A member of the ruling junta in Nicaragua, Moises Hassan Morales revealed in Managua on Wednesday (13 August) that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (P.L.O.) had helped Sandinista guerrillas overthrow the Somoza government in July, 1979.
SV INTERIOR Member of Nicaragua's ruling junta and leader of Sandinista guerrilla group, Mr. Moises Hassan Morales, speaking in Spanish in Managua
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Background: A member of the ruling junta in Nicaragua, Moises Hassan Morales revealed in Managua on Wednesday (13 August) that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (P.L.O.) had helped Sandinista guerrillas overthrow the Somoza government in July, 1979. Mr. Hassan said some of the guerrillas had been trained in the Middle East by the P.L.O. He said that as a result of such co-operation the Sandinista government was the first in Latin America to recognise the P.L.O.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Hassan said he believed that the Sandinistas and the P.L.O. had much in common. In an interview in the Nicaragua capital he said he was keen for Nicaragua to establish further formal links with the Palestinians and to help them with their aspirations. He added that Nicaragua already had strong links with the Arab world, and wanted the P.L.O. to be seen as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people. Yasser Arafat, the leader of the P.L.O. visited Managua at the end of July to take part in celebrations marking the first anniversary of the overthrow of the Somoza government. The Sandinistas led the revolt against more than 40-years of rule by the Somoza family and they now run the governing junta. The bitter civil war that was fought to remove the Somoza family cost 40 thousand lives in 52-days of fighting. Mr. Hassan reflected in the war and said that it was always the intention of the guerrillas to recognise the P.L.O., when they gained power. He said the revolutionary obligation had now been fulfilled.
The successful revolution by the Sandinistas is the first by a leftist group since Fidel Castro took power in Cuba in 1959. But, since they took over Nicaragua there have been problems, chiefly economic. In January, the country's main sources of revenue, the coffee crop, was ruined by rust. But, even though the Sandinistas have received aid from Russia, Cuba and, more recently , the United States, Mr. Hassan seems to identify more closely with the P.L.O. He defines it as a popular movement, like the Sandinistas.