The Revolution at Age Seven

Against the Current No 7, January-February 1987

Gary Ruchwarger

NICARAGUANS CALL their revolution the “Popular Sandinista Revolution.” The anti-imperialist struggle of General Augusto Cesar Sandino and his army of peasants, workers, and artisans in the 1920s and 1930s has served as an important source of identity and historical experience for the contemporary revolutionary process.(1)

Nevertheless, the Sandinista revolution can be compared with the major social revolutions of modern history. In its own unique way, rooted in the country’s particular history and social structures, the Nicaraguan revolution has taken on the tasks that other oppressed peoples have assumed in order to attain a better life: the battle against imperialist domination; the construction of a sovereign nation-state; the eradication of hunger, ignorance, backwardness, and exploitation; the recognition of human dignity; and the conscious participation of the people in the creation of their own future as a nation.

The purpose of this essay is to offer a summary of recent developments in the Nicaraguan revolutionary process and analyze its principal contradictions; to suggest areas for further analysis and subsequent research; and to contribute to the theoretical and political debate over the process of revolutionary transition in peripheral societies.

Contra War

Since the first inauguration of Ronald Reagan, the Sandinista revolution has confronted an escalating counterrevolutionary war, a well-funded and elaborately-planned war of attrition. In the words of CRIES, a Central America think tank based in Nicaragua, ‘The military war against Nicaragua is not merely designed to destroy the army; rather its principal aim, in the long run, is to waste and drain the limited resources of the Nicaraguan economy.”(2)

Indeed, the U.S.-orchestrated counterrevolutionary war combines military attacks with economic sabotage, political assaults, and psychological pressures. Carrying the insidious label of “low intensity war,”3 the imperialist onslaught has forced the Sandinista revolution to concentrate nearly all its human and material resources on the interrelated activities of defense and production. The twin pillars in the Sandinistas’ struggle against U.S. aggression, defense and production have become the rallying cry of Nicaragua’s popular sectors.

As the revolution makes its way through its eighth year, the three centers of revolutionary power-the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), the revolutionary state, and the Sandinista mass organizations-are expanding their efforts to strengthen the country’s defense system and increase the levels of economic output.

Party, state, and mass organization efforts to strengthen Nicaragua’s military defense have borne fruit in the last two years. Bolstered by the military service law passed in September 1983, the Sandinista army launched an offensive against the contras in December 1984. Newly-formed “irregular fighting battalions,” made up of draftees, continually pursued detected contra units in search and destroy missions that by late 1985 made it impossible for the contras to launch any effective attacks.

In early 1985 the Sandinista military began to employ MI-8 and MI-24 Soviet helicopters which allow the army’s battalions to deploy themselves faster than the contras can flee the ground. The helicopters also give the army the advantage of air fire support. With the addition of some 25,000 draftees between February 1984 and February 1986 the Sandinista army grew in strength to some 62,000 soldiers.

Backed by newly-formed army reserve units drawn mainly from recently demobilized draftees, the Sandinista army killed 2,745 contra troops and captured 300 more during the first six months of 1986.(4) Ministry of Defense officials increasingly employ the phrase “the strategic defeat of the contras” when analyzing the status of the war.

On August 2, 1986, the Sandinista army’s chief of staff, Joaquin Cuadra, reported that during the first half of the year the revolution’s armed forces prevented the contras from penetrating their targeted territories and accomplishing their political-military plans. Although admitting that the infusion of 100 million dollars would improve the contra army in a tactical sense, Cuadra insisted that the contras’ strategic defeat could not be reversed.(5)

The Sandinistas have paid a tremendous price for their military gains. Since 1980 the U.S. war against Nicaragua has claimed 12,000 victims, with more than 4,000 killed, 4,500 wounded, 3,000 kidnapped, and 120,000 displaced from the war zones.(6) Moreover, economists calculate that the total direct and indirect costs of the war surpass $2 billion-more than the country’s annual gross national product. The war’s direct costs, estimated at $601 million, are greater than two years of exports.(7)

Aware that the contras’ recent reverses will not deter the U.S. from continuing its aggression, Sandinista leaders are preparing the Nicaraguan people for an extended war. In opening his speech on the revolution’s seventh anniversary, President Daniel Ortega confessed that he would have preferred “to speak of the aggression as a thing of the past, and to dedicate this anniversary speech to production, health and education.” But he admitted that “the aggression is present, is not disappearing, and threatens to increase.”(8)

In the short term, there does not appear to be any possibility of a compromise between the United States and Nicaragua. The continuing war has both positive and negative consequences for the revolutionary process. As time passes the revolution is consolidating its popular base of support and institutionalizing its political and social transformations. The ongoing threat of U.S. aggression has strengthened national unity and popular support for the Sandinista regime. In addition, the army and civilian militias are gaining more combat experience and the system of national defense is attaining greater efficiency.

However, the prolongation of the war and U.S. economic sabotage will severely damage the country, draining scarce economic resources and interrupting development plans. The loss of human lives will continue as will the destruction of homes, farms and economic infrastructure. Indeed, the war has already thrown the country into an economic recession from which it will take years to recover.

The Task of Nation-Building

In most Latin American countries the local bourgeoisie confronted the process of state-building during the first half of the nineteenth century, as part of their project of integrating their economies into the international market. Nicaragua’s pre-1979 capitalist state was a product of North American military invasions and U.S. political influence exerted on the country through the Somoza dictatorship. For four decades the dominated classes acquiesced to their subordination to a dictatorial state which was itself subordinated.

The anti-imperialist struggles of Sandino and the FSLN challenged this neo-colonial project. The Sandinista revolution faces the task of establishing a modern and sovereign nation-state employing a revolutionary bloc of social forces composed principally of the working masses. The painstaking creation of a new state by the popular sectors has set the stage for the genuine realization of Nicaragua’s national sovereignty, but now as an aspect of a larger popular project, a revolutionary process comprising radical social transformations.

The task of state-building is obviously arduous and problematic:

“It implies taking responsibility for the effective spatial integration of the national territory; the creation of an effective administrative apparatus; the institutionalization of a new type of army based upon the principle of arming the people; the creation of an autonomous judiciary in a country without a genuine judicial tradition; the development of ideological and institutional mechanisms capable of integrating the entire population in a project that is for the first time really national.”(9)

Like Frelimo in Mozambique and the MPLA in Angola, the FSLN guides the state-building process in Nicaragua. This raises the complex issue of the relationship between the state and the political organization that leads the revolutionary process and establishes the new state. The FSLN’s conception of the state is quite explicit:

“The slate is nothing more than an instrument of the people to make the revolution, an instrument of the motive forces of change, the workers and peasants, which provides a means for breaking the obstacles that the revolution encounters, and the manner in which we use the state to break these obstacles will determine the extent to which we serve these motive forces. . .Whoever does not understand that the state is nothing more than a means and not an end, who believes that our people must be spectators while the state acts as the source of all initiatives, want consciously or unconsciously to introduce our state within a reactionary mould.”(10)

Although the FSLN rules the state due to its dominance of the executive branch of government and its majority in the National Assembly, the party avoids replacing the state:

“The Sandinista Front has as its mission to assure and guarantee that the state functions as an executive and administrative entity; therefore, its mission is to confer on the state a political line, give it eyes by which to orient itself, without tying its hands and feet because this could cause the state to lose its executive character and complicate the party’s leadership mission.”(11)

Obviously in practice matters have been more complicated. The fact that political organization exercises hegemony in the tasks of nation-building makes these tasks themselves appear to be partisan. Consequently, the revolution’s opponents charge that both the state’s institutions and the state’s objectives are inherently partisan. They claim to oppose the FSLN in the name of a “nation” that transcends partisan matters. The conservative opposition characterizes the Sandinista Popular Army as an “armed party” and criticizes the military service law as a device to recruit young people into the army solely to defend the interests of the ruling party.

The Sandinistas and their opponents hold contradictory underlying notions of what constitutes the nation. For the conservative parties, the nation is the property of the ruling classes and the neo-colonial state. For the FSLN, the nation belongs to the people and is institutionalized in the revolutionary state. As Harris and Vilas comment:

“Even though the present situation is one in which the tasks of nation-building are being undertaken by a party–the FSLN–these tasks do not lose their national character as a result of this circumstance. On the contrary, it is precisely the national character of the tasks being carried out by this revolutionary organization that give the FSLN its national content and authority. The struggle of this revolutionary organization has rescued the title of the nation for the popular masses.”(12)

During the course of 1986 the battle over what constitutes the nation has been waged in the debate over the new Nicaraguan constitution. The constitutional process entered its final stage in September when the Special Constitutional Commission submitted the final draft to the National Assembly for debate, revision, and final approval. In the FSLN’s view, the ratification of the Carta Magna, scheduled for January 1987, will mark the ultimate step in the institutionalization of representative democracy.

The constitutional process began in 1983 when delegates to the Council of State, the country’s first legislative body, passed the political parties law which legalized ten political parties. In November 1984 the process continued with the national election of a president, vice-president, and a National Assembly composed of 96 representatives from seven political parties. The election law requires the National Assembly to draft and approve a new Constitution during the first two years of its term. The constitutional process continued May 21, 1985 with the naming of a Special Constitutional Commission of twenty-two members representing each of the seven political parties in the National Assembly. In August, 1985 the seven parties presented their conceptions on what form the constitution should take, and on September 15 Nicaraguan organizations representing women, unions, business people, neighborhood associations, religious groups, and young people offered their views. Each organization urged the Special Constitutional Commission to consider issues relevant to its constituency including women’s rights, freedom of the press and religion, and the role of popular participation in government.

After visits to 17 countries to study their constitutions and hold seminars with foreign parliamentarians, members of the Constitutional Commission discussed–article by article–a first draft of the proposed constitution. Commission delegates sought consensus when possible and noted disagreements when they passed an article by a majority vote. The delegates approved 165 of the 221 articles by consensus, and agreed to leave the discussion of a number of points of contention among the political parties for discussion after a nation-wide debate on the constitution.

Issues that provoked disagreement included: (1) the Democratic Conservatives (PCD) and Popular Social Christians (PPSC) proposal that the preamble be dedicated to God; (2) the PCD, the PPSC, and the Socialist Party (PSN) opposition to the reelection of the president; (3) the PCD, the PPSC, and the PSN insistence that the National Assembly be empowered to approve the budget rather than the president; (4) the PCD and the PSN proposal that the mayor of Managua, the capital, be elected rather than appointed by the president; (5) and the PCD and the PPSC demand of a better-defined separation of the army from the governing party.(13)

The approved draft, presented February 21, 1986, contained ten sections providing the framework for the principles of political pluralism, a mixed economy, and non-alignment. It proposed a democratic, representative, and secular government composed of four state powers: executive, legislative, judicial, and the electoral commission. A third of the articles dealt with the rights of Nicaraguans, providing protection for the internationally-recognized range of human rights.

The draft requires the state to promote fair distribution of the nation’s resources and earnings, and to remove the obstacles to economic equality and political participation. A section outlining autonomy for the peoples of the Atlantic Coast is also included in the draft proposal.

In May and June 1986 a series of over seventy cabildos abiertos-open assemblies-were held throughout Nicaragua. These forums served two purposes: to educate the public about the draft constitution and to gather popular input toward a final version. Assembly representatives met with groups of professionals, workers, peasants, soldiers, business people, women, students, and ethnic minorities. These groups raised issues such as the judicial independence of the armed forces, the role of private enterprise in Nicaragua, and the scope of executive power.

Other controversial issues included the rights of young people, women’s right to abortion, the recognition of single mothers with children as a “family,” and conscientious objection to military service. The people of the Atlantic Coast demanded clarification of the autonomy provisions in place of the vague references found in the first draft.

The drafting commission then prepared a second version, incorporating some of the 1,800 written proposals. This revised draft went to the National Assembly for final debate September 16. As each point was discussed­ and as a way of facilitating maximum consensus-conciliatory motions were adopted wherever possible. A parallel process of bilateral and multilateral meetings between the FSLN and five of the opposition parties also helped to resolve differences.

On November 19 the process was completed and the document-with 202 articles-was approved. A final debate on the last day of the session ended in a com­ promise over the issue of whether God should be invoked in the Constitution’s preamble. The alternate wording acknowledges the participation of thousands of Christians who gave their lives, both before and after Somoza’s overthrow, in the name of God and for the salvation of the Nicaraguan people. Another issue-over whether the army should be called Sandinista-was resolved with the clarification that the reference was to Sandino, not to any political party.

The Constitution takes effect with the convening of the next session of the National Assembly in January. Next the assembly will review thirty laws, repealing or modifying them in the light of the new constitution. Then the assembly will prepare the groundwork for holding municipal elections.

It is common for revolutionary parties to reject representative democracy as incapable of implementing a social revolution. In recent years revolutionaries have pointed to the tragic failure of representative democracy under Allende’s Popular Unity Government of 1970-73 in Chile. Moreover, victorious social revolutions, while often introducing measures to democratize social and economic decision-making, seldom allow the direct participation of the people in the major political decisions of society. These revolutions have created extremely centralized political systems, with a range of mediating institutions, in which the most important state functions are outside the direct influence of the people.

In backing the constitutional process and the November 1984 national elections, the Sandinistas have attempted to institutionalize the revolutionary state and democratize the revolutionary process at a time when the revolution’s long-range economic and social goals have still not been clearly defined. The FSLN’s linkage of revolutionary political legitimacy with the procedures of representative democracy will contribute to the debate over revolution and representative democracy and could influence other societies where social revolutions are occurring.

Developing Participatory Democracy

While the Sandinista revolution continues to consolidate the process of representative democracy, it also seeks to develop the institutions of participatory democracy-the Sandinista mass organizations. There are five principal Sandinista mass organizations: the Sandinista Defense Committees (CDS), the National Union of Farmers’ and Ranchers’ (UNAG), the Sandinista Workers’ Federation (CST), the Rural Workers’ Association (ATC) and the Luisa Amanda Espinosa Association of Nicaraguan Women (AMNLAE). These organizations are called Sandinista because they recognize the FSLN as the guiding political force in the country.

Three of the five mass organizations are class-based, that is, they represent specific socio-economic groups in Nicaraguan society. The Union of Farmers and Ranchers represents a large proportion of the country’s peasants, the Rural Workers’ Association represents most of the agricultural workers on both private and state farms, and the Sandinista Workers’ Federation represents the overwhelming majority of Nicaragua’s industrial workers. The Nicaraguan Women’s Association, on the other hand, is open to all women regardless of socio-economic status.

Finally, the Sandinista Defense Committees are made up of people who live in the same neighborhood. Although neither the women’s organization nor the neighborhood associations are class-based institutions, the overwhelming majority of activists in these two mass organizations are peasants, workers, artisans and poor merchants. Consequently, they share many concerns with the strictly class-based popular organizations.

The mass organizations have demonstrated their power to the extent that they have been able to win some of the demands of their membership and influence certain revolutionary policies. Thus the neighborhood committees have gained land and housing for thousands of barrio residents, the farmworkers’ union has won permanent employment and better working conditions for its members, the peasants’ union has attained loan cancellations and higher prices for its members’ products, the women’s association has pushed through child-support legislation and raised the status of women at the workplace, and the industrial workers’ union has fought for health and safety improvements and participates partially in economic management.

The mass organizations have made significant advances in democratizing their internal structures. All the grassroots organizations employ democratic procedures to choose their leaders and assess their behavior in office; but they have not yet implemented fixed terms of office.

However, lack of full political equality within the popular organizations is a major problem. Due to the “double shift” and unequal access to education, many women are unable to fully participate in the life of the grassroots organizations. Inequality within these organizations also sterns from educational differences among members. The vast majority of popular association leaders possess sufficient formal education to write reports and conduct meetings. The mass organizations must constantly work to increase the capacities of their least educated members and afford them access to leadership positions.

The mass organizations are organizationally and financially independent of the FSLN. While they tend to follow Sandinista policies, the popular associations sometimes forcefully oppose the party in the interests of their constituencies. And although the grassroots organizations work hand-in-hand with state institutions, they also closely monitor the government, blowing the whistle on corruption and mismanagement.

Generally, the Sandinistas have promoted the autonomous development of the mass organizations, feeling that their independence strengthens the revolutionary process. However, when the grassroots organizations pursue a path that contradicts the FSLN’s attempt to maintain national unity, the Sandinistas withdraw their support.

To verify the claim that the mass organizations’ relationship to the FSLN is not vertical, one need only consider the recent public debate over abortion. During the first six years of the revolution the subjects of birth control and abortion-an anti-abortion law enacted under Somoza is still on the books-posed problems for AMNLAE. While individual leaders were in favor of free abortion on demand, they considered it an issue whose time had not yet come. In a 1982 interview with a British feminist, AMNLAE’s Gloria Carrion signaled the Association’s differences from western feminism:

“When Western feminists come here to interview us, very often the first question they ask is “What are you doing about abortion or sexual politics?” Of course these are important issues for women, but we have to go one step at a time and our priorities are determined by our historical, social and political circumstances.”(14)

During the first six years of the revolution AMNLAE was not anxious to launch a campaign for legislation on abortion, feeling that to do so would be a case of forcing policy from above. “We cannot stir up, start creating a series of demands without the grassroots support of our women,” Glenda Monterey asserted.(15) M1NLAE leaders noted that women themselves were not clamoring for abortions. ‘There are a few advanced women who do support abortion,” said FSLN militant Marta Cranshaw in 1982, “but if you were to take it to the vote most women would be against abortions.”(16)

For a long time AMNLAE considered the provision of health services to mothers and children as a higher priority than abortion. In a 1981 interview Gloria Carrion remarked: “The first problem is to ensure that children survive. Of course there are clandestine abortions. The right to abortion is a legitimate struggle, but at the moment it doesn’t represent the concerns of the majority of women.”(17)

During the years that abortion was a taboo subject in Nicaragua, some foreign observers believed that AMNLAE’s close identification with the FSLN prevented it from promoting abortion, because the Sandinistas were reluctant to clash with the Church over such an explosive issue. But these observers pointed out that the Association’s stance on abortion may prove harmful:

“AMNLAE’s reluctance to actively promote family planning could undermine much of its own and the government’s work towards providing equal opportunity for women By keeping abortion illegal, the government is in effect sending many women into the clandestine world of private abortionists. In doing so, it is perpetuating a structure that, because it is criminal, is in opposition to the government.”(18)

On November 19, 1985 Barricada launched a series of articles on the subject of abortion. The first article discussed the results of a study on abortion published in early November. The study revealed that between March 1983 and June 1985 one Managua hospital was admitting an average of 10 women a day as a result of illegal abortions.

A review of 109 cases of illegal abortions that involved complications showed that 10 percent of the women died after the abortions and 26 percent became sterile. Each of these cases entailed hospital costs of 97,000 cordobas. Eighty-two percent of the women studied opted for an abortion without consulting their partners due to the stigma that abortion traditionally entails in Nicaragua.(19) Barricada followed up its initial article by printing excerpts of an extensive round-table discussion on abortion that included nine doctors, a psychologist, and a hospital official. During the course of this discussion a number of important facts and points of view emerged, including the following:

• Abortion is the principal cause of maternal death in Nicaragua.

• Hospital officials will not perform abortions because it is illegal, but know that many women will return to the hospital for treatment of injuries sustained during illegal abortions.

• Sex education is a long-term project. The law should be revised; if not ….the majority of those who have abortions will continue to tum to inexperienced practitioners and will continue to die.(20)

During the May-June open assemblies to discuss the constitution many women again raised the abortion issue, insisting that the right to a safe abortion should be a constitutional right and criticizing the draft constitution for failing to address women’s reproductive rights. Significantly, only the Marxist-Leninist Party and the small Workers’ Revolutionary Party (a Trotskyist grouping) have included abortion rights in their official constitutional proposals.

The abortion debate was revealing for three principal reasons. First of all, it has become apparent that many base activists in AMNLAE pressed their leadership to pressure the FSLN to open a debate on abortion during the women’s association September 1985 national congress.(21) As a result of this pressure, as well as the publication of the abortion study conducted at the Managua hospital, Barricada initiated the public debate.

Secondly, few male leaders of the FSLN, and few leaders of AMNLAE (also FSLN members), supported the pro-abortion position of AMNLAE activists. It is therefore obvious that pressure applied from the base can force the Sandinista Front to deal with issues that it would rather not confront.

Finally, the abortion debate raises the thorny question of the role of leadership in a revolution. While AMNLAE leaders argued for six years that they didn’t wish to force a pro-abortion stance “from above,” many AMNLAE members contend that the women’s organization, as the vanguard of the Nicaraguan women’s movement, must lead the consciousness-raising campaign over reproductive rights. Failure in this regard, they assert, will have dire consequences for women’s struggles against discrimination at the workplace, domestic violence, the “double shift,” and other aspects of women’s oppression.

Although lack of space precludes an adequate discussion of the mass organizations’ key role in the Sandinista revolution,(22) there is no question that they have become an important axis of power in Nicaraguan politics. No revolutionary policy can be implemented without the massive participation of popular association activists, and most political, social, and economic measures are introduced only after the mass organizations have been included in the planning phase.

Nevertheless, the power of the popular associations remains circumscribed for three basic reasons. The Nicaraguan mass organizations, like their counterparts in other societies that possess the most meager resources of capital, technology, and skilled personnel face tremendous obstacles in developing their capacity to act as a counterweight to state and party organs. They inevitably have to compete with these power centers amid this situation of scarcity.

Second, to the extent that they subordinate their tasks to those set by party policy and mobilize their constituencies only to fulfill state goals, the popular associations will be unable to realize their full potential to influence the revolutionary process. Finally, the power of the mass organizations is limited to the extent that they lack full representation throughout the various levels of the state apparatus; their representation on some bodies is merely token.

National Liberation & Social Revolution

Despite what many foreign observers believe, the Sandinista revolution is not a socialist revolution nor is it undergoing a transition to socialism. Nevertheless, the fact that the Sandinistas are not progressively socializing both the forces and relations of production does not mean that Nicaragua is experiencing a “bourgeois democratic” revolution. Although it is not planning to eliminate the bourgeoisie, the Sandinista revolution has stripped the capitalist class of its political power and severely curtailed its economic influence.

The FSLN has created a popular, democratic, and anti­imperialist regime, introducing forms of both participatory and representative democracy in both the state sector and civil society. Revolutionary policies are mainly designed to meet the demands of the popular classes-the peasantry, the workers, the artisans, the semi-proletariat, and segments of the petty-bourgeoisie.

As Harris and Vilas contend: “The Sandinista revolution can most accurately be characterized as a revolution of national liberation directed against imperialist domination as manifested in its contemporary neo-colonial and dependent capitalist form.”(23)

The revolution’s principal goal is to convert Nicaragua into a modern nation-state that is politically, economically, and culturally free of foreign domination. For this reason the FSLN leadership stresses the need for national unity and the continuation of a multi-class alliance in pursuit of a common project of national reconstruction. In the current period of reconstruction the class contradictions within the revolutionary bloc of political forces are of less importance than the gains that the revolution derives from unity.

At the same time, however, the attempt to promote national unity has led to heavy economic costs that have fallen mainly on the popular masses-particularly the salaried workers. Through mid-1986, the Sandinista leadership has appealed to the political understanding of the masses and attempted to persuade the bourgeoisie to participate in economic development. The question may be raised of how much longer the Sandinistas can ask working people-repeatedly termed the “motor force” of the revolution-to withstand the economic consequences of their deteriorating real income, while at the same time similar sacrifices are not demanded from the capitalists. Yet the level of political and administrative development of the new state-the shortage of cadres and the lack of adequate planning apparatus-preclude any substantial and rapid expansion of the state sector.

Characterizing the Sandinista revolution as a revolution of national liberation does not mean that the FSLN rejects socialism or that the revolution will not lead Nicaragua towards a future transition to socialism. Indeed, on May Day 1982 Tomas Borge asserted, “The Sandinista Front is the vanguard of the workers and peasants ….is the living instrument of the revolutionary classes, is the guide leading toward a new society.”(24)

Nevertheless, for the time being the revolution faces the primary tasks of establishing Nicaragua’s national independence and developing popular democracy. Once these priorities have been achieved, the transition to socialism will be an option.


  1. Carlos Fonseca, one of the founders and leaders of the FSLN until his death in combat in 1976, emphasized the link between the Nicaraguan revolution and Sandino’s anti-imperialist struggle. See, for example, his article, “Sintesis de algunos problemas actuales,” in Carlos Fonseca, Baja la bandera del Sandinismo: Textos Politicos (Managua: Editorial Nueva Nicaragua, 1981, 314.
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  2. Quoted in Barricada, September 8, 1986 [my translation].
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  3. For a provocative discussion of low intensity war, see Sarah Miles, “The Real War,” NACLA Report to the Americas, April 1986.
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  4. Barricada, August 3, 1986.
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  5. Ibid.
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  6. From the Elections to the Constitution: The Consolidation of Democracy in Nicaragua, (n.p., n.d.), 6.
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  7. Richard Stahler-Schalk, “La Normacion del Trabajo en Nicaragua, 1983-86, (unpublished mimeograph, July 1986), 9.
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  8. Barricada, July 20, 1986.
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  9. Carlos Vilas and Richard Harris, “National Liberation, Popular Democracy and the Transition to Socialism,” in Harris and Villas, Nicaragua: A Revolution Under Siege, (London: Zed Press, 1985), 219.
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  10. Ibid., 219,220.
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  11. Ibid., 220.
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  12. Ibid., 220-221.
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  13. “From the Elections to the Constitution,” 4.14. Quoted in Martin and Willett, Women in Nicaragua, 35-36.
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  14. Ventana, September 26, 1981, quoted in Deighton et. al., Sweet Ramparts, 156-57.
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  15. Ibid.
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  16. Quoted in Ibid., 157.
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  17. Quoted in Ibid.
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  18. Ibid.
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  19. Barricada, November 19, 1985.
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  20. Barricada, November 22, 1985.
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  21. Interview with AMNLAE zonal official, Esteli, December 1985.
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  22. See Gary Ruchwarger, “The Sandinista Mass Organizations and the Revolutionary Process,” in Harris and Vilas, Nicaragua: A Revolution Under Siege, and Ruchwarger, People in Power: Forging a Grassroots Democracy in Nicaragua, (South Hamp­ ton, MA: Bergin & Garvey, forthcoming).
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  23. “National Liberation,” in Harris and Vilas, Nicaragua, 227.
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  24. Quoted in Paul Le Blanc, Permanent Revolution in Nicaragua, (New York: Fourth Internationalist Tendency, 1984,) 25.
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January-February 1987, ATC 7

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