Thousands for Television, But Not One Cent for Dog Meat
Apr. 02, 1988
NEW YORK (AP) _ If you were a Nicaraguan Contra in 1986, humanitarian aid from the United States might have paid for your deodorant, 19-inch color television and living room set.
But the Americans drew the line at jumbo shrimp, Christmas decorations and meat for dogs.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive obtained a 1986 letter from the director of the State Department's Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office to a Contra liaison.
The letter lists some ''approved'' and ''disallowed'' expenses incurred by the Contras in 1985 and 1986 and submitted to the office for reimbursement. All items on the list, published in the May issue of Harper's Magazine, previously had been rejected ''pending further review.''
- $5,760.53 for deodorant.
- $1,071 for volleyball equipment.
- Two living room sets worth $1,283.63, a dining room set worth $654.94 and a $477.75 sofa.
- 12 domino sets worth $132.18.
- 16 bottles of whiskey worth $120.
- 32 pounds, or $8, of meat for dogs.
- $369.82 in Christmas decorations.
- 25 pounds of jumbo shrimp worth $235.
- $226 in guitar strings.
The office approved three 19-inch color televisions that cost about $1,000 each, but rejected two other sets. It approved 620 boxes of candy worth $6,570, but rejected 14 boxes of chocolate and two boxes of candy worth $381.35.
The office, which was opened to distribute humanitarian aid appropriated by Congress and closed in July 1986, did approve a limited amount of martial aid: two pairs of boxing gloves.