The leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) of Nicaragua This Friday celebrates 60 years of his birth with absolute power, crushing his internal rivals, ruling through repression and fear, isolated and confronted with the West, and with the support of Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and Taiwan.
Led by the country’s president, former guerrilla Daniel Ortega, who returned to power in 2007, the ruling Nicaraguan party went from being a symbol of the revolution in Latin America to an organization controlled by a caudillo and a family, almost equal to the dictatorship of the Somoza dynasty, which the FSLN overthrew with armed forces 42 years ago, according to its critics.
Expelled by the Socialist International from its ranks for the violations of human rights and democratic values committed by the Sandinista government in the framework of the outbreak of the massive protests in 2018 – triggered by a controversial reform of the social security system – the FSLN establishes now in Nicaragua “a police state,” Nicaraguan sociologist José Luis Rocha told EFE news agency.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega now governs with an iron fist and is seeking a new reelection. Photo: AFP
“The FSLN became harakiri with its bloody handling of the 2018 rebellion,” said Rocha, associate researcher at the Jesuit Central American University (UCA) and author of “Self-convened and connected: the university students in the April revolt in Nicaragua.”
Inspired by the Cuban revolution of Fidel Castro and in the figure of Augusto C. Sandino (1895-1934), a national hero who led an irregular army that fought against the occupation of US troops in Nicaragua between 1927 and 1934, the FSLN was born a July 23, 1961 as a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla movement.
In their six decades they were 25 years in power, 17 years governing “from below” (without being elected), and 18 as the guerrilla movement that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship, and that inspired other forces in Latin America.
“The FSLN turns 60 years old. In July 1961 a process of unity of the anti-Somoza youth organizations culminated to give birth to the most important revolutionary organization in the history of Nicaragua and Central America,” wrote the Sandinista ideologist William Grigsby, on the occasion of the anniversary.
Daniel Ortega and Fidel Castro, after the triumph of the Sandinista Popular Liberation Front. Photo: AFP
“They were a mixture of young people of different origins who assumed themselves as disciples of the general Augusto C. Sandino, they opted for the armed conflict and they adopted a strategy of prolonged guerrilla struggle until it led to the insurrection, “he explained.
Today, according to Grigsby, the FSLN is “the most powerful military political instrument ever created in our history.”
Evolution or steps back?
The FSLN, which was born as a guerrilla movement, became a political party, “But that transformation did not affect an element that is consubstantial to it until now: the mechanisms of electoral democracy are for the FSLN only one of other instruments to gain power and retain it,” said Rocha.
“Democracy – its simulation – is not an end in itself, but a means, along with grassroots organizations, weapons, conspiracies and espionage, among other means that the FSLN uses to sustain itself in power. “, Held.
According to the sociologist, “the FSLN does not seek to compete with political rivals, but to crush those it considers enemies and whose dissensions it considers lethal threats.”
Daniel Ortega and his followers, after the triumph of the Sandinista Popular Liberation Front in 1979. Photo: AFP
This became clear in recent months, with the string of opposition political leaders who were arrested in the country.
Among them are Cristiana Chamorro and several other candidates for the presidential elections scheduled for November, in which Ortega will surely seek a new – and controversial – reelection.
“In that sense, the FSLN did not evolve. It remained stagnant in the customs and traditions of a movement that from its beginnings had to operate in hiding and train its militancy in blind obedience to a pyramidal chain of command,” said Rocha.
In his opinion, not even in the first revolutionary stage (1979-1990) did the FSLN “know how to respect the different positions that its allies had in the anti-Somoza struggle” and assumed “the role of the vanguard” and rejected the contributions of other groups.
“Currently an autocratic couple (Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo) decide and impose,” he said.
The FSLN, according to the founder of the Sandinista Youth Gonzalo Carrión, currently a dissident, “is an organization that” has gone backwards in the XXI century “, is” family controlled “by the Ortega Murillos and, unlike a political party, “it follows a military and dynastic trend.”
Carrión told EFE that the FSLN is a hierarchically structured party for the conspiracy “in obedience to a family,” which “is nothing modern, or democratic, and does not contribute to the development of the country,” on the contrary, he added, “represents a lot of setback in Nicaragua.”
The protests against the government of Daniel Ortega in 2018 were harshly repressed. Photo: AP
“That party is dominated by spies, conspirators, harassing the neighbor, betraying. It is a party that does not sleep to guarantee itself in power and harm society,” argued Carrión, for whom “Sandinismo today is the other extreme. than it ever meant 42 years ago “when the Somozas were overthrown.
Beginning in 1990, when Ortega was defeated at the polls by Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, the FSLN became a platform for the accumulation of capital for its leadership, and the so-called “Sandinista piñata”, a distribution of assets and properties confiscated from the Somoza family and their relatives, as well as opponents, “mortgaged the FSLN’s ethics forever, “noted the sociologist.
Police state and repression
Now the FSLN lacks a theoretical reflection on its role and on the project it wants to promote, said Rocha.
“Currently, the FSLN privileges the conspiracy and establishes a police state. That option has meant a militarization of the state,” he reasoned.
The expert explained that generals and colonels are offered a golden retirement as ministers and vice ministers, and “deepening that line, they have elevated former members of the State Security and military counterintelligence to the highest positions,” who occupy the senior positions. commanders in the Police and the Army, and are present as judges and prosecutors.
“The entire State is a militarized arm and it is with the members of the Police and the Army who devoted themselves to political persecution. These options send us clear signals of the system that has been building,” he argued.
Therefore, in Rocha’s opinion, this maintains and confirms, with many more reasons, “the same old perception: the FSLN establishes the dark night” in Nicaragua.