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40 years of UK – Nicaragua solidarity

NSC News | Monday, 11 November 2019 |

Mural in Managua painted by coffee brigadistas from England, Scotland, and Wales: solidarity is the tenderness of the peoples (Che Guevara)

Mural in Managua painted by coffee brigadistas from England, Scotland, and Wales: solidarity is the tenderness of the peoples (Che Guevara)

The overthrow of 43-year Somoza dictatorship by the broad coalition of forces of the Sandinista National Liberation Front on 19 July, 1979 was a defining historical event not only for Latin America and the Caribbean but also globally.

Inspired by the Cuba Revolution twenty years earlier, the victory eroded the US stranglehold over the region and realised the dream of Nicaraguan hero, Augusto Cesar Sandino, a symbol of resistance to US domination.

Nicaragua became a beacon of hope regionally and internationally. In Latin America, the Sandinista Revolution represented the fulfilment of dreams that had been brutally destroyed in a CIA backed coup in Chile six years previously.

For the US, the profound political, social and economic transformations of the Sandinista government, ‘constituted an unusual and extraordinary threat to the security and foreign policy of the United States.’ President Ronald Reagan, 1985.

The Reagan administration set about destroying the Sandinista Revolution unleashing everything short of a direct invasion; however reprehensible, the means justified the ends.

In 1986 the International Court of Justice found the US guilty of arming and training an illegal, paramilitary organisation, mining Nicaragua's harbours and imposing a trade embargo. The US refused to recognise the jurisdiction of the Court or to pay the estimated $17bn damages.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world participated in a global movement to support the Sandinista Revolution and to condemn US aggression: NSC, set up in 1978, was one such group.

This publication tells the story of the tens of thousands of people in the UK, particularly in the labour movement, who have contributed to sustaining solidarity through four decades of profound political change in Nicaragua, the UK and globally.

We dedicate this publication to the Nicaraguan people and organisations we have worked with, and their commitment, against enormous odds, to building a society based on social and economic justice, free from outside interference.

As in the 1980s, Nicaragua is once again caught in the cross currents of a polarised world. At a time when a belligerent, unstable US president and administration is threatening war on countries across the world, when the social and economic gains of progressive movements in Latin America are threatened by a resurgent neoliberalism, our solidarity with Nicaraguan trade unions, co-operatives and organisations that make up the social economy remains critical.

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