The leader of the largest group of counterrevolutionaries in Nicaragua was given the key to the city of Lafayette, La., last May. Now he expects a helicopter.
Adolfo Calero, head of the Nicaraguan Democratic Forces, got the key to the city by Mayor Dud Lastrapes while in Lafayette to speak to the Republican Hispanic Assembly of Louisiana, a conservative group.
Eula B. Hilliard raised her hand and asked Calero what Louisianans could do to help.
"He said they desperately needed a helicopter to evacuate the wounded," Hilliard recalled. Calero told the group that in its battles with soldiers of the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua, wounded rebels sometimes are evacuated by mule.
Hilliard promptly became co-chair of a committee to raise $150,000 to buy a used helicopter and ship it to Nicaragua.
"It's strictly a humanitarian effort," she said. "It won't be the kind of helicopter you can equip with guns."
Committee member Eduardo R. Barberena, a Nicaraguan businessman who moved to Lafayette after being jailed by then-dictator Anastasio Somoza, said the group had its eye on a used chopper he described as a B216 that could carry two or three casualties. He said it had been used in the oil industry that is Lafayette's main source of income.
"We're going to have a big party in October to raise money. We're printing brochures and flyers; we have pledges and so on" totaling about $5,000 so far, he said.