Argentina and the Nicaraguan Contras
THIS CHAPTER EXPLORES the relationship between Argentina and the Nicaraguan counterrevolutionary forces, the so-called Contras, in the period 1979-1984. As noted earlier, the Argentines initiated their involvement in the Central American imbroglio during the Nicaraguan civil war ( 1977-1978), giving military support to Anastasio Somoza Debayle up to the collapse of his regime. Following the Sandinista triumph in 1979, the Argentines provided counterinsurgency assistance to other Central American military governments. This early presence in the region was crucial to Argentina's key participation in the organization of the Nicaraguan Contras. The involvement in Central America's military and paramilitary network facilitated the anti-Sandinista operation and the establishment of Contra camps along the Honduran border with Nicaragua.
Under President Carter (particularly during the first half of his administration), the United States had largely given up its role as military enforcer in the hemisphere. Carter's commitment to a U.S. foreign policy based on human rights represented a major shift in U.S. traditional approach to the region--one often based