As external pressure against Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza and his regime grows, there are also apparent signs it is cracking from within.
GV INTERIOR Former Nicaraguan National Guard officers seated at news conference in San Jose, Costa Rica
SV Lieut-Col. Mendieta speaking in Spanish as other former guardsmen look on (6 shots)
CU Lieut -Col. Mendieta speaking as newsmen take notes (2 shots)
GV Lieut -Col. Bernardino Larios speaking in Spanish
President Somoza was interviewed for the mass-circulation Asahi Shimbun and was quoted as saying he would seek asylum abroad after resigning. The Nicaraguan President was also quoted as saying the Organisation of American States (OAS), which has passed a resolution calling on him to quit, should be responsible for running Nicaragua when he steps down.
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Background: As external pressure against Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza and his regime grows, there are also apparent signs it is cracking from within. Five deserters from the Nicaraguan National Guard, two the them colonels, have denounced the Somoza administration for indiscriminate conference at San Jose, in Costa Rica, on Tuesday (3 July).
SYNOPSIS: The deserters said they had all become involved in the anti-Somoza struggle before they fled Nicaragua. Lieutenant- Colonel Guillermo Mendieta told newsmen they had realised that enormous harm was being done to their country by Somoza's regime, and had decided to join their countrymen in the fight against it. Colonel Mendieta said he was '???cashiered' as undesirable after he publicly called on the army to reconsider it stand.
Colonel Mendieta said he had called on the guards to remember they were Nicaraguans, not invading forces, and he had appealed to them to capitulate. He and the other deserters repeated guerrilla claims that El Salvador and Guatemala, under pressure from the United States, were supplying General Somoza with arms and ammunition to prolong the war.
Another deserter, Lieutenant-Colonel Bernardino Larios, called President Somoza an assassin. He said it was impossible to believe that an assassin of such magnitude was governing their country, while in other countries such men would be condemned for their crimes. In an interview published by a Japanese newspaper earlier this week, President Somoza was quoted as saying he had no choice but to step down and resign because of pressure from the United States and other countries. But a presidential spokesman later denied the statement.