May 30, 2019 by The Week
Is the U.S. supposed to obey international law like some kind of peasant country? The very idea shocks the conscience.
by Ryan Cooper
As mayor of Burlington back in the 1980s, he attacked the foreign policy of the Reagan administration in Latin America, and even briefly toured Nicaragua in support of its Sandinista government. (Photo: Illustrated | AP Photo/Donna Light, AP Photo/Pat Hamilton, Wikimedia Commons)
Bernie Sanders has a problem. As mayor of Burlington back in the 1980s, he attacked the foreign policy of the Reagan administration in Latin America, and even briefly toured Nicaragua in support of its Sandinista government. He was reportedly present at a rally in Managua where protesters chanted anti-American slogans — which is deeply concerning, writes New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait.
Quite right. Americans of all political stripes should be very concerned about Sanders’ anti-mass murder record.
Historical context is important here, as it reveals beyond question the saintly motives of Reagan’s foreign policy team. From 1936-1979, Nicaragua was benevolently ruled by the Somoza family, who were friendly to the U.S. and the Nicaraguan working class alike. Their government was not at all corrupt, and in no way did the Somozas accumulate a vast dragon hoard of wealth looted out of the country.
But leftist forces, motivated by nothing more than spite, mounted a guerrilla insurgency in the mid-70s. They took up the mantle of Augusto Sandino, who unfortunately died after slipping on a banana peel during earnest peace talks with Anastasio Somoza García in 1934, who had offered free puppies and ice cream to all leftist factions. After years of hard fighting, these Sandinistas finally overthrew the government of Anastasio Somoza Debayle (son of the first Somoza) in 1979.
Conservative forces launched a counter-revolution (thus Contras, for Contrarrevolución), and Reagan naturally supported them with money and weapons, as all right-thinking people would have done. Democrats in Congress were inexplicably wary of foreign intervention, and so after they discovered that the CIA was putting Freedom Mines in Nicaraguan harbors in 1984, they banned military aid to the Contras. The administration was forced to turn to selling arms to Iran to finance them.
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