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NICARAGUA: The Contras

The struggle between the Sandinista government and the contra rebels still arouses strong feelings among Americans because US domestic politics were, and are involved. Tim Brown argues that the Contras were anti-Marxist liberals, not reactionaries as they were depicted in the US and elsewhere "by external intellectual elites seemingly far more committed to revolution than to truth." My own guess is that the words "liberal, conservative, Marxist" meant little to them. They just got swept up in the fighting, rather like the peasants of northern Spain who supported Franco. Labels may be deceptive. The Afghans who, with Saudi and US help, fought the Russians were called "freedom fighters", for what that is worth. Nicaragua, a small country, has received inordinate and contradictory attention from WAISers, so we must now suspect the debate about it.

Ronald Hilton - 1/12/01