Sandinista National Liberation Front
Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional
|Founded||July 19, 1961|
|Newspaper||El Pueblo Presidente
La Voz del Sandinismo
|Continental affiliation||Foro de São Paulo,
|International affiliation||Socialist International|
|Colors||Red, black, white|
71 / 92
|Central American Parliament||
15 / 20
Its members are called Sandinistas [sandiˈnistas] in both English and Spanish. The party is named after Augusto César Sandino, who led the Nicaraguan resistance against the United States occupation of Nicaragua in the 1930s.
The FSLN overthrew Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979, ending the Somoza dynasty, and established a revolutionary government in its place. Following their seizure of power, the Sandinistas ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, first as part of a Junta of National Reconstruction. Following the resignation of centrist members from this Junta, the FSLN took exclusive power in March 1981. They instituted a policy of mass literacy, devoted significant resources to health care, and promoted gender equality, but came under international criticism for human rights abuses, mass execution and oppression of indigenous peoples. A militia, known as the Contras, was formed in 1981 to overthrow the Sandinista government and was funded and trained by the US Central Intelligence Agency. In 1984 elections were held but were boycotted by some opposition parties. The FSLN won the majority of the votes, and those who opposed the Sandinistas won approximately a third of the seats. The civil war between the Contras and the government continued until 1989. After revising the constitution in 1987, and after years of fighting the Contras, the FSLN lost what many consider the first truly democratic election in 1990 to Violeta Barrios de Chamorro but retained a plurality of seats in the legislature.
The FSLN remains one of Nicaragua’s two leading parties. The FSLN often polls in opposition to the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, or PLC. In the 2006 Nicaraguan general election, former FSLN President Daniel Ortega was re-elected President of Nicaragua with 38.7% of the vote compared to 29% for his leading rival, bringing in the country’s second Sandinista government after 16 years of the opposition winning elections. Ortega and the FSLN were re-elected again in the presidential election of November 2011.