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See Chaser Shipping Corp. v. United States, 649 F.Supp. 736 (S.D.N.Y., 1986) and Committee of United States Citizens Living in Nicaragua v. Reagan, 859 F.2d 929 (D.C. Cir., 1988).

U.S. Mining Nicaragua’s Harbors (February-March 1984)

by Charles Judson Harwood Jr.


“ Those who wield swords against their own people and their neighbours risk having swords turned against them.”

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick (U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.), statement (U.N. Security Council Meeting 2525, Friday, March 30 1984, 3:30-7:30 p.m.), transcript, U.N. Doc. S/PV.2525(OR), page 9, ¶ 83 {3076kb.pdf, also via ODS} (Official Records of the Security Council), quoted, Richard Bernstein, “Nicaragua in U.N. Protest” (New York Times, March 31 1984, page A4).

“ Praise be to God who created all people ... and commanded them to be just and permitted the wronged one to retaliate against the oppressor in kind.”

Usama bin Laden, Aljazerra, Oct. 29 2004 {copy}


United States Senate
Select Committee on Intelligence
Washington D.C. 20510

“ April 9, 1984.

Hon. William J. Casey,
Director of Central Intelligence,
Central Intelligence Agency,
Washington, DC.

Dear Bill:

All this past weekend, I’ve been trying to figure out how I can most easily tell you my feelings about the discovery of the President having approved mining some of the harbors of Central America.

It gets down to one, little, simple phrase:

I am pissed off!

I understand you had briefed the House on this matter. I’ve heard that.

Now, during the important debate we had all last week and the week before, on whether we would increase funds for the Nicaragua program, we were doing all right, until a Member of the Committee charged that the President had approved the mining.

I strongly denied that because I had never heard of it.

I found out the next day that the CIA had, with the written approval of the President, engaged in such mining, and the approval came in February!

Bill, this is no way to run a railroad and I find myself in a hell of a quandary.

I am forced to apologize to the Members of the Intelligence Committee because I did not know the facts on this. At the same time, my counterpart in the House did know.

The President has asked us to back his foreign policy.

Bill, how can we back his foreign policy when we don’t know what the hell he is doing?

Lebanon, yes, we all knew that he sent troops over there.

But mine the harbors in Nicaragua?

This is an act violating international law.

It is an act of war.

For the life of me, I don’t see how we are going to explain it.

My simple guess is that the House is going to defeat this supplemental and we will not be in any position to put up much of an argument after we were not given the information we were entitled to receive; particularly, if my memory serves me correctly, when you briefed us on Central America just a couple of weeks ago.

And the order was signed before that.

I don’t like this.

I don’t like it one bit from the President or from you.

I don’t think we need a lot of lengthy explanations.

The deed has been done and, in the future, if anything like this happens, I’m going to raise one hell of a lot of fuss about it in public.


Barry Goldwater,

Barry M. Goldwater (Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence), to William J. Casey, Director of Central Intelligence, letter dated April 9 1984, reprinted, “Goldwater Writes C.I.A. Director Scorching Letter” (Washington Post, April 11 1984, page A17), reprinted, “Text of Goldwater's Letter to Head of C.I.A.” (New York Times, April 11 1984, page A9), reprinted, Senate debate, “Nomination of Robert M. Gates, of Virginia, to be Director of Central Intelligence,” 137 Congressional Record S15901-S15949 {pf}, at S15923 (U.S. Congress 102-1, daily edition 137:162, November 5 1991) {SuDoc: X/A.102/1:137/162}.

“ Daniel Moynihan. The press ...

No one — no one — ever got our point, that the issue was, that we had not been informed, in advance.

No one ever figured out, that Senator Goldwater would have told the Agency, that they could not mine the harbors of a nation, with which we had an extant Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation.

He did not have the authority to stop them.

But he could have picked up the telephone

and asked for President Reagan.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (U.S. Senator, resigned April 15 1984 as Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, continuing to serve de facto, the rest of that session of Congress), “Memorandum for Senator Warner” (October 1 1991), reprinted, Senate debate, “Nomination of Robert M. Gates, of Virginia, to be Director of Central Intelligence,” 137 Congressional Record S15901-S15949 {pf}, at S15921-S15923 (U.S. Congress 102-1, daily edition 137:162, November 5 1991) {SuDoc: X/A.102/1:137/162}. And see Bernard Gwertzman, “Moynihan to Quit Senate Panel Post in Dispute on C.I.A” (New York Times, April 15 1991); “Moynihan's Farewell” (New York Times, October 15 1991).

“ Daniel Moynihan. There has, however, been one failure, in the relations of the intelligence community and the committee, so far. ...

This failure arose from the decision of the Director of Central intelligence not to consult with our committees ... and ask our advice about a hugely significant covert action.

The mining of Nicaraguan harbors ...

The Central Intelligence Agency made the decision to go forward with a particular act, the mining of harbors in Nicaragua ...

Had the committees been informed in advance, I like to think, we would have urged the intelligence community, not to do this.

Perhaps expecting that, the community chose not to tell the committees, although the clear requirement of the statute is, that the committee be informed, by the Director of Central Intelligence, in advance of any “significant anticipated activity.”

We were not informed.

In a word:

Anything the President is required to approve, the committees are required to be informed of ...

This will likely be my last statement, as a member of the Intelligence Committee. I have served 8 years, 4 years as vice-chairman.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senate debate, “The Intelligence Budget,” 130 Congressional Record S14200-S14201 (October 11 1984, daily edition 130:134, U.S. Congress 98-2) {SuDoc: X/A.98/2:130/134}.


Timeline and victims


“ David (interviewer). You, when you took over, as head of the Latin American Division, at the Agency, what was the situation in Nicaragua? I know that, that—

What I would like to know about is the beginning, of the Contras, and the fact that the Argentineans were involved, from the word go.

Duane Clarridge. Well, I think you perhaps gotta start with what I was asked to do. Alright.

When I returned from Rome, Casey saw me, a few days after I got back, and said, you know, "Take a look at the Central American thing, and figure out," you know, "how we can do some things better." ...

And, you know, it didn’t take rocket science, scientist, to figure out.

What we needed to do, was to build a backfire or, if you will, take the war to Nicaragua, to force them, to do a couple of things:

One, to become preoccupied, with an internal problem, so they can spend less time trying to overthrow the government in El Salvador, or help the terrorists there to overthrow the government in El Salvador.

And, two, perhaps encourage them, to come to the negotiating table, and reach some sort of an agreement, on a pluralistic society, with real elections, and so on, and so forth, and to help block the arms shipments.

So that was what the real motivation was, in putting this thing together.

And, we knew we had something to start with. Okay. And we had about 500, we knew there were about 500, some of them were former members of the National Guard of Nicaragua, or a lot of them were just, you know, peasants, from the mountainous areas, between Honduras and Nicaragua, who had been at war with somebody, forever. And in many respects they were like a bunch of cattle rustlers, bandits, not bandits, they weren’t robbing people, but they were doing the things they do in that area. About 500 of them.

The Argentines, in 1980, had gone there, to Honduras, to support this effort. They wanted to, they wanted to overthrow the Sandinistas. ...

This sounds a little bizarre, that they would wanna undertake that, but I learned — when I went to Argentina, to cut the deal with general Galtieri, later president — that they really had a, an almost, a messianic drive, to take on communists, and communism, wherever they could get at it. Okay.

And getting at it, along the Honduran and Nicaraguan borders, pretty far away. ... How, why, did they have it in with the Hondurans? That was largely through colonel, later general, Arreres, who was a— I believe, graduated from their commanding general staff college, at some point. And so there was, there was a connection. He was the head of FUSEF at that time, FUSEF being the Honduran police.

* * *

David. Do you remember how the decision and the planning was taken? when you evolved, or it was evolved, the mining of the harbor?

Was that a long, drawn out thing?

Duane Clarridge. No.

I mean, I, I, I had, I remember very clearly, in January of ’94 {1984}, I had tried to— Just back a couple of months.

We had eschewed economic targets. That was our going-in. Guerilla warfare experts will tell ya, don’t hit the economic targets, you make enemies of the people you need.

I don’t believe— That’s not true. It maybe true in certain circumstances, but it is not an all encompassing rule, and everything needs to be looked at.

And anyway, by the early fall of ’83, we had begun to go after the oil supply. The pipeline, that was in the ocean, whether it was Soviet or Mexican ships, would fill up. I—

We were unsuccessful. Okay.

So we decided to go, big time, for the economics. Alright.

At some point, in January, Reagan, and the whole, all the members of the NSPG {National Security Planning Group}, was a meeting, in about the middle of January, of 1984, put a lot of heat on me, to get on with this thing. Alright.

So they authorized me to increase the number of troops I had. Well, thank you very much, but I didn’t have any more money. So, you know—

And besides, more troops up in the mountains — because they couldn’t go down into the plains, because they had been shot up, by the tanks and artillery. Didn’t help me.

So, I was sitting at home one night, frankly having a glass of gin, and I said, you know, the mines has gotta be the solution. I knew we had ’em, we’d made ’em, outta sewer pipe, and we had the good fusing system on them, and we were ready. And, you know, they wouldn’t really hurt anybody, because they just weren’t that big a mine. Alright. Yeah. With luck, bad luck, we might hurt somebody. But pretty hard, you know. So—

And I knew their export season was coming up. The Sandinistas desperately needed to get hard currency, for their exports, to pay off their bank loans, so this was a time to put the mines into Corinto.

They only got one harbor that counts. And, at the same time, make sure we notify Lloyds of London, the mines have gone in, so hopefully they put pressure on the shipping companies of the world, to stay outta there.

Well, it worked.

{Well, it didn’t work. I investigated this, at the time. Lloyds took no notice, raised no rates, issued no restrictions. -CJ Harwood}.

David. And, how did you react to the opposition that had grown, not just in the media, and in the liberal world press, but in your own congress, when funding started to be affected, when amendments started to be passed.

Duane Clarridge. Yeah. Well, first of all, there is an argument, and this is, this is what the congressional people will say, is, that they voted against money for the contras, fiscal year 1985, which began in October 1984. They voted against it, in the spring, I guess, like May or June, in 1984, because of the mining.

Now that is specious. Everybody knows it’s specious. It wasn’t the mining. They all knew about the mining. It was the fact that it got into the press. And so much ... nonsense. But so much attention was given to it. Okay.

But that wasn’t why they voted against the— They were gonna vote against further money to the contras anyways, and, you know, you’d get honest people, they wouldn’t adapt.

Now the minute it became clear — and that was clear by June of 1984 — that the Congress was not going to provide any funds for the contras, in the ’85 fiscal year—

I was leaving. Okay. But— And I don’t know anything special. Okay. Oh yeah, I learned things afterwards, when I was indicted, on the Iran contra thing, which had nothing to do with me, I was only a little part of the Iran thing, but the contra thing I had nothing to do with.

But I was shown documents where, as early as March 1984, Casey and MacFarlane had begun to think about what they were going to do, to keep the contras alive. And they knew, damn well, why they weren’t {?were} gonna do that. Because these contras were Ronald Reagan’s people. And he felt very strongly about it. I mean there were other people, other than I, can tell you how he felt about that. He was not going to let these people down. They were his vandals, as he used to describe them to me, but they were his freedom fighters, and he felt that very personally. And the day he {?way they} had, you know, sacrificed for him for this country.

And unlike so many other times, in my country’s history, we have let other groups like this down — and we have an abysmal record, right up until last year, for that matter, of letting these groups down.

He wasn’t gonna do it.

* * *

David. ... Looking at your years there, in Latin American division, it was a very hot war there going on, in Central America, a lot of people died, a lot of people disappeared, on both sides, there was a lot of tragedy, economic superstructures were ripped apart ...

How do you feel about the level of the intensity of the battle, that you fought there. Do you think it was necessary to combat the Soviet Cuban influence with such high amounts of money and people?

Duane Clarridge. ... Now, did it have to be of the dimension it was?

Probably not.

Had we come to the economic approach, to warfare, earlier, and gone for the {?that} point, I think we could have finished it off, a lot earlier, probably with a lot less lives lost, you know. ...

I think we could have reduced the number of casualties, had we just decided the economic was the way to go, a little earlier.

And certainly, if we had been allowed to continue the mining, it would have all been over by ’85. And we know that, from special information, that the Sandinistas had, that this was really choking, and so it’s too bad, because we went on, for another 4 years.”

Duane Clarridge ("Dewey") (CIA 1955-1987, chief 1981-1984 October, DO/Latin America: Directorate of Operations, Latin America Division, a/k/a covert operations, clandestine service), interviewed by David Boardman(?) (researcher) (transcript), research for “Backyard (1954-1990)” (broadcast February 21 1999, containing two sentences from this interview), being episode 18 {video} of Cold War (CNN documentary in 24 episodes, first broadcast beginning September 27 1998), CNN removed its webpage, after some of the documents and film it used, in the documentary, were reclassified as secret, by George W. Bush (U.S. president).

“ Edgar Chamorro.

16. At the end of January 1983, I was instructed to relocate to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to establish and manage the FDN’s communication office. ¶

The CIA station in Tegucigalpa, which at that time included about 20 agents working directly with the FDN, gave me money, in cash, to hire several writers, reporters and technicians to prepare a monthly bulletin called “Comandos,” to run a clandestine radio station and to write press releases. ¶

I was also given money by the CIA to rent a house, office space and automobiles and to obtain office supplies and communications equipment. ¶

I also received money from the CIA to bribe Honduran journalists and broadcasters to write and speak favorably about the FDN and to attack the government of Nicaragua and call for its overthrow.

Approximately 15 Honduran journalists and broadcasters were on the CIA’s payroll, and our influence was thereby extended to every major Honduran newspaper and radio and television station. ¶

(I learned from my CIA colleagues that the same tactic was employed in Costa Rica in an effort to turn the newspapers and radio and televisions stations of that country against the Nicaraguan government.) ¶

I worked very closely in all of these matters with several CIA agents based in Tegucigalpa, but most closely with one of the deputy stations chiefs, named “George,” who had drafted the FDN’s first press statement in Miami and was then transferred to Tegucigalpa to continue working with us. ¶

Together with “George,” and subject to his approval, I planned all the activities of my communications office and prepared a budget. ¶

The budget was reviewed by the CIA station in Tegucigalpa and, if approved, sent to Washington to obtain the necessary funds, which were always provided to me in cash.”

Edgar Chamorro, affidavit dated September 5 1985, filed September 10 1985 as “Supplemental Annex G” to the “Memorial of Nicaragua (Merits)” (filed April 30 1985), reprinted, volume 4, pages 445-454, ¶ 16 at 449-450 {“Sorry, this page's content is restricted”} {pages 1-455: 20.1mb.pdf, source}, I.C.J. Pleadings (Case No. 70), Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America) (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Case No. 70), 5 volumes (2000-2001) {UNBISnet: ICJ753-ICJ757, ISBN: 9210708237, 9210708245, 9210708253, 9210708261, 9210708288, LCCN: 2001380451, OCLC: 44106220, WorldCat}, volume 4 (2001) {UNBISnet: ICJ756, ISBN: 9210708261} (“Memorial of Nicaragua (Merits); supplemental documents,” 14+532 pages) {pages 14+1-455: 20.1mb.pdf, source, pages 456-532: 3.3mb.pdf, source, I.C.J. files dated April 15 2007}, series, I.C.J. Pleadings, Oral Arguments, Documents {UNBISnet, ISSN: 0074-4433, LCCN, UCal}.

“ Edgar Chamorro.

Another element of the public relations work directed at people inside Nicaragua, or on the border with Honduras, was the FDN’s “clandestine” radio station Rádio 15 de Septiembre. ¶

I say clandestine, because it was not officially recognized by the government of Honduras. ¶

However, it was not actually hidden. ¶

It operated openly, with implicit support from the Hondurans, and the FDN public relations office oversaw its productions. ¶

There were also other clandestine radio stations financed, directed, and monitored by the CIA to help the contras. ¶

One in Costa Rica for Edén Pastora’s group, “Frente Revolucionario Sandino” (a member of the ARDE coalition), called Rádio Sandino. ¶

And one on the Atlantic coast aimed at the Miskitos, called Rádio Misura. ...

Rádio 15 de Septiembre was located on a hill outside Tegucigalpa, convenient to our offices. ¶

We got technical assistance for maintaining equipment from the CIA, and a CIA man helped oversee the daily production of programs. ¶

The tape for each day’s program was prepared and edited in the morning and then broadcast 5 times: once at 4:30pm, when the peasants return to their houses after work; again at 8:30pm, for those in the cities; again at 11:00pm; at 5:30am the next morning with a few changes; and finally that day at noon. ...

The programing included a section of combat news. ¶

When triumphs, advances, and special offensives by FDN troops were announced (regardless of their actual successes or failures). ¶

As a way to boost morale among the troops and to persuade others to join the contras. ¶

There were diatribes against the Sandinistas. ¶

Accusing them of human rights violations, mistreatment of prisoners, rapes and assassinations, and of running a communist dictatorship whose leaders lived in palaces. ¶

Programs also included slogans, songs, news commentaries, and an occasional forum with visiting commentators.”

Edgar Chamorro, Packaging the Contras: A Case of CIA Disinformation, pages 25-26, 45, 66 (Institute for Media Analysis, New York City, 1987) {ISBN: 0941781089, ISBN: 0941781070, OCLC: 17534021, WorldCat}.


January 5 1984—Tegucigalpa Honduras.

“ Edgar Chamorro.

24. On January 5, 1984, at 2 am, the CIA deputy station chief of Tegucigalpa, the agent I knew as “George,” woke me up at my house in Tegucigalpa and handed me a press release in excellent Spanish. ¶

I was surprised to read that we — the FDN — were taking credit for having mined several Nicaraguan harbors. ¶

“George” told me to rush to our clandestine radio station and read this announcement before the Sandinistas broke the news. ¶

The truth is that we played no role in the mining of the harbors. ¶

But we did as instructed and broadcast the communiqué about the mining of the harbors. ¶

Ironically, approximately two months later, after a Soviet ship struck one of the mines, the same agent instructed us to deny that one of “our” mines had damaged the ship to avoid an international incident.”

Edgar Chamorro, affidavit dated September 5 1985, pages 18-19, reprinted, Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), volume 4, page 452 ¶ 24 {pages 1-455: 20.1mb.pdf, source} (cited above).



“ Edgar Chamorro. George eventually gave me his card. ¶

When he was at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa. ¶

It said he was Segundo Secretario, Embajada de los Estados Unidos. ¶

And that his name was John W. Mallett.”

Edgar Chamorro, Packaging the Contras: A Case of CIA Disinformation (cited above), page 11, accord page 50.


Query:John W. Mallett”?

Another fictitious name?


Sources for the following events (CAHI, LCC, DGS, FBIS), U.N. documents, Washington Post archive, New York Times archive (nytimes, pgarchiver), Wall Street Journal archive:

February 24 1984—Puerto El Bluff, Zelaya Sur.

CAHI: “Sea Raiders attacked fuel deposits in El Bluff {near Bluefields on the Atlantic coast}. They planted mines which blew-up 2 Nicaraguan fishing vessels the following day.” DGS: “They also attacked fishing vessels Aldo Chavarría and Pescasa 15, causing minor damage, and scattered mines as they left.”

February 25 1984—Puerto El Bluff, Zelaya Sur.

DGS: “The fishing boat Pescasa 15 was sunk after hitting a mine and Pescasa 23 was damaged when it hit 2 mines. In all, 7 people — including Jaime Dans and Pedro Laponte—were wounded and 2 disappeared.” LCC: “A fishing boat (El Pescasa 22) exploding two mines set opposite the Pescasa dock. Three of the 5 crew members were wounded and 2 were missing.”

NYT: Stephen Kinzer, “Nicaragua, Citing Raids, Says Rebels Have New Skills” (New York Times, March 7 1984, page A3).

February 24-25 1984—Puerto El Bluff, Zelaya Sur.

CIA: “Q-boats under the command of 3rd country nationals and manned by personnel from Central America conducted the operation. Mother craft remained in international waters. Four mines were placed in shipping channel. Four Nicaraguan patrol craft were hit: 2 were sunk and 2 were damaged. All 4 were converted fishing boats. 2 KIA [killed-in-action] and 4 WIA [wounded].”

February 28 1984—Managua Nicaragua.

“ I am writing to you in order to inform you of the following serious incidents:

On 24 February 1984, at 2245 hours, one of the Piraña-type launches supplied by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of your country to the counter-revolutionary forces operating from Honduras and Costa Rica came from Costa Rica, went as far as the Barra del Bluff sector in Zelaya department and, using rifles and heavy machine guns, attacked fuel storage facilities for 20 minutes with the intention of destroying them but without achieving its objective. ¶

In withdrawing towards Costa Rica, the launch attacked the motorized fishing vessels Aldo Chavarría and Pescasa 15 out at sea, at the level of the DICSA company facilities, causing minor physical damage. ¶

Then, in passing near the Barra de Hong Sang, it came into armed confrontation with a motor vessel of the Sandinist Navy, there being no serious outcome.

The aggressor craft also left several mines scattered over the Barra del Bluff, and at 1243 hours on 25 February the motorised vessel Pescasa 15 sank following contact with and the explosion of mines placed near the Pescasa quay. ¶

As a result of the explosion Jaime Davis and Pedro Laponte were injured.

On the same day at 1000 hours the motorised vessel Pescasa 23 was making for the quay when it came into contact with two mines, which exploded damaging the vessel. ¶

Seven persons were wounded and two disappeared.

Because of the gravity of the incidents mentioned above, the Government of Nicaragua is presenting a formal protest in the strongest terms to your Government concerning those acts, which signify a dangerous and reckless escalation in the uninterrupted aggression which your Government has been financing, organizing and directing against our country for the past two years. ¶

Those acts are in complete contradiction with the verbal declarations made by your Government in support of the Contadora process and the peace negotiations set in motion by that process. ¶

At all events, those acts amount to the imposition of a military blockade in addition to the attempts as an economic and political blockade of Nicaragua in which your Government is engaging, in open violation of international legal norms.”

Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann (Nicaragua Minister for Foreign Affairs) to George P. Shultz (U.S. Secretary of State), letter dated February 28 1984, quoted in letter dated February 29 1984, from Julio Icaza Gallard (Nicaragua U.N. Ambassador Chargé d'Affaires) to the President of the U.N. Security Council (“I should be grateful if you would arrange for the present note to be circulated as a document of the Security Council”) (U.N. Doc. S/16376, February 29 1984) {75kb.pdf}.

U.N. Docs.

The U.N. documents can be downloaded (the easy way) by clicking the document number link (on this page) and then the link on the resulting U.N. library catalog page. The additional pdf links also work (on this page), but only after the U.N. server sets a session cookie. To get it, visit ODS, click Welcome, click Advanced Search, search once (e.g., Symbol: S/16376), click the search result link, to reach the “mother.asp” page.  CJHjr

February 29–March 4 1984—Puerto Corinto, Chinandega.

CIA: “Eight mines were placed in shipping channel. One Dutch dredger severely damaged. Dutch canceled dredging operation. One Soviet-class patrol boat damaged. One Cuban freighter seriously damaged.”

March 1 1984—Puerto Corinto, Chinandega.

CAHI: “The Dutch dredger Geopotes {16 kb jpg} was damaged when it struck a mine at Corinto.”

WP:Nicaraguan Leader Charges CIA Mined Two Key Ports” (Washington Post, March 4 1984, page A19).

March 2 1984—Washington D.C.

“On the night of February 29, [U.S. Navy Seals] emplaced four magnetic mines in the harbor at Corinto, Nicaragua. No attempt was made by the Sandinistas to engage the [Seals] during the mission. In accord with prior arrangements, ARDE’s “Barracuda Commandos” took credit for the operation.”

Oliver L. North, Constantine Menges, “Special Activities in Nicaragua,” (National Security Council, Memorandum for Robert C. McFarlane, cc: Ken DeGraffenreid, System IV, NSC/ICS-400215, N 4 4 8 4 2, March 2 1984, Top Secret) {copy, copy}.

March 7 1984—Puerto Corinto, Chinandega.

CAHI: “The Panamanian ship Los Caribes—carrying medicine, food, and industrial inputs—was severely damaged when it struck a mine at Corinto.” DGS (page 133): The cargo weighed 26 tons; the ship was entering the port when attacked by the mine. FBIS: “...the Panamanian ship North Caribe ... damaged several miles off the port on Wednesday night while preparing to leave Nicaraguan waters. No crew member was wounded ... the ship was towed ...”

FBIS: “Ship Damaged Leaving Port,” PA090033 Paris AFP in Spanish 2342 GMT 8 Mar 84 (Managua) (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, March 9 1984, page P 9). WP: AP, “Ship Said to Hit Mine in Nicaragua” (Washington Post, March 9 1984, page A25): “The ship, owned by a consortium of Central American governments, did not sink ... Meanwhile a military commander reported a helicopter and two speedboats tried to destroy oil tanks at Puerto San Juan del Sur, on Nicaragua’s southern Pacific coast, in an attack Wednesday night.” NYT: Stephen Kinzer, “Nicaraguan Port Thought to Be Mined” (New York Times, March 16 1984, page A3).

March 8 1984—Managua Nicaragua.

“ I am writing to you with reference to the serious incidents described below:

On 6 March 1984, at 2200 hours, two ‘Piraña’ launches attacked military installations at Montelimar with 81 mm mortars. ¶

The first attack lasted 10 minutes, after which the launches withdrew, only to return a few minutes later for a second attack with 81 mm mortars and machine-guns. ¶

The launches withdrew again and returned once more for a third and final attack which lasted for about five minutes, after which they withdrew for good. ¶

These attacks, in which mortars mounted on fast launches were used for the first time, caused no casualties.

Yesterday, 7 March, at about 1030 hours, a tank truck loaded with 9,000 gallons of propane gas coming from Honduras was sabotaged with explosive charges characteristic of the CIA soon after it had entered Nicaraguan territory via the Tapacales frontier sector in Somoto. ¶

It should be noted that this act of sabotage occurred at a time when 200 troops of the United States armed forces and 7,200 Honduran army troops were present in the Honduran frontier sector.

Similarly, yesterday, 7 March, at 2252 hours, a fast launch, acting in concert with an attack helicopter, fired five rockets at the fuel storage tanks situated in this sector without succeeding in destroying them.

The same day, at 2300 hours, the Panamanian cargo ship Norcaribe was damaged, presumably as a result of striking a mine, while it was heading for an area near the Corinto jetty, between the third and fourth buoys. ¶

Although the causes of the explosion are still being investigated, it should be noted that the CIA mercenary forces recently announced in Costa Rica that they had mined the port of Corinto. ¶

Although the investigation is still under way, this means that we cannot rule out the possibility that the Panamanian ship may have hit a mine, which seriously damaged it.

In presenting its most formal and vigorous protest against this new escalation in the criminal attacks against economic and military objectives that endanger areas densely populated with civilians, the Government of Nicaragua expresses the firm belief that such acts form part of the new Strategy of the CIA, aimed at spreading terror in Nicaragua following the total failure of its earlier plans, and that they are intended to disrupt the process of institutionalising the Revolution and democratically strengthening Nicaragua.”

Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann (Nicaragua Minister for Foreign Affairs) to George P. Shultz (U.S. Secretary of State), letter dated March 8 1984, quoted in letter dated March 9 1984 from Javier Chamorro Mora (Nicaragua U.N. Ambassador) to the President of the U.N. Security Council (“I should be grateful if you would have this note circulated as a document of the Security Council”) (U.N. Doc. S/16402, March 9 1984) {74kb.pdf}.

March 20 1984—Puerto Sandino, León.

CAHI: “The Soviet tanker Lugansk — carrying 250,000 barrels of crude oil — was damaged by a mine in Puerto Sandino” FBIS: “as it sailed past buoy no.1 on its way into the Port of Sandino ... five Soviet sailors were injured. Two of them, Nicolai Zretiakov and Autaudil Salijazadze, had to be urgently taken to a ... hospital operating in Chinandega Department, 130 km northwest of Managua. It was announced this morning that the sailors are out of danger although one of them has spinal injuries, according to a medical report.” WP: “Today’s explosion occurred at 1:40 p.m. at the entrance to the port, Nicaraguan officials reported. Although part of the tanker caught fire, officials said it was able to reach land and unload the oil by late this afternoon.” NYT: “The Lugansk’s captain, identified by TASS as A. Anzov, was quoted as saying that the outcome would have been catastrophic had the mine not punctured a dry hold. As it was, the report said, the ‘floating magnetic mine’ buckled steel partitions between the oil tanks and damaged pipelines, the galley and emergency pumps, leaving a single fuel pump for pumping out water.” NYT: “There are not known to be any Soviet military advisers in Nicaragua. The largest concentration of Russians in the country is at Friendship Hospital in northern town of Chinandega. It was established after floods in May 1982, and has remained open ever since, still housed in tents and still staffed entirely by Soviet personnel. The Soviet seamen wounded in the mine explosion last week were taken to Chinandega for treatment before being released over the weekend ... At present, 65 Soviet doctors, nurses and technicians are believed to work there.”

FBIS: “Government Reacts to Mine Damaging Soviet Ship,” PA211911 Managua Radio Noticias in Spanish 1200 GMT 21 Mar 84 (Statement issued by the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry in Managua on 20 March) and “Blames U.S. for Explosion,” PA211642 Paris AFP in Spanish 155 GMT 21 Mar 84 (Managua) (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, March 21 1984, pages P 10-12). WP: Alma Guillermoprieto, “Mine Placed by U.S.-Backed Rebels Damages Soviet Tanker, Managua Says” (Washington Post, March 21 1984, page A19). Dusko Doder, “Soviets Blame U.S. In Tanker Blast” (Washington Post, March 22 1984, page A1). NYT: UPI, “Soviet Tanker Damaged by Mine Laid by Rebels in Nicaraguan Port” (New York Times, March 21 1984, page A4). John F. Burns, “Moscow Holds U.S. Responsible For Mines Off Nicaragua's Ports” (New York Times, March 22 1984, page A1): “... state terrorism ...” John F. Burns, “Soviet Tells Details of Sea Blast Off Nicaragua” (New York Times, March 23 1984, page A6). Stephen Kinzer, “Soviet Help to Sandinistas: No Blank Check” (New York Times, March 28 1984, page A1).

“ Communiqué dated 20 March 1984 issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Nicaragua

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Nicaragua announces the following:

At 1.40 p.m. today, the Soviet vessel Lugansk, which was carrying oil to our country, was damaged while heading past buoy No. 1 towards Puerto Sandino by an explosion caused by a device placed in that sector by mercenaries in the service of the United States Government. ¶

Five Soviet seamen were wounded as a result of that criminal action. Despite the above-mentioned terrorist action, this vessel is unloading the oil in the installations at Puerto Sandino.

This latest criminal attack is to be added to those perpetrated at Bluefields and Corinto in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans of Nicaragua, which together constitute the de facto blockade which the United States Government is applying against Nicaragua, as part of its undeclared war against the Nicaraguan people. ¶

It also once again confirms the aggressive and criminal character of the policy of State terrorism pursued by the Reagan administration in its desire to restore its domination over our country.

As well as deploring the fact that Soviet seamen, in addition to the Dutch and Central American seamen affected previously, have fallen victim to the senseless policy of the United States Government, the Government of Nicaragua denounces the danger which the indiscriminate laying of mines and explosive charges poses to international shipping along the coasts of Central America.

The Government of Nicaragua reiterates its readiness to continue to struggle for peace in the Central American area and again appeals to the international community to provide Nicaragua with the necessary technical and military means to defend itself against the State terrorism unleashed by the United States Government.”

Communiqué dated 20 March 1984 issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Nicaragua, annexed to letter dated March 21 1984 from Javier Chamorro Mora (Nicaragua U.N. Ambassador) to the President of the U.N. Security Council (“I request that it be circulated as a document of the Security Council”) (U.N. Doc. S/16426, March 21 1984) {61kb.pdf}.

March 28 1984—Puerto Corinto, Chinandega.

CAHI: “The Liberian ship Iver Chaser—carrying molasses—ran into a mine in Corinto.” FBIS: “... sailing under a Liberian flag, was leaving the Port of Corinto with 10,000 tons of molasses when it hit a mine as it was passing buoys No. 2 and No. 3.” LL: “The Liberian-registered ship had British officers and ratings and the National Union of Seamen asked UK shipowners to pay war rates on any British ship in the area. ... PAL Shipping Services, which provides manning for the Norwegian-owned vessel ....”

FBIS: “Foreign Ministry Communique” PA290050 Managua Radio Sandino Network in Spanish 0000 GMT 29 Mar 84 (Communique issued by the Nicaraguan Foreign Affairs Ministry in Managua on 28 March) (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, March 29 1984, page P 14). Lloyd’s List and Shipping Gazette, March 30 1984.

“ Communiqué dated 28 March 1984 issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Nicaragua

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Nicaragua announces the following:

Today, at 10.05 a.m., the vessel Inderchaser {Iver Chaser}, flying a Liberian flag and carrying 10,000 tons of molasses, while passing between buoys Nos. 2 and 3 on its way out of the port of Corinto, struck a mine which had been laid there, causing it to explode. ¶

The Nicaraguan authorities are still investigating the damage that was caused.

The Government of Nicaragua hereby holds the Government of the United States responsible for the human and material losses resulting from this incident. ¶

There is no doubt that such mines have been laid in Nicaraguan ports on instructions from and with the direct complicity of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States Government, which is now about to receive an additional sum of $21 million in order to continue carrying out such acts of terrorism and piracy.

This criminal act may cause new victims to be added to the toll of dead and injured of Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Soviet and Netherlands nationality who have been victims in previous incidents. ¶

The State terrorism which the United States Government is practising against Nicaragua poses a direct threat to the security of international shipping off Central American coasts and is designed to sabotage the peace efforts of the Contadora Group.

This senseless policy of the United States Administration is without any doubt the principal obstacle impeding the peace efforts of the Contadora Group and the attainment of the minimal degree of understanding and trust that would enable the work of its commissions to proceed. ¶

In the light of reality there is no alternative but to demand that the United States cease this policy in order to permit effective progress to he made in building peace.

The Government of Nicaragua confirms once again its readiness to continue to struggle for peace in the Central American region and reiterates its appeal to the international community to provide Nicaragua with the necessary technical and military means to defend itself from the State terrorism unleashed by the United States Government.”

Communiqué dated 28 March 1984 issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Nicaragua, annexed to letter dated March 29 1984 from Javier Chamorro Mora (Nicaragua U.N. Ambassador) to the President of the U.N. Security Council (“I should be grateful if you would have the communiqué distributed as a document of the Security Council”) (U.N. Doc. S/16448, March 29 1984) {70kb.pdf}.

March 28 1984—Puerto Corinto, Chinandega.

LCC: “Later the ship Aracely Pérez—which was sweeping mines at that port—hit another mine and was also damaged.” FBIS: “... a few moments ago in Corinto. Two fishing boats owned by (ALINSA) sustained serious structural damage when they struck two explosive mines in the bay of the Port of Corinto. Despite the strong explosions, the crew members of the fishing boats San Albino and Aracely Pérez suffered no injuries. Each boat cost more than 5 million cordobas, Francisco Gonzalez, the general manager of the company reported.”

FBIS: “Mines Off Corinto” (Felix Thomas report from Corinto), PA261750 Managua Domestic Service in Spanish 1705 GMT 29 Mar 84 (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, March 30 1984, page P 16). DGS, page 136.

March 28 1984—Puerto Sandino, León.

CAHI: “The Panamanian ship Homin was attacked by Sea Raiders when it was loading 9,700 tons of sugar at Puerto Sandino.” DGS: Caused little damage. FBIS: “Official sources have reported that “Piranha”-type boats last night attacked the Panamanian-registered merchant ship Homin-7 with heavy machine-gun fire a few kilometers from the Puerto Sandino.”

FBIS: “Panamanian Ship Machine-Gunned” PA300346 Managua Domestic Service in Spanish 0300 GMT 30 Mar 84 (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, March 30 1984, page P 16).

March 29 1984—Puerto Corinto, Chinandega.

FBIS: “Mario Aleman, commander of the Sandinista Navy in Corinto, told newsmen that he was certain that the “piranha” speedboats which attacked that Pacific port on Tuesday “came from a vessel of large-tonnage” which was anchored 57 miles off Nicaragua’s coast ... According to Mario Aleman, Sandinist radar detected the high-tonnage vessel ...”

FBIS: “‘Piranhas’ Came From Ship” PA291901 Panama City ACAN in Spanish 132 GMT 29 Mar 84 (Managua, ACAN-EFE) (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, March 30 1984, page P 16).

March 28-30 1984—Puerto Sandino, León.

CIA: “Eight mines placed. No tankers have visited terminal yet. Major clashes occurred during both operations: 3 Nicaraguan PB’s {patrol boats} hit; damage/casualties unknown ... On March 30, helicopter from mother boat fired defense of Q-boat which had lost both engines at offshore terminal.”

March 29 1984—New York City.

“ On specific instructions from my Government, I have the honour to request a meeting of the Security Council, as a matter of urgency and immediacy, in order to consider the escalation of acts of aggression currently being perpetrated against my country.”

Javier Chamorro Mora (Nicaragua U.N. Ambassador) to the President of the U.N. Security Council, letter dated March 29 1984 (U.N. Doc. S/16449, March 29 1984) {24kb.pdf}.

March 29 1984—Managua Nicaragua.

“ I am writing to you, Sir, to inform you of the following facts:

On 27 March 1984, between 8.30 and 9 a.m., 30 members of the Honduran Army carried out from Honduran territory an attack by rifle fire upon a patrol of the Sandinist People's Army passing through the sector of Loma de Los Pastores, situated 1 kilometre south of Santa Tomás del Nance, in the department of Chinandega. ¶

Fortunately, the criminal attack caused no casualties.

The same day, at 11 p.m., in the naval sector of Corinto, two fast boats of the Piraña type coming from Honduras attacked Nicaraguan coast-guard vessel No. 300 while it was on patrol duty in front of the port of Corinto. ¶

At the time of the attack, two aircraft with their lights turned off overflew the zone. ¶

As a result of the criminal attack, two sailors were wounded: Sergio Hernández Sánchez, engineman on board the coast-guard vessel, who is in critical condition, and Renato Bermúdez, gunner.

Furthermore, on 28 March 1984 at 9.51 p.m. the merchant vessel Homin No. 7, of Panamanian nationality, while at Puerto Sandino, loading 9,700 tons of sugar, was attacked with 50-millimetre fire by a Piraña boat coming from Honduras. ¶

As a result of this criminal attack, the merchant vessel was hit by bullets; there was no other major damage.

Expressing its most formal and vigorous protest at the repeated acts of aggression originating in your country, the Government of Nicaragua emphasizes once more to the Government of Honduras that it is essential that the Honduran authorities should stop allowing their territory and their military resources to be used for the perpetration of such acts of provocation, acts forming part of the escalation of terror against my country which is being promoted by the present United States administration and in which the Government of Honduras is playing an increasingly important role without giving responsible thought to the dangers of a regional conflagration. ¶

At the same time, the Government of Nicaragua holds the Government of Honduras responsible for the tragic consequences that could arise out of its irresponsible and thoughtless attitude, which not only affects Nicaragua but is proving to have dangerous consequences for the merchant vessels of other Central American countries.”

Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann (Nicaragua Minister for Foreign Affairs) to Edgardo Paz Barnica (Honduras Minister for Foreign Affairs), letter dated March 29 1984 from, quoted in letter dated March 29 1984 from Javier Chamorro Mora (Nicaragua U.N. Ambassador) to the President of the U.N. Security Council (“I should be grateful to you, Sir, if you would circulate this note as a Security Council document”) (U.N. Doc. S/16452, March 30 1984) {74kb.pdf}.

March 30 1984—Puerto Corinto, Chinandega.

CAHI: “The Japanese ship Terushio Maru—carrying bicycles, spare parts for cars, construction materials, and loading cotton—was damaged by a mine in Corinto.” LCC: “An explosion damaged the Japanese merchant ship Terushio as it was entering the Port of Corinto escorted by two vessels which were sweeping for mines.” FBIS: “The ship Taushiro Mahuro was entering the waters of the Bay of Corinto last night at 2204 (0404 GMT) when it was hit by an explosion between buoys No. 5 and 6.” “Yayita Sokiyaki, the ship’s first officer, said this morning that the damage is located in hold No. 3. Nevertheless, the 13,000 bales of cotton are being loaded to be taken to Japanese ports ... as part of an effort by Japanese purchasers to ensure transportation for Nicaraguan cotton.”

FBIS: “Japanese Ship Hits Mine” PA311439 Panama City ACAN in Spanish 1424 GMT 31 Mar 84 (Managua, ACAN-EFE) and “Japanese Ship Loads Cargo” PA312035 Managua Radio Sandino in Spanish 1830 GMT 31 Mar 84 (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, April 2 1984, page P 28).

March 30 1984—Puerto Corinto, Chinandega.

LCC: “The fishing boat Alma Sultana exploded an object of undetermined manufacture as it was carrying-out mine-sweeping duties between buoys 1 and 2 of the Corinto channel. The hull and other parts of the boat were damaged, and it sank completely after being towed to the dock.” FBIS: “This is a report direct from ALIMA [Alimentos Interamericanos, SA]: Today at 0800 the criminal mines placed by Ronald Reagan’s imperialists caused the explosion of a boat identified as the Alma Sultana. Four people were injured by the blast: Officer Felix Delgado, Ramon Medina, Jose Angel Jimenez, and Claudio Vasquez. The explosion occurred at buoy No. 3. This is the third ALIMA boat to be damaged in the past 3 days as a result of the mines that the CIA criminals have placed. Right now, the vessel is sinking in the waters of the Port of Corinto.”

FBIS: “Fishing Boat Hits Mine” PA301838 Managua Domestic Service in Spanish 1801 GMT 30 Mar 84 (Arroliga live relay) (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, April 2 1984, pages P 26-27).

March 30 1984—Puerto Sandino, León.

CAHI: “Three Sea Raiders and 3 helicopters attacked the Panamanian ship Homin. The ‘piranhas,’ or Sea Riders, can reach a speed of 75 miles per hour. They can be armed with M-60 machine guns or 20mm cannons in the bow, and grenade-launchers in the stern. They have room for a 3-person crew.”

FBIS: “The Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry reported this afternoon that three helicopters and three ‘Piranha’ boats last night attacked the Panamanian registered ship Homin with rockets and artillery fire. The ship was loading sugar at Puerto Sandino. The Foreign Ministry added that some 10 rockets were fired but none hit the ship. It indicated that there were no reports of casualties or damage as a result of the fighting ... The Homin had already been the target of an attack from a ‘piranha’ boat on Wednesday ... The Foreign Ministry confirmed in the same communique that the Japanese ship Taushiro Mahuro had to be towed to the pier at Corinto, 150 km northwest of Managua, after it was damaged by the explosion of a mine last night.”

FBIS: “New attack on Homin’” PA312106 Paris AFP in Spanish 2025 GMT 31 Mar 84 (Managua) (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, April 2 1984, page P 28).

March 30 1984—New York City.

“ 41. On 28 March, the Panamanian freighter Homin No. 7 was attacked with 50-mm guns by a Piraña speedboat from Honduras. ¶

On 6.50 p.m. on that same day, the fishing boat Aracely Pérez struck a mine in Corinto and sustained serious damage to its stem.

42. On 29 March, two Piraña-type speedboats attempted to lay mines along the Pacific coast but were taken by surprise and driven off by Nicaraguan coast guard vessels, which hit one of them, setting it on fire. ... ¶

Also on the same date, two Nicaraguan fishing boats in Corinto harbour were seriously damaged after hitting two mines.

43. On 30 March — today, that is — at 5.50 a.m., there was an explosion in Corinto, between Buoys One and Two. ¶

The Nicaraguan vessel Alma Sultana, which was engaged in dredging, was seriously damaged as a result. ¶

Two reservist comrades were wounded and a member of the Sandinist People’s Army was killed.”

Javier Chamorro Mora (Nicaragua U.N. Ambassador), statement, U.N. Security Council meeting 2525, official verbatim record (U.N. Doc. S/PV.2525(OR), March 30 1984, 4:35-7:30 p.m., 20 printed pages), at page 5 ¶¶ 41-43 {3076kb.pdf}.

“March 30 — The Security Council met today to hear a complaint by Nicaragua against the United States for what the Nicaraguan representative called the “criminal, cowardly war” waged against his country.

The representative, Javier Chamorro Mora, ... said that President Reagan ‘pretends to elevate himself to legislator, judge and executioner of the whole internal political life of a country and consequently acts like an international delinquent.’”

Richard Bernstein, “Nicaragua in U.N. Protest” (New York Times, March 31 1984, page A4).

April 2-4 1984—New York City.

U.N. Security Council meeting 2527, official verbatim record (U.N. Doc. S/PV.2527(OR), April 2 1984, 4:15-6:20 p.m., 15 printed pages) {2314kb.pdf}.

U.N. Security Council meeting 2528, official verbatim record (U.N. Doc. S/PV.2528andCorr.1(OR), April 3 1984, 4:35-6:45 p.m., 16 printed pages) {2482kb.pdf}.

U.N. Security Council meeting 2529, official verbatim record (U.N. Doc. S/PV.2529(OR), April 4 1984, 4:40-8:10 p.m., 27 printed pages) {4856kb.pdf}.

“At the United Nations last night, France joined 12 other nations in approving a Security Council resolution, introduced by Nicaragua, that would have condemned mining of Nicaraguan ports.

The United States vetoed the measure ...”

Alma Guillermoprieto, “France Would Aid Managua on Mines” (Washington Post, April 6 1984, page A1).

“ The Security Council ...

1. Condemns and calls for an immediate end to the mining of the main ports of Nicaragua, which has caused the loss of Nicaraguan lives and injuries to nationals of other countries as well as material damage, serious disruption to its economy and the hampering of free navigation and commerce, thereby violating international law; ...

3. Reaffirms the right of Nicaragua and of all the countries of the region to live in peace and security and to determine their own future free from all foreign interference and intervention;

4. Calls on all States to refrain from carrying out, supporting or promoting any type of military action against any State of the region as well as any other action that hinders the peace objectives of the Contadora Group; ...”

U.N. Security Council, draft resolution (U.N. Doc. S/16463, April 4 1984) {88kb.pdf}, vetoed by the United States, at U.N. Security Council meeting 2529, official verbatim record (U.N. Doc. S/PV.2529(OR), April 4 1984, 4:40-8:10 p.m., 27 printed pages) {4856kb.pdf}, recorded vote (page 26, ¶ 252): 13/1/1, 15 voting members, the U.K. abstaining. U.N. Security Council documents, on this topic, February-April 1984 (sorted by date, with one date error in the U.N. index).

Draft resolutions not adopted owing to the negative vote of a permanent member” (first 58 years, 16 February 1946-2004 April 21), being part-1 (pages 13-17) of “Negative votes of permanent members at public meetings of the Security Council,” being annex 3 (pages 13-19) to Report of the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council (U.N. Doc. A/58/47, adopted July 21 2004, 32 pages, as amended by, U.N. Doc. A/58/47/Corr.1, January 26 2005, 1 page, U.N. General Assembly, 58th session) {also via this, this, this, and ODS}, see also, supplemental finding aid, Celine Nahory, Giji Gya, Misaki Watanabe, “Subjects of UN Security Council Vetoes” (Global Policy Forum, New York City). These finding aids cite the U.N. document number of each vetoed draft resolution (full text) and each meeting number of the U.N. Security Council at which a veto vote was cast (recorded in the transcript of that meeting).


April 6-8 1984—Washington D.C.

“A Republican member of the Senate intelligence committee said ...

“When an American is on the mother ship in a mining operation, he’s involved directly in military activities. It’s irrelevant whether the ship is in international waters.” ...

The mines, according to the Administration officials, ... and the small, high speed boats used to place them in shipping lanes were transported to waters off Nicaragua aboard a larger vessel that serves as the nerve center for the operation. This ship, which was modified by the C.I.A. to support mining operations, carried both Americans and a unit of Latin Americans who were trained to plant mines by the United States, according to the Administration officials.”

Philip Taubman, “Americans On Ship Said To Supervise Nicaragua Mining” (New York Times, April 8 1984, page A1). Fred Hiatt, Joanne Omang, “CIA Helped To Mine Ports In Nicaragua” (Washington Post, April 7 1984, page A1). David Rogers, “U.S. Role In Mining Nicaraguan Harbors Reportedly Is Larger Than First Thought” (Wall Street Journal, April 6 1984, page A9).

April 6 1984—New York City:

“ Perez de Cuellar,
Secretary General
United Nations

April 6 1984


I have the honor on behalf of the Government of the United States of America to refer to the Declaration of my Government of August 2 1946, concerning the acceptance by the United States of America of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, and to state that the aforesaid Declaration shall not apply to disputes with any Central American state or arising our of or related to events in Central America, any of which disputes shall be settled in such manner as the parties to them may agree.

Notwithstanding the terms of the aforesaid Declaration, this provision shall take effect immediately and shall remain in force for two years, so as to foster the continuing regional dispute settlement process which seeks a negotiated solution in the interrelated political, economic and security problems of Central America.


George P. Shultz
Secretary of State of the United States of America”

U.S. declaration, amending its 1946 acceptance of I.C.J. compulsory jurisdiction, 1354 U.N.T.S. 452 (April 6 1984) {volume 1354: 7.33mb.pdf} (t.reg. A-3, re: t.reg. I-3) {U.N. Doc.: ST/LEG(05)/U5, ISSN: 0379-8267, LCCN: 48022417, OCLC: 1768015, WorldCat}, reprinted, 23 I.L.M. 670 (International Legal Materials, May 1984) {Lexis} {ISSN: 0020-7829, LCCN: 67005225, OCLC: 1753623, WorldCat}, reprinted, The Mining of Nicaraguan Ports and Harbors: Hearing and Markup ... on H. Con. Res. H290, page 55 (U.S. Congress 98-2, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hearing, April 11 1984) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/1:M 66, CIS: 84 H381-70, LCCN: 84603420, OCLC: 11094131, GPOCat, paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}, reprinted, Yearbook 1984-1985, page 100 (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands) {U.N. Sales Number: ICJ515 (all), ISSN: 0074-445X, ditto, ISBN: 9211700396, LCCN: 48001594, OCLC: 1714864, WorldCat}, quoted in, Nicaragua v. United States (“Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua”), filed April 9 1984, judgment (jurisdiction and admissibility) November 26 1984, 1984 I.C.J. 392, 545 (separate opinion of Judge Robert Jennings {2.2mb.pdf}) (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands).

“ Secretary of State George P. Shultz was questioned about the mining of Nicaraguan harbors during a luncheon meeting Thursday with reporters and editors of The Washington Post.

Asked whether Washington has any control over the mining operations, Shultz said,

“I don’t have any comment to make about that.””

Fred Hiatt, Joanne Omang, “CIA Helped To Mine Ports In Nicaragua” (Washington Post, April 7 1984, page A1).

“ Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger ... declined to deny the reports of U.S. involvement in mining the harbors. ...

The secretary also said,

“The United States is not mining the harbors of Nicaragua.”

But when asked whether his denial included CIA activities, he retreated.

“Well, I’m not talking about anything the CIA is doing or not doing,”

Weinberger said.”

Don Oberdorfer, Fred Hiatt, “U.S. to Bar Latin Role For Court” (Washington Post, April 9 1984, page A1).

April 8 1984—Washington D.C.

“April 8 — The Reagan Administration announced today that it would not accept World Court jurisdiction in disputes involving Central America for the next two years. ...

A senior State Department official said the move, which was unexpected, had been made because of information that Nicaragua was about to bring charges against the United States in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the official name for the World Court.

He said that confidential intelligence reports received last week, as well as some other public signs, led the Administration to conclude that Nicaragua was planning to go to the World Court in coming days. ...

“We had to do it very rapidly,” the official said today. “If they filed before we moved, we’d be stuck.” ...

A formal notification was given to the United Nations late last Friday, the official said.”

Bernard Gwertzman, “U.S. Voids Role Of World Court On Latin Policy” (New York Times, April 9 1984, page A1). Don Oberdorfer, Fred Hiatt, “U.S. to Bar Latin Role For Court” (Washington Post, April 9 1984, page A1). David Rogers, “Reagan Snubs World Court Over Nicaragua” (Wall Street Journal, April 9 1984, page A9).

April 9 1984—The Hague, Netherlands:

Nicaragua v. United States (“Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua”), filed, April 9 1984 (“Request for the Indication of Provisional Measures”) (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands) {204kb.pdf, source}, announced, “Nicaragua Institutes Proceedings Against the United States of America” (I.C.J., Communiqué, No. 84/10, April 9 1984) {170kb.pdf, source, source}.

Stuart Taylor Jr., “Nicaragua Takes Case Against U.S. To World Court” (New York Times, April 10 1984, page A1).

April 10 1984—Washington D.C.:

“ Barry M. Goldwater. This afternoon, CIA Director Casey appeared before my committee, in closed session, to brief us on this issue.

I learned, to my deep regret, that the President did approve this mining program.

And, that he approved it almost 2 months ago.

Furthermore, I learned that—

In spite of the legal requirement, that the intelligence family keep the members of our committee fully and currently informed on this sort of matter—

We had not been so informed.

By contrast, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence had been fully briefed on this matter several weeks ago.”

Barry M. Goldwater (Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence), statement during a Senate debate (beginning 6:30 p.m.) on Senate Amendment 2905, to cut off funding for mining Nicaragua’s ports and waters, “Miscellaneous Tariff, Trade and Customs Matters, Federal Boat Safety Act Amendment,” 130 Congressional Record 8530-8544 (debate), 8536-8537 (Goldwater), at 8537 (April 10 1984, permanent edition, U.S. Congress 98-2) {SuDoc: X.98/2:130/PT.6} (daily edition, pages S4192-S4205, at S4198) {SuDoc: X/A.98/2:130/???}.

April 12 1984—Washington D.C.:

“ Edward P. Boland. Well, simply—

We found out about the mining on January 31 1984.

And on that day, the committee was briefed.

Indicating that a harbor was mined.

Puerto Sandino, on the Pacific side of Nicaragua. ...

And that information came to us after the harbor was mined.

The remainder of the mining took place in February. ...

Where did the equipment come from?

Where did the mines come from?

Who got on the small boats?

And where did the small boats come from?

The small boats came from a mother ship.

That was lying in international waters.

Manned by people paid by the CIA.”

Edward P. Boland (Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence), statement during House debate (about 6:30-11:30 p.m.), “Providing for Consideration of House Concurrent Resolution 290, Expressing Sense of Congress That No Appropriated Funds Shall Be Used for the Purpose of Mining the Ports or Territorial Waters of Nicaragua,” 130 Congressional Record 9470-9513, at 9510 (April 12 1984, permanent edition, U.S. Congress 98-2) {SuDoc: X.98/2:130/PT.7} (daily edition, pages H2878-H2921, at H2918) {SuDoc: X/A.98/2:130/???}.

April 9-12 1984—Washington D.C.:

“ It is the sense of the Congress that no funds heretofore or hereafter appropriated in any Act of Congress shall be obligated or expended for the purpose of planning, directing, executing, or supporting the mining of the ports or territorial waters of Nicaragua.”

“Mining of Nicaraguan Ports,” § 2907 of Public Law 98-369, 98 Stat. 494, at 1210, “Deficit Reduction Act of 1984” (U.S. Congress 98-2, July 18 1984), “Division B, Title IX -- Miscellaneous Provisions” (DoJ juris doc id=0107_05.98.004940) {2.3mb.sgml/txt}, quoted, 22 U.S.C. § 2151 note. Source: S. Amdt. 2905, introduced April 9, adopted April 10, 1984, Senate roll call vote 98-2:59 (84/12/4), 130 Congressional Record 8543-8544 (permanent edition) (daily edition, page S4205); H.J. Res. 539, introduced April 9 1984, referred to committee; H. Con. Res. 290, introduced April 11, adopted April 12, 1984, House roll call vote 98-2:90 (281/111/41), 130 Congressional Record 9513 (permanent edition) (daily edition, pages H2920-H2921) (vote result format: yes/no/not present or not voting).

May 2 1984—Puerto Corinto, Chinandega.

LCC: “The state-owned fishing vessel Pedro Arauz Palacios was destroyed by a mine in the Puerto Corinto access channel.”

May 10 1984—The Hague, Netherlands:

“ 41. For these reasons,

The Court,

A. Unanimously,

Rejects the request by the United States of America that the proceedings ... be terminated ...

B. Indicates, pending its final decision in the proceedings ... the following provisional measures:

1. Unanimously,

The United States of America should immediately cease and refrain from any action restricting, blocking or endangering access to or from Nicaraguan ports, and, in particular, the laying of mines;”

Nicaragua v. United States (“Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua”), filed, April 9 1984, order, May 10 1984 (“Provisional Measures”), 1984 I.C.J. 169, 186-187 ¶ 41 (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands) {2.3mb.pdf, source, press release: 512kb.pdf, source}.

June 30 1984—Puerto Sandino, León.

FBIS: “Joaquin Cuadra, deputy defense minister and chief of staff of the Sandinist People’s Army, has denounced the explosion of a mine yesterday morning at 0700 in the port of Puerto Sandino. ... [Begin Cuadra recording] ... in the port of Puerto Sandino, another mine placed by the aggressive policy of U.S. imperialism exploded at 0700 ... to pressure the revolution and blackmail us by placing mines in our principal ports.”

FBIS: “Cuadra Charges U.S. with Puerto Sandino Explosion” PA011515 Managua Radio Sandino in Spanish 1300 GMT 1 Jul 84 (FBIS, Latin America, Central America, July 2 1984, pages P 20-21). DGS, page 165.


November 26 1984—The Hague, Netherlands:

“ 13. ... The United States made a declaration, pursuant to this provision, on 14 August 1946 ... expressed to

“remain in force for a period of five years and thereafter until the expiration of six months after notice may be given to terminate this declaration.”

On 6 April 1984 the Government of the United States of America deposited ... a notification ... stating that: ...

“Notwithstanding the terms of the aforesaid declaration, this proviso shall take effect immediately ...”

* * *

65. In sum, the six months’ notice clause forms an important integral part of the United States Declaration and it is a condition that must be complied with in case of either termination or modification. Consequently, the 1984 notification, in the present case, cannot override the obligation of the United States to submit to the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court vis-à-vis Nicaragua, a State accepting the same obligation.

* * *

113. For these reasons,

The Court, ...

(1)(c) finds, by fifteen votes to one, that it has jurisdiction to entertain the case; ...

(2) finds, unanimously, that the said Application is admissible.”

Nicaragua v. United States (“Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua”), filed, April 9 1984, judgment, November 26 1984 (“Jurisdiction of the Court and Admissibility of the Application”), 1984 I.C.J. 392, 398 ¶ 13, 421 ¶ 65, 442 ¶ 113 (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands) {6.5mb.pdf, source, excerpts, press release: 1.1mb.pdf, source}.

January 18 1985—Washington D.C.:

“ Jan. 18, 1985. The United States has consistently taken the position that the proceedings initiated by Nicaragua in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are a misuse of the Court for political purposes and that Court lacks jurisdiction and competence over such a case.

The Court’s decision of November 26, 1984, finding that it has jurisdiction, is contrary to law and fact.

With great reluctance, the United States has decided not to participate in further proceedings in this case. ...”

U.S. Withdrawal From the Proceedings Initiated by Nicaragua in the ICJ “Department Statement, Jan. 18, 1985” (Department of State Bulletin, “The official monthly record of United States foreign policy,” volume 85, number 2096, March 1985, page 64) {3 issues, Jan.-Mar., 1.3mb.txt, 23.84mb.pdf, 20.84mb.pdf/bw, source} {SuDoc: S 1.3, LCCN: 39026945, ISSN: 0041-7610, OCLC: 1639364, GPOCat, WorldCat}, reprinted, 24 I.L.M. 246 (International Legal Materials, 1985), Lexis: 24 I.L.M. 246.

U.N. Charter, article 94: ICJ orders

1. Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice in any case to which it is a party.

2. If any party to a case fails to perform the obligations incumbent upon it under a judgment rendered by the Court, the other party may have recourse to the Security Council, which may, if it deems necessary, make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment.

October 7 1985—Washington D.C.:

“ His Excellency
Dr. Javier Perez de Cuellar,
Secretary-General of the United Nations,
New York

October 7 1985

Dear Mr. Secretary-General:

I have the honor on behalf of the Government of the United States of America to refer to the declaration of my Government of 26 August 1946, as modified by my note of 6 April 1984, concerning the acceptance by the United States of America of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, and to state that the aforesaid declaration is hereby terminated, with effect six months from the date hereof.

Sincerely Yours,

George P. Shultz
Secretary of State

U.S. termination, of its 1946 acceptance of I.C.J. compulsory jurisdiction, 1408 U.N.T.S. 270 (October 7 1985, effective April 7 1986) {volume 1408: 7.33mb.pdf} (t.reg. A-3, re: t.reg. I-3) (not quoted in U.N.T.S., which says this: “Termination, Notification received on: 7 October 1985, United States of America (with effect from 7 April 1986)”), reprinted, 24 I.L.M. 1742 (International Legal Materials, 1985) {Lexis}, reprinted:

U.S. Terminates Acceptance of ICJ Compulsory Jurisdiction” (U.S. Department of State Bulletin, “The official monthly record of United States foreign policy,” volume 86, number 2106, January 1986, pages 67-71) {3 issues, Jan.-Mar., 1.65mb.txt, 25mb.pdf, 24mb.pdf/bw, source}, which includes a revised version of the prepared statement of Abraham D. Sofaer (State Department Legal Adviser) submitted to this hearing:
U.S. Decision to Withdraw from the International Court of Justice, pages 18-32 (U.S. Congress 99-1, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations, Hearing, October 30 1985) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/1:UN 35/79, CIS: 86 H381-15, LCCN: 86601067, OCLC: 13193393, GPOCat, paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}.

Six months and one week later, the U.S./U.K. attacked Libya (April 15 1986).

August 26 1946—Washington D.C.:

“ I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, declare on behalf of the United States of America, under Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, and in accordance with the Resolution of 2 August 1946 of the Senate of the United States of America (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring therein), that the United States of America recognizes as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other State accepting the same obligation, the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in all legal disputes hereafter arising concerning

(a)  the interpretation of a treaty;

(b)  any question of international law;

(c)  the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of an international obligation;

(d)  the nature or extent of the reparation to be made for the breach of an international obligation;

Provided, that this declaration shall not apply to

(a)  disputes the solution of which the parties shall entrust to other tribunals by virtue of agreements already in existence or which may be concluded in the future; or

(b)  disputes with regard to matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the United States of America as determined by the United States of America; or

(c)  disputes arising under a multilateral treaty, unless (1) all parties to the treaty affected by the decision are also parties to the case before the Court, or (2) the United States of America specially agrees to jurisdiction; and

Provided further, that this declaration shall remain in force for a period of five years and thereafter until the expiration of six months after notice may be given to terminate this declaration.

Done at Washington this fourteenth day of August 1946.

(Signed) Harry S. Truman”


Declaration of the United States of America recognizing as compulsory the jurisdiction of the Court, in conformity with Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Washington, 14 August 1946 (Harry S. Truman, U.S. President, Washington D.C., August 14 1946), 1 U.N.T.S. 10 {129kb.pdf, volume 1: 4.34mb.pdf} (t.reg. I-3), referring to, 79 S. Res. 196, 92 Cong. Rec. 10706 (U.S. Congress 79-2, Senate resolution 196, August 2 1946), 61 Stat. 1218 (1947), reprinted:
“Recognition of Compulsory Jurisdiction of International Court of Justice” (Department of State Bulletin, “The official monthly record of United States foreign policy,” volume 15, number 375, September 8 1946, pages 452-453) {3 months, July-Sept., numbers 366-378, 2.77mb.txt, 58mb.pdf, source}, reprinted:
Senate debate on Senate Amendment 2905, to cut off funding for mining Nicaragua’s ports and waters, 130 Congressional Record 8530-8544 at 8532 (April 10 1984, permanent edition, U.S. Congress 98-2) {SuDoc: X.98/2:130/PT.6} (daily edition, pages S4192-S4205, at S4194) {SuDoc: X/A.98/2:130/???}, reprinted:
I.C.J. Yearbook 1984-1985 (No. 39) {UNBISnet: ICJ515, ISBN: 9211700396}, pages 99-100, and in previous volumes, such as I.C.J. Yearbook 1981-1982 (No. 37), page 92 {UNBISnet: ICJ488, ISBN: 9211700361} (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands), series, Yearbook / International Court of Justice {UNBISnet), ISSN: 0074-445X, ditto, LCCN: 48001594, OCLC: 1714864, WorldCat}.


CAHI: “The Mining of Nicaragua’s ports,” Update, April 5 1984, pages 1-2 (volume 3, number 13, Central American Historical Institute, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., affiliated with Instituto Histórico Centroamericano, Nicaragua).

LCC: Luís Carrión Cruz (Vice Minister of the Interior, Nicaragua), “Chronological Account of the Principal Attacks on Nicaragua by U.S.-Sponsored Mercenary Forces, December 1 1981 – November 30 1984” (41 pages), pages 26-30, being Exhibit A to his Affidavit dated Managua, April 17 1985, filed as Annex A to “Memorial of Nicaragua, Merits” (April 30 1985), in Nicaragua v. United States (“Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua”), filed April 9 1984, judgment (on the merits) June 27 1986 (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands) (documents: 5 volumes, 2000-2001) {U.N. Sales Numbers: ICJ753-ICJ757, ISSN: 0074-4433, ISBNs: 9210708237, 9210708245, 9210708253, 9210708261, 9210708288, LCCN: 2001380451, OCLC: 44106220, WorldCat}.

CIA: “CIA Internal Report Details U.S. Role in Contra Raids in Nicaragua Last Year,” a secret 8-page CIA report of “19 operations involving speedboats and helicopters launched from a CIA ‘mother ship’ between January 1 and April 10 1984,” excerpted in a sidebar to: David Rogers, David Ignatius, “The Contra Fight: How CIA-Aided Raids In Nicaragua in '84 Led Congress to End Funds” (Wall Street Journal, March 6 1985, page A1), part two of a two-part article, part one: David Rogers, David Ignatius, “Aiding the Contras: Why the Covert War In Nicaragua Evolved And Hasn't Succeeded” (Wall Street Journal, March 5 1985, page A1).

DGS: David G. Sweet (Professor of History, Latin American & Latino Studies, Merrill College, University of California, Santa Cruz), Bitter Witness: Nicaraguans and the ‘Covert’ War, a Chronology and Several Narratives, pages 121-136 (Witness for Peace Documentation Project, Witness for Peace, Washington D.C., October 1984 (draft), 172 pages).

FBIS: Foreign Broadcast Information Service (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) {SuDoc: PREX 7.10/3 (CD-ROMs), PREX 7.10:FBIS (daily reports), LCCN: sn 96028310 (CD-ROMs), LoC others, UCal}, Daily Report, Latin America (1984) {SuDoc: PREX 7.10:FBIS-LAM-84, ISSN: 0362-5303, LCCN: 75649824, OCLC: 4507206, DL, WorldCat}.

Damage reports

“ Managua, March 2; Corinto, March 3—M trailing suction hopper dredger Geopotes VI {16 kb jpg}, which was dredging Corinto harbor under contract to the Nicaraguan government, ... hit a mine Thursday (Mar 1) as she prepared to dredge a channel, 4 miles outside Corinto. There was no doubt that the explosion came from outside the ship, a source close to the investigation said. The source said divers examined the hull of the ship which was badly distorted but not pierced in the blast. He said girders of 5-in-thick steel had been bent out of shape by the explosion. ... Two Nicaraguan sailors were injured in the blast. The other crew members—two Dutch, a Nicaraguan, and a Costa Rican—were not injured. ... Last Friday (Feb 24) ... rebels placed mines at the Caribbean port of El Bluff which damaged two fishing vessels and sank two others. — United Press International.

Corinto, March 26—M tank Lugansk surveyed at Puerto Sandino on March 23 at request of ship’s agents at Corinto and following found:

Forward mast damaged, mooring winch below piston on starboard side damaged, number 2 mooring winch also damaged, starboard side anchor deck boom rest broken, fog siren stand damaged, various railings on port and starboard sides broken, bunkering oil pipeline broken, 10 main veranda stands from fore to aft broken, 50 pipe hold-down clamps loose or broken, crack in bulwark on fore deck to forecastle, emergency anchor stand bent, various lights damaged, 2 12-volt batteries damaged, fuel pump in pump-room damaged, water pump valves damaged, flooring in pump-room damaged, forward fuel tanks damaged and deformed, various fuel valves in pump-room damaged, frame 100 has sustained a dent about one-half meter in diameter and 35 centimeters deep and, according to divers, a small crack was noted in the same direction on the outside hull, engine-room upper deck bulwark frame 32 deformed, turbo connection for main engine blower bolts broken, injector bolts on main engine broken, main engine base broken in way of numbers 6, 7, and 8 cylinders port side and numbers 7, 8, and 9 cylinders starboard side, and lifeboats on both port and starboard sides damaged.

The damages mentioned in this survey report were caused by an explosion at 1352, March 20, while vessel was maneuvering to commence discharge of cargo in bulk ... — Lloyd’s Sub-agents.

Corinto, March 28—M chem tank Iver Chaser damaged due contacting an unidentified explosive object at 1006 today before leaving channel in front of buoys 1 and 2. Nobody was injured, but vessel sustained severe damage forward and minor damage in accommodation cabins. According to divers, a rupture was found on forepart measuring 16 feet 11 inches in length and 5 feet 6 inches in width. This measurement was taken at maximum point of damages but varies in length and width. Vessel, with draught 26 ft 6 in forward and 27 ft 3 in aft, sailed from pilot station for Balboa at 1225 today. — Lloyd’s Sub-agents.”

“Situation in Nicaragua,” Lloyd’s List and Shipping Gazette, March 5(?), 28, 30, 1984 (London).

To summarize

“ Question. What was the impact on Nicaragua on the mining of ports?

Answer. Well, the mining of the ports first of all had a psychological impact on the whole population because it was tactically a naval blockade or a maritime blockade, not with ships but with mines. People had a feeling of being shut-off from the world.

But there were other direct effects of the mining of the ports. There were 12 vessels or fishing boats damaged by mines in different ports of Nicaragua. There was a Dutch vessel, a Soviet vessel, a Panamanian vessel, a Nicaraguan vessel, a Japanese vessel, and an English vessel among those which received damage. There were also 14 people wounded, and 2 people died.

There were many vessels which did not arrive finally in port and left the merchandise they were bringing to Nicaragua in the ports of other countries, mainly in Costa Rica’s Puntarenas from where we had to bring it to Nicaragua by truck at higher costs ...

Question. In the event, was the Nicaraguan government able to deal with the mines from its own resources and can you tell us roughly what time elapsed between the discovery of the mines and the restoration of the ports to normal use by shipping?

Answer. Nicaragua could not deal with the mines with its own resources. We do not have a mine-searching ship of any kind. We even had to try to sweep the mines away with a fishing boat and a net hanging down and going over the channel in order to try to sweep them away. As you may suppose, this was a very ineffective way of dealing with underwater mines which were the ones the CIA had put there.

In relation to your second question, we never discovered a mine before it exploded. We did not have the means to discover them, so during the whole period when our ports were mined, there was an abnormal situation in Nicaraguan ports. Every vessel which came to our ports could be hit at any moment by an underwater mine so we could talk about a permanent state of abnormality for several months during which our ports were mined ... It was approximately 2 months.

Question. Can you specify on which vessels the casualties occurred?

Answer. Yes, I have that information here. The two killed were Nicaraguan, and it happened when a mine blew-up a fishing boat El Pescasa No. 22. Also, 3 people were wounded at that time in that same boat. From the Soviet vessel, 5 members of the crew were wounded; from the Panamanian vessel there were 3 crew-members wounded; and there were 3 Nicaraguans wounded in another ship; which makes a total of 14 wounded people.”

Luís Carrión Cruz (Vice Minister of the Interior, Nicaragua), oral testimony, verbatim records, CR 85/19 (September 12 1985, page 47), CR 85/20 (September 13 1985, pages 20-22), in Nicaragua v. United States (“Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua”), filed April 9 1984, judgment on the merits June 27 1986 (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands).

Much Ado About Nothing

“ Brian Farrell. Would that, nevertheless, justify mining ports?

Ronald Reagan. Those were homemade mines that couldn’t sink a ship ...

They were planted in those harbors.

Where they were planted by the Nicaraguan rebels.

And I think that there was much ado about nothing.

Brian Farrell. Mr. president, you have an image problem, don’t you?

You said it in your press conference last week—

That people think you’ve got an itchy finger.

Ronald Reagan. Yes.”

Ronald W. Reagan (U.S. President, Jan. 20 1981-1989 Jan. 20), “Interview With Brian Farrell of RTE-Television, Dublin, Ireland, on Foreign Issues” (White House library, May 28 1984, 3:40 p.m.), 1984 PPPUS 750-756, at 753 {ucsb, rr} Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1984 (book 1) {SuDoc: AE 2.114:984/BK.1, ISSN: 0079-7626, LCCN: 58061050, OCLC: 9054188, DL, LFDL, WorldCat}.


“ Article 2. It is forbidden to lay automatic contact mines off the coast and ports of the enemy, with the sole object of intercepting commercial shipping.

Article 3. When anchored automatic contact mines are employed, every possible precaution must be taken for the security of peaceful shipping. The belligerents undertake to do their utmost ... to notify the danger zones as soon as military exigencies permit, by a notice addressed to ship owners, which must also be communicated to the Governments through the diplomatic channel.”

Hague-8: Convention Relative to the Laying of Automatic Submarine Contact Mines (The Hague, Oct. 18 1907, Jan. 26 1910), U.S. ratified: Nov. 27 1909, parties (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands, depositary, 1907 Hague Peace Conventions).

June 27 1986—The Hague, Netherlands:

“ 80. On this basis, the court finds it established ¶

That, on a date in late 1983 or early 1984, the president of the United States authorized a United States government agency to lay mines in Nicaraguan ports; ¶

That in early 1984 mines were laid in or close to the ports of El Bluff, Corinto, and Puerto Sandino — either in Nicaraguan internal waters or in its territorial sea or both — by persons in the pay and acting on the instructions of that agency, under the supervision and with the logistic support of United States agents; ¶

That neither before the laying of the mines, nor subsequently, did the United States government issue any public and official warning to international shipping of the existence and location of the mines; and ¶

That personal and material injury was caused by the explosion of the mines, which also created risks causing a rise in marine insurance rates.

* * *

292. For these reasons,

The Court ...

(8) By fourteen votes to one,

Decides that the United States of America, by failing to make known the existence and location of the mines laid by it, referred to in subparagraph (6) hereof, has acted in breach of its obligations under customary international law in this respect.”


Nicaragua v. United States (“Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua”), judgment, June 27 1986 (“Merits”), 1986 I.C.J. 14, 48 ¶ 80, 146 ¶ 292, at 147-148 (U.N. I.C.J.: International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands) {16.5mb.pdf, source, 404kb.html, 428kb.html, press release: 3mb.pdf, source}, reparation phase discontinued, following the 1990 election (February 25 1990), “Postponement of oral proceedings on compensation” (ICJ communiqué No. 90/12, 29 June 1990) {63kb.pdf, source}, “Order” (removal of the case of the Court’s list) (26 September 1991) {214.3kb.pdf, source}, press release (ICJ communiqué No. 91/28, 27 September 1991) {63kb.pdf, source}.



The final 2 straws

1. Bush-Baker perverts

1990-1991—Washington D.C., Managua:

“ With hundreds of millions of dollars of American aid hanging in the balance, the Bush Administration has begun exerting sharp new pressure on President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro to abandon a judgment of as much as $17 billion that Nicaragua won against the United States at the International Court of Justice during the contra war. ...

The United States has refused to recognize the court’s jurisdiction in the matter, and said it would not pay or negotiate the award. ...

“It is a national interest that the United States pay for the damage it caused,” declared Augusto Zamora Rodriguez, who argued Nicaragua’s case as legal director of the Foreign Ministry under the Sandinista Government. “To say that we must give up that right is to make apologies for violence and to applaud the intervention of the strong against the weak.” ...

On June 27, 1986, the court ruled that the United States had breached international law by supporting the contras, and ordered it to pay reparations. Although the amount was not specified, Nicaraguan legal experts say the total has reached as much as $17 billion with interest. ...

Mrs. Chamorro’s chief of staff, Antonio Lacayo Oyanguren, visited the State Department for meetings in which the court case was at the top of his agenda. ...

Mr. Lacayo said at a news conference upon his return to Managua ....

“We must decide,” he added, “whether we should insist on receiving an indemnity that the United States says it will never pay, or accept the friendship of a nation and people that want to look to the future.””

Mark A. Uhlig, “U.S. Urges Nicaragua to Forgive Legal Claim” (The New York Times, dated Managua Nicaragua September 26, published September 30 1990) (bold-face added).

George H.W. Bush (U.S. president) and James A. Baker III (secretary of state), they perverted the course of justice, refused to obey the court’s order, reduced to peanuts, U.S. aid to the country, and bribes to its dishonest new officials (if any), people Bush-Baker pushed into office, by perverting, corrupting, the 1990 election (February 25 1990), with overt and covert cash, by continuing violent, criminal, attacks with their Contra army (based in Honduras), and by promising 5 more years of the same, if the voters disobeyed. See, Bill Becker (William G. Becker), “Nicaraguan Election, February 1990” (williamgbecker.com), S. Brian Willson ‘How the U.S. Purchased the 1990 Nicaragua Elections’ (brianwillson.com).

2. Congress perverts

January 14 1991—Washington D.C.:

“ By Mr. Moynihan: S. 137. A bill to direct the payment of claims against the United States arising out of damage caused to the vessel Iver Chaser arising out of the mining of the territorial waters of Nicaragua; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Daniel Moynihan. Mr. President {presiding officer of the Senate}, on March 28, 1984, a Norwegian freighter struck a mine in the harbor of Corinto, Nicaragua.

It is now well known that it was the United States which arranged to have this and other mines placed in Nicaraguan waters.

The International Court of Justice has condemned this act as violating both customary international law and a treaty between the United States and Nicaragua.

It probably represents the nadir of respect for international law within the counsels of our Government.

I believe that the U.S. Government should acknowledge that this illegal act caused serious damage to a vessel registered under the flag of one of its NATO allies and pay for that damage.

Today I am introducing legislation to do just that. The cold war is over. The process of repairing and paying for all of the damage which the cold war mentality wrought will take a long, long time.

We can at least begin by compensating these American allies for the damage which this illegal act caused.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Payments of Claims Arising From the Mining of the Territorial Waters of Nicaragua,” statement on introduction of Senate bill 102 S. 137, 137 Congressional Record S679-S935 {pf}, at S816-S817 (U.S. Congress 102-1, daily edition 137:9, January 14 1991) {SuDoc: X/A.102/1:137/9}.


“ A Bill For the relief of certain persons having claims against the United States for damage to the MV Iver Chaser resulting from the explosion of a mine in the territorial waters of Nicaragua.”

1991 H. R. 2182 (U.S. Congress 102-1, House of Representatives, introduced May 1 1991), ditto, S. 1802 (Senate, introduced October 3 1991), accord, S. 137 (Senate, introduced January 14 1991).

No action.


By CJHjr: Formatted (xhtml/css), bold-face, links, text {in braces}, highlighting, text in yellow boxes, added paragraphing to quoted items (for ease of reading) marked with this trailing paragraph symbol:  ¶ .

This document is not copyrighted and may be freely copied.


Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

Posted June 25 2005. Updated April 11 2010.


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