Sandinistas Are Defeated in Nicaraguan Elections (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: The Sandinistas (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional), a revolutionary regime that had toppled the Somoza family dictatorship in 1979, held and lost multiparty elections in February, 1990.
Summary of Event
The stunning electoral defeat in 1990 of the Sandinistas (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, or FSLN) by Violeta de Chamorro’s diverse Unión Nicaraguense Opositora (UNO) coalition was unprecedented. Never before had a revolutionary regime run the considerable risk of submitting itself to open multiparty elections. The FSLN’s crushing setback at the polls, in one of the most scrutinized elections ever held, takes its rightful place alongside all the momentous changes under way in Eastern Europe and South Africa at that time. Daniel Ortega’s decision to test his party’s waning popularity before the Nicaraguan electorate and to relinquish power to a fragile eleven-party union that included some of the same people who for nine years had waged a relentless war against the Sandinistas reverses the conventional wisdom about hegemonic one-party revolutionary states. Why did the FSLN dare call for elections? Why did they lose so convincingly? The answers to these questions do not lie in glib statements such as “Nicaraguans voted with their pocketbooks” or “Soviet-style command economies do not work.” Instead, the answers rest in Nicaragua’s history and its often near-suicidal...
(The entire section is 2586 words.)
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