Nicaragua

Hope Betrayed

“In the 1980s, hope had a name and an address for the worldwide Left: Sandinista Nicaragua. The victory of the Frente Sandinista Liberación Nacional (Sandinista National Liberation Front, FSLN) on July 19, 1979, was a high-water mark of the guerrilla struggles that shook the world… The decade-long rule of the FSLN opened great possibilities for a people newly liberated from a brutal dictatorship and attracted hundreds of thousands of solidarity activists from around the world to join in the work of rebuilding the nation…”
The US-sponsored contra war destroyed Nicaragua’s infrastructure, killed more than 30,000 people, and forced the FSLN from power in 1990. The Frente’s collective leadership fractured, and former Sandinista President Daniel Ortega took over the party. In 2006, the FSLN regained power, but as a populist mockery of its former self.
“Nicaragua in the new century is a forgotten country. It no longer inspires the left with hope, nor the United States government with fear…. independent social movements and NGOs find their ability to operate, much less to take a political stance and criticize, severely limited. Most are presented with two options: operate under the patronage of the Danielista FSLN with absolute loyalty, or be shunned as “agents of imperialism.”
—Clifton Ross, “Hope Betrayed,” introduction to the Nicaragua chapter of Until the Rulers Obey

FSLN graffiti in Managua, 2010. Photo by Clifton Ross.
FSLN graffiti in Managua, 2010. Photo by Clifton Ross.


Until the Rulers Obey
includes six interviews from Nicaragua:

Andrea Morales Pérez/Central Sandinista de Trabajadores
‘Leadership that allows for work done more horizontally, so that all of us feel that we’re important parts of this process. . .’
Interview by Marcy Rein and Clifton Ross, July 2004; translation by Clifton Ross

Altagracia del Socorro Solís / Banana Workers’ Encampment, Managua, Nicaragua
‘Our demands are against the transnational corporations—but the government also has to do its part.’
Interview by Clifton Ross, January 2010; translation by Margot Pepper

Gloria Paniagua/ ‘Otro Mundo es Posible’ (Another World is Possible)
‘The autonomy of a social movement is maintained to the degree that we keep ourselves on the margins of political parties.’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, January 2010

Victor Hugo Tinoco/ Sandinista Renewal Movement (Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista, MRS)
‘We’re talking about a recovery of the Sandinismo of the epoch of Sandino, the decade of the 1930s, and a recovery of the Sandinismo of the 1970s.’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, January 2010

Luisa Molina/ Civil Coordinating Committee (Coordinadora Civil)
‘We have to develop a strategic work of the mental transformation of Nicaraguans’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, January 2010

Yamilet Mejia/ Feminist lawyer and activist
‘In terms of sexual rights and reproductive rights, there has been an incredible regression’
Interview by Marcy Rein and Clifton Ross, October 2012; translation by Luis Ballesteros