Nicaragua's embattled government led by President Anastasio Somoza has been told to resign by the Organisation of American states (OAS) meeting in Washington D.
Nicaragua's embattled government led by President Anastasio Somoza has been told to resign by the Organisation of American states (OAS) meeting in Washington D.C. By an overwhelming majority the 27 member OAS, called on Saturday (23 June) for the immediate replacement of Somoza's regime with a democratic government, with respect for human rights and the holding of elections as soon as possible. In doing so the OAS rejected a United States proposal for an inter-American peacekeeping force to halt the war raging between President Somoza's National Guard and the Sandinista guerrillas.
SYNOPSIS: The National Guard and the Sandinistas have fought major battles near the Costa Rican border. National Guards escorted foreign newsmen on a tour of one area, La Virgin about twenty kilometres from the border on Wednesday (20 June) and displayed the bodies of Sandinista guerrillas.
The Guard commander of the area, who uses the pseudonym, 'Commander Bravo' arranged the newsmen's tour to prove that rebel claims of victories over government troops were false. However journalists report that the area they were taken to had little relevance to the fighting in the south of the country. The government has claimed since the rebels of the Sandinista offensive more than two weeks ago that rebels are infiltrating Nicaragua from sanctuaries in Costa Rica.
In the capital, Managua the National Guard was reported on Sunday (24 June) to have gained ground against the guerrillas. Government helicopters have been bombing the slum areas of the city where the rebels have their strongholds and bombarding the suburbs with artillery fire.
This woman's son was not a rebel... but he was killed in a rocket attack. As in all wars the innocent suffer most. Nicaraguan Government radio told civilians on Saturday (23 June) to abandon their homes in Managua's north-eastern suburbs, held by Sandinista guerrillas, as the army launched a major aerial bombardment of the area. Many seemed to be taking the advice...refugees were reported to be pouring out of the city.
They're not the only ones leaving the city. Western journalists appalled by the murder of the American Broadcasting Company journalist, Bill Stewart by a National Guard patrolman left the city in protest at what United States President Carter called 'an act of barbarism'. At least forty journalists, mainly television reporters from the United States networks left Nicaragua on Thursday (21 June). The Americans offered a free ride on an Air Force plane for all journalists wanting to leave.
They were leaving a city in which according to the International Red Cross 80,000 refugees are living in tents, where drinking water is in short supply, milk, meat and drugs are unobtainable and many foodstuffs available only at very high prices.