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How did the Reagan Administration violate Congressional instructions and stated administration policy in its decision to fund the Contras?  

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The Contras were a group of insurgents fighting against the Sandinistas, the leftist regime that had risen to power in Nicaragua in the 1970s. Because the Sandinistas were socialist in outlook—and because they supported like-minded organizations in the neighboring El Salvador—the United States government under Ronald Reagan pledged to oppose them by selling arms to, training, and providing other support to their opponents. This was known as the "Reagan Doctrine." Reagan portrayed the Contras as freedom fighters, but as Nicaragua descended into civil war, both Contras and Sandinistas were guilty of appalling human rights abuses.

When Democrats took over Congress in the midterm elections of 1982, they passed laws that specifically forbade material support for the Contras. A few years later, however, the Reagan administration authorized the sale of weapons to Iran, despite an arms embargo and other trade restrictions that had been in place since its revolution in 1979.

Reagan, it turned...

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