hy Tumis Barge, Carlos Fnnseca, Daniel Ortega, Humherto Ortega

,

aml Jaime Nhseloch

Pathfinder Press, New York

E d i t ed by B r uce M ar cu s Copy r i gh t c 1982 by Pat h f i n der Pr ess Al l r i g ht s reserv ed Li b r ar y of Con gress Cat a log Car d N u m ber H 2-H2051 ISB N cl ot h 0-87348-6 18-8; I SB N paper 0-87348-619-6 Ma n u fact ur ed i n t h e U n i t ed St at es of A m er i ca Fi r st ed i t i on , 1982 Pa t h f i n der P ress 410 W est St r eet New Y o r k , N Y 100 14

Contents
Introduction The Historic Program of the FSLN Nicaragua: Zero Hour
By, Carlos Fonseca A m ad or

7 13 23 43

Nothing %il l Hold Back Our Struggle for Liberation B y Dani el Ortega Nicaragua — The Strategy of Victory
Ir..ter vi ew wi t h H u mberto O rtega O n H u m a n Ri g ht s i n N i car agu a By T omas Borg e

85
105 113

The Role of Religion in the New Nicaragua Nicaragua's Economy and the Fight Against Imperialism
By J ai me Wheelock

The Second Anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution By Tomas Borge An Appeal for Justice and Peace By Daniel Ortega Index

127 141 155

H ON D U R A S EL SAI V A D OR N I CA RA GU A
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Pacifi c Ocean

COSTA R I CA

PANAM

In tr odu ction
A revolution is unfolding in Nicaragua. Led by the fighters of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), the workers and peas ants of that country carried out a victorious insurrection against the brutal and corrupt U.S.-installed Somoza dictatorship and took int o
th ei r ow n h a nds the power t o shape th ei r dest i n y . The J ul y 19, 1979 , d ow nf al l of t h e di ct at or sh i p m a r ked t h e begi n n i n g of a new st age i n

the history of Nicaragua, ono that has seen big changes and that holds the promise of even bigger changes in the future. From the start, the U.S. I-,„'vernment resisted these changes. As it
b ecame appar en i, that even i n :r eased m i l i t ar y ai d coul d not save t h e

personal dictatorship of Ansstasio Somoza, Washington maneuvered
t o f ind a sol u t ion t hat w oul d leave i nt act Somoza's mi l i t ar y force, t h e hated N a t i onal Gu ar d. W h eii t hat f ai l ed, fir st Carter and t hen Reagan u sed pr om ises of ai d an d l at er m i l i t ar y t h r eats and par a m i l i t ar y a t

tacks in an effort to slow dove and overturn Nicaragua s revolution. The U.S. has stationed wa: ships off Nicaragua's coast. It plans to construct new mil itary airfields in neighboring Honduras. In violation of U.S. laws, it has given the green light to military tr aining of rem
nants of Somoza's N at i onal G ,i ard and other count er r ev ol u t i on ar ies at pr i v at e camps i n Fl or id a an d C a l i for n ia . A n d t h e CI A h a s t r ai n ed,

armed, and supplied several tl.ousand Somozaist counterrevolution
a r i es and m er cenar ies st at i oned al on g N i car agua's border i n H on du

ras. In early 1982, it was reported that the National Security Council
had budgeted at least $19 m i l l ion t o pr om ot e dest ab i l i zi n g and cov er t act i ons — i n cl u di n g t er r or ist a t t ack s — aga inst t he N icar aguan peo

ple and government. Washington's propaganda campaign against the Nicaraguan revo lution charges that the revolution is undemocratic, that it has meant
e conomic disaster for N i car agua, t hat t he N icar agu ans seek to expor t t h ei r r evol u t i on by for ce, and t hat t h e leaders of the revol u t ion — t h e

cadres of the FSLN — are simply agents of Cuba, and that their revo
l u t ion was "m ade in H av ana.*' As the speeches in t h is collection show ,

these are outright lies. While the example of revolutionary Cuba is a tremendous inspira t ion to struggling people around the world, the insurrection that tri umphed in July 1979, and the revolutionary changes that have oc

8 Sa n d in is tas Spe ak

cur r ed since, came out of t he decades-long st r u ggle of the N icar ag uan

people to free themselves from foreign domination and to determine their own destiny. Nicaraguans have a proud tradition of resisting at
t em pt s to m ak e N i car agua t he U n it ed St ates back y ar d .

For Central Americans, the Monroe Doctrine and its subsequent re finements meant not freedom from fbreign intervention, but exactly the opposite. As the speeches collected here explain, the U.S. rulers
mai n t a ined order and st ab i l i t y i n t h ei r Cen t r al A m er i can neocolonies th r ough repeated l an di ngs of t he M ar i n es. I n t h i s cent u r y , t h e N i car ag ua n m ost closely associated w i t h t h e

struggle against U.S. domination was Gen. Augusto Cesar Sandino. In
1 927 he organized an ar m y of w or k e r s ; i n d peasant s t o dr i ve ou t t h e U.S. M a r i nes, who had ag ai n occupien N i car agua i n 1926, Sandino's Ar m y for t h e D efense of N a t i ona l Sover ei gnt y f ou gh t t hem for seven

years and won tremendous popular su@ port. When the Marines were
fi n al l y w i t h dr aw n i n 19 33 , t hey left b<ih in d t hem as a r eplacement

force the infamous National Guard bearded by Anastasio Somoza Gar
cia. T his m i l i t ar y force was to be the gu:.r an tor of st ab i l i t y for t he U .S. i n N i car agua . On e of i t s f i r st acts, oi l F eb r u ar y 2 1 , 1934 , w as t o mu r der Sand i no, who had agreed to a cease-fir e after t he w i t h dr aw al

of the Marines. From that time on, tl,» National Guard, headed by a
s uccession of Somozas, became not ori oi.s the w or ld over for its br u t a l i t y and cor r u p t i on . U sin g t h i s pow er , the Somozas bu i l t t h emselves a for t une est i m a t

ed, in 1979, at $400-500 million. They controlled the only two meat
pack i ng pl an ts w it h expor t l icenses, hiilf the sugar m i l l s, two-t h i r ds of th e comm er cial fi sh i n g, 40 percen t of r ice pr odu ct i on , and the l argest mi l k -processin g pl a n t . They dom i n ated cem en t m a n ufact u r e, owned

the national steamship and airline companies, a newspaper, two TV
s tat i ons, and a r adio st at i on .

They did all of this with Washington's blessing. As President Frank
li n D . Roosevel t once said, "Somoza may be a son of a b it ch , bu t he' s

our son of a bitch." Nicaragua was repeatedly used by U.S. imperial
i sm as a base for i nt erv en t ion t h r ou gh out t he ar ea. CI A i n vasions bot h of Gu at em al a i n 1954 an d of Cuba i n 196 1 were based th er e. Th e great w ea lt h of t h e Somozas was amassed at t h e cost of gr eat

suffering for the Nicaraguan people. Under Somoza half the popula tion was illit er ate. Infant mortality was so high that in poor neighbor hoods one-third of all children died before age one. Life expectancy was only fifty years.
Ei ght y p ercen t of t h e popu l at ion of M a n agua, t h e capi t al , l ack ed

1ntrod ucti on 9

running water and only one house in ten had a decent roof. Half the s ick received no medical care at all . Inequitable distribution of the land meant that many went hungry . Half of all the farmland was owned by less than 2 percent of the land
o wn ers, w h i l e th e poorest 50 percent of t h e f ar m er s h el d less t han 4

percent of the land. For these farmers, the average annual income in 1972 was only $35.
These t er r i ble condi t i ons led t o w idespread opposi t ion t o t he di ct a

torship and a continual struggle against the regime and its North
Am er i can back er s.

Out of this tradition of struggle, the FSLN was born. Carlos Fonseca
Am ador , T omas B or ge, an d Si l v i o M ay or ga , veter an s of t h e st udent

struggle of the 1950s, joined with others including a veteran of Sandi no's army, Colonel Santos Ldpez, in July 1961, taking their inspiration both from Sandino's struggle and from the successful Cuban revolu tion of 1959. The struggle the FSLN began then, with a guerilla front along the
n or t h er n bor der, was to last u n t i l t he in su r rect i on. It took m any d i f e r

ent forms. The Sandinistas worked clandestinely and, when possible, legally; they worked in the mountains and in the cities; in the villages and in the factories. Many were arrested, tortured, and ki lled. But they persevered. They won the respect, confidence, and loyalty of al
m ost t h e en t i r e popul at i on, so t ha t w hen t h e in su r rect ion f i n a l l y t r i um phed t hey coul d t r u l y be descr ibed as t h e l eg i t i m at e r epresent a

tives of the Nicaraguan people.
I m m edi at ely after the over t h r ow of Somoza, the FSL N began to i m

plement it s program for Nicaragua's reconstruction, and t his won
t hem even br oader suppor t f r om t h e w or k er s an d peasants. For t h e fi rst t i m e, a gover nm en t responsive to the needs of the oppressed w as

in power. T he revolutionar y government launched a l iteracy campaign to
teach t h e people how to read and w r i t e. It con fi scated t he propert y of

Somoza and his closest collaborators, bringing about 25 percent of the cultivable land under government control. It nationalized the banks and sought to use their resources to rebuild the devastation caused by
Somoza's N a t i onal Gu ar d . I t encour aged w or k er s to for m u n i ons and

enforced workers' rights, such as the eight-hour day, paid vacations, and social security protection. I t helped organize workers in many plants into production committees and took additional steps to in
crease w or k er s' pa r t i cip at ion i n p l a n n i n g pr odu ct ion an d m an ag i ng f act or ies. I t i n t er vened t h r oug h n a t i on al izat i on s against ca pi t a l i st s

10 Sandinistas Speak

who sought to undermine the revolution by decapitalizing their enter prises or otherwise restricting production. All these actions have earned the FSLN and Nicaragua's revolu tionary government i ncreased prestige and authority i n N icaragua
an d ar ou n d t h e w or l d . T hese act i on s h av e al so ear ned t h e N i car a

guans the enmity of the United States government .
W ash in gt on's i n t erest s ar e i r r econci l abl y opposed t o t hose of t h e

workers and peasants of Nicaragua. It has an enormous political and economic stake in maintaining the low wages, substandard living con ditions, and brutal dictatorships that are imposed on the working peo ple of Central America. And it fears that the Nicaraguan revolution wil l set a powerful example for the oppressed and exploited every
wh er e.

The speeches, documents, and interviews collected here are by five
cent r a l leaders of the FSL N . Car los Fonseca A m ad or, one of the found

ers of the FSLN, was its central leader until he was murdered by the Somoza dictatorship in 1976. Tomas Borge, Daniel Ortega, Humbert o Ortega, and Jaime Wheelock are all members of the FSLN's National
Di rect or at e an d pl ay m aj or r oles i n t h e Gover nm en t of N a t i ona l Re

construction. Together their wr itings and speeches give a picture of how the Nicaraguan revolution developed and where it is headed. In this collection the leaders of the FSLN speak for themselves, and that is the best answer to the slanders and lies circulated by Washington. We can learn a great deal from the Nicaraguan workers and peas ants and their leaders. At the very time that workers in the U.S. are being thrown out of their jobs, social services are being slashed, and
new rest riction s ar e being imposed on ou r democratic rights, our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua are taking gigantic steps forward. One clear example is in education. While the Democrats' and Repub

licans' cuts in aid for schooling are increasingly making education the province of the wealthy, the Nicaraguans have enrolled one-third of their population — almost 900,000 — in some kind of formal study. Similarly, while hospitals and clinics are being closed in major U.S. cities, the Nicaraguans are busy building new medical care facilities throughout the countr y and have increased thei r expenditures for health care six t imes. Outlays for al l social services in Nicaragua doubled from 1978 to 1981. While the U.S. rulers carry out bipartisan
policies that foster unemployment and plant shutdowns, the F SL N

In t r od uction 1 1

and the Government of National Reconstruction are putting Nicara g ua back to work .
T hese en or m ou s di ffer ences resul t f rom t h e fact t h at t h e w or k er s

and peasants of Nicaragua now have a government that represents
an d fi g ht s for the ir in t e re sts, not t hose of a r u l i n g r ic h. 'I'he t x amp le

they are providing for workers in North America and around the world
of t he k i nds of i m m edi ate social gains t hat ar e possible when pol i t i cal p ower i s i n t h e h ands of w o r k i n g people i s w hat W ash i n gton r ea ll y fears. Th e adv ances of t he N icar aguan w or k er s and peasani,s deserve not onl y ou r m a x i m u m eff or t s to stop i nt er v en t ion by t h e U .S. and its al

lies against the revolution, but also our careful study so that we can
lear n from t h ei r exper i ences.

Bruce Marcus April 1982

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The Historic Program of the FSLN
Thi s document was fir st presented to the Ni c ara gu an people i n 1969.

It was reprinted by the FSI.N Department of Propaganda and Political
E d uca ti on i n J une 1981. T hi s tr ansla ti on f rom t hat edi ti on i s by W i l l R eissner . T h e Sandi n i st a N at i onal L i b er at ion F r on t (F SL N ) arose out of t h e

Nicaraguan people's need to have a "vanguard organization" capable of taking political power through direct struggle against its enemies and establishing a social system that wipes out the exploitation and poverty that our people have been subjected to in past history.
The FSL N is a pol i t ico-m i l i t ar y or ga ni zat i on, whose str at egic objec t i v e is to t ak e pol i t i cal power by destr oy i n g t he m i l i t ar y an d bur eau c r at i c appar at u s of t h e di ct at or shi p an d t o est ab lish a r ev ol u t i on ar y

government based on the worker-peasant al liance and the conver
gence of al l t h e pat r i ot ic an t i -i mper i a l ist an d an t i -ol i gar chic forces in t h e coun t r y .

The people of Nicaragua suffer under subjugation to a reactionary and fascist clique imposed by Yankee imperialism in 1932, the year
An astasi o Somoza Ga rc ia wa s n a med c omm a nder i n c hi ef o f t h e s o called N at i onal Gu ar d {G N ). The Somozaist cl i que has reduced N i car agua to the sta t us of a neo

colony exploited by the Yankee monopolies and the country's oligar chic groups. The present regime is politically unpopular and juridically illegal .
T h e recogn i t ion an d ai d i t gets from t h e N or t h A m er i cans is i r r ef u t

able proof of foreign interference in the affairs of Nicaragua. The FSLN has seriously and with great responsibility analyzed the
n a t i ona l r eal i t y an d has resolved t o con fr on t t h e di ct at or shi p w i t h

arms in hand. We have concluded that the triumph of the Sandinista
people's rev ol u t ion and t he over t hr ow of t h e regime t hat i s an enem y

of the people will take place through the development of a hard-fought and prolonged people's war. Whatever maneuvers and resources Yankee imperialism deploys,
th e Somozaist di ct at or sh i p is condemned to t ot al f ai l u r e i n t h e face of

13

14 Sa n d in is tas Speak

the rapid advance and development of the people's forces, headed by the Sandinista National Liberation Front . Given this historic conjuncture the FSLN has worked out this politi cal program with an eye to strengthening and developing our organi
zati on , insp i r i n g an d st i m u l at i n g t h e peopl e of N i car agu a t o m ar ch

forward with the resolve to fight until the dictatorship is overthrown
and to resist t he i nt er ven t i on of Y a nk ee imper i ali sm , i n or der to for ge a free, prosperous, and revol u t i on ar y h om el and .

I . A r ev olu ti on ar y gov er n m e n t T h e Sand i n i st a people's r evol u t ion w i l l est ab li sh a r ev ol u t i on ar y gover n m en t t h a t w i l l el i m i n at e t h e react i on ar y st r u ct u r e t h at arose f r om r i gged elect i ons and m i l i t ar y coups, and the people's power w i l l c reate a N i car agu a t h at i s free of expl oi t at i on, oppressi on , back w ar d n ess; a free, progressi ve, and i ndependent cou n t r y .

The revolutionary government will apply the following measures of
a pol i t i cal ch ar act er : A . I t w i l l endow r evol u t i on ar y power w i t h a st r uct u r e t hat a l l ow s

the full participation of the entire people, on the national level as well
as the local level (depar t m en t al , m u n icipal , nei ghborhood). B . I t w i l l gu ar an tee t hat al l ci t izens can fu l l y exer cise all i n d i v i d u a l f r eedoms and i t w i l l r espect h u m an r i g h t s. C . I t w i l l gu ar antee t h e f ree ex ch ange of ideas, w h ich abov e a l l

leads to vigorously broadening the people's rights and national rights.
D. I t w i l l gu ar a ntee freedom for the w or k er -u n ion m ov em ent to or g anize i n t h e cit y an d cou n t r y si de; and freedom t o or ganize peasant ,

youth, student, women' s, cultur al, sporting, and similar groups.
E. I t w i l l gu ar antee the r i gh t of em i gr an t and ex i led N i car aguan s t o r et ur n t o t h ei r n a t i v e soi l . F . I t w i l l gu ar a nt ee t h e r i gh t t o asy lu m for ci t izens of ot her cou n t r ies who ar e persecuted for pa r t i ci pat ion i n t h e r evol u t i on ar y st r u g

gle. G. It will severely punish the gangsters who are guilty of persecut
in g , i nf or m i n g on , abu si ng , t or t u r i n g , or m u r d er i n g r ev ol u t i on ar ies

and the people. H. Those individuals who occupy high political posts as a result of rigged elections and military coups will be stripped of their political rights.
The revol u t i on ar y gover n m en t w i l l apply t he foll ow ing measures of

an economic character : A. I t w i l l expropriate the landed estates, factories, companies,

The Historic Prognzm of the FSLN 1 5 b u i l di ngs, means of t r an spor t at i on , an d ot her w ealt h u su rped by t h e

Somoza family and accumulated through the misappropriation and plunder of the nation's wealth . B. I t w i l l expropriat e th e landed estates, factories, companies, means of transportation, and other wealth usurped by the politicians and military officers, and all other accomplices, who have taken ad
v an t age of the present r egi me's adm i ni st r at iv e cor r u p t i on . C. I t w i l l n a t i on al ize th e weal t h of al l t h e for eign com pa nies t h at

exploit the mineral, forest, maritime, and other kinds of resources. D. It will establish workers' control over the administrative man agement of the factories and other wealth that are expropriated and nationalized.
E. I t w i l l cen t r a lize the mass t r an si t ser vi ce. F. I t w i l l n at i on al ize th e ban k i n g sy st em , w h ich w i l l be placed at

the exclusive service of the country's economic development. G. It will establish an independent currency. H. It will refuse to honor the loans imposed on the country by the
Y a n k ee m onopolies or t hose of an y ot her pow er . I . I t w i l l est ab l ish com m er cia l r el at i on s w i t h al l cou n t r i es, w h at

ever their system, to benefit the country's economic development. J. It will establish a suitable taxation policy, which will be applied with strict justice. K. It will prohibit usury. This prohibition will apply to Nicaraguan
nat i on als as w el l as for ei gn er s.

L. I t w il l protect the smal l and medium-size owners (producers,
mer chant s) w h i le rest r i ct in g the excesses that lead to the exploi t a t ion

of the workers. M. It will establish state control over foreign trade, with an eye to diversifying it and making it independent. N. It will rigorously restrict the importation of luxury items.
O. I t w i l l pl an the n at i onal econom y, pu t t i n g an end to the an ar ch y

characteristic of the capitalist system of production. A n important
par t of t h is pl an n i ng w i l l focus on the in dust r i al i zat ion and elect r i fi ca

tion of the country.
II . T h e ag r a r i an r e v o lut io n

The Sandinista people's revolution will work out an agrarian policy that achieves an authentic agrarian reform; a reform that will, in the
i m m edi ate t er m , car r y ou t massive di st r i b u t ion of the l and, el i m i n at

ing the land grabs by the large landlords in favor of the workers (small producers) who labor on the land.

16 Sa n d in is tas Speak

A. I t wil l expropriate and eliminate the capitalist and feudal es
tat es. B. I t w i l l t ur n over the l and to the peasants, free of ch ar ge, in accor

dance with the principle that the land should belong to those who work
it.

C. It will carry out a development plan for livestock raising aimed
a t div er si fy i n g and in cr easi ng t h e pr odu ct i v i t y of t hat sect or . D. I t w i l l gu ar a ntee the peasants t he foll ow i n g r i g h t s: 1 . T i m el y an d adequat e agr i cu l t u r a l cred i t . 2. M a r k et ab i l i t y (a gu ar a nt eed m a r k et for t h ei r pr oduct i on ). 3. T ech nical assi st ance.

E. It will protect the patriotic landowners who collaborate with the
gu er r i l l a st r u ggle, by pay i n g t hem for t h ei r l an dh ol di ngs that exceed t h e l i m i t est ab l i shed by t he r ev ol u t i on ar y gover n m en t .

F. It wil l stimulate and encourage the peasants to organize them
s elves i n cooper at i ves, so they can t a k e t h ei r dest in y i n t o t h ei r ow n h ands and dir ectl y p ar t i ci pat e i n t he developm en t of t he cou n t r y . G. I t w i l l abolish t h e debts th e peasant r y i n cu r red to t h e landl or d a nd an y t y pe of usur er .

H. It wil l eliminate the forced idleness that exists for most of the
year i n t he cou n t r y side, and i t w i l l be att en t ive to creat i n g sources of j obs for the peasant popu l at i on .

II I . Revolution in culture and education
T h e Sand i ni st a people's r ev ol u t ion w i l l estab lish t h e bases for t h e d evelopmen t of t h e n at i onal cu l t u r e, t he people's educat i on , and u n i v er sit y r efor m . A. I t w i l l push for w ar d a massive cam paig n t o i m m edi at el y w i pe out " i l l i t eracy ." B. I t w i l l develop t h e n a t i ona l cu l t ur e an d w i l l r oot ou t t h e neo c olon ial penet r at ion i n ou r cu l t u r e. C. I t w i l l rescue the pr ogressive i nt el lect u als, and th ei r w or ks t h at hav e ar isen t h r oughou t ou r h i st or y , from t h e n eglect i n w h ich t h ey have been m a i n t a i ned by t he an t i -people's regim es. D. I t w i l l g i ve at t en t ion t o the developm ent an d pr ogress of educa tion at t he v a r ious lev els (pr i m a r y , i nt er medi ate, tech ni cal, u n iv er si ty , etc.), and educat ion w i l l be free at al l levels and obl i gat or y at some.

E. It wil l grant scholarships at various levels of education to stu
d ent s who have l i m i ted econom ic resources. The schol ar sh ips w i l l i n c lude housi ng, food, cl ot h i n g, books, and t r an sport at i on . F . I t w i l l t r ai n m or e an d bet t er t eacher s w h o h av e t h e scien t i f i c

The Historic Program of the I"SL1V 1 7 kn ow ledge t hat t he present er a requ i r es, to sati sfy t he needs of our en

tire student population.
G. It w i l l n a t i o na lize t h e c ente rs o f p r i v a te e ducati on t h a t h a ve

been immorally turned into industries by merchants who hypocritical
ly i n v ok e r el i gi ous pr i n ci pl es.

H. I t will adapt the teaching programs to the needs of the country;
it w i l l appl y t each i n g m eth ods t o the scien t i fic and research needs of t he coun t r y . I . I t w i l l car r y out a un i v er sit y r efor m t hat w i l l in clu de, am ong ot h er t h i n gs, the foll ow i n g m easu res: l . It w i l l rescue the uni v ers ity f rom the domi n a ti on of the explo it i n g classes, so it can serve the real cr eat ors and shapers of our cu l t u r e: t h e people . U n i v er sit y i n st r u ct io n m us t b e or iented ar oun d m a n , a r oun d th e people. The u n i v er sit y m ust stop bein g a breeding gr ou nd

for bureaucratic egotists.
2. E l i m i n at e t h e discr i m i n at io n i n access t o u n i v er sit y classes

suffered by youth from the working class and peasantry.
3 . I n crease t h e st at e budget fo r t h e u n iv er sit y so t h er e ar e t h e e conomic resources to solve the v ar i ous problem s confr on t i n g i t .

4. M aj or ity student representation on the boards of the faculties,
k eepi ng in m i nd t hat t he st udent body is the m ai n segm en t of t he un i v er sit y popu l a t i on . 5. E l i m i n at e t he neocolon ial pen et r a t ion of the u n i ver si t y , espe

cially the penetration by the North American monopolies through the
ch ar i t y don at ions of t he pseudoph i l a n t h r opic fou ndat i ons. 6 . Pr om ot ion of fr ee, exper i m ent al , scien t i f i c i nvest i gat ion t h at must con t r i b ut e t o deali ng w i t h n at i onal and u n i v er sal quest i ons. 7. St r engt hen t h e u n i t y of t h e st uden ts, facu l t y , an d i n vest i ga tors w it h t he w hole people, by perpet u at in g the sel fl ess exam ple of t he student s and i nt el lect u als who have off ered t h ei r l i ves for t h e sake of t h e pat r i ot ic ideal .

IV . Labor legislation and social security
Th e San di ni st a people's r ev ol u t ion w i l l el i m i n at e t h e i nj u st ices of th e l i v i n g and w or k i n g cond it i ons suff ered by the w or k i n g class under th e br u t a l ex pl oi t at i on , and w i l l i n st i t u t e l abor l egi sl at ion and social assi st ance.

A. It will enact a labor code that will regulate, among other things,
th e foll ow i n g r i g h t s: 1. I t w i l l adopt t h e p r i n ci pl e t h a t '*those wh o don't w or k don' t e at," of course m ak i n g except i ons for t hose who are un able to part i ci

18 Sandinis tas Speak pate in the process of production due to age (children, old people), med i cal condition, or other reasons beyond their control . 2. St rict enforcement of the eight-hour work day. 3. The income of the workers (wages and other benefits) must be
suAi ci en t t o sati sf y t h ei r da i l y needs.

4. Respect for the dignity of the worker, prohibiting and punish
i n g u nj ust t r eat m en t of w or k er s i n t he cour se of th ei r l abor .

5. Abolition of unjustified firings. 6. Obligation to pay wages in the period required by law. 7. Right of all workers to periodic vacations. B. It will eliminate the scourge of unemployment. C. It wil l extend the scope of the social security system to all the
wor k er s and pu b l i c em pl oyees i n t h e cou nt r y . Th e scope w i l l i n cl ude c overage for i l l ness, phy sical i n capaci t y , and r et i r em en t .

D. It will provide free medical assistance to the entire population. It w ill set up clinics and hospitals throughout the national territiory . E. I t wil l undertake massive campaigns to eradicate endemic ill
nesses and pr ev en t epidem ics. F . I t w i l l ca r r y ou t u r ban r efor m , w hich w i l l p r ov ide each f a m i l y

with adequate shelter. It will put an end to profiteering speculation in
ur ban l and (subdi vi si ons, ur ban const ru ct i on, r en ta l hou si ng) t hat ex p l oi ts the need t hat w or k i n g fam i l ies in the ci t ies have for an adequ at e roof over t h ei r heads i n order t o l i v e. G . I t w i l l i n i t i at e and expand the const ru ct ion of adequ ate housi n g

for the peasant population.
H . I t w i l l r educe the ch ar ges for w at er , l i gh t , sew ers, ur ban beau t i

fication; it wil l apply programs to extend all these services to the en
t i r e u r ban and r u r a l popu l at i on . I. I t w i l l encour age pa r t i ci pat ion i n sport s of al l t y pes and catego ri es. J. I t w i l l el i m i n ate the h u m i l i at ion of begging by pu t t i ng the above men t i oned m easures i nto pract ice.

V. Administrative honesty The Sandinista people's revolution will root out administrative gov
er n m en t a l cor r u pt i on , and w i l l est ab l ish st r ict ad m i n i st r a t i ve hones ty.

A. I t w il l abolish the criminal vice industry (prostitution, gam
b l i ng, drug use, etc.l w hich t he pr i v i leged sect or of the N at i onal Gua r d

a nd the foreign parasites exploit . B. It will establish strict control over the collection of taxes to pre

The Historic Program of the FSL1V 1 9 v en t gov er n m en t f un ct i on ar ies fr om pr of i t i ng , pu t t i n g an en d t o t h e nor m al pr act ice of th e presen t r eg i me's offi cial agencies. C . I t w i l l end t h e ar bi t r ar y acti ons of t h e m ember s of t he GN , w h o

plunder the population through the subterfuge of local taxes.
D . I t w i l l put an end to t he sit u at ion w h er ei n m i l i t ar y com m ander s

appropriate the budget that is supposed to go to take care of common
pr i soners, and i t w i l l est ab lish cent er s designed to reh ab i l i t at e t hese wr on gdoer s.

E. It will abolish the smuggling that is practiced on a large scale by
th e gan g of pol i t i ci ans, of fi cers, an d for ei gn er s w ho are th e r egim e's

accomplices. F. It will severely punish persons who engage in crimes against ad
mi n i st r a t i ve honest y (embezzlemen t , sm uggl i ng, t rafl i ck i n g i n vices, etc.i, usin g gr eatest sever it y w hen i t i n v olves eleme nts a cti ve in t h e r ev ol u t i on ar y m ov em en t .

VI . R e in cor p o r a t ion of th e A t l a n tic C oast Th e Sandi n i st a people's r ev ol u t ion w i l l pu t i n t o pract ice a special

plan for the Atlantic Coast, which has been abandoned to total neglect,
in order t o incorpor ate t h i s area i nt o th e n at i on's l i fe.

A. I t wil l end the unjust exploitation the Atlantic Coast has suf
fered t h r oughout hi st or y by the for eign m onopol ies, especiall y Y an k ee i m per i a li sm .

B. I t will prepare suitable lands in the zone for the development of
a gr i cu l t u r e and r an ch i n g . C. I t w i l l establ ish cond i t i on s t ha t encour age t h e dev el opm en t of

the fishing and forest industries. D. I t wil l encourage the flourishing of this region's local cultural values, which flow from the specific aspects of its historic tradition.
E. I t w i l l w i pe ou t t h e odiou s discr i m i n a t i on t o w h ich t h e i n dige nou s M i sk i t os, Sum os, Zambos, and B lack s of t h i s region are s ubject

ed. VI I . Emancipation of women The Sandinista people's revolution will abolish the odious discrimi nation that women have been subjected to compared to men; it will es tablish economic, political, and cultural equality between woman and
m an .

A. I t will pay special attention to the mother and child.
B. I t w i l l e l i m i n at e pr ost i t u t io n an d ot her socia l v ices, t h r ough

20 Sa n d i n is tas Spe ak

wh ich t he di gn i t y of w omen w i l l be r aised.

C. It will put an end to the system of servitude that women suffer ,
w h ich is reflected i n t he t r agedy of th e abandoned w or k i n g m ot h er .

D . I t w il l establish for children born out of wedlock the right to
equal pr otect ion by t h e r evol u t i on ar y in st i t u t i on s.

E. It will establish daycare centers for the care and attention of the
c h i l dr en of w or k i n g w om en . F. I t w i l l est ablish a t w o-m ont h m at er n it y leave befor e an d aft er b i r t h for w omen w ho w or k . G. I t w i l l r aise w om en's pol i t i cal , cu l t u r al , an d vocat i onal l ev el s

through their participation in the revolutionary process.

VI I I . Respect for religious beliefs The Sandinista people's revolution will guarantee the population of
b el ievers the freedom t o pr ofess any r el i gi on . A. I t w i l l respect the r i gh t of ci t izens to pr ofess and pract ice any r e

li gious belief.
B. I t w i l l suppor t t he w or k of priests and ot her r el i gious fi gures who

defend the working people.

IX. Independent foreign policy The Sandinista people's revolution will eliminate the foreign policy
o f su bm ission t o Y an kee i m per i a l i sm , an d w i l l est ab lish a pat r i ot i c for eign policy of absol ute n at i onal i ndependence and one that is for au

thentic universal peace.
A . I t w i l l p u t a n en d t o t h e Y a n k ee i n t erf er ence i n t h e i n t er n a l

problems of Nicaragua and wil l practice a policy of mutual respect
wi t h ot her coun t r ies and fr at er na l coll abor at ion bet ween peoples.

B. It w il l expel the Yankee mil itary mission, the so-called Peace
Corps (spies i n t h e guise of tech ni ci ans), and m i l i t ar y an d si m i l ar po l i t i cal el em ent s wh o const i t u t e a barefaced i n t er v en t ion i n t h e coun try. C. I t w i l l accept econom i c an d tech ni cal ai d from an y cou n t r y , but al w ays and onl y w hen t h i s does not i n v olve pol i t i cal com pr om ises. D. T ogether w i t h ot her peoples of t he w or l d i t w i l l pr om ot e a cam

paign in favor of authentic universal peace.
E. I t w i l l abr ogate al l t r eat i es, signed w it h any for eign pow er , t h at

damage national sovereignty .

The Historic Program of the FSL7V' 2 1

X. Cen tr al A mer ican people's unity
Th e Sandi ni st a people's rev ol u t ion is for t h e t r ue un ion of the Cen

tral American peoples in a single country .
A. I t w i l l suppor t a ut h en t ic un i t y w i t h t he fr at er nal peoples of Cen

tral America. This unity will lead the way to coordinating the efforts
t o achieve nat i onal l iber a t ion and est ab lish a new system w i t h ou t i m p er i a list dom i n a t i on or n at i onal bet r ay al , B . I t w i l l e l i m i n at e t h e so-called i n t egr a t i on , w hose ai m i s t o i n crease Cen t r a l A m er i ca's subm ission to the N or t h A m er i can monopo

lies and the local reactionary forces.

XI . Solidarity among peoples
T h e Sand i n i st a people's r ev ol u t ion w il l pu t an end to the use of t h e na ti on a l t er r i t or y as a base for Y a n kee aggression against ot her fr a t er na l peoples and w i l l pu t i n t o pract ice m i l i t an t sol id ar it y w i t h f r a t er na l peoples fi gh t i n g for t h ei r l iber at i on . A. I t w i l l act i v ely suppor t the st r u ggle of the peoples of A si a, A f r i ca , and L a t i n Am e ri c a against t h e new a nd o ld coloni a l ism a nd a gain st t he com mon enemy : Y a n kee i mper ial ism . B. I t w i l l suppor t th e stru ggle of the Bl ack people and all t he people of the U n it ed St ates for an au t h en t i c democracy and equal r i gh t s.

C. I t will support the struggle of all peoples against the establish ment of Yankee milit ary bases in foreign countries.

XI I . People's patriotic army
Th e San di n i st a people's r ev ol u t io n w i l l abolish t h e a r m ed f or ce c alled t he N a t i onal Gu a rd , w h ich is an enem y of t he people, and w i l l c reate a pat r i ot ic, revol u t i on a r y , and people's ar m y . A. I t w i l l abolish t he N at i on al Gu ar d, a force that is an enemy of t he p eople, created by t h e N ort,h A m er ican occupat ion forces i n 1927 t u pur sue, tor t u r e, and m u r der t h e Sandi n i st a pat r i ot s. B . I n t he new people's ar my , pr ofessional soldi ers who are mem ber s of the old ar m y w i l l be able to play a role prov id i ng they h ave observed t he foll ow in g condu ct :

I. They have supported the guerrilla struggle.
2. T hey h av e no t pa r t i cipated i n m u r d er , p l u nder , t or t u r e, and persecut ion of t he people and t he revo! ution ar y act i v i st s.

22

S a n d i n i stas Speak

3. T hey h ave rebel led against t he despot ic and dy nast ic r egi me of

the Snmozas.
( ' . I t w i l l st r en g t hen t h e nc w people's ar m y , r a isin g i t s fi g h t i n g a bi l i t y an d i t s tact ical an d tech ni cal l ev el . D. I t w il l i n cu lcate in t he consciousness of the m embers of th e peo

ple's «i my the principle ofbasing themselves on their own forces in the
fu l f i l l m en t of t h ei r d ut ies and t he development of al l t hei r creat i ve ac tivity. E. I t v il l deepen the revol u t i onar y ideals of the members of'the peo ple's ii rm y w i t h an eye tow ard st r engt hen i n g t h ei r pa t r i ot ic spir i t and th ei r f i r in conv ict ion to fi gh t u n t i l v i ct or y is achieved, overcom i ng ob stacles and correct i n g er r or s. F. I t w i l l f or ge a conscious discip l in e i n t h e r a n k s of' the people's a r m y an d w i l l encou r age t h e close t ies t ha t m ust ex ist bet ween t h e

combatants and the people.
( ». I t w i l l est ab lish ob l ig at or y m i l i t ar y ser vice and w i l l ar m the st u d ents, wor k er s, and far m ers, who — or ganized i n people's m i l i t i a s wi l l defend t h e r i g h ts won agai nst t h e in ev i t able at t ack by t h e reac t i on ar y forces of t he coun t r y and Y a nkee i mper i a l i sm .

X I I I . V en e r a t io n of ou r m a r t y r s 'I'he Sand i ni st a people's r ev ol u t ion w i l l m a i n t ai n et er n a l gr at i t u de t o an d v en er at io n of' our h om el and's m a r t y r s an d w i l l con t i n u e t h e

shining example of heroism and selfiessness they have bequeathed to
Us .

A. I t w i l l educate the new gener at i ons in et er nal gr at i t ude and ven e r at ion tow ard t hose who have fal len i n t he st r u ggle to m ak e N icar a g u a a free hom el an d . B. I t w i l l est ab l ish a secondar y school to educate the ch i l dr en of our people's m ar t r y s. C. I t w i l l i n culcate in t he en t i re people the imperi sh able exam ple of our m a r y t r s, defen din g t he revol u t i on ar y ideal: Ever on w ar d to vi ct o ry tf|

Nicar agua: Zer o Ho ur
by Carlos Fonseca Amador
C a r los Fonseca A m ador was the central leader of the F SL N f rom i h e ti m e he helped f oun d i t i n J u l y 1961 un t il h is m u r der b y the Somoza di ctatorship on N ovember 8 , 1976. As a student, Fonseca had jo in ed the pr o -M oscow N i car ag uan Soci a li st Par ty, wi th w hich he later came i n to poli ti ca l conf li ct. F i rst a rrested for hi s revol uti onary acti vi ti es i n 1 95 4, Fonseca was repeatedly detai n ed. I n 1969, after an escape from a Costa R i can j ai /, h< u.'ent to Cuba, where he publi shed this ar ti cle he had w r i t ten ear li er i n the year. I t fi rst appeared i n the Spanis h- lan gu age edit io n of Tr i c ont i n e nt a l, no. 1 4, 1969. Th is t r a nslat io n, b y M i c hael T a ber an d Wi l l R ei ssner , cs based o n a 1979 re pr i n t in g o f t he art ic le by t he N a ti ona l Secretari a t o f Pr opag and a an d Po li ti ca l E d ucatio n o f t h e

F SLN .
Th e e co n o m i c s it u a t i o n T h e people of N i car agu a h av e been su ffer i n g u nder t h e y ok e of a reaction ar y c l i qu e i m posed b y Y a n kee i m per i al i sm v i r t u a l l y si nce 1932, the year i n w hi ch A nast asio Somoza G. was n amed comm an der in chief of the so-called N at i onal Gu ard (GN ), a post that had pr evious

ly been filled by Yankee officials. This clique has reduced Nicaragua
to the st at us of a neocolony — ex pl oi ted by the Y ankee monopolies and th e local cap i t a l ist class. At t h e present t.i m e, th e economic cr i si s t ha t t he cou n t r y has been s uff er i n g has gotten w or se. In t he years i m m ed i at el y precedin g 1966 , t h e nat i onal economy grew at an an n ual r ate of 8 percent. By cont rast , i n t he year s 1966 and 1967 the gr ow th r ate decl ined to 3.1 and 4.6 per c ent respect iv el y .

The production of cotton, which has been increasing since 1950, wil l increase only slightly in the future. This is due, on the one hand, to a saturation of the foreign capitalist market supplied by national pro duction, And in addition, it is due to the growing competition from
syn t h et ic fibers. There has, in fact , been a m aj or drop in t he prices of

23

24 Sandin istas Speak fered by t h e for ei gn cap i t a l i st m a r k et for t h e h ar vest fr om t h e 1968

planting. This last fact has persuaded the country's government to es
t ab l ish com m er cial r el at i ons w it h some social ist cou n t r i es. w h ich w i l l

take part of the cotton harvest. This crop amounts to 26 percent of the
c u l t i v ated l an d i n N i car agu a .

Regarding coffee, which is the second largest export product, there is
a l r eady over pr odu ct i on, w hich cannot be sold on the capi t a l ist m ar k et . Regar d in g suga r pr oduct i on , oAi cia l sources st at e t ha t i t i s u n l i k ely t h a t t he pace of gr ow t h can be m ai n t ai ned i n t he i m m edi at e f u t u r e.

The exploit ation of minerals such as gold and copper, which is di
r ect l y i n t he h ands of for eign i nvest ors, pays r i di cul ou sl y sm al l su m s

to the national treasury through taxes. Parallel with this, the handing
over of t he nat i onal r i ches to the Y a nkee monopolies has con t i n ued t o in cr ease. I n 1967, for ex am ple, a law w en t i n t o effect t ha t g ave M ag n av ox , a compan y speci al i zin g i n t h e exploi t at ion of f orests, absol u t e ow ner sh i p of a m i l l ion hect ar es of' nat i onal t er r i t or y .* A t t h e sam e t i m e, t he r u l i n g cl i que h an dles th e fu nds of t he st at e ban ks as if they were personal f unds, w h i le fr aud and sm ugg l ing reach stagger i n g d i m ensions. Th e Somoza fam i l y , w h ich ha d ver y l i m i t ed

economic resources when it took power, has obtained a vast fiefdom,
w hose dom ai n s go beyon d N i caragua's border s an d ex t en d i n t o t h e o t her cou n t r i es of Cen t r a l A m er i ca . In N i car agua, m oreov er, th ere is an u nj ust di st r i b u t ion of land. St a ti st i cal report s for t he year 1952 show t hat a few propr i et ors cont rol 55

percent of the total area of privately owned farms.
N i car agu a off er s except i onal condi t i ons for t he developmen t of cat tl e r ai si ng . N ev er t h eless, th e consu m pt ion of pr odu ct s der ived fr om cat t le has decl ined and the in crease in expor ts has l argel y been due t o f oreign sales of cows that w ou ld have con t r i b uted to an in crease in t h e qu an t i t y of an i m a l s. Th e ad v a n t ages pr ov ide d t o p r oducer s o f p r oduct s fo r f or ei gn ma r k et s — i n t h i s case for gr ow i n g cot ton — ha s led t o a si t u a t i on wh er e food pr odu ct s ar e gr ow n on t h e w orst l an ds, w h ich also mean s t h a t i m por ts are needed t o sat isfy t h i s i mpor t an t sect or . N i car agua is am ong t he coun t r ies t hat h ave been h u r t most by t h e s o-called Cen t r a l A m er i ca n econom i c i n t egr at i on . I t i s w el l -k n ow n t h a t t h i s i nt egr at ion has been si m pl y a plan t o i ncrease the econom i c h old of t he Y ank ee monopolies over Cen t r al A m er i ca. T h is scandal ou s f act has reached such a magn i t ude t hat even spokesmen of the N icar a g ua n r eg i m e it sel f have been pu t i n t h e si t u a t ion of pu b l icly st a t i ng
~1 hect ar e = 2 .4 7 acr es

N i ca r ag ua: Z ero H ou r

25

th at t he indu st r ies establ i shed as a resul t of t h is i nt egr at ion do not en

hance national economic development .
As w it h t he ot her cou n t r ies of Cen t r a l A m er i ca, th ere is no oi l pr o

duction in Nicaragua. It has been stated, however, that if there were
possib i l i t ies for oi l ex pl oi t a t ion i n Cen t r a l A m er i ca, th e Y a n k ee mo

nopolies would have an interest in hiding it, in order to maintain it as
a reserve i n case r evol u t i on ar y gover n m ent s w er e est ab li shed i n t h e c oun t r ies t hat cu r r en t l y produce oi l . A l t h oug h t h e gover n m en ta l cap i t a l ist sector r epresent s t h e dom i

nant segment of the country's capitalist class, it must be pointed out
t h at t h e sector of capi t a l i st s w ho cal l t h em selves "opposi t i oni sts" ar e

also involved in exploiting the Nicaraguan people. Many times, the
gover n in g and "opposit i on " gr oups j oi n t l y expl oi t i m por t an t sect ors of the n at i ona l economy , as is the case regar d in g sugar , m i l k , the press,

banking, liquor disti lleries, etc.
T h e econom ic sy stem descr ibed above t u r n s th e other classes m ak

ing up Nicaragua's population into victims of exploitation and oppres sion. The poor diet of the working classes has caused numerous deaths through hunger. It's known that in 1964 hundreds of peasants died of hunger i n the Tempisque area, in the department of Matagalpa. In
v ar i ous regi on s i n t h e nor t h , t h e i n cidence of goi t er s is ver y h i gh . I n t h e M al acaguas ar ea , t h er e h av e been cases of collect iv e demen t i a

provoked by poor diet; night blindness resulting from Vitamin A and
p r ot ei n defi ci en cies has occur red i n ar eas ar ound th e t ow n of D ar i o .

A few years ago, some tests carried out in a school in Jinotepes, a re gion located near the country's capital, indicated that every one of the
200 st udents suff ered t uber culosi s.

Only 1.1 percent of the Nicaraguan population has completed pri
m ar y school . F i ft y p ercen t of t h e popu l at io n h a s ha d n o school i n g wh at ev er . T h e pr opor t ion of st udent s t h a t l eav e school i n t h e f i r st gr ade or repeat gr ades is ext r em ely h igh (73 percent ). Only 21 percent of the st udent popul at ion comes from t he sector of societ y w i t h incom e lev els at or below t h e cou n t ry *s aver age. Ou t of 200,000 young people

f'rom fourteen to nineteen years of age, barely 20,000 are enrolled in
high school or c omm e rc ia l, vocati o na l, or a gri c ul t u r a l e ducati o n.

Infant mortality reaches dreadful levels in Nicaragua. More than 50
p ercen t of t he deaths i n t he coun t r y occur am on g persons under fou r teen years of age. Out of ever y t h ousand ch i l dren bor n, 102 die. Six ou t of every ten death s are caused by in fecti ous — meanin g cura b le — dis e ases. I n r ecen t i n vest i ga t i on s 9.28 percen t of t h e popul at ion ha d a p osi t ive react ion in tests for m al a r i a, w h i le i n Costa Rica it is 0.96 per c ent , and i n Pan am a, 4.98 percen t .

26 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

Ni c a r a gu a: A v i cti m of Y a n k ee aggr ession f o r m or e th a n a cen t u r y To under st and N i car agua's cu r r en t pol i t ical si t u at ion it 's necessary t o keep i n m i n d cert ai n ch aract er i st ics t hat h ave been seen t h r ou gh o u t i t s n at ional hi st or y . N icar agua is a cou n t r y t hat has suff er ed for

eign aggression and oppression for more than four centuries. Together
w i t h the other coun t r ies of L at i n A m er i ca, N icar agua faced r ule by t h e I ber ia n pen in su la . I n a r egion of it s t er r i t or y located on t h e A t l a n t i c Coast , i t also suff ered B r i t ish dom i n at i on, w hich lasted for 150 year s u n t i l 1893. A t t h e same t i m e, N icar agu a w as am ong t he f i r st vi ct i m s of the aggressive policy of t h e U n i t ed St ates. S hor t l y a ft er t h e so-called M onroe Doct r i ne was proclai med by t h e U .S. gover nm en t i n 1823, N icar agua v as chosen as the t ar get of Y a n k ee r apaci t y . In t h e decade of th e 1830s, represent a t i ves of t he Wash i n gton gov e r n m ent t r av eled t h r ough N i caragua in order to obt ai n i nfor m at ion t o p r epare for i n t er ven t ion i n t he cou n t r y . Below is a list of some of the Y an kee acts of aggression t hat N i car a gu a has suff er ed : 1 850. The gover nm ent s of E n g l an d an d t h e U n i ted St ates sign t h e s o-called Cl ay t on -B u l wer t r eat y , by w h ich t hese pow ers, w i t hout t a k ing t he N icaraguan gov er nm en t i n t o accou nt , ar bi t r a r i l y decide to di vi de among t h emselves the r i ght to bu i ld an i n t erocean r oute t h r ough N i car agu a . 1854. In J u n « of t hat y ear, a IJ.S, w ar sh ip com m anded by a seam an n amed H ol l i ns, bom bards the N i car aguan por t of San .Juan del N or t e and r educes it t o ashes. 1 855. Several t h ousand N or t h A m er i can f i l i bu st ers, headed by W i l li am W a l k er , i nt erv ene in N i car agua. W a l ker proclai ms h imself presi d en t of N i car agu a an d i s recognized as such by t h e Y a n kee gover n men t of F r a n k l i n Pi er ce. A m on g ot her savage m easur es, he decrees slav ery. The N i car aguan people, w it h t he hack i ng of t he ot her peoples o f Cen t r al A m er i ca, t ak e up ar ms and succeed in t h r ow i ng out t h e i n terv en t i oni st s. 1 8 70. Th e N i car agua n gov er n m en t 's head of for eig n r el at ions, D r . Tomas Ay on, sends pat r i ot ic notes to the I.J.S. gover nm en t represent a t i ve, in w h ich he pr otests t hat gover n m en t 's i nt erf er ence in t he i nt er n a l a ff a ir s of N i car agu a an d d em and s r epar at ion fo r t h e m at er i a l

damages caused by the bombardment of 1854 and fulfi llment of finan
cal com m i t m ent s made by t he m i l l i on ai r e i nvestor Cor n el i us V ander b ilt . 1 898 . L ew i s H a n k e, r epresent at i v e of t h e U .S. gover n m ent , i s u n

Ni caragua: Zero H our 2 7 s uccessful in his att empt to i nt er v ene on behalf of a r eact i on ar y gr ou p , against w hom a resolu t e, popula r r ebel l ion occur s. 1907. U .S. gover n m en t w or sh ips occupy t h e w at er s of t h e G u l f ol' Fonseca. 1 909 . T h e n at ion al ist N i ca r agua n gover nm en t sh oot s t w o N or t h

Amei icans named Cannon and {Iroce, who were guilty of'participating
in a r med act i ons against t h e N i car ag uan gover n m ent . Th e U .S. gov er n m ent., t h r ough t he U .S. secret ar y of'st ate, sends a note to the Ni ca rag ua n gover nm ent , k n ow n as t h e " K nox note," i n w h ic h i t op en ly st ates that it has the r i ght to int er vene in N icar agua's int er n al aff ai r s. 1910. U .S. war sh ips i nt er vene on the side of the (!onserv a t i ves w ho a r e i n r evol t ag ainst t h e N i caragua n gover nm ent . I n t h i s w ay , t h e U .S. i mposes a sel l-out gover n m en t on N i car agu a . 1912. The coun t r y is occupied by t housands of U .S. M ar i nes. A r m ed resi st ance t o t h e occupat ion l ast s for sever a l m on t h s, a t t h e en d of w h ich the pat ri ot i c leader Benj a m i n Zalednn dies w i t h a r m s i n h an d . 1914 . E m il i an o Ch am or ro, th e Conser v a t i v e gover n m en t 's am bas s ador to the U n i ted St ates, and U .S. Secret ar y of State B r yan sign t h e d i sgracefu l cana l t r eat y k n ow n as t he Cham or ro-B r ya n pact .

1927. Jose Maria Moncada, a representative of the Liberal bourgeoi
s ie and m i l i t ar y head of t he people's ar m y t h a t has been f i ght,ing t he gover n m en t i m posed by t h e N o r t h A m er i can i n t er vent i on , comm it s a b et r ay a l an d en t er s i n t o agreem en t w i t h t h e r epresent a t i v e of t h e St at e Depar t m ent , H en r y L . St imson , w ho year s l ater w ou l d becom e secret ar y of war i n t he T r u m an gov er n m en t . W h i l e St i m son occupied t h i s post , t h e b ar b a r i c at om i c bom b i n g of H i rosh i m a an d N agasak i took pl ace. Aug ust o ('esar Sand i no, head of a col um n of t he people's ar m y , r e fuses t o accept t h e M oncada agr eemen t and r ises up i n a r m s agai nst t h e N or t h A m er i can occupat ion an d t he t r a it or s wh o suppor t i t , T h e Ar m y fo r t h e D efense of N a t i ona l Sover ei gn t y , h eaded b y San di no, c ar ri es ou t m or e t h a n 50 0 cl ashes w i t h t h e occupat io n forces. T h i s mak es it i mpossi ble for the Y ank ee occupiers to defeat t he N icar agu an pat r i ots m i l i t a r i l y , but befor e leav i n g t he cou nt r y at t he begi n n i ng of 1 933, they l eave behi nd t hem a react i on ar y force called th e N at i on a l

Guard.
1 934. On Febr u ar y 21 of t ha t year , A u gusto Cesar Sand ino is m u r der ed . A n astasi o Somoza G . , com m ander i n ch ief o f t h e N a t i on al Gu ar d or ders t h i s cr i m e car r ied ou t af ter r ecei v i n g i n st r u ct i ons fr om

the Yankee Ambassador Arthur Bliss Lane. The murder is carried out
d u r i n g t he days when A u gu st o Cesar Sandi no and his com r ades w er e pr epar i ng to fi gh t ag ainst t he an t ipopular di rect ion in w h ich the coun

28 Sandin istas Speak

try was being led. Having received guarantees that his life would be
r espected, San di no decided to t ak e par t i n t a l k s in order t o dispel t h e slander ous ch ar ge t ha t he was not i n t erested i n peace. 1 936. Somoza ousts the const i t u t ional president of t he count r y, w i t h t he appr oval of t he U .S. gover n m en t .

1 947. Somoza ousts the constitutional president of the country ,
a gai n w i t h t h e appr ova l of t he U .S. gover n m en t . 1 960. The U .S. fl eet i n t he Car i bbean Sea is mobi l ized to pr otect t h e g over nm ent s of Gu at em al a and N icar agua, w hich ar e facing gr ow i n g p opu lar discont en t .

Nicaragua: A base for Yankee aggression
Together w i t h pl u nder i n g it s n at i ona l r i ches, U .S, im per i a lism has been usin g N i car agu a's geographi c posi t ion t o m ak e i t a base for ag gression against ot her L a t i n A m er i can peoples. T h e Cham or r o- B r yan canal t r eat y is st i l l i n force, w hich pract i cal l y ma k es the U .S. N icar agua's mast er . T h is tr eat y au t h or izes the Wash in gton gov er n m en t t o b u i l d m i l i t ar y bases i n N i car agua , an d al so g r ant s it t h e r i gh t t o bu i l d an i n t erocean canal t h r ough t he cou n t r y . Below is a list of v ar i ous events show in g how N i car agua serves as a base for im per i a list aggression against ot her L a t i n A m er ican peoples, and especiall y against t h e cou n t r ies ar ound t he Car i bbea n Sea: 1 948. W i t h i t s ar med f orces th e Somoza gover n m en t i n t er venes i n

Costa Rican territory, where an armed conflict is developing that cul
m i n at es i n t h e persecu t ion of t hat coun t r y 's w or k ers' m ov em en t . 1 954. The Somoza gover n m en t supports t he Guat em a lan m ercenar ies that l aunch an at t ack aga inst t he democr at ic gover n m en t of Jacobo Ar benz. 1955. The Somoza gover n m en t i n t er venes m i l i t a r i l y i n Cost a Ri ca.

1961. The mercenary invasion that is defeated by revolutionary Cu
b a at t he Bay of Pigs leaves from Pu er t o Cabezas i n N i carag ua . 1965. N at ional Gu ar d t r oops for m par t of the for eign forces that , led

by U.S. Marines. occupy the territory of the Dominican Republic. In
t h e same y ear , 1965, cou nt er r evol u t i onar y m ercen ar ies capt ured i n C uba st ate t hat f,hey left fr om t r a i n i ng camps in N i car aguan t er r i t or y . 1 966. Ren e Sch i ck , n om i na l pr esiden t of N i ca ra gua , st ates w h i l e tr av el in g i n t he U n i ted St ates t ha t N i ca raguan t er r i t or y ca n be used as a base for f orces aimed against Cu ba . 1967. A nast asio Somoza Debay le m ak es know n his decision to send m em bers of't he N at i onal Gu ar d to t ake part i n the aggression i n V i et n am .

¹c aragua: Zero Hour 2 9

1968. It has been asserted that Somoza's agents took par t i n the overthrow of the government of Arnulfo Arias,* who despite his sub missiveness, apparently didn't fully satisfy all the demands of the U.S.
g ov er nm en t .

A tr adi tion of r ebel lion A notable feature of Nicaraguan history, particularly during the stage that began with independence from Spanish rule in 1821, is the use of violence by different political forces within the exploiting class es, fighting over control of the government. Peaceful changes between different factions of the ruling classes, which have been rather fre
q uen t i n other L a t i n A m er ican cou n t r i es, have not t a k en place i n N i caragua. T his t r ad i t i onal exper i ence predisposed the N icar aguan peo

ple against electoral farces and in favor of armed struggle. There is no
dou bt, t h en, t hat t he N icar aguan people have a r ich t r ad i t i on of r ebel l i on . I t i s a fact t ha t t h e N i car aguan people h ave t ak en up ar m s to fi gh t specifi c for m s of oppression m an y t i m es t h r ough m ovem ent s headed

by individuals, movements that in no sense could lead to progressive
r ev ol u t i on ar y ch ange. T h i s r epresent s an ot her ch aract er i st i c of t h e Ni car agua n peopl e t h r ou gh ou t t h ei r h i st or y . T h i s ch ar act er i st i c r e lat es to the lack of a deepgoin g r ev ol u t i on ar y consciousness. The ideological obscur a n t ism i n h er it ed from t he colon ial epoch h as

continued to weigh heavily i n preventing the people from marching with full consciousness toward struggle for social change. It is indispu table that throughout their hi story the Nicaraguan people have en dured numerous battles in which they have demonstrated their cour
age. Bu t t h ey h av e m ar ched t o these st r u ggles m or e by in st i nct t h an

through consciousness. Perhaps it is useful to repeat in the case of Ni
car agua the w or ds that M ar x w r ot e in r el at ion to Spain. M ar x poi nt ed ou t t hat t he Spanish people had t r ad i t i on al l y been a rebel people, but not a r ev ol u t i on ar y people. T h e n at i ona l an d i n t er n a t i ona l cond i t i on s t h a t cu r r en t l y p r ev a i l m ak e i t possi ble for a t l east a sector of t h e N i car aguan people to i n i t i at e a r med st r u ggle, consciou s t h a t t h ey ar e t r y i n g not si m pl y t o

achieve a change of men in power, but a change of the system — the overthrow of the exploiting classes and the victory of the exploited classes.
'A r n u l fo A r i as, presiden t of Pana m a , was deposed by a mi l i t a ry coup eleven d ay s after h i s elect ion i n October 1968 .

30 Sandin istas Speak O r i gin an d p r ol on ga tion of th e p resent r egim e I t i s not possibl e t o an alyze th e condi t i ons th at h ave per m i t t ed t h e r u l i ng cl i que to rem ai n i n power for m or e t h an t h ree decades w i t hou t stoppin g t o st udy t he cou n t r y 's si t u a t ion at t h e t i m e t hi s r egim e was i n st a ll ed, as w el l as th e si t u a t ion t hat has been develop in g for m or e

than thirty years.
F r om 1926 t o 1936 t he N icaraguan people wen t t h r ough one of t h e most i n t ense per i od s i n t h ei r h i st or y . T h e ar med st r u ggle, t h r ough which t h e people sough t ch ange, pr oduced m or e t ha n 20,000 deat hs. T h e st r u ggle began as a fight against a Conserv at i ve gover n m en t i m posed by t h e N o rt h A m er i cans, w en t t h r oug h t h e Sand i ni st a r esis tance, and concluded w i t h A n astasio Somoza's m i l i t ar y coup ag ainst Juan B . Sacasa. T he st r u ggle was car r ied out w i t h out an i n du st r i al pr ol et ar iat exi st

ing. The incipient bourgeoisie betrayed the Nicaraguan people and
s old ou t to t he Y ankee i nt er v en t i on. The bour geoisie could not be i m

mediately replaced as the vanguard of the people's struggle by a revo
l u t i on ar y pr ol et ar i at . Th e San d i ni st a resi st ance, w h i ch becam e t h e her oic van guar d of the people, had an al most t ot a l ly peasant composi

tion, and therein lies the glory and the tragedy of that revolutionary
m ov em en t . It w as a gl or y for the N i car aguan people t hat the most h u m ble class r esponded to the st ains against t he h onor of the hom el and, and at t h e

same time a tragedy because it involved a peasantry lacking any polit
i cal l evel wh at soev er. M or eov er, th ere w ere leaders of i mpor t an t gu er ri l l a colu m ns who were tot a l ly i l l i t er ate. As a result, once Sandi no w as a ssassinated h is m ovem en t coul d not m ai n t ai n i t s con t i n u i t y .

The prolonged armed struggle, which ended in betrayal and frustra
ti on, exh au sted the people's str en g t h. The sector headed by A na st asi o S omoza won hegemon y over t h e t r ad i t i onal L ib er al P ar t y , w h il e t h e o pposi t ion to Somoza's gover nm en t came to be dom i n ated by the t r adi t i ona l Conser v at iv e P ar t y , a r eact i on ar y p o l i t ica l f orce pr ofou nd l y w eak ened because in t h e 1930s t h is par ty 's sell-ou t to t he Y an k ee i n t er ven t i oni st s was fresh i n t he people's m em or y . A n i m por t an t factor t hat also seri ou sly cont r i b uted to the i nt er r u p

tion of the anti-imperialist struggle was the situation arising from the
out br eak of the Second W or ld W ar, wh ich concent r ated the focus of t he

world's reactionaries on Europe and Asia, Yankee imperialism, the traditional enemy of the Nicaraguan people, became an ally of the world antifascist front. The lack of a revolutionary leadership in Nica
r agu a pr evented t h i s r eal i t y f r om b ei n g i n t er pr eted cor rect ly , an d

Ni caragua: Zero Hour 3 1

Somoza took advantage of the situation to consolidate the rule of his clique. The rise of the old M arxist sector For many years, the influence of the Marxist sector in the opposition
w as almost com pl et el y u n der t h e con t rol of t h e Conser v at i v e sect or ,

the political force representing the interests of one sector of the capi
t a li st class. One of the fact ors t hat con t r i b u t ed to the weak ness of t he

Marxist sector originated in the conditions in which the Nicaraguan
Socialist P a r t y (t h e t r ad i t i onal C om m u n ist or gan izat ion i n N i car a gua) was f or m ed. T hat or gani zat ion w as for med i n J un e 1944, w hen t h e Second W or l d W a r w a s st i l l not ov er , an d i n a per iod w hen t h e

views of Earl Browder were in full force. Browder, the general secre tary of the Communist Party of the United States, proposed concilia
t ion w it h t he capit a list class and w i t h N ort h A m er i can i m per i alism i n La t i n A m er i ca.* I n t hose y ears, th e N i car aguan w or k er s' m ovem en t w a s basical l y made up of ar t i sans, and t h i s pr ov ided a base for a n t i -w or k i ng-class

deviations, In addition, the leadership of the Socialist Party was also
of ar t i san or i g i n , and not of pr ol et ar ia n root s as the N icar agua n So

cialist Party demagogically asserts. It was a leadership that suffered from an extremely low ideological level . For many years, the revolutionary intellectual was a rare exception in Nicaragua. The radical and free-thinking intellectuals of the years
of the U .S. arm ed i n t er v en t i on, who as a class represented a bourgeoi s ie t hat ended u p capi t u l at i ng, coul d not be r eplaced by i n t el lect u al s

identified wit h th e working class, for th e reasons previously ex
pl a i n ed. As a resu l t , the i nt el lect ual m ovement i n N i car agua came t o

be the monopoly of a Catholic element, who for a period even began to
openl y i d en t i f y w i t h fasci sm . I n t h i s w ay , t h e door of t h ou gh t r e m a i ned shu t t o t he revol u t i on ar y m ov em en t .

The Nicaraguan Socialist Party was organized in a meeting whose objective was to proclaim support to Somoza's government. This took
place on J u l y 3 , 1944, i n t h e M anagu a gy m nasi um . To be r igor ou sly *Earl Browder (1891-1973( headed the Communist Party USA 1930-45. Af ter the Nazi invasion of the USSR in June 1941 his name became identified wit h the policy (actually dictated by Stal in) of supporting capitalist govern
men ts t hat w er e at w ar w i t h N azi Ger m a n y . I n L a t i n A m er ica t h is mean t su p

porting governments that had Washington's support, and subordinating the
w or k er s' st r u ggles to t h em .

32 Sa n d in is tas Speak

object i ve, i t 's necessar y t o expl ai n t ha t t h i s ver y gr ave error was not

the result of simple bad faith by the leaders. We must look at the fac
t ors t hat br ou gh t i t abou t .

The Marxist leadership did not possess the necessary clarity in the
face of the Conserv at i ve sect or's contr ol over the an t i -Somozaist oppo si t i on . It could not di st i n g u ish between t he j u st ice of the an t i-Somoza i st opposi t ion an d t he m an euv ers of t he Conserv at i v e sect or . Once Somoza had used the pseudo-M a r xist sector for his ow n bene f i t , h e u n l eashed r epression aga inst t h e w or k er s' m ov em ent , w h i ch , due to t he comfor t abl e cond i t ions i n w hich it wa s born, did not k n o w how to defend it self w i t h t h e necessary r evol u t i on ar y f i r m ness. P ar al lel to t h is, the capi t a l ist sector of t he opposi t i on (Conserv a t i v e Par t y , L i b er a l opposit ion g r oup i ng ) car r ied ou t a l l k i nds of com pr o m i ses w it h t he Somoza regi m e .

Role of the Cuban people's struggle and revolutionary victories
Th e pr i n cipal ch aract er i st ic of th e period from t h e assassin at ion of San din o i n 1934 u n t i l t h e t r i u m p h of t h e Cuban r evol u t ion i n 1959 w as the i nt er r u pt ion of the tr ad i t i onal armed st r u ggle as a sy st em a t i c t act ic to figh t t he r u l i n g r eg i me. A nother m ai n ch aract er i st ic was t h e a l most t ot al dom i n at ion t hat t he Conser v at i ve sector exerted over t he a n t i -Somozaist opposit i on. T hat was t he si t u at i on , last ing for t w en t y

five years, that preceded the new stage, which began with the armed
s t r uggle of t he Cu ban people and t h ei r vi ct or i ous revol u t i on . Th ere w ere a few except i ons to t hat long paci fi st ic peri od. But these were a l most a lw a ys ins ig ni f ic ant a ctio ns by t h e Conserv a ti ve secto r, beh i n d t h e back s of an d against t h e people. I n A p r i l 1954, an a r m ed c oup w as foil ed, w h ich a l t h ough under Conser v at i v e hegem ony , i n volved el em ent s t hat h ad r evol u t i on ar y i n cl i n at i ons. The at t i t ude of t h ese revol u t i on ar y elem en ts, along w i t h t h e act ion of the pat r iot Ri

goberto Lopez Perez, who gave his life in bringing Anastasio Somoza
G. t o j u st ice on Sept ember 21 , 1956, m ust be v i ewed as precursor y e vents to th e i nsu r rect i onal st age that developed several years l at er . T he Cuban people's rebel l ion had an in fl u ence even before its vict or i ous outcome. T h us, in October 1958, th ere was the guer r i ll a act ion i n w h ich the leader, the veter an Sand i ni st a Ramon Raudales, was k i l l ed .

There were a whole series of armed actions against the reactionary government of Nicaragua, including the following: Ramdn Raudales, in the mountains of Julapa, in October 1958; El
Ch ap ar r a l i n J u n e 1959; M a n ue l D i az Sot elo, i n E st el i , i n A u gu st

¹ c a r ag ua: Z ero H ou r

33

1959; Carlos Haslam, in the mountains of Matagalpa, in the second
h al f of 1959 ; H er iber t o Reyes, i n Y u m ale, i n D ecember 1959 ; L a s

Trojes and El Dorado, in early 1960; Orosi, on the southern border, in
t h e second h al f of 1959; L u i s M or ales, on t h e San J uan Ri ver on t h e s outh er n b or d er , i n J a n u ar y 19 60 ; P oteca R i ve r o n t h e n or th er n border , J an u ar y 1961; B ij ao R iv er , N ov em ber 1962; t h e Coco Ri ver a n d Bocay Ri v er , i n 1963; clash bet ween peasant s an d local au th or i

ties i n 1965 i n th e U luse region of M atagalpa; economic actions
a gainst ba nk s i n 1966; act ions i n M an agua, Janu ar y 22, 1967; incu r sions i n Pancasan i n 1966 an d 1967; econom ic ban k act ion i n M a n a g ua and cert ain r evol u t i on ar y execut i ons in some areas of the coun t r y s ide i n 1963; bat t l e w i t h t h e N at i ona l Gu ar d i n Oaosca, M at agal pa ,

February 1969.
In some encount ers, especiall y i n t he f ir st m on t hs of t he new st age, e lem ents l i n k ed to the t r ad i t i onal capi t a l ist par t ies were in fl u en t i al i n th e leader sh i p of t hese act i ons. Bu t i n gener al , t hese effor t s in cr eas in gly revealed the deter m i n at ion of t he rev ol u t i on ar y sector to t ake up a r m s to wi n t he cou n t r y 's l iber at i on .

The period of gestation of the current revolutionary armed struggle
has lasted almost ten years and t h is len gt h of t i me is clear ly a result of th e ch aract er i st ics of t he r ev ol ut i on ar y m ovem en t t hat h ave been ex

plained. The rise of the revolutionary armed organization
Especially in t he first years of the new st age, the r ev ol u t i on ar y lead e r shi p was obliged to t ak e up ar ms w i t h leaders who often lacked t h e

political conviction needed to lead the struggle for national liberation.
A s t h e pr ocess has developed, t hese leader s h av e been r eplaced by comrades w ho possess a pr ofound con vi ct ion an d an u n br eak able de t er m i n at ion to defend the people ar m s i n h an d . Anot her v er y pr om i n en t aspect of t he f i r st per iod of t he new st age w as the lack of an adequ at e r evol u t i on ar y or ganizat ion l i n k ed to t h e

broad masses of the people, and especially to the peasants. It should be
n oted t ha t t h e composi t ion of w hat coul d be called t he r evol u t i on ar y

groups was primarily made up of artisans and workers with a very low
p ol i t ica l an d ideologica l l ev el . A t t h a t t i m e, r evol u t i on ar y m i l i t a n t s wi t h a u n i ver sit y st uden t back gr ound were an except i on. St udents fel l

in different actions, but each group as such lacked the numbers needed
t o enable it to play a ver y i mpor t an t par t i n assi m i l at i n g the experi en c es t ha t t h e i n d i v i dua l st udent s w er e acqu i r i ng . T h e r ev ol u t i on ar y gr oups l acked cadres w h o had t h e ab i l i t y t o solv e t h e di ff i cul t p r ob

34 Sandin is tas Speak lems t hat t h e si t u a t ion posed .

One aspect that is wort h looking at regarding the work that has been done over the last decade is that no one knew how to combine un derground activity with work among the popular masses. In general , iinportance has been given only to underground activity, although af ter the defeat at the Bocay River in 1963 and the Coco River between 1964 and 1966 the error was committed of interrupting insurrectional
wor k i n or der t o pay at t en t ion t o w or k am on g t he masses.

It must be pointed out that for a period of time, more precisely up to 1962, each individual armed action came from a different group. That is, they reflected the total anarchy that the insurrectional revolution ary sector suffered fr om. The Sandinista National Liberation Front
(F SL N ) m ar k ed t he overcom i n g of t hat pr obl em , pr ov i d i n g t h is sector w i t h i t s pol i t ical an d m i l i t ar y in st r u m en t .

Between 1959 and 1962, some of the components of the FSLN re tained the illusion that it was possible to accomplish a change in the pacifistic line of the leadership of the Nicaraguan Socialist Party. In
the year 1962 t h is i l lu sion was dissolved in pract ice w it h t he establ i sh

ment of the Sandinista Front as an independent grouping, although for some time to come the idea was maintained that it was possible to arrive at specific unity with the Socialist Party, something which real ity has refuted.
Th e m ovem en t t h a t cu l m i n at ed a t t h e Coco Ri ve r an d t h e Bocay River w as the fir st act ion pr ep ared by a m ore or less homogeneous rev

olutionary group. This first attempt was like a dry run for the revolu tionary sector.
Th i s f ir st defeat led to a posi t i on m a r k ed w it h a ref or m ist st r eak . It is t r ue t h at a r m ed st r u ggle was not r en ounced and th e con vi ct ion re

mained that this form of struggle would decide the unfolding of the Ni
c ar aguan r ev ol u t i on. But t he real i t y w as t hat for some t ime the pract i

cal work of continuing the preparations for armed struggle was inter
ru pt ed. It is also t r ue that after t he 1963 defeat ou r m ovem en t was se ri ou sl y sp l i n t er ed, bu t w e di d not k now how t o adequ at el y ov er come the i nt er nal cr i si s t hat developed .

One factor that undoubtedly influenced the deviation was that our armed defeat coincided with a downtur n i n the anti-Somoza move ment in Nicaragua. In 1963, the political ascent initiated by the strug gle and victory of the Cuban people was interrupted. The basis for the downturn was that in February 1963 the Somozaist clique successfully carried out the maneuver of holding an electoral farce to impose the puppet Rene Schick .
In an y case, al t h ough t h i s dow n t u r n i n t h e gen eral si t u a t ion took

N k a r ag ua: Z ero H ou r

35

p l ace, the FSL N leader ship did not f u l l y u nder st and t h is to be no mor e t h a n a par t i a l ph en om en on , i nasm uch as t he di rect ion of th e r evol u t i on ar y m ov em en t w as fu ndam ent al l y t ow ar d pr ogr ess and i n t r an si

t ion toward maturity . It was correct in that period to pass over to rebuilding the insurrec
ti ona l or ga ni zat ion an d accu m u l a t i n g new f orces w i t h w h ich t o r e l aunch the armed st r u ggle, but t h is goal n at u r al ly dem anded an u n i n t er r u pted m ai n t en ance of a series of insu r rect i on al -t ype t asks: accum u l a t i n g m at er ial resources, tr a i n i ng combat an t s, car r y i n g out cert ai n ar med act i ons appropr i at e to t he st r at egic defensive st age, et c. T h i s devi a t ion i n tact ics was also expressed i n the ideology t hat t h e Sandi ni st a Fr ont adopt ed. A l t h ough i t r aised the banner of an t i -i m pe r i a lism and the em an cipat ion of the expl oited classes, the Fr on t vaci l

lated in putt ing forward a clearly Marxist-Leninist ideology. The atti
t u de t ha t t h e t r adi t i ona l M a r xi st -L en i n i st sector had m ai n t a ined i n t h e N i car aguan people's st r u ggl e con t r i b ut ed t o t h i s vaci l l at i on . A s

has been stated, this sector in practice has openly played the game of
t h e Somozaist cl i que. T h i s fact or , t ogether w i t h t h e ideological back

wardness prevailing in the revolutionary sector of the country, led to
vaci l l at ion i n adopt in g an ideology t hat on the n at i onal level was root ed i n com pr om i se. I t can be said t h at at t h at t i m e th er e was a lack of c lea r u n der st an di n g t ha t i t w as on l y a quest ion of t i m e befor e t h e

youth and people of Nicaragua would begin to distinguish between the false Marxists and the true Marxists.
C onsequent l y , i n t h e year s 1964 an d 1965, pr act i ca ll y al l t h e em p hasis w as pu t on open w or k , w h ich i n cl uded legal w or k am on g t h e m asses. Cl andest ine t asks w ere car r i ed out , above al l i n t he coun t r y

side, but the main emphasis of the work during that time was legal.
Real it y sh owed t h a t l ega l w or k ca r r ied ou t i n t h at m a nner di d not s erve t o accu m u l at e forces and t hat t h e pr ogress achieved w as m i n i

mal. Neither can it be overlooked that the legal work through the now
d isappeared Repu bl ican M ob i l i zat ion gr oup, t h e st uden t m ov em en t , and peasan t m ov em en t suff ered from lack of disci pl i ne, audaci ty , an d

organization.
One m ust also concl ude t hat r ev ol u t i on ar y w or k (w h et her i t be pub l ic, legal, or cl andest i n e), cannot be adv anced in an acceler ated way i f the armed r ev ol u t i on ar y force is lack i ng. It was the lack of such a force th a t det er m i ned t he ext r em e l i m i t a t i ons of the legal w or k car r ied out

in the years 1964-65.
Ou r exper ience sh ow s t ha t t h e a r med r evol u t i onar y f orce (u r ban and r u r al) is the motor force of the revol ut i on ar y m ovem ent in N i car a

gua. The armed struggle is the only thing that can inspire the revolu

36 Sa n d i ni stew Spe ak

ti on ar y com bat an t i n N i car agua t o car r y ou t t h e tasks decided on by

the revolutionary leadership, whether they be armed or of any other revolutionary character . Parenthetically, during the years 1964 and 1965 important contact with the peasant sector was developed. Comrades of urban extraction permanently established themselves in areas situated on both ends of the northern region of the country, and made trips to learn the peas ants' problems firsthand and organize the revolutionary struggle in the countryside.
I t m ust be said , how ev er , t hat f u l l adv an t age was not t ak en of t h e

broad contact that was established with the peasants. In the country side, some mass peasant meetings were held, some peasant delega
ti ons w er e sent t o the cit y t o expose the probl em s of t h e coun t r y side,

and the peasants occupied some lands, challenging the violence of the big landlords. However, an accelerated pace of peasant mobilization was not maintained. Contact was preserved at specific points and was not extended to other places where the peasants suffered terrible liv ing and working conditions. In addition, if the few peasant marches to the city had been organized with more audacious methods, a much
lar ger n u m ber of peasant s w oul d h ave pa r t i ci pat ed , and at t h e sam e t i m e a gr eater n u mber of ar eas w ou ld h ave gone i nt o act i on .

In various places, individual contact with certain peasants was pro
l onged for too long a t i me w i t h ou t proceeding to the mobi li zat ion of t h e

peasant masses. Land invasions by the peasants who had been dispos
s essed were h ar dl y ever ca r r ied ou t .

The lack of both adequately developed leading cadres and the neces
sar y det er m i n at ion t o or g an ize t h e st r u ggl e of t h e popu la r m asses pl ayed a deci si ve role in t he fact t hat we did not f u l l y u t i l i zW he possi bi l i t ies that w ere present ed. Lack i n g gu er r i l l a camps, it, was im possi b le to t r ai n cadres to organize the st r u ggle of the div erse sectors of t h e

Nicaraguan people. The armed movement of Pancaskn In the course of 1966, practical steps were taken to relaunch armed
a ct ions. That year the Sandi ni st a Fr on t became conscious of the devi a tion t hat had occu rred as a result of the blows of 1963 and it proceeded to pr epar e t h e Pancasan gu er r i l l a base. A l t h oug h t h i s pr epar at i on showed or gan izat i ona l pr ogress compared w i t h t h e F S L N ' s a r m ed

movement in 1963, it did not represent serious progress in political and milit ary tactics. It was a notable step forward organizationally be cause it did not follow the usual practice of preparing the armed move

N i ca r ag ua: Z ero H ou r

37

m en t i n a nei ghbor ing coun t r y , w hich had prov ided di st ance from t h e

enemy's observation; rather it was preparation of an armed movement
i n m o u n t a i n s s i t u a t e d i n t h e v e r y c e n t e r o f t h e co u n t r y .

An ex t r em el y i mpor t an t factor t hat h i ndered t he success of the Pan casan m ovem ent w as the mi st ak en m ethod used to get t he peasants t o par t i cipat e i n t he st r u ggle. The for m used was to recr u i t a n u m ber of
pe a s a n t s t o b ec o m e p a r t o f t h e r e g u l a r c o l u m n . T h i s m e a n s t h a t t h e se

p easant s w er e compl et el y m i xed i n w i t h t h e w or k i n g-class an d st u d ent fi g h t ers, i.e., combat a nt s w it h an u r ban back gr ou n d . T h e m i l i t a n t s w h o cam e fr o m u r ba n ar eas gener al l y possessed a hi gher r ev ol ut ion ar y consciousness t han t he peasants as a whole, w ho became demor al ized w hen faced w it h t he f i rst di ff i cu l t ies t hat we r an up aga in st : scarcit y of su pp l ies, cer t ai n slow m ar ches, and t h e fi r st r u m or s of t h e presence of enem y soldi er s on nearby r oad». T his obl i g ated t h e leader shi p t o sen d back t h e m aj or it y of t h e peasant s, al th oug h t h er e w er e h onor abl e except i on s of peasant s w h o fi r m l y r e f used to be. let go and who are an exam ple of the combat ive possibi l i t y o f t h is sect or . In add i t i on , i n t he f irst st age of the r evol u t i on ar y wa r t h at w as be gi n n i ng , w e di d not f i n d a w ay t o incorpor at e t h e peasant s i n t hose areas some days di st an t , w i t h w hom contact had pr ev iously been es t a b l ished t h r ough organ i zing them in t he st r u ggle for l and and for ot h e r demands. Some of the peasants who tempor ar i ly j oi ned the guer r i l las had been m oved from t h ei r ar eas to t he encam pm ent s. W hen t h e br eak -u p of t h e Pancasa n gu er r i l l a m ov em en t h a d a l r eady t ak en p l ace, i t became k n ow n t h a t once som e of t h e peasant s who had deserted t he guer r i l l as ar r ived back i n t h ei r ow n areas, they t ook par t i n a r m ed assau lt s on local gover n m en t post s or r u r a l com mer cia l est ab l i sh ment s, as w el l a s execut ion s o f k n ow i i i n for m er s. Th i s i ndicates t hat to a large extent, some of t he peasants who had be c ome dem or al ized w en t t h r ough t hat cr i sis because they w er e not or g a nized i n t he most appr op r i at e m a nn er . I t m eans t hat t hey pr obabl v should h ave been i r r egu lar r at her t h an r egu la r guerr! llas. T his expe r i ence leads us t o t h i n k ab ou t t h e possib i l it y of or gan i zi ng i r r egu l a r gu er r i l las par a l lel i o the regu l ars. We should not fai l to point out t h at w e ca n no w ev al u at e t h e i m por t ance of w or k a m on g t h e peasan t s m uch bet t er , t h a n k s t o ou r ow n exper ience. We don't on l y base ou r selves on t h e exper i ences of ot her L a t i n A m er ica n gu er r i l l a m ove ment s. An ot he r aspect t h a t m u s t h e h i g h l i gh te d w a s t h < i n .uffi cient n um ber of cadres t o han dle al l t h e t ask s t ha t t h e pr epar a t ion of t h e wor k dem anded, not only in t he cit y and t he cou n t r y side, hut even oui.—

88 Sa n d in is tas Spe ak

side of the country. For too long the leadership of the Sandinista Front
t ol er ated sect ar i a n i sm , w h ich st ood i n t h e way of pr om ot i n g a su Ai

cient quantity of new cadres coming from politically advanced work
i ng-class back gr ou nds an d f r om t h e u n i v er sit y sect or . F ever ish at t em pt s w er e made to achi eve excessivel y bi g goal s in stead of al w ay s mak in g pr ogress in car r y i n g ou t su i t able, ev er yday ta sk s. Th e in su r recf,ionar y w or k w as not r el ated t o t h e gener a l people' s st r u ggle — especial ly t he peasant, st udent, wor k i ng-class st r u ggles. It w as good t hat t he F ront. put i ts pr i nci pal em phasis on i n su r rect iona r y wor k , bu t i t w a s a n er ror t o ab andon ot her r ev ol u t i on ar y f or m s of s t r u gg le. Sect ar ian ta ct ics wei ghed heav il y and t hese det er m ined t h e c ourse of' act i v i t y i n t h e pr epar at ion for t h e m ov em en t i n t h e m ou n
tains.

Th e inel iv i du a l i st ic bad h ab it s t ha t leader shi p com r ades often di s pl ayed was the factor t h at h elped hold back t h e i n i t i a t i ves that coul d have resolved m an y pr obl ems; on differen t occasions i nd i v i d ual pr ob lem s w er e m i xed w i t h pol i t i ca l pr obl eins. T h i s ma y h av e decisiv el y cont r i buted to depr i v i ng cert ai n i n i t i a t i ves of the seriousness that w as d ue t h em . In r egar d to placing cadres in ch arge of v ar i ous tasks, i t w as a m i s take to be confiden t t hat com r ades who had not exper ienced the pr i v a ti on s of' guer r i l l a l if'e would be able t o w or k am on g t he masses — for e xam pl e, am ong the st udent m asses. For some years now, our or gan i z ation h as been conscious ol' the ba l last t hat t h e N i car ag ua n r evol u t i on ;ir y m ovem en t car r ies as a result of the stance of the capi t a l i st par ti es, w hich for m any y ears usurped the leader ship of the an t i-Somoza ist opposit i on . I l ow ev er , at t h e t i m e w hen t h e gu er r i l l a base was es t abl i shed i n t h e m oun t a i ns, t h er e w as in su Ai ci en t t h ou ght. given t o t he fact t hat due to t he prevai l i ng cond i t i ons t he tasks requ i red by t h e wor k i n t h e ci t ies coul d nof, be at t ended t o by m i l i t a nt s who di d not possess the necessary f i r m ness and discip l i ne. In view of t hi s, the com rades in i h» forefront of ur ban resist ance wor k could count on the pr ac t ical col labor a t ion of a v er y r educed n u m ber of m i l i t an t s. Th e si t u a t ion of the ur ban resi st ance became morc acute due to the sect ar i an al t i t ude of those charged w it h t h is responsi bi l i t y . Or ga nized mass wor k i st udent , peasant, w or k er ) was par alyzed. On th e one hand, i h ere w er e not enough cadres to h andle t hi s w or k , and on t he ot h er , t here was an underest i m at ion of the i mpor t ance t h is ac t i v it y could play in t he developmen t of the arm ed st r uggle. T h is weak n ess led t o t h e sit.uai ion w h er e w he n t h e deat h of com r ades i n t h e mou nt ai ns and i n fhe ci t ies was recorded, th ere was not consisten t sol

Nicaragua: Zero Hour 3 9

i darity on the part of all the members of the Front .
I n t h e ci t i es, on l y v i ol en t a ct i on s of a n i n d i v i dua l n a t ur e w er e pl an ned . A n d t h er e was no at t emp t t o develop a policy of u sin g v i o

lence involving the participation of the popular masses in the cities —
s omet h i n g t h at i s possible m ai n l y i n M an ag ua, the cou n t r y 's capi t a l ,

which has a population of more than 300,000.
U nder N i car aguan cond i t i ons, as wel l as i n most coun t r ies of L a t i n A m er i ca , t h e center of act ion of t h e r ev ol u t i on ar y w a r h as t o be t h e c ount r y side. H owev er, t he ci t ies must also play a r ole of par t i cu l ar i m port ance, given t hat i n t h e f ir st st age of the war the city has to supply

the countryside with the most developed cadres to lead the political
and m i l i t ar y detach m ent. I n gener al, the r ev ol u t i on ar y elem ents fr om th e ci t ies h av e a gr eater ab i l i t y t o develop t h emselves i n t h e f ir st s tage. T hese el em ent s ar e composed of t h e r ev ol u t i on ar y sector of wor k er s, st udents, and a cert ai n l ayer of t he pett y bou r geoisie. One must t ake i nto account the hab i ts that the capi t a l ist par t ies and th ei r f a i t h fu l ser v ant s h av e i mposed on t h e popu lar masses t h r ou gh th ei r elect or al poli cy. T hese par t i es h ave condi t i oned br oad sectors of t he people to par t i ci pat e in t h e hu st l e and bu st le of elect or al r i g am a role. Th is cir cum st ance must be t aken i nto account to fu ll y under st an d w h y m an y sect ors of th e popu l at i on , despit e th ei r sy m path y w i t h t h e

revolutionary armed struggle, cannot demonstrat e that sympathy
t h r oug h act i on . T h i s forces u s t o consider t h e need t o f u l l y t r ai n a broad n um ber of persons from am ong the popul at ion to have the m at e

rial capacity to support the armed struggle. To seek out the people is
n ot su ff ici en t ; t hey h ave to be tr ained to par t i cipate in the rev ol u t i on a ry w a r .

Some current tasks Several months ago, work in the countryside was reestablished. The FSLN is simultaneously developing political and military work, wit h
th e object i ve of reor gan i zi n g th e guer r i l l a st r u ggle.

In the countryside a study of the peasants' problems is already un
d er w ay , and t h i s i n vest i g at ion h as requ i r ed m i l i t a nt s to stay i n t h e ru r a l zones for sever al w eek s. M i l i t a nt s w i t h a n u r ban back gr ou nd

(workers and students) are participating in this political work. It has been said that the mountain (the guerrilla base) proletarianizes, and we agree with this statement. But as our experience has shown, it can be added that the countryside — political contact with the peasants —
a lso pr olet ar i a n izes. The ur ba n m i l i t a n t , in cont act w i t h t he coun t r y

40 Sandin istas Speak

side, including the zones where a guerrilla base is not organized, lives the abject poverty that the peasants suffer and feels their desire to
st r u ggle.

A phenomenon that has been seen in this country since the Panca
skn m ov em en t i s t h e gr ow t h of t h e San di ni st a N a t i ona l L i b er at i on

Front's political authorit y over th e broad sectors of the popular
m asses. Today t h e Sandi n i st a F r on t ca n cl a i m , an d has obt ain ed , a

much greater degree of cooperation from the population than in the past. It must also be said that if we do not get greater cooperation than
we act u all y are r ecei v i n g, i t is because we lack cadres who are compe

tent in asking for this type of help, and also because the cadres now ac tive are not functioning systematically enough. Simultaneously, new methods are being found so that we can gain the practical collaboration of new sectors of the population in the clan destine conditions under which we function (a smal l countr y wi th
s m al l ci t ies). T h is has led us to not depend exclu siv el y on the old m i l

itants and collaborators (a large proportion of whom are "jaded"). Furthermore, we have reestablished squads that are prepared to act in the cities, and they have carried out some actions. We now have plans to undertake actions in harmony with the period
o f reestabl i sh m en t we are now goi ng t hr ou gh .

The Sandinista National Liberation Front believes that at the pres ent time and for a certain period to come, Nicaragua wil l be going through a stage in which a radical political force will be developing its
specific ch ar act er i st ics. Consequen t l y , at t he cu r r en t t i m e i t is neces

sary for us to strongly emphasize that our major objective is the social
ist r evol u t i on , a r ev ol u t ion t ha t a i m s t o defeat Y a n kee i mp er i a l i sm

and it s local agents, false oppositionists, and false revolutionaries.
T h i s pr opaganda, w i t h t h e fi r m ba ck i n g of ar m ed act i on , w i l l per m i t t h e Fr on t t o w i n t h e suppor t of a sector of t h e popular m asses t hat i s

conscious of the profound nature of the struggle we are carrying out . I n order to outline a strategy for the revolutionary movement, it is necessary to take into account the strength that the capitalist parties represent, due to the influence they still wield within the opposition.
One m ust be al er t to the danger t hat t he react i on ar y force in t he oppo

sition to the Somoza regime could climb on the back of the revolution ary insurrection. The revolutionary movement has a dual goal. On the one hand, to overthrow the criminal and tr aitorous clique that has usurped the power for so many years; and on the other, to prevent the
capit a list opposi t ion — of pr oven su bm ission t o Y a n kee i m per i a li sm

— from taking advantage of the situation which the guerrilla struggle has unleashed, and grabbing power. In the task of barring the way to

Nicaragua: Zero Hour 4 1

the traitorous capitalist forces, a revolutionary political and military force rooted in the broad sectors of the people has a unique role to play.
S i n k i n g t hese roots is dependent on t he or ganizat i on's abi l i t y to dr i v e

out the Liberal and Conservative influences from this broad sector.
Th e policy w e f ol low l ate r on r egar d i n g t h e ol d pa r t ies t h a t n ow

have a capitalist leadership wil l be determined by the attitude that
the people as a wh ole h ave t ow ar d t hese par t i es.

Relating to the situation of the Nicaraguan Socialist Party, it can be
s t ated t hat t he changes t hat h ave t ak en place i n t hat pol i t i cal or gan i

zation's leadership are purely changes in form. The old leadership builds illusions regarding the Conservative sector, and calls for build
i ng a pol i t i cal fr ont in w h ich t hese stubbor n agents of imper i a l ism par t i ci pate. Th e so-called new l eader sh i p cu r r en t l y j u st i f ies hav i n g par

ticipated in the electoral farce of 1967, supporting the pseudo-opposi tional candidacy of the Conservative politician Fernando Aguero. Like
th e ol d l eader sh i p , th e so-called new leader sh i p keeps t al k i n g about th e ar med st r u ggle, w h i l e i n pr act ice i t concen t r ates it s en er gies on

p etty legal work .
The above statements do not contradict the possibility of developing

a certain unity with the anti-Somozaist sector in general. But this is
unit y a t th e base, wit h th e most honest sectors of the various ant i

Somozaist tendencies. This is all the more possible due to the increase
i n t h e prest ige of t h e Sandi n i st a N at i on a l L i b er at ion F r on t an d t h e discr edi t i n g an d sp l i n t er i n g of th e leader sh i p of t he capit a l ist p ar t i es

and the like. The Sandinista National Liberation Front understands how hard the guerrilla road is. But it is not prepared to retreat. We know that we are confronting a bloody, reactionary armed force like the National
Gu ar d , t h e f erociou s G N , w h ich m a i n t a i n s i n tact t h e pr a ct ices of

cruelty that were inculcated in i t by it s creator, the U.S. Marines.
Bombar dm en t of v i l l ages, cu t t i n g of ch i l dr en's t h r oats, v i ol at ion of wom en , b u r n i n g h u t s w i t h peasant s i n side of t h em , m u t i l at ion as a t ort ure — these w ere t he st udy courses that t he U .S. professors of ci v

ilization taught the GN during the period of the guerri lla resistance (1927-1932) led by Augusto Cesar Sandino. The frustration that followed the period of the Sandinista resistance
d oes not h ave t o be repeated t oday . Now t h e t i m es are differ en t . T h e c u r r en t d ay s ar e not l i k e t hose i n w h ich San di n o an d h i s gu er r i l l a

brothers battled alone against the Yankee empire. Today revolution
ar ies of all t he subj ug ated coun t r ies are r i sing up or prepar i ng to go in t o the bat t le against t he em pi re of the doll ar. A t t he apex of t his bat t l e is i ndom i n at a bl e V i et n am , w hich w i t h it s exam ple of her oi sm , is re

42 Sandinistas Speak

pulsing the aggression of the blond beasts. The combative example of our fallen brothers carries us forward. It
i s t h e ex am pl e of Casi m i r o Sot elo, D a n i l o Rosales, J or ge N av ar r o,

Francisco Buitrago, Silvio Mayorga, Otto Casco, Modesto Duarte, Ro bert Amaya, Edmundo Phrez, Hugo Medina, Rene Carrion, Rigoberto Cruz (Pablo Ubeda), Fermin Diaz, Selin Chible, Ernesto Fernandez,
Oscar Fl or ez, Felipe Gait an , Fau st o Gar ci a, E l ias M oncada, Fr an cisco

Moreno, Carlos Reyna, David Tejada, Carlos Tinoco, Francisco Cordo ba, Faustino Ruiz, Boanerges Santamaria, Ivan Sanchez. We will faithfully fulfil l our oath:
"B efore the i m age of A u gu sto Cesar Sandino and E r nesto Che Gue v ar a; before the m em or y of the heroes and m ar t y r s of N i car agua, L at i n A m er i ca, and h u m an it y as a wh ole; before hi st ory : I place my h an d on the black and red fl ag t hat si gn i fies 'Free Hom el and or Death ,' and I swear to defend the n at i onal honor w i t h ar ms in h and and to fi ght for t h e redem pt ion of t h e oppressed and ex ploited i n N i car agu a and t h e

world. If I fulfill this oath, the freedom of Nicaragua and all the peo ples will be the reward; if I betray this oath, death in disgrace and dis
honor w i l l be m y p u ni sh m ent ."

N oth ing W ill H ol d Back O u r

Struggle for Liberation
by Daniel Ortega

Thi s speech by F SI . N l eader Da ni el O rtega u>as delivered tr> the ple

nary sessio of th» Sixth Summit Cvn/erence o/'Nonaligned Countri es n>»
held i n H a vana September 3- 9, / 9 7 9. O rtega is coordi n ator of N i c ar a gua 's .l u ntu i>fNatio»ul Re«onstru ctio n. The tra nslat io n is by In te rc on ti n e nt a l Press. I n J a n u ar y 1928 the Panam er ican Confer ence was held i n At t h a t t i m e t h e N i car agua n peopl e w er e engaged i n a n st r uggle agai nst Y a n kee i nt er v en t i on. Cal v i n Cool idge, who p resident of t h e U n i ted St ates, par t i ci pated i n t h e H av an a and t he t y r an t M achado was presiden t of Cuba. foll ow in g message on J an u ar y 2, 1928 :
Ou r voices must be heard in H a v a na. Men m ust not lack t he mor al cour age t o s peak t he t r u t h ab ou t our m i sf or t u n e. They must t el l how t he people of N i car a gua, w ho a r « v a l i a n t l y f i g h t i n g and suff er i n g, are deter m i ned to m ake any sac ri f ice. even i n c l u d i n g t he ir o wn e xt e rm i n a t i o n, in order to defend th e ir l i b er ty . T h e resu lt s i n H a v ana w i l l be nu l l and void if t he ideal of t he Spani sh-speak i n g p eoples is not cry st al liz«d; if you let us be ;issassin atc d to t he last m an, w« wi l l h ave the consol at ion of' k n ow in g t h at we car r ied out our d u t y. Our (: ou n t r y an d

H a v an a . u n equal was t hen meet i n g ,

Sandino, hoping to gain the support of some delegations, sent the

Freedom.
A . (; . San d i n o

N ot a si n gle voice was r aised at t ha t H av an a meet i n g . ' I'oday H av an a is ser v i n g as the site for t h i s Si xt h Su m m i t , and t h e p eoples an d gover nm ent s t h a t ar e r epresented i n t h i s assembl y a r e

mot i vated by «or>i mon interests. A free and hospitable people, filled with solidarity, is receiving these delegations. And the leader of the revolution carried out by this people is presiding over the Nonaligned for this period. The tyrant Machado no longer governs Cuba. It is the people of Cuba who determine their
o w n dest i n y . 43

44 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

T h e Gov er n m en t of N at i onal Reconst ru ct ion of N icar agu a an d t h e

Sandinista National Liberation Front salute the people of Cuba, their
g over nm en t , an d t h e pr esiden t of t h e Cou nci l of St ate, Com anda nt e and Com r ade Fidel Cast r o.

We also salute the peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa,
and A si a for t h e soli dar it y th ey demonst r ated in suppor t of our cause. On Sat u r d ay , September 1, i n a M ex ican new spaper , we r ead a di s patch dat el ined H av an a t h at m ade r efer ence to N icar ag ua's posi t ion

regarding the "problem" of Kampuchea. And we say "problem" be cause it is a problem for imperialism for a people to be free.
Th e di spatch i n qu estio n n oted t h a t N i car agu a's delegat io n h ad al i gned it sel f w i t h t h e Soviet bloc by recogni zin g t he gov er nm en t of

people's Kampuchea. We all know what interests motivate the inter national press agencies of the so-called free world, so the deed does not
sur p r ise us. We k now t h at m any of these press agencies, and w i t h t hem t he most r eact i onar y sect or s of t h e U n i ted St ates gov er n m en t an d of L a t i n A m er i ca, are w ai t i n g to pounce on ou r decl ar at i ons at t h i s meet i n g . T hese are t h e same forces t ha t gave r ise t o the Somozaist di ct at or

ship. They are the same forces that defamed and assassinated Lumum
ba,* t ha t defamed an d assassin ated Ch e. These ar e t h e sam e forces t hat sl andered and assassi n ated Van T r oi ,* * the same forces that sl an d ered and assassin ated Sandi n o . Im p er i alism cannot conceive of a free people, a sover eign people, an

independent people. Because, simply and plainly, for them the people
is not h i n g m or e t han an em pt y p h rase. We j ust saw reconf i r m a t ion of th i s when ou r f i nal off en si ve was l aunched .

They examined the war in mathematical terms. Somoza had a regu
lar ar m y . Somoza had m ore sol di ers t han the Sand i n i st as. Somoza had t a n k s , pl anes. a r t i l l ery , w h i l e t h e Sa nd i ni st a s d i dn' t . Somoza h a d mor e soldiers, m or e r i fl es, m or e com m u n i cat i on s t ha n t h e San di n i s tas. Th er efore, Somoza had t o w i n t h e wa r ag ai nst t h e Sand i n i st as. Bu t w ha t was left nu t was t ha t Somoza di d not h ave th e people, an d tha t we Sand i ni st as w er e th e people. And w hen Somoza was losing t he w ar , they w ere t al k i ng about (. os t a Rican in t er v en t i on, Pan am an ian in t er ven t i on, Cuban i n t er v en t i on ,

*Patri re Lumumba, a leader nf the struggle for Congolese liberati on, was the
fi r st pr em ier of the Repu b l ic of t he Congo. H ia gov er n m en t was over t h r ow n by a m i l i t ar y coup i n vo l v i n g t he (', I A , and he was m u rd ered i n 19 g l .

"'sNguyen Van Trni was a Vietnamese freedon: fighter .

Nothing Wi ll Hold Back Our Struggle 4 5

Soviet intervention — simply because they have never been able to understand, and are never going to understand„ that people are capa ble of achieving their liberation, that people are able to solidarize
themselves with people, and that therefore the free and sovereign peo

ple of Nicaragua today recognizes the right of Kampuchea to occupy
t h i s seat . I repeat, imperialism cannot understand it because for them the peo ple is nothing more than an empty phrase. The Nicaraguan people have won, with their blood, the right to be

here today, in this way breaking with a historic past of servil ity to ward imperialist policy. For the first time in their entire history the Nicaraguan people can
o ffi ci all y ex press t h ei r sov er eig n w i l l , j oi n i n g t h i s m ovem en t of t h e Nonaligned barely forty-one days after their tr iumph. We are entering the N onaligned movement because in this move ment we see the broadest organization of the Th ird W orld states that

are playing an important role and exercising a growing influence in
the international sphere, in the struggle of peoples against imperial

ism, colonialism, neocolonialism, apartheid, racism, including Zion ism and every form of oppression. Because they are for active peaceful
coexist ence, against t h e exi st ence of m i l i t ar y blocs and al l i ances, for restructuring international relations on an honorable basis, and are for the establishment of a new inter national economic order . In t he Sand i ni st a r ev ol u t ion t h ere is no al i gn m ent; t h ere is an abso lute and consistent commitment to the aspirations of the peoples who

have achieved their independence and to those who are struggling to
wi n it . T h at i s wh y we ar e am on g the N on al i gned . Th is t r anscendental step is par t of t he process of liber at ion that peo ples are going through, peoples such as those in Grenada, Ir an, K am p uchea, and U ganda, who won beautiful victories this year . In 1855 a cert a in W i l l i am W a l k e r a rr i v ed f rom t h e south e rn s la ve states of the U nited Sta tes with a gang of mercenaries, to make him

self master of our country and of all of Central America.
The individual in question named himself president of N icaragua an d h i s f i r st decree was t h e r eest abl i sh m en t of sl av ery ; t h e U n i t ed

States press and more than a few U.S. legislators made William
Wa lker into a hero.

In September 1856, after continual and bloody resistance, the people of Nicaragua and the peoples of Central America defeated the invader,
who was obliged to flee to his country of origin, where he was received as a hero. S ome mon t hs later he agai n t r ied to i n vade our cou n t r y . D u r i n g h i s

46 Sandinistas Speak

third attempt he was captured in Honduras, a country bordering on
Ni car agua, and was shot. I n 1909 a L iber al president n am ed Jose San

tos Zelaya, who tried to open new markets in Europe, was forced to re
sign by a note sent by the U .S. secret ar y of st ate of t hat t i m e. But w h at

Senor Zelaya lacked, the Nicaraguan people had plenty of, and they
r ose up against Y a n k ee i n t er v en t i on . Because w e r ej ect Y a n k ee i n t er ven t i on w e ar e i n t h e N on al i gned . F or t hat r eason, and because we are Sandi ni st as, we dem and the r ei n tegr at i on , t he uncond i t i onal r et ur n of t he Gu an t an amo base to Cuba,

and we recognize the heroic and unequal struggle waged by the Cuban people against the criminal blockade.
That is wh y we suppor t t he st r u ggle of t he people of Pu er to Rico for

self-determination and independence, and why we are in solidarity
w i t h L ol i t a L ebron and her compa ni ons i n pr ison,* w ho are au th en t i c represent at i ves of t he st r u ggle of t he people of Pu er t o Rico. T hat is wh y we st and beh ind t he people of Panama i n t h ei r st r u ggl e for soverei gnt y over t he Canal Zone. T hat is why we are w i t h t he people of Belize in t h ei r st r u ggle for i n d ependence, for self-det er m i n at i on , and for t er r i t or i a l i n t egr i t y . Regular t roops of the Y an k ee m ar ines landed in our cou n t r y i n 19 10 in an at t empt to suppress our people's desire for i ndependence. Bloody s t r u ggles w er e u n leashed an d t h i s a r med i n t er v en t io n w a s m a i n

tained unti l 1926, the year they withdrew, believing the situation to be under control .
Because we are Sand i n i st as and because just causes are our causes, we have, from t he begi n n i n g, iden t i fied w it h t he st r u ggle of the her oi c people of V i et n am , an d w e condem n al l t h e aggression s t h a t h a ve taken place and are t a k i ng place against t he people and gover n m ent of V i et n am , w h ich fou gh t , an d i s f i gh t i n g , ag ainst aggression an d for e ign occupat i on .

We also support the just struggle of the people of Western Sahara,
a nd fr om t h i s m om en t N icar agu a m ust be i n cl uded am ong t he cou n

tries that fully recognize the Democratic Arab Sahraoui Republic and
t he Poli sar io Fr ont as the onl y and the legi t i m ate r epresent a t i ve of t h e h er oic people of Wester n Sah ar a . T h at is w h y we recognize t he legi t i m at e r i g h t s of th e people of N a m i b i a, represented by SW A PO. We suppor t the Pat r i ot ic Fr on t of Z i m b abwe, the sole represent at ive of t h i s people, and we condemn t he i m
* L o l i t a L ebron w as on e of f iv e Pu er t o Ri ca n n at i on a l i st s i m p r isoned i n t h e

U.S. in the early 1960s for armed proindependence actions. She and the three other surviving prisoners were released in 1979.

Nothing Will Hokt Back Our Struggle 4 7 per i a list m an euv ers in Rh odesia, the puppet r egime of M uzor ew a, and

the so-called internal settlement.* We solidarize ourselves with the frontline countries and condemn the aggression by South Africa and Rhodesia against them. And we so
li d a rize w i t h t h e r i gh t of t h e people of East T i m or t o self-det er m i n a t i on .

We support the reunification of K orea and we demand the with
d r aw al of U .S. troops from Sout h K or ea . Onl y a fe w m on t h s w er e t o pass w hen i n 192 7 Y a n k ee m ar i n es a gai n l anded on ou r soi l . Then the fi gure of A u gu sto Cesar Sandi no vigor ously rose up and, at

the head of an army of workers and peasants, sought to militarily de
f eat t he i n t er v en t i onist forces i n an un equal cam pai g n . San di no embodied t h e desir e for l i bert y of a people w h o w er e sys

tematically subjected to the attack of Yankee intervention and sub
jected t o i m per i a l ist ex pl oi t at ion an d dom i n at i on . The same m a r i n es w h o m u r dered t h e F i l i p i n o people th ousands of m i les from ou r cou n tr y , ar r i ved t o soak N i car aguan t er r i t or y i n blood i n t hose days.

This explains the existence of Sandinismo, which on May 4, 1927,
gave rise to w hat San dino called the " w ar of l iber at ors to end the w ar of t he oppressors." T he Y a nk ees, who w ere unable to defeat San di no's arm y m i l i t a r i l y ,

who found themselves forced to withdraw in January 1932, again re
s orted t o t r eacher y , u sin g as t h ei r i n st r u m en t a n ar m y an d an ar m y

chief named Anastasio Somoza Garcia, founder of the dynasty. This army and this army chief were created by the White House strategists
to assassin at e Sandi n o. They t h ou gh t t h at k i l l i n g San di n o w oul d solv e th e pr obl em . They d i d not t ak e i nto account t h at Sand ino had i n i t i ated a process of l i b er a t ion w h i ch , car r ied on by t he Sand i ni st a N at i onal L i b er at ion F r on t , was t o w i n on e of it s most i m por t an t vi ct or ies on J u l y 19 , 1979. On th at day we bot h defeated the cr i m i n al Somozaist N at i onal Gu ar d and e xpelled t he last Y a n k ee m ar i ne, A nastasio Somoza, from N i car ag u a . O u r cou n t r y i s a sm al l coun t r y , a poor cou n t r y .
* T h e i n t er n a l set t l em en t was a pl a n i m posed by t h e w h i t e m in or it y r eg i m e i n Rhodesia (Z i m bab we) to in st i t u te nom i n al B l ack r u le w h i le m a i n t a i n i n g t h e econom ic and pol i t i cal st r u ct u r e of w h i t e dom i n a t i on . A bel M u zor ew a, a B lack

clergyman, was installed as prime minister under this set-up in June 1979. Lacking Support from the Black majority, the plan collapsed, and, after elec tions in March 1980, Robert Mugabe of the Patriotic Front became prime min
i st er .

48 Sa n d i n i s tas Speak

A l i t t l e m or e t ha n 2.5 m i l l ion N i car agu an s l i ve i n 128,000 squ ar e k i l om et er s. I t is a cou n t r y t hat i s basicall y dependen t on agr i cu l t u r e, an d i t s produ ct ion w as par alyzed by t h e w ar . A cou n t r y t h at h ad few

factories, which were destroyed by the Somoza air force.
A cou n t r y w i t h a sm al l popu l a t ion t h a t ha s had t o sacr i fi ce t h ou

sands of its best children to repel three armed Yankee interventions
th at h ave left m ore t han 200,000 vi ct i m s. A cou nt r y t hat in its fi nal of fensive agai nst t he Somozaist di ct at or sh i p suff ered m ore t h an 50,000

deaths, a high percentage of whom, 90 percent of the total, were youth from eight years of age to twenty.
A cou n t r y w i t h i t s schools an d hospit al s destr oy ed, w i t h i t s ci t ies lev eled by 500-pound bombs given to Somoza by t he U n i t ed St ates and Isr ael i Zi oni sm . Bu t we were not alone i n t he st r u ggle. We k now t h at we had t he back in g of the peoples of the w or ld. We k now t hat t h is was w hat m ade it i m possible for the Y ank ees to carr y ou t a new ar med i n ter v en t ion i n ou r cou n t r y befor e t he t y r an t w as destr oyed . Am on g t h e f i les abandoned by Somozaism w e h ave foun d proof of

the loans for arms that the government of Israel had given to the dicta torship. Israel was an accomplice to the crimes of Somoza. Israel was
t h e in st r u m en t t h a t i mp er i a li sm u sed u p t o th e l ast m om en t t o ar m Somoza's genocida l di ct at or sh i p . Rock ets, r i fl es, h ow it zers, pl anes, g u nboats, an d even h e lm et s an d u n if or m s w er e sen t t o t he di ct at or . B u t t he str en gt h of the people was greater t han t hat of the aggressi on . As we said at t hat t i m e, we w i l l not r epay these loans, t his debt t hat

adds up to millions of dollars. Nor will we pay any debt contracted with
other cou n t r ies for ar m am en t s for t h e Somozaist r egi me. On t he con tr a r y , i t i s I srael t hat owes a debt t o our people.

We are Sandinistas; our people have been struggling against op
p ression an d i n t er v en t i on s for m or e t h a n 150 years. T ha t i s wh y w e

have historical l y identified with the struggle of the Palestinian people
and we recognize the PLO as th ei r l eg i t i m ate represent at i ve. And that is wh y w e condem n I sr ael i occupat ion of the A r ab t er r i t or ies and de m and t h ei r uncond i t i onal r et u r n . We suppor t gen u i ne eff orts i n the search for a just and t r ue peace in the M i ddle East . But such a peace must t ake i nto account t he i n t erest s of al l t h e pa r t ies, an d i n t h e f i rst place the r i gh t s of t he Palest i n i an

people.
On M a y 4 , 1927, at t h e m om en t San d ino was r i sin g up, a N i car a guan t r a i t or si gned away the sover ei gnt y of t he people of N icar agua t o the Y a nkee gover n m en t , in exchange for a dollar for each r i fl e t u r ned

in. We condemn the Camp David accords, which, like the shameful treason of 1927 in Nicaragua, merit our energetic repudiation.

Rat i n g Wi ll Hold Bock Our Struggle 4 9

In June 1979, there were forces in the U.S. government that wanted to propose an invasion of our soil to the seventeenth meeting of repre sentatives of the Organization of American States. But there were also
seventeen L a t i n A m er ican cou n t r ies t h a t sai d n o t o t h e i m p er i a l i st

pro o l. p sa

Here we must make special mention and take recognition of the An dean Pact countries. We should mention the names of President Rodrigo Carazo of Costa
Rica; ex-Presiden t C a r los A n dres Perez of V enezuela; President Jose

Lopez Portillo of Mexico; General Omar Torrijos of Panama; and Fidel
C ast r o of Cuba — al l of w hom w er e an d con t i n u e t o be i n sol i d ar i t y

with our struggle, despite the risks that such solidarity implies.
W e should m ake special men t ion of the m i l i t an t soli dar it y t hat L at i n A m er ican f i gh t er s gave ou r st r u ggle. Th e blood of t hese f i g ht er s was shed along t h e r oad to vi ct or y . W e can st at e t h at L a t i n A m er i ca

helped to make this victory possible.
We are a sm al l coun t r y t ha t h as w aged wa r i n order t o w i n peace. An d we suppor t t h e establ i sh m en t of a j ust and last i ng peace t hat ex tends to al l coun t r ies and regi ons.

We recognize the right of peoples to win their freedom through the
p at h t h at is best for t h em , wh et her a r med or n ot . We ar e a poor coun t r y t h at w a nt s to t ak e th e eff or t s and resources now being i n v ested in d efense of t h e re volu t i on a nd i n v est i t i n t r a c t or s and pl ow s. A n d w e suppor t gener al an d com pl et e disar m am en t , under st r ict i n t er n at i onal cont r ol . We are for an end to the ar m s race and w e sal u t e the SA L T I I accords as an i m por t an t step i n t h is dir ec ti on . W e dem and respect for t h e t er r i t or i a l i n t egr it y of st ates and r e n u nci at ion of t he use of force i n i n t er n at i onal r el at i ons. We condem n the exi st ence of m i l i t ar y bases. S andi ni sm o is the incar n at ion of the n at i on. The Sand i n i sta N at i on a l L iber at ion Fr ont , as the gen u i ne vanguar d of th e great people's in s ur rect ion t h at. defeated t h e di ct at or sh i p, i s now pu sh in g for w ar d a p rocess of nat i onal reconst r u ct ion whose first measures have been t h e massive expropr i at ion of t h e property of Somoza and h is civ i l i an a nd mi l i t ar y accom p lices. So far mo re th an 5 00,000 hecta re s, close to 5 0 percent of t he ent ir e ara ble area of the coun tr y , has been recovered by the peopl e.

More than 180 industrial and commercial enterprises have passed into the hands of the people.
M or e t ha n 400 m an sions and h om es have been ex pr opr i ated i n t h e in t er ests of t he people. Th e ban k s have been n at i on a lized.

50 Sandin istas Speak We have begun to put an I ntegral A gr arian Reform Plan into effect .

Agricult ural exports have been nationalized. The exploitation of natural resources has been nationalized. By eliminating the 500 and 1,000 cordoba bills* and retiring them from circulation, we are hindering the maneuvers of the defeated So mozaists to destabilize our country financially. A real social thrust is being given to education, health, and housing. A foreign policy of relations with all countries of the world has been established. We have become part of the movement of the Nonaligned. Sandinista Defense Committees have been organized as bodies of people's participation. The Sandinista People's Army has been set up to fulfill the pressing need to guarantee the defense and advance of the revolution. And t his revolution has been expansive and generous toward its
enem ies. Th ousands of capt u red soldi er s h ave had t h ei r l i ves pr otect ed. Gr oups such as the I nt er n a t i onal Red Cross were aut h or ized to set

up centers of refuge to give shelter to the Somozaist criminals who were fleeing. The revolution is marching forward. The difficulties are great. The counterrevolution is a potential threat . There are some who assert that we are assassinating the prisoners. There are some who are trying to put conditions on international
a id. The conspi racy is pow er fu l and the most react i on ar y sectors of t he

U.S. government have already succeeeded in stopping a small grant of
$ 8 m i l l ion t ha t t h e U .S. gov er nm en t was going to give our coun t r y . The most r eact i on ary sectors of the Cent r al A m er i can region are ob

serving our process with trepidation. We have detected concentrations of Somozaist soldiers in neighboring countries. But just as we have been generous in victory, we will be inflexible in defense of the revolu tion. To what has already been described, we must add the economic le gacy of imperialist domination and the Somozaist war of aggression.
We find ourselves w it h a for eign debt of m ore t han $1.53 bi l l i on. Of th is amou n t , $596 m i l l ion fa l ls due t his year, h av ing been incur red as s hor t -t er m loans at v er y h i gh i n t erest r at es. The for eign debt is equ i v al en t t o t hr ee t i m es the t ot al an n ual expor t s of t he cou n t r y .

The loans obtained by Somozaism were misspent, squandered, and sent out of the country to personal accounts in the United States and Europe.
*1 cdr doba = U 8 $ .10

No t hi ng W i l l H ol d B ack O u r S t r ugg le 5 1

A study published August 14 by the Economic Commission for Latin A merica (CEPAL ) maintained that Somozaist bombing resulted i n $580 million in material damage to the physical and social infrastruc
tu r e i n th e agr i cu l t u r al , in du st r i al , and comm er cia l sect ors. A t pres e nt $741 m i l l ion i s needed to react i v at e produ ct i on . To the losses cited above, we h ave to add the losses to the sy stem of p rodu ct ion t hat stem from t he par aly sis of econom ic act i v i t i es, In addi tion w e m ust add t h e resources requ i red for r est or i n g t h e cou n t r y' s e conomic appar at us at a t i m e w hen i t is also bein g t r ansfor m ed .

To give us a more graphic representation of the problem, CEPAL es
ti m at es t hat the sit u at ion we have descr ibed means t hat, the Gross Do m est ic Product has decl ined 25 percent t h i s year , 1979. I n per capi t a t er ms, t h i s pu t s t h e GD P back t o th e level t h a t N i car agu a w as at i n 1962, mean in g we h ave sli d back seventeen year s.

And to top it al l off, our revolution found only $3.5 million in the
s t ate coffers. Tha t is al l t hat Somozaism was un able to loot . N i car agua's sit u at ion has prov oked i nt erest i n t he coun t r ies of L at in A m er ica an d th e rest of t he w or l d. Regi onal bodies h ave expressed t h ei r decision to aid us. B i l at er a l l y we have close r el at i ons w i t h m an y count r i es. Bu t w e m ust be fr a n k : Th e oppressive fi n ancia l pr oblem t hat con fr ont s ou r process, w hich i s di rectl y r el ated t o rest ru ct ur i n g t h e for e ign deb t an d recei v i n g f i n an cin g i n or der t o al low ou r econom y t o st ar t up agai n, does not seem to ser i ously i nt erest t he developed coun tr ies. T h e gover n m en t of M ex i co, w h ich has aided us t o t he ext en t i t i s able, has r aised t h e idea of a n i n t er n a t i ona l sale of sol i da r i t y bonds t h a t w ou l d com e du e a t a def er red per iod an d w i t h lo w i n t erest .

Through this bond issue the debt that falls due this year, which as we
said t ot als $596 m i l l i on, w ou ld be rest r u ct ur ed on adequ ate t er ms. W e

support the proposal of President Didier Rasiratekat of Madagascar,
r egar d in g t h e cr eation of a F i n an cia l F u n d of t h e N on al i gned cou n tr i es. We beli eve it is our dut y to present before the movement of the N on al i gned bot h t h e adv ances and t he problems of the revol u t ion i n N i ca r agu a . W e beli eve t hat by consolid at in g the N icar aguan r evol u t ion we w i l l be str en gt h en i n g th e st r u ggle of t he underdeveloped coun t r i es.

We know that imperialism is interested in seeing our process fail
and t hat i t i s goin g t o use al l t h e resources at i t s disposal t o achi ev e

t hat . The liberation st ruggle i n ou r countr y is continuing. And today

52

S a n d i n i stas Speak

mor e t han ever w e need the di si n t erested suppor t of t he N on al i gn ed.

Nicaragua, which forty-one days after its triumph is showing you both the open wounds and the consolidation of our revolution, is a challenge
f or t h is m ovem en t .

The people of Sandino are not going to step back from the ground al
ready g ai n ed. Our i n t e gra ti on w i t h t h e p eoples of A f r i ca a nd A s ia raises ou r m or al e i n t h i s great bat t l e. The f u t u r e belongs to the peo ples.

The march toward uictory mill not be stoppedf

N icar agua — The Str ategy of Vi ct or y
In t e r v ie w w it h H u m b e r t o O r t ega

H u m berto Orteg a i s a l eader of th e F SL1V an d th e com ma nder i n chief of the San di ni sta Peop le's A r my . T his i nter vi etv, cond ucted by the e xiled C hi l ea n j o u r n a l i s t M a r t a H a rneck er , o ri gi n a l l y appeared i n Eng li sh i n t h e J a n uar y 2 7, 1980, i s sue of Gr a n m a . M i n or s tyl is tic c hanges have been made for con si stency an d r ea da bi li ty . Ma r ta H a rnecker: Th e arm ed str u g gle of the Ni c ara guan people for liber at ion has been a long one. I h ave read you r book 50 ahos de lucha sandi ni sta (50 Y e ars of S andi n i s ta S tr u g gle) in w h i ch y ou d escribed th e h i g h l i gh t s of t h e st r u ggl e u p t o 1975 . H ow ev er , t w o y ear s ago th er e seemed to be l i t t l e l i k el ihood t hat vi ct or y w ou l d be obt ained so

quickly. What made possible the big gains registered by the revolu tionary process which led to the overthrow of Somoza and his regime?
Hu mberto Ortega: W e l l , b efore I a ns wer y o ur q u esti on d i r ectl y , I

would like to briefly sum up the key points of the book you mentioned
— t h ough t h i s is v er y h ar d t o do w i t h ou t f a l l i n g i n t o ov er si m p l i f i ca ti ons and omissions. T he r evol u t i on ar y m ovem ent w h ich took shape in our cou nt r y in t h e th i r t ies as a resul t of Sand i no's s tr u g gl e Ha rnecker: Wh i ch took s hape or b egan? Ortega: W e l l , we say t h a t i t t o ok s hape because it s um m ed u p a l l pr evi ous eff or t s at r evol u t i on ar y st r u ggl e i n N icaragu a, and because Sandino assi m i l ated t he most r ev ol u t i on ar y ideas of his t im e and w as able to i nt egr at e them i n t o ou r hi st or i cal process. H e undoubt edl y began i t and i n t he course of its developm en t he in c luded a n um ber of pol i t i cal, ideological, an t i - i m per i a l i st, i nt er n at i on a li st , and m i l i t ar y facets. That is w hat we mean by the mov ement t a k i n g shape. T ha t is, the st r u ggle Sandino car r ied out agai nst t he Y an kees for seven y ears left us w it h a n u m ber of hi st or i cal and p ro gra m ma t i c eleme nts and r e volu t i o na ry v i e ws wh i ch we assim i l a te d. We m ust bear i n m i n d t h at , i f w e in cl ude Sandi no's movement , by t ha t t i m e t h er e h a d a l r ead y been t h i r t y -t hree a r med m ov em ent s against i mper i a l ism and the oli gar chy, headed by the L i ber als who up

54

S a n d i ni stas Sp ea k

held revolutionary positions in that period.
The st r u ggle San d ino led suffered a bit t er setback a s a result o f h i s

death and that of other members of his general staff. However, in one
w ay or an ot h er, the people al w ays reacted against the oppression. Th e

reaction was poor, limited, and fragmented, but it increased little by li t tle.
The most si gn if ican t upsur ge in t hese str u ggles took place in the fi f t i es, the decade w hen A na st asio Somoza Gar ci a, founder of t he t y r an ny , was executed by R igobert o L opez Perez.* I t w as an i n d i v i d ual ac

tion but it was not simply a case of tyrannicide. As Perez himself put
it , i t t u r ned ou t t o be " t he begi n n i n g of t h e end of t he t y r an ny ." Th en , i n 19 58 , w h i l e F i de l w a s i n t h e Si er r a M aest r a , a n a r m ed

m ovement led by Ramon Raudales began, and the following year it was the guerri ll a group led by Carlos Fonseca. From 1958 t o 1961
t h er e w er e n i n etee n a r m e d m ov em en t s t h a t sough t t o d o b a t t l e a gainst t he di ct at or sh i p . Th e v i ct or y of t h e Cuba n r evol u t ion caused a t r em endous pol i t ical u pheav al. I t m ade a big i mpact on our people, who w i t nessed a pract i

cal example of how it was possible to overthrow a tyrant .
Th e 1959-60 per iod was one in w h i ch condi t i ons were created to set

up a revolutionary vanguard that could lead the popular and revolu
t i on ar y war i n the same way and w it h the same effect iv eness as Sandi no. In 1961 the Sand in i st a Fr ont em erged from sever al ar med gr oups as an a l t er n a t i ve to the forces t hat at t h a t t i m e led the st r u ggle against S omoza, tbe so-called hi st or i cal par al l els or L i ber al -Conserv at i ve for ces. The Sandi n i st a Fr on t was a new alt er n a t i ve, but at the same t ime it followed u p on t h e l egacy of t h e r ev ol u t i on ar y m ov em ent, Sandi no s t ar t ed . A f ter i.t was founded there was a long per iod in w h i ch, i n addi t i on t o ver y i m por t an t or gani zat ional an d m i l i t ar y exp er ience w h ich was of gr eat va.'ue for t he fu t u r e of the m ovem en t, t he F SL N acqu i r ed m or al stan d i ng, dedica ti on, t enaci t y , and set an ex am ple w h ich m ade it pos s ible t o reach ou t t o t h e masses, organize th em , and w i n t h ei r con fi dence. Du r i ng t hat per i od, the repression of the regi me was focused on th e guer r i l l as. "'ln 1956, the poet Rigoberto Lopez Perez walked into a public affair for So
moza i n t h e cit y of L eon an d sh ot th e di ct ator four ti m e s. Somoza l a ter d ie d f rom h is w ou nds, and Lopez Pi.rez was k i l l ed on t he spot by t he di ct at or 's body

guards.

N i ca r a gua — S t rategy of Vi ctor y

55

T he most i m p or t an t op er at ion car r ied ou t b y t h e Fr on t t o m ak e i t

self known to the world was undertaken on December 27, 1974, when a
house fu l l of top off i ci als of t he r egim e was t ak en ov er .* W e obt ai ned

a mi llion dollars, for the first t ime the Sandinistas' revolutionary views were broadcast on TV and radio, and political prisoners were
rescued . Th e m a i n obj ect iv e o f t h i s r a t he r i sol ated oper at io n w a s n ot a chi ev ed: to st r en gt hen t h e gu er r i l l as i n t h e m ou n t a i ns. Somoza u n l eashed a t r em endous repressive campaig n i n t he ci t i es, the coun t r y s ide, an d t h e m ou n t a i ns, w h er e t h e m ov em en t w as t r y i n g t o set u p

guerri lla forces that were in the stage of making contacts and setting
up t hei r col u m ns. From 1974 t o 1977 th ou sands of people w er e k i l l ed and t h ousands of oth er s disappear ed . T h at repression com bi ned w it h ou r weak ness prevented the guer r i l

las from going on the offensive. We were unable to channel the politi cal potential and capitalize on the agitation resulting from the Sandi
ni st a oper at i on . T hat m ade i t possible for t h e enem y t o depr i v e us of th e i n i t i a t i ve, and press censorsh ip, a st ate of siege, mar t i a l l aw , and court s-mar t i a l w er e al l i m posed. T h i s per iod of r el at i v e st agn at ion ended i n October 19 77, when a

Sandinista offensive began with the capture of the National Guard
g ar r ison at San Ca r los, near t h e border w i t h Cost a Rica, on t he t h i r teen t h, and it con t i nued w it h t he at t ack and capt ure of the t ow n of M o zonte, five k i l om et ers from Ocot al , i n t he depar t m en t of N u ev a Sego

via, on the fifteenth. The guerr i llas held a meeting i n the public square of Mozonte before withdrawing. Two days later there was an
a t t ack on t h e m ai n gar r i son i n M asaya, less t han t w ent y k i l om et er s

from the capital, and there was an important ambush of enemy forces
o n t he m ove. For over fou r h ou r s, fou r com r ades m anaged t o cont a i n a l l t he enemy forces com ing from M an agua to M asaya. On the tw en t y f i f th, t hr ee squads from an F SL N col u m n took t he t ow n of San F er n an do, and the sol di ers st at i oned th er e su r r ender ed.

These developments paved the way for a qualitative change in the political and military picture. That's when our flexible policy of allian

*O n December 27 , 1974, ei gh t F SL N gu er r i l las seized t h e h om e of a for m er mi n i ster of agr i cu l t u re du r i n g a par t y and took host age t h i r t y top Somozaist of

flicials. They succeeded in obtaining the release of more than a dozen of their
im p r i soned co m r ades an d a r an so m of m or e t h a n a m i l l ion do l l a rs. O n D e

cember 30, the guerril las freed the last of their hostages and fled to Cuba along
wi t h t h e freed pr i s one rs .

56 Sandin istas Speak

ces began, and from it emerged the Group of Twelve.*
Ha rnecker: Bu t w h a t m a de possible th e events of Octo ber 1 977?

Ortega: October 1 977 came about thanks to an offensive shift that was given to the armed struggle at a time when the crisis of Somoza's
regi m e was very acu t e.

Following the 1972 earthquake, the situation of Somoza's regime became more acute and bureaucratic and mi lit ar y corruption more widespread. While this administr ative corruption chiefly affected the masses, it also began to affect the petty and intermediate bourgeoisie,
th u s in creasing t he scope of opposi t ion t o t he r egi m e. O n the other h and, groups of businessmen st ar t ed to lose fait h in t h e d i ct at or sh i p's ab i l i t y t o gu ar an tee t h e necessar y condi t i on s for t h e developm en t of t h e coun t r y . Th er e w as gr ow i n g i n t er na l r esistance

from all segments of the population, in addition to the growing opposi
t ion i n t er n at i on al l y du e to the r eg im e's repressive poli cy .

While Somoza lost more and more political and moral authority, we gained it, in spite of the difficult conditions facing our tenacious guer ri llas in the northern mountains, where the forces of the Pablo Ubeda
c olum n w er e st r i v i n g t o r egai n t h e i n i t i a t i ve, w hich t h e di ct at or sh i p had for al l pr act ical p u r poses depr ived us of by l at e 1975. Th i s t en aciou s eff or t i n add i t ion t o t h e dail y a n t l i k e tact ics of ou r mem bers al l over t h e coun t r y m ade i t possible for ou r m ov em ent , far

from being wiped out, to remain in action even under those difficult conditions. If this had not been accomplished, it wouldn't have been possible later on to transform the political and moral potential into mi l itary power, into a large force, as happened. The acute economic crisis and the growing resistance of the people led to a political crisis in the country. Business groups which unt il
t hen had adj u sted th ei r i n t erests to the t er m s imposed by t he dict at or s hipp shifted to a posi t i on of over t opposi t i on. A gr oup of members of t h e

Conservative Party led by the editor of La Prensa, Pedro Joaquin Cha morro, joined the Democratic Union of Liberation (UDEL), an ant i Somoza opposition organization led by dissatisfied sectors of the bour geoisie. UDEL demanded political and trade union freedoms; an end to
the press censor sh ip, the st at e of siege, and th e r epressi on ; and called for am nest y an d a gen er al pardon for pol i t i cal pr i soners and ex il es. In m i d-1977 th er e was great pol i t i cal act i v i t y am on g t he bourgeoi s
*T h e "G r o up of T w e lv e" w a s a b loc of i n t e ll ectu a l s, pro fessiona ls, and b us i

nessmen who came together in late 1977 to oppose the Somoza dictatorship and to call for FSLN participation in any post-Somoza government .

N i ca r ag ua — St r ategy of V i ctor y

57

o pposi t ion resu lt i n g fr om t h e sh if t given t o U .S. for eign policy by t h e C ar ter adm i ni st r a t i on .

Imperialism and reaction were seeking ways of making changes in the regime without touching the basic strings of power: the tremen
d ous econom ic and r epressive power of the N a t i onal Gu ar d .

The political situation forced Somoza to try to improve his image.
On Sept ember 19 t h e st at e of siege and m ar t i a l la w w er e l i ft ed, and th e di ct ator conv ened m u n i cipal elect ion s. W e must k eep i n m i nd t hat t hese efforts at democr at i zat ion or over hau l i n g took place i n 1977, when i m per i a lism an d reaction w er e con v i nced t hat t hey had been able to w ipe out or pr acticall y w i pe out t h e

FSLN . From 1975 to 1977, they had played all their cards to try to crush us
mi l i t a r i ly . I n or der to do so they devast ated vast por t ions of t he coun

tryside, repression was stepped up in the cities, and courts-martial were instituted. Nearly all our leaders, Carlos Fonseca, Eduardo Con
tr er as, Car los A gii er o, Edgar M u n g u i a, and F i l emon Ri vero, had been k i l l ed . It w as very di ff cu l t fnr t h e F SL N t o m oun t a m i l i t ar y response and t h at response was ver y l i m i t ed .

Somoza and the Yankees swore that they had eliminated us and,
t h er efore, that w e w ou ld be un able to serve as the cat alyst for t he cr i sis. When they fel t t h a t we w ere h ar d h i t , scatt ered and di v ided, they d ecided it w as t i m e for a democr at izat ion pl a n . I t was at t hat t i m e and i n or der to pr even t such m an eu vers that w e d ecided to go on th e offensive m i l i t ar il y speak i n g . W e r egained t h e i n i t i a t i v e w h ich w e had t ak en on D ecember 2 7 , 1974, but t h is t i m e we aimed to avoid losing i t agai n. We di dn't h ave a bi g m ass organizat i on, but we did h ave our act i v i sts and the organ i za

tional potential which little by little allowed us to organize and mobil
i ze t h e masses. W e di dn't h av e superior for m s of or ganizat ion of t h e va n gu a rd, but we did r ea lize th at , given the si t u a t i on, m i l i t ar y action would allow us to m ak e our presence fel t i n t he pol i t i cal and or gani za ti onal fi elds, pavi ng t he way for the estab li sh m ent of an in su r rect i onal s t r ategy . Ha rnecker: Ho w could you ha ve decided on an offe ns iv e if t he Fro nt was i n such a precar i ous si t u at i on'? Ortega: I t ' s tr u e th at w e we re in a p recari o us sit u a t i on a nd t h at i n

spite of our efforts we were unable to stay on the military offensive. In
pract ice we w er e on t he defensive, and we had to tr y to overcome th at s i t u a t ion w h i le avoi di ng the t w i n pi t f a l ls of adven t u r ism and an over

58 Sa n d in is tas Speak

ly conservative analysis of this difficult and precarious situation. In order to undertake offensive operations we had to overcome a cer tain conservative frame of mind which led our movement to passively accumulate forces. When I say "passive," I mean in general, not in par
ti cu l ar, because t here w ere oper at i ons in w h ich we regained the i n i t i a

tive mil it ar ily speaking.
Ha rnecker: Coul d you expla in f ur t h er w h at you mean by passive ac cu m u l at ion of f orces? Ortega: Wh a t I m e an by passive accumu l a ti on of forces is a policy of

not getting involved in the conjunctures, of gaining strengt h while
st an di n g on th e sidel in es; a passive policy of a l l i ances. I t 's a passive view w h ich holds t hat i t is possible to pile up weapons and gai n in or ganizat ion an d n u mber w i t h ou t f i g h t i n g t h e en em y , wh il e si t t i n g on th e si deli nes, w i t h ou t i nv ol v i n g t h e masses — not because we di dn' t w an t to do so but because we felt t hat if we showed our cl aws too much , t hey w ou l d come dow n h ar d on us and sh at ter t h e movem en t . We k new we would be going on t he off ensive under d if fi c ult c ir c um

stances, but we knew we had the necessary minimum of resources to tackle this new stage. By May 1977 we had drawn up a programmatic platform which out
li ned a n in su r rect i onal st r at egy t h a t ser ved t o su m u p th e st r at egic

viewpoint of insurrection which I, along with Carlos Fonseca, had pre
pared i n 1 975. Th i s was in tu r n an outg ro wt h of the effort s ma de along t hese l i nes after t h e deat h of Oscar T u r cios an d Ricardo M or ales i n September 1973, follow i ng t he C h i lean coup. T his m ar ked t he st art of t he debate w i t h i n ou r r ank s over the t wo st r at egies: guer r i l l a w ar far e centered i n t h e m ou n t ai ns, on t h e one h and , an d ar m ed st r u ggl e fo c used on t h e masses, on the oth er . Th at w as the first debate. It w as a bit i m m a t u re and categor ical: it' s e it her t h e mou n t a ins or t he ci t i es. Raising t h is quest ion as one or t h e o ther was not correct . Ha rnecker: I ' d l i k e to kn ow w h y y ou associa te th e masses wi th t h e ci t ies and not w i t h t h e gu er r i l l as. Ortega: T h e t r u t h i s t h at w e a lw a ys took t h e masses in to accoun t , b u t m or e i n t er m s of t h ei r suppor t i n g t he guer r i l l as, so that t he guer

ri llas as such could defeat the National Guard. This isn't what actu ally happened. What happened was that it was the guerrillas who pro vided support for the masses so that they could defeat the enemy by means of insurrection. We all held that view, and it was practice that
showed t ha t i n or der t o w i n w e ha d t o mobi lize t h e m asses an d get

them to actively participate i n the armed struggle. The guerri llas

Nicaragua — Strategy of Victory 5 9

alone weren't enough, because the armed movement of the vanguard
w ou l d never h ave had t he weapons needed to defeat t he enem y . On l y

in theory could we obtain the weapons and resources needed to defeat
the National Guard. We realized that our chief source of strength lay
i n m a i n t a i n i n g a st at e of t ot a l m ob i l i zat ion t h a t w oul d di sperse t h e t ech ni cal an d m i l i t ar y resources of t he enem y .

Since production, the highways, and the social order in general were
affect ed , th e enem y w as u n abl e t o m ov e h i s forces an d ot her m eans a bou t a t w i l l because he had t o cope w it h m ass mob i l i zat i ons, neigh b orhood d em on st r at i ons , b a r r i cades, a ct s o f sabotage , et c . T h i s enabled th e v an gu ar d , w h ich w as reorgani zin g it s ar m y , t o con fr on t t h e m or e n u m er ous enem y forces on a better foot i n g .

Getting back to what I was saying: the reactionaries were planning
to cope w it h t he cr i sis and come out on t op. We realized w hat w as hap p en i ng, took note of the fact t hat t he enem y had t ak en a step for w ar d by l i f t i n g t he st ate of siege and was consider i ng an am nest y , and saw th at if t h is happened we w ould be in a di ff i cu l t posi t i on. So we decided to speed up t he offensive. Pa rneeker: A n o ffe ns ive wh ic h, as far a s you a re concerne d, was li

mited.
Ortega: W e l l , s ince we h ad n e ver e xperi e nced a n i n s ur r e cti o n, w e felt t hat t hat was the way to mobi l ize the masses to suppor t t hose oper a t i ons. But pract.ice showed us t hat we were st i l l un able to meet al l t h e c ondi t i on s r equ i r ed for a response by t h e masses so t ha t t h e d r i v e wou ld t ak e on an in su r r ect i onal ch aract er . Two years had to pass be fore t h i s was accom pl i sh ed . T h is offen sive took place as par t of an in su r r ecti on al st r at egy, but i t w as not an in su r rect ion a l t h ough w e called for one. A s i t t u r ned ou t , t hese oper at i ons served as propaganda for i n su r recti on . Ha rnecker: D i d you cons ider w h at f a i l u r e wo ul d h a ve meant? Ortega: Y e s, we did. If we failed it would be a terr i b le blow for Sandi ni sm o. We had to r un t he ri sk . We k new we w ou l dn't be w iped out be cause we knew ou r enemy . Of course, t here was al w ays a r i sk , but be i n g w iped ou t w i t h ou t g oi n g on t h e offen siv e was w orse t h an bei n g wi ped ou t on t he off en si ve, because by f i g h t i n g we could begi n a pr o cess leading t o vi ct ory . I f w e di dn't t ak e the pol i t i ca l an d m i l i t ar y of' fensi ve, defeat w as cert a i n . That w as the pr oblem w e faced . Ha r necker . T hen you don't feel the October opera ti o ns were a fail u r e e ven t h ough t he in su r rect ion di dn't come abou t ? Ortega: We view October as a histo ri c achievement, because, fir st of al l , i t enabled u s t o defeat t h e i m per i a l ist scheme. W hen t h e enem y

60 Sa n d in is tas Speak

fel t t h a t w e h ad been dest r oy ed , w e appeared on t h e scene st r onger

than ever, we struck harder blows than ever before, They were sur prised when we began operations in the cities, because they thought
th e ci t ies w er e sacred . On t h e ot her h an d, al t h ough t h er e w as a cr i sis, the masses did not

react to it . Al l they could see was that the vanguard was being hit
har d. These oper at i ons served to rest or e Sandi n i smo's hegem ony over the masses and the confidence of the masses in th ei r econom ic and po

litical struggles. This led the regime to make serious mistakes, the
bi ggest one being m u r der i ng Pedro Joaqui n Ch am or r o on J an u ar y 10 , 1978. Th is assassin at ion led t he masses to t ak e to the st r eets for th e fi rs t

time, to express their long pent-up feelings of support for Sandinismo. So we can say that October served to deepen the crisis which imperial
ism and react ion w er e on the br i n k of t u r n i ng to t h ei r ow n adv an t age. Ha rnecker: Wh e n d id y ou s ta rt p re pa ri n g f or t h e O c to ber o pe ra ti ons'?

Ortega: Even before May 1977 we were acquiring weapons and lay
i n g t h e pol i t i ca l an d st r at egi c gr ou ndw or k , l i k e t h e pr ogr a m m a t i c pl at for m I m en t i oned, t r y i n g to see how we could or gan ize t he people

who shared our views.
W e reacted to t h e si t u a t ion w i t h w hat w e h ad, gi ven the si t u a t i on .

We had been stockpiling, stockpiling for something bigger, but you
c an't st ock pi l e on t h e sidel i nes because t hen you never r eal l y st ock

pile.
We pl un ged i n t o t h e offen si ve r eal izin g t ha t ou r effor t w ou l d bear fr u i t because we took n ote of t he prev ai l i ng cr i sis, t he enemy pl ots, the fact t hat we w ere on t he defensive and had to respond then and th er e. Had we been conser v at i ve and sai d " N o, we' ll stock pi le in sil ence," we would have lost ou r ch ance to the enemy, and he would t h us have been able to el i m i n at e us once and for a l l, or at least pu t us out of act ion for

a long while, because the people would have been confused by the re
gi m e's gr an t i n g a few concessions and i t w oul d h ave been ha rd er for them t o under st and ou r v i ew s. Th e October oper at i ons m ade i t possibl e t o shat ter t h e enem y m a n euver and Sand i n i smo appeared on the scene w it h r en ewed vigor. A l

so, in military terms it was not a complete failure. We weren't able to
c apt ur e t h e M asay a ga r r ison bu t a t least m ost of t h e at t ack er s su r

vivedd. In the north the guerr illas remained active from October to May
1978 on w h at w as called t h e C ar los Fonseca N or t h er n F r on t . A few

comrades were killed in the attack on San Carlos, but it was a military
vi ct or y for us. We wer en't able to hold on to it, but i t w asn't l i k e the at

Ni ca r ag ua — Str ategy of V i ctory 6 1

t ack on t h e M oncada i n Cu ba , i n 19 53;~ we w er e abl e t o st r i k e, pu l l b ack , accu m u l at e forces, and st r i k e once agai n .

To prove the point, four months later we captured two cities and en circled an antiguerri lla camp in the Nueva Segovia area for the first
t i m e.

Had October been a failure, we would not have been able to under
t ak e new act i on s in j ust a few m on t hs. From O ct ober on w e grew i n

political and military strengt h all the time.
Ha rneckert % h a t a bout t h e masses in O cto ber? Ortega: In O ctober t h ere was no mass response as far a s acti ve par ticipation was concerned. Ha rnecker: T h en t h ey w e re acti o ns by a va ng ua rd o nl y ? Ortega: Ye s, by a va ng ua rd , wh i ch not o nly contr i b uted to sharpen ing the cri sis, fru st r ated the schemes of react i on, and enabled the v an

guard to gather renewed strength, but also began to strengthen a se ries of activities that the masses had been carrying out, in spite of the
repression , an d w h ich consi sted of st r u ggles for socia l g a i ns, t r ade un ion an d po l i t i ca l st r u g gles. T h erefore, t hese act i ons st r engt hened t h e mass mov em en t , w hich l at er became openl y i n su r recti on al . Ha r necker: Bu t d id n't th e offe ns ive lead to the adopti on of even mo re r epressive measures by t he di ct at or sh ip ? Ortega: Ye s. In i ts despera ti o n, the regime adopted a series of ind is c r i m i n at el y r epressiv e m easures. Th e r ev ol u t i on ar y m ov em en t w as

brutally repressed by the Somoza regime. The repression that had
b een gr adu al l y i n cr easing became even sh ar per i n r et a l i at ion for t h e October oper at i on s. Ha rneckert I n t h a t c ase w o ul d n't y o ur o pe ra ti o ns be considered a sig n o f a dv en t u r i sm , r esu l t i n g on l y i n eve n st r onger r epression

against the people? Ortega: Yes. Some sectors of the left that were engaged in setting up
t r ade uni ons, etc., claimed that those acti ons had destr oyed the organ i zat ion and the resurgence of the mass movem en t, but t h is wasn't so. It is t r ue t hat t he repression w ou ld affect t he open, legal or ganizat ion of

the masses, but it wouldn't affect their organization under really revo
l u t i on ar y condi t i ons. To go along w it h such cl ai ms w ould mean fa l l i n g p rey t o the big show t he i mper i a li st s w er e m ou n t i n g w it h al l t he t al k

about the bourgeois-democratic way out , i n which the trade union
*On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro led a group of fewer than 200 in an unsuc cessful attack on the Moncada garrison in Santiago de Cuba. Almost all were
ki l led or c aptu r e d; Castr o was sente nced to fif teen years in pri son for h is part i n

the attack .

mov em ent w as to par t i cip ate. For us it was prefer able t hat such a cas

trated trade union movement not be formed.
S um m i n g up, the big j u m p ahead occu rr ed i n Oct ober 1977 and t h i s

sharpened the crisis. Then came the assassination of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, which made the situation even worse, and with the masses in the cities, in the neighborhoods, everywhere, participating more
and m or e i n t h e upr i si ng, the process became compl et el y i r r ev er si b l e.

After that came the capture of the city of Rivas along with the city of Granada on February 2, 1978. Present in these actions were several comrades who were later k i lled in the struggle, such as Commander Camilo Ortega Saavedra, who led the attack on Granada; the com
mander , guer r i l l a p r iest , and Spanish i nt er n at i on alist Gaspar Gar ci a Lav i ana; and Pan ch i t o Gu t i er r ez, am on g ot h er s. Ha rnecker : Wh en d id t h e m asses begin t o jo in t h e i ns ur r ecti o nal process? Ortega : The opera ti o ns of October 1 977 gave a big boost t o th e mass m ovem ent , but i t w asn't u n t i l aft er the asassinat ion of Pedro Joaqu i n

Chamorro that they really came out i n ful l force and made crystal clear their potential, their determination, and their Sandinista will to join in the armed struggle. I would like to make clear that the uprising of the masses as an af
t er m at h t o Ch am or r o's assassi n a t ion was not led ex clu sivel y b y t h e

FSLN .
Ha rneeker : W a s it a s pont a neous acti o n? Ortega: It w a s a s ponta neous r e acti on o n t h e p art o f t h e m asses

which, in the end, the Sandinista Front began to direct through its ac
ti v i sts and a n um ber of m i l i t ar y u n i t s. It w as not a mass mov em ent re

sponding to a call by the Sandinistas; it was a response to a situation that nobody had foreseen.
Now t h en , ou r capacit y fo r i n t r odu cin g ou rselves i n t o t h a t mass m ov em en t w as st i l l l i m i ted at t h e t i me and was aimed at r eaf fi r m i n g

our political and milit ary presence among the masses, but not yet from
a concr ete organic standpoin t because we di dn't h ave the necessary ca dr es. In October we began to t ake steps in t hat di recti on: the act i vi st s, t he mechani sms — and new per m anent for ms of mass organization began

to take shape quickly: the neighborhood committees, the work done in
a nu m ber of fact or ies and i n t h e st udent m ovem en t. F u r t h er m ore, t he

United People's Movement was already beginning to take shape even before October. This was the result of the Sandinistas' efforts to re group the revolutionary organizations around their program in order to fight against Somoza's regime and gradually lead the people in our

Nicaragua — Stnztegy of Victory 6 3

process of national and social liberation. When the bourgeois opposition sectors began to retreat during the strike, the FSLN made its presence felt with the armed actions of Feb ruary 2, This is why we decided to capture Granada, Rivas, and the antiguerrilla camp in Santa Clara, Nueva Segovia. The capture of the antiguerrilla camp was led by German Pomares, Victor Tirado, and Daniel Ortega. Camilo, our younger brother, led the attack on Granada, and the capture o'f Rivas was led by Eden Pas
t or a an d t he pr iest Gaspar Gar ci a L a v i a n a .

It was the first really serious blow dealt in the crisis. These large
s cale act ions redoubled the masses' ent h u siasm an d t h ei r det er rn i n a

tion to fight Somoza. They now saw a strengthened vanguard capable of fighting, of dealing blows to the enemy, of capturing cities. In other words, the masses saw a considerable advance from the operations in October to these operations, in the same way they considered the oper ations in October to be a considerable advance over the previously de fensive position of the Sandinistas. Therefore, we were gaining mo mentum, for the operations in February were superior to those in Oc tober.
Ha rnecker: Wo ul d n't t he fact th at you had to wi t h d ra w from the cap tu red ci t ies be considered a f ai l u r e? Ortega: No , not at a l l , because we took t he citi es, seized the weapons o f t h e N at i onal Gu ar d , ov er pow ered t h em , h ar assed th e en em y , an d kep t on h i t t i n g t he m ever y ch ance w e g ot . E v er ybody st ayed i n or ar ound t he ci t ies. B y t hen t h e Car los Fonseca Col um n w as oper at i n g i n t h e nor t h er n p ar t of the cou n t r y , w i t h ou t h av i n g sufTered a si n gle tact i cal defeat . A t t h e same t i m e, the gu er r i l l a f or ces of th e Pablo Ubeda Col u m n ,

operating in the mountain areas, were able to get back together due to
a respit e i n t h e i nt ense pressur e t hat t h e N at i onal G u ar d h ad been pu t t i n g on th em. The guer r i l l a m ovem ent i n N u eva Segovia had much mor e effect on t he v i t al econom ic, soci al, and pol i t ical cent ers because i t w as oper at i n g nearer t o t h em . Bu t i t w as the t r ad i t i onal gu er r i l l a m ov em en t and the movem ent i n the m ou n t a ins t hat m ade possible t h e gr ow t h and t he m oral and pol i t i cal hegemony of the Sand i n i st a move m en t u n t i l O ct ober . I n ot her w or ds, October was the con t i n u a t ion of the armed st r uggl e ma i n l y i n t h e m ou n t a i n s because t ha t w as w h at t h e exi st i n g oper a

tional conditions called for, but the time came when the armed strug
gle had to be t r an sferred t o zones of greater pol i t i cal i m por t ance. It w asn't a quest ion of st or in g away w hat we had accum u l at ed, but o f reproducing i t . If we r em ained th ere we'd be hol ding on to w hat w e

64 Sa n d i n i s tas Speak

had bu t i f w e moved to ot her zones we'd be r epr odu cing ourselves.

The greatest expression of the impact of the February actions is the insurrection of the Indians in Monimbo. It was the first of its kind, or ganized and planned ahead of time by the Indians and Sandinistas who were there. The battle lasted for almost a whole week, until Feb
ru ar y 26. The en em y cru shed t hat u p r i si ng, w hich was p a rt i a l Ha r neckert Y o u m e an i t w a s th e only o ne in t h e who le coun t r y ? Ortega: Ye s, but at t h e same ti m e , th at part i a l up ri s ing was the soul o f t he masses on a nat i on w ide scale and became the heart of the insu r r ect ion t hat w as to t ak e place t h r ou ghou t t he coun t r y . Ha rneckert Wh en you we re pla nn i n g the Mo ni m bo upri s ing we re n' t y ou aw are of t he l i m i t at i ons of an isol ated act i on ?

Ortega: But we didn't plan the uprising. We just took the lead in the a ction that was decided upon by the Indian community .
The M on i m bo upr i si ng began ar ound Febr u ar y 20 and cont i nued for about a week. The capt ure of several ci t ies (Rivas and Gr anada, for ex am p le) and the act ion car r ied out by t he N or t h er n Fr on t had aroused a f eel i ng of great expect at i on, of agi t a t ion am ong the masses, and the i n

surrectional propaganda spread by the FSI.N beginning in October
th r oug h p am ph l et s, etc. di st r i b ut ed t h r ou gh ou t t h e cou n t r y w as be g i n n in g t o bea r f r u i t . Th e v an gu ar d , h ow ev er , h adn' t been a bl e t o mak e contact i n a m ore organ ic for m w i t h t hose sectors of the masses

with the greatest political awareness. The actions of that sector, en couraged by the telling blows dealt the National Guard by the FSLN,
in t h e m idst of t h e Somoza regim e's pol i t i ca l cr i si s and t h e cou n t r y' s s ocial an d econom i c pr obl em s, su r passed t h e v an gu ard*s capacit y t o c hannel al l t h a t popu l ar ag i t a t i on .

The neighborhood of Monimbo, which is a district of Masaya with
s ome 20,000 i n h ab i t a nt s and bot h u r ban an d r u r al zones, began i n a spont aneous fashion to prepare for t he in su r rect i on. They began to or

ganize block by block, set up barricades around the whole district, and
t ak e over t he key spots. They al so began t o execut e hench men of t h e r eg i m e, to apply people's ju st ice for the f irst t i me. They began to w or k as a Sandi n i sta u ni t w hen they st i l l lacked the organized leader ship of t h e Sandi ni st a m ovem en t . A n d t hi s doesn't m ean t hat t h er e were no Sand i n i stas ther e. Th er e

certainly were and that's precisely why Camilo Ortega went to Mo nimbo, with contacts we had there, to try to lead the uprising, and he
w as k i l led i n t he fi g h t i n g . Ha rnecker; I u nders ta nd no w. The re fore, it was not an up ri s in g th a t

you had planned. Now then, would you have stopped it if you had been able to do so?

Ni ca r ag ua — S t rategy of V i ctory 6 5

Ortega: It w o uld ha ve been very d iA ic ul t t o do tha t, because the up

rising responded to the objective development of the community. Of
course, in k eepi ng w i t h ou r pl ans, m aybe we w ould h ave postponed i t

or planned it differently. Maybe we wouldn't have organized an armed
i n su r rect ion bu t r ather some other k i nd of mass act i v i t y, but t h at 's th e

way things turned out. This was the way this Indian sector responded
im m edi at el y t o the incen t i v e pr ov ided by t h e capt ur e of t h e ci t i es by

the FSLN several days before.
In l at e Febr u ar y t h e organizat ion of t he van gu ar d was st i l l l i m i t ed a nd we didn't h ave the cadres to channel t he det er m i n at ion and fig h t in g sp i r i t t h a t exi sted am ong t he masses. Ha rnecker: An i sola ted upri s in g li k e that one meant t h at t h e enemy

c ould concentrate all its forces against it .
Ortega: Ex actl y , and t h a t' s someth i n g we learned by e xperie nce. Ha rnecker: The n, it's import a nt to know about oth er his to ri cal expe ri ences in or der t o avoid m a k i n g mi st ak es. Ortega: Of cours e. We, the vang ua rd , knew of th ose his to ri cal expe ri ences, bu t t he masses didn' t . Ha rnecker: So it w a s actu a ll y a lesson for t h e people. Ortega: Y e s. We, the vang ua rd , kn ew it f ro m t h e classics. The pri n ci ple of concen t r a t ion of f orces has been one of the basic pr i n ci ples i n war f are since ancient t i m es.

What's important is that, in our case, we went through that expe rience in spite of the vanguard. The vanguard was certain that the up
ri si n g w oul d be a setback , bu t a setback t h at w ou ld be tr an sit or y , be cause the decision of M on i m bo cont r i b u ted to r ai sing the m or ale of t he

rest of the people who joined the uprising.
To what ext ent can the action be considered to have been a hi st or i cal mi st ake? To what ext ent was the act ion an er ror on the part of the peo p le, or was i t si m pl y t h ei r onl y opt ion at t hat t i m e? The fact r em ai n s t ha t t h at ex am pl e cont r i b u ted bot h n at i on al l y an d i nt er n a t i on al l y t o th e developm en t an d u l t i m at e t r i u m p h of t h e i n su rrect i on . Per h aps wi t h ou t t h a t pa i n fu l step w h ich ent a i led great sacr i fice it w oul d have been m or e d i f fi cu l t t o a ch iev e t h a t m or a l a u t h or i t y , t h a t a r ousal am ong the cou n t r y 's masses, that spi r i t of suppor t for one anot her t h at c am e from h av i n g w i t nessed how t hey had sacr i f iced t h em selves t o w i n t h e suppor t of t h e w h ol e w or l d for a people t h a t w er e w agin g a s t r u ggle si n gl eh anded. Per h aps w i t hou t t h at ex a m ple i t w ou l d h av e

been more difficult to speed up the conditions for the uprising.
That was an exper ience we and the people lear ned f ro m. Wi t h t he exper i ence we had acqu i red from October to M on i m bo w e w er e able to ver if y t hat t h e masses w ere w i l l i n g to st age an u pr i si n g ,

66 Sandinis tas Speak but they needed more milit ary organization, more mass organization .
Th ere was a need for r iper pol i t i cal condi t i ons and th ere was a need for

more agitation, for better means of propaganda, such as a clandestine radio station. It was necessary to mobilize the masses for war through the most elementary forms of organization.
Ha r necker: Yo u b egan t o consider t h e m a t t e r o f t h e r a dio s ta ti o n th en ?

Ortega: We'd been thinking about i t s ince October but w e hadn' t
been abl e to set i t up . W e had a r adi o set t ha t t h e f i r st. ant i-Somoza f i g h t ers had used i n 1960, bu t it w as old and we weren't able to pu t i t i n w or k i n g or der at t ha t t i m e . H ow ev er , w e m a naged t o fi x i t l ater an d w e pu t i t i n oper at ion i n

those months of 1978. It was heard in Rivas, but very faint ly. By then
we w er e fu l l y aw ar e of th e need for a r adio st at i on , of a w ay t o com mu n icat e w i t h t h e m asses i n order t o pr epare t hem for t h e in su r r ec t i on .

But to get back to the idea I was developing. A gradual strengthen
ing of forces was achieved am idst an enor m ous am ount of act i v i t y t h at in cl uded the execut ion of Gen. Regu aldo Perez V ega, chief of the Gen e ral St aff of the N a t i onal Gu a r d, the capt u r e of t he palace in A u gu st * and w i n d i n g u p t h e f i rst st age of t h i s in su r rect i onal m ov em en t t h at

had begun i n October 1977, wit h the nationwide uprising i n Sep
tem ber 1978 . Ha r neeker: At t h a t t i m e , when you issued a call for th e up ri s in g, did

you think it would be successful?
Ortega: We issued a call for t h e up ri s in g. A seri es of events, of objec

tive conditions, came up all of a sudden that prevented us from being
better pr epar ed. W e coul d not stop t he in su r rect i on . Th e mass move men t w en t beyon d t h e vangu ar d's capacit y t o t ak e t h e lead. W e cer ta i n l y could not oppose t hat mass movemen t, stop that av al an che. On

the contrary. we had to put ourselves at the forefront in order to lead it
a nd ch annel i t t o a cer t ai n ex t en t . I n t h i s sense, t h e v an gu ar d , aw ar e of i t s l i m i t a t i ons, decided t o

adopt the general decision taken by the masses; a general decision
t ha t w as based on t h e ex am pl e of t h e I n d i an s of M on i m bo, w ho, i n
In A u gust 1978, t w en t y -f i ve FSL N gu er ri llas took over the N a t i ona l Palace,

and held hostage more than sixt y members of Somoza's puppet Chamber of Deputies. They succeeded in winning the release of sixty political prisoners, having three Sandinista communiques read over the radio, and obtaining a large ransom.

Nicaragua — Strategy of Victory 6 7

turn, had been inspired by the example of the vanguard. In other words, the vanguard set the example in October; the masses
foll owed su i t for t h e f i r st t i m e i n an or ganized fashion i n M on i m bo.

The vanguard created the conditions on the basis of that example and
th e masses moved faster t h an t h e van gu ar d because a w h ole series of

objective conditions existed, such as the social crisis, the economic cri
sis, and th e pol i t i cal cr i si s of the Somoza regi m e. And since the regime was in such a st ate of decomposi t i on, every one of our act i ons far su r passed the i m pact we expected w ould resul t fr om

them. But we had to keep on hit ting. It was very difficult to hit the
tar get . We hi t i t , bu t i t w asn't pr ecisely a bu l ls-eye.

We were inspired by a spirit of victory, but we were aware of our lim it ations. We knew that it would be difficult to win, but we had to wage
t he st r u ggle w it h t h at k i n d of spi r i t , because it's only w i t h t hat spi r i t

that people are prepared to shed their blood.
F u r th er m ore, i f w e di dn' t or ganize t ha t m ass m ovemen t i t w ou l d have fal len i nt o gener al an ar ch y. I n other w or ds, the vangu ar d's deci

sion to call for the uprising in September made it possible to harness
th e av al anche, to or gan ize the u pr i si ng for the vi ct or y t hat w as to fol

low.
Ha rnecker: Wh a t c ondi t i o ns we re ri pe for i n s ur r ecti o n7 Ortega: Th e objecti ve condit i o ns of social and poli t i c al cris is exis te d.

But the conditions of the vanguard, in terms of the organizational lev
e l to lead the masses, and especiall y in t er ms of weapons, did not exi st . We di dn't h ave the necessary weapons but ever y t h i ng else was r ipe. Ha r necker: Th e re was a very sig ni f ic ant economic cris is, but Somoza st i l l h el d m an y elem en t s of pow er , chiefl y t h e a rm y —

Ortega: Right, exactly, the army. And we didn't have the experience of participating in a national uprising, the training such an experience
g i ves the masses and th e k n owl edge of the enemy , who showed up al l his weak nesses. We di dn't h ave enough weapons, but we did know t h at even if t he u pr i sin g was not v i ct or i ous i t w ould be a blow from w h i ch t he regim e w ou ld never recov er. We w ere absol ut el y conv i nced of t h i s an d so gr eat w as ou r con vi ct ion t h a t a m on t h l ater w e w er e alr eady c al l i ng for i n su r rect ion ag ai n .

There were some comrades on the left who held the view that Sep tember practically negated all possibility of a short-term victory, that
t h e oper at i ons had been a st r at egi c mi st ak e, a defeat , an d t hey t h u s

had delayed the day of victory.
T hey w er e m i st aken because Sept ember w a s not a v i ctor y bu t i t wasn't a defeat i n st r at egi c t er m s ei th er . I t w as a hi st or i cal achi eve men t w i t h bot h posit iv e an d negat iv e aspects.

68 Sandin istas Speak Ha rnecker: So, wh at i s th e fin al v e rd ic t, th en?

Ortega: That it was an accomplishment, because we grew as a van guard. One hundred and fifty men participated in that uprising and our forces were multiplied several times over: three- or fourfold, plus
the poten t ial for recr u i t i ng th ou sands of oth ers. We grew in size and in

firepower because we captured weapons from the enemy. The van
gu ar d suA'ered ver y few casual t ies. Th er e w er e people k i l led as a re s ul t of Somoza's genocide, bu t v er y few cadres w er e k i l led i n combat . I n ot her w or ds, we w er e able t o pr eserve ou r st r en g t h .

Harnecker: What is your verdict from the milita ry standpoint?
Ortega: We preserved our f orces, acqui re d mi l i t a ry e xperi e nce, cap t ur ed w eapons, learned abou t t h e en em y , an d destr oyed som e of t h e

enemy's means of mobilization, including armored vehicles. The ene
m y suffered m ore casual t ies t han we did; the people had a hand in t h i s

as did our own firepower, and we were able to retreat — this is a great
l esson — successfu l l y . For t he fir st t i me we w ere able to engage in m i l i t ar y m an euvers, pu l l i n g back to other places in the cit y and coun t r y side to accum u l ate forces for the new in su r r ect i onal st r u ggles of an of fensive n at ur e w h ich soon m at er i a l ized. So, we can't say i t w as a defeat . I t w ou ld h ave been a defeat i f they had ext er m i n ated us, if they had seized all our weapons, if we had been

broken up and dispersed.
I t w as not a m i l i t ar y v i ct or y since w e w er e u nabl e t o capt u r e t h e gar r i sons i n t he five cit ies wh ere t h ere was fi gh t i n g, bu t i t w as a si g n i fi cant pol i t i cal accom pl i sh m en t . I repeat , we called for in su r rect ion because of the pol i t i cal si t u a t i on

which had developed and to prevent the people from being massacred alone, because the people, just like they did in Monimbo, were taking
t o the streets on t h ei r ow n . Ha r necker: Wo ul d n't t h e people have been massacred ju st t h e same, w i t h or w i t h ou t y ou ? Ortega: No , it w ould ha ve been wo rs e, because at least we cha nne led th e w i l l of t h e people, just as happened i n M on i m bo, bu t on a m uch lar ger scale. T ha t i s w h y I t ol d you w e w en t for w ar d; we never w en t ar oun d i n ci r cles.

In the final stages, the peasants came down to join the struggle in
t he ci t ies. In Ch i n andega, the safe houses were f i l led w it h people t ak

ing three-hour classes. The people were going to take to the street: The people were the ones in the vanguard of that struggle. There was no al
ter n a t i ve bu t t o pu t oneself at t he head of t hat upsu rge and t r y t o ob tai n t he most posit iv e outcom e. W e placed our selves at t he head of that m ovem en t and led it i n fi v e

Nicaragua — Strategy of Victory 6 9 c it ies. It was t he fi r st n at i onal u p r i sing led by the F SL N bu t t hat w as chiefl y due to pressure by the masses.

Harnecker: You mean that on calling for insurrection you took into account above all the mood of the masses. Ortega: That's right, because their m orale was high a nd became
hi gher when t he palace was capt ur ed in A u gust — t hat paved the way f or t h e Sept ember i n su r r ect i on .

Harnecker: When you planned the capture of the palace, did you con
sider t he i m pact t h is w oul d have on t he masses? Ortega: W e kn ew t he mass movement w as comi ng to a head, but w e pr eferred t ha t i t come to a head t han t hat i t not come to a head . Th e impor t an t t h i ng was to foi l t he im per i a list plot w h ich con si st ed of stagin g a coup i n A u gust to put a ci v i l i an -m i l i t ar y r egim e in power and t h us pu t a damper on t h e r ev ol u t i on ar y st r u ggle. Th e palace oper at ion had t o do w it h t he pl ot . W e felt t ha t since w e di dn't h av e a l ar ge-scale par t y or ga nizat i on , since th e w or k i n g class a n d t he w or k i n g people i n gen er al w er e not w el l or ganized, the onl y

way to make ourselves felt in political terms was with weapons, That' s
wh y w e car r ied ou t m an y oper at i ons t hat w er e m i l i t ar y i n for m , but p rofou n dl y pol i t i cal i n cont ent . That w as the case in A u gu st . It w as a m i l i t ar y op er at ion w h ich w as an ou t gr owt h of a pol i t i cal rat her t h a n a m i l i t ar y si t u at i on . T hat w a s also t h e case i n Oct ober

1977 when we had to regain the milit ary initi ative and counteract a
p ol i t i cal m an euv er . Ha r necker: So, w h en s ome people ask w h y y ou c al led f or t h e Sep

tember uprising without having achieved the unity of the three ten
dencies, t hi s is expl ai ned b y Ortega: C o nd i t i o ns f or u n i t y d id n ot e xi st t h e n. F i r s t w e h ad t o str en gt hen t he st r u ggle, and al l t he t endencies were wor k i ng on t h i s. Li t t le by l i t t le we came to an under st an d i ng but ar ound a l ine w h ich

was called for in practice; it was not our line but the one the people de manded.
A ft er M on i m bo we dissolved the Car los Fonseca Colum n and sent i t s m em bers to the nerve cent ers of econom ic, social, and pol i t i cal act i v i t y in the coun t r y . As far as we w ere concerned t h ere was no choosing be tw een mou n t ai n and ci t y ; i t w as a case of being w i t h t he masses. We sent some of the fort y men in the colum n to Est el i, ot hers to M a nagua, and oth ers to Leon — The col um n served as a means to educat e

people. It made possible more all-around training because they were
g at h ered th ere under t he w ing of m em bers of the leader shi p l ik e Ger man Pornares and ot her m embers of our nat i onal leader sh ip. T h 'it w as how we t r a i ned a sm al l gr oup of cadres whom we l ater sent to the cit i es

70 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

to prepar e the i nsu r recti on , usin g w h at w e learned i n 1Vlon im bo.

Given all that had happened from October to Monimb6, we held the view that i t was necessary to put ourselves at the head of the mass movement in order to prevent the repressive forces from wearing it
d own , because i f t h a t had h appened, no m a t t er how m an y gu er r i l l a c olu m ns we h ad, vi ct or y i n t h e shor t t er m w as out of t h e quest i on . Th e cr ux of v i ct or y w as not m i l i t ar y i n n at u r e, i t w as t h e masses' p ar t i ci pat ion i n t h e in su r r ect i onal si t u a t i on . W e alw ay s st r u ggled t o

keep the activity of the masses going, and at the end it was showing
s igns of decl i ne, given t he fact t h at t h ere had been two years of u n i n ter r u pted act i v i t y after O ct ober an d r epression was get t i n g st eadi ly w or se. N at i ona l G u ar d m ember s w ou l d dress u p as gu er r i l l as, an d , s ince n i g h t t i m e belonged t o t h e gu er r i l l as , t hey w ou l d m ov e i n t o

neighborhoods and kill people.
T h e r epression w as so severe t hat some people w ere st ar t i n g to fal l b ack . As far as we were concerned, the en t i re st r ategy, all t he pol i t i cal an d

mil itary steps taken were focused on the masses, on preventing a de
cl ine in t hei r mor ale. T his is why we undert ook oper at i ons t hat did not f i t w i t h i n a specific pol i t i cal -m i l i t ar y plan bu t t hey di d serve the pu r pose of cont i n u i ng to m ot i v ate the masses, to keep the mass movement g oing i n t he ci t ies, w h i ch , i n t u r n , all owed us to gai n i n st r en gt h. T h e m asses m ade i t possibl e for t h e ar med m ovem en t t o accum u l at e t h e forces the masses th emselves needed .

We st rived to keep the masses in action. That's why at t imes it
s eemed as though oper at i ons w er e disconnected from a m i l i t ar y pl a n . Bu t , in fact, t hey w ere in l i ne w i t h a pol i t i cal -m i l i t ar y st r at egic sit u a t ion ai med at k eeping the mass mov em ent going because that was t he o nl y w ay to obt ai n a m i l i t ar y vi ct or y . Ou r i n s ur r ecti onal s tr a te gy w as cente red on th e masses not on m i l i t ar y con sider at i ons. I t's i mpor t an t t o u nder st and t h a t . Ha r necker: B u t d i d n't t h e fact t h a t t he e mp hasis was on u r b an i n sur rect ion as opposed to the gu er r i l l a col u m n lead t o an un d ul y gr eat loss of l ife and dest r u ct i on" .The fact t hat t he st r u ggle was cent ered on t h e ci t ies m akes i t easier t o r epress, for ex am pl e t he bom bi n g of t h e
c lt ,l e s

Ortega: T h a t q uesti on i s m e ani n g less, because t h at w a s t h e o nl y way to w i n i n N i car agua. If i t had been ot h er w ise, there w ould n ever

have been a victory. We simply paid the price of freedom. Had there
been a less costly means, we would h ave used i t bu t real i t y sh owed us

that in order to win we had to base ourselves on situations that had
b een t a k i n g shape, for better or for w or se, i n a disorder l y m a n ner an d

Ni caragua — Strategy of Vi ctory 7 1 wh ich i m p l ied a v er y h igh social pr ice.

Trying to tell the masses that the cost was very high and that they
s houl d seek an ot her w ay w oul d h ave mean t t h e defeat of t h e r ev ol u

tionary movement and more than that: falling into utopianism, pater
n a li sm , and ideali sm .

Liberation movements must realize that their struggle will be even
m or e cost l y t h a n ou r s. I person all y can't i m a gin e a vi ct or y i n L a t i n Am e r ica or an y w h ere else w i t h ou t t he large-scale par t i cip at ion of t he m asses and w i t h ou t a total econom ic, pol i t ical, and social crisis si m i l ar to t he one i n N i car agua . I myself feel it is very di II i cul t to t ake power w i t h out a creat ive com - , bi n at ion of al l f or m s of st r u ggl e w h er ever t hey can t ak e place: coun

tryside, city, town, neighborhood, mountain, etc., but always based on
the idea t hat t he mass movem en t is the focal point of t he st r u ggle and n ot t he v an gu ar d w i t h t h e masses l i m i t ed t o m er el y suppor t i n g i t . Ou r experi ence showed t hat i t is possible to combi ne the st r u ggle i n t he city and i n the coun t r y si de. We had st r u ggle in t he ci t ies, st r u ggl e

f or the control of means of communication, and struggle in the guerril
la c olumns i n t he r u r al and mou n t a in ous ar eas. But the col u m ns wer e not t he det er m i n in g factor in br i n g i ng about vi ct or y; they w ere si m p ly par t of a greater det er m i n i n g factor w h ich w as the arm ed st r u ggle of t he masses. That w as the m ai n con t r i b u t i on .

In May, after the September developments, the movement gained in
mi l i t ar y and pol i t i cal str en g t h, the act i v it y of the masses became m or e f ar -reach i ng , t h e ba r r i cades w er e erect ed , t h e dail y st r u g gl e i n t h e nei ghbor hoods con t i nu ed . N one of t h i s w oul d h ave been possible had t h er e been a st r at egic defeat . F r om Sept ember u n t i l w e l aunched t he offensive i n M ay , the br u n t o f m i l i t ar y act i v i t y w as borne by t he guer r i l l a col u m n s of th e N or t h er n Fr on t an d th e ones i n N u ev a G u i n ea, i n r u r a l an d m ou n t a i n ous

areas. The final offensive began with the capture of El Jicaro, in Nu
e va Segovia. In M arch Com m ander Ger m an Pom ares was act ive in t h e area an d w as able t o ov er power t h e enem y g ar r ison an d set sever al am bu shes for N at i onal Gu ar d con t i ngents com ing to aid the forces de feated at El J i caro. These oper at i ons cont i nued w i t h t he capt ure of Es

teli in April by the Carlos Fonseca Northern Front column. Esteli was taken by a guerrilla column, not an uprising. The masses joined in af
ter w ar ds.

Harnecker: But why did you capture a single city again? Isn't that a
repet i t ion of the M on i mbo exper i ence?

Ortega: No, because we weren't defeated in Esteli; the National
Gu ar d was u nabl e t o rou t t h e guer r i l l a f i g h t er s th ere. Ou r com r ades

72 Sandi nistas Speak wi t h dr ew b y br eak i n g t h r ough t h e en ci r cl em en t an d dem on st r at ed

that thousands of soldiers had been unable to defeat a column Of less
t h a n 200 m en . I t 's t r u e t ha t t h e forces used i n t h e capt u r e of E st el i

should have been larger. What happened was that orders had been given to carry out a series of operations in the area of Esteli and our
comr ades l aunched a direct at t ack on the ci ty. These were act ions th at w er e w i t h i n t h e per im eter of t h e N or t h er n Fr on t ; they w er e m u t u al s uppor t oper at i ons between t h e forces of t h e N or t h er n F r ont . Bu t t h e s i t u at ion i n t h e cou n t r y h ad det er i or ated t o such an ex t en t t h at t h e capt ure of the cit y cr eated a n at ionw ide feel i ng of expect at ion t hat ac celer ated t he in su r recti onal off en si ve.

After September the brunt of the war was borne by the guerrilla col
u m ns of the N ort h er n Fr ont. A t the same t i m e, all over the cou n t ry t h e

milit ia and the combat units of the Sandinista forces continued to ha
r ass t h e en em y . H u n dr eds of t h e r egi m e's hen chmen an d i nf or m er s were execut ed. A ft er the insu rr ection the people realized t hat t hey had w on and wer e incensed by t h e repression . Ha rnecker: In o th er wo rd s, the blows that w e re being dealt t h e ene my h ad a gr eater effect t h an t h e repression'? Ortega: A m u ch g reater e ffect. By t h i s ti m e the people were alr eady e xper ienced i n ba t t le and t h ei r t h i rst for vi ct or y w as so great t h at t h e Sept ember cr i m es, r at her t h a n dampen in g t h ei r sp i r i t , str en gthened

it even more. Everybody had had a relative or friend ki lled in the
st r u ggl e and t h er e was a great t h i rst for r ev enge. The people w ant ed revenge and we w er en't going to go against t h ei r w i shes. The fi nal off en sive began in M ar ch 1979 w i t h t he capt ure of El J i ca r o. The di ff er en t t endencies were begi n n i n g t o u n i t e by t h en . Ever y

body was in favor of beginning an offensive in the north, and there was
a gen er al consensus regar di n g the u pr i si ng. The capt ur e of E l J icar o was followed by t hat of Est el i. A fter E st el i t h ere was N ueva Gu i nea, a mi l i t ar y set back for us, but i t served to bog th e enemy dow n , to wear h i m dow n . I t cost u s 128 men — T h e pl an w as correct , bu t ou r com

rades were unable to cope with a number of tactical problems and the
e nem y h i t t hem h ar d . Ha rnecker: Wh a t w a s th e plan for N u e va G ui n ea? Ortega: T o in f i l t r a te a colu mn t h e re, to bog the enemy down, to car

ry out guerri lla operations. This would create the conditions in the
rest of the coun t r y for car r y i ng out pol i t i cal -m i l i t ar y w or k i n the ci t i es once the N at i ona l Gu ar d was dispersed. The repression w oul d be less b ecause the N at i onal Gu ar d w ould be bogged dow n i n N u eva G u in ea . Bu t i n stead of st i ck ing to guer r i l l a w ar f are, our com r ades oper ated on

flat terrain and became an easy target for the enemy.

N i caragua — Strategy of Victor y 7 3

Harnecker: In other words, by then the center of the struggle had shifted to the guerrilla units.
Ortega: T h e mass moveme nt d id not al low t h e enemy to concentr a te

all its military force against the columns and, at the same time, the
columns* operations forced the enemy to go out in search of them. This,

in turn, made the mass struggle in the cities a little easier.
The enemy found himself in a dead end. If he left the cities, the mass

movement would get the upper hand, and if he remained, this would
help t he guer r i l l a col u m ns' oper at i on s. Ha rnecker: T h i s w ay o f o rg anizing t he a rm ed s tr uggle, w as i t pl anned befor eh and or w as i t som et h i ng t hat you learned as you went

along?
Ortega: We ll, t hese are t hings that you l earn i n t he course of the st r u ggl e an d use t o you r adv an t age. W e k new t h a t i t w oul d be th at way . W e pl anned a n operation i n th e nort h t o force th e N ational Guard to go there, giv i n g us a chance to better organize the rest of the c ou nt r y . Ha rnecker: Ho wever, t h at s ta tement y ou m ade a bout t h e m ass st r u ggle in t he ci t ies m ak i n g it possible for t he gu er r i l l as to gain mi l itary s tr e ng th i s a conclusion y ou a r r i v ed at l a te r. You d id n't p lan i t that w ay, did you? Ortega: Yo u' re r i g h t . I t w a s a c onclus ion b ased on p ra cti c al expe rience. Getting back to the series of operations, after Nueva Guinea we captured Jinotega in M ay and this was followed by the battle in E l N a ranj o, on t h e Sou th er n F r on t . I t w as t hen t h a t w e called for t he f i n al uprising.

Harnecker: What made you issue the call for the insurrection in May?
Ortega: Because by then a whole series of objective conditions were com in g to a head: the econom ic cr i sis, the dev al u at ion of t he cordoba , the political crisis. And also because, after September, we realized that it was necessary to strategically combine, in both time and space, the

uprising of the masses throughout the country, the offensive by the
Front's mil it ary forces, and the nationwide str ik e i n w hich the em p loyers, as well, were involved or in agreement .

There would be no victory unless we succeeded in combining these
three strategic factors in the same time and space. There had already been several n at i on w ide st r i k es, but not com bi ned w i t h t he masses' of fensive. T here had been mass uprisings, bu t not combined wi t h t h e

strike or with the vanguard's capacity to hit the enemy hard. And the vanguard had already dealt blows, but the other two factors had been
a bsent .

74 Sandin istas Speak

These three factors were combined to a certain extent in September , but not completely, because the process still wasn't being led entirely by us. We made it clear aAer September, in an internal circular, that
th er e would be no vi ct or y u n less these t h ree fact ors w er e combined .

It would have been very difficult, without the Sandinistas' unity, to
g at her and sy n t hesize into a single pract ical l ine all t he achievem en t s th at th e var i ous t endencies had accu m u l at ed. T his is why we can say wi t h cer t a i n t y t hat u n it y pl ayed and w i l l con t i n ue to play a m aj or r ole i n th e r evol u t i on . Ha rnecker: B u t sh ou l dn't t h er e h ave been st i l l an ot her fa ct or? I 'm say ing t his because — at least fr om t he out side — t here seemed to be a b alance of forces t hat w as ver y di ff i cu l t t o br ea k . Ortega: We ll , th a t' s the mi l i t a ry aspect. I' ll e xp la in t h a t l a te r. No w w e' re deal in g w i t h t h e st r at egic fact ors. From a st r at egic st andpoi n t , as of M ay , Somoza had al r eady lost th e w ar . I t was only a question of t i m e. Ha r necker: B u t i f y ou h a dn't r e ceived t h e weapons you r e ceived i n t hose last few week s w ou ld you h ave been able to w i n ? Ortega: I' ll g o i n to t h at p resentl y , b ut f i r s t I w a nt t o s ay t h a t i t ' s v er y i m por t an t t o com bi n e t hese t h ree fact or s. A ft er Sept em ber w e capt u red E l J i car o an d w e t r ied t o t ak e E st el i , t oo, bu t w e couldn' t coord in ate the oper at ion w el l. L at er, Est el i was capt u r ed, and t his w as

practically an action by the vanguard, a hard blow, but st il l another isolated action. The Nueva Guinea operation was aimed at supporting
Est el i bu t t h e for ces i n E st el i w er e al ready w i t h dr a w i n g. The oper a t ion i n N ueva Gu i nea ar oused n at i on w ide i n t erest, and w hen t he for ces were being mobi l ized to cont i n ue the advance, to combine all t hose

factors, Nueva Guinea fell and then came Jinotega, which arose in an
at t empt t o coor di n at e it w i t h N u ev a Gu i nea and t hen gr adu al l y coor d i n at e ever y t h i n g .

The taking of Jinotega coincided with the activity on the Southern Front and the capture of El N aranjo — on the Costa Rican border, where the National Guard had stationed a large force — which the
S out h er n Fr on t's general st aff decided to capt ur e in coor di n a t ion w i t h an at t ack on the cit y of Ri vas, t hus begi n n i ng the fi nal off ensive on t he S outh er n Fr on t of N i car ag ua . Th e Sou th er n F r on t w a nt ed t o t ak e adv an t age of t he di sp er sion of

the enemy forces resulting from the capture of Jinotega, but when it went into action the forces in Jinotega had already withdrawn. That was the action in which Germann Pomares was killed. We came to the conclusion that if we continued this way the enemy w ould cut us to pieces, because they would be weakening us bit by bit .

N icaragua — Strategy of Victory 75 I f we lost E l N ar anj o we w ould lose the chance of scor ing a shor t -t er m m i l i t ar y v i ct or y . W e j ust cou l dn' t aff or d t o lose at E l N a r anjo. W e wor k ed ou t a pl an t h at , at t h a t t i m e, concerned ch iefl y t h e i nt er nal fr ont , t hat is, th e fr onts h av in g to do m a i nl y w i t h t h e ci t ies, since at

that t ime the guerrilla columns were dispersed and recovering from
t he bat t les they had fough t a nd, th er ef ore, wou l dn't be able to go i n t o a ction i m m edi at el y. T h us, the insur rect ion was launched w i t h the f u l l a w ar eness t hat t h e colu m ns of t h e N or t h er n F r ont , i n t h e m ou n t a i n ous ar eas, w ould not be able to t ake par t i n the act ion i m m edi at ely but w oul d do so l at er . The way we saw it , the in su r rect ion had to last, at a nat i on w ide lev el , for at least t w o weeks i n or der t o give t he col u m n s a chance to re g r oup and go i nto act ion at t he r i gh t mom en t, m ak i ng the enemy's sit uat ion com pl et el y u n t enable an d su bject i n g t h e enem y t o a const an t st r at egic siege, w it h vi ct or y on l y a quest ion of t i m e, of wear i ng dow n the enemy before l au nch ing the fi nal at ta ck. We pl an ned to wear down t h e enem y b y cu t t i n g of f h i s m eans of com m u n icat ion , isol at i n g h i s mi l i t ar y u n i t s, cu t t i ng off supp lies and so for th, t hus for m i ng a nat i on w ide bat t l efr on t t hat t he Somoza regime wou l dn't be able to cope w i t h . An d t h at 's j ust w ha t h appened. W e work ed out. the i nsu r rect i onal p l an . W ha t w a s pl anned , basicall y for t h e ci t i es, was t ha t w hen t h e B enj a m i n Zeledon Col u m n nf the South er n F r ont w en t i n t o act ion i n El N ar anj o, the upr i sing was to be l aunched a few days l ater in t he Ri g obert o I.opez Perez West er n F r on t , w h ich w ou l d cr eate a ver y d i f f i c ul t si t u a t ion for t he N at i onal Gu ard: major bl ows in t he N or t h, bl ow s in t h e West , an d m ore bl ows in t he Sout h . Several days after t he bat. tles in El N a ra nj o, our forces in Masaya, Gr anada, and Carazo were to g o i nto act i on, cu t t i ng off' t he means of com m u n i cat ion to Somoza's for c es on t h e Sout h er n F r ont . Th e u pr i sin g i n M an agu a w as t o st ar t as soon as fi g h t i n g had begu n on al l t hose fron t s. Ha rnecker: E x c use me for i n t e rr u p t i n g , but w asn't i t i n E l N a ran jo th at t he Sandi n i st a forces were d efeated and h ad to re tr e at? Ortega: N o. We didn't suffer a defeat at El N a r an jo . What, happened th er e was a m i l i t ar y m a neuv er ; t h at. is, we l eft. the E1 N ar anj o h i l l s, and several days later we capt u red Penas Bl ancas and Sapoa, the N a ti ona l G u a rd's ma jo r mi l i t a ry b ases on t h e Sout he rn F r o nt. We suc c eeded i n get t i n g Com m ander B r av o ou t of Sapoa and after t h a t w e w aged a posi t i ona l war i n t he ent i r e area u n t i l t he war w as over .

Harnecker: Going back to my question about the military balance of
forces and th e m at ter of weapons, what w as you r or i g i na1 plan? Ortega: W e pla nned to seize our w e apons from t h e enemy . Ha rnecker: B u t i t d id n't t u r n o ut t h a t w a y.

76 Sa n d in i stas Speak

Ortega: Well, it did, in part. This is what actually happened: begin ning with the actions in El Naranjo, we succeeded in launching the of
f en siv e by t h e v an gu ar d an d coor di n at i n g w i t h t h e other fr on t s. W e

s ucceeded in calling a strike, which turned out to be a general strik e
a nd i n w h ich Radio Sand ino pl ayed a decisive role. W i t h ou t t h e radi o st at ion it w oul d h ave been di f fi cul t to keep the st r i k e goi ng. The mass i n su r rection also took pl ace. Th er efore, the t h ree fact ors we were t a l k in g ab ou t w er e com b i n ed . A f te r t h at . w he n Somoza bega n t o get

bogged down and was unable to destroy our forces, his defeat was only
a m at t er of t i me, in fact , a m a t ter of days. The st r at egic sit u at ion w as al r eady defined. From a st r at egic st andpoi nt , the enem y had lost; they wer e onl y defendin g t h emselves, bu t w e coul dn't w i n ei t h er , due to a quest ion of f i repow er . Sol v i ng t h is problem m ade it possible to hasten the end of a war t hat t he enemy had already lost. They could st i l l wi n a few bat t l es, but never t he w ar . Somoza would n ever h ave been able to get ou t of t h e hole h e was in . N ow t h en , if w e hadn't had t ha t a r m a ment , m aybe t h e w a r w oul d h ave lasted l onger , had a h i gher social cost, caused m ore bloodshed and greater dest ru ct i on. W it h less ar m a men t w e w oul d h ave won an y w ay , bu t at t h e cost of greater dest r u c t i on . W e got t h e weapons bu t t hey d i dn't r each al l t h e places t hey w er e needed ; an d i n t hose places i t w a s possi bl e t o defea t t h e N a t i on al G u ar d b y r esor t i n g t o dest r u ct i on , b y bu r n i n g en t i r e ci t y b lock s i n order t o su rr ou n d t h e ar m y ga r r ison by f i r e. W h er ever t h er e was an

army garrison and we didn't have enough weapons, we got the people
o ut of t hei r h ouses — w hich w ere already pract i cal ly dest r oyed by t h e

enemy's bombs and mortar shells — and we proceeded to occupy the houses nearest the garrison in order to bring our forces up close and keep ii, under control. The houses that were already destroyed were set
a f i r e to force the enem y to abandon t he su r r ounded gar ri son . Wh a t few w eapons we had we deployed near the exi t and other k ey spots, an d w e fough t t h e enem y w i t h contact bom bs. I n ot her w or ds, t h ousands of peopl e fough t w i t h m ach et es, pi ck s an d sh ov els, an d hom em ade bom bs. T ha t w as the ar m am en t an d i t sh owed t hat i t w as c apable of destr oy i n g an d w a s destr oy in g t h e enem y , excep t t h a t i t m ean t a longer w ar . Only a sol u t ion to t he problem of fi r epower cou l d ' hasten t he end of a wa r t ha t t he enem y had al ready lost . By t hen Somoza had no foodstu ffs, no gasol i ne, cou l dn't use an y of the hi gh w ays. could no longer con t r ol the coun t r y; the economv was al r eady i n r u i ns, ever y t h ing was para lyzed. Somoza could no longer r u l e and his posi t ion was unt en able, To t his we should add the i nt er n at i on

n i ca r ag ua — S t r ategy of V i ctor y

77

a l pressur e. I t w as onl y a quest ion of t i m e befor e Somoza was ov er

thrown.
Ha rneckert Bu t could n't t h a t t i m e factor a lso be harm f ul to the mass m ov em en t by dr aw i n g al l t h e st r en gt h ou t of i t ?

Ortega: No. At that stage of the game there was no danger of its be
in g ex h au st ed , because even t h oug h t h er e w er en*t en ough w eapons, t hey w er e bein g capt ur ed from t h e en em y an d t h e enem y w as bei n g defeated . Needless t o say , t h e ar m am en t t ha t w a s received pl ay ed qu i te a decisive role in hast en i ng the vi ct or y and, in some cases, in de ci di n g a few bat t l es w h ich ot h er w i se w oul d h ave been lost . W e don' t know i f losing t hose bat t les would have had any effect on t he spi r i t of t he masses and on t he m i l i t ar y si t u at ion in t he rest of the coun t r y an d w e woul d h ave lost t h e w ar . I n t h i s sense, we can say t hat t he ar m a m en t pl ayed a st r ategic r ol e and t ha t i t i s necessar y t o have a m i n i mu m reserve of war m at er iel — bazook as, explosives, and ar m am en t wi t h h i g h f i r epower — r a t he r t h a n l a r ge q u a n t i t ies because t h ey

would never be enough to meet the needs of the people. What counts is
the people's wil l to go out i n to t he streets and fi gh t w i t h w h at ever t hey h ave at h a nd . To su m u p, i t was possible to com bine t hose t hree fact ors — st r i k e, in su rr ect i on , an d m i l i t ar y off en sive — and, before t h at , th e u n it y of S andi ni smo was achieved, w i t hou t w h ich i t w ould have been di ff i cu l t t o keep those fact or s com bi ned an d coor di n at ed . F u r t h er m or e, th er e w as an excellent r ear gu ar d n et w or k t h at m ade it possible to have t h e tech ni cal back i ng necessary to end the war qui ck ly. The means of com mu n i cat ion w er e al so of v i t a l i m por t ance: w i r eless for coor d i n at i on am on g t he v ar i ous fr on ts, and t he r adio. W i t h ou t t hem i t w ou ld have been i mpossible to wi n t he w ar, because it w ould h ave been impossible to coor di n ate i t ei t her fr om a pol i t i cal or m i l i t ar y st andpoi nt . We suc ceeded in organi zing Radio Sandino, w hich was the m ai n means of pro pagand a for t h e u p r i sin g an d for t h e st r i k e. A not her factor w as ou r a b i l i t y to m a i n t ai n broad al l i ances, a policy t hat succeeded in isol at i n g t h e Somoza r eg i m e , achi ev i n g n a t i on w id e a n t i -Somoza u n i t y , an d n eu t r a li zi ng th e react ionar y cu r r en ts i n favor of i n t er v en t i on . W i t h ou t t h e m on ol i t h i c u n it y of t he San di ni st as; w i t h ou t an in su r rect i ona l st r at egy su pported b y t h e m asses; w i t h ou t t h e necessar y c oordi nat ion bet ween t h e gu er r i l l a fr ont s an d t h e m i l i t ar y fr on t s i n t h e ci t i es; w i t h ou t effect iv e w i r eless com m u ni cat ion t o coor din at e al l

the fronts; without a radio broadcasting system to guide the mass
movement ; w i t h ou t h a r d -h i t t i n g tech ni ca l an d m i l i t ar y r esources;

without a solid rear guard for introducing these resources and prepar

7B Sa n d i n is tas Speak

ing the men, training them; without prior training; without previous victories and setbacks as happened in Nicaragua beginning in October
1977, when t h e masses wer e subj ected to t h e most savage repression

which was, at the same time, a great source of learning; without a flex
ib le, i nt el l i gent , an d m a t ur e policy of a l l i ances on bot h t h e n at i on al and i nt er n a t i onal l evels th ere would have been no revol u t i on ary vi ct o ry . Th e vi ct or y w as the cu l m i n a t ion of al l those fact or s. It al l sounds very si m ple, but you can't i m ag i ne w hat i t cost us to do

it — lt cost us an October, a February, a palace, an insurrection in Sep
tember , al l t h e b at t les afte r Sept em ber i n E l J i caro, E st el i , N u ev a Gu i n ea. It cost us al l t he eff or t s made i n t he zone of the Pablo Ubeda C ol um n i n t he m ou n t a i ns, in t he A t l an t ic Coast zone. Th at 's what w e h ad t o pay for ou r v i ct or y . Ha rnecker: A b out t h e re ar g ua rd — s ome th i n g t h a t w a s absent i n m an y L a t i n A m er i can guer r i l l a movem ents — when di d you st ar t or g an i zing i t ? Ortega: We alwa ys had a rear g ua rd . The moveme nt h ad di re ct e x per i ence w it h a rear gu ard dat ing back m any years. Our coun t r y is not a n i sl and l ik e Cuba, we have to rely on neighbor i ng cou n t r ies, and t h e r evol u t i on ar y m ov em en t r el ied o n su ppor t f r o m t h e n ei ghbor i n g movem en ts from the very begi n n i ng. Sandino him sel f w en t to M exico, to H on du ras — m an y H on du r an s an d Cost a Ri cans j oi ned San di no's

struggle — so we counted on support from Honduras and Costa Rica to
meet some needs of the rear gu ard t hat w ere diffi cu l t to meet i n N i ca r ag u a . W e oper ated cl andest i n el y i n Cost a Ri ca an d H on du r as. A n d i n o rder t o set up th e r ear gu ar d at h i gher lev els i t became necessar y —

along with finding resources and setting up clandestine schools — to
b egi n ar ou si n g — t o begi n ar ou si n g a feel i n g of sol i d ar i t y w i t h ou r c ause am on g t h e m ai n pr ogressive pol i t i ca l sect or s i n each coun t r y , wi t h ou t bein g sect ar i an , and not w i t h t h e left -w i n g sect ors alone, be cause t ha t w oul d h ave m ean t isol at i n g ou rselves. N obody gave us a rear gu ar d; we won t h e r i gh t t o h ave one. T h e al l i ances we achieved t h r ough ou r effor t s were of v i t a l i m por t ance i n ou r ob t a i n i n g heavy w eapons and sophi st icated equ i pm en t . Ha rnecker: Co nsideri n g t h a t y o urs w as an a r m ed m o ve me nt, how

did you manage to put i nto practice a broad policy of alliances'? It
woul d seem easier for an elect i on-ori en ted m ov em en t to put i n t o prac

tice a policy of that kind.
Ortega: We succeeded because we earned respect for o urs elves, and t h i s i s somet h i n g t ha t ot her m ov em ent s h av e not achi ev ed; they ar e not t ak en ser i ou sl y, they ar e not respected. We won t he r i gh t to estab

¹c a r ag ua — St r a tegy of V i c tory 7 9

lish alliances, we imposed our right. If they hadn't seen us as a force to be reckoned with they wouldn't have approached us, but they realized we constituted a force and thus had to become our allies. And they did
so due to our pol i t i cal pr ogr am, even t h ough ou rs was an ar med move

ment with a revolutionary leadership. The progressives realized that ours was a revolutionary movement
and t hat we w er en't t ot al l y i n accord w i t h t h ei r ideology, but t hey al so r ealized t hat we had a pol i t i cal pr ogram t hat w as, to a cer t ai n ext en t , of i nt erest to t hem and t hat we had m i l i t ary powe r. T hose th ree facto rs m ade it possibl e for us to est ab lish t r u e al l i ances, not paper ones. W e made no agreement of any k i nd. We just set down the r u les of the gam e

and acted accordingly, and as a result we went on gaining political
g r ou n d . Ha rnecker: Ca n you t e ll u s wh at effect t h e in te rn a ti o nal bala nce of f orces had on y ou r vi ct or y ? Ortega: T h e in t e rn a ti o nal b alance of forces, the in te rn a t i o nal sit u a ti on , the st at e of t he v ar ious forces i n t h e ar ea, t h e cont r a di ct i ons of West er n dev eloped cou n t r i es, etc., must def i n i t el y b e t ak en i n t o ac c oun t .

It would have been very difficult for us to win by depending only on
in t er na l developme nt . W e realized t ha t t h e i nt er nal g a ins had t o be r ei nforced b y t h e f or ces t h a t exi st ed abr oad . A n d t h e onl y w a y t o

achieve this was to practice a mature, flexible policy by disclosing our
revol u t i on ar y , democr at ic, an d pa t r i ot ic pr ogram fo r n a t i ona l recon st r u ct i on . T ha t w as what m ade i t possible for us to coun t on t h e sup por t of al l t h e m at ur e forces the w or l d ov er , the r ev ol u t i on ar y f orces, the progressive forces. Ha rnecker: Ma t u re forces, you s ay? Wh at d o you me an by t,his? Ortega: I' m s peaki ng of t h e bourgeois forces that g o th r o ugh a p ro c ess of m at u r i t y an d don't r u sh i n t o adven t u r ou s u nder t ak i ngs l i k e

those of the CIA and the reactionary sectors. There are mature forces
i n t he w or ld t h at , reali zing the qua l it y and str en gt h of a revol ut i on a r y m ovemen t , even i f they h ave con t r adi ct or y i n t erests, end u p respect ing i t . I t is even possible. in fact , to for m cer t ai n al l i ances, to agree on cert ai n pol i t i ca l issues, t h a t h av e a bear i n g on t h e balance of forces n ecessary for t he fi nal at ta ck. In order to achieve t his it is i mpor t an t t o hav e a progr a m w h ich responds t o t h e count,ry's real pr obl em s, t h at proposes sol u t i ons t hat eve ry body w i l l c onsider correct.

We defined the objective problems: that Nicaragua must undergo re
const r u ct ion for such and such reasons, that n a t i ona l u n it y was neces s ary for such and such a r eason and so for t h —

Moreover, it was necessary to win everybody's support, not the sup

80 Sa n d in is tas Spe ak

p ort of the left-wing sectors alone. The Sandinista Front made it a

point to set up an infrastructure of solidarity in each country, seeking,
fi r st l y , the suppor t of al l ; and secondl y , t he suppor t of those who best

understood our problems. Now then, there's a big difference between sympathizing with our cause and providing material aid. And who's going to provide such ma terial support? Whoever wants to do so, without political commit ments of any kind attached, without jeopardizing principles. Getting that support was a great accomplishment on the part of the Sandinistas. We wanted to get as much support as we could abroad in
order t o fr u st r at e an y scheme of for eign i nt er ven t i on . A n d i n doing so

we even won the support of sectors in the United States itself.
Ha r necker: As f ar a s th e Sand in is ta m o ve me nt i s concerned, wha t

bearing did the existence of the three tendencies and their later reuni f cation have on the process'? i Ortega: As I said, Sandinista unity was a decisive factor in the victo ry. However, in order to understand the process of reintegration we must go back a bit into history . What happened in Nicaragua was not a profound division in the
FSL N bu t r at her a sor t of spl i t -up of the v an gu ar d i n to t h r ee parts as a resul t of ou r l ack of m at u r i t y at t h e t i m e Ha rnecker: Wh en d id t h a t h a ppen?

Ortega: It s ta rted between 1976 and 1977. Harnecker: And what was the reason for it? Ortega: I was coming to that. More than a question of ideology, of program, it was a question of the leaders' concern over finding a solu tion to the problems of the revolutionary movement and channeling the revolutionary activities in that direction.
Ha r necker; I d on't q ui te un ders ta nd w hat y ou m e a n — Ortega: We l l , the leaders hi p's way of deali n g wi th th e pro ble ms was

primitive. In actual practice, there was virtually no coordinated lead
er sh ip . A s a resul t of t h e r epression an d du e t o t h e fact t h a t w e r e

mained out of contact with one another for long periods of time, plus the lack of a common line, of a political commitment set down in writ ing, everyone worked as they pleased. And this led to clashes. The split was not caused by profound ideological and political differences, al though this type of problem did exist. If we had been better organized,
p er haps we could h ave set t led t he con t r adi ct i ons — w h ich ar e alw ay s presen t i n t h e i n i t i a l st ages of ev er y m ov em en t — i n a posit i v e m a n

ner, encouraging criticism while maintaining unity. The lack of this necessary framework for discussion along with our immaturity as in dividuals, as revolutionaries, coupled with the repressive atmosphere

Ni ca r ag ua — St r ategy of Vi ctory 8 1

led to our gradual spl it, breaking up into the three tendencies that everybody knows about. The split coincided with the death in combat of Oscar Turcios and
Ri cardo M or al es, both m embers of the nat i onal leader sh i p. It arose out

of the growth of the Sandinista movement itself, and came at a time when the very development of the movement called for a radical im provement in our organization and leadership, a more organized van guard capable of effectively leading the mass struggle, of charting a sure path for the armed struggle in Nicaragua. We were aware of this need, but we were not able to accomplish this, to assimilate the expe rience of our older comrades — more experienced in party work, in working with the masses, with more military experience and more ex perience in dealing with political forces at home and abroad — and to
combine this with the dynamism of the young people who were already

beginning to join the movement in significant numbers. It was necessary to combine the old with the new and, in practice, t hi s created clashes. Th e older comrades began t o mi strust t he y ounger ones, who were beginning t o assume responsibilit y for a number of tasks, and the young ones, who had no idea how hard the struggles of the preceding years had been, underrated the older com rades because the veterans still resorted to primitive methods of work which the young ones thought should be eliminated.
Ha rnecker: Yo u consider y o urs elf a mo ng t h e ve te ra ns ? Ortega: W o ul d n't y ou say s o? I w as among t ho se who sta rt e d years

ago. Harnecker: How do you explain t he implicit d ivision of labor be tween the three tendencies by virtue of which the Proletarian Tenden cy worked chiefly w ith the urban masses and the Prolonged People' s
War T endency with the guerri llas in the mountains? Ortega: I w a nt t o e xp la in t h a t t he d i v i s ion o f l a bor o f w h i ch y ou

speak was not the result of the division into tendencies; it existed be
f ore t he di vi sion of t he fr on t . L et me expla i n

The leaders of the three tendencies were concerned with the overall problems of the revolution. What I'm trying to say is that when, at the time of the split, the comrades working on the different tasks assigned to them by the FSLN realized that they were unable to come up with
sol u t i ons for t he problems they faced — because of the dr aw backs and

weaknesses I' ve already mentioned — they started to organize them selves and the work they had mastered on the spot and seek solutions to the problems they faced according to the structures withi n their
reach . Y ou m ust r em ember t h a t w e w er e w or k i n g am idst br u t a l r e

82 Sandin istas Speak

pression; it was impossible to do nationwide work, everybody worked according to what the situation dictated. The comrades who worked in the mountains continued doing so in line with the prevailing situa
t i on ; those wh o w or k ed m or e closel y w i t h sect or s i n pr odu ct i on , w i t h

students, and in making known scientific revolutionary theory con tinued to do so; and those who had been doing chiefly mil itary w ork ,
s eekin g in su r r ect i on , pur sued t h at l i n e. A ct u a l l y t he efforts m ade by t he t hr ee separ ate st ru ct ur es w ere fu r

thering a single struggle, were giving rise to a single policy, and were evolving a single strategy for victory . That explains why none of the tendencies thought of setting up a new FSLN . Harnecker: So you didn't have three general s ecretarie s— Ortega: Of course not. And that explains why, when the unity of the movement was reestablished, the work the three tendencies had done
w as compl em en t a r y .

Harnecker: So t h is s ort o f d iv ision o f l abor e xisted b efore t he s plit — Ortega: Yes, the different areas of work had been decided upon by the movement. The fact that we all came from a common root was very helpful. It led us to respect the work of the other tendencies. For exam ple, the insurrectional tendency did not try to set up another revolu tionary student front. It let that organization, which played such an important r ole in Nicaragua, remain under the control of the other
tendencies. Nor was th er e an y i n t er fer ence w it h t he w or k t he " Pr ol e tar i an " com r ades di d i n seve ral f a c to ri es, a nd t h ey d id n' t i n t e rf ere

either. They didn't try to set up another Northern or Southern Front , which was the most important mil itary wor k done by the "insurrec tionals." The efforts were coordinated and they complemented each other .
Ha r necker: B esides, no one of the th re e could have tr i u m p hed wi t h

out the help of the others.
Ortega: Th a t' s ri g h t . The pro blem w a s th at e ach one wanted to lead

the process, wanted to be the one that stood out the most, but that was
overcom e i n t h e course of t h e st r u ggl e i tsel f an d ev er ybody r eal ized

the importance of everybody else's work. Thus we came to the unity agreements which we started to work on in late 1978 and which were concluded in M arch 1979, based on a single policy, without anyone having to give ground to the other. The whole Sandinista movement agreed on a single policy which upheld the insurrectional nature of the struggle, called for a f le xible policy on a ll iances and the need for a broad-based program, etc. This programmatic, political, and ideologi

Ni ca r ag ua — S t r ategy of V i ctory 8 3

cal foundation made it possible for us to coordinate our efforts with in creasing effectiveness and pave the way for our regrouping. I think it would be more correct to say that we regrouped together rather than reunited. The three tendencies all had a great desire to become a sin gle FSLN once again, as shown by the enthusiasm, love, and zeal with which this unit y is preserved now, and w'e're sure it is irreversible. Just as Sandinista unity was vital for victory, the unity of all the left around Sandinismo and of the entire population around the left and Sandinismo is vital to consolidate the process and achieve our goals.
Ha r necker: W e u n d ers ta nd t h a t w o men p la yed a v e ry i m p ort a nt role in t he armed st r u ggle i n N i car agua, that i n t he ci t ies they fought s houlder to shoulder w i t h men and in t he col u m ns they came to const i tu t e 25 percent of t he force; t hat t h ere w ere sev er al w omen com m and ers. W hat are your vi ews on t his? Was i t som et h i ng new or was t here a

tradition of women participating in such activities?
Ortega: Th e Sandi n is ta F r o nt w a s heir t o t he t r a di t i on of w o men' s

participation in the struggle, not only in Sandino's time but also in the
past cen t u r y an d even fu r t her ba ck . You al ready k now about t he r ol e o f w omen d u r i n g Sand i no's st r u ggle, of his com rade, of i n t er n a t i on al ist com r ades l i k e t he L i a T oro si st er s. Or t h e case of t h e wo men w h o w er e m u r dered by t h e Y a n k ees i n 19 12. Th er e was a woman from E l

Salvador involved; her name was Lucia Matamoros. She was drawn and quartered for having fought against the intervention of that time.
T h ere was also Com r ade Concepcion A l d ay, the w ife of the first L iber a l gu er r i l l a t o fi gh t t h e Y a nk ees i n C h i n andega, w h o was k i l led i n

1926.
Th e F SL N i n h er it ed an d foll owed u p on t h i s par t i cipat i on . Bu t i t' s i m p or t an t to point out t hat San di n i smo not only developed the par t i ci pat ion of w omen i n t h e van gu ar d or gani zat ion bu t i n al l sect ors, and not j ust i n suppor t w or k for key tasks bu t i n key st r at egic tasks. Such

is the case of guerrilla Commander Dora Tellez, better known as Com
m ander 2; guer r i l l a Com m ander M on ica Ba lt odano; and other guer r i l

la commanders such as Leticia Herrera. These three comrades played
a very i mp or t an t r ole, not j ust i n suppor t w or k for t he r ev ol u t i on ar y s t r u ggl e bu t as pol i t i cal an d m i l i t ar y leaders. I n th e course of th e i n s ur rect i on, they w er e leaders on t he bat t l efi eld, as in t he case of Dor a Tel lez {Claudia I, who headed what was called t he Rigobert o Lopez Pe r ez West er n Fr on t , one of t he most i m por t an t fr ont s of t he w a r .

Sandinismo did not close the doors to women's participation; that
w oul d h av e been a back w a r d , sexist w a y of u nderest i m a t i n g t h em .

Women played a very important role in the insurrection. There were
c ol um n s i n w h ic h al l t h e of ficer s w er e w om en , w omen w h o com

84 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

manded hundreds of men without any problem. Harnecker: Before we end this interview, would you like to say any thing else?
Ortega: W e l l , firs t o f a ll , I w o uld l i k e to th a nk y ou for t h i s opport u nit y to discuss these issues, w hich are vi t al to an under st an ding of our

revolutionary process. I would have liked to give more thought to the answers but the daily tasks we face have made this impossible. What I
s aid h ere should not be vi ewed as the last w or d, as the defi n i t ive an al

ysis. I' ve just expressed my particular views, which I hope will contrib
u te to a better u nder st an di ng of our process, of our br ave and insp i r i n g revol u t i on ar y st r u ggle.

On Human Rights in Nicaragua
by Tomtls Borge

The fol l o u i ng presentation ivas made by FSL1V leader T omas Borge, N i car ag ua n mi ni ster u f th e i nteri or , t o th e I nt er -A meri ca n H u m a n Ri g hts Com mi ssion on October 10, 1980. The comm is sion spent a week i n 1Vi car ag ua , meeti ng w i t h r epresenta ti ves of th e gover nment , t h e armed f orces, the j u di ci a l system, an d the Cath ol ic ch ur ch , as wel l as wi t h ex -N a ti onal G uard p ri soners and th ei r fa mi li es. On i ts depar ture, t he com missi on a n nounced i t woul d recommend i nter na ti onal h um a n i ta ri a n ai d to N i car ag ua . T hi s presenta ti o n wa s or i g i n a ll y p u bli shed a s a pa m p hlet b y t h e Mi n i stry of the I nteri or . T he tr ansla ti on is by In t e rconti n e nt a l P ress. We have li st ened w it h gr eat respect an d at t en t ion to your op i n i on s.

Perhaps I should start by saying that in every country there are only
tw o possibi l i t i es. E i ther you are in favor of h um an di gn i t y and respect for h u m an r i g h ts, or you ar e against h u m a n r i g h ts. Th ere is no other p ossibi l i t y .

Leaving aside the nuances that may exist, and without being me chanical about it — either you' re for human rights or you' re against them.
T h e pol i t i ca l t h r ust of t h i s r ev ol u t ion an d t h i s gover n m en t i s u n sh ak a bl y and i r r ever si bly i n favor of h um an di gn i t y , of hu m an r i gh t s. Ob vi ou sl y , i n pr act ice we h ave fallen sh or t of perfect i on, bu t t he most i m por t an t t h i n g is our st r at eg ic, hi st or ic decision to be i n favor of h u man r i g ht s. O u r i n v i t i n g you h ere was one resul t of t hi s decisi on . In order t o t al k about h u m a n r i g h t s, you have to t al k about the So moza di ct at or sh i p, and abou t al l t h e gover n m en ts N icar agu a has h ad . B u t especi al ly abou t th e Somoza di ct at or sh i p . O ver t h e last h al f cent u r y ou r people h ave been pu t i n fr on t of t h e f i r i n g squa d w i t h ou t an y l ega l ni cet ies bein g observed . T hey h a v e been pu t i n t o t or t ur e ch am ber s. T h e Somoza gover n m ent 's specialt y w as v i ol at i n g al l t h e l a w s — even those l aws that exi sted i n the cou n t r y at t he t i me, w hich are not 85

86 Sandin istas Speak th e same as the l aw s t ha t ex ist t oday . Now w e see the con t r adi ct i ons b etween the l aws of the past and the revol u t ion t h at is under w ay . W e haven't yet had t i me to ch ange the ent i re j u di cial sy st em, but we k now t h at m uch of i t is obsolete and not i n l i ne w i t h our r ev ol u t i on ar y pr i n

ciples. There was a legal framework under the dictatorship, but Somo z a just did not pay much attention to it .
T h e abuses com m i t ted u nder Somoza ar e fa m i l i a r t o al l of y o u even t hough a cr i m i n a l l i k e Somoza does ever y t h i n g possible to hi de hi s cr i m es. W hen h e was i n pow er , h e was able t o cover u p a lot of

things.
As a m at ter of pr i n ci ple we have not t r ied to h ide any t h i ng, not even o u r m i st ak es. not even t h e abuses t ha t h ave been com m i t t ed . Bu t i n

the days of the dictatorship, obviously, everything possible was done to
c over up t he w or st aspects of t he r epressi on . You n ever h a d a ch ance t o t a l k t o t h e peasant s w h o ha d gr ease spread on t heir gen i t als so that t he dogs would eat t h em. You could not, t al k to the men w ho were scalped alive w i t h razors and had salt and v i negar r u bbed i n t o t h ei r w ou nds so they w oul d suffer u n t i l t hey di ed . Y ou cert a i nl y never h ad a chance t o t al k t o t h e peasant w om en w h o were raped, as almost 100 percent of t hem w ere in some nor t h er n pr o vi nces. Pr obably you don't even k now abou t t h e peasant s who w ere bu r i ed

alive in the mountains. You don't know the incredibly horrible statis
tics on the n um ber of vi ct i m s. You have spoken of the l arge nu mber of vi ct i ms — we k now th at they n u mbered in t he tens of thousands. M or e t h a n 100,000 N i car agu ans w er e k i l l ed . Th i n k about t he fact t h at t h ere wasn't a si n gle fam i l y i n N i car agu a t h a t escaped t h e r epression , not even t h e fa m i l y of Somoza h i m sel f . Because Edgar L a ng, a Sandi ni st a m ar t y r an d h ero, was a r el at ive of Somoza's; m an y m emb er s of Somoza's fam i l y w er e vi ct i m s of r epres sion . Repression u nder Somoza w en t so far beyond the n or mal l i m i t s t h at it t ouched h i s ow n f a m i l y an d t h e f a m i l ies of f r i ends. T h er e wasn' t even a single Somozaist fa m il y t hat escaped t he repression. That gi ves you some idea of t he m agn i t ude of r epression under Somoza. O f course al l t h i s r epression led t o an enor m ous bu i l du p of resen t

ment and hatred in the Nicaraguan population. Everything that has to do with the National Guard is despised in this country. We made a big effort t o save some members of the National Guard. We found
them j obs, and i n some cases the wor k ers accepted them out of'a sense of disci p l i ne. But t hey w ou l dn't t al k to the Gu ardsmen — they t u r n ed

On Human Rights in Nicaragua 8 7

their backs on them and made their lives miserable. People will not put up with the guardias for the reasons I have al
ready ex pl ained. Because besides being m u r der er s, they w ere t h ieves. B esides bein g r obbers, they w er e br u t al . They k i l led a lot of N icar a

guans, and they stole the property of others. They were murderers, thieves, torturers, and rapists. That's what they were. That's what they still are in the places they have fled to.
Per haps the worst cr i me Somoza and his son com m i t t ed was not t h at o f k i l l i n g N i car agu ans, not t h a t of t u r n i n g t h e N a t i onal G u ar d i n t o cr i m i n a ls, but t h a t of t u r n i ng chil d r en in t o c ri m i n a ls . You r efer t o t h e y ou ngst er s w h o ar e i n p r i son — t h e speci alt y of those ch i l dr en w as gou gi ng out pr ison er s' eyes w it h a spoon. T his w as one of the tech n i ques of these chi l dren w ho were hor r i bl y deformed by S omozaism . Bu t t h e r ev ol u t i on ha s m ade a pol i t i ca l deci sion not t o pu t t hese y ou ngst ers on t r i al bu t t o t r y t o r eh ab i l i t at e th em .

Unfortunately some of them were taken to the facilities where the
a du l t s are. Th e r ev ol u t ion i s set t i n g u p separ at e faci l i t ies for t h em , b u t i n t he mean t i m e they h ave a separ ate section of the Modelo faci l i ty ; they are not w i t h t he oth er s. We w ant to get them ou t of th er e, and w e w i l l do so as soon as we have anot her place for t h em . Ri gh t now w e cannot affor d t h e l u x u r y of j ust t u r n i n g t hem loose, because they w oul d become del i n quent s. These youngst ers — w i t h ou t wor k an d w i t h al l t h e defor m at i on s they h av e su ff ered — w ou ld be

come murderers and thieves and would end up back in j ai l for new
c r i m es. I"or t h is reason w e wou l dn't be doing t hem an y f av or . W e ar e g oing t o t ak e t hem someplace and r ehabi l i t at e th em . Ou r r ev ol u t ion has hi st or i cally had a policy of not execut in g anyon e. Those w er e t h e in st r u ct i on s w e gave d u r i n g t h e w ar . I t i s not j u st s omet h i ng w e decided after ou r vi ct or y , bu t a policy we foll owed du r

ing the war itself.
I don't k now if t he tape record ing st i ll exi sts of a speech I made to the

National Guard when we had them surrounded in the barracks at Ma
tagal pa. It w en t ou t over t he r adio, over our ow n r adio. In it I t old them t o t u r n t h emselves i n , t hat n ot h i n g w oul d h appen t o t h em . Th e N a ti onal Gu ar d never beli eved us when we t old t hem t h i s. I rem ember when I was t aken pr ison er . I was br u t al ly t or t u r ed, k ept wi t h a hood over m y h ead for n i n e m on t hs, and k ep t h andcuffed for seven m on t h s.

I remember when we captured those who had tortured me. I told them: "I am going to get back at you; now comes the hour of my re

88 Sa n din is tas Speak

venge, and my revenge is that we are not going to harm a single hair on your heads. You didn't believe us before, but now we are going to
make you believe us."

That was our philosophy; that was the way we were. But take a min
ute to think about what it meant, what it means to have been in Nica

ragua in those days.
You, M r . President * — just imagine that they murdered your wife,

the way they murdered mine. Imagine if they had brutally murdered your son or your brother, if they had raped your wife or sister or
daughter — and then you came to power . This will give you some idea of the moral stature of the leaders of this revolution, that we have not taken revenge against those who did u s so much har m . But we cannot demand the same consciousness from the great mass of fighters who saw their brothers and sons shot down, whose wives were raped, whose daughters were raped, whose loved ones were tor tured, who were themselves victims of tort ure, who lived through the

frightening destruction of the botnbs that fell in their cities and of the rockets that fell on their houses and killed children and old people.
They cam e t o power w i t h t h e soun d of sh ot s st i l l ri nging in t heir e ars, st i l l feeli ng the blood recent ly sp i l led and the cr i mes just com m i t ted .

The logical, natural thing to do was to turn the guns against those who had lived by the gun. But the immense majority of the National Guard were not shot; only a tiny m inority of these murderers were
shot . Even we our selves don't k now w ho they w ere. It w as l i k e F t ten teovej una — e veryo ne was in i t t ogeth e r. ** W hen t he r ev ol u t i on w on , they gave m e a m i l l ion cordobas to st ar t sett i ng up the M i n i st r y of the I nt er i or . And I sta rt ed spendin g th i s mo n ey t o set u p a police force an d St at e Secur i t y , w i t h ou t bot h er i n g t o ask for receipts. I don't k now exact ly w hat happened to th is mone y. If I

h ad to give an exact accounting, they would have to send me to jail . You cannot have the faintest idea of the situation that existed in Ni
c aragu a at t h a t m om en t . I don't even k now w ho was in ch arge of t h e La Polvo ra ba r r a cks r i g ht t h en — a nd I d on't t h i n k a nyo ne k n o ws .
* C om m i ssion Presiden t T h omas F ar er , a U .S. ci t i zen . "og uenteovej una is the ti t l e of a 1618 dra ma hy th e Spani sh wr i t er Lo pe de Ve g a abou t t h e m ur der of an oppressive tax collector i n t he v i l l age of Fu en t eovej

una. When questioned by the king's prosecutor, the villagers take collective re sponsibility for the act.

On H u m a n R i g h ts i n N i ca r ag ua 8 9

People spent one week here an d the next week som eplace else. A l l r i g h t , i t i s possible t hat i f we w ere to m ak e an i nvest i g at ion w e

might be able to find out who was in charge of La Polvora.
B u t do w e r eal l y h av e th e m oral r i gh t t o pu nish t hose wh o fou gh t

alongside the people against the tyranny, who risked their lives, who
perh aps w er e w ounded, w h o saw t h ei r fa t h er s and br ot h er s and sons

ki lled?
W hat r i gh t do we have to ask now t ha t they be pu ni shed for t h i n gs t h at h appened at a t i me when t h ere w er e no mechani sms of cont rol i n t he wh ole coun t r y — w hen th ere exi sted nei t her j u di cial order nor m i l i t ar y order .

These companeros did not have a very clear idea of what they were
supposed to be doi ng, and some may even h ave t hough t they w ere fol l ow in g the policy of the revol u t i on ar y gover nm ent. The means of com mu n i cat ion w e had at ou r di sposal t o let people k now w hat t he poli cy w as w ere not ver y good, and t h is was also t r ue du r in g t h e w a r . I t w oul d be ver y d i f fi cul t for us to t rack dow n w ho was responsi bl e for t h e t h i ngs t hat h appened i n t h e f ir st m on t h s after t he vi ct ory , ex t r em ely di ffi cu l t .

We would be demagogues and liars if we told you we were going to punish these companeros, if we told you that we were going to have a
th or ou gh i nvest i gat ion t o find ou t w ho was responsi ble for t he execu t i ons t hat t ook pl ace i n t h e days aft er t h e vi ct or y . O n t he other h an d, we have pu n ished a lot of people. W hen we fou n d out abou t som et h i n g, we pen alized those responsi ble. Bu t we di d not

publicize what we were doing, and I don't even remember the names of those penalized.
W e depor ted on e f i gh t er , w hose n am e I d on't r em em ber , a Sou t h Am er i can, wh o I f ound com m i t t i n g abuses. W e i m m edi at el y expell ed h i m fr om t h e cou n t r y .

We also put in j ail some cornpaneros whom we found committing
a buses. I don't k now i f t hey ar e ou t n ow .

But you don't have any idea of what those first months after the rev olution were like: there wasn't the slightest bit of control over any thing. When we founded the Ministry of the Interior, there were six of us; and in the whole country there was no police force, no State Security, no judges, no courts„no Supreme Court, no nothing. All we had were titles: "You' re the minister of the interior." "You' re the president of the Supreme Court." There was no infrastructure. We didn't even have offices. We didn't have files. We had nothing, abso
l u t el y n ot h i n g .

90 Sandin istas Speak

About the only thing we could do then was go around here and there trying to stop bad things from being done.
When they tried to lynch the prisoners who were in the Red Cross

building, I personally went to see the relatives of our martyrs who were there ready to take their revenge. I needed all the powers of persuasion I possessed. I didn't tape record what I said, but I think it was one of the most eloquent of the few elo
quent speeches I have made in my life.

In any case, I managed to persuade them not to kill the National Guard. Mr. Ismael Reyes, who is a member of the Red Cross, was there; he was the one who called me. There was a large crowd trying to break down the doors to get in and kill the murderers who were inside. We were able to convince them not to do it. We were able to convince them by saying that we could not kill
them because we had made this revolution in order to put a stop to kill ings.

This was perhaps the most persuasive argument. I asked them: "So why did we make this revolution, if we are going to do the same thing they used to do? If that's the way it is going to be, we would be better off not having made the revolution." We said the same thing to the police, to members of the State Securi
ty, to the companeros in the army: "Don't commit abuses; don't be dis

respectful to anyone; don't hit prisoners." Because often they did hit
prisoners or kill prisoners. We said to them: "If you do such things, then w hat di d we make this reooLution for t "

It was a battle, a tremendous battle. We asked the Church to help us. For example, we asked the Church to help us improve prison condi tions. One time a German clergyman came to this very office and ex pressed his admiration for the revolution and asked me: "'How can we help you?" We told him: We' re going to tell you a secret; we want you to help us to improve conditions for the prisoners. We didn't want to say it publicly, because several times when we did something to improve conditions, word got out. And people didn't like
it.

If you were Nicaraguan and you had suffered all that Nicaraguans have suffered, you wouldn't be very sympathetic with the idea of doing something for the prisoners either. When we ask people what we should do with the prisoners, they say, "Shoot them." If we had gone along with the will of the people on this, we would have shot them all. That is why we told this clergyman to help us improve the condi tions of the prisoners. We told him: "Don't send us aid for our children,

On Human Rights in Nicaragua 9 1 w hom w e l ove m or e t h a n an y t h i n g i n t h e w or l d . Send u s ai d for t h e

prisoners, for the criminals we are holding in jail, for the murderers." Some Christian businessmen came, some North American mil lion aires, including an astronaut who had been to the moon, and they asked us what they could do to help. We told them also: "Build us the best prison in Latin America, the most humane, because we want to set an example for the world in our treatment of prisoners." They promised; we' ll see if they keep their word. I hope they do, be cause they gave me the impression of being serious and responsible people. So far they have sent us 7,000 Bibles, which we have divided up among the prisoners. We have some serious problems with our prisons. There aren't very many of them, and they are in poor condition. There is overcrowding; there are shortages of foodstuffs. The staff suffers from these problems as well as the prisoners. One time I almost started to cry — not for the prisoners, to tell the tr uth, but for the companeros who were guarding the prisoners. It seemed like the companeros were the prisoners and the prisoners were
the ones s ta nd ing g u a r d . T h e p r i sone rs w e re b e tt er o ff t h a n t h e

guards, who were sleeping on the floor, half-naked, wit h no shoes, half-dead with hunger. It was a pitiful picture. This is a country that was left in ruins. It is important not to forget this fact. This is a country reduced to rubble. We have extraordinary problems, yet efforts are being made to improve the prisoners' condi tions. We are battling not only to improve their material conditions but al
so to cou nter t h e h at red t h a t t h e compan eros w at ch i n g t hem feel t o

ward them.
We are the ones car r y i ng out t h is bat t le, because we h ave the mor al

authority to do it. But if I had been a National Guardsman or a Somo zaist, or one who was indifferent, I wouldn't have much moral authori ty to ask the companeros to treat prisoners well . But we ourselves were the victims of the National Guard, we were tortured, we and our families were victims. For that reason we do have t he moral authority to ask that they be treated well . No one can accuse us of having a selfish interest in having them treated well, because if we had any selfish interest it would be in hav
i n g them t r eated badl y .

We can expect some improvements. The problem of overcrowding can be reduced by building more prisons. That's the only way . We built one new prison. We invested a million and a half c6rdobas, and when it was finished it t urned out the engineer — who was ob

92 Sandin islax Speak v i ou sly incompetent — h adn't designed i n sew ers. A n d ot her exper t s

we consulted came to the conclusion that it was impossible to put in
s ewers because of t he con di t ion of t h e gr ou n d .

So months of work came to nothing, along with our expectations of moving the prisoners into better quarters where we had planned for them to have conjugal visits and other basic rights we want to intro
d uce i nto ou r penal sy st em .

Now we have to begin looking for other possible locations for a place we can put them for at least a few months. The engineer inspector says that we can't take anyone over to the Granada facility. In the mean
ti me, we have given in st r u ct i ons t hat t he prisoners be per m i t t ed m or e fr equent v i si t s. Yest er day I was in J in ot epe prison, and I found out t hat we need bet

ter communications. We still haven't perfected our means of communi
cati on. They h adn't yet got ten th e order we issued some ti me ago to al low m ore fr equent vi si t s, or t he order to per m i t t he pri son ers to recei ve

magazines and books and other things. We also found some prisoners who were being held unjustly and released them.
W e agree com pl et ely w i t h the idea of in cr easing the n u m ber of vi si t s

the prisoners are allowed. But you should be aware that there are ad
mi n i st r a t i ve pr obl em s re la ted t o such v is it s .

The Tipitapa prison, for example, has a capacity of 700. That is, it should have 700 but it actually has more than 2,000. It is difficult to control visits under such conditions. It can only be done by increasing the staff. This means spending more money, but we
ar e goin g to fi nd w ay s to allow m or e visi t s. W e h av e a l r eady a u t h orized m or e fr equen t v i si t s, as w el l a s t h e

right to walk freely through the halls, and to receive books, news
papers, m agazines, cigar et t es, r adios, televi si on, and other t h i ngs t h at wer e pr oh i b it ed before, such as br i n gi n g i n l em on s an d or anges and other f r u i ts. A l l t h i s has now been au t h or ized .

lt is true that the companeros in charge of the penal system have es tablished some rules that are somewhat mechanical and sometimes e ven childish. One time I vi sited the prison i n Granada, where I
learned of a r ule that ev er y t i m e an off i cial came by, the pri soners had t o st and at at t en t i on . O ne of fi cial n amed L ean a w en t b y 300 t im es a day . So ev er y t i m e s he went by t he women were supposed to st and at at t en t i on. It w as r i

diculous. We still haven't straightened out things like that, much less perfect
e d al l t he ad m i ni st r a t iv e and i n st i t u t i onal n or ms of t he coun t r y . Bu t

we are making a lot of progress.

On Hu m a n H i g h ts in N u a r a gu a 9 3

We are going to r elease m or e pr isoners. We h ave al ready r el eased a

lot. What happens is that we make the mistake of not letting people know about the disciplinary measures taken against many compane ros for abusing prisoners, and we also have not made public the number of prisoners we have released. We have freed thousands of pri
soner s.

We only made it public in the first few days, when I freed more than a hundred criminals, ex-Guardsmen, from Jinotega. Today, by t he
w ay , they ar e l i sted am on g t h e " di sappeared" ; act u al l y , t hey fl ed t o

Honduras. We also have not publicized a lot of the disciplinary steps taken. Commander Cuadra has given you just a few examples of peo ple disciplined under the law.
We ar e goin g t o fr ee al l t hose pr ison er s w hose phy sical condi t i on p r ev ent s t hem fr om posing an y danger , regar dless of w hat t hey h av e

done, unless the charges against them are very serious indeed. I have been thinking that even though we had decided not to free a
l ot of t h e w omen p r i soner s u n t i l t h e H u m a n Ri gh t s Com m i ssion lef t ,

that, given the productive discussions we have had, and the positive
at t i t u des you h ave shown, we should free them i m m edi at ely. A nd I am g oing to propose t hi s to the gover n m en t .

We are going to make a study. We will send lawyers to all the pri sons to look into the possibility of freeing a lot more prisoners. It wasn't possible in the very beginning to tell who was telling the
t r u t h an d w h o w a sn' t . M an y o f t h e p r i soner s even ch anged t h ei r nam es. T h ei r r el at i ves com e t o t h e pr isons an d look for t hem u nder

their real names, and they "can't find them."
T hese prison ers are deat h l y afr aid of t he revol u t i on. They are afr a i d

because of the crimes they committed. They have guilt complexes, and
th at 's wh y t hey w on't giv e t h ei r r eal n am es.

You will also find if you study the answers they gave to the Special Tribunals, that they were all cooks, typists, bartenders, barbers, and
mechanics. Nobody ever f ir ed a shot. You w ould t h i n k t hat we had just been shoot in g at our selves.

Some would say, "they only recruited me three days before." Others
cla i med t o have been i n t h e ar m y onl y a m on t h ; others said t hey h ad

deserted; others that they were really in the FSLN. Ferreting out the
t r u t h i n al l t hese cases is ver y di f fi cu l t . We ar e, h ow ev er , t r a i n i n g gr oups of com paneros. W e h av e gi ven

them instruction in judicial norms, in respect for human rights, in questioning prisoners, so that we can speed up the trials. Now more are being held than before.
I n t he begi n n i n g i t w as a big pr obl em , but now we are get t i ng m or e

94 Sandin istas Speak

e xperienced in such procedures. Every day we do them a litt le better , and now we are preparing thir ty-five new people. As I told you, it's a hard job. We started out with no experience.%ho were the judges in this country? Who had any judicial experience in Nicaragua'? The Somozaists, and their experience was all in the frame work of corruption. The only thing we knew how to do was fight. We are still half guer ri llas. We weren't judges, we had no legal experience. We weren't in vestigators, we weren't police, we weren't anything. We have learned all this under the gun. It is a little more than a year since the victory, and from a historical point of view this is only an instant, only a historical second. We our selves have said that we are only beginning to normalize things, to create a state apparatus.
We have special i nt erests of our ow n. For ex am pl e, we are i nt erest ed

in building the FSLN. But the FSLN is waiting on the sidelines while we take care of our immediate task of organizing the state apparatus. We can't do anything without a state structure. July 19 came this year and we were just getting around to paying at tention to the FSLN as a political organization. Why? Because we
d i dn't h ave a st at e. W e are j ust now begi n n i n g t o h ave a real st at e ,

A nd the first prior ities of the state were not in the judicial system — they were in health care, the literacy crusade, and defense of the revo lution. Now that we' ve achieved some normalcy in defense and in health
a nd educat i on , w e can st ar t . W e can st ar t t o give t he legal sy stem i t s

proper importance. Up to this point it hasn't had a single vehicle, or its own building; now we' re providing vehicles and giving them a build ing. We' re starting to give some encouragement to those in charge of the judicial system; we are meeting with them more frequently. Before
we cou l dn' t, because we had other t h i n gs to do.

Wit h the end of Somoza's dictatorship came the end of the legal structure and coercive forces that supported Somoza. We were faced not only with the job of reconstructing buildings destroyed by the war but also of building a state apparatus, and the latter is sometimes as
d i ff i cul t as the for m er .

There are some people who feel nervous about what is happening, but perhaps the first thing we have to say is that there has been a revo lution here. And a revolution makes some people very happy and oth ers not so happy. There are some who feel very secure about it and oth
ers ver y insecur e.

There is a new sense of security among the immense majority of the

On H u ma n R i g hts i n N i ca r a gua 9 5

p opul at i on, wh o used to l ive in fear. They w ere alw ays afr ai d of bei n g ki l l ed , of bein g t h r ow n i n j a i l , of b ein g t or t u r ed , afr ai d t h ei r l a n ds woul d be st ol en , afr ai d t hey w oul d lose th ei r j obs or be k i ck ed ou t of s chool. They l i ved i n a st at e of ex t r em e insecu r i t y . Bu t w h o was responsi ble for t h is insecur i t y? The social gr oups t hat ru led the coun t r y. Now those who w ere insecure before have recovered

a sense of security; they feel safe for the first time.
B u t t hose w h o befor e caused insecur i t y t o t h e bi g m aj or it y of t h e p opul at ion now feel insecur e t h emselves — even t h ough t h i s r ev ol u t i on h as been ex t r em el y fl ex i bl e an d has given every one an opport u n i t y . T hey feel i nsecur e even t h ough w e h ave ser i ou sl y pr oposed and t h is is not j ust a tact ical or shor t -t er m t h i ng — that we m ai n t ai n a m i xed econom y an d pol i t i cal pl u r a li sm . We mean i t w hen we t al k about pol i t i cal pl u r a l ism and a m ixed eco n om y . Bu t w h a t h appens i s t ha t a t h ief t h i n k s ev ery on e else i s l i k e h i m . A nd t hese people t h i n k we are t r i ck i ng th em, when in fact we ar e going t o gr eat p a i n s t o show t hem t h at w e ar e not l y i n g, t ha t i n fact they are the ones who hi st or i call y h ave been t he li ar s. They can't con cede t h e possibi l i t y t h a t t h er e m i gh t be people wh o ar en't l i ar s, an d th er ef ore they feel n er v ou s. Ob vi ou sl y t h i s i s a vi cious ci r cle, because t h i s in secur i t y t hey feel c auses them t o decapi t a l ize t h ei r bu si nesses. Bu t w hen t hey begi n t o do th at , th ei r w or k ers become aw are of what t hey are doi ng. A nd th en th e r ev ol u t i on ar y gov er n m en t becomes concerned . We are not pr epared to allow t hem t o decapi t a l ize thei r bu si nesses. S uch a lack of confidence is a blow to t h is coun t r y. They are all in debt , w h ich is t he best pr oof. Th er e is not a si n gle pr i v ate ent er p r i se in t h i s c oun t r y w h ich is not i n debt t o th e fi n an cial sy st em . An d it w ould not even be a r adical st ep, but a si m ple business proce d u re, for us to say to t h em : "Gen t l em en, ei t her you pay us or you t u r n o ver y ou r oper at i ons." Bu t t hey ar en't i n a posi t ion t o pay . So what has the r ev ol u t i on ar y gov er nm ent done? Has it t ak en aw ay th ei r bu sinesses? No. In fact i t has ext ended t hem m ore loans in order for t hem to develop t h ei r bu si nesses. Unf or t u n at el y , w e h av e a back w ar d capi t a list cl ass. I w an t t o be fr an k w i t h y ou. I t h i n k t h at in the long run a cert ai n segm ent of the so called pr i v ate sector is going to come to its senses. There are some peo p l e w h o don't show good sense now bu t m a y som e day com e t o t h ei r senses. Th er e ar e some who ar e h alf-sensible w ho may become sensi ble; j ust l i k e t h er e ar e some who alr eady show some common sense in

which this characteristic may become stronger.
W e coul d h ave w iped t hese people out . W e had t h e power t o do i t .

96 Sandin istas Speak Th is would only h ave shown t h at we had as l i t t le sense as they do. But

we have learned something from history. People lear n from expe rience. We have learned that in order to be revolutionaries and ad vance a revolutionary process, it is necessary to have one's feet on the
g l'oun tl .

We could have taken away al l their businesses and we would not
have been ov er t hr ow n; I'm su re of th at. Bu t w hat is most condu cive t o

the economic development of the country is what is best for the Nicara guan people. So when we talk about a mixed economy, we mean it; and
w hen w e t al k ab ou t pol i t i cal pl u r a l i sm , we m ean i t . T h i s is not a sh or t -t er m m an euver bu t ou r st r at egic appr oach. T h e

political approach of the FSLN is to maintain a mixed economy and political pluralism . We are not going to violate these principles. But we are not going to let them decapitalize their businesses, because that means taking re
sources ou t of t h e coun t r y and destr oy i n g t hose ent er pr ises. We w an t t o see the dev elopm en t of pr i v at e ent er p r i se, pr iv at e com m er ce, and pr i v at e cu l t i v at ion of t h e l and. F u r t h er m ore, we h ave n o in t erest i n n a t i on al i zin g th e l and. On t h e cont r a r y , we are i n t erested

in expanding private ownership of the land. We think this should be
basicall y i n t h e for m of cooper at i ves, bu t i f t h er e are also pr i v at e en

terprises involved in agricultural production, we want them to develop too. We will give them whatever help they need, just like we did to the San Antonio sugar mill, for example, which is a million-dollar opera
tion i n pr i v at e h ands.

We are going to multiply the number of cooperatives, which is a
for m of pr i v at e owner sh ip of the l and, and one that people only j oin on a vol u n t ar y basis. C ooper at i ves ar e n ot h i n g u n u su al ; t h ey ar en' t com m u n i sm , l i k e some back w ar d el em ents here t h i n k w ho don't h ave the fai n test idea

what a cooperative is. You only have to read half a page of a book on
t he su bj ect to be aw are that a cooper at i ve i nv olves pr i v ate own er sh i p . T h er e i s a pol i t i ca l u ncer t a i n t y am on g cer t ai n sect ors. Th e t r ad i t i ona l pa rt ies i n t h i s coun t r y — an d I 'm not t a l k i n g abou t t h e tr ad i t i on a l pa rt ies j ust t o at t ack t hem — h ave r ul ed N i car agu a for m or e

than a hundred years and they have never been able to solve the coun try's problems. But they want to go on living. They stubbornly refuse to retire to a museum.
W e are not going to prevent t hem fr om con t i n u in g to l i ve. They ar e

going to die a natural death, and new, modern, different parties need to come into being.

On H u m a n R i g hts i n N i car a g ua 9 7

The L iber als* don't dar e to iden t i fy t h em selves, but t h er e are t hose

who are bold enough to suggest that the Liberals should be a political option in this country. This doesn't worry us. What kind of influence can these parties have, either historically or among the masses'? They are doing us a big favor by presenting them selves as our opposition. We'd rather have them for an opposition than some modern party with relevant ideas and a possibility of a future.
Bet ter t hem t h a n new sectors that ar en't t a i nt ed w i t h h a v i n g been

Somoza's yes-men, having made deals with Somoza, having been part
of t he reacti on ar y hy st er i a t ha t pr ev ai led i n t h i s cou n t r y . T a i nted by

complicity with the imperialist i nterventions in Nicaragua (with all
du e respect t o ou r h on ored f r i end, th e pr esiden t of t h e com m ission ). T h i s is the k i n d of opposit ion w e don't h ave to w or r y about . They ar e th e ones who ar e w or r i ed . A t a cer t ai n t i m e, they w er e dem an di n g i m m ed i at e elect i ons. W e

said no, and one of the reasons was precisely because we favor political
p l u r al i sm . If w e had h el d elect i ons si x m on t hs after t h e vi ct or y , or i f w e held them r i gh t now, those people wou l dn't even get h alf a depu t y. Pol i t i cal pl u r al ism w oul d di sappear . I f t h er e w er e 100 r epresent a t i ves in con

gress, it would be 100 Sandinistas. And since we do favor political plu
r a l i sm , we w an t t h em t o h ave pol i t i cal r epresent at i on ; we w oul d l i k e them t o be able t o or gan ize t h emselves i n t o som e t ype of pa r t y t h at w ould at l east h ave t he possibi l i t y of presen t i n g it sel f as an opt i on .

Besides that, we really didn't have time to spend holding elections
r i gh t t h en . It w oul d h ave meant an expend i t u re of en ergy an d resou r

ces when our main job right then was to get our economy going again,
Bu t elect ions w i l l be held. We have alr eady set the date. That w i l l be the t i me to have a contest i n t he elect or al ar ena. W hat w on't be up for d ebate is wh ether or not t h er e is a r evol u t i on i n N i car agu a . We h av e pu bl i cl y cr i t i cized peopl e i n t h e p r i v at e sect or , bu t t h ey have cr i t i cized us as well. They dem and the ri ght to at t ack us, but th ey d on't t h i n k w e h ave a r i gh t t o at tack t h em . I f they can at tack us, why can't we do the same to t hem? If t hey cal l

us communists, why can*t we call them reactionaries? If they say we' ve
s old ourselves for gold from M oscow, why can't we say t hey are prost i tu t es who have sold th emselves to i m per i a l i sm' ? If t hey h ave the same r i ght to express th emselves as we do, and they at t ack us in La Prensa and over Radio Corpora cion and other sta ti o ns ,

then we can attack them in our media.
* Somoza's pa rt y .

98 Sa n d i n i stas Speak

W e can defend our selves and we can cr i t i cize th em. But we do it w i t h

the tr uth, and they do it with lies.
Bu t al l r i g h t , every on e has th ei r ow n i dea of w ha t t r u t h i s. Som e

p eople think lies are the truth . It is true that certain means of communication, such as Radio Sandi no, belong to the FSLN, just l ike Radio Corporacion belongs to the
r eact i on ar ies. It is also t r ue t hat ot her m eans of mass com m u n i cat i on ,

such as television, are in the hands of the state. I wish you would ask the French why they control certain communi cations media. Television, for example, is in the hands of the state in France — and not only in France but in Spain too, just like in Nicara
gua. The reason is that the t el evi sion st at i ons belonged to Somoza, and

what was Somoza's passed into the hands of the new state. If there had
b een a t el evi sion ch annel i n pr i v at e hands, i t w ou ld st i l l be i n pr i v at e

hands.
Bu t at t h i s poin t we ar e not i n favor of l icen si ng a new com m er ci al tel evi sion st a t i on , because w e ar e t r y i n g t o t r an sfor m N i car agu an

television. Traditionally, television has been very alienating. Alienat
in g because it encour ages por nogr ap hy , because it gl or i f ies cr i me and

violence. We are making a big effort to transform television into some
t h i n g educati on al , because t elevi sion i s a ver y effect iv e m ed iu m of c omm u n i cat i on ,

What we can consider is opening up television to other political for ces, such as the Church. We have nothing against the idea of the Church having access to television. The Human Rights Commission headed by Dr. Leonte Herdocia has already suggested it . There has been some discussion about the scope of our laws on state
secur i t y . The pr oblem is that we don't h ave al l t he st ate st r uct ur es w e n eed i n t h i s cou n t r y , and th e l aw s t hat do exist ar en't a l w ay s usefu l . Th er e i s a con t r adi ct ion bet w een t h e new r ev ol u t i on ar y st r u ct u r es th at h ave arisen and the j u di ci al sy st em. For ex am ple, in t he old day s,

criminals were arrested and then freed because they bribed the judges. The lawyers and legal experts al l went along wit h t his. The police went along with it. Because of all this, prisoners were set free.
In December we are going to issue some pardons. We are going to as

sign some people to make as careful a study as possible of each prison er's case. We want to free those who are physically incapacitated and those who clearly are not guilty. We also want to study the cases of a lot of those who were tried in the first months, because some of them
m i gh t h ave been g i ven excessive sent ences. I t m ay be t ha t i n som e

cases we will reduce the sentences.

On Hunuxn Rights in N icuruguo 9 9

We don*t have a new system of laws wri tten since the revolution. This is a very big problem. We still have judges who aren't very hon est. This is because in order to have honest judges you have to have honest lawyers. One day we went out with a lamp looking for an hon
est l awyer i n N i car agua. We found j ust one — we found Leonte H er do

cia.
M aybe I am exagger at i n g. M aybe th ere are a n um ber of honest l aw y ers, but t h e n u mber is not ver y bi g. They w ere t r a ined i n a hor r i b l y cor r u pt school. The pr oblem w i t h N i car agu a is that cor r u pt ion was so per vasive that being cor r upt was not considered st r an ge. In fact, it w as

being honest that was considered weird. Anybody who didn't steal was
c onsidered a fool .

I remember people talking about a man who worked in a bank and
di dn't st eal , an d they called hi m a b l i t h er i n g i di ot . I n ot her w or ds, it w as sor t of a cr i me not to be a cr i m i n al. People acqu i red ver y negat i v e h ab i t s. We need new gen er at i ons to overcome t h is, t o forge new at t i

tudes. A lot of lawyers bribe judges. They try to get money from the family of someone who is arrested. The police don't have very good investiga t ive techniques, they don't produce evidence in time, so, as a result ,
someone w al ks off scot-free who is obvi ou sl y a ver y danger ous in di v i d

ual. So someone who has raped a three-year-old girl goes free for lack
of adequat e ev idence, especi al l y si nce th er e is a t endency t o consider cr i mes l i k e t h i s a pr i v ate busi ness.

Eden Pastora caught a man with a gun in his hand attacking some
one. H e took aw ay his gun and ar rested h i m , but t he man w as set fr ee

for lack of proof. There are people who sell narcotics, a crime for which
we have a special h at r ed, and they go free for lack of evidence.

Sometimes there are protests because the people don't want to let such people go, because they know for a fact the criminals will go out
i n t he street s and com m i t new cr i m es. So somet i mes they t r y to t ak e mat t er s i nt o th ei r ow n h ands. W e fi nd th e same type of resi st ance on the par t of t h e chiefs of pol ice i n t h e pr ov inces. We h ave had cer t ai n problems w i t h t he j u di cial st r u ct u r e, t r y i n g t o c om e u p w i t h l aw s t ha t ar e st r ict en oug h so t ha t cr i m i n al s w i l l be

locked up and not left to hurt people. But writ ing laws is a difFicult un dertaking. Changing the judicial structure of a country takes time. In the case of the Special Tribunals, you shouldn't think we aren' t concerned about speeding things up. And the way we go about writing new laws (which are already better than they used to be) is more care ful every day, in terms of the types of legal solutions to the various

100 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

o rder s and cases that come up. Rem ember t h a t t h e Special T r i b u n al s

deal only with crimes committed before the revolution.
Regar dless of w hat they say about us, we are oper at i ng w i t h i n a cer

tain legal framework. It is possible to behave in an intelligent manner
and st il l be t r ue to one's pr i n ci pl es. It is also possi ble to be t r ue to one' s

principles and behave stupidly. Our inclination is always to tell t he
t r u t h . W e h ave dem on st r at ed t ha t i t i s m uch bet ter t o t el l t h e t r u t h , b ecause you get i n less tr ou ble t el l ing the t r u t h t han you do l y i n g. It i s

a lmost always smarter to tell the trut h .
Th er e is a t endency, howev er, to tr y to cover up mi st ak es, and to ex agger at e. I r em em ber when we were in pr ison and the Red Cross cam e to i n t er vi ew us. Even t h ough we w er e honest — some companeros did

exaggerate, a few did make up experiences. I want to tell you something that will show how far we are prepared
to go in being honest : I m en t ioned to some of you t hat t he pri soners at Ti p i t apa now have it w orse t han we did w hen we were pri soners t h er e. We w ere bet ter off t han they are. We w ere al l owed week ly vi sits — I'm

talking about Tipitapa. Crazy things would happen. I remember one day they wouldn't let me have a book on psychic energy because they thought I would use it to escape. Another time they brought me a copy of Capital and said, "This one we' ll let through because it's about capitalism." We' ve already said that we are letting them have any kind of books
except for com ics and pornogr ap h y. But we st i l l were bet ter off. Not m e

perhaps, since I was kept isolated, in a cell by myself, but the vast ma
jor i t y of us were better oft' than t he prisoners are now. The m ai n reason

is that now there are so many people in jail. There weren't so many be fore and obviously it is easier to provide for a small number than a big
cr owd. When we w er e i m p r isoned at t he place you vi sit ed, El Ch ipot e,

we were kept with hoods over our heads, in handcuffs, and they beat us
every day. We all w anted to be sent to T i p i t apa, because for us being at

Tipitapa was almost like being free. There was such an enormous dif
fer ence t h at bein g t r an sfer red t o T i p i t ap a w as al most l i k e bein g let o ut on t he street .

Now the opposite is true. Those who are in El Chipote don't want to
go t o T i p i t apa; an d t hose at T i p i t apa w an t t o go back t o E l C h ipot e.

That is the difference. They would rather go back to the State Security facility, which is more comfortable because there aren't so many prisoners. At El Chi
pote they can m ak e t h ei r ow n m eals and get w h at they w a n t , bu t not at T i p i t apa. Th er e condi t i ons are m uch w or se.

I am telling you this because I imagine a number of prisoners and

On Human Rights in Nicaragua 1 0 1

their relatives have told you about abuses they have suffered. They ex aggerate of course, although in some cases abuses have been commit ted, which have been infl ated by the prisoners. Someone was asking about the abuses we have committed. I have to say there isn't a pattern of abuse. One day I went to a jail and a woman prisoner told me she had been undressed and forced to do situps in her
under wear . I asked her t o t el l m e w ho di d i t . The person she accused

denied it, but she insisted.
I must say t h at t he person accused was not a N i car agu an; I t h i n k he was a Col om bi an . H e was one of t h e r em n an t s of t he " Si mon B ol i v ar Br i gade." * W e i m m edi at el y deported h i m ; t h i s happened i n t h e f i r st few m on t h s. It w as very dif fi cu lt to ar rest people and put them in j a i l. We already h ad pl enty of pr ison ers to w or r y about w i t h out going ar ound arr est i n g our ow n people. Besides, if we had put every one who com m i t t ed abuses

in prison, I think we would have had to jail half a million Nicaraguans. People not only committed abuses. They also stole cars, and looted
abandoned houses. Ther e wasn't a house t ha t w asn't loot ed. Who did i t? The people did it, our com paneros, the police, members of the ar m y . I n cr edible t h i ngs w en t on i n t h i s cou n t r y . I t seemed l i k e t h e most n a t u r a l t h i n g i n t h e w or l d t o gr ab ever y

thing you could in these houses and make off with it. It was like com
m u n a l proper t y .

We lost a lot economically through the looting and destruction of buildings. This very building was stripped down to the walls. Every
th i n g was t aken — ai r con di t i oners, t oil et s. The house of the m i l l i on a i re M ont ealegre, out on the hi gh way to the

* T h e Simon B ol i v ar B r i gade was an ar med i n t er n a t i onal con t i n gent t h at en t ered N i car a gu a i n t h e closin g day s of t h e ci v i l w ar ; ost en si bl y t o support t h e FSL N . W h i l e i t u t i l ized t he F SL N 's n am e and ba nn ers, the B r i g ade refused t o s ub m i t t o t h e disci p l i n e of t h e F SL N an d car r i ed ou t w or k i n con fl ict w i t h t h e F SL N 's eff or ts. A pr ovocat ion i n v ol v i ng a dem on st r a t ion or ga nized by t he B r i g ade an d t h e B r i gade's r efusal t o su b m i t i t s ar med u n i t s t o t h e cen t r a l com

mand of the FSLN led to the expulsion from the country of its non-Nicaraguan
mem bers i n A u gust 1979. The Si mon B ol i va r B r i gade was or ganized from Colom b ia by fol l ow ers of N a

huel Moreno, leader uf t he Bolshevik F action o f t he Fourth I n ternational.
Mor eno's ma n euver wa s l a u nched w i t h o ut c ansul t a t i un w i t h t h e elected lead

ership bodies of the International, which condemned the Brigade as a "criminal adventure." The Bolshevik I'action split from the Fourth International in No
v em ber 19 79 .

102 Sa n d i n i s tas Speak

sout h, was t om apar t. We sent people to tr y to save the house, a house

where there was a million-dollars worth of housewares alone. It was
th e house of a gu y w ho spent t h ree m i l li on cordobas on his dau ght er' s weddi ng. I t w as a t r easur e.

Such houses should be taken care of. They belong to the people. This
h ouse became st at e propert y an d we sent som e people to gu ar d i t . I w en t th er e a m on t h l at er t o see w ha t t h er e w as, and ev er y t h i n g w as gone. They t ol d me: "Someone came from t he M i n i st r y of Cu l t u r e

and said you had given them permission to take things out."
I don't k now i f t h ey r ea ll y w er e from t h e M i n i st r y of C u l t u r e. T h e most nat u r al t h in g in t he w or ld was to gat her up t h i ngs and t ake them aw ay . T hi s is called loot i n g; it is called theft ; and i t is agai nst the law i n ever y cou n t r y i n t h e w or l d . T ot al ly by accident, I found a br ok en pai n t i ng t hr ow n on the grou n d . It w as a Picasso. I h ave since ver i fied t ha t i t w as a gen u i n e Picasso. T hey di dn' t. take the Picasso. T his m akes me t h i n k they w er en't rea l l y f rom t h e M i ni st r y of C u l t u r e, they w er e st up i d . T h is happened. The t r u t h is t hat th ere was no cont rol over any t h i n g . We set up a body called Cocoabe, but some of its m em bers com m i t t ed abuses. In those first days people w ould st eal a car, and when it ran out o f gas abandon i t an d steal an ot h er . They w r ecked a lot of M ercedes-Benzes, lu x u r y car s. They t ot al ed t h em , ran t hem i n to t h i n gs. They w ould get out of a car after crash i n g i t i n t o somet h i ng, and stop anot her car com in g dow n the st reet , m ak e the dr iver get out , and dr i ve off in i t . They w ou ld see a car pa r k ed an d tak e i t . Besides t h at , t hey w oul d d r i v e a t i n cr ed i bl e speeds. Peopl e were k i l l ed, t here w ere acciden t s. T h er e is a psychological ex pl an at ion for al l t h is. People fel t for t h e fi r st t i m e as if they w ere the bosses in t hei r own cou n t r y. It, was a coun t r y t h a t had al w ay s befor e been someone else's — i t w asn't ou r cou n tr y , i t was almost l i k e a for eign cou n t r y . We were li ke foreigners her e: it was l i k e we w er e v i sit or s i n N i car ag ua . A n d besides, we w ere dis cr i m i n at ed agai nst by t he r eal r u l ers of the cou nt r y , who wer en't even Ni car agu an . T h en , al l a t on ce, ou r people fel t l i k e t h e coun t r y be l onged to t hem — t he st reets, the h i gh w ays. They began to k i l l th em selves dr i v i ng ar ound l i ke l u n at ics. They began to l ake the t hings they h ad a l w ay s been deni ed. T hese wer e people w ho had n ever had a ny

thing, and they suddenly felt like they ruled the world. They did a lot
of damage to t he coun t r y 's economy , but t h is si t u a t ion could not have been avoided.

There was only one thing we could prevent — the kil ling of the Na

On Human Rights in Nicaragua 103 ti ona l Gu a r d . Som e w er e k i l l ed , bu t n ot h i n g l i k e t h e n u mber t h at

would have been killed.
I f we had given t h e sl i ght est si gn , not one Gu ardsmen w ould h av e

been left alive. If we had gone along with it in the slightest way, every single one would be dead. But we were inflexible and took great pains not only to prevent them from being ki lled but even to see that they weren't mistreated. And we succeeded as much as possible.
Th i s w a s a m aj o r h i st or i ca l accom pl i sh m ent . W e di d i t because t h at 's the way we w ere t au g ht . Car los Fonseca t au gh t us. The revol u tion t eaches respect for ot her people. A nd we also did it t h i n k i ng about Latin A merica .

If we had made a revolution here that was bloody and vengeful, with
firing squads and beatings, we would hurt the chances of revolution

ary movements in other places. We would make it harder for them to
find allies, we would frighten people in other countries. Wh enever t h er e is revol u t i on ar y act i v i t y i n L at i n A m er i ca, peopl e wi l l say — not si m ply t hat we wish the rev ol u t i on ar ies well — but t h at w e are sendi ng t roops, that w e are sendin g ar m s. W e h ave pr om ised i n al l ser i ousness not t o send ar m s or t roops t o hel p t he Salvador ans, and w e h ave k ept ou r pr om i se. M r . Car ter can

rest assured that we are keeping our promise not to send arms to the Salvadorans.
Th er e is not t h e sli gh test danger t h a t someday i t w i l l be r evealed th at we sent ar m s, because we haven't sent ar m s. It would be i rrespon sible, com pl et el y i r r esponsi ble. Even i f w e don't h av e a t r em endou s

amount of affection for Cart er, we don't think the Salvadorans need them .
Just l i k e we coul dn't pr ev en t loot i ng, and coul dn't t h row t he people r esponsibl e i n j a i l , i n t h e sam e w a y w e coul dn't pr ev en t a cer t ai n

number of prisoners from being killed or mistreated. Who did it? We don't know. The people did it; the people themselves did the looting;
t he people th emselves did the k i l l i ng. People who had suffered ter r i b l y o ver a long per iod of t i me. Th ere was a vi r t u al explosion in N icar agu a , and t he only reason it wasn't w orse was because of the good sense, ma tu r i t y , and respect for h u m a n i t y t hat m ot i v ate the leaders of the r evo l u t i on . For the same reason t hat we decided to respect h u m an r i gh t s, we al

so decided to offer you the greatest possible freedom of movement .
Even t h ough w e had some reser v a t i ons, even t h ough we w ere not t oo

sure that the commission would act with the necessary objectivity and
understanding.

104 Sa n d i n i s tas Speak

You probably also came into the situation w it h some prejudices
against us. Bu t w e see that y ou r a t t i t u de is posit i ve, t hat you ar e not

tr ying to put us on trial but rather to encourage us in our respect for human rights.
Just r espect i n g h u m a n r i gh t s i sn't en ough for u s. W e w an t t o be

come a shining example for the whole continent in the area of human
r i g h ts, an d w e ar e goin g t o d o i t . W hen peopl e t al k ab ou t h u m an

rights, when people tal k about respect for human rights, we want
t hem t o say — " l i k e i n N i car agua." Y ou can h el p us w i t h t h i s.

The Role of Religion in the New Nicaragua
The fol lo wing statement by the N a ti onal D ir ectorate of the F SL N was pu bl i shed i n the October 7, 19BO, issue of Ba r r i cada. T h e translat ion is by In t e rcont i n e nt a l P re ss. For some t i me t he enem ies of ou r people — dr i ven fr om power once a n d for al l — h ave been car r y i n g on an obst i n at e campaign of di st or ti ons an d lies abou t v ar i ous aspects of the r ev ol u t i on, w it h t he ai m of confu sin g t h e people. T hi s campaign of ideological confu sion seek s t o

promote anti-Sandinista fears and attitudes among the people, while
a t the same t i me pol i t i call y w ear i n g dow n the F SL N t h r ough i nt er m i

nable polemics that never seek honest conclusions, but in fact seek
pr ecisely t h e opposit e.

The question of religion has a special place in these campaigns of confusion since a large percentage of the Nicaraguan people have very
deep-rooted r el i gi ous sent i m en t s. I n t h is r eg ar d, the react i on ar ies' ef f or t s h ave been a i med at sp readi n g t h e i dea t h at t h e F SL N i s u si n g rel i gion now i n or der t o l ater su ppress it . Clear ly , the pur pose of such

propaganda is to manipulate our people's honest faith in order to pro voke a polit ical reaction against the FSLN and the revolution. This campaign is particularly vicious because it takes up matters that touch very deep feelings of many Nicaraguans. Given the impor
t ance of th e quest i on , an d i n or der t o or ien t ou r m ember sh ip , cl ar i fy

things for our people, and prevent further manipulation of this subject,
th e N at i onal D i r ect or at e of t h e F SL N h as decided t o issue t h i s docu

ment expressing its oAicial position on religion.
C h r i st ia n p a t r i ot s an d r ev ol u t i on ar ies ar e a n i n t eg ra l p ar t of t h e

Sandinista people's revolution, and they have been for many years. The participation of Christians — both lay people and clergy — in the
F SL N and t he Gover n m en t of N at i onal Reconst ru ct ion is a logical out g r ow t h of th ei r out st an di ng par t i ci pa t ion at t he people's side t h r ou gh o u t t he st r u ggle against t he di ct at or sh i p .

Through their interpretation of their faith, many FSLN members
a n d f i gh t er s w er e m ot i v at ed t o j oi n t h e r ev ol u t i on ar y st r u g gl e an d

therefore the FSLN. Many gave not only their valiant support to our
cause, but w ere also exam ples of dedicat i on, even to the poin t of shed 105

106 Sa n di nistas Spe ak

d i n g t h ei r blood to w ater t h e seed of l iber at i on .

How could we forget our beloved martyrs Oscar Phrez Cassar, Oscar Robelo, Sergio Guerrero, Arlen Siu, Guadalupe Moreno, and Leonardo Matute, or the dozens of Messengers of the Word* murdered by the So
m ozaist N a t i onal Gu ar d i n t h e m ou n t a i ns of ou r cou n t r y , or so m an y

other brothers and sisters. We should give special mention to the revolutionary work and hero ic sacrifice of Catholic priest and Sandinista member Gaspar Garcia Laviana. He represented the highest synthesis of Christian vocation
and r evol u t i on ar y consci ousness. A l l t h ese w er e h u m bl e m e n an d w omen w h o k new how t o f u l f i l l th ei r d u t y a s p a t r i ot s an d r ev ol u t i on ar ies w i t h ou t get t i n g bogged

down in long philosophical discussions, They now live eternally in the
mem or y of th e people, who w i l l n ever for get t h ei r sacr i fi ce.

But the participation of Christians was not limited to serving as
f i g ht er s i n t h e San d i ni st a F r on t . M an y C h r i st i ans, la y peopl e an d

clergy, who never participated in the ranks of the FSL N although some were linked to it, professed and practiced their faith in accord
wi t h ou r people's need for l i ber at i on . Th e C at h oli c ch urch an d som e

evangelical churches even participated as institutions in the people' s
v i ct or y over t h e Somoza regime of t er r or .

On various occasions the Catholic bishops bravely denounced the crimes and abuses of the dictatorship. Monsignor Obando y Bravo and
Mon si gnor Salazar y Espinoza, among ot h ers, w ere abused by Somoza ist g angs. It w a s a g ro up o f p r i ests a nd m o nk s t h at e xp osed t o t h e w or l d t h e di sappear ance of 3,000 peasant s i n t h e m ou n t a i n s i n t h e n or t h of ou r cou n t r y . M an y C h r i st i an s of di ffer en t denom i n at i on s car r ied a l i b er at i n g m essage to t he people. Some even gave refuge and food t o t he Sandi

nistas who were mercilessly persecuted by Somozaism. People gathered in the religious houses to hear underground news bulletins when the Somozaist repression prevented independent radio
s t at i ons from br oadcast i n g . B ecause of t h ei r b r av e p ar t i ci pat ion i n t h e st r u ggle, t h e C at ho li c c h urch an d C h r i st i an s i n gen er a l su ff er ed p ersecut io n an d deat h .

Many religious figures also were mistreated, were expelled from our
c oun t r y , faced a t h ousand obstacles to th e ex er cise of t h ei r C h r i st i a n

faith. Many religious buildings were broken into, pillaged, bombed,
*The "messengers of the word" were lay Christians who proselytized among peasants in the early 1970s. They often played a role in organizing opposition to the Somoza dictatorship in the countryside.

The Role of Religion 107 a n d assau lt ed i n at t em pt s t o m u r der com pan eros in si de, as was t h e

case with El Calvario Church in Leon and the chapels in the moun
ta i n s. T o a degree unprecedented i n any ot her r evol u t i on ar y m ov em en t i n

Latin America and perhaps the world, Christians have been an inte gral part of our revolutionary history. This fact opens up new and in
terest ing possib i l i t ies for t he par t i ci pat ion of Ch r i st i ans in r ev ol u t i on s i n other places, not only du r ing the st r u ggle f' or power, but also later i n t h e st age of b u i l d i n g t he new societ y . In t h e new r on dit,ions t ha t ar e posed by t h e r evol u t i on ar y process, we Ch r i st ian an d non-Ch r i st ia n r evol u t i on a ries must com e toget her ar ound t he task of pr ov i d i n g con t i n u i t y to t his extr em el y v al u able ex per ience, ext end in g i t i n t o th e f u t u r e. W e must perfect t h e for m s of c onscious pa r t i ci pat ion am on g al l t h e r ev ol u t i on ar ies i n N i car agu a ,

whatever their philosophical positions and religious beliefs.
FS L N 's positi on s on r eli gion 1. T h e FSL N sees freedom to profess a r el i gi ous fait h as an i n al i en

able right which is fully guaranteed bv the revolutionary government .
Th i s p r i nci pl e w as in cluded i n ou r r ev ol u t ion ar y pr og ra m l ong ago, a nd we w i l l m a i n t ai n it i n pract ice in t he fu t u r e."' Fu rt h er m ore, in t h e new N i caragu a no one can be discr i m i n ated against f' or pu bl icly pr o f essing or spreadi ng t h ei r r el i gi ous beliefs. Those who profess no r el i g i ous fait h h ave t he ver y sam e r i g h t . 2. Som e au t h or s h av e asserted t ha t r el i gion i s a m ech an ism for spreadin g f alse consciousness am on g people, w h ich serves to j u st i fy th e ex pl oit at ion of on e class by an ot h er . T h i s asser t ion u n doubt edly has hi st ori c v al i d i t y t o t h e ext en t t h a t i n d i ff er en t h i st or ica l epochs r el i gion has served as a theor et i cal basis for pol i t i cal dom in at i on. Suf fice i t f o recal l t h e r ole t hat t h e m ission ar ies pl ayed i n t h e process of' d om i n a t ion and colonizat ion of t he I n d i ans of ou r cou n t r y . How ev er, we Sandi ni stas st ate that our exper ience shows t hat w hen Ch r i st i ans, basing t h emselves on th ei r f a i t h , ar e capable of respond in g t o t h e needs of t he people an d of hi st or y , t hose ver y bel iet's lead them t o revol u t i on ar y act i v i sm . Our exper i ence shows us that on~ can

be a bel iever and a consistent revolutionary at. the same time. s ad that
th er e i s no insolu ble con t r adi ct ion bet ween t he t w o. 3. T h e F SL N i s t h e or ga nizat io n of N i car agua n r evol u t i on ar ies, who h ave vol u n t a r i l y come together to t r an sf or m t he social, economi c,

108 Sa n d i n is tas Spe ak

an d pol i t i ca l si t u at ion i n ou r coun tr y i n l i n e w i t h a k n ow n pr ogr am

and strategy.
A l l t hose who agree w it h ou r object i ves and pr oposals, and h ave t h e

personal qualities demanded by our organization, have every right to
p ar t i ci pate act i v el y i n ou r r a n k s, wh at ever th ei r r el i gi ous beliefs. Ev i

dence of this is provided by the fact that there are three Catholic
p r iest s in t h e Sandi ni st a A ssem bl y .

Many Christians are members of the FSLN, and there will be Chris
t i an s w i t h i n t h e Sand i ni st a Fr on t as l on g as th er e ar e r ev ol u t i on ar y C h r i st i ans i n N i car agu a . 4. A s a v angu ar d t hat i s conscious of th e i m m ense responsi bi l i t i es t h at h ave fallen upon its shou lder s, the F SL N zealously seeks to m ai n

tain the strength and unity of its organization around the explicit ob
j ect i ves for w hich i t w as for m ed. W i t h i n t h e fr am ew or k of t h e F SL N , t h er e is no place for r el i gi ous prosel y t i sm . T h i s w ould under m i ne t h e s peci fi c ch aracter of ou r v an gu ar d an d i n t r oduce fact or s of di su n i t y , s ince t h e San d i ni st a Fr on t i n cl udes companeros of v a r i ou s r el i gi on s and none. Ou t side the fr am ew or k of t he F SL N , C h r i st i an act i vi sts — w h ether t hey be pr iest s, past or s, m em b er s of r el i gi ous orders, or lay peopl e al l h ave the r i gh t to express thei r con vi ct i ons publ icly. T h is cannot be used t o det r act fr om t h ei r w or k i n t h e F SL N or fr om t h e con fidence t h a t t hey h ave gained as a resul t of t h ei r r ev ol u t i on ar y act i v i t y . 5. T h e F SL N h as a pr ofoun d respect for al l t h e r el i gi ous celebr a t i on s an d t r ad i t i on s of ou r people. I t i s st r i v i n g t o rest or e t h e t r u e mean i ng of these occasi ons by at ta ck ing v ar i ous ev ils and for ms of cor r u p t ion t hat w ere i n t r oduced i nt o them i n t h e past . We feel that t h is respect must be expressed not only by i n su r i ng con d i t i on s for t h e fr ee expression of t hese t r ad i t i ons, bu t also by seei n g t h at they are not used for pol i t i cal or comm er ci al ends. If i n the fu t u r e an y San di n i st a act i vi st depar ts from t h is pr i n ci ple, we st ate now t h at

this in no way represents the FSLN's position.
Of cour se, if ot her pol i t i cal par t i es or i n di v i du als try to t ur n the peo ple's rel i gi ous fest i v als or act i v i t ies i nto pol i t ical acts against the revo lu t ion (as has happened i n some in st ances i n t he past ), the FSL N de c l ares i t also has a r i gh t t o defen d t h e peopl e an d t h e r evol u t ion i n these same condi t i ons. 6. N o Sand i ni st a m ember sh ou ld, i n an y of fi cial capaci t y , offer an o pi n ion on the i n t er pr et at ion of r el i gi ous quest.ions that are solely t h e concer n of th e va r i ous chu rc hes. These questi ons must b e decided by

the Christians among themselves. If a Sandiriista who is also a Chris
ti a n i n t erv enes i n t he polem ics of t hat k i n d, he does so i n a personal

The R ole of Reli gi on 1 0 9

c apaci t y , i n h is capacit y as a Ch r i st i a n .

7, Some reactionary ideologists have accused the FSLN of trying to divide the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth or more ill
i n t en t i oned than t h is accusat i on . If th ere are di vi si ons w i t h i n t he rel i

gions, they exist completely independently of the will and activity of the FSLN .
A st udy of hi st or y sh ows that ar ound big pol i t i cal events mem bers of th e Cat h oli c ch urch h ave al w ay s t ak en di ff er en t an d even cont r adi c t or y posi ti ons. M i ssi on ar ies cam e w i t h t h e Spanish col onizers, an d t hey used the cross to consecr ate the slave labor t hat had been i n i t i at ed by t he sw or d. Bu t against t hem arose the f i r m ness of B ar t olome de

las Casas, the defender of the Indians.*
I n t he begi n n i n g of t he last cen t ur y m an y p r iests fough t for t he i n dependence of Cen t r a l A m er i ca, some w it h w eapons i n h and. A nd on th e ot her ex t r em e t h er e w er e pr iest s wh o defended t h e pr i v i leges of the crow n i n L at i n A m er ica w it h equal v eh em ence.

After liberation from the colonial yoke, we find the anti-interven
ti onist posi t i ons of M on si gnor Per ei r a y Cast el l 6n , w ho called for de f ense of t h e n at i on's i n t erests against t h e N or t h A m er i ca n i n vasi on . D u r i n g t h e Somoza epoch t he fi gu r e of M on si gnor Calderon y Pad i l l a stands out, at t ack i n g t he Somozas' vice, cor r u pt i on, and abuse of pow e r against t h e poor . A n d t oday t h er e i s t he m assive r ev ol u t i on ar y com m i t m en t am on g revol u t i on ar y Ch r i st i ans.

Earlier we mentioned the participation of many Christians in the
people's revol u t i on ar y st r u gg le. But we must also point out t hat some, li k e L e6n Pal l ai s and ot h ers, r em ai ned at Somoza's side to the end . W e sh oul d not f orget t h a t i n t h a t p er iod t h er e w er e pr iest s w h o pr oudly par aded th ei r m i l i t ar y r a n ks and official posi t i ons — of course

no one demanded that they give up their posts. But we should also not
forget t h at i n con t r ast to these sad exam ples we have t he i m m ense fig ur e of Gaspa r G ar ci a L . an d so m an y ot he r Sandi n i st a m ar t y r s of C h r i st i an or i g i n . T h is sit u at ion cont i nues in t he present st age. A n i m m ense m aj or i t y

of the Christians actively support and participate in the revolution .
Bu t t h er e is also a m i n or i t y t h at m a i n t ai n pol i t i cal posi t i ons opposed t o t he r evol u t i on . N at u r a l l y w e San di ni st a s ar e good f r i end s of t h e r evol u t i on ar y *Bartolome de las Casas (1474-1566h a Spanish Dominican, was known as the
" pr otector of the I n di ans" for h is defense of the r i g h ts of the I n d i ans against t h e

Spanish settlers.

110 Sondi nistas Speak Ch r i st i an s bu t n o t of t h e cou nt er r evol u t i on ar ies, even t h ough t h ey

call themselves Christians.
T h e F SL N , h ow ev er , m a i n t a i ns com m u n icat i ons on al l l ev els w i t h

different Churches, with the ranks and the hierarchy, without regard to their political positions. We do not foster or provoke activities to divide the Churches, That
q uest ion i s t h e ex clu siv e concer n of t h e C h r i st i an s an d does not i n volve pol i t i cal or gan izat ions. If d i v i sions do exi st , t he Ch ur ches must look for t he causes w i t h i n t h emselves and not at t r i b ut e them t o sup posed m a l i ci ous out side in fl u ences. Speak i n g f r a n k ly , we w ou l d look ki n dl y upon a Ch urch t hat t ook pa r t , in an u n pr ej udiced, m at u r e, and r esponsi bl e m a nn er , i n t h e com mon eff or t t o cont i n u al l y ex pan d t h e di al ogue and pa r t i cipat ion t hat ou r r ev ol u t i on ar y process has opened .

8. Another matter that has recently been the subject of discussion is
the par t i ci pat ion of priests and m embers of rel i gi ous orders in the Gov er nm en t of N a t i onal Reconst r u ct i on . In regar d to t h is, we declare th at ever y N icar ag uan ci t izen has a r i ght to par t i ci pate i n car r y i n g out po li t i cal aff ai r s i n ou r cou n t r y , w h at ever t h ei r ci v i l st ate, and the Gov e r nm en t of N a t i ona l Reconst r u ct ion gu ar an t ees t h i s r i g h t , w h ich i s

backed up by the law.
The pr iest com paneros who have t aken posts i n t he gover n m en t , i n r esponse to the F SL N 's cal l and t hei r ob l i g at i ons as cit izens, have t h u s

far carried out extraordinary work. Facing great and difficult prob
l ems, ou r cou n t r y n eeds t h e par t i ci pat ion of al l p at r i ot s to m ove for wa r d . I t especi all y needs t hose w ho had t he ch ance t o receive hi gh er educat i on, w hich w as denied to t he m aj or it y of ou r people. Th er efore, t he F SL N w i l l con t i n ue t o ask al l t hose lay an d cl er ical

citizens whose experience or qualifications might be needed for our
p r ocess to pa r t i ci pat e.

If any of the religious companeros decide to give up their govern
men t al responsi bi l i t ies for t h ei r ow n special r easons, t hat too is th ei r r i g h t . Ex er ci sing t he r i gh t t o par t i cipat e i n an d f u l f i l l one's pat r i ot i c

obligation is a matter of personal conscience.
9. T h e revol u t ion an d t h e st at e h ave or ig i ns, goals, and sph eres of a ct ion t h a t ar e di ff er en t t h an t hose of r el i gi on . For t h e r evol u t i on ar y st at e, r el i gion i s a persona l m a t t er . I t i s t h e concer n of i n d i v i d u als,

churches, and special associations organized around religous aims. Like every modern state, the revolutionary state is secular and can not adopt any religion because it is the representative of all the people,
beli ev er s as w el l as nonbel iev er s.

By issuing this official communique, the National Directorate of the Sandinist a National Liberation Front hopes not only to clarify the

The Role of Religion 111

question under discussion, but also and especially to remind the revo lutionary militants of the FSLN and the Churches of their duties and
responsi bi l i t ies in t he const r u ct ion of our cou nt r y, w hich has been hel d

down by 159 years of pillage, repression, and dependence.
Bu i l d i n g N i car agua's fu t u r e is a hi st or ic chal l enge t hat t r anscends

our borders and inspires other peoples in their struggle for liberation and to create the new man, and it is a right and a duty of all Nicara
gu ans, regar dless of th ei r r el i gi ous beliefs.

Sandino Yesterday, Sandino Today, Sandino Always!
F r ee H om el an d or D ea t h !

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Nicar agu a's Economy and the Fi ght Against I mp er i alism
by Jaime Wheelock
FSL N l eader J ai me Wheelock is N i car ag ua's mini ster of ag ri cu l t u r al d evelopment . T hi s speech was gi ven to the F i rst I nter na ti onal Conf er ence i n Soli d a ri ty w i t h N i car ag ua , hel d i n M an ag ua J a n uary 2 6 - 31 , 1981. It u a s pu b li s hed in t he Febru ary 1, 1981, issue of Ba r r i c ada, the FSL N d ai ly . T he tr ansla ti on i s by In t e rc ont i n e nt al P ress.

Companeros of the presiding committee of this extraordinary gath ering in solidarity with our people and our struggle; Companeros Julio Lopez and Raul Guerra; Brothers and sisters from all those countries and peoples that for a long time have been supporting the formidable efforts of the Nicara
guan people to conquer t h ei r freedom , n at i onal i ndependence, and so

cial progress: Today we would like to give you some general information on the achievements and the prospects of the Sandinista economy. We do so
a t a t i m e w hen t h e react i on ar y forces of i mper i a li sm , alon g w i t h t h e

Somozaists and the reactionaries here at home, are bent on setting up
o bstacles to the San di ni st a people's rev ol u t i on .

That is why we think your presence here has a deep revolutionary
si gn i fi cance — bot h of i nt er n at i on al ism and of solidar i t y — because it a m ou n t s t o a show of suppor t f r om t h e wh ol e w or l d, from democr at i c

peoples, from progressive and humanistic consciences, from those who have faith in the people's future. At the same time, it is an incentive for us Nicaraguans and revolutionaries to know that in the battles that await us in defense of our national sovereignty and independence,
w e can count, on th e tr em endous st r en gt h of i n t e r n at i onal soli dar i t y .

We will not mention figures because we will be distributing docu
ments and st at i st ics t hat show t he successes and obstacles of the N i ca

raguan revolution in its economic and social development. We know
that as you car r y ou t y ou r ta sks of solid ar i t y and suppor t to the N i ca raguan cause you need to under st and as we do the basic condi t i ons, t he favor able and u nf avor able aspects of our econom ic and social develop 113

114 Sa n d in is tas Speak

ment, and our current achievements and problems. In looking at the basic conditions of the Sandinista economy, we must first take up the objective situation we found ourselves in when the revolution triumphed. First, a sparsely populated country with a li ttle more than 2 million inhabitants concentrated in the area along the Pacific Coast. Fifty percent of the population lives in the country side, and 50 percent in urban areas. With the exception of Managua and five or six cities with 30,000 or 40,000 inhabitants, the latter are practically all small peasant villages. So, much of the 50 percent of the population called urban is actually a rural population as well . There are some 800,000 workers incorporated into the economic ac tivity of the country; of these, more than 60 percent were illiterate. So the labor force was a poorly skilled one, mainly engaged in handicrafts a nd peddling in the towns. In the countryside, tenant farmers culti vate basic grains on tiny plots, while the bulk of the agricultural labor
force wo rk s pic ki ng cotton a nd coffee and cut t i n g s ugarc ane.

W e have had an economy in which development has been slight , where alongside a relatively smal l industrial sector we find a very broad range of handicrafts. In the countryside, export-oriented lati fundia are complemented by a very extensive sector of small peasant production . The main features of the Nicaraguan economy are economic back wardness, dependence on imperialism, and a predominantly capitalist
socioeconom ic st r u ct u r e, in w h ich we noneth eless find m an y who sub

sist on precapitalist forms of production, both in the urban handicrafts
and peasant s ecto rs .

We have a highly developed infrastructure in the Pacific zone, while in the central and Atlantic zones the conditions for production, trans portation, and communications are almost totally lacking. The Atlan tic Coast has more than 60,000 square kilometers but only 200,000 in habitants. That is, an area three times as large as El Salvador but with a population thirty times smaller . So the objective economic conditions the Nicaraguan revolution was faced wit h were a backward structure, cult ural oppression of t he workers (the majority of the population), underdevelopment, and eco nomic dependence. As is well known, Nicaragua is a country that produces enough food f or its own people and has a quite efficient peasant economy. But it must also be taken into account that the economic power of capitalism was mainly brought to bear on agricult ural exports, with the aim of meeting the requirements of the international capitalist market. This forced a weak and stagnant natural economy to serve as the basis of

Ni c a r a gua's Economy and I mp eri a l i sm 1 1 5

imported technology so as to meet the needs of a dynamic agricultural export sector . We are dependent not only because of what we export to the interna t ional capitalist market but also because of what we must impor t — machinery, materials, technology, and capital — in order to produce. Owing to the rapid development of certain sectors of our economy, such as agriculture, without a corresponding development of industry , we are forced to buy all our machinery and technology abroad. This prevented our traditional handicrafts from being transformed into a
n at i onal i n du st r y . Th e w ar r i or s of t h e past cen t u r y w er e u n abl e t o b u i l d t h e cot t on g i ns, coffee processing pl a n t s, or sugar m i l ls t hat l ater w ould pr ol if er

ate in the country. Those artisans who manufactured twine, domestic goods, bowls, or carts were unable to become manufacturers of often h ighly sophisticated pesticides and ferti lizers overnight . Therefore, when the Sandinista revolution triumphed on July 19,
o u r u n derdevelopm en t an d dependence w er e of w h a t w e t er m t h e "qu al i t at i ve" ty pe, mean i ng the enor m ous di ff i cu lt y of achi ev ing inde

pendence in culture, technology, and industry, in order to become in dependent in agriculture. This may sound somewhat dramatic but it is a reality which exists not only in Nicaragua but also in many countries of the so-called Third World. Therefore, makin g a revolution i n disadvantageous conditions meant i n itself drawing up a long-term strategic program aimed at
st r i k i n g at aspects of N i caragu a's econom i c and social pr obl ems t h at

could be described as crucial — a program to strike at backwardness, to strike at underdevelopment, to strike at economic dependence. Thus, our revolution put forth a program that might be called the program of a poor country, of a small, backward country which has to work for its national independence, which has to work for its economic i ndependence, which has to wor k for the cultural betterment of it s il l iterate work force, which has to develop vast areas in the country where our backwardness is total, which has to redress the demograph ic and economic imbalances existing in our territory, where the con
t r a di ct i ons of neocoloni a l i sm, capi t a li sm, and i mper i a li sm 's oli gar ch i c

enterprises have coincided to create chaos and economic anarchy. That is what we found on July 19. We are aware that the more backward a country is, the more diffi cult it is to achieve social progress. Precisely for that reason, we have not worked in a spectacular manner. We know that this is a very diffi cult task , because the countr y needs substantial investments for

ll 6

S a n d i n i stas Speak

developmen t . M uch t i me is needed to master t echnology, much t i me i s

needed to lay the foundations of a sound, independent economy. T hat is the strategic aim we are working toward with spirit and wil l . But that is the long-term challenge. On July 19 our immediate task was to provide the basic necessities of our people. Economic doctrines and romantic ideas are no good if the people are hungry. And on July 19, in addition to ter rible material destruction, we found a quite onerous foreign debt. At the same time, there were the aftereffects of a capital drain of more than $800 million .
T h er e w as, of cour se, th e basi c econom i c an d social condi t i on s w e

found: backwardness, underdevelopment, poverty. We found a country
t h a t w as t ot al l y ba n k r u pt , w i t h n o f or eig n cu r r en cy , no for eig n sav

ings; with a debt of $1.6 billion, and destruction amounting to more than $800 million, which affected more than 35 percent of the indus tr ial production and more than 25 percent of agriculture. The war coincided with the harvest of basic crops and, some time lat
er , th e cotton h ar vest . So i n 1979 an d par t of 1980, t hose basic crops

were lacking. The basic diet of Nicaraguans consists of corn, rice, and
beans, and it so happened th at i n t hat year t h ere w ere no beans, rice, o r cor n . A nd , w orst of a l l . w e w oul d not be able to expor t cot t on , t he pr i m e c rop for N i caragu a's su r v i v al . Of the 320,000 manzanas* t r ad i t i on al l y

sown, it was only possible to sow 50,000.
We had to dev ote a l arge am oun t of resources to the r eh ab i l i t a t ion of

the infrastruct ure. You know that Somoza's regime vented its rage on
th e fact or i es, on st r at egic indu st r ies and pr odu ct ion u n i t s.

Much was destroyed in the countryside also, where agricultural ma
ch in er y w a s p i l l aged . T obacco w a s v i r t u a l l y l ooted , an d t h ey t ook away m ore t han $3 m i l l ion w ort h of mach i n ery . Dest ru ct ion was gen e r al . Ou r for emost j ob at the t ime was t he reh ab i l i t at ion of the in f rast r uc

ture, and to this end we had to spend large sums of foreign currency. Our debts increased because we had to buy spare parts and equipment
i n order t o r et u r n t o r el at i ve nor m al cy . In N i car agua, nor m alcy has depended t o a gr eat ext en t on for ei gn cr ed it . If th ere is tr anspor t at i on, it is because we have used credi t l in es

abroad. If the factories are running, it is because we have brought in a
c onsider abl e n u m ber of spar e par t s, w hich has mean t great expen di tu r es i n for ei gn cu r r ency or ext er nal l oans. If we have w or ked success
*1 m an zan a = 1.726 acres

Ni car ag ua's E conomy and I mp er i a li sm 1 1 7

f u l l y i n economi c react iv at i on , i t h as been at t h e expense of gr ow i n g

foreign indebtedness.
The f irst si x m on t hs of the r evol u t ion w ere dedicated to adm i ni st r a

tive organization, to extirpating the whole corrupt cancer of Somoza
ism. T h is mean t incorpor at i n g i n to st ate and econom ic m an agement a

p olitically , administratively, and technicall y inexperienced intelli
gent sia . I t m ean t or gan i zin g t h e r ev ol u t i on's r a n k s, creat i n g l ar ge mass organizat i ons and an ar m y t r u l y capable of facing any at tack by Somozaism an d r eact ion ar y forces abroad .

So the 1980 program was called the Plan for Economic Reactivation.
T h is program called for u si ng t he coun t r y 's pr oduct i ve forces to the ut most w h il e m a k i n g subst an t i a l i n vest m en t s i n m at er i al, h u m an , and f i n an cia l resources. The l a tt er m ade i t possible to pu t t h e product i v e m ach in er y back i nto m ot i on, under the di ff i cult condi t i ons our cou n t r y f ound it sel f i n . We have been t a l k i n g about object i ve socioeconomic condi t i ons; th at is, th e legacy of t h e past , t he legacy of back w ar dness, underdevelop men t , and pover t y . T hat i s t he most di ff i cul t t h i n g we face. We h av e

been talking about the legacy of destruction caused by the war, the col
lapse that occur r ed w i t h t he revol u t ion and its aft er m a t h, and the cost t o ou r cou n t r y al l t h i s si gn i fi ed . Bu t th er e is a t h i r d aspect we w an t to em phasize so that t he logic of the Sandi ni st a economy can be fu ll y under stood. T his aspect is the po l i t ical one — t h e quest ion of n at i ona l u n i t y . We seek t o em er ge from povert y and u nderdevelopm en t, to count er d ependency , an d t o r eh ab i l i t at e an d r eact i v at e ou r econom y w h i l e mai n t a i n i ng n at i onal un i t y. I t is a very di f fi cul t and complex task, one t h a t m i gh t even seem to cal l for w i zards or m agi ci ans. Som et imes t h e c ontr adi cti on s i nv ol ved ar e so deep an d i r reconci l able t ha t i t i s di ff i c ul t for us to har m onize t h em . H ow can we del iver ou r people from pover t y , w h i le at, the same t i m e react i v at i n g our econom y an d u t i l i zing al l our pr oduct ive forces? A nd

how can we do this while large sectors of our economy are still subject
t o form s of expl oi t a t ion t hat ar e ch ar act er i st ic of capi t a l ism i n under developed coun t r ies'? In fact — and t h i» is per haps one of the deepest concerns of our r evo lu t ion — t h e econom i c consider at i on s of t h e N i car agua n r evol u t i on ar e not as i mpor t an t t o u» as its pol i t ical aspects. In a w ay , the N i caraguan revol u t ion is not j ust a N icaraguan ono. It

is a revolution made by a people who share the problem» of many other
p eoples like our ow n — peoples who st il l l i ve under t he iron r u le of m i l

118 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

it ar y di ct at or sh i ps, w hich as w e al l k now ar e th e t y pical an d classic

forms used by the imperialists to dominate our peoples. The imperialists install such military dictatorships where they can
n ot i n t er vene d irect l y or w h er e t h er e ar e no local ol i gar ch ic or bou r g eois classes w it h en ough econom ic power and pol i t i cal t a l ent to gu ar a n tee t h e su bj u g at ion «f t h e people. So t hey t u r n t hose classes i n t o

the~r i nt ermediari es , into representatives of thei r interests in such
coun t r ies. Th i s i» v hii t t hey d« v' hen t hey can not i nt «rv ene directl y — ei t her because the people st r ug gle as our people did i n Sandi no's t i me, or b« < iiii»« i >i t«mari «n ;i l d i pli>m;it ic c«nsid«r ;i t i on» pr«vi nt t hem f'rom do i ng so. <I t hi ii k i t w ould be dif fi cu lt for t he im per i a l i sts to int er v ene i n ;i direct , m i l i t ar y way i n C<>lomhia or V enezuela, for ex am pl«. > H«r c i n N ica ragua nei t her t he L iber als nor t he Conserv at ives could g uar a ntee im per i a list d om !n at i «n . So w hen i t became i m possible t o check th<. v igor.ous ad vance <>f Sandi no they had t o i nt er vene — fi r st di rect ly and then by means of a m i l i t ar y di ct at or ship t hat, placed it self above al l t he classes and par t ies and repr esented im per i a li»t i nt erest s e xcl usi v«ly . I m per i a li sm's m i l i t ar y di ct at or shi p — w h ich also pr otected a ser vi le, subsidi a r y , an d i r r «l ev ant. loc;i l f«rrn of' exploi t at ion — w as de s t roved by t h «S<i nd i n i st a r «vol u t i on. The ty pi cal and classic for m t h e

imperiali st s have introduced in Cuatemafa, Kf Salvador, Chile, and
« t h«r L .it >n Amer i ca n cou n t r ies suffered an i m po r t an t defeat, here i n
Ni ct>l'iigu<i .

Th is is w hy n at i onal un it y is of'such great im por t ance to thc N icara

g tlall i'«voluti on .
S ome mon ths ago. a L' .S. St ate Depar t m en t oAi ci al said t hat t he pi l lars of' w hat hc cii ll«d t h« " t r ad i t i on a l reg im«s" w ere being l or n dow n i n C «n ! r a l A m«>ic,>. Those pi l l ar s w er e i n cr i sis, h e said , ex pl i ci t l y p oi n t i n g t o t h e reii ct i«n iir.v Ch u rch h ier ar chy , the ol ig archy , rind t he f 'a»cist, arni y T h«. « w «r« the th> <.e pil l ars on w hich the so-called t r ad i tloi ia l dom in at i on rest ed . A ccordi n g t « t h is «fi i ci al . rh ;i t i s w h it. had m a i n t t ined t h « u n i t y ,
t i b i l i t i . .i >i d c « h< si<>n <>I'so«i< t y . Ht>t w h a t, i» n o w i r i v o l v e d i s t h a t o n ce

th is pat ter n wa» hri>ken in N icar ii gu a, a new type of nat i«nal un i t y ap p<.;ired. H «r< th«r « i» , l;i h i l i t y , p<;ice. ;ind product.ion . 9'e are n.->t. going t« siiy t hat. w« ar e l iv i ng in par adise, because ther e ar « c«n t r;>dict ion . a n d ,i n i rit «ns« ideological st r uggf«. Th e react i<>n a r ie» keenly d< sire t o w i n over t h « m i ddl e st r at a of t h e popu l a t i on . They are m ak ing a st ubborn effor t to t ake advan t age of the back w ar d

Nicaragua's Economy and Imperialism 119 ness of the peasantry and the humble people to turn them against the
r evol u t i on .

But one thing is certain: here, neither the reactionary hierarchy, the oligarchy, nor the military dictatorship can guarantee national unit y
a n y l onger . Th er e is u n i t y , but u nder r ev ol u t i on ar y r u le. I t is a u n i t y

rooted in the mass organizations, the organizations of the workers,
p easants, st uden ts, and democr at ic w om en . I n ot her w or ds, a people's u n i t y w i t h people*s ar med pow er , an d a gover n m ent pr ogr am all ow i ng for and st i m u l at ing the par t i ci pat ion of

all strata in the national reconstruction of Nicaragua. And all those
f act ors are u n i ted under t he fi r m gu i dance of our v an gu ar d, the San di n i st a N at i onal L ib er at ion F r on t . Five years ago that w as a dream, an i l l u si on. But now t h is St ate De par t m en t ofl i cial r ealizes that w h i le the old t r ad i t i onal pat t er ns h av e

been replaced by r evolutionary patterns, peace, stability , and the
smoot h fun ct i on ing of the economy are m ai n t a i n ed. T h is is a vi ct or y of t h e rev ol u t i on, t hi s is a vi ct or y of al l the r ev ol u t i on ar ies in t he w or l d . An d t h at i s even m or e i m por t an t t h an t h e speci ficall y econom i c as

pects. Our main concern, therefore, is to fully use the nation's productive
forces. A nd we t h i n k t h at u nder a revol u t i on ar y power i t is also possi ble to in duce the forces of the mi ddle class and even t he bourgeois sec t or t o j oi n u s , i n t h e sam e w a y a n a g r i cu l t u r a l w or ke r offer s h i s

energy, his sweat, his blood in the task of building the new homeland,
w h ich is w hat t h e peasant s and w or k er s are doi n g . I n or der t o st r en gt hen t h e cou n t r y 's u n it y w e can benefi t fr om t h e b ourgeoisie's exper i ence in agr i cu l t u r e, from t h ei r m an agem en t sk i l l s

in industry. The contradictions arising from their participation are
l ess sig n i fi can t t h a n t h e sol u t i on s they pr ov ide for ca r r y i n g on t h e s tr u ggle against t he com m m on enem y . The cont r adi ct i ons i nh er ent to social classes are less impor t an t t h an our m at er ia l ach i ev em ent s i n r econst r u ct in g t h e fou nd at i on s of n a

tional economy, i n the st ruggle for development , i n th e struggle against backwardness, and indeed in the struggle against economic
d ependence, because the r a ti on al e of t h e econom y i s cent r a l ized i n a pl an , i n an economic program t h at assi gns a r ole to each social force. W e ar e not r ef er r i n g t o t ha t old , back w ar d econom y w h er e a b i g

manufacturer could do as he pleased. In the first place, a big manufac
tu r er has to con t r i b ut e to t he fi n an cial sy stem and has to pay a f ixed

interest rate reimbursing the money that was lent to him by the state, by the people.

120 Sa n d in is tas Speak

S econd ly , w hen he pr oduces, he has to pay pr odu ct ion t axes, expor t

duties, capital gains taxes, and real estate taxes, as well as income taxes, because our economy operates on this basis. And of course, there is our political capacity, the capacity to regulate what some call the re
p r oduct ion of capit a l .

We nationalized foreign trade and the banks. This means that the
st ate receives all t he for eign cu r r en cy. No big cotton pr oducer here can

obtain dollars, only cordobas. With those cordobas he has to pay bank
i n t erest , pr odu ct ion t axes, expor t d u t ies, capi t a l l ev ies, an d i ncom e taxes. Somew here, u su a l l y i n a b a n k , h e w i l l k eep a r a t her si g n i f ican t am ou nt. A nd t hat m oney is also avai l able to be used by our economy as a whol e. Th us, we ar e also able to use t hese resources, these in di v i du als, as

workers in national reconstruction. Their contribution is significant .
T h er e has been no need to ex pr opr i at e t he means of pr oduct i on . I n rea l i t y , w hat w e ar e ex pr opr i at i n g are t he sur p luses. W e sh oul d seri ou sl y consider w h et her i t i s conveni en t or not for a poor, dependent, and back w ar d cou n t r y lack i ng a sk i l led w or k f orce to use these resources and expl oi t t h e l and by i n t r oduci n g st at e and n a ti on al con t rol over t he sur p l u s r at her t h an over t he means of produc tion t h em selves.

Of course, this is a very special circumstance in Nicaragua. It proba bly does not apply to other countries. But we do have control over prop erty, profit, and surpluses.
Th e m i ddle and upper st r at a feel t hat we respect th ei r proper t y, and th a t t hey can l i ve somewha t af fl u en t l y . They feel som ew ha t at ease, because we al low t hem t he possi bi l i t y of ow n i n g some of the means of p r odu ct i on . W e believe t hat r at her t han being a problem for t he rev ol u t i on, t h i s is v i t a l for t he r ev ol u t i on. U n i t y to confr on t i m p er i a l ism is v i t a l. Th at i s why our econom ic program has incl uded such elem ents of un it y bot h

in the 1980 plan and in the 1981 plan as well.
Wh at h ave we achi eved i n recent m on t hs? A t t he begi n n in g we had set ou rselves a really h i g h g ro wt h r a te . We we re going to grow by 2 3 p ercent . Of course, t his fi gur e has to be seen in t er ms of the very di ff i cul t year t h e N icaraguan economy had suff er ed. I n 1979, N icar agua's gross nat i onal pr oduct equ alled t ha t of 1962. We had gone back seventeen years, so from a cer t ai n poi n t of vi ew th is 23 percent gr ow t h was not so diff i cu lt to achi eve when resor t i ng t o

all our forces and using all our financial resources.
It was dif fi c ult in the organizati o nal condi t i o ns, because of the ma te

Ni car ag ua's E conomy and I mperi a l i sm 1 2 1

r i a l dam age we had suff ered and also because of the shock and t u r m oi l o u r people suffered, th e geogr aph i cal di st r i b u t ion of t h e popul at i on ,

and other social factors.
Bu t we can say t h at we have pract icall y at t a ined t hat fi g u r e, and i n

some aspects we have surpassed it, especially in agriculture. The em ployment goal of 95,000 workers was 92 percent fulfilled; in 1980 we
w er e abl e t o cr eat e 82,000 new j obs. W e succeeded i n t h e econom i c r eact i v at ion of ou r m ai n l i nes of pr oduct i on .

As for coffee, the harvest w il l surpass by 7 percent th e figure
pl anned for 1980. The l owest f i g ur e for cot ton pr odu ct ion i n t h e 1980 pr ogram was sur passed, the h i ghest bein g 170,000 m anzanas plant ed, t h e lowest , 120,000 m anzan as. We pl anted 140,000 m anzanas, bu t i n ter ms of yield we w i l l pract ical ly equal the fi gu re that could have been e xpected from th e 170,000 m anzana goal . We pl anted m or e t ha n 4 5 percent over t h e f i g ur e pl anned for r i ce

and 20 percent more in tobacco. As for sugarcane, we surpassed the plan's goal by 25 percent.
W e can say t hat w e recorded t h e most i m p or t an t and bi ggest gr ai n

harvest in our country's history. We had rain, transportation and com
m u n i cat i on s pr obl em s t h a t con sider abl y r educed t h e h a r vest , an d s t or age problems t hat consider ably cu t pr odu ct i on . Never t h eless, i n a g r i cu l t u r a l pr odu ct i on , bot h fo r domest i c con sum pt ion an d expor ts, we can say t hat ou r people m ade a great eff or t t o react i v ate the economy. The agr i cu l t u r al w or k ers, the st udents w ho h ar vested cot ton an d coffee, t h e w h ol e people, al l t h e sect or s of ou r people i n a j oi n t effor t w er e able t o achi eve t he goals set for n at i on al r econst r u ct ion i n or der t o gi ve N icar agua and t he N icar aguan r ev ol u tion ou r f i r st m aj or econom ic success. In du st r i a l r eact i v at ion faced pr oblems, not so much because of lack

of resources, energy, vitality, ability, and administrative capacity, but
m a i n l y because th e Cen t r a l A m er i can Com mon M a r k et u nder w en t a cr i sis. V i r t u a l l y al l ou r i n du st r i a l pr odu ct ion for expor ts, t hat is, our most i m por t an t domest ic pr odu ct i on , is or i ented t ow ar d t he Com m on Ma r k et . E l Sal v ador had m a r k et pr oblem s, as did Cost a Rica, H ondu ras, and Guat em al a. A nd we h ave not been able to m ar ket some of our p r oduct s y et .

We think that when the situation in El Salvador is resolved in favor of the revolutionaries we wil l occupy a more favorable position eco
nomi ca ll y because E l Sal v ador is one of ou r m aj or m a r k et s. We want to underscore one i nt erest ing aspect — econom ic react i v a tion got a l i t t le ou t of con t r ol i n t he sphere of ser vices. I t w as nat u r a l t h a t because of t h e phy sical dest r u ct ion i n ag r i cu l

122 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

t u r e an d i n du st r y , i t w as goin g t o be di ff i cu l t t o reconst r u ct . So t h e

work force, especially small farmers and workers, were reoriented to
w ar d t h e com m er cial sect or . T r ade grew excessivel y , by 140 percen t .

This is a distortion, a trend toward creating too large a tertiary sector t hat will have negative effects if we do not check it .
Bu t i n gen er al , we can say th at t he 1980 pr ogram w as a success. W e do not face t h e sam e si t u at ion w e had at t he begi n n i n g, t h at of 1962. W e ar e al r ead y a t t h e l evel o f 19 78 . T ha t i s r eal l y a r em a r k ab l e

achievement, which gives us hope and encouragement for the coming year. Generally speaking, 1981 will likewise be a year of reactivation. We
w i l l pu t st ress on sav i ngs and economic effi ci en cy . Bu t econ om i c eff i

ciency in what sense?
You ca n see clear l y t h a t t h er e ar e new ad m i ni st r at or s an d n ew w or k ers who lack experi en ce. Wh ere th ere is destr uct ion — let us say , in a fact ory — if you gr ant t he adm i n i st r ator 1 m i l l ion cordobas to pr o d uce 100 u n i ts, real it y w i l l pr ov e under present ph y sical, adm i ni st r a

tive, and organizational conditions that 1 mi llion cordobas in that
pr odu ct ion center w i l l probably pr oduce only seventy un i t s. That is t he

problem we have faced throughout agriculture and industry, although it seems to have hit us harder in agriculture. We have dumped lots of money — again and again — into small production units that never before had had access to it. They were not
a ble to m an age t h ei r resources effi cien t l y , so in st ead of produ cing for t y u n i t s, they pr oduced tw en t y . T hat is w h y w e are now facing f i n an c ial pr obl em s, and per h aps some in fl a t i on , since th er e are l arge su m s of money w i t h no cou nt er par t i n pr odu ct s.

The 1981 program is aimed at solving this problem by using diff'er
ent v a r i ables — assi g n ing cr ed its m ore r at i on al l y , gr an t i ng credits t o

those who can produce efficiently .
S omew hat r om an t i cal ly, at one point we were even t r av el i ng in h el i c opter s an d g i v i n g ou t cr ed it s t o peasant s w h o l i ved i n v er y r em ot e

areas. The credits virtually fell into their hands from the helicopter . But who was going to gather that production? By which roads, by
w h ich m eans of t r anspor at i on ?

The fact is that the produce, if there was any, remained there be cause that money was spent on salt, shoes, and clothing and not on
p r odu ct i on .

Such romantic errors are made in every revolution. They are just
th e count er pr odu ct i ve side of t he generosit y of r evol u t i on i st s.

In agricult ure the problem was more or less the same. Imagine all Somoza's agricultural enterprises and production centers — some

>>Iicarag ua's Economy and I mp er i a l i sm 1 23

2,000 of t h em . W h e n w e took of fi ce a t t h e N icar aguan I n st i t ut e of

Agrarian Reform we did not even know where they all were. We sent
n i ne or ten compan eros out to locate th em . A l l we knew was t hat t h er e wer e ten i n one place, tw ent y i n an ot h er ; we di d not k now w hat t hey

produced. In early 1980 we were still counting cattle. There were no records;
pr odu ct ion i n dices were u n k n ow n, bu t people had to be fed. We had t o produce m i l k an d coffee, w e ha d t o r aise cat t le. T he n t h e N at i onal H an k connected a pipel i n e t o si phon m oney t o th e N i car ag ua n In st i tu t e of A gr ar ian Refor m . Ot her w ise it wi>uld h ave been i m possihl». O n e com pan»r o w e sen t t o M at agalp a r eported 14 9 est ates w i t h 10,000 wo rk e rs — w» had to pay w a ges and back w a ges, and t he land had t o b» t i l l ed . A t t hat, t i m e w» had n o ;iccount a nts: we had t o buy t h i ngs and w r i t e i n voices on scrap paper . I n those early days inefficiency was unavoidable. The 1981 progr a m t r ies to solve t h is problem as w el l . We m ust t r y to m ake t he sy stem eff i ci en t by i m p lemen t i ng i n vent.> ries an d accou n t in g sy st em s, cont r ol l i n g costs, progr a m m in g f i n anc i n g and pr oduct i on , m a k i n g i n vent or ies from t he sm al lest. item to t he bi ggest i n du st r i a l ent er p r i se, keepin g a record of al l t he costs, reduc i n g u nnecessa r y »x pens»s, cu rt a i l i n g waste, and f i g h t i n g against u n p r oduct ive em ploym en t . Eff i ci »ncy is one of the pr i n cipals of th e 1981 progr am. It means th at if we invest 100 cordobas. we must get 100 u n i t s; and not only 100, but,

even 120. Efficiency must be the guarantee of a healthy economy and
o f au st er it y i n t h i s cou n t r y . You know t h at i n m any econom ic aspects N icar agua depends on re s ources from abr oad. In order to produce cott on, we h ave to impor t fer ti l izers. pesticides, agr i cu l t u r a l a i r p l anes. plows, and cc>tton harvest e rs. I n fact , we possess only t he w or k force and the land for cu l t i v at i n g cotton i n N icar ag ua, but t he rest — t ha t is, the technoh>gy — must he i m port ed . W i t h i n t h e fr am ew or k of such au st er i t y , we h av e tc> plan ou r sav i ngs. We must conserve fer t i l izer and pest icides and plan t pest -resist an t v a r i et ies, You also k now t h at we depend com pl et el y on oi l im po r t s. Last y»ar we spent some $200 mi l l i on on oil, wh i l e our export s accoun ted for less t h a n $500 m i l l i on . T h i s year w e w i l l h ave to spend $280 m i l l ion dol lar s on pet r ol eu m al one. S hou ld t h i s si t u at ion con t i n ue, by 1985 ou r ex port s w i l l go onl y t o

buy oil. This situation is rea11y unbearable, not only for Nicaragua but
for al l t he poor econom ies that l ack t h i s resour ce.

124 Sa n d tni stas Speak

We know that the oil-producing countries have a legitimate right to make those who have always exploited them pay. But the countries of
th e T h i r d W or l d accoun t for scarcel y 3 t o 8 percent of w or l d oi l con

sumption, while current oil prices represent for Third World countries the cost of survival itself . We could even say that oi l prices are one of the most destabilizing factors, one of the most t hreatening and destructive factors for our
econom ies.

The world has to do something about it. We have to do something
abou t i t . If a decision should be m ade to m ake the developed cou nt r i es pay t h e oi l b i l l s of t h e underdev eloped cou n t r i es, t hat w ou l d be com

pletely just . Oil prices for the developed countries should be increased according to consumption in the Third World. Third World countries should re ceive their oi l free of charge or even be subsidized by the developed
coun t r ies. Wh at we are suggest i ng is not out of the reach of those n at i ons for a ver y si m ple reason. Some T h i r d W or ld cou n t r i es l ike B r azi l consume a lar ge percent age of t h a t oi l , so exclu di n g B r azi l an d other r el a t i v el y l ar ge coun t r i es, we, the sm al ler coun t r i es, accoun t for onl y 2 or 3 per cent of wo rl d o il c onsum p t i o n.

So, if we charge to and demand from the developed countries this 3 percent, we could quite easily solve the problem of our economy. We think that this struggle — our struggle, the struggle of all the under developed nations, and your own struggle as well — must be waged,
b ecause we have to m ak e people aw ar e of t h is pr obl em .

This problem alone could destabilize us economically. The time will come when we will have to say "Energy or death!" at the same time we
say " Free h om el an d or death !"

This is a problem we are facing now because we also have to pay our foreign debt. If we pay for oil and for our foreign debt, we will be pro ducing only in order to import. This is a vicious circle. We could say that this is the most acute and burning aspect of eco
nom ic dependence. A coun t r y t hat expor ts at in cr easi ngl y l ower pr ices

and imports at increasingly higher prices will always be indebted, in
creasi n gl y i ndebt ed .

What has been the response of the international capitalist economy? To lend at high interest rates. They buy at low prices, they sell at high prices, and they lend us the deficit. So we face mounting indebtedness,
a spi r al t h at w i l l f i n a l l y force us to decl are: " From now on we w i l l not

pay a single cent." We only owe $1.6 billion. Some countries owe as much as f 65 billion,

¹caragaa's Economy and im perialism 12 5 a nd th ere are oth ers t hat owe $20 b i l l i on, or t en, or t hr ee, or four. T h e

time will come when an economy like Nicaragua's will be suffocated
and th ere w i l l be a collapse. A t some poin t t h ere w i l l be a col l apse.

We must all be aware of that. This applies both to the cornpaneros
who are in a posi t ion to launch cam pai gns to fam i l i a r ize pu bl ic opi nion

with the situation, and to those representatives of friendly countries
w h er e per h aps th er e ar e st i l l gr eat sh or tcom i n gs in t er ms of fu l l y u n der st an di ng the com plex pr obl ems ou r r ev ol u t ion faces. Th er e ar e t r em endous econom i c resources that coul d be m obi l ized for the str en gt h en ing of a revol u t i on ar y process l i k e ours, if ev ery on e were conv inced th at t h i s r evol u t ion has a bear i ng, not onl y locall y or r egi on a l l y , bu t on t he w h ole w or ld . T h i s i s a n on goin g r evol u t ion i n a T h i r d W or l d cou n t r y t h a t h a s been abl e t o ov er t h row i m per i a list pow er , t h a t i s b u i l d i n g n at i on al u n i t y w i t h a democr at i c an d p l u r a l i st i c or i ent at i on , t ha t i s w or k i n g m i r acles i n t h e m idst of a ser ies of con t r adi ct i ons, t h a t i s t r y i n g t o

make a contribution to our peoples so as to open to them the road to lib
e r at i on . A l l t h i s ca n m ak e t h e vaci l l at or s i n m an y pl aces pu t conf i d ence in t he revol u t i on ar ies who are able to lead thei r n at i ons t ow ar d s

r eal independence, social progress, and stability .
An d each and ever y br ot her or sister in each and every cou n t r y must

work t irelessly so that solidarity and material support, economic and
fi n an cial cooper at i on , m i gh t con t r i b ut e t o br eak i n g t h r ough t h e eco n om ic and f i n an cial bar r i ers that i nt er n a t i onal r eact ion is set t i n g up .

A few days ago they warned us that should the Nicaraguan govern
ment per sist i n al l eged m i l i t ar y aid to the revol u t i on ar y m ov ement of

El Salvador, the $75 million loan from the U.S. government would be immediately suspended, and that its payment would be immediately demanded. They have now paused to review the granting of the remaining $15 mi llion. We are morally and politically ready to resist these aggres
sions. In an y case, we w i l l set a fr esh ex am ple, an ex am ple for everyone.

Perhaps it will be an example differing from Chile's simply because of
d i spr ov in g t h e n ot ion t h a t t h er e cannot b e a secon d r ev ol u t ion i n Am er ica or t hat t he revol u t ion can be rev ersed. We t h i n k t h at w hen a revol u t ion is a r eal one, i t i s i r r ever si ble.

So our example might well be that wherever imperialism seeks to reverse a revolution in Latin America, it will find a people ready to
fi gh t t o th e last drop of blood for t h ei r i ndependence. We consider t hese aspects to be reall y i m por t an t . We k now t hat our essent ial responsib i l i t y i s to w or k for t h e bu i l d i ng of t he N i car agu an

126 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

economy, but it is still more essential to defend ourselves, to mobilize our people, to prepare an army capable of dealing blows to any other
a r m y . I t i s m or e essen t ia l t o see t h a t ou r m ass or gani zat i on s a r e a r med t o the teet h . I t m i gh t seem to be a con t r adi ct ion t hat t he defense of our econom y , o f economic i ndependence, of th e act ual const r u ct ion of a progressiv e e conom y seek ing social j u st ice should be based not only on an econom ic pr ogr am, but also on the arm ed st r u ggle against f or eign aggressors. Ou r ecoiiom y m i gh t drop to 1940 levels. The cir cu l at ion of v eh i cles m i gh t cease in t his cou n t r y . We m i gh t h ave i m m ense dif fi cu l t ies w i t h s upplies. Bu t w e woul d be secur in g t he fu t u r e, w h i l e r eaff i r m i n g t h e ri gh t of ou r coun t r y t o act accordi ng t o it s i nt erest s. T h a t i s w h y f i g u res ar e not as i m por t an t as t he w ay i n w h ich w e c ombin e cer t ai n eff or t s. T h e i m por t an t t h i n g i s r evol u t i on ar y con s tr u ct i on , t h e a bi l i t y t o m ak e t h e r evol u t i on pr ev ai l , t h e a b i l it y t o mai n t ai n n at i onal sover ei gn t y and t he r i g h t s of t he N i car aguan peo ple, t o r ebuff i m p er i a l ist f i n an ci al , pol i t i cal , or m i l i t ar y t h r eat s an d

not to yield to their pressures.
W e ar e r ead y eve n t o d i e i n or de r t o p r ov e i t once m or e — as we pr oved it du r i n g ou r st r u ggle against t he fi l i bu st ers i n 1856, as we p r oved i t d u r i n g t h e 1926-33 w a r , as we pr oved i t on J u l y 19 — an d th i s t i m e w it h m or e capaci ty , abi l i t y , exper i ence, self-assur ance, and

weapons. Nicaragua can be swept away, its land destroyed and turned
in t o sal t an d ashes, bu t i t w i l l n ever be conquer ed . Great effor t s h ave been m ade i n t h e cotton h ar vest , w hi ch lack ed

manpower this year, as we had foreseen. We would like to invite you,
o nce you have com pl eted y ou r pr ogr am , to pick cot ton for N i car agu a .

I intended to give you a brief report, but it turned out to be a speech.
In concl u di ng , I w ou l d l i k e to t h an k you on beh al f of ou r people and g over nm en t fo r y ou r encour ag in g presence. W e ar e also pl eased t o not e t h e presence of dear l y b el oved br ot h er s an d si st er s w h o al l for man y y ears h ave been suppor t i n g t h e w or l d w ide st r u ggle for N i cara

gua.
W e w oul d l i k e y ou r st ay t o be ver y f r u i t f u l , an d w e ar e goin g t o m ak e all possible efforts for you to draw the hi ghest benef its from t h i s hi st or ic and excell en t meet i n g of soli d ar it y w i t h t he N i car aguan peo

ple. Thank you, companeros.

The Second Anniversary of the
Sandinist a R evolution
by Tomas Berge

T his speech was given before a crowd of half a mi llion, gathered i n Managua J uly 19, 1981, t o celebrate the second anniversary of the Ni caraguan revolution. I t appeared i n the July 20, 1981, issue of Barrica da . Th e translation is by Intercontinental P ress. Companeros of the N ational Directorate of the Sandinista N ational

Liberation Front;
Companeros of the Government of N ational Reconstruction;

Special guests; Heroic people of Nicaragua:
Th ere is an immense multitude gathered here today — not to speak of the hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans who couldn't make it to this plaza for lack of transportation .

We should pay warm and heartfelt tribute to the discipline and heroism of our people. Since two o' clock this morning, endless streams
of men and women have been pouring towards the July 19 Plaza along

all the highways. We should also take note of the sacrifice and heroism of the 30,000
Nicaraguans, members of the mass organizations and the armed for c es, who are standing watch on the four sides of the city .

They can't be here for this rally. They can't even watch it on televi
sion. But they undoubtedly share the excitement and happiness all of

you feel at seeing the hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans who have
come here to support the revolution and the measures it has taken . And this immense crowd has also come to pay tribute, not to those of

us who survived the struggle and have the good fortune to be able to
see the glorious victory, but to those who died, those who shed their

blood to make this wonderful anniversary possible,
And what do these two anniversaries mean? In both cases it means

the beginning of a new stage. The people who began this struggle nev er thought about the honors they might receive on a day like today. They only thought about the urgency of their revolutionary duty.
127

128 Sa n d i n is tas Speck

But they would not have been astonished at the idea of this huge rally, because they always had faith in the future, an unshakable confidence
i n vi ct or y . I n J u l y 1961, fel low N i car agu ans, a course w as begu n t h at b r ok e li k e a stor m i n J u l y 1979. J ul y 1961 is the f ir st g l i m mer of a new idea

that was justified and realized in July 1979.
Bot h d ates fu l f i l l t h e pr om ise Sandi no m ade when he sai d " I swear b efore our hom el and and before hi st or y t h a t in y sword w i l l defend t h e nat i onal honor and t hat i t w i l l m ean vi ct or y for t he oppressed." I n J u l y 1961, th e sw or d of Sa nd in o w a s un sheat hed, an d i n J u l y 1 979 the pr omise about vi ct or y for t he oppressed was k ept . T h is sw or d is st il l un sh eathed for cu t t i ng off the heads of t he r ev ol u ti on's enemies.

Twenty years ago, when a group of people returned to Sandino's
road of st r u ggle, they di d not f oresee t h e m ag n i t ude t h e r evol ut ion w oul d assum e. N o w t h e p resen t g en er at i on s u nder st an d w h at t h i s p r ocess means, but i t w i l l t ake fu t u re gener a t i ons to compr ehend fu l l y the h er oism of the fou nders. Fut u re gener at i ons w i l l be the ones to u n der st an d t he sacr i fi ce, t h e cour age, and t h e st r en gt h of past gener a

tions, and of the current generation of Nicaraguans.
W hen t h e Sandi n i st a N a t i ona l L ib er at ion F r on t w a s fou nded, t h e

exploiting classes represented by the Somoza dynasty had closed off all
possibi l i t y of a peacefu l st r u g gle. The t i m e had come t o t ak e up once

again the rifles of Sandino. Some peop! e had already done it: the proud
ol d w h i t e-bearded R a u dales, D i az , t h e j o u r n a l is t Sot elo , a f a r m er named Car los Hasl am , and m any ot h er s. T he F SL N w as, in the last ana ly sis, the com ing toget her of i ndi vidu al gu er r i l l a fi g ht ers of t hat er a. I t was a union of di ffer en t ideological a n d pol i t i ca l ideas. I t w as a sy n t hesis, as w e h av e sai d before, of a wh ol e hi st or y of h er oi c st r u g gles, w h ich began i n t h e colon ial per i od

and broke like light ni ng bolts in the new epoch that opened up in 1821, which lying historians falsely call independence.
Don't w or r y , we are not goin g to t el l t he hi st ory of N i car agu a here, not even i n broad ou t l i ne. The hist or y of our people, wh ich is often dis t or ted or u n k now n, is a her oic one. We j ust w an t to point out t h at J u l y 1 961 was th e begi n n i n g of a defi n i t i v e effor t t o t ak e on not onl y t h e

bloody dictatorship but also to break i n a mi llion pieces the heavy
c hains t hat t ied us to Y a nkee im per i al i sm .

The condit,ions under which t.he FSLN was founded were incredibly
d i ff i cul t an d pa i n f u l . They n ever st opped being di ff i cu l t an d pa i n f u l . These w er e h a r dsh ip s an d pa i n t h a t ou r w h ol e peopl e w a s goi ng th r ou gh. What was special about t hose founders, who w ere consider ed

The Second Anniversary 12 9

mistaken and even crazy at the time, was that they had a sense of his
t or y . T ha t t h ey n ever gav e u p i n t h e face of h ardsh ip s an d danger .

That they st arted wit h nothing, wit h no money, no arms, no expe
r i en ce, no reput at i on .

What set them apart was that they had boundless faith in the peo ple, that they were aggressive, brave, endlessly patient, and absolute
ly sur e they w ou l d w i n i n t h e end. They w er e i n t he f i r st cr op, when th er e w ere ver y few people doing the pla n t i ng. They accepted the ri sk of death, when t h ere was no possibi l i t y of act u a l l y seeing the new day

in the immediate future.
T hey m ade the b i r t h of t he v an gu ar d possible, they m ade the b i r t h of t he San di ni st a N a t i onal L i ber at ion Fr on t possibl e. A n d ob vi ou sl y w h en w e t al k abou t t h e F SL N , w e ar e not t a l k i n g

about something that is just a political party. We' re not talking simply about an armed organization. We ar e talking about a hi storic re
s ponse. We are t a l k i n g abou t t h e in di v i si ble real it y of t h e F SL N an d

the Nicaraguan people.
As l ong as t h is people is m i l i t an t and pr oud, as long as t h is people is

made up of heroic workers, as long as the workers and peasants and all
r ev ol u t i on ar ies are r eady t o defend th e n at i onal sov er ei gnt y ar m s i n hand, as long as t h ere are N icar agu ans who love the l and w h ere they were born , as long as t h is people exi sts, the FSL N w i l l cont i n ue to ex

ist. For this reason, all the efforts of those who were born in Nicaragua but now want to go back to the past, of the bootlickers of the Yankees, will fail. They will never be able to separate the people from their van
g u ar d . F or t h e same reason, when t h e masses express th ei r desires — an d also th ei r di ssat i sfact ions — t he F SL N , w h ich is th ei r h i ghest for m of or ganizat i on, m akes these desires and dissati sfacti ons its own, m ak es t hem par t of i t s r evol u t i on ar y act i on . Th at 's why we say t hat t he measures Daniel f Ortega] announced to

day were not pulled out of a magician's hat, but instead were the result
of you r st r u gg le, the st r u ggle of t he great popu lar m asses.* Th e m asses pu t f or w ar d t h ei r dem an ds. Th e F SL N processes an d syn t hesizes t hese dem ands and r et u r n s t hem i n t h e for m of con cr et e sThese measures strengthened the laws against decapitalization, authorized
th e confi scat ion of pr oper t ies of N icar ag u ans out of t he coun t r y for si x m on t h s, a u t h or ized t h e confiscat io n o f l a r g e est ates l ef t i d l e o r u n der u t i l ized , a n d

strengthened government controls on foreign trade. They were adopted by pop
u l a r accl am at i o n .

130 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

tasks that t he masses, using th ei r in ex hau st i ble creat ive capaci t y, pu t

into practice.
An d when we t al k abou t t h e masses, we are not t a l k i n g about som e v ague accum u l at ion of i n d i v i du als, but r at her of a consciously or gan

ized population. It is impossible to build up your revolutionary power
wi t h ou t bot h the quan t i t a t i ve and qu al i t at ive developm en t of the pop ul a r or gan izat i ons. U n less t h e w or k i n g cl ass gen er ates an d ca r r i es th r ough t hese changes, the r evol u t ion w i l l st agn at e an d r ot . I n ot her

words, it will stop being a revolution.
T h e masses t h em selves m ust a l w ay s — now an d i n t h e f u t u r e —

speak up in a loud, clear voice on their own behalf. They must develop
w ays of par t i cipat i ng and t ak i n g i n i t i at i v es. The FSL N k n ows t hat t h e Ni car aguan people for t u n at ely are not the m i n dless herd t hat t he ene mies of t he r ev ol u t ion h ave t r ied t o por t r ay t hem as. Th e sons and dau ght er s of t h i s coun t r y ar e not robots, not m a n ne qu i ns. T his is a pop ul at ion ev er y day m ore conscious, m or e audacious, and m ore creat i ve. W i t h t h is h er oic popul a t i on, we w i l l m ake it to our

goal, we will go all the way. With this heroic population that under stands the world around it more clearly every day, it will be easier to
come up w it h t he r i gh t an sw er s to the quest i ons the revol u t ion poses. If t h e leader s of t h i s r evol u t ion w an t t o resolve t h e enor m ous and complicated econom i c pr obl em s t h a t D a n ie l t a lked abou t , t h e pr ob

lems of defense, of health, of education, then we will have to turn to the
masses, to m ak e ourselves one w it h t he masses. There ar e no m at he

matical formulas or brilliant theories we can use to solve the problems
th a t pr esent t h em selves as t h e r ev ol u t ion u n folds. T h er e is onl y one an sw er , only one response — t he im pressive power of t he masses, free fr om bu r eau cr at i c shack les, devot in g th em selves to the dail y ta sk s of r ebui l d i ng t he cou n t r y .

And the whole world, both our friends and our enemies, knows what
th i s her oic people is capable of. San dino was the one who showed t he

way in defending our national honor. And who were Sandino's follow ers? The same people who made this revolution, who are now making
c oncessions to the classes that w er e fi n a l l y t h r ow n ou t of power i n N i car agu a, after r u l i n g for cent u r i es. An d t hese are real concessions besides. For ex am p le, the bu siness m en h ave been given i ncent i ves to pr oduce, and it was correct for t h i s to be done. They w er e given al l k i n ds of h el p an d access to fi n an ci al

credit , and they wil l continue to get help i n order to produce. But everybody should know that as of July 19, the day of our victory, their access to political credit is closed off. That road is closed to them, be cause power is now in the hands of all the descendants of Sandino's

The Second Anniuersary 1 3 1 rag-tag ar m y , of th e bar efoot sol di er s, of the revol u t i on ar i es, of t hose

who hunger and thirst for a justice that has been denied them since the
b egi n n i ng of ou r hi st or y . A n d w e ar e going t o defend t h i s power w i t h t h e sl i ngshot of D av i d ,

except that in this slingshot we have, not a pebble, but ri fle and can
non r ou nds. A n d t he br an d of t hese ri fl es and cannons is not i m por t a n t . W h at e ver l abel they h ave on th em, wh er ever they come fr om, we don't h av e

to explain to anybody where we got these weapons, these rifles, these
cann ons. They ar e t o defend ou r r ev ol u t ion and ou r people.

And where is this slingshot of David? In other words, who is in con
t r ol of t hese r i fl es, t hese cann ons? The m i l i t i a m ember s i n t h ei r n u rner ous bat t a l i ons, w h ich ar e suffici en t to defend our hom el and. They

have the same boldness and determination that Sandino did, but their
ar m s ar e bet ter t ha n those of ou r l egendar y gu er r i l l a, ou r G en er al of Free M en . Now i t is the people who h ave t he cannons, it is the people w ho h ave the t an k s, it is the people now w ho h ave the r i fl es. A nd any b ody w h o w a nt s t o fi gh t ag ainst N i car agu a has t o fi gh t against t h i s

historic people, against this heroic and brave people.
We h ate w ar , and our N a t i on al D i r ect or at e has repeated t h is m any t i m es. We hav en't or ganized the defense of ou r r evol u t ion for the pu r pose of conqu er i n g n ei ghb or in g t er r i t or ies — or di st an t ones for t h at

matter. We have done it in order to win peace. Our friends and neigh
bors can rest assured t hat t h is revol u t ion was made in order to defend

t he land of our birt h .
Y ou al l saw how ou r sol di ers, ou r police, ou r m i l i t i a m em bers, t he f i g ht er s of t h e M i n i st r y of t h e I nt er i or , t h e st udents, al l w en t ou t t o

pick cotton. And Jaime tWheelock] tells us that they were the most ef
f i cien t w or k er s i n t h e cotton h a r vest . T hese f i g ht er s w en t ou t a n d

sweated in the fields. And that's natural, because we are in the sweat
b u siness, not t h e blood bu si ness. W e w ou l d r a t her sp i l l ou r sw ea t i n t he fi elds and fact or ies than sp il l ou r blood i n t he tr enches. Bu t t h er e s hould not be the sli gh test doubt t hat t hese same men and w omen w h o went ou t to clean up the cot t on fi elds are equall y pr epared to clean out th e cou nt er r evol u t i on ar y r at s wh er ever t hey show t hei r faces i n ou r c ount r y .

Our people have an aptitude for peace, but we also have an aptitude
f or defense. I t i s v er y i m por t an t for t h e en em ies of ou r r ev ol u t ion t o

understand this, and if they have forgotten, we'd be glad to remind
them about ou r hi st or y. A nd if any of them t h i n k they are up against a weak an d di v i ded gover n m en t , w e w an t t o m ak e clear t o t hem t h at

this is the strongest and most united government Nicaragua has ever

132 Sandin istas Speak

had. The leadership of this revolution is a strong and united leader ship, strong because it is a government of the people, strong because
th e gover nm en t h as t he ar m s, an d st r on g because of t he r i g h t ness of it s power an d t he power of i t s r i gh t ness.

The whole world has its eyes on Nicaragua. Our friends and our ene mies alike are watching us and respect us besides. Nicaragua has al ready ceased to be an unknown place on the world map. Yesterday,
Modest o j H en r y R u iz l t ol d u s t ha t w hen h e w as i n E u r ope someone w as t r y i n g t o check ou t w h er e N i car agu a w as, an d by ch ance a fl y

landed on the map, and they said, "that's Nicaragua." But Nicaragua
is no longer u n k n ow n . Now i t is par t of t he w ave of r ev ol u t i ons in our e ra . I t i s a cou n t r y w i t h gr ea t m or a l a u t h or i t y , not onl y i n Cen t r al Am er i ca, not onl y i n L a t i n A m er i ca, bu t i n t h e w h ole w or l d . W e ar e

proud to be Nicaraguans. This revolution transcends national boun daries.
Ou r r ev ol u t ion has al w ays been i nt er n at i on ali st, ever since Sandi no f ought i n t he Segovias. Th ere w ere i nt er n at i on al i sts from al l over t h e wor l d w h o f ou gh t al ongside Sand i no , men fr om V enezuela , M exi co,

Peru. Another who fought alongside Sandino was the great hero of the
S alv ador an people named F ar abu ndo M ar t i . It is not st r ange t hat we are i nt er n at i on al i sts, because t his is some th i n g we got fr om San di no. A l l t he revol u t i on ar ies and all t he peoples

of Latin America especially know that our people's heart is with them,
beats alongside t h ei rs. Our hear t goes out to L a t i n A m er ica, and we al s o know t hat L a t i n A m er i ca's heart goes out to the N icar aguan r ev ol u t i on. T h is does not mean t hat we expor t ou r r evol u t i on. I t is enou g h and we couldn't do ot her w ise — for us to expor t ou r ex am p le, the ex

ample of the courage, sensitivity, and determination of our people.
How could w e not be upset abou t t h e i nj u st ices that ar e com m i t t ed i n di ff er ent pa r ts of t he w or ld? But we k now t hat i t is the people th em s elves of t hese cou n t r i es w h o m ust m ak e t h ei r r ev ol u t i ons, an d w e k now t hat by adv an cing our r ev ol u t ion we are also helpin g our br ot h

ers and sisters in the rest of Latin America. We know what is resting
o n our r evol u t ion — not only t he aspi r a t i ons of our people, but also th e

hopes of al l the dispossessed of Latin America. This carries wit h it
enor m ous respon si b i l i t y, because as we have said before and repeat to

day, our internationalism is primarily expressed in consolidating our own revolution, working selflessly day in and day out and training ourselves milit arily to defend our homeland.
An d t h i s is a big responsib i l i t y , a very bi g responsi bi l i t y , because it i s ex t r em el y h ar d t o t r ansfor m a societ y . I'm not going t o go over t he

destruction, the looting of Nicaragua. Our country will demand from

The Second A n n i versary 1 3 3

u s more eff or t , h arder w or k , m ore sacr i fice in t he fu t u r e. Car r y i ng for

ward the revolutionary process is harder, much harder, than the war
it sel f . Because i t i n v ol ves a w ar against t h e m iser y of t h e exploit ed classes, a war aga inst t he m isery t hat t he expl oi t i ng classes have con verted i nt o a fact of l i f e. So we see that w h i l e we' re i n t h e process of deal in g w i t h one pr ob lem , ten new ones come up. Som et i mes we lose bat t les and som et i m es w e w i n ba t t les in rebu i l d i n g t he coun t r y . But of course what is impor tan t is the d irect ion we are mov i ng in, the mean i ng of w hat we are do ing , an d t h e t h i n gs we accom pl i sh . Ou r er r or s can be corrected, but wha t is last,ing ar e the r evolut,ionar y t r ansfor m at ions. We are creat i ng a new societ y in w h ich an in di v i du al is not a piece of ni er ch an dise, a society i n w hich t here are no w ol ves and l am bs, wh er e men do not l i ve off t he exploi t a t ion of ot her m en. We are st r uggl i n g to c reate a societ y in w hich the w or k ers are the fundam ent al power dri v in g t h i ngs for w a rd, bu t i n w h ich ot her social sect or s also play a role. a l w ay s insofar as they iden t i fy w i t h t h e i nt erests of the coun t r y , v: i t h t h e i nt erests of the great m aj or i t y . Th e measures t h e Gover n m en t of N at i ona l Reconst ru ct ion has an nounced t oday ar e a step for w ar d i n t he process of t r an sfor m at ion de m anded by t h e w or k i n g class. Bu t i t i s not possible t o m ove for w ar d wi t h ou t cu t t i n g i n t o t h e i n t erest s of t h e sel fish cl asses. So nobody

should be surprised that these sectors are attacking the revolution.
E ven i f i t i s t r u e t hat not ev er y one i n t hese classes is t r apped i n t h e

web of selfishness or completely possessed by the demon of prejudice,
n evert h eless i t is a fact t h at a big par t of t hem h ave no i nt erest wh at s oever i n ch an gin g t h e r ot ten st ru ct u r es of t h e past . For t h i s reason , t he rev ol u t i on ar y m easures t hat ar e being t aken pr ov ok e fur y and i n secur i t y in some sect i ons of the m in or it y cl ass. They say the m ixed eco nom y i s dead, t h a t t h er e i s n o m or e pol i t i ca l p l u r a l i sm . W e r epeat what ou r br ot her D a n iel sai d here tod ay : the revol u t i on ar y process is going to cont i n ue mov ing forw ar d. H onest and pat r i ot ic em pl oy ers and

businessmen not only have the right to join in the tasks of production,
b u t t h ey w i l l h av e t h e support of t h e r evol u t ion i n doin g so. I n t h e same sense, we can speak of pol i t i cal pl u r al i sm , a m ixed econom y, and n at i onal u n i t y — bu t al w ays w i t h i n t he fr am ew or k establi shed by t h e r ev ol u t i on , not against t h e r evol ut i on . A m i xed econom y , pl u r a l i sm , u n i t y , not t o w ipe out or w eaken t h e

revolution, but to strengthen it. Not to destabilize, but to stabilize. Not
t o bad m out h t h e r evol u t ion an d stab i t i n t h e back w i t h di sgu st i n g l i es, as i s happeni n g ev er y d ay , bu t t o cr i t i cize w i t h respect for t h e truth.

134 Sandin is tas Speak

This is the sense in which the revolution has put forward the strat
e gy of a m ixed econom y, so that the gen t l emen of the bu si ness com m u n i t y can produce, for t h ei r ow n benefi t bu t also to cont r i b ute to r ai si n g pr oduct ion i n t he coun t r y. Bu t w hat has happened? We have to repeat w h a t ou r br ot her D a niel has sai d .

There are a few patriotic businessmen who have understood what
t he new r ules of the game ar e, learned the new l aws of pol i t i cal ar i t h m et i c, an d h av e adopted a n h onest an d con st r u ct i v e a t t i t u de. B u t th ere are many ot h ers, the unpa t r i ot ic businessm en, who have refused to pi tch i n w i t h t he tasks of w i p i ng out back w ar dn ess and povert y an d t a k i n g up t he ch a l l enge ou r econom ic di ffi cu l t i es presen t . T hey h av e had a h u n dred ye ar s of ch ances, hi st or i cal l y speak i n g . An d w e h ave to adm i t t hat t hey h av e accom pl ished some t h i n gs, but a lw ay s t o en r ich t h em selves a t t h e ex pense of t h e w or k ers' sw ea t .

Every drop of proletarian sweat, and sometimes every drop of blood,
w a s t r ansformed t h r oug h t h e bu sinessmen's f am ou s eff i ci ency i n t o lu x u r i ous wea l t h , al l of i t dest ined for t h ei r st r on g boxes. Wh a t h av e t hese u n pat r i ot i c el em en t s don e for N i car agua'? They made it i nto a r u bbish heap, into a l ake of blood, i nto a valley of tear s. Because they d i dn' t t each t he people t o read and w r i t e. Because they d id n ot h i n g for t h e hea lt h of t he people. Because they took t h i s coun tr y , w h ich because of its n at u r a l resources should by r i ght h ave been a

paradise, and kept it backward and miserably poor. Now the top representatives of this unpatriotic bourgeoisie demand that we rebuild immediately what it took them a hundred years to de
s tr oy . Who decapit a l ized the coun t r y? Who assassinated Sand ino and cele br ated i n an orgy of cham pagne an d blood? Who made fabu l ous deal s wi t h t h e t y r a n ny? W h o made con t r i b u t i ons u nder t h e t able t o Somo za's elect ion cam pa i gns? l "The bourgeoisie," t he crow d responds] Wh o gr abbed up t he peasant s' land and has kept t he w or k er s under

the yoke of oppression?! "The bourgeoisie" I
Wh o cal led ou r w onder fu l l i t eracy cam paign i ndoct r i n a t i on ? Wh o ch imed i n an d st i l l ch i mes i n w i t h t h e cr ude a n t i com m u n ist campai gns of Somoza, Pinoch et , St roessn er , and al l t he rest of t he go r i l l a an i m a l l i f e of L a t i n A m er ica an d t h e C I A ? W h o sl andered t h e r ev ol u t i on an d w h o abuses t h e mass orga ni zat ions w i t h d i sgu st i ng

epithets? I "The bourgeoisie" l
Who asks for adv ice and t ak es orders from t he represent at i ves of t he e m p i re, of t he same em p i re t h at t r ied t o ensl ave ou r coun t r y , sow i n g

death, destruction, and humili ation'? [ "The bourgeoisie"1
It w as not you w or k ers and peasants. You w er en't t he ones who de

The Second Annioersary 13 5 capi t a l ized t h e cou n t r y . Y ou w er en't t h e ones who w en t an d stood at

the door of the American embassy to ask permission for what you were going to do. And if it wasn't you, then who is it, who was it, who has it
al w ay s b een ? W h o a r e t h e t r a i t ors , t h e ca pi t u l at or s , t h e f al se pr oph ets? [ "The bour geoi sie" I Sur e th er e ar e good adm i ni st r at or s w i t h i n t h e bourgeoisie, there' s

no doubt about that. Unfortunately — and this happens in every revo
lu t ion — t h e bi g m aj or i t y of t he guer r i l l as w ho won t h e wa r w er e of wor ker an d peasan t b ack gr ou nd . They ar en' t ad m i n i st r at or s. Th ey

don't have masters degrees in economics. Many of them, like German Pomares, learned to read in the course of the struggle. We should note that fortunately a certain number of intellectuals
h ave t hr ow n t h ei r lot i n w i t h t he r ev ol u t i on, and now t hey are t a k i n g o n some of t h e most di f fi cu l t an d com plex areas of st at e ad m i n i st r a ti on. Bu t i t is st i l l t r ue t hat ou r r evol u t i on, l ike other r evol u t i ons, has a v er y bi g sh or t age of scien t i f i call y t r a i ned per sonnel . W i t h i n t h e bourgeoisie th er e are people who w ere t r a ined i n fam ous u n i v er si t ies.

But the contradiction is that the people who were in the trenches and
i n the m ou n t a i ns w ere not the gen t l emen w i t h t he H ar v ar d educat i on s bu t t h e i l l i t er at e w or k er s and peasant s. C oul d w e pu t a compet en t bu si nessma n i n ch arg e of a st r at egi c a rea? Sur e w e coul d, wh y n ot ? Bu t coul d w e ever pu t i n ch arge of a

strategic area a businessman who literally hates the revolution? We' d rather give the job to — as Modesto would say — a country bumpkin,
because at least he could lear n t he job over t i me and w ou ld be incl ined t o gi ve his energy and hi s l ife to the r ev ol u t i on . I n the same sense in w h ich we ackn ow l edge t hat t h ere are pat r i ot i c b u sinessm en, we also recognize the suppor t t h at tech ni ci ans have gi v e n . Because a lot of t hem — at least w i t h i n t h e cont ex t of t h e sm al l

number that exist in Nicaragua — have assumed a patriotic and ex
em pl ar y st ance. P r ofessionals and tech n i ci ans can play a leading r ole in the wonder fu l t ask o f con st r u ct i n g a beau t i f u l f u t u r e . Tech ni ci an s sh oul d r e member t h at t h ei r sci en t i fi c t r ai n i n g i sn't w ort h an y t h i n g i f they lose th ei r h u m an it y an d pu t t h ei r sk i l l s at t h e disposal of t h e enem ies of our people.

As we' ve already said this morning, Nicaragua faces a diAicult eco nomic situation. I'm not going to go over again the destruction, the low level of planting in 1979, the brutal decapitalization — all of which
has a lot of responsi b i l i t y for t h is cri sis. A n ot her factor w h ich m ust be considered is our object ive dependency on our t r ad i t i onal m a r k ets. But t h er e's another t h i n g, and we should say it aga in, and th at 's t he err or s

136 Sa n d in is tas Speak

we have com m i t t ed, especi all y as a resul t of ou r i nexper ience.

It has been said that politics is a distillation of economics. So it is not
sur pr i sin g t h a t a lot of t he pol i t i cal an d ideological pr oblem s we face t u r n u p i n t h e area of pr odu ct i on, di st r i b u t i on , and consu m p t i on .

In other words, economic policy is basically the problem of power,
and i n order to t ak e on the enem ies of ou r people i n the area of power w e have to learn to consciously cont rol t he economy. T his appl ies to al l o f us, the leaders of the rev ol u t ion and the gov er nm en t„ b u t not j ust t o us. M ore t han a ny t h i n g else i t appl ies t o th e w or k er s. We have to grow up. We have to get over the adolescent phase of our rev ol u t i on, in order tr> establish cont rol over the an ar ch ic t endencies of th e m a r ket economy t o w h ich we are st i l l t ied by a t housand i n v i si bl e th r eads. Th e mass organi zat ions h av e to t ak e on t he dut y of keepin g w at ch over t he economy and l et t i n g t he gover nm en t k now about in st ances of decapi t al izat i on , i n accord w i t h t h e new law ag ai nst decapit a l izat ion t hat w as announced j ust n ow . Th e i nf or m a t ion t hat i s gat h ered m ust be seri ou s and obj ect ive, to a v oi d any possi bi l i t y of i nj u st ice or su bj ect i vi sm . Bu t — and I w an t t o e m phasize t his in the n ame of the N at i onal D i rect or ate — the wor k i n g c lass especiall y mu st respond w it h responsib i l i t y and w it h u n it y to t he chal lenges hi st or y h a s given us. W i t h ou t responsi b i l i t y an d w i t h ou t wor k i ng-class u n i t y , ever y t h i n g is much m or e di Ai cu l t a nd, we cou ld

say, impossible.
Absenteeism on t he job an d ot her f or m s of i n discip l i n e object i v el y a re an t i r evol u t i on ar y at t i t u des and i n pract ice are decapi t a l iza t i on . T h e A gr a r ia n Refor m L a w m ust be seen i n al l i t s pol i t i ca l d i m en s ions. I t w as a m easur e of si m ple j u st ice to t u r n t h e l an d over t o t h e peasants. I t i s an ag r a r i a n r efor m l a w t h a t benef it s al l t h e w or k er s, not j ust t he peasants, but i m m edi at el y put s the peasants to w or k pr o d ucin g on i dl e l ands, and r at i on al izes agri cu l t u r a l pr oduct i on . W e w i l l el i m i n at e t he bi g l an dl or ds w i t h t h i s l aw , we w i l l gi ve t h e land t o the peasants, we w i l l i m pr ove the condi t i ons of the sm al l pr o ducer an d also give gu ar ant ees to th e med iu m pr oducer because they also k now how t o be pat r i ot i c. T hey also k now t hey can h el p con t r i b u t e to j u st ice i n t h e cou n t r y side. The happi ness we get fr om t h is t u r n i n g over of the land must be c onver ted i nt o or gan izat i on , wor k , pr oduct i on . Ou r r ev ol u t i on is car r y i ng out a hi st or ic demand of the peasant s, as Da niel said, and m a k i n g a real it y t he happy dr eam of Pablo Ubeda, of Rigober to Cr uz, and Ger m an Pom ar es, who gave t heir blood exactly on the eart h w h ich t oday t h e rev ol u t ion is gi v i n g to t he dispossessed.

Th e Second A nni oersury 1 3 7

With the agrarian reform we feel in our hearts a joy similar to that
wr i t t en about i n the B i ble wh ere it says "Let t he sea and al l t he i nhab

itants contained in the world roar. Let the rivers applaud and be joined
b y t he m ou n t a i ns in cr ies of j oy ," because the love of ju st ice is not on l y a r ev ol u t i on ar y sen t i m ent , bu t also a sen t i m en t deeply sh ared by t h e C h r i st i a n people of N icar agu a .

And so we see that in our free Nicaragua there are hundreds of thou
sands of Ch r i st ian r evol u t i on ar ies, men and w omen who today r ej oi ce o ver t he news of t he sol ut ion t he Cat h olics have ar r ived at w it h the bi

shops. A solution based on dialogue and respect, that recognizes the
p r i n ci pl e of t h e r i gh t of r ev ol u t i on ar y C a t h ol ics t o w or k sh ou lder t o s houlder w i t h t h ei r people, i n t h e const r u ct ion of a new societ y . I t gi ves us pleasur e to see the m at u r i t y of t h e Ch ur ch's leader s. W e w ere say in g bef'ore that t h e er r ors w i l l be recti fi ed bu t t h at t h e r ev ol ut i on ar y m eth ods w i l l r em a i n . So let us t al k a bi t m ore of our er rors, but not l i k e in t he confession al, where you receive absolu t ion and t hen go on si n n i n g .

Let us speak frankly before the people, as a healthy self-criticism, to
correct er r or s, t o rect if y ou r course. Somet h i n g w e mu st cr i t i cize, an d D an ie l h a s a l r eady m en t i oned t h is, but we w ant to t al k abou t i t a bit m or e: bureaucr at i sm. We inh er ited m ore t han dest r u ct i on . We also in her ited t he destr oy er , bur eauc rat i sm . Pu b l i c fun ct i on ar ies i n t h e past w er e educated w i t h t h e con

ception that their special jobs were only marginal to political deci sions.
B u t t he pub l ic fun ct i on ar y is not only a speciali st, but t oday must al so mak e pol i t i cal decisi on s. U n f or t u n at ely, t h ere are a great m any f u n ct i on a ries that don't t ak e t h e approach of d ir ect l y resol v i n g pr obl em s by w or k i n g d i rect l y w i t h you , w it h t h e masses. The st at e appar at us m ust be si m ple, dyn a m i c, e ffi cien t . W hen we created t he n at i on a l ized sector of t he econom y , w hen w e b egan to m ak e hea lt h care, educati on , and cu l t u r e av ai lable to ever y

one, that was when the number of public employees began to increase,
logi cal ly. H ow ev er, I t h i n k t hat we have gone too far. We have not on ly in cr eased the fun ct i ons of pu bl ic w or k ers, but w e h ave also increased th e n u mb er , and now the bur eaucracy is gi v i ng b i r t h to m ore bur eau cracy. A nd w it h m ore and m ore empl oyees and fun ct i on ar i es the sol u tion gets harder an d h arder . So begins the red tape. Every one in a sea of red tape, mem or an da, for ms. I t h i n k t h at t he b ur eaucracy grew so much t hat i t w ou ld h ave done wel l to compete in the basebal l leagues, because it was t h r ow i ng us al l so many curves, and I t h i n k t hat t he bu

138 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

reau cr at s woul d h ave won t he ch am pi on shi p besides. S ur e, m an y of ou r pr obl em s can't be resolved because of object i v e

problems, for instance the lack of material resources; but there are
p robl em s t h a t don' t get solved because of a lack of i m ag i n a t i on . W e

have seen some incredible things in this regard.
L i k e t h e doct or s, w h o h av e t o r egi ster at t h e u n i v er si ty , w i t h t h e

Mi nistry of the Interior, the Ministry of Health, and I think also with
the Pu bl ic Regist r y of Persons. S omet im es i t t ak es t h ree day s an d even t h i r t y d ay s t o get y ou r

hands on a public document, thus wasting all that time. I even know of
th e case of a compan er a, who w en t t o ask for a leave of absence when she was seven m on t hs pregn an t, and they t old her to come back w i t h a s wor n st at em ent t hat she was pregna nt. The fu t ure m ot her said, look ,

corn panero, I am completely certain that I am not just swollen up, that I don't have dropsy.
I t h in k i t is an unpostpon able obl ig at ion to confr ont bu r eaucr at i sm . Bu t how do we do it? By l i n k i ng ourselves to the masses. The adm i n i s tr a t i ve leaders i n t he gover n m en t at al l l evels must go to the heart of th e pr obl ems, wh er e t h e con fl i ct s ar e, m ust get t o k now t h e proce dur es, get out of th ei r off ices, and sim pl ify t h i n gs. A nd if the leaders do th i s, so must th e w or k er s. We m ust also combat an ot her vice we have i nh er i ted from t he past — conver t i n g t h e easy i nto the di ff i cu l t . Of cour se, we are not against

administrat ive controls. We are against uselessness, as we are against
insolence and the bad m ann ers w it h w h ich our ci t izens are som et i m es greeted i n pu b l ic off ices when they go for i nf or m a t ion or ser vice. Yes, in Somoza's t im e t he h aught y dom i n at ed, the ar r ogan t, bu t now w h at w e m ust h ave is sim p l i ci ty , cou rtesy , and Sandi n i st a respect . On t h e ot her h an d, I t h i n k w e h ave been soft on t h e fun ct i on ar i es who have abused th eir t r u st. We are already pl an n i ng, as Com m ander O r t ega said here, a law t o deal h ar sh l y w i t h t hose who rob t he pub l i c t r easu r y , above al l w i t h t hose w ho ar e cor r u pt , w ho h ave st olen t h e people's resources. It is cer t ai n t hat w e st i l l don't h ave suff i ci ent cont r ols, and t he con tr ol ler genera l has under t ak en m aj or eff or t s to detect cr i mes against t he pub lic treasu r y, but i t is now t ime to deal sh ar pl y w it h t hose cr i m i n als, wh o ar e t h e w orst cr i m i n als, because they ar e not j ust robbi n g

their neighbor, they are robbing the entire people. For sure, the law that Daniel mentioned will have to be a draconian law, that can send criminals to prison for a long time, including up to
t h e m ax i m u m . J ai l t hose who rob even i f i t 's onl y a p i n . W e st i l l h av e companeros i n t h e ar med f orces an d i n ot her sector s

The Second An n i v ersary 1 3 9

and other organisms, although fortunately very few, who think t hat the uniform or the responsibility the revolution has given them puts them in the category of special citizen who can ignore traffic laws, not
s t an d i n l i n e at, th e m ov ies, giv e or receive recommendat i ons, m ak e scenes in cl ubs and amusem en t spot s. These com paneros ei t he r w i l l correct t h ei r beh avior or w i l l f or feit

the right to be known as Sandinistas.
We have spoken of aust er i t y , bu t i n m any in st i t u t i ons so far i t 's j ust rh et or ic . T h er e ar e i n n u m er abl e a buses, sq u ander i n g o f gasol i n e,

which means squandering our foreign exchange earnings. Of course,
for in st ance, we have the r i ght to have a good t i m e, to have our par t i es. If w e w ant t o h ave a par t y we h ave it , th er e's no probl em ; bu t i t m u st be put on w i t h t h e si m p l i ci t y and t h e pr udence our pov er t y dem ands, the pr udence demanded by our cu r r ent pr oblems and above all our r ev ol u t i on ar y qu al i t ies. In our offices we must econom ize on the use of paper, elect r i ci t y, eco nom ize i n ev er y way possible. I n ever y way possible, except w or k , ef f or t , an d sacr i fi ce. A u st er it y m u st be for ev er ybody , not j ust for t h e wor k er s i n t h e fi elds and i n t h e ci t ies, upon w hom t h e w ei gh t of ou r e conomic di f fi cu l t ies has fallen up to n ow . W a r t o the deat h , t h en , against bu r eaucracy , free spendi ng , pi l fer age, corr u p t i on, and abuses. Let us put an end to these ev ils, in order t o

give land to the peasants, to make the revolution, honor the memory of
those who died, to end th ef t , cr i m e, and cor r u p t i on. T h at's what those gener ous, br ave, an d h u m bl e men w e r ecal l w i t h such pr ofoun d r e spect t oday gave th ei r l i ves for . A nd how could we fai l to recal l our he roes'? How could we fai l to recal l t hem on t h is glor i ous occasion? How can we not sense the et er nal presence of Santos L 6pez, vet er an fi g ht er

of Sandino's army, who, carrying with him the weight of the years,
st i l l had i n h is eyes t he old gleam from t he j u n gles of Segov i a? How could we fai l to recall the i ndef at i gable F au st i no Ru iz, of whom i t was once said t hat he never said a word t hat wasn't on the m ar k l i k e a n ar row i n t he heart'? How could we fai l to recall J or ge N av a r ro, w h o car r ied a k napsack f u l l of j oy , and a h an dfu l of gr enades'? How cou ld we fai l to recal l Rigoberto C r uz, Pablo Ubeda, fi rst i n t he bean s of t he peasants? Fr an cisco Bu i t r ago, a st uden t w ho k new m an y t h i n gs, but n ever k new fa t i gue or di sm ay? How could we fai l t o recal l, how cou ld

we fail to have a deeply felt remembrance of Germann Pomares, that in trepid forger of the dawn'? Or Jose Benito Escobar, that worker whose
t r ades were gu npowder and the people? How could we fai l to recall Si l vio M ay or ga, w ho created a gen t l eness that was al w ays at t he side of ever y San di n i sta? How could w e fai l t o recal l , w i t h ou r hear t s f ul l of

I40 Sandin istas Speak

Nicaragua, Carlos Fonseca, the firebrand lighting up the night?
I t is r i gh t t hat we r em ember th em. It is r i ght t hat our people repeat ,

in the mountains and in the valleys, the names of these heroes. Let the
a n i m al s i n t h e j u n gle, th e fi shes i n t h e r i v ers, hear t h em . Let t h ei r

bombs burst like flowers on the faces of the children, so that their sac rifices may find an echo in the consciousness of the humble, of the ex
p l oit ed, whom th ey h el d so dear i n t h ei r hear t s. They an d t hose w h o foll owed in t h ei r foot steps made possible t he r et u r n of the fl ags and t he

return of hope. They made possible this revolution of ri fl es and gui tars, of audacious poems, of free peasants, of free workers, of a free peo
p le who took i nto t heir own h ands for all t i me the r ei ns of t heir hi st or i c

destiny.
Honor an d gl or y t o t hese si m pl e sons of ou r people, covered t oday w i t h t he respected and her oic black and red fl ag of the F SL N. W it h t h e same fl ag t hat rescued the blue and w h i t e fl ag of our hom el and, w hi ch o nce was sold ou t b y t h e t r a i t or s t o t h ei r people. The blu e an d w h i t e

flag, defended by the black and red, today wave sure of themselves, and with legitimate pride in the middle of this violent rebirth, of an thems shouted in combat, of a generous and heroic people that at last
is master of the sun, the r ai n, and the ear t h, w here the bones of its he r oes and dear m ar t y r s ar e bu r i ed . For those t w o fl ags: the fl ag of ou r h om eland and t he black an d red

flag of the FSLN, let us shout, Nicaraguans: Long live the FSLN! Long live the immortal pioneers of our revolution! Long live the second an
ni v er sar y of ou r v i ct or y ! Long l i ve the agr ar i an r efor m ! L ong l i ve fr ee

Nicaragua!
Pat ri a L i bre!

[ "0 Mo ri r!" the crowd responds.]

An A p peal for Ju stice an d P eace
by Daniel Ortega

This speech was delivered to the General Assembly of the United ¹
tions on October 7, 1981. It was printed in En gl ish in the UN' s Provi sional Ve rb a ti m R ecord of th e Twe nt y - Ni n t h M e eti n g . M i n or styl is tic changes have been made for consistency and reada bi li ty .

The death of the president of Egypt , Anwar el-Sadat, is another
tr agic event t hat once again br i n gs to the for efr on t t he ur gent need to

contribute to the quest for a real solution to the Middle East question which once and for all wil l put an end to the violence that besets the
fraternal peoples of the Arab world. Hu m anity is living through a crucial moment in its history as a re sult of t h e g re at t e ns io ns t h at t oday m o re t h an e ver t h r e aten p eace. Nicaragua has deemed it timely and necessary to bring to this assem

bly, among other things, a number of specific proposals capable of con tributing to the cause of peace in the world. We are today the bearers of a specific proposal in our search for a ra
tional way out of the profound crisis affecting the Central Am erican a r ea, the most cr i t i cal poin t of w hich i s El Sal v ador. T h is is the m ai n

reason for our presence in this assembly, where we are certain we
shal l meet w i th the favorable reception warranted by the serious cir c umstances of the moment . We are the bearers of a specific proposal aimed at assisting Central

America in its struggle for peace, at the very moment when that peace is disrupted by the escalation of the arms race in the world, with bil
lions of dollars being invested in the production and emplacement of medi um -r ange missi les, rock ets, neu t ron bom bs, and so on; at the ver y moment when t h e progress achieved on st r ategic arm s l i m itation

agreements (SALT II) is being seriously jeopardized by the hegemonis
tic p olicy of t he present U n i t e d Sta tes govern m e nt .

We are the bearers of a specific proposal aimed at assisting Central America in its struggle for peace, at a time when the racist regime in South Africa is invading Angola, promoting destabilizing actions in Zambia, invading the southern part of Mozambique, and training mer
141

142 Sandin is tas Speak

cenaries to invade Zimbabwe, all of this with the support of the pres ent United States government; at a time when Libya is the victim of acts of aggression deriving from United States policy which have even led to two aircraft of the Libyan Air Force being shot down over its own ter ritorial space in the Gulf of Sidra. We are the bearers of a specific proposal aimed at contributing to the
cause of peace i n Cen t r al A m er ica at a t i m e w hen t h e gover nm en t of Isr ael, w it h t he fu l l suppor t of the U n i t ed St ates, is car r y i ng out acts of

terrorism against the Palestinian people, and against the Lebanese people, murdering hundreds of people, as well as bombing the Tam
m u z nu clear r esearch center i n I r aq .

We are the bearers of a specific proposal aimed at contributing to the
cause of peace in Cen t r al A m er i ca, at a t i me w hen t here is an in crease

in spying flights by United States aircraft in the air space of Demo
c r at i c K or ea an d t h e econom i c block ade an d pol i t ica l an d m i l i t a r y th r eats against Cuba, and the occupat ion of Gu an t an am o, cont i n ue; at

a time when the people of Grenada are harassed and attacked; at a
t i me when th e i m pl em en t a t ion of t he t r eat ies concer n i ng t he Panam a

Canal Zone, for which Gen. Omar Torrijos fought and died, is placed in jeopardy; at a time when resolutions of the United Nations concerning the independence of Namibia are flouted. We bring a specific proposal aimed at assisting Central America in its struggle for peace, at a time when the enemies of peace brandish philosophical concepts to justify thei r war like nature, while at the
s ame t i m e perpet r at i n g acts of aggressi on . Th at is why t oday we also wish to cont r i b ute to the cause of peace by

condemning the South African regime, expressing our solidarity with the peoples attacked by that regime, expressing our solidarity with the patriots of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) as the sole legitimate representatives of Namibia; supporting the front
l ine st ates; expressing our suppor t and solid ar i t y w i t h L i by a and w i t h

the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole representative of the Palestinian people; with the people and government of Demo
c r at i c K or ea ; w i t h t h e peopl e an d gov er n m en t of Gr enada „. w i t h t h e c our ageous, un it ed, and st r on g people and gov er n m en t of r evol u t i on

ary Cuba; with the struggle of the Polisario Front; with the resolutions adopted on August 20, 1981, on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, wherein the inalienable right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-deter mination and independence is reaffirmed; with the people and govern ment of Panama; with the people and government of heroic Vietnam, while repudiating the policy of punishment, and the threat and use of

Appeal for Justice and Peace 1 4 3

force against that people; with the coastal states of the Indian Ocean which are continuing their struggle to have that area declared a zone of peace and to obtain the consequential withdrawal of the different mi lit ary fleets moving in the area. We also appeal to the fraternal peo ples and governments of Iran and Iraq to seek a solution in the spirit of
th e N on al i gned m ovem en t, to the di ff er ences or cl ai ms t hat may exi st between those two st ates. Fi n a l l y , may w e once agai n ex pr ess ou r sol i dar i t y w i t h t h e peopl e

and government of Cyprus, with the people of Chile, with the people of
U r u g u ay , and w i t h t he her oic people of Gu at em al a. M ay w e also h ai l

as a victory for peace the independence of the people of Belize and its
m ember sh i p i n t h i s or ganizat i on .

We bring a specific proposal aimed at strengthening the worldwide efforts to ensure peace which Central America is today obliged to
mak e at a t i m e when t hat peace is also t h r eat ened by rest r i ct i ve eco n om ic measures w h ich m ak e t h ei r f u l l w ei gh t fel t i n t he T h i r d W or l d coun t r i es, hi st or ica ll y ex pl oi ted by t he developed coun t r i es.

The latest decisions on the subject made public by the government of
th e U n i t ed St ates are clear proof of w hat we h ave just st at ed. The se

cretary of the treasury of the present United States government has
said t hat t he gover nm ent i n t ends to l i m i t loans and credits to develop i ng cou n t r ies t hr ough t he I nt er n at i onal M on et ar y F und and the I nt er

national Bank for Reconstruction and Development; and President
R eagan h im sel f, at t he an n ual meet i ng of t he I nt er n at i onal M on et ar y Fu n d an d t h e I n t er n a t i ona l B an k fo r Reconst r u ct ion an d D ev elop ment, conf i r m ed t hat decisi on, say ing that for t he poor cou n t r ies ther e

the only magic formula is that of the free market, a "magic formula" which has served only to make our countries poorer.
D espite the effort s made by the Th i rd W or ld cou n t r ies to rest ru ct u r e th ei r for eign debt an d, by m eans of great sacr i fi ces, to pay t he ser vi c ing costs, the econom ic horizon is now so bleak t hat i t compels us to se

rious reflection. Unless formulas in keeping with the economic reali
ties of our cou n t r ies are devised, t here w i l l be no way out except to can cel the ent i re for eign debt and its ser v i cing costs, or the t ime w i l l com e w hen by com mon agreem en t w e, the poor coun t r i es of the w or ld, w i l l have t o say t h at w e ar e not goin g to pay , because we cannot pay, be

cause we have nothing to pay with. We must not forget that in foreign debt servicing alone the develop ing countries must pay with blood and sweat more than $40 billion a
year , w i t h ou t t h e least possi bi l i t y of f i n d i n g a sol u t ion t o t h ei r eco

nomic problems. On the contrary, the situation is becoming more and more serious.

144 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

W ho can ov er look t h e fact t hat t h e pr ice of pr odu cts th at w e expor t

declines all the time while the costs of production of those products in crease because the spare parts, machinery, equipment, and so on be come more expensive each day?
In 1977 our coun t r i es had to produce 338 bush els of cott on , 1,394 bu

shels of sugar, or 98 bushels of coffee to buy one tractor. Four years lat
er, i n 1981, we must pr oduce 476 bushels of cotton — an i ncrease of 41

percent — to buy one tractor; or 2,143 bushels of sugar — an increase of 54 percent or more; or 248 bushels of coffee — an increase of 145 per
c ent . T h i s i s because t h e w eal t h y cou n t r ies len d u s m oney on h a r d it ems, sel l m or e expensiv el y each d ay , bu t bu y each da y a t a l ow er pr i ce. A s a resul t of t hese un f ai r i n t er n at i onal t er m s of t r ade an d of t h e

profound injustices engendered by exploitation, a dramatic social, eco nomic, and political cri sis shakes Central America today. That cri si s
stem s from t h e depths of t he pover t y of 20 m i l l ion Cen t r a l A m er ican

men and women. In 1979 one in two 15-year-old Central Americans was ill it erate. One out of eight children dies before the age of one. Three out of every ten Central Americans looking for employment do not find it. Twelve million men live without proper housing. For every
dol la r obt ai ned by a poor Cen t r a l A m er ican a r ich man receives $48.

According to recent studies by the Economic Commission for L at in America (ECLA), 8.5 million Central Americans live in conditions of
e xt r eme pover t y .

It is there, in the old reality of the exploitation of the Central Amer
i can cou n t r i es an d i n t h e i nj u st ice w i t h w h ich t h e dev eloped w or l d

treats our peoples, that we must seek the causes of the political and so cial unrest that is today shaking Central America — not in the Nica
r aguan r ev ol u t i on, w hich is the f irst gr eat hi st or ic att empt i n Cen t r al Am er ica t o el i m i n at e the roots of t he cri si s. T h e accusat ion l eveled at t he San di n i st a people's revol u t ion t hat i t

is the cause of rebellion in Central America lays bare the hypocrisy of those who are truly responsible for the dramatic Central American sit uation. The main solution to the crisis in the region lies in recognizing that the crisis is the product of the exploitation to which the Central
Am er i can cou n t r i es h av e been su bj ected an d i n developin g a set of m easures in keepin g w i t h t hat r eal i t y . Between 1973 and 1980 Cen t r al Am er i ca's for eign debt in cr eased by

five times, and by the end of 1981 it will reach the unprecedented fig
ure of $7 b i l l i on. That debt today r epresents 140 percent of our expor t s,

when barely three years ago it amounted to 80 percent. It is an in creasing burden placed on the shoulders of Central American workers,

Appeal for Justice and Peace 14 5

because the payment of interest to creditors means that each year a l arger proportion of the region's exports must be earmarked for it .
The h igh r at es of i nt erest, w hich obey t he fiscal and mon et ar y policy

of the United States, punish those who have less and reward those who
have m ore. So long as t his si t u at ion is not cor rected there can be no so lu t ion to the Cen t r a l A m er i can cr i si s. T o solve its own cr i sis the U n i t ed St ates is appl y i ng a policy consi st

ing of raising to unbelievable heights the cost of financial resources obtained by our countries. This logically leads to the export of t he
Un i t ed St ates cr i sis to the poor coun t r i es. T h is year al one $1.2 bi l l i on has been dr ai ned ou t of Cen t r a l A m er ica an d h as foun d h i g h l y r e war ded r efuge i n t h e developed coun t r i es.

In the past three years alone the Central American countries have
lost $1.23 b i l l i on , w h ich w as t r an sfer red t o t h e developed coun t r ies,

the United States in particular , because of the deterioration in the
pu r chasing power of t h ei r expor ts. As long as t his si t u at ion is not r ev

ersed how can our countries develop, how can that crisis be solved7 That deterioration in the terms of trade is a veritable tax on our ex
por t s levied by t h e developed coun t r i es. Those cou n t r ies must t h er e f ore pr ov i de f in ance t o compensate for t h at det er i or at i on . In t w o year s — 1979 an d 1980 — t h e Cen t r a l A m er ican cou n t r i es

lost international reserves amounting to $1.18 billion. Where, then,
a r e ou r cou n t r ies t o f i n d t h e necessar y resources t o f i n ance i nvest ment s t o pr om ot e t h ei r dev elopm ent ? W ha t i s r equ ir ed i s a m assiv e

flow of concessional resources to finance our strategic energy, trans
por t , i n fr ast r u ct u r e, an d i n du st r i a l an d ag r i cu l t u r a l pr odu ct ion pr o

jects.
We dem and j u st ice as coun t r ies that h ave been im pov er i shed by cen tu r i es of expl oi t at ion and by t hose unj ust i n t er n a t i onal economic r el a t i ons, bu t t h e U n i ted St ates closes it s ears. Th e for thcom i n g confer e nce i n Can cu n has alr eady begu n to be affected by t he r efusal of t h e

United States to deal with items that would truly make it possible to
deal w it h t he explosive si t u at ion in t he econom ic order of t he w orld t o

day, and by its denying Cuba — which at present occupies the presi
d ency of t h e N on al i gned m ov em en t — i n a m anner t h a t w e can on ly

describe as infantile, the right to participate in that conference. But Nicaragua is convinced that countries like Mexico, France, Aus tria, the United Republic of Tanzania, Algeria, India, and others will
b e the st andar d-bear ers and spokesmen i n ou r dem ands for a new i n t er n at i onal econom ic order .

We said that we were bringing from our region specific proposals
aimed at con t r i b u t i n g t o t h e cause of peace. We h ave expl ained t h at

146 Sa n d i n i s tas Speak

t h e fu nd am ent a l causes of th e cr i si s affect in g ou r ar ea ar e econom i c

and that they have been brought about by the unjust relations existing in the present economic order and by the overexploitation to which our peoples have been and are subjected by exploiting minorities which serve like eunuchs the interests of international exploitation. If we un
d er st and t h is, we shal l also under st and w hy t h ere was a rev ol u t ion i n N i car agu a an d w h y t h er e i s a r evol u t i on ar y w ar i n E l Sa l v ador an d a nother i n Gu at em al a .

If we want to find a serious answer to the situation in Central Amer ica we shall have to stop invoking the specter of the East-West conflict , which is used by those who try to reject any change in the region. And
w e cannot di sr eg ar d or i gn or e th e fact t h a t al l t h i s pi ct u r e of b r u t al

economic exploitation has been defended throughout our hi story by aggressive United States policy. After the United States War of Independence, the model of a federal
democracy based on ideals of fr eedom w hich in sp ired t he st r u ggles of W ash in gt on and Jeff erson w as also t he model for t he leaders of the i n

dependence struggles of Latin America; and in Central America the liberal federal state headed by Gen. Francisco Morazan was the off spring of those principles of the American revolution. But that dream was to die very soon. The emergence of the Monroe
Doct r i n e, A m er ica for t he A m er i cans, was to represent t he aggressi ve

will of Yankee expansionism on the continent and from 1840 onwards
our peoples were no longer to benefi t from t he in fl uence of those ideals of democracy an d fr eedom bu t r a t her t o su ffer i n t erf er ence, t h r eat s, the i m posi t i on of tr ea t ies cont r adi ct or y to the sover ei gnt y of our coun t r i es, pr ovocati on s an d acts of wa r am on g nei ghbor i n g st ates, black

mail with the presence of the United States fleet in our territorial wa
ters, m i l i t ar y i n t er v en t i ons, th e l an d in g of m a r i nes, and t h e i m posi tion of cor r up t gov er nm en ts and one-sided econom ic tr eat i es. M or e t han 784 acts host i le to the r i gh t of our cou n t r ies to sover ei gn ty h ave occurred on ou r con t i n en t since t hat t i m e, and m or e t ha n 100

of them since 1960.
W h y w er e our cou n t r i es insu lt ed, i n vaded, and h u m i l i ated on m or e th a n 200 occasions from 1840 t o 1917? U nder w hat pr et ex ts, since at the t i me th ere was not a sin gle soci ali st st ate in the w or ld and the tsar

ruled over all the Russias? Treaties and loans were imposed on us, we were invaded, we were given the status of protectorates under that same thesis of American national security, which was first called the
Monroe Doct r i ne and later t he m an ifest dest iny and l ater st i l l the big s tick or dol lar di pl omacy . Th e expan sion of fr on t i er s, secure m a r i t i m e r ou tes, m i l i t ar y bases

Appeal for Justice and Peace 147 in the Caribbean, bought governments, and docile g overnments— these were manifestations of a liberal ideal which had become bare faced expansionism. How can we explain the numerous acts of aggression and interfer
ence and the landings that occurred between 1917 and 1954 in L at in

America, when there was stil l no Cuban revolution and Cuba could
not be accused of interference — accusations that were to be reserved

for the future?
The U nited St ates did not t ake over Cuba and Puerto Rico in 1898 and impose the Plat t A mendment to save Caribbean territories from t he in fl uence of the Soviet U n i on, since the l at ter w as not yet in exi st

ence. The United States did not land marines in Vera Cruz, Haiti, and Ni caragua, nor did it from 1903 onwards arm the most formidable naval
force ever seen i n C ar ibbean w at er s to resolve the East -West con fl ict to its own b enefi t . It w a s simp ly defending th e in te rests of its te rr i t o r

ial expansionism, the interests of its financiers and its bankers, of
t hose bu si ness tycoons who w er e begi n n i n g to beset I.at i n A m er i ca .

Today, October 7, 1981, the United States is beginning near the sov ereign territory of Nicaragua military maneuvers called "Halcon Vis
ta," w i t h t he par t i cip at ion of its ow n n av al, l and, and air forces toget h

er with military contingents from Honduras. At this time, as in 1895
when the filibuster W i lliam W alker landed on our shores at the head of a tr oop of sout h er n m ercen ar ies, ou r cou n t r y i s t h r eat ened by ag g ression on a scale hi gher t h a n t hat w h ich w e h ave k now n so f ar . A t th is t i m e, as i n 1912 when ou r h om el and was i nvaded by m ar i nes and

defended by the patriots led by Gen. Benjamin Zeled6n, the national hero, there are greater dangers of further invasions of Nicaragua,
w h et her di rect or i n d i rect . A t t h is t i me, as happened i n 1927 when w e were i n v aded by t he m ar i n es, against w hi ch t he ar m y, headed by Gen e ra l San di no, defended ou r n a t i ona l sover ei gn t y an d fou gh t for si x long years, th er e ar e new t h r eat s from t h e present U n i ted St ates ad

ministration. At t his time it is necessary to remember the history of
aggression against Central American countries throughout more than a cent u r y :

1855. The William Walker filibusters landed in Nicaragua with the
purpose of annexing the whole of Central A m erica t o the southern

states of the United States. Walker proclaimed himself president and restored slavery in Nicaragua. That same year, the colonels in active service, K inneys and Fabens, proclaimed the independence of San Juan del Norte, a sovereign territory of Nicaragua. 1856. Through the Dellas-Claredin Treaty, the United States ceded

148 Sa n d in is tas Speak

t o E n gl and th e t er r i t or y of B el ize, which di d not belong t o i t .

1860. The United States intervened for the first time in Panama, under the pretext of restoring order. 1867. Th e United St ates aff irmed it s ownershi p of Nicaragua through the Dickinson-Ayon Treaty, which gave it the right to build
t h e i n t eroceanic can al .

1896. United States mi litar y forces landed i n Nicaragua, at t he port of Corinto. 1899. More United States military forces landed on our territory, in San Juan del Norte and Bluefields.
1 900 . T h e U n i t ed St ates i mposed on N i car agua and Costa Rica t he Hay -C orea an d H ay -Calvo t r eat ies t o acqu i r e cont r ol over t h e canal route t hr ough t h e Cen t r al A m er i can i st h m u s.

1901. The marines landed in the Panama isthmus. 1903. The marines landed in Puerto Cortes, Honduras. 1904. The marines landed in Ancon and other points in Panama.
That w as the year when Theodore Roosevelt elabor ated the "Roosevel t

corollary" — or, rather, the big-stick policy . 1905. A further landing of marines in Puerto Cortes, Honduras.
1 909 . T h e U n it ed St ates i nt er v ened i n N i car agua to ov er t h r ow t h e gover n m en t of Gen . Jose Santos Zel ay a t h r ough t h e i n f am ous " K n ox note."

1910. The marines landed in Corinto, Nicaragua, and attacked our
s hores u n t i l t hey i m posed t h ei r ow n ol i gar ch ic gover n m en t .

1911. The United States again landed its marines in Corinto, Nica ragua; imposed presidents in Honduras and Nicaragua; and compelled
Cost a Rica an d N i car agua t o accept on er ous debt consol id at i ons an d new l oans. 1912 . T h e m ar i nes l anded yet agai n i n H on d u r as and t h e U n i t ed St ates began i t s m i l i t ar y occupat ion of N i car agu a w hich w as t o last

unti l 1925. 1914. The United States imposed on Nicaragua the shameful Cha morro-Bryan Treaty, which divided our sovereign terr itory. 1918. The marines landed in Colon and Chiriqui, Panama.
1 919 . T h e m a r i nes occupied H on d ur an por t s t o i n t er v en e i n t h e elect or al pr ocess.

1920. The marines landed i n Guatemala on the pretext of safe guarding the lives of North American citizens and protecting the lega
t i on .

1921. The marines occupied the region of Chorrera, Panama. 1924. The marines landed in Honduras and occupied Tegucigalpa, a nd other cities of the country .

AppeaL for Justice and Peace 14 9

1925. The marines landed in Honduras and Panama, in both cases
to br eak w or k er s' st r i k es.

1926. After leaving the country for many months, the marines re
t u r ned to occupy N i car agua. T hat m i l i t ar y occupat ion was to last u n t i l 1933, when t he Y a n kee troops were compelled to w i t h dr aw in the face of the her oic resi st ance of the ar m y, headed by Sandi no, defen di ng our

national sovereignty .
1930. T h e No rt h A m e ri c an f ru i t compa ni es pro mo ted fro nt i er w a rs an d m i l i t ar y u p r i si ngs, i m posed president s, and u nder m i ned t he n a t i onal sover ei gnt y of Gu at em al a, H on du r as, and Pan am a . 1954 . T h e U n i ted St at es, t hr ou gh t he Cen t r a l I n t e l l i gence A gency i CIA ), over t h rew t he gover n m en t of Gen. Jacobo A rbenz in Gu at em a la.

1961. The United States military mission directed a coup against a
ci v i l i an -m i l i t ar y j u n t a of a n at i on ali st ic ch aracter i n E l S alv ador. 1 964 . U n i ted St at es tr oops i n t h e Pan am a Cana l Zone at t acked a nat i on a list dem on st r at ion and m u r dered t h i r t y Pan am a n i an s. 1 960s. E a r l y i n t h e decade t h e U n i t ed St ates al so l a un ched t h e a bor t i ve i n vasion of Cu ba . 19 72 . T h e U n i ted St ates signed w i t h Col om bi a t he Saccio V tisquez Car r izosa T r eat y , w h ich w as h ar m f u l t o t h e i nt erest s of N i car agua's sover ei gn t y . I n t h at same year U n it ed St at es forces w er e t aken fr om t h e Pan am a Canal Zone to M an agua t o safeguar d t h e st ab i l i t y of t h e S omoza regim e after t he ear t h qu ak e t hat destr oyed t hat ci t y . 1 9 78 . T h e U n i ted St ates att em pted to impose a medi a t ion policy i n

Nicaragua to preserve the system and prevent the triumph of the San dinista people's movement . 1979. The United St ates secretar y of st ate, at the Seventeenth
Meet in g of Con su l t at ion of t h e Or gani zat ion of A m er i can St ates, re quested m i l i t ar y i n t er v en t ion i n N i car agua to fru st r at e t he Sandi n i s

ta people's success. American helicopters landed in Costa Rica, in ac
c ordance w i t h a plan t o i n t er fere i n ou r w ar of l ib er at i on .

1981. The United States sent mi litary advisers, militar y helicop
ters, and war m at er iel to El Sal vador and H ondu r as. It cut loans to our

country for development and for the purchase of food by $81.1 million. It allowed the training of former Somoza guards in military camps in
the st ate of Fl or i da. It r at i f ied the Saccio Vasquez Car r izosa Treat y as

an act of provocation against Nicaragua. And it began with Honduras
the " H alcon V i st a " m i l i t ar y m an euver s. T w o day s ag o Col . Sa m uel D i ck ens, a n A m er i ca n off icer an d a

member of the Council of the Inter-American Defense Board, stated on arrival in Tegucigalpa that the "Halcon Vista" military maneuvers

150 Sa n d i n is tas Speak

were but a sample and that the United States was ready to give its
suppor t to H on d u r as in a war against N i car agua and to at tack t he peo

ple and the revolutionary government of Nicaragua. His lack of respect did not stop there. He also attacked the govern
m en t of H on du r as because it pr oclaimed t hat i t w as neu t r a l v is-a-v i s

neighbors like Nicaragua and a guerrilla war such as that in El Salva
d or . H e also at tacked the gover n m ents of M exico and F r ance. A l l t h i s a ccompanied t h e ar r i v a l i n Pu er t o Cortes on t h e A t l a n t i c Coast of Hon du ras of t h e U n i ted St ates am ph i bi ous vessel Fo rt S nell in g w i t h

500 marines, three patrol boats, a tugboat, and mil itary materiel .
Th ere also ar r ived at t h e sam e t i m e at San Pedro de Su la, H on d u r as, tw o observ at ion a ir cr af t of t h e U n i ted St ates A i r F orce com i n g fr om

the Panama Canal Zone.
Wh a t can we cal l al l t h is'? The U n i ted St ates also t r ies to use Cen t r al A m er ican t er r i t or y — as i t di d i n t h e 1960s to at t ack C uba — to at tack N i car agua now . Act s o f ag gression , i n t er ference , pr essure, an d b l ac k m ai l n ever cease. Respect for t h e sover ei gnt y of ou r cou n t r ies has never been ob ta ined fr om t h e U n i ted St at es. The expan si on ist t h i n k i n g of t h e last

century , the gunboat treaties, the big-stick policy, have emerged again.
In t he face of these facts and t hr eats we cannot r em ai n sil ent or i nac t i ve, because hi st ory j u s t i fies our belief t hat we can be at tacked agai n an d t h at t h e sover ei gn t y w e won once and for al l by force of ar m s on J u l y 19 , 1979 , i s i n ser i ou s danger . Peace an d st ab i l i t y i n Cen t r al A m er ica are seri ou sly endanger ed. Is t his t he k i nd of hi st ory t hat w i l l repeat it sel f i n Cen t r a l A m er ica?

Our peoples are ready to respond as Sandino did to any attempt at
d i rect or i n d irect aggressi on , ei t her i n N i car agu a or i n E l Sa lv ador . We al l k now t hat t he t hr eat of i n vasion is directed fi rst an d for emost against t hose two peoples. Wi l l t hat i n t er ven t i onist policy con t i n ue to be imposed on the w i l l of t he people of the U n ited St ates? W i l l the policy of sust ai n i n g, ar m i n g , an d defendi n g i n Cen t r al A m er ica such cr i m i n a l r eg imes as t hose of Ubico, H er n andez, M a r t i nez, and Somoza con t i nu e t o he im posed? It w ou l d appear so, accor di ng t o t he nost al gi c w or ds of' a r epresent at i v e of t he U n i t ed St ates w ho, on her passage t hr ough Per u, aff i r med t h at

she would prefer Somoza in power in Nicaragua rather than the Sandi
ni st as.

How far wil l economic aggression, hand in hand with mi litary ag
g ression , against N i car agua go? W i l l t he policy of i n t er v en t i on ism i n

Central America again be imposed with impunity? Wil l the United

Appeal fo r J u stic e and Peace 1 5 1

St ates cont i n ue to pr om ot e a wr ong-headed policy i n Cen t r al A m er i ca

leading to an explosive regional crisis that will make worse an already

difficult international situation?
W e w ish t o st at e yet ag ai n ou r f i r m posi t ion on t h i s quest i on . W e

want peace, but not at the cost of freedom. We do not want war, but if
war is w aged against us we shal l resist w it h a people's w ar. We bel i eve

that although the picture is somber, the outlook threatening, there is still time to stop the warmongers. Central America demands changes; the revolutionaries, the Central
A m er i ca n p a t r i ot s, ar e pr om ot i n g t hose ch anges, an d t h e Cen t r al A m er ican peoples are ready t o br i n g t hem about . The just w a r bei n g waged by the her oic people of El Salvador dem ands a t rue sol u t i on, one th at cannot be obt ained t hr ough elect i ons based on bloodshed, one that cannot be obt ained t h r oug h par a m i l i t ar y gr ou ps, one t hat cannot be obt ai ned t hr ough ever gr eater i nt er v en t ion by t h e U n i t ed St at es, one

that cannot be obtained through genocide.
It is for t hose reasons t h at , in our quest above all for a st ab i l i zing so

lution in the area, the Sandinista government of Nicaragua applauds
t h e decl ar at ion m ade recent l y by M ex ico an d F r ance concer n i n g t h e search for a pol i t ical sol u t ion i n E l Sal v ador as a resul t of a di alogue between th e bel l iger ent s. W e also w elcom e the resol u t ion on t h e si t u a t ion r egar di n g h um an

rights in El Salvador; and the possible ways and means of achieving a
p ol i t i cal sol u t ion adopted at the Si x t y -E i g ht h Confer ence of the Par l i a m en t ar y U n i on , w h ich met i n H a v an a Sept em ber 15-24 , 1981; t h e pr oposed resol u t ion on Cen t r a l A m er ica an d t h e C a r i bbean put f o r war d by t h e S ocia list I n t e rn a ti o na l, m eeti ng i n P ar i s i n S epte mb er 1 981; and the f i na l decl ar at ion of t he meet in g of I nt ellect u al s for t h e Sovereignt y of the Peoples of Our A m er i ca, held in H av ana Sept ember 4-8, w h ich also r el ates to the st r u ggle of th e Salvadoran people. We said t hat we w ere the bear ers of a speci fic proposal aimed at as s i st in g Cen t r a l A m er ica i n it s st r u ggle for peace in t he w or l d. That i s

why today we fulfill the duty demanded of us by historic circumstances
and i nfor m y ou , M r . President , and t he represent at i ves of t h is assem b l y of t he n at i ons of th e eart h of t h e proposals conveyed t o us by t h e S alvadoran p a t r i ot s. Bu t f i r s t w e sh ou l d l i k e t o sa y t h a t t h er e i s am ong us, accompan y i ng t he delegat ion of N icar agua, the president of t he Revol u t i on ar y Democr at ic Fr on t of El Salv ador and member of t h e Join t Pol i t i cal Com m ission of t h e F ar ab undo M a r t i N ti t i onal I ,iber a t ion Fr ont and t he Revol u t i on ar y D emocr at ic Fr on t, Comr ade Gu i l l er

mo Ungo.
T h e pr oposal s ar e dated O ct ober 4 , 1981, an d addressed t o Com

15 2 S a n d i n i s t a s S p e a k

m ander of t he Revol u t ion D an iel O r t ega Saavedr a, coordi n at or of t h e J u n t a of t h e Gover nm en t of N a t i ona l Reconst r u ct ion of N i car agu a .

They are as follows:
The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front and the Revolutionary De
m ocr at i c Fr on t au t h or ize you to convey to t he U n i ted N a t i ons Gen eral A ssem

bly, at its Thirty-Sixth Session and to the peoples of the world, our proposals
c oncerned w i t h possibl e peace t a l k s a imed at sol v i n g t h e cr i sis at pr esen t af fl i ct i n g ou r cou n t r y . T he fol l ow in g is t he t ex t of ou r pr oposals: Th e F ar ab u ndo M a r t i N a t i ona l L i ber at ion F r on t an d t he Revol u t i o n ar y D e m ocr at i c Fr on t ad dr ess the i n t er n a t i on al com m u n i t y an d peoples of t h e w or l d because they consider t he U n i t ed N a t i ons to be the expression of t he pr i n ciples of' peace, Justice, an d equ a l it y am on g st ates an d peoples and t h er efor e t he ap pr op r i at e for u m i n w h ich to expr ess the aspi r a t i ons of the people of E l Salv ador a n d it s r epresent at iv e or gan izat i ons, I" M L N an d I'"D R . M ay w e f ir st of al l ex pr ess our gr at i t u de for t he m an y expressions of sol i d ar

ity with the struggle of our people we have received from governments, as well
as from or gani zat i ons and pol i t i cal, social, and r el i gi ous person al i t i es, t h r ou gh ou t ou r st r u g gle. W e wish most especi al l y t o ex press ou r gr a t i t u de to t he gov e r n m en t s and peoples of M ex ico an d F r ance for t h ei r sol i d ar i t y , for t hey h a v e recognized our or ga n izat i ons as represent at i ve pol i t i cal forces. M ay we also ex p r ess our t h a n k s for t he com m ent s and proposals of most of t he cou n t r ies of t h e i n t er n a t i onal com m u n i t y i n su ppor t of a pol i t i ca l sol u t i on . If t oday ou r people, d irected b y t h e F ar ab u ndo M a r t i N a t i ona l L i ber a t i on F r on t and t he Revol u t i on ar y D emocr at ic Fr on t , are i nv ol ved in ar med st r u gg l e

it is because regimes of oppression and repression have closed the peaceful
c h an nels for ch ange, leav i n g r ecourse to ar med st r u g gle as the sole leg i t i m a t e a l t er n a t i v e t o t he people i n i t s quest for l i b er at i on ; th at is, t he ex er ci se of t h e u n i v er sa l an d const i t u t i ona l r i g h t t o resor t t o rebel l ion ag a inst u n l a w fu l an d b loodt h i r st y au t h o r i t y .

Our war is therefore a just and necessary war to build peace and bring about
eq ua l i t y am on g al l Sal v ador ans. How ev er, w hat we w an t is peace and to achi eve it we are proposing a pol i t i cal s ol u t i on , the object iv e of w h ich w ou l d be the end of w ar and t he est ab l i sh m en t

of a new economic and political order that will ensure for all Salvadorans the enjoyment of their national rights as citizens and a life worthy of human be ings.
A l l t h i s suppor t s ou r ex pr ess w i l l t o open a d i alogu e w i t h t h e ci v i l i a n an d mi l i t ar y r epresent a t i ves t o be design ated by t h e j u n t a t h r oug h a pr ocess of p eace t al k s . We i n t end to base t hose peace t a l k s, w h ich reaA i r m our com m i t m en t to seek a rid i m pl em ent a pol i t i cal sol u t i on, on the basis of the fol l ow i ng gen er al pr i n ci

ples:
F i r st, t hey w i l l be car r ied out bet w een delegates appoi nted by t he F ar abu n d o

Marti National Liberation Front and the Revolutionary Democratic Front and

App eal for Ju s tice and Peace 1 M

r epresent at i ves of t he gover n m en t j u n t a i n E l Sal vador .

Secondly, they will be conducted in the presence of governments which, as
wi t nesses, w i l l con t r i b ut e t o t he sol u t i on of t h e di sp u t e.

Thirdly, they wil l be global in nature, encompassing the fundamental as pects of the conflict on the basis of an agenda to be drawn up by both sides.
F ou r t h l y , t h e people of E l Sa lv ador must be i n formed of every developm en t .

Fift hly, they wil l be opened without either of the two parties establishing prior conditions.
I n a n eff or t t o en sur e a basis t ha t w i l l b r i n g abou t a pol i t ica l sol u t i on , t h e F a r ab u ndo M a r t i N a t i onal L ib er at ion F r on t and t he Revol u t i on ar y D emocr at ic Fr on t ex press th e w i l l t o discuss t he fol l ow i n g poi n t s: ( a ) T h e defi n i t ion of a new pol i t ical, econom ic, and j u r i dical order w h ich w i l l ma k e possible and pr om ot e t he fu l l dem ocr at ic par t i ci p at ion of t he v ar i ous po

litical, social, and economic sectors, especially the poorer ones. Elections will be
an i m por t an t el em en t of t he mech an ism of pa r t i ci pa t ion and r epresent a t ion of t h e popu l a t i on . (b ) T h e rest r u ct u r i n g of the ar med forces on the basis of the off icers and men o f the presen t ar m y w ho ar e not responsible for cr i m es of genocide against t he

people and the integration of the officers and men of the Farabundo Marti Na
t i ona l L i b er at ion F r o n t . Ou r f r ont s re gard electi o ns as a v a l id a nd n ecessary i n s tr u m e nt f or t h e ex p ression of th e w i l l of t h e people, prov i d i n g t h er e are t he necessar y cond i t i on s a nd a cl i m ate t hat w i l l enable our ci t izens to freely ex press th eir w i l l . In El Sal vador at present t he elect or al process does not f i l l t hose requ i r em en ts since t he

repressive apparatus of the regime which murders trade union and political
leaders and act i v i st s, persecutes t he progressive elem ents of the Ch ur ch, and is r esponsi ble for t he phy si cal el i m i n a t ion ever y day of dozens of ci t izens r em a i n s i n t a ct . Si m i l a r l y , m a r t i a l l a w an d press censor sh i p ar e st i l l i n f orce and t h er e has been an escal at ion i n t h e w a r ag a i nst t h e people w i t h t h e aid of w eapons

and advisers sent by the government of the United States. A political solution is necessary for our people, for the stability of the region,
for peace an d secu r it y a m on g n a t i ons. T h i s m ean s t ha t gov er n m ent s m u st scr u p u l ousl y respect t h e pr i n ci ple of non i n t er f er ence i n t h e i n t er na l aff a ir s of o th er peoples. T h at i s w h y w e ar e d i rect l y ad dressin g t h e gover n m en t of t h e U n i t ed St ates an d ask i n g i t t o cease it s m i l i t ar y i n t er v en t ion i n E l Sa l vador , s ince t h a t i n t er v en t ion r u n s cou nter t o t h e i n t erest s of t h e Sa l v ad or a n a n d

American peoples and endangers peace and security in Central America.
O u r pr oposal meets t he cl ai ms for j ust,ice in accor dance w i t h t he purest pr i n c i ples of i n t er n a t i ona l l a w , t h e i n t erest s of n a t i on s an d peoples of t h e w or l d ,

and the quest for a peaceful settlement of the causes of hotbeds of tension. In
th ei r eff or ts t he Sa lv ador an people express thei r con f idence in the under st an d in g , pa r t i cipat i on , and suppor t of t he i n t er n a t i onal com m u m t y i n t he achi ev e

ment of their right to peace, freedom, and independence. The docum ent is si gned by the U n i fied Revolu t i on ar y D i r ect or ate of

154 Sa n d i nis tas Speak

t h e F ar abu ndo M a r t i N a t i ona l L i ber at ion F r on t an d t h e Execu t i v e

Committee of the Revolutionary Democratic Front . We are convinced that this appeal for justice, this appeal for peace,
wi l l be recognized by al l t hose gover n m en t s t ha t ar e t r u l y concerned

with the, fundamental rights of mankind. In the name of the dead, in the name of the tortured, in the name of the illiterate, in the name of the hungry, in the name of the exploited,
l et t h i s i n i t i a t i ve not be i n v a i n ; let t he forces of reason an d love, t he forces of peace, t r i u m ph once agai n over t h e i r r at i onal forces.

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