August 2, 1992
The Honorable James A. Baker, III
Secretary of State
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Mr. Secretary,
I write to urge that there be no further delay in releasing to the desperately poor country of Nicaragua the $100 million in economic assistance, requested by the Administration and approved by the Congress, but presently put on hold for purely political reasons.
In recent months, the Catholic Bishops of Nicaragua have repeatedly drawn attention to the ever-worsening economic situation in that country. In their joint pastoral letter of November 1991, they deplore the fact that "the misery of some sectors of the population has risen to levels unprecedented in many decades."
They note that unemployment has increased tremendously, and that hunger, malnutrition and the threat of mortal illnesses affect many families. It is a situation that if not improved soon could, as Cardinal Obando has recently warned, lead to further civil unrest and more violence.
The $100 million in Economic Support Fund assistance presently being held up will of itself do little to lessen the extreme poverty suffered by ever-growing numbers of Nicaraguans. But its continued delay places the Nicaraguan government's efforts to improve the economy in still greater jeopardy; and it sends a most unfortunate signal of our own government's will to help the people whose country so engaged US involvement during the past decade.
I pray that you will see to the release of these funds without further delay, and I express our gratitude to you for doing so.
Most Reverend John R. Roach
Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Chairman, USCC Committee on International Policy