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Narration: In the late 1950s, Fidel Castro and his small band of Cuban guerrillas started a revolution that challenged the desire of the United States to control the Western Hemisphere.

Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba

"We couldn't think about the Cold War at that time, and besides we were naive. We really believed there was a certain international order. We believed in the existence of certain international principles. We believed that the sovereignty of nations would be respected."

Narration: To the United States, Castro's nationalism and left-wing policies were a Trojan horse for Soviet communism.

Interview: Oleg Daroussenkov, Communist Party Central Committee

"Up until that time, we had viewed Latin America as a distant, exotic continent with which we had virtually no relations. The Cuban Revolution changed all this."

Narration: From its birth in 1776, the United States had grown and grown. Where its flag did not fly, its troops or agents often intervened. In the 1950s, the Guatemalans dared to challenge an American business that controlled much of its economy.

The United Fruit Company of Boston owned half a million acres of land, the railroad, the port and telecommunications. But most Guatemalan peasants found it difficult to survive.

In 1950, Jacobo Arbenz was voted president -- he wasn't a communist, but some of his close allies were. A former military man, Arbenz sought to modernize Guatemala's backward society. Washington was alarmed.

Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA chief, Mexico

"What we faced here was the obvious intervention of a foreign power. Because these home-grown parties are not really home-grown, they're being funded or, er, advised by a foreign power -- i.e. the Soviet Union."

Interview: Nikolai Leonov, KGB officer, Mexico

"The Arbenz government, which had been in power from 1950, didn't enjoy any logistical support from the Soviet Union. We didn't even have diplomatic relations. There was no Soviet mission in Guatemala."

Narration: President Arbenz started a land reform program, buying up fallow land to distribute to peasants. In compensation, he offered the landowners the values they had themselves declared for taxes. United Fruit was offered just over a million dollars for its land. When Arbenz declared nationalization, the company, backed by the United States, claimed $16 million.

Interview: Jose Manuel Fortuny, Communist Party, Guatemala

"He saw that I didn't look very pleased. He said, 'Aren't you happy about the news?' And I replied, 'Now we're going to have to fight on two fronts: We're going to have to fight internally against the landowners, and also against the United States.'"

Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA chief, Mexico

"My, er, counterpart in Guatemala ... Guatemala City chief of station was sending in reports too about communist infiltration in the government, and of course he mentioned Jose Manuel Fortuny and some of the old-time Stalinist communists who were gaining favorable positions in the Arbenz regime."

Narration: In this impasse the U.S. named John Peurifoy as its new ambassador. Peurifoy had had experience of communist efforts to gain power in Greece.

Interview: Jose Manuel Fortuny, Communist Party, Guatamala

"Peurifoy said to Arbenz, "Mr. President, we can sort out all this business of the United Fruit Company so that you can come to a satisfactory agreement. The United Fruit Company is not the problem: the problem is the communists that you have in your government."

Interview: Alfonso Bauer, Agrarian Bank, Guatamala

"No less a figure than John Foster Dulles, head of the State Department, was part of the firm of lawyers acting for the United Fruit Company. His brother Allen was the head of the CIA. So it didn't take much of an effort on their part to persuade their president, a military man, Mr. Eisenhower, to give them the green light to overthrow Arbenz's government."

Archival Narration:

"U.S. Secretary of State Dulles takes the rostrum to urge united action by the Americas to outlaw international communist intervention in the Western Hemisphere."

Archival Footage: John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State, March 5, 1954

"This conference was shocked by the dastardly attack on members of the United States Congress by those who professed to be patriots. They may not themselves have been communists. But they had been subjected to the inflammatory influence of communism which avowedly uses extreme nationalism as one of its tools."

Narration: Arbenz once again put on his colonel's uniform as Guatemala prepared for war.

In Esquipulas, an important religious shrine in a very catholic country, the church helped organize the opposition to Arbenz.

A CIA operation, code-named PB Success, mobilized disaffected exiles and peasants into action.

Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA chief, Mexico

"What we wanted to do was have a terror campaign to terrify Arbenz particularly, terrify his ... his troops, much as the German Stuka bombers terrified the population of Holland, Belgium and Poland at the onset of World War II and just rendered everybody paralyzed."

Narration: The U.N. met in emergency session. Guatemala City was strafed from the air. Rebels invaded from Honduras. The CIA spread panic. Washington denied responsibility.

Archival Footage: Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

"The information available to the United States thus far strongly suggests that the situation does not involve aggression, but is a revolt of Guatemalans against Guatemalans."

Narration: The Soviets were warned.

Archival Footage: Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

"Stay out of this hemisphere. And don't try to start your plans and your conspiracies over here."

Narration: The American PB Success campaign brought the government down and drove Arbenz and his wife into exile. Nine thousand of his supporters were arrested. Many were kept in jail, without trial, for years.

Interview: Alfonso Bauer, Agrarian Bank, Guatamala

"They even set up anticommunist committees, where anyone could go and give the names of people who had been loyal to the revolution. These people would then be mercilessly kidnapped, killed and so on."

Narration: Among those who fled was a young Argentine doctor, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who went to Mexico and there met Fidel Castro.

Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba

"I remember my talks with him. He was terribly indignant and embittered by these events which had interrupted an endeavor which wasn't even radical. It was a relatively simple change, land reform, which was very just and necessary."

Narration: Five years later, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara had triumphed.

Ninety miles from Florida, in what the United States considered its own backyard, Castro established a regime soon to be allied with the Soviet Union. Archival Footage: President John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

"Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house."

Narration: In 1961 John Fitzgerald Kennedy took over the presidency and with it a CIA scheme to send in an army of exiles to overthrow Castro, as they had earlier overthrown Arbenz in Guatemala.

Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA

"So I was yanked back from Montevideo, where I would have been content to spend the rest of my life, and told: 'What we're doing is reassembling the PB Success team, that is the Guatemala operational team, to take care of Castro.'"

Narration: At the Bay of Pigs, Castro's forces routed the CIA-sponsored invasion.

Interview: Howard Hunt, CIA

"Castro was secure, and he was beloved by millions in Cuba and so it was a different situation than Guatemala."

Archival Footage: President Fidel Castro, Cuba

"The worms, the privileged, the parasites, the sons of parasites, want to fly the flag of surrender. Ashamed of their crimes against the homeland. Beware, you won't confront playboys. You'll be up against men."

Narration: Castro, triumphant, was eager to take armed revolution into Latin America.

To combat the Cuban challenge the U.S. established in its Panama Canal Zone a sophisticated school. Here, counter-insurgency forces from all over the sub-continent were trained.

By the early 1960s left-wing revolutionary groups were fighting the authorities in Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and the Dominican Republic.

Archival Narration:

"Marines are ordered into the revolt-torn small island country by President Johnson. Five hundred leathernecks are put ashore by helicopter."

Narration: In 1965 U.S. Marines went in to crush the Dominicans, who were trying to restore their elected president.

Archival Footage: President Lyndon Johnson, May 1, 1965

"The American nation cannot, must not, and will not permit the establishment of another communist government in the Western Hemisphere."

Interview: Nikolai Leonov, KGB, Latin American Department

"The Soviet Union, especially after Brezhnev came to power in 1964, adhered to the principle of peaceful co-existence and dŽtente, and the relaxation of international tension. But the Cubans had a theory which can be described as 'let's have 100 Vietnams.'"

Narration: Che Guevara was behind the call for 100 Vietnams. In 1965 he went to the Congo and later to the heart of South America to spread the cause of violent revolution.

By late 1967 U.S. instructors were training Bolivian troops in guerrilla warfare. They set a trap for Che Guevara.

Interview: Dariel Alarcon, Cuban guerrilla fighter

"On more than one occasion he said, 'Our last battle is approaching. We have to prepare for it, and we must be very careful not to be taken prisoner -- especially the Cubans.'"

Narration: Che Guevara was captured alive.

Hours later, he was shot dead.

Five of Guevara's group escaped to the Bolivian capital, La Paz.

Interview: Dariel Alarcon, Cuban guerrilla fighter

"When we arrived in La Paz we managed to make contact with Salvador Allende in Chile. He gave us every kind of help. He mobilized his whole party in order to rescue us."

Narration: Chile had been calm in the 1960s. Washington's Alliance for Progress program spent millions of dollars backing Chile's Christian Democrat Government.

But in 1970 a coalition of the left and the center sought electoral victory. Unidad Popular was led by a doctor, freemason and Marxist bon vivant, Sen. Salvador Allende.

Interview: Arturo Alessandri, Chilean lawyer

"Allende was, er, depicted and, and, and identified with the socialist-communist parties, the left, er, in the midst of the Cold War, and he represented of course socialism and Marxism."

Narration: Worried that a Marxist would come to power in legitimate elections, U.S. business made its move.

Archival Footage: Harold Geneen, chairman, ITT Corporation, April 1973

"I directed that an approach be made to both the State Department and Mr. Kissinger's office to tell them that we have grave concern over the outlook for ITT's investment, and we were desirous of discussing our thoughts in Washington and willing to assist financially in any government plan to help protect private American investment in Chile."

Narration: The CIA was not far behind. Gen. Rene Schneider, the popular army commander who defended Allende's constitutional rights, had to be removed from his post.

Interview: Col. Paul Wimert, U.S. Embassy, Santiago

"The CIA gave me $250,000 to help us get rid of Schneider. I couldn't put it in my office safe, so I kept it in my riding boots. The money was done up like sausages in long strips. No one used it but me."

Narration: The CIA money dispatched to oust Gen. Schneider wasn't needed -- other plotters assassinated him.

The murder shocked the nation. Moderate politicians rallied to Allende and consolidated his election victory.

In the shanty towns of Chile there were high hopes as the newly elected president set out on reform -- without, he hoped, outside interference.

Archival Footage: President Salvador Allende

"The United States must respect the rights of the people to develop the economy the way it should be and they want it to be."

Narration: Allende's first big step, supported by all Chilean political parties, was the nationalization of copper, Chile's biggest industry, still under effective U.S. control.

Interview: Hortense Allende, widow of Salvador Allende

"When Salvador Allende nationalized copper, it wasn't an arbitrary measure. He did it to obtain the resources to alleviate the great poverty in our country."

Narration: Allende pressed on with what he called his "Social Revolution." School children were given a daily glass of milk.

The middle classes were on edge.

Interview: Arturo Alessandri, Chilean lawyer

"The fear was basically what would happen to the people, to the families, er, to the property, to your farms."

Narration: In the Chilean countryside, peasants, chanting pro-Cuban slogans, began seizing the land.

Interview: Arturo Alessandri, Chilean lawyer

"What happened afterwards confirmed the fears, because the government, on the one hand, started to expropriate land, started to expropriate industry."

Narration: Chile's economy was increasingly put under state control. This upset foreign financiers and the World Bank in Washington, which cut off credits.

Archival Footage: President Richard Nixon, filmed in 1977

"Chile of course is interested in obtaining loans from international organizations where we have a vote and I indicated that wherever we had a vote -- where Chile was involved -- that unless there were strong considerations on the other side that we would vote against them."

Narration: In November 1971, Fidel Castro arrived to support Allende's policy of change through the ballot box.

Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba

"We fully supported his policy. We trained people for his personal security. We were experienced in this because we had had to defend ourselves against those who had wanted to destroy us. We told him about this because we thought he had enemies who might try to take his life."

Narration: The dangers didn't just come from the right. Castro's Cuban policy of armed revolution found favor with Chile's extreme left, who were hostile to Allende's methods.

But most Chileans ignored the call to armed struggle.

As inflation mounted, the right attacked economically. CIA money helped pay for Chilean truck owners to bring the country to a standstill. At the U.N., Allende accused ITT of trying to provoke a civil war.

Archival Footage: President Salvadore Allende, December 4, 1972

"They propose economic strangulation, diplomatic sabotage, social disorder, to produce panic among the people allowing the army to overthrow a democracy and put in a dictatorship."

Narration: Moscow was the next stop. There Allende sought the money he needed to stave off bankruptcy. But the Russians, already spending a fortune to support Cuba, were unimpressed.

Interview: Nikolai Leonov, KGB, Latin American Department

"We had come to a conclusion. This regime would soon be toppled because they were trying through very democratic means -- without the use of arms -- to break the resistance of stronger opposition forces."

Narration: Santiago, Chile's capital. June 1973. With the government's popularity actually increasing, some frustrated right-wing military officers took to the streets in an attempted coup.

As the world's press recorded the failed takeover, Swedish cameraman Leonardo Hendricksen, his camera still running, was gunned down and killed.

Allende responded by placing greater reliance on the military. Gen. Augusto Pinochet was appointed as his loyal chief of the army.

Once again the truck owners paralyzed the world's longest and thinnest country. Shops closed for lack of goods. Hunger stalked the streets. Middle class housewives came out to bang their pots and pans in protest. The violent right laid their plots.

Interview: Nathaniel Davis, U.S. ambassador to Chile

"Certainly the situation was getting more and more ominous, and then we did have the possibility of learning something about it. Not because we were in touch with the plotters -- we were not."

Narration: Just after midday on Tuesday 11th September, under orders from Gen. Pinochet, British-made Hunter jets swooped over the Moneda presidential palace starting fires which were to burn for weeks.

Interview: Nathaniel Davis, U.S. ambassador to Chile

"My wife and our children were at the house and they had a marvelous view of the, er, of these planes, er, winging over and then dipping down and sending their bombs in to the Moneda."

Narration: That morning from the Moneda, Allende had broadcast to the nation.

Archival Footage: Salvador Allende

"Workers, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Go forward, knowing that sooner rather than later, avenues will open along which free men will walk, to build a better society. Long live Chile, the people, the workers."

Narration: Hours later, Allende was dead.

Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba

"He always said that he wouldn't be taken alive -- that he would die defending the Constitution. He kept his word."

Narration: Gen. Pinochet immediately stamped his mark on the country. In the capital, suspects were rounded up into the National Stadium.

Many, like folk singer Victor Jara, were never seen alive again.

Archival Footage: Joan Jara, widow of Victor Jara, filmed in 1974

"I know that he behaved with great moral courage. I know that he was a sort of a source of strength to his fellow prisoners. I know that he sang there. I know that they beat him down. I know that they broke his hands and his wrists. And I know that after two days they killed him off."

Interview: Col. Paul Wimert, U.S. Embassy, Santiago

"The people he got rid of ... shot ... at the stadium were all bad people. He was smart enough to know ... that you had to do it ... 100 percent. You can't go into it half-assed ... and do a little bit here and there. He went into it with a lot of force and did it."

Narration: When he entered the White House in January 1977, Jimmy Carter promised a new U.S. attitude to the rest of the world.

Interview: President Jimmy Carter

"I announced that human rights would be a cornerstone or foundation of our entire foreign policy. So I officially designated every U.S. ambassador on Earth to be my personal human rights representative."

Narration: In Nicaragua, U.S. ambassadors were used to a different role. In the 1930s, U.S. Marines had put the tyrant Tacho Somoza in power. More than 40 years later, Nicaragua was still ruled by a Somoza.

A politically moderate newspaper owner, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, dared to challenge the dictatorship.

Interview: Violeta Chamorro, widow of Pedro J. Chamorro

"So what happened to this person who wanted freedom? Well, they murdered him. Who murdered him? The Somoza forces."

Narration: Chamorro's murder electrified the cowed people of Nicaragua. Somoza declared a state of siege. The U.S. woke up to popular anger against the super-rich family which had been its ally for more than four decades.

Archival Footage: President Anastasio Somoza Jr., September 30, 1978

"I have been fighting the East-West ideological war since the inception of Fidel Castro so we've been under the attack of that Cuban government for almost 18 years."

Narration: From the hills where they had been secretly training for years, guerrillas emerged who proudly bore the name of the 1930s anti-Yankee rebel, "Sandino."

But in the town of Esteli, Somoza's World War II U.S. tanks carried the day. Two thousand people died in what became a dead city. The Sandinistas regrouped, pitting their rifles against Somoza's might.

Interview: Daniel Ortega, leader, Sandinista Front

"The front now entered the cities and knocked on the door of the capital for the first time in its history."

Narration: The Sandinistas' will to win triumphed; Managua went mad with joy.

Jimmy Carter had left it very late before abandoning the Somozas and accepting the new Sandinista government.

Interview: President Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua

"I said to Carter, the United States had to make good the historical damage they had inflicted on our country. Our party hymn still includes the words, 'Yankee -- the enemy of humanity.' We said to him that the only way to abolish that line would be for the attitude of the imperialist powers to change throughout the world."

Narration: The U.S. would not be lectured to. The tide of conservatism, which was to bring Ronald Reagan to power, was rising.

In Nicaragua, Somoza's land was shared out and the family's business monopolies were taken over. Education and health care became widely available.

But not everyone was happy with the revolution.

Interview: Oscar Sobalvarro, chief of staff, Contra army

"All those who didn't agree with the Sandinista policies were subjected to confiscations and imprisonment. Their lives were threatened. Many were murdered just for disagreeing with the Sandinista Front. This sort of thing turned many Nicaraguan peasants against the Sandinistas."

Narration: In the shadows, opponents of the revolution plotted their revenge.

Inexperienced Sandinista guerrillas struggled to run a war-torn country.

Interview: President Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua

"What we asked for was weapons so that we could defend ourselves -- that's what we asked of the Soviet Union, of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe, of the Algerians, of the Vietnamese."

Interview: Oleg Daroussenkov, Communist Party Central Committee

"We sent light weapons, helicopters, armored cars and other military equipment. There wasn't a large Soviet military presence but they did have Cuban advisers."

Narration: Throughout Central America protest mounted against right-wing military rule. In El Salvador the Catholic Church had become a haven for the oppressed.

On the concrete steps of the cathedral in San Salvador the military decreed that demonstrators for human rights should be discouraged -- nothing very new for El Salvador.

In a massacre in 1932, the military had killed up to 40,000 people. In 1979, the cameras were on hand to record the color of the blood.

Archbishop Oscar Romero was the cautious leader of Salvadoran Catholics. When he spoke out, the reaction from the right was immediate.

Interview: Sister Maria Figeroa, Archbishop Romero's secretary

"During the last months, the letterbox at the seminary where he had his office was full of anonymous letters practically every day, with death squad emblems on them. There was one death squad called The White Hand. There were many letters written on black paper with a white hand saying: 'We're going to kill you. We're going to tear you apart'."

Archival Footage: Archbishop Oscar Romero

"We must show that El Salvador has no need for confrontation. The only solution is to convert yourselves to the Lord."

Narration: In March 1980, as he was saying Mass in a private chapel, the archbishop was murdered by a single assassin's bullet.

At his funeral, the military struck again.

Interview: Sister Maria Figeroa, Archbishop Romero's secretary

"I only remember a bomb exploding, and then many shots being fired, and people running in all directions. It was a disaster: people running, knocking each other down, being hit by bullets. Many, many people were killed."

Interview: Ana Guadalupe Martinez, guerrilla leader, El Salvador

"The fact that they had murdered the archbishop of San Salvador, who was the highest church representative, and that they had no qualms about killing him, made us all feel practically defenseless. We said, 'Either we take the struggle into the open to the mountains, or they will kill us all here in the city.'"

Narration: On December 3, 1980, three U.S. nuns and a woman lay-worker started the long drive into town from San Salvador's international airport. On the way they were raped and killed. Their corpses were discovered in a shallow grave.

The killings, by El Salvador's National Guard, prompted President Carter to withdraw aid to the Salvadoran military. But within six weeks Carter had resumed funding an army whose atrocities continued.

Interview: Ana Guadalupe Martinez, Guerilla leader, El Salvador

"Everything consisted of beatings, electric shocks and rape, and in keeping me naked. As soon as I was taken to the headquarters I was undressed. My hands and legs were handcuffed. I was blindfolded so that I could not see the faces of my interrogators."

Narration: In town, those suspected of being sympathetic to the guerrillas were easy prey for government forces. At night, bodies were dumped on waste ground or left on city streets.

Like the Sandinistas in neighboring Nicaragua, the Salvadoran guerrillas wouldn't give up. The war damage was immense.

In the United States, the new Reagan administration blamed Cuba and Moscow.

Archival Footage: U.S. Secretary of State, March 22, 1981

Gen. Alexander Haig: "What we're watching is a four-phased operation. Phase one has been completed -- the seizure of Nicaragua. Next is El Salvador, to be followed by Honduras and Guatemala -- it's clear and explicit."

Other: "There is a Caribbean domino theory that's unfolding?"

Gen. Haig: "Of course. I wouldn't call it necessarily a domino theory. I would call it a priority target list -- a hit list if you will -- for the ultimate takeover of Central America."

Interview: President Fidel Castro, Cuba

"Look, if a Soviet-Cuban master plan actually existed we would have won the Cold War. (Laughs) If there had been a master plan. But unfortunately there was no such plan, quite the opposite. Cuba's actions conflicted with Soviet interests at that time."

Narration: In El Salvador, U.S. military advisers were hard at work bolstering the army against the guerrillas.

The Atlacatl Brigade was the crack unit. In 1981 it went on a search and destroy mission in the guerrilla-controlled Morazan Province.

At about 5 o'clock in the morning of December 11, it would go into action near the village of El Mozote.

Hundreds of civilians were slaughtered. The U.S. State Department said it could find no evidence of a massacre.

Interview: Rufina Amaya, El Mozote resident

"I saw the women clinging to each other, crying and screaming at them not to kill her. I fought for my children. I didn't want to let them go. I said I would die with them but they wrenched them from my arms. We heard them killing the children -- they killed them at night -- you could hear the screams for their mamas and papas."

Narration: As the Reagan administration moved to shore up the right in El Salvador and bring down the left in Nicaragua, neighboring Honduras became a base for all sorts of U.S. activity.

Honduras was the main place where a force was being trained to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. That force was the Contras.

Interview: Duane Clarridge, CIA chief, Latin America

"Some of them were former members of the National Guard of Nicaragua. A lot of them were just, you know, peasants from the mountainous areas between Honduras and Nicaragua, who'd been at war with somebody forever, and in many respects they were like a bunch of cattle rustlers."

Narration: The Contras were funded from Washington. This undeclared war upset the U.S. Congress.

An amendment by Rep. Boland of Massachusetts curtailed Reagan's funds for arming the Contras.

Archival Footage: April 14, 1983

President Reagan: "We are complying with the law -- the Boland Amendment, which is the law. We are complying with that fully and ..."

Woman Reporter: "Does that mean we are not arming or supplying any of the dissidents along the border? The Honduran border?"

President Reagan: "I am not going to get in ... I could not and would not possibly talk about such things."

Narration: Washington was planning another small war. On the Caribbean island of Grenada, where the British Queen Elizabeth was still head of state, a left-wing government was using Cuban contractors to build a new tourist airport.

The U.S. suspected a strategic motive.

In October 1983 when left-wing Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was assassinated by more extreme Marxists, Washington had an invasion plan ready for Reagan's approval.

Archival Footage: President Reagan

"At 5:15 this morning the joint force landed at two spots on Grenada. There is now firing and combat going on. There have been casualties."

Narration: The United States hadn't bothered to consult the British queen, or Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. It was all over in a few days.

Interview: John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Honduras

"I basically learned about the invasion of Grenada from the president of Honduras, who called me up to say, 'Do you know what's going on?' and I said, 'Well I have an idea but I don't know for sure.' And he said, 'Well you're invading Grenada,' and he said, 'Please tell the troops that when they're finished there to just keep on coming to Nicaragua.'"

Narration: Many welcomed the Americans. Within six weeks, their work done and President Reagan's image enhanced, the U.S. troops left.

In Nicaragua, Reagan's crusade against the Sandinistas was stepped up.

Interview: Duane Clarridge, CIA chief, Latin America

"The Sandinistas desperately needed to get hard currency for their exports to pay off their bank loans. So this was a time to put the mines into Corinto -- they've only got one harbor that counts -- and at the same time make sure we notified Lloyds of London the mines have gone in, so hopefully they put pressure on the shipping companies ... to stay out of there. Well it worked."

Narration: Nicaragua's precious stock of oil went up in smoke; the economy was reeling. And, all the while, ways had to be found to contain the U.S. backed Contra invasion.

The Sandinistas asked the Soviets for help.

Interview: Yuri Pavlov, Soviet Foreign Ministry

"The leaders in Moscow did not want to provoke the United States into giving more military aid to the Contras and to the Honduran government. Therefore these requests were politely denied every time the Sandinistas brought it up in Moscow."

Narration: The Sandinistas, with help from Cuba, vowed to defend their borders and the revolution.

Archival Footage: President Reagan, May 22, 1985

"The success of communism in Central America poses the threat that a hundred million people from Panama to the open border on our south, could come under the control of pro-Soviet regimes."

Narration: Angry at Reagan's continued support for the Contra war, the U.S. Congress, again led by Rep. Boland, voted in October 1984 to deny them any further assistance.

Interview: John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Honduras

"With the passage of the Boland Amendments, which ultimately prohibited assistance to the Contras, there was nothing more we could do than to bide our time."

Narration: To help pay for the continuing bloodshed in Nicaragua, Reagan's men secretly sold arms to Iran.

The American dollar, and the failures of the armed left, crushed Latin American revolutionary dreams.

Interview: Ana Guadalupe Martinez, Guerilla leader, El Salvador

"The United States saw a threat to their interests, because they thought it was a communist struggle. They didn't see us as citizens who wanted a democratic country where there was social justice and which offered opportunities to the majority."

Interview: Nikolai Leonov, KGB officer, Mexico

"The Cold War cost Latin America the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In Nicaragua alone, 50,000 died in the Sandinista revolution and another 50,000 died in the civil war. It was atrocious."

Interview: John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Honduras

"There were a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering, a lot of refugees, a lot of population movements. On the other hand, I think an equally if not more compelling case can be made than had we not done something to stop communist regimes from being established in the other Central American countries, other than Nicaragua, say that they had been established in El Salvador and then in Guatemala and possibly even Honduras during the 1980s, if we hadn't taken the steps that we took, I think the immediate suffering could have even been considerably greater."

Narration: 1990. Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega asks the Nicaraguan people to vote him president.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was there to see fair play.

Violeta Chamorro, Ortega's opponent, narrowly won a surprise victory. Washington spent nearly $10 million dollars backing her campaign.

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