"It would have meant banishment of those Jesuit priests who preached Communism. These [Roman Catholic] priests sought out the youngsters from the upper class families and indoctrinated them to the Leftist cause. Their effort never ceased."
From ..... NICARAGUA BETRAYED
by Anastasio Somoza as told to Jack Cox
[shortly before Somoza was gunned down]
Western Islands Publishers
395 Concord Ave. Belmont, MA 02178
copyright 1980 ISBN: 0-88279-235-0
pages 23-26, .......... 91-93
Chapter Two .................. HOW IT ALL BEGAN
As far back as 1963, there was guerrilla activity in Nicaragua. These were sporadic attempts by the Leftist movement to influence and control people in some of the remote areas. At that time, the Sandinistas represented no serious threat to the government of Nicaragua. While the government was in the throes of recovering from the earthquake, the guerrillas stepped up their activities in the mountainous northeast section of Nicaragua. This was done after a group of Cubans had crossed over the border on foot and conferred with the rebels. They were told by the Cubans that if they could recruit eight hundred fighting men, they would get all the arms and ammunition they wanted.
The rebel Sandinistas then began sporadic raids in the smaller communities of the northeast. In these raids they murdered eighty justices of the peace. In the eyes of the rebels, these were the local representatives of the government, so they were killed. The rebels even overran the small town of Rio Blanco and, for a short time, held it. So, I dispatched "Bravo" Salazar to this area and he and his men brought an end to that guerrilla activity. However, it was like a malignant cancer. You could stamp out the disease in one part of the body politic and it would suddenly appear in another part. Had I been a dictator, as was claimed by my political opponents and the international press, I could have eliminated the cancer entirely. This would have meant drastic action on my part and curtailment of the freedom I wanted the people of Nicaragua to have.
It would have meant banishment of those Jesuit priests who preached Communism. These priests sought out the youngsters from the upper class families and indoctrinated them to the Leftist cause. Their effort never ceased.
One must understand that within the Jesuit organization there are two religious concepts. One concept is based upon the theological thesis that a priest should be apolitical. This thesis adheres to the philosophy that the Catholic Church has no place in partisan politics.
Now, the other thesis is that it is the responsibility of a priest to become directly involved in partisan politics. But there is a "catcher" to all this. These priests teach Communism. They believe that Jesus Christ was a Communist; and that we will have world peace when all the world is communistic. They teach that capitalism is evil and that all material things should be shunned.
It is noteworthy that Pope John Paul II adheres to the thesis that all priests should be apolitical and should not engage in partisan politics. This religious philosophy has a significant impact upon those young minds which are in the formative stages. This is why children from successful families in Nicaragua turned against their parents. To use a phrase which evolved from the Korean War, it's a form of "brainwashing." An interesting report appeared in the July 11, 1979 issue of Accuracy In Media, Inc. This is a publication which comes out of Washington, D.C. In that issue, AIM quoted Mr. Robert Moss, who writes for the London Daily Telegraph, as follows:
Moss reports that the Sandinista "roving Ambassador," Fr. Ernesto Cardenal, showed up in Teheran last April, where he had long talks with the Ayatollah Khomeini. He broadcast praise for Khomeini over the Teheran Radio on April 8. Moss says that Cardenal has described experiencing his "second conversion" during a three months stay in Cuba in 1970. He established a Catholic commune on an island in Lake Nicaragua, which became a Sandinista recruiting base .........
We knew where Cardenal stood and we knew he was not merely a "philosopher poet," as he was described by some members of the press. He was only one priest whose political philosophy was exposed to a limited number of people. Most of them working under the cloak of priesthood, conducted their subversive activities without the exposure of public scrutiny.
I can't stress strongly enough the role that the priests played in the Sandinista movement.
I say again that the influence they exercised on their young students was far greater than an outsider could comprehend. And the quote from Mr. Robert Moss is revealing in another way. It shows the relationship between the Sandinistas and the Ayatollah Khomeini.
In Nicaragua there were many priests who actively opposed our government and continually painted me as some sort of an ogre. A number of these priests came from the United States and Spain, and they seemed more dedicated to the Communist cause than the local priests.
Naturally, I knew who these men were and I knew what they were teaching. Of course, we had intelligence sources and at any given moment I could have told you the names of those priests who wanted me dead and the government in the hands of the Communists. Had I been a dictator, such as Fidel Castro, or the leaders in any of the Soviet-controlled countries, these priests would have been banished or they would have been liquidated. After all, they were truly subversives and they were advocating the overthrow of the government. But I have always believed in freedom of religion and, even though these misguided priests sought to destroy me, I chose not to impose sanctions against them. Rather, I tried to monitor their activities and curtail, as much as possible, their field of influence.
If I had taken hostile action against this segment of the Catholic Church, I can visualize the hasty retaliation by the international press. SOMOZA DENIES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN NICARAGUA, or, DICTATOR SOMOZA KICKS PRIESTS IN THE TEETH - so the headlines would have read. Automatically, world opinion would have been against the government of Nicaragua and I would have been the devil with horns.
With only one side of the story, the Vatican would have had misgivings, the U.S. Congress would have denounced me, and condemnation would have come from every section of the world. It's ironical, but there are literally thousands of loyal Catholics in Nicaragua today who wish I had taken such a course.
I encountered substantial opposition from certain university staff members and students. They opposed me, my government, and the free enterprise system. The university was a hotbed of Communist activity and Leftist indoctrination was a way of life on the campus.
The same question is propounded again. Why did I permit such subversive activity at the National University? There is a parallel here to freedom of religion. I'm a great believer in excellence in higher education, and libertad de catedra.
In order to achieve excellence, I believe this sector of our society must not be fenced in. In other words, I feel it is wrong to impose educational limits. Such limitation can only deter mental expansion. The mind is a wonder to behold and intelligence capabilities will not be achieved if we autocratically install horizons beyond which a scholar cannot reach. In all Communist countries, as in Nicaragua now, there are strict governmental controls on what can be taught and what can't be taught. This is particularly true in the fields of history, philosophy, sociology, and any subject relating to the humanities. In intellect, therefore, the students who graduate from those universities have peripheral limitations.
With my high school education at La Salle in the United States and my most excellent education at West Point, I learned the meaning of expanded intellectual horizons. Not only did I study science, mathematics, physics, and other such engineering background courses, I was privileged to learn about other peoples, other governments, other languages, and a broad range of philosophical adventures were open to me. This kind of system is what I wanted for Nicaragua. And perhaps this explains why I opposed educational control. It was my dream that one day the National University of Nicaragua would have equivalency with any university in the world. A dictator would have stepped in and said, you can teach this course and you can teach that course but here are a list of subjects you cannot teach.
Contrary to the image created by the international news media, I was duly elected President of Nicaragua by the people of Nicaragua, and it was not a dictatorial position from which I could rule the country by decree. The National University of Nicaragua had autonomy and my political party and I believed it should be autonomous. Like all universities in the United States and countries of the free world, our university was run by a board of regents. The makeup of that board would astonish you. The govern ............. End page 26
SANDINO AND SANDINISTA
..........life on four different occasions. I couldn't save his life the fifth time. He had decided to abandon the urban areas and went to the bush with other guerrillas. In an encounter with the Guardia Nacional in the bush, Carlos Fonseca Amador was shot and killed. Then the FSLN, or the Sandinistas, had no leader.
At that time, the Leftist priests moved in to fill a void. They continued the work of Carlos Fonseca but at a much higher economic level.
In the Jesuit schools, the seeds of discontent and, basically, the seeds of Communism, were sown. Their doctrine was spread to the children from affluent families, and with many the doctrine was accepted.
You had young men like the Carrion Cruz boys, and the Langs Sacasa for example. They became avowed Communists and they had received their training from the Jesuit priests. Perhaps the foregoing again illustrates the liberty which existed in Nicaragua. Not a single school in which the Jesuits were teaching their communistic philosophy was ever closed.
It is my belief that Nicaragua was pinpointed in Latin America as the key government to destroy, and that the Jesuit priests figured prominently in the planning.
One might ask why, of all the countries in Central America, was Nicaragua pinpointed as the country to be taken? The answer is that we had a successful government. Our country was financially sound. Nicaragua had progress and the future looked bright for all of our people. Also, we had a successful political system based upon a constitutional form of government. More importantly, the people of Nicaragua were, and still are, anti-Communist. They believed in individual liberty and they were proud of their country. Moreover, Nicaragua had earned the respect of her neighbors. Their belief, and it was a sound concept, was that if Nicaragua could be taken by the Left, then the remaining countries in Central America could not stand the pressure. And one by one, they would also succumb to the Leftist onslaught.
With the death of Carlos Fonseca Amador, there was no one single leader of the Sandinistas. This situation would not last long. Shortly, the Sandinistas would have three distinct factions. These were the Communists, the Christian Sandinistas and the Terciary group.
Carlos Fonseca was gone and it was believed the movement could be easily stolen. They didn't realize that at that very moment, Castro had three hundred men trained to be leaders in the movement, and these were the men who took control of it. Additionally, we knew of many who had gone to the Soviet Union and to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to be trained. Some of the Sandinistas had been active with the PLO in Israel ten years previously. All in all, it can be stated with finality that the Sandinistas represent the movement of the people in Latin America which is against the United States.
I have talked to Sandinistas who are not Nicaraguans and who are not Communists, but they support the movement because it is strongly against the United States. One who is not familiar with the modus operandi of the Leftist priests might think that Somoza has to pick on someone, so why not the priests? On this important issue, there is complete verification and my word doesn't have to be taken. To make verification as current as possible, I refer anyone to the New York Times issue of February 8, 1980. The article by the Times writer, Alan Riding, is quite revealing. His article is headlined as follows: NEW NICARAGUA REGIME RECOGNIZES CHURCH'S POTENT ROLE.
From my viewpoint, this is a fascinating article because it backs up my every contention in reference to the Jesuit priests. First, Riding recognizes there are two factions amongst the priests - the apolitical and political. In reference to the political segment, Mr. Riding had this to say:
In Nicaragua, this change was first apparent among priests, often Jesuits, teaching in private Catholic schools: by the mid-1970's, many of their former students, children of wealthy families, had joined the guerrillas. And as the fight against President Anastasio Somoza Debayle intensified, several priests joined the Sandinistas, while others helped organize slum neighborhoods in preparation for last year's successful insurrection. But at the level of the priests, the church was participating fully in the revolution. The Rev. Miguel d'Escoto was named Foreign Minister, the Rev. Ernesto Cardinal became Minister of Culture, the Rev. Fernando Cardenal was placed in charge of the literacy crusade and the Rev. Xavier Gorostiaga was given a key role in the Ministry of Planning. Many parish priests, who had collaborated with the rebels, began organizing their community for the reconstruction effort .
How could it be stated more clearly, and how could I ask for a more clearly defined position of the Jesuit priests? It's all there. It should be made clear, however, that, at the priest level, the Communists have successfully infiltrated Catholic orders other than the Jesuits.
My sympathy goes out to the people of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
The Jesuit priests, in collaboration with the Cuban-trained guerrillas, are following the same course in those countries that they followed in Nicaragua.
If they are able to pursue effectively their preconceived plan of action, then those countries, too, will fall. The plague of the Sandinistas and the ghost of Augusto Cesar Sandino have already fallen upon those other Central American Republics. It's one down and four to go in Central America but, in reality, it's one down and nineteen to go in Latin America.
[picture caption]- "General Anastasio Somoza and brother Luis flank Cardinal Spellman. This photograph was given to Somoza by Cardinal Spellman who had inscribed upon it the following message:
'General and Mrs. Anastasio Somoza, with a blessing for their families and themselves. Respectfully, F. Cardinal Spellman.'"