know Nicaragua, through
the creative experience
The Country Under My Skin
Belli's upper-class Nicaraguan family was unsympathetic to the Somoza dictatorship, but would have been shocked to learn that their 20-something daughter was joining the underground Sandinistas even as she worked her bourgeois day job at a prestigious advertising agency. This lush memoir follows Belli from her sterile marriage to her first affair, from her first published poem to her first subversive act, and then through a series of exiles, until her triumphant return to her liberated homeland... only to face another struggle to liberate her own heart. The account is both intensely personal and informatively political. Belli (The Inhabited Woman) was no mere sympathizer or mistress to a compa¤ero but an active militant and strategist in her own right. She smuggled weapons, ran roadblocks, formed factions with revolutionary tendencies, argued strategy with Castro and represented liberated Nicaragua at Third World conferences from Moscow to Tripoli. An honest, insider's account of the very real debates surrounding this major revolution would be valuable in itself, but Belli offers more: a frank examination of her own struggle for love. Only after a series of disastrous affairs does she realize she must stop adjusting herself to how she expects her lover will react and just be herself. Next to the monumental upheavals of the Sandinistan revolution, such personal revelations may seem minor, but to Belli and her companeras, the battle was only half won if women were again relegated to mistress-to-the-mighty status. Belli shares her story in some 50 brief chapters, each subtitled to foreshadow content-an oddly reassuring format. 8 pages of photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Adiós Muchachos is a candid insider’s account of the leftist Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. During the 1970s, Sergio Ramírez led prominent intellectuals, priests, and business leaders to support the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), against Anastasio Somoza’s dictatorship. After the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979, Ramírez served as vice-president under Daniel Ortega from 1985 until 1990, when the FSLN lost power in a national election. Disillusioned by his former comrades’ increasing intolerance of dissent and resistance to democratization, Ramírez defected from the Sandinistas in 1995 and founded the Sandinista Renovation Movement. In Adiós Muchachos, he describes the utopian aspirations for liberation and reform that motivated the Sandinista revolution against the Somoza regime, as well as the triumphs and shortcomings of the movement’s leadership as it struggled to turn an insurrection into a government, reconstruct a country beset by poverty and internal conflict, and defend the revolution against the Contras, an armed counterinsurgency supported by the United States. Adiós Muchachos was first published in 1999. Based on a later edition, this translation includes Ramírez’s thoughts on more recent developments, including the re-election of Daniel Ortega as president in 2006.
Fire from the Mountain
Omar Cabezas put forth his memoir of his time in the FER and the FSLN during the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua against Somoza's National Guard. He detailed his work in the student movement creating a network of the people and later described what he went through to train and become a guerrilla fighter.
The Ladies of Managua
Eleni N. Gage
When Maria returns to Nicaragua for her beloved grandfather's funeral, she brings with her a mysterious package from her grandmother's past. She also carries the burden of her tense relationship with her mother, Ninexin, once a storied revolutionary, now a dedicated official in the Sandinista government. Between Maria and Ninexin lies a chasm created by the death of Maria's father, which left Maria to be raised by her grandmother Isabela while Ninexin worked to build the new Nicaragua. As Ninexin tries to reach her daughter and Maria wrestles with her turbulent relationship with an older man, Isabela becomes lost in the memories of boarding school in 1950's New Orleans, where she loved and lost almost sixty years ago. When the three women come together to bid farewell to the man who had anchored their family, they are forced to confront their complicated relationships - with one another and with their country - and to reveal the secrets that each of them has tried so hard to conceal.
Lushly evocative of Nicaragua, with its tumultuous history and its vibrant present, Eleni N. Gage 's The Ladies of Managua brings you into the lives of three strong and magnetic women as they face their past choices and discover how love can shape their futures.
Bernardo and the Virgin
In 1980, with the Sandinistas newly in power, tailor and pig farmer Bernardo Martinez witnesses an extraordinary thing: an otherworldly glow about the statue of the Virgin Mary in the church where he works as sacristán. Soon the Holy Virgin appears. She tells Bernardo to forget his money problems and fear of ridicule and spread her message of peace and faith to his neighbors. Though a work of fiction, Bernardo and the Virgin is based on actual events in Bernardo Martinez's life. The visitation of the Virgin Mary at Cuapa, Nicaragua, remains one of the few such events accepted by the Roman Catholic Church in the last sixty years.
Silvio Sirias' sweeping novel tells many stories: that of a humble man touched by the transcendent; that same man as a devout boy denied the priesthood because of poverty; and those in his orbit, past and present. It is also the stormy epic of Nicaragua through the long Somoza years to the Sandinista revolution. Sirias' beautiful language mixes English with Spanish and details of dusty village life with wondrous images of Catholic mysticism. His portrayal of the rich recent past of Central America resonates with the experiences of both the natives and the thriving communities of Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, and others putting down roots in the United States.
Meet Me Under The Ceiba
''I'm not afraid of that old man,'' Adela once told her niece. But everyone in the small town of La Curva, Nicaragua, knew that the wealthy land owner, Don Roque Ramirez, wanted Adela Rugama dead. And on Christmas Day, Adela disappeared. It was two months before her murdered body was found.
An American professor of Nicaraguan descent spending the summer in his parents' homeland learns of Adela's murder and vows to unravel the threads of the mystery. He begins the painstaking process of interviewing the townspeople, and it quickly becomes apparent that Adela a hard-working campesina who never learned to read and write and Don Roque had one thing in common: the beautiful Ixelia Cruz. The love of Adela's life, Ixelia was one of Don Roque's many possessions until Adela lured her away.
The interviews with Adela's family, neighbors, and former lovers shed light on the circumstances of her death and reveal the lively community left reeling by her brutal murder, including: her older sister Mariela and her four children, who spent Christmas morning with their beloved aunt, excitedly unwrapping the gifts she brought them that fateful day; her neighbor and friend, Lizbeth Hodgson, the beautiful mulata who rejected Adela's passionate advances early in their relationship; Padre Uriel, who did not welcome Adela to mass because she loved women (though he has no qualms about his lengthy affair with a married woman); her former lover Gloria, the town's midwife, who is forever destined to beg her charges to name their newborn daughters Adela.
Through stories and gossip that expose jealousies, scandals, and misfortunes, Sirias lovingly portrays the community of La Curva, Nicaragua, in all its evil and goodness. The winner of the Chicano / Latino Literary Prize, this spellbinding novel captures the essence of a world rarely seen in American literature.
"When he died in 1877, Cornelius Vanderbilt, founder of the Vanderbilt dynasty, was wealthier than the U.S. Treasury. But he had nearly lost his fortune in 1856, when William Walker, a young Nashville genius, set out to conquer Central America and, in the process, take away Vanderbilts most profitable shipping business. To win back his empire, Vanderbilt had to win a bloody war involving seven countries. Tycoons War tells the story of an epic imperialist duel-a violent battle of capitalist versus idealist, money versus ambition-and a monumental clash of egos that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans." Amazon.
Blood of Brothers
By the former New York Times Managua bureau chief, this is a well-written, information-rich survey of modern Nicaragua. Kinzer describes how Cesar Sandino's 1927-33 anti-U.S. campaign shaped the country's political development and inspired the overthrow of the Somoza regime in 1979. He analyzes the Reagan administration's "secret war" against the Sandinistas, and the deception that the contras existed only to interdict arms shipments to El Salvador. Kinzer relates many personal stories of his interaction with Nicaraguans, and he includes the exciting tale of his on-the-spot discovery of a U.S.-supplied contra camp in Honduras--a front-page scoop. He traces the confrontation between the Catholic church and the junta, the peace initiative by Costa Rica's Oscar Arias, the negotiated settlement that more or less ended the conflict and the surprising electoral victory of Violeta Chamorro over Daniel Ortega in 1990. Kinzer concludes that the Sandinistas grossly underestimated the moral power of the Catholic bishops, that they lost significant support by mistreating the Miskito Indians, and that they mistakenly believed they could build a prosperous Nicaragua "without deferring to the principle of free enterprise." Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Originally published in 1981, Susan Meiselas’ Nicaragua is a contemporary classic—a seminal contribution to the literature of concerned photojournalism. Nicaragua forms an extraordinary narrative of a nation in turmoil. Starting with a powerful and chilling evocation of the Somoza regime during its decline in the late 1970s, the images trace the evolution of the popular resistance that led to the insurrection, culminating with the triumph of the Sandinista revolution in 1979. The book includes interviews of various participants in the revolution, along with letters, poems, and statistics. Excerpts from these interviews, gathered during Meiselas’ return to Nicaragua in early 1981, accompany the plates in the book.