Prodemca

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PRODEMCA, aka Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America, was "founded to support incipient democratic processes in Central America. It has a controversial history because of its advocacy of the Nicaraguan Contras and involvement in the" Iran/Contra scandal.[1]

"PRODEMCA received $88,000 from Spitz Channell, head of the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty, a major actor in Lt. Col Oliver North's private aid network for the Contras. PRODEMCA terminated its own operations and merged with Freedom House in late 1988."[2]

Background

"The Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America, better known as PRODEMCA, was founded in late 1981. According to its promotional literature, the organization was established in order to support incipient democratic processes in Central America. Its projects have focused primarily on Nicaragua, especially in the construction of anti-Sandinista media and public relations campaigns and in support for the political opposition inside Nicaragua. In carrying out these campaigns, PRODEMCA relied on funding from Carl R. Channell's National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty (NEPL). NEPL was one of the important conduits for funds from the contra supply network coordinated by Oliver North.[3]

"PRODEMCA had a controversial history because of its advocacy on behalf of the contras and because of funding sources including NEPL and the U. S. government. In 1986, for instance, the group used portions of the money from NEPL to pay for fullpage advertisements promoting military aid to the contras. At the same time, the group was receiving money from the congressionally-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to provide grants to Nicaragua's internal opposition. NED severed its relationship with PRODEMCA after a public and congressional outcry over the placement of the ads and questions about whether U. S. government funds had been used to pay for them. PRODEMCA closed its own operations and merged with the NED-funded Freedom House in late l988." [4]

The Group Watch April 1989 file on the Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America provides a snapshot of the Principals at that time:

National Council

"Max Singer, an endorser of the Committee for the Free World (CFW) [was] president of the conservative business strategy consulting firm the Potomac Organization. He went to Honduras in 1983 where he offered advice on how to improve the image of the Contras. Of high priority, Singer observed, was the avoidance of the image of the contras as a U.S.-run army. Singer also noted that he was planning to return to Washington to write a book promoting the contras. Singer was on the board of Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America (PRODEMCA)." [5]

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