First Published: In Struggle! No. 166, August 7, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The people of Nicaragua have won a tremendous victory. They have overthrown and banished forever the dictator Anastasio Somoza, the unscrupulous bandit who not so long ago was still considered to be the “United States’ best friend in Latin America”. The “United States’ best friend” is now on a yacht somewhere; like the Shah of Iran, that other “best friend” of the United States, he is looking for a country whose authorities are shameless enough to take him in.
This victory Is the victory of the Nicaraguan people. The people itself fought the battle, ignoring all the wheeling and dealing and compromises offered by the U.S. imperialists and their allies in an attempt to guarantee a peaceful transition to the “post-Somoza era”. The victory belongs to the people which took up arms against the dictatorship and built all kinds of labour, community and peasant organizations to wage the struggle (see IN STRUGGLE!, no. 164). Their victory is therefore a cause for great rejoicing for all the peoples of the world.Like the victory of the Iranian people against the Shah a few months earlier, it confirms one of the basic principles underlying all Marxist-Leninist work: THE PEOPLE, AND THE PEOPLE ALONE, MAKE HISTORY. A handful of tyrants and demagogues cannot change the course of history.
This Is why page after page in illustrious imperialist journals are devoted to questions and hypotheses on the future of “democracy” and imperialist interests in Nicaragua. This is also why dictators in Salvador and Guatemala and elsewhere in Latin America today dread the possibility of similar uprisings And so’they should!
But the revolution begun by the Nicaraguan people still has a long way to go. Although Somoza is gone, the-root causes of poverty and misery have not been done away with. U.S. and other Western monopolies still hold 80% of the country’s industrial capital and control the key sectors – agriculture and the food industry, mining (controlled by Noranda) and transportation. Poor peasants still do not have enough land or tools to grow enough to ensure a decent living. Workers “lucky” enough to have jobs (unemployment affects 40% of the work force) are still earning the same starvation wages.
What’s more, the country has been laid waste in a civil war that has’ claimed 10,000 lives and destroyed the major urban centres, including the capital city of Managua.
So the Nicaraguan revolutionaries still have much to do. They also have powerful enemies who will try to prevent them from doing it. U.S. imperialism has not yet beaten its swords into ploughshares: its armed forces are always ready to launch new aggressions and invasions; it exercises a degree of control over the economic and financial life of the Western world that allowed it to strangle the Allende government in Chile; and it can count on many allies within the bourgeoisie right in Nicaragua, who would like nothing, better than to replace Somoza. Indeed, U.S. president Carter’s much-trumpbted campaign for “human rights” in Latin America is basically an attempt to implement a policy, of relying on local bourgeoisies. The not-disinterested manoeuvres of Venezuela and the other countries of the Andean Pact (Bolivia, Peru, Equador and Colombia) are to be understood in the same light. In their quest to improve relations with certain factions of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (SNLF) and the Provisional Junta of the Government for National Reconstruction (PGNR), these countries have become overnight champions of democracy. In fact, Bolivian authorities are so democratic they have just refused to accept the results of the presidential election in Bolivia, which gave the reformist candidate a majority victory!
In Nicaragua itself, there is no lack of last-minute recruits to the anti-Somoza battle who consider that the revolution has already gone far enough and that the people should go back to their machines and their fields and forget about politics! Several of these representatives of the local bourgeoisie already hold,important posts in the PGNR. A leading example is Sergio Ramirez Mercado, current darling of the imperialist media and well-known for his close ties with German social-democrats, who have already rendered generous services to counter-revolutionary forces in both Spain and Portugal. Nor should the new president of the Central Bank be overlooked: Arturo Cruz, a former director of the inter-American DevelopmentBank, told Newsweek that “we want to bring back the technocrats, the managers, the businessmen and the industrialists”.
This path of compliance with the local bourgeoisie has been applied consistently by the Nicaraguan Socialist Party, the pro-Soviet revisionist party. Along with most of the major bourgeois and democratic parties that were not aligned with Somoza, the revisionist party has belonged to the Democratic Liberation Union (UDEL) since the latter was founded in 1974. The UDEL was the United States’ hope for an alternative to Somoza and only reluctantly joined the armed struggle after its leader, the bourgeois democrat Pedro Chamorro, was murdered by Somoza, January 10, 1978. The Nicaraguan revisionist party’s line has been an integral application of the opportunist line followed by all its fraternal parties In Latin America, a line of collaboration with the bourgeoisie dressed up in the grandiose and “revolutionary” phraseology of Fidel Castro.
But in Nicaragua, there is also the people that took up arms and confiscated the colossal fortunes of Somoza and his buddies. There is the people that took up the struggle to throw out the exploiters and that has increased its political awareness and impact tenfold. There is the people that will not allow itself to be disarmed and ignored. This is what lies behind the struggle for power today in Nicaragua.
“We live in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.” This principle, put forward by Lenin at the turn of the century and confirmed by all revolutionary movements since then, is also applicable to the situation in Nicaragua. It means that in the era in which we live, the bourgeoisie is incapable of leading a democratic or national revolution without betraying it sooner or later and allying with imperialism. It means that only the proletariat can lead the revolutionary struggle to a successful conclusion, because it is the only class that really attacks capitalism and imperialism.
The revolution begun in Nicaragua must continue, and continue in this direction, if it is to consolidate the victories already won and make further progress in the interests of working people.