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16 August 2011

Reviewing the Past

East German largesse has been concentrated on Nicaragua, where the revolution last year provided an obvious target of political opportunity. Barely a week after Dictator Anastasio Somoza had fled the country, East German medical and economic assistance teams were in Managua establishing an early foothold. As one East German doctor admitted at the time: "We do not leave political considerations aside." Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Miguel d'Escoto has called the GDR a "natural ally" of the Sandinista revolution,
A 1980 Time Magazine article illustrated plainly to an international audience something we had suspected seeing around us: to the Soviets, the DDR was to Europe what the Cubans were to Latin America - only more effective.
Why the East Germans? Originally, Western analysts believe, their ambitious foreign role was motivated by a national inferiority complex, as a denigrated political offspring of the Soviet Union and a poor industrial also-ran compared with West Germany. The emerging countries and the liberation movements thus afforded the "other" Germany its first international acceptance and prestige. The East Germans eventually proved to be more diplomatic than the Soviets, who frequently antagonize their Third World hosts with chafing arrogance, and more efficient than the Cubans, who do not enjoy the same reputation for reliability and know-how. Concluded a U.S. intelligence analyst: "The Cubans provide bodies. The East Germans provide brains."
As well they did. What the article didn't touch on was the building or organizing of intelligence apparatus by the Stasi in Yemen, Libya, Nicaragua, Cambodia, and among revolutionary organizations such as the PLO, SWAPO in Namibia, and others.

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