42 min

A new history of the Sandinista Revolution Trending Globally: Politics and Policy

    • News

In the 1970s in Nicaragua, left-wing rebels, calling themselves the Sandinista National Liberation Front, fought to overthrow their country’s dictator. 
It worked. The Sandinistas led a coalition that took over the government in July 1979, in what became known as the Sandinista Revolution. 
However, within a few years, the Sandinistas faced a violent backlash, which pushed the country into a state of unrest that lasted for almost a decade. 
This period of violence, from roughly 1982-1988, was known as the Contra War. To many Americans, it’s often associated with the Cold War and Ronald Reagan. It’s been described as a proxy battle between the Soviet-supported Sandinistas on one side, and the U.S.-supported counter-revolutionaries, or Contras, on the other. 
But in this episode, we’ll go beyond that Cold War framing of the conflict, to uncover a fuller explanation of why the Sandinista Revolution was successful in Nicaragua in 1979, why it was replaced by a liberal democratic government in 1990, and why that democracy has since fallen apart. 
Mateo Jarquín is a historian and author of The Sandinista Revolution: A Global Latin American History.” Through interviews with former Sandinistas and archival research conducted across Latin America, Mateo tells the story of this momentous decade in Latin American politics from the perspective of those who lived it. In doing so, he challenges our understanding of the Cold War’s impact on Latin America, from the 1980s straight through to the present. 
In the second half of the episode, we’ll talk with Watson Senior Fellow Steven Kinzer about Nicaragua’s repressive political regime today, and a surprising act of resistance whose full effects are yet to be seen. 
Learn about and purchase “The Sandinista Revolution: A Global Latin American History”
Listen to episode 1 of “Revolution Revisited” a limited series on the history of the Sandinista Revolution, from Trending Globally
Learn more about the Watson Institute’s other podcasts

In the 1970s in Nicaragua, left-wing rebels, calling themselves the Sandinista National Liberation Front, fought to overthrow their country’s dictator. 
It worked. The Sandinistas led a coalition that took over the government in July 1979, in what became known as the Sandinista Revolution. 
However, within a few years, the Sandinistas faced a violent backlash, which pushed the country into a state of unrest that lasted for almost a decade. 
This period of violence, from roughly 1982-1988, was known as the Contra War. To many Americans, it’s often associated with the Cold War and Ronald Reagan. It’s been described as a proxy battle between the Soviet-supported Sandinistas on one side, and the U.S.-supported counter-revolutionaries, or Contras, on the other. 
But in this episode, we’ll go beyond that Cold War framing of the conflict, to uncover a fuller explanation of why the Sandinista Revolution was successful in Nicaragua in 1979, why it was replaced by a liberal democratic government in 1990, and why that democracy has since fallen apart. 
Mateo Jarquín is a historian and author of The Sandinista Revolution: A Global Latin American History.” Through interviews with former Sandinistas and archival research conducted across Latin America, Mateo tells the story of this momentous decade in Latin American politics from the perspective of those who lived it. In doing so, he challenges our understanding of the Cold War’s impact on Latin America, from the 1980s straight through to the present. 
In the second half of the episode, we’ll talk with Watson Senior Fellow Steven Kinzer about Nicaragua’s repressive political regime today, and a surprising act of resistance whose full effects are yet to be seen. 
Learn about and purchase “The Sandinista Revolution: A Global Latin American History”
Listen to episode 1 of “Revolution Revisited” a limited series on the history of the Sandinista Revolution, from Trending Globally
Learn more about the Watson Institute’s other podcasts

42 min

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