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Sandinistas go global: Nicaragua and Western Europe, 1977-1990

van Ommen, Eline (2019) Sandinistas go global: Nicaragua and Western Europe, 1977-1990. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis offers a global history of Nicaragua’s revolutionary decade. Through the prism of Nicaraguan and Western European relations between 1977 and 1990, it traces the rationale and impact of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (Sandinista National Liberation Front, FSLN)’s revolutionary diplomacy in the final decades of the Cold War. In doing so, Sandinistas Go Global provides new insights into the international and transnational history of Central America in the late 1970s and 1980s, a period and region that historians have often treated as an afterthought in histories of the Cold War. The victory of the left-wing Nicaraguan revolutionaries over the anti-communist dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza on 19 July 1979 captured the imaginations of people around the world and transformed the country into a theatre of global contestation. As a wide range of international actors travelled to Nicaragua to shape and participate in the country’s revolutionary experiment, Nicaraguan diplomats went abroad in search of financial support and political legitimacy. Western Europe was an important target for the Sandinistas, who believed the Europeans could undermine the regional power of the United States, which sought to overthrow their revolutionary regime. To shape Western European and US foreign policies, the FSLN coordinated a transnational network of solidarity activists, who lobbied politicians and journalists to present the revolution in a positive light. The electoral loss of the FSLN on 25 February 1990 came as a great disappointment to these activists, for whom the Nicaraguan revolution had been a symbol of hope and progress in an increasingly neoliberal world order. Ultimately, in tracing the global history of the Nicaraguan revolution, the thesis seeks to capture the opportunities and limitations that the global environment offered to a group of leftwing revolutionaries in Central America, a region traditionally seen as dominated by the United States. In particular, it analyses how the Sandinistas, by looking beyond the Western Hemisphere and towards Western Europe, attempted to alter the inter-American and dynamics that shaped their region’s history, and create an international environment in which the Nicaraguan revolution could survive, and perhaps even thrive.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Eline van Ommen
Library of Congress subject classification: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Ludlow, N. Piers and Harmer, Tanya

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