In Nicaragua two thousand National Guard volunteers are being trained at a special infantry school in Managua.
In Nicaragua two thousand National Guard volunteers are being trained at a special infantry school in Managua. The school is commanded by President Anastasio Somoza's son and the training lasts for twenty weeks.
SYNOPSIS: The school accepts volunteers from the age of fourteen, and the training is said to be very hard. Here the young soldiers are receiving basic training -- and learning how to cope with military discipline.
The training includes courses in fitness, self-defence and man-to-man combat. Time and again the soldiers are asked by their instructors about their reasons for attending the school. "We're here to kill" is their reply. President Anastasio Somoza, who is in direct command of the Nicaraguan National Guard, wants to double his forces to about fifteen thousand men.
The National Guard is in training to fight Sandinist guerrillas, named after a revolutionary general of fifty years ago. They are reported to have more men trained than they have arms for, and are understood to be capable of putting only twelve hundreds armed men into the field. The guerilla training camps are largely situated across Nicaragua's border with Costa Rica. Following recent border clashes in which at least one costa Rican Civil Guard is reported to have been killed, Costa Rica has broken diplomatic relations with Nicaragua.
Large number of National Guards have been posted to the south of the country with the aim of stopping guerrilla infiltration. The trouble started at the beginning of the year with the killing of Dr. Pedro Joaquin Chamborro, the editor of an opposition newspaper.
Immediately afterwards Nicaragua experienced some of the worst rioting in its history, culminating in outright civil war in September this year. Armed bands were led by Sandinist guerrillas and opposed by the National Guard. At least a thousand people were killed, and the country was brought to a standstill by a nation-wide strike in an attempt to oust President Somoza, whose family has ruled the country for forty-five years.