Paintings of Augusto Sandino (left), who fought the US Marines, became a hero to oppressed peoples and revolutionaries and was assassinated in Nicaragua in 1934; and Carlos Fonseca (right), founder of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in the early 1960s who was killed before the Sandinistas overthrew US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979, grace the National Palace in Managua, where Sandinista supporters rallied on an afternoon in 1985.
Posts tagged augusto sandino
“Después Sandino atravesó la selva
y desempeño su pólvora sagrada
contra marinerías bandoleras
en Nueva York crecidas y pagadas:
ardió la tierra, resonó el follaje,
el yanqui no esperó lo que pasaba,
se vestía muy bien para la guerra
brillaban sus zapatos y sus armas
pero por experiencia supo pronto
quienes eran Sandino y Nicaragua.”
“And then Sandino passed through the jungle
and fired his sacred gunpowder
against the thieving Marines
raised and paid for in New York:
the earth raged, the foliage shouted,
the Yankee didn’t see what was coming,
he dressed up nice for war
with shining shoes and weapons
but with time he learned quickly
who were Sandino and Nicaragua.”
Redesigning my page, so I made a new banner featuring
International hero of the world
Nicaragua, Augusto C. Sandino…. Like? Yes? No?
Revolucionarios de América Latina. Granada, Nicaragua.
Pintura: “Principales Revolucionarios de América Latina”
Sandino in the front, where he should be.
“…los pueblos oprimidos romperán las cadenas de la humillación, con que nos han querido tener postergados los imperialistas de la tierra. Las trompetas que se oirán, van a ser los clarines de guerra, entonando los himnos de la libertad de los pueblos oprimidos contra la injusticia de los opresores.”
General de Hombres Libres, by Grupo Pancasán.
This is a song from Nicaragua dedicated to Augusto C. Sandino. General de Hombres Libres (an unofficial title applied to Sandino) appears on Grupo Pancasán’s 1978 self-titled album, whose songs were important sources of inspiration during Nicaragua’s national insurrection which began in late 1977.
“The focus on exploitation and the struggle against capitalism help to distinguish communists from other social reformers. But [Augusto] Sandino was no ordinary communist. For him communism was a way of life, not just a social movement or novel mode of production and distribution. Because he couched his ideology in religious phraseology, he presented a more attractive figure to Nicaraguan peasants, workers, and university students than did the agents of the Communist International, with their harsh materialism and appeals to scientific knowledge. Sandino successfully challenged not only the Comintern’s claim to a monopoly of revolution, but also as the sole representative of communism in the hemisphere. It would not be the only instance of an indigenous communist movement—the FSLN is the most notorious example—proving to be more viable than the established Marxist-Leninist party in Central America.”
Donald Hodges, Intellectual Foundations of the Nicaraguan Revolution (ch. 2, p. 71)
Retrato De Sandino Con Sombrero
QUILAPAYÚN - RETRATO DE SANDINO CON SOMBRERO [CHILE IN EXILE, 1982]
“Cuentan que fueron miles entonces, los que se alzaron del miedo al ver pasar su perfil: así, Sandino entró a la memoria de América, la morena; quiero decir, mí país.”
This is one of my favorite songs for the past couple of months, basically since I downloaded the album, so I thought I’d share it with you all for today’s nueva canción feature. We have listened to Quilapayún a few times on this site, so some of you might be familiar with them already. I posted Yo Te Nombro Libertad a few weeks back, La Paloma before that, plus a couple of videos not too long ago. This group is really essential listening for any fans of Latin American folk music (and Chilean folk more specifically), and I encourage you to dig into their discography on PERRERAC.
Fun fact: their name means “Three Beards” in the Mapuche language, although the ensemble has grown significantly since its original founding and they don’t all have beards anymore.
This is a particularly special song, because it extols one of the virtues I find most important in the nueva canción movement: internationalism. At the time of the release of Quilapayún’s album La Revolución y las Estrellas (The Revolution and the Stars) in 1982, the Chilean left was marking the 9th anniversary of the military dictatorship that overthrew Salvador Allende in 1973. After years of defeat and frustration in the struggle against Augusto Pinochet’s repressive apparatus, there was finally a new ray of light on the continent, a country that could possibly inspire a new wave of popular militancy throughout the region: Nicaragua.
In that same year, the small Central American country of three million was celebrating the third anniversary of the FSLN’s (Sandinista National Liberation Front) insurrection that overthrew Anastasio Somoza Debayle. In the midst of this, however, the new government was struggling to rebuild a country destroyed by natural disaster and conflict; downtown Managua was still in shambles from the 1972 earthquake, and Somoza’s desperate attempt to quell the 1979 insurrection resulted in his bombing of a number of population centers. Before fleeing to Miami on July 17th, 1979, Somoza, along with his goons, looted the reserves of Nicaragua’s Central Bank, leaving only $3 million for the new government to work with. To add insult to injury, the Reagan administration had come to power the previous year, imposing sanctions and proxy war on a country historically dependent on trade with, and aid from, the United States. The only thing the country had in its advantage at the time, it would seem, was an impressive solidarity movement of artists, activists and intellectuals throughout the world that would defend the gains of the revolution.
What ties existed between the Chilean experiment and the Nicaraguan Revolution? There are a few things to consider here: first, Sandinista comandante Jaime Wheelock, leader of the proletario faction of the FSLN, had been in Chile in the early 1970s as a university student and, in the process, learned from the workers movement underway there; second, the quick consolidation of revolutionary power in the early 1980s showed that the FSLN had learned some of the lessons of the failed Chilean experiment: without state power (as opposed to merely governmental power), the movement would be paralyzed by the limitations set by the bourgeoisie; third, music and culture, like in Chile, were cornerstones of the Nicaraguan Revolution. So even beyond the mere timeline of events, it is apparent that there was a certain continuity between the two projects.
We will notice from this song that there is no mention of the then-existing situation in Nicaragua, but rather a mythologizing of its inspirational figure. Latin American history, however, shows the importance that historical mythology plays in revolutionary movements. Cuba has Jose Marti, Uruguay has Tupac Amaru, Bolivia has Tupac Katari, El Salvador has Farabundo Marti, Nicaragua has Augusto Sandino, and Venezuela has Simon Bolivar. The process of historical continuity of struggle can be an extremely powerful one, if done correctly. Successful movements have been able to “brand” themselves with the image of a historical figure to the point that negation of that link—the disassociation of the figure from the movement—seems absurd. In 1982, therefore, to express adoration for a mythologized Sandino meant nothing less than a poetic act of solidarity for its historical extension: the Sandinista National Liberation Front.
One trademark of Quilapayún was the often-choral style of singing, which is very apparent in this song. We can also hear the bombo legüero drum (which comes in during the hook), a steel-string acoustic, an electric bass, maracas, and what sounds like a pair of quenas. It’s played in triple meter, which is common of Chilean folk although this song doesn’t adhere to any traditional style.
Anyway that’s about all I have to say here, I was going to write more but I’ll leave it at that. Below are the lyrics with my English translation for your convenience. ENJOY!
Cuentan que taciturno y oscuro,
como tallado en madera,
como fundido en volcán,
era Sandino y que de lejos
a veces se confundía
con la quietud del breñal.
Cuentan que se educó en la intemperie
y que a las bestias del monte
copió su forma de andar;
ahí fue que ejercitó la mirada,
la calma, la ligereza,
la agilidad del jaguar.
Allá va el general,
rayo de luz sobre el trigal.
Allá va el general
como una estrella sobre el mar.
Hosco como la greda reseca,
como una piedra oxidada,
huraño como el carbón,
así creció Sandino en la lluvia,
templando en la tierra antigua
sus dedos de labrador.
Supo que aquellas tierras que hería
con sus dos manos hermosas
y aladas de sembrador
eran un territorio cerrado,
la jaula donde dormía
gorriona con su gorrión.
Viendo que el monte no se movía,
partió Sandino hacia el monte
una mañana de abril.
Desde las minas de San Albino,
su azada de hierro dulce
se convirtió en un fusil.
Cuentan que fueron miles entonces
los que se alzaron del miedo
al ver pasar su perfil:
así, Sandino entró a la memoria
de América, la morena
quiero decir, mí país.
They say that he was moody and dark,
as if carved in wood,
as if molten lava in a volcano,
such was Sandino and from afar
sometimes he was mistook
for the tranquility of the thicket.
They say that he was educated in the open
and that by studying the beasts of the mountain,
he copied their ways of moving;
That’s where he practiced his gaze,
his calm, his lightness,
his agility of a jaguar.
There goes the general,
a ray of light over the wheat.
There goes the general,
like a star over the sea.
Sullen like dry clay,
like a rusty stone,
shy as if he were coal,
that’s how Sandino grew in the rain,
digging his peasant hands
into the ancient earth.
He knew that those lands which he …….
with his two hands,
beautiful and winged like a planter,
were a closed-off territory,
the cage where a sparrow slept
with her mate.
Seeing that the mountain would not move,
Sandino left toward the mountain
one April morning.
From the mines of San Albino,
his hoe of wrought iron
turned into a rifle.
They say that there were thousands then
who rose up above their fear
upon seeing the passing of his shadow:
and that’s how Sandino entered the memory
of America, the dark-skinned beauty,
that is to say, my country.
The marriage certificate of Augusto César Sandino and Blanca Arauz. May 18th, 1927.
por Tomás Borge, agosto 1977*
La herencia de los cuchillos
no viene de las Segovias, señor,
los perros ladran
—Ud. ser la hija de Pedrón
—Soy la hija del General Pedro Altamirano
En el tapesco hay cápsulas vacías y flores rojas,
TRANSLATION: Concerning Disrespectful Speech
Our legacy of knives, sir,
doesn’t come from the Segovias,
the dogs bark
“Aren’t you Pedrón’s daughter?”
“I’m the daughter of General Pedro Altamirano,
gringo son of a bitch”
In our humble shelter there are empty cartridges and red flowers,
*Poeta nicaragüense, comandante y fundador del Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN). Poema sacado de su libro Has visto una cortina roja en mi fatigada alcoba?.
*Nicaraguan poet, commander and founder of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). Poem taken from his book Have You Seen a Red Curtain in my Weary Chamber?.
“Y allá va el General con su batallón, rojinegro pañuelo lleva en el cuello, rumbo al Chipotón. Y allá va el General bajando Estelí… “Patria o muerte!” repiten los campesinos del Wiwilí.”
-Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy, Alla Va el General, a homage to Augusto Cesar Sandino, leader of Nicaragua’s Ejercito Defensor de la Sobernia Nacional.
“And there goes the General with his battalion, a red-and-black kerchief around his neck on the way to Chipotón. And there goes the General descending from Estelí… “Homeland or Death!” shout the peasants of Wiwilí.”
Augusto Sandino & Carlos Fonseca: El General de Hombres Libres with El Tayacán Vencedor de la Muerte.
On the left, the inspiration of the Sandinista movement and on the right, the commander.
Today commemorates the 32nd anniversary of the victory of the Nicaraguan Revolution and the FSLN’s arrival onto the streets of Managua, surrounded by cheering crowds elated by the potential to create a new society.
I may not have stated this clearly here on selucha.net, but I am no fan of the present incarnation of the Frente Sandinista, despite my appreciation and fascination with its formation, history, and revolutionary years in power. Regardless, I’m posting this to share the FSLN’s present thinking and self-perception, as way to celebrate what is real and revolutionary in the Nicaraguan people’s struggle for liberation.
From Radio La Primerisima
Por Marcio Vargas Aguilar
Hace ya 32 años y se siente como aquel día de victoria en que se combinaba la alegría con los dolores de una lucha larga y sangrienta contra un enemigo feroz, capaz de bombardear a sus propias ciudades.
El 19 de julio es fecha de cambio, de inicio hacia una revolución que contruye nación, que reconcilia, que solidariza, que ama, que trabaja, que tiene fe y que combate cada día con las armas de la razón y la búsqueda de la justicia.
El 19 es banderas rojinegras de 50 años de FSLN que fue el hijo de Sandino.
19 de julio es grito de libertad, de redención y de rebeldía.
19 de julio es patria libre o morir, y es patria y libertad, y es liberación y es revolución.
19 de julio es máxima fecha en la historia de Nicaragua, una nación que no se vende ni se rinde y que está destinada a ser un faro de luz en la gran patria del supremo sueño de Bolívar.
19 es fecha de América Latina y El Caribe, es mucho más que una efemérides o día feriado, es la fecha de los nicaragüenses patriotas, los hijos y nietos de Sandino… es la bandera de paz y lucha.
19 es gobierno de unidad y reconciliación, es por todos y por el bien común, es de amor, solidaridad, paz, vida, crisitianismo y socialismo…, es vida y en abundancia.
El 19 es el día, es alba de todos los que dieron su vida por una patria mejor y los que la siguen dando por años de años, como nuestros líderes de hoy que permanecen ahí, y que iniciaron sus luchas desde la niñez…, como Daniel, pues.
19, 19, 19…Otra vez y otra vez Nicaragua triunfará.
Viva el 19. Viva el FSLN. Viva Daniel.
¡A la plaza!.
Marcio Vargas Aguilar
Orden de la Independencia Cultural “Rubén Darío”.
“Come on you pack of drug fiends, come on and murder us on our own land. I am waiting for you on my feet at the head of my patriotic soldiers, and I don’t care how many of you there are. You should know that when this happens, the destruction of your mighty power will make the Capitol shake in Washington, and your blood will redden the white dome that crowns the famous White House where you plot your crimes.”
Augusto Sandino, writing to United States’ occupation troops