[News] 3 Pieces on the Birthdays of Ho Chi Minh, Malcolm X & Augusto Sandino
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 19 11:00:08 EDT 2009
3 Pieces Follow -
On Lynching And The Ku Klux Klan
By Ho Chi Minh (1924)
It is well known that the Black race is the most
oppressed and the most exploited of the human
family. It is well known that the spread of
capitalism and the discovery of the New World had
as an immediate result the rebirth of slavery,
which was for centuries a scourge for the Negroes
and a bitter disgrace for mankind.
What everyone does not perhaps know is that after
sixty-five years of so-called emancipation,
American Negroes still endure atrocious moral and
material sufferings, of which the most cruel and
horrible is the custom of lynching.
The word lynching comes from Lynch. Lynch was
the name of a planter in Virginia, a landlord and
judge. Availing himself of the troubles of the
War of Independence, he took the control of the
whole district into his hands. He inflicted the
most savage punishment, without trial or process
of law, on Loyalists and Tories. Thanks to the
slave traders, the Ku Klux Klan, and other secret
societies, the illegal and barbarous practice of
lynching is spreading and continuing widely in
the States of the American Union. It has become
more inhuman since the emancipation of the
Blacks, and is especially directed at the latter...
From 1899 to 1919, 2,600 Blacks were lynched,
including 51 women and girls and ten former Great
War soldiers. Among 78 Black lynched in 1919, 11
were burned alive, three burned after having been
killed, 31 shot, three tortured to death, one cut
into pieces, one drowned, and 11 put to death by various means.
Georgia heads the list with 22 victims,
Mississippi follows with 12. Both have also three
lynched soldiers to their credit. Of the 11
burned alive, the first State has four and the
second two. Out of 34 cases of systematic,
premeditated and organized lynching, it is still
Georgia that holds first place with five. Mississippi comes second with three.
Among the charges brought against the victims of
1919, we note: one of having been a member of the
League of Non-Partisans (independent farmers);
one of having distributed revolutionary
publications; one of expressing his opinion on
lynchings too freely; one of having criticized
the clashes between Whites and Blacks in Chicago;
one of having been known as a leader of the cause
of the Blacks; one for not getting out of the way
and thus frightening a white child who was in a
motorcar. In 1920, there were fifty lynchings,
and in 1922 there were twenty-eight.
These crimes were all motivated by economic
jealousy. Either the Negroes in the area were
more prosperous than the Whites, or the Black
workers would not let themselves be exploited
thoroughly. In all cases, the principle culprits
were never troubled, for the simple reason that
they were always incited, encouraged, spurred on,
then protected by politicians, financiers, and
authorities, and above all, by the reactionary press...
The place of origin of the Ku Klux Klan is the
Southern United States. In May, 1866, after the
Civil War, young people gathered together in a
small locality of the State of Tennessee to set
up a club. A question of whiling away the time.
This organization was given the name kuklos, a
Greek word meaning club. To Americanize the
word, it was changed into Ku Klux. Hence, for more originality, Ku Klux Klan.
After big social upheavals, the public mind is
naturally unsettled. It becomes avid for new
stimuli and inclined to mysticism. The KKK, with
its strange garb, its bizarre rituals, its
mysteries, and its secrecy, irresistibly
attracted the curiosity of the Whites in the
Southern States and became very popular. It
consisted at first of only a group of snobs and
idlers, without political or social purpose.
Cunning elements discovered in it a force able to
serve their political ambitions. The victory of
the Federal Government had just freed the Negroes
and made them citizens. The agriculture of the
South - deprived of its Black labor, was short of
hands. Former landlords were exposed to ruin.
The Klansmen proclaimed the principle of the
supremacy of the white race. Anti Negro was their
only policy. The agrarian and slaveholding
bourgeoisie saw in the Klan a useful agent,
almost a savior. They gave it all the help in
their power. The Klans methods ranged from intimidation to murder...
The Klan is for many reasons doomed to disappear.
The Negroes, having learned during the war that
they are a force if united, are no longer
allowing their kinsmen to be beaten or murdered
with impunity. They are replying to each attempt
at violence by the Klan. In July 1919, in
Washington, they stood up to the Klan and a wild
mob. The battle raged in the capital for four
days. In August, they fought for five days
against the Klan and the mob in Chicago. Seven
regiments were mobilized to restore order. In
September the government was obliged to send
federal troops to Omaha to put down similar
strife. In various other States the Negroes
defend themselves no less energetically.
THE BLACK COMMENTATOR
19 MAY 2005
MALCOLM X AND THE MUSIC
By Norman (Otis) Richmond
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) was
assassinated 40 years ago, on February 21, 1965,
because of his attempt to internationalize the
African American liberation struggle.
Malcolm was born 80 years ago on May 19, 1925.
While it is unlikely that U.S. President George
W. Bush will acknowledge these facts, people from
Cape Town to Nova Scotia and Brazil to Brixton
definitely will. African Americans in New York
City have made a pilgrimage to Malcolm's
gravesite every year since February 21, 1966.
Contrary to popular belief, it was Malcolm, not
Martin Luther King, who first opposed the war in
Vietnam. Malcolm was the first African American
leader of national prominence in the 1960s to
condemn the war. He was joined by organizations
like the Revolutionary Action Movement and the
Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. This
was in the tradition of David Walker, Henry
Highland Garnet, Martin R. Delaney, Bishop Henry
McNeil Turner, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey,
Ella Baker and Paul Robeson. Malcolm continued to
link the struggles of African people worldwide.
King came out against the Vietnam War after his
famous April 4, 1967 speech at Riverside Church
in New York City. Malcolm spoke against this war from the get-go.
Musicians did their part to keep Malcolm's name
alive. Long before Spike Lee's 1992 bio-pic, X,
hip-hop, house, reggae and R 'n' B artists
created music for Malcolm, high-life and great
Black music (so-called jazz) artists first wrote
and sang about Malcolm. The dance of Malcolm's
time was the "lindy-hop" and he was a master of
it. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which Malcolm
wrote with the assistance of Alex Haley, gives a
vivid description of his love of dancing.
Years later, on a visit to the West African
nation of Ghana, Malcolm spoke of seeing
Ghanaians dancing the high-life. He wrote: "The
Ghanaians performed the high-life as if
possessed. One pretty African girl sang Blue
Moon like Sarah Vaughan. Sometimes the band sounded like Charlie Parker."
Malcolm's impact on Ghana was so great that one
folk singer created a song in his honor called "Malcolm Man."
Malcolm Man, Malcolm Man
You speak your tale of woe
The red in your face like our
Blood on the land
You speak your tale of woe
Malcolm Man, Malcolm Man
The anger that you feel
Will one day unite our people
And make us all so real
Malcolm Man, Malcolm Man.
After Malcolm's death, many jazz artists recorded
music in his memory. Among them, Leon Thomas
recorded the song, "Malcolm's Gone" on his
Spirits Known and Unknown album;
saxophonist-poet-playwright Archie Shepp recorded
the poem, "Malcolm, Malcolm Semper Malcolm" on
his Fire Music album. Shepp drew parallels
between Malcolm's spoken words and John
Coltrane's music. Said Shepp: "I equate
Coltrane's music very strongly with Malcolm's
language, because they were just about
contemporaries, to tell you the truth. And I
believe essentially what Malcolm said is what
John played. If Trane had been a speaker, he
might have spoken somewhat like Malcolm. If
Malcolm had been a saxophone player, he might
have playeds somewhat like Trane."
Shortly before Malcolm's death, he visited
Toronto and appeared on CBC television with
Pierre Breton. During the visit, Malcolm spent
time with award-winning author Austin Clarke
talking about politics and music. Time was too
short to organize a community meeting, but a few
lucky people gathered at Clarke's home on Asquith
Street. Clarke had interviewed Malcolm
previously, in 1963 in Harlem, when he was
working for the CBC. Clarke recalled they "talked
shop," but also discussed the lighter things in
life, like the fact that both their wives were named Betty.
It is not surprising that Malcolm made his way to
Canada. His mother and father, Earl Little, met
and married in Montréal at a Universal Negro
Improvement Association (UNIA) convention. Both
were followers of Marcus Garvey. His mother,
Louise Langdon Norton, was born in Grenada but
immigrated first to Halifax, Nova Scotia and later to Montreal in 1917.
Jan Carew's book, Ghosts in Our Blood: With
Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean,
documents this aspect of the life of the
Pan-Africanist. I suggest that Carew's volume be
read to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Malcolm's assassination.
While on a visit to Nigeria Malcolm was given the
name Omowale, which means in the Yoruba language,
the son who has come home. It was this period
of his life that he visited Nigeria, Ghana,
Liberia, Senegal, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Guinea and Tanzania. It was
during that period that he met with Osagyefo Dr.
Kwame Nkrumah, Julius K Nyerere, and Nnamoi
Azikiwe, Sekou Toure, Jomo Kenyatta, Dr. Milton
Obote and others. During this visit he also met
Ras Makonnen, a legendary Pan-Africanist from
Guyana, Richard Wrights daughter Julie Wright,
Maya Angelou, Shirley Graham Du Bois, the wife of
W.E.B. Du Bois, and the Chinese Ambassador Huang Ha.
Malcolm was the chief organizer of the Nation of
Islam and the founder of the groups newspaper
Muhammad Speaks. He split with the nation and its
leader Elijah Muhammad in 1963. At the time of
his death he headed two organizations. The
secular group the Organization of Afro-American
Unity (OAAU) was his political arm. He also
organized the religious group, Muslim Mosque Inc
(MMI), which practiced Sunni Islam. Today Islam
is the second largest religion in the United
States and Canada. Many credit Malcolm with
helping spread Sunni Islam as well as
revolutionary African American Nationalism and
Pan-Africanism among African people in the Western Hemisphere.
Like Augusto Cesar Sandino of Nicaragua or Sun
Yat-Tsen of China, Malcolm was embraced by all
sectors of the African American Nationalist and
Pan Africanist movements. All Nationalists and
Pan-Africanists claimed to follow his example.
Revolutionary Nationalist groups like the Black
Panther Party, and the League of Revolutionary
Black Workers emerged in the late 1960s, after
Malcolms death. Even after the BPP and the
League embraced Marxism, Malcolm was still their
man. The cultural Nationalists who maintained
that the Cultural Revolution must precede the
political one also embraced Malcolm.
He was a controversial figure.
Actor Ossie Davis eulogized him as our Black
Shining Prince while the director of the U.S.
information agency Carl T. Rowan referred to him
as an ex-convict, ex-dope peddler who became a
racial fanatic. He was loved by the oppressed
and hated by the oppressors. Malcolm spoke about
the MMI and the OAAU in these terms: Its aim is
to create an atmosphere and facilities in which
people who are interested in Islam can get a
better understanding of Islam. The aim of the
OAAU is to use whatever means necessary to bring
about a society in which the twenty-two million
Afro-Americans are recognized and respected as human beings.
At the time of his death Malcolm was not nearly
as well known as he is today. Each year his
stature grew. By 1992 Malcolm was the subject of
a major motion picture, X by Spike Lee. Lees
film was as controversial as Malcolms life. Lee
was attacked from the left, right and center for
his portrayal of Malcolm. And he marketed the
hell out of the movie. His campaign began with
the marketing of X caps. He gave the first cap
to basketball icon Michael Jordan. And as they
say, the rest is history. Many who up hold the
Black radical tradition fought Lee over the film.
They accused him of pimping and sampling
Malcolm. Lee responded with a book, By Any Means
Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the
Making of Malcolm X
(While Ten Million Motherfuckers are Fucking With You!).
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and
other books by and about Malcolm continue to sell
worldwide. Some of his books have recently been
published in Cuba. Malcolm was one of the few
African American Nationalist leaders that
welcomed Cuban leader Fidel Castro to Harlem in
1960. Many Nationalists didnt want to be
identified with communism. But African people in
the West could easily identify with the slogan,
When Africa called Cuba Answered. Kwame Ture
(Stokely Carmichael) was fond of reminding us
that the only place in the United States that Fidel felt safe was in Harlem.
Toronto-based journalist and radio producer
Norman (Otis) Richmond can be heard on Diasporic
Music, Thursdays, 8-10 p.m., Saturday Morning
Live, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and From a
Different Perspective, Sundays, 6-6:30 p. m. on
CKLN-FM 88.1 and on the Internet at www.ckln.fm.
He can be reached by e-mail at norman at ckln.fm
General Augusto C. Sandino
In the second decade of the twentieth century
U.S. Marines were intervening in Nicaragua. They
were sent by the government of the United States
to intimidate and control the local political
parties involved in a civil war at that time
in order to ensure that the presidential seat
would be occupied by a submissive Nicaraguan
leader who would cooperate with the voracious
exploitation of Nicaragua by the United States.
This strategy worked well for the U.S., the
strongest country in the world, until a general
small in physical size but gigantic when it came
to patriotic conscience started to fight back.
With the support of an army of peasants this
general showed the world that he was not
permitting the exploitation of his free,
sovereign country. This general was Augusto C.
Sandino, general of the free men, hero of Las Segovias.
The Constitutional War
Before starting his heroic struggle Sandino
participated in the civil war on the side of the
Liberal party. These Liberals were taken out of
power by the rival party, the Conservatives, who
took over presidency by force. A historical overview is given below.
In January 1925, after national elections, the
Liberal Party came into power with the duo Carlos
Solórzano as president and Juan Bautista Sacasa
as vice-president. However, this situation was
not well-received by the losing candidate, the
conservative general Emiliano Chamorro, who
immediately started planning taking over power through violent means.
The Liberal Party was able to stay in power only
for one year. After two attempts by Chamorro,
president Solórzano stepped down and left his
seat vacant. Normally the vice-president would
become the next leader but in this case
vice-president Sacase had fled the country after
being accosted by conservative soldiers. And this
was how the Nicaraguan congress named nobody less
than Emiliano Chamorro provisional president. He
assumed power in January 1926.
From Mexico, Liberal exiles led by
vice-president Sacasa prepared for a return to
Nicaragua to take over power, which was legally
to be handed over to the elected vice-president,
according to the constitution. Troops were armed
and shipped to the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua,
where they then started the so-called Constitutional War.
General José María Moncada was the military chief
of this Liberal expedition. His troops
disembarked at the city of Puerto Cabezas at the
north-Caribbean side of the Nicaragua. Although
they were belligerently inferior, they did
maintain their position and they even took over
other towns in the region. At the Pacific side,
another Liberal disembarkation was destroyed by
the conservative forces. However, liberal
uprisings also started to take place at other places throughout the country.
Even before the arrival of the Liberal troops at
Puerto Cabezas, the United States sent warships
to the Nicaraguan coast, arguing that they were
sent to protect the life and property of U.S.
citizens living in Nicaragua. The North-American
military chief asked both parties to find a
solution to the conflict. In order to gain
gringo-support, the conservatives arranged the
renunciation of Chamorro (who, after enforcing a
military coup, could not be recognized by the
U.S. government, as set out in international
treaties, signed and initiated by the same U.S.
government). Therefore, in November 1926, Adolfo
Díaz was named president of Nicaragua. With him,
the U.S. had a perfect marionette to secure their interests.
Still led by chief Moncada, the Liberals
continued their struggle. Only a couple days
after this presidential change the situation
intensified when Juan Bautista Sacasa, political
chief and presidential claimant of the Liberals, arrives in Puerto Cabezas.
After hearing of the arrival of Sacasa, Augusto
C. Sandino already an influential leader in his
local community traveled with some others to
Puerto Cabezas to participate in the
Constitutional War. Here, however, general
Moncada refused to give Sandino a military duty or arms.
The United States had already recognized Adolfo
Díaz as the official president of Nicaragua.
However, they denied that the presence of their
boats had anything to do with the Nicaraguan
conflict. Despite this statement, on December 24,
1926, U.S. Marines disembarked at Puerto Cabezas
(headquarter city of the Liberals), where they
declared a neutral zone which meant that Liberal
soldiers were disarmed or removed. This was the
first sign of definitive intervention by the U.S.
Two weeks later, on January 6, 1927, North
American troops entered Nicaragua, arguing that
lives and property of U.S. citizens had to be
protected. They also claimed that Mexico (a
country at that time accused to be pro-Communist)
was about to send troops to Nicaragua. Although
the United States said to take a neutral
position, they frequently supported the
conservatives, either directly or indirectly. In
one such instance, U.S. planes bombed the city of
Chinandega (at that time in control by the
Liberals). The government then assured the world
that its pilots were acting voluntarily and without official orders.
About ten weeks later, reports from the North
American marines (who were officially
observers) noted that most Constitutional
troops were defeated throughout the country and
that Moncada, held at bay by the conservatives,
was about to be taken down in Chontales.
However, shortly after these reports the
international media reported a surprising victory
of a Liberal battalion: led by an unknown general
named Sandino, Liberal troops had taken the city
of Jinotega and were on their way to rescue Moncada.
This was the first time the name of Sandino
showed up in the international media. Despite his
victories, however, the Constitutional War ended
shamefully a couple days later when military
leader Moncada met with conservatives and marines
in Tipitapa, where he negotiated the surrender of
the Constitutional Army and the realization of
strictly monitored elections (to be monitored by
the marines) where he, general Moncada, would
participate as candidate. Even though the treason
was as clear-cut as it gets, the Liberal troops
were disarmed and Sacasa fled to Costa Rica.
Although this meant the end of the Liberal
Constitutional struggle, it also signified the
beginning of Sandinos struggle for liberty.
Sandino, who did not lay down his arms, declared
that as long as invading soldiers would exist on
Nicaraguan soil, he and his men would continue to
rebel against the government of the traitor Adolfo Díaz.
From Sandino's perspective
Augusto C. Sandino was born on May 18, 1895, in
the small town called Niquinohomo, located in the
was the (unrecognized) child of Margarita
Calderón and the small landowner Gregorio
Sandino. In fact, it is assumed that the letter
C that appears in his name really stands for
his maternal last name (Calderón), and not a
second first name (César), as also has been suggested.
He was raised by his mother, with whom he
dedicated himself to agricultural activities.
During his youth, Sandino worked at different
places throughout Nicaragua and in other Central
American countries. Later, he moved to Mexico
where he worked in the Tampico and Cerro Azul oil
industry. Here he started to consider moving back
to his beloved home country after getting
acquainted with the ideology of social equality
that the strong Mexican labor unions promoted.
He headed to Nicaragua on May 15, 1926, and he
started to work in the mine of San Albino, in the
northern region of the country, property of a
U.S. citizen. Here he tried to convince his
fellow workers of the patriotic ideals he
believed in. When the Constitutional War broke
out he took his savings (brought from Mexico) to
buy arms at the border with Honduras and,
together with other workers, he took off after
exploding the mine with dynamite.
Fully motivated to fight, Sandino met Moncada in
Puerto Cabezas. Sandino asked the general to
supply arms, ammunition, and instructions, and
Sandino proposed him to lead the Las Segovias
region (encompassing the northern departments of
the country) in order to cover the northern flank
while Moncada would advance in the direction of
However, Moncada despises the idea and does not give Sandino anything.
The marines then invaded the city of Puerto
Cabezas, declaring it a neutral zone and
confiscating arms of Liberal soldiers in the
region. Sandino came into action the same night
by taking back arms that the marines threw into a
river. During this operation he was assisted by
several prostitutes who he convinced of the
importance of the patriotic constitutional struggle.
With his arms and his men he headed to the
mountainous northern area, after being
reluctantly accepted by Moncada. The first time
he encountered resistance happened in a small
town and, being outnumbered, he lost the battle
but he did manage to continue his journey. He
reached San Rafael del Norte, which was
transformed into his headquarter city. From here
he started winning battles in neighboring
villages. He also got to know the telegraph
operator Blanca Aráuz, who became his girlfriend.
The Constitutional Army, however, was being
defeated in almost all other places. The
conservatives, with direct and indirect support
from the U.S. marines, already had general
Moncada enclosed in Chontales, halfway in between
Puerto Cabezas and Managua. At this moment of
despair, Moncada who had always despised
Sandino sent him a message and ordered Sandino
to help him out or he will be held responsible for a Constitutional defeat.
Sandino decided to send out a group of volunteers
to support Moncada. In order to have all
attention of enemy troops in the region focused
on the northern zone, Sandino decided to attack
the city of
in April 1927. After a final battle he completely
took over control of the city, and here he
reunited with several Liberal generals who were
defeated at other places throughout the country.
Several days later Sandino and his troops head to
Chontales, together with the other generals, to
rescue the military leader. The soldiers of
Sandino went ahead, and upon entering the battle
zone they attacked and destroyed one of the
stronger battalions threatening Moncada.
The conservative troops returned to Managua to
protect themselves for the Liberal movement.
Moncada, after being liberated, initiated a march
towards the capital, using the routes liberated
by Sandino. Moncada ordered Sandino to stay
around to protect one of the flanks. Complying
with the order, the general of Las Segovias
prepared his troops to attack the city of Boaco.
At that moment, he is informed of a 48-hour truce
due to the fact that Moncada is about to meet the
enemy, with mediation of the Americans.
Sandino obeyed the order but decided to return to
Jinotega to re-establish his troops as his men,
not doing anything and without any food, started
to disorderly return back north.
In Jinotega Sandino was informed of the pact
signed by Moncada in El Espino Negro, Tipitapa
(department of Managua), which put a period
behind the Constitutional War, accepting the
presence of North American marines on Nicaraguan soil.
This happened in May 1927. This month, Sandino
would not only celebrate his birthday, but he
would also marry Blanca Aráuz and initiate his
heroic struggle against U.S. intervention and in
favor of a sovereign and independent Nicaragua.
The struggle continues
In Jinotega, alter finding out about the
agreement signed by Moncada, general Sandino
regrouped his men and refused to disarm. Both
Moncada and the marines tried to convince Sandino
to stop his struggle, but Sandino told them that
his struggle was not over with this betraying
pact. He again headquartered in San Rafael del Norte.
The North American press announced the end of the
war in Nicaragua, stating that all Liberal
leaders had disarmed except for one guy named
Sandino. Soon the general of the free men took
action to find out how strong his position really
was. He first took the mine of San Albino and he
then attached the town of Ocotal.
Although he was defeated in his first autonomous
battle due to the intervention of U.S. bomber
planes, Sandino did start to be known as somebody
to take into account. Through the attack he was
able to demonstrate a document, explaining why he
was fighting, justifying his position: it stated
that his troops were organized and idealistic,
and not gangs of criminals, and that they
preferred to die as patriots instead of as
compliant citizens. He said he was waiting in the
mountains with his arms ready to combat the traitors and invaders.
The Nicaraguan authorities and the U.S.
government started to label Sandino as a bandit
who dedicated himself to assaults and smuggling,
and this same statement was told to the
international press. However, on September 8,
1927, Sandino came into contact with the Honduran
poet Froylán Turcios, director of the magazine
Ariel and a big admirer of Sandinos actions.
Turcios is therefore selected to become Sandinos outside representative.
The marines, who underestimated Sandino and his
troops, started to take action to defeat them,
but they soon became aware that the bravery of
these men was as significant as the mountains
from where they operated were inaccessible. The
continuous bombings affected mostly the civil
population and the communities close to the
headquarters of Sandino, which was at that time a hill called El Chipote.
Sandinos struggle became known in the
international press and newspapers from Mexico,
Columbia, Argentina, Brazil and even the same
United States started to frequently publish
articles that supported Sandino and his men. The
North American government, meanwhile, argued that
presence of its marines in Nicaragua was
necessary to guarantee fair elections.
Although the government in Washington always
minimized and distorted information about the
actions of Sandino, the Nicaraguan fighters
became so effective that the U.S. started to send
backup marines, arms, and war planes to
Nicaragua. The U.S. also started to recruit and
train a local army led by North American
officials, which would soon be known as the National Guard.
At the end of this year battles took place even
more frequently, and despite inferiority in
arms, training, and sometimes men the troops of
Sandino, supported by the population, turned out
to be a respectable enemy. In the forested
mountains the rural communities, ambushes,
dynamite, and machetes caused continuous losses
for the marines and the National Guard. The
bombings from their side destroyed both civil
communities and the guerilla camps at the same time.
Many Latin American writers, organizations, and
the public opinion started to favor Sandino, and
he was declared hero of the dignity of Latin
America, battling against North American imperialists.
When the U.S. militaries asked Sandino what his
conditions were to stop fighting, he listed three
points: 1) the immediate withdrawal of invasive
forces from Nicaraguan territory, 2) the
substitution of Adolfo Díaz by a Nicaraguan
citizen who was not currently presidential
candidate, and 3) supervision of the next
elections by Latin American representatives and not by North American marines.
These simple demands were unacceptable for the
U.S. government and the struggle therefore
continued. Sandino named his troop the Defending
Army of National Sovereignty, and he adopted a
flag with red and black bands, and a motto:
motherland and liberty (patria y libertad).
In 1928 battles continued between the
well-equipped National Guard and marines, and the
Sandinista troops, who were using rapid attack
strategies. At the end of this year elections
took place, supervised only by the United States,
and resulting in a victory for José María
Moncada, traitor and old chief of Sandino.
Surprisingly, Juan Bautista Sacasa, the old
leader of the Constitutional struggle, accepted
to be ambassador of Moncada in Washington. By
this time, both of them praised the intervention
and support to the democracy of the United States in Nicaragua.
The guerilla general decided to travel to Mexico,
to find support for his struggle and to avoid
giving the marines another excuse to stay in
Nicaragua. During his journey, accepted by the
North Americans and protected by a Mexican
delegation, Sandino was welcomed by large groups
of people in Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.
In Nicaragua, the marines did not leave and
Moncada assumed power. As instructed by Sandino,
his troops continued their guerilla struggle.
End of the struggle
Sandinos unfruitful stay in Mexico lasted almost
one year. Apparently, the Mexican government,
conspiring with the U.S. government, tried to
keep him there as long as possible. Sandino,
however, achieved to mislead his Mexican security
guardians and clandestinely cross borders until
he arrived at his headquarters.
The guerilla attacks continued. Sometimes, for a
certain period of time, Sandino would disappear
and speculation would arise that he had fled,
before strongly hitting enemy command centers in
the area. These kinds of attacks would continue,
and the marines nor the National Guard were able
to eliminate Sandino, while he did not achieve to
get international support for his cause or force
the invaders to retreat from Nicaragua.
In 1933, after winning the next elections, Juan
Bautista Sacasa assumed presidency of Nicaragua
which actually should have happened in 1925,
before the Constitutional War. This same year, on
February 2, the last North American soldier sent
to defeat Sandino, left Nicaragua without achieving this goal.
Without a reason for war, Sacasa declares
friendship with Sandino and the general and his
troops are given land in the Segovia region. The
revolutionists and their chief accept disarmament
and they start to integrate into society as agricultural producers.
However, another ambitious, fatal person enters
Nicaraguan history. One year before the truce, in
1932, the National Guard was headed for the first
time in history by a Nicaraguan military:
Anastasio Somoza García. The next year, this
military leader started an evident persecution of
old Sandinista soldiers, illegally arresting,
hurting, and even killing these men.
This situation forced Sandino to visit Managua to
complain about this situation in front of
president Sacasa. Sandino was invited to a gala
by the president and the same Somoza. After
arranging a compromise of ceasefire, Sandino
accepted the offer. On the road, in Managua, the
car of Sandino was intercepted by soldiers of the
National Guard. The soldiers then escorted
Sandino and two of his generals to a place where
the hero and his men were brutally shot to death.
This marked the end of the heroic deeds of one of
the most important people in the history of Latin
America, although history has also made people
forget about this mans struggle. In Nicaragua,
Somoza prohibited the name of Sandino to be used
and the acknowledgement of his deeds until
another generation of idealists again freed the
country, almost half a century after Sandinos death.
Nowadays, despite the fact that the exact place
of death of the 'General of the free men' is
unknown, his achievements have once again found
their place in the history books. The only thing
left unsaid is that Sandino, interestingly, never
even wanted to become president. He only wanted a free country.
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