Managua, capitol of Nicaragua
A wall mural painted during the era of the Sandinista Revolution (1979-1990) is as yet not painted over in this 1997 photo. It includes the Sandinista flag and the slogan "For our democratic liberties and against the dictatorship." The revolution created great excitement in terms of literacy programs, land reform, healthcare in every village, and social justice.
After the revolution was destroyed by the U.S. terrorist organization (the "Contras") housed across the border in Honduras, these wall murals around the country were painted over by the subsequent governments that were again subservient to U.S. interests. The only ones remaining that I saw were these on the campus of the University of Managua where students and faculty have refused to let them be painted over. This one reads "Against the Somoza Dictatorship and Imperialism. For a free Nicaragua."
Today, after the destruction of their revolution, Nicaragua is right back in the poverty, illiteracy, and misery that it was before the revolution. Six and eight year old children like this girl, in bare feet, with no parents anywhere to be seen, beg from automobiles at stoplights.
A poor neighborhood not far from downtown.
Two small children watch the home convenience store for their parent. Barbed wire is the main kind of fence in Nicaragua, found everywhere in city and countryside.
Children play in an open area on a school day with no parents to be found anywhere nearby.
Even in the middle of the capitol city, many people live without water, sewage, or electricity in their shanties.
We spoke with the newly married young couple who lived in this house not far from the Municipal Dump. They told us they were strong supporters of the Sandinista Party. The Sandinistas represented changing all this. U.S. foreign policy enforces this status quo.
A street in the "Oriental Market" where one can by literally anything. The market included one street with young women standing in front of cubicals and a "Madame" sitting in a chair selling sessions with the girls to passing buyers.
One place where the spirit of the Nicaraguan revolution has been kept alive is Fundeci (the Nicaragua Foundation for Integral Community Development). The organization, founded in 1972 after the terrible earthquake, has branches in several cities. Father Miguel d'Escoto (a Catholic priest) was the president of FUNDECI when we visited in 1996. In 1998, he became a member of the directorate of the Sandinista party. During the Sandinista period (1979-1990), he was the Foreign Minister for the Sandinista government. One of our valued members in the New River Bocay Project, Kriste Pfabe, worked for Fundeci on behalf of the Nicaraguan people.
Fundeci headquarters in Managua has many wonderful wall murals expressing the joy of the revolution and the new spirit of cooperation, solidarity, and community among the people. This is what the U.S. attempted to crush through violence and propaganda, calling it "communism."
The courtyard inside Fundeci.
Unity-in-diversity, a mural expressing the revolutionary spirit of new hope and joy.
There are wonderful murals of world leaders of peace and nonviolence. The Sandinista Revolution included a significant component of Christian liberation thought that included Christ's command to work for the kingdom of God here on Earth.
"The love of God above all things involves our commitment night and day to the advent of his reign.
The love of God requires a total sacrifice of our security and our life for his cause: the cause of brotherhood, justice, peace, education, health-care, and life for all, including the cause of our green planet that provides for us all.
Because of our love of God and his love for us, we believe in a better world, and we work together to build it day by day."
(Wall-mural at Fundeci)
Above is the Managua municipal dump in the capital city ten years after the Sandinista Revolution was destroyed by the United States. Many thousands live in slums surrounding the dump and throughout the city. Many comb the dump daily for scraps of food or trash to use to try to survive. The Sandinista Revolutionary Government tried to change this situation. Today the situation is as bad or worse as it was before the 1979 revolution. "Free enterprise" has triumphed once again.
People and animals comb the Managua dump looking for food or trash to try to sell. In every election since the Sandinistas were defeated in 1990, the U.S. has threatened the people of Nicaragua that it will punish them if they reelect the Sandinista Party to power (even through the Sandinistas claim they have given up the revolutionary social democratic vision). The people of Nicaragua know the extent of suffering that the U.S. can inflict and have obediently not elected the Sandinistas. This kind of poverty, of course, forces poor countries like Nicaragua to sell their labor very cheaply in sweatshops and their natural resources very cheaply to U.S. multinational corporations.
Children like this combing the dump are a common sight. Without schooling, without healthcare, without hope. Here we have the preferred mode of existence for the third world according to U.S. foreign policy. The poorer they and their country are, the more they can be exploited for cheap resources and labor.