U.S. Intervention and Regime Change in Nicaragua


U.S. Intervention and Regime Change in Nicaragua

432 pages


May 2013


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eBook (EPUB)

August 2021


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About the Book

As President Carter’s ambassador to Nicaragua from 1977–1979, Mauricio Solaún witnessed a critical moment in Central American history. In U.S. Intervention and Regime Change in Nicaragua, Solaún outlines the role of U.S. foreign policy during the Carter administration and explains how this policy with respect to the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1979 not only failed but helped impede the institutionalization of democracy there.
Late in the 1970s, the United States took issue with the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. Moral suasion, economic sanctions, and other peaceful instruments from Washington led to violent revolution in Nicaragua and bolstered a new dictatorial government. A U.S.-supported counterrevolution formed, and Solaún argues that the United States attempts to this day to determine who rules Nicaragua.
Solaún explores the mechanisms that kept Somoza’s poorly legitimized regime in power for decades, making it the most enduring Latin American authoritarian regime of the twentieth century. Solaún argues that continual shifts in U.S. international policy have been made in response to previous policies that failed to produce U.S.- friendly international environments. His historical survey of these policy shifts provides a window on the working of U.S. diplomacy and lessons for future policy-making.

Author Bio

Mauricio Solaún is an international consultant and lecturer who taught sociology and Latin American studies at the University of Illinois. He is the author of several books, including Sinners and Heretics: The Politics of Military Intervention in Latin America.


“A detailed and useful analysis that gives us the perspective of an insider.”—British Bulletin of Publications

“Specialists will find Solaun’s highly detailed book invaluable, for never before have we had such a scathing insider critique of the contradictions marring Carter’s Nicaragua policy.”—Hispanic American Historical Review

“[The book] provides the audience with an extremely rich and detailed account of the relationship between the U.S. embassy and Nicaraguan political actors in the closing years of the dictatorship. . . . Solaún’s experience offers a valuable cautionary tale that can help students begin the process of removing those rose-colored glasses and approach the decision more maturely and with realistic expectations.”—Latin American Politics and Society

“Among the many accounts of the 1979 collapse of the Anastasio Somoza Debayle regime in Nicaragua, this book stands out. It is the most intimate report of the dictator’s mind in the regime’s last months, and yet it is broadly based theoretically. . . . The book is an extraordinary contribution to an understanding of the Somoza regime and to U.S.-Nicaraguan relations in the critical years 1977-1979.”—Charles L. Stansifer, The Historian

“This is an important contribution to the historical literature because complete documentation at the U.S. National Archives and the Carter Presidential Library remain unavailable to researchers.”—Thomas M. Leonard, Latin Americanist