Times Staff Writer Norman Kempster, in the informative article “U.S. Concedes It Lacks Contra Strategy” (Part I, Feb. 16), refers to Nicaragua’s Sandinista regime as “Marxist” and as “repressive.”
The term “Marxist” has some basis in fact, but without qualification is misleading. Marxist thought is used there, as it is widely throughout the world. Sandinista leadership includes Christians. A Presbyterian worker there has said, “Christians participate in the government at all levels--from cabinet ministers down to village functionaries. There are Marxists in the government--as well as non-Marxists, former Marxists, technocrats, Liberals, and Conservatives.”
To call Nicaragua’s regime “repressive,” while applying no adjectives to our basket-case “emerging democracies” of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, is to adopt the last Administration’s bias. In contrast to the three, where violent repression by the real powers--the militaries--continues behind facades of democracy, Nicaragua, with all its faults and problems, has an atmosphere of freedom, according to testimonies of thousands of short- and long-term observers.
For a complete and balanced analysis, read “Human Rights, Nicaragua’s Record,” Envio (magazine of the Jesuits of Central America), October, 1987. Their judgment: “The greatest violator of human rights . . . is neither the Sandinistas nor the Contras but the U.S. government. . . . In order to re-establish control . . . (in) its back yard . . . (it has) sacrificed over 20,000 Nicaraguan lives, most of them Contras, and caused untold suffering.”