The Center for Grassroots Oversight

This page can be viewed at http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=nicaragua_1616


Context of '1983: Contra Rebels Formed in Response to Sandanista Revolution'

This is a scalable context timeline. It contains events related to the event 1983: Contra Rebels Formed in Response to Sandanista Revolution. You can narrow or broaden the context of this timeline by adjusting the zoom level. The lower the scale, the more relevant the items on average will be, while the higher the scale, the less relevant the items, on average, will be.

Under US President Ronald Reagan, the CIA responds to the Sandinista revolution by creating a paramilitary force of ex-National Guardsmen known as the contras. Based in neighboring Costa Rica, the force mounts raids on Nicaragua, attacking schools and medical clinics, raping, kidnapping, torturing, committing massacres, and mining harbors. (Stockwell 10/1987; Blum 7/26/2000; Ahmed 9/24/2001; Walker 2003)

US President Ronald Reagan publicly claims to end aid to the contras in accordance with a congressional ban. However his administration continues the support, leading to the Iran-Contra scandal. (BBC 6/5/2004; Columbia Encyclopedia. Sixth edition 2005)

Reagan meets with Contra leaders in the Oval Office. NSC staffer and Contra “handler” Oliver North is at the far right; when this photo is released to the public, North will be cropped out.Reagan meets with Contra leaders in the Oval Office. NSC staffer and Contra “handler” Oliver North is at the far right; when this photo is released to the public, North will be cropped out. [Source: National Security Archives]President Reagan tells the nation in a televised address that the US must help the Nicaraguan Contras. “The Sandinista rule is a Communist reign of terror,” Reagan says. “Many of those who fought alongside the Sandinistas saw their revolution betrayed. They were denied power in the new government. Some were imprisoned, others exiled. Thousands who fought with the Sandinistas have taken up arms against them and are now called the Contras. They are freedom fighters.” (PBS 2000)


Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike