The Nicaraguan Church and the Revolution

The Nicaraguan Church and the Revolution

The Nicaraguan Church and the Revolution

The Nicaraguan Church and the Revolution

Excerpt

At 4 a.m. on February 26, 1990, Father Fernando Cardenal acknowledged that his party had lost the previous day's election. While the Sandinista Minister of Education could not hide his deep disappointment, he expressed his conviction that "the struggle for justice and liberation goes on, and we will continue to work for the cause of the poor."

In the poor barrios where I minister, I encountered surprise, shock, and grief among most of the members of our Christian base communities. One woman whose three sons had served in the Sandinista army went into a deep depression, not eating for several days; after a few hours of hospital treatment, she returned home and gradually recovered from what she called "an attack of nerves."

Progressive Christians had adopted an attitude of "critical support" for the Sandinista revolutionary process, considering it to be in the best interests of the country's impoverished majority. While recognizing mistakes made by the government, these Christians pointed to the relentless U.S. policy of "low-intensity warfare" (supporting the contra war, blocking trade and credit, and using all forms of diplomatic and political pressure to weaken the Sandinistas) as being chiefly responsible for the vote against the incumbents.

During the first days after the elections, revolutionary Christians met in their homes and chapels mainly to support one another by sharing their sense of shock. Some parents whose children had been killed by the National Guard before the Sandinista victory in 1979 or by the contras in recent years likened their experience of this electoral defeat to that of their own personal loss. Many observers felt that this was indeed the cruelest blow of U.S. aggression: to hit the Sandinistas and their supporters in the heart, confronting them with rejection at the polls by a majority of voters.

Indeed, that had been the objective of U.S. policy over the years: to make the revolution appear to be disintegrating from within (thus . . .

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