5 Achievements of Sandinista Revolution

Sandinista Revolution
Supporters of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) watch fireworks during commemorations for the 42nd anniversary of the triumph of the 1979 Sandinista Revolution that toppled dictator Anastasio Somoza in Managua, Nicaragua

Nicaraguans celebrated the 42nd anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, a popular uprising that in 1979 overthrew the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. With motorcades and demonstrations in the streets of the country’s main cities, the Sandinistas recalled the popular triumph. Here are the top 5 achievements of the Sandinista Revolution.

Health care

In addition to drafting a new constitution in 1987, the FSLN was responsible for bringing electricity to 98% of Nicaraguan homes, declaring health a public right, building 18 state hospitals and another 13 for primary care. Today the Central American country has 87 hospital units and another seven under construction. Access to healthcare expanded massively and developed a focus on preventative care.

Social security

The social security system is expanding rapidly. Since 1979, the percentage of the working population covered by social security has doubled, from 16 percent to 32 percent. Perhaps more importantly, most of the newly covered groups work in the formerly neglected agricultural sectors in outlying parts of the country.  The Sandinista government guarantees the payment of social security pensions to around 357,000 workers in the city and countryside. Between 2007 and 2019, the value of the minimum wage doubled. In addition, the nation maintains an average of 5% annual economic growth.

Quality public education

As early as 2007, when Ortega returned to power, his first presidential decree reinstated the right to free, quality public education. Also, in the first period of the Sandinista administration, the National Literacy Crusade was put into practice, reducing the level of illiteracy from 50% in 1979 to 12% in just two years. This is among the most substantial expansions of literacy that Latin America has ever seen, and it ought to be recognized as a model of revolutionary education.

Social policy and gender equality

With social policies, the FSLN reduced poverty by half, from 48% to 24%, and extreme poverty from 20% to 6.3%, in 2019. For many women, the literacy campaign signified an opportunity for emancipation: 60% of the brigadistas were female, as were some 50% of the literacy learners. According to men and women, the separation of the teaching force (Popular Literacy Army) increased the leadership opportunities for female brigadistas.

Economic and nutritional indicators

Studies showed that up to 83% of Nicaraguan children were malnourished in some areas, and the proportion of severely malnourished children could be as high as 45%. This began to change when the Sandinistas took power in 1979. To begin with, “agricultural production increased by 8% between 1979 and 1983. This has been made possible by Government subsidies and strict controls on prices and distribution of basic food items. Special distribution outlets were set up for eight basic commodities: rice, beans, maize, flour, sugar, salt, cooking oil, and soap.

Sandinistas gain some achievements that one cannot deny. This is especially true when we consider the terrible conditions they endured during the war and the hostility of the US government since then.


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