Sandinista National Liberation Front

Published 14th October, 2011

The Sandinista National Liberation Front or Sandinistas or FSLN were founded in 1961 by a small group of intellectuals to fight a guerrilla style campaign against the US backed Somoza regime. They describe themselves as far left and believe in socialism, Marxism-Leninism, Sandinism and left wing nationalism.

Their early efforts did not succeed and they abandoned their military activity. But in 1974 they started a new uprising and in July 1979 they managed to overthrow the Somoza regime and install a revolutionary government.

The Sandinistas won the first election after the uprising in 1984 when Daniel Ortega was elected president with 66.97% of the vote. The FSLN also did well in the National Assembly, winning 61 of the 96 seats. However, the new government faced an insurrection of their own by the Contras and in 1989 signed a ceasefire agreement which led to new elections.

The 1990 elections saw the FSLN lose to the National Opposition Union, a collection of opposition parties. The FSLN lost again in 1996 and 2001.

In 2006 the Sandinistas were back after fifteen years in opposition. Daniel Ortega won the presidential election, albeit with only 38.07% of the vote. The FSLN took 38 of the 92 seats in the National Assembly.

The Sandinista National Liberation Front are members of Socialist International and Foro de São Paulo (FSP).

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