NICARAGUA: End of a Beginning Battle

Tacho Somoza wins, but the wounds may not heal

For once Novedades, the Managua daily controlled by President Anastasio ("Tacho") Somoza's family, had it right: MOVEMENT SMASHED. After eleven days of bloody fighting, Sandinista rebels who had sought to overthrow Somoza by seizing key towns had been defeated by his powerful national guard. In an impressive strategy, the guard attacked Sandinista-held towns one at a time, cut off water and electricity, then supported an infantry assault with overwhelming firepower and air support.

The real question was whether Somoza had won the civil war, or merely the first battle in a campaign to...

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