Biden's Nicaraguan Back Story

Death of anti-Communist revolutionary Eden Pastora recalls Biden’s reign of error.

Eden Pastora passed away at 83 in Nicaragua last month, an event of significance for the 2020 presidential race and an educational opportunity for millennials and such. Back in 1978, “Comandante Zero,” as he was known, led a raid on Nicaragua’s national congress, freeing 60 political prisoners of the Somoza regime. Not present that day were Humberto and Daniel Ortega, comfortably sheltering in Cuba.

“They wanted to copy the Cuban model and failed and they didn’t listen to me,” Pastora told reporters in 2003. “I never wanted to be in charge nor to be the figure, but they shoved me aside to the point of obliging me to armed dissidence.” Pastora led an anti-Sandinista force on the southern front. The “Contras” fought in the north, and Sen. Joe Biden opposed U.S. aid for their cause.

Under President Reagan, it was aid to the Contras that forced the Communist FSLN to hold elections. In 1990, the people of Nicaragua voted the Sandinistas out of power. It was not the first, or last, time Biden would be on the wrong side. In the 2013 Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Robert Gates charged that Joe Biden has been “wrong on every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Sen. Biden supported the Soviet-backed “nuclear freeze” campaign and opposed Ronald Reagan’s military buildup and Strategic Defense Initiative. Those moves accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the liberation of millions. Vice president Biden was against the operation to take down Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the worst attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor in 1941. 

The deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 came on November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, Texas, when Maj. Nidal Hasan, a self-described “soldier of Allah,” gunned down 13 American soldiers and wounded more than 30 others.

“Jill and I join the president and Michelle in expressing our sympathies to the families of the brave soldiers who fell today,” Biden said in a statement. Biden’s thoughts and prayers were with the Fort Hood community “as they deal with this senseless tragedy.” No mention of terrorism or Hasan, and not even a condemnation of “gun violence.”

Despite his record, Biden drew rave in-house reviews. According to White House mouthpiece Jay Carney, “As a senator and as a vice president, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time and he has been an excellent counselor and adviser to the president for the past five years.” In the years to come, little would change.

“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” Biden said in May of 2019. “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”

Last October, President Trump green-lighted a raid that took down Islamic State terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Joe Biden said he was glad Trump ordered the mission, “but as more details of the raid emerge, it’s clear that this victory was not due to Donald Trump’s leadership. It happened despite his ineptitude as commander-in-chief.”

In January, after President Trump authorized the takedown of Iranian master terrorist Qassem Soleimani, Biden proclaimed. “This was avoidable,” adding, “The seeds of these dangers were planted by Donald Trump himself on May 8, 2018 — the day he tore up the Iran nuclear deal, against the advice of his own top national security advisers.”

During the current campaign, Robert Gates has expressed few if any second thoughts about Biden’s wrong-sided record. Gates’ observations in Duty about Biden’s boss are also of interest.

Presidents normally express gratitude to soldiers for service, and explain why their cause is just and why they need to prevail. “President Obama never did that,” Gates recalled. “Troops risking their lives need to be told that their goal is to ‘defeat’ those trying to kill them. But such terms were viewed in the White House as borderline insubordinate political statements.” This is the man who picked Joe Biden to be his vice president.

For his part, Biden has expressed few if any second thoughts about his record on Nicaragua. The Communist regime, aligned with the USSR, Cuba and East Germany, held ten times as many political prisoners as the regime it overthrew. As filmmaker Werner Herzog documented in Ballad of the Little Soldier, the ruling FSLN junta targeted Nicaragua’s Miskito Indians.

The FSLN campaign, the New York Times noted, “resulted in the Miskitos being ruthlessly uprooted, their villages destroyed, their crops burned, their livestock butchered and the systematic massacre of all recalcitrants – men, women and children.” Kids of ten and twelve took up arms against the FSLN. So did “Comandante Zero,” Eden Pastora, but Joe Biden opposed U.S. aid for the anti-Communist fighters.

Democrats John Kerry, Tim Kaine and Bill de Blasio were also supporters of the FSLN regime. After a tour of Nicaragua in the 1980s, Bernie Sanders proclaimed, “Vermont could set an example to the rest of the nation similar to the type of example Nicaragua is setting for the rest of Latin America.”

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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

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