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Official Newspaper Accuses Opposition Daily Of Trying To Block Storm Aid

November 13, 1988

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ The government newspaper on Saturday accused the opposition daily of trying to block international aid for damage inflicted by Hurricane Joan by saying the government is lying about the extent of the damage.

The opposition paper, La Prensa, charged Friday that the government was planning to use the aid for the military, not to help the thousands left homeless when Joan struck Nicaragua last month.

La Prensa also accused the Sandinistas of ″demanding″ aid from the diplomatic community and said they had ″asked for too much″ and ″in a bad way.″

Barricada, the official paper of the ruling Sandinista party, said Saturday in an editorial that the damage from the hurricane was even worse than first thought.

The newspaper linked La Prensa’s charges to the United States, which has been backing anti-Sandinista rebels since 1982. It said White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater also had been casting doubt on the actual destination of international aid.

″Almost simultaneously, La Prensa and the (Nicaraguan political parties on) the right began their campaign of lies and insults, aimed at politicizing the hurricane and blocking international aid,″ Barricada said.

Barricada said there would not be a replay of a 1972 scandal surrounding foreign aid to help Nicaragua recover from a devasting earthquake that caused extensive damage to the capital. The dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza, who was overthrown by the Sandinistas in 1979, siphoned off the aid and never rebuilt Managua.

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