Skip to main content

Sandinistas

Sandinistas

THE REVOLUTION

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) is a Nicaraguan political party. It was formed to oppose the Somoza family dynastic dictatorship, which ruled from 1936 to 1979. It is named after Augusto Cesar Sandino (18931934), a Nicaraguan nationalist and anti-imperialist patriot who fought a seven-year war from 1926 to 1933 against a U.S. occupation force. On February 21, 1934, after putting down his weapons, Sandino was killed at the order of Anastacio Somoza Garcia, the head of the U.S.-formed Nicaraguan National Guard. In 1936 Somoza Garcia consolidated his political power, overthrowing the civilian government and staging a rigged election to install himself as president. He was inaugurated on January 1, 1937. From then until 1979 either he, one of his two sons (Luis and Anastacio Jr.), orfor brief periodsone of their cronies ruled Nicaragua.

The FSLN was originally formed clandestinely in 1961. The organizations founding members included Carlos Fonseca, Silvio Mayorga, and Tomas Borge. Particularly important to the organizations formation and early development, Fonseca is widely credited as the organizations intellectual father. His revolutionary ideology came to be known as Sandinismo which combines elements of Marxist class analysis and Sandinos own nationalist and anti-imperialist ideology as applied to the Nicaraguan social, political, and economic reality. This led the Sandinistas to organize for the military overthrow of the Somozas because they were convinced that the Somozas were completely unresponsive to peaceful demands for democratization and economic reform.

Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s the Sandinistas suffered serious setbacks, including the death in combat of all of its original founders, except Borge. These losses led to a regrouping period in which they sought to accumulate strength in secret while organizing politically. However, it also led to a split into several competing Sandinista factions. The first, called the Prolonged Popular War (Spanish acronym GPP) Tendency, advocated building grassroots peasant support in the countryside. In contrast, the Proletarian Tendency grew out of the urban underground and advocated the organization of union workers into self-defense units. The final faction, called the Terceristas (Third Way), favored a more pragmatic approach combining different forms of struggle and advocated the creation of a broad alliance of all Nicaraguans opposed to Somoza to generate a national insurrection.

THE REVOLUTION

By late 1978 the long awaited national insurrection began and many of Somozas supporters abandoned him. To take advantage of this opportunity the Sandinistas reunited early in 1979 and created a single nine member National Directorate with three representatives from each faction. The members were Daniel Ortega, Humberto Ortega, and Víctor Tirado (Terceristas); Tomás Borge, Bayardo Arce, and Henry Ruiz (GPP); and Jaime Wheelock, Luis Carrión, and Carlos Núñez (Proletarian faction). On July 19, 1979, the Sandinista Revolution triumphed, ousting Anastacio Somoza Jr.s regime in a mass popular insurrection.

Once in power the Sandinistas embarked upon ambitious political and economic programs designed to democratize Nicaragua and lift the country out of under-development. Their political agenda called for reforming the countrys institutions, including disbanding Somozas National Guard, and enfranchising the countrys vast rural and urban poor through mass organizations affiliated with the FSLN. In 1984 they carried out the first democratic national elections in the countrys history, which the Sandinistas won with 66 percent of the vote. Though derided by U.S. president Ronald Reagans administration as a Soviet style farce, the elections were designed with the technical assistance of the Swedish Electoral Commission and observed by credible international organizations and European governments. The newly elected Constituent Assembly, with the help of open town meetings around the country, promulgated a new constitution in 1987. Simultaneously, the Sandinistas launched aggressive economic reforms to combat the twin evils that had historically plagued Nicaragua: poverty and inequality. To this end they implemented an agrarian reform to distribute land confiscated from Somoza and his cronies (one-fifth of the countrys arable land) to individual peasants, cooperatives, and collective farms. In the cities they passed popular economic reforms, such as raising the minimum wage and introducing price controls and subsidies on basic goods and services, and embarked on public works programs to increase employment. These coincided with the Sandinistas desire to implement a mixed-economy in which private property, state property, and cooperative property would co-exist. Sandinista social policy was equally ambitious, especially in the areas of education, health care, and housing.

From 1979 until Ronald Reagans inauguration in 1981, U.S.-Nicaraguan relations were cool but nonconfrontational. However, shortly after entering office President Reagan signed a secret executive authorization to begin trying to overthrow the Sandinista government, which the United States accused of supporting the guerrillas in El Salvador, being too closely allied to Cuba, and being Communists. U.S. coercion ranged from diplomatic pressures and economic sanctions to supporting the rebel force known as the Contras and threatening direct U.S. military action. These policies put a huge economic strain on the Nicaraguan economy, and the Sandinistas were forced to respond by shifting much of their trade to Europe and the Soviet Union. Similarly since the early 1980s, sales of weapons from Western countries were also embargoed pushing the Nicaraguans to import most of their weapons from the Socialist Bloc. While the Sandinistas claimed that these weapons were for defensive purposes to fight the U.S.-supported Contra rebels, the Reagan Administration pointed to them as proof that the FSLN were Communists and presented an eminent threat to other countries in the region and ultimately the United States. However U.S. public support for military intervention, whether indirectly by supporting the Contras or directly by U.S. troops, was the most unpopular U.S. foreign military policy of the 1980s. Indeed widespread domestic opposition led to strong public pressure on Congress to limit aid to the Contras. It also eventually led to the outlawing of lethal aid for the Contras from 1984 to 1985.

In turn this led members of the Reagan Administration, notably Oliver North of the National Security Council, to engage in the illegal and covert funding of the Contras by giving them money received from selling arms to a hostile country, Iran, in exchange for the release of U.S. hostages held by Lebanese Hezbollah. When this back-channel funding was uncovered it became known as the Iran-Contra scandal. An independent counsel, Lawrence E. Walsh, was appointed to investigate the affair. Eventually several members of the Reagan Administration were prosecuted and convicted. However, these convictions were later overturned on appeal or through presidential pardons.

From 1984 through early 2007 the electoral system that the Sandinistas put in place peacefully transferred power four times. The first was in 1990 when the Sandinistas were voted out of office. For the next sixteen years, three conservative administrations held power. However, on November 5, 2006, Sandinista candidate Daniel Ortega was reelected president of Nicaragua on a social democratic platform. The 2006 elections were widely scrutinized by international observers including delegations from Europe, the Organization of American States, and the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. By all accounts they were, with the exception of a few minor irregularities, fair and transparent. In January 2007 Ortega began his new term in office.

SEE ALSO Anticolonial Movements; Development, Rural; Iran-Contra Affair; Land Reform; Marxism; Peasantry; Reagan, Ronald; Revolution; Socialism

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Booth, John A., Christine J. Wade, and Thomas W. Walker. 2006. Understanding Central America: Global Forces, Rebellion, and Change. 4th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Kornbluh, Peter, and Malcolm Byrne, eds. 1993. The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History. New York: New Press.

Sandinista Front for National Liberation. Official Homepage of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (Spanish). http://www.fsln-nicaragua.com/.

Walker, Thomas W. 2003. Nicaragua: Living in the Shadow of the Eagle. 4th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Zimmerman, Matilde. 2000. Sandinista: Carlos Fonseca and the Nicaraguan Revolution. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Héctor Perla Jr.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sandinistas." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Sandinistas." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/sandinistas

"Sandinistas." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/sandinistas

Sandinistas

Sandinistas, members of a left-wing Nicaraguan political party, the Sandinist National Liberation Front (FSLN). The group, named for Augusto Cesar Sandino, a former insurgent leader, was formed in 1962 to oppose the regime of Anastasio Somoza Debayle. In 1979 the Sandinistas launched an offensive from Costa Rica and Honduras that toppled Somoza. They established a junta that nationalized such industries as banking and mining, postponed elections, and moved steadily to the left, eventually espousing Marxist-Leninist positions. The Sandinista-dominated government was opposed by U.S.-supported guerrillas known as contras (see Nicaragua). In 1984, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega Saavedra won the Nicaraguan presidency in an election that was boycotted by some opposition groups. In 1990 the opposition candidate, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, defeated Ortega, but Sandinistas continued to hold important positions in the police and army. In the mid-1990s a rift in the party led many opposed to Ortega's domination of the party and concerned about the party's drift from original ideals, including several former members of the junta, to form the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS). Although Ortega again lost a bid for the presidency in 1996, the Sandinistas became the major opposition party in the national assembly; the MRS only won one seat. Ortega also lost in 2001, but in 2006 and 2011 he won the presidency again, running against a divided center-right opposition. Since 2006, the party has used street violence and judicial chicanery in an attempt to increase its hold on political power.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sandinistas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Sandinistas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sandinistas

"Sandinistas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sandinistas

Sandinista

Sandinista (Sandinista National Liberation Front) Revolutionary group in Nicaragua. They took their name from Augusto César Sandino, who opposed the dominant Somoza family and was killed in 1934. The Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979, and formed a government led by Daniel Ortega. In power, they were opposed by right-wing guerrillas, the Contra, supported by the USA. The conflict ended when the Sandinista agreed to free elections. They lost, but the Contra were disbanded and the Sandinista remain an influential political force.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sandinista." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Sandinista." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sandinista

"Sandinista." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sandinista

Sandinista

Sandinistabitter, committer, critter, embitter, emitter, fitter, flitter, fritter, glitter, gritter, hitter, jitter, knitter, litter, permitter, pitta, quitter, remitter, sitter, skitter, slitter, spitter, splitter, submitter, titter, transmitter, twitter, witter •drifter, grifter, lifter, shifter, sifter, snifter, uplifter •constrictor, contradictor, depicter, dicta, evictor, inflicter, predictor, victor •filter, kilter, philtre (US philter), quilter, tilter •Jacinta, midwinter, Minter, Pinta, Pinter, printer, splinter, sprinter, tinter, winter •sphincter •assister, ballista, bistre (US bister), blister, enlister, glister, lister, mister, resistor, Sandinista, sister, transistor, tryster, twister, vista •trickster •minster, spinster •hipster, quipster, tipster •cohabiter • arbiter • presbyter •exhibitor, inhibitor, prohibiter •Manchester • Chichester • Silchester •Rochester • Colchester •creditor, editor, subeditor •auditor • Perdita • taffeta • shopfitter •forfeiter • outfitter • counterfeiter •register • marketer •cricketer, picketer •Alistair • weightlifter • filleter •fillister • shoplifter •diameter, heptameter, hexameter, parameter, pentameter, tetrameter •Axminster • Westminster •limiter, perimeter, scimitar, velocimeter •accelerometer, anemometer, barometer, gasometer, geometer, manometer, micrometer, milometer, olfactometer, optometer, pedometer, photometer, pyrometer, speedometer, swingometer, tachometer, thermometer •Kidderminster • janitor •banister, canister •primogenitor, progenitor, senator •administer, maladminister, minister, sinister •monitor • per capita • carpenter •spanakopita • Jupiter • trumpeter •character • barrister • ferreter •teleprinter •chorister, forester •interpreter, misinterpreter •capacitor • ancestor • Exeter •stepsister •elicitor, solicitor •babysitter • house-sitter • bullshitter •competitor • catheter • harvester •riveter • banqueter • non sequitur •loquitur •inquisitor, visitor •compositor, expositor

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sandinista." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Sandinista." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sandinista

"Sandinista." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sandinista