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Who Were The Contras?

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The Contras were a guerrilla army formed to oppose the Sandinista government of Nicaragua which took power in 1979 following the toppling of the dictator Anatasio Somoza. Ronald Reagan, U.S. President, was an enthusiastic supporter of their cause  He was concerned about the spread of communist ideas and influence in Latin America and arranged for the Contras to be provided with money, equipment and training by the CIA.     As reports about human rights abuses committed by the Contras spread to the United States, the U.S. Congress became increasingly unhappy about the support being offered to them by CIA. Funding for the Contras was first reduced and then stopped altogether. The Reagan administration was not willing to abandon the Contras to their fate, however, and it quietly arranged for funding to continue by covert and indirect means. Some of this financial skulduggery later came to light as part of the Iran-Contra scandal. The Contras dissolved in the late 1980s as elections were due to be held in Nicaragua.  

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