June 19, 1986
As the Congress once again takes up the matter of military assistance to the United Nicaraguan Opposition, the "contras," I wish to re-state the position of the United States Catholic Conference on Nicaragua.
Essentially it consists of three inter-related elements: (1) opposition to the excessive exercise of state power and restriction of human rights by the Nicaraguan government, and very specifically to actions which restrict the ministry of the church; (2) opposition to external military aid to any party in Nicaragua, including U.S. military assistance to the contras; and (3) support for efforts by the United States and other' governments of the hemisphere to forge mutually acceptable and verifiable political guarantees to secure the peace and stability of the Central American region.
Pressures and attacks against leaders and institutions of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua have reached alarming proportions over the past year. They cannot be glossed over as simply the restrictions normal to a war-time-situation. The silencing of church media, the-appropriation of church property, and the harassment of church workers are unacceptable acts and must be protested.
The USCC does not believe, however, that the provision of military assistance by outside powers to either side in Nicaragua will contribute to the improvement of human rights or lead to a peaceful settlement of the conflict. We therefore oppose the measure before the Congress to provide military aid to forces in conflict with the Nicaraguan government. In our view such aid merely intensifies and prolongs the conflict, results in the deaths of thousands, and serves no valid political, still less humanitarian, purpose.
We urge the Congress to reject the provision of military assistance to the contras. We urge rather, the renewed search for a realistic political alternative course for peace with freedom and justice in Nicaragua and all Central America.
Reverend Monsignor Daniel F. Hoye