Albert Moreau

Whither Sandino?

Source: Daily Worker, Vol. VI, No. 223, November 23, 1929
Transcription/Markup: Paul Saba
Copyleft: Internet Archive( 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons License.

On July 2nd of this year, General Augusto Sandino – head of the Nicaraguan Army of Liberation, reached Vera Cruz, Mexico, and made a statement to the effect that General Estrada was left behind to continue the struggle against American intervention and for the independence of Nicaragua. Since then, the readers of the Daily Worker have undoubtedly asked themselves: “Whither Sandino?”

Immediately following the occupation of Nicaragua by American marines ordered by Coolidge in the early part of 1927, Augusto Sandino, a Nicaraguan patriot, ably organized an army of Workers and peasants, who, with bayonets and machine guns declared themselves in open revolt against the Yankee invaders and their lackeys, the Liberals and Conservatives.

The latter were then engaged in a strife for power, both groups promising to best serve the interests of the American imperialist government in Nicaragua.

In spite of the modern methods of warfare used by Coolidge, airplanes, gas bombs, machine guns and cannon, the Army of Liberation under Sandino heroically resisted the attacks of the vandals. The clarion call for an armed insurrection against the internal and foreign enemies of the workers and peasants of Nicaragua sounded all over the republic and found its echo in all the Latin-American countries. The oppressed masses of Latin-America saw in this rebellion one of the effective means to fight Yankee imperialism that tries to rob them of the last vestige of freedom. The army was swelled with fighters from almost every country of the continent.


For almost two years the oppressed peoples of the world and the revolutionary proletariat pinned then hopes on Sandino and his brave soldiers. The anti-imperialist forces began to grow. The movement took on a widespread character. The revolutionary workers of the United States did not hesitate to hail the rebellion and gave it unconditional support.

Meanwhile, the state department, notwithstanding the loss incurred by the intervention, was paving the way to put through its program of complete subjugation of the small republic. The marine “supervision” of the elections resulted in a “victory” for Moncada. The internal strife which was never any higher in principle than a hunger for office between the Liberal and the Conservative factions was “fixed” in American style. The National Guard sponsored by the American government to be financed with American capital at the expense of the workers and peasants, was organized. New loans were arranged and finally Dr. Cumberland, an imperialist emissary, concluded his report on the construction of the Nicaraguan Canal and a naval base at the Bay of Fonseca.

All was well for Wall Street, but the forces of Sandino were still dealing severe blows to the American marines and spreading the sentiment of revolt among the oppressed against the treacherous Moncada. Here we must say that the repeated attempts of the agents of American imperialism to buy Sandino with American gold proved of no avail.

The international character of the Army of Liberation compelled Sandino to see a little clearer into the situation. In one of his manifestoes he declared that the independence of Nicaragua can only be obtained with the cooperation of the peoples of Latin-America. He constantly made sharp attacks against the lackey governments serving the interests of Wall Street.

But at the beginning of 1929 the anti-imperialist movement in Latin-America received the first blow when Sandino issued a call to all Latin-American governments inviting them to a conference proposed by him to be held in Buenos Aires for the purpose of discussing the project of the construction of the Nicaraguan Canal.

As expected, none of the governments made a reply to the call. Why did Sandino choose Buenos Aires as the seat for the conference? Presumably, he persisted on the illusion that President Irigoyen of Argentine fights imperialism. This, of course, was his second departure from reality. What are the causes which led him ultimately to believe and hope that such a conference of the puppet governments could solve the problems of Nicaragua? If such conference were held, it would be because Wall Street wished it, and relied on it giving Latin- American sanction to the canal.

Since its inception, the Army of Liberation led by Sandino did not have a program of action. While we again reiterate that the armed resistance against the imperialist vandals is an effective means to obtain the emancipation, the fallacy lies in the traditional ideology which looks up at an individual as the “hero” and the “master” of the destinies of the people.


The genuine anti-imperialist struggle of the masses of Nicaragua was to move on on the basis of a program of concrete aims: distribution of the land to those who till it, to oust the imperialists from the national territory, nationalize the natural resources of the country, to abolish all treaties which bound and enslaved Nicaragua, to establish a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government. No military struggle can be effective without a program that motivates its onward trend.

The struggle of the oppressed masses of Nicaragua cannot be separated from that of the Latin-American masses who are also dominated by the same foe: American imperialism. Hence, the necessity to include in the program and fight for a Federated Workers’ and Peasants’ Republics of Latin-America. Sandino had no such program.

A further misstep of Sandino was the appointment of Dr. Zepeda of Mexico as his international representative. Dr. Zepeda is a duplication of Turcios, who bet raved Sandino only a few months ago. They are both agents of Wall Street.

His persistence now to “convince” the Latin-American governments of the urgent necessity for a conference to discuss the construction of the canal points to a change of policy in his struggle which will undoubtedly destroy its original scope. The anti-imperialist movement today cannot have at its head the vacillating elements of petty-bourgeois origin which ultimately betray the very interest of the oppressed masses. The mass basis of the struggle is a prerequisite for the victory against imperialist oppression and for complete independence.


Sandino must now choose between the traitors (no matter their category) and the genuine revolutionary workers and peasants who really fight for their independence The adoption of an anti-imperialist program is absolutely essential.

Augusto Sandino may fall into an imperialist trap but the movement will go on. We believe the deceptions resulting from the silence following the call for the conference and the betrayal of Turcios should decide him to follow the truly anti-imperialist program of the Frankfort Congress to which he sent his representative.

The final victory of the workers and peasants of Nicaragua will only be obtained with the struggle against the national bourgeoisie and American imperialism, a struggle which is to be led by the Communist Party of Nicaragua. This is the historical mission of the Party.