A Sandinista guerilla in Jinotega in 1978
The Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) are a democratic-socialist political party in Nicaragua that led their country in a revolution, overthrowing the Somoza Dynasty of dictators and going up against the full force of U.S. imperialism.
Named after Augusto César Sandino, who led a rebellion against American colonization from 1927-33, the FSLN rose in response to the corruption following the 1972 Managua earthquake, with the government embezzling international aid funds and leaving the people in extreme poverty. The FSLN overthrew the dictatorship in 1979, with the help of their United People’s Movement, made up of students and labor groups who held strikes and protests.
After the successful people’s revolution, the United States funded the “Contras”, a counterrevolutionary group made up of Somoza’s National Guard. The American government claimed that the Sandinistas must be stopped in order to stop communism and preserve democracy. In reality, one of the core principles of the FSLN was democracy, and they had no communist affiliations until the U.S. agression, when they were forced to take Soviet aid.
After Congress passed the 1982 Boland Amendment, prohibiting American aid of the Contras, the Reagan Administration continued a covert involvement in Nicaragua. This culminated in the infamous Iran-Contra affair, in which senior officials of the executive branch sold missiles and other military weapons to Iran in exchange for the return of seven American hostages, and used the profits of that sale to illegally continue to fund the Contras. Although President Reagan was an open supporter of the Contras, it is disputed as to whether or not he was involved in the scandal.