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Unfinished Revolution: Daniel Ortega and Nicaragua's Struggle for Liberation [NOOK Book]

Overview

Together with his brother Humberto, Daniel Ortega Saavedra masterminded the only victorious Latin American revolution since Fidel Castro’s in Cuba. Following the triumphant 1979 Nicaraguan revolution, Ortega was named coordinator of the governing junta, and then in 1984 was elected president by a landslide in the country’s first free presidential election. The future was full of promise.

 

Yet the United States was soon training, equipping, and financing a ...

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Unfinished Revolution: Daniel Ortega and Nicaragua's Struggle for Liberation

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Overview

Together with his brother Humberto, Daniel Ortega Saavedra masterminded the only victorious Latin American revolution since Fidel Castro’s in Cuba. Following the triumphant 1979 Nicaraguan revolution, Ortega was named coordinator of the governing junta, and then in 1984 was elected president by a landslide in the country’s first free presidential election. The future was full of promise.

 

Yet the United States was soon training, equipping, and financing a counterrevolutionary force inside Nicaragua while sabotaging its crippled economy. The result was a decade-long civil war. By 1990, Nicaraguans dutifully voted Ortega out and the preferred candidate of the United States in. And Nicaraguans grew poorer and sicker.

 

Then, in 2006, Daniel Ortega was reelected president. He was still defiantly left-wing and deeply committed to reclaiming the lost promise of the Revolution. Only time will tell if he succeeds, but he has positioned himself as an ally of Castro and Hugo Chávez, while life for many Nicaraguans is finally improving.

 

Unfinished Revolution is the first full-length biography of Daniel Ortega in any language. Drawing from a wealth of untapped sources, it tells the story of Nicaragua’s continuing struggle for liberation through the prism of the Revolution’s most emblematic yet enigmatic hero.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ortega has been called many things – revolutionary, political leader, even child molester – but poet? According to Ortega, "In Nicaragua everybody is considered a poet until he proves to the contrary," and Morris's inclusion of the leader's poems go a long ways toward recasting the man that George W. Bush called "an animal at a garden party." Yet Morris also reminds us of Ortega the killer, chronicling his crimes and prison life, where he acquired traits for clandestine action and matured as a revolutionary strategist. Freed in 1976, Ortega soon led a bloody but successful revolution, overthrowing the government and bringing the Sandinistas to power, but ultimately finding the state "remote, inefficient, and a little clueless" and out of money. "McDonald's customers were asked to return their paper cups to be washed and reused – if water supply was available." Ortega has spent a lifetime dedicated to improving the lives of Nicaragua's poor and remains, in Morris's view, innocent of the aggrandizement so prevalent in third world countries. But for all of Morris's accurate reporting, the book lacks enough color and depth to cast Ortega as a character – whether admirable or otherwise. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
Critical biography of Nicaragua's president. Morris (Jimmy Carter: American Moralist, 1996, etc.) examines the life of Daniel Ortega Saavedra, who blended Catholicism with Marxism in combating the repressive regime of dictator Anastasio Somoza. Ortega joined the Sandinista group FSLN in 1963, and "from then on he was a committed revolutionary." In 1967, he "killed for the first time," assassinating a National Guard sergeant in an act that he likened to a member of the French Resistance killing a Gestapo agent. Morris doesn't quite buy the argument, but he appreciates the fact that Ortega was skilled at what he did, having learned in prison the best practices of guerrilla warfare and putting them to good use. Ortega rose in the ranks of the guerrilla army, writes the author, not just because of those skills but also because the movement's leader was killed in 1976, at a time when the Sandinista cause was becoming well known outside Nicaragua. The civil war that raged throughout the late 1970s killed thousands, while the hated National Guard inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of damage to the country's infrastructure when it became apparent that the FSLN would prevail. Ortega, a Marxist in power, instantly became a bete noire of the Reagan administration and a target of U.S.-funded counterrevolutionaries. He remains an outsider, held by American functionaries with much the same regard that Fidel Castro once was-and he's not universally popular in Nicaragua either. For his many faults, though, Ortega, by Morris's account, has improved the lives of ordinary Nicaraguans-"it is difficult to conclude that Nicaragua would be better off replacing him with a liberal opponent."A solid biography of a compelling but little-known leader from a country that, though small, has loomed large in recent history. Agent: Janet Rosen/Sheree Bykofsky and Associates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569767566
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/24/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,070,722
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Kenneth E. Morris is the author of two previous political biographies: Jimmy Carter, American Moralist and Bonhoeffer’s Ethic of Discipleship. He has taught at a number of colleges and universities.

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