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NICARAGUA: Sandino



Augusto CÚsar Sandino was the illegitimate son of a wealthy landowner and a mestizo servant. He traveled abroad and spent three years in Tampico, Mexico and became a strong nationalist. His father urged him to return to Nicaragua. He worked in a US-owned gold mine, where he lectured the workers about the injustices they suffered. When the US "mediated" the Pact of Espino Negro between the political parties, he denounced US intervention and created the Army for the Defense of Nicaraguan Sovereignty. That is the background for the battled of Ocotal.

Here is Tim Brown's view: "Henry Carlisle's view of recent Nicaraguan history appears to have been shaped by war-time propaganda, not reality. Still, it will probably make a great novel, just so long as he doesn't claim it to be historically accurate. For example, in all my years of researching recent conflicts in Nicaragua, never once have I seen the 1926-32 Sandino-Marine conflict called the Popular Anti-Imperialist Revolution in anything other than propaganda produced by "Sandinistas", who had no idea who Sandino really was, and who frankly didn't much care as long as using his name earned them public sympathy.

Sandino was a theosphist and nationalist; the 1979-90 era Nicaraguan revolutionaries were the ideological descendants of a small Communist clique within Sandino's army that tried to kill Sandino because he opposed them. The legitimate Sandinistas who fought against Somoza from 1959 to 1976/78 were then mostly shunted aside by late-comers before the 1979-90 revolution began. This earlier group was the one that founded the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional [FSLN]. They were originally led [1959-62] by a Nicaraguan Communist Noel Guerrero Santiago, who was appointed by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to lead them. Their FSLN was soon joined by key fighters from an earlier non-Marxist guerrilla movement, the Frente Sandino de Liberacion [FSL], that had been fighting Somoza for several years before the FSLN came into existence. Of the 1979-90 group, only Tomas Borge [FSLN] and Eden Pastora [FSL] remained in important positions in 1980, a year after the 1979-90 era revolution began. All the others had either been killed or shunted aside. After 1979, almost all the original Sandinistas decided either to sit the Revolution out in silence, or become Contras"...

My comment: Tim goes on at great length about the recent period, which has nothing to do with the period covered by Henry Carlisle's novel. We should stick to the period of that novel. The later use or misuse of the name of Sandino by later groups is irrelevant, unless Henry has been misled by it.

Ronald Hilton - 4/3/02


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