Dr. Political Science and Sociology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
The year 2022 marks the 43rd anniversary of the triumph of the Sandinista People’s Revolution in Nicaragua, and is of exceptional importance in the global context in which it is taking place. The world is going through an unprecedented economic crisis and an unprecedented ideological crisis. We can say that it is a crisis of Western civilisation which, for some, the standard-bearers of liberalism, is only a cyclical crisis of capitalism. However, any social scientist who does not get carried away by liberal hyper-ideologisation knows that the cyclical crises of capitalism are part of a single systemic, structural crisis, to which capitalism is irremediably driven, and which will necessarily lead to its collapse. This crisis manifests itself as an energy, ecological, economic, cultural and political crisis.
The developed Western world has no plan to get out of it, it only presents us with an apocalyptic world – very similar to the one depicted in American dystopian films such as Mad Max. There is talk of global eco-fascism or the feudalisation of the West. Without a project other than capitalism, more exploitation, the curtailment of all rights, the plundering of all natural resources and the further recolonisation of the world are on the horizon. Hence the NATO summit that took place a few days ago in Madrid was a staging of the Western war machine: what we could call Eurotan, as the only plan for the future.
But if the developed West does not have a plan, the Global South, which includes our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, does. It has been building a plan for the future for years, an alternative to the world of dinosaurs that is becoming extinct. It has spent years not only resisting imperialist aggression, but building an alternative based on the defence of its sovereignty and independence.
Since the beginning of the 19th century, when President Monroe explained to the US Congress (1823) that all of Latin America would be their backyard, the Latin American peoples have had to continue their struggle for sovereignty. A struggle that had already been victorious in getting rid of Spanish imperialism.
Resistance and the defence of sovereignty has always required organisation. In the case of Nicaragua, the first Latin American country to succeed in defeating US imperialism, this organisation implied a shared national project, a Sandinista project. To speak of sovereign Nicaragua is to speak of Sandino.
There are three revolutions in the Global South that show us how to move towards an alternative to capitalism and imperialism: the Cuban, the Nicaraguan and the Venezuelan.
The Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions were armed revolutions that managed to defeat the empire militarily. In all three revolutions we have three key figures who have illuminated the revolutionary paths and who, as the Cubans would say, are the apostles, immortal beings, around whom national unity was formed: Martí, Bolívar and Sandino.
On this feast of Nicaraguan independence, on this 43rd anniversary of the triumph of the popular Revolution that bears the name of the “Sandinista” national hero, we must celebrate the figure of Sandino: Sandino represents unity around a political ideology, unity around a social project and unity between thought and action.
Sandino, the General of free men, the general of that crazy little army – according to Gregorio Selser – who defeated the greatest empire the world has ever had, the cruelest and most bloodthirsty, developed the most powerful weapon that all peoples have, the most unbeatable: unity.
The Sandinista identity cannot be understood without unity, without a shared vision of the people, of the homeland and of the future.
Today, thanks to Sandino and the Sandinista National Liberation Front, we not only celebrate the revolutionary triumph, we also celebrate the defeat of imperialism.
The current Sandinista government is the result of a long journey whose keys are: leadership and unity around a sovereign and independent social project.
Undoubtedly we must speak of Carlos Fonseca, the creator of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, who took up Sandino’s baton by involving all the revolutionary forces in a project that goes beyond the seizure of power, a project to build a homeland for the people. All this in an extremely complex context, as US imperialist expansion was in full swing, with a Nicaraguan oligarchy completely sold out and a country plunged into misery.
For the US it has always been fundamental to prevent the Nicaraguan revolution, both because of the history of having been defeated by the little crazy army, and because of the geo-strategic position and the repercussions for the whole of Central America. Their war strategy, their imperial strategy, has always been one aimed at breaking unity. It was the one they followed in creating the Contra which, after the triumph of the Sandinista revolution in 1979, succeeded in plunging the country into a civil war that drove the Sandinistas out of government in 1990.
But the Sandinista revolution was always twofold: the defeat of imperialism and the construction of a popular project to solve Nicaragua’s serious problems: poverty, illiteracy, inequality; and none of this could be done without regaining unity.
When the Sandinistas lost the government in 1990, they did not lose their national identity, values and Sandino’s ideology. Thus, the recovery of power in 2006 was a new stage to give continuity to Nicaragua’s social and sovereign project; to continue forging decolonisation and independence while at the same time rebuilding national unity around the social project. The Nicaraguan government has designed a development strategy based on social programmes such as Zero Hunger, Plan Techo, Zero Usura, Merienda Escolar, Bono Productivo and Casas para el Pueblo, which together aim to reduce and eradicate the drama of poverty, but also to consolidate an alternative to the debacle of the developed West, its sovereign alternative.
The coup attempt in 2018 was once again aimed at breaking the unity, but not from the military, like the Contras, but from the civilian side. For this reason, the Sandinista strategy was to withdraw the army and the police to prevent a resurgence of civil-military confrontation. In this way, once again, the Sandinistas defeated the imperialist strategy.
This year’s anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution thus celebrates the three defeats of Yankee imperialism at the hands of the people and the FSLN: the one that Sandino inflicted (1933), the one that the FSLN achieved (1979), and the one that defeated the coup of 2018. There is much to celebrate and much to learn from our Nicaraguan brothers, from those little madmen who have become giants.
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