From Thu Dec 6 12:02:45 2001
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2001 16:31:50 -0600 (CST)
From: NicaNet <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline
Article: 131467
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

U.S. troops to arrive in January

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 3 December 2001

Last week, Nicaragua's Defense Minister Jose Adan Guerra announced that U.S. Army Reservists will arrive in the country early next year to carry out a range of socially useful projects. The troops will be stationed in and around Juigalpa and Santo Tomas in Chontales, and in Bluefields in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region. They will arrive in groups of 300, rotating in and out until the end of June, 2002. In total 3,600 troops will be involved. The venture is under the aegis of the U.S. Army Southern Command and the reservists will come primarily from Wisconsin, Florida and Puerto Rico. They are slated to build six clinics and four schools and upgrade 75 kilometers of roads. Lt. Colonel Patrick Gallagher, Assigned Chief of Operations, said that the force would have US$1 million at its disposal for buying materials and employing teams of local people. They will also provide training workshops in basic health care, give free medical and dental consultations, and distribute free medicines. Since they will carry only ‘officers’ weapons, presumably side arms, the Nicaraguan Army will provide overall security.

U.S. troops have been coming to Nicaragua since the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in late 1998 and have provoked varied reactions from among the population. Some, remembering the U.S. military's role in training and arming the contras, opposed their presence. Others, such as the Sandinista farmers and ranchers organization UNAG, worked with them to build schools and clinics. Some observers worry that the troops are part of a deeper game to advance the domination of Central America and its natural resources, especially given the oil deposits off Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. They will be conveniently located close to the proposed route of a dry canal, the huge freight railroad/deep water ports/maquiladora complex designed to link the country's Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

The treaty between the United States and Nicaragua to combat drug trafficking went into effect late in October and it marks the first U.S. support for Nicaragua's military since the country was run by the dictator Somoza in the 1970s. Even more alarming, the U.S. will train eleven Nicaraguan officers at the School of the Americas (now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) during 2002, according to an answer from the school to an e-mail inquiry from the Nicaragua Network.

This school trained thousands of officers of Somoza's National Guard and when the Carter Administration accused these officers of human rights violations in the 1970s, the Somoza regime answered angrily, We're just carrying out what they taught us in the School of the Americas, and now they call it human rights violations! Associated Press reports also that U.S.

Coast Guard personnel will go to Nicaragua to provide technical support and equipment, while a small number of Nicaraguan naval engineers will be trained at U.S. Coast Guard installations.

The Nicaragua Network and the School of the Americas Watch are putting together a campaign to oppose U.S. military involvement in Nicaragua, especially the return of Nicaraguan troops to the School of the Americas, also known as the School of the Assassins. Please watch this space!