The United States’ Role in Causing the Nicaraguan Revolution
The Nicaraguan revolution of 1979 is an event that many American citizens may not know about. What is likely less understood is the United States’ role in the cause of this revolution. The US actually played a very important role in causing the Nicaraguan revolution. The US did three major things that strongly influenced the revolutionaries to revolt against the government. The US helped create the National Guard of Nicaragua, a group that abused citizens and blatantly disregarded for human rights. The US was also complicit in the assassination of Augusto Cesar Sandino, a citizen who fought against US Marine occupation in the 1930’s. Finally, the US supported the Somoza family, a series of three dictators who held Nicaragua from 1939 until 1979 when the revolution occurred. The United States involvement is not limited to these three occurrences, but these three examples are important causes of the revolution. To provide a better understanding of the revolution and the United States’ involvement in Nicaragua, the historic setting is necessary.
The first case of US involvement in Nicaragua was the Walker Affair, of 1856. William Walker ventured to Nicaragua from the United States in 1855 on the invitation of Nicaraguan Liberals, who hoped his assistance could help them win a war against the Conservatives of Nicaragua. Walker easily defeated the conservatives because of his “aid of private American financing, superior firepower, and no small amount of luck” . At the end of this war, however, instead of handing over the regime to the liberals he had helped, he made himself the president of Nicaragua . Once he was president, Walker legalized slavery and made English the official language of Nicaragua, a historically Spanish speaking country. Clearly out of touch with many Nicaraguans, Walker is still hated in Nicaragua today . In 1857, the US arranged for Walker to surrender and leave Nicaragua, only to have him return to Central America in 1860; however, he was tried by the Hondurans and put to death . Walker was only the first of many more interactions between the United States and Nicaragua.
The US marine occupation began in 1912 and continued to 1925, ended, and then occurred again from 1926 till 1933. During this time period, there were a variety of reasons for the US occupation of Nicaragua. The most prominent reason seemed to be the geography of Nicaragua. Holding Nicaragua gave the United States an area that would allow, first of all, US influence over more of Central America, as Nicaragua is right in the middle of Central America, and, second of all, it was seen as an area suitable for a transoceanic waterway . Since Nicaragua borders both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, a canal connecting the two would be fairly feasible. The existence of this canal could bring great profits to US investors and US companies. This US occupation eventually led to the creation of the...