PEÑAS BLANCAS, Costa Rica - Imagine a little international border town like Sweetgrass, Mont. Add mountains, jungle foliage and at last count about 2,500 Cuban refugees massed and camping outside under tarps in the tropical rain.
Welcome to Peñas Blancas, the Costa Rican border crossing to Nicaragua, where Cubans who flew to Ecuador pointed their way north through Colombia and Panama and now are stranded at the border.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega doesn’t want them, even in transit. In sympathy with the Cuba’s Castro Bros., who aided, trained guerillas and otherwise abetted Ortega’s Sandanista rebels a generation ago, the refugees on this long, strange trip were turned away.
Mr. Ortega, who was part of a junta in power during the infamous and complicated Iran-Contra affair of the mid-1980s, accused Costa Rica of “dumping” the freedom-seeking refugees on Nicaragua to disrupt the country. Kind of like presidential candidate Donald Trump accuses the Mexican government of unleashing its rapists, robbers and gun-wielding drug dealers on the poor old U.S.A.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 November 2015 13:22
President Ronald Reagan disavowed all knowledge of the deal, Lt. Col. Oliver North shredded documents and repeatedly reiterated, “I do not recall.” Hearings were held, cabinet members convicted, then pardoned.
All part of the wild, wild world of the Iran-Contra Affair of the mid-1980s.
The plot straight out of Bizarroland started with the United States brokering missile and other arms sales from Israel to Iran, a mutual enemy of both countries. In exchange, U.S. hostages held in Lebanon would be released by the terrorist organization de jour, Hezbollah.
By over-charging (gouging, really) the Iranians, the U.S. could funnel the profits to the Contras, supporters of ousted Nicaraguan President Anastacio Samoza and his family´s 43-year reign as pro-U.S. strongmen.
National Security Council operative Ollie North coordinated the chicanery, where planeloads of arms were smuggled into a staging area on a giant gringo-owned finca in Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica, en route to Nicaragua.
In 1986, one of the C-123 cargo planes was shot down over Nicaragua and the pilot captured by Sandinistas loyal to the new government provisionally headed by one Daniel Ortega.
Another Central Intelligence Agency plane was abandoned at the San Jose, Costa Rica, airport once the jig was up.
Meanwhile, a Lebanese newspaper (which did not win a Pulitzer), unraveled and broke the whole story wide open.
With the Iranians out of arms and Hezbollah out of hostages, the deal fell apart when the terrorists went after more hostages.
Later on Christmas Eve, 1992, lame-duck President George H.W. Bush pardoned all the indicted co-conspirators, and Ollie North had a radio show.
The nation moved on to the Clinton administration, where the scandals were more straightforward and at least included some sex.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 November 2015 13:20
Usually know as ISIS, and sometimes known as ISIL, but always tied to exporting terrorism, the Jihadist group gained new notoriety with its Paris attacks, leaving the world in shock.
But in reality the world has been under ISIS and Al-Qaida attacks for several years. Even Paris had about a dozen Jihadists Muslim attacks leading up to the one that seems to have generated a united front, even if though are no front lines.
Most of the worldwide attacks have been relatively small, and the responses came from local military. Yet there has been some coverage, even if just filler pieces deep in the larger publications. The least known attacks have been in China with the information garnered from the prolific underground press with very few, though highly sanitized, official versions reported by the Global Times, which is the official Communist Party bullhorn, and CCTV (Central China TV). The Chinese struggle is perhaps larger than the entire Syrian/Iranian caliphate malaise.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 November 2015 13:14