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Evolution and Demise of One-Party Rule in Nicaragua

  • Harry E. Vanden

Abstract

Nicaragua is a small Central American state of three and a half million people. Like much of Central America, its economic development has been based on the export of bananas, coffee, and other primary products. It political history is replete with dictators, foreign intervention, factionalism, failed attempts at democracy, and one-party domination. As with similar cases from the south, Nicaraguan political history and political development are somewhat different from that of more industrialized countries. Nonetheless, as we endeavor to study political phenomena cross-culturally, we try to see if it is possible to discern some generalized similarities in a variety of different states. In works like Uncommon Democracies: The One-Party-Dominant Regimes, T. J. Pempel and his co-authors examine one-party domination in countries as diverse as Sweden, Italy, Israel, and Japan. Using some of their concepts it might be possible to better understand the evolution and development of the Nicaraguan political system and those of similar polities. By proceeding in this way, it might even be possible to see if such categorizations might be generally more applicable.

Keywords

Mass Organization Direct Democracy Representative Democracy Opposition Parti Liberal Party 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    T. J. Pempel, ed., Uncommon Democracies: The One-Party Dominant Regimes (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 1990), p. 4.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    George Vickers, “A Spider’s Web,” in NACLA Report on the Americas, vol. 30, no. 1 (June 1990): p. 18–27.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    This section relies on my earlier writing on Sandinista ideology and the development of Sandinismo. Fred Murphy was instrumental in developing some of this material. See Harry E. Vanden, “The Ideology of the Sandinista Revolution,” in Monthly Review, no. 34 (June 1982); Harry E. Vanden & Gary Prevost, Democracy and Socialism in Sandinista Nicaragua (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1993), Chapter 2.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Victor Tirado López, El pensamiento político de Carlos Fonseca Amador (Managua: Secretaría Nacional de Propagnada y Educación Política del FSLN (1979–1980): p. 7.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    John Booth, The End and the Beginning (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985).Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Humberto Ortega as quoted in Gary Ruchwarger, People in Power: Forging a Grassroots Democracy in Nicaragua (Boston: Bergin & Garvey, 1987), p. 34.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Dennis Gilbert, Sandinistas, The Party and the Revolution (London: Basil Blackwell, 1988), particularly Chapter 3, “The Party in the state and Mass Organizations.”Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    Jules Lobel, “The Meaning of Democracy and Participatory Democracy in the New Nicaraguan Constitution,” in University of Pittsburgh Law Review, vol. 49 (1988): p. 868. It should be noted, however, that the FSLN did include mass organization members on its slate of candidates, even though some of these were not themselves FSLN members. Several of these candidates were so elected, but became part of the FSLN bloc, rather than direct delegates of the mass organizations.Google Scholar
  9. 16.
    George Vickers, “A Spiders Web,” in Report on the Americas, vol. 15, no. 1 (June 1990): p. 23.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    Lobel, “The Meaning of Democracy,” p. 867. See also Chapter 8 of Kenneth J. Mijeski, ed., The Nicaraguan Constitution of 1987, English Translation and Commentary (Athens: Ohio University Monographs in International Studies, Latin American Series, no. 17, 1991).Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    Julius Nyerere, Ujamaa: Essays on Socialism (New York: Oxford, 1968).Google Scholar
  12. 22.
    See the concluding chapter of Vanden & Prevost, Democracy and Socialism; plus Pierre LaRamée & Erica Polakoff, “The Evolution of the Popular Organizations in Nicaragua,” and Harry Vanden, “Democracy Derailed,” both in Gary Prevost & Harry E. Vanden, eds., The Undermining of the Sandinista Revolution (London: Macmillan-St. Martin’s Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    Andrew Reding, “By the People: Constitution Making in Nicaragua,” in Christianity and Crisis, vol. 46, no. 18 (8 December 1986): p. 435.Google Scholar
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    See Martha I. Morgan’s excellent “rn,” in Boston University Law Review, vol. 70, no. 1 (January 1990): p. 1–107.Google Scholar
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  16. 32.
    Harry E. Vanden & Thomas Walker, “The Reimposition of U.S. Hegemony Over Nicaragua,” in Kenneth M. Coleman & George C. Herring, Understanding the Central American Crisis (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1991), p. 12.Google Scholar
  17. 37.
    David McMichael, “U.S. Plays Contra Card,” in The Nation (5 February 1990): p. 166.Google Scholar
  18. 39.
    Thomas Cronin, Direct Democracy: The Politics of Initiative, Referendum and Recall (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), p. 10.Google Scholar
  19. 42.
    Holly Sklar, “Washington Wants to Buy Nicaragua’s Election Again,” in Z Magazine (December 1989): p. 50.Google Scholar
  20. 43.
    Reinaldo Antonio Téfel, “La mancha más fea: la Piñata,” in La Prensa (19 July 1995).Google Scholar
  21. 46.
    Richard Millett, “Central America’s Enduring Conflicts,” Current History, vol. 89 (February 1994): p. 124–128.Google Scholar
  22. cited in Forrest Colburn, “The Fading of the Revolutionary Era in Central America,” in Current History, vol. 91 (February 1992): p. 70–73.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Marco Rimanelli 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry E. Vanden

There are no affiliations available

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