Response to an experiment: the Sandinista model of socialism and the US policy towards it

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Virginia Tech

The current policy of the Reagan administration is designed to overthrow the Sandinist system in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan revolution has produced a fascinating model of Socialism, in which the Sandinistas are trying to combine elements of pragmatic Marxism, Catholic humanism and revolutionary nationalism. In the first three years after the revolution, the Sandinist government was fairly successful and the country made enormous social and political progress. In 1983 Nicaragua entered a severe systemic crisis, which has been aggravated by the economic and military policy of the Reagan administration. This paper argues that the US counter strategy is based upon a number of contradictions and inconsistencies inherent in the Sandinist system.

The main targets of the US strategy are the social accomplishments that provided the FSLN's popularity among the rural population, as well as the middle-class upon whose co-operation the success of the Sandinista model depends. The US strategy consists of three components: a) economic sanctions, b) overt and covert military threat, and c) additional supportive policy measures.

This paper is a preliminary analysis offering suggestions and direction for future research.