On June 1, 1984, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz made an unannounced visit to Nicaragua to meet with leaders of the Sandinista government. Shultz was the first cabinet-level figure in the Reagan administration to set foot on Nicaraguan soft. He arrived at the end of a hot and bitter spring in Nicaragua. In Honduras, three successive phases of U.S. military maneuvers, running almost continuously, had been carried out between February and May. A large number of U.S. warships were anchored off Nicaragua's Atlantic coast; to complement this impressive display of naval power, some 30,000 U.S. troops participated in the military exercises, including elements of the 82nd Airborne Division that had been used in the invasion of Grenada the previous autumn. During the exercises two large airstrips were built on Honduran soil to accommodate C-130 transport planes. Throughout Nicaragua there was fear that the exercises were a prelude to a U.S. invasion. It was understood that the airstrips were designed to facilitate such an invasion, as well as to assist in the resupply of the Contras who were now attacking the civilian population from bases in Honduras and Costa Rica. At the end of May the Nicaraguan government announced that Contra attacks in Matagalpa and Jinotega provinces alone had caused 100 million cordobas' worth of damage, not to mention numerous civilian casualties. 1
Against this background Secretary Shultz came to Managua to explain to the Nicaraguan government why its policies created severe security concerns for the United States. He made two specific demands in this respect. First, he argued, Nicaragua must significantly reduce the size of its army, the very existence of which threatened neighboring countries. Second, Nicaragua must take immediate steps
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Publication information: Book title: Nicaragua's Other Revolution:Religious Faith and Political Struggle. Contributors: Michael Dodson - Author, Laura Nuzzi O'Shaughnessy - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 204.
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