What is Operation Charly Mentioned in The Boys? Was It Real?

The third season of ‘The Boys’ picks pace with the revelation of a secret weapon that can kill Supes. Maeve discovers a file about Soldier Boy which reveals that the public story of him sacrificing his life to save everyone from a nuclear disaster is a hoax. In reality, he was killed while on a mission to Nicaragua. She shares these findings with Butcher, who eventually tracks it down to Grace Mallory. He discovers, from Gunpowder, that Soldier Boy’s last mission took him and his team, Payback, to Central America. Their case officer was Mallory, who conveniently forgot to mention anything regarding this in all the time that Butcher worked with her.

When Mallory is cornered by Butcher, she relents and tells them everything about her mission in Nicaragua. She says her work there was a part of Operation Charly and recounts how Soldier Boy and Payback’s actions resulted in a disastrous mess for her team. She also mentions Ronald Reagan and Oliver North, which makes us wonder how much of her story is founded in reality. Here’s what we found out about it.

Was Operation Charly Real?

Yes! Operation Charly was a code name for the program that took place during the late 70s and early 80s. Its foundation lay in America’s involvement in the political upheavals taking place in Central America and the growing threat of Communism in the region.

It all started in 1977 with the Nicaraguan Revolution. The Sandinista National Liberation Front wanted to overthrow the dictatorship of the Somoza family. They succeeded in their endeavor in 1979, but their ties with the Soviet Union and Cuba were a matter of concern for the US. They feared that the victory of the Sandinistas might result in a communist tide in other regions of Central America. Their fears were validated when the Sandinistas started providing support to insurgents in El Salvador.

In 1980, an anti-Sandinista group started to take root. The counter-revolutionaries, called the Contras, were mostly the ones loyal to the Somoza regime. In collaboration with Argentina, the US organized to train the Contras and supply arms to them, furthering their cause of overthrowing the communist-leaning government. However, back home, the American government received backlash for indulging in yet another conflict, which they feared could end up something on the lines of the Vietnam War. In 1984, Congress passed the second Boland Amendment, which prohibited any interference or involvement with the Contras.

The Sandinistas continued their involvement in El Salvador, which led Reagan to green-light covert operations, authorizing the CIA to fund the Contras. As Mallory explained, Contras had a lot of cocaine, which was smuggled to the US. Its distribution was restricted to the minority communities in an effort of keeping the damage away from the white ones. The money from this venture was then used to gather more arms and ammunition for the Contras.

How Was Oliver North Involved in Operation Charly?

While telling the Boys about her mission in Nicaragua, Mallory mentions “Oliver North’s epic fuck-up”. What she’s talking about is the Iran-Contra affair, an incident that caused much uproar at the time in the US. While the CIA was busy with its operation in Nicaragua, America also got caught up in the political turbulence taking place in Iran. Things got messy when a group of Shi’ite terrorists, loyal to Iran, took American citizens hostage in Lebanon.

At the time, Oliver North was working for the National Security Council, and he found a unique opportunity in this situation. To facilitate the release of the hostages, a deal was struck with the Khomeini regime of Iran, where an illegal sale of weapons took place. The money from this sale was intended to be used in supporting the Contras. Such a deal was already banned under the Boland Amendment. However, North went forward with the scheme but caused a mess when he gave wrong information regarding the Swiss bank account where the money was to be sent for laundering.

The revelation of the Iran-Contra affair led to a huge controversy. North succeeded in receiving limited immunity from prosecution as he testified before Congress. Though he was initially convicted on three felony charges, all charges against him were dismissed in 1991.

Read More: What Happened to Soldier Boy in The Boys?