Granma | 19 July, 2016
“IN July, we recall those who left us a free homeland. We recognize this vast inheritance, where today we are privileged to live the dream and work for the realization of all dreams, especially that of overcoming poverty,” stated Rosario Murillo, coordinator of the Nicaraguan Communication and Citizenship Council, earlier this month.
This is a month of celebration in the country as on July 19, 1979, the Sandinista Revolution triumphed after overthrowing the Somoza military dictatorship, which had sowed terror across the nation for over forty years.
The Somoza family enjoyed the support of the National Guard and the United States, but was overthrown by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), a movement created in 1961, which took its name from the “General of Free Men”, Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto César Sandino.
The FSLN, founded and led by Carlos Fonseca Amador in 1961, called for socialism in Nicaragua, and was inspired by the guerrilla tactics used by Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban Revolution.
Although the Nicaraguan movement later split into three factions, they each continued in the struggle against the dictatorship and were united again in 1979.
At that time, the regime of Anastasio Somoza had begun to weaken. On the one hand, all sectors of the civilian population were united, and on the other, its main ally, the United States, requested that Somoza step down following the death of a U.S. journalist, killed by the Nicaraguan military.
Finally, the dictator and most of the country’s leaders left, and although one of his allies managed to take over the presidency, this only lasted 24 hours.
Thus it was that on July 19, 37 years ago, the FSLN triumphantly entered Managua’s Plaza de la Revolución, with broad popular support, representing the opportunity to build a new country.
Reforms began to alleviate poverty and inequality in the country and achieve a more inclusive and just nation: the banks were nationalized, and a process was carried out which significantly reduced illiteracy rates.
In 1984, following several years of counter-revolutionary actions financed by the United States, elections were held in which the FSLN was victorious. However, after talks with the “contras” and the signing of peace accords, an agreement was made to hold elections in 1990, in which an opposition coalition came to power.
Nicaragua experienced 16 years of right-wing governments, characterized by neoliberal policies, including privatizations led by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), which impacted on the national economy and reversed the social progress of the Sandinista government.
The FSLN went on to win the elections of 2006 and 2011, with Daniel Ortega as presidential candidate.
Today, under the leadership of Ortega and his National Reconciliation and Unity Government, Nicaragua continues to advance the economy, education, youth rights, and popular participation.
Thanks to the recovery of free health care, Nicaraguan families now have greater access to these services.
In terms of the economy, last year the Nicaraguan Central Bank reported that the country’s gross domestic product grew by 4.9%, highlighting construction, financial services, and trade as the most prosperous sectors.
Nicaragua actively participates in regional coordination mechanisms such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the Central American Integration System (SICA).
Nicaragua has always had the support of Cuba, an example of which were the early years of the Sandinista Revolution, when tens of thousands of Cuban collaborators worked in solidarity to advance the country.
Among them, the young Cuban teachers who were killed in 1981 by opponents of the Sandinista Revolution are particularly remembered. Encouraged by the United States, these counterrevolutionaries aimed to intimidate Cuban teachers, but failed. Cuba continued to support this sister nation.
Relations have also been strengthened thanks to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP).
Likewise, the Central American nation has also called for the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, at the United Nations.
Today, a total of 53 Cuban health collaborators are providing services in Nicaragua.