Another View of the Nicaraguan Election

Against the Current, No. 67, March/April 1997

Cesar J. Ayala

NICARAGUA’S RIGHT WING Liberal Alliance swept the municipal elections of October 20, 1996, winning 92 of the 145 mayoral elections in the towns, against 51 for the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). While the Liberal Alliance won the local elections by a 28% margin, in the presidential elections the Alliance candidate Arnoldo Alemán defeated the FSLN’s Daniel Ortega by a 13% margin.

Daniel Ortega chose a prominent Nicaraguan capitalist, Juan Manuel Caldera, as his running mate. Caldera is NOT a member of the FSLN, but is rather a member of the High Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP), an organization which was a virulent opponent of the Sandinistas in the 1980s.

An article by Dianne Feeley published in the January-February issue of this magazine (ATC 66) argues that Alemán and the Liberal Alliance won the elections through fraud.(1) Ortega’s choice of a prominent capitalist as his running mate is not a move to the right, according to Feeley, but represents instead a supposedly “radical, producer centered alternative to the neoliberal agenda that has been implemented under the Chamorro government.”

Instead of asking whether this move to the right may have actually hurt the Sandinistas, Feeley avoids the question by focusing on supposed electoral fraud. The defeat of the Sandinistas for a second time at the ballot box is a product of a complex set of national and international circumstances, but clearly not a product of electoral fraud.

While the Alemán forces no doubt attempted to influence the total vote count by all kinds of licit and illicit means, there were too many local and international checks on the electoral process to permit fraud on a scale capable of overturning the national electoral results.

Envío, the principal independent Nicaraguan source which Feeley cites in her article, argues in a recent analysis of the elections that there were irregularities in the electoral process, in comparison to the elections of 1990. However, these irregularities were not of sufficient magnitude to alter the final results of the national election.

In addition to winning 65% of the races for mayor, the Liberal Alliance won the race for mayor of Managua in a three way contest in which the favorite, independent, Viva Managua candidate came out second and the Sandinista candidate third.

Envío’s analysis speaks of “electoral chaos” but not of systematic electoral fraud. Most of the discrepancies in the figures of the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) derive from the disappearance of the votes of entire polling places (“juntas receptoras de votos”), which affect all parties, probably as a result of the long queues which formed to deliver the votes of the polling places to the CSE.

The Envío report argues that “if it were a matter of fraud, the logical thing would be the disappearance of the votes for the party against which the fraud was aimed.”(2)

The Sandinistas’ share of the vote declined by 3% relative to 1990. Their principal opponents also declined by 3% relative to 1990, while the independent parties increased their share of the vote from 4% to 11%. Broad sectors of the Nicaraguan population identified the social ravages caused by the neoliberal turn of the 1990s with the Chamorro government but also with the Sandinista-UNO parliamentary majority, a situation which precluded a significant surge of the pro-Sandinista vote in these elections.

In this article I will examine the broader context in which the Nicaraguan elections took place and the evolution of the FSLN since the first electoral defeat of the party in the 1990 elections.


FSLN: Daniel Ortega 40.82%

Unión Nacional Opositora (UNO): Violeta Chamorro 54.74%

Other Parties: 4.44%

1996 Elections

FSLN: 1996: Daniel Ortega 37.75%

Liberal Alliance: Arnoldo Alemán 51.03%

Other Parties: 11.22%

The 1990 Sandinista Defeat

Were it not for the 1979 revolution led by the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, there would not be any elections in Nicaragua today. This simple fact, often overlooked by right wing observers of Nicaraguan reality, must be the starting point of any analysis of the Nicaraguan situation.

The Sandinistas came to power through arms and left the government after their defeat in the ballot box in 1990. The possibility of elections and of a change of parties in government in Nicaragua are themselves conquests achieved by the revolution of 1979.

The recent defeat of the Sandinistas in 1996 is the second major electoral upset for the party that led the revolution of 1979. In 1990, the Sandinistas lost to the Unión Nacional Opositora’s Violeta Chamorro. The 1990 defeat has been the object of much debate about the relative weight in the Sandinista defeat of international factors, such as the U.S. financed Contra war, as against internal factors such as unpopular Sandinista policies.

Through a long war of attrition beginning in 1981, the United States was able to skew the playing field of Nicaraguan politics by forcing upon Nicaraguans the following two choices: to elect UNO and obtain peace and economic aid, or reelect the Sandinistas and risk a continuation of the war and the U.S. economic embargo. U.S. “humanitarian” aid kept the Contras in operation, thus discrediting the Sandinista claim that a Sandinista victory would mean an end to the war and eventual peace.

In June, 1990, the Sandinistas met in El Crucero to identify points in their own policies which could have contributed to the electoral defeat of 1990. These were published in the FSLN’s paper Barricada in segments, beginning June 16, 1990.

The Sandinistas identified a long list of mistakes, among them the forced relocation of Miskito natives on the Atlantic coast; abuses by some FSLN cadre in the mass organizations; failure to shield the poorest segments of society from the economic hardships that set in, particularly after the 1988 measures which benefitted the agro-export sector; undue process and insupportable convictions in the trials of former Contras and collaborators; and last but not least, the late realization that peasants wanted individual titles to land.(3)

Despite the fact that much blame has been placed on the so- called economic and political mistakes of the Sandinistas, a study of the process of erosion of support for their cause shows that the Contra war was the primary factor.

The erosion of support for the Sandinistas was heaviest during the years of most severe fighting against the Contras, prior to the austerity measures of 1988. Of those who voted for the Sandinistas in 1984 but voted for UNO in 1990, 28 percent had stopped supporting the Sandinistas by 1985, another 13 percent had stopped supporting them by 1986, and an additional 15 percent by 1987.

Much of the attrition of support for the Sandinistas, particularly after 1988, can also be partially attributed to the economic effects of the Contra war, the economic hostility of foreign powers, economic exhaustion, and the need for light at the end of the tunnel for many Nicaraguans. Much of the effect attributed to “unpopular” policies of the Sandinistas, particularly conscription, was also a product of the Contra war.

The momentous Nicaraguan elections of 1990 took place in a complex international scenario which did not bode well for the Sandinistas. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the continuing collapse of the eastern European regimes, the United States invasion of Panama in 1989, and the declaration by president George Bush that an UNO victory would mean an end to the U.S. embargo did not help the Sandinista cause of national liberation.

Yet even within this context of foreign aggression and violent interference in the internal affairs of Nicaragua, it is possible to identify problems which may have been due exclusively to Sandinista errors. Particularly troubling is the finding that in 1984 the Sandinistas obtained 65% of the rural vote, but in 1990 only 36 percent.(4)

The decline of FSLN support in the countryside varied widely according to class. Pre-revolutionary Nicaragua did not have the extreme land concentration or semi-feudal relations which generate vast peasant movements, nor did it have a plantation sector controlled by foreign capital that might have stimulated nationalism.

Neither did Nicaragua have indigenous peasant communities capable of demanding a return to a pre-Hispanic communal past. It did, however, have a substantial small and medium peasantry, and an agricultural frontier in the central-eastern region. The Sandinistas concentrated in distributing the lands of Somocistas, the idle lands of large landowners, and in giving titles to peasants on the internal frontier.

Investment under the Sandinistas, however, flowed preferentially to the State sector of large modernized farms, and secondly to cooperatives. The small producers and cooperatives displayed an economic dynamism during the Contra war unmatched by the State enterprises and big producers. They should have received more support from the Sandinistas.

The result of this “developmentalist” bias was absorption of a great mass of resources by the state sector, with “little impact on territories and human populations.”(5) In the Sandinista defeat of 1990, rejection of the FSLN by the medium level peasants was decisive in counterbalancing their support from agricultural workers in state-run enterprises.(6)

Nicaraguan State enterprise workers were mobilized for the war on a voluntary basis, and economic aid to families from the Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo cushioned the blow caused by enlistment in the armed forces. For many poor peasant families, by contrast, recruitment of males into the armed forces meant a serious uncompensated loss to the household.(7)

The Contra war gave the FSLN a sharply reduced margin for error, making every mistake extremely costly. Within this extremely difficult field of operations for the Sandinistas, internal policies did play a crucial role in their electoral defeat.

Top-down decision making and ineffective transmission of grassroots input prevented the Sandinistas from realizing the extent of the economic hardships and the magnitude of the problems created by conscription, leaving Nicaraguans to communicate them in the elections instead.(8)

La Piñata and “co-gobierno”

Reacting to their unexpected defeat in the elections of 1990, the Sandinistas embarked on a brisk process of transfer of State properties to mass organizations and local Sandinista organizations. The previous lack of separation of the property of the State from that of the Party left the FSLN facing the possibility of losing many of the assets which the party needed to function, such as presses, buildings, vehicles.

The hasty process of transfer left many local organizations, and eventually the local leaders of those organizations, in charge of assets, and led to the enrichment of a sector of the FSLN at the expense of the state and the party. This process came to be known popularly as La Piñata.

The international context and the Sandinista defeat, in turn, pushed a sector of the FSLN into a “realistic” accommodation with the recently elected UNO forces.

When Chamorro took office in April of 1990, and promised to overhaul government in the first 100 days, the Sandinistas called on the popular forces to “govern from below” and practically paralyzed the country. Barricades were erected all over Managua.

At that point the Sandinistas came to an agreement with the Chamorro government: In exchange for an end to the plans of the far right and legitimation for the agrarian reform, the Sandinistas pulled back from their mobilizations and acquiesced to the return of control of the Nicaraguan economy to the financial elite through privatization.

Over the next three years, the FSLN engaged in virtual co-government with Chamorro’s governing UNO party through an alliance in the National Assembly.(9) In January 1993, the parliamentary delegation of UNO formed a majority with the Sandinista legislators.

This parliamentary alliance formalized a process of rapprochement, which had already been advancing under the Chamorro government, between the enriched sector of Sandinismo and the “anti-oligarchic” wing of the UNO bourgeoisie. Whereas the Sandinistas had earlier repudiated unilaterally the Somozist foreign debt, in April 1994 the IMF and World Bank signed an agreement with Nicaragua that imposed the typical structural adjustment constraints on the country.

The “new bourgeoisie” of the Sandinistas enriched in La Piñata shared with their UNO counterparts a common opposition to the oligarchic forces of the Old Order in Nicaragua, but were perceived by increasing sectors of the Nicaraguan population as responsible for the broadening economic hardships.

The acquisition of social goods and money by some Sandinistas during La Piñata has caused, in the words of the 1990 Sandinista vice-presidential candidate Sergio Ramírez, “irreparable moral harm.”(10) There are people, according to Sandinista sociologist Oscar Antonio Vargas, who seized a home as a means of ensuring survival in the future, but then grabbed a second home on the seashore, then a third house, then 600 manzanas of land and eight hundred head of cattle.

A “new class” thus appeared, with the standard of living of the dominant top 5% layer, for which the logic of profit is increasingly important to the preservation of their acquired social status. This new bourgeoisie seeks acceptance by the traditional dominant class, and increasingly joins or enters into pacts with it.

The accommodation of the enriched sector of the Sandinistas with the government of Sra. Violeta Chamorro had the immense advantage of rendering the country “governable” through a “pact between the elites” and allowing it to exit from the condition of civil war after the 1990 elections.(11)

The properties seized in La Piñata included presses, vehicles, buildings and other assets which the FSLN and many popular mass organizations utilize legitimately. In addition to these collectively-held assets there are mansions and multiple homes, seized by Sandinista leaders on an individual title, which caused an uproar and were exploited by the right wing as symbols of Sandinista hypocrisy and of the individual enrichment of its leaders.

In 1991, a bill was introduced into the Nicaraguan assembly to guarantee the rights of small property owners while requiring those with mansions, multiple homes or huge land tracts to return them or pay a fair price.(12) In January 1997, after the second electoral defeat of the FSLN, Daniel Ortega gave back the home he and his family had occupied since the revolution.(13)

As the commotion caused by La Piñata and by the calls for the return of the properties held individually by prominent Sandinistas subsided in 1991, the Chamorro government broke with the extreme right wing elements in the UNO coalition and reached a compromise with the Sandinistas, with the goal of “re-centering” the country.

Meanwhile, the orthodox program of privatizations of Sra. Chamorro’s government, perceived by broad layers of the population as the product of the Chamorro-Sandinista “co-gobierno”, together with deregulation and the “liberalization” of the economy, produced a social disaster in Nicaragua.

The “pact between the elites” carried out under the Chamorro government is part of a long tradition in Latin American politics. Another such “pact of elites” will surely emerge after the 1996 elections to cushion the impact of Alemán’s victory, preventing the country from moving outright into a new “Somocismo without Somoza,” but continuing all the while the movement to the right.

The Social Disaster

Under the Chamorro government, the Nicaraguan economy has undergone a rapid process of privatization. In 1987, the Nicaraguan state held more than 13% of cultivated lands, 50% of industrial production and many service sector businesses, including hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and the national airline.

Prime Minister Lacayo directed a large scale sell off of state-owned businesses at very low prices. “The government appears to have gained little or no income or assets from these sales, despite the fact that these businesses (however run down or damaged by the war) used to amount to 30% of GDP.”

This process has generated suspicions of a second piñata, “this time via the gross undervaluation of assets sold and/or the return of properties for which former owners had already been compensated by the Sandinista government.” Not surprisingly, the Lacayo government did “little to overturn the Sandinista piñata, much less examine allegations of corruption within its own ranks.”

A National Public Sector Corporation (CORNAP) was set up to privatize 351 urban and rural enterprises. About 280,000 hectares of land to be privatized were controlled by four public sector corporations: Agroexco, Cafenic, Hatonic, and Tabanic. The new private banks give credit to commerce and to large producers, but not to small or medium rural producers. The state banks do the same, under strictures from international financial institutions.(14)

Nicaraguan workers opposed many of these measures. The Sandinistas were pulled in two directions: On the one hand, they backed the workers struggles and the independent organizations of workers and farmers (Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo, Central Sandinista de Trabajadores, Unión Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos), while on thhe other they backed the Chamorro/Lacayo government, fearing that the more “revanchist” UNO right wing, backed by sectors in Washington (notably Senator Helms) would overcome the more moderate sectors with whom the Sandinistas were in alliance.

The Sandinista leadership “was publicly backing the workers while also negotiating (more moderate) deals with the Chamorro administration.”(15)

In 1989, Nicaragua spent $35 per capita for health. In 1996 that figure fell to $14. Child mortality increased from 58 per thousand in 1990 to 72 per thousand in 1995. In 1995, seventy percent of employment was located in the informal sector. In that same year, 71% of the value of Nicaragua’s exports went to pay the foreign debt.(16)

Nicaragua is one of the poorest Latin American countries. Its per capita GDP of $597 is half that of El Salvador ($1,192), a third that of Peru ($1,885), a fifth that of Mexico ($3,041), and about one eighteenth that of Puerto Rico ($10,820).(17)

Despite the fact that under the Sandinista government 78,000 families received land between 1979 and 1989, lack of credit has pushed them into subsistence farming and has prevented the development of a diversified agriculture. The Sandinistas did not take care to provide clear, individual registered titles to most beneficiaries; in many cases the land register continued to contain the name of the old owners.

The structural adjustment policies of the Chamorro government have led to sharply reduced agricultural credit. The main beneficiaries of the land reform have been parceling their lands and selling them. Lack of credit and uncertainty of tenure have led to “distress sales,” which could lead to the re-concentration of land ownership.(18)

Nicaragua is returning to monoculture. Coffee accounts for more than 50% of Nicaragua’s exports. The classic evils of monoculture have thus returned to haunt Nicaragua. The quintal (hundredweight) of café oro, which sold at an average of $143 in the 1980s, was selling at $54 in 1993.

The recommendations of the World Bank require that the government of Nicaragua carry out policies which promote exports. Boosting the principal export, coffee, means strengthening the traditional coffee producing oligarchy. Yet even these efforts are frustrated by the falling prices of coffee in the world market.

Foreign capital is unwilling to invest in an economy lacking infrastructure and plagued by “social risks.” Disarmed Contras and Sandinistas find a hard time finding employment or “reconverting” their activities to peace production. The incredible scenario of the mortal enemies of yesterday joining forces has taken place: joint actions by Contras and Sandinista soldiers demanding from the government facilities to make the transition to the peacetime economy, promises which the Chamorro government made since 1990 but did not deliver.

1994 Split in Sandinismo

In 1994 the Sandinista Front suffered a split. A tendency led by Sergio Ramírez (Ortega’s vice-presidential running mate in 1990) left the party, accusing the Ortega leadership of “Stalinist” methods and calling for a renewal of Sandinismo. Ramírez and other historical leaders of Sandinismo (notably Dora María Téllez, of legendary stature in Nicaragua) established the Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista (MRS).

The MRS complained of lack of internal democracy in the FSLN, and of government by pact between the elites, particularly of collusion between Daniel Ortega and Antonio Lacayo, Chamorro’s Minister of the Presidency (Nicaragua’s equivalent of a Prime Minister). The FSLN majority on the other hand accused the MRS of moving too far to the right in seeking further accommodation to Chamorro’s neoliberal policies, and of not supporting the transportation workers strike of 1993.(19)

The split within Sandinismo began to surface in the special Congress of the FSLN in May, 1994, which ratified the Ortega leadership and gave his Democratic Left current a majority, and placed Sergio Ramírez and his current in a minority. On October 25, the conflict spread to the party newspaper Barricada, whose MRS-affiliated editor Carlos Fernando Chamorro was sacked.

This produced the resignation of the entire editorial board, the president of the board of directors, and over 20 staff members. The FSLN majority described this event as the reimposition of party discipline, while the MRS current described it as “authoritarian” and “orthodox left.” Ernesto Cardenal resigned from the party at this juncture, claiming that Ortega had kidnapped the party to further his own political ends.

Pressures in a Neoliberal World

Under the Chamorro government, the Sandinista army was reduced from 96,000 troops in 1990 to 21,000 in 1992 and 15,250 by 1993. Its budget dropped from $177 million in 1990 to 36.5 million in 1993.

In a 1991 interview entitled “The Army will not be the armed wing of Sandinismo,” General Humberto Ortega asserted that peace and foreign funding would not have been achieved had his brother been elected, and declared himself 100% married to the economic plan of the Chamorro government.

In July 1993, the Sandinista Army attacked an incursion of dissident Sandinista combatants in Estelí, in a context in which General Ortega wanted to show the U.S. and UNO critics that the military was independent of the Sandinistas and supportive of the Chamorro government. The National Directorate of the Sandinistas criticized General Ortega severely.

Pressure from Senator Helms and the U.S. government pushed president Chamorro to remove General Ortega and replace him with Joaquín Cuadra in February 1995. The Ejército Popular Sandinista was renamed. It is now called the Nicaraguan National Army.

The 1994 split in Sandinismo led to ironic twists and turns: while the FSLN majority (Izquierda Democrática) charged that the MRS was making a classical social-democratic turn, Daniel Ortega as noted above chose Juan Manuel Caldera of the employers’ association COSEP as his running mate for the 1996 elections.

Ortega’s choice of running mate was interpreted by many Nicaraguans as signaling further accommodation to bourgeois interests, a desire on the part of the Sandinistas to place themselves further in the direction of the “mainstream” in an increasingly neoliberal, unipolar, imperialist-dominated new world order. In other words, Ortega and the FSLN were actually carrying out in 1996 what they had derisively accused the MRS of proposing during the 1994 Sandinista Congress.

The severe social crisis plaguing Nicaragua was associated by broad layers of the population with the Chamorro government AND with the parliamentary majority made up of 39 Sandinista legislators and 15 UNO “moderates.” In this context, the results of the 1996 elections are not very surprising: The Nicaraguan electorate voted for the wholesome capitalist ticket of Alemán/Bolaños, who are perceived as having greater access to international funding and as having a greater prospect of obtaining foreign aid.

There is widespread concern about the corruption and enrichment of a layer of the FSLN, widespread cynicism about the possibilities of struggle against the neoliberal agenda and the dictates of the IMF-World Bank, and in addition the omnipresent fear of a return to war. Alemán’s supporters “hammered home the warning that a Sandinista victory would mean a return to the years of war and economic collapse.”(20)

The Sandinista platform “differed from the Liberal Alliance only in matters of degree-offering what Sandinista candidate Victor Hugo Tinoco described as ‘differences of shading’ from the Liberal Alliance free-market strategy of economic reactivation by encouraging foreign investments.”(21)

In a race in which the Liberals’ message was the restoration of production and that of the Sandinistas the “search for a productive consensus,” the Liberals had two big advantages: (1) they were perceived as less linked to the devastating Chamorro policies than the Sandinistas and (2) they were perceived as having better possibilities of obtaining credit to restore production.

Who is Alemán?

Mr. Alemán receives financial support from Jorge Mas Canosa, leader of the Miami right wing anti-Castroists. His father was an official in one of Somoza’s governments. In 1980 Arnoldo Alemán was arrested for counterrevolutionary activity and spent nine months in jail. In the 1980s he was head of Managua’s coffee growers’ association and later of the national coffee growers association, UNCAFENIC.

In 1990 he ran for mayor of Managua through the tiny Liberal Constitutionalist Party, a splinter from the National Liberal Party, the Party of Anastasio Somoza Dabayle. As mayor of Managua, Alemán built a classic patronage machine and utilized the administration of public works to distribute jobs and economic favors.

The Cuban-American Foundation supports Alemán through the Nicaraguan Foundation for Development and Democracy, a conduit for the Miami funds. The NFDD dealings in Miami are carried out by Alemán’s agent Byron Jiménez, who supposedly participated in Somoza’s death squad, Mano Blanca. The NFDD serves as an interlocking center for many Miami companies with contracts in Managua.

Alemán’s backers have called for the restoration of the properties acquired by Sandinistas in La Piñata to their pre-revolutionary owners. While this threat raises the specter of a return of unmitigated Somocismo, Ortega called upon Alemán to agree before the elections on a “pact of governability” with guarantees against “revenge seeking.”

The principal stumbling blocks in the path of outright oligarchic restoration are the Nicaraguan army and the IMF/World Bank, who prefer stability over a flare-up of struggles over property.(22)

A Janus-Faced FSLN

A complex set of circumstances helps to explain the Sandinista defeat in the Nicaraguan elections of 1996. The rise of Alemán was foreseen by many observers. Even before the elections took place, well informed sources of the left in the United States published their analysis of the forthcoming Liberal Alliance victory and its meaning for Nicaragua.(23)

The struggle over the agrarian reform continues, particularly the struggle over land titles, which the Sandinistas sorely neglected during their administration. There were massive land invasions in 1990, and they have continued every year although on a steady downward trend. Workers’ struggles will continue, and the Sandinistas are not about to disappear from the political scene.

There is no easy answer to the dilemmas facing the Sandinistas under the present international context. Instead of simplistic arguments about supposed electoral fraud, an assessment of the complex causes which led to the second Sandinista electoral defeat may help us understand the current situation in Nicaragua, and the possible course of the Sandinista struggle for national liberation in the future.

Under the Chamorro government, the FSLN was constantly pulled in the direction of the workers’ struggles and in the direction of a “realistic” accommodation with imperialism and the Nicaraguan right. Under the Alemán government the weakened FSLN will experience the same tensions, but within a political framework situated further to the right.


  1. Dianne Feeley, “The 1996 Nicaraguan Elections: How Arnoldo Alemán ‘Won’,” Against the Current, no. 66. (January-February, 1997), 26-30.
    back to text
  2. “(Cómo votaron los nicaragüenses?” Envío (Managua, Nicaragua), Nov.-Dec. 1996. (gopher://
    back to text
  3. The Principles and Program of the FSLN, adopted at the First Congress of the FSLN on July 21, 1991, in Managua, state the following: “When in government, the FSLN led a far reaching agrarian reform that democratized land ownership in the countryside and contributed to modernizing the entire rural area. Nevertheless, it did not win the support of broad sectors of the peasantry, the pillar of society and national production. As the government and as a party, the FSLN carried out policies adverse to their economic interests and which ignored their characteristics. For this reason, this important segment of Nicaraguan society continues to be the FSLN’s main challenge.” The program is reprinted in English in the appendix to Vanessa Castro and Gary Prevost, The 1990 Elections in Nicaragua and their Aftermath (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1992).
    back to text
  4. Vanessa Castro, “Electoral Results in the Rural Sector,” in Vanessa Castro and Gary Prevost, The 1990 Elections in Nicaragua and their Aftermath, (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1992), 130-131.
    back to text
  5. Eduardo Baumeister, “Agrarian Reform,” in Thomas Walker, ed., Revolution and Counterrevolution in Nicaragua (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), 242.
    back to text
  6. Vanessa Castro, “Electoral Results in the Rural Sector,” 136-37.
    back to text
  7. Shelley A. McConell, “The Electoral Defeat of the Sandinista Regime: a Postmortem,” Latin American Research Review, vol. 31, no. 1 (1996), 219.
    back to text
  8. Harry E. Vanden and Gary Prevost, Democracy and Socialism in Sandinista Nicaragua (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1993), 144.
    back to text
  9. Gary Prevost, “Nicaragua Surprise: Sandinistas Split; Somoza Party Gains,” Commonweal, May 3, 1996 (v. 123, no. 9), 9.
    back to text
  10. El Pais (Madrid) June, 24, 1996, quoted in Maurice Lemoine, “Des Eléctions Décisives sur Fond de Desatre Social: La Nicaragua tenté par un retour au passé,” Le Monde Diplomatique, October, 1996.
    back to text
  11. Maurice Lemoine, “Des Eléctions Décisives…”
    back to text
  12. “Nicaragua’s $1Billion Battle: Can the Government make the Sandinistas Give Back their Homes?”, U.S. News and World Report, v. 111 (July 29, 1991), 35-6.
    back to text
  13. New York Times, January 19, 1997.
    back to text
  14. David Dye, Judy Butler, Deena Abu Lughod, Jack Spence and George Vickers, Contesting Everything, Winning Nothing: the Search for Consensus in Nicaragua, 1990-1995 (Washington Office on Latin America [] and Hemispheric Initiatives [Cambridge, Mass.], November 1995), 21, 9, 30, 28.
    back to text
  15. Ibid., 9.
    back to text
  16. François Houtart, “Echec du modèle néolibéral…”
    back to text
  17. Puerto Rico/USA Foundation, “Socioeconomic Statistics for Caribbean and Latin American Countries Compared to Puerto Rico.”
    back to text
  18. J. Jonakin, “The Impact of Structural Adjustment and Property-Rights Conflicts on Nicaraguan Agrarian-Reform Beneficiaries,” World Development, July 1996, 1179-1191.
    back to text
  19. See Pierre Laramee’s interviews with Víctor Hugo Tinoco (Izquierda Democrática of the FSLN) and Dora María Téllez (Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista) in NACLA-Report on the Americas, March/April 1995, and Gary Prevost, “Political Infighting at Sandinista Special Congress,” NACLA Report on the Americas, July-August, 1994.
    back to text
  20. Sheldon Rampton, “Contradictory Realities: The Nicaraguan Elections of 1996.” Rampton is a member of the Wisconsin Coordinating Council on Nicaragua. He served as an international observer to the elections of 1990 and 1996 in Nicaragua. Cynicism about the corruption of politicians and even about the corruption of the Sandinistas is reflected in the phrase, reported in the press, that “Alemán also steals, but at least he’s efficient!”
    back to text
  21. Rampton, ibid.
    back to text
  22. Mark Caster, “The Return of Somocismo?…”
    back to text
  23. Mark Caster, “The Return of Somocismo? The Rise of Arnoldo Alemán,” NACLA Report on the Americas, vol. XXX, no. 2.(Sept.-Oct. 1996), 6-9. Lemoine, “Le Nicaragua tenté….” spoke of the “fertile terrain for Alemán” before the elections. Gary Prevost, “Nicaragua Surprise,” Commonweal, v.123 (May 3, 1996), 910, discusses the likelihood of an Alemán victory. Stephanie Rillaerts, “Une Reconstruction qui se fait Attendre: menaces d’extrême droite sur le Nicaragua,” Le Monde Diplomatique, September 1994, discussed the possibility of an Alemán candidacy and victory, after the impressive triumph of the Alemán forces on the Atlantic coast in 1994.
    back to text

ATC 67, March-April 1997