U.s.: Chile Bombs To Nicaragua

Posted: October 28, 1987

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say Nicaragua's Sandinista regime has received cluster bombs from Chile to use against the U.S.-backed Contra rebels, the Washington Post reported today.

The newspaper said an unspecified number of the anti-personnel weapons, which spray metal fragments on explosion, were transferred through Panama

because Chile does not have relations with Nicaragua's leftist government.

The report quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying the cluster bombs were made by Ferrimar, a Chilean arms maker with close ties to the military government of President Augusto Pinochet.

The Post said the arms transfer was being viewed in Washington as the most dramatic example of what one official called a "parias' international" in which various Latin American regimes cooperate with each other despite their ideological differences.

The Sandinista regime is closely tied to Cuba and the Soviet Union; Pinochet's government is strongly anti-communist; and Panama's military strongman, Manuel Noriega, has been tied to Nicaragua and Cuba.

Spokesmen for the Nicaraguan, Chile and Panamanian governments in Washington were quoted as saying they had no information about the transaction ''but that the story sounded improbable."

The newspaper also quoted Bosco Matamoros, as a spokesman for Nicaragua's Contras, as saying the rebels had recovered casings from cluster bombs dropped on them early in October. He said the casings bore markings in the Cyrillic alphabet, indicating they were Soviet-made.

Matamoros was quoted as saying he was not aware of any evidence Nicaragua had obtained cluster bombs from Chile.

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