Nicaragua History: The Sandinista Government and Post-Sandinism

By | September 23, 2021

After the entry of the guerrillas in Managua (20 July), a government of national reconstruction was established in Nicaragua, which had provided for a political pluralism guaranteed by a government council, formed by various political and social forces, but the balance between the Sandinista and moderate and entrepreneurial forces collapsed between 1980 and 1981. The totalitarian aspirations of the Sandinistas soon led to the marginalization of bourgeois-inspired parties and a serious clash with the Catholic Church. At the same time, the contras, made up of various opposition groups to the Daniel Ortega regime, gave birth, with the support of the United States, to a genuine armed insurrection. In short, the anti-Sandinist guerrillas managed to take control of large areas of the country and to gather support among the peasants opposed to the collectivization of land. US support for the contras However, it created an awareness of the countries of Latin America on the problem of self-determination while respecting the independence of the States concerned: in 1983, in fact, the Contadora Group (Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama) was formed, to which added in 1986 the Support Group (Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay), which attempted to negotiate the conflict affecting that Central American area, obtaining in August 1984 from the Nicaraguan government a partial revocation of the state of ’emergency. In 1987, moreover, the president of Costa Rica, Ó. Arías, worried about the installation on his territory of bases from which the anti-Sandinists could attack Nicaragua and start a destabilizing armed conflict for his country, proposed a negotiation with the Sandinista government against the military solution. Meanwhile, the anti-Sandinist guerrillas, divided internally by the conflicts between former Somozians and members of democratic groups, had managed to no longer constitute a serious threat to the Nicaraguan regime: then weakened at the beginning of 1988 due to the cut in American funding, it was she was soon forced to retreat and take refuge beyond the border. On the other hand, in August 1989 the Sandinista government, in view of the presidential elections of 1990, signed a political agreement with the opposition parties, which provided for a contras, who for their part pledged to lay down their arms, and participated with the presidents of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras at the Central American summit in Tela (Honduras), during which a an understanding that put an end to the Nicaraguan civil war. According to agooddir, Nicaragua is a country in Central America. The elections of February 1990, held in a democratic form, with a multi-party system (as guaranteed by the Constitution approved in January 1987), at the same time decreed the defeat of the Sandinista Ortega (elected in 1984) and assigned the presidency of the Republic to Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, leader of the anti-Sandinist coalition of the National Opposition Union (UNO). Thus a period of transition and settlement of political life opened up for the country, characterized by the contrast between the orientations of government power and those of institutions with a predominantly Sandinista composition (army, trade unions, etc.), and a political economic neoliberal, aimed at healing the crisis resulting from the civil war and the US embargo. Deep disagreements soon occurred both within the coalition that had brought Chamorro to the government, and in the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FLNS), which split. The moderate Sandinista current, led by Sergio Ramírez, in fact separated in 1994, giving rise in 1995 to a new political group, the Movimento Rinnovato Sandinista (MRS). Approved in June 1995 a series of amendments to the Constitutional Charter, which drastically limited the powers of the presidency in favor of the National Assembly, in 1996 Chamorro concluded her experience as the first post-Sandinista president, deciding not to reapply to the new presidential consultations. These took place in the October 1996 and saw the defeat of the Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, despite the attempt to soften the Marxist political line of his movement to reassure the more moderate components of Nicaraguan society. The Nicaraguans, also disappointed by the centrist government of Chamorro, elected the candidate of the right, the neo-Mosquito Arnoldo Alemán Lacayo, representative of the great landed property, looked upon with sympathy by the local ecclesiastical hierarchies. Taking office in January 1997, Alemán confirmed the economic policy of privatizations adopted by the previous administration and tried to find a legal solution to the demands of those, first of all the Somoza family, who had seen their properties confiscated during the period of the Sandinista revolution.. Having found an agreement between the majority and the Sandinista opposition for the return of the expropriated and surrendered lands the last active guerrilla movement in the country, the United Front Andrès Castro, the process of national pacification finally ended in 1997. The neoliberal policy of Alemán and the drastic reduction of the country’s deficit, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, however, plunged Nicaragua into a state of severe economic recession. The worsening of the economic and social situation of the country pushed the former president Ortega to reapply in the presidential elections of 2001. Favored at first, Ortega, however, could not forget his past and the right regained the presidency of the Republic with the candidate Enrique Bolaños. In January 2005, after a few months of political and institutional crisis, an agreement was signed between President Bolaños and the Sandinista opposition, which allowed the government to bring the legislature to an end. In June, the country obtained the cancellation of its foreign debt from the G8. In November 2006 the presidential elections were held, won by Daniel Ortega with 38.07% of the votes, which defeated in the first round the liberal candidate Eduardo Montealegre, supported by Washington, who got 29%. In 2011 Ortega was re-elected with 62.6% of the votes. In 2014, Parliament approved an amendment to the Constitution that strengthened the president’s legislative power, allowing him to reapply for a third term in 2016.

Nicaragua History - The Sandinista Government and Post-Sandinism