Coming to the Aid of War Criminals
There is an article in Counterpunch titled Coming to the aid of war criminals. What it is really about is the US Congress threating to withold aid to Nicaragua because of unresolved compensation issues. Note that I filed it under Politics because that, to me, best reflects both the issues and the suggested solution.
The Nicaraguan refugees who are now US Citizens received a warm reception and a safe home among other Latin American expatriate communities in South Florida. They were also the darlings of the far right-wing of the Republican Party, including members of Congress who felt the need to take up their cause.
This paragraph seems to convey the political nature of this picture very well. For those who need the step-by-step, here it is:
- A corrupt, US-created Somoza dynasty was overthrown in 1979.
- Some members of that dynasty fled to the US, were accepted and have become US citizens.
- The new government in Nicaragua confiscated property of many of these people.
- The political football is that US aid to Nicaragua should be witheld because the Nicaraguan government has not compensated US Citizens for property confiscated in the 1980s.
There is no debate about confiscations taking place and there are certainly cases where most would consider various confiscations to be improper. There are lots of things that could be debated but that becomes a rehash of the revolution, US retaliation, ... which I think we are all sick of hearing about. And, of course, the whole idea that the US needs to send aid to Nicaragua is another debate.
What, to me, seems to be a new discusison point is the implication that the Nicaraguan government confiscated the property of US Citizens. While there may be exceptions, I expect that in most cases, this is a more accurate statement: The Nicaraguan government confiscated property of people who have since become US Citizens.
The way this political game has been played for 30 years, this seems like a very important distinction. We have been made to think that the government of revolutionary Nicaragua stole property owned by US Citizens and, thus, Nicaragua was not a safe place for usanos to invest. In practice, it seems like an advantage of these Nicaraguans acquiring US Citizenship is that the US government becomes their advocate and, in return, gets more play out of this political football.