They Said I Was a Communist

Chris Lydgate’s absorbing article about the invention of a new sign language by Nicaraguan children is marred by a flawed assumption. He refers to the Sandinista government of Nicaragua as a “Communist regime.” Maybe he picked this up from U.S. government officials, like Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms, but the Sandinista government was not avowedly Communist, nor was it considered so by informed observers. Among those observers I include thousands of North American volunteers, such as myself, who went to Nicaragua after the 1979 revolution to share our skills and assist with the sort of humanitarian development that had been so lacking under the Somoza dictatorship. (I worked on a rural solar electrification project, along with comrades of the Portland engineer Ben Linder, who was killed by the Reagan-funded contras.) For us “Sandalistas” and for so many of the Nicaraguans we worked alongside, the greatness of the Sandinista revolution was that its leaders and millions of participants applied the resources of the country to improving the lives of its citizens. It is distressing that some, who are perhaps unfamiliar with the events there, categorize that revolution with the disparaging language used by those who murderously worked to destroy progress in Nicaragua.

—Roger Lippman ’69

Seattle, Washington

Editor's Note: Yikes! Thanks for sorting the leftists from the rightists.