Class notes for 28th October

LA in the News was presented by Gabby in which she highlighted the reaction of the Honduran people to the news that their presidents brother had been accepting bribes from the notorious drug lord, El Chapo. It reinforced the idea that the government was corrupt and with the further news that the money was meant for the president himself led to a far reaching protest movement against the government which has left as many as 23 dead. Furthermore, she articulated the fact that we can understand how this wasn’t a lone case of corruption, and that politicians had been taking money away from education and healthcare to line their own pockets, while as much as 60% of the Honduran population remained in poverty. 

Throughout this class we focused primarily on the Nicaraguan revolution and it’s far reaching effects across the South American continent. We learned about the FSLN, how they formed out of an independence movement led by Sandino and how by the 1980’s they had taken power away from the Somoza dictatorial family, who were supported by the US. A major part of the class was spent analyzing the Time’s cover of Daniel Ortega which had been captioned “the man who makes Reagan see red” against a red background. We went into depth in analysing how Cold War politics of complete hostility by the US towards leftist movements in South America had pushed them to align with dictators like the Somoza family. But also how they had supported terrorists against democratically elected governments, like the support of the Contras against the Nicaraguan government. The emphasis of each of these policies for the US was always to preserve its economic interests within their sphere of influence and maintain stability. 

Within the discussions we talked a lot about the nature of the FSLN and their divergence from traditional leftist groups in their inclusion of women, people of colour and religion directly in their manifesto. We understood how their inclusion of each of these elements allowed them to thrive, for example, through targeting people of faith, it allowed them to distance themselves from marxist anti-clerical revolutions and thus gain the support of much of the population or through their emphasis on bringing back exiled and asylum seekers in order to help the cause of the revolution. Furthermore, we discussed how the FSLN stressed literacy, not just to increase the general education of the population but also to indoctrinate them through specific concepts and ideas that directly supported the new government. 

Key Terms:

The Contras – The Contras were the various U.S.-backed and funded right-wing rebel groups that were active from 1979 to the early 1990s

Daniel Ortega – The leader of nicaragua, first took power in 1979 as Coordinator of the Junta of National Reconstruction and then as President of the country from 1985. 

FSLN –  The Sandinista National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Nicaragua which overthrew the dictatorial government of the Somoza family and installed a revolutionary government in 1979. 



What are the potential ramifications of US support of right wing terrorist groups against democratically elected governments?How exactly did the US view the FSLN, especially due to their considerable emphasis on religion?

In what ways did the majority of the population react to the takeover of Nicaragua by the FSLN? How about the governments of the nations around it?

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