The Collapse of the Somoza Regime

  • James Theberge


The U.S. government has treated Central America and the Caribbean with special concern since the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. After the outbreak of the cold war, policy makers of both parties harbored deep concern about communist expansion into this area and, in an effort to prevent or overthrow regimes in which communists played a role, President Eisenhower assisted antileftist forces in Guatemala and ordered the creation of a paramilitary force to overthrow the new Castro regime;1 President Kennedy launched the Bay of Pigs invasion; and President Johnson sent troops to the Dominican Republic. Each president enjoyed a broad bipartisan consensus when he did so.


Foreign Policy National Guard United States Government Liberation Theology National Security Council 
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  1. 2.
    Quoted by Tomas Borge et al., Sandinistas Speak (New York: Pathfinder, 1982), p. 55.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Humberto Belli, Breaking Faith (Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1985), p. 36.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Carlos Tunnerman, ex-UNAN Rector and member of the “Twelve,” cited in Shirley Christian, Nicaragua: Revolution in the Family (New York: Random House, 1985), p. 49.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Henri Weber, “The Struggle for Power,” reprinted from Nicaragua: The Sandinista Revolution (London: Verso Editions and NLR, 1981)Google Scholar
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  6. 7.
    Robert A. Pastor, Condemned to Repetition: The United States and Nicaragua (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 123, 130.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    See Douglas W. Payne, “The ‘Manton’ of Sandinista Deception,” Strategic Review, Spring 1985.Google Scholar
  8. Walter H. Hahn, ed., Central America and the Reagan Doctrine (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America), pp. 55–78. This and subsequent sections are indebted to Payne’s excellent analysis of the artifices used by the FSLN to mislead domestic and international opinion.Google Scholar
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    John A. Booth, The End and the Beginning: The Nicaraguan Revolution (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1982), p. 135.Google Scholar
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    Some of the more important: the Methodist-affiliated Washington Office on Latin America, the National Council of Churches, the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Catholic Conference, Amnesty International, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, and the International Commission of Jurists. For details see Lars Schoultz, Human Rights and United States Policy Towards Latin America (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1981), pp. 74–88.Google Scholar
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  12. 24.
    Anastasio Somoza and Jack Cox, Nicaragua Betrayed (Belmont, Mass.: Western Islands, 1980), p. 329.Google Scholar
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    See Viron Vaky, “Positive Containment for Nicaragua,” Foreign Policy, Fall 1987, pp. 50–57.Google Scholar

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© Foreign Policy Research Institute 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Theberge

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