Latin America

When Sandinistas Clash


The socialist magazine In These Times carries an interesting dispatch from Nicaragua, where Sandinista President Daniel Ortega's authoritarian ways have been earning him enemies on the left as well as the right. An excerpt:


Until last summer, in Leon–a longtime Sandinista stronghold and the country's second largest city–it seemed possible, if not probable, that the FSLN [Sandinista National Liberation Front] would lose November's municipal elections for the first time since the 1979 revolution. The Sandinista Renovation Movement, or MRS–a reformist, social democratic opposition party that criticizes Ortega as authoritarian and corrupt–posed a serious challenge to FSLN.

Over the last six months, the MRS, feminist leaders and other critics of the Ortega administration have encountered intimidation and physical violence, leading international organizations–such as Reporters without Borders, Human Rights Watch and the Catholic Church–to criticize the government's heavy-handed tactics. In June, the FSLN-controlled Supreme Electoral Council–which organizes the country's elections–stripped the MRS of its right to participate in the November elections, citing irregularities in the party's formation.

Elsewhere in Reason: Glenn Garvin wrote about the first era of Sandinista misrule in our March 2000 issue. Turns out he gave then-president Arnoldo Alemán more reformist cred than the man deserved (though he's right that the pol "would have been at home in Mayor Daley's Chicago"), but his entertaining portrait of the country in the '80s is well worth rereading.

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  1. Sandanista was the perfect name for that album: an ambitious failure.

  2. The dub experiments put me to sleep, but there’s some good songs in the mix. And I honestly like the kids’ version of “Career Opportunities.”

  3. Yeah, it has some great songs, but they could have fit nicely on one LP.

  4. I just wanted to say that “Sandalista” is one of the cleverest neologisms ever.

  5. I loved P.J. O’Rourke’s take on the Sandy government.

  6. this is just more cia noise to try to make the revolution look like it is failing.

  7. Yeah, it has some great songs, but they could have fit nicely on one LP.

    There’s a lot of double albums like that. Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Wilco.

  8. Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Wilco.

    You know what would have made Sgt. Pepper even better?

    A whole bunch of piano pieces by Billy Corrigan interspersed between the songs, that’s what.

  9. Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Wilco.

    “They should of called it Still Here.”

    -My friend upon first listen.

  10. I’ll stick up for Sandinista, mostly cuz I like dub a lot more than anyone else seems to. And “Street Parade” was one of the best songs of their career. But yeah obviously a ton of meh filler.

  11. The best double album set to this day remains.
    Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends..Emerson, Lake and Palmer. At least Palmer grew into being a great drummer and a shrewd business man

    The Clash were major apologists for communists in “Nee car war gua.” They’ll never be able to live that down even with Stay Free an ironically decent song.

  12. Politics aside, Sandinista has more than a few good songs. Seriously, make yourself a playlist/CD/tape of these 21 songs:

    The Magnificent Seven
    Hitsville U.K.
    The Leader
    Something About England
    Rebel Waltz
    Look Here
    Somebody Got Murdered
    One More Time
    Lightning Strikes
    Up In Heaven (Not Only Here)
    Corner Soul
    Let’s Go Crazy
    The Sound Of Sinners
    Police On My Back
    Midnight Log
    The Call Up
    Washington Bullets
    Charlie Don’t Surf
    Kingston Advice
    The Street Parade
    Version City

    And, if you choose, spice it up with:
    Lose This Skin and/or Career Opportunities

    I would say you are listening to one of the 10 best *double* albums of the 80s.

  13. Calling the album “Sandanista” was a major act of douchebaggery. “I’m so bored with the U.S.A.” Well you certainly sold a lot of albums over here so fuck off.

  14. don’t agree with their politics at all but it was a good album.

  15. I am still a huge Clash fan, but Sandinista was the longest load of crap on vinyl that did not feature William Shatner or Leonard Nemoy.

    Wasn’t it a triple album and not a double, or did it just seem that way?

  16. Memo to Guy:

    If you want to sound like “a huge Clash fan” on the internets, don’t publicly announce that you don’t even know whether their famous triple album (priced as a single, almost) was a triple album.

  17. If you want to sound like “a huge Clash fan” on the internets, don’t publicly announce that you don’t even know whether their famous triple album (priced as a single, almost) was a triple album.

    How many people can name more than one triple LP anyway? The fact that it is a triple is the most famous thing about it.

    Personally, I love all the songs that aren’t sung by children. It was my first Clash album; behind “London Calling,” it’s my second favorite.

  18. I had forgotten that it was a triple LP — mostly because my copy is a double CD.

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