Saturday, April 25, 2015

I Am A Contra

"A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages. This runs counter to my own beliefs, to administration policy, and to the original strategy we had in mind." President Ronald Reagan

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Somoza Dynasty

"Indeed, you won the elections, but I won the count." - Anastasio "Tacho" Somoza

Anastasio ("Tacho") Somoza García (1 February 1896 – 29 September 1956) was officially the President of Nicaragua from 1 January 1937 to 1 May 1947 and from 21 May 1950 to 29 September 1956, but ruled effectively as dictator from 1936 until his assassination. Anastasio Somoza started a dynasty that maintained absolute control over Nicaragua for 44 years. (Wikipedia)

"Gold for friends, lead for foes."  - Anastasio "Tachito" Somoza, pictured with U.S. President Richard M. Nixon

Anastasio ("Tachito") Somoza DeBayle  (5 December 1925  – 17 September 1980) was a Nicaraguan politician and officially the 73rd and 76th President of Nicaragua from 1 May 1967 to 1 May 1972 and from 1 December 1974 to 17 July 1979. As head of the National Guard, he was de facto ruler of the country from 1967 to 1979. He was the last member of the Somoza family to be President, ending a dynasty that had been in power since 1936. After being overthrown in an insurrection led by the FSLN, he fled Nicaragua in exile and power was ceded to the Junta of National Reconstruction. He was eventually assassinated while in exile in Paraguay. (Wikipedia)

Monday, April 20, 2015

La Guardia Nacional and Somoza

Marine 1st Lt Chesty Puller with members of the Guardia Nacional
The Nicaraguan National Guard, Guardia Nacional, (aka Guardia) was a militia created during the occupation of that country by the United States from 1909 to 1933. In 1933, after the advent of the Good Neighbor policy and at the height of the Great Depression, the U.S. withdrew from Nicaragua and handed over control of the Guardia to Nicaraguan President Juan Batista Sacasa who in turn, appointed Anastasio Somoza Garcia as chief director of the Guard.

Somoza was educated in the United States and friendly to U.S. interests. With the strength of the U.S. Marine-trained troops under his control, Somoza quickly consolidated power. Between 1936 and his assassination in 1956, Anastasio Somoza Garcia ruled as dictator of that nation. He was supported by the Guardia which was largely funded by the United States throughout its existence.

For over four decades, the Somoza dynasty ruled Nicaragua, amassing wealth and land. When the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dynasty in 1979, many members of the National Guard fled into Honduras, where they regrouped and formed an counter-revolutionary force known simply as the Contras. As with their previous incarnation the Contras enjoyed generous, if at times clandestine, financial backing from the United States.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

War Is A Racket

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."  

U.S.M.C. Major General Smedley Butler, double recipient of the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest military award.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pedagogy of the Oppressed

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Paulo Freire (1921-1997)

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Augusto Nicolás Sandino (May 18, 1895–February 21, 1934), also known as Augusto César Sandino was a Nicaraguan revolutionary and leader of a rebellion between 1927 and 1933 against the U.S. military occupation of Nicaragua. He was referred to as a "bandit" by the United States government; his exploits made him a hero throughout much of Latin America, where he became a symbol of resistance to United States' domination. He drew units of the United States Marine Corps into an undeclared guerrilla war.

When the U.S. military asked Sandino for his ceasefire conditions, he listed three points:
1) the immediate withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Nicaraguan territory
2) removal of the current Nicaraguan President who was pro-U.S.
3) supervision of free and fair elections by Latin American representatives and not by the U.S. Marines.

These demands were rejected by the U.S. government and the struggle continued. Sandino named his troops the Defending Army of National Sovereignty, adopted a flag with red and black bands, and a motto: “motherland and liberty” (patria y libertad).

The United States troops withdrew from the country in 1933 after overseeing the election and inauguration of President Juan Bautista Sacasa, who had returned from exile. The re-call of the Marines was largely due to the Great Depression.
Sandino was assassinated in 1934 by National Guard forces of Gen. Anastasio Somoza García, who went on to seize power in a coup d'état two years later. After being elected by an overwhelming vote as president in 1936, Somoza Garcia resumed control of the National Guard and established a dictatorship and family dynasty that would rule Nicaragua for more than 40 years. Sandino's political legacy was claimed by the Sandinista National Liberation Front(FSLN), which finally overthrew the Somoza government in 1979.
Source for text and image: Wikipedia