In a story yesterday on U.S.-Nicaraguan relations, Sen. Edward Zorinsky (D-Ned.) was incorrectly identified as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is chairman of the committee's Western Hemisphere affairs subcommittee.
Despite U.S. efforts to cultivate Nicaragua's new revolutionary government, the guerrilla-backed administration has continued to denounce "Yankee imperialism" as the root of all Third World evil and to display strong anti-U.S. sentiment.
Recent statements by leaders of the civilian junta, the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the government press reflect the antagonism toward Washington that has developed during more than 40 years of authortarian rule by the U.S.-supported Somoza family.
While the United States maintains it is attempting to start the new relationship off on a different footing, Nicaragua's new leaders have found it difficult, or at least inexpedient, to accept any change publicly.
Barricada, the Sandinista newspaper that is currently the only one published here, has shown an increasing tendency to portray the success of the Nicaraguan revolution as a defeat for "U.S. imperalism."
In a recent commentary on the revolution's impact on the world and especially Latin America, the paper referred to the Organization of American States as the "Department of State's Ministry of Colonies." It noted that there have been "important changes" in Central America "in which those who resist imperialist aggression have not been exterminated."
The only foreign news printed in Barricada is based on Prensa Latina, the Cuban wire service that freely interchanges references to the United States with synonyms such as "the imperialists" or "the reactionary forces."
At a press conference Saturday night, junta member Alfonso Robelo appeared to blame the Carter administration for a shortfall in international food aid to Nicaragua, despite the fact that the United States has provided more emergency relief than any other nation.
The State Department, responding to the charges of insufficient American assistance, said today that 150 tons of food a day will be made available to Nicaragua over the next few weeks.
[A statement said 1,000 tons of food will arrive by sea in Nicaragua on Wednesday as part of a substantial aid increase planned for this week. It said future and levels will be much higher than over the past few weeks, when sea arrivals were not possible and some planes had mechanical difficulties.]
[Last month the department said that U.S. emergency relief for Nicaragua between June 15 and July 25 totaled $2.97 million.]
Robelo charged that Washington had not lived up to its promises to provide substantial quantities of emergency food and said, "I cannot help but think this is due to political considerations."
When told by reporters that, according to the Nicaraguan Red Cross, the United States has provided Nicaragua with more food and medicine than any other country in the world, Robelo said he was not aware of the Red Cross figures.
Barricada, which has promptly reported shipments of food and medical teams from Cuba, Mexico, Chile, West Germany and other countries, waited a week before mentioning that U.S. ambassador Lawrence Pezzullo had returned to Nicaragua with a plane-load of emergency supplies sent as a gift from President Carter.
In an interview last week, Lea Guido de Lopez, the revolutionary government's minister of social welfare, failed to mention the United States among the donors of emergency aid. When reminded of Carter's symbolic planeload, which included a large shipment of needed cooking oil, she replied: "Oh, yes. But we have nothing to cook in the oil."
Although the new government has largely tried to calm U.S. fears that it would actively support other revolutions in Central America, Interior Minister and Sandinista leader Tomas Borge said last week that the junta "probably would not" stop volunteer Nicaraguans from fighting with guerilla groups active in Guatemala and El Salvador.
Borge added, however, that Nicaragua wanted good relations with its Central American neighbors. His comments came the night before he welcomed Sen. Edward Zorinsky (D-Neb.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who arrived over the weekend for a short factfinding trip.
The feeling of distrust expressed by Nicaraguan officials toward the United States appears to be mutual in the case of some officials in Washington.
A Western diplomat arriving in Managua over the weekend after discussions with State Department officials quoted one of them as saying that "we're just waiting for the Sandinistas to lift their masks."
U.S. diplomats here are known to be concerned about the anti-American statements by government officials and the press. If the criticism of U.S. aid efforts continues, one official said over the weekend, "they're going to put us out of business."
So far, U.S. emergency assistance is continuing at ever higher levels. Chartered planes fly in every day from the United States. Land convoys are arriving from neighboring Costa Rica and Honduras, and a ship loaded with 1,000 tons of food and medicine sent by Washington is scheduled to arrive Tuesday.
Still, the attacks continue, sometimes apparently based on a conscious or unconscious lack of understanding.