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The Origins of the Peasant-Contra Rebellion in Nicaragua, 1979-87

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By Salvador Martí i Puig. Published 2001. ISBN 9781900039376



Detailed Description

This paper revisits the relationship between the Sandinista Rvolution and the rural population and attempts to explain why campesinos took up arms against the revolutionary regime. A detailed macro-analysis of Sandinista policies towards the rural sector is provided, focusing on land tenure reforms and investment and commercialisation policies.

Subsequently Martí i Puig concentrates on the central highland frontier region, drawing on a range of anthropological literature and interview material to construct a detailed analysis of the negative impacts of Sandinista agricultural policy on the campesinos' socioeconomic position and cultural universe. He illustrates how, as the war progressed, campesinos in this region were subjected to a double aggression by the Sandinista army and Contra troops financed by the US government. He suggests that the emergence of a regionally specific 'Peasant-Contra' should be understood essentially as a defensive reaction by a campesino rural universe under threat from a revolution ideologically and practically biased towards an urban constituency. The aims of this Peasant-Contra related primarily to local factors, rather than to those of the Contra leaders backed by Washington.