[News] 3 Pieces on the Birthdays of Ho Chi Minh, Malcolm X & Augusto Sandino

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 19 11:07:30 EDT 2010

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 Klan’s 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.

19 MAY 2005


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 Wright’s 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 group’s 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 1960’s, after 
Malcolm’s 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. Lee’s 
film was as controversial as Malcolm’s 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 didn’t 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 Sandino’s 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 
department of 
<http://www.vianica.com/visit/masaya>Masaya. He 
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 
the capital, 
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 Sandino’s actions. 
Turcios is therefore selected to become Sandino’s 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”.

Sandino’s 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

Sandino’s 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 man’s 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 Sandino’s 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.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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