The Jaguar Smile by Salman Rushdie is his first nonfiction work written about his experiences in Nicaragua. Rushdie reviews the political situation in Nicaragua.

Much of Nicaragua's early politics is characterized by rivalry between liberal elite of Leon and the conservative elite of Granada. This rivalry led to civil war. US born adventurer William Walker arrived in Nicaragua and won the war of the liberals. He took over the country and anointed himself President. Fearing his plans for expansion, several Central American countries waged a war and executed him. The conservatives then ruled Nicaragua.

Taking gain out of the rift of the conservatives Jose Santos led a liberal revolt that brought him to power.

Nicaragua has long stints of military dictatorship. Prominent amongst them was the Somoza. The Somoza family came to power as a result of an US engineered pact. One general which resisted this US attempt was Agusto Sandino.

After the withdrawal of US from Nicaragua, General Sandino and the Sacasa government reached an agreement in return for agricultural land and retention of armed forces. This was followed by bitter faction between General Sandino and Somoza Garcia. Sandino was assassinated by the National Guard.

Following the death of Sandino, Somoza took control of the country. Rigobertro and Luis Somoza took reigns of the govt. followed by the death of their father.

Luis Somoza died of a heart attack. Then power was taken over by the Rene Schick who was a puppet of the Somoza. Somoza's brother, Anastasio Somoza succeeded presidency after Schick. Carlos Fonseca adopted General Sandino as his hero and formed the Sandinista Liberation Front or the SLF.

The SLF gained many Nicaraguan sympathizers as the Somoza failed to rebuild Nicaragua after the earthquake and also for their mismanagement of the economy and rampant corruption.

The SLF took advantage of the worsening economic crises. The murder of Joaquin a prominent newspaper editor led to the people being distraught against the Somoza.

The SLF took the reins of power in 1979. Somoza fled to Argentina where he was sent to the grave. SLF developed a program of a National Literacy Crusade. The Reagan administration cut of all ties with SLF as they were supporting FMLN rebels in El Salvador. Reagan also imposed an embargo.

Due to these effects Nicaraguan economy took a turn for worse. The US supported a clandestine group-the Contras and they aimed to topple the SLF government. However the Soviet Union and Cuba were funding the Nicaraguan army. The US support for the contras met with flak all over the globe. The international court of justice passed a verdict against the American government.

Daniel Ortega was elected President in 1984. Right wing opposition parties did not participate claiming that the SLF was rigging the elections. The US government offered amnesty for Nicaraguans to settle in America. The International Court of Justice ordered America to pay 12 billion as reparations for violating the sovereignty of Nicaragua.

Source by Bose Anand