Adiós Muchachos is a candid insider’s account of the leftist Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. During the 1970s, Sergio Ramírez led prominent intellectuals, priests, and business leaders to support the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), against Anastasio Somoza’s dictatorship. After the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979, Ramírez served as vice-president under Daniel Ortega from 1985 until 1990, when the FSLN lost power in a national election. Disillusioned by his former comrades’ increasing intolerance of dissent and resistance to democratization, Ramírez defected from the Sandinistas in 1995 and founded the Sandinista Renovation Movement. In Adiós Muchachos, he describes the utopian aspirations for liberation and reform that motivated the Sandinista revolution against the Somoza regime, as well as the triumphs and shortcomings of the movement’s leadership as it struggled to turn an insurrection into a government, reconstruct a country beset by poverty and internal conflict, and defend the revolution against the Contras, an armed counterinsurgency supported by the United States. Adiós Muchachos was first published in 1999. Based on a later edition, this translation includes Ramírez’s thoughts on more recent developments, including the re-election of Daniel Ortega as president in 2006.
Throughout the 1980s, Barricada, the official daily newspaper of the ruling Sandinista Front, played the standard role of a party organ, seeking the mobilize the Nicaraguan public to support the revolutionary agenda. Beyond the Barricades, however, reveals a story that is both more intriguing and much more complex. Even during this period of sweeping transformation and outside military siege, another, more professional agenda also motivated Barricada’s journalists and editors.
When the Sandinistas unexpectedly fell from power in the 1990 elections, Barricada gained a substantial degree of autonomy that allowed it to explore a more balanced and nuanced journalism “in the national interest.” This new orientation, however, ran afoul of more orthodox party leaders, who gradually gained the upper hand in the bitter internal struggle that wracked the Sandinista Front in the early 1990s. The paper closed its doors in January 1998.
Adam Jones’s outstanding study offers an unprecedented behin-the-scenes looks at Barricada’s two decades of evolution and dissolution. It also presents an intimate portrait of a key revolutionary institution and the memorable individuals who were a part of it.
Contradiction and Conflict explores the rich history, ideology, and development of the popular church in Nicaragua. From careful assessments within the context of Nicaragua's revolutionary period (1970s-1990), this book explains the historical conditions that worked to unify members of the Christian faith and the subsequent factors that fragmented the Christian community into at least four identifiable groups with religious and political differences, contradictions, and conflicts.
Debra Sabia describes and analyzes the rise, growth, and fragmentation of the popular church and assesses the effect of the Christian base communities on religion, politics, and the nation's social revolutionary experiment.
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.
Drawing on testimonies from contra collaborators and ex-combatants, as well as pro-Sandinista peasants, this book presents a dynamic account of the growing divisions between peasants from the area of Quilalí who took up arms in defense of revolutionary programs and ideals such as land reform and equality and those who opposed the FSLN.
Peasants in Arms details the role of local elites in organizing the first anti-Sandinista uprising in 1980 and their subsequent rise to positions of field command in the contras. Lynn Horton explores the internal factors that led a majority of peasants to turn against the revolution and the ways in which the military draft, and family and community pressures reinforced conflict and undermined mid-decade FSLN policy shifts that attempted to win back peasant support.
Sandino's Daughters, Margaret Randall's conversations with Nicaraguan women in their struggle against the dictator Somoza in 1979, brought the lives of a group of extraordinary female revolutionaries to the American and world public. The book remains a landmark. Now, a decade later, Randall returns to interview many of the same women and others. In Sandino's Daughters Revisited, they speak of their lives during and since the Sandinista administration, the ways in which the revolution made them strong--and also held them back. Ironically, the 1990 defeat of the Sandinistas at the ballot box has given Sandinista women greater freedom to express their feelings and ideas.
Randall interviewed these outspoken women from all walks of life: working-class Diana Espinoza, head bookkeeper of a employee-owned factory; Daisy Zamora, a vice minister of culture under the Sandinistas; and Vidaluz Meneses, daughter of a Somozan official, who ties her revolutionary ideals to her Catholicism. The voices of these women, along with nine others, lead us to recognize both the failed promises and continuing attraction of the Sandinista movement for women. This is a moving account of the relationship between feminism and revolution as it is expressed in the daily lives of Nicaraguan women.
Katherine Isbester University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001 Library of Congress HQ1236.5.N5I83 2001 | Dewey Decimal 305.42097285
The story of the women’s movement in Nicaragua is a fascinating tale of resistance, strategy, and faith. From its birth in 1977 under the Somoza dictatorship through the Sandinista revolution to the fall of the Chamorro government, the Nicaraguan women’s movement has navigated revolutionary upheaval, profound changes in government, and rapidly shifting definitions of women’s roles in society. Through it all, the movement has surged, regressed, and persevered, entering the twenty-first century a powerful and influential force, stretching from the grassroots to the national level.
How did women in an economically underdeveloped Central American country, with little history of organizing, feminism, or democracy, succeed in creating networks, organizations, and campaigns that carved out a gender identity and challenged dominant ideologies (both revolutionary and conservative)? In Still Fighting, Katherine Isbester seeks to understand. She analyzes the complex and rich case of Nicaragua in order to learn more about the dynamics of social movements in general and women’s organizing in particular.
Social movement theory offers Isbester an analytic tool to explain the extraordinary evolution of the Nicaraguan movement. She theorizes that a sustainable movement is composed of three elements: a focused goal, a mobilization of resources, and an identity. The lack of any one of these weakens a social movement. Isbester shows how this theory is borne out by the experience of the Nicaraguan women’s movement over the past thirty years. She demonstrates, for example, how the revolutionary government of the 1980s co-opted the women’s movement, crippling its ability to create an autonomous identity, choose it own goals, and mobilize resources independent of the state. Hence, it lost legitimacy, membership, and influence. She traces the movement’s resurgence in the 1990s, the result of its redefinition as an autonomous movement organized around an identity of care.
Still Fighting combines social theory with field research, leading a new wave of scholarship on women in Latin America. Isbester interviewed more than a hundred key participants in the women’s movement, in addition to members of the National Assembly, male leaders of other social movements, and women outside the movement. In Nicaragua, she was witness to much political organizing, enabling her to reveal the organic intricacy, as well as the historical path, of a social movement.
Still Fighting will be an important book for a broad range of students and professionals in the areas of social movements, social change, gender, politics, and Latin America.
Even in the period following the electoral defeat of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in 1990, the revolution of 1979 continues to have a profound effect on the political economy of Nicaragua. Wright’s study, which is based on interviews with people from all walks of life—from government and party officials to academics and campesinos—as well as on the large volume of literature in both English and Spanish, focuses on the FSLN understanding of the relationships between the state, the party, and mass actors, and the nature of social classes. Wright considers the topics of agrarian reform, the development of mass organizations, the role of labor, and other aspects of the Nicaraguan political economy in order to assess their significance in theoretical as well as practical terms.