Nicaragua, Back from the Dead? An anthropological view of the Sandinista movement in the early 21st Century

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Title: Nicaragua, Back from the Dead? An anthropological view of the Sandinista movement in the early 21st Century
Author: Johannes Wilm
Edited by: Susan Ball, Angela Lieber, Shaine Parker
ISBN paperback: 978-82-8198-001-3
ISBN ebook:  978-82-8198-002-0

In 1979, the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) overthrew the US-sponsored dictatorship that had ruled the Central American Republic Nicaragua. The revolutionaries were Marxists, and they worked together with Cuba and the Soviet Union. The USA funded a civil war against the new government and maintained an economic boycott of the country, which crippled it severely. In 1990, the FSLN then lost the presidential elections to a US-friendly alternative. In 2006, José Daniel Ortega Saavedra, the same Sandinista who ruled in the 1980s, was elected president of the country and ended thereby 16 years of neoliberal rule. Or did he? 40% of Nicaragua’s population call themselves Sandinista, but since the 1980s the meaning of what a Sandinista is has changed. This book attempts to explain what Sandinismo meant in the past and what it is now.


“The book gives a detailed account of how the Sandinista revolution remained alive and led to democracy. The author weaves together historical processes and social changes, with the biographies of acting protagonists. Well worth reading.”

Michael Böhner, journalist and member of Red Reporters
Berlin, Germany

“Wilm takes me back to a trip to Nicaragua in 2007, around the time when Ortega was inaugurated. There were things I didn’t know or understand, which Wilm explains quite well. The black-and-red vs. pink flags, the use of apparently useless disguises, the waving around of weapons that weren’t charged, the euphoria of the old Sandinistas for Daniel Ortega vs. the criticism of the young… His methods are original, and many of his conclusions surprising. Wilm’s curiosity for individual biographies shaped by historical processes is contagious.”

Marina Einböck, passionate traveler and oral history researcher
Vienna, Austria

“All in all, I found the book interesting and enjoyable. Some of the information I knew, much I did not. The personal interviews and photos are a very good thing. A book about this stuff would be very dry without them. I think it will mean that more people will be willing to take the time to read about this, which is a good thing.”

 Phil Hughes, long-time Linux and Nicaragua solidarity activist
Estelí, Nicaragua

“I like some of the conclusions, and others less so. It’s a good piece of investigative journalism. Its strength is that it tries to expose rather than to commit to a theory that has not yet been completely understood nor realized —  the political theory that makes out Sandinismo.”

Carolina Fonseca Icabalzeta, Sandinista and teacher
Managua, Nicaragua