LAWE - Las Mujeres de Matiz (Seitz)


Las Mujeres de Matiz

Diverse and Contrarian Perspectives on

Women’s Politics in Cuba, Chile and Nicaragua

David K. Seitz

December 2006

The name “America” has been kidnapped by the United States.

Really, we are part of America, no?

Eduardo Galeano

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.

Mark Twain


Las Mujeres de Matiz

Table of Contents


Chapter 1

Haydée Santamaría and the Primacy of the Cuban Revolution

Chapter 2

The Politics of Feminine Anti-Politics in Chile, 1964-1973

Chapter 3

One Despot, Two Despot, Red Depot, Blue Despot: Lessons from Castro and Pinochet

Chapter 4

Letter to Daniel Ortega

Chapter 5

La Nicolasa: Her Life and Times










Introduction to Las Mujeres de Matiz

The following collection of essays explores diverse and contrarian views of women’s participation in Latin American politics, specifically in Cuba, Chile and Nicaragua. Over the course of my study of Latin American women, I have come to understand the importance of paying particular attention to nuance, and to acknowledging and exploring the panoply of competing perspectives.

Haydée Santamaría and the Primacy of the Cuban Revolution

challenges the notion that

Santamaria, a Cuban woman revolutionary, consciously and actively advanced feminist goals. It differentiates between what can be gleaned from the available literature on Santamaria’s life and the narrative of “Santamaria as feminist” that was constructed largely after her death. The essay is an exercise in cautioning against jumping to conclusions, arguing against a view that, though it may seem logical within our cultural context, is fundamentally unsupported.

The Politics of Feminine Anti-Politics in Chile, 1964-1973 takes a closer look at rightwing, feminine anti-feminist activism in Chile. In it, I contend that though organizing against figures such as Salvador Allende took women’s political participation to new heights in

Chile, it can hardly be considered an advancement of feminist goals. Chilean right-wing women’s organizing worked entirely within – and, in fact, embraced and depended upon – the context of a profoundly sexist cultural view.

One Despot, Two Despot, Red Depot, Blue Despot: Lessons from Castro and Pinochet confronts the traditional view of Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Chile’s Augusto Pinochet as fundamentally different leaders. I contend that such a characterization, largely based on differences in ideology and tactics between the two, ignores fundamental qualities the strongmen share. Neither led a legitimate government, and subsequently, both depended on the use of violence and on the actions of the United States in order to maintain power.

Letter to Daniel Ortega is addressed to recently elected Nicaraguan president Ortega, the former Sandinista revolutionary who had ruled Nicaragua until restoring civilian control and losing the 1990 presidential election. Encouraged by the moderation Ortega stressed throughout his 2006 campaign for the presidency, it urges him to assume a similar tack in leading the government. Rather than a return to revolution, it emphasizes the promise of congeniality and prioritization, both internally and in foreign affairs.

La Nicolasa: Her Life and Times is an in-depth study of Nicaraguan right-wing organizer

Nicolasa Sevilla, who played an integral role throughout the Somoza dictatorship. It incorporates much of the existing scholarship on Sevilla with other new narratives from those who interacted with her personally. The result is a more complete picture of a political actor riddled with complexity. As a woman, former prostitute, and person from a lower class background, Sevilla achieved incredible political enfranchisement, and lived as a curious embodiment of Somoza’s secular fascist capitalist ideal. Sevilla is the quintessential mujere de matiz .

It is my hope that these contributions in general and my study of Nicolasa Sevilla in particular can enhance an understanding of the diversity and complexity of women’s political perspectives and participation in Latin American societies.


Chapter 1

Haydée Santamaría and the Primacy of the Cuban Revolution

In examining the life of Cuban revolutionary Haydée Santamaría, it is natural to focus on her role as a woman. Given the intense sexism that pervaded Cuban culture during the 1950s, and in light of the paucity of documentation of the role of women in the Cuban revolution, it is reasonable to conclude that those women (including Santamaría) whose contributions have made it into the history books must have overcome considerable sex discrimination. It can certainly also be argued that, by playing a substantial role in the Cuban revolution, Santamaría advanced the cause of women’s equality by demonstrating her own competence. However, there is nothing on record to indicate that such an outcome was Santamaría’s primary goal. Rather, Haydée

Santamaría identified the Cuban Revolution as her sole battle to fight and used all the resources at her disposal – including but not limited to her femininity – to advance the revolutionary cause, not a feminist agenda.

In the introduction to her book

Haydée Santamaría

, editor Betsy Maclean writes that her subject “blazed a trail for generations of guerilleras to come,” calling her a “shining example of feminism and internationalism” (Maclean 1; Maclean 2). Yet the material that Maclean has compiled – interviews, letters, eulogies – is limited almost completely to discussion of

Santamaría’s goals relative to the Cuban Revolution. There is nothing that hints at a feminist consciousness, which, as Latin America scholar Julie D. Shayne argues, must be present for revolutionary feminism to exist (Shayne 10). The written record overwhelmingly conveys the sense that Santamaría was, above all, a revolutionary. Consider the narrative of Alicia Alonso, the great Cuban ballerina who was an artistic collaborator of Santamaría’s. In describing her relationship with Santamaría, Alonso focuses on aspects of their relationship related to the merits of their work: Santamaría’s abundant sense of presence, her deep understanding of Cuban culture and its meaning, and her ideas about art (Maclean 101-2). Santamaría’s role as a woman, and the fact that her work within the revolution may have advanced the cause of women, is included as something of an afterthought (Maclean 103). Had the role of women in Cuban society weighed heavily on Santamaría’s mind, had she felt a sense of responsibility to elevate the social position of Cuban women, wouldn’t it impact her peers – particularly women – in some more obvious way?

Certainly, Santamaría’s revolutionary actions demonstrate a keen awareness of the meaning of femininity in Cuban society. However, her response to this reality suggests an attitude that is not directly or primarily concerned with feminism. In interviews, she tells of how she got a soldier of the enemy Batista regime to unwittingly help her smuggle weapons on a train by posing as a weak young woman needing help with her luggage (Maclean 15). She also spent months in Santiago de Cuba, coordinating revolutionary activities and participating in missions by night while posing as a vapid, apolitical professor’s wife by day (Maclean 29). Clearly,

Santamaría was familiar with the social position to which Cuban women were relegated, and though she did not personally identify with that position, she had no problem exploiting it to serve her revolutionary ends. Some of Santamaría’s revolutionary acts were feminist; many were counter-feminist. Understanding such an attitude is significant because it helps establish the revolution as the primary focus of her work.

So if Santamaría is, as Maclean writes, to be regarded as a “shining example of feminism,” it must be asked: how so? Chilean writer Volodia Teitelbom wrote that Santamaría,

“always established a correlation between the revolution and life” (Maclean 104). It could


certainly be argued that Santamaría’s feminism, if it even can be regarded as such, took a similar

(though much less explicit) form. There is merit to the contention that, if nothing else,

Santamaría established a correlation between life and the ideal of feminine competence by quietly demonstrating her own to her fellow revolutionaries. But this behavior in and of itself hardly constitutes an explicit or even conscious statement of feminist goals. What is equally conceivable and, given Santamaría’s intense revolutionary focus that comes through so overwhelmingly in the literature on her, more likely, is that she felt it necessary to clearly establish her competence in order to advance her personal revolutionary goals. Personally overcoming discrimination and actively combating system wide discrimination are closely related, but are certainly not the same.

In our current cultural context, it is tempting to construct a narrative – as Maclean appears to do – in which Haydée Santamaría worked actively and consciously to advance two revolutions, one socialist and one feminist. This is facilitated by Santamaría’s personal success as a woman revolutionary in a context of deeply entrenched sexism. But no literature – neither in

Santamaría’s writings nor in the testimonies of those close to her – exists to support the claim that Santamaría demonstrated an active feminist consciousness. The totality of what does exist suggests, quite simply, that Santamaría picked one revolution, the socialist vision for Cuba.

Santamaría adhered to one reality in her life; scholarship on Santamaría should follow suit.


Chapter 2

The Politics of Feminine Anti-Politics in Chile, 1964-1973

In a recent installment of Brant Parker’s cartoon “The Wizard of Id,” a cruel monarch with a penchant for arbitrary executions is awoken one morning by the noises of construction at his beloved gallows. Upon investigation, the king learns that, in the spirit of political correctness, the workers are making his gallows wheelchair accessible (Parker). Though

Parker’s point was intended to critique contemporary political discourse in the

United States, the satire has universal relevance. A small victory for the repressed that engages and supports a fundamentally repressive paradigm cannot truly be argued to constitute a victory at all. Such was the case in Chile in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when conservative women organizers demonstrated venerable political agency only through patently anti-feminist rhetorical and strategic means.

Looking back on the violent 1973 overthrow of Chile’s democratically elected president

Salvador Allende, it is undeniable that the coup drew significant strength from the success of organizing by conservative women. As Margaret Power makes clear in her landmark 2002 study

Right-Wing Women in Chile: Feminine Power and the Struggle Against Allende, 1964-1973 , conservative Chilean women successfully built a cross-class coalition that both opposed socialism through the electoral process and legitimized counterrevolution by force (Power 169;

Power 222). Right-wing women demonstrated remarkable political agency, generating the impetus that re-invigorated the anti-Allende movement during the lull after his election and sustaining a broad base of political support for that movement (Power 144).

It is important to consider, however, that not all forms of political agency are created equal. What made the conservative women’s movement in Chile so potent was its success in establishing credibility as a primarily apolitical force, with concerns too fundamental and too urgent to engage in petty partisanship or divisive economic ideology (Power 182). Of course, in a country with such a pronounced socioeconomic divide, any value system that ignores questions of class struggle altogether is without question implicitly political. In fact, center and conservative parties were formally represented in the leadership of Poder Feminino, the nation’s major conservative women’s group (Power 171). But remarkably, the ethos of anti-politics drew cross-class support from women; the movement ultimately succeeded in casting class as merely another ancillary political issue (Power 193).

While that narrative of anti-politics did accomplish the goal of uniting and widening the appeal of the anti-Allende movement, it did so because it engaged and accepted the pre-existing gender schisms of Chilean society (Power 12; Power 185). Women did not engage in Chilean political discourse as men’s equals, but as their discrete moral superiors and political inferiors

(Power 78). Right-wing woman organizers consistently engaged women voters, not as ordinary democratic citizens, but through the rhetoric of the Roman Catholic Church and emphasis on


women’s domestic responsibilities (Power 81). In the build-up to the military coup, right-wing women employed popular repressive gender divisions to achieve their goal, goading military men to overthrow Allende by questioning their masculinity and presenting violence as an extension of men’s duty to protect women (Power 228).

These right-wing women ultimately received the help they sought only because they accepted and manipulated the imagery of their helpless social position. Such manipulation cannot be said to constitute a challenge, because it was contingent upon genuine acceptance of

Chile’s gender paradigm. As Parker made clear in his satire, a wheelchair accessible gallows remains a gallows; its function is in no way adjusted by its form. Similarly, Chilean women who successfully invoked repressive imagery remained themselves repressed.


Chapter 3

One Despot, Two Despot, Red Depot, Blue Despot: Lessons from Castro and Pinochet

On November 5, 1998, less than one week after a Spanish court got authorization to try former hard-right Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for his role in genocide, terrorism, and torture, attorneys for the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba petitioned for investigation of similar alleged abuses by far-left Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Foundation lawyer Javier Barrilero said the move was “inspired by the Pinochet case” (“Cuban exiles”). Enemies of both strongmen took advantage of Spanish law, which allows prosecution of certain crimes regardless of national boundaries (“Cuban exiles”).

Ultimately, neither case developed. The petition to investigate Castro was thrown out, while Pinochet, who had sought medical treatment in England, was never extradited, but permitted (after lengthy deliberation) to return to Chile (“The case”). But the odd link between the calls for their individual extraditions suggests some depth of commonality, commonality which, in light of the pronounced ideological differences between the two, is widely and, I will argue, wrongly overlooked. As Cuban national Jorge Mas Santos argued when the anti-Castro petition was filed, “What is the difference between a dictator of the right or left? We say there is no difference” (MacSwan).

As I will outline below, the similarities between Pinochet and Castro are striking. Neither led a government that was politically legitimate. Rather, both assumed and, to a significant extent, maintained power through the use of violence, executing political opponents and jailing dissenters and independent media. Additionally, though the tenor of their relationships with

Washington differed sharply, both depended on interactions with the United States to preserve their own authority. An examination of these similarities makes clear that, fundamentally, study of authoritarian governments should look to political legitimacy rather than rhetoric and ideology as a defining factor.

Dependence on Violence

The means by which any government ascends to and maintains power are critical to any consideration of its legitimacy. Though Castro is widely viewed as “soft core” relative to

Pinochet, who made disappearances and torture an institution in Chile, both depended on violence to advance and protect their political interests. As Gary Prevost explains in his essay on

Cuban political history, Castro came to power in 1959 after seven years of planning and often leading attacks on then-dictator Fulgencio Batista’s army, which ultimately forced Batista to flee the country (Prevost 344). Though Pinochet ousted democratically elected president Salvador

Allende rather than a Batista-style dictator, he, too, seized power in a bloody coup d’état that left

Allende dead (Power 240; Shayne 71).

Once in power, both dictators faced the task of attempting to contrive some claim to legitimacy. Both turned to further violence, initially focusing on the systematic elimination of real or perceived political opponents. Historian Thomas E. Skidmore conservatively estimated the number of political executions by the Castro regime in its first six months of power at 550; his colleague Hugh Thomas put the number at around 5,000 over the first 13 years (Skidmore

273; Thomas 1458). Likewise, in the wake of the military takeover in Chile, Pinochet’s forces rounded up thousands of Allende loyalists, executing them in the National Stadium (Silva 443).

It must be acknowledged that over the long term, Pinochet continued to make use of that and


similar means of silencing and murdering opposition. Yet clearly, both strongmen sought to quickly sew up a claim to power by literally eliminating the individuals who had comprised the power structure of political opposition.

Violence continued under both regimes, and the focus of attacks expanded to silence any dissident voices, particularly in the media. Again, this suppression took different forms. But both regimes saw the need to dispose of those critical of their operations. In a 1999 interview,

University of Chile-educated journalist Lucia Newman, recalled widespread “censorship and repression against anyone whose ideas were seen as being vaguely ‘pink,’ not to mention ‘red’”

(Walton). Jacobo Timerman notes in his gripping Chile: Death in the South , the only remaining media organizations were pro-government papers that ignored the regimes human rights violations (Timerman 24). As recently as 2003, the Castro government made headlines for the arrest of dozens of dissident journalists, activists, poets and intellectuals (San Martin). Seventyfive dissidents were ultimately convicted of purportedly inappropriate contact with the United

States, in proceedings Nobel laureate human rights organization Amnesty International blasted as

“manifestly unfair” (“Cuba: Government”). Castro and Pinochet recognized the power of the press, and so both worked ruthlessly to eliminate any alternatives to the press of the powerful.

It is reasonable to assume that both leaders found it necessary to solidify power through violence and repression of dissent for the same reason, even if solidification of power took different forms under each. Both were insecure about the absence of popular support. Any leader who takes charge through military coup necessarily and inevitably sets the precedent that assumption of power by such means is acceptable, and so must act to prevent subsequent rounds of a “dictator shell game.” For his part, dictator Castro was no more or less legitimate than dictator Batista before him. In spite of all his rhetoric to the contrary, Castro’s revolution was, when compared to other revolutionary wars, far from proletarian or mass-based (Prevost 345).

As a statement from the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch summarizes,

Castro’s Cuba remains “an undemocratic government that represses nearly all forms of political dissent” (“Human Rights Overview: Cuba”). Similarly, Pinochet replaced a leader who had been widely criticized for abuse of power by actors ranging from conservative parties to political institutions to liberal professional organizations (Whelan). But the necessary electoral support for

Allende’s ouster, (and thus, by insinuation, for Pinochet) never even came close to materializing, and Pinochet himself was ousted in a 1988 plebiscite by a 9-point margin (Power 246; Silva


Dependence on the United States

Another area of major similarity between the Pinochet and Castro regimes was their common reliance on the United States to remain in power. I acknowledge, of course, that superficial analysis would simply stop at the fact that Castro and Pinochet espoused opposing economic ideals, and that the United States interacted with both governments accordingly. But were it not for the policies of the United States, Pinochet would likely never have assumed power, and Castro would arguably have been replaced long ago.

By the time Salvador Allende was elected in Chile in 1970, American investment in

Chile accounted for $1.1 billion of the $1.67 billion of foreign capital invested in the country, and was concentrated in areas of crucial economical and political infrastructure (Power 38-9).

Leary of a second Marxist presence in the Western hemisphere and protective of its business interests, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency sponsored a failed military coup within days of


Allende’s election, and subsequently cut off non-military aid, deliberately creating the necessary economic conditions to destabilize an Allende presidency. (Power 26; 41). In the regime’s early years, relations with Chile were restored and, as Pinochet adhered strictly to the neoliberal economic model, capital flowed freely. In the year following the coup alone, the United States gave Chile over $320 million in foreign aid (Petras). When Pinochet was bound to honor the plebiscite that rejected his rule, it was in large part because the United States had determined the regime, which was rapidly falling out of favor as its human rights abuses came to light, had outlived its economic and political usefulness (Neier 33).

Above, I established that while Castro’s regime replaced a similarly undesirable dictatorship, it could not claim widespread political support. Forty-seven years and not a single free election later, the premise of popular support for Castro remains untested. But in the early years, one factor that contributed to a marked increase in support for, or at least complicity with the regime, was United States anti-communist mobilization against it (Prevost 349). In the minds of many Cubans, domination by an unelected domestic government, however undesirable, remained preferable to imperial domination by an unelected foreign one. As United States economic policy toward Cuba grew more and more constrictive in the 1980s and early 1990s, it became still easier for Castro to rally Cubans against the United States and, conveniently, more credibly discount the possibility of failure on the part of his own government (Domínguez 103).

In terms of their economic approaches – and the resulting diplomatic stances taken by the

United States in dealing with them – the Castro and Pinochet governments could not differ to a greater extent. But fundamentally, both were anomalies, drawing staying power from their ability to respond to the decisions of a powerful outside actor. Castro and U.S. Cuba policy had an inverse relationship; Pinochet and U.S. Chile policy had a direct relationship. But both were dependent in part on decisions made by policymakers in the United States. Though it aims to undermine Castro through embargo and economic sanctions, the United States has only exacerbated the problem of his rule, inadvertently and artificially galvanizing the Cuban people.

As Harvard University Cuba scholar Jorge I. Domínguez argues, a change in U.S. policy would likely force Castro to step down, or at the very least, accept transition to a more open political process (Domínguez). Pinochet’s regime, for its part, found itself well-positioned to endure with

American backing, until the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations found it politically expedient to deal with it otherwise (Neier). Within a few years from that shift in U.S. policy,

Pinochet lost the plebiscite and was forced to accept the results.


The examples of Pinochet and Castro make clear that the sins of authoritarian rule cannot fairly be attributed solely to the right or to the left, and that, moreover, such considerations are not even productive. With the backing of a select few, both dictators used violence to assume, and in insecurity, maintain power. Both sought to eliminate dissenting leadership and media.

Both were dependent on the behavior of a key outside actor, the United States, rather than an internal independent base of authority.

Of course, history has shown that, at various points in time, ideological movements can employ democratic and anti-democratic means. But illegitimacy knows no single ideology. What unites anti-democratic governments in general – and dictators like Castro and Pinochet in particular – is simply that they directly attack democratic institutions and processes. Should they


come from the right flank or the left, protection from such attacks is the most critical factor in preserving democratic self-government.


Chapter 4

Letter to Daniel Ortega

José Daniel Ortega Saavedra


Casa de la Presidencia

Avenida Bolívar y Dupla Sur.



Dear Mr. President:

First and foremost, please accept my heartfelt congratulations regarding your recent election and inauguration. The advent of your new administration marks a critical point in the history of

Nicaragua. Quite obviously, it constitutes yet another peaceful exchange of political power – and is the first exchange across major ideological lines in seventeen years. But more critically, your administration has the opportunity – and, if your campaign is any indicator, is well-positioned – to take the lead in addressing the most enduring challenges faced by the people of Nicaragua. In particular, I am confident that your emphasis on moderation and conciliation in government and diplomacy, as well as your deep understanding of the role of religious faith in Nicaraguan public life suggest bode well for your ability to govern effectively. By aligning your priorities with

Nicaragua’s most urgent needs, and approaching those few key issues in a genuine and solution oriented manner, you have an unprecedented opportunity to move your country forward.

The rhetoric you adopted throughout the 2006 presidential campaign demonstrated a fundamental realization: the Nicaraguan people want a leader who, above any ideology or posturing, can get the job done. As you made clear so eloquently at your election night victory celebration:

We have all of us to work together for our one Nicaragua. The great task is to lift our people out of poverty… We believe that the conditions in Nicaragua are right for the practice of a new political culture. By that I mean a way of working together, with all our diversity and whatever our differences, with a constructive spirit, always putting

Nicaragua, the people, the poor, in first place. (“Daniel Ortega is President-Elect”)

The “new political culture” you speak of could not be needed more urgently. After years of corruption under Alemán and inefficiency under Chamorro and Bolaños, after a brand of economic policy you so aptly deem “savage capitalism,” it is imperative for the government to step up to the plate, to play an assertive role in developing social infrastructure and regulating trade in the best interests of all its people (Engler). While you yourself clearly recognize that social revolution is not a feasible outcome, significant economic reform is without question vital, and must be handled delicately.

By continuing to frame the importance of combating poverty in a way that brings all

Nicaraguans into the fold, you have the opportunity to steer clear of a fatal and all too common error: fomenting class hatred. It would serve you well to do so, particularly in your economic rhetoric and policy. Consider the cautionary tale of Salvador Allende, who, in his first official address as president of Chile, explicitly referred to himself as a leader who would govern in the


interests of the poor and the poor alone. (Castañeda 394) Quite obviously, such a statement is politically unwise. But still worse, it suggests a fundamental economic ignorance about the stake that all classes that addressing widespread and chronic poverty. Whether such ignorance on

Allende’s part was real or merely perceived is irrelevant; it was certainly more than enough to spur class hatred in Chile. With the tone set by those initial remarks, he was never able to recover, encountering considerable resistance from key constituencies that ultimately led to his political and personal demise. By contrast, your appeal for all “to work together for our one

Nicaragua” addresses a widely recognizable truth: poverty is a national crisis, and it negatively impacts every stakeholder in every sector of the economy.

A bold and inclusive approach to the national crisis of poverty has a clear starting point: begin to rebuild the infrastructure responsible for public welfare. Since 1990, Nicaragua has seen the most important strands of its social safety net slashed; access to and quality of all manner of social services, health care and meaningful literacy and higher education have decreased significantly (Kampwirth 48-54). Though this obviously harms the lowest classes the most directly, you yourself have taken the lead in pointing out the pronounced negative impact on the nation’s business, investment and development climate (“Daniel Ortega is President-Elect”).

There simply can be no mistake: a nation without infrastructure will not support the business partners it needs to move forward for its people economically. As your administration moves forward in rebuilding all aspects of a public sector support system, I urge you to dialogue and work with the business community as much as possible.

Furthermore, I believe it would benefit your administration greatly to translate that spirit of conciliation and reconciliation into terms of foreign policy. Of course, I am aware that you have endured considerable pressure to return to a state of more open contention with the neoliberal economic agenda touted by the United States, and formal alignment with leaders such as Cuba’s

Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, both of whom endorsed your candidacy, and the latter of whom supported it with shipments of oil (“Managua mayor”). Moreover, I am cognizant of the fact that a number of top conservative U.S. officials openly opposed your candidacy, and openly made dire predictions of increased hostility to development and investment in the event of your election (Shifter).

Simply and candidly, the most prudent course of action is to prove both sides wrong. While it is clear from seventeen years of passivity that simply handing foreign corporations the keys proves unwise, blind hostility to investment – an equally melodramatic example of government throwing a fit instead of rolling up its sleeves and get the job done – does nothing to improve quality of life for Nicaraguans. The efforts of the Ortega administration would be best invested in both welcoming and regulating trade, in harnessing the force of globalization and putting it to work for the benefit of the Nicaraguan people. By playing a more assertive role in the process of trade agreements, the government has a chance to bring prosperity with a significant measure of dignity for workers and protection of the environment.

Integral to this approach is the understanding that diversification in terms of investors is an important component of economic success; as made clear by the so-called Special Period following the fall of the Soviet Union, economic dependence on a single nation (or ideological bloc of nations) was certainly not a sustainable arrangement for Cuba (Prevost 359). A


government’s obligation is not to an ideological vision, but to delivering on the promise of increasing opportunity for prosperity for its people. It follows, then, that the prudent globalizing nation will pursue open and favorable relations with as many economically strong companies and countries as will listen. A fine model of such an approach presents itself in the foreign trade approach taken by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Though he does carry membership in the left-wing Partido dos Trabahadores , Silva is allegiant, above all, to pragmatic solutions for his people. He is friends with both U.S. President George W. Bush and

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and has negotiated trade agreements with such a breadth of countries that under his leadership, Brazil has seen foreign trade surpluses in recent years (“Lula on Brazil’s foreign policy”). A similar approach in Nicaragua would assuage fears of a businesshostile climate, and portends to offer a similar expansion in economic growth and opportunity for workers.

In addition to your encouraging rhetoric and campaign promises on reconciliation, economic development and foreign policy, I feel compelled to briefly discuss the wisdom of your approach to issues and communities of faith in Nicaragua, specifically related to your stance on

Nicaragua’s recently passed abortion ban. As when you were president in years prior, the

Catholic Church’s moral stances play a role in public life that cannot be ignored. However, as you clearly have been sensitive enough to realize, the church playing an active role in Nicaragua today is considerably more theologically and politically conservative than it was during your first presidency (Vanden and Prevost 137). Any successful attempt to engage the nation’s devout

Catholic faith must be responsive to such theological developments. Whatever your personal stance on abortion choice, I believe the decision to stand with the sentiments of a majority of the

Nicaraguan people in public was a politically prudent one (“Nicaragua brings in abortion ban”).

Doing so allowed you to focus your campaign on getting the job done in the ways that count most. Moreover, I am confident that an Ortega administration that invests in social infrastructure in areas like health care and social services will do far more to support women than provoking needless and inevitable controversy on this issue ever could. As with your rhetoric on the economy and foreign policy, your handling of the abortion issue was responsible and politically pragmatic.

There can be no doubt that ongoing narrative of the Nicaraguan people is marred by enduring challenges – poverty, inequality, war. But I believe that the next chapter, as authored by the new

Ortega administration, will be one of courage, pragmatism and hope. As you insisted throughout your electoral campaign, the days of blind ideology, of government running away from or walking out on its responsibilities are over. I urge you to restore Nicaragua’s infrastructure, move towards bridge-building in foreign policy, and to respect the religious faith of your people while focusing on the issues that matter most. I am profoundly encouraged, based on your campaign, that you and your administration will pursue such a course of action, and consequently have great hope for the future of your great nation.


David Seitz


Chapter 5

La Nicolasa: Her Life and Times

The year was 2001. The place was Managua, capital of Nicaragua. Mayor Herty Lewites

Rodríguez had committed to a nationwide crackdown on the government corruption that dominated the country under recently retired president Arnoldo Alemán. Among Lewites’s targets were his former electoral opponent, city councilman and former Alemán confidant

Alejandro Fiallos (“Calls”). Accusing Fiallos of rampant abuse of the city’s vehicle fleet and extreme incivility, Lewites made headlines with his attacks when he added: “Everyone sees

Fiallos as a Nicolasa Sevilla

” (Collado Narvaez).

Though it happens that Fiallos was jailed for corruption three years later, at the time, this story could have easily been ignored as routine creation of political hay. What distinguished this incident was likely Lewites’s invocation of Sevilla (“Calls”). Indeed, in Managua’s El Nuevo

Diario , coverage of Lewites’s accusations ran with the headline: “Herty Lewites: Fiallos replaces

La Nicolasa

” (Collado Narvaez). Antipathy to Sevilla – a right-wing organizer in the old Somoza regime – remains so high in Nicaragua that the very forename “Nicolasa” has reportedly all but disappeared there (qtd in González).

Just who was Nicolasa Sevilla, and how had she, as an organizer in the 1940s through

1960s, achieved such enduring infamy? As I examined the life and times of La Nicolasa , several answers became apparent. Precisely because of her apparently contradicting identities – a politically enfranchised prostitute, a low-class supporter of a regime of wealthy elites, a powerful woman – Nicolasa Sevilla was positioned to play a critical and unique role in supporting the repressive Somoza regime. She did so at several critical points in the regime’s history. Sevilla was a living embodiment of the secular fascist capitalist ideal of Somoza’s Nicaragua, accepting and taking advantage of the virgin-whore moral dichotomy to advance her own personal and political interests.

Sevilla in Context

The early twentieth century in Nicaragua was marked by both ongoing military intervention by the United States to secure its economic interests, and the emergence of a strong national consciousness and anti-imperialist, anti-interventionist sentiment. In 1927, decades of cyclical resistance to and re-installation of U.S.-backed puppets were interrupted by open guerilla war, led by popular left-wing nationalist Augusto César Sandino. Though Sandino’s forces achieved military victory in 1933, he and many of his troops were killed the following year by the forces of Anastasio “Tacho” Somoza García, commander of the U.S.-backed

National Guard. Somoza restored authoritarian rule, assuming direct control of the country – which would remain, directly or indirectly, in his family’s hands for the next 43 years – in 1936

(Prevost and Vanden 530-531; Diederich 4).

Somoza quickly moved to expand the scope and domain of his centrally controlled government, holding rigged legislative elections in 1938 (his National Guard was the principal election authority). The elections served their purpose, giving Somoza the pretense of legitimacy he needed to push through a Constitution that extended his presidential term to 1947 and gave him direct control of civilian election authorities and municipal government (Walter 92-93). In the following years, Somoza further compounded power by expanding the public sector and solidifying loyalty within the military and the business community, bringing abundant local and


foreign capital into the fold (Walter 115). This included the formal, substantial military presence and heavy investment from the United States, which, in the early years, consciously ignored

Tacho’s internal repression, an attitude famously encompassed by President Franklin Roosevelt’s quip: “He’s a son of a bitch, but he’s ours” (qtd. in Diederich).

Somoza’s Nicaragua was an intriguing political hybrid, a fascist nation allied with the

United States throughout World War II. These incongruities were by no means limited to foreign policy; in a nation heavily dominated by Roman Catholicism, Somoza’s social policy, though unquestionably repressive and anti-feminist, was also quite explicitly secular. The government recognized prostitution as a tool of economic gain – not to mention a tangible means of strengthening relations with the U.S. Marines almost constantly stationed in the country – and institutionalized and regulated the sex industry. Prostitutes and criminals also played a consistent, significant role in the violent repression of political opposition (González 66-67).

Somocista women in large part eschewed the maternalist rhetoric frequently employed in organizing right-wing women in Latin America, instead favoring strategies for empowering women that targeted their individual economic identities and interests (González 64-65). Thus,

Somocismo was, above all, an embrace of the secular, fascist vision of capitalism.

By 1944, however, this vision, and Somoza’s dream of unchallenged continuismo , were under serious threat from growing political opposition. Until substantial anti-Somocista mobilization and pressure from the United States in the summer of 1944, Tacho was clearly intent on pursuing constitutional amendment to allow for his continued rule (Walter 130).

Though he superficially acquiesced, ultimately allowing the election of a puppet president in

1947, Somoza successfully subdued opposition, relying on violent repression by prostitutes and criminals (Diederich 26). Somoza remained commander of the National Guard and de facto dictator, and when this first puppet proved unsatisfactory a matter of months, Somoza replaced him with a second and then a third puppet (Diederich 29). By 1951, he had returned to the pretense of elected legitimacy, and in 1955, pushed through still more constitutional reform that would allow him to seek re-election (Diederich 41; 46). But this feigned bid for guaranteed reelection was Somoza’s last; Tacho was shot and killed by left-wing activist and poet Rigoberto

López Pérez on September 21, 1956 (Walter 234).

The transition after Tacho’s death was predictable and seamless. His son Luis Somoza

Debayle assumed the presidency, while son Anastasio “Tachito” Somoza Debayle retained control over the National Guard (Diederich 52). Luis was more or less committed to superficial liberalization paired with an emphasis on neoliberal economic modernization. Officially, he was succeeded by several puppets, but remained in control until his death in 1967, when the reins were passed to the considerably more repressive Tachito (Prevost and Vanden 535). Though few individuals and no opposition leaders had known of the assassination plot, the new government used assassination trials marked by intimidation by prostitutes and criminals to repress a number of opposition leaders (Walter 235; Diederich 52). Luis attempted to emerge as a more moderate voice, exploiting the position of pro-government mobs to appear more tolerant. This strategy of triangulation failed; it was during Luis’s rule that the Frente Sandinista Liberación Nacional

(FSLN), the left-wing guerilla movement that ultimately triumphed in 1979, was formally christened and began to mobilize aggressively (Prevost and Vanden 533). For all his commitment to modernization, Luis Somoza, like his father, ultimately turned to repression. He, too, relied on pro-government mobs of prostitutes and criminals (in addition to the loyal National

Guard) to subdue liberal and conservative opposition media, and to repress anti-government demonstrations (González 62-63).


Right-wing Organizing and Impact

It was in this political climate – a corrupt Nicaraguan family dictatorship that embodied a secular, fascist, capitalist ideal – that Nicolasa Sevilla played a major role, organizing right-wing criminals and prostitutes and pro-government media. Sevilla, who was most active from the mid-

1940s through the early 1960s, was critical to the Somoza regime’s efforts to maintain a strong rapport with the lower classes, and to public intimidation and suppression of anti-Somocistas. In

“Somocista Women, Right-Wing Politics, and Feminism in Nicaragua, 1936-1979,” the most extensive scholarly work including information on La Nicolasa to date, Victoria González includes unprecedented interviews with numerous Somocistas and anti-Somocistas who worked

(or, in the case of anti-Somocistas, had encounters of a far less collaborative nature) with Sevilla.

From González’s collection of varied accounts, it is apparent that much of Sevilla’s personal history is unclear. Characterizations of her background range from madam, prostitute and intimate acquaintance of Tacho (among her opponents), to mere “loose woman” (qtd in.

González). Sevilla’s motivations to participate in the regime are considerably less shrouded. It should be noted that there exists among old anti-Somocistas an account that Sevilla joined forces with Somoza to spite an anti-Somocista ex-lover (qtd. in González). Regardless of the truth, the prevailing interpretation is that Sevilla took advantage of the alignment between her own background (likely as a prostitute or madam) and the terms on which women at the time could make Somocismo their own.

What is explicitly clear is that Sevilla, in her work as leader of the paramilitary terrorist

Frente Somocista Popular , did make Somocismo her own, was a pillar of the Somoza regime, and was willing to engage in whatever tactics were deemed necessary. In his confessional memoir La Saga de los Somoza: Historia de un magnicidio , former Nicaraguan public prosecutor Agustin Torres Lazo offers an insider’s perspective on the Somoza regime once the superficial turnover of 1947 had passed, and Tacho had re-solidified control in spite of past U.S. pressure. Torres Lazo’s narrative lists various members of the Somoza “kitchen cabinet,” individuals responsible for the regime’s airtight control over various aspects of its operations. He makes a point of including Sevilla:

It seemed that the days of crisis and storm had faded beyond the fertile mountains and the blue water of the country. The horizon lit up clean, and, after the necessary adjustments and readjustments, accommodations and re-accommodations, things were as they should be: Somoza governing from the headquarters of the National Guard, …

[Torres Lazo then lists the functions performed by the regime’s political, foreign policy, and military wings.] … and Nicolasa Sevilla, poised, with the lips painted of red unmistakable and the soul of a black jackal, waiting and despairing for the sign from her master to take to the streets with her horde of prostitutes and criminals. (95)

In a time and culture that were far from recognizing women’s contributions on any kind of equal basis, Sevilla’s contributions to the Somoza hold on Nicaragua were deserving of mention.

Sevilla was willing to engage in and sanction all matter of violent acts, regardless of the age, gender, social position or political affiliation of her opponents; this characterization was not disputed, even in Gonzalez’s interviews with Somocistas (González 63).

Sevilla’s use of physical violence and propensity for mobilizing the lower classes as leader of the Frente Somocista Popular was an enduring component of the Somoza regime, and her influence manifested itself at a number of critical points in the regime’s history. During the


summer of 1944, as serious internal and external pressure for Somoza to abandon ambitions for a

1947 re-election mounted, Sevilla swung into action. In “Call All Trulls,” a story that helped make Sevilla a legendary figure of international proportions, Time magazine correspondent

William Krehm reported on Sevilla’s interruption of a solemn demonstration by upper class, anti-Somocista women in downtown Managua:

Out of the Managua slums rushed mobs of prostitutes. They pressed around the horrified women and girls, slapped them, spat at them. Male relatives came to the rescue, dispersed the screaming trulls. Then, from an official Government auto jumped skinny, blue-eyed Nicolasa Sevilla, owner of a cut-rate brothel. Threatening the older women with a knife, she spluttered filth at the prettier girls.

Tacho having gained his point, the harlotry receded into the slums. But the

President invited Nicolasa to the Palace, called her “his very good friend,” introduced her to outraged callers. She invaded the Chamber of Deputies, slapped a speaker. Given the run of two pro-Government newspapers, she flooded their columns with signed obscenities vilifying Managua society. (38)

Spring and early summer 1944 had been a heady, energizing year for anti-Somocistas. Antigovernment demonstrations, originally instigated by a number of students, were growing in magnitude and frequency, and an ever-broadening swath of Nicaraguans was participating.

Opposition, in fact, was better positioned than even it knew at the time; Somoza later admitted he had seriously considered resigning and fleeing the country in 1944, and would have done so, were it not for the fragmentation of his opposition (qtd in Walter). Enter Nicolasa Sevilla, with her seemingly unlimited capacity for violent and verbal intimidation, and her uncanny ability to galvanize the poor against Somoza’s upper-class opposition. The end result: Somoza remained, quietly laying the groundwork to retain power through commandership of National Guard, while his opposition remained frightened and divided (Walter 134)

Although, as discussed above, the 1956 assassination of Somoza García and its aftermath were in no way tenuous times for the strength and continuity of the regime, Sevilla worked to ensure that that message was explicitly clear, that popular resistance would in no way be emboldened. Under her leadership, members of the Frente Somocista Popular (somewhat ironically) assumed a tone of righteous moral indignation at Somoza García’s death. In early

1957, they were a massive and intimidating presence at court-martials for complicity in assassination, a series of sham military commissions prosecuted by Torres Lazo that targeted the regime’s political opponents (Walter 235). Among the accused was Pedro Joaquin Chamorro

Cardenal, a prominent anti-Somocista conservative and editor of the anti-government Managua newspaper La Prensa . In his memoir, Estirpe Sangrienta: Los Somoza , Chamorro recalled the trial:

When the van arrived at the Campo de Marte barracks… we saw the surrounding area filled with people who, upon learning of the presence of the prisoners, let out a loud and resonant scream: “Murderers!”

And behind the cloud of dust raised by the vehicle, as in a cloudy echo of heterogeneous voices, were masses of men and women, dancing like savages over their victims, bearing placards and shouting in indescribable confusion: “Let’s kill them! Kill their children! Burn their homes! Murderers! You won’t get out of here alive!” ...

Headed by a woman named Nicolasa Sevilla, these mobs were known as the

Nicolasa . (161-162).


Accusations of individual prisoners ranged from poisoning the bullets that killed Somoza to disrupting power so the assassin could escape under cover of darkness. In short, the charges,

“sounded like a Hollywood script;” even so, 15 of the 21 individuals charged were convicted

(Diederich 52-53). Unsurprisingly, as Torres Lazo recounted, Sevilla and her followers were outraged, even by that result:

… I read for all of them [the six who were acquitted] the same ‘not guilty’ sentence, returning them the liberty that for so many months had been unjustly stolen. The murmur of the mob was now as an uncontrollable waterfall of rough voices and furious shouts.

They insulted the judge and rebuked me, demanding justice and demanding that the doors of the hell be opened for all the defendants. The blue eyes of Nicolasa Sevilla resembled two embers of hatred and wickedness, while her mouth, always painted the red of a prostitute, seemed to spit tongues of fire and incandescent lava. (428)

Yet again, Sevilla and her mob were an unequivocal force for Somocismo, intimidating political opposition and, for that matter, the general public with verbal and physical violence. By assuming an extreme position – that all the accused should be killed – the mob’s threats also had the net effect of making Luis Somoza’s publicly proclaimed view, that light sentences were a desirable outcome, seem more liberal. Upon assuming power, the triangulating Luis had decided a softer dictatorship that allowed for superficial liberalization was a better approach than that adopted by his father (Diederich 53) By helping Luis posture himself as a benevolent moderate,

Sevilla’s presence facilitated the seamless continuation of

Somoza rule (Diederich 53).

Still, opposition media, such as La Prensa and left-wing radio continued, to vocally criticize the actions of government.

As an estimated 80 percent of Nicaraguans were illiterate at the time, Luis did not assess print media to be a significant threat, and its operations, though subject to frequent suspension, for a few years enjoyed relative freedom (Diederich 71). Radio, however, was obviously much more widely accessible and thus regarded quite differently. In 1962, a Somocista-dominated

Congress considered and ultimately passed stringent radio censorship legislation. When anti-Somocistas came to protest:

They were expected. Waiting for them was a gang of eighty government thugs headed by Nicolasa Sevilla, a tough-looking woman who commanded the Somoza male street gangs in Managua. When the demonstrators cried, “Liberty” and “The Somozas must go,” they were met with knives and sticks. Some of Nicolasa’s boys even drew pistols and fired into the crowd. When the half-hour melée ended and the demonstrators had retreated, there were no dead, but there were thirty-five wounded, including “La

Nicolasa” who had been hit on the head by a chair. The congressmen continued their session and passed the new broadcast law in the presence of the National Guard, guns drawn. (Diederich 71)

Yet again, Sevilla played a crucial role in suppressing dissent in the avenues in which it had the most potential to destabilize the regime. She and her mob also assaulted the owner and several broadcasters for liberal Radio Mundial (qtd in González). Time after time, Nicolasa Sevilla played a crucial role in cracking down on opposition and further solidifying Somoza rule.

There is, to date, little detailed documentation on Sevilla’s subsequent political activity.

Her success in quelling popular protest in 1944, her intimidation tactics at the complicity in


assassination court-martials in 1957, and her role in suppressing dissenting media in 1962 remain her most infamous moments. When the Sandinistas ultimately assumed power in 1979, Sevilla was, by all accounts jailed for her role in the regime, but ultimately released. Pedro Chamorro’s son, Jaime Chamorro Cardenal, claimed Sevilla was freed because she “offered her services”

(presumably as an organizer) to the Sandinista regime (J. Chamorro Cardenal 5). In light of the numerous stories unearthed by González however, that particular narrative is somewhat dubious.

According to both former Somocista Antonia Rodríguez and former FSLN Commandante Tomás

Borge, Sevilla remained a vociferous Somoza loyalist upon her release, and the reasons for her discharge had more to do with her age, and antagonistic, rather than vacillating behavior (qtd. in



At the height of her career, La Nicolasa successfully mobilized hundreds of lower and middle class Somocistas, ran several pro-government newspapers, frequently publicly assaulted and intimidated the wealthy and the powerful with impunity, and became a guest and confidant of the wealthiest, most powerful man in the country. But what had enabled a woman of ill repute and little means in a deeply sexist time and place to achieve so much?

First, the Somozas were very receptive to – and indeed, during the critical summer of

1944, dependent upon – tactics that solidified their credibility as sympathetic to the poor.

Highlighting class divisions, they knew, had the effect of alienating the urban poor, who might otherwise have had cause to oppose the regime, from the opposition. As a person of lower-class background who frequently voiced her resentment of intellectuals and the upper crust, Sevilla was a loud, credible lower class voice for Somocismo. Without Sevilla and similar actors who marginalized, intimidated and divided the opposition against itself, the regime may well have collapsed, or at least changed dramatically in form, in 1944. Moreover, during the Luis Somoza years, Sevilla’s explicit, unyielding cruelty made middle and upper class Somocista women’s organizations, and the regime as a whole, seem more moderate by comparison (González 73).

Whether Sevilla consciously played this role is unclear, but, in both re-enforcing class divisions and having the ultimate effect of making the official regime appear more moderate, she was clearly effective.

Additionally, it is worth nothing that Sevilla operated within the accepted machista moral framework for Nicaraguan women, taking it to its natural conclusion. Women of Sevilla’s day were afforded the choice of living as a submissive “Madonna” or as an amoral whore (Willman-

Navarro 251). Rather than living as a “Madonna” and submitting to the expectations of a husband or a family, La Nicolasa lived as an embodiment of the whore ideal, choosing her actions based on their expediency, and allowing no one to stand in her way. Such a choice was encouraged by the secular fascist capitalist system established under the Somozas, which sought to engage women as self-interested individuals.

In her work on Sevilla, González included an anecdote about a man in contemporary

Nicaragua who, when asked about the identity of a particularly vocal woman activist, replied that he did not know, but that it was probably “Nicolasa something or other” (González 74). In the years during and since her highest profile activity, Nicolasa Sevilla has come to embody the whore aspect of Somoza’s secular fascist capitalist ideal in Nicaragua’s national political consciousness. But it took no contrivance to conflate Sevilla with all that is evil in the view of

Nicaragua’s machista , heavily Roman Catholic, communitarian culture; that she lives on in


memory as a symbol of violence and evil is not the product of some campaign of active demonization. Rather, it was Sevilla who, in the morally inverted universe of Somoza’s

Nicaragua, actively chose to live as a demon.



“Calls for National Dialogue as Fiallos Jailed.” NicaNet: The Nicaragua Hotline . 1 Dec. 2006.

23 Aug. 2004. <>.

“The case of Augusto Pinochet: Timeline.” Amnesty International. 2004. 24 Oct. 2006.


Castañeda, Jorge G.

Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left After the Cold War . New York:

Vintage, 1994.

Chamorro Cardenal, Jaime. La Prensa: The Republic of Paper . New York: Freedom House,


Chamorro Cardenal, Pedro Joaquin. Estirpe Sangrienta: Los Somoza . Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Editorial Triángulo, 1959.

Collado Narvaez, Roberto. “Herty Lewites: ‘Fiallos sustituye a la Nicolasa.’” El Nuevo Diario . 1

Dec. 2006. 12 Mar. 2001. <


“Cuba: Government must release prisoners of conscience immediately.” Amnesty International.

16 Mar. 2004. 25 Oct. 2006.


“Cuban exiles to appeal rejection of Pinochet-like suit against Castro.” The Associated Press. 19

Nov. 1998. 23 Oct. 2006. <>.

“Daniel Ortega is President-Elect of Nicaragua.”

Nicaragua Network . 13 Nov. 2006. 18 Nov.

2006. <>.

Diederich, Bernard. Somoza and the Legacy of U.S. Involvement in Central America .

Maplewood, NJ: Waterfront Press, 1989.

Domínguez, Jorge I. “The Secrets of Castro’s Staying Power: How Cuban Communism


Foreign Affairs 72:2 (1993): 97-107.

Engler, Mark. “The Return of Daniel Ortega.”

The Nation . 7 Nov. 2006. 20 Nov. 2006.


González, Victoria. “Somocista Women, Right-Wing Politics, and Feminism in Nicaragua,

1936-1979.” Radical Women in Nicaragua: Left and Right . Ed. González and Karen

Kampwirth. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001. 41-78.

“Human Rights Overview: Cuba.” Human Rights Watch. 31 Dec. 2005. 25 Oct. 2006.


Kampwirth, Karen. Feminism and the Legacy of Revolution: Nicaragua El Salvador, Chiapas .

Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2004

Khrehm, William. “Call All Trulls.”

Time . 7 Aug. 1944: 38.

“Lula on Brazil’s Foreign Policy.”

The Economist . 2 Mar. 2006.

Maclean, Betsy, ed.

Haydée Santamaría

. New York: Ocean Press, 2003.

MacSwan, Angus. “After Pinochet go for Castro, Cuban exiles say.” Reuters. 27 Oct. 1998. 23

Oct. 2006. <>.

“Managua mayor says Venezuelan oil could be imported through Costa Rica or Honduras.”

Nicaragua Network . 23 Jul. 2006. 18 Nov. 2006.


“Nicaragua brings in abortion ban.”

BBC News . 18 Nov. 2008. 20 Nov. 2006.



Neier, Aryeh. “Human Rights in the Reagan Era: Acceptance in Principle.”

Annals of the

American Academy of Political and Social Science 506 (Nov. 1989): 30-41.

Parker, Brant. “The Wizard of Id.” Cartoon. Creators Syndicate, Inc.

8 Oct. 2006.


Petras, James, and Steve Vieux. “The Chilean ‘Economic Miracle’: An Empirical Critique.”

Critical Sociology 17 (1990): 57-72.

Power, Margaret.

Right-Wing Women in Chile: Feminine Power and the Struggle Against

Allende, 1964-1973 . University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002.

Prevost, Gary. “Cuba.”

Politics of Latin America: The Power Game . Ed. Harry E. Vanden and

Prevost. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 336-367.

Prevost, Gary, and Harry E. Vanden. “Nicaragua.” Politics of Latin America: The Power Game .

Ed. Vanden and Prevost. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 526-559.

San Martin, Nancy. “35 Cuban dissidents arrested.” The Miami Herald . 20 Mar. 2003. 25 Oct.

2006. <>.

Shayne, Julie D. The Revolution Question: Feminisms in El Salvador, Chile, and Cuba . New

Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004.

Shifter, Michael. “Why Meddle in Nicaragua?”

The Washington Post . 2 Nov. 2006: A17.

Silva, Eduardo. “Chile.”

Politics of Latin America: The Power Game . Ed. Harry E. Vanden and

Gary Prevost. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 432-467.

Skidmore, Thomas E. and Peter H. Smith. Modern Latin America . New York: Oxford University

Press, 2000.

Thomas, Hugh. Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom . New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Timerman, Jacobo. Chile: Death in the South . New York: Vintage Books, 1987.

Torres Lazo, Agustin. La Saga de los Somoza: Historia de un magnicidio . 2nd Ed. Managua,

Nicaragua: Hispamer, 2002.

Vanden, Harry E., and Gary Prevost. “Religion in Latin America.”

Politics of Latin America:

The Power Game . Ed. Vanden and Prevost. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.


Walter, Knut. The Regime of Anastasio Somoza, 1936-1956 . Chapel Hill, NC: The University of

North Carolina Press, 1993.

Walton, Andrew. “Cold War Chat.” With Lucia Newman. Cables News Network. 20 Feb. 1999.

25 Oct. 2006. <>.

Whelan, James R. “Historic Truth: Chile’s Pinochet fought Marxist violence.” The Wall Street

Journal . 30 Oct. 1998: 1.

Willman-Navarro, Alys. “Making It at the Margins: The Criminalization of Nicaraguan

Women’s Labor Under Structural Reform.”

International Feminist Journal of Politics .

8.2 (June 2006): 243-266.