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Nicaragua. Key factors Trans-isthmus Agenda US/British competition over Latin America Liberal Conservative conflicts in the region Gold Rush William Walker.

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Presentation on theme: "Nicaragua. Key factors Trans-isthmus Agenda US/British competition over Latin America Liberal Conservative conflicts in the region Gold Rush William Walker."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nicaragua

2 Key factors Trans-isthmus Agenda US/British competition over Latin America Liberal Conservative conflicts in the region Gold Rush William Walker Episode

3 Trans-isthmus Agenda Nicaragua first location for canal (MAP) –1830’s English sent reps and surveyors –US undertook report –1858 French tried but failed to organize funding Costa Rica Route Panama Route

4 US/British competition US little involvement before 1850: –John Lloyd Stephens: traveler wrote about CA –Bidlack Treaty (1848) US right of transit across Panama  Panama Railway US involved in other concerns: Mexican War, expansion west British become more aggressive –1839: Brits try to colonize Honduras bay islands –1850-Clayton Bulwer Treaty: joint US/Brit control of any trans isthmus route  US gets equality on the isthmus

5 Liberal Conservative conflicts 1940’s: Two governments in Nicaragua – Conservatives-Granada – Liberals-Leon 1851 compromised at Managua Simmering

6 Gold Rush 1848: gold discovered in California-transcontinental transit is key NICARAGUA become the center of the transportation world—but canal will take too long Cornelius Vanderbilt forms immediate passage –Accessory Transit Company –Nicaragua Line steamship –short stagecoach line Complications: –Costa Rica claims territory in SW Nicaragua –Britain supports CR/US supports Nicaragua Meanwhile CR has TI schemes (map) not really feasible in the end Panama Railway was complete in 1855

7 William Walker Episode Brilliant: finishes college at 14, studies medicine, law, becomes journalist Inspired by liberal ideals and Manifest Destiny goes to Nicaragua to join the Leon Liberals in (57 other Californians) –Leads liberals against conservatives, eventually becomes chief of the Armed forces, really most powerful. –US recognizes his regime,aided by NY finance –Veterans of Mexican war and southerners flock to Nicaragua aided by land grants and other concessions visions of expanded south/slavery. Nic as a southern slave sate 1856, Walker is elected president

8 “National War” Conservatives from all of CA are ALARMED at US intervention  “NATIONAL WAR” –large Central American force/Brits blockade/Peru loans $ to Costa Rica, other help from SA states 1857: Walker is defeated, Pres. Buchanan arranges truce Results of the war for Nicaragua: –Conservative victory: extension of power for a longer period than otherwise might have occurred. –long period of stability allowed for development –1880’s: coffee would emerge there later than other countries –US discredited –a)  opened way for French influence; Tried to build canal there, but capital and Costa Rican problems remained, –b) US still involved in a scheme that eventually fails by 1995 at Greytown (Nicaraguan canal Association)

9 Zelaya Liberal revolution in 1893 Zelaya is a liberal dictator (common in CA at the time) similar to Porfirio Not welcoming or sympathetic to US –Residual effects of US intervention during the National War would later result in Zelaya refusing to be part of a US sponsored accord by 4 other CA states in 1906 US supports his overthrow in 1910 (Brits help with this too)

10 US Intervention in Nicaragua Read Central America (Woodward) pp

11 Somoza dynasty 1934/ Legacy of US occupation: national guard Wealth: –Acquisition of German coffee plantations Conflict with traditional elite –Progressive initiatives early on Some agrarian reform –16,500 families land titles/63 colonies –Building on history of small producers in Nicaragua (larger than in other CA countries)

12 Pre-conditions to overthrow Agro export model intensified in 1950’s for cotton –Average per capital income for lowest 50%=$300 (low even by Latin America standards) –Worsening infant mortality, illiteracy, life exp. –Somoza fortune grows to $.5 billion Final catalysts to overthrow –Massacre of demonstrators in 1967 –Earthquake of 1972-little reconstruction  personal enrichment of Somoza

13 Somoza Overthrow -- Why successful? (in contrast to other similar cases) Social conditions of poverty (nothing unusual), but with a high urban component and exacerbated by earthquake “Mafiacracy” and corruption –Last Somoza went over the top in tyranny; control over earthquake aid alienated trad. elites; (when Carter administration forced freedom of press, corruption of regime was exposed) Temporary moderation of US policy under Carter –Emphasis on human rights/cutoff of aid Nature of the FSLN –History, composition, tactics, and alliances

14 FSLN Frente Sandanista de Liberación Nacional Formed in 1961 by Marxist students who had left Nic. Socialist party (too controlled by USSR) “Accumulation of Force in Silence” worked with –University students, rural and urban poor Liberation theologists working to develop “base communities”  “social gospel” –Ideas about rights/revolution dovetailed with FSLN 1974: hostage taking action 1977: flurry of urban attacks 1978: caught on broadly: (hostage taking in the Nat. Leg. Palace) –Widespread popular opposition: Cross class; Rural/urban; Church 1979: Somoza flees to Miami

15 Sandanista Period “Government of National Reconstruction” Pragmatism/ Context: –USSR losing steam –Cuba has made many mistakes (don’t want to repeat) Mixed economy –Nationalized émigré’s land –Public land < 40% –Encouraged entrepreneurs with loans, exchange rates –Heavy emphasis on state farms disappointed some peasants (history of small peasant farmers larger in Nic) –Successful: GDP growth of 7% (during 14.7% decline in CA)

16 Sandanista Period “Government of National Reconstruction Maintained more political/civil rights than most Latin American govs –Explosion of grassroots organization and participatory democracy –Given formal representation in gov. and Council of State (legislature until elections in 1984) –Electoral laws developed modeled on/with Swedish Electoral Commission. Social success: Kissinger Commission report (1984) “significant gains against illiteracy and disease”. Foreign policy: neutral and non aligned –Seat on UN Security Council

17 The election: Elections: Daniel Ortega (leader of FSLN) elected with 75% of vote –Observed by delegations from Brit. Parliament and House of Lords, Irish Parliament, and Willy Brandt commission US participation in elections: –CIA organizes false candidate who would quite in disgust over unfree elections –CIA false leaks about Soviet MiGs en route to Nic to distract US public from results –Context: Iran/contra


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