Free Research Paper On The Nicaraguan Intervention

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: United States, Politics, Government, America, Law, Nicaragua, Crime, Military

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2021/03/21

The Reagan administration intervention in Nicaragua is of the most controversial international moves made by the American government. This move not only violated the international peace laws but also violated the American policies on international relations. Despite the fact that Reagan knew the consequences of participating in the Nicaraguan invasion, he authorized the participation of the United States in this conquest. His motive for participating in the Nicaraguan conquest was profoundly influenced by the need to maintain America’s superiority in international affairs rather than the ethical policies guiding such interventions. Due to the illegal nature of the Nicaraguan intervention, United States’ participation was highly secretive and hidden from the public. The American government participated in the war at a military, political and economic level. America’s intention of making its participation in the Nicaraguan invasion secret failed as information about this invasion leaked to the international community who condemned this move. The Reagan Administration intervened illegally in Nicaragua through Political Economic and Military Means in an attempt to topple the Sandinista government because their policies and political activities did not favor the United States’ political interests at the time. Reagan’s decision to participate in the Nicaraguan intervention was greatly influenced by international politics at the time. Despite the fact that the Sandinista government was democratically elected into power, their policies did not favor the interests of the United States. The Sandinista government supported socialistic and communistic approaches of governance associated with The Soviet Union and Cuba. The choice of the Sandinista government to associate with Cuba and the Soviet Union, America’s core enemies, angered Reagan and motivated his participation in ending the Sandinista rule (Huth 45). On the other hand, the Sandinista policies did not favor Americans living in Nicaragua. The Sandinista government was unwilling to negotiate any peaceful resolutions with the United States because of its ties with Cuba and the Soviet Union. America had no legal means of invading the country because of the international laws that ban such moves. The only way America could fight the dominance of the Sandinista government was by supporting its opposition ‘the Contras’ and using them to topple the Sandinista government. America’s initial involvement in the Nicaraguan conquest was highly political. The American government worked on strengthening the opposition against the Sandinista government. The United States successfully united the Contra militia groups under the leadership of Arturo Cruz, Adolfo Calero and Alfonso Robelo, who initially supported the anti-Samoza revolution. By joining these leaders and their groups, United States gained considerable bargaining power in its quest to end the Sandinista reign in Nicaragua. The United States not only joined the Contras groups but also supported them financially and ideologically. Through the CIA, the United States financed the training feeding and clothing of the Contras fighters (Robinson 19). The CIA helped the Contras militia groups acquire weapons and adequate training to fight the Nicaraguan government. The participation of the CIA with the militia group was illegal in both American constitution and international laws. After the Sandinistas had won the 1984 elections, The United States increased their aggression against the Sandinista government. The American government declared the Sandinistas as undemocratic and non-liberal and fought them even more aggressively. Some of the irregularities experienced in these elections included illegal detention of some of the key participants, the absence of major opposition parties in the election and the failure to use secret balloting system. The United States supported the opposition candidates and guided them on how to win the election. These irregularities robbed the opposition any chances of winning the election and kept the dictatorial Sandinista government in power. This move ruled out any democratic approaches the United States could use to end the socialistic reign of the Sandinista government. It forced the United States to use guerilla war tactics in collaboration with the Contras. In 1985, President Reagan declared the Nicaraguan government an unusual threat to the American security and international policies (Kirkpatrick 67). This move was an attempt at justifying America’s participation in the Nicaraguan intervention. He declared a national emergency and a trade embargo against the Nicaraguan government. This move was aimed at weakening the Sandinista government and forcing them to comply with the American demands. The then Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega responded by declaring a position of non-alignment in an attempt to get military support from France, Spain, and Italy. The attempt to get military support failed but they gained verbal backing and economic support. The economic and verbal support from these countries strengthened the country’s bargaining power and encouraged the Sandinista resilience during the American invasion. America was not only involved at a political level but also at a military level. The aggression against the Nicaraguan government had grown to very high levels and encouraged the military involvement of the American troops. With the aid of the CIA America became involved in the military offense in Nicaragua. The participation of the CIA in the attack was highly secretive and was to be seen as if the Contras had done it. In 1983, the CIA participated in an attack where they attempted to sabotage ports, refineries boats, and bridges. They bombed the harbor and damaged vessels belonging to the Nicaraguan government. These attacks were supposed to create fear and force the Nicaraguan government abandon the socialistic approach and adopt capitalistic approaches that favored the American government (Robinson 254). The CIA formed a group called Unilaterally Controlled Latino Assets (UCLA), which was to aid the Contras in fighting the Nicaraguan government. The CIA involvement in the Nicaraguan warfare led to the ratification of the Boland Amendment in the US Congress to counter the growing international criticism of this action. In response to these military intrusions in their country, the Nicaraguan government passed a law for the maintenance of order and public security that prejudicial holding and trial of counter-revolutionary suspects. The government also declared a state of emergency that robbed many Nicaraguan citizens their freedoms of association and congregation. The Nicaraguan intervention forced the Nicaraguan government to fight the people suspected to be involved in these violent incidents. This move caused the torture and murder of many people suspected to be Contras fighters and sympathizers (Kornbluh 34). After the cancelation of the Boland amendment, the United States active participation in the warfare was limited, and they could only participate in training the Contras militants. The Americans soldiers involved in the Nicaraguan involvement disguised themselves in Contras uniform and were difficult to identify in their midst. The 1983 attack gave the Sandinista government a reason to indulge actively in the oppression and murder of those perceived to be Contras fighters. The Contras fighters just like their Sandinista counterparts were involved in numerous unlawful activities in the country. They were involved in many rape abduction and murder cases. Their tactics failed to adhere to the military code of conduct. The involvement of American troops with such people caused a great uproar from human rights organizations and the international community (Moore 87). Although the Americans denied active participation in the military operations of the Contras, their mere presence in the region made them vulnerable to suspicion to be participants in these unjust activities. The report released by human rights organizations over the Nicaraguan invasion in 1989 revealed the various injustices perpetrated during this period. Some of these violations included, selectively executing civilians and children captured during their combats, burning civilian houses, seizing their property, and mistreating prisoners captured during their attacks (Mauricio 78). Though there was no evidence of Americans participating in such acts, the failure of the CIA to discourage motivated their occurrence. The United States was also involved at an economic level in the anti-Sandinista campaign. Prior to the attacks, the United States was arguably the largest aid providers to Nicaragua. After the indulgence of the Sandinista government in socialism and communism, America withdrew their financial aid to the country (Michaels 21). It promised to double their initial support if the country ended their relationship with socialistic Cuba and communist Soviet Union. These attempts failed to move the Sandinistas, and the American government decided to be involved in military means. The financial implications of this invasion were catered for in the Boland Amendment. However, after the 1983 attack on the Nicaraguan harbor the Boland Amendment was canceled leaving the financing of the invasion at a critical condition (Kornbluh 89). The United States government could no longer sustain the funding to the war after the Boland Amendment was canceled. To support the war, the United States was forced to involve in illegal trade of firearms with Iran. The country participated in many other illegal businesses in an attempt to get enough funds to use in the war against the Sandinistas. The US acquired approximately 34 million dollars from third countries and private sources to aid the war against the Sandinistas (Mauricio 71). The American government formed a secret arm called the Enterprise that ran the financing of the Nicaraguan invasion (Brown 21). The enterprise ran many Swiss bank accounts and purchased airplanes paid private pilots and conducted other logistical duties necessary in sustaining the Invasion. The Enterprise was a secret feature of the National Security Council led by Colonel Oliver North. Inquiries into the matter revealed that Colonel North had once met Manuel Noriega a Panama military leader later convicted of drug trafficking (Emerson 98). This fact revealed the probability that the Invasion was funded by drug money. The Sandinista government sued the American government for its involvement in the Nicaraguan invasion. They accused the American government of supporting the Contras which they regarded a terrorist group in their country. The international court of justice ruled in favor of the Sandinistas stating that the United States had violated the international code of conduct by supporting the Contras and invading their harbor. The ruling further noted that the United States supported acts of violence that defied the humanitarian laws by supporting the guerrilla warfare carried out by the Contras (Regan 234). They trained the Contras militants who used their skills to terrorize common civilians in Nicaragua. In response to these accusations, the United States declares that the power of the international court of justice did not exceed powers of the American constitution (Gill 47). They also asserted that the International Court of Justice should have investigated the participation of the Nicaraguan government in El Salvador. The US used their influence in the United Nations Security Council to defy the ruling of the International Court of Justice and deny the citizens of Nicaragua their compensation. In the eyes of any sober citizen, America failed its citizens and the international community with its involvement in the Nicaraguan intervention.


Brown, Timothy. The Real Contra War: Highlander Peasant Resistance in Nicaragua. University of Oklahoma Press, 2001.
Emerson, S. Secret warriors: Inside the covert military operations of the Reagan era. New York: Putnam, 1988.
Gill, Terry D. Litigation strategy at the International Court: a case study of the Nicaragua v United States dispute. Dordrecht, 1989
Huth, Paul K. "Major Power Intervention in International Crises, 1918-1988." Journal of Conflict Resolution 1998: 126. Print
Kirkpatrick, Jeane J., Dictatorships and Double Standards. Touchstone, 1982.
Kornbluh, P. Nicaragua, the price of intervention: Reagan's wars against the Sandinistas. Washington, D.C.: Institute for Policy Studies, 1987.
Mauricio, N. U.S. Intervention and Regime Change in Nicaragua. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 2005. Print
Michaels, Peter S. "Lawless Intervention: United States Foreign Policy in El Salvador and Nicaragua." 1987. Print
Moore, John N. The Secret War in Central America: Sandinista Assault on World Order. University Publications of America, 1987.
Regan, Patrick M. "Conditions of Successful Third-Party Intervention in Intrastate Conflicts." Journal of Conflict Resolution (1996): 234. Print
Robinson, William I. A Faustian Bargain: U.S. Intervention in the Nicaraguan Elections and American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era. Boulder: Westview, 1992. Print.

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