1886 1986 COME STAY & CELEBRATE OUR 100th YEAR P.O. Box 8 Port Aransas, TX 78373 immediately. But, Terrell says, the contras didn’t want him to leave. He had been commander of the operation and was well-liked by Calero. Rather than go, back to America, Terrell says, he went to Roatan Island, a diving resort, north of Honduras in the Caribbean. As for U.S. involvement with the contras, Terrell says, “CMA does anything the U.S. can’t do officially.” “CMA was a kind of umbrella group during the period of the Boland amendment to do anything the U.S. wanted that must have deniability meaning anything involving tactics, intelligence, training the contras, and going on combat missions.” He added, “We did business unofficially with the [American] military.” Terrell says that about 50 Americans, including himself, saw actual combat in Nicaragua. He claimed some Americans would accompany contra bands of 1500 for as long as seven months at a time inside Nicaragua. “I fought on the Atlantic Coast,” he said. Operating from a base on the Honduran side of the Rio Coco, Terrell said he fought with the MISURA, the most pro-contra of the Indian factions based in Honduras, in operations in Leimus, Waspan and Bilhuascarma in the Atlantic coastal region. “I led operations with 20 to 100 troops.” All told, Terrell recalls, there were about a dozen Americans with the Miskitos. TERRELL SOON soured on life with the contras. He was shocked at the social segregation in Las Vegas .. In a fenced off section at one end of the camp, Somocista leaders lived in comparative splendor with VCRs, TVs, bars, etc. Terrell saw the money CMA had raised to help fight the Sandinistas used instead to buy steaks for the Somocistas. At the other end of the camp, the contra-campesinos existed barefoot on meager rations of rice and tortillas. “It was unbelievable,” Terrell said. Most of the contracampesinos “didn’t know what they were doing. They had been brought there through an FDN “conscription program” in which youngsters in Nicaragua were kidnapped, tortured, and threatened with death if they did not fight. Terrell said he did not see evidence of narcotics in the camp. He claimed Costa Rica is the major transshipment point for narcotics, and described a plot by the contras, along with Colombian drug dealers operating on the Southern Front, to kill U.S. ambassador Lewis Tambs. The drug dealers hated Tambs for trying to block cocaine shipments while he was stationed in Colombia as ambassador. The idea was to blow up the U.S. embassy in San Jose, then blame it on the Sandinistas. Terrell’s sympathies went out to the Miskitos, whom he encouraged to fight for their autonomy. The FDN contras continually sought to enlist the MISURA in raids into Nicaragua to relieve a pinned-down unit. The Indians, he said, had little interest in overthrowing the Sandinistas, and did not care much for the FDN. He began to think of himself as their leader and, in January of 1985, started to organize the Miskitos. He made a first trip to Rus Rus, located on the Honduran border, for Calero, who had heard that the MISURA wanted to sell $100,000 worth of guns. Terrell was supposed to meet an unnamed American who could set up the deal. But when he saw the pitiful condition of the Indian camps, it was too much for him. Terrell resolved to quit the CMA and leave the FDN contras. After a meeting with the MISURA general staff, Terrell went back to the Somocista leaders lived in comparative splendor while contra-campesinos existed on meager rations. U.S., bought supplies for them, and persuaded 14 Americans waiting to ship out with CMA to go with him instead. Returning to Honduras, Terrell and the other Americans helped the MISURA build bases and put things in order. He came to loathe the Latinos, both contras and Sandinistas. In March 1985, Terrell says he traveled to Washington to see Senator Denton’s staff on the Indians’ behalf. He told Denton’s assistants of FDN corruption, starvation among the Indians, and how they just wanted to be left alone. Instead of helping, Terrell thinks Denton’s office reported what he was doing to the State Department, which soon dispatched an official from the embassy in Honduras to tell the Americans they were violating U.S. law by joining the Indians in military operations, and if they persisted, they would hand the Sandinistas a propaganda windfall. Honduran commandos surrounded the complete personal and business insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY 808-A East 46th P.O. Box 4666, Austin 78765 Indian camp where the Americans were residing. Terrell and his friends were rounded up at gunpoint and put on a plane back to Tegucigalpa. There the embassy canceled their passports and on March 15, 1985, put them on a plane for Miami. “I felt really betrayed by my country,” Terrell recalls. “I went to New Orleans and brooded over it, then decided to write a book detailing all the wrongs.” In New Orleans he was contacted by an attorney who told him, “Senator Kerry’s office was interested in all this. So I called them.” TERRELL was brought to Washington for questioning as a possible congressional witness by Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry. Contra opponents in Congress hoped Terrell’s Colonel Flaco would expose Reagan’s Central American policy as riddled with corruption and drug dealing, and as a violation of the Neutrality Act. Scott Armstrong, the investigative reporter, said he was asked by Kerry’s office to inquire into the authenticity of Terrell’s story. Armstrong said he concluded the “fabric to be credible,” although certain specific details were wrong, i.e., Terrell was arrested twice as a youth in Alabama, not once, as he claimed. Whether Terrell will make an impact on Congressional hearings is unclear. In the House, the Democratic leadership apparently has agreed to channel its investigation through a Judiciary subcommittee, and within this group Terrell probably will receive a private hearing. If his story sticks together, Terrell could eventually become a public witness. “The problem,” one source close to the Democratic opposition said last week, “is to clean him up before he gets himself into a mess and makes everybody look like jerks.” El THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.