Gustavo Parajón, a Christian relief official and Baptist pastor in Nicaragua, has been appointed to a crucial commission mandated by the recent Central American Peace Accord, The accord, signed by Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica, is designed to resolve the region’s conflicts peacefully.

Tracing these conflicts to “deep divisions within society,” the accord calls for national reconciliation based on “justice, freedom, and democracy.” The agreement commits each country to democratic elections, with “complete freedom of press, television, and radio.” In addition, it assures full rights for opposition groups, including amnesty for members of armed resistance movements.

To monitor compliance with the accord, each country must establish a National Reconciliation Commission made up of a government official, a Catholic bishop, an opposition political leader, and “an outstanding citizen, outside of public office and not pertaining to the party in power.” Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega chose Parajón as the citizen delegate.

Parajón heads the Evangelical Committee for Aid and Development (CEPAD,) an interdenominational relief-and-development organization. Other members of Nicaragua’s National Reconciliation Commission are Sandinista Vice-President Sergio Ramírez; Catholic Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo; and Mauricio Díaz, of the Popular Social Christian Party.

Obando is the Sandinistas’ foremost critic, but some observers say they expect less independence from Díaz. Although he ran against Ortega in the 1984 presidential election, his party often sides with the ruling Sandinistas. Since the National ...

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