05.19d Mona Charen on Nicaragua in the 1980's: The "Dear Comandante" Letter from 10 Congressmen. Mona Charen's book, Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First has a good description of the liberal love affair with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

The Sandinistas had enjoyed good relations with the Palestinian Liberation Organization for a decade. Sandinista militants had received training in Fatah camps in Lebanon and Libya during the 1970s and had fought with the PLO against Jordan's King Hussein. ... Nicaragua's new rulers made their anti-Jewish and anti-Israel views known from the beginning and quickly moved against Managua's small Jewish community. In 1978, Sandinista gangsters had set fire to the doors of Managua's synagogue while a service was in progress. Those who attempted to exit through a side door were forced back by armed men. The fire was extinguished and there were no deaths. After the revolution, the Sandinistas confiscated the synagogue and Jews received death threats and other harassment. ... The fifty families comprising the Nicaraguan Jewish community, who had lived in Managua for more than one hundred years, fled.


Fifty Moravian churches were burned....


By 1980, the Sandinista army had 12,000 men under arms, double the number of soldiers that Somoza had employed in the National Guard. The armed forces were beefed up to 75, 000 by 1985--- 26,000 more than the next largest military in Central America.

By 1983, in addition to the estimated 4,000 former members of Somoza's National Guard, Nicaragua held 6,500 political prisoners, more than any country in the western hemisphere except Cuba and a remarkable number of a nation of only 2.8 million.

About one in ten Nicaraguans fled their homes in the face of Sandinista repression...

She has lots of examples of fulsome support of Nicaragua and criticism of their own country by American liberals. One example is the March 1984 "Dear Comandante" letter by U.S. Representatives Jim Wright, Michael Barnes, Bill Alexander, Matthew McHugh, Robert Torricelli, Edward Boland, Stephen Solarcz, David Obey, Robert Garcia, and Lee Hamilton (some very prominent Democrats indeed!). Here is how it starts:

As Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, we regret the fact that better relations do not exist between the United States and your country. We have been, and remain, opposed to U.S. support for military action directed against the people or government of Nicaragua.

We want to commend you and the members of your government for taking steps to open up the political process in your country. The Nicaraguan people have not had the opportunity to participate in a genuinely free election for over 50 years. We support your decision to schedule elections this year, to reduce press censorship, and to allow greater freedom of assembly for political parties. Finally, we recognize that you have taken these steps in the midst of ongoing military hostilities on the borders of Nicaragua.

I couldn't find it on the web. Note that the spelling is "Comandante", not "Commandante". I did find the Wall Street Journal reprint, and have made that into a web page
here, since it is an important historical document.

Senator Kerry was not a signer--indeed, no senator was (though Torricelli was later elected to the Senate). Senator Kerry was a Sandinista sympathizer, though, one of two senators, I think, that paid supportive visits to the Sandinistas. ... [in full at 04.05.19d.htm]

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