One Sandinista's reflections of the XX anniversary

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Mon Aug 30 16:57:50 MDT 1999

[I had intended, in July, to look up on the Internet and post here some of
the reflections by Sandinistas on the XX anniversary of the revolution's
victory in 1979. I did not have time then, but I hope over the next couple
of days to post three or four things here. So far they are all from El Nuevo
Diario, which seems to reflect or orient to the dissident Sandinista
currents within and without the FSLN that oppose Daniel Ortega's leadership.

[This is due to the fact that so far, I've been unable to get to the
Barricada server. I hope it is just a temporary outage and in the next few
days I'll be able to see what they had to say. Of especial interest, of
course, will be Tomás Borge's and Daniel Ortega's comments. If anyone has,
however, copies of material on the anniversary from the FSLN majority,
please contact me by email at jgperez at in case Barricada is no
longer online.

[In addition, former vice-president Sergio Ramírez (and leader of the main
anti-Ortega Sandinista dissident group, the MRS), has just published a book
of memoirs which I hope to review here when I get a copy.

[A word on the current political context:  In the days leading up to and
following the anniversary, the FSLN was negotiating with the ruling liberal
party a restructuring of various government bodies, such as the Supreme
Electoral Council, the Supreme Court and others. There were also talks about
lowering the percentage of votes needed for a presidential candidate to be
declared the outright winner in the first round. Both those who consider
themselves Sandinistas outside the FSLN as well as a minority within the
FSLN led by national directorate member Dora María Téllez have publicly and
sharply opposed this tactic. The critics  say it is tantamount to a
repetition of the liberal-conservative pacts through which the main
bourgeois parties divvied up the spoils during the Somoza dynasty.

[The following are excerpts from an article by Michele Najlis in the Managua
daily Nuevo Diario a few days before July 19. I've limited myself to
excerpts in the spirit of acting under the fair use provisions of the
copyright laws. Najlis, if I remember right, was a prominent figure in
Sandinista journalistic and cultural circles during the 1979-1990

Twenty Years is Nothing?

 On the eve of the XX anniversary of what aspired to be the "Sandnista
People's Revolution," we cannot help but feel --together with thousands of
Nicaraguans-- a set of intense, contradictory sentiments....

 The memory of the dead marches by: Roberto, Francisco, Silvio, Casimiro,
Julio, Arlen, Carlos, Antonio....

 And the shadow of the errors also marches by, of the corruption that was
incubating like serpent's eggs which were were unable to --or didn't know
how to-- eradicate in time.

 "The past won't return," wrote the poet José Coronel. "The past won't
return," we repeated in our hearts -- and the past returned. It was back
even before we realized it: the arrogance of the new ruling class and the
submissiveness of those who prospered alongside the powerful and created a
happy court, while the poor buried their dead and thousands of honest
Sandinistas sacrificed their youth in the mountains, or at their workplaces.

 We came to know the sins of power of those on top and those below. Of those
below who silenced their criticism because they wanted to raise up new idols
before which to immolate their freedom, instead of bearing the
responsibility for their freedom. Fear of "playing the enemy's game." Fear
of losing your job.... Fear of being mistaken.

 We came to know the silence of those who, upon leaving a party meeting,
would whisper congratulations for having the courage to raise the criticisms
everyone was making in the hallways.

 We came to know our own silence, our own, painful, interior silence, which
did not dare to admit failure out loud: we had bet too much on this
revolution, our dreams, our illusions, the years of our youth... To
recognize the failure of the revolution was to recognize the failure of our
lives. It meant going into the void -- and we remained in the void, in a
mourning to which we could not even give a name....

Michele Najlis

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