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Nicaragua: Soviet Bloc and Radical Support for the Sandinista Regime
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nicaragua: soviet bloc and radical support for the sandinista regime"
Wonruiiiooarch IWS was uicd lr> ihe twtparation ef this Em mathKh was approved by the National Foidm InleHiiwoor Board on
this estimate is issued by the director of central intelligence.
the national foreign intelligence board concurs. '
The following intelligence organizations porticipoted in the preparation of the Estimate:
The Controlgency, th* Defense Intelligence Agency, the Natronol Security Agency, and the uitcttgence organization of the Department of Slate.
The Assistant Chief of Stofl for Intelligence, Deportment of the Army The Director of Novo! InteKaenee, Deportment of the NovyIhe Asshtont Chief of StotT, Intelligence, Department of the Air force The Director of Intettgence. Mcodquortcrs. Marine Corps
Expanded Military Commitments to the Regime in
Greater Soviet Bloc and Radical,
Training and Advisory
Military and Commercial
Garrisons and Training
Radar and CO MI NT
Annex: Status of Military Coristruction and Facilities
Improvements at Selected
"^concluded that thethe assistance of the Soviet BToc and radicalintent onarxist-Ixminhi regime in Nicaragua and building up the largest military force in the region.^
provides additional information on the full extent of Soviet Bloc and radical support for Nicaragua over the past year.
Military and economic support to Nicaragua from tbe Sovietradical regimes increased dramaticallyhe valueaid deliveries last year reached anommunist economic aid totaled
0 million, compared0 millionesult of this aid, Nicaragua has further expanded what already is tbe largest and best equipped military force in Central America, further upsetting tbe regional military balance. Soviet Bloc and other radical-regimeaid partiallyharp decline in Western commerce and assistance- The Sandinistas appear likely to become increasinglyon such support.'
Complementing military deliveries and Bnancial assistance are continuing infrastructure construction, including both military and commercial projects. The construction of the largest military airbase in the region at Punta Huete, for example, is being done with Cuban assistance. Improvements to the port at El Bluff, undertaken primarily with Bulgarian aid, will provide Nicaragua with an improvedshipping facility. Several major road and rail protects also are under way, principally with Cuban help.
The development of the military and commercial infrastructure is being carried out with the assistancearge number of Communist and radical Arab military and civilian advisers and technicians. These includeubans and several hundred other Communist and radical Arab personnel. Despite some drawdown on the Cuban civilian presence, they stilley military support role, and there are reliable reports of Cuban involvement in actual fighting against the anti-Sandinista insurgents.
The escalation of foreign support has allowed the Sandinistas to develop and equip the largest armed force in Central America, with an active-duty strength of0otential strength off fully mobilized. The armor inventory has more than doubled in the past year, the addition ofelicopter gunships has strengthened counterinsurgency capabilities, and the air defense system continues to improve with the addition of new radars. Four signal intelligence collection sites also have been established with Soviet
electronic gear. Tbe most immediate threat posed to Nicaragua's neighbors by its military buildup is the Sandinista capability to support leftist insurgent groupstrong conventional shield.Nicaragua's growing offensive capabilities alsootential threat to its immediate neighbors.
The recent Sandinista offer to senduban advisers and declare an indefinite moratorium on the acquisition of new armament systems, including interceptor aircraft, is consistent with Nicsirtgua's negotiating tactics. Tlie token Cuban withdrawal would have little impact on Sandinista capabilities, and. so far. the Soviets have refused to provide the MICircraft desired by Managua because of concernS response. While the arms moratorium probably will prevent the introduction in the near term of new weapon systems such as surface-to-air missiles, it will meanwhile provide the Sandinistas with an opportunity to absorb the large quantity of weapons delivered over the past year. In the longer run. Managua may believe that, should the peace process show little progress, it willood excuse to resume deliveries of new weapons
Mililoty Commitments to the Regime4
ilitary support of the Sandinista regime, mainly by Communist countries, errunded asruideraW) The estimated value of weapons .and other military-associated materiel deliveries rose to some
ost of ihese deliver-
ies were made by Bulgaria and tbc
"^The hardwaremore advanced equipment thanobserved In Nicaraguan inventories, such ashelicopters, minesweepers, andair defense guns. Furthermore, theedium tanksarmored
vehicles more than doubled the Sandinistawhile the deliveryand jeeps augmented these
to. Nicaragua abo received additionalelicopters, more patrol boats, and consideiable combat support equipment, f
(seche upsurge in materiel support was accompanied by the 6rst direct Soviet seaborneof combat arms to Nicaragua inhen additionaland other weapons were delivered to Coeinto
ompleted shipments and those enmiby the USSR and Eastfar5ontinued CcmmuniS effort to bolster Sandinista capabilities.^
3 Signiocantly. Nicaragua probably is not paying for most ot it, mihtary rnaterieldinistas have nd Rodka, |nvo1vcmen, publicly stated that weapons have been provided as
RiantNot only has Ihe. volume and value of Soviet Bloc
military aid to Nicaragua increased over the past year, j but more countries, including radical Arab States, ate
getting involved. The USSR, which made its first identified military delivery to Nicaraguaearly doubled the value of its deliveries lastT At least as significant was Moscow's first direct shipment of combat
nrawecpina; boats, aocfj ^Joastil defensetgh-lerel Nicarasjuan rlelecatson visitedinnd this probably led lo the Soviet decision to supply theirectly. This actionecision toore direct role inhe rogime.
ther Soviet shipments4 and thus far5 have consisted of tbe same types of hardware Moscow traditionally has supplied. Including:
jeeps, and other vehicles
Electronics equipment, such as radars and ilnnals Intercept systems,
ulgaria's responsibility for delivering weapons began io November
year, tlie value of Bulgarian deliveries, consisting mainly of combat arms and radars, escalated toP
^nearly triple the shiprnenboreover. Softa delivered an increasuudy wide array of weapons and support equipment to Nicaragua.
induditu:elicopter eunshlpsmm radar-controlled air defenseErst of both Items.
ulgaria also delivered large numbers of other materiel, mainly for the ground forces. Including:
light amphibious Units, suit-
able for both counter! nsurgertcy and conventional operations.
armored vehicles, includingndrmored personnel carriers andeconnausance vehicles.
Probably some of tlie radars newly identified in Nicaragua last year, including early warning and height-finder types, which provideled-lrster cope capability.
ulgarian pledge lo ihe United States to cease further arms shipments to Nicaragua, made last December, apparently has been fulfilled
ast Germany, which made its first offer ol miliury materiel to the Sandinistas soon after the July
revolution, has continued to supplv Urge num-ben of rapport items.his consist ed off
^Jtrucks and Jeeps
Moreover^ an agreement concluded in Januaryrucks,equipment, and oilier iternsto beyear. Although East Cerman materielhas been confined to nonlethalare indicationsroadening in support
Cube, which has long supplied the Sandinistas with military weapons, primarily small arms,two inshore minesweepersatrol boat to EJ Bluff last year. Frequent flights between Havana and Managua Uverajpng four times weekly) and regular transits by Cuban vesseb lo Nicaragua afiord Castro the opportunity to deliver large quantities of other materiel covertlyindicated that Cuban flights have carried small arms, rocket Uuncben. and ammunition
Several other Communist countries recently either emerged as military suppliers lo Nicaragua or expanded their roles. Potentially most significant is Czechoslovaks, which we believe hat been pressured by Moscow toreater share of the> 'bis year.previously hadonly small amounts of light weapons and similar items extended an additionalto
This commitmentledge late last year lo "provide lull support lo Nicaragua's efforts to consolidate ibe revolution."
II. Poland, undoubtedly at Soviet behest, also shows signs ol einanded activity.
orth Koreaboats last
year and may be constructing p'milar craft for delivery this
he Sandinistas also have attempted to broaden millury supply relationships with radicalstates. Libya tried tond other arms to Nicaragua clandestinely via Brazilut the effort was aborted when discovered by Brazilian authorities.
ran pledged ear ago (O
Nicaraguan delegation, but delivery still has nol
Military and Civilian Personnel
To Be in Nicaragua.5
Mflituy and teouily personnel
Training and Advisory Support
IS- The continuing inBui of arms and rather matersrelatively sophisticated equipment like M, anddeepened the Sandinistas' dependence on Cuban, Soviet, and other foreignadvisers and technicians. Although theirubans (seend tablend probably aboutdid not change significantly last year, these experts are intimately Involved In keeping tbe Sandinista military establishment functioning (seend
The Soviets and Cubans have helped Managua assemble and test-By the recently delivered
Nicaragua: Foreign Military/Security5
eiicotXers, and Cuban pilots have flown MIS helicopters in combat support missions.
train the Sandinista Army andpersonnel at basic and advanced levels at numerous installations.ozen Cuban instructors with combat experience in Angola, for example, were assigned to art irregular battalion training camp in central Nicaragua butto leach tactics, politics, and ertgirteering.
They probably are instruinental in maintaining tbe four Nicaraguan radar sites.
Tbey are closely Involved In tbe collodion and analysis of vignab intelligence.
Tbey also participate in actual combat opera-tionafj
JjSnflharc present in Sandinista counterinsurgency battaboos down to the company level and SO Cubans reportedly were killed in combat last
he Soviets, who thus lar haveow probTc in Nicaragua, ate estimated loilitary presence ol aboutoen. Soviet advisers are assigned to the Nicaraguan General Staff, and Soviet technicians helped assemble tbe recently deliverednd probably theclicopteri Other Soviets have been sent to areas of insurgent activity, presumably as observers or to evaluateheld performance.
dditional Communist and radical entitles have maintained or expanded their military/securityIn Nicaragua In recent months, according to various reports:
Germans still probably numberoersons. Late lastroup of East German workers was sent lo the airfield at Eslell, and earlier other East Germans had been sent to work wtth the Nicaraguan Military Intelligence Ser-vieeC
^Bulgarians also werein northern Nicaragua last October, although their specific responsibilities are unknown.
Korean weapons instructors, probably about IS in number, arrived at Cor into fn late
North Koreans have been reported sporadically in Nicaragua since2
oibyan military personnelare estimated to be in Nicaragua/"
Jone group olLlbyan Instructors is stationed at the Montelimar alrbase. Libyans, associated mainly with tbc Sandinista Air Force, have been reported in Nicaragua
oLO pilots were inf last December!"
Ift We estimate thai several hundred Nicaraguan trainees are currentlyide variety ol military training overseas. Most ate probably In Cuba, receiving pilot training or instruction on ground and air defense weapons and taking security/intelligence courses, according lo various sources. Others aretraining on naval craft and weapons,ossible shipboard missile system
J Elsewhere, Nicaraguan trainees have been observed in ihe USSR (pilot and navalast Germany (police and communications insiiuct*ulgaria (purpose unspecified, but possibly pilot
Libya (at an insurgent tralnir.s; camo).
uba is providing ihr: bulk of theoreign economic advisers and technicians nowto be in Nicaragua (secost of these arc government advisers or construction workers (see tableome of the latter, however, have particiiiated on projects such as roads and airfield improvements which have dual mUiUry-eeonomic application* Last year, Havana Improved Ihe capability of its civilians in Nicaragua to respond to military contingencies by replacing females and older males with militsry-age males who had received military training- Many of thearsaw Pact economic advisers, mainly Soviets and Bulgarians, are assigned to government ministries and supervise construction protects.
e estimate lhaticaraguans are abroad (mainly in Cuba) for nonmilitary trainingariety of academic and practical instruction Many, if not most, of these Nicaraguans probablyealthy dose of political indoctrination as well.
Military and Commercial Construction Garrisons and training Areas
It, The Sandinistas have constructed or improved overaior military garrisons and training areas and al least an equal number of smaller ones9 (see anneal Many of the major (acsLtaes are builtuban model with wcll-organlted barracks, vehicle sheds, and eiercise fadlitics. The training areasa facility al La Paz In central Nicaragua for combined armor and artillery maneuvers
he Nicaraguans currently have const ruction projects under way al fourlluete. Puerto Cabeaas, Bluehelds, and La Rosita. When completed, all will have runways long enough to permit use by jet aircraft. These facilities willihe two airfields already capable of providing some accommodations to setand Montelimar Punta Huete, which will be Ihe largesi military airfield in Central America, has been under
MIC Audit training
heliooc*,, pd training.
Ear. European country (mart probably Bulgaria)
least several hundred
MIC. transport pilot and maintenance tratniac annor. artillery, nival, missile (raining
Nicaragua: Economicarch l
Cirilian Technicians From Communist Suits la Nicaragua,5
i mi la) Ncraba
fishing, ^amuina lioru leaching
part dock*-aaast, aaaftadtare
^its main runway,ength ofeters, is complete Other parts of the airfield necessary lor fuD operational status, such as fuel storage facilities, probably will be completed later thb year. Aside from servingase for the fighter aircraft the SandinisUs hope to acquire. Punts Huete will be able to accommodate heavy transport aircraft and thus could facilitate tlie flow ol military supplies to Nicaragua. Cubans have been heavily Involved in Ihe construction ol PuntaaccordingS State Department reporting, had cost anillion as of last August.
The pavmg ofeter extension to theJOO uirtri runway at Puerto Caberas, the Sandinistas' major base in the northeast, is almostUVe Punta fluete and* Sandino, Puerto Cabexas will be able lo handle Irainports and jet fighters. The Sandinistas may install an early waming/ground-conlrolled-Interceptadar site there to improve air defense of the airfield
Bluefields, near tbe port of El Bluff on the Caribbean, is the fifth airfield that could be capable of iet operations in the near future. Paving, of theeler runway is half done, and underground fuel tanks have been Installed. An EW/CQ site may also be established here to provide coverage ofNicaragua.
Other airfield protects also are under way. although they are of lower priority than ihenoted above- The runway at La Rosita, in the northeast, has been eitcndedeters and.
^eventually may becteis long. The airfield at Estcli. headquarters of tbc 1st Military Region, has been lengthenedeters. One of Ntcaiaguas fourC1 sites is located neat Eatell.
he Sandinistas' major port constructionn the east coast at El Dluff,5 million effort is under way with Bulgarian and,esser extent. Soviet and Dutch assistance. When the port Is finished, possiblyessels upons will be able to unload their cargo direcdy. eliminating (he lightering 'method now being used Although tbe protect has been plagued by slowdowns, the arrival cf dredging equipment last September could signal the onset of constructionroposed new wharf and breakwater. Only superficialare under way ot contemplated at the other four major Nicaraguan ports (Corinlo, Puerto Sandino. Puerto Cabezas, and San |uan delf these, only Corinto on the Pacific has deepwater berths for large merchant ships at quayside and continues to be the major port facility. At all other ports, cargo must be transported by lighters or barges to the docks.
f'Hi ir Net New Foreign Financing'
here are Iwoam do rial ion projects currently under way In Nicaragua Both are contract
cd to tbe Cuban Ministry ofoad has Million US S
been built lo link lhc city of Matagalpa in central icaragua with the northeastern port town of Puerto
Cabezas. Improvement! are continuing on brief eta and
sections subject to erosion during the rainy season
The second proiectide gauge railroad to connect Cormto. on the Pacific, with Managua and. eventually. El Bluff. The lailbed of an old,narrow gauge rail line linking Corinto to Chinan-dega has been graded and widened andauseway across the Paso Caballos Estuary,ilometers north of Corinto, Is threc-fourlhs complete. The Cotlnto-Oiinandega section of the railroad should be operationalnd will aid significantly in clearing the port. Other sections of the rail line in western and central Nicaragua can be constructedapid pace because of favorable construction conditions
Rodor ond COM1NI Sites
icaragua now has lour EW/CCI sites. Those at Esteh. Masai i. andBlancooreourth site was added neat San luan del Sur on the southeastern coast. These sites
protect key strategic targets in western
he" Sandinistas, aided by Cuban and possibly Soviet advisers, have established four high-frequency/ direct ion-finding (HF/DF) sites in Nicaragua^
1 four locations use the Soviet made HF/DF equipment.
Foreign Econc-rrk Support
ncreased Communist funding partially offset lower disbursement of nonmilitary loans and grant* from Latin American. Westand multinational sources We estimate that this kept net foreign financial Bows roughly in0 million0 million per year range (see figure 6)
Mecico, the multilateral banks, and Western Europe sharply reduced funding because offailure to meet debt obligations
countries hiked financial support by aboutercent The increase was largely In the form cf new oil credits.
important Libya, Algeria, andfinancing flows at earlier levels of0 million per year. This includes the value of petroleum made available to thefor resale as well as preferential purchases otommodities
ver the past five years. Communist andcountriesoul of aboutillion In economic credits and grants to Nicaragua, although thus far not all has been dispersed. These include
illion East Cerman credit forequipment and commodities.
illion Soviei trade credit (orommunications lacilily. and sc!tools
illion credit Irons Bulgaria (or the El
Bluff protect, port development at fUiicficlds, and oilier projects.
illion In Cuban grams for Puerto Caberas. road and railroad improvements, and the showcase TErnal sugar lehncry, which was dedicated InSee
bc USSR also has beeo instiumcntal InNicaragua's oil rieeds, making uputback in Meaican deliveries. Petroleum deliveries by the USSR averagedarrels per day)s compared with lesshe previous year. To ease tbe high cost of shipping oil ftom tbe Soviet Union, Moscow has tried lop deals with Meaico, Ecuador, and Venerasela Moscow has also signed an agreement toipeline between Managua and Puerto Sandino. the main Nicaraguan oil import terminal.
he escalation of foreign military and erwnomie support has aided Sandinista consolidation, and it has enabled the regime to develop and equip the laigcst armed force in Central America The active-duty strength of the Sandioista armed forces is0 men. and. if all reserve and militia units are fully mobilized, tolal strength wouldhe inventory of major combat equiprnenl in its ground and air defease forces is unmatched in the region (seeu naval and air forces arerelatively weak by comparison. The Navy has been growing rapidly in tbe last year or so, however, and the Air Force would be greatly strertgthened should Managua eventually obtain jet fighter aircraft.
be moat immediate threat posed toneighbors by its military buildup Is thecapability lo support leftist insurgent groupstrong conventional shield Nevertheless, Nicaragua's growing offensive capabilities also represent athreat lo its immediate neighbors. Although there is little likelihoodoncerted Nicaraguan attack on lis neighbors given the fearSthe buildup has important psychological implications for regional relations. Furthermore, the Sandinistas may be tempted to escalate their attacks against Contra bases inside Honduras, rxnsibJy with helicopter gun-ships. Managua may feel lhat Honduras would be unable lo protest such an attack effectively without acknowledging the sizable insurgent presence on its seal
he recent Sandinista offer to senduban military advisers and declare an indefinite moratorium on the acquisition of new weaponincluding fighter aircraft, is consist cot with Nicaragua's negotiating tactics. The greatlymilitary buildup of the last year probably is causing the Sandinistas some difficulty in absorbing the new weaponry, and a'pause in deliveries will give them some breathing room. Furthermore, the token Cuban withdrawal will have III lie effect on their capabilities, and the Soviets have so far refused to supplyecause of concernS
all tit new weapons deliveries piobably will cost the Sandinistas little in the near term In the longer run. Managua may believe lhat. should tbe peace process show little ptogreia. it willood excuse to resume deliveries of new weapons.
Status of Military Construction and Facilities Improvements ot Selected Sites
and Naval FctdKHes Corinto
Puerto Sand mo San Juan del Sur
Pacific coast arms transhipment point Ten rjulldlngi under construction it nearby naval facility. Corinto area defended by tluee antiaircraft sites.
Anns transshipment point on Caribbean coast.port facilities under construct Win. Harbor dredging begin runt
Arms transfer point on Bio Fscondido Additional warehouse eoostructed.
Major POL delivery point Pipeline runs from port area to refinery in Managua. Defensive walls under construction around oil storage tanks at nearby Punta Tiscuco power plant. No improvements to portTwo antiaircraft sites In area.
Small commercial port. No improvements to port facilities.
Dispersal area and POL storage facility with capacity ofubic meters added to Air Force section of airfield. Defended by threesite*
Paving complete on runwayeters Long) and taxi way. Four groups of four revet-mcuC each under cwntroctjoa. Support facilities not yet eonstnicted. Defended by three antiaircraft sites.
Constructionxtension toeter runway begun Inrainage culvert across catension complete Final grading and asphalting of extension should begin in near future, POL storage facility with approximate capacityubic meters completed. Defended by one antiaircraft site.
eter runway under conn root ion since9 POL storage facility withubic meters completed.
Runway extendedeters In* POL storage facility with capacityubic meters under const ruction airfield Defended by one antiaiicrafl site
apron eapanded POL notice facility with capacity olubic meters
Two-thousand-meter runway under constnietion sinceo support facilities or defenses have been added
Military Gearr (sons and Troirung Facilities
MiBtory Zone I
VilUnueva Barracks Area
La Laguna Armor Deployment Area
Restate Military Camp
La Paz Military Training
Completed Cuban-style garrison. Probablyechanized infantry battalion.
Completeds penal areailometers south of Hooduran border. Houses one medium Unk battalion.
Converted from an estateibtary garrison with Soviet-style training facilities.
Convertedarmhe for training armor aod artillery units
Zone II German Poms res EPS Hq
LaOuebradiU Military Barracks
Cuajacbillo Muitary Barracks
El TempiSquc Military Barracks
Former National Guard headquarters in Managua. Now hcadquarteri for Sandinista People's Army (EPS).
Completed Cuban style garrison in Managua. Houses armor brigade headquarters and two tank battalions.
Completed Cuban-style garrison in Managua. Houses one artillery brigade equipped with heavy artillery, armored personnel carriers, and multiple rocket launchers.
Completed Cuban-style garrison northwest ofHouses one medium tank battalion and serves as transient storage for newly delivered military equip-
Special Troop School San Isldro Training Facility
Managua Army Barracks El Canton
Duiarnba Military Barracks
Oscar Turcios Military Facility
luigalpa Military Facility
facility serving as special-purpose training site
Partially completed facility houses one
Facility under construction in eastern Managua.
Former National Guard garrison converted to EPS Ucslity. Probably serves as headquarters for fourth militia region
Recently completed Cuban-style garrison Houses one infantry battalion
Completed Cuban-style garrison. Houses one infantry battalion.
Military Zone IIIMilitary Facility
Jinotcga Miliury Barracks
Ocotai Military Facility
Condega Military Barracks
Military Region VII Guadalupe Moreno Barracks
Puerto Caberas Military Gump
La Tronqucra Military Barracks
Managua EPS Mobile Medical Ho
Oxnpleted Cuban-style garrison Probably houses one mechanized inlantry battalion
Completed facility constructed next to airfield.used as Iraining site for personnel conducting military operations in area. May also provide logistic support; mobile medical unit deployed ihere
Converted facility probably providing support for personnel and equipment conducting operations in the area.
Completed garrison probably servingraining site for special forces personnel.
Former militia school probably providing support to personnel and equipment operating in area.
Former National Guard facility converted to EPS garrison Two vehicle sheds constructed Adiacent to Puerto Caberas airfield.
Completed facility probably bousing one infantry battalion- Constructed adjacent to airfield.
.Field hospital established In Managua in
mobile field hospital establishedta0ed by Soviet personnel. Contruetion of additional permanent buildings In progress.
COMINF Sites Santa Maria
Constructed in3 One Bar Lock and one Odd Pair currently present.
Constructed inne Bar Lock and one Spoon Best currently present.
Constructed inne Bar Lock, one Odd Pair, and one Flat Face currently present
Constructed inheet Bend coastalradar and Square Head IFF radar present.
Constructed in5 One Flat Face, one Bar Lock, and one Thin Skin cuirenlly present.
Constructed inull House set prcsenl.
San Francisco Santa Rosa
POL Stceogc Focfities La Union
CaUrina Bajodel Zapote
Unes of Cc>mrnuTiicolion
Puerto Cabeaaa-Matagalpa Road
o-a ndega Railroad
inwo Feral House sets pmnit.
Constructed inall Rods array present Constructed in4 Full House set present.
Completed storage facility with capacity of0 cubic mot en
Storage facility under co ml ruction. When complote will have approximate capacityubic meters.Support facility under construction nearby-Storage faculty under construction. When complete will have capacity ofubic meters.
Construction of possible new crude oil storage facility* near Puerto Sandino Just beginning
All-weather unpavedcross northeastern Nicaragua essentially complete Some constrssction continuing on bridles
Construction under way on railroad between Corinto and Chinandesja. Railroad between Chinandega and Managua In disrepair.
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