"A must-read for anyone interested in Nicaragua-or in the overall issue of social change."-Margaret Randall, author of SANDINO'S DAUGHTERS and SANDINO'S DAUGHTERS REVISITED Sandinista is the first English-language biography of Carlos Fonseca Amador, the legendary leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua (the FSLN) and the most important and influential figure of the post-1959 revolutionary generation in Latin America. Fonseca, killed in battle in 1976, was the undisputed intellectual and strategic leader of the FSLN. In a groundbreaking and fast-paced narrative that draws on a rich archive of previously unpublished Fonseca writings, Matilde Zimmermann sheds new light on central themes in his ideology as well as on internal disputes, ideological shifts, and personalities of the FSLN.
The first researcher ever to be allowed access to Fonseca's unpublished writings (collected by the Institute for the Study of Sandinism in the early 1980s and now in the hands of the Nicaraguan Army), Zimmermann also obtained personal interviews with Fonseca's friends, family members, fellow combatants, and political enemies. Unlike previous scholars, Zimmermann sees the Cuban revolution as the crucial turning point in Fonseca's political evolution. Furthermore, while others have argued that he rejected Marxism in favor of a more pragmatic nationalism, Zimmermann shows how Fonseca's political writings remained committed to both socialist revolution and national liberation from U.S. imperialism and followed the ideas of both Che Guevara and the earlier Nicaraguan leader Augusto Cesar Sandino. She further argues that his philosophy embracing the experiences of the nation's workers and peasants was central to the FSLN's initial platform and charismatic appeal.
Matilde Zimmermann was a Nicaragua-based journalist in the years immediately following the 1979 revolution and worked with the Sandinista regional government in the northern Atlantic Coast in the late 1980s. She is currently Professor of History at Sarah Lawrence College.
Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 1. Matagalpa: The Early Years, 1939-1950 12 2. A Rebellious Student, 1950-1958 28 3. The Cuban Revolution, 1958-1961 50 4. Founding the FSLN, 1960-1964 69 5. The Evolution of a Strategy, 1964-1968 88 6. Underground and Prison Life, 1968-1970 111 7. The Sandino Writings, 1970-1974 143 8. A Fractured Movement, 1972-1975 162 9. The Montana and the Death of Fonseca, 1975-1976 185 10. The Revolution of 1979 205 Epilogue 222 Notes 229 Glossary of Organization 257 Bibliography 259 Index 271