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Sandinista National Liberation Front
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    (1961- )
    Born in Nicaragua
    Democratic Socialist political party in Nicaragua
    Members are known as 'Sandinistas'
    Based out of Managua
    Named for Nicaraguan resistance fighter of the 1920s/30s, Augsuto Cesar Sandino
    Nicaragua's leading party, the other being the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC)
    Evolved from several opposition groups during the Nicaraguan Revolution
    Removed President Anastasio Somoza Debayle from power, ending the Somoza dynasty, replacing it with a revolutionary socialist government (1979-1990)
    Were opposed by the 'counter-revolutionary' militia, the Contras, funded and trained by the US Central Intelligence Agency
    Lost the election in 1990 to Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, but retained a plurality of seats in the legislature
    Returned to power, after 16 years, when former President Daniel Ortega was re-elected with 38% of the vote (2006)
    Amnesty International compared them to the Khmer Rouge.
    They called Jeanne Kirkpatrick 'the envoy of death.'
    They engaged in censorship of their country's leading newspaper, La Prensa.
    They were accused of enacting 'preventive arrests' of dissidents.
    They were accused of terroristic threats against the Catholic Church.
    They were accused of confiscating passports of opposition political leaders.
    They shut down the Roman Catholic radio station, Radio Catolica, for a year and a half.
    They harassed and drove out Nicaragua's sizable Jewish community shortly after rising to power.
    They were accused of mischaracterizing their namesake's political and ideological views (he was frequently at odds with international Communists).
    They were accused of meeting with Soviet delegates in Russia shortly after rising to power.
    They were accused of collaborating with Cuban and Salvadoran Marxist insurgents by establishing training camps and arms supply networks.
    They were complicit in the ethnic cleansing & developmental genocide of Nicaragua's Miskito Indians in the mid-80s, drawing harsh criticism from Human Rights activists like Elie Wiesel.
    They refused their citizens the right to have a fair Presidential election for close to a decade, only relenting after the fall of the Soviet Union forced their hand in the matter.
    They promoted nationwide literacy in Nicaragua.
    Their 1979 rise resulted in gains for women in positions of political power.
    Margaret Thatcher actually tried to ban the use of the word 'Sandinista.'
    They initiated the five-year poverty reduction 'Zero Hunger Project' in 2006.
    They improved the nation's healthcare system by working with Oxfam America, specifically making strides in eliminating the country's polio problem.
    They only turned to the Soviet Union for backing after being snubbed by the Carter Administration for aid, in 1979.
    Getting rid of them became an obsession for the staunch anti-Communist Ronald Reagan Administration, using the CIA to funnel aid to the Contra rebels.
    The U.S. Congress prohibited federal funding of the Contras through the Boland Amendment in 1983, but the Reaganites continued backing the Contras by covertly selling arms to Iran and channeling the funds to the Contras.
    The subsequent blowback when the trade was revealed was disastrous for the Reagan Administration, with Reagan denying knowledge of the 'arms for hostages' funds going to Contra aid and making Oliver North into his scapegoat (1984-1987).
    Reagan justified his support for the Contras by calling them 'the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers' (if Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin had ever been former members of a dictator's secret police accused of murder, rape, and torture).
    The catalyst that led for its formation was when the Somoza Administration pocketed disaster relief funds in the aftermath of a major earthquake (1972).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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