1984: US invasion plans uncovered

1984: US invasion plans uncovered

La Prensa reported that documents uncovered in the archives of the former East Germany intelligence agency, Stasi, revealed 1984 Pentagon plans for an invasion of Nicaragua by 50,000 US troops. The plan was to provoke the Nicaraguan army to enter Honduran territory and then for Honduras to ask the US to come to its aid. The operation planned to include troops from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Vieques, Puerto Rico, as well as the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy and numerous other naval ships.

FSLN founder and former National Directorate member, Tomas Borge, told La Prensa that the invasion was cancelled due to the capture of CIA contractor Eugene Hasenfus, whose plane was shot down over Nicaraguan territory in October 1986. His capture exposed what became the Iran-Contra scandal which shook the Reagan administration when the Congressional investigation exposed that it was selling arms to Iran, then at war with Iraq, and using the profits to circumvent the Congressional ban on aid to the contras.

The papers in the Stasi archive reveal details of several US "war games" done in preparation for an invasion, such as "Solid Shield" between April and May 1987 and "Lempira," "Blazing Trails," and "Guardians of the Kings" in 1985-1987. The reports detail numbers of troops involved as well as their home bases and air fields.

A 1987 Stasi document posits that the Esquipulas II peace talks were used by the US to pressure the FSLN and El Salvador's FMLN. The Sandinistas, the report said, "feared that if it did not show results in 90 days that there would be a direct US military intervention."

On September 12, 1984, the Stasi received a report, "On the Preparation of an Invasion by the USA in Nicaragua" which cited "reliable circles of the Congress" and stated that government departments received a White House request to work quickly on plans for Nicaragua with the view toward an invasion. The invasion was planned for the first months of Reagan's second term in 1985.

Yuri Andropov, in his last years as director of the Soviet Union's KGB, promised to then Interior Minister Tomas Borge, the conditional support of the USSR, but "not to the point of a nuclear war." The pledge was found in a file of a later conversation with Minister of State Security of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Erich Mielke. The US was suspicious but, Borge said, "It was unthinkable for us that the Soviets would put military bases in Nicaragua; we said it to the United States; we said it to them [the Soviets]."

Borge remembers that they were clear that they would suffer a conventional military defeat against the United States. Only "prolonged resistance" could increase the losses and dissuade the invaders. "I was assigned to resist in Managua, which is the reason why I organized different safe houses ... but an invasion would have been disastrous for Nicaragua," he stated via telephone from Lima where he serves as Nicaragua's ambassador to Peru.

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