According to its official statements, declarations, and analyses, the Sandinista National Liberation Front embarked on a "socialist transformation" of Nicaraguan society when it captured power in July 1979. Its revolutionary intentions soon confronted major practical difficulties, however, in implementing the planned Communist agenda. First, the country was facing serious internal economic and external debt problems; a far-ranging and rapid program of nationalization and agrarian collectivization would simply have exacerbated economic decline and precipitated international isolation in the non-Communist world. Furthermore, given Nicaragua's dependence on capitalist markets and the unavailability of easy credit and reliable long-term sources of aid from the East bloc, a policy of economic isolation, such as that initiated by the People's Republic of China and Democratic Kampuchea after their respective Communist takeovers, could have proved disastrous.
Second, a program of radical socialization and mass repression might have helped to solidify regional opposition to Managua and possibly provoked more direct U.S. intervention to extinguish the Marxist-Leninist experiment. Without a dependable Communist neighbor, Nicaragua's relatively exposed geostrategic position in Central America