241. Airgram A–63 From the Embassy in Nicaragua to the Department of State1


  • Elections 1974: The Conservative Opposition


Despite obviously favorable circumstances, no opposition political party worthy of the name presently exists in Nicaragua. The traditional and officially recognized opposition Conservative Party (PCN) has managed to survive during the almost forty years of political dominance by the Somoza family and its Liberal Party, but it has not prospered. Alternating between unsuccessful attempts to topple the Somozas by violence and equally abortive efforts to pursue political pacts with them the PCN is currently at the nadir of effectiveness as an opposition political party. Badly disorganized and divided, it has three factions currently contending for leadership but none of these offers much hope for the future. In recent weeks a new group has launched an attempt to restore the party and return the bulk of its members to active [Page 659] participation. The task is immense and only time will tell if this group will be successful. A resurgence of the PCN to fill the critical opposition gap in the electoral process appears in the best interests of Nicaragua and General Somoza’s PLN. The emergence of a credible and viable opposition, which would enhance chances for peaceful and legitimate elections in 1974 and a subsequent transfer of the Presidency, also appears to be in the best interests of the USG. The USG should therefore use its discreet and selective influence with General Somoza to help bring this about.

[Omitted here is the body of the airgram.]

  1. Summary: With Nicaraguan elections set for 1974, the Embassy reported on the disorganized and divided state of the Conservative Party and noted that a more credible opposition would be in the interest of both the U.S. and Nicaraguan Governments.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files, 1970–1973, POL 14 NIC. Secret. Drafted by Political Officer James Cheek on October 30 and approved by Deputy Chief of Mission Leland Warner. All brackets are in the original except those indicating text omitted by the editors.