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Fr. Miguel D’Escoto : "Reagan Was The Butcher of My People"

Thursday 10 June 2004

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"Reagan Was The Butcher of My People"

Fr. Miguel D’Escoto Speaks From Nicaragua

Editors Note: Fr. Miguel D’Escoto is a Catholic priest
in Managua, Nicaragua. He was Nicaragua’s Foreign
Minister under the Sandinista government of the 1980s,
when the US was arming and supporting the Contra death
squads. Ronald Reagan said of the Contras: "They are
our brothers, these freedom fighters and we owe them
our help. They are the moral equal of our founding

The following text is drawn from an interview with Fr.
D’Escoto on the national radio/TV show Democracy Now!

To watch the video or hear the audio visit:


MANAGUA, NICARAGUA - First of all, let me start out by
saying that, of course, Reagan is now dead. And I, for
one, would like to say only nice things about him. I’m
not insensitive to the feelings of many U.S. people
mourning President Reagan, but as I pray that God in
his infinite mercy and goodness forgives him for having
been the butcher of my people, for having been
responsible for the deaths of some 50,000 Nicaraguans,
we cannot, we should not, ever forget the crimes he
committed in the name of what he falsely labeled
"freedom and democracy."

More perhaps than any other U.S. President, Reagan
convinced many around the world that the U.S. is a
fraud, a big lie. Not only was it not democratic, but,
in fact, the greatest enemy of the right of self-
determination of peoples. Reagan was known as the
"great communicator" and I believe that that is true
only if one believes that to be a great communicator
means to be a good liar. That he was for sure. He could
proclaim the biggest lies without even as much as
blinking an eyelash. Hearing him talk about how we were
supposedly persecuting Jews and burning down non-
existent synagogues, I was led to believe really, that
Reagan was possessed by demons. Frankly, I do believe
Reagan at that time as much as Bush today was indeed
possessed by the demons of manifest destiny.

Of course, as I say this, I’m quite aware that to the
people of the Project for a New American Century, that
is counted as a big loss. Because of Reagan and his
spiritual heir George W. Bush, the world today is far
less safe and secure than it has ever been. Reagan in
fact was an international outlaw. He came to the
Presidency of the United States shortly after Somoza, a
Dictator that the U.S. had imposed over Nicaragua for
practically half a century; had been deposed by
Nicaraguan Nationalists under the leadership of the
Sandinista Liberation Front. To Reagan, Nicaragua had
to be re-conquered. He blamed Carter for having lost
Nicaragua, as if Nicaragua ever belonged to anyone else
other than the Nicaraguan people. That was then the
beginning of this war that Reagan invented, and mounted
and financed and directed: the Contra War. About which
he continually lied to the People, helping the United
States people to be the most ignorant people around the
world. I said ignorant, I don’t say not intelligent.
But the most ignorant people around the world about
what the United States does abroad.

People don’t even begin to see — if they did, they
would rebel. And so, he lied to the people, as Bush
lies to the people today and as they push on, thinking
that the United States is above every law, human or
divine. And we took the United States, Reagan’s United
States, his government to court, the World Court. I was
Foreign Minister at that time here in Nicaragua. I was
responsible for that. And the United States government
received the harshest sentence, the harshest
condemnation ever in the history of world justice. In
spite of the fact that the United States since the
early 1920’s has been proclaiming to the world that one
of the proofs of its moral superiority as compared to
other countries around the world is the fact that it
abides by the international law and was obedient to the
world court when the United States was brought to the
world court in Nicaragua and received the condemnation
that the United States failed to heed the sentence and
they till owe Nicaragua by now must be between 20,000
and $30,000 million at the time when we left government
that the damages caused by that Reagan war was over $17
billion, and this, according to very moderate
estimators of damage, people from the United Nations
Economic Commission for Latin America, people from
Howard University and from Oxford and from the
University of Paris basically this is the team that was
pulled together to estimate the damage. The United
States was ordered to pay for the damage. Bush never
even wanted to talk to me about it. I said, "Well,
let’s have a meeting so that you comply with your
sentence of the court." He said to me in two different
letters that there was nothing to talk about.

So, Reagan did damage to Nicaragua beyond the
imaginations of the people who are hearing me now. The
ripple effects of that criminal murderous intervention
in my country will go on for 50 years or more.

Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated radio/TV
program broadcast on more than 220 stations.