Somoza family. Moncada (1928-1933) and Sacasa (1933-1936) held the presidency. With the withdrawal of the Marines (1933), Sandino laid down his arms and reconciled with Sacasa, but was assassinated in 1934 by order of General Anastasio (Tacho) Somoza García, Sacasa’s nephew and commander of the National Guard created by the Americans in the management of Díaz.
Elected president in 1937, for twenty years Somoza controlled the country’s politics, directly or through interposed people. Murdered in 1956, he was replaced by his son Luís Somoza Debayle (1957-1963). René Schick Gutiérrez (1963-1966), who died in office, was succeeded by Lorenzo Guerrero Gutiérrez (1966-1967), followed by Anastasio (Tachito) Somoza Debayle, Luís’s younger brother.
Taking advantage of the earthquake that devastated Managua in 1972, Somoza obtained unlimited powers from Congress. The opposition and the guerrilla grew, this one moved by the Sandinista Front of National Liberation (FSLN). The January 1978 assassination of opposition leader Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, head of the country’s most important newspaper, La Prensa, sparked protests and strikes that culminated in the civil war.
On August 22, 1978, Sandinistas led by Edén Pastora, Commander Zero, took the National Palace in Managua and over a thousand hostages. Somoza had to meet the demands of the guerrillas and ended up resigning, on July 17, 1979. He sought asylum in the United States and then in Paraguay, where he was assassinated in 1980. The civil war cost more than thirty thousand lives and destroyed the economy from the country
The National Reconstruction Board revoked the constitution, dissolved Congress and replaced the National Guard with the Sandinista People’s Army. Until a new letter was drafted, a Statute of Rights and Guarantees was promulgated. The industry was largely nationalized and a central planning system was introduced. The Somoza family’s large tracts of land and large unproductive farms were expropriated.
The strengthening of relations with communist bloc countries led the United States to suspend economic aid to Nicaragua in 1981. While the moderates protested the postponement of the elections and moved on to the opposition, some two thousand former members of the National Guard, the “cons”, based in Honduras and with the support of the United States, unleashed guerrilla attacks on Nicaragua. Mosquitoes adhered to them, contrary to the measures for their integration.
In November 1984, presidential elections and a constituent assembly were held, with the boycott of much of the opposition. Elected with more than sixty percent of the votes, FSLN leader Daniel Ortega assumed the presidency in January 1985. FSLN also won the majority of the seats in the Constituent Assembly. In January 1987, the new constitution was promulgated.
However, the struggle of the “cons” and the friction with the United States continued, which the efforts of the so-called Contadora Group (Mexico, Venezuela, Panama and Colombia) were unable to extinguish. In 1987 and 1988, agreements were signed in Esquipulas, Guatemala, for the development of a plan to disarm and repatriate the “cons” based in Honduras.
In 1988, after freeing nearly two thousand former members of the National Guard, Ortega signed an electoral reform law that included broad and free elections in 1990, and a new press law that guaranteed greater participation by oppositionists in the media. Communication. To supervise the elections, the Supreme Electoral Council was created, with three Sandinista members and two of the opposition. At the same time, however, American President George Bush authorized new aid to the “contras” and extended the trade embargo against Nicaragua until free elections were held.
In 1990, with support from the United States, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, widow of the leader killed in 1978, won the presidential election. The transition of power was peaceful and disarmament and ceasefire agreements followed, despite the reluctance of some factions.
Under the 1987 constitution, Nicaragua is a unicameral presidential republic, with a 92-member national assembly elected by direct vote for six-year terms. The charter, which also enshrines the principles of political pluralism and mixed economy, also recognizes the socio-economic rights of the population. Administratively, the country is divided into 16 departments.
Society and culture
The Sandinista government made an intense effort in the areas of education and health. With the conflicts in the 1980s, however, some social advances were reversed. In the educational area, one of the achievements was the increase in schooling and literacy rates. Higher education has a university in Managua and the National University in León.
There is no official religion in Nicaragua, but the vast majority of the population is Catholic. There are also minorities of Moravian Protestants, Baptists, Episcopalians and Pentecostals. The Jewish community is reduced.
Nicaraguan literature was projected in the world with the modernist Rubén Darío, considered one of the greatest Spanish-American poets. Santiago Arguello, Antonio Medrano, Salvador Sacasa, José Teodoro Olivares, Azarias Pallais, Salomón de la Selva and Alfonso Cortés also stood out. Hernán Robleto wrote the famous novel Sangre en el tropico, the soap opera of the intervention in Nicaragua (1930).
In 1928, the group of poets Vanguarda emerged, which reconciled revolutionary nationalism, iconoclastic humor and the Catholic faith. Its main representatives were José Coronel Urtecho, the founder, Pablo Antonio Cuadra and Joaquín Pasos. From the 1960s onwards, the poets Ernesto Mejía Sánchez and, above all, Ernesto Cardenal exercised great influence. In the novel, Juan Felipe Toruño, Fernando Silva Espinosa, Sergio Ramírez and Fernando Centena Zapata stood out.
In music, José de la Cruz Mena is the most important name. The most outstanding artistic manifestations of the Indians who inhabited Nicaragua are decorated ceramics. Leon and Granada retain many old buildings. The main museums are Nacional, in Managua, and Tenderi, in Masaya.