The following is the definition of terrorism as defined by the FBI: “the
unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a
government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in the
furtherance of political or social objectives” (FBI, 2003). It is the aim
of this essay to determine whether the actions of the United States in
Nicaragua in the early 1980s fit this American definition of terrorism, and
to compare those actions with the actions of regimes that the United States
government has been critical of in recent months to establish if such
criticism may be seen to be hypocritical.
Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821, along with the rest of
Central America. It was a part of Mexico for a brief time, then part of the
then Central American Federation. Nicaragua finally achieved complete
independence in 1838. Soon after, Britain and the USA both became extremely
interested in Nicaragua and the strategically important RA­o San Juan
navigable passage from Lago de Nicaragua to the Caribbean. In 1848, the
British seized the port at the mouth of the RA­o San Juan on the Caribbean
coast and renamed it Greytown. This became a major transit point for hordes
of hopefuls looking for the quickest route to Californian gold.
In 1855, the liberals from the city of Leon invited William Walker, an
American intent on taking over Latin American territory, to help seize
power from the conservatives based in Granada. Aided by a band of
mercenaries, Walker and his fellows took Granada easily and he proclaimed
himself president, one of hisfirst moves being to institutionalize
slavery. He was soon ejected from power and the country, but showed almost
absurd tenacity as he repeatedly tried to invade the country. This was the
first American intervention in the affairs of Nicaragua, and in many ways
set the preced…

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