LIST OF WARS: DETAILS
Nicaragua Govt vs Contras
Battle deaths: 29,965 Published prior to 2013 | Altered: 2016-03-26 23:44:40
They operated out of camps in the neighbouring countries of Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The U.S. also sought to place economic pressure on Nicaragua; the Reagan administration imposed a full trade embargo, and the CIA disrupted shipping by planting underwater mines in Nicaragua’s Corinto harbour, an action condemned by the World Court as illegal. As was typical in guerrilla warfare, the Contras were engaged in a campaign of economic sabotage in an attempt to combat the Sandinista government.
The armed resistance to the Sandinistas in Honduras initially called itself the Nicaraguan Revolutionary Democratic Alliance (ADREN) and was known as the 15th of September Legion. It later formed an alliance, called the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), which included other groups including MISURASATA and the Nicaraguan Democratic Union. Together, the members of these groups were generally called Contras. The Sandinistas condemned them as terrorists, and human rights organisations expressed serious concerns over reports of Contra attacks on civilians. In 1982, under pressure from Congress, the U.S. State Department declared Contra activities terrorism. The Congressional intelligence committee confirmed reports of Contra atrocities such as rape, torture, summary executions, and indiscriminate killings. After the U.S. Congress prohibited federal funding of the Contras in 1983, the Reagan administration continued to back the Contras by covertly selling arms to Iran and channelling the proceeds to the Contras (The Iran-Contra affair.) When this scheme was revealed, Reagan admitted that he knew about the Iranian "arms for hostages" dealings but professed ignorance about the proceeds funding the Contras; for this, National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North took much of the blame.
The Contra war unfolded differently in the northern and southern zones of Nicaragua. Contras based in Costa Rica operated in Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast, which is sparsely populated by indigenous groups including the Miskito, Sumu, Rama, Garifuno, and Mestizo. Unlike Spanish-speaking western Nicaragua, the Atlantic Coast is predominantly English-speaking and was largely ignored by the Somoza regime. The costeños did not participate in the uprising against Somoza and viewed Sandinismo with suspicion from the outset.
UCDP: "The two major counter-revolutionary forces (or “contras”) against the Sandanista regime consisted of the Nicaraguan Democratic Movement (MDN – Movimiento Democrático Nicaragüense) and the Nicaraguan Democratic Forces (FDN – Fuerzas Demotráticas Nicaragüenses). From 1981, the Contras, which initially consisted of about 2 000 former National Guards, recruited peasants disaffected by the Sandanistan agrarian reform. By 1985, the Contras had recruited about 10 000 members. With support of the Honduran army and financial aid from the US, the Contras were able to organise numerous incursions into Nicaragua beginning in the early 1980s."
Source: Uppsala Conflict Data Program (Date of retrieval: ) UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia, Uppsala University
SOURCES: FATALITY DATA
NOTE ON NATION DATA
NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.
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