Before I went to Peace Corps, I didn't really know anything about Sandinistas, other than the fact that they were supposedly the bad guys. However, my host family and nearly all of my Nicaraguan friends were ardent Sandanistans. Why? Because before the revolution, they had nothing. Nothing. Several of them had relatives murdered by Somomza's National Guard. The Sandanistan government gave them land and an education, in other words, hope and opportunity. No, the Sandanistans weren't perfect, but they were a drastic improvement over the Somoza dictatorship for the campesinos of Nicaragua. Not to speak ill of the dead or anything, but Ronald Reagan is not viewed in a positive light by many Nicaraguans, and his smiling face represents a U.S. foreign policy that illegally funded a brutal civil war in their country for nearly a decade.
In Nicaragua, Reagan's financial and military support for anti-government
rebels "caused a lot of damage in our country, a lot of suffering, a lot of
death and destruction," said Carlos Chamorro, a journalist and political
analyst, whose mother, Violeta Chamorro, became president in elections in 1990
that ended the rule of the Marxist-led Sandinistas.
"There might be a group that was supported by Reagan that may have a different memory of him. But I have the impression that a majority of the people will associate him with the war and with the destruction," Chamorro said. The U.S.-backed war killed at least 20,000 people.
For another example, look at this mural. Yikes.
Okay, enough of my rant. If you really want to help poor coffee farmers, buy certified Fair Trade coffee, from TransfairUSA or Café Campesino, or look for this symbol on the coffee you buy at the grocery store.