Organizations: Passing The Torch

Passing The Torch

For years young contra leaders tried to topple their autocratic military commander, Enrique Bermudez. The former Somoza colonel, though, was the CIA's man in the jungle and invulnerable to rebel coups. So when Bermudez was removed two weeks ago, it was clear that he had lost the CIA's backing.

Bermudez had long received regular payments and cagily spread funds among key loyalists. Just before his ouster, however, the agency took the commander off the payroll. Bermudez found himself without supporters.

The move signals the end of CIA involvement in the moribund struggle against Nicaragua's Sandinista regime, since Bermudez was the last...

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