Advertisement

Nicaragua said Wednesday the U.S. trade embargo will not...

By
STEVEN DONZIGER

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Nicaragua said Wednesday the U.S. trade embargo will not force the nation to its 'knees in hunger and said it will go to the World Court to protest the economic sanctions as illegal and arbitrary.

President Reagan, who was in West Germany for an economic summit, ordered a ban on all U.S. trade with Nicaragua. He also cut off air and ship service from the Central American country to U.S. points.

Advertisement

'These measures have an illegal and arbitrary character,' Vice President Sergio Ramirez said. 'They are undoing international judicial order.

'Nicaragua is going to add this to the case we have initiated before the World Court against the U.S. government,' said Ramirez, who swore the country would find new ways to bring in badly needed export income.

In response to the U.S. sanctions, Ramirez also said the government has stopped all exports to the United States and cancelled the state-owned airlines Aeronica flights to Miami so that 'our planes will not encounter problems in U.S. airports.

'The Nicaraguan goverment has begun a series of studies to face this new state of economic emergency,' he said. 'We will go to other countries to seek more aid to face this escalated aggression. We are looking for alternative markets.'

Advertisement

The International Court of Justice in the Hague, better known as the World Court, arbitrates international disputes. Nicaragua last year went to the Court to protest CIA mining of it ports, but the United States refused to recognize the world body's jurisdiction.

Earlier Wednesday, Cmdr. Bayardo Arce, political director of the leftist Sandinista Front, said in a nationwide televised address that the embargo 'will not succeed in forcing us to our knees in hunger.'

President Daniel Ortega announced that despite the U.S. move, he will fulfill his February promise to send home 100 Cuban military advisors in a ceremony Thursday as part of a unilateral peace initiative.

'The Nicaraguan government reiterates its willingness to complete the removal of all foreign military advisers,' Ortega said in a communique from Yugoslavia, where he is on an official visit.

Nicaragua says there are 800 Cuban and 200 Soviet military advisers in the country. The State Department -- which has called the Ortega initiative a symbolic gesture -- says Nicaragua has between 1,500 and 2,500 Cuban military advisers.

One opposition leader blamed the embargo on Sandinista policies - particularly its growing closeness to the Soviet Union.

'Thisis a product of the rash journey of President Daniel Ortega to the socialist countries,' said Erick Ramirez, vice president of the Social Christian Party.

Advertisement

Ortega left Managua last week for an official visit to the Soviet Union and some of its East bloc allies to seek aid just days after Congress refused to approve Reagan's request for $14 million in new aid to the Nicaraguan rebels. Ortega was in Yugoslavia when the embargo was announced.

Nicaragua currently has a $5 billion foreign debt and its economy suffers from a lack of hard currency for needed imports.

Many Nicaraguans are already suffering from the widespread effects of the collapsing economy, which has produced severe inflation, the rationing of gasoline, toilet paper and basic foods like rice and beans, and the near total absence of many consumer goods.

The Marxist-led Sandinistas blame the country's economic problems on the U.S.-supported rebel war, while the opposition says the Sandinistas caused the crisis by their economic policies.

The official Voice of Nicaragua radio commented that 'in these moments, the effects (of the embargo) are incalculable.'

In 1984, the top imports from Nicaragua were bananas, $23.5 million; beef, $9.8 million; and shellfish, $9.7 million. The top U.S. exports to Nicaragua were insecticides, $5 million, and boxes and other packing materials, $4.7 million.

Sugar imports from Nicaragua, $28 million in 1980, were down to $2 million in 1984.

Advertisement

Arce called on all Nicaraguans to join popular militias and comply with 12 new 'tasks' to confront the embargo.

He said the 'principal task' is the military defense of the revolution, and implored factory workers to make 'super efforts' to make up production for the estimated 50,000 Nicaraguans mobilized in the army.

Workers were also asked to support the controversial military draft, from which hundreds have fled, to save energy and to increase their voluntary labor.

Latest Headlines