Chapter 18 - Taking on Soviet-Cuban Imperialism in Latin America and Africa

The U.S. must take strong countermeasures to affect the political/military impact of Soviet arms deliveries to Cuba. The U.S. must also provide economic and military assistance to states in Central America and the Caribbean Basin threatened by Cuban destabilizing activities. Finally, the U.S. will seek to reduce the Cuban presence and influence in southern Africa by energetic leadership of the diplomatic effort to achieve Cuban withdrawal from Angola, or failing that, by increasing the costs of Cuba’s role in southern Africa.16

USIA Report on the Sandinista’s Communization of Nicaragua—1983. A report on Nicaragua: The Stolen Revolution issued by the U.S. Information Agency in 1983 as an important public diplomacy effort, presents a scholar’s report to expose the deception and terror characteristic of Nicaragua’s Communist Sandinista regime. The “must read” report details facts on the Sandinista’s historical background; broken promises to the Organization of American States; use of the Provisional Government and Council of State as instruments to gain revolutionary control; Marxist-Leninist ideology; intensified suppression of human rights; and the growing list of senior leaders (Arturo Cruz, Comandante Eden Pastora, Alfonso Robelo, et al.), who abandoned the Sandinista Junta to join the Contras—i.e., those “against” the regime.

The report details the censorship and perilous situation of Nicaragua’s press (including La Prensa, led by the Chamorro family), political parties, free labor unions, religious institutions (including the suppression of the popular Catholic leader, Archbishop, later Cardinal, Obando y Bravo, and others), and the suppression of labor and the private sector. The report also points to the forced “resettlement” programs directed against 70,000 Protestant, English-speaking Indians (including 55,000 Miskito Indians, who the Sandinistas called “counter-revolutionaries” and whose villages they leveled, forcing many into exile in Honduras) and thousands of African-Americans in a north-eastern Atlantic Coast region of Nicaragua.

The report highlights the extraordinary militarization of Sandinista Nicaragua with major increases in the army and militia forces (to 70,000); modern Soviet arms coming in from Cuba; the training of radical insurgents from neighboring countries; and the heavy integrated presence of Cuban, East German, and Soviet advisors and trainers. Also described is the pitiful state of the people’s welfare and the economy, including plummeting harvests, demonstrating the cost of the Sandinista revolution as severe and contributing to the loss of much of the revolution’s initial popular support. The report ends with a depiction of the grave threat to Nicaragua’s neighbors.

Reagan Policy Directive on El Salvador Initiatives—February 1983. Presidential directive NSDD 82—Policy Initiatives to Improve Prospects for Victory in El Salvador, issued on February 24, 1983, is a major Reagan strategy document in support of a nation directly threatened by Sandinista-style subversion. It addresses Reagan’s broad concerns, specific policy objectives, and steps to avert the dangers and achieve a stable democracy. Thus:

The deteriorating military, economic and political situation in El Salvador requires immediate and concerted action to reverse current trends. In order that the present situation can be reversed and the stage set for achieving a stable, democratic government in El Salvador, the following initiatives are approved for implementation:

  • A special emissary will be dispatched to confer with the government of El Salvador and appropriate USG officials on scene regarding political actions which will help the government to seize the initiative.
  • Immediate efforts will be made to obtain $60 M[illion] in additional military resources for El Salvador.
  • The USG will make a concerted effort to ensure that the current Latin peace initiative does not turn against the U.S. but rather to use this development as a means of furthering the process of democratization in Latin America.
  • Through U.S. military and diplomatic contacts in El Salvador, we will seek to overcome divisiveness and end the political infighting which is debilitating the Salvadoran military establishment.
  • Tactical improvements will be introduced in the Salvadoran military to enable them to launch a full scale country-wide counterinsurgency effort to include civic action and psychological operation.
  • The U.S. military presence in El Salvador will be sufficiently augmented to permit the U.S. to better influence the prosecution of the war.17

A Major Reagan Policy Address on Central America’s “Greatest Crisis”—March 1983. As U.S. Congressional opposition to Reagan’s policies mounted, Reagan’s Remarks on Central America and El Salvador at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers on March 10, 1983 provided a comprehensive, widely distributed, public expression of Reagan’s view on the security, political, and economic threats and stakes in Central America. For example:

[Book pg. 431]