Nicaragua: A Whole New Universe

A left-wing military buildup worries Washington

By the multibillion-dollar standards of the international arms trade, the deal that came to light last week was almost unworthy of notice. The Socialist government of French President Francois Mitterrand had quietly agreed to sell $17.5 million worth of "nonoffensive" military equipment to the Marxist-dominated Sandinista government of Nicaragua. The items: two patrol boats, two Alouette III helicopters and 15 trucks. Paris also contracted to train a dozen Nicaraguan pilots and an equal number of sailors in the use of the equipment. Yet when word of...

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