The Campesino Movement In Nicaragua

994 Words 4 Pages
Between conservative governments backed by the U.S. Marines (1912-1925) and the Somoza family dictatorship (1936-1979), Nicaragua had a tumultuous political landscape for most of the twentieth century. Even the eleven years between the conservative governments and the authoritarian dynasty brought little respite. In fact, it was during the Liberal Constitutionalist Revolution (1926-1927) that Chinandega combusted, both figuratively and literally (307).

In January 1937, Anastasio Somoza Garcia became president and was later succeeded by his sons, Luis Somoza Debayle and Anastasio Somoza Debayle, respectively. While in power, the Somoza dynasty struggled to earn the support of the campesinos, whose tensions with landowners (289), frustration
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In To Lead as Equals, Jeffrey L. Gould aims to “make their [the campesinos’] history of struggle part of the culture repertoire of their people,” (1). His mission stems from the “ignorance [that[ remain[s] active in the revolutionary present,” particularly “in the minds of the campesino youth” who see “their grandfathers’ agrarian struggle” as “downright boring.” Though his primary objective is commendable, his work more tangibly impacts the existing literature on Nicaraguan labor movements by positing a new interpretation of their actions: he affords the campesinos both individual and collective …show more content…
Granted, he acknowledges the challenge in obtaining unpublished and published primary sources as well as secondary sources (363), but that does not reduce his over-reliance on oral histories. This creates, as he notes, subjectivity (9), no matter how much he corroborated his informants’ testimonies. Using one to five newspapers from each year between 1920 and 1979 can fill in chronological gaps (364), but this practice cannot form the backbone of a historical argument as powerful and contrarian as the notion that campesino political consciousness was self-empowered and evolving. Further, he readily admits that his informants are unrepresentative of the “Chinandegan peasantry,” since many served as the campesino movement’s leaders (10), and their responses and attitudes were often influenced by his selection of past events to discuss (9). Because of these difficulties in conducting interviews and obtaining information, his argument should be treated more as possibility than as

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