Sandinista National Liberation Front
Sandinista National Liberation Front (Spanish: Frente Sandinista
de Liberación Nacional, FSLN) is a democratic socialist
political party in Nicaragua.
Its members are called Sandinistas [sandiˈnistas] in both English and
Spanish. The party is named after Augusto César Sandino, who led the
Nicaraguan resistance against the
United States occupation of
Nicaragua in the 1930s.
The FSLN overthrew Anastasio
Somoza DeBayle in 1979, ending the Somoza
dynasty, and established a revolutionary government in its
place. Following their seizure of power, the Sandinistas ruled
Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, first as part of a Junta of National
Reconstruction. Following the resignation of centrist members from
this Junta, the FSLN took exclusive power in March 1981. They
instituted a policy of mass literacy, devoted significant resources to
health care, and promoted gender equality, but came under
international criticism for human rights abuses, mass execution and
oppression of indigenous peoples. A militia, known as the
Contras, was formed in 1981 to overthrow the Sandinista government and
was funded and trained by the US Central Intelligence Agency. In
1984 elections were held but were boycotted by some opposition
parties. The FSLN won the majority of the votes, and those who
opposed the Sandinistas won approximately a third of the seats. The
civil war between the
Contras and the government continued until 1989.
After revising the constitution in 1987, and after years of fighting
the Contras, the FSLN lost the 1990 election to Violeta Barrios de
Chamorro but retained a plurality of seats in the legislature.
The FSLN remains one of Nicaragua's two leading parties. The FSLN
often polls in opposition to the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, or
PLC. In the 2006 Nicaraguan general election, former FSLN President
Daniel Ortega was re-elected President of
Nicaragua with 38.7% of the
vote compared to 29% for his leading rival, bringing in the country's
second Sandinista government after 16 years of the opposition winning
elections. Ortega and the FSLN were re-elected again in the
presidential elections of November 2011 and of November 2016.
1.1 Origin of the term "Sandinista"
1.2 Founding (1961–70)
1.3 Rise (1970–76)
1.4 Split (1977–78)
1.5 Insurrection (1978)
1.6 Reunification (1979)
1.7 Nicaraguan Revolution
1.8 Sandinista rule (1979–90)
1.8.1 State of Emergency (1982–88)
1.9 Sandinistas vs. Contras
1.10.1 1984 election
1.10.2 1990 election
1.11 Opposition (1990–2006)
1.12 Return to government
1.12.1 "Zero Hunger Project"
3 Principles of government
4 Policies and programs
4.1 Foreign policy
4.1.1 Cuban assistance
184.108.40.206 Cuban assistance after the revolution
4.1.2 Relationship with eastern bloc intelligence agencies
220.127.116.11 Cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies during the
4.2 Educational assistance
4.2.1 1980 literacy campaign
4.3 Health care
4.4 Vocational assistance
4.5 Industry and infrastructure
4.6 Ministry of Culture
5 Women in revolutionary Nicaragua
6 Relationship with the Catholic Church
7 Human rights violations by the Sandinistas
7.1 Politicization of human rights
8 US government allegations of support for foreign rebels
10 In popular culture
10.1 In films
10.2 In games
10.3 In language
10.4 In literature
10.5 In music
10.6 In television
11 Presidents of the Executive
12 Presidential Candidates
13 Prominent Sandinistas
13.1 Election results
14 See also
16 External links
Origin of the term "Sandinista"
The Sandinistas took their name from Augusto César Sandino
(1895–1934), the charismatic leader of Nicaragua's nationalist
rebellion against the US occupation of the country during the early
20th century (ca. 1922–1934).
Sandino was assassinated in 1934 by
the Nicaraguan National Guard (Guardia Nacional), the US-equipped
police force of Anastasio Somoza, whose family ruled the country from
1936 until they were overthrown by the Sandinistas in 1979.
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
President: Gustavo Porras Cortés
Minister of Foreign Affairs
The FSLN originated in the milieu of various oppositional
organizations, youth and student groups in the late 1950s and early
1960s. The University of Léon, and the National Autonomous University
Nicaragua (UNAN) in
Managua were two of the principal centers of
activity. Inspired by the Revolution and the FLN in Algeria, the
FSLN itself was founded in 1961 by Carlos Fonseca, Silvio
Mayorga (es; ru),
Tomás Borge and others as The National
Liberation Front (FLN). Only
Tomás Borge lived long enough to see
the Sandinista victory in 1979.
The term "Sandinista", was added two years later, establishing
continuity with Sandino's movement, and using his legacy in order to
develop the newer movement's ideology and strategy. By the early
1970s, the FSLN was launching limited military initiatives.
On December 23, 1972, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake leveled the capital
city, Managua. The earthquake killed 10,000 of the city's 400,000
residents and left another 50,000 homeless. About 80% of Managua's
commercial buildings were destroyed. President Anastasio Somoza
Debayle's National Guard embezzled much of the international aid that
flowed into the country to assist in reconstruction, and
several parts of downtown
Managua were never rebuilt. The president
gave reconstruction contracts preferentially to family and friends,
thereby profiting from the quake and increasing his control of the
city's economy. By some estimates, his personal wealth rose to US$400
million in 1974.
In December 1974, a guerrilla group affiliated with FSLN directed by
Eduardo Contreras and Germán Pomares seized government hostages at a
party in the house of the Minister of Agriculture in the Managua
suburb Los Robles, among them several leading Nicaraguan officials and
Somoza relatives. The siege was carefully timed to take place after
the departure of the US ambassador from the gathering. At 10:50 pm, a
group of 15 young guerrillas and their commanders, Pomares and
Contreras, entered the house. They killed the Minister, who tried to
shoot them, during the takeover. The guerrillas received US$2
million ransom, and had their official communiqué read over the radio
and printed in the newspaper La Prensa.
Over the next year, the guerrillas also succeeded in getting 14
Sandinista prisoners released from jail, and with them, were flown to
Cuba. One of the released prisoners was Daniel Ortega, who would later
become the president of Nicaragua. The group also lobbied for an
increase in wages for National Guard soldiers to 500 córdobas ($71 at
the time). The
Somoza government responded with further
censorship, intimidation, torture, and murder.
Somoza imposed a state of siege, censoring the press, and
threatening all opponents with internment and torture. Somoza's
National Guard also increased its violence against individuals and
communities suspected of collaborating with the Sandinistas. Many of
the FSLN guerrillas were killed, including its leader and founder
Carlos Fonseca in 1976. Fonseca had returned to
Nicaragua in 1975 from
his exile in
Cuba to try to reunite fractures that existed in the
FSLN. He and his group were betrayed by a peasant who informed the
National Guard that they were in the area. The guerrilla group was
ambushed, and Fonseca was wounded in the process. The next morning
Fonseca was executed by the National Guard.
Part of a series on the
History of Nicaragua
Spanish conquest (1519–1533)
Piracy on Lake
US occupation (1912–1933)
Nicaraguan civil war (1926–27)
Sandinista insurrection (1972–1979)
Years in Nicaragua
Following the FSLN's defeat at the battle of Pancasán in 1967, the
organization adopted the "Prolonged Popular War" (Guerra Popular
Prolongada, GPP) theory as its strategic doctrine. The GPP was based
on the "accumulation of forces in silence": while the urban
organization recruited on the university campuses and robbed money
from banks, the main cadres were to permanently settle in the north
central mountain zone. There they would build a grassroots peasant
support base in preparation for renewed rural guerrilla warfare.
As a consequence of the repressive campaign of the National Guard, in
1975 a group within the FSLN's urban mobilization arm began to
question the viability of the GPP. In the view of the young orthodox
Marxist intellectuals, such as Jaime Wheelock, economic development
Nicaragua into a nation of factory workers and wage-earning
farm laborers. Wheelock's faction was known as the "Proletarian
Shortly after, a third faction arose within the FSLN. The
"Insurrectional Tendency", also known as the "Third Way" or
Terceristas, led by Daniel Ortega, his brother Humberto Ortega, and
Mexican-born Victor Tirado Lopez, was more pragmatic and called for
tactical, temporary alliances with non-communists, including the
right-wing opposition, in a popular front against the Somoza
regime. By attacking the Guard directly, the Terceristas would
demonstrate the weakness of the regime and encourage others to take up
In October 1977, a group of prominent Nicaraguan professionals,
business leaders, and clergymen allied with the Terceristas to form
"El Grupo de los Doce" (The Group of Twelve) in Costa Rica. The
group's main idea was to organize a provisional government in Costa
Rica. The new strategy of the Terceristas also included unarmed
strikes and rioting by labor and student groups coordinated by the
FSLN's "United People's Movement" (Movimiento Pueblo Unido – MPU).
On January 10, 1978, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, the editor of the
opposition newspaper La Prensa and leader of the "Democratic Union of
Liberation" (Unión Democrática de Liberación – UDEL), was
assassinated. Although his assassins were not identified at the time,
evidence implicated President Somoza's son and other members of the
National Guard. Spontaneous riots followed in several cities,
while the business community organized a general strike demanding
The Terceristas carried out attacks in early February in several
Nicaraguan cities. The National Guard responded by further increasing
repression and using force to contain and intimidate all government
opposition. The nationwide strike that paralyzed the country for ten
days weakened the private enterprises and most of them decided to
suspend their participation in less than two weeks. Meanwhile, Somoza
asserted his intention to stay in power until the end of his
presidential term in 1981. The
United States government showed its
Somoza by suspending all military assistance to the
regime, but continued to approve economic assistance to the country
for humanitarian reasons.
In August, the Terceristas staged a hostage-taking. Twenty-three
Tercerista commandos led by
Edén Pastora seized the entire Nicaraguan
congress and took nearly 1,000 hostages, including Somoza's nephew
Somoza Abrego and cousin Luis Pallais Debayle.
Somoza gave in to
their demands and paid a $500,000 ransom, released 59 political
prisoners (including GPP chief Tomás Borge), broadcast a communiqué
with FSLN's call for general insurrection and gave the guerrillas safe
passage to Panama.
A few days later six Nicaraguan cities rose in revolt. Armed youths
took over the highland city of Matagalpa. Tercerista cadres attacked
Guard posts in Managua, Masaya, León,
Chinandega and Estelí. Large
numbers of semi-armed civilians joined the revolt and put the Guard
garrisons of the latter four cities under siege. The September
Insurrection of 1978 was subdued at the cost of several thousand,
mostly civilian, casualties. Members of all three factions fought
in these uprisings, which began to blur the divisions and prepare the
way for unified action.
In early 1979, President
Jimmy Carter and the
United States no longer
Somoza regime, but did not want a left-wing government
to take power in Nicaragua. The moderate "Broad Opposition Front"
(Frente Amplio Opositor – FAO) which opposed
Somoza was made up of a
conglomeration of dissidents within the government as well as the
"Democratic Union of Liberation" (UDEL) and the "Twelve",
representatives of the Terceristas (whose founding members included
Casimiro A. Sotelo, later to become Ambassador to the U.S. AND Canada
representing the FSLN). The FAO and Carter came up with a plan that
Somoza from office but left no part in government power
for the FSLN. The FAO's efforts lost political legitimacy, as
Nicaraguans protested that they did not want "Somocismo sin Somoza"
(Somocism without Somoza).
The "Twelve" abandoned the coalition in protest and formed the
"National Patriotic Front" (Frente Patriotico Nacional – FPN)
together with the "United People's Movement" (MPU). This strengthened
the revolutionary organizations as tens of thousands of youths joined
the FSLN and the fight against Somoza. A direct consequence of the
spread of the armed struggle in
Nicaragua was the official
reunification of the FSLN that took place on 7 March 1979. Nine men,
three from each tendency, formed the National Directorate which would
lead the reunited FSLN. They were: Daniel Ortega,
Humberto Ortega and
Víctor Tirado (Terceristas); Tomás Borge, Bayardo Arce
Castaño (es; ru), and Henry Ruiz (GPP faction); and Jaime
Luis Carrión and Carlos Núñez.
Main article: Nicaraguan Revolution
The FSLN evolved from one of many opposition groups to a leadership
role in the overthrow of the
Somoza regime. By mid-April 1979, five
guerrilla fronts opened under the joint command of the FSLN, including
an internal front in the capital city Managua. Young guerrilla cadres
and the National Guardsmen were clashing almost daily in cities
throughout the country. The strategic goal of the Final Offensive was
the division of the enemy's forces. Urban insurrection was the crucial
element because the FSLN could never hope to achieve simple
superiority in men and firepower over the National Guard.
On June 4, a general strike was called by the FSLN to last until
Somoza fell and an uprising was launched in Managua. On June 16, the
formation of a provisional Nicaraguan government in exile, consisting
of a five-member Junta of National Reconstruction, was announced and
organized in Costa Rica. The members of the new junta were Daniel
Ortega (FSLN), Moisés Hassan (FPN),
Sergio Ramírez (the "Twelve"),
Alfonso Robelo (MDN) and Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, the widow of La
Prensa's director Pedro Joaquín Chamorro. By the end of that month,
with the exception of the capital, most of
Nicaragua was under FSLN
control, including León and Matagalpa, the two largest cities in
Nicaragua after Managua.
On July 9, the provisional government in exile released a government
program, in which it pledged to organize an effective democratic
regime, promote political pluralism and universal suffrage, and ban
ideological discrimination, except for those promoting the "return of
Somoza's rule". On July 17,
Somoza resigned, handed over power to
Francisco Urcuyo, and fled to Miami. While initially seeking to remain
in power to serve out Somoza's presidential term, Urcuyo ceded his
position to the junta and fled to
Guatemala two days later.
On July 19, the FSLN army entered Managua, culminating the first goal
of the Nicaraguan revolution. The war left approximately 30,000-50,000
dead and 150,000 Nicaraguans in exile. The five-member junta entered
the Nicaraguan capital the next day and assumed power, reiterating its
pledge to work for political pluralism, a mixed economic system, and a
nonaligned foreign policy.
Sandinista rule (1979–90)
The Sandinistas inherited a country with a debt of 1.6 billion dollars
(US), an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 war dead, 600,000 homeless, and a
devastated economic infrastructure. To begin the task of
establishing a new government, they created a Council (or junta) of
National Reconstruction, made up of five appointed members. Three of
the appointed members—Sandinista militants Daniel Ortega, Moises
Hassan, and novelist
Sergio Ramírez (a member of
Los Doce "the
Twelve")—belonged to the FSLN. Two opposition members, businessman
Alfonso Robelo, and
Violeta Barrios de Chamorro
Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (the widow of Pedro
Joaquín Chamorro), were also appointed. Only three votes were needed
to pass law.
The FSLN also established a Council of State, subordinate to the
junta, which was composed of representative bodies. However, the
Council of State only gave political parties twelve of forty-seven
seats; the rest of the seats were given to Sandinista
mass-organizations. Of the twelve seats reserved for political
parties, only three were not allied to the FSLN. Due to the rules
governing the Council of State, in 1980 both non-FSLN junta members
resigned. Nevertheless, as of the 1982 State of Emergency, opposition
parties were no longer given representation in the council. The
preponderance of power also remained with the Sandinistas through
their mass organizations, including the Sandinista Workers' Federation
(Central Sandinista de Trabajadores), the Luisa Amanda Espinoza
Nicaraguan Women's Association (Asociación de Mujeres Nicaragüenses
Luisa Amanda Espinoza), the National Union of Farmers and Ranchers
(Unión Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos), and most importantly
the Sandinista Defense Committees (CDS). The Sandinista-controlled
mass organizations were extremely influential over civil society and
saw their power and popularity peak in the mid-1980s.
Upon assuming power, the FSLN's official political platform included
the following: nationalization of property owned by the Somozas and
their supporters; land reform; improved rural and urban working
conditions; free unionization for all workers, both urban and rural;
price fixing for commodities of basic necessity; improved public
services, housing conditions, education; abolition of torture,
political assassination and the death penalty; protection of
democratic liberties; equality for women; non-aligned foreign policy;
formation of a "popular army" under the leadership of the FSLN and
Humberto Ortega.
The FSLN's literacy campaign sent teachers into the countryside and
within six months, half a million people had been taught rudimentary
reading, bringing the national illiteracy rate down from over 50% to
just under 12%. Over 100,000 Nicaraguans participated as literacy
teachers. One of the stated aims of the literacy campaign was to
create a literate electorate which would be able to make informed
choices at the promised elections. The successes of the literacy
campaign was recognized by
UNESCO with the award of a Nadezhda
Krupskaya International Prize.
The FSLN also created neighborhood groups similar to the Cuban
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, called Sandinista
Defense Committees (Comités de Defensa Sandinista or CDS). Especially
in the early days following the overthrow of Somoza, the CDS's served
as de facto units of local governance. Their obligations included
political education, the organization of Sandinista rallies, the
distribution of food rations, organization of neighborhood/regional
cleanup and recreational activities, and policing to control looting,
and the apprehension of counter-revolutionaries. The CDS's organized
civilian defense efforts against Contra activities and a network of
intelligence systems in order to apprehend their supporters. These
activities led critics of the Sandinistas to argue that the CDS was a
system of local spy networks for the government used to stifle
political dissent, and the CDS did hold limited powers—such as the
ability to suspend privileges such as driver licenses and
passports—if locals refused to cooperate with the new government.
After the initiation of heavier U.S. military involvement in the
Nicaraguan conflict the CDS was empowered to enforce wartime bans on
political assembly and association with other political parties (i.e.,
parties associated with the "Contras").
By 1980, conflicts began to emerge between the Sandinista and
non-Sandinista members of the governing junta.
Violeta Chamorro and
Alfonso Robelo resigned from the governing junta in 1980, and rumours
began that members of the Ortega junta would consolidate power amongst
themselves. These allegations spread, and rumors intensified that it
was Ortega's goal to turn
Nicaragua into a state modeled after Cuban
socialism. In 1979 and 1980, former
Somoza supporters and ex-members
of Somoza's National Guard formed irregular military forces, while the
original core of the FSLN began to splinter. Armed opposition to the
Sandinista Government eventually divided into two main groups: The
Fuerza Democrática Nicaragüense (FDN), a U.S. supported army formed
in 1981 by the CIA, U.S. State Department, and former members of the
widely condemned Somoza-era Nicaraguan National Guard; and the Alianza
Revolucionaria Democratica (ARDE) Democratic Revolutionary Alliance, a
group that had existed since before the FSLN and was led by Sandinista
founder and former FSLN supreme commander, Edén Pastora, a.k.a.
"Commander Zero". and Milpistas, former anti-
militias, which eventually formed the largest pool of recruits for the
Contras. Although independent and often at conflict with each other,
these guerrilla bands—along with several others—all became
generally known as "Contras" (short for "contrarrevolucionarios", en.
The opposition militias were initially organized and largely remained
segregated according to regional affiliation and political
backgrounds. They conducted attacks on economic, military, and
civilian targets. During the Contra war, the Sandinistas arrested
suspected members of the Contra militias and censored publications
they accused of collaborating with the enemy (i.e. the U.S., the FDN,
and ARDE, among others).
State of Emergency (1982–88)
In March 1982 the Sandinistas declared an official State of Emergency.
They argued that this was a response to attacks by
counter-revolutionary forces. The State of Emergency lasted six
years, until January 1988, when it was lifted.
Under the new "Law for the Maintenance of Order and Public Security"
the "Tribunales Populares Anti-Somozistas" allowed for the indefinite
holding of suspected counter-revolutionaries without trial. The State
of Emergency, however, most notably affected rights and guarantees
contained in the "Statute on Rights and Guarantees of
Nicaraguans". Many civil liberties were curtailed or canceled such
as the freedom to organize demonstrations, the inviolability of the
home, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the freedom to
All independent news program broadcasts were suspended. In total,
twenty-four programs were cancelled. In addition, Sandinista censor
Nelba Cecilia Blandón issued a decree ordering all radio stations to
take broadcasts from government radio station La Voz de La Defensa de
La Patria every six hours.
The rights affected also included certain procedural guarantees in the
case of detention including habeas corpus. The State of Emergency
was not lifted during the 1984 elections. There were many instances
where rallies of opposition parties were physically broken up by
Sandinsta youth or pro-Sandinista mobs. Opponents to the State of
Emergency argued its intent was to crush resistance to the FSLN. James
Wheelock justified the actions of the Directorate by saying
"... We are annulling the license of the false prophets and the
oligarchs to attack the revolution."
Some emergency measures were taken before 1982. In December 1979
special courts called "Tribunales Especiales" were established to
speed up the processing of 7,000-8,000 National Guard prisoners. These
courts operated through relaxed rules of evidence and due process and
were often staffed by law students and inexperienced lawyers. However,
the decisions of the "Tribunales Especiales" were subject to appeal in
regular courts. Many of the National Guard prisoners were released
immediately due to lack of evidence. Others were pardoned or released
by decree. By 1986 only 2,157 remained in custody and only 39 were
still being held in 1989 when they were released under the Esquipulas
On October 5, 1985 the Sandinistas broadened the 1982 State of
Emergency and suspended many more civil rights. A new regulation also
forced any organization outside of the government to first submit any
statement it wanted to make public to the censorship bureau for prior
The FSLN lost power in the presidential election of 1990 when Daniel
Ortega was defeated in an election for the Presidency of
Sandinistas vs. Contras
Contras and Iran–Contra affair
ARDE Frente Sur
Contras in 1987
Upon assuming office in 1981, U.S. President
Ronald Reagan condemned
the FSLN for joining with
Cuba in supporting "Marxist" revolutionary
movements in other Latin American countries such as El Salvador. His
administration authorized the CIA to begin financing, arming and
training rebels, most of whom were the remnants of Somoza's National
Guard, as anti-Sandinista guerrillas that were branded
"counter-revolutionary" by leftists (contrarrevolucionarios in
Spanish). This was shortened to Contras, a label the force chose
Edén Pastora and many of the indigenous guerrilla forces,
who were not associated with the "Somozistas", also resisted the
Contras operated out of camps in the neighboring countries of
Honduras to the north and
Costa Rica (see
Edén Pastora cited below)
to the south. As was typical in guerrilla warfare, they were engaged
in a campaign of economic sabotage in an attempt to combat the
Sandinista government and disrupted shipping by planting underwater
mines in Nicaragua's Corinto harbour, an action condemned by the
International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice as illegal. The U.S. also sought to
place economic pressure on the Sandinistas, and, as with Cuba, the
Reagan administration imposed a full trade embargo.
Contras also carried out a systematic campaign to disrupt the
social reform programs of the government. This campaign included
attacks on schools, health centers and the majority of the rural
population that was sympathetic to the Sandinistas. Widespread murder,
rape, and torture were also used as tools to destabilize the
government and to "terrorize" the population into collaborating with
the Contras. Throughout this campaign, the
Contras received military
and financial support from the CIA and the Reagan Administration.
This campaign has been condemned internationally for its many human
rights violations. Contra supporters have often tried to downplay
these violations, or countered that the Sandinista government carried
out much more. In particular, the
Reagan administration engaged in a
campaign to alter public opinion on the
Contras that has been termed
"white propaganda". In 1984, the International Court of Justice
judged that the
United States Government had been in violation of
International law when it supported the Contras.
After the U.S. Congress prohibited federal funding of the Contras
Boland Amendment in 1983, the Reagan administration
continued to back the
Contras by raising money from foreign allies and
covertly selling arms to
Iran (then engaged in a war with Iraq), and
channelling the proceeds to the
Contras (see the Iran–Contra
affair). When this scheme was revealed, Reagan admitted that he
knew about Iranian "arms for hostages" dealings but professed
ignorance about the proceeds funding the Contras; for this, National
Security Council aide Lt. Col.
Oliver North took much of the blame.
Senator John Kerry's 1988 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
report on links between the
Contras and drug imports to the US
concluded that "senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea
that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras' funding
problems." According to the National Security Archive, Oliver
North had been in contact with Manuel Noriega, the US-backed president
of Panama. The Reagan administration's support for the Contras
continued to stir controversy well into the 1990s. In August 1996, San
Jose Mercury News reporter
Gary Webb published a series titled Dark
Alliance, linking the origins of crack cocaine in
the CIA-Contra alliance. Webb's allegations were repudiated by reports
from the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington
Post, and the
San Jose Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News eventually disavowed his work.
An investigation by the
United States Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice also
stated that their "review did not substantiate the main allegations
stated and implied in the Mercury News articles." Regarding the
specific charges towards the CIA, the DOJ wrote "the implication that
the drug trafficking by the individuals discussed in the Mercury News
articles was connected to the CIA was also not supported by the
facts." The CIA also investigated and rejected the
The Contra war unfolded differently in the northern and southern zones
Contras based in
Costa Rica operated on Nicaragua's
Caribbean coast, which is sparsely populated by indigenous groups
including the Miskito, Sumo, Rama, Garifuna, and Mestizo. Unlike
Spanish-speaking western Nicaragua, the Caribbean Coast is
predominantly English-speaking and was largely ignored by the Somoza
regime. The costeños did not participate in the uprising against
Somoza and viewed
Sandinismo with suspicion from the outset.[citation
While the Sandinistas encouraged grassroots pluralism, they were
perhaps less enthusiastic about national elections. They argued that
popular support was expressed in the insurrection and that further
appeals to popular support would be a waste of scarce resources.
International pressure and domestic opposition eventually pressed the
government toward a national election.
Tomás Borge warned that
the elections were a concession, an act of generosity and of political
necessity. On the other hand, the Sandinistas had little to fear
from the election given the advantages of incumbency and the
restrictions on the opposition, and they hoped to discredit the armed
efforts to overthrow them.
A broad range of political parties, ranging in political orientation
from far-left to far-right, competed for power. Following
promulgation of a new populist constitution,
Nicaragua held national
elections in 1984. Independent electoral observers from around the
world—including groups from the UN as well as observers from Western
Europe—found that the elections had been fair. Several groups,
however, disputed this, including UNO, a broad coalition of
anti-Sandinista activists, COSEP, an organization of business leaders,
the Contra group "FDN", organized by former Somozan-era National
Guardsmen, landowners, businessmen, peasant highlanders, and what some
claimed as their patron, the U.S. government.
Although initially willing to stand in the 1984 elections, the UNO,
Arturo Cruz (a former Sandinista), declined participation in
the elections based on their own objections to the restrictions placed
on the electoral process by the State of Emergency and the official
advisement of President Ronald Reagan's State Department, who feared
that their participation would legitimize the election process. Among
other parties that abstained was COSEP, who had warned the FSLN that
they would decline participation unless freedom of the press was
reinstituted. Coordinadora Democrática (CD) also refused to file
candidates and urged Nicaraguans not to take part in the election. The
Independent Liberal Party (PLI), headed by Virgilio Godoy Reyes,
announced its refusal to participate in October. Consequently,
when the elections went ahead the U.S. raised objections based upon
political restrictions instituted by the State of Emergency (e.g.,
censorship of the press, cancellation of habeas corpus, and the
curtailing of free assembly).
Daniel Ortega and
Sergio Ramírez were elected president and
vice-president, and the FSLN won an overwhelming 61 out of 96 seats in
the new National Assembly, having taken 67% of the vote on a turnout
of 75%. Despite international validation of the elections by
multiple political and independent observers (virtually all from among
U.S. allies), the
United States refused to recognize the elections,
Ronald Reagan denouncing the elections as a sham.
According to a study, since the 1984 election was for posts
subordinate to the Sandinista Directorate, the elections were no more
subject to approval by vote than the Central Committee of the
Communist Party is in countries of the East Bloc.
Daniel Ortega began
his six-year presidential term on January 10, 1985. After the United
States Congress turned down continued funding of the
Contras in April
Reagan administration ordered a total embargo on United
States trade with
Nicaragua the following month, accusing the
Sandinista government of threatening
United States security in the
The elections of 1990, which had been mandated by the constitution
passed in 1987, saw the Bush administration funnel $49.75 million of
'non-lethal' aid to the Contras, as well as $9 million to the
opposition UNO—equivalent to $2 billion worth of intervention by a
foreign power in a US election at the time, and proportionately five
times the amount George Bush had spent on his own election
campaign. When Violetta Chamorro visited the
White House in
November 1989, the US pledged to maintain the embargo against
Violeta Chamorro won.
In August 1989, the month that campaigning began, the Contras
redeployed 8,000 troops into Nicaragua, after a funding boost from
Washington, continued their guerrilla war. 50 FSLN candidates were
Contras also distributed thousands of UNO leaflets.
Years of conflict had left 50,000 casualties and $12 billion of
damages in a society of 3.5 million people and an annual GNP of $2
billion. After the war, a survey was taken of voters: 75.6% agreed
that if the Sandinistas had won, the war would never have ended. 91.8%
of those who voted for the UNO agreed with this (William I Robinson,
op cit). The
Library of Congress Country Studies on Nicaragua
Despite limited resources and poor organization, the UNO coalition
Violeta Chamorro directed a campaign centered around the failing
economy and promises of peace. Many Nicaraguans expected the country's
economic crisis to deepen and the Contra conflict to continue if the
Sandinistas remained in power. Chamorro promised to end the unpopular
military draft, bring about democratic reconciliation, and promote
economic growth. In the February 25, 1990, elections, Violeta Barrios
de Chamorro carried 55 percent of the popular vote against Daniel
Ortega's 41 percent.
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In 1987, due to a stalemate with the Contras, the Esquipulas II treaty
was brokered by Costa Rican President Óscar Arias Sánchez. The
treaty's provisions included a call for a cease-fire, freedom of
expression, and national elections. After the February 26, 1990
elections, the Sandinistas lost and peacefully passed power to the
National Opposition Union
National Opposition Union (UNO), an alliance of 14 opposition parties
ranging from the conservative business organization COSEP to
Nicaraguan communists. UNO's candidate, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro,
Daniel Ortega as president of Nicaragua.
Reasons for the Sandinista loss in 1990 are disputed. Defenders of the
defeated government assert that Nicaraguans voted for the opposition
due to the continuing U.S. economic embargo and potential Contra
threat. Others have alleged that the
United States threatened to
continue to support the
Contras and continue the civil war if the
regime was not voted out of power.
After their loss, the Sandinista leaders held most of the private
property and businesses that had been confiscated and nationalized by
the FSLN government. This process became known as the "piñata" and
was tolerated by the new Chamorro government. Ortega also claimed to
"rule from below" through groups he controls such as labor unions and
student groups. Prominent Sandinistas also created nongovernmental
organizations to promote their ideas and social goals.[citation
Daniel Ortega remained the head of the FSLN, but his brother Humberto
resigned from the party and remained at the head of the Sandinista
Army, becoming a close confidante and supporter of Chamorro. The party
also experienced internal divisions, with prominent Sandinistas such
Ernesto Cardenal and
Sergio Ramírez resigning to protest what they
described as heavy-handed domination of the party by Daniel Ortega.
Ramírez also founded a separate political party, the Sandinista
Renovation Movement (MRS); his faction came to be known as the
renovistas, who favor a more social democratic approach than the
ortodoxos, or hardliners. In the 1996 Nicaraguan election, Ortega and
Ramírez both campaigned unsuccessfully as presidential candidates on
behalf of their respective parties, with Ortega receiving 43% of the
Arnoldo Alemán of the Constitutional Liberal Party
received 51%. The Sandinistas won second place in the congressional
elections, with 36 of 93 seats.
Daniel Ortega was re-elected as leader of the FSLN in 1998. Municipal
elections in November 2000 saw a strong Sandinista vote, especially in
urban areas, and former Tourism Minister
Herty Lewites was elected
mayor of Managua. This result led to expectations of a close race in
the presidential elections scheduled for November 2001. Daniel Ortega
Enrique Bolaños of the
Constitutional Liberal Party
Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) ran
neck-and-neck in the polls for much of the campaign, but in the end
the PLC won a clear victory. The results of these elections were that
the FSLN won 42.6% of the vote for parliament (versus 52.6% for the
PLC), giving them 41 out of the 92 seats in the National Assembly
(versus 48 for the PLC). In the presidential race, Ortega lost to
Bolaños 46.3% to 53.6%.
Daniel Ortega was once again re-elected as leader of the FSLN in March
2002 and re-elected as president of
Nicaragua in November 2006.
Return to government
Daniel Ortega was elected president with 38% of the vote (see
Nicaraguan general election, 2006). This occurred despite the fact
that the breakaway
Sandinista Renovation Movement
Sandinista Renovation Movement continued to oppose
the FSLN, running former Mayor of
Herty Lewites as its
candidate for president. However, Lewites died several months before
The FSLN also won 38 seats in the congressional elections, becoming
the party with the largest representation in parliament. The split in
Constitutionalist Liberal Party
Constitutionalist Liberal Party helped to allow the FSLN to become
the largest party in Congress, however the Sandinista vote had a
minuscule split between the FSLN and MRS, and the liberal party
combined is larger than the Frente Faction. In 2010, several liberal
congressmen raised accusations about the FSLN presumably attempting to
buy votes in order to pass constitutional reforms that would allow
Ortega to run for office for the 6th time since 1984. In 2011,
Ortega was re-elected as President.
"Zero Hunger Project"
The "Zero Hunger Program", which aims to reduce poverty in the rural
areas over a five-year period, was inaugurated by President Daniel
Ortega and other members of his administration in the northern
department of Jinotega. The program was designed to achieve the first
objective of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, "to
eradicate extreme poverty and reduce hunger to zero."
"Zero Hunger" with its budget of US$150 million plans to deliver a
US$2,000 bond or voucher to 75,000 rural families between 2007 and
2012. The voucher will consist of the delivery of a pregnant cow and a
pregnant sow, five chickens and a rooster, seeds, fruit-bearing plants
and plants for reforestation. The project's short-term objective
is to have each rural family capable of producing enough milk, meat,
eggs, fruits, vegetables and cereals to cover its basic needs while
its medium range objective is to establish local markets and export
The families that benefit from the project will be required to pay
back 20 percent of the amount that they receive in order to create a
rural fund that will guarantee the continuity of the program. NGOs and
representatives from each community will be in charge of managing the
Main article: Sandinista ideology
Through the media and the works of FSLN leaders such as Carlos
Fonseca, the life and times of
Augusto César Sandino
Augusto César Sandino became its
unique symbol in Nicaragua. The ideology of
Sandinismo gained momentum
in 1974, when a Sandinista initiated hostage situation resulted in the
Somoza government adhering to FSLN demands and publicly printing and
airing work on
Sandino in well known newspapers and media outlets.
During the struggle against Somoza, the FSLN leaders' internal
disagreements over strategy and tactics were reflected in three main
The guerra popular prolongada (GPP, "prolonged popular war") faction
was rural-based and sought long-term "silent accumulation of forces"
within the country's large peasant population, which it saw as the
main social base for the revolution.
The tendencia proletaria (TP, "proletarian tendency"), led by Jaime
Wheelock, reflected an orthodox Marxist approach that sought to
organize urban workers.
The tercerista/insurrecctionista (TI, "third way/insurrectionist")
faction, led by Humberto, Casimiro A. Sotelo, and Daniel Ortega, was
ideologically eclectic, favoring a more rapid insurrectional strategy
in alliance with diverse sectors of the country, including business
owners, churches, students, the middle class, unemployed youth and the
inhabitants of shantytowns. The terceristas also helped attract
popular and international support by organizing a group of prominent
Nicaraguan professionals, business leaders, and clergymen (known as
"the Twelve"), who called for Somoza's removal and sought to organize
a provisional government from Costa Rica.
Nevertheless, while ideologies varied between FSLN leaders, all
leaders essentially agreed that
Sandino provided a path for the
Nicaragua masses to take charge, and the FSLN would act as the
legitimate vanguard. The extreme end of the ideology links
Roman Catholicism and portrays him as descending from the mountains in
Nicaragua knowing he would be betrayed and killed. Generally however,
most Sandinistas associated
Sandino on a more practical level, as a
heroic and honest person who tried to combat the evil forces of
imperialist national and international governments that existed in
Principles of government
For purposes of making sense of how to govern, the FSLN drew four
fundamental principles from the work of
Carlos Fonseca and his
understanding of the lessons of Sandino. According to Bruce E. Wright,
Junta of National Reconstruction agreed, under
Sandinista leadership, that these principles had guided it in putting
into practice a form of government that was characterized by those
principles." It is generally accepted that these following
principles have evolved the "ideology of Sandinismo." Three of
these (excluding popular participation, which was presumably contained
in Article 2 of the Constitution of Nicaragua) were to ultimately be
guaranteed by Article 5 of the Constitution of Nicaragua. They are as
Political Pluralism – The ultimate success of the Sandinista Front
in guiding the insurrection and in obtaining the leading fore within
it was based on the fact that the FSLN, through the tercerista
guidance, had worked with many sectors of the population in defeating
Somoza dictatorship. The FSLN and all those whom would constitute
the new provisional government were called diverse; "they were plural
in virtually all senses".
Mixed Economy – Fonseca's understanding that
Nicaragua was not, in
spite of Browderist interpretations, simply a feudal country and that
it had also never really developed its own capitalism made it clear
that a simple feudalism-capitalism-socialism path was not a rational
way to think about the future development of Nicaragua. The FSLN was
not necessarily seen simply as the vanguard of the proletariat
revolution. The proletariat was but a minor fraction of the
population. A complex class structure in a revolution based on unity
among people from various class positions suggested more that it made
sense to see the FSLN as the "vanguard of the people".
Popular Participation and Mobilization – This calls for more than
simple representative democracy. The inclusion of the mass
organizations in the Council of State clearly manifested this
conception. In Article 2 of the Constitution this is spelled out as
follows: "The people exercise democracy, freely participating and
deciding in the construction of the economic, political and social
system what is most appropriate to their interest. The people exercise
power directly and by their means of their representatives, freely
elected in accord with universal, equal, direct, free, and secret
International Non-alignment – This is a result of the fundamentally
Bolivarist conceptions of
Sandino as distilled through the modern
understanding of Fonseca. The U.S. government and large U.S. economic
entities were a significant part of the problem for Nicaragua. But
experiences with the traditional parties allied with the Soviet Union
had also been unsatisfactory. Thus it was clear that
seek its own road.
It is perceived by some scholars[who?] that the period of the FSLN
guiding the Nicaraguan revolution through the control of the state was
a living experiment in an attempt to construct a truly democratic and
revolutionary socialism. Bruce E. Wright claims that "this was a
crucial contribution from Fonseca's work that set the template for
FSLN governance during the revolutionary years and beyond."
Policies and programs
Main article: Cuban assistance to the Sandinista National Liberation
Beginning in 1967, the Cuban General Intelligence Directorate, or DGI,
had begun to establish ties with Nicaraguan revolutionary
organizations. By 1970 the DGI had managed to train hundreds of
Sandinista guerrilla leaders and had vast influence over the
organization. After the successful ousting of Somoza, DGI involvement
in the new Sandinista government expanded rapidly. An early indication
of the central role that the DGI would play in the Cuban-Nicaraguan
relationship is a meeting in
Havana on July 27, 1979, at which
diplomatic ties between the two countries were re-established after
more than 25 years. Julián López Díaz, a prominent DGI agent, was
named Ambassador to Nicaragua. Cuban military and DGI advisors,
initially brought in during the Sandinista insurgency, would swell to
over 2,500 and operated at all levels of the new Nicaraguan
The Cubans would like to have helped more in the development of
Nicaragua towards socialism. Following the US invasion of Grenada,
countries previously looking for support from
Cuba saw that the United
States was likely to take violent action to discourage this.
Cuban assistance after the revolution
The early years of the Nicaraguan revolution had strong ties to Cuba.
The Sandinista leaders acknowledged that the FSLN owed a great debt to
the socialist island. Once the Sandinistas assumed power,
Nicaragua military advice, as well as aid in education, health care,
vocational training and industry building for the impoverished
Nicaraguan economy. In return,
Cuba with grains and
other foodstuffs to help
Cuba overcome the effects of the US embargo.
Relationship with eastern bloc intelligence agencies
According to Cambridge University historian Christopher Andrew, who
undertook the task of processing the Mitrokhin Archive, Carlos Fonseca
Amador, one of the original three founding members of the FSLN had
been recruited by the
KGB in 1959 while on a trip to Moscow. This was
one part of Aleksandr Shelepin's 'grand strategy' of using national
liberation movements as a spearhead of the Soviet Union's foreign
policy in the Third World, and in 1960 the
KGB organized funding and
training for twelve individuals that Fonseca handpicked. These
individuals were to be the core of the new Sandinista organization. In
the following several years, the FSLN tried with little success to
organize guerrilla warfare against the government of Luis Somoza
Debayle. After several failed attempts to attack government
strongholds and little initial support from the local population, the
National Guard nearly annihilated the Sandinistas in a series of
attacks in 1963. Disappointed with the performance of Shelepin's new
Latin American "revolutionary vanguard", the
KGB reconstituted its
core of the Sandinista leadership into the ISKRA group and used them
for other activities in Latin America.
According to Andrew, Mitrokhin says during the following three years
KGB handpicked several dozen Sandinistas for intelligence and
sabotage operations in the United States. Andrew and Mitrokhin say
that in 1966, this KGB-controlled Sandinista sabotage and intelligence
group was sent to northern
Mexico near the US border to conduct
surveillance for possible sabotage.
In July 1961 during the
Berlin Crisis of 1961
Berlin Crisis of 1961
KGB chief Alexander
Shelepin sent a memorandum to Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev
containing proposals to create a situation in various areas of the
world which would favor dispersion of attention and forces by the US
and their satellites, and would tie them down during the settlement of
the question of a German peace treaty and West Berlin. It was planned,
inter alia, to organize an armed mutiny in
Nicaragua in coordination
Cuba and with the "Revolutionary Front Sandino". Shelepin
proposed to make appropriations from
KGB funds in addition to the
previous assistance $10,000 for purchase of arms.
Khrushchev sent the memo with his approval to his deputy Frol Kozlov
and on August 1 it was, with minor revisions, passed as a CPSU Central
Committee directive. The
KGB and the
Soviet Ministry of Defense were
instructed to work out more specific measures and present them for
consideration by the Central Committee.
Cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies during the 1980s
Other researchers have documented the contribution made from other
Warsaw Pact intelligence agencies to the fledgling Sandinista
government including the
East German Stasi, by using recently
declassified documents from Berlin as well as from former Stasi
Markus Wolf who described the Stasi's assistance in the
creation of a secret police force modeled on East Germany's.
Cuba was instrumental in the Nicaraguan
Literacy Campaign. Nicaragua
was a country with a very high rate of illiteracy, but the campaign
succeeded in lowering the rate from 50% to 12%. The revolution in
Cuban education since the ousting of the US-backed Batista regime not
only served as a model for
Nicaragua but also provided technical
assistance and advice.
Cuba played an important part in the Campaign,
providing teachers on a yearly basis after the revolution. Prevost
states that "Teachers were not the only ones studying in Cuba, about
2,000 primary and secondary students were studying on the Isle of
Youth and the cost was covered by the host country (Cuba)".
1980 literacy campaign
Main article: Nicaraguan
1979 FSLN poster. Text of the image: "Consolidate the Revolution in
the rearguard and with literacy." (Spanish: a consolidar la
Revolución en la Retaguardia y la Alfabetización)
The goals of the 1980
Literacy Campaign were socio-political,
strategic as well as educational. It was the most prominent campaign
with regards to the new education system.
significantly reduced from 50.3% to 12.9%. One of the government's
major concerns was the previous education system under the Somoza
regime which did not see education as a major factor on the
development of the country. As mentioned in the Historical Program of
the FSLN of 1969, education was seen as a right and the pressure to
stay committed to the promises made in the program was even stronger.
1980 was declared the "Year of Literacy" and the major goals of the
campaign that started only 8 months after the FSLN took over. This
included the eradication of illiteracy and the integration of
different classes, races, gender and age. Political awareness and the
strengthening of political and economic participation of the
Nicaraguan people was also a central goal of the
The campaign was a key component of the FSLN's cultural transformation
The basic reader which was disseminated and used by teacher was called
"Dawn of the People" based on the themes of Sandino, Carlos Fonseca,
and the Sandinista struggle against imperialism and defending the
revolution. Political education was aimed at creating a new social
values based on the principles of Sandinista socialism, such as social
solidarity, worker's democracy, egalitarianism, and
Health care was another area where the Sandinistas made significant
improvements and are widely recognized for this accomplishment, e.g.
by Oxfam. In this area
Cuba also played a role by again offering
expertise to Nicaragua. Over 1,500 Cuban doctors worked in Nicaragua
and provided more than five million consultations. Cuban personnel
were essential in the elimination of polio, the decrease in whooping
cough, rubella, measles and the lowering of the infant mortality rate.
Gary Prevost states that Cuban personnel made it possible for
Nicaragua to have a national health care system that reached the
majority of its citizens.
Cuba has participated in the training of Nicaraguan workers in the use
of new machinery imported to Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan revolution
United States to oppose the country's government; therefore
the Sandinistas would not receive any aid from the United States. The
United States embargo against Nicaragua, imposed by the Reagan
administration in May 1985, made it impossible for
receive spare parts for US-made machines, so this led
look to other countries for help.
Cuba was the best choice because of
the shared language and proximity and also because it had imported
similar machinery over the years. Nicaraguans went to
Cuba for short
periods of three to six months and this training involved close to
3,000 workers. Countries such as the UK, sent farm equipment to
Industry and infrastructure
Nicaragua in large projects such as building roads, power
plants and sugar mills.
Cuba also attempted to help
the first overland route linking Nicaragua's Atlantic and Pacific
coasts. The road was meant to traverse 260 miles of jungle, but
completion of the road and usage was hindered by the Contra war, and
it was never completed.
Another significant feat was the building of the Tipitapa-Malacatoya
sugar mill. It was completed and inaugurated during a visit by Fidel
Castro in January 1985. The plant used the newest technology available
and was built by workers trained in Cuba. Also during this visit
Castro announced that all debts incurred on this project were
Cuba also provided technicians to aid in the sugar
harvest and assist in the rejuvenation of several old sugar mills.
Cubans also assisted in building schools and similar
Ministry of Culture
After the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinista government established
a Ministry of Culture in 1980. The ministry was spearheaded by Ernesto
Cardenal, a poet and priest. The ministry was established in order to
socialize the modes of cultural production. This extended to art
forms including dance, music, art, theatre and poetry. The project
was created to democratize culture on a national level. The aim of
the ministry was to "democratize art" by making it accessible to all
social classes as well as protecting the right of the oppressed to
produce, distribute and receive art. In particular, the ministry
was devoted to the development of working class and campesino, or
peasant culture. Therefore, the ministry sponsored cultural
workshops throughout the country until October 1988 when the Ministry
of Culture was integrated into the Ministry of Education because of
The objective of the workshops was to recognize and celebrate
neglected forms of artistic expression. The ministry created a
program of cultural workshops known as, Casas de Cultura and Centros
Populares de Cultura. The workshops were set up in poor
neighbourhoods and rural areas and advocated universal access and
consumption of art in Nicaragua. The ministry assisted in the
creation of theatre groups, folklore and artisanal production, song
groups, new journals of creation and cultural criticism, and training
programs for cultural workers. The ministry created a Sandinista
daily newspaper named Barricada and its weekly cultural addition named
Ventana along with the Television Sandino, Radio
Sandino and the
Nicaraguan film production unit called the INCINE. There were
existing papers which splintered after the revolution and produced
other independent, pro-Sandinista newspapers, such as El Nuevo Diario
and its literary addition Nuevo Amanecer Cultural. Editorial Nueva
Nicaragua, a state publishing house for literature, was also
created. The ministry collected and published political poetry of
the revolutionary period, known as testimonial narrative, a form of
literary genre that recorded the experiences of individuals in the
course of the revolution.
The ministry developed a new anthology of Rubén Darío, a Nicaraguan
poet and writer, established a
Rubén Darío prize for Latin American
writers, the Leonel Rugama prize for young Nicaraguan writers, as well
as public poetry readings and contests, cultural festivals and
concerts. The Sandinista regime tried to keep the revolutionary
spirit alive by empowering its citizens artistically. At the time
of its inception, the Ministry of Culture needed according to
Cardenal, "to bring a culture to the people who were marginalized from
it. We want a culture that is not the culture of an elite, of a group
that is considered ‘cultivated,’ but rather of an entire
people." Nevertheless, the success of the Ministry of Culture had
mixed results and by 1985 criticism arose over artistic freedom in the
poetry workshops. The poetry workshops became a matter for
criticism and debate. Critics argued that the ministry imposed too
many principles and guidelines for young writers in the workshop, such
as, asking them to avoid metaphors in their poetry and advising them
to write about events in their everyday life. Critical voices came
from established poets and writers represented by the Asociacion
Sandinista de Trabajadores de la Cultura (ASTC) and from the Ventana
both of which were headed by Rosario Murillo. They argued that
young writers should be exposed to different poetic styles of writing
and resources developed in
Nicaragua and elsewhere. Furthermore,
they argued that the ministry exhibited a tendency that favored and
fostered political and testimonial literature in post-revolutionary
The new government, formed in 1979 and dominated by the Sandinistas,
resulted in a socialist model of economic development. The new
leadership was conscious of the social inequities produced during the
previous thirty years of unrestricted economic growth and was
determined to make the country's workers and peasants, the
"economically underprivileged", the prime beneficiaries of the new
society. Consequently, in 1980 and 1981, unbridled incentives to
private investment gave way to institutions designed to redistribute
wealth and income. Private property would continue to be allowed, but
all land belonging to the Somozas was confiscated.
However, the ideology of the Sandinistas put the future of the private
sector and of private ownership of the means of production in doubt.
Although under the new government both public and private ownership
were accepted, government spokespersons occasionally referred to a
reconstruction phase in the country's development, in which property
owners and the professional class would be tapped for their managerial
and technical expertise. After reconstruction and recovery, the
private sector would give way to expanded public ownership in most
areas of the economy. Despite such ideas, which represented the point
of view of a faction of the government, the Sandinista government
remained officially committed to a mixed economy.
Economic growth was uneven in the 1980s. Restructuring of the economy
and the rebuilding immediately following the end of the civil war
caused the GDP to rise about 5 percent in 1980 and 1981. Each year
from 1984 to 1990, however, showed a drop in the GDP. Reasons for the
contraction included the reluctance of foreign banks to offer new
loans, the diversion of funds to fight the new insurrection against
the government, and, after 1985, the total embargo on trade with the
United States, formerly Nicaragua's largest trading partner. After
1985 the government chose to fill the gap between decreasing revenues
and mushrooming military expenditures by printing large amounts of
Inflation rose rapidly, peaking in 1988 at more than
14,000 percent annually.
Measures taken by the government to lower inflation were largely
defeated by natural disaster. In early 1988, the administration of
Daniel José Ortega Saavedra (Sandinista junta coordinator 1979–85,
president 1985–90) established an austerity program to lower
inflation. Price controls were tightened, and a new currency was
introduced. As a result, by August 1988, inflation had dropped to an
annual rate of 240 percent. The following month, however, Hurricane
Joan cut a path directly across the center of the country. Damage was
extensive, and the government's program of large spending to repair
the infrastructure destroyed its anti-inflation measures.
In its eleven years in power, the Sandinista government never overcame
most of the economic inequalities that it inherited from the Somoza
era. Years of war, policy missteps, natural disasters, and the effects
United States trade embargo all hindered economic development.
Women in revolutionary Nicaragua
Main article: Role of women in Nicaraguan Revolution
The women of
Nicaragua prior to, during and after the revolution
played a prominent role within the nation's society as they have
commonly been recognized, throughout history and across all Latin
American states, as its backbone. Nicaraguan women were therefore
directly affected by all of the positive and negative events that took
place during this revolutionary period. The victory of the Sandinista
National Liberation Front (FSLN) in 1979 brought about major changes
and gains for women, mainly in legislation, broad educational
opportunities, training programs for working women, childcare programs
to help women enter the work force and greatly increased participation
and leadership positions in a range of political activities.
This, in turn, reduced the burdens that the women of
faced with prior to the revolution. During the Sandinista government,
women were more active politically. The large majority of members of
the neighborhood committees (Comités de Defensa Sandinista) were
women. By 1987, 31% of the executive positions in the Sandinista
government, 27% of the leadership positions of the FSLN, and 25% of
the FSLN's active membership were women.
Supporters of the Sandinistas see their era as characterized by the
creation and implementation of successful social programs which were
free and made widely available to the entire nation. Some of the more
successful programs for women that were implemented by the Sandinistas
were in the areas of education (see; Nicaraguan
health, and housing. Providing subsidies for basic foodstuffs and the
introduction of mass employment were also contributions of the FSLN.
The Sandinistas were particularly advantageous for the women of
Nicaraguan as they promoted progressive views on gender as early as
1969 claiming that the revolution would "abolish the detestable
discrimination that women have suffered with regard to men and
establish economic, political and cultural equality between men and
women." This was evident as the FSLN began integrating women into
their ranks by 1967, unlike other left-wing guerilla groups in the
region. This goal was not fully reached because the roots of gender
inequality were not explicitly challenged. Women's participation
within the public sphere was also substantial, as many took part in
the armed struggle as part of the FSLN or as part of
Nicaraguan women organized independently in support of the revolution
and their cause. Some of those organizations were the Socialist Party
(1963), Federación Democrática (which support the FSLN in rural
areas), and Luisa Amanda Espinoza Association of Nicaraguan Women
(Asociación de Mujeres Nicaragüenses Luisa Amanda Espinosa, AMNLAE).
However, since Daniel Ortega, was defeated in the 1990 election by the
United Nicaraguan Opposition (UNO) coalition headed by Violeta
Chamorro, the situation for women in
Nicaragua was seriously altered.
In terms of women and the labor market, by the end of 1991 AMNLAE
reported that almost 16,000 working women—9,000 agricultural
laborers, 3,000 industrial workers, and 3,800 civil servants,
including 2,000 in health, 800 in education, and 1,000 in
administration—had lost their jobs. The change in government
also resulted in the drastic reduction or suspension of all Nicaraguan
social programs, which brought back the burdens characteristic of
pre-revolutionary Nicaragua. The women were forced to maintain and
supplement community social services on their own without economic aid
or technical and human resource.
Relationship with the Catholic Church
Main article: Role of the Catholic Church in the Nicaraguan Revolution
Roman Catholic Church's relationship with the Sandinistas was
extremely complex. Initially, the Church was committed to supporting
Somoza regime. The
Somoza dynasty was willing to secure the Church
a prominent place in society as long as it did not attempt to subvert
the authority of the regime. Under the constitution of 1950 the Roman
Catholic Church was recognized as the official religion and church-run
schools flourished. It was not until the late 1970s that the Church
began to speak out against the corruption and human rights abuses that
The Catholic hierarchy initially disapproved of the Sandinistas'
revolutionary struggle against the
Somoza dynasty. The revolutionaries
were perceived as proponents of "godless communism" that posed a
threat to the traditionally privileged place that the Church occupied
within Nicaraguan society. Nevertheless, the increasing corruption and
repression characterizing the
Somoza rule and the likelihood that the
Sandinistas would emerge victorious ultimately influenced Archbishop
Miguel Obando y Bravo
Miguel Obando y Bravo to declare formal support for the Sandinistas'
armed struggle. Throughout the revolutionary struggle, the Sandinistas
had the grassroots support of clergy who were influenced by the
reforming zeal of
Vatican II and dedicated to a "preferential option
for the poor" (for comparison, see liberation theology). Numerous
Christian base communities (CEBs) were created in which lower level
clergy and laity took part in consciousness raising initiatives to
educate the peasants about the institutionalized violence they were
suffering from. Some priests took a more active role in supporting the
revolutionary struggle. For example, Father Gaspar García Laviana
took up arms and became a member of FSLN.
Soon after the Sandinistas assumed power, the hierarchy began to
oppose the Sandinistas' government. The Archbishop was a vocal source
of domestic opposition. The hierarchy was alleged to be motivated by
fear of the emergence of the 'popular church' which challenged their
centralized authority. The hierarchy also opposed social reforms
implemented by the Sandinistas to aid the poor, allegedly because they
saw it as a threat to their traditionally privileged position within
society. In response to this perceived opposition, the Sandinistas
shut down the church-run Radio Católica radio station on multiple
The Sandinistas' relationship with the
Roman Catholic Church
deteriorated as the Contra War continued. The hierarchy refused to
speak out against the counterrevolutionary activities of the contras
and failed to denounce American military aid. State media accused the
Catholic Church of being reactionary and supporting the Contras.
According to former President Ortega, "The conflict with the church
was strong, and it costs us, but I don't think it was our fault. ...
There were so many people being wounded every day, so many people
dying, and it was hard for us to understand the position of the church
hierarchy in refusing to condemn the contras." The hierarchy-state
tensions were brought to the fore with Pope John Paul II 1983 visit to
Nicaragua. Hostility to the Catholic Church became so great that at
one point, FSLN militants shouted down Pope John Paul II as he tried
to say Mass. Therefore, while the activities of the Catholic
church contributed to the success of the Sandinista revolution, the
hierarchy's opposition was a major factor in the downfall of the
Human rights violations by the Sandinistas
Time magazine in 1983 published reports of human rights violations in
an article which stated that "According to Nicaragua's Permanent
Commission on Human Rights, the regime detains several hundred people
a month; about half of them are eventually released, but the rest
simply disappear." Time also interviewed a former deputy chief of
Nicaraguan military counterintelligence, who stated that he had fled
Nicaragua after being ordered to kill 800 Miskito prisoners and make
it look like they had died in combat. Another article described
Sandinista neighbourhood "Defense Committees", modeled on similar
Cuban Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, which according to
critics were used to unleash mobs on anyone who was labeled a
counterrevolutionary. Nicaragua's only opposition newspaper, La
Prensa, was subject to strict censorship. The newspaper's editors were
forbidden to print anything negative about the Sandinistas either at
home or abroad.
Nicaragua's Permanent Commission on Human Rights reported 2,000
murders in the first six months and 3,000 disappearances in the first
few years. It has since documented 14,000 cases of torture, rape,
kidnapping, mutilation and murder.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in a 1981 report
found evidence for mass executions in the period following the
revolution. It stated: "In the Commission's view, while the government
Nicaragua clearly intended to respect the lives of all those
defeated in the civil war, during the weeks immediately subsequent to
the Revolutionary triumph, when the government was not in effective
control, illegal executions took place which violated the right to
life, and these acts have not been investigated and the persons
responsible have not been punished." The IACHR also stated that:
"The Commission is of the view that the new regime did not have, and
does not now have, a policy of violating the right to life of
political enemies, including among the latter the former guardsmen of
the Government of General Somoza, whom a large sector of the
Nicaragua held responsible for serious human rights
violations during the former regime; proof of the foregoing is the
abolition of the death penalty and the high number of former guardsmen
who were prisoners and brought to trial for crimes that constituted
violations of human rights."
A 1983 IACHR report documented allegations of human rights violations
against the Miskito Indians, which were alleged to have taken place
after opposition forces (the Contras) infiltrated a Miskito village in
order to launch attacks against government soldiers, and as part of a
subsequent forced relocation program. Allegations included arbitrary
imprisonment without trial, "disappearances" of such prisoners, forced
relocation, and destruction of property. In late 1981, the CIA
Red Christmas" was exposed to separate the
Atlantic region from the rest of Nicaragua.
Red Christmas aimed to
seize territory on Nicaragua's mainland and overthrow the Nicaraguan
government. The Nicaraguan government responded to the provocations by
transferring 8,500 Miskitos 50 miles south to a settlement called
Tasba Pri. The U.S. government accused
Nicaragua of genocide. The U.S.
government produced a photo alleged to show Miskito bodies being
burned by Sandinista troops; however, the photo was actually of people
killed by Somoza's National Guard in 1978.
The IACHR's 1991 annual report states: "In September 1990, the
Commission was informed of the discovery of common graves in
Nicaragua, especially in areas where fighting had occurred. The
information was provided by the Nicaraguan Pro Human Rights
Association, which had received its first complaint in June 1990. By
December 1991, that Association had received reports of 60 common
graves and had investigated 15 of them. While most of the graves seem
to be the result of summary executions by members of the Sandinista
People's Army or the State Security, some contain the bodies of
individuals executed by the Nicaraguan Resistance."
The IACHR's 1992 annual report contains details of mass graves and
investigations which suggest that mass executions had been carried
out. One such grave contained 75 corpses of peasants who were believed
to have been executed in 1984 by government security forces pretending
to be members of the Contras. Another grave was also found in the town
of Quininowas which contained six corpses, believed to be an entire
family killed by government forces when the town was invaded. A
further 72 graves were reported as being found, containing bodies of
people, the majority of whom were believed to have been executed by
agents of the state and some also by the Contras.
Politicization of human rights
The issue of human rights also became highly politicized at this time
as human rights is claimed to be a key component of propaganda created
Reagan administration to help legitimize its policies in the
region. The Inter-Church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America
(ICCHRLA) in its Newsletter stated in 1985 that: "The hostility with
which the Nicaraguan government is viewed by the Reagan administration
is an unfortunate development. Even more unfortunate is the expression
of that hostility in the destabilization campaign developed by the US
administration. ... An important aspect of this campaign is
misinformation and frequent allegations of serious human rights
violations by the Nicaraguan authorities." Among the accusations
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation report and the Demokratizatsiya article are
references to alleged policies of religious persecution, particularly
anti-semitism. The ICCHRLA in its newsletter stated that: "From time
to time the current U.S. administration, and private organizations
sympathetic to it, have made serious and extensive allegations of
religious persecution in Nicaragua. Colleague churches in the United
States undertook onsite investigation of these charges in 1984. In
their report, the delegation organized by the Division of Overseas
Ministries of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United
States concluded that there is 'no basis for the charge of systematic
religious persecution'. The delegation 'considers this issue to be a
device being used to justify aggressive opposition to the present
Nicaraguan government.'" On the other hand, some elements of the
Catholic Church in Nicaragua, among them Archbishop Miguel Obando y
Bravo, strongly criticized the Sandinistas. The Archbishop stated "The
government wants a church that is aligned with the Marxist–Leninist
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights states
that: "Although it is true that much of the friction between the
Government and the churches arises from positions that are directly or
indirectly linked to the political situation of the country, it is
also true that statements by high government officials, official press
statements, and the actions of groups under the control of the
Government have gone beyond the limits within which political
discussions should take place and have become obstacles to certain
specifically religious activities."
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch also stated in its 1989 report on
"Under the Reagan administration, U.S. policy toward Nicaragua's
Sandinista government was marked by constant hostility. This hostility
yielded, among other things, an inordinate amount of publicity about
human rights issues. Almost invariably, U.S. pronouncements on human
rights exaggerated and distorted the real human rights violations of
the Sandinista regime, and exculpated those of the U.S.-supported
insurgents, known as the contras."
In 1987, a report was published by the UK based NGO Catholic Institute
for International Relations (CIIR, now known as "Progressio"), a human
rights organization which identifies itself with Liberation
theology. The report, "Right to Survive: Human Rights in
Nicaragua", discussed the politicization of the human rights
issue: "The Reagan administration, with scant regard for the truth,
has made a concerted effort to paint as evil a picture as possible of
Nicaragua, describing it as a 'totalitarian dungeon'. Supporters of
the Sandinistas ... have argued that
Nicaragua has a good record of
human rights compared with other Central American countries and have
Nicaragua with other countries at war." The CIIR report
refers to estimates made by the NGO
Americas Watch which count the
number of non-battle related deaths and disappearances for which the
government was responsible up to the year 1986 as "close to 300".
According to the CIIR report, Amnesty International and Americas Watch
stated that there is no evidence that the use of torture was
sanctioned by the Nicaraguan authorities, although prisoners reported
the use of conditions of detention and interrogation techniques that
could be described as psychological torture. The
Red Cross made
repeated requests to be given access to prisoners held in state
security detention centers, but were refused. The CIIR was critical of
the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (PCHR or CPDH in Spanish),
claiming that the organisation had a tendency to immediately publish
accusations against the government without first establishing a
factual basis for the allegations. The CIIR report also questioned the
independence of the Permanent Commission on Human Rights, referring to
an article in
The Washington Post
The Washington Post which claims that the National
Endowment for Democracy, an organization funded by the US government,
allocated a concession of US$50,000 for assistance in the translation
and distribution outside
Nicaragua of its monthly report, and that
these funds were administered by the Committee for Democracy in
Central America (Prodemca), a US-based organization which later
published full-page adverisements in the
Washington Post and New York
Times supporting military aid to the Contras. The Permanent Commission
denies that it received any money which it claims was instead used by
others for translating and distributing their monthly reports in other
The Nicaraguan-based magazine Revista Envio, which describes its
stance as one of "critical support for the Sandinistas", refers to the
report: "The CPDH: Can It Be Trusted?" written by Scottish lawyer Paul
Laverty. In the report, Laverty observes that: "The entire board of
directors [of the Permanent Commission], are members of or closely
identify with the 'Nicaraguan Democratic Coordinating Committee'
(Coordinadora), an alliance of the more rightwing parties and COSEP,
the business organization." He goes on to express concern about CPDH's
alleged tendency to provide relatively few names and other details in
connection with alleged violations. "According to the 11 monthly
bulletins of 1987 (July being the only month without an issue), the
CPDH claims to have received information on 1,236 abuses of all types.
However, of those cases, only 144 names are provided. The majority of
those 144 cases give dates and places of alleged incidents, but not
all. This means that only in 11.65% of its cases is there the minimal
detail provided to identify the person, place, date, incident and
perpetrator of the abuse."
On the other hand, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
states: "During its on-site observation in 1978 under the Government
of General Somoza, the Permanent Commission on Human Rights in
Nicaragua, (CPDH) gave the Commission notable assistance, which
certainly helped it to prepare its report promptly and correctly." and
in 1980 "It cannot be denied that the CPDH continues to play an
important role in the protection of human rights, and that a good
number of people who consider that their human rights have been
ignored by the Government are constantly coming to it." The IACHR
continued to meet with representatives of the Permanent Commission and
report their assessments in later years.
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation stated that: "While elements of the Somoza
National Guard tortured political opponents, they did not employ
psychological torture." The International Commission of Jurists
stated that under the
Somoza regime cruel physical torture was
regularly used in the interrogation of political prisoners.
Throughout the 1980s the Sandinista government was regarded as "Partly
Free" by Freedom House.
US government allegations of support for foreign rebels
United States State Department
United States State Department accused the Sandinistas of many
cases of illegal foreign intervention.
The first allegation was supporting the
FMLN rebels in El Salvador
with safe haven, training, command-and-control headquarters, advice,
weapons, ammunition, and other vital supplies. Captured documents,
testimonials of former rebels and Sandinistas, aerial photographs, the
tracing of captured weapons back to Nicaragua, and captured vehicles
Nicaragua smuggling weapons were cited as evidence. El
Salvador was in a civil war in the period in question and the US was
heavily supporting the Salvadoran government against the FMLN
There were also accusations of subversive activities in Honduras,
Costa Rica, and Colombia, and in the case of
Honduras and Costa Rica
outright military operations by Nicaraguan troops.
US Marines with the captured flag of Augusto César Sandino,
The flag of the FSLN consists of an upper half in red, a lower half in
black, and the letters F S L N in white. It is a modified version of
Sandino used in the 1930s, during the war against the U.S.
Nicaragua which consisted of two vertical stripes,
equally in size, one red and the other black with a skull (like the
Jolly Roger flag). These colors came from the Mexican
anarchist movements that
Sandino was involved with during his stay in
Mexico in the early 1920s. (The traditional flag of
anarcho-syndicalism, which joins diagonally the red color of the
labour movement and the black color of anarchism, as in the flag of
the CNT, is a negation of nationalism and reaffirmation of
In recent times, there has been a dispute between the FSLN and the
Sandinista Renovation Movement
Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) about the use of the
red and black flag in public activities. Although the MRS has its own
flag (orange with a silhouette of Sandino's hat in black), they also
use the red-and-black flag in honor of Sandino's legacy. They state
that the red-and-black flag is a symbol of
Sandinismo as a whole, not
only of the FSLN party.
In popular culture
In the gay cult classic film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie
Newmar (1995), Vida (Patrick Swayze) was trying to convince Noxeema
Jackson (Wesley Snipes) to take a young drag queen, Chi-Chi Rodriguez,
to Hollywood to compete in a drag competition. Noxeema was totally
against the idea and quotes this line: "Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, not on your
young queer life--you and your causes. That child is Latin, you don't
wanna get mixed up in all that Latin mess.....she might turn out to be
a Sandinista or something."
Last Plane Out (1983), about journalist Jack Cox's
experiences in Nicaragua, portrayed the Sandanistas as crazed
communist psychopaths while making
Anastasio Somoza Debayle
Anastasio Somoza Debayle look like
a sympathetic hero.
The 1983 American political thriller Under Fire, starring Nick Nolte,
Gene Hackman and Joanna Cassidy, is set during the last days of the
Nicaraguan Revolution that ended the
The video game Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010) includes a group
of FSLN Revolutionaries forced into
Costa Rica as an important group
of supporting characters, including Amanda. The Anti-
itself figures prominently into the plot of the game as well, being
described within the game's narrative as being started by the KGB
agent Vladimir Zadornov in order to make
Nicaragua a communist state
Soviet Union could force the
United States out of Central
Since the conflict with
Nicaragua in the 1980s, variations of the term
"Sandinista" are now sometimes used in the
United States to refer to
fanatical supporters of a certain cause. In the Spanish language, the
suffix "-ista" is used to indicate a predilection towards the root and
is the equivalent of "-ist" in English.
Roger Ebert, in his review of Into the Wild (2007), likened the film's
subject – the American hiker and itinerant traveler Christopher
McCandless – to his childhood friend, Joseph David "Joe" Sanderson,
a nature-loving Illinois native and adventurer, who died in
combat, fighting in Morazán, El Salvador as a Sandinista
freedom fighter (in April 1982, one of only two Americans known to
have died while in the ranks of that country's leftist guerrilla
movement in the 1980s and '90s). Ebert wrote:
"I grew up in Urbana three houses down from the Sanderson family --
Milton and Virginia and their boys Steve and Joe. My close friend was
Joe. His bedroom was filled with aquariums, terrariums, snakes,
hamsters, spiders, and butterfly and beetle collections. I envied him
like crazy. After college he hit the road. He never made a break from
his parents, but they rarely knew where he was. Sometimes he came home
and his mother would have to sew $100 bills into the seams of his blue
jeans. He disappeared in Nicaragua. His body was later identified as a
dead Sandinista freedom fighter. From a nice little house surrounded
by evergreens at the other end of Washington Street, he left to look
for something he needed to find. I believe in Sean Penn's Christopher
McCandless. I grew up with him."
The popular Puerto Rican Reggaeton–rap band Calle 13 mentioned the
Sandinista movement in their song "Llegale a mi guarida" (2007). The
lyrics claimed: "Respeto a
Nicaragua y a la lucha sandinista" ("I
Nicaragua and the Sandinista struggle").
The English anarcho-punk band
Chumbawamba recorded the song "An
Interlude: Beginning To Take It Back" on their album Pictures of
Starving Children Sell Records (1986). The song chronicles the history
of the Sandinistas, as well as their conflict with the Contras, and
reflects an optimistic hope for the future of Nicaragua.
The Chilean new wave group
Los Prisioneros mention the Sandinistas in
their song "¿Quién mató a Marilyn? (es)", in a passage asking,
"Who killed Marilyn Monroe?" The song was released on the 1984 album
La voz de los '80 (es) (Spanish for The Voice of the 80s).
As a reaction to an anti-Sandinista statement by British Prime
Margaret Thatcher and her proposal to ban the use of the word
itself, punk rock group
The Clash used the title
for their fourth studio album. The triple album contains the song
"Washington Bullets", which references the Sandinistas and other
events and groups involved in Latin American history, starting from
In the pilot episode of Fear the Walking Dead, Salvadoran refugee
Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades) is working as a Los Angeles barber, but
in season 1, episode 5 ("Cobalt"), "we learn Salazar’s true past:
No, this simple barber wasn’t so simple at all. As a younger man [in
El Salvador], he was given the choice between torturer and victim, and
he chose the path that kept him alive."
In an episode[which?] of the 1980s American sitcom The Golden Girls,
Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose return home to find Sophia bound, gagged,
and tied to a chair. When Dorothy removes the gag and asks who has
done this to her, Sophia replies: "the Sandinistas!" (It was really a
released prisoner named Merrill, who was searching for Blanche.)
Presidents of the Executive
The party has given the following Presidents of the Republic, namely:
Daniel Ortega Saavedra 1985–1990
Daniel Ortega Saavedra 2007–2012
Daniel Ortega Saavedra 2012–2017
Daniel Ortega Saavedra 2017–2022
Daniel Ortega Saavedra, 1984
Won, getting the 67.20% of the valid votes cast 735.067 votes
equivalent to well above the second party of the Democratic
Conservative Party (PCD ) who won 154.127 corresponding to 14.00% of
the valid votes.
Daniel Ortega Saavedra, 1990
Lost, as 579.886 A total valid votes equivalent to 40.82%, below that
obtained by the main opposition Mrs. Violeta Barrios de Chamorro
candidate of the
National Opposition Union
National Opposition Union (UNO) who won 777.552 to
obtain valid votes equivalent to 54.74%.
Daniel Ortega Saavedra, 1996
Lost, as 669,443 A total valid votes equivalent to 37.75%, below that
obtained by his main opponent on
Arnoldo Aleman Lacayo
Arnoldo Aleman Lacayo candidate of
the Liberal Alliance (AL) who won 904.908 to obtain valid votes
equivalent to 51.03%.
Daniel Ortega Saavedra, 2001
Lost, as 915,417 A total valid votes equivalent to 42.30%, below that
obtained by the main opposition
Enrique Bolaños Geyer candidate
Liberal Constitutionalist Party
Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC) who won by getting 1,216,863
valid votes equivalent to 56.30%.
Daniel Ortega Saavedra, 2006
Won, getting the 37.99% of the valid votes cast, 930.802 votes
equivalent to relatively higher than the two main opposition parties.
They were the party of the Second
Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance
Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN)
with the degree candidate
Eduardo Montealegre Rivas who won 693.391
votes recorded corresponding to a 28.30% and third place went to the
Constitutionalist Liberal Party
Constitutionalist Liberal Party with Dr.
José Rizo Castellón who
earned a total 664.225 of valid votes corresponding to 27.11%.
Daniel Ortega Saavedra, 2011
Won in National Elections held on November 6, 2011 was the amount of
1,569,287 for 62.46% of the total valid votes, at that moment
Daniel Ortega Saavedra became the presidential candidate who
won a presidential election with the most votes in the history of
Nicaragua, in addition to that obtained a lead of more than 30% of
valid votes doubling the number of votes obtained by radial
Fabio Gadea Mantilla on behalf of the Independent Liberal
Party (PLI) who obtained the amount of 778.889 votes recorded for
31.00%. The big loser of these elections was the former President
Arnoldo Aleman Lacayo
Arnoldo Aleman Lacayo candidate
Liberal Constitutionalist Party
Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC)
who was located in a distant third with a 5.91% equivalent to 148.507
votes. These results hint at a continuing and still fluid change in
the correlation of political forces in the country.
Daniel Ortega Saavedra, 2016
Won in National Elections held on November 6, 2016 was the amount of
1,806,651 for 72.44% of the total valid votes. In the 2016
Presidential Elections, Commander
Daniel Ortega Saavedra accompanied
Rosario Murillo Zambrana became the Presidential Formula that
obtained the most votes in a Presidential Election in the history of
Nicaragua, obtaining an advantage of more than 57% on the formula of
Secondly, demonstrating that the application of the Christian,
Socialist and Solidarity Model of the Government of Reconciliation and
National Unity implemented by the Sandinista National Liberation Front
has the support of the immense majority of Nicaraguans.
Bayardo Arce Castaño (es; ru), hard-line National Directorate
member in the 1980s
Patrick Arguello, Sandinista involved with the Dawson's Field
Nora Astorga, Sandinista UN ambassador
Idania Fernandez, member of the
Rigoberto López Pérez
Rigoberto López Pérez Regional
Command; killed in action
Gioconda Belli, novelist and poet, handled media relations for the
Tomás Borge, one of the FSLN's founders, leader of the Prolonged
People's War tendency in the 1970s, Minister of Interior in the 1980s
Omar Cabezas, Sandinista leader; also an author and politician
Ernesto Cardenal, poet and priest; Minister of Culture in the 1980s
Fernando Cardenal, a
Jesuit priest and brother of Ernesto, directed
the literacy campaign as Minister of Education
Luis Carrión, 1980s National Directorate member
Rigoberto Cruz (aka Pablo Ubeda), early FSLN member
Joaquín Cuadra, internal front leader, later chief of staff of the
Miguel D'Escoto, a
Roman Catholic priest; served as
Nicaragua's foreign minister
Carlos Fonseca, one of the FSLN's principal founders and leading
ideologist in the 1960s
Adeline Gröns y Schindler-McCoy de Argüello-Olivas, a journalist,
university professor, diplomat Ambassador to East Germany, Consul
General to the United Nations, Ambassador to the OAS, Ambassador to
the Soviet Union, Soviet Dean of Ambassadors, has worked in various
administarions with high-profile jobs.
Herty Lewites, former mayor of Managua, opponent of
Daniel Ortega in
Silvio Mayorga (es; ru), FSLN co-founder
Daniel Ortega, post-revolution junta head, then President from 1985,
lost presidential elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, won presidential
elections in 2006, 2011 and 2016 and continues to lead the FSLN party
Humberto Ortega, leader of the FSLN Insurrectional Tendency
(Tercerista) in the 1970s, chief strategist of the anti-
insurrection; Minister of Defense in the 1980s during the Contra war.
Brother of Daniel Ortega.
Edén Pastora "Comandante Cero", social democratic guerrilla leader
who joined the Terceristas during the anti-
Somoza insurrection, broke
with FSLN to lead center-left ARDE contra group based in Costa Rica
during the early 1980s
Sergio Ramirez, novelist and civilian Sandinista, architect of
alliance with moderates in the 1970s, Vice President in the 1980s,
Daniel Ortega in the 1990s
Henry Ruíz, "Comandante Modesto", FSLN rural guerrilla commander in
the 1970s, member of the National Directorate in the 1980s
Casimiro A. Sotelo, architect, political activist, original member of
The Group of 12, Ambassador to Panama, Consul General to the United
Nations, Ambassador to the OAS, Ambassador to Canada, Canadian Dean of
Latin American Ambassadors
Arlen Siu, a Chinese Nicaraguan who became one of the first female
martyrs of the Sandinista revolution
Dora María Téllez, a Nicaraguan historian most famous as an icon of
the Sandinista Revolution
Jaime Wheelock, leader of the FSLN Proletarian Tendency, Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Development
Monica Baltodano, former guerrilla commander and Minister of Regional
Affairs from 1982-1990
# of overall votes
% of overall vote
Carlos Mejía Godoy
List of Films and Books about Nicaragua
Nicaragua v. United States
Nicaragua Twenty-five Years Later Solidarity". Solidarity-us.org.
1979-07-19. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
^ Redacción Central (2011-04-29). "Daniel: la unidad es fundamental
para el proyecto Cristiano, Socialista y Solidario – LVDS".
Lavozdelsandinismo.com. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
^ Redacción Central (2012-12-24). "Rosario: Queremos la unión de
Nicaragua entera alrededor del Cristianismo, el Socialismo y la
Solidaridad – LVDS". Lavozdelsandinismo.com. Retrieved
^ Redacción Central (2013-03-13). "Celebró Rosario en nombre del
pueblo y el gobierno elección del papa Francisco – LVDS".
Lavozdelsandinismo.com. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
^ Richard Collin; Pamela L. Martin (2012). An Introduction to World
Politics: Conflict and Consensus on a Small Planet. Rowman &
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