Published March 1, 1987
Arturo Cruz of Nicaragua is a man intuitively in sync with the message of Vaclav Havel, Adam Michnik, and George Konrad. One of the many victims of the Iran/arms scandal was Cruz’s remarkable proposal for the post-Sandinista future of his country.
During precisely the week when the Reagan administration’s foreign policy was imploding, Cruz and the other principal leaders of the Nicaraguan democratic resistance were meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica, to hammer out a post-revolution plan of governance. The leaders discussed a bill of rights and the pattern of an interim government to prepare the way for the democracy promised (and abandoned) by the Sandinistas. But Arturo Cruz went even further—he proposed that his country’s army be abolished after the Sandinistas were defeated.
“To follow the Costa Rican model of eventually doing away with the army is my dream,” said Mr. Cruz (who was, be it recalled, a member of the original post-Somoza junta). Human rights, democracy, disarmament down to police levels—this is the vision of Arturo Cruz. How many times have we heard that discussed, over the past four months? How does Cruz’s vision tally with the vision of Daniel and Humberto Ortega (masters of the largest army in Central America)? Or with that of Interior Minister (and master of the secret prisons) Tomas Borge? And shouldn’t the disjunction between these alternative visions of the Nicaraguan future become the criterion for determining who truly witnesses for peace in Central America?
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.