Charity Begins in Swindon: What Happens to All the Money Donated to Nicaragua, That Favourite Middle-Class Cause?

By Burrows, Gideon | New Statesman (1996), March 31, 2003 | Go to article overview

Charity Begins in Swindon: What Happens to All the Money Donated to Nicaragua, That Favourite Middle-Class Cause?


Burrows, Gideon, New Statesman (1996)


Here in the small industrial town of Ocotal, buried deep in the northern mountains of Nicaragua, the good people of Swindon, Wiltshire, are remembered. Running north to south through the centre of the pueblo, with the sweaty, frantic market to the east and a rather unremarkable cathedral to the west, lies Swindon Avenue. A proudly mounted plaque thanks the people of Swindon, England, for financial aid donated over recent decades.

It's a pattern repeated all over the country. Close by, in Matagalpa, Nicaragua's coffee capital, every public rubbish bin thanks Germany for its kind assistance.

Aid to Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution, which finally toppled the brutal dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza in 1979, was the trendiest of all middleclass causes during the late 1970s. The Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (FSLN) used the millions raised by support groups and solidarity campaigns the world over to fight the Somoza regime, and once it came into power, to stave off the US-funded Contra forces. That international giving continued throughout the 1980s and was stepped up following Hurricane Mitch in October 1998.

Thanks to this legacy of giving, there is a booming social and non-governmental organisation sector in modern Nicaragua. But it is a sector almost wholly run and controlled by the Sandinistas. In Esteli, a fiercely FSLN ranching town in the north-west, there is a development fund, a human rights centre or an assistance network on almost every street corner--all funded by supporters across Europe, the US and Japan.

At one social centre there, where I took Spanish classes, my group was given revolutionary protest songs to translate as part of the lessons.

"At least 97 per cent of the social organisations here are Sandinista," my profesora told me proudly during an "educational visit" around one of Esteli's many NGOs.

Soon after an FSLN-dominated ruling committee took over, when Anastasia Somoza Debayle fled to Miami in 1979, the Sandinista leadership seized hundreds of properties owned by the middle classes and redistributed them among themselves. They also engineered a similar divide-and-distribute manoeuvre with the international goodwill they had built up during the revolutionary years. When Daniel Ortega, the post-revolution FSLN leader, admitted defeat and handed over power to an opposition coalition following the 1990 elections, the Sandinistas did not hand over to the new government the myriad international contacts and funding channels they had established.

FSLN leading lights fell out of very well-paid political positions straight into very well-paid directorships of charities and NGOs, each funded using their international links.

While Daniel Ortega stayed in politics, many other Sandinista heroes heard the charity call. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Charity Begins in Swindon: What Happens to All the Money Donated to Nicaragua, That Favourite Middle-Class Cause?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.