The History of Nicaragua

By Clifford L. Staten | Go to book overview

1
Nicaragua and Its People

On January 10, 2007, a balding Daniel Ortega Saavedra of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) was sworn in as president of Nicaragua for the second time in 22 years. Dressed in his now signature white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, Ortega’s once radical rhetoric was nearly absent as he promised moderate economic policies and a desire to work with the United States. His second inauguration received little attention in the United States. This was in stark contrast to the almost daily front-page coverage that the fatigue-clad Ortega and his fellow Sandinistas received during the political upheavals in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. In 1979 a broad-based revolution led by the Sandinistas toppled a corrupt, U.S.-supported, family dynasty that had ruled the country since the 1930s. Ortega was elected to the presidency for the first time in 1984 in the middle of a brutal civil war. The civil war devastated the Nicaraguan economy, exhausted its people, divided families, and fueled one of the last Cold War struggles. President Ronald Reagan and the United States intervened politically, economically, and militarily for eight years and failed in an overt attempt to topple the Sandinista-led government.

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