The Sandinista Flag shows on this one

The Sandinista Flag shows on this one

Just in case people didn't get it the first time.

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Can you hear the drums fernando? I remember long ago another starry night like this In the firelight fernando You were humming to yourself and softly strumming your guitar I could hear the distant drums And sounds of bugle calls were coming from afar

They were closer now fernando Every hour every minute seemed to last eternally I was so afraid fernando We were young and full of life and none of us prepared to die And I’m not ashamed to say The roar of guns and cannons almost made me cry

There was something in the air that night The stars were bright, fernando They were shining there for you and me For liberty, fernando Though I never thought that we could lose There’s no regret If I had to do the same again I would, my friend, fernando

Now we’re old and grey fernando And since many years I haven’t seen a rifle in your hand Can you hear the drums fernando? Do you still recall the frightful night we crossed the rio grande? I can see it in your eyes How proud you were to fight for freedom in this land

There was something in the air that night The stars were bright, fernando They were shining there for you and me For liberty, fernando Though I never thought that we could lose There’s no regret If I had to do the same again I would, my friend, fernando

There was something in the air that night The stars were bright, fernando They were shining there for you and me For liberty, fernando Though I never thought that we could lose There’s no regret If I had to do the same again I would, my friend, fernando Yes, if I had to do the same again I would, my friend, fernando...

Your 2 different photos of the same group

remind me of a client we recently helped out.

He paid a contractor the last payment due upon completion of the construction of a nice 2 car freestanding garage. Since he was not in Nicaragua at the time, he demanded to see a photo of the building. Well it looked great so he paid the contractor ....... Fast forward 3 month.... Client arrives... visits the property.... finds out, only half the roof was installed. In the photo it was impossible to tell the whole story.

My point is this: When posting a photo and adding a comment, it may be best to only refer to what is visible in the image. The viewer has no access to the photographers memory. Had both photos been made available from the get go... you would likely not have received so many critical comments.

All in all... to me it still looks like young people having fun, and IMO, that's what these parades are all about.


El presidente for life, Danny-boy, uses the youth and the gangs to further his dictatorial aspirations. They are called turbas and are used to disrupt any opposition gathering, attack hotels, hold hostages, intimidate the free press, etc, etc, ad nauseum. Just another element in the thugocracy that is the F$LN.

But, of course, the party line of the People's Republic of Nicaragua Living is that Danny-boy is good for Nicaragua because he brings stability???

I think these were just kids who studied

the revolution in high school. Columbia University had leftist students (quite privileged) who idolized the Strike of 1968 (I was in the Strike of 1972). These kids didn't look either under-nourished or under-capitalized with the cell phones and Point and Shoot digital cameras.

I also suspect that the actual revolution was more complex on the ground -- some of the bilingual Nicaraguans I've talked to here and others I've heard about from Suzanne were Sandinistas in the struggle against the Somozas and Contras. I've also met people who were pro-Contra, and heard of families who were bitterly divided on the issue. Suzanne interviewed people on both sides, and one guy who'd changed sides about three times (he looked rather like a fun loving person).

Do these kids have a clue about how much a civil war hurts? I doubt it, but then I doubt most Americans outside the border states have a clue either, and few younger than my father (in his eighties) have talked to men who fought in the Civil War (my grandfather did and became a Lincoln Republican).

I don't want to treat the Sandinista revolution like another American sporting event, the way Israel/Palestinian problems are treated (let's root for our side), or the problems in Northern Ireland (the Boston Irish blood sporting event before 9/11 brought home some realities about urban bombing of random strangers). I respect that it changed Nicaragua, and that that all Sandinistas are pro-Ortega (Commandante Dos, Dora Tellez, isn't now). I knew too many American leftists who did that.

I also think anyone who is 100 percent opposed to socialism or social democracy in any form shouldn't be in Nicaragua. Best economies are mixed, and state economies of scale are useful where there's no developed corporate structures for spreading investor risks (ask the Russians how capitalism works without long term experience with banks, limited liability or incorporation structures).. Ideology isn't as important as getting things done.

But then I'm a semi-leftist on US Social Security, an American social democratic program aimed at stopping actual revolution in the US (my father was a teenager and young man during Roosevelt and got some special benefits from the WPA which allowed him to go to college). Ideology is identity politics. Real politics is getting things done, not feeling morally superior to the other side(s).

Rebecca Brown

"Any man who . .

is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains." -- Winston Churchill

We've all been there. I visited east Berlin as a young liberal in the early 60's and I spent a couple of months in Cuba an an old conservative two years ago. You can't find decent fresh vegetables in Cuba. Despite the fecundity of the island, they are unable to grow enough food, a good deal is imported -from Florida! The contrast between West and East Berlin was something out of a science fiction movie. West Berlin, bright, vibrant, alive; East Berlin gray, bombed out, impoverished. Same people, side by side; communism (the old word for socialism) and democracy side by side.

I've suspected for quite some time that the symbols of the revolution mean something quite different for the Nicaraguans, than they do for us. I met a few communists in Lagartillo, but most everyone else I have met in Nicaragua has been looking out for Number One.

If you like Winston Churchill:


i lived in germany from '88 to '92. the difference between east and west berlin was astounding. who said, "the only problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money?"

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -Thomas Jefferson-

One of the local ex-pats was an East German until age 11

Even that triumphalist post-Cold War narrative has alternative versions. They were making engines or engine parts for Mercedes even before the end of partition. Lots of people lost their pensions. Many factories were closed by West Germans while they studied them to see if they were producing up to standard (even though they'd been making parts for Mercedes earlier).

Life is more complex than political theories.

I think the worst political horrors of all come from what I'm thinking of as aspirational politics -- the people who think if they adopt the politics of the rich, this will lead to them becoming rich. On another forum, we had a guy who thought that being a skilled programmer who made serious money (and he made reasonably serious money) made him one of the upper classes. He bought, on time, an airplane and a Lexus. And his bosses laid him off when the economy took a downturn. He lost first the airplane and then the Lexus. Totally identifies with ruling class politics, and blames Obama for the economic downturn.

These are the people who become fascists because being powerless or less powerful than they imagine frightens them badly. I also think there's a left wing equivalent in people who themselves are rich and agree with left politics (socialism, social democracy, various collective endeavors) but feel still that the poor need their guidance.

Having spent time at a commune, I think that the social forms necessary for larger scale versions of that are still a work in progress, but then 600 years ago, democracies didn't work, either.

Rebecca Brown

Yes, But He

had the airplane and the Lexus, even for a while. It represented the fruits of his labor and his initiative. He lost it, but when the economy turns, and it will after the November elections, he'll go back to work, buy another Lexus, That's who he is.

Obama will give you food stamps, maybe some unemployment money, but he's not going to give you a Lexus or a plane. You earn those.

The problem we have is the people who are happy with the food stamps for free (and not working) want your Lexus too. Or your Volkswagen. Or your bike. Or anything else you've worked for. This is a fact of human nature and it's true in the US, Nicaragua, and Timbuktu.

They resent you because you work a little harder, drink a little less, don't do drugs, save your money, and buy a Lexus. (OK, maybe smoking a bit of weed doesn't count here, I mean serious drugs that make you a non-functional member of society).

They feel perfectly justified in breaking into your house and stealing what they want, not to buy food or medicine for their children; they already have food stamps and the best medical care at no cost,, but to buy drugs.

If your friend were a communist, he would have had to be a party functionary to get an airplane, or a Lexus. He wouldn't have been able to make the choice to become a programmer, the party would have assigned him to a job.

Democracy isn't perfect, but I have yet to see anything better.

Capitalism isn't a democracy

Most second generation CP members were ambitious people using what the culture gave them to get their own ways. They're still in charge in most former CP countries.

The best system is a mixed one, what the Europeans call a social democracy -- room for people do do ambitious things and enough of a safety net that they don't take other people with them if they fail.

I would have been very intrigued if I'd ever worked for a democracy -- very few working corporations have this feature. I know of a few communes and there's the one famous company in the UK which is a working and very successful democracy for its workers (mentioned in SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL).

Many Americans have aspirational buying habits, too, getting on credit what they can't actually afford and paying more long run for it if and often losing it if the economy crunches.

Rebecca Brown

Nicaragua Is Still

a country where the contrasts between, and the benefits of, communism, socialism and capitalism can be observed and evaluated.

The words themselves are deceptive, and mean many things to many people. To me, capitalism means opportunity; to someone else it might mean exploitation.

There are still a handful of cooperatives left in Nicaragua. There's a successful one in Achuapa, and one a kilometer from my farm in Venezia. Many (probably most, but I don't know this) have been disbanded and the cooperativa land distributed to the owners. If communism or socialism (or whatever you want to call communal ownership, resource planning and labor contribution) is a preferable arrangement, why would the Nicaraguan cooperatives choose to be disbanded?

Again, I don't know this for sure, but I suspect that the cooperativa realized that some percentage of its members talked instead of worked. A few probably felt that they could maximize their production if they worked a few extra hours at the appropriate time, but the rest wouldn't, so why should they? You see the innate problem. A lack of incentive (for anything but "talk").

When I was in Cuba I met a young man who was the entertainment director at a resort I stayed at. One thing you can say about the Cuban system is, there is a lot of education. A waiter goes to school for two years, my friend studied four years for his job. He spoke three languages. He asked me if I had any movies on DVD with me or blank DVD's. It seems that he solicited DVD movies from the guests, he would copy them, and was running a small movie rental business on the side in his town. He didn't have to do this, he ate and slept at the resort (7 days on, 7 off) and did well with the tips of grateful guests whom he had taught to salsa during their stay. He COULD have drank and idled his 7 days off, as most good communists would.

I guess my point is, some people just come with this desire to climb the food chain. Others are happy with what someone else gives them. This to me is the difference between communism/socialism and capitalism.

Are we getting a bit confused

here> You are mixing governments, communes companies in the same breath. Or in several breaths, but they come so close together that it's confusing. The reason companies are not democracies is because they the ones that did it are history. Like the five year plan. Just a fact interjected here...more bought on credit in NICA then in the USA as a percentage of income. And like at 100% interest. What the hell s an "aspirational buying habit"...something a nun wears to the Berne..or is it Hague convention.ZZT

The quote has been misattributed to Churchhill

Churchhill was born to privilege and never had any sympathies with Socialists. I think he was a fairly privileged man who liked having those privileges and whose politics were consistent with being a well-born man who would have been in the House of Lord minus a few details. He swore he'd never preside over the dissolution of the British Empire and the British people spared him that ordeal by putting him out of office before India was given its freedom.

People who attribute that quote to Churchill tend to be unaware that good quotes tend to be mis-attributed to famous people quite often.

Rebecca Brown

You are right on the misattributation

He borrowed it.

But your observation on Socialism is somewhat redundant. He was after all the Conservative Prime Minister at a time when Conservatism was what it was, not a hybrid trying to guess the mood of the nation.

This one he did say, in a speech in the House of Commons on October 22, 1945.

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

A great man, a man's man.

Visited his grave many a time on Sunday afternoon drives to Blenheim.

look like is truth

This quotation is frequently but mistakenly attributed to Churchill. It is anyway unlikely that Churchill would subscribe to this philosophy: He was a swashbuckling soldier at 20, and a Conservative member of Parliament at 25. A couple of years later he switched to the Liberal Party (which was not liberal in the modern sense), and later went back to the Conservatives.

The phrase originated with Francois Guisot (1787-1874): "Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head." It was revived by French Premier Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929): "Not to be a socialist at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head."

Wait A Minute!

Very fair skinned, blonde hair, product of good nutrition (defined waist and no protruding stomach).

Could we POSSIBLY have a Gringa ringer here ??

You missed her teeth

in the other pictures. The fact that they are all dressed in Black shirts and fatigue pants is also a give away FSLN "gang members" I see them all th time in my bario.

No ringer there

There are plenty fair skinned, blonde hair people ( we call them cheles ) in the areas of Matagalpa and Esteli. My family has both white, blonde and green eyes and dark brown skin, jet black hair ( we call it pelo Indio). I don't see the relation to good nutrition , unless you are referring to the absent protruding stomach. But that is a different topic .