Sandino Museum, Tourist Attractions, Culture

Likely by now you will have heard at least something about the Sandinista liberation movement which had such a huge impact on the history and economy of Nicaragua. As you makes your way through this intriguing country, it is easy to imagine the conflicts that were fought in order to gain independence from the harsh rule that was formerly imposed on the people of this country. But no matter how much the people of Nicaragua lamented over their situation, it took a true leader to help them rise above the oppression they were being faced with and take control of their future. That leader was Augusto César Sandino.

When little Augusto Nicolás Calderón Sandino was born to family of coffee growers in Niquinohomo, Masaya, in 1895, few people likely imagined that this tiny baby would grow up to become a revolutionary leader. He stayed with his mother on the plantation until he was nine years old, after which he moved into the plantation house belonging to his father. Things took a turn for the worse in 1921 when Sandino was forced to flee to Guatemala and later Mexico after attempting to assassinate someone in his home village. He continued to live in Mexico until the statute of limitations on his charges expired, whereupon he decided to return to Nicaragua. By now he’d been strongly influenced by several religious and political movements so when he returned to find his country on the verge of war, it didn’t take long for him to get involved. Backed by a makeshift army of gold miners, Sandino led an attack against the conservative garrison close to the San Albino mine where he was working. Though the attack failed, it opened the way for him to get more involved with the liberation front. Before long he was well backed and making his way from village to village inciting many local farmers and peasants to join his army. His attacks on government troops met with increasing amounts of success and his forces are today seen as playing a vital role in assisting the Liberal Army column’s advancement on Managua. Just when success seemed imminent, the United States army stepped in and a treaty was signed which resulted in a cease-fire.

It didn’t take long for Sandino to revolt against the treaty which he was not permitted to participate in. He declared war on the United States. His war against the United States met with some success and he soon renamed himself Augusto Cesar Sandino. His success in this regard had more to do with tactics and a superior knowledge of the local terrain, than with superior force or skill. Despite all their efforts, the American army was never able to catch Sandino. Eventually the great depression forced US soldiers to withdraw from the war, with only a few staying behind to assist the National Guard in managing local problems such as that of Sandino. Eventually the National Guard did manage to catch Sandino and he was executed in 1934. Several years later his legacy was drawn on by the Sandinista National Liberation Front who overthrew the Somoza government in 1979. Today you can find out more about this impressive revolutionary leader at the Sandino Museum in his home town of Niquinohomo.

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