Contra Information

The Contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship. Although the Contra movement included a number of separate groups, with different aims and little ideological unity, the Nicaraguan Democratic Force emerged as by far the largest. In 1987, virtually all Contra organizations were united, at least nominally, into the Nicaraguan Resistance.

From an early stage, the rebels received both overt and covert financial and military support from the United States government through the Central Intelligence Agency , initially supplemented by the Argentine dictatorship of the time. At other times the US Congress wished to distance itself from the Contras and withdrew all overt support.

The term "Contra" comes from the Spanish la contra, short for la contrarrevolucion, in English "the counter-revolution". Some rebels disliked being called Contras, feeling that it defined their cause only in negative terms, or implied a desire to restore the old order. Rebel fighters usually referred to themselves as comandos ; peasant sympathizers also called the rebels los primos . From the mid-1980s, as the Reagan administration and the rebels sought to define the movement as the "democratic resistance," members started describing themselves as la resistencia.

Wikipedia, Contra, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contras (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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