Friday, February 25, 2011

Following a Revolution

This past month I traveled from Managua to León, Estelí, Matagalpa and Masaya in Nicaragua.   With each city I heard personal accounts of outrageous oppression and heroic acts during revolution. Nicaragua's history is like a psychological thriller, almost unfathomable. 
While I was in Nicaragua the revolution in Egypt had just begun.  I was witnessing history in Egypt that occurred only decades before in Nicaragua but with perhaps a different outcome.  Traveling in Nicaragua it began to feel like I was following behind a revolution, only to arrive to witness the anticlimactic results.  A reminder that revolution does not always result in the change desired, and the black and white convictions of revolution can fade to gray.  I found Nicaragua gray.

The following photographs are a few images of my trip, more soon to come...

The image above is of the Catedral de León, the largest cathedral in Central America. It is said that Somoza's National guard brutally murdered a group of protesters on the roof.  

Painting of Leonel Rugama on the wall of his home.  Leonel, a Sandinista and a poet, died in the revolution before turning 21.  Rugama single handedly held off a group of Somoza's National guard while Carlos Fonseca (the father of the FSLN) escaped through a sewer.  Just before Rugama was killed a guardsman ordered "Rindase Sandinista!" (Surrender Sandinista!) Rugama retorted by yelling "Que se rinda tu madre!" (Let your mother surrender!)  Rugama is an icon of the FLSN movement.  Rugama's sister now resides in their childhood home, sharing stories with visitors to keep Leonel's legacy alive.   

This courtyard of the once "Club Social de Obreros" where the first Somoza in the Somoza family, Somoza García was assassinated. He was shot in 1956 by the young poet Rigoberto López Pérez during a dinner party, in an attempt to end Somoza's violent throne.  Unfortunately Anastasio Somoza Debayle came to power and the Somoza family held power until the overthrow by the FSLN in 1979. 

This building was once a meeting place for Anastasio Somoza Debayle's National Guard in León, as well as where he gave speeches from the balcony to the people of León. This building is now mostly empty, the first floor used as a museum dedicated to the history of the FSLN.  (Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional)

The mother of a Sandinista, killed during the Contra war, awaits a meeting at the Museum of Heroes and Martyrs in Estelí. In many cities where fighting occurred there are Museums of Heroes and Martyrs.  These museums are run by the mothers of fallen Sandinistas. 

"We will go to the sun of freedom or to the death.  If we die, our cause will continue living.” Augusto Sandino

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