Nicaraguan Contras
Participant in 1980s Nicaraguan Civil War
Frente Sur Contras 1987.jpg
Nicaraguan Contra militia
Active 1979–1990
Ideology Various
Leaders FDN - Commandante Franklin
ARDE Frente Sur - Cupula of 6 Regional Commandantes
YATAMA - Commandante Blas
Misura - Steadman Fagoth
Area of
All rural areas of Nicaragua with the exclusion of Pacific Coast, from Rio Coco in the north to Rio San Juan in the south
Strength 23,000
Allies  United States
Opponents FSLN.png FSLN
Battles/wars Major operations at La Trinidad, Rama highway, and Siuna and La Bonanza. Numerous government bases overrun throughout Jinotega, Matagalpa, Zelaya Norte, Zelaya Sur, Chontales, and Rio San Juan provinces.

The contras (some references use the capitalized form, "Contras") is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship. Among the separate contra groups, the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN) emerged as by far the largest. In 1987, virtually all contra organizations were united, at least nominally, into the Nicaraguan Resistance.

From an early stage, the rebels received decisive financial and military support from the United States government, initially supplemented by the Argentine dictatorship of the time. After U.S. support was banned by congress, the Reagan administration tried to covertly continue contra aid.

The term "contra" comes from the Spanish contra, which means against but in this case is short for la contrarrevolucion, in English "the counter-revolution". Some rebels disliked being called contras, feeling that it defined their cause only in negative terms, or implied a desire to restore the old order. Rebel fighters usually referred to themselves as comandos ("commandos"); peasant sympathizers also called the rebels los primos ("the cousins"). From the mid-1980s, as the Reagan administration and the rebels sought to portray the movement as the "democratic resistance," members started describing themselves as la resistencia.

During the war against the Sandinista government, the contras carried out many violations of human rights. Their supporters in Miami and the White House often tried to downplay these, or countered that the Sandinista government carried out more such violations. In particular, the Reagan administration engaged in a campaign to alter public opinion on the contra which has been denoted as "white propaganda".




The Contras were not a monolithic group, but a combination of three distinct elements of Nicaraguan society:[1]

  • Ex-guardsmen of the Nicaraguan National Guard and other right wing figures who had fought for Nicaragua's ex-dictator Somoza[2] - these later were especially found in the military wing of the FDN.[3] After the Guard's disbandment, they formed groups such as the Fifteenth of September Legion, the Anti-Sandinista Guerrilla Special Forces, and the National Army of Liberation.[citation needed] Initially, these groups were small and conducted little active raiding into Nicaragua.[4]
  • Anti-Somozistas who had supported the revolution but felt betrayed by the Sandinista government[2] - e.g. Edgar Chamorro, prominent member of the political directorate of the FDN,[5] or Jose Francisco Cardenal, who had briefly served in the Council of State before leaving Nicaragua out of disagreement with the Sandinista government's policies and founding the Nicaraguan Democratic Union (UDN), an opposition group of Nicaraguan exiles in Miami.[6] Another example are the MILPAS (Milicias Populares Anti-Sandinistas), peasant militias led by disillusioned Sandinista veterans from the northern mountains. Founded by Pedro Joaquín González (known as "Dimas"), the Milpistas were also known as chilotes (green corn). Even after his death, other MILPAS bands sprouted during 1980–1981. The Milpistas were composed largely of the campesino (peasant) highlanders and rural workers who would later form the rank and file of the rebellion.[7][8][9][10]
  • Nicaraguans who had avoided direct involvement in the revolution but opposed the Sandinistas' increasingly anti-democratic regime.[2]

Main groups

Contra Commandos from FDN and ARDE Frente Sur, Nueva Guinea area, 1987
Members of ARDE Frente Sur taking a smoke break after routing the FSLN garrison at El Serrano, southeast Nicaragua, 1987.

The CIA and Argentine intelligence, seeking to unify the anti-Sandinista cause before initiating large-scale aid, persuaded the 15 September Legion, the UDN and several former smaller groups to merge in August 1981 as the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (Fuerza Democrática Nicaragüense, FDN).[citation needed] Although the FDN had its roots in two groups made up of former National Guardsmen (of the Somoza regime), its joint political directorate was led by businessman and former anti-Somoza activist Adolfo Calero Portocarrero.[11] Edgar Chamorro later stated that there was strong opposition within the UDN against working with the Guardsmen and that the merging only took place because of insistence by the CIA.[12]

Based in Honduras, Nicaragua's northern neighbor, under the command of former National Guard Colonel Enrique Bermúdez, the new FDN commenced to draw in other smaller insurgent forces in the north.[citation needed] Largely financed, trained, equipped, armed and organized by the U.S.,[13] it emerged as the largest and most active contra group.[14]

In April 1982, Edén Pastora (Comandante Cero), one of the heroes in the fight against Somoza, organized the Sandinista Revolutionary Front (FRS) - embedded in the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE)[15] - and declared war on the Sandinista government.[16] Himself a former Sandinista who had held several high posts in the government, he had resigned apruptly in 1981 and defected,[16] believing that the newly found power had corrupted the Sandinista's original ideas.[15] A popular and charismatic leader, Pastora initially saw his group develop quickly.[16] He confined himself to operate in the southern part of Nicaragua;[17] after a press conference he was holding on 30 May 1984 was bombed, he "voluntarily withdrew" from the contra struggle.[15]

A third force, Misurasata, appeared among the Miskito, Sumo and Rama Amerindian peoples of Nicaragua's Atlantic coast, who in December 1981 found themselves in conflict with the authorities following the government's efforts to nationalize Indian land. In the course of this conflict, forced removal of at least 10,000 Indians to relocation centers in the interior of the country and subsequent burning of some villages took place.[18] The Misurasata movement split in 1983, with the breakaway Misura group of Stedman Fagoth Muller allying itself more closely with the FDN, and the rest accommodating themselves with the Sandinista government.[citation needed] A subsequent autonomy statute in September 1987 largely defused Miskito resistance.

Unity efforts

U.S. officials were active in attempting to unite the Contra groups. In June 1985 most of the groups reorganized as the United Nicaraguan Opposition (UNO), under the leadership of Adolfo Calero, Arturo Cruz and Alfonso Robelo, all originally supporters of the anti-Somoza revolution. After UNO's dissolution early in 1987, the Nicaraguan Resistance (RN) was organized along similar lines in May.

U.S. military and financial assistance

In front of the International Court of Justice, Nicaragua claimed that the contras altogether were a creation of the U.S.[19] This claim was rejected.[20] The evidence of a very close relationship between the contras and the U.S. was overwhelming and incontrovertible, though.[21] The U.S. played a very large role in financing, training, arming, and advising the contras over a long period, and the contras only became capable of carrying out significant military operations as a result of this support.[22]

Political background

Ronald Reagan, who had assumed the American presidency in January 1981, accused the Sandinistas of importing Cuban-style socialism and aiding leftist guerrillas in El Salvador.[citation needed] On 4 January 1982, Reagan signed the top secret National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17),[23] giving the CIA the authority to recruit and support the contras with $19 million in military aid. The effort to support the contras was one component of the Reagan Doctrine, which called for providing military support to movements opposing Soviet-supported, communist governments.

By December 1981, however, the U.S. had already begun to support armed opponents of the Sandinista regime.[24] From the beginning, the CIA was in charge.[25] To arm, clothe, feed, and supervise the contras[26] would become the most ambitious paramilitary and political action operation mounted by the agency in nearly a decade.[27]

In the fiscal year 1984, the U.S. congress approved $24 million in contra aid.[28] However, since the contras failed to win widespread popular support or military victories within Nicaragua,[29] since opinion polls indicated that a majority of the U.S. public was not supportive of the contras,[30] and since the Reagan administration lost much of its support regarding its contra policy within congress after disclosure of CIA mining of Nicaraguan ports,[31] congress cut off all funds for the contras in 1985 by the third Boland Amendment.[28] The Boland Amendment had first been passed by congress in December 1982. At this time, it only outlawed U.S. assistance to the contras for the purpose of overthrowing the Nicaraguan government, while allowing assistance for other purposes.[32] In October 1984, it was amended to forbid action by not only the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency but all U.S. government agencies.

Illegal covert operations

With congress blocking further contra aid, the Reagan administration sought to arrange funding and military supplies by means of third countries and private sources.[33] Between 1984 and 1986, $34 million from third countries and $2.7 million from private sources were raised this way.[33] The secret contra assistance was run by the National Security Council, with officer Lt. Col. Oliver North in charge.[34] With the third-party funds, North created an organization called "The Enterprise" which served as the secret arm of the NSC staff and had its own airplanes, pilots, airfield, ship, operatives and secret Swiss bank accounts.[33] It also received assistance from personnel from other government agencies, especially from CIA personnel in Central America.[33] This operation functioned, however, without any of the accountability required of U.S. government activities.[33] The Enterprise's efforts culminated in the Iran-Contra Affair of 1986–1987, which facilitated contra funding through the proceeds of arms sales to Iran.

According to the National Security Archive, Oliver North had been in contact with Manuel Noriega, the military leader of Panama later convicted on drug charges, whom he personally met. The issue of drug money and its importance in funding the Nicaraguan conflict was the subject of various reports and publications. The contras were funded by drug trafficking, of which the USA was aware.[35] Senator John Kerry's 1988 Committee on Foreign Relations report on Contra drug links concluded that "senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras' funding problems." [36]

The Reagan administration's support for the Contras continued to stir controversy well into the 1990s. In August 1996, San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb published a series titled Dark Alliance, alleging that the contras contributed to the rise of crack cocaine in California. [1] [2]


During the time congress blocked funding for the contras, the Reagan government engaged in a campaign to alter public opinion and change the vote in congress on contra aid.[37] For this purpose, the NSC established an interagency working group which in turn coordinated the Office for Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean (S/LPD), which conducted the campaign.[38]
The S/LPD produced and widely disseminated a variety of pro-contra publications, arranged speeches and press conferences.[39] It also disseminated "white propaganda" - pro-contra newspaper articles by paid consultants who did not disclose their connection to the Reagan administration.[40]
On top of that, Oliver North helped Carl Channell's tax-exempt organization, the "National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty", to raise $10 million, by arranging numerous briefings for groups of potential contributors at the premises of the White House and by facilitating private visits and photo sessions with president Reagan for major contributors.[41] Channell, in turn, used part of that money to run a series of television advertisements directed at home districts of congressmen considered to be swing votes on contra aid.[41] Out of the $10 million raised, more than $1 million was spent on pro-contra publicity.[42]

International Court of Justice ruling

In 1984, the Sandinista government filed a suit in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the United States (Nicaragua v. United States), which resulted in a 1986 judgment against the United States. The ICJ held that the U.S. had violated international law by supporting the contras in their rebellion against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua's harbors. Regarding the alleged human rights violations by the contras, however, the ICJ took the view that the U.S. could only be held accountable for them if it would have been proven that the U.S. had effective control of the contra operations resulting in these alleged violations.[43] Nevertheless, the ICJ found that the U.S. encouraged acts contrary to general principles of humanitarian law by producing the manual Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare (Operaciones sicológicas en guerra de guerrillas) and disseminating it to the contras.[44] The manual, amongst other things, advised on how to rationalize killings of civilians[45] and recommended to hire professional killers for specific selective tasks.[46]
The United States, which did not participate in the merits phase of the proceedings, maintained that the ICJ's power did not supersede the Constitution of the United States and argued that the court did not seriously consider the Nicaraguan role in El Salvador, while it accused Nicaragua of actively supporting armed groups there, specifically in the form of supply of arms.[47] The ICJ had found that evidence of a responsibility of the Nicaraguan government in this matter was insufficient.[48] The U.S. argument was affirmed, however, by the dissenting opinion of ICJ member U.S. Judge Schwebel,[49] who concluded that in supporting the contras, the U.S. acted lawfully in collective self-defence in El Salvador's support.[50] The U.S. blocked enforcement of the ICJ judgment by the United Nations Security Council and thereby prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any actual compensation.[51] The Nicaraguan government finally withdrew the complaint from the court in September 1992 (under the later, post-FSLN, government of Violeta Chamorro), following a repeal of the law requiring the country to seek compensation.[52]

Human rights violations

Americas Watch - which subsequently became part of Human Rights Watch - stated that "the Contras systematically engage in violent abuses... so prevalent that these may be said to be their principal means of waging war."[53] It[54] accused the Contras of:

  • targeting health care clinics and health care workers for assassination[55]
  • kidnapping civilians[56]
  • torturing civilians[57]
  • executing civilians, including children, who were captured in combat[58]
  • raping women[55]
  • indiscriminately attacking civilians and civilian houses[56]
  • seizing civilian property[55]
  • burning civilian houses in captured towns.[55]

Human Rights Watch released a report on the situation in 1989, which stated: "[The] contras were major and systematic violators of the most basic standards of the laws of armed conflict, including by launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians, selectively murdering non-combatants, and mistreating prisoners."

The Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR, now known as "Progressio"), a human rights organization which identifies itself with liberation theology, summarized Contra operating procedures in their 1987 human rights report: "The record of the contras in the field, as opposed to their official professions of democratic faith, is one of consistent and bloody abuse of human rights, of murder, torture, mutilation, rape, arson, destruction and kidnapping."[59]

A fact finding mission of 1985 - sponsored by the International Human Rights Law Group and the Washington Office on Latin America, and carried out independently of any Nicaraguan government interference or direction[60] - found that the contras with some frequency deliberately targeted Nicaraguan citizens in acts of terroristic violence.[61] Specifically, the report speaks of "a distinct pattern" of attacks on purely civilian targets resulting in the killing of unarmed men, women, children, and the elderly; premeditated acts of brutality including rape, beatings, mutilation and torture; and individual and mass kidnappings of civilians for the purpose of forced recruitment into the contra forces.[62]

Edgar Chamorro, a former Contra and member of the FDN's political directorate who later became a critic of the Contras, stated that during his time with the Contras, he frequently received reports about atrocities committed by Contra troops against civilians and against Sandinista prisoners.[63] Furthermore, he "went straight to our unit commanders as they returned from combat mission inside Nicaragua and asked them about their activities. I was saddened by what I was told. The atrocities I had heard about were not isolated incidents, but reflected a consistent pattern of behaviour by our troops."[64]

An influential report on Contra atrocities was issued by lawyer Reed Brody shortly before the 1985 U.S. Congressional vote on Contra aid. The report was soon published as a book.[65] It charged that the Contras attacked purely civilian targets and that their tactics included murder, rape, beatings, kidnapping and disruption of harvests. Brody's report had been requested by the Sandinista government's Washington law firm Reichler & Applebaum and the Sandinista government had provided facilities in Nicaragua for him.[66] In a letter to The New York Times,[67] Brody asserted that this in no way affected his report, and added that the newspaper had confirmed the veracity of four randomly chosen incidents.

A Sandinista militiaman interviewed by The Guardian stated that Contra rebels committed these atrocities against Sandinista prisoners after a battle at a Sandinista rural outpost: "Rosa had her breasts cut off. Then they cut into her chest and took out her heart. The men had their arms broken, their testicles cut off. They were killed by slitting their throats and pulling the tongue out through the slit."[68]


US news media published several articles accusing Americas Watch and other bodies of ideological bias and unreliable reporting. It alleged that Americas Watch gave too much credence to alleged Contra abuses and systematically tried to discredit Nicaraguan human rights groups such as the Permanent Commission on Human Rights, which blamed the major human rights abuses on the Sandinistas.[69]

In 1985, the Wall Street Journal reported:

Three weeks ago, Americas Watch issued a report on human rights abuses in Nicaragua. One member of the Permanent Commission for Human Rights commented on the Americas Watch report and its chief investigator Juan Mendez: "The Sandinistas are laying the groundwork for a totalitarian society here and yet all Mendez wanted to hear about were abuses by the contras. How can we get people in the U.S. to see what's happening here when so many of the groups who come down are pro-Sandinista?"[70]

This was part of a strategy of the Reagan Administration that largely involved stonewalling the press on matters of human rights violations: in addition to skepticism of Contra abuses, the White House insisted that the notorious El Mozote Massacre (carried out by government death squads trained at the School of the Americas) didn't happen. However, with regard to Nicaragua, their tactic was refuted by many activists on the ground, including Human Rights Watch, who said the following of the White House's attempts at denial:

"This hostility yielded, among other things, an inordinate amount of publicity about human rights issues. Almost invariably, U.S. pronouncements on human rights exaggerated and distorted the real human rights violations of the Sandinista regime, and exculpated those of the U.S.-supported insurgents, known as the contras.... the contras were major and systematic violators of the most basic standards of the laws of armed conflict, including by launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians, selectively murdering non-combatants, and mistreating prisoners. In 1989 the number of contra abuses has been greatly reduced in comparison to the beginning of the peace process, largely because, at least through September, they were entering Nicaragua less frequently. To the extent that the contras have continued to operate, however, they have continued to commit these violations, and toward the end of 1989, abuses by the contras appeared to be on the increase. The Bush administration is responsible for these abuses, not only because the contras are, for all practical purposes, a U.S. force, but also because the Bush administration has continued to minimize and deny these violations, and has refused to investigate them seriously. As in the Reagan years, the Bush State Department has continued to make too much of monitoring mechanisms within the contra movement that have been wholly unsuccessful in prosecuting those responsible for abuses."

Military successes and election of Violeta Chamorro

By 1986, the contras were besieged by charges of corruption, human-rights abuses and military ineptitude.[71] A much-vaunted early 1986 offensive never materialized, and Contra forces were largely reduced to isolated acts of terrorism.[72] In October 1987, however, the contras staged a successful attack in southern Nicaragua.[73] Then on 21 December 1987, the FDN launched attacks at La Bonanza, La Siuna, and La Rosita in Zelaya province, resulting in heavy fighting.[74] ARDE Frente Sur attacked at El Almendro and along the Rama road.[74][75][76] These large scale raids mainly became possible as the contras were able to use US-provided Redeye missiles against Sandinista Mi-24 helicopter gunships, which had been supplied by the Soviets.[77][78] Nevertheless, the Contras remained tenuously encamped within the Honduras and weren't able to hold Nicaraguan territory.[79][80]

There were isolated protests among the population against the draft implemented by the Sandinista government, which even resulted in full-blown street clashes in Masaya in 1988.[81] However, polls showed the Sandinista government still enjoyed strong support from Nicaraguans.[82] Political opposition groups were splintered and the Contras began to experience defections, although United States aid maintained them as a viable military force.[83][84]

After a cutoff in US military support and with both sides facing international pressure to bring an end to the conflict, the Contras agreed to negotiations with the FSLN. Despite opposition from then-US President Bush five Central American Presidents, including Ortega, agreed to cooperate to disband the Contras beginning in December 1989 with the assumption of free and fair elections in Nicaragua in February 1990. This peace allowed the Nicaraguan elections of February 1990 in which Violeta Chamorro and her party the UNO won an upset victory 55% to 41% over Daniel Ortega with Chamorro winning nearly 68% of the rural vote. This in spite of the fact that the estimated 500,000 refugees created by the war living outside Nicaragua were not allowed to cast absentee ballots.[85] Although polls leading up to the election indicated an FSLN victory the UNO scored an upset due to popular discontent with the draft and the perception that voting in the UNO would lead to a permanent peace.[86] Shortly thereafter the contras were allowed the re-enter the country into security zones and were assimilated back into Nicaraguan society.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ "The Contras were not a monolithic group, but a combination of three distinct elements of Nicaraguan society:..." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 29
  2. ^ a b c Lee et al. 1987, p. 29
  3. ^ "The contras are made up of a combination of: ex-National Guardsmen (especially the military wing of the FDN),..." As seen at: Gill 1984, p. 204
  4. ^ Dickey, Christopher. With the Contras, A Reporter in the Wilds of Nicaragua. Simon & Schuster, 1985.
  5. ^ "The contras are made up of a combination of: ... anti-Sandinista opponents of ex-dictator Somoza (some of the members of the FDN political directorate eg Messrs. Chamorro and Cruz)..." As seen at: Gill 1984, p. 204
  6. ^ International Court of Justice (IV) (1986), p. 446
  7. ^ Dillon, Sam (1991). Comandos: The CIA and Nicaragua's Contra Rebels. New York: Henry Holt. pp. 49–56. ISBN 9780805014754. OCLC 23974023. 
  8. ^ Horton, Lynn (1998). Peasants in Arms: War and Peace in the Mountains of Nicaragua, 1979–1994. Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies. pp. 95–117. ISBN 9780896802049. OCLC 39157572. 
  9. ^ Padro-Maurer, R. The Contras 1980–1989, a Special Kind of Politics. NY: Praeger Publishers, 1990.
  10. ^ Brown, Timothy C. The Real Contra War, Highlander Peasant Resistance in Nicaragua. University of Oklahoma Press, 2001.
  11. ^ "Although Calero had opposed Somoza, the FDN had its roots in two insurgent groups made up of former National Guardsmen..." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 29
  12. ^ "The UDN, including Cardenal, initially opposed any linkage with the Guardsmen. The CIA, and high-ranking United States Government officiais, insisted that we merge with the Guardsmen. Lt. General Vernon Walters, then a special assistant to the United States Secretary of State (and formerly Deputy Director of the CIA) met with Cardenal to encourage him to accept the CIA's proposal. We were well aware of the crimes the Guardsmen had committed against the Nicaraguan people while in the service of President Somoza and we wanted nothing to do with them. However, we recognized that without help from the United States Government we had no chance of removing the Sandinistas from power, so we eventually acceded to the CIA's, and General Walters', insistence that we join forces with the Guardsmen. Some UDN memhers resigned hecause they would not associate themselves with the National Guard under any circumstances, but Cardenal and I and others believed the CIA's assurances that we, the civilians, would control the Guardsmen in the new organization that was to he created." As seen at: International Court of Justice (IV) 1986, p. 446
  13. ^ "On the basis of the available information, the Court is not able to satisfy itself that the Respondent State "created" the contra force in Nicaragua, but holds it established that it largely financed, trained, equipped, armed and organized the FDN, one element of the force." As seen at: International Court of Justice 1986, VII (4)
  14. ^ "The largest and most active of these groups, which later came to be known as ... (FDN), ..." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 29
  15. ^ a b c Williams, Adam (2010-11-26). "Edén Pastora: A wanted man". The Tico Times. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  16. ^ a b c Lee et al. 1987, p. 32
  17. ^ "He insisted on operating in the southern part of Nicaragua." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 32
  18. ^ The Americas Watch Committee. "Human Rights in Nicaragua 1986" (print), Americas Watch, February 1987.
  19. ^ "The Court rejected Nicaragua's claim that the contras were 'conceived, created and organized by the United States'..." As seen at: Gill 1989, p. 328
  20. ^ Gill 1989, p. 328
  21. ^ "The evidence of this close relationship is overwhelming and incontrovertible." As seen at: Gill 1989, p. 329
  22. ^ "The United States has played a very large role in financing, training, arming, and advising the contras over a long period. The contras only became capable of carrying out significant (para)military operations as a result of this support." As seen at: Gill 1989, p. 329
  23. ^ "NSDD - National Security Decision Directives - Reagan Administration". 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  24. ^ "By December 1981, the United States had begun supporting the Nicaraguan Contras, armed opponents of the Sandinista regime" As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 3
  25. ^ Lee et al. 1987, p.3
  26. ^ "...the CIA armed, clothed, fed and supervised the Contras." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 3
  27. ^ "In December 1982, the New York Times reported intelligence officials as saying that Washington's ‘covert activities have... become the most ambitious paramilitary and political action operation mounted by the C.I.A. in nearly a decade...‘" As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 33
  28. ^ a b Lee et al. 1987, p. 3
  29. ^ "...the contras failed to win widespread popular support or military victories within Nicaragua..." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 3
  30. ^ "...opinion polls indicated that a majority of the public was not supportive." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 3
  31. ^ "Following disclosure...that the CIA had a role in connection with the mining of the Nicaraguan harbors..., public critisism mounted and the Administration's Contra policy lost much of its support within Congress." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 3
  32. ^ Riesenfeld, Stefan A. (January 1987). "The Powers of Congress and the President in International Relations: Revisited". California Law Review (California Law Review, Inc.) 75 (1): 405. doi:10.2307/3480586. JSTOR 3480586. "The Boland Amendment was part of the Joint Resolution of December 21, 1982, providing further continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 1983" 
  33. ^ a b c d e Lee et al. 1987, p. 4
  34. ^ Lee et al 1987, p. 4
  35. ^ National Security Archive (1990?). "The Contras, cocaine, and covert operations: Documentation of official U.S. knowledge of drug trafficking and the Contras". The National Security Archive / George Washington University. 
  36. ^ "The Oliver North File". Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  37. ^ "...engaged in a campaign to alter public opinion and change the vote in Congress on Contra aid." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 5
  38. ^ Lee et al. 1987, p. 5
  39. ^ "The S/LPD produced and widely disseminated a variety of pro-Contra publications and arranged speeches and press conferences." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 5
  40. ^ "It also disseminated what one offical termed "white propaganda": pro-Contra newspaper articles by paid consultants who did not disclose their connection to the Administration." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 5
  41. ^ a b Lee et al. 1987, p. 6
  42. ^ "Of the $10 million raised by North, Channell and Miller, more than $1 million was used for pro-Contra publicity." As seen at: Lee et al. 1987, p. 6
  43. ^ "Having reached the above conclusion, the Court takes the view that the contras remain responsible for their acts, in particular the alleged violations by them of humanitarian law. For the United States to be legally responsible, it would have to be proved that that State had effective control of the operations in the course of which the alleged violations were committed." As seen at: International Court of Justice 1986, VII (5)
  44. ^ "...Finds that the United States of America, by producing in 1983 a manual entitled "Operaciones sicológicas en guerra de guerrillas", and disseminating it to contra forces, has encouraged the commission by them of acts contrary to general principles of humanitarian law." As seen at: International Court of Justice 1986, (9)
  45. ^ "In the case of shooting "a citizen who was trying to leave the town or city in which the guerrillas are carrying out armed propaganda or political proselytism," the manual suggests that the contras "explain that if that citizen had managed to escape, he would have alerted the enemy..."" As seen at: Sklar 1988, p. 179
  46. ^ ""If possible," states the manual, "professional criminals will be hired to carry out specific, selective jobs."" As seen at: Sklar 1988, p. 181
  47. ^ "The United States has contended that Nicaragua was actively supporting armed groups operating in certain of the neighbouring countries, particularly in El Salvador, and specifically in the form of the supply of arms, an accusation which Nicaragua has repudiated." As seen at: International Court of Justice 1986, VIII (1)
  48. ^ "In any event the evidence is insufficient to satisfy the Court that the Government of Nicaragua was responsible for any flow of arms at either period." As seen at: International Court of Justice 1986, VIII (1)
  49. ^ "But the Court, remarkably enough, while finding the United States responsible for intervention in Nicaragua, failed to recognize Nicaragua's prior and continuing intervention in El Salvador." As seen at: International Court of Justice 1986, Dissenting Opinion of Judge Schwebel
  50. ^ "...concluded that the United States essentially acted lawfully in exerting armed pressures against Nicaragua, both directly and through its support of the contras, because Nicaragua's prior and sustained support of armed insurgency in El Salvador was tantamount to an armed attack upon El Salvador against which the United States could react in collective self-defence in El Salvador's support." As seen at: International Court of Justice 1986, Dissenting Opinion of Judge Schwebel
  51. ^ Morrison, Fred L. (January 1987). "Legal Issues in The Nicaragua Opinion". American Journal of International Law 81 (1): 160–166. doi:10.2307/2202146. JSTOR 2202146.  "Appraisals of the ICJ's Decision. Nicaragua vs United State (Merits)"
  52. ^ "Human Rights Watch World Report 1993 - Nicaragua".,HRW,,NIC,467fca491e,0.html. Retrieved september 18, 2009. 
  53. ^ "Nicaragua". Human Rights Watch. 1989. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  54. ^ The Americas Watch Committee (February 1987). "Human Rights in Nicaragua 1986". Americas Watch. 
  55. ^ a b c d Human Rights in Nicaragua 1986, p. 21
  56. ^ a b Human Rights in Nicaragua 1986, p. 19
  57. ^ Human Rights in Nicaragua 1986, p. 19, 21
  58. ^ Human Rights in Nicaragua 1986, p. 24
  59. ^ The Catholic Institute for International Relations (1987). "Right to Survive: Human Rights in Nicaragua". The Catholic Institute for International Relations. 
  60. ^ Gill 1989, p. 194
  61. ^ "We found that there is substantial credible evidence that the contras engaged with some frequency in acts of terroristic violence directed at Nicaraguan civilians... These are individuals who are not caught in the cross-fire between Government and contra forces, but... deliberately targeted by the contras for acts of terror." As seen at: Gill 1989, p. 194
  62. ^ "Those incidents that have been investigated, however, reveal a distinct pattern, indicating that contra activities often include: attacks on purely civilian targets resulting in the killing of unarmed men, women, children, and the elderly; premeditated acts of brutality including rape, beatings, mutilation and torture; individual and mass kidnappings of civilians ... for the purpose of forced recruitment into the contra forces and the creation of a hostage refugee population in Honduras; assaults on economic and social targets ..." As seen at: International Court of Justice (IV) (1986), p. 300
  63. ^ "As time went on, I became more and more troubled by the frequent reports I received of atrocities committed by our troops against civilians and against Sandinista prisoners." As seen at: Sklar 1988, p. 182
  64. ^ Sklar 1988, p. 182
  65. ^ Brody, Reed. Contra Terror in Nicaragua. South End Press (Boston, MA). ISBN 0896083136.
  66. ^ The New Republic, 20 January 1986, with letters in The New Republic, 17 February 1986.
  67. ^ "'Contra' Terrorism Is, Unfortunately, True". The New York Times. 26 April 1985. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  68. ^ Jonathan Steele and Tony Jenkins (1984-11-15). "The Slaugter at the Cooperatives". The Guardian. 
  69. ^ The New Republic, 20 January 1986; The New Republic, 22 August 1988; The National Interest, Spring 1990.
  70. ^ David Asman, "Despair and fear in Managua", Wall Street Journal, 25 March 1985.
  71. ^ "Before the arms scam erupted, the contras were already besieged by charges of corruption, human-rights abuses and military ineptitude." As seen at: Smolowe, Jill (22 December 1986). "Nicaragua Is It Curtains?". Time Magazine.,9171,963090-1,00.html. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  72. ^ Todd, Dave (26 February 1986). "Offensive by Nicaraguan "Freedom Fighters" May be Doomed as Arms, Aid Dry Up". Ottawa Citizen.,187657&dq=nicaragua&hl=en. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  73. ^ "The last major attack, in October along the Rama Road in southern Nicaragua, was considered a success for the guerrillas." As seen at: Lemoyne, James (22 December 1987). "Both Sides Report Heavy Fighting In Rebel Offensive in Nicaragua". New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  74. ^ a b Lemoyne, James (22 December 1987). "Both Sides Report Heavy Fighting In Rebel Offensive in Nicaragua". New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  75. ^ Lemoyne, James (2 February 1988). "Contras' Top Fighter Vows No Letup". New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  76. ^ Meara, William R. Contra Cross: Insurgency And Tyranny in Central America, 1979–1989. US Naval Institute Press, 2006.
  77. ^ "Such large-scale raids have become possible only in recent months as the rebels have used American-provided missiles against Sandinista helicopters." As seen at: Lemoyne, James (22 December 1987). "Both Sides Report Heavy Fighting In Rebel Offensive in Nicaragua". New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  78. ^ Kinzer, Stephen (23 July 1987). "Sandinistas report capture of RedEye Missile". New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  79. ^ Wicker, Tom (14 August 1989). "Enough Have Died for Nothing in Nicaragua". Wilmington Morning Star.,5372009&dq=nicaragua&hl=en. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  80. ^ Ulig, Mark (14 August 1989). "New Regional Accord Leaves Contras in Honduras Fearful but Defiant". New York Times. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  81. ^ "Sometimes they used force as they rounded up young men for military service, and there were occasional confrontations. But only in the town of Masaya, 19 miles southeast of the capital of Managua, did the conscription spark a full-blown street clash...For several weeks before the latest outburst in Masaya, the opposition newspaper, La Prensa, had been reporting isolated protests against the draft." As seen at: Kinzer, Stephen (28 February 1988). "THE WORLD: Nicaragua; Pushed From Left or Right, Masaya Balks". New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  82. ^ "Sandinistas Surviving in a Percentage Game". Envio. December 1988. 
  83. ^ "Nicaraguans Try Peace Moves While Waiting for US Voters". Envio. November 1988. 
  84. ^ "Contra Insurgency in Nicaragua". December 2000. 
  85. ^ Uhlig, Mark A. (27 February 1990). "Turnover in Nicaragua; NICARAGUAN OPPOSITION ROUTS SANDINISTAS; U.S. PLEDGES AID, TIED TO ORDERLY TURNOVER". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  86. ^ "After the Poll Wars-Explaining the Upset". Envio. March 1990. 


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  • Contras — noun a Nicaraguan counterrevolutionary guerrilla force from 1979 to 1990; it opposed a left wing government, with support from the United States • Instance Hypernyms: ↑guerrilla force, ↑guerilla force * * * plural of contra …   Useful english dictionary

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