The Guardian October 10, 2001


US threatens Sandinistas

There was a time when the US called all its opponents communists as if 
that would settle the matter. Now it calls them terrorists. "You're either 
with us or the terrorists", said George Bush, the man who stole the US 
Presidential election.

US officials claimed recently that the Nicaraguan Sandinista party, seeking 
to regain power in presidential elections on November 4, at one time had 
links to groups that "support terrorism".

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the United States would 
"respect the results of a free and fair vote that reflects the will of the 
Nicaraguan people".

"However, we have serious concerns about the Sandinistas' history ... of 
confiscating properties without compensation, destroying the economy and 
maintaining links with those who support terrorism", said Boucher in a 
statement issued by the US Embassy in Managua.

His remarks came after a meeting in Washington between Secretary of State 
Colin Powell and Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Francisco Aguirre. They 
represented Washington's latest and strongest warning about the possible 
return of a Sandinista government.

Aguirre, speaking on Radio Nicaragua accused the Sandinistas of having been 
linked to rebel groups in Italy, Spain and El Salvador.

Sandinista candidate and former Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega accused 
Nicaragua's current conservative government of trying to frighten voters. 
Pre-election polls indicate that Ortega is running neck-and-neck with 
conservative candidate Enrique Bolanos.

In the 1980s, the United States organised and funded a decade-long proxy 
war by Contra rebels against the Sandinista Government.

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