March 19, 1988 – Another day of drama in the world. Tensions along the Honduran/Nicaraguan border as U.S. officials received a request from Honduran officials for an increase in helicopters for backup duty as Honduras moved 2,000 troops to the Nicaraguan border and threatening bombing operations in an effort to drive out Sandinista forces. The President of Honduras set a deadline for Sandinista soldiers to move out of their positions inside his country. President Azcona said he would order more air strikes against Nicaraguans if they didn’t flee the area. He also warned that Honduran ground forces were nearing the scene of the fighting between the Sandinistas and the U.S. backed Contra rebels. In a news conference, President Azcona stressed that he invited U.S. troops to Honduras with the knowledge that they were there to back him up, that his much smaller armed forces face the much larger Nicaraguan military. Sources were reported as saying that as many as 1,000 forces were still in Honduras. Although the fighting had diminished, there were still signs the Nicaraguans were pulling back and that they continued to use artillery on Contra positions. All ahead of scheduled peace talks to take place in a week. Sources in Nicaragua denied there were Sandinistas in Honduras at all.
Meanwhile, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was reeling from the affects of a U.S. cash freeze that continued to keep the banks in his country shuttered. However, a deal was in the making that could prove attractive to him. White House Spokesmen were quoted as saying Noriega had been negotiating with U.S. Officials who went to Panama to see him about the terms under which he would leave his country and take up asylum in a third country. Noriega told then that he was not ready to make a commitment, he was willing to consider the deal.
All that, and a lot more for this March 19 in 1988 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.