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Don’t miss your chance to buy a poster of the Texas Observer’s 30th Anniversary cover. Artist Tom Ballenger’s Texas landscape highlights the outrageous aspects of Texas culture. From crippled nuclear plants to clear-cutting to pesticides pouring into the Gulf, it is the concerned citizens’ guide to forces that are shaping this state. Show your out-of-state friends what Texas politicking is all about. Or add a touch of satire to your den. The 17 by 22 inch poster for postage and handling. Also on sale are copies of the 30th Anniversary issue for $2 each. \(If you plan to order more than 10 copies, contact the Observer for discount rates MI Send me Anniversary Anniversary name address city state zip The Texas Observer 600 West 7th Street Austin, 78701 Latin American electoral history. Each party was given 15 minutes per day of free, uninterrupted television time \(a total of 22 hours per party over the had 44 hours of free radio time on the public radio stations. There was no censorship of any electoral campaign material on any of the 39 private radio stations in the country; and the opposition newspaper, La Prensa, was full of uncensored vitriolic attacks on the government, including hundreds of pages of full-page attacks by the conservative parties that participated in the elections. But didn’t the Sandinistas bust up opposition rallies and intimidate their opponents? There is no doubt that the opposition parties had some basis for their complaints that hooligans were disrupting some of their earliest rallies. But the conclusions we reached by reviewing every complaint filed by all parties with the National Electoral Commission and by interviewing both opposition party leaders and foreign journalists present through the whole campaign were twofold: the Electoral Commission succeeded in putting a halt to these actions very early in the campaign, and the vast majority of all of the opposition rallies were carried out without disruption by pro-FSLN demonstrators or by other kinds of government interference. But wasn’t the entire election manipulated? The LASA delegation concluded, in fact, that there had been unacceptable attempts to manipulate the election; but those attempts originated, regrettably, in the U.S. embassy. For most of the nearly 300 international observers from Western Europe, the U.S., and Latin America, the most outrageous dimension of the electoral process was not the Sandinista treatment of the opposition. It was, in fact, the manner in which the U.S. embassy openly attempted to convince and coerce opposition parties to withdraw from the elections so that only the Sandinistas would be left. One Swedish parliamentarian suggested to me that if U.S. officials had acted similarly in Sweden or in any Western European country, they would have been expelled from the country. In the Nicaraguan election the U.S. embassy put pressure to withdraw on all of the opposition parties to the right of the Sandinistas. Clemente Guido, the presidential candidate of the most conservative of the three, reported \(on tape provided to the delegation and independoffered money for his party if he withdrew. When he refused, he said, his campaign manager was offered a bribe by a representative of the embassy to get him to resign from the campaign; the campaign manager did resign. Virgilio Godoy, according to most estimates the strongest of the opposition candidates, was visited by the U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua, Harry Bergold, and by the political counselor of the embassy, J. Michael Joyce, on the day before he decided to attempt to pull his party out of the race. But after he announced his withdrawal from the race, leaving most in the U.S. believing that his whole party had pulled out, his vicepresidential candidate and a majority of the party’s candidates for the National Assembly decided to stay in the race. The party received 9.6 % of the popular vote and elected nine representatives to the Assembly. Godoy told us, in an interview on November 5, that he had also been visited in the weeks before his decision by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American affairs, Langhorne Motley, and by the U.S. Special Envoy for Central America, Harry Schlaudeman. Both had urged him to withdraw from the race. It was the conclusion of our delegation that the principal lamentable manipulation of these elections, even in the context of some potential abuses of incumbency by the Sandinistas, was the unconscionable interference by the Reagan administration. Upon reviewing the whole course of U.S. conduct with respect to the Sandinista government, and after extensive discussions with U.S. diplomats in Central America, the LASA delegation concluded that there is nothing that the Sandinistas could have done to make the 1984 elections acceptable to the U.S. government. No one would claim that the Nicaraguan elections, in their totality, represented an unmitigated ideal. But it was my personal conclusion, as well as that of the rest of the members of the delegation, that the Sandinista government of Nicaragua did confront the fundamental test of democratic governments: it organized and conducted fair and open elections in which all the opposition that wished to run was allowed to run. It tallied the results fairly and accepted them, even though the results indicated less enchantment with their rule than they had predicted. This government now deserves the recognition of its legitimacy that such elections convey. Ei THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9