The CIA, Crack Cocaine, and the Sabotage of Nicaragua. During the 1980s the White House and several influential members of Congress gave explicit and detailed orders to the State Department, CIA, DEA, FBI, and the NSA to actively sabotage and overthrow the Nicaraguan Government. This included using U.S.-owned C-123K military cargo planes (among other vehicles) and U.S. Government personnel to smuggle many tons of cocaine into the United States. The illicit cargo was then smuggled into Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, New Orleans, Houston, and numerous other U.S. cities. The proceeds from these drug sales were then used to purchase military weapons that were sent to the contra-revolutionary forces (the “Contras”) in Nicaragua.
Crushing Democracy to Support a Dictator. Prior to the Sandinistas taking power in Nicaragua in 1979, the U.S. Government and numerous U.S. corporations had provided financial, military, diplomatic, and propaganda support for decades to the murderous dictator Anastasio Somoza and his family. Between 1936 to 1979, the Somoza crime family ruled Nicaraguan politics and virtually every commercial business sector within Nicaragua for more than 40 years. Under the reign terror and brutal economic oppression of the Somoza family, there was no way for any Nicaraguan citizen to achieve financial success without paying off the Somozas. Basic human rights like free speech, freedom of assembly, property ownership, free and fair elections, and other pillars of Democracy were routinely crushed to prevent any form of democratic opposition to the ruling family.
Destroying the Nicaraguan Economy. The Contras were the remnants of the corrupt Somoza regime, Somoza’s brutal national guard forces, and the wealthy beneficiaries of Somoza’s exploitative economic oppression. With tremendous ongoing support from the U.S. Government, the Contras attempted to defeat the popular Sandinista Government.[i] [ii] Clandestine paramilitary operations directed and funded by the CIA; illicit support to notorious South American drug kingpins; economic sabotage leading to mass poverty, mass starvation, the total collapse of Nicaragua’s economy, and 14,000% annual currency inflation; deliberately false accusations of “radical communism” leveled against the Sandinistas by senior U.S. officials; falsification of evidence by U.S. Department of Justice officials; deceptive and inaccurate White House press releases and similarly dubious statements from individual members of the U.S. Congress and National Security Council were all designed to systematically demonize the popular Sandinista Government and sabotage the Nicaraguan economy.[iii]
The Sandinistas Were Labeled “Communist” for Wanting True Democracy. Why did the U.S. Government commit all these atrocious crimes against the Nicaraguan people? Because “for the first time, Nicaragua has a government that cares for its people,” said José Figueres, the globally revered architect of Costa Rica’s Democracy. In fact, the new Nicaraguan Government wanted to stop Somoza and foreign corporations from raping and pillaging their natural resources, illegally dominating their private industries, and corrupting their political system. (Is that too much to ask?) The tyrannical rule of the U.S.-backed Somoza crime family resulted in the Somozas owning nearly 20% of the entire country’s land and controlling nearly 100% of the country’s economic activity through a network of spies, paramilitary death squads, and pro-Somoza foreign corporations who operated in lock-step with the Somoza regime.
Proliferation of U.S.-Backed Dictatorships. The Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, the Batista dictatorship in Cuba, the Ubico and Armas dictatorships in Guatemala, the Pahlavi dictatorship in Iran, the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, the Mobutu dictatorship in Congo, the Noriega dictatorship in Panama, the Saddam Hussein dictatorship in Iraq, the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, numerous dictatorships in the Middle East, the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia, the Diem dictatorship in Vietnam, and literally dozens of other U.S.-backed, murderous dictators around the world since the beginning of the 20th Century have been able to exist only through the financial and military support of the U.S. Government.
America’s Global Gallery of Crimes Against Humanity. As the patron of a global gallery of crimes against humanity, the United States has by every material measure been the most destructive force against Democracy in world history. To be clear, I don’t write any of this with giddy satisfaction. In fact, I served honorably in the U.S. Air Force and worked for the federal government for a significant portion of my adult life, but that doesn’t mean I can ignore the lessons from history that every other nation on Earth observes every day: In every lesser-developed country that has attempted to resist the raping and pillaging of their natural resources, critical infrastructure, and private industries, Democracy has been obliterated by the U.S. Government’s foreign policy. Is it possible that this has caused hundreds of millions of people worldwide to hate the U.S. and its citizens? Could this be why Americans are no longer safe around the world today?
Senior U.S. Officials Knew the Dangers of Crack Cocaine. In the early-to-mid 1970s, years before crack cocaine proliferated in the United States, narcotics experts around the world warned senior U.S. officials about the intensely addictive characteristics of smokable cocaine. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and White House officials were warned in graphic detail how crack cocaine’s powerful predecessor, free-base cocaine, had turned tens of thousands of Latin Americans into dead-eyed drug zombies whose sole purpose in life was reduced to achieving their next chemically-induced orgasm. The experts virtually begged senior U.S. authorities to begin educating the American public about the risks associated to the super drug. All these warnings were ignored; and a few short years later, crack cocaine predictability exploded in the United States.
A Coordinated, Multi-Agency Assault on Democracy and Public Health. The scourge of crack cocaine spread so quickly because it is at least 10 times cheaper than powder or free-base cocaine, it is far easier to make, and there was an endless supply of cheap powder cocaine (the primary ingredient of crack) pouring into the United States from Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and several other Central American countries. All of these illicit activities occurred with the direct knowledge and complicity of senior officials in the White House, State Department, CIA, DEA, FBI, ATF, DIA, NSC, NSA, and IRS.
The Evidence. Everything in this article can be verified from hundreds of eye-witness testimonies under oath and exhaustive analysis from congressional investigations associated with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Report on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations and the Tower Commission Report that revealed the interconnected scandals of the Iran-Contra Affair, among other credible sources listed in the endnotes of this article. Indeed, all of these federal authorities had to coordinate their activities to block and suppress investigations into the financial and logistical flow of money, weapons, drugs, and information associated with key players within the North, Central, and South American drug supply chains and key players within several governments that were involved in directing the drugs-and-weapons Contra operations.
The “War on Drugs” Has Spawned the Largest Prison Population in the World. The tsunami of crack cocaine smuggled into the U.S. with the complicity and knowledge of senior U.S. officials has decimated many minority communities and has ripped apart hundreds of thousands of Caucasian families, too. The U.S. Government’s response has been to promote the disingenuous “War on Drugs” and pass draconian anti-crack-use laws, rather than treating the problem as a public health crisis. In parallel with the rising political influence of for-profit prison corporations since the early 1980s, the confluence of federal agency corruption and special interest lobbying has resulted in the U.S. having the largest prison population in the world.[iv]
African-American Communities Have Been Disproportionately Impacted. The tsunami of crack cocaine smuggled into the U.S. with the complicity and knowledge of senior U.S. officials has disproportionately decimated African-American communities. The U.S. prison population exploded by 700% between 1970 and 2005 and is still growing much faster than the nationwide population growth rate today. African-Americans account for approximately 60% of the U.S. prison population. Of course, there are complex cultural issues associated with poverty and crime; however, there are legitimate reasons for the African-American community to feel angry toward a federal government that has such a shameful history of criminal behavior, which has directly contributed to the generational poverty and disintegration of their communities.
The Militarization of American Neighborhoods. The massive influx of crack cocaine directly caused the rapid rise of gang violence throughout American cities toward the end of the 20th Century. Rival crack-dealing groups organized themselves into criminal gangs that waged deadly turf wars over who would control their neighborhood crack markets. Some dealers like “Freeway” Rick Ross generated over $1 million per day in revenue with extremely high profit margins. With that kind of cash flow, the gangs were able to purchase military-grade weapons, sophisticated surveillance equipment, and advanced communications technology, which further escalated the neighborhood drug wars that have ravaged American cities for decades.
Exploiting Sick Americans to Subsidize Foreign Wars is Bad Policy. There is no doubt that the crack cocaine epidemic throughout the United States was significantly magnified during the 1980s and 1990s and continues to plague thousands of communities throughout America to this day. Due to their greed, power-lust, and delusional definition of “national security,” senior U.S. officials involved in the Iran-Contra Affair and the cocaine smuggling scandal refused to acknowledge an obvious reality: Their obsession with controlling South and Central American countries by taking money from the pockets of sick American drug addicts was destroying the lives and communities of the American citizens they were responsible for protecting.
Lessons the World Learns from U.S. Foreign Policy. Awareness of the U.S. Government’s shameful foreign policy history in Nicaragua has expanded far beyond Central and South America. Today, students in the Middle East and around the world study what really happened in Nicaragua and the lessons they learn are clear: American institutions cannot be trusted; the U.S. Government routinely suppresses Democracy around the world by financially and logistically supporting undemocratic regimes; U.S. political leaders will not hesitate to conduct clandestine paramilitary and overt military operations to sabotage their economies and destroy their capacity to defend themselves against the economic imperialism of foreign corporations and governments.
True Understanding Comes from Accurate Information. The curriculum in most American schools will never include the true impact of the U.S. Government’s foreign policies because any school that attempts to deviate from the sanitized version of American History that is spoon-fed to American children today would lose their funding from the federal government. This is why most Americans grow up oblivious to the way the United States is perceived around the world, which prevents them from understanding why insurgent nationalist and religious groups attack Americans and U.S. interests around the world today.
True Democracy and Accountability Starts with an Educated Citizenry. Until a majority of Americans understand the truth about their federal government, the American electorate will not have the awareness or the incentives to hold their elected officials accountable for their short-sighted policies. In the meantime, at least 1 billion people around the world throughout Africa, Asia, South and Central America, and the Middle East will continue suffering from ever-more human rights abuses and economic oppression in the name of U.S. national security.
[i] In fact, Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista candidate, won a landslide victory in 1984 with 70% of the national vote compared to the next closest candidate who received only 14% of the vote. See: Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook by Dieter Nohlen, Vol. 1. Oxford Univ. Press, 2005. Pp.502.
[iii] As always, everything I write about is well-documented and easy to verify from primary sources. I would not have believed that senior officials in the U.S. Government could be so corrupt if I had not thoroughly studied the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Report on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations, the Tower Commission Report that revealed all the interconnected illicit activities during the Iran-Contra Affair, numerous United Nations International Court of Justice rulings, and the exhaustive evidence compiled by the late Gary Webb in his courageous “Dark Alliance” investigative report and corresponding book, ”Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Cocaine Explosion”. (Sadly, Mr. Webb was found dead with two bullets in his head. U.S. federal authorities concluded it was a suicide without explaining how a second gunshot could be fired after Webb was already dead or unconscious from the first gunshot.)