Introduction to "Nicaragua Libré Full Moon"
For ten days in December of 1989, I lived with a Nicaraguan family in a barrio in Managua, part of a church-sponsored project to help the community build its first school. The country was decorated for an election, and devastated by my government's ten-year covert war and economic embargo against the Sandinista Revolution. With a group of two dozen norteamericanos I visited a wide range of places in the city and surrounding countryside listening to people on all sides of the struggle for Nicaragua's soul.
Halfway through our visit, six days before Christmas, the United States invaded Panama. We joined a crowd of thousands outside our own Embassy to protest, only a few days after our interview with a staff member there. In the Nicaraguan papers and news broadcasts we saw image after image of an indiscriminate destruction that was eerily absent from the U.S. media on our return.
Two months later the Nicaraguan people voted the Sandinistas and their health care, literacy and land reforms out of office. The opposition party, UNO, won with the help of a multi-million dollar campaign contribution from the U.S. Congress— and the U.S. President's teasing promise of peace and plenty.
Everywhere we went in Nicaragua we heard the commitment to independence and the cry for peace. The cry for peace won out. The fighting has subsided now, but peace has not come. The real war goes on. Nicaragua is not free. The people there are poorer than ever.
But once a people get in the habit of elections, elections will keep coming around. It is with great respect and faith in the future of the Nicaraguan people that I dedicate to them this poem.
And with a prayer for the conscience of my own country.