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Statement on Aid to the Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance

May 24, 1988

Two months have passed since the Congress limited U.S. assistance to the Nicaraguan democratic resistance to food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. The Congress stopped U.S. military assistance to the resistance while the Soviet bloc continued its military assistance to the Communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. Some thought that U.S. forbearance would bring democracy and peace to Nicaragua through negotiations between the resistance and the Sandinista regime, but it has not.

Tomorrow, as I leave on the first leg of my trip to Moscow, the resistance and the Sandinistas are scheduled to meet again. The Sandinistas will again have the opportunity to carry out the promises they have made -- beginning a decade ago with promises to the Organization of American States -- of establishment of freedom and democracy in Nicaragua. We do not need more pieces of paper bearing empty Sandinista promises and Sandinista signatures. We need deeds, not more words.

During the 60-day truce established under the Sapoa agreement signed March 23, the Sandinistas have continued, and indeed intensified, their repression of the Nicaraguan people. They have not carried out their commitments under the Guatemala accord of August 7, 1987, or under the Sapoa agreement. The Sandinistas have gone so far as to make it impossible to arrange through neutral parties to deliver food and medicine to resistance members inside Nicaragua.

The men and women of the Agency for International Development who have worked long and hard to ensure that the members of the resistance have the basic necessities of life deserve the thanks of our nation. The work of AID keeps the chance for democracy alive in Nicaragua.

The United States continues to support those fighting for freedom and democracy in Nicaragua. The freedom fighters of the Nicaraguan democratic resistance deserve the continued support of the United States.

If the current stalemate in the peace process persists and the Sandinistas continue their policies of repression, then we will call upon the Congress to reconsider its February 3 decision to curtail assistance to the Nicaraguan freedom fighters.