THE CARIBBEAN: Islands and War

Moving slowly through shallow reefs two weeks ago, a battered shrimp boat carrying a Nicaraguan newspaper editor and three Miskito Indian sailors approached the tiny Caribbean island of Quita Sueño (literally "takes away sleep"), 140 miles off Nicaragua's coast. One of the Indians transferred to a canoe and paddled ashore. Watching for any Colombian troops who might possibly be near by, he proudly raised the Nicaraguan flag over the rocky ground.

Thus, with a degree of opéra bouffe unusual even for Central America, began another round in what local newspapers have grandiloquently dubbed "the war of the flags." In fact,...

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