The Contra War & Destabilization

Michael Hoover hoov at
Fri Dec 15 16:28:01 MST 2000

> The great tragedy of Nicaragua was
> that the contras had been dealt a decisive military blow, but Gorbachev's
> perfidy made it impossible to continue the Sandinista revolution.
> The Christian Science Monitor, June 7, 1988, Tuesday
> Nicaragua negotiators upbeat on prospect for peace accord
> Louis Proyect

Two years too late.  War - and its accompanying human tragedy, economic
dysfunction, political fallout (including adverse effect of military
draft) - had taken its toll by 1986 when serious decline in FSLN
support *and* sinking popular morale was evident.

Sandinista commitment to stopping contras became chief goal and, in end,
FSLN accomplished that task but at great human, economic, & political
cost.  Over time concessions to domestic importers, landlords, and
foreign capital increased but gained government no support among these
elites.  This, in turn, undermined support among "natural" allies -
peasants, workers, artisans - who represented important political
constituencies but who held little economic power.  Plus, burdens of
war forced mass organizations to perform "patriotic" functions, turning
grassroots groups into top-down structures.

>From 1987 on, government liberalized economy and net result was limited
influence over economy that shifted from regulated activity to "free"
markets.  And still, US told Nicraguan people that embargo would continue
if FSLN won 1990 elections.  Most of machinery in Nicragua was made in US
and refusal to supply replacement parts for years had left more than 50%
of country's capital equipment inoperative.       Michael Hoover

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