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Members of the Committee on Central America (COCA) said yesterday that the election of Violetta Barrios de Chamorro as president of Nicaragua was a victory for "American imperialism" and called on the Bush administration to end aid to the contras.
United States intervention helped Chamorro to defeat President Daniel Ortega in the Nicaragua's first elections on February 26, said members of COCA, which has actively supported the Sandinistas and protested U.S. policy in Central America.
"People [in COCA] were sad that the people of Nicaragua were essentially forced to vote for the candidate of the U.S.," said John Donaghy, a member of COCA.
COCA members said that they wanted the U.S. to discontinue aid to the contras and the trade embargo, and to let go of its foothold in UNO, the coalition of 14 parties that helped spring Chamorro to victory.
But COCA members also said they supported the Nicaraguans desire to keep trade unions and improved education and health care that have been implemented by the new government.
The Sandinistas may have lost power, said Daren S. Aronofsky '91, a COCA member, but "This isn't going to slow us down." Aronofsky said COCA plans to continue to educate Harvard on the "real" story of the Central American people, and to fight against U.S. intervention into Nicaraguan affairs.
COCA is planning to circulate a petition at Harvard to encourage the Bush administration to end trade embargos and contra aid, Donaghy said. And on March 24, a COCA-organized group will travel to Washington to participate in a national protest over aid to El Salvador and the war in Nicaragua.
"We're hoping to pressure the [Bush] administration to demobilize the Contras as soon as possible," said Donaghy in reaction to the February 26th election in Nicaragua.
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