Solaún, Mauricio 1935–

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Solaún, Mauricio 1935–


Born September 22, 1935, in Havana, Cuba; immigrated to United States, 1948, naturalized citizen, 1967; son of Alfonso and Iris Solaún; married Joan Davies Rosenbaum, January 18, 1964; children: Emma Cristina. Education: University of Villanueva, LL.D., 1958; Yale University, M.A., 1959; University of Chicago, Ph.D., 1971.


Office—Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 702 South Wright, Urbana, IL 61801.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, associate professor, 1966-73, professor of sociology and Latin American studies, 1973—. U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua, beginning in 1977; consultant to United Nations Development Program for Chile, Dow Chemical of Colombia, and Colombian Department of National Planning.


American Sociological Association, Latin American Studies Association.


Carnegie fellow, 1963-64; Mucia grant, 1971; Fulbright fellow, 1971; grant from International Legal Center, 1973.


(With Fernando Cepeda and Paul Oquist) Chile: Modelos de desarrollo y opciones politicas, Comite de Publicaciones, Universidad de los Andes (Bogota, Colombia), 1973.

(With Sidney Kronus) Discrimination without Violence: Miscegenation and Racial Conflict in Latin America, Wiley (Hoboken, NJ), 1973.

(With Michael A. Quinn) Sinners and Heretics: The Politics of Military Intervention in Latin America, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1973.

(Editor, with R. Albert Berry and Ronald G. Hellman) The Politics of Compromise: Coalition Government in Colombia, Transaction Books (Piscataway, NJ), 1980.

U.S. Intervention and Regime Change in Nicaragua, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2005.

Also author, with Manuel S. Alguero, of A Sociological Interpretation of the Latin American Coup d'Etat.


Mauricio Solaún is a professor of Latin American studies and sociology at the University of Illinois." In the late 1970s, he served as U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua for the Carter administration, where he tried to mediate between different parties in an ongoing civil war. By 1979, however, the corruption that characterized the Somoza regime had led to the growth of a leftist opposition party known as the Sandinista movement. In 1979, the Sandinistas took over the government of Nicaragua and Solaún left the country. U.S. attempts to weaken or remove the Sandinistas from power would lead to the Iran-Contra scandal that rocked the Reagan administration during Ronald Reagan's second term.

U.S. Intervention and Regime Change in Nicaragua is Solaún's account of the last days of the Somoza regime and the United States' role in the dictator's fall. The volume, stated reviewer Hector Perla, Jr., in Latin American Politics and Society, "is a valuable contribution for Latin Americanists and potentially valuable for Latin American political actors as well, in that it provides a view we are not often privy to. For one thing, it reminds us that the U.S. government is not a monolithic entity. Instead, it is made up of multiple actors and agencies with often-competing interpretations, preferences, beliefs, and values. The finished product that we usually see, the official pronouncements from the president, the State Department, USAID, and ambassadors, which promote an image of unity and rational thought, are often mere facades that hide discrepancies and disagreements between actors and agencies." Charles L. Stansifer, writing for the Historian, concluded that Solaún's book was "an extraordinary contribution to an understanding of the Somoza regime and to U.S.-Nicaraguan relations in the critical years 1977-1979."



Historian, December 22, 2006, Charles L. Stansifer, review of U.S. Intervention and Regime Change in Nicaragua, p. 845.

Latin American Politics and Society, March 22, 2007, Hector Perla, review of U.S. Intervention and Regime Change in Nicaragua, p. 197.


Foreign Affairs, (May 10, 2008), Richard Feinberg, review of U.S. Intervention and Regime Change in Nicaragua.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Arms Control, Disarmament, & International Security Web site, (May 10, 2008), author profile.