Augusto Sandino, the original Bin Laden.
His trademark silhouette is spray painted on every street in northern Nicaragua and his ideas are found in every nation ever threatened by imperialist powers.
But you’ve probably never heard of him.
Sandino is the father of modern guerrilla warfare and used it to evade American troops during Nicaragua’s occupation in the 1920s. He was one of the first major symbols of anti-American resistance. His success brought him international fame as Latin America’s Robin Hood and his “help the poor” ideology became a centerpiece for Nicaragua’s revolution.
Still, there hasn’t been much written about Sandino in the English language. Maybe there’s a reason we don’t hear more about Sandino.
It’s a shame because he was pretty bad ass. His personal emblem depicted a guerrilla beheading a U.S. marine.
He’s also very quotable:
“Come on you pack of drug fiends, come on and murder us on our own land. I am waiting for you on my feet at the head of my patriotic soldiers, and I don’t care how many of you there are. You should know that when this happens, the destruction of your mighty power will make the Capitol shake in Washington, and your blood will redden the white dome that crowns the famous White House where you plot your crimes,” he said to American troops in Nicaragua.
Today, Sandino is a national hero in Nicaragua. The ruling political party, Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), uses Sandino’s image widely, though they don’t really practice anti-American politics. President Daniel Ortega seems to have hijacked Sandino’s popularity for personal gain, much like Hugo Chavez hijacked Simon Bolivar, or the Christian church hijacked Jesus …
… making it hard to separate the original icon from a completely different, “out-of-context” ideology.
In the end, misused or abused, Sandino lives and he truly is everywhere. He resurfaces in every place that is unjustly invaded by outside forces. He inspires the poor and defenseless to fight imperialism by any possible means.
Without Sandino, there wouldn’t be Castro. Without Castro, there wouldn’t be Chavez. Without Chavez, (though he’s silly at times) there wouldn’t be the modern unification movement in Latin America - a long awaited campaign to diminish United States intervention in Pan-American politics.
It started in Nicaragua with Sandino.
© Diego Cupolo 2011