Created: 2/18/1988

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This weekly Situation Report la prepared by I

L Office of African and Latin Americanpaperrwaa coordinated with the Directorate of Operatlona. Comments and queries are

welcome and may be

directed to the Chief. ALA. on



Perspective: Soviet Interest in the Peace Process

A Soviet demarche to the State Department onebruary indicates Moscow Isore active role in the Central American peace talks. The diplomatic note, which was described es being from the highest levels of the Soviet leaderahlp, renewed proposals made at the US-Soviet aummlt in December declaring support for the peace process. These Included Soviet support for US-Nlcaraguan bilateral talks, an offer to halt military aid to Managua if the United States halts sld to the Central American democraciea,ropoaaloint atatement expressing willingness to respect and guarantee any aecurlty arrangements which tha Central Americana work out among themselves, f"

The Soviet demarche appeara to be timed in preparation for the Shultz-Shevardnadze talka in Moscow, and la parteneral Soviet campaign to signal their desire to engage Washingtonroad range of regional issuss. Moscow's initiative probably is designed to giveole in the regional peace procese; it may also hope that regional disarmament talks will reduce its exposure as the major military supplier to Managua. Although Moacow probably expects Washington to reject Its proposal, it will try to portrayejection as lsck of US support for the peece process.

Costa Rlcsn President Arias hes been the only Central American president in recent weeka to speak out about the Soviet role in the region. ebruary press interview, Ariss--explicitly tying his remarka to the US cutoff of sld to the antl-Sandlnlsta guerrillas-called on Moscow and Havana to atop aiding Marxiat rebela in the region and for the Soviets to csaae arms deliveries to Managua. Arias indicated that he plena to approach both the USSR and Cuba to secure their cooperation but did nothow or when he planned to dc so.

The democraciea appear unlikely tooint atatement addressing Soviet Involvement deapite Arias's recent initistive. Although SI Salvador probably would be willing to condemn Soviet aid to Marxist rebels, Guatemala has been notably rstlcsnt about directly accuaing the Soviets, Cubana, or the Nlcaraguana of aiding regional insurgents because of Its "active neutrality" policy. All four democraciea, however, probably would be willing in upcoming security talka to hold both Nlcersgua and the Sovleta responsible for tho military lmbslance In the region. Nevertheless, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are unlikely to call for an end to Soviet aid to Managua in advance of the talks for fear off reciprocal demands on them to forego US military assistance.

Developments This Week


ebruery, Nlcareouen police briefly detained US

jouraaliets in Maaaya and confiacated their film following their coverage nf anti-government demonatratlona

Laet weok, Sandlniota nowapapera charged Lo Prenaathe Nicaraguan. rebels andecret USdestabilise the government,

A Sandlnlstadthe

a-cxacjcw-wire due to videapread complaints wiuiitl uia party that the gQvarnaftnt-wa^ too lenient with the Internal opposition.

Nicaragvian security officiala tortured five citizensa recent bombing In Jinotega and with supportingThe

defendanta have bean beaten and deprived of sleep and food, according to their lawyer. Five were acquitted onebruary, but others were sentenced from one to seven yesrs In prlaon.

Nicaragua'a major independent business group (COSE?) began daily radio news broadcssts onebruary, according to preaa reporta. Leat week the groupecond request to the government to open an Independent televlaion atation, but the Sandlnlataa have said they would not grantequest.

Cca ae-rtra/Annaa ty

irect cease-fire negotistlons between the Sandinistas sndrebels are scheduledebruary Cardinal Obando will mediate. An adviser tonegotiating team eaye the insurgents, waiting fortoistake, would not walk out evendid not progress,

National Reconciliation

Nicaragua" opposition party laader Maurlclo Diaz is calling on the National Reconciliation Commission, relatively inactive since December, to reconvene in order to discuss the recent public unrest over forced conscription, I


The UNHCR has threatened to close two refugee camps and

lea Increases Its effort to

Nicaraguan rafuq


to Insurgents

Nothing to report. |


icaraguan youthe escapedail in Hatagalpa after being rounded up by the police for compulsory military service, according to preaa reports. One of the escepees was seriously wounded. I

On Monday, Nicaraguaew currency, dramatically devalued the official exchange rate, and rpleed wages and

| Consequently,

Sandlniata party members will be denied preferentialfor purchasing imported products.

Representatives from the Nicaraguan insurgents snd Indisn rebels met in Honduraa on IS February to continue

integrating the two forces,

The two sides remain divided over Indian demands for en autonomous judiciary and police force in the eastern region. Meanwhile, Indian leader Brooklyn Rivera Is planning to resume negotiations with the Sandinistasarch.




ended stateandtribunale, 18

|January; NICARAGUA has jallowed opposition rsl-|lies but haspposition groups and jeontlnuea to prohibit jmarches without prior |approvali NICARAGUA has jallowed opposition nawa-jpaper to reopen without jofficial cenaorship; (Church radio and other [stations permitted news |broadcasts) privately (owned telavlaion (stations are prohibited; |CORE FOUR alreadyubstantial compliance; |NICARAGUA and GUATEMALA (have ratified treaty for [regional Parliament.

must end ell political restrictions and haraasment ofsnd permitpress freedom;AMERICANS musttreaty and hold electionsegional parliament by

SALVADORctoberSalvador and eata-

two joint con-

jmissions for further (talks; EL SALVADOR (released politicalmplemented unilateral0 Novem-|ber; Salvadoran amnesty (law approved, cto-jber; GUATEMALA met jrebelsctober in {Madrid; amneaty law (approved,ICARAGUA proposed Ill-point cease-fire (plan.ovember;ounterproposal,November; ceaas-flre (talks under mediation jof Cardinal Obando jin Santond

must carry out all necessary actions to achieve ceaBe-fires permitted by their constitutions, NICARAGUA must release all political prisoners.

rniirinni ial

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