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ORPA Denies CIA Aid
Cerigua Weekly Briefs, no.11, 11 March 1997
Guatemala City, March 11. Ex-guerrilla leaders deny allegations published in the U.S. press that the CIA supplied one of their factions with arms in the early 1980s.
According to sources cited in the March 9 Miami Herald story, in 1982 the CIA air-dropped assault rifles, grenades, grenade launchers and sophisticated communications equipment over territory controlled by the Revolutionary Organization of the People in Arms (ORPA).
The CIA made the arms transfer to encourage renegade Sandinista guerrilla Eden Pastora to join the counter-revolutionary army the agency was setting up to overthrow Nicaragua's left-wing government, the source says. Pastora, whom the Herald called an advisor to ORPA, reportedly asked for the arms shipment as a show of good faith.
But ORPA denies receiving weapons from the U.S. agency. "The sources from which we obtained arms were always independent. We never had any connection with the CIA," former ORPA Field Commander Santiago told Cerigua.
The Guatemalan army also denies knowledge of the case. "The news surprises me and shows that the CIA are bastards (malditos)," former Guatemalan Defense Minister Gen. Hector Gramajo Morales told the daily Prensa Libre.
Other rebel leaders speculate the information is an attempt to create division among the four organizations that make up the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG). "It's part of a campaign to discredit a URNG member organization that could never have established links with the CIA," said ex-guerrilla Commander Pablo Monsanto.
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