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Adiós Muchachos

A Memoir of the Sandinista Revolution

Sergio Ramírez

Publication Year: 2011

Adiós Muchachos is a candid insider’s account of the leftist Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. During the 1970s, Sergio Ramírez led prominent intellectuals, priests, and business leaders to support the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), against Anastasio Somoza’s dictatorship. After the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979, Ramírez served as vice-president under Daniel Ortega from 1985 until 1990, when the FSLN lost power in a national election. Disillusioned by his former comrades’ increasing intolerance of dissent and resistance to democratization, Ramírez defected from the Sandinistas in 1995 and founded the Sandinista Renovation Movement. In Adiós Muchachos, he describes the utopian aspirations for liberation and reform that motivated the Sandinista revolution against the Somoza regime, as well as the triumphs and shortcomings of the movement’s leadership as it struggled to turn an insurrection into a government, reconstruct a country beset by poverty and internal conflict, and defend the revolution against the Contras, an armed counterinsurgency supported by the United States. Adiós Muchachos was first published in 1999. Based on a later edition, this translation includes Ramírez’s thoughts on more recent developments, including the re-election of Daniel Ortega as president in 2006.

Published by: Duke University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Preface To The Spanish Edition Published in 2007: The Shadow of the Caudillo

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pp. xi-xviii

When this memoir was originally published, twenty years had passed since the 1979 triumph of the Sandinista Revolution, one of Latin America’s major twentieth-century . . .

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p. xix-xix

Iwant to thank Juan Cruz and Sealtiel Alatriste for conspiring to induce me to write these memoirs, and Carmen Lacambra as well. To Saúl Sosnowski, associate provost for international affairs, . . .

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pp. 1-4

The year 1999 marks twenty years since the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution. It is becoming part of the past, but it still rises up like a restless tide under my window to astound and . . .

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1. Partial Confession

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pp. 5-16

Sergio, my eldest, and his sisters, María and Dorel, were born in San José, Costa Rica, Central America’s peaceful oasis from the clandestine cemeteries of the sixties. My wife, Tulita, and I had . . .

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2. Saintly Living

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pp. 17-33

Ernesto Castillo, or Tito, as everyone has always called him, was a few years ahead of me in Law School in León. His family’s social status gave him connections to the world of finance and real . . .

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3. The Age of Innocence

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pp. 35-48

At noon on July 20, 1979, guerrilla troops entered Managua’s Plaza de la Républica in triumph. In tremendous disarray, the combatants arrived on foot, in military trucks, on . . .

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4. The Swan over the Burning Coals

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pp. 49-63

While I was watching the news one night recently, a young woman who is a friend of Sergio’s came in to speak with me from the hall where they had been talking. She said that her . . .

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5. The Age of Malice

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pp. 65-79

Somoza could never understand why the United States had abandoned one of its own. He was bitter as he received Ambassador Lawrence Pezzullo’s visits during his final days in the . . .

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6. Monkey on a Leash

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pp. 81-91

The offensive was set for a day in October 1977, and it was already September. The plans could not be postponed any longer, especially since Somoza had suffered a heart attack at the . . .

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7. Manifest Destiny

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pp. 93-111

Anti-imperialism was always the most profound expression of the Sandinista movement. Sandino’s philosophy carried more weight than Leninist teachings from manuals. It was not just . . .

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8. The Likely Number Thirteen

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pp. 113-125

Just a few days before they murdered Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, I received a note from him, signed with his initials. In it, he gave me the name of Leonardo Jerez, owner of the Búfalo pants factory . . .

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9. Heaven on Earth

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pp. 127-142

Gaspar García Laviana exemplified a committed priest in the Sandinista revolutionary struggle. He was a missionary from the Sacred Heart order and a parish priest for the small town of . . .

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10. The Year of the Pig

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pp. 143-158

On the morning of August 22, 1978, we were beginning a meeting of the Broad Opposition Front (FAO) in the Santa Marta Church’s sacristy. It was in preparation for the general strike, which . . .

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11. Rivers of Milk and Honey

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pp. 159-172

After we had already been defeated in the 1990 elections, Dr. Emilio Álvarez Montalván, Nicaragua’s most respected Conservative ideologue, once commented that Sandinismo had brought . . .

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12. The Palace at Last!

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pp. 173-189

After reaching a general agreement in Havana, the unification of the three Sandinista factions was signed on March 7, 1979, in Panama City at the apartment of William and Mercedes Graham . . .

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13. Saturn’s Jaws

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pp. 191-205

Sooner or later, it would be time to sit down and hold talks with the Contra Directorate. Our political strategy previously centered on intransigence as we sought a military victory. Now . . .

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pp. 207-210

Irecently went to Indianapolis to give a talk at Butler University on being a creative writer. Before my presentation, I had a telephone interview with a reporter from the . . .

Chronology, 1979–1990

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pp. 211-222


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pp. 223-228


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pp. 229-239

E-ISBN-13: 9780822394594
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822350873

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2011