One Sandinista's reflections of the XX anniversary

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Mon Aug 30 20:54:01 MDT 1999

[Para los compañeros hispanohablantes, el sitio web de El Nuevo Diario es De ahí podrán llegar sin dificultad al archivo
donde se encuentran este y otros interesantes comentarios sobre el XX
aniversario. Prefiero que lo lean íntegramente, en inglés presento sólo un
resumen, respetando los derechos de autor. El URL de este arículo es:

[Translation: For Spanish-speaking comrades, the Nuevo Diario's web site is
at From there it is easy to get to the archives
with this and other interesting comments on the XXth anniversary. I prefer
you read the whole thing; in English I've only posted a summary to comply
with copyright restrictions. The URL for this particular article is:

* * *

[Following are excerpts from an opinion article appeared in the July 20
issue of the Managua newspaper El Nuevo Diario. For an explanation of what
it is doing here, see the first post in this thread. This is my own (rather
hurried) translation.

[I once again note that I've yet to be able to access the Barricada site. If
someone has access to material about the XX anniversary of the Sandinista
revolution, especially from the current FSLN leadership, I'd appreciate
hearing from you via e-mail to jgperez at so that it can be
included here.

[Also, if anyone has material from other countries on the XX anniversary of
the Nicaraguan revolution and its significance, I'd urge them to post it
here. I'm more than happy to help translate material in Spanish.]

* * *

July 19 and the vital ethical issue

By Onofre Guevara L.

The twentieth anniversary of the revolution needed to be remembered as it
has been: from all political angles, the most varied personal viewpoints,
and felt according to each person's commitment.[...]

As should be remembered a historical event that measures its greatness, not
by what is said about it [...] but by an unchangeable fact: the immense
number of citizens (the vital component of the nation) who voluntarily took
part in the struggle, despite the risks of the armed struggle.That is what
gave the victory its ethical content. Never had there been greater social
participation in the objective of overthrowing a dictatorship, give the
country a democratic profile and put to right injustices that comes from the
first days of our national life.

That it became distorted, or was frustrated or betrayed does not deny
another fact: the protagonists of the revolution were the common people. The
heroes emerged from the masses. The great figures and caudillos are part of
a later phenomenon, indications of its deformation and deviation. [...]

 [Guevara goes on to contrast two commentaries, one, of a mother who said
everything hurt because her son was dead and buried, but in the midst of the
pain she understood she had succeeded in raising him to love his neighbor
and seek the best for Nicaragua, and that of the editorial writers of La
Prensa, main organ of the bourgeois opposition both to Somoza and the
Sandinistas, which said the revolution had been intrinsically perverse"
because it sacrificed individual dignity to a "totalitarian, statist,
socialist project." Guevara contrasts the mother's "humanity" to the cliched
insincerity of the renegade choosing words he knows will please his master.]

 These dissimilar sentiments ... are example of the ethical and moral
conflict in which individuals in our country are caught. In this same
conflict are to be found, in my opinion, one of the reasons for the failure
of the revolution: the ethical objective of the true project of social
liberation clashed with the anti-ethic of those who --proceeding from all
social classes, both Sandinistas and non-Sandinistas-- identified with this
project to obtain personal advantages.

 [...] [T]o transform society the revolutionary must transform himself, at
the same time. Not in an alienating religious sense, but rather in an active
ethical and moral sense.

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