The Growth and Limits of Labor-Campesino Solidarity, 1962
No me pidas que los saque.
-- Andrés Ruíz Escorcia to President Luis Somoza, 1962
When the Guardia led the Tonaleños off to jail, most of them believed that they would be protected by the CGT. Indeed, Andrés Ruíz Escorcia helped obtain their prompt release. Such concrete acts of solidarity helped create a workercampesino alliance. Although labor and campesino solidarity tended to increase the militancy and autonomy of both social forces, that solidarity also frightened the agrarian elite and the Somoza regime.
During the early 1960s the Partido Socialista Nicaragóense (PSN), or Socialist party, bitterly contested the Somocista faction, led by Escorcia, for control of the CGT. The Chinandegan countryside became not only an arena of class struggle but also a battleground of factional strife. While Escorcia concentrated on organizing campesino unions, like the one in Tonalá, the PSN strove to organize banana plantation workers in Posoltega and El Realejo. Despite regime sponsorship of the Escorcia faction, the period 1960-62 was one of steady if unspectacular growth for both factions of the CGT. From the perspective of organized labor, the early 1960s resembled the mid-1940s. Both periods witnessed U.S. emphasis on democratic foreign policy goals, the growth of a powerful anti-Somocista opposition, and the regime's tolerance, as a consequence, for the labor movement. Yet industrial expansion in the 1950s and 1960s outstripped the capacities of union organizers, and much of the new working class remained unorganized.
Propelled by the rapid expansion of the agro-export industry, Nicaraguan manufactures grew at an annual rate of 7.8 percent during the 1950s. Industrial development depended in great measure on the success of agricultural exports since many industries were directly tied to the agro-export economy. Indeed, the ownership groups of the industrial and the agro-export sectors were inter
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Publication information: Book title: To Lead as Equals:Rural Protest and Political Consciousness in Chinandega, Nicaragua, 1912-1979. Contributors: Jeffrey L. Gould - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 182.
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