Nicaragua accuses missionaries of CIA plot


MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- The nation's Council of State vowed to go to Congress in Washington and present charges that President Reagan, U.S. diplomats and missionaries are behind 'sabotage and crimes' in Nicaragua.

The council accused the Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses of involvement in an alleged CIA-directed plot against Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government.


Earlier this week, pro-government mobs seized more than 20 buildings owned by the three missionary religions and continued the occupation throughout Wednesday.

Besides Reagan, it charged Secretary of State George Schultz and Thomas Enders, head of the State Department's Latin America desk, were responsible for 'a policy of destabilization, and aggression, sabotage and crimes.'

U.S. Ambassador Anthony Quaiton rejected the accusations contained in a prepared statement issued by the council, branding them 'insulting and offensive to my country.'

The Nicaraguan governing body said it would take the charges to Congress.

'President Reagan's administration has openly assisted in the organization and financing of this death force along with the Honduran military, which supports and protects the former Somozan national guardsmen,' it said, referring to Nicaragua's former dictator, Anastasio Somoza.

The official newspaper Barricada Wednesday quoted a leader of the Sandinista Defense Committees, organized on every block in Managua, as saying his group seized the church buildings because the sects 'have direct relations with the CIA and conduct counter-revolutionary labor inside the country.'


'It will not be permitted to use religion to make counter-revolution,' he was quoted as saying.

Earlier this year, the government expelled about a dozen Protestants, including several Americans, on accusations they were working for the CIA to destabilize the Sandinistas, rulers of Nicaragua since the 1979 civil war.

In March, U.S. newspapers disclosed that Reagan had approved a $19 million CIA plan to destabilize Nicaragua, financing anti-government exiles who were to stage attacks from Honduras.

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