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was provided by a St. Louis-based group called “Wings of Hope,” headed by Bill Edwards. Edwards told the Observer that Texas is the leading state in financial support of Wings of Hope. George Haddaway, a board member for the group who lives in Lindale, Texas, said that crucial support comes from another board member named Jack Taylor, a Houston pilot and airplane broker. The Road to Nowhere THE PASSAGE of $27 million in humanitarian aid to the Nicaraguan contras last Au gust came along in time to head off Congressional hearings into the conduct of the “covert” war in 1984 and 1985. Republican member of Congress Jim Leach of Iowa had drafted a bill that would have made it illegal for private citizens to aid rebels in times when the U.S. Government itself was barred. An aide who worked on the bill said it was gaining co-sponsors last summer and a hearing was planned when “the bottom fell out” because of the Congressional decision to get the government back in league with the contras. The Congressional action also forestalled an investigation into the government’s role in secret fundraising for the contras. As news reports came out last summer that Col. Oliver North of the National Security Council had met with leaders of private aid groups, questions were raised about possible violations of the Boland Amendment, which stated that during the fiscal year 1985, no funds were to be spent for supporting “directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, group, organization, movement or individual.” Rep. Michael Barnes, D-Md., wrote to Robert McFarlane, President Reagan’s national security advisor, to ask for further information on North’s involvement. A hearing was set for September 17, 1985. But when Congress passed the new aid package in August, the Boland restrictions were dropped \(and techni”The investigation pretty well petered out because of the impossibility of cracking the NSC,” said a Barnes aide. McFarlane’s response to Barnes’s letter was classified, and so all subsequent correspondence between Barnes and McFarlane also became classified, the aide said. “Every time he sold a big airplane, he sent us ten percent, so we latched onto him pretty quick. He’s a marcher. Haddaway said. Haddaway, who said he is 77 years old but feels like he’s 30, ran an aviation trade journal for 44 years. He said the reports he gets from Central America indicate that “both sides are pretty bad.” Still, “I must admit, my whole life has been spent concerned with the containment of Marxist-Leninism on this continent.” “Those communists [in Nicaragua] don’t want us operating in there, they don’t want any Americans coming in, and I dare say they don’t really care about the Christian religion.” The Neo-contras Just as some groups, such as “Wings of Hope” and Friends of the Americas shun talk of direct help to the combatants in Central America, some groups that work against the Nicaraguan government attempt to distance themselves from the more “action-oriented” groups with close ties to the contra army. One such group is a little-known Washington-based outfit called Gulf and Caribbean. “My membership looks like a Who’s Who of Texas,” said Dan Kuykendall, a former member of Congress from Tennessee, who runs Gulf and Caribbean. “But they aren’t part of this straight-aid-to-the-contra. They don’t like to be a part of anything that appears to be radical.” Kuykendall said his group’s main activity has been to sponsor “outstanding scholars” who are “really credible.” One of the accomplishments he has seen come out of his work has been the introduction of the term “democratic revolution” used for the contra force. “That came from a booklet we published,” he said with satisfaction, adding “I remember the first time I showed that [term] to someone at the White House. He said, ‘Is that us?’ But the term has gained currency in Washington and without fanfare for Gulf and Caribbean, which is just as he likes it, Kuykendall said. “We simply have no profile . . . I don’t even have a letterhead,” he said. “To get the truth out you almost have to do it this way” because sides that are readily identified with one ideology tend to lose credibility. Kuykendall said the group has sponsored many trips to Central America and later helped place articles in major U.S. dailies. The only criterion for a participating scholar is that he be against communism as a form of government, he said, noting that one trip was led by Eli Wiesel, the holocaust expert. “Now, Wiesel is a socialist. But he’s also an anti-communist of the first order.” Kuykendall said he assumes most of his funders are Republicans. He said the group was started by 25 individuals two years ago who were disturbed by the increase in immigrants coming to the United States through Mexico. “We’ve got to do something,” they decided. They have taken an interest not only in Nicaragua but in El Salvador, where Christian Democrat Jose Napoleon Duarte last year held off an election challenge from the extreme rightist Roberto D’Aubisson. “Two-thirds of the people who fund us really had to hold their noses to support Duarte over D ‘Aubisson ” because D ‘Aubisson ‘ s economic policies “sounded like Ronald Reagan,” Kuykendall said, a curious admission from a man trying to put a moderate face on his group. One of the Texans who helped start Gulf and Caribbean is John M. Bennett, a former banker and a Republican who now runs a family beef ranch near Port Lavaca. Bennett said he would be “perfectly happy” to see Congress approve military aid to the contras this month “because I know damn well the Russians are doing it the Bulgarians of all people!” Bennett said the contra aid issue doesn’t seem to have the steam it once had, but he believes that when the $27 million in humanitarian aid expires in March, “someone will blow the bugle, wave the flag, and the troops will respond and hammer on the Congressmen to get that aid.” The Nicaraguans s ITTING IN THE background amidst all the clamor about aid to the contras has been the community of Nicaraguan exiles in Texas, centered in Houston. The Nicaraguan Patriotic Association was formed in Houston in 1980, even before the FDN, according to Juan Sacasa, an exile who has worked with both groups. The Patriotic Association worked with Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Operation Blessing” project in 1982 and 1983, raising over two-and-a-half million dollars for food and clothing for refugees, he said. Now the group has a mailing list of about 1,000 and has periodic social gatherings. Sacasa is from a prominent Nicaraguan family that “was very close to the Somoza clan,” according to former contra leader Edgar Chamorro. Sacasa’s cousin, Octavio Sacasa, is active with the FDN in Miami, and another cousin, Guillermo Sevilla-Sacasa, served as Somoza’s ambassador to the United States. For his part, Sacasa says now 12 MARCH 7, 1986