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1979 - Nicaraguan Revolution


Title: 1979 - Nicaraguan Revolution

About: Following a general strike and mass urban uprisings, Sandinista rebels overthrew the US-backed Somoza dictatorship. The anti-imperialist national revolution brought health, education and land reform to one of Latin America's poorest countries.

1979 saw the victory of a revolution in Nicaragua that combined a popular uprising, self-organization of cities and neighborhoods in rebellion, and the action of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional — FSLN), a political-military organization inspired by a Marxist-Guevarist/Castroist model.

The revolution put an end to the 42-year authoritarian rule of the Somoza dynasty, which had appropriated the state — its armed forces, administration and significant parts of its economic assets — and established a strong alliance with the United States.

The FSLN had been waging a guerrilla struggle for more than a decade, but it was only towards the end of the 1970s that significant progress was made, and they had enough support to call upon the general population to join in the insurrection. 


In August 1978, Sandinista guerrillas staged an assault against the National Palace, where a joint session of both chambers of the parliament was taking place, taking hundreds hostage. This resulted in the liberation of several political prisoners from Somoza’s jails .Several urban uprisings erupted in September 1978, although these were put down by National Guard.

As the FSLN prepared to launch a broad military offensive, they called for a general strike in June 1979. Mass urban uprisings occurred, and the armed insurrection quickly moved in to liberate areas of the country, one after the other. Somoza’s army disintegrated. When the army stronghold in the capital was finally liberated on July 19, 1979, its remnants had no choice but to flee, in particular to neighboring Honduras.

In the new government, the revolutionary political forces pledged to install a democratic regime, guarantee a non-alignment of Nicaragua’s foreign policy — terminating the alliance with the United States — and develop a 'mixed economy.' 

Over the 1980s, major social progress was made in the areas of health care, education, improving housing conditions, fuller rights to organize and protest, as well as access to credit for small producers.

However, the new FSLN government was forced to fight a decade-long war against counter-revolutionary forces known as the Contras, who were heavily supported by the United States. Unable to satisfy its ambition of direct military intervention, Washington settled for a 'low-intensity' conflict that would strangle Nicaragua economically and isolate the FSLN politically.

Decade: 1970s

Year: 1979

Region: Latin America

Country: Nicaragua + USA

Politics: Revolution

Politics: Imperialism

Conflict: Cold War

Conflict: Civil War

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 5

Artist: Bryan Willian


Group: Genesis

Number: 79/100

Price: 0.5 ETH


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