Revolutionary change in Nicaragua and El Salvador : a comparative analysis
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With the success of a leftist revolution in Nicaragua and a civil war against a strong revolutionary movement in El Salvador, Central America has become one of the flash points of world politics. The two revolutionary movements, which adhere to similar ideologies, emerged in countries with similar historical roots and similar socio-economic background. This thesis analyzes the question why the Nicaraguan revolution was successful after one and a half years of general insurrection, whereas the Salvadorean revolutionary movement has failed so far in gaining power. The author looks at four major factors which seem crucial for revolutionary success: Breadth of the Revolutionary Coalition, Military Strength and Strategies, Role of the Church, and External Influences. The comparative analysis shows that three of these four factors favor the Nicaraguan revolutionaries. In contrast to El Salvador, the Nicaraguan revolutionary coalition included all major classes, not only the lower classes and parts of the middle class. When compared to the government forces, the Nicaraguan guerrillas were stronger than the Salvadorean. Furthermore, the counterstrategy of the Nicaraguan government was not as systematic and sophisticated as in El Salvador. In contrast to Somoza, the Salvadorean government has gotten strong U.S. support and the Salvadorean movement does not get the same support from other states that the Nicaraguan revolutionary movement received. Only the role of the Church is in favor of the Salvadorean revolutionaries. The Salvadorean Church was more active in promoting Liberation Theology and thereby helped to make the people conscious about the social injustices prevailing in the country and to organize the lower classes.
- Masters Theses