Few revolutions in the Third World have evoked so much passion in Western countries as the Sandinista assumption of power in Nicaragua. No doubt this has been largely due to the role of the United States in the Central American conflict, especially the war of bullets and words between Managua and Washington. It is also true, however, that the new regime in Nicaragua arouses worldwide interest and sympathy because it claims to represent a new synthesis of social reform and revolutionary power--much as the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, or Vietnam did in the past. Paradoxically, the death of socialism in Eastern Europe and even possibly the Soviet Union has only accelerated the need for alternatives, and Sandinismo consciously positions itself to benefit from the disillusionment with earlier models of revolutionary change.
The message is often repeated--sometimes by people who by no stretch of the imagination could be regarded as sympathetic to the Sandinista government--that there is something different about the revolution in Nicaragua. As far as official rhetoric is concerned, the program of Sandinismo ("Pluralism, a mixed economy, a nonaligned foreign policy") seems closer to Scandinavian social democracy than to communism, and 10 years into the regime, the degree of economic and political pluralism in Nicaragua far exceeds that of Castro's Cuba at an equivalent point in time. What is this society, and where is it headed?
One good way to find out is to look closely at Nicaraguas' most crucial economic sector -- agriculture -- as Janusz Bugaj