Taking power in Nicaragua in 1979 as a revolutionary party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) was willing to put its fate in the hands of the Nicaraguan people twice, in 1984 and 1990. The party wrote a democratic constitution and then, remarkably, accepted the decision of the majority by relinquishing power upon its defeat in the 1990 election.
The Many Faces of Sandinista Democracy explores the conflicts involving different visions of political and economic democracy, as well as new radical thought on participatory democracy. The latter addresses the problems popular organizations encountered as they moved from subservience to the FSLN in the 1980s to the liberating but disorientating electoral defeat of 1990. Up until the moment of defeat, the Sandinistas saw themselves as the true vanguard of the Nicaraguan people, able to submit themselves to free elections, because they felt they truly represented the general will of the people.
Dr. Hoyt brings to an international audience for the first time a study of the ideas of several Nicaraguan thinkers. She examines the conflicts surrounding the development of ideas within the FSLN, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of its rare combination of democratic and vanguard principles.