Nicaragua: Yesterday and Today
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The things I saw in my six week stay in Nicaragua this summer did not correspond with many of the articles, books and news reports I read and saw before I left. I believed wholeheartedly that I would be going to a communist-infested country where the people of the country would denounce me as being an imperialist American. I was actually to1d or perhaps warned by many friends and acquaintances that Americans were hated "down there" and I was asked by numerous friends the reason why I was going. I could not tell them for I did not know myself. After much deliberation, I finally came to the conclusion that it was just simple curiosity on my part. I wanted to hear from the mouths of the people what their life was like because I did not want to rely on the sources I had previously relied on for information. By observing, talking with and listening to the people, just ordinary human beings, I found the truth. I found that the information I had read and depended on were far from that which I had believed to be true. Nicaragua is not made up of faceless, subversive hordes about to invade our southern borders. The country is simply made up of a society that has been torn apart by a destructive dictatorship, a bloody revolution and an ongoing war which day by day increases the fear but not the hopes and the dreams of a distinctive people. Dedication to their belief of a liberated society in which everyone has a voice, including the poorest of the poor, is beyond admiration. As in every society, there is contradiction within the voice of the people and this was plainly observed in the daily lives as we11 as the thoughts of some of the people with whom I spoke. However, this must be understandable considering the past history of the Nicaraguan people and their fight for freedom. It can be traced throughout history how the impoverished persons of Nicaragua have been exploited and oppressed by foreign intervention including Spain, Britain, and the United States, and by tyrannical dictators who were supported economically and politically by the U.S. In 1979, the people triumphed against their oppressor in the form of a social revolution that was led by the political party Sandinista Front of National Liberation (FSLN). The FSLN had the total support of the impoverished majority and when they overtook the government, the FSLN promised reforms that would improve the lives of the poor. It must be understood that at the time the FSLN became the ruling government in Nicaragua, the leaders had no previous experience in governmental duties. They were not politicians nor economists but fighters of the cause for a better life for their nation.