Latin America bears the marks of a long history of interventionism by the United States, a country which has sought to portray itself as the region’s “savior,” when in reality it has only demonstrated the continued observance of James Monroe’s nineteenth century doctrine of “America for Americans.”
Nicaragua suffered U.S. interference in its internal affairs on several occasions. One example was the deployment of U.S. marines to Nicaragua in 1926, a year in which a civil war broke out in this small Central American nation.
In order to put an end to the armed conflict, in 1927 the U.S. proposed the signing of the Espino Negro Accord.
It was a document that in essence proposed total disarmament of the troops in conflict in the Central American country, and the supervision of elections by U.S. marines. The result would be the creation of the National Guard, which over 45 years caused so much damage to the country.
Aware of what this Accord would mean for his country, on May 4, 1927, the “General of Free Men” Augusto César Sandino – who years later was assassinated precisely by the aforementioned National Guard – expressed his strong opposition.
“Sandino says NO to Moncada*, he says NO to the Yankees, he says YES to Nicaragua, he says YES to the dignity of the Nicaraguan people, and he will not sign the onerous Espino Negro Accord in Tipitapa.
“I will not sell out or surrender... We will advance toward the sun of freedom or to our death; and if we die, our cause will live on. Others will follow us,” the General exclaimed.
Although the Accord was signed, Sandino continued to fight for an independent and sovereign Nicaragua until his death. His example was followed by generations of men and women who fought for the triumph of the country’s Sandinista Revolution.
Today, various historians agree that were it not for the events of May 4, 1927, in Nicaragua, the victory of the Sandinista Revolution of July 19, 1979, would not have occurred.
For this reason, every May 4 Nicaraguans celebrate National Dignity Day, just as Sandino affirmed in 1927: “It should be a national holiday because that day Nicaragua proved to the world that its national honor will not be crushed.”
* General José María Moncada, chief of the Liberal Constitutionalist Army and signatory of the pact for Nicaragua.