|Central American University - UCA
Number 109 | Agosto 1990
FSLN Discussion Papers
Resolutions of the FSLN Assembly at El Crucero, June 16-17, 1990
In mid-June, the FSLN held a national assembly in the town of El Crucero attended by 300 delegates, mainly elected by party militants in all sectors of the population. The following is an unofficial translation of the lengthy resolution adopted at that meeting. The document contains the FSLN's analysis of its errors, of the present situation, and of the party's future tasks. It was originally published in four installments in the FSLN daily Barricada, June 26-29. Translation by the Regionews staff at the Managua research institute CRIES, edited by envío.
I. INTRODUCTIONSince July 19 , our revolution has called upon all Nicaraguans for the historic tasks of liquidating Somocismo, struggling against inherited backwardness and poverty, carrying out thoroughgoing changes to benefit the majority, laying the foundation for the exercise of real democracy and affirming full sovereignty and national independence.
Since that same July 19, when it came to power after overthrowing the Somocista dictatorship, the Sandinista National Liberation Front aimed to preserve the country's integrity and national sovereignty. With this goal, it organized armed forces. At the same time, within the country the FSLN launched a broad program of political, economic and social transformations, and outside of the country it implemented international relations characterized by nonalignment and established relations with the socialist camp for the first time.
Since its first years of existence, the Sandinista Popular Revolution confronted external conditions that worked against the development of the revolutionary project.
a) At the beginning of the eighties, the US New Right proposed a global confrontation with popular and revolutionary causes in order to recover from what they considered a deterioration in their hegemony. In this context, Reagan was elected. In accord with this New Right philosophy and with the Santa Fe Document, he set out to destroy the Sandinista Popular Revolution, b) In addition, the most influential and most aggressive circles in the United States believed that the revolution represented a real danger to their interests in the area. Already by 1981 a broad consensus had been created between the Executive and Congress to carry out a vast plan of political, military and economic aggression against our country, c) The Central American governments, upholding the traditional structures of exploitation and domination, reacted against the revolutionary example and the new Nicaragua's solidarity with just causes in the region. In general, they adopted a confrontational stance, acting as instruments of US aggression. This translated into total support for the counterrevolution and for the systematic government.
To these outside factors were adder a and some deficiencies in carrying out our historic project for which we must assume responsibility. The implementation of the project— with a just, anti-capitalist orientation—generated social contradictions:
a) The necessary and just social transformations undertaken by our government did not always take into account the traditional features of Nicaraguan society. B) The formation inside the country of a growing opposition bloc which had real potential to destabilize the efforts of our government. Somocistas, anti-Sandinista entrepreneurs, landlords and rich campesinos, indigenous communities of the Caribbean Coast manipulated by the CIA, influential sectors of the Catholic Church, parties and associations of the traditional right wing, as well as politically back ward sectors in the countryside and the city grouped themselves together in this bloc. c) In many cases, although it was correct to promote thoroughgoing changes that in the final analysis responded to deeply felt historical demands, the practices of the socialist countries were reproduced, resulting in one-party styles in political leadership and an excessive emphasis on the control and centralization of public affairs. d) These policies were often implemented in a coercive and bureaucratic way. The model that we began to implement, which was socialist in orientation, came into contradiction in practice with the program of reconstruction and national unity.
As of December 1981, a vast plan of military, economic, political and diplomatic aggression that would be carried out constantly until the February elections was unleashed against our revolution. The policy of aggression practiced by the successive US governments against Nicaragua is the main factor in the erosion of our revolutionary project.
Furthermore, the socialist countries entered into a profound economic, technical and social crisis with serious worldwide consequences. This diminished our possibilities of counteracting the effects of the war.
The initiatives made by the Contadora group, the European Economic Community, the Socialist International the Nonaligned Movement, the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the solidarity of peoples through nongovernmental organizations, intellectuals and religious people, among others, contributed to having the Central American governments sign the Esquipulas Accords, and to counteracting US policy which include the danger of direct intervention by US troops in Nicaragua.
Revolutionary forces in Latin America saw their development limited, with the exception of the Salvadoran revolutionary movement.
Despite these adverse factors, the balance is positive. The revolutionary government achieved the broadest and deepest social, political and economic gains in our history. These revolutionary changes would not have been possible without the heroism of our people and without the unity in the ranks and in the National directorate of the FSLN.
II. THE ELECTORAL DEFEATThe February 25 electoral results and their historic consequences cannot be understood fully without a through analysis of the revolution’s record. We will do this evaluation in the framework of our First congress. Notwithstanding, the immediate reasons that the major part of our population voted against the FSLN, despite ample sympathy for Sandinismo, are evident.
a) the Patriotic Military Service (SMP) b) The expectation that a government friendly with the United Sates could improve the economic situation.
According to surveys and studies conducted by national and foreign groups, at least 50% of those who voted against the FSLN did so for one or another of these reasons.
1) The rejection of the SMP was no more than the expression of a social and political exhaustion accumulated through long years of struggle. Our youth had been decimated by the war; thousands of adolescents left the country to evade resistance and the war did not seem to have a foreseeable end.
The majority of the population understood that the war’s prolongation was linked to the hostility of the US government and to its essential contradiction with the Sandinista Popular Revolution. For many it was impossible to understand how an FSLN electoral triumph could effectively accelerate the achieving of peace. On the other hand, it seemed possible that the UNO could put an end to the war, given its explicit alliance with the US rulers.
Nevertheless, the elimination of the SMP before February 25 was not a feasible option for the FSLN. As long as the contras remained a threat to the people and their revolutionary government, to weaken our defense system would have been irresponsible. The SMP was a fundamental factor in the failure of the imperialist project to liquidate Sandinismo by means of a military victory.
2) It is crucial to point out that throughout these years certain policies and objective situations tended to alienate some social sectors from the Sandinista Revolution. Among others, we mention the following:
a) The policy of establishing state enterprises—the APP [Area of People’s Property]—which indiscriminately affected medium and large private producers, and even some small ones, in the first phase. Although this was being corrected, it had already provoked negative effects. b) The forced purchase of basic grains at official prices—which we did with the intention of improving supplies to the cities—and the implementation of this by means of roadblocks in order to take products from the campesinos. c) The fight against speculation, which was expressed in a general hostility towards businesspeople who reacted in a politically negative way. d) The sale of rationed products with a card introduced in order to defend the real salary of workers which ended up being an irritant which hurt the informal sector of the economy. e) The confrontation with the Catholic hierarchy and some Protestant churches that carried out anti-Sandinista campaigns in alienated zones of the countryside and among marginal sectors in the cities, which affected the image of the FSLN, despite the participation of Christians—Catholics and Protestants—in favor of the revolution, f) Abuses by soldiers and officers of the EPS [Sandinista Popular Army] and the MINT [Ministry of the Interior], as well as by government officials and FSLN leaders, which divided the campesino population. In this sense, sanctions and other corrective measures were belated and could not prevent negative consequences, g) Not recognizing the realities of the indigenous peoples of the Atlantic Coast led to errors and gave way to a sharp political crisis in that region. The solution that we implemented for these problems did not fundamentally modify the attitude of the indigenous peoples towards our government, as demonstrated in the last elections.
3) We committed the grave error of not having foreseen the electoral defeat, and because of that, did not prepare ourselves for this eventuality. As well, we fell into excessive triumphalism during the campaign; we refused to analyze and discuss carefully the available information about the deterioration of our electoral base.
4) The war and the economic aggression demanded an almost military structure and discipline in the party and the government, in other words, a verticalist or top-down style. To this were added the characteristics of the FSLN itself, having developed as a clandestine, highly centralized organization in order to wage an effective armed struggle against the Somocista dictatorship.
The FSLN organized itself and used its forces for popular mobilization around the major tasks of social transformation and defense of revolutionary power. Our goal for years, while fighting and neutralizing our enemies, was more to consolidate the social base of the revolution than to search for consensus.
The FSLN acted like an extension of the revolutionary state in order to defend it and support its actions. SMP recruitment, the mobilization of brigadistas for health campaigns and the literacy campaign, the organization of militias and reserve battalions, the implementation of a distribution system, among other things, were central tasks of the revolutionary state carried out by our membership, without which the survival and advance of the revolution would not have been possible. These actions, however, contributed to a political weakening of the FSLN.
5) At the start of the electoral process, the country was still sunk in a serious economic crisis that had provoked a profound deterioration in the population's living conditions.
Our economy's structural imbalance and the effects of the international economic crisis were exacerbated by the US aggression. The yankees blockaded us, sabotaged our economic efforts, blackmailed those who gave us friendship and imposed a war that consumed lives and resources.
International collaboration, especially that from some socialist countries, had been essential in order to sustain our economy during the hardest period of the war. But this collaboration dropped sharply when the regimes of Eastern Europe changed, one after the other.
The accumulated effects of the economic crisis, the blockade and the war severely affected workers, small businesspeople, artisans and campesinos. These consequences were more obvious when the economic adjustment program was applied as a necessary measure to contain hyperinflation.
UNO and the yankees capitalized on all of this, offering people an end to the war, suspension of the economic blockade and abundant outside resources to produce short-term economic improvement. Such UNO promises were clear to the population, which was not the case with our slogan, "Everything will be better."
6) The electoral defeat has, by means of a broad critical process, brought to light the faults and errors that have weakened our image and our political work. Although these problems were not determining factors in the electoral results, it is indispensable for the health of the FSLN that the organization strip itself of dead weight and take the corresponding corrective measures.
Independent of whether some of our internal problems have objective roots, we must submit ourselves to criticism as a necessary condition to eradicate them because in many cases they were made more acute by personal and collective attitudes and styles. The National Directorate, as the FSLN's highest leadership body, assumes the main responsibility for not having adequately corrected these practices and, in some cases, for having reinforced them.
Our party practice must shed top-down styles that tend to reduce or nullify the initiative and creativity of the ranks. The most negative phenomena, among others, are:
a) Authoritarianism, b) Insensitivity to the proposals and concerns of the ranks, c) Silencing of criticism, d) Bureaucratic styles of leadership and the imposition of leaders and organizational frameworks. For example, the union organizations had a very reduced space in which to develop.
7) Our capacity to communicate with important sectors of our population was weakened over the years despite many Sandinista leaders maintaining intensive contact with broad popular sectors. Independent of the structural causes, this problem was made more acute by:
a) Sectarian political conduct in the different levels of the FSLN and in the majority of the mass organizations, b) A lack of political links with unorganized sectors of the population. c) Often, leadership in the territories was assigned for too long to compañeros who were not from those areas and therefore did not have natural links with the population. d) Excessive professionalization of the party structures, e) More demands to grant party militant status in the ranks than to compañeros with administrative responsibilities. f) Lack of political attention to sectors of Sandinismo such as combatants and historical collaborators.
Among the individual phenomena and behaviors that affected the moral authority and exemplary model of Sandinista cadre and militants, the following could be mentioned:
a) Some compañeros had life styles that contrasted with the difficult conditions faced by the majority of our population, b) There were cases of people devoid of prestige or accused of corruption who, for different reasons, were kept in their posts or transferred to equivalent or even superior positions. c) Arrogant conduct and abuse of power by Sandinistas with civilian and military responsibilities, or simply by rank-and- file militants.
8) Correction of many of these problems has already begun. The internal democratization process has advanced. Election of mid- level and base leaders has begun around the country. A frank style of criticism is developing in different party forums. And in all parts of the FSLN, political problems and different tasks are being discussed.
The El Crucero Assembly ratifies the need to deepen this process, and the First Congress of the FSLN will be the culmination of the definition of our program, our strategy and the nature of our party. This reflects the unanimous will of the FSLN ranks and leaders to overcome our errors and weaknesses and strengthen our party's political and organic unity.
We warn, however, that within this constructive process, we must move energetically against those who, because of ambition or resentment, make unfounded accusations, adopt destructive positions or make groundless generalizations and criticisms. Internal democracy must not fall into liberalism in which everyone feels they have the right to act according to their own criteria without respecting objectivity or the majority sentiment of the Sandinistas. The diversity of criteria within the FSLN and the confrontation between different points of view within an organic framework is enriching. But, in action, the Sandinistas must be as one single body facing the enemy.
9) The governmental practice of the FSLN has been the most honest and respectful of the people in Nicaragua's entire history. The inevitable phenomena of corruption and abuses that occur in such a large and complex structure as the state--in which the majority of the officials were not Sandinistas--does not obscure this reality.
Almost all the principal and intermediate leaders left the government as poor as or poorer than when they entered. The donation or symbolic sale of vehicles and the legalization of some properties in the hands of some compañeros that had been handed over to the state with the triumph of the revolution was done as part of an institutional policy that was not based on the party affiliation of the functionaries, but on their years of self-sacrificing service. It did, however, take into account the real possibility that they would be subject to reprisals by the new authorities.
We do not doubt that in the hurried application of this policy, injustices were committed or abuses occurred which the FSLN does not approve of or support. The indiscriminate and slanderous campaign of the government and the rightwing mass media, questioning the morals and honesty of the FSLN in its entirety, has defined political ends. They are trying to destroy the prestige and moral authority our party has with the people in order to neutralize it politically, and thus to limit our capacity and will to lead the people’s struggle against the government’s antipopular measures. Neither the government, nor the capitalists who brought this country to ruin, nor the mass media have the moral authority to give lessons in honesty to the Sandinista.
III. THE CURRENT SITUATION1) The February 25 electoral results were unfavorable for the FSLN. But not all of the 55% who voted for UNO have an anti-Sandinista ideology or a commitment of loyalty to the present government or to that UNO coalition.
Only a minority identifies itself a clearly rightist force and, therefore, is susceptible to being mobilized by the extremist sectors. Within this 55% are workers, campesinos, women, youth, businesspeople, and professionals who voted against the FSLN because of their fear of continued war and hope for economic improvement. They do not support and are not even familiar with the coalition’s reactionary project. The majority of those who voted for the UNO are in this latter group, including a percentage who gave their vote to the FSLN in 1984. These voters can be brought together around a patriotic, popular and nationalist Sandinista program in the medium term.
The 41% of the electorate who voted for the FSLN is a qualitatively different sector. Despite the extremely elevated human and material cost that imperialism imposed on Nicaraguans, the Sandinista vote was for the most part a conscious vote for the revolutionary process. Undoubtedly part of our voters cannot be considered solidly Sandinista and must be consolidated to our side.
The results of the last elections were a victory for imperialist policy, which succeeded in dividing our people. We must overcome this division—avoiding in our discourse and practice the adjectives of UNO sympathizer versus Sandinista—and fight constantly to bring together the different sectors around their fundamental interests.
The FSLN’s electoral defeat has stimulated the regrouping of counterrevolutionary forces that aspire to reverse the fundamental transformations of the revolution and reestablish the past regime. Somocismo was characterized by the social predominance of a small group of capitalist, the marginalization of the majority in all respects, national subordination to imperialist interests and institutionalized political violence.
Different forces are mobilized behind this counterrevolutionary project. Though still not organized, they are euphoric about the electoral victory, control important economic mechanisms and have access to political power and the support of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
Prominent among them are the capitalists and Somocistas known as the Miami Group who, on their own account or taking advantage of the laws and conduct of the present government, are trying to recover properties and political influence. Among them are the top COSEP [Superior Council for Private Enterprise] leaders and other oligarchs. They intend to destroy the union movement, evict campesinos from their lands and take over businesses and properties by force.
An important part of UNO's leadership—above all the eight parties which for different reasons have adopted recalcitrant an ti-Sandinista positions—is in the counterrevolutionary camp. The leaders of unions and other organizations aligned with these parties serve as instruments aimed at destroying the popular organizations that are not aligned with them.
The most visible spearhead of these forces on the domestic level is made up of Somocista and neo-Somocista elements who, sheltered in the ministries, mayors' offices, municipal councils and other bodies, are trying to repress the Sandinistas and organize political support for their counterrevolutionary project.
3) The strategy followed by the FSLN since before February 25 prevented imperialism from articulating a plan which would have meant the crushing of the revolution; later, after February 25, the actions taken avoided a deepening of the electoral defeat.
Accords like that of March 27 for the peaceful and orderly transition of power and that of April 19 for the disarmament of the contras, by taking the wind out of the aggressive impetus of the counterrevolution and the US government, constituted a political victory for Sandinismo and all of Nicaragua's democratic forces.
The US government has not been nor will it be a passive spectator to political events in Nicaragua. The yankee extremist sectors will use their vast resources and the possibilities provided them by the current government to promote the counterrevolutionary project and try to destroy Sandinismo.
In general, the donations and credits offered by the United States have as a condition the dismantling pf the revolutionary transformations. They are already having an influence in the ideological sphere and will continue to do so systematically by penetrating the education system and the mass media. They will promote the development of pro-imperialist unions which aim to divide the workers' movement and destroy the revolutionary unions. And they will try to make the revolutionary institutions, in particular the armed forces and the FSLN itself, become disorganized and fall apart.
4) The contras are in an advanced stage of disarmament and demobilization; their possibilities for reconstituting themselves as an army are closed. This outcome, favorable for peace and for the interests of all Nicaraguans, is, in the final analysis, a Sandinista victory.
The tenacious resistance of our people for ten years made imperialism fail in its attempt to destroy the revolution by armed means. The elections carried out by the Sandinista government isolated the contras even more from their US sponsors and made it impossible for them to continue their warmongering policy. These were determinant factors in disarming and demobilizing the mercenary forces and are being distorted by the present government in its attempt to capitalize on the conquest of peace.
The disarming and demobilization of the contras left the extreme rightist forces and the US government without that instrument of pressure and blackmail against Sandinismo, and opened the possibility of a rapid pacification of our countryside. With the end of this process, it is certain that armed groups dedicated to pillage and revenge will persist. In other words, there will be residues of the contras but with a different nature, which the police must combat with arms.
Once disarmed and demobilized, the contras will disappear as a relevant political-military phenomenon. Only their bases and old members—the majority campesinos distrustful of Sandinismo—will remain, and, together with the other campesinos, will share the negative impacts of the present government's economic policy. This will allow for the development in our countryside of new groupings, no longer around Sandinismo or anti-Sandinismo, but in defense of their concrete interests.
5) The traditional mistrust of revolutionary processes by Church leaders, as well as the errors made by the government and FSLN in relation to the Church, came out of a strident confrontation that led to active opposition against our government, particularly by the Catholic hierarchy. We did not have the capacity to eliminate this mutual distrust; to the contrary, situations arose in which some priests got involved in armed conspiracies and we adopted coercive measures against some religious leaders, even to the point of expelling a bishop from the country. Without at this time judging the legitimacy of these actions, in practice they distanced the Church from the revolution.
In the last elections, priests, pastors and lay leaders from different churches collaborated with UNO. During the last few years, religious leaders, above all in the countryside, worked to mobilize the campesino bases to support the counterrevolution. At present, the Catholic Church supports the government, over which it exercises a decisive influence, especially in the area of education. This tendency of the Church to participate directly in political life could lead to a weakening of its spiritual role, involving it in the contradictions of the political parties.
Meanwhile, important sectors of the Catholic Church and Protestant denominations are strongly defending Christianity in the revolution.
6) The government at this time enjoys international credibility, and domestically the majority of the population is still willing to give it time to show whether or not it is capable of keeping its promises. Despite this generally favorable situation, it still does not have a consolidated political base which it could organize with the imperialist support, Church backing and the advantages that being in power represent.
The Las Palmas Group, representing a sector of reformist capital and influential in negotiating the transition, accords, controls the Executive but does not have its own political party. It maintains a precarious alliance with the most reactionary UNO leaders. The extremists of the right are also represented in the Executive and occupy other important governmental positions.
From a class perspective, we are facing a pro US bourgeois government whose instincts and program favor dismantling the revolution. This class essence was evident from its first actions and decrees, aimed at reversing the revolutionary transformations and governing de facto without taking laws or the people’s interests into account.
The extreme right forces and the US government are making efforts to lead the present government toward a counterrevolutionary radicalization, toward the total liquidation of Sandinismo. To date, however, influential groups prevail within the Executive that, from a political point of view, are trying to avoid a precipitous confrontation with Sandinismo.
The deepening of the counterrevolutionary program will, in the final analysis, depend on the correlation of forces in the fight: on the one side, democratic and revolutionary, and on the other, those trying to bring back the Somocista past.
7) The February 25 elections displaced the FSLN from political power but in no way meant the end of the revolution or the disappearance of the Sandinista organizations and institutions. The FSLN is the largest and the most solid political party in Nicaragua in spite of its electoral defeat, and maintains organic links with broad sectors of the population.
The transition protocol allows for the development of a democratic process and aims at the preservation and integrity of the armed institutions created by Sandinismo. These should not have a partisan character and must subordinate themselves to the government within the legal framework, but their very patriotic and popular formation constitutes at this time the best guarantee that they cannot be used as instruments to repress the people.
The union and mass organizations aligned with the Sandinistas are the biggest and most solid in the whole country. The FSLN’s legitimate presence within the different state powers and the different government companies and institutions is a check and balance against onslaughts by the extreme right.
However, the electoral defeat has dealt a harsh political blow to Sandinismo, which has also affected morale and had concrete material and organizational consequences. We have lost space in the mass media; the accelerated de-professionalization of the structures has weakened our capacity to mobilize and organize. The enemy has made some advances towards its goal of dividing the base and there is confusion in our ranks.
The strength of the FSLN is important, but we must not underestimate that of the enemy. Instead, we must urgently work to consolidate ourselves ideologically. In other words, we must overcome internal division, adjust ourselves to the new conditions, regroup our forces and throw ourselves into the struggle.
The FSLN—leader and catalyst of popular struggles—is the only force capable of organizing the defense of revolutionary gains and the democratic rights of the people. It is imperative for Sandinistas to preserve its unity and strengthen its cohesion.
IV. OBJECTIVES AND TASKSThe present objectives and tasks must be defined by taking into account, first, our strategic interests outlined before the electoral defeat, whose fundamental objective was the end of the war; and second, the complex political situation created within our ranks as a consequence of the electoral defeat and the contradictions generated after the inauguration of the present government.
1) At the beginning of 1989, given the continuation of the war and the human and material damages it provoked, the exhaustion of the recruiting base for the SMP and the worsening economic crisis, we proposed to bring the war to a quick end by clinching the total defeat of the mercenary forces, and thus preventing the bush Administration fro returning to the mercenary project conceived by Reagan.
Since 1987, we have aimed to neutralize US policy against Nicaragua. At the same time as we confronted the contras, we took political and diplomatic steps to achieve peace. In October 1987, the Esquipulas accords were signed [ed.note: August 7, 1987], but the mercenary war of aggression continued.
In 1989, we decided to work for the immediate and effective cessation of the war—an indispensable condition for preserving the revolution and its strategic gains—and to put a priority on confronting the grave economic and social deterioration, containing its destabilizing effects and diminishing the loss of life and the consequences of the war. To this end we proposed:
a) Substituting the Sapoá negotiation framework with that of the electoral contest, which was moved up to February 1990. b) A national “concertación” [negotiated agreement] regarding production between the state, workers and entrepreneurs. C) Organizing a “concertación” with the political parties to isolate the contras, stressing the electoral option as an alternative to the military option. D) Defining a package of unilateral measures and actions to accelerate the dismantling of the contras in the framework of the resolutions of the Central American presidents. E) Initiating a process with the Bush Administration to reduce tensions. In a situation as tense as that which the revolution faced in 1989, it was indispensable to end the US military option, although this did not imply an end to the contradictions between the US and Nicaraguan governments.
In synthesis, to achieve peace through the disarming and demobilization of the contras became the central objective of the defense of the revolution.
Through elections, independent of their results, we proposed to deactivate imperialist aggression. A Sandinista victory would have meant consolidating, perfecting and stabilizing the revolution.
2) After the elections, according to the objectives of the 1989 strategy, the preliminary analysis is as follows:
a) The mercenary war in general is over. To date, more than 14,200 counter-revolutionaries, including their commanders, have demobilized. More than 12,000 rifles and support weapons of all kinds have been deactivated, b) The total defeat of the mercenary forces has been concluded without transferring important quotas of power to the contras. c) The continuation of the military option against Nicaragua by the Bush Administration has been avoided, d) The social and material erosion of the Nicaraguan family and the national economy by the war has been restrained, e) The openness of the electoral process and the FSLN's clear conduct have strengthened its international prestige.
Notwithstanding, although the electoral results contributed to ending the war, for the FSLN they mean losing the government—in other words, losing a principal axis in the defense of the revolution.
From the perspective of the electoral defeat, the goals for 1989—economic recovery, consolidating and perfecting the revolutionary gains, strengthening the FSLN—were modified and must be revised from the perspective of being in the opposition.
3) Of the strategy outlined in 1989, the following objectives of the Sandinista Popular Revolution are still valid for 1990:
a) Contribute fully to the total disarming and demobilization of the contra groups. Demand confrontation against groups dedicated to banditry and, even more important, against the reactivation of the contras, particularly those who stay in the Development Poles. b) Struggle to solve the serious economic and social problems that the workers suffer from in the cities and countryside as a consequence of the economic crisis and the aggression. We must unequivocally subject the recovery of production to this proposition. Priority should be placed on:
—The population directly affected by the war.
—The demobilized soldiers, those handicapped by the war and relatives of those who died.
—The compactados [those who lost their jobs through reduction of the state apparatus] and those left unemployed as a consequence of the economic crisis and the aggression.
—Workers in general and, above all, those in individual, associative and state-run production units placed in the hands of the people, who are, by their nature, subject to reprisals.
4) The electoral defeat posed new and complex problems for us. Given their importance, the following are objective guides for 1990:
a) The first and most important is to consolidate the 41 % who voted for the FSLN. The electoral defeat affected the morale of this force, which has been subjected to governmental actions by reactionary sectors and to the policy of the yankees. Our enemies are trying to wear them down, break them up and disperse them. The FSLN must not ignore the need to gather forces, recover the popular base that voted for UNO, and actively and militantly struggle for influence over the majority of the people. Sandinismo must unite them and reject polarization and vengeful attitudes, b) It is indispensable for the defense of the revolution in this stage to preserve the unity and political and organic cohesiveness of the FSLN. The accumulation of unresolved internal problems, made more acute by the objective and subjective effects of the electoral reverse, are tending to weaken our party, c) It is necessary to defend from the opposition the gains achieved and advances made by the revolution in these ten years. The tendency of the government and the right wing as a whole, considering their first actions and decrees, is leading toward reversing or at least damaging the economic, social and political transformations which were attained. d) We must defend and deepen the democratic rights of the people and the political space that legitimately corresponds to Sandinismo.
5) Tasks to maintain cohesiveness and immediately strengthen the FSLN:
a) The first task for every Sandinista must be to watch over the unity of our ranks and strengthen our cohesiveness around the FSLN's maximum leadership body, the National Directorate, b) Highlight the revolutionary project's validity, discuss and fully clarify the causes of the electoral defeat and define the lines of action that will give our party cohesiveness and militancy, c) Regroup the Sandinista forces and restructure the FSLN through a democratic process so our rank and file can contribute to solving the most urgent organic problems and take an active part in discussions, decision-making and the election of our authorities, d) Call for the First Congress of the FSLN in February 1991, in which we will evaluate the first ten years of revolutionary efforts and their results. We will define our programmatic platform, organizational structures and authorities. Different preparatory commissions will be created to do this, e) Overcome the current problems of internal communication and direct linkage between the FSLN and its members as well as between the party and the popular sectors. In addition, strengthen the discipline of our membership, rejecting destructive proposals made from outside the party bodies and opposing "favoritism", paternalism and all that affects the exemplary conduct of party militants, f) We must pay particular attention to the role that the Sandinistas who remain in state structures play in defending popular interests and gains, g) To confront right-wing campaigns to delegitimize and discredit us, a campaign to clarify the successes of our government despite the imperialist aggression is indispensable. This recounting of our legacy and of the overall integrity with which the work of the FSLN was conducted must be contrasted with that being done by the UNO government, h) In order to achieve internal unity and cohesiveness, it is necessary to promote the political education and training of our forces around the objectives and tasks of the FSLN in this new phase, i) Facilitate the entrance into the FSLN of the Sandinista forces who have distinguished themselves in these years for their loyalty to the revolution, j) Reestablish the full authority and historic prestige of the FSLN, sanctioning those found responsible for abuses. The ethics com will work for this, k) Contribute to solving the needs of the FSLN, enabling more support to the effort of its militants. Assure openness in the use of resources. 1) Promote and extend the FSLN's international relations with all political forces, particularly our friends and solidarity group.
6) Tasks to strengthen peace and the security of the nation:
a) Lead the struggle for peace and national reconciliation, condemning vengeful attitudes raised as a banner by the extreme right. b) Demand and contribute to the total disarmament and demobilization of the contras. c) Reject the existence of any armed force outside of the defense institutions mandated by the Constitution of the Republic. d) Denounce any attempt to organize paramilitary bands, death squads or other repressive instruments of the extreme right. e) Demand guarantees of protection for Sandinistas, in particular those in the war zones. f) Orient demobilized contras towards the patriotic and popular cause. Make ours the legitimate demands that they as campesinos will make on the government. g) Struggle for the vital task of preserving the integrity of the armed forces and its commanders, since they can premise for guaranteeing the peace and security of Nicaraguans, h) Claim as ours the victory over the counterrevolution. The merit of having won peace corresponds only to the FSLN and our heroic and revolutionary people. i) Maintain the cohesiveness of the armed forces around value such as patriotism, democracy and loyalty to the people's interests. Demand economic benefits, as well as respect for and recognition of the member of the armed forces affected by administrative reductions, k) Support the mothers and r2elatives of the people kidnapped by the counterrevolution. Their fate must be clarified.
7) National Tasks:
Reject all attempts to reverse the gains of the revolution: the agrarian reform; nationalization of the natural resources, banks and foreign trade; the state’s active role in production and development; worker participation in economic management; patriotic and popular education; the Constitution and reverence for the heroes and martyrs. B) Struggle for the establishment of the rule of law in which political space is determined by respecting the letter of the Constitution and the other laws of the Republic. C) Struggle to deepen democracy and confront the attempt to undermine and limit our political space and that of the organizations formed by unions and citizens. Democracy is the FSLN’s banner of struggle. D) Adopt as ours the interests of the nation, sovereignty and independence in the face of foreign interference in our internal affairs. E) Defend in the current context our essential principles: political pluralism, mixed economy and nonalignment as enshrined in the Constitution. F) In order to orient the actions of the popular movements and organizations, we must conduct an exhaustive analysis of the government’s economic program. G) Lead the struggles of urban and rural workers, affected by the government’s monetary adjustments, for the right to work, their participation in management, health, education and housing. H) Recover our political influence in sectors such as the campesinos, small-scale artisans, merchants and women. I) The struggle for autonomy, defense of the rights of the Atlantic Coast communities and respect for their identity, as well as economic and social improvements, must be permanent tasks of the FSLN. J) Support the humanitarian solidarity struggles of the religious communities to defend the exploited and oppressed.
8) On forms of struggle:
a) The FSLN proposes to win back the government in the 1996 elections. It should even be prepared for different alternatives and options—always within the constitutional framework—in order to do so before this date, in conformity with situations that present themselves. The decrees and measures taken against the people’s gains and interests, contravening the juridical and constitutional order, are provoking dangerous situations of confrontation and social instability. It corresponds to the FSLN in this situation to put a brake on and isolate the counterrevolutionary and confrontational positions coming from both inside and outside the government. B) The FSLN will preserve its political independence as an open and firm opposition. Too do so, it must lead the people’s struggles and strengthen its fundamental commitment to the workers in the countryside and the cities. Our party is the principal guarantor and defender of the rights and gains of Nicaraguans. Each Sandinista organization and member must take a place in the front line of the people’s struggles. C) In the first weeks of its mandate, the government has carried out actions that attempt to roll back the revolutionary achievements, put the popular movement on the defensive and neutralize Sandinismo. Faced with these attempts, the FSLN must:
- Support confrontation through the organized strength of the unions against each hostile action of the right wing. Only strong stands have managed to neutralize the government goals.
- Systematically denounce acts of aggression, abuses, corruption and human rights violations by the government and the right wing in general.
- Participate in all initiatives that benefit the people—vaccination campaigns and community works, among others—and claim them as our own to the extent that we participate in them.
—Make use of the most varied methods of straggle guaranteed bylaw, with the goal of multiplying our forces and political influence and making them cohesive.
—Grant the union movement a flexibility and autonomy which will allow it to defend its interests with fluidity at a given opportunity.
d) In the field of civic struggle, the FSLN must take advantage of the enemy's internal contradictions and promote initiatives and convergent actions that tend to isolate the most recalcitrant sectors of the right wing. To this end:
—Positions which coincide with our political interests, in every moment and for different reasons, will be encouraged.
—We will intervene in inter-group disputes in order to neutralize the most extremist sectors.
—We will seek points of tactical convergence with leaders of adversary parties and unions so as to confront policies and actions damaging to national and popular interests.
—We will prepare our position, in the case of eventual initiatives for economic "concertaci6n," in favor of defending revolutionary gains and guarding popular interests.
e) Our main forms of struggle will be indirect action among the organized masses and the political-ideological battle. In addition, basing ourselves on the Constitution and the country's laws, we will prepare for legal and parliamentary confrontation, f) A principle of opposition will be to offer alternatives to the problems caused by the political confrontation, g) We must, however, remain alert to eventual out breaks of violence promoted by vengeful and counterrevolutionary sectors opposed to disarmament and demobilization, and must prepare contingency plans, always within a legal framework.
This is our initial perspective aimed at activating our revolutionary work to the maximum. We are going to carry out these tasks with optimism and enthusiasm until the upcoming First Congress of the FSLN, convinced that we face a challenge worthy of our proven readiness for revolutionary combat.
Sons of Sandino, brothers and sisters of Fonseca, let's move out, once again strengthened in the heat of the contest, in order to win new victories.
Patria Libre o Morir!