Tag Archives: Gaceta Sandinista

Somoza: Murderous Nazi Pig

My previous post examined collages of Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the brutal dictator of Nicaragua deposed by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in 1978, which highlighted the corruption and greed of the regime. Today’s images are series of cartoons depicting Somoza as a murderous Nazi pig. Like the images in the last blog post, these cartoons came from Gaceta Sandinista, the FSLN’s publication operating out of Cuba and were part of a propaganda campaign aimed at influencing opinion in Nicaragua and internationally against Somoza Debayle.

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In each cartoon the dictator is shown as a pig in the garb of a military officer with Somoza Debayle’s trademark horn-rimmed glasses. The cartoonist, whose mark can be found at the bottom of each image, clearly sought to highlight not only the brutality of the Somoza regime (swastikas, bloody weaponry, sharp teeth) but also emphasize the regimes corruption and greed, hence depicting him as a pig. Each cartoon also emphasizes Somoza Debayle’s connections to the United States, notice that his tail spells out “CIA” or the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.

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Following his election in 1976, Jimmy Carter pressured Somoza Debayle to democratize and respect human right. In order to appease his main benefactor Somoza Debayle liberalized Nicaragua, however these reforms were superficial and did little to mitigate the dictators brutal practices. In the cartoon above Somoza Debayle is saying “I am for human rights” while holding a bloody ax and standing over the grave of ┬álos desaparecidos or “the disappeared ones,” the victims of Latin America’s military regimes. The image above represents Somoza Debayle’s lip-service to human rights while continuing the bloody suppression of the Nicaraguan people.

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The final cartoon is another representation of the relationship between Somoza Debayle and the United States. In the cartoon above Somoza Debayle is using the legs of an eagle (the United States) as stilts. The Somoza regime maintained its hold on power largely through the support of the United States, which provided significant amounts of military and monetary aid to Somoza Debayle and his personal military, the National Guard. This support proved crucial to propping up the Somoza Debayle and once it was removed his regime quickly crumbled. The Carter administration facilitated the decline of the dictator by cutting military aid in an effort to bring about democratization and human rights

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Poking Fun at the Dictator

The images below are taken from Gaceta Sandinista the official voice of the FSLN in Cuba during the 1970s. The FSLN published the journal out of Cuba and drew heavily on the internationalist sentiments of the Cuban Revolution. Gaceta Sandinista largely reported on the situation in Nicaragua, heralding the achievements of the FSLN and decrying the abuses of the Somoza regime and the United States. Besides its articles and political essays, Gaceta Sandinista featured many cartoons, illustrations, and collages. Images, such as those below, were an important means of conveying the political message of the FSLN, especially in Nicaragua where the illiteracy rate remained over seventy percent during the 1970s.

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An overweight man, many images in Gaceta Sandinista, such as the one above, mocked Somoza’s girth. The text at the bottom of the image translates as “a comment in respect to,” which is both a comment on Somoza’s faltering regime and a joke about the dictators weight.

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The writers of Gaceta Sandinista also used Somoza’s plumpness as a means of highlighting the kleptocratic nature of his regime. Somoza notoriously stole millions of dollars from the people of Nicaragua while at the same time murdering thousands of them. The text reads “Archive of Somocista Corruption” and is the header to a section of the journal dedicated to cataloging the abuses of the Somoza regime.

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The final image depicts Somoza as Rocky Balboa who is fighting for the dollars of his trainer Mickey Goldman, representing the United States. Although not a complete puppet of the United States, Somoza sought to appease the United States and regularly toed-the-line, knowing that without U.S. support his regime would crumble.

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