said. “At that time, the United States didn’t care about the human rights of Nicaraguans. In those days, the United States didn’t care about the lack of justice.”

At that point, the U.S. delegation stalked out. Ambassador Walters called Ortega’s remarks “typical revolutionary babble” and accused him of lying about the U.S. record in Nicaragua.

Ortega, as he has in the past, rejected talks with the U.S.-backed rebels. Instead, he renewed a longstanding call for direct negotiations with the United States. He suggested that they begin in early December, about a month after the deadline for implementing the Guatemala agreement.

The Reagan Administration has repeatedly refused direct talks with the Sandinistas.

Ortega said the contras are a shrinking, ineffective force who are simply carrying out U.S. policy.

“We will gain nothing by talking to the top people in the contra revolution,” he said. “If there is a desire to take up this problem seriously, this dialogue has to be between the government of the United States and the government of Nicaragua.”

Ortega said he and Reagan “should sit down and engage in unconditional bilateral dialogue . . . to sign an agreement which will provide for the security of both states, an agreement which will make possible the normalization of bilateral relations.”


Once again, the assembly chamber rang with applause.

“I hope that the President of the United States is not going to react in the same way his delegation reacted today,” Ortega said in a reference to the walkout.

“President Reagan should not rush to say no to the proposal. Let him think it over.”