Nicaragua Decade of Despair

The Sandinistas promised a better life but delivered hard times

Nicaragua has a precise way of marking time, like a.m. and p.m. or B.C. and A.D. Everything that happened during the 43 years prior to July 1979 took place "during the dictatorship"; everything afterward is "since the triumph of the revolution." Ten years ago this month, a victorious band of guerrillas who called themselves Sandinistas, embraced a unique brand of tropical Marxism, and promised to educate, heal and enfranchise the poor triumphed over the corrupt rule of Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the inheritor of a family dynasty begun in 1936. The Sandinistas had ridden to power on an armed uprising, aided by...

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