Elections and Events 1937-1970


Alexander 1957: “In 1937 [the PTN] split over the issue of supporting the presidential candidacy of General Anastasio Somoza” (page 379). “The Communist faction in the Partido de Trabajadores Nicaraguenses...withdrew from the party and established their own organization, the Partido Socialista” (page 380).


Leonard 1985: “The constitution presented a democratic framework, which provided for the nonreelection of an incumbent president and an elected two-house legislature. However, in practice Somoza dominated. His Liberal party controlled the bulk of the population. He changed Cabinet ministers at will. He appointed national guard commandants to the nation’s fifteen departments, each of whom was responsible only to him. Civil liberties were suppressed. In effect, he governed the country arbitrarily and for the benefit of himself and his family” (pages 128-129).

Smith 1993: “The victorious Tacho was installed as President of the Republic on 1 January 1937…Somoza and his successors evolved a strategy for the maintenance of power which had five distinct components” (page 101). Discusses each.

Walter 1993: “With the acquiescence of Washington, the support of the Guardia Nacional, and the political coalition he had put together in Nicaragua, Somoza had no effective opposition. He was duly installed as president on 1 January 1937 for a four-year term” (page 63).


Walter 1993: “In order to reform the system of municipal government, Somoza decided that he needed first to control it directly. In March 1937, he issued a decree taking over the municipal government of León…Three days later, the municipality of Masaya was intervened under similar pretexts…Shortly afterward, the municipal government of Chinandega was intervened as well. It should be noted that Managua, located within a Distrito Nacional since the mid-nineteenth century, already was under direct presidential control” (page 82).


Electoral democracy under international pressure 1990: “Somoza in the 1930s annulled municipal elections and appointed municipal governments. Although this decision was reversed in 1950, the municipal governments basically functioned as extensions of the central government” ([age 13).

Municipal autonomy in Nicaragua 1990: “It was not until the Somoza regime that municipal governments in Nicaragua changed substantially…Somoza suspended municipal elections in August 1937, and granted the power to appoint local councils to the executive” (page 34).

Municipalities: where democracy is born 1997: “1937: Somoza eliminated municipal elections. The local boards became directly dependent on the executive branch. 1937-1939: During the Somoza years the municipalities lost all characteristics of local government and lacked administrative, financial or political independence. Somoza eliminated the Managua mayor’s office, replacing it with the National District” (page 20).

Walter 1993: “In August 1937 the Congress passed a law suspending all future municipal elections until the reform of the Constitution. In the meantime, the president would appoint the municipal authorities…At this moment, municipal government throughout the country became an appendage of the national government as municipality after municipality was intervened by the president” (page 83).



Walter 1993: “(A) legislative decree [is issued] calling for general elections for a constitutional convention that would convene on 15 December 1938…In order that the new Constitution include as far as possible the opinion of all important political factions, Somoza needed to guarantee the participation of the Conservative party in addition to that of his own Nationalist Conservatives” (page 91). A presidential decree stated that “the Conservative party would regain the juridical status…that it had lost by not participating in the 1936 elections, without having to go through all of the legal paperwork. Thus the only parties with the right to participate in the elections were the Liberals, the Conservatives, and the Nationalist Conservatives. Deputies to the convention would be assigned in a predetermined fashion according to the electoral strength of each party. For example, in Managua the party with the most votes would get five deputies, while the second and third place runners-up would each get one deputy…(T)he dice were loaded in favor of the Liberal party: forty deputies for the first-place winner, twelve for second, and four for third” (page 92).

November: constituent assembly election

Walter 1993: “The elections held on 6 November 1938 were even more of a sham than those that named Somoza president in 1936. The Conservatives decided to abstain again, while the ballot boxes and ballots were distributed throughout the country by the quartermaster general of the Guardia Nacional. The final results were made available within twenty-four hours” (page 92). Discusses the results. “In 1938 the [Genuino Conservatives] decided to field candidates for the Constituent Assembly although the [Conservative] party’s leadership vehemently opposed the plan” (page 99).


Alexander 1957: “In 1939 the Partido Socialista was closed down by the Somoza government, and many of its leaders fled into exile” (page 380).

Radical women in Latin America: left and right 2001: “1939: Women petition unsuccessfully for the right to vote” (page 31).


Barquero 1945: “El 30 de marzo de 1939 la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente eligió al señor General A. Somoza para el período Constitucional 1939-1947 y el 1o de mayo de ese mismo año le dió posesión de su cargo” (page 235).

Cole Chamorro 1967: “Para Marzo de 1939, el presidente, Gral Somoza García convocó a una Asamblea Constituyente que se encargó de dictar la nueva Constitución Política de Nicaragua. Fue una maniobra para evadir las elecciones presidenciales de 1940" (page 122).

González 2001: “Since the Catholic Church was allied with the Conservative Party, Liberals feared that the majority of women, if given a chance, would vote for Conservative candidates. That was exactly the reasoning the Liberal Assembly delegate Guillermo Sevilla Sacasa gave for his anti-suffrage vote in 1939” (page 52).

Kuant 1990: “In 1939 Somoza abolished municipal autonomy by changing the constitution” (page 17).

Millett 1977: “After adopting the Constitution, the assembly became a legislative body, replacing the Congress until May 1, 1947. This new ‘Congress’ then chose Anastasio Somoza G. as President for the period from 1939-1947" (page 194).

Nickson 1995: “Under the 1939 Constitution, municipal elections were abolished, and elected officeholders were replaced by presidential appointees” (page 211).

Parker 1981: “The first long presidential tenure of Anastasio Somoza García was made possible by a new constitution prepared in March 1939 which granted him a ‘transitory’ term until 1 May 1947 without further referendum with the people” (page 228).

Smith 1993: “In 1939 Somoza called what would be the first of a series of Constituent Assemblies, all of which would be designed to find ways to circumvent the constitutional provisions which forbade presidential second terms. This Assembly voted to extend Somoza’s term of office until 1 May 1947; to lengthen the normal presidential term of office from four years to six; and to allow the president to make laws pertaining to the National Guard without reference to the national government” (page 103).

Walter 1993: “The new Constitution formalized the new approach to municipal government: every two years the president would appoint municipal councils, which would come under his direct supervision…Also under presidential control was the Consejo Nacional de Elecciones, as two of its three members would be named by the executive...The Constitution’s transitory provisions were to have the greatest immediate impact because they did exactly what the Conservatives had said they would: Somoza’s term was extended all the way to 1 May 1947 and the Constituent Assembly itself became the National Congress until 15 April 1947 with no intervening elections to bother about. There would be time, therefore, to concentrate on useful activities; the regime would not be encumbered by party politics and electoral campaigns” (pages 93-94).


Zub K. 2002: “La presencia de los primeros bautistas en cargos políticos encontramos en el gobierno de Somoza García y el partido Liberal. La vinculación se dio desde el año 1940 cuando fueron electos diputados Fernando Delgadillo y el General Luciano Astorga” (page 31).


Millett 1977: “By the end of 1943 General Somoza had already begun considering ways of altering the constitution to permit his reelection in 1947" (page 200).

Smith 1993: “The tiny labour movement went underground until its partial reemergence in 1943 when an independent labour party was created by Enrique Espinosa Sotomayer” (page 107).


Leonard 1985: “In December 1943 Somoza called for a Liberal party convention to convene in León on January 8, 1944” (page 129).


Bulmer-Thomas 1991: “Somoza’s decision early in 1944 to seek re-election split the Liberal Party and led to the formation of the Partido Liberal Independiente (PLI) which made common cause with the Conservatives to launch a strike designed to bring down Somoza in mid-1944" (pages 247-248).

Serra Vázquez 1995: “El [PLI] nació en 1944 contra la reelección de A. Somoza que controlaba el Partido Liberal. El mismo año surgió el [PSN] como expresión del incipiente movimiento obrero” (page 264).

Smith 1993: “In 1944 two more opposition parties were formed: the Independent Liberal Party (PLI) and the Moscow-oriented Nicaraguan Socialist Party (PSN)” (page 107).


Leonard 1985: At the Liberal party convention on January 8, 1944 Somoza “proclaimed that he had no intention of remaining in office beyond his legal term, ending on January 1, 1947, unless the majority of the people wished him to, and Congress amended the constitution to permit him to do so...Subsequently, the convention adopted the principles of the 1939 constitution as the party creed and called for women’s suffrage; the right of minority parties to participate in government; and in case of national emergency, the president’s right to stand for reelection” (page 129).


Walter 1993: “Within the Liberal party itself, Somoza undertook to tighten control by means of an overhaul of its statutes and organization. A party convention met in León on 7-9 February 1944 and approved in quick order a number of changes in the party’s platform and internal organization…More substantial changes occurred in the procedures for the election of party officials. Whereas in the past representatives to the ‘Gran Convención’ were elected by the local assemblies of party members, the new statutes called for a national plebiscite on the basis of one delegate for every thousand Liberal votes in the most recent presidential election; though more ‘democratic’ in the sense that delegates were voted to office directly, this change meant that the election procedure could be controlled centrally” (page 97). Discusses other changes. “(A)ll direct election of intermediate and lower party bodies was eliminated…The president of the republic formally became the Jefe Supremo of the party, empowered to intervene at any level and to review all important party decisions” (page 98).


Leonard 1985: “Congress approved [a reelection amendment to the constitution] on April 27, 1944” (page 129).

Rojas Bolaños 1994: “Los intentos de introducir una reforma en la Constitución que le permitiera seguir en la presidencia de la República después del 1 de enero de 1947 tropezaron con una fuerte resistencia, incluso dentro de las filas del Partido Liberal...El partido se dividió y surgió el Partido Liberal Independiente (PLI). Sin embargo, el 27 de abril el Congreso aprobó la reforma que permitía una nueva reeleccón de Somoza...La caída de Hernández Martínez y de Ubico inyectaron nueva fuerza a la oposición al régimen” (page 112).

Walter 1993: “The immediate cause of open political dissent in 1944 was Somoza’s desire for reelection. Within the Liberal party itself, there was a group that harbored political ambitions of its own or that concluded that Liberal principles were being compromised by Somoza’s ‘continuismo.’ While the Congress debated the reform of the constitutional provision that prohibited presidential reelection, a number of prominent Liberals publicly voiced their opposition and were forthwith thrown in jail…This was one of the first evidences of dissent within the Liberal party and Somoza at that moment was trying to avoid an open split that might lead to a serious political crisis” (page 130).


Alexander 1957: In “May, 1944, a national labor congress met in Nicaragua...The three hundred delegates present founded the Confederación de Trabajadores de Nicaragua. The CTN was very successful...The Partido Socialista...became strong. It completely controlled the trade unions” (page 380).


Smith 1993: “In June and July 1944 massive street demonstrations took place against the Somoza government which incorporated all sections of this variegated opposition. Somoza reacted with some circumspection and a dose of populism. It was still necessary to adopt a democratic veneer to retain the support of the US” (page 108).

Walter 1993: “Somoza’s conciliatory attitude toward members of his own party was not repeated in June, when the streets of Managua witnessed the first widespread urban disturbances since the demonstrations of early 1936 that preceded Somoza’s rise to power” (page 130).


Rojas Bolaños 1994: “La dictadura reprimió duramente las protestas; pero la presión ejercida tuvo su efecto: el 3 de julio, durante una reunión del Partido Liberal en Managua, Somoza anunció el veto a la reforma constitucional que permitía su reelección” (pages 112-113).

Walter 1993: “On 3 July the leadership of the Liberal party met to discuss the situation, with one group demanding that the time for freedom and democracy had arrived and that Somoza should desist from his reelectionist plans or should even step down immediately…And on 4 July, both Somocistas and anti-Somocistas determined to take advantage of the U.S. Independence Day celebration to organize street demonstrations and to set forth their views” (page 131). Describes other demonstrations. “On 7 July, Somoza decided to give a little and issued a statement declaring that he no longer sought the presidential nomination for the next term” (page 132). “He also announced that the elections to be held in 1947 would be fair…In any case, he added, now that the political issue had been resolved through his veto of the constitutional amendment, there were no reasons whatsoever for more political instability and those who persisted in making problems would be treated with a heavy hand…By 14 July, the first group of dissident Liberals left the country for exile in Costa Rica” (page 133).



Walter 1993: “The holding of elections in 1947 required the regime to initiate some process of ‘apertura.’ In the first place, the Conservative party…did not exist legally, since it had not participated in the 1936 and 1938 elections. According to the 1923 electoral law, if it wished to participate in the next election, it needed to petition the electoral board and present lists of signatures equivalent to 5 percent of the total votes cast in the last election. In order to facilitate the return of the Conservative party to the fold, the government decreed in August 1945 that the Liberals and the Nationalist Conservatives constituted the two principal parties but that the regime recognized the ‘historical and legal existence’ of the Conservative party and would permit it to run candidates for office without going through the process of petition and signature gathering” (page 149).


Leonard 1985: “The Independent Liberal party, whose origins can be traced to Somoza’s reelection bid in 1943 and 1944, did not have legal status because it had not participated in the last presidential election (1936). At Somoza’s direction, the dissidents were expelled from the Liberal party on September 6, 1945...The Independent Liberals and traditional Conservatives were strange bedfellows, but the former recognized the necessity of an alliance with the latter” (page 133).

Walter 1993: In September 1945 a “number of reforms of the 1923 electoral law were approved by the Congress, including one that made it more difficult for new parties to register for the election by raising the number of signatures from 5 to 10 percent of the votes cast in the last election. The Conservative party had already been granted the right to register without presenting any signatures, so this measure was aimed at the Independent Liberals (PLI), who were in the process of organizing themselves to participate in the upcoming election” (page 150).


Walter 1993: “In order to persuade party members to work and vote for the PLN, the party organization had to create a sense of urgency around the 1947 electoral process. As a first step, the party held a national plebiscite among its members in October 1945 to elect representatives to the Gran Convención to be held in January 1946. According to the party’s leadership, 76,000 Liberals turned out to choose 101 delegates to the convention” (page 152).


Leonard 1985: “In November 1945 Somoza rejected a Conservative party proposal that the government be placed in the hands of a triumvirate until elections were held” (page 133).

Walter 1993: “By mid-November [1945], Somoza felt that he had gained sufficient strength vis-á-vis the State Department and flatly told the U.S. ambassador that he would seek the unified support of Liberals and Conservatives for his candidacy; he said that only if he was unable to get this bipartisan backing would he step down” (page 147). The U.S. Department of State expresses its displeasure with Somoza’s statement and he subsequently announces his withdrawal as a candidate for reelection (pages 147-149). “(T)he state of siege that had been in effect since December 1941 was lifted in November 1945” (page 149).


Walter 1993: The Liberals were “by far the wealthiest political organization in the country. At the beginning of 1946, they had accumulated a campaign chest of C$1,189,581, most of it produced by the 5 percent ‘contribution’ on salaries that all public employees paid to the PLN” (pages 151-152).


Leonard 1985: “Unable to negotiate a political agreement with the Conservatives, the Liberals pursued their own course in 1946. When their split from Somoza was confirmed at the party convention at León in January 1946, the Independent Liberals organized a mass demonstration against Somoza in Managua on January 27” (page 133).

Walter 1993: “At the Liberal convention, Somoza confirmed his decision not to run for office, but no action was taken to name a new candidate. The reason was that Somoza still wanted to bring the dissident PLI members back into the party” (page 153).


Leonard 1985: “On March 6 the Independent Liberals convened at León to organize an executive committee and plan for a national convention and party platforms” (page 134).


Rojas Bolaños 1994: “En abril y mayo de 1946 Somoza intentó llegar a acuerdos con los conservadores y los liberales independientes, pero no tuvo éxito” (page 113).


Leonard 1985: “The turnout for the [PLI] plebiscite on June 2 was poor...[G]overnment interference was given as the primary reason for the confusion and disappointing turnout. On June 1 the government issued a circular to all department ‘jefes políticos’ stating that the Independent Liberals had no legal status under existing electoral laws and therefore could not hold party elections...Somoza rescinded the order that same evening” (page 134).


Alexander 1957: “In seeking popular support, Somoza tried to make a deal with the Communists. He permitted for the first time the open organization and propaganda of the Partido Socialista, which held its first public meeting in the Gimnasio Nacional on July 6, 1946” (page 381).


Leonard 1985: “The agreement [between the Conservatives and the PLI], signed on August 17, pledged both parties to overthrow the dictatorship, guarantee civil liberties, initiate governmental and constitutional reforms, and establish a government that would provide minority representation” (page 134). “The Liberal convention, in early August, remained deadlocked between [Lorenzo Guerrero and Alejandro Abaunza]. Somoza engineered another master stroke by arranging the nomination of seventy-one-year-old Leonardo Argüello, who combined the dual advantages of a ‘big name’ Liberal likely to attract support from the Independent Liberals. His malleability, lack of vigor, and reported feeble health made Somoza’s indirect ‘continuismo’ probable” (page 138).

Walter 1993: “When another Liberal convention gathered in León in August 1946, Somoza arranged for Argüello to be the candidate; on that occasion Argüello received 98 out of 101 votes…For Somoza, Argüello seemed the candidate most easily ‘manageable’ if he should reach the presidency, for Argüello was rather old and Somoza assumed that having been granted his life-wish to be president, he would be willing to repay his political debt” (page 153). In August “the PLI and the Conservatives formally signed the pact that bound them to join together to achieve victory in the 1947 elections” (page 154).


Leonard 1985: “The [PLI] delegates elected in June convened at León on September 2, 1946, and nominated Enoc Aguado for president” (page 134).

Walter 1993: “Subsequently, the Independent Liberals met in a convention in León and ratified the choice of an elderly Liberal, Dr. Enoc Aguado, as the presidential candidate of the two parties” (page 154).


Leonard 1985: “In November 1946 Somoza retained complete control of the electoral machinery when he vetoed legislation providing for opposition representation on the electoral boards to assist with vote-counting” (page 142).

Walter 1993: Government policies toward opposition political parties are based on “the recognition on Somoza’s part of two oppositions in Nicaragua. The Conservative party was the loyal opposition whose basic quarrel had to do with power and power sharing…The disloyal opposition of Independent Liberals and university students who praised Sandino, on the other hand, questioned the basic premises of Somocismo…(E)xpressions of political opposition to Somoza were impeded when they originated from those groups identified with a disloyal opposition. When the Independent Liberals and the Conservatives requested permission to hold a number of ‘actos cívicos’ on 24 November 1946 in order to celebrate the nomination of Dr. Enoc Aguado, their joint presidential candidate, the jefe político of Managua answered that he could not authorize these events becamse the 1923 electoral law only referred to ‘actos políticos’” (page 151).


Alexander 1957: “The Communists made the most of the opportunity to function without government interference. By December, 1946, they claimed 1500 members and the support of 25 percent of the electorate. Since Somoza relied considerably on the Partido Socialista for support, the Communists began to press him for influence within the government. They wanted government jobs, and even put in a bid for seats in Congress. However, Somoza resisted this pressure. At the same time the opposition, which was preparing for the elections of 1947, also sought the Communists’ support. It offered to name six Communists on its ticket for members of the Chamber of Deputies...In the end the Communists threw their support to the opposition candidate, [Enoc Aguado]” (page 381).



Leonard 1985: “Twice in January 1947 Somoza approached [Argüello] about retaining control over the national guard and explained that he was the only one capable of controlling it. Argüello refused on the grounds that such actions opened charges of ‘continuismo’” (page 142).

February: general election (Argüello / PLN)

Cole Chamorro 1967: “Las estadísticas de la elección dieron un abultado número de votantes para el candidato oficialista, Dr. Leonardo Argüello Barreto, mientras que el candidato de la oposición aparecía con un ridículo escrutinio a su favor. Quienes vieron aquella elección, en cuenta quien escribe este libro, constataron el voluminoso triunfo del Dr. Enoc Aguado” (pag 126).

ICSPS 1967: “Elections were not held during the ten-year period subsequent to Anastasio Somoza’s coup d’état in 1936 and his inauguration as president of the republic in 1937. When elections were finally permitted in 1947, the Conservative Party refused to participate on the grounds that the government would not guarantee honest procedures and vote-counting” (page 29). Gives votes for top two candidates.

Leonard 1985: “The February 23 elections were free of violence, but not government-inspired fraud, which enabled Argüello to win by 39,900 votes...The official count also gave the Liberal party control of the legislature and judiciary” (page 143).

Merrill 1994: Somoza García’s reelection was opposed by many groups in Nicaragua and the United States. “The dictator reacted to growing criticism by creating a puppet government to save his rule” (page 27).

Rojas Bolaños 1994: “En unas fraudulentas elecciones celebradas en febrero de 1947, Argüello resultó electo presidente” (page 114).

Smith 1993: “In 1947, with Tacho’s term of office running out and strong indications from the United States that it would not back a second term, Somoza decided on a plan of action which utilized previously reliable techniques. He would install either a temporary president which he could then perhaps manoeuvre to replace or a puppet which he could control. Somoza duly nominated the now elderly but seasoned liberal campaigner Leonardo Argüello, who was opposed by a joint conservative/independent liberal candidate Enoc Aguado. On 2 February 1947, after the usual National Guard supervision and fraudulent counting of the election results, Leonardo was declared the winner” (page 108).

Walter 1993: “The electoral campaign of 1947” (pages 149-160). “The main problem in evaluating the 1947 electoral results is that this election is generally considered to have been the most fraudulent ever held under the governments of Somoza García” (page 155). “Electoral participation, 1936 and 1947” (page 156). Gives by department the registered voters and votes cast. “Election results, 1936 and 1947” (page 157). Gives by department the votes for the two parties. “Between his electoral victory on 1 February and his accession to office on 1 May 1947, the president-elect met with diverse political, labor, and business groups, as well as with officers of the Guardia Nacional, to hear their comments and suggestions on the new government’s policies” (page 159).


Alexander 1957: “Arguello, immediately upon being inaugurated, turned against his sponsor and attempted to launch the government on an independent, anti-Somoza policy. The Communists supported him in these efforts” (page 381-382).

Leonard 1985: Arguello’s “actions brought support from the Independent Liberals and Conservatives, but angered ‘Somocistas’” (page 143).

Rojas Bolaños 1994: Argüello takes office May 1; on May 2 he removes Somoza’s son as commander of the Presidential Guard; and a few days later he appoints to his cabinet men openly opposed to Somoza. Somoza has him removed from office by congress and replaced with Lacayo Sacasa. The United States refuses to recognize the new government and stops all military aid (page 114).

Smith 1993: “On the night of 25/26 May 1947 Somoza woke Argüello in his bed and told him that he was no longer president of Nicaragua. Somoza forced the Nicaraguan Congress to convene at 3 am and declare the now ex-president mentally incompetent. At the insistence of the diplomatic corps Argüello was not imprisoned but exiled to Mexico where he died in December that year. Benjamin Lacayo Sacasa was Somoza’s next choice for president, but even the new US administration led by Harry Truman found it impossible to recognize such a blatant corruption of the political process” (page 109).

Walter 1993: “Once in office, Argüello proceeded to effect changes in personnel, moves that sought to undermine Somoza’s hold on the bureaucracy and the Guardia Nacional…Argüello also wanted to demilitarize those public services that Somoza had put under Guardia control during the war years, such as the public health service, the customs, the communications network, and the railroad itself” (pages 159-160). “The breaking point between the two men came when the Congress, firmly under Somoza’s control, proceeded to appoint the three ‘designados a la presidencia,’ who would be directly in line to replace the president should he leave office. Needless to say, the three so named were Somocistas…On May 25, Argüello informed Somoza that he was to leave the country and that his resignation as Jefe Director would be announced immediately afterward. Somoza apparently agreed to go but asked for a few days to arrange his affairs. That was more than enough time for him to organize the overthrow of Argüello, which came in the early morning hours of the following day…Argüello refused to resign as president but finally agreed to go to the Mexican embassy as an exile” (page 160).


Leonard 1985: “President Sacasa announced on June 10 that a constituent assembly would convene on August 29, following the election of delegates on August 3. The edict also granted juridical status to the Conservative party, and unnamed antidemocratic parties were outlawed. The assembly was charged with writing a new constitution, electing a new president and congress, and reorganizing the judiciary...At the same time the government was attempting to establish its legal basis, it suppressed civil liberties” (page 145).

Walter 1993: “A week after the coup, the Congress convened and resolved to fire Argüello on the grounds that he had demonstrated his incapacity to run the government, he had refused to endorse the Congress’s choice of the designados, and he had sown divisions within the Guardia Nacional…To replace him, the Congress named Benjamín Lacayo Sacasa, a Somoza puppet” (page 160). “Benjamín Lacayo Sacasa took over the job as ‘Primer Designado’ but that apparently did not suffice in terms of political legitimacy. On 6 June, Lacayo Sacasa announced that elections would be called to form a Constituent Assembly that would reconcile the two historic parties and reestablish political concord in the country. A few days later, a government decree set elections for 3 August 1947 in which only the Nationalist Liberals and the traditional Conservatives would be allowed to participate” (page 164). Describes response of the Conservatives to this decree and their decision to abstain from the election.


Walter 1993: “A decree of 5 July 1947, signed by Provisional President Lacayo, sent the main leaders of the Socialist party off to internal exile on the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. They were not accused of doing anything illegal except belonging to a political group that espoused a foreign ideology prohibited by the Constitution” (page 165).

August 3: constituent assembly election

Leonard 1985: “Amid widespread apathy, elections for the constituent assembly were held, as scheduled on August 3. Only Somoza’s Liberal party ticket offered candidates. All other groups abstained. Reports from throughout the country indicated that voting was restricted to government workers and ‘poorly clad peons’” (page 145).

Walter 1993: “(T)he elections for the Constituent Assembly were held as scheduled on 3 August. However, the results appear to have been so meager that the official tallies were not even published in ‘La Gaceta/Diario Oficial’” (page 166). Gives partial results.

August: constituent assembly

Leonard 1985: “The assembly quickly named Somoza’s uncle, Victor Ramon y Reyes, as president and Mariano Argüello Vargas, another loyal ‘Somocista,’ as vice-president. Despite the sham election and the new administration’s ‘continuismo’ character, Somoza believed that the government now had legal status and was worthy of recognition...Immediately after taking office, President Ramon y Reyes was rebuffed in his efforts to conciliate differences with the opposition. Although both the Independent Liberals and Conservatives continued their intraparty friction, both remained committed to the restoration of Leonardo Argüello as president” (pages 145-146).

MacRenato 1991: “On August 15, 1947, a Constituent Assembly appointed Dr. Victor Román y Reyes, General Somoza’s uncle, as provisional president” (page 284).

Rojas Bolaños 1994: “Una Asamblea Constituyente integrada solamente por miembros del Partido Liberal—porque los otros partidos se abstuvieron de participar en la elección—se reunió a finales de agosto de ese año, y, en un intento de dar base legal al régimen ante la comunidad internacional, nombró a Víctor Román y Reyes, un tío de Somoza, como presidente de la República” (page 114).

Smith 1993: “Somoza was by now experienced in constitutional machinations however, and convened another Constituent Assembly which among other things abolished the short-lived Labour Code and installed Uncle Victor Román y Reyes as president. With the constitutional niceties observed the new Somoza government in all but name was recognized diplomatically… [Somoza’s] excuse for the toppling of Argüello was that he was supposed to have been working with the communists. In August 1947 therefore Somoza launched a campaign of repression against anti-Somocista nationalist and left-wing sectors. Hundreds were imprisoned and 30,000 exiled to Costa Rica” (page 109).


Leonard 1985: “The ill-conceived attacks...on September 7 and...September 14 failed to cause a general uprising, but provided Somoza the opportunity to strengthen his hand by eliminating his opposition...The government placed responsibility for the two uprisings on Emiliano Chamorro and forced him into exile in El Salvador” (page 146). “Somoza also used September’s events to eliminate Nicaragua’s Socialist party (PSN)” (page 147).

Smith 1993: “After an unsuccessful attempt at armed overthrow of the dictator by Emiliano Chamorro in September 1947 it appeared that the conservatives, with some exceptions, were prepared to do business with the dictator” (page 110).


Walter 1993: “(O)n 29 November, the government finally let former president Argüello leave for exile in Mexico, where he died two weeks later” (page 168).


Leonard 1985: “The death of Leonardo Argüello in Mexico City on December 15, 1947, reopened the recognition question. His absence removed the last obstacle to the legitimacy of the Sacasa regime and provided the opportunity for lifting repressive measures” (page 148).


Booth 1985: “Christian Democracy first blossomed as the tiny, reform-oriented National Union of Popular Action (Unión Nacional de Acción Popular—UNAP). Established in 1948…UNAP foundered during the post assassination repression of 1956-1957” (page 106).

Walker 1970: “The founders of UNAP were dissatisfied youth from both traditional parties…Of [the original twenty-four members], twelve were of Conservative families and nine from Liberal ones” (page 24).

Walter 1993: “(T)he Unión Nacional de Acción Popular (UNAP) [is] founded by students at the university at Managua in 1948 under a Social-Christian inspiration” (page 221).


Alexander 1957: “Relations between the Communists and Somoza worsened rapidly. Finally, in January, 1948, at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Party...the police broke in and arrested all the top leaders. At the same time the Confederación de Trabajadores de Nicaragua was dissolved by the government, and all its leaders were arrested” (page 382).

Leonard 1985: “On January 18, 1948, twenty-six of [the PSN] members...were arrested in Managua, and two days later fourteen more were arrested...for allegedly being connected with an unspecified oppositionist revolt. The party was broken and Somoza had eliminated the remaining opposition leaders” (page 148).

La política es aún un campo dominado por los hombres 1997: “A pesar de una fuerte resistencia popular en 1948 [Somoza] reformó la Constitución para reelegirse” (page 8).

Rojas Bolaños 1994: “El 1 de enero de 1948 se aprobó la nueva Constitución” (page 114).

Walter 1993: Describes changes in the 1939 constitution (pages 171-172). “The new Constitution ‘legitimized’ the Román y Reyes government by extending its term of office to May 1952 and by turning the Constituent Assembly into the regular legislative branch of government up to April of the same year” (page 172).


Rojas Bolaños 1994: En febrero Somoza y los conservadores firmaron un acuerdo, conocido como pacto Somoza-Cuadra Pasos, mediante el cual el Partido Conservador obtuvo una participación minoritaria en el gobierno y la promesa de elecciones libres en 1951. Con este pacto al régimen se le facilitó el control y la represión de los movimientos que intentaban derribarlo por la vía de las armas” (page 114).

Walter 1993: “(T)he Somoza-Cuadra Pasos agreement of 26 February 1948…opened the way for the…participation of the Conservatives in governmental functions, which gave the appearance of national, bipartisan unity…First, under the terms of the agreement, seven deputies and four senators of the Conservative party ‘in opposition’ would be ‘elected’ in a special election to be held shortly” (page 172). Describes other terms of the agreement.


Leonard 1985: The “United States granted recognition [to the government] on May 11, 1948” (page 148).


Leonard 1985: “In October 1949 Managuan political observers began to speculate about the next presidential election and whether or not Somoza could be prevented from becoming president” (page 148).


Bautz 1994: “Al final de los años cuarenta, algunos sectores de los Evangélicos, particularmente dentro de la Iglesia Bautista, continuaban identificados con el liberalismo; mas este es un liberalismo de nuevo cuño, en el cual los principios políticos y filosóficos de corte liberal dejan de tener relevancia y se pasa a identificar al partido político con la admiración, el seguimiento y la obediencia a un personaje: el dictador Somoza. Mientras no faltaron casos de abierta apología con respecto al somocismo, acompañado por un anticomunismo exacerbado, se aumentaban las ocasiones en las cuales desde el púlpito, o en declaraciones personales y públicas, los Evangélicos asumían un rechazo ‘total’ a identificarse con un partido específico concreto” (page 11).

Walker 1970: “In the years 1950-1956, UNAP, although frequently active in criticizing the two traditional parties, failed to win enough popular support to justify the formal creation of a party” (page 25).


Walter 1993: “On 31 March 1950, Chamorro and Somoza reached an agreement on a new political pact that fixed 21 May 1950 as the election day for both a Constituent Assembly and a new president. The pact also guaranteed that the Conservatives would get twenty seats in the Constituent Assembly and that the new Constitution would provide for the direct election of municipal authorities” (page 176).


Blackford 1992: “In 1950, the first accord between the Somoza regime and the Conservative Party was reached...A 60-40 division of power in the legislature (60 percent of the representation went to the Liberals and 40 percent went to the Conservatives) allowed the Conservatives a voice in the legislature and in government appointments. This division of power effectively eliminated the need for elections, as the results would be known ahead of time. More importantly, one of the goals of elections (to compete for political power) was impossible to realize because real power was always maintained in Somoza’s hands” (page 29).

Dunkerley 1988: “In return for guaranteed minority representation in congress Conservatism accepted Somocista control and was permitted to lead the formal opposition to it, thus sustaining the fiction of a liberal democracy” (page 231).

Godoy Reyes 1992: The Pact of the Generals...”established a ceiling and a floor for the composition of the National Congress (two-thirds for the majority and one-third for the minority)” (page 181).

ICSPS 1967: “In anticipation of the 1951 election, General Somoza signed an agreement with the Conservative chieftain, General Emilio Chamorro Vargas. The Pact of the Generals, as it soon became known, specifically provided that in return for Conservative participation in the electoral process the government would guarantee Conservative leaders at least one third of all seats in both houses of Congress and municipal councils” (page 29).

Metoyer 2000: “Although [the General’s Pact] would not be ratified until 1955 by the Political Constitution, it instituted women’s suffrage without any restriction whatsoever, but did not give women the right to be elected. Prior to 1955 when women were finally granted suffrage rights, citizenry was only for men and managed only by men” (page 19).

La política es aún un campo dominado por los hombres 1997: “Dos años después [1950, Somoza] firmó un acuerdo con el Partido Conservador—con el General Emiliano Chamorro—conocido como el Pacto de los Generales, mediante el cual se instituyó el voto femenino sin restricción alguna” (page 8).

Stansifer 1998: After the Pact of the Generals, “elections were conducted as usual, but they were no longer necessary, as the Somoza family controlled the presidency and determined who held the majority of the legislative seats. The percentage of registered voters who exercised the franchise dropped below 35. The secret ballot...disappeared. Municipal elections were still being held in the 1940s, but after 1950 they were suspended in most cities and officers of the National Guard became the most important local authorities” (page 126).

Valdés 2000: “1950: La mujer nicaragüense obtiene el derecho a voto” (Anexo: La lucha por la ciudadanía femenina: Nicaragua).

Walter 1993: In April, “Somoza and Chamorro sat down and signed the Pacto de los Generales, thus laying the basis for a new political coalition…Once the agreement was signed, the Congress formally proceeded to set the date and the procedure of the upcoming election…Sixty deputies to a Constituent Assembly would be elected, with forty seats going to the majority party and seventeen to the minority party, plus three that would include the defeated presidential candidate and the two living, popularly elected ex-presidents (Somoza and Chamorro). Only the Liberals and the Conservatives could participate because the constitutional procedure for registering new parties would be held in abeyance” (page 176). Gives other stipulations (pages 176-177). Somoza is nominated “as the Liberal presidential candidate at the party’s convention in León on 22 April” (page 178).

May 6-7

Smith 1993: Román Reyes “died in a Philadelphia hospital in May 1950 and Somoza became acting president for the rest of his uncle’s term of office” (page 110).

Walter 1993: Somoza becomes president “through senatorial appointment upon the death of Román y Reyes on 7 May” (page 178).

May 21: general election (Somoza García / PLN)

Consejo Nacional de Elecciones 1956: Contains detailed information on many aspects of the election.

Millett 1977: Somoza wins reelection by a margin of over 100,000 votes (page 213).

Walter 1993: The “Conservative leadership at no time threatened to withdraw from the race and the election was held as scheduled on 21 May. The results of the election proved a disaster for the Conservatives, who received less than one-quarter of all the votes and won a bare outright majority only in Granada” (page 178). “Election results, 1950” (page 179). Gives by department the votes for Liberals and Conservatives.


Municipal autonomy in Nicaragua 1990: The 1950 constitution permitted “appointed or elected municipal authorities” (page 34).

Parker 1981: “The 1950 constitution [which took effect November 6, 1950]...is most notable for its guarantee of a fixed minority representation in each house of Congress. This consists of one-third of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and roughly one-third of those in the Senate...(T)he Congress is elected all in one body and serves the same six-year term as the president” (page 230).

Rios Rocha 1997: “Es hasta en 1950 que se establece en la ‘Constitución Nacional’ el voto femenino. El objetivo era convencer a la comunidad internacional que Nicaragua estaba abierta a los procesos democrátidos electorales, y una forma de demostrarlo era dando apertura a la participación de las mujeres en las elecciones. El trasfondo político de esta legislación era la reelección de Anastasio Somoza García” (page 133).


Smith 1993: “After the 1950 elections Somoza was again duly inaugurated as president of Nicaragua—on 1 May 1951” (page 110).



Walter 1993: “(T)he Conservative Gran Convención held in Managua in February 1954 agreed on a number of important changes in the party’s political stance and program. It formally declared that it opposed any form of ‘continuismo’ of the Somozas, either through a constitutional amendment or the election of another Somoza to the presidency” (page 220).


Walter 1993: In the “failed armed revolt of 1954…a number of ex-Guardia Nacional officers and civilian members of the Partido Revolucionario Nicaragüense and the Unión Revolucionaria Democrática played a leading role. This was the first serious military undertaking against Somoza, clear evidence that some Nicaraguans were willing to take up arms to unseat the dictator” (page 230). “The suppression of the uprising was followed by a widespread repression of all anti-Somocista groups in the country. Many Conservative and Independent Liberal party members ended up in jail” (page 233).


González 2001: “Somocistas were organized in the Ala Femenina del Partido Liberal Nacionalista” (page 43).

Merrill 1994: “Congress amended the constitution to allow (Somoza García’s) election for yet another presidential term” (page 28).

Mujeres latinoamericanas en cifras: Nicaragua 1993: “La mujer nicaragüense obtuvo el reconocimiento del derecho a sufragio en 1955, aunque su ejercicio estuvo drásticamente limitado durante el largo régimen dictatorial de los Somoza” (page 84). “(L)as nicaragüenses obtuvieron el derecho al voto presidencial con la Ley Electoral de 1950, que fue posteriormente ratificada por la Constitución Política de 1955" (page 95).

Radical women in Latin America: left and right 2001: “1955: Women win the vote. The Feminine Wing of the Somozas’ Nationalist Liberal Party is formed under the direction of Somocista attorney Olga Núñez de Saballos” (page 31).

Smith 1993: “By 1955 Somoza believed that he was in a strong enough position internally and vis-à-vis the United States to have another Constituent Assembly alter the constitution to allow him to stand for a consecutive six-year term. His latest term of office would expire on 1 May 1957” (page 111).


Walter 1993: “As Somoza’s reelection plans became more obvious, UNAP took it upon itself to organize the opposition in an electoral block; in July 1955 it held a rally of the opposition…At this meeting, the formation of the Frente Defensor de la República (FDR) was formally announced” (page 222).


Booth 1985: “(T)he National Conservative party (Partido Conservador Nacional)…was an ad hoc creation of the Somozas, because of its parasitic character better known to Nicaraguans as the Partido Zancudo (Mosquito party). Whenever the Conservatives mustered the integrity to boycott an election (1957, 1963), the Somozas dusted off the Zancudo Conservatives to provide an illusory opposition. Always demolished by the inevitable Somoza landslide, this chimera would vanish just after the election to reappear only when needed” (page 90).

Walker 1970: In 1956, [UNAP] “joined with the Traditional Conservative party, the Independent Liberal party, and the National Renovation party to form an opposition movement called the ‘Defensive Front of the Republic’ (FDR), the main objective of which was to frustrate Anastasio Somoza’s plan to be reelected president in 1957” (page 25).

Walter 1993: “By early 1956, the FDR had become the opposition’s chief weapon in the struggle against Somoza” (page 222).


Walter 1993: “By early 1956 Somoza was on the road to a third nomination for president. On a campaign visit to León in February, he accepted his position as a candidate for the Liberal party’s nomination…In the following months, the diverse opposition groups all declared their intention to abstain from the electoral process if Somoza insisted on being a candidate” (page 233).


Booth 1998: “Somoza and his son Anastasio Somoza Debayle, who succeeded him as Guard commander in 1956, used the Guard’s institutional capability as their central instrument of political control…The Guard operated Nicaragua’s telegraph radio, telephone, mail, police, customs, and tax collection systems” (pages 135-136).

Smith 1993: “Tacho II had already been promoted to chief of the National Guard in July 1956” (page 112).

September 20

Martz 1959: “Just a day before he was assassinated, Somoza was officially nominated by the National Liberal party convention. The expectation was for his re-election and extension of his power through 1963, over twenty-five years after first taking power” (pages 197-198).

September 21

Martz 1959: “Somoza’s sons...moved into complete authority immediately after the shooting. Luis, thirty-four-year-old president of Congress and first in line to the presidency, took charge of the government with the support of Tachito, at thirty-two the commander of the National Guard” (page 202). “(O)ver two hundred opposition leaders were taken into custody” (page 203).

Smith 1993: “On 21 September 1956 Somoza was celebrating in the Workers’ Club in León. The Nationalist Liberal Party had that day formally nominated Somoza as its candidate for the February 1957 elections and the US was backing his regime with both military and political support. But in an incident which was to shatter the myth of the invincibility of the dictatorship, the poet and typesetter Rigoberto López Pérez walked into the party and shot Somoza four times…The first of the dynasty died one week later on the morning of 28 September 1956…Somoza’s eldest son, Luis Somoza Debayle, convened an emergency session of the Nicaraguan Congress the day his father died and had himself declared acting president. He announced his candidature for the February 1957 elections the same day” (page 112).

Walker 1970: “(I)n September of 1956, when the old dictator was assassinated—albeit by an individual with no apparent political connections—Anastasio Somoza, Jr., rounded up and imprisoned some 3,000 opposition leaders, among them many members of UNAP. The net effect of this repression was the death of the National Union as a functioning political organization” (page 25).

Walter 1993: “Somoza’s assassination was organized and executed outside of the traditional opposition party structure of the PLI or the Conservatives…(T)o the extent that the event caught everyone unprepared, from the dictator’s own security apparatus to the leaders of the Conservatives and the PLI, no one was able to build upon what López Pérez had done already. Instead, it was the regime that reacted—and with a savagery unheard of until then…At no moment was the regime ever in danger of toppling as a result of Somoza’s death…When Somoza was shot, Luis immediately occupied the presidency pro tem” (pages 234-235).

September 29

Walter 1993: “While their father languished in Panama, both sons remained in Managua, thereby providing direction within the government and the army. When Somoza died finally on 29 September, the only thing left to be done was to bury him” (page 235).


Martz 1959: “Luis was sworn in as Acting President on October 3" (page 205). “Five days later he traveled to León...to receive the nomination of the National Liberal party for the 1957-63 presidential term” (page 206).


Tenorio 1996: “En 1957, siete años después de haberse promulgado en la Constitución Política del país el derecho al voto de las mujeres se constituyó un comité central femenino bajo el lema ‘Pro Voto de la Mujer en Nicaragua o Liga Feminista de Nicaragua’…con el objetivo de hacer conciencia en todas las mujeres para que ejercieran el derecho que había sido concedido en 1950 y que se hizo realidad en las elecciones de 1957. Esto le da a las mujeres mayores oportunidades de participar en el mundo de la política de una manera directa” (page 11).

Walker 1970: “In 1957,…the majority of the members of the newly-defunct National Union entered the Traditional Conservative party…Their success in gaining control of the youth organization was almost instantaneous” (page 26). “The years 1957 to 1960 were a time of great excitement and hope that perhaps the end of Somoza rule was in sight” (page 27).

February: general election (Luis Somoza Debayle / PLN)

Bulmer-Thomas 1991: “Luis Somoza formalized his grip on the presidency through fraudulent elections in February 1957 which were boycotted by all the opposition except the puppet Partido Nacionalista Conservador (PNC). The Partido Social Cristiano (PSC) was created in reaction to these elections and received support from younger Conservatives dissatisfied with their party’s inability to make any political impact on the dictatorship” (page 254).

Gambone 2001: “When Luis Somoza stepped into his father’s shoes in 1957, the bulk of Nicaragua’s new dissidents were young, university trained, and significantly dissatisfied with the political status quo” (page 31).

González 2001: “By 1957, the year women first had the opportunity to vote, the Somozas took all the credit for woman suffrage, ignoring feminist contributions to that struggle” (page 42).

ICSPS 1967: “Somoza defeated his opponent by an 8 to 1 ratio and a 300,000-vote majority” (page 30).

Martz 1959: “Scheduled elections took place in February, 1957, with Luis standing for his father’s office. The old Conservative party chose to abstain from the voting, claiming government interference made participation impossible and without value” (page 206).

Metoyer 2000: “In 1957…women in Nicaragua exercised the right to vote for the first time” (page 19).

Millett 1977: “To provide Luis with an opponent the puppet Conservative Nationalist Party was revived and then overwhelmingly defeated” (page 224).

Mujeres latinoamericanas en cifras: Nicaragua 1993: “La primera ocasión en que pudieron votar [las mujeres] fue en las elecciones del 3 de febrero de 1957, pero lo hicieron bajo Estado de sitio y con los líderes políticos de la oposición encarcelados” (page 95).

Parker 1981: “In February Luis Somoza Debayle was elected president for his own term, receiving 89 per cent of the votes as against 11 per cent for his ‘Nicaraguan Conservative’ opponent” (page 232).

La política es aún un campo dominado por los hombres 1997: “Participaron por vez primera [las mujeres] en un proceso electoral en 1957…Además, la decisión era únicamente la posibilidad de poder votar y no la de ser electas” (page 8).

Tenorio 1996: “(E)n estas elecciones [de 1957] sale elegida como diputada propietaria una mujer llamada Olga Núñez de Saballos y como suplentes Mirna Hueck de Matamoros y Marycoco Maltez de Callejas. Ellas eran las principales dirigentes del ‘Ala Liberal femenina de Managua’” (page 11).


Booth 1985: “In 1957…the smaller of two groups of former UNAP members formed the Nicaraguan Social Christian [PSCN] party” (page 106).

Serra Vázquez 1995: “El Partido Social Cristiano nació en 1957, con sectores medios afines al enfoque preconizado por el Vaticano a nivel mundial” (page 264).

Walker 1970: “On September 25, 1957, the infant Social-Christian organization issued a formal ‘Manifesto of Foundation’” (page 31).


Rojas Bolaños 1994: “A finales de [1958] se fundó la Unión Nacional Opositora (UNO), una heterogénea coalición de partidos opositores, entre los que se encontraban el Partido Conservador (tradicionalista), el Partido Liberal Independiente, el Partido Social Cristiano (creado el año anterior), el Partido Renovación Nacional y el Partido Movilización Republicana” (page 134).

Saint-Germain 1993: “The first woman was seated in the Nicaraguan national legislature in 1958” (page 125).


Martz 1959: In April 1958 “Luis sent a new law of presidential succession to Congress. He requested the adoption of a constitutional amendment forbidding the president to succeed himself” (page 208).


Schooley 1987: Luis Somoza Debayle approves a law banning immediate re-election of the president and the candidacy of his blood relatives (page 74).

Walker 1970: “(T)he PSCN, in the latter half of 1959, was able to become involved in…the Unitary Democratic Action (ADU) coalition. This opposition front was short-lived and unsuccessful largely because one of the former members of UNO, the mass-based PCT—many of whose leaders were in prison—was unwilling to participate” (page 34).


Walker 1970: “The National Opposition Union, which ‘began to take shape’ in October of 1958, was finally solemnized in January of 1959. It consisted of the Traditional Conservative party, the Independent Liberal party, the PSCN and three other small parties. From the time of the formation of UNO, Nicaragua was ablaze with talk of revolution” (pages 33-34).


Walker 1970: “At the [Conservative] party’s national convention in March, 1959, the young Christian Democrats secured the passage of substantial changes in the ‘Statutes’ of the party” (page 27).


Walker 1970: “In May [1959], the conservative youth lead their party into an opposition coalition called the ‘National Opposition Union’ (UNO)” (page 27).


Walker 1970: “In June [1959], 150 young members of [UNO] participated in the Olama and Mollejones revolt…Unfortunately the revolt was poorly planned…Pedro Chamorro…and most of the participants in the Olama and Mollejones affair were imprisoned…However, if the year 1959 constituted a time of frustration for the MPDC in its desire to oust the Somozas, it also marked the beginning of a two-year high-water period in that group’s attempt to reform the Conservative party” (page 27). “In spite of its close involvement in setting up the National Opposition Union, the PSCN’s participation in the Olama and Mollejones affair was minimal” (page 34).


Booth 1985: “The young reformists’ Popular Christian Democratic Movement (Movimiento Popular Demócrata Cristiano—MPDC) took over the Conservative party leadership in 1960 and chose Dr. Fernando Agüero to run against Luis Somoza’s Liberal party designate René Schick in 1962 [should say 1963]” (page 99).

Gambone 2001: The PCT’s “1960 political manifesto demanded three basic reforms: a new electoral law, reorganization of the ‘Guardia Nacional,’ and OAS supervision of the presidential election” (page 33).

Walker 1970: “At the [PCT’s] national convention in May, [MPDC]…was sufficiently strong to win control of the National Directorate of the Party…During the next three years, the young conservatives continued many of their earlier programs and started some new ones…In spite of these advances, however, the years 1960-1963 constituted a period in which the young Christian Democrats also came under increasing attack from opposition within the Conservative party” (pages 27-28). The MPDC “elevated [Fernando Agüero] to the presidency of the party. When first elected to that position Agüero had been active in Conservative politics for scarcely a year, but his professional reputation and his history as an active combatant against the Somozas provided him with strong credentials. Nevertheless, in 1960 and 1961, as the Conservative youth movement began to capture the popular imagination, Fernando Agüero, its titular leader, became a popular hero” (page 29).



Freeland 1988: “There was little hostility to the use of the Atlantic Coast to control the Caribbean: the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 was launched from Puerto Cabezas, in Miskito territory, and the area welcomed exiles from the Cuban revolution, whose money breathed a little more life into the declining economy” (page 31).

Pezzullo 1993: In April 1961 the “Bay of Pigs invasion force departs from training bases in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua” (page 255).


Booth 1990: “The FSLN was founded in 1961 as a political-military movement by a handful of Marxist-Leninists, including Carlos Fonseca and Tomás Borge. The Sandinistas emulated the guerrilla strategies of Castro and Sandino in their struggle to topple the Somozas and implement a socialist revolution” (page 472).

Pezzullo 1993: On July 23 1961 the “Sandinista National Liberation Front is founded by Carlos Fonseca, Tomás Borge, and Silvio Mayorga in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. First called the National Liberation Front, the movement added ‘Sandinista’ to its title in 1962 at Fonseca’s insistence” (page 255).


Booth 1990: “For decades the Catholic church supported the Somoza regime, but following the Second Vatican Council (1962), liberation theology and a new church commitment to the poor led to growing social Christian activism” (page 474).


Gambone 2001: “Internal animosity exploded into an open, ongoing controversy when Somoza announced his support for Foreign Minister René Schick as the Liberal candidate for president in January 1962…Many within Somoza’s administration took exception to the decision. An early front runner for the nomination, Minister of Government Julio Quintana, bitterly opposed Schick…Quintana threatened to take his supporters within the PLN to a floor fight at the party’s national convention in 1962…As it unfolded, the election campaign of 1962-1963 was a bumpy ride for Nicaragua” (page 33). “In January 1962, Conservative leader Fernando Agüero dismissed efforts of PCT and other opposition groups to form a united opposition, deciding to go it alone. This move dismayed fellow conservatives and members of the Social Christian Party who saw an electoral coalition as the only chance to win against a Somoza-backed candidate” (page 37).


Walker 1970: “In February of 1962, when the Somoza-dominated Nationalist Liberal party (PLN) set up a committee to prepare an electoral reform bill, leaders of the Social Christian party protested that PLN domination of the Election Council, plus the absence of true opposition representation on the Reform Bill Committee, would prevent free elections in 1963” (page 34).


Gambone 2001: “In March, the PCT was able to mobilize thousands in support of its platform. An estimated 20,000 people turned out in Granada to condemn the regime and demand free elections before the onset of communism. Despite this pressure, Luis Somoza successfully stonewalled PCT efforts to include meaningful third-party supervision of the elections” (page 33). “Prior to the PLN’s national plebiscite in March…a party elder statesman denounced the Schick nomination as a ‘gigantic fraud’” (page 34).


Gambone 2001: “At the PLN convention in May, Quintana used a controversy over a procedural ruling to dramatically stalk off the floor with more than two dozen supporters in tow” (page 34).

Pezzullo 1993: In May 1962 “Fonseca organizes the Revolutionary Student Front (FER) as the FSLN’s campus arm” (page 255).


Gambone 2001: “In June 1962, [Anastasio Somoza Debayle] announced the formation of an ‘Electoral Police Corps’” (page 36).

Walker 1970: “The third coalition attempt in which the Social Christian party participated was the National Opposition Front (FON) of 1962. This venture, like ADU, failed because of a lack of PCT support. And again, as in the case of both UNO and ADU, one of the earliest and most active advocates of the coalition appears to have been the PSCN” (page 34). (W)hen FON was finally organized in June, the PCT was not a signatory. The groups which did join the National Opposition Front were microparties which, in combination, still did not constitute a significant force” (page 35).


Pezzullo 1993: In July 1962 “Jorge Navarro begins organizing FSLN’s urban network. Fonseca and Sandino veteran Colonel Santos López plan a guerrilla campaign in Rio Coco border region” (page 255).


Gambone 2001: “When Agüero finally decided to abstain from the election in December, a decision that stunned the party rank and file, many of the smaller splinter parties followed suit” (page 37).


Gambone 2001: “In total, Luis Somoza spent four of his five years as president governing under martial law. The end product of this situation was the prospect of a highly contested presidential election in 1963…Of particular concern was the prospect that Communists would be able to influence the electoral process through their control of labor unions such as the Confederacion General de Trabajo and the Federacion de Trabajadores de Managua. A resurgence of the Partido Socialista Nicaragüense, arguably the oldest Communist organization in the country, and the appearance of the Movilizacion Republicana also worried embassy officials in Managua…The most important challenge to the political status quo, however, came not from the far left, but from the ranks of Nicaragua’s traditional parties” (page 32). “The one issue that handicapped the PCT by 1963 was a growing disenchantment with what many members considered Agüero’s own ‘personalismo.’ As a consequence, many defected to a splinter party, the Partido Social Cristiano” (page 33).

Luciak 2001: “Women who were sympathetic to the FSLN’s revolutionary goals started to organize in the 1960s. In 1963, a group of women sharing a left-wing ideology formed the Federación Democrática…These were mainly militants from the Socialist Party and female students who supported the FSLN” (page 17).

Municipalities: where democracy is born 1997: “1963: The Somoza regime reinstituted municipal elections as a result of one of the pacts between the Liberal government and the Conservatives” (page 20).

Nickson 1995: “In 1963 municipal autonomy was officially recognized once again, although local government remained under the strict supervision of central government. Although elections were reintroduced, municipal officeholders were invariably wealthy landowners or businessmen who received power and illicit income in exchange for mobilizing political support for the Somoza regime at the local level. The National District of Managua remained under the direct control of a presidentially appointed chief executive and had no legislative body” (pages 211-212).

Radical women in Latin America: left and right 2001: “1963: The Organization of Democratic Women is founded under the auspices of the Nicaraguan Socialist Party” (page 31).

February 2: presidential election (Schick / PLN)

Booth 1985: “Evidence of massive impending fraud caused the MPDC-dominated Conservative party to abandon its loyalist stance of the previous decade and to boycott the [1963] elections, thereby raising the party’s credibility among the public at large” (page 99).

Gambone 2001: “The final vote tally granted 167,352 votes to René Schick and a mere 13,755 to token PCN candidate Diego Manuel Chamorro Bolaños. Both the OAS and the U.S. embassy served as observers, although embassy officials later admitted that the accuracy of the preliminary and final vote count ‘will never be known’” (page 37).

ICSPS 1967: “Distribution of the population and votes cast by department, 1963" (page 17). Give by department the 1963 population, votes cast, and percent this constitutes of the national population, the total votes cast, and the population that voted. “Presidential election returns, 1963" (page 31). Gives votes by department for PCN and PLN.

Leonard 1998: Schick “won the 1963 election because the Conservative Party refused to participate and because the Somozas’ refused to permit Organization of American States (OAS) supervision of the election” (page 98).

Millett 1977: The Conservatives again boycotted the election and the Nicaraguan Conservative Party was again resurrected as opposition. “The elections were held in an atmosphere of overwhelming apathy, and the official returns, which in some areas showed more voters than the total adult population, gave Schick a victory margin of better than ten to one” (page 226).

Walker 1970: “In the end, only the puppet microparty, PCN, stood in the election against the Somoza candidate, Dr. René Schick Gutiérrez” (page 35).


Gambone 2001: “Nicaraguan politics in the period after the 1963 elections were dominated by preparations for the next presidential campaign. Although the Nicaraguan constitution prescribed campaigning until one year prior to the actual balloting, most parties began their maneuvering soon after René Schick was inaugurated…Despite warnings from his own Liberal party, Somoza began campaigning almost immediately after Schick’s inauguration in May 1963” (pages 110-111).

Walker 1970: “What finally caused the Christian Democrats to leave the PCT was Agüero’s behavior at the time of the presidential elections of [1963]” (page 29). “On May 15, 1963, the split finally came. The National Labor directorate and the entire steering committee of the PCT in Managua…resigned from the party…The exodus of the young Christian Democrats from the PCT in 1963 is estimated to have cut away 20 per cent of the party’s national strength. The only important Social Christian to remain within the Conservative party was Pedro Joaquín Chamorro” (page 30).


Pezzullo 1993: In 1963 “FSLN guerrillas…occupy Raiti and Walaquistan on the Rio Coco. Attacks on [Guardia Nacional] outposts fail, with heavy losses. Surviving guerrillas retreat to Honduras and are arrested” (page 255).



Pezzullo 1993: On June 20, 1964 “Fonseca and Victor Tirado of the FSLN are arrested” (page 255).


Pezzullo 1993: In December 1964 “FSLN militant Daniel Ortega [is] arrested” (page 255).


Gambone 2001: “(R)egime officials met with Agüero in early 1965 to discuss the prospect of adopting a ‘National Plan’ in which the Liberal and Conservative parties would alternate control of the government. Somoza, according to the proposal, would receive the presidency first” (page 113).


Gambone 2001: “As the unofficial campaign for the 1967 presidential election progressed, Agüero was openly challenged by Pedro [Joaquín] Chamorro, who attempted to form a unified opposition that included elements of the PCT, the PLI, and the Partido Liberal Nacional led by Julio Quintana, a Somoza rival and presidential aspirant” (page 113).

Radical women in Latin America: left and right 2001: “1966: The FSLN creates the Patriotic Alliance of Nicaraguan Women” (page 32).


Pezzullo 1993: In April 1966 “Fonseca returns to Nicaragua [and] starts planning a new guerrilla campaign” (page 256).


Gambone 2001: “The PCT convention [is held] in May…One of the more important decisions was to join a more general opposition union” (page 114).


Gambone 2001: “The problem that confronted American policy makers was finding a credible candidate aside from Agüero. A significant blow to this process was the death of René Schick in the middle of the 1966 campaign year. His replacement by Lorenzo Guerrero Gutierrez, an old member of the PLN who had served as ambassador to Mexico under the elder Somoza during World War II, offered little hope of a moderate solution” (page 115).

Rojas Bolaños 1994: “El 1 de agosto de 1966 el Partido Liberal Nacionalista postuló a Anastasio Somoza Debayle como candidato a las elecciones de 1967; el 3 de agosto falleció repentinamente René Schick, y la presidencia fue ocupada interinamente por el ministro del Interior, Lorenzo Guerrero” (page 135).

Walker 1970: “(I)n August the PSCN boldly nominated a slate of candidates to run against the Somoza machine” (page 40).


Gambone 2001: A “mass rally…welcomed Agüero when he returned to Nicaragua from a visit to the United States in October 1966. The event stunned both Liberals and Conservatives. Reliable estimates of the mob that greeted him in Managua ranged from 50,000 to 100,000…Suddenly it appeared that the anti-Somoza opposition had polarized around the Conservatives” (page 114).

Walker 1970: “(T)he Social Christians had to face the cold reality that their party, at that stage in its history, simply did not have enough voter strength or money to wage an effective opposition campaign…(I)t agreed to join a new coalition, the [UNO], which was to back the candidacy of the popular anti-Somoza Conservative, Fernando Agüero. In return for its cooperation, the party was promised a share of whatever seats were won by UNO in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies…The [UNO], formally signed into existence on October 24, 1966, consisted of the Traditional Conservative party, the PSCN, and the Independent Liberal party” (page 41).


Pezzullo 1993: In November 1966 the “FSLN issues a manifesto rejecting the approaching elections and calling for armed struggle” (page 256).


Bulmer-Thomas 1991: “The prospect of another Somoza in the presidency provoked the opposition to mount its most serious challenge to the dictatorship since 1944. The Conservatives, the PLI and the PSC united to form the Unión Nacional Opositora (UNO) to fight the election behind the candidacy of Dr Fernando Agüero. The size of UNO’s rallies and the certainty of electoral fraud convinced the opposition leadership that a popular movement could be mounted to bring down the dynasty” (page 255).

Dunkerley 1988: In 1967 “control through the formal political system began to break down when the Conservatives, the PLI and the ‘Partido Socialcristiano Nicaragüense’ (PSCN; founded in 1957) combined to form the ‘Unión Nacional de la Oposición’ (UNO) and challenge the candidacy of Anastasio II to succeed the puppet Schick” (page 233).

Luciak 2001: “In 1967, women organized the Alianza Patriótica Nicaragüense…, which served as a recruiting pool for FSLN cadres” (page 17).

Tenorio 1996: “En la década de los 60 surge la organización Alianza Patriótica de Mujeres creada en 1967 por el Partido Socialista” (page 11).


Dunkerley 1988: “Late in January 1967 UNO staged a demonstration of some 60,000 people in support of the candidacy of Dr Fernando Aguero and to protest the attacks upon the opposition by government forces taken unawares by the strength of its challenge. Belief in the potential of this campaign was shown to be tragically misconceived when Anastasio Somoza ordered the National Guard to attack the march; over 500 people were killed in a massacre that effectively terminated popular commitment to an anti-dictatorial electoralist strategy” (page 233).

Gambone 2001: “All attention to the political process was soon swept away by violence. An initial indicator was a clash between civilians and the ‘Guardia’ on 7 January 1967 outside a Managua movie theater…Further discouraging to American officials in Managua was a call by Luis Somoza one week later for voters to eschew the secret ballot and announce their votes at the polling places…A major confrontation was not long in coming” (page 115).

Rojas Bolaños 1994: “El 22 de enero de 1967 la UNO realizó una manifestación que reunió a varios miles de personas en apoyo a la candidatura de Agüero; fue reprimida violentamente, dejando un saldo de más de doscientos muertos y decenas de detenidos y heridos” (pages 135-136).

February 5: general election (Anastasio Somoza Debayle / PLN)

Booth 1985: “Fernando Agüero led the Conservative presidential slate again in the 1967 presidential contest and was the sole nominee of the National Opposition (Unión Nacional Opositora—UNO) coalition...[T]he Conservatives (then at the apogee of their popular support) and their social Christian and Independent Liberal allies mobilized widespread popular opposition to the first presidential candidacy of National Guard head Anastasio Somoza Debayle” (page 99). “Although UNO lost the presidency to the Liberals…the PSCN did win one seat each in the House and Senate” (page 108).

Bowdler 1982: “In retrospect, the election of 1967 was the zenith of the Somozan political and electoral apparatus. From that time on, the younger Somoza took personal charge of everything, excluded the principal power groups of the Liberal Party, and started a gradual decline in the electoral efforts which eventually lost all pretense at being democratic at the domestic level” (page 63).

Gambone 2001: “Somoza managed a sweeping victory against Agüero. His National Liberal Party won 480,162 votes (74%) to 157,432 (24%) for the UNO. The Nicaraguan Conservative Party managed to receive only 14,650 (2%) ballots” (page 116).

Leonard 1998: “With opposition leaders jailed on election day in 1967, Anastasio Somoza won the presidency” (page 98). “The PSCN won two congressional seats in 1967, and many observers suggested that it offered the best hope for the future” (page 99).

Millett 1977: Official results give Somoza 70 percent of the popular vote (page 229).

Smith 1993: “On 5 February 1967, Agüero, who stayed in the election, lost by 67,868 votes to Tacho’s 176,633” (page 118).

Walker 1970: “(T)he [UNO] waged a hopeless battle against an impressive and overwhelming gamut of electoral manipulation, intimidation, and fraud. As a result of the ‘elections,’ the losing UNO coalition was—as provided by the National Constitution—granted one-third of the seats in the bicameral legislature. Of this one-third, the PSCN received one seat each in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies…[They were] the first non-Liberal, non-Conservatives ever to hold seats in the Nicaraguan legislature” (page 41).


Smith 1993: Luis Somoza Debayle “died on 13 April [1967], leaving Tacho II in command of the party, the economic empire, the state and of course, the National Guard” (page 118).


Anderson, Leslie 2005: “When the last of the three Somozas, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, assumed power..., Nicaragua entered its darkest authoritarian period and its hour of greatest popular resistance. This second Somoza son eliminated the social reform efforts begun by his brother and allowed the economic system to concentrate income and increase poverty as never before...In addition to total political control, Somoza concentrated land, industry, and financial control in his own hands. Somocista elites accumulated wealth while upper-class members not closely connected with the dictator found it increasingly difficult to be in business...To maintain this...control, Somoza resorted to repression beyond anything seen before in Nicaragua” (page 53).

Pezzullo 1993: In May 1967 the “Pancasán guerrilla ‘foco’ is organized into three columns: under Carlos Fonseca (HQ group), Tomás Borge (logistical line to Matagalpa), and Silvio Mayorga (mountain raiding column)” (page 256).

Smith 1993: “Anastasio Somoza Debayle was sworn in as president on 1 May 1967” (page 118).


Smith 1993: “The FSLN had been carrying out painstaking political and organizational work in the northern towns and rural areas since 1963 and by 1967 was ready to launch an internal military front. This small guerrilla force, supported by local peasants, fought the Guard at Pancasán in August 1967. Many of the FSLN combatants, including founder Silvio Mayorga, were killed in this battle against the more experienced and better equipped National Guard…As a result of the battle of Pancasán Nicaraguans nationwide were made aware of the consistent and persistent efforts of the liberation movement in the north in its fight to overturn the dictatorship” (page 118).


Booth 1990: “With the 1968 appointment of Miguel Obando y Bravo as archbishop of Managua, church collaboration with the regime ended” (page 474).


Pezzullo 1993: In 1969 the FSLN “National Directorate is reorganized with Fonseca as secretary-general…Carlos Fonseca is jailed [in Costa Rica]…Humberto Ortega is wounded and captured” (page 257).


Gambone 2001: Pedro Joaquín Chamorro organizes “his own Conservative offshoot, creating the Accion Nacional Conservadora in July 1969” (page 188).



Pezzullo 1993: “Carlos Aguero leads hijacking of Costa Rican plane and holds four United Fruit officials hostage to gain release and transfer to Cuba of Fonseca, Humberto Ortega, and others” (page 258).


Pezzullo 1993: “Somoza negotiates power-sharing arrangement with the Fernando Aguero faction of the Conservative Party” (page 258).


Gambone 2001: “During the December 1970 national convention of the Partido Liberal Nacionalista, Somoza-backed candidates were overwhelmingly chosen over their Sacasista challengers” (page 187).

Pezzullo 1993: Seventeen “FSLN cadres are captured, leaving Turcios as the only free DN member in Nicaragua” (page 258).