1985 Photo Contest, Spot News, 1st prize

James Nachtwey

Black Star for Time

01 April, 1984

A Contra fires a gun at troops of the Sandinista government from behind a tree during a battle at the Nicaraguan border town of San Juan del Norte. He was mortally wounded eventually and had to be carried away by comrades. He died a few hours later. During a coordinated offensive by Contra's against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, guerrillas of the Revolutionary Democratic Alliance (ARDE) stormed into the settlement of San Juan del Norte, a remote Nicaraguan village of some 950 people. Their main objective was to secure a toehold in the jungle fringes of Nicaraguan territory and to gain a port of entry for military supply. After three days of fighting, the ARDE contra's succeeded in overrunning 120 defenders of the government. ARDE claimed that their attack had been supported by mysterious gunfire from sea, which they put down to the Americans. US officials, however denied the claim. From 1982 onwards, several amendments had been passed by the US House of Representatives to limit US mingling in Nicaragua's civil war, prohibiting the federal government from providing military support for the purpose of overthrowing the Communist Sandinista regime.

About the photographer

James Nachtwey

Photographs of the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights movement inspired him to become a photographer. While teaching himself photography, he worked as truck driver and as ...

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