Hoping for a Stalemate

No guerrilla force has ever toppled a Marxist regime, and the Nicaraguan contras are not about to become the first. But popular disaffection with the Sandinistas guarantees the contras a steady supply of new recruits, and renewed U.S. aid will give the rebels the means to sustain a long, fitful insurgency.

Sandinista forces outnumber the contras by 110,000 to an estimated 17,000. Well supplied with Soviet arms and equipment, the Nicaraguan army has much more mobility and firepower than the rebels. Since April the Sandinistas have kept the contras on the run, pushing them north over the Honduran border and south...

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