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 Send me Anniversary Anniversary name address city state zip The Texas Observer 600 West 7th Street Austin, 78701 New York p RESIDENT REAGAN calls the Nicaraguan anti-government contras in Nicaragua “our broth ers.” Let’s see what our brothers have been up to. “They gang-raped me every day. When my vagina couldn’t take it anymore, they raped me through my rectum. In five days they raped me 60 times. And all this in front of my husband.” Digna Barreda de Ubeda, a mother from Esteli , Nicaragua, described her treatment at the hands of the contras who kidnapped her and several others in 1983. While her husband was beaten daily, one of the others had his eyes gouged out and was thrown off a cliff. Digna was released when she convinced her captors that she would collaborate with them. When, upon returning to Estell , she denounced them instead, her house was set on fire. In 1982, Digna’s uncle and aunt, Felipe and Mery Barreda, two prominent religious leaders in Esteli , had been tortured and killed by the contras. In 1984, her two younger brothers were kidnapped by the contras. One escaped only after being taken to Honduras, while the other has yet to reappear. I went to Nicaragua to investigate charges that the United States-backed counterrevolutionaries were committing atrocities against the civilian population of Nicaragua. What I saw on several trips to different parts of the country was difficult to stomach. Although the contras have never captured any sizeable town, their brutality against civilians is a daily fact of life in northern Nicaragua. In the northern region of El Jicaro, the contras’ terror began in 1982 with a wave of killings of community and religious leaders sympathetic to the government. Seven “Delegates of the Word,” lay pastors trained by the clergy Reed Brody is a former New York Assistant Attorney General, who spent four months in Nicaragua in a privatelyfinanced mission to investigate allegations of contra violations of human rights. to promote the faith in rural areas, were assassinated. Maria Blandon, 57, told me how her husband, a Delegate, and their five children, were dragged out of their house one night by five armed contras. The next day their bodies were found with their ears and noses cut off and their throats slit. After that, the contras staged massive attacks on border villages forcing thousands to flee their homes to larger, safer, towns. Since then, according to Evarist Bertrand, the American parish priest who has survived three attacks, the attacks have been so frequent that it would be impossible to count them all. While I was there I met two peasant women who had been raped just the night before. In the nearby resettlement cooperative of Santa Julia I talked with the mothers of six little The contras are terrorizing the people of northern Nicaragua. children who had been killed by a mortar in an October attack. The families there had already moved twice once to flee the 1982 violence and again in early 1984 when the contras attacked their original resettlement area. Now some again wished to move. Everywhere in the north the story was the same. In a shack on the outskirts of Jinotega, I met Maria Castro,who had lost three of her four sons and her 87year-old mother when their rural collective was attacked and decimated by the contras. “Before, we had pigs, chickens, everything we gave food away. Now, without my sons, without the land, we eat what people can give us.” Not far from Maria lives Marta Aruaz, 19. By candlelight, she described her kidnapping a week earlier when the contras ambushed the civilian truck in which she, her mother and daughter, and six teachers were riding. She and the teachers were taken to the mountains where they were repeatedly raped. She escaped the next morning but the others are still missing. Our “Humanitarians” By Reed Brody 10 MAY 17, 1985
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