In Defense Of CEPAD

Truth-telling has fallen on hard times these days. Indeed, even the ideas of truth and honesty are being replaced with a new concept of "credibility." In American political life, it seems no longer important to speak truthfully but merely to maintain believability. "Disinformation" has become the new word for lies. We are slowly becoming immune to the steady erosion of the truth.

But one recent disinformation campaign is so outrageous and insulting that it simply cannot be allowed to go by. I am referring to a series of accusations the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) has leveled against the Evangelical Committee for Aid and Development in Nicaragua (CEPAD) and its president, Dr. Gustavo Parajon.

The IRD has accused CEPAD of operating as "a government commission," because it has worked with the Nicaraguan government on projects such as the literacy campaign, a cooperative effort on the part of the government, churches, and volunteer groups that reduced illiteracy from 52 percent to 13 percent in the first year after the 1979 overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship.

The IRD also attacked Parajon, calling him "a loyal Sandinista" and alleging that he is a government agent who informs Nicaraguan State Security about everything that CEPAD discusses in closed meetings: "He recorded them." The IRD points out that most of the U.S. church money to Nicaragua goes through CEPAD and charges that the Sandinistas have "very important figures in CEPAD," including Parajon, who it claims makes sure that money is used in the government's interest.

All these charges against CEPAD and Parajon immediately became part of official White House briefings on Nicaragua, complete with information packets containing all the IRD materials. Reagan administration officials began to quote the IRD accusations word for word.

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