As one who visited Nicaragua and the other Central American countries during the 1980s, I was pleased to see the country and region discussed in last Wednesday's Neighbors section. However, the history presented in the article is not accurate. Nicaragua was ruled by a series of U.S. backed dictatorships tied to the Somoza family. The first Somoza was installed by U.S. Marines sent to Nicaragua in the 1930s to help establish a puppet regime. The Somoza dynasty was overruled by a revolution, not elections in 1979. Revolution was the only option as free elections were not allowed by the regime. People who had money or owned property under Somoza were generally connected to the dictatorship. The poor were left to starve, critics of the regime were killed or exiled.
The Sandinista government that ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1999 was not 'communist' as the article stated, it included a variety of political persuasions, including Catholic priests. Living standards for the vast majority improved under the Sandinista government; many had health care, education and adequate food for the first time. The old Somoza allies formed an armed terrorist opposition (the Contras), and received extensive military aid and funding from the Reagan and Bush administrations. In the name of 'anti-communism' they killed tens of thousands, attacking schools, hospitals and public buses was their specialty. Their attacks caused the Nicaraguan economy to suffer, especially in the mid to late 1980s. Despite the war, the Sandinista government held the first free election in over 50 years in 1984, and again in 1990.
Labeling that government as 'communist' is not only wrong, it is a cover for an out of control, un-American right wing foreign policy that uses terror to achieve its goals, and alienates the poor majority of the world against us.
Webster's Dictionary lists "conspiracy" as an agreement between two or more persons to act in common for a bad purpose: to hush up what ought to be revealed; to form a secret plot, hence your school board. Their deceptive practices, lies and exaggerated figures fooled the public into accepting the excess operating levy; they gave about 500 teachers and administrators $2,000-$3,000 yearly raises, plus $6,000 in benefits while many are begging for work. There's your 2002 rebate: These high-roller, wheeler-dealers believe they have no responsibility to anyone earning under $50,000. They hire Russell-Herder for a phony study; they surveyed school district staff about new or repaired schools (what garbage). Did this cost money? They hired Widseth, Smith, Nolting for a school study, pure exaggerated garbage! Easy money from spenders with no concern for District 181 citizens.
"Hello!" for years I ran for a school board seat, not to win because I knew the off-year voting segment did not want an honest, outspoken person on spending. I thought I could challenge board members to use common sense in their spending and do more for the children. Now it's the worst board in Minnesota. They no longer represent the general public, by having winter and off-year elections and referendums they serve only school staff, their relatives, friends, about one-fifth of eligible voters and have complete control of your tax dollars. What were the costs? Election/referendum, advertising, school audit, Widseth-Smith-Nolting, Russell-Herder (names of 33 task force people?)... President John Kennedy quotes, "Those who seek power riding the backs of tigers usually end up inside."
We will have a meeting at the Brainerd Library Saturday, Jan. 19 from 2-4:30 p.m. Please come share your opinions/suggestions. We all must do what we can for what we believe.
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