Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Revolutionary Of The Week

Augusto Cesar Sandino


Augusto Sandino was born May 18th, 1895 in the Nicaraguan village of Niquinohomo. He was the son of a coffee grower & his mother was one of the employees on his father's plantation.
In 1921, after trying to assassinate the son of a prominent conservative townsman, Sandino fled to Honduras, Guatemala, & later Mexico. In Mexico, he became involved in anti-imperialist, anarchist, & communist organizations, as well as a few religious/spiritual groups.
Sandino returned to Nicaragua after the statute of limitations on his charges cleared, in 1926.
Not long after his return, the Constitutionalist War began when Liberal soldiers in the Caribbean port of Puerto Cabezas revolted against Conservative President Adolfo Diaz. Diaz had recently been installed under U.S. pressure following a coup.
Sandino led a failed attack on the Conservatives near the San Albino mine. He traveled to Puerto Cabezas to meet with Moncado, the leader of the revolt. Sandino, unknown at the time, was denied a request for weapons & a military by Moncado, but after Sandino captured some rifles from fleeing Conservative soldiers, the other Liberal commanders granted him his requests.
By 1927, Sandino was back in the Segovias inciting many local peasants to join his army, as well as staging quite a few successful attacks on goverment troops. Sandino forces played a huge role in assisting the main Liberal army, which was advancing on Managua.
Having recieved funding & arms from Mexico, the Liberal army of Moncado was on the verge of seizing the capital. But, the U.S., under the threat of military intervention, forced the Liberal generals to agree to a cease-fire. On May 20th, the Espino Negro accord was signed, which was negotiated by an appointee of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. Both sides had to disarm, Diaz would be allowed to finish his term, & a new national army would be established, the National Guard. U.S. soldiers would remain in the country to supervise. After, a battalion of U.S. Marines arrived to enforce the agreement.
After the signing of the accord, Sandino refused to order his followers to surrender their weapons. He returned to Segovias & married.
Sandino issued a manifesto condemning the Liberal's betrayl & declared war on the United States. Later that month, Sandino's followers attacked a patrol of U.S. Marines. The Sandinista's were only armed with 19th Century rifles & machetes, but the Marines called in an air attack, killing close to 300 of Sandina's men. Only one U.S. Marine was killed.
Sandino learned from this mistake & started to concentrate on ambushes & sudden suprise raids other than open attacks. As Sandino grew successful, he renamed his followers, The Army in Defense of the National Sovereignty of Nicaragua.
U.S. Marine efforts to kill or capture Sandino failed due to his extensive knowledge of local terrains & skills camoflauging his movements. In November 1927, U.S. aircraft located Sandino's headquarters, but by the time the Marines arrived, Sandino & his followers were gone.
Having declared his war against the U.S., Sandino saw his struggle as defense of not only Nicaragua, but all of Latin America.
Sandino's main demands were the resignation of President Diaz, withdrawl of U.S. troops, new elections supervised by Latin American countries, & the end of the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty, which gave the U.S. the exclusive rights to build a canal across Nicaragua.
Elections were held under the U.S. military, which Sandino declared unconstitutional.
As Sandino's success grew, he recieved support from the Soviet Union & others. A conflict between Sandino & his foreign representative, Froylan Trucios, cut off Sandino's flow of arms & was isolated from supporters.
After receiving an offer of asylum from Mexico's President Emilio Portes Gil, Sandino left Nicaragua in June 1029.
Although Sandino was not able to secure any outside aid for his forces, the Depression made foreign military expeditions for the U.S. too expensive. In January 1931, the U.S. announced that all U.S. soldiers in Nicaragua would withdraw. Responsibility for dealing with Sandino's forces went to the Nicaraguan National Guard, but continued to be commanded by U.S. officers.
Over the summer of 1931, Sandinista bands were active all over. Sandino met with the new President Sacasa & Sandino pledged his loyalty & in return was granted amnesty & control of a large portion of land, & allowed to settle & farm.
Sandino mangaged to get the size of the National Guard reduced, but on February 21st, 1934, Sandino was kidnapped & executed by the National Guard. The next day, the Guard massacred the inhabitants of Sandino's town.
For his defense of Nicaragua from the imperialistic United States forces, & his fight for fair elections, Augusto Sandino gains this week's spot as the Revolutionary of the Week.

" One does not discuss sovereignty, one defends it with a gun in hand."--Sandino