Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, first of all, I would like to make some remarks about the story that is on the front page of the Washington Post this morning. It concerns the explosion in Managua which revealed caches of arms, ammunition, surface-to-air missiles, and information concerning terrorism and kidnaping orchestrated and carried out from Nicaragua: that is, the Sandinistas, for many years.
Mr. President, those of us who have followed these issues were not surprised at the activities, although I am certainly surprised at the apparent scope of the activities, that the Sandinistas have been involved in.
Most of us foresaw that this could happen when Mrs. Chamorro decided to retain Humberto Ortega as the chief of the defense forces of Nicaragua following her election. Facts are facts, Mr. President, and the fact is that the Sandinistas are continuing to export terror and subversion throughout Central America, throughout the world, posing an incredible danger to the lives of millions of innocent people as evidenced by the uncovered stockpile of surface-to-air missiles.
Mr. President, today the United States of America should stop all aid and assistance to Nicaragua until such time as a thorough and complete investigation has been conducted, those who are guilty of these heinous crimes are brought to trial and we can be assured that this spread of terrorism is stopped and is stopped completely. We cannot allow this to continue.
Mr. President, the details of these terrorist activities on the part of the Sandinistas are documented in the Washington Post story. More will be coming out, including more about the passports from Nicaragua that were connected
with the bombing of the World Trade Center.
Mr. President, stop the aid today. Let us have an investigation. Let us see that this kind of outrageous terrorism is stopped.
Those of us, who supported freedom and democracy and aid to the Contras are again vindicated by the clear record of what the Sandinistas were doing with the help of Cuba and others. Recent events are an indication that the subversion continues.
I am sorry to say that none of this comes as much of a surprise to me. I have always been proud of my support for freedom in Nicaragua generally, and my past support for President Chamorro specifically. To my deep disappointment, the prospect for freedom in Nicaragua--so vivid on the day of President Chamorro's inauguration--has been squandered completely by her Government, led by Minister Antonio Lacayo, as it ceded all of its real authority to the Sandinistas for the honor of serving as a figleaf.
It is inconceivable that the kind of terrorism activities operating out of Managua could have done so without the knowledge and active cooperation of the Sandinistas who control the Army, the National Police and the intelligence services of Nicaragua. More disturbing, is the increasing suspicion that some officials of the Chamorro government must know that Nicaragua is still being used as a center to destabilize its neighboring countries, and to facilitate the murderous ambitions of some of the world's most cruelest terrorists.
In recent months hundreds of former Nicaraguan freedom fighters have been murdered. The Sandinistas have continued plundering the country unabated by the elected Government. Old crimes and new have gone unpunished. And Nicaraguan fingerprints have continued to appear on some of the most extreme episodes of terrorism in the world. This includes the Nicaraguan passports which were issued to some of the terrorists implicated in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York last February.
Because of this depressing evidence that the democratic revolution in Nicaragua has been crushed by the continued Sandinista tyranny, I and several other colleagues have called for a cessation of United States assistance to that country. Our concerns have been if not dismissed, then underappreciated by the Clinton administration. I would hope that with this new compelling evidence, the administration would recognize that continued support of the Nicaraguan Government is the worst thing we could do if we are truly interested in rescuing the democratic aspirations of the people of Nicaragua.
Again, I strongly urge the administration to freeze all further assistance to the Government of Nicaragua until such time that an international body has investigated fully the crimes that have been revealed by this recent explosion. We cannot rely on the Nicaraguan Government to conduct a fair and thorough investigation because the implications of that investigation may very well cause the downfall of some leading officials of that Government. I would also urge that our own Federal Bureau of Investigation be involved in this effort.
The American people would be hard pressed to understand how the U.S. Government could continue supporting a government which poses a direct threat to the security of other nations in this hemisphere including our own. By taking this first necessary step, we can begin to rescue the democratic revolution which the people of Nicaragua thought they had achieved when three years ago they elected Violeta Chamorro to save them from the tyranny of the Sandinistas.