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The Nicaraguan Revolution
“We are in the eyes of the world, and because of the Monroe
Doctrine, held responsible for the order of Central America,
and its proximity to the canal make the preservation of peace
in that neighborhood particularly necessary.”
Secretary of State Knox (1911)
tell me about...William Walker & The Panama Canal
U.S. gov. negotiated the right to build a canal (1916)
Nicaragua tried to strike a deal with Germany or Japan
to build a canal...guess how the USA responds?
• historical social conditions
• exports: coffee, sugar, cotton and timber
• U.S. intervention in the civil war (1912-33)
• Anastasio Somoza vs Augusto Sandino
Somoza and Sons (1936-1979)
...43 years of dictatorship...
• strong supporters of anti-Communism and
U.S. business investments
• Sandinistas formed
• massive corruption
• assassination in 1956
• Bay of Pigs (1961)
• Luis (1967)
Beginning of the End
Dec 1972 earthquake
6.2 Richter Scale
$1 billion in damages
80% of capital destroyed!
Somoza stole aid from the world
The Revolution Begins!
• increase in public protests
• restrictions on the press and death of Pedro
• brutality of National Guard
• rocket attacks, teenagers and mutilations
• Bill Stewart, ABC News
• middle/upper class ﬂight
Preview of U.S.
Somoza may be a son-of-a-bitch, but at least he’s our son-of-a-bitch
• President Carter: concern for human rights?
• President Reagan: good old-fashioned Cold
Sandinistas and Carter
• dilemma for Carter
• resignation of Somoza and formation of a
• desire for moderation from the U.S.
• relationship quickly sours
• start true land reform
• econ aid from the Soviets
• aid to rebels in El Salvador
*The Pivotal Years of 1979 & 1980*
• Iranian Hostage Crisis Nov 1979
• USSR invaded Afghanistan Dec 1979
• Iran vs Iraq War Sept 1980
• impact on Carter’s USFP and the 1980
Reagan and the Contras
• Reagan crushed Carter in 1980
• fear of “another Cuba”
• formation of the Contras
• 1984 election of Daniel Ortega
• impact of Vietnam
• Contra attacks on infrastructure
• Dewey Clarridge (CIA)
• attacks on civilians
Iran Contra Connection
• Boland Amendment
• Hostage Crisis, Part II: Lebanon 1985
• proﬁt from missile sales-->Nicaragua
Iran Contra Scandal
How did people ﬁnd out?
What did Reagan know?
Documents and e-mails
“I don’t believe I ever did anything that was criminal.” (North)
Significance of the
• Once again, can we trust our government?
• What happens when our leaders lie?
• What policies are we prepared to support
to achieve our goals?
• Who’s watching the government?
• How does this impact democracy?