Parting Shots

Ronald Reagan’s adversaries in life weigh in on his death.

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


The passing of Ronald Reagan has brought the expected tributes from world leaders of all political stripes, with everyone from Margaret Thatcher to John Kerry warmly praising the late president. But some of Reagan’s most ardent adversaries in life used the opportunity of his death to get in the last word.

Officials from Nicaragua’s former Sandanista government took a diplomatic approach to Reagan’s passing. But his funding of the rebel Contras during the country’s civil war still drew criticism from former Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega:

“We don’t celebrate any death, but we must be honest. We will not start saying now that President Reagan respected international law, that he treated Nicaragua well. We’re not going to lie.”

Writing in the Russian newspaper PRAVDA, Vasily Bubnov took issue with George W. Bush’s glowing praise of the former president, saying Reagan “saved the world from neither fear nor tyranny” and crediting the policies of Mikhail Gorbachev for ending the “Cold War”:

“Had someone else occupied the post of the USSR’s General Secretary aside from Mikhail Gorbachev, who practically handed Reagan victory, it is highly doubtful that the 40th president of the United States could ever receive the laurels.”

Harsher words came from the
Iranian press,
with the newspaper Kayhan focusing on Reagan’s role in the rise of Saddam Hussein:

“It was during Reagan’s presidency that America’s weapons of mass destruction poured into Iraq, and Saddam deployed them during the Iran-Iraq war. It was also on Reagan’s orders that the Iranian passenger airline was brought down by an American missile over the Persian Gulf in 1988, killing 290 passengers.”

Not one to mince words, the state-owned Cuban radio station Radio Reloj blasted Reagan has “he who never should have been born.” Meanwhile, Libyan dictatorMuammar Gaddaffi mourned Reagan’s death, albeit for reasons of his own. In 1986, Reagan ordered an airstrike against Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound, missing the colonel but killing, among others, his one-year-old adopted daughter:

“I express my deep regret because Reagan died before facing justice for his ugly crime that he committed in 1986 against the Libyan children.”

But the late president can still count on the support of old friends like Iran-Contra villain-turned-radio-host Oliver North:

“Ronald Reagan was easily the greatest president of my lifetime — and he will be regarded as one of the greatest leaders this country has ever had. … [H]e brought down the evil empire and made the world safer for my children and theirs.”

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate