Write an essay analyzing the achievements and failures of the Sandinistas since the victory ofthe revolution in 1979 until their electoral defeat in 1990.
9. Write an essay analyzing the achievements and failures of the Sandinistas since the victory ofthe revolution in 1979 until their electoral defeat in 1990. Please take into considerationeconomic, military, political and social aspects.
The Sandinista Revolution of 1979, in the nation of Nicaragua, is a controversial and thought-provoking revolution. In one year, Nicaraguans went from being ruled by a strict right-wing dictatorship to being controlled by left wing, idealistic revolutionaries. The Sandinistas have undeniably had an enormous impact on their people, and in evaluating them, all aspects of their rule must be taken into account.
The Sandinista cause was supported by three major beliefs, “the three legs of the stool of Nicaraguan revolutionary democracy” . The first, political democracy, meant that the Sandinistas supported a republican form of government, based on elections with universal suffrage. The second, participatory democracy, meant active citizen participation in government organizations, task forces, etc. Finally the third, economic equality, meant a communistic economy and complete equalization of wealth.
August 22, 1978, twenty-four Sandinista guerillas stormed the national palace at Managua, and by July 17, 1979, the Sandinistas had formally taken power. The Sandinistas quickly wrote and passed a provisional constitution, The Fundamental Law of State. This constitution guaranteed human rights that were previously ignored by the Somoza regime. It guaranteed equal justice under law, the right to free expression, and the abolition of torture. It seemed that the people were already benefiting from this great revolution, which truly did liberate them. Despite this advance in human rights, though, the Nicaraguan economy was still failing, and with the newly imposed US embargo, Nicaraguans were suffering greatly.
The Sandinistas, in the first few months of their sovereignty, seemed to ignore the first and most important of their principles: political democracy. They immediately set up a ruling junta, made up of five top Sandinista officials, including Daniel Ortega and Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. The Sandinistas had promised political pluralism and free elelctions—what had happened? Even the Sandinistas’ call for international nonalignment was violated in the years of the junta, who allied with the Soviet Union and Cuba, receiving heavy financial and military aid from these countries. They grew more and more distant from the US and other capitalist nations, creating international alignment—contrary to what they had promised.
The junta did, though, set out to educate their people . he National Literacy Campaign of 1980 affected one in every two Nicaraguans . The literacy rate rose from 45% to 86% in one of the largest literacy campaigns ever, and the Sandinista government drew international acclaim. In September, 1980, the Minister of National Education, Carlos Tunnermann received the UNESCO Prize. Critics accused the Sandinistas of educating their people with propaganda and attempting to win over the rural proletariat in this way. This was undeniably true in part, but the outcome of this mass campaign was indeed positive.
The junta then quickly set to work on the equalization of wealth that had been promised in the Sandinista platform. Prior to 1979, about 4% of the landowners controlled about 52% of the arable land. The Sandinista junta set out to fix this, trying to make it an equal proportion. They directly started to confiscate Somoza family land, and other, similar land. The nationalization of Somoza’s property alone affected a total of 168 factories—25% of industrial plant in Nicaragua, valued at $200 million. This initial confiscation led directly to the Agrarian Reform Law of 1981, which targeted unused farms, property of absent landlords, and unproductive land for expropriation. From 1981-1985, thousands of acres of land were expropriated and turned into new, peasant collectives. This was efficient and productive towards the communist cause, but many were still unhappy, and all knew that this couldn’t last.
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