Vital Signs

Innocent Leftists

A recent film festival sponsored by Human Rights Watch at New York’s Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center attracted the hard-core sandalistas of the Upper West Side, who filed in to watch—what else?—the Sandinistas and Contras in a cartoon of a Canadian documentary called The World Stopped Watching.  The accompanying flyer asked, “What happens to a country’s people when the media spotlight is turned off?”

Answer: Two American journalists who went to Managua, and into the hills in the 1980’s, have seen Nicaragua’s post-Ortega republic and find it sorely lacking.  For starters, as the voice-over ominously intones, “11 of the 94 members of Nicaragua’s National Assembly are former Contra military commanders.”  Obviously, somebody had better do a little affirmative-actioning to boost the percentage of non-Contras above the 88-percent mark.

Throughout the film, a former News-week photographer and a Boston Globe reporter, who had been fired by that publication for “lack of objectivity” (the mind boggles!), are eager to revisit alleged Contra massacre sites but never even broach the subject of Sandinista repression of, say, the Miskito Indians of the Atlantic coast.  Similarly, scenes from the archives of cheering mobs defying the Norteamericano Reagan administration in the main plaza of the capital are...

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