Tag Archives: Gabriele Gottwald

Mapping the Revolution

I’ve been mapping the transnational networks of the Nicaraguan Revolution for a few years now and I thought that I would share some of the data I have accrued. Below are a few visualizations and the accompanying data. You can download the spreadsheets and upload them to Palladio in order to recreate these visualizations.


Grants


Twinning and Sister Cities


Gabi Gottwald – Political Connections

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French Feminist Solidarity

Last week I received a package in the mail from Toulouse, France, which contained a booklet from a feminist Nicaraguan-solidarity organization in Paris. I had originally found a copy of this booklet in the Gabi Guttwald collection at the Archiv Grünes Gedächtnis, but while looking into the organization I found a copy online. I have not found many sources from French solidarity groups, this booklet being my only piece so far.

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“Nicaragua Women”

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Printed shortly after the fall of Somoza in July 1979, this booklet contains accounts of events in Nicaragua and Nicaraguan women’s efforts in helping to oust the Somoza regime. Early in its history the FSLN adopted a policy of gender equality within its ranks, allowing women the same rights and opportunities within the organization as its male members. During the revolution women served in support as well as front line positions. After the revolution women remained in significant roles in the organization and by the mid-1980s one quarter to one third of the leadership positions in the FSLN government and party were held by women.

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I was not able to track down this Sandino quote and I do not know French well enough to give it a proper translation, or at least one that makes sense.

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“Women and Armed Struggle”

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“The Women’s Struggle After Victory”

Karen Kampwirth, Women and Guerrilla Movements: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas, Cuba (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003)

Victoria Gonzalez and Karen Kampwirth, Radical Women in Latin America: Left and Right (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001)

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Green Aid to the FSLN

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The image to the left is of an article from La Prensa Grafica, a Salvadoran newspaper, dated October 27, 1989. The article discusses the efforts of the German Greens to raise funds for the FSLN. The article states that the Greens raised 300,000 marks for Daniel Ortega‘s presidential campaign against Violeta Chamorro. By the late 1980s European support for the FSLN had significantly dwindled in the face of U.S. political and economic pressure as well as growing relations between the Sandinistas and the Soviet Union. Although state support was on the decline, grassroots solidarity groups on the far-left of European politics continued to support the FSLN. A number of the factions that made up the Greens espoused solidarity with Nicaragua in its struggle with U.S. aggression, providing material and moral support. These groups channeled some aid, such as that mentioned in the article, through umbrella organizations like the Greens, while others used their own organizational apparatus to support the FSLN. This resulted in extremely complicated transnational networks with grassroots groups in Germany pursuing an individual program of support while simultaneously coordinating with other groups under the aegis of broad coalitions.

Solon Lovett Barraclough, Aid That Counts: The Western Contribution to Development and Survival in Nicaragua (Washington D.C.: Transnational Institute, 1988).

Eusebio Mujal-León. “European Socialism and the Crisis in Central America.” Rift and Revolution: The Central American Imbroglio (Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1984).

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Killer Cartoons

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Between the spring of 1986 and the fall of 1987, the presidents of five Central American states came together in Esquipulas, Guatemala in order to find a solution to the region’s military conflicts. The cartoon above shows the five presidents who signed the Esquipulas Peace Agreement, or Esquipulas II. From left to right, the signers of the peace agreement were: Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala, José Napoleón Duarte of El Salvador, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, José Azcona Hoyo of Honduras, and Óscar Arias Sánchez of Costa Rica. The cartoonist apparently believed that Cerezo, Duarte, and Azcona were using the peace process as a means of hiding their misdeeds, while Arias organized the meeting out of his own vanity and desire for a peace prize. The cartoonist’s bias is quite evident considering Ortega stands with nothing to hide. However, the indigenous peoples of the Miskito coast might have disagreed with this portrayal. After the Sandinistas came to power they sought to incorporate the Miskito people of Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast, who had historically enjoyed a large amount of autonomy. This led to a Miskito revolution against the Sandinistas, which culminated in the return of Miskito sovereignty in 1987. Ironically many who supported the Sandinistas in their struggle against the United States, such as Gabi Gottwald, also supported the Miskito Indians in their struggle against the FSLN, revealing that for many connected to the solidarity movement a conviction to supporting human rights often trumped political considerations.

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Newsletters and Protests

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Six hours at the archive flew by today. I’m learning so many new and exciting German words like Todesschwadron (death squad) – insert sarcasm. The language barrier makes researching quite slow and there are tons of sources in the archive, which makes for long days, but they’re pretty fascinating at the same time.

The picture above is of a newsletter published by a German socialist group, whose name escapes me at the moment. The title of the newsletter is in Spanish, and translates as “Free Nicaragua” while the smaller text immediately below it is in German and translates as “for the new Nicaragua,” and also in German the red text with the exclamation point translates as “The Revolution continues!” I would really like to makes this headline my banner. I’m actually not even supposed to have it since I can’t digitize and documents myself and have to ask an assistant to make copies, but I couldn’t help myself with this one. It’s going to be really hard not stealing tons of pictures later this week when I look at the poster collection.

I found at least four newsletters like this one in the collections of Gabriele Gottwald, which were sent to her by solidarity groups. I was primarily interested in the newsletters because they mentioned a large rally protesting the Nicaraguan war being held in Bonn on November 3, 1984. The protest was largely organized by socialists, but the greens also participated. One of the newsletters mentioned that its organizers were formerly involved in protesting the Vietnam War. It is impressive to study these groups and understand that there scope was vast not only geographically but temporally as well. Many of these groups in North America and Western Europe influenced relations between their home countries and the “Third World” for decades.

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Pledge of Resistance, German Style

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My first full day in the archive proved fruitful. The staff at the Archiv Grünes Gedächtnis (Green Memory Archive) were so helpful and very sympathetic to my lack of German. My best finds so far are petitions and packets of newspaper clippings sent to Green Party member of parliament Gabby Gottwald. These documents were from solidarity groups in Germany and the United States reaching out to their representatives in government, and in the case of the U.S. organizations, those of another country.

The above document is a German translation and modification of the Pledge of Resistance. After the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983 many in the solidarity movement in the United States feared that the Reagan administration would soon invade Nicaragua. In response, a group, which came to be known simply as Pledge of Resistance, created a pledge promising to resist a U.S. invasion and stand in solidarity with the people of Nicaragua. The pledge soon became the rallying cry for those opposed to the Reagan administration’s aggression towards Nicaragua. The fact that the document made it to Germany, and eventually into the hands of a German member of parliament, demonstrates the transnational dimensions of revolutionary solidarity.

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