[News] Reagan Was the Butcher of My People

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Tue Jun 8 17:49:43 EDT 2004

Tuesday, June 8th, 2004
"Reagan Was the Butcher of My People:" Fr. Miguel D'Escoto Speaks From 

The 8 years Reagan was in office represented one of the most bloody eras in 
the history of the Western hemisphere, as Washington funneled money, 
weapons and other supplies to right wing death squads. And the death toll 
was staggering - more than 70,000 political killings in El Salvador, more 
than 100,000 in Guatemala, 30,000 killed in the contra war in Nicaragua. In 
Washington, the forces carrying out the violence were called "freedom 
fighters." This is how Ronald Reagan described the Contras in Nicaragua: 
"They are our brothers, these freedom fighters and we owe them our help. 
They are the moral equal of our founding fathers."

    * Fr. Miguel D'Escoto, a Catholic priest based in Managua, Nicaragua. 
He was Nicaragua's Foreign Minister under the Sandinista government in the 


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FATHER MIGUEL D'ESCOTO: 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 forgive 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, as you mentioned just a few minutes 
ago, 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 say for 
example, 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 as it has ever been. Reagan in fact was an 
international outlaw. He came to the Presidency of the United States 
shortly after Samosa, a Dictator that the U.S. has 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 
interventions in my country will go on for what, 50 years or more.

The Freedom Archives
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