Kristofferson Nicaraguan War
Nicaragua was devastated by civil war in the 1960’s and 197o’s. The Somoza dictatorship was finally (and violently) overthrown by the Sandinista National Liberation Front who struggled to govern a country ravaged by years of war. The USA covertly supported anti-Sandinista forces after a Directive was signed in 1981, and further destabilisation resulted from the Central American civil wars in Guatemala and El Salvador.
The Contras, backed by the CIA opened a second front on the country’s Atlantic coast as well as on the border with Costa Rica. Contra forces launched a major offensive in 1983. The harbours were mined to thwart rearmament shipments. Years of violent conflict meant that people faced a daily battle for survival in a country torn apart by war, deception and secret deals. The Contra War raged between the Sandinista and the Contras from 1981 to 1990.
The price of this war was poverty, starvation and chaos in the lives of the poorest people. Kris Kristofferson supported the Sandinista, raised funds and spoke out about these wars and the uncover operations that extended the misery of the people.
Kris Kristofferson, Nicaragua and the Sandinista
Marc Coplan travelled to the Nicaraguan war zones in 1989. Kris Kristofferson was part of the group that boarded a Russian helicopter with him on a trip guided by Daniel Nunez, then president of the National Farm Workers Union.
A short video was made during this trip, forgotten but thankfully rediscovered in 2015. Mr Coplan has kindly shared this on his YouTube Channel and I hope you enjoy it.
The visuals are backed by a recording of Kris singing his touching song, Sandinista.
Kris is quoted in an interview by Rosa Jordan for the Progressive in 1991, ” I’ve done a number of human rights benefits and made several trips to Nicaragua.” He goes on, ” I made a film down there called Sandino, directed by Miguel Littin. It was very interesting, making a film about Sandino fighting against the Marines at the same time the Sandanistas were fighting against American mercenaries.”
Sandinista – Kris Kristofferson
From the album Third World Warrior (released March 1990)
Sandinista, you can hold your head up high, you have given back their freedom
You have lived up to your name
Sandinista, may your spirit never die – Hold the candle to the darkness, you’re the keeper of the flame
Sandinista, keep believing in the dream – The truth is stronger than the shadows, keep it shining in your eyes
Sandinista, may the soldiers disappear, may your children live forever, may their laughter fill your lives
Sandinista, los fuerzas de la oscuridad
Nunca pueden extinguir la puridad de tu llama revolutionara
Con su terror y sus mentiras
Con su dinero y sys maquinas
La libertad en tus ojus
El amor caliente en tu corozon
Son fuerzas mas poderosas
Que las armas de la guerra