Brigades, Sandinistas, Moreno, etc

Alternative alternative at
Sun Feb 17 03:34:33 MST 2002

Louis Proyect wrote:

On Sat, 16 Feb 2002 17:12:44 -0800, Carlos wrote:
>2. But there was not military pressure from the
>US in the first period 

This is a mischievous lie. Somoza fled Nicaragua in July of 1979. 
Elements of the Argentine military were already organizing the 
contras in late 1980 on behalf of the CIA, even before Reagan took 


As I said before: not pissing matches.  You can draw all the conclusions
you like from the FSLN experience, but can't deny the facts.

The Sandinistas had a relatively free ride from US imperialism for about
two years and only under Reagan direct military pressure started to
develop.  As Mr. Carter himself wrote in one of his works, was a deal in
place in Nicaragua before the FSLN took power.  US imperialism had its
agents in the government in Nicaragua in the first period (Chamorro,
Robelo and others).

The contras started afterward and it took Reagan some time to make them
militarily operative.

As I wrote before, the war and US encirclement of the Central American
revolution played a big role in its failure, but does not explain or
justify the FSLN's shortcomings, mistakes and ideological pragmatism.
Nor explain they ending as a socialdemocratic current.  They could have
lost the revolution and remaining as a new "vanguard" as you indicated -
if they ever were one - but certainly they choose not to. 


Answering this:
>3. The FSLN did make some very important
>mistakes from the go: forcing Spanish on native
>aborigines and Blacks, jailing left wing

Wrote this question:

Who are the left wing critics that were jailed? Names and dates, 


You want a list?  Here it is a list of organizations whose militants
were jailed in the first year of the FSLN-Robelo-Chamorro Junta:
hundreds of FSLN members of the so-called dog-hunter groups; almost
80-90 FSLN members, mostly of the Proletarian Tendency for "disobeying"
orders to respect the property of landowners; 84 internationalist
members of the SB Brigade; 43 members of the Communist Party of
Nicaragua (PCN); I have no figures for those of the PSN's two factions -
both the one accused of having deals with Somoza and the other one which
was to the left of it - who were also arrested; in the first year, the
FSLN closed down the left wing paper "El Pueblo" of the former Maoists,
attacked ferociously and jailed many members of the MILPAS (Milicias
Populares Anti-Somocistas) and arrested members of the leadership of
both the LMR (Liga Marxista revolucionaria) and one other left wing
group which was negotiating the fusion with the LMR; the FSLN also
jailed a number of left wing Miskitos and Blacks from the Atlantic
Coast, etc, etc

All this happened in the first year of the revolution.  But then, after
a period of "apertura" to the left in the mid 80s, they again clamped
down on the right of left wing parties to participate in elections, etc.

Louis Proyect:

While it is important to study FSLN mistakes, it is also useful to 
study their successes. They built a genuine vanguard. Their method 
was different from the one that you advocate, I presume.


Are they, today, that vanguard? How is that they collapsed into what
they are today? How come they are now in the Second International? And
co-governing with the neo-somozistas?  Well, maybe that IS a new kind of
vanguard.  Certainly not mine.

I wrote:
>5. There was and it is rampant corruption among
>the cadres of the FSLN from the very beginning
>and even before they took over.  How do you
>explain the houses with swimming pools, the
>privileges and now the fact that 150 of their
>commanders are an intrinsic part of the
>bourgeoisie with the means the appropriated for
>themselves during the revolution?

Louis Answered:
If the FSLN leaders were genuinely interested in privilege, they 
never would have become revolutionaries. Tomas Borge had his 
testicles beaten so many times in prison that he became sterile. 
Daniel Ortega drank his own urine to survive in the hills. Either one 
of them could have become a social democratic lawyers or professors 
and lived in big houses with swimming pools under Somoza. In painting 
them as PRI-like bureaucrats, you demonstrate a remarkable ability to 
twist things for ideological purposes. There surely must be a better 
use for your talents.


Individual courage, demonstrated even to defend wrong ideas, does not
preclude the presence of corruption.  The fact that Borges and Ortega
endured privations does not absolve them from other problems.  We can
count by the hundreds heroic resistance by bourgeois leaders in many
revolutions. That did not change their class character.  Same goes with
the corrupt Sandinistas.

Maybe you can explain, then, how a number of former Sandinista officers
are now owners of businesses, lands and big properties in Nicaragua?
Did you hear about he "piñata"?  Before they handled the government to
Chamorro, the FSLN organized the distribution of big money among the
cadre and the officers of the FSLN and of houses and other smaller perks
for middle and low cadre of the FSLN in order to secure some sort of
social base afterward.

Mr. Daniel Ortega leaves in a very big, guarded compound of his own
property in Managua with beautiful gardens around it.  He owns six
businesses and is a partner in a number of others.  All public and very
well known and documented.  He owned none of them before the revolution.

With all due respect, I appreciate your own balance-sheet of the FSLN
and certainly you are entitled to make up for their failures and
explaining them from your point of view and their alleged "mariateguist"
roots.  I simply do not believe those theories, in the face of their
failures,  hold any water.



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