International School History - European Schools

S7 History - The Cold War - Nicaragua, El Salvador.

Last update - 10 May 2023

Full episode here.

In the 1930s in Nicaragua, U.S. Marines had helped put dictator Tacho Somoza into power. Forty years later, Nicaragua was still ruled by a Somoza. After years of fighting, guerrillas who called themselves Sandinistas, after the name of a 1930s anti-U.S. rebel, ousted Somoza in 1979. The Sandinistas allied themselves with Cuba and attempted to bring a Marxist order to their country. But they found themselves being challenged by a counter-rebellion -- the Contras.

At the same time, in neighboring El Salvador, protests had broken out against right-wing military rule. Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero was among those who spoke out. In March 1980, as he was saying Mass in a private chapel, the archbishop was assassinated. At Romero's funeral, mourners were fired upon -- and many died. Later in the year three U.S. nuns and a female lay worker were kidnapped, raped and killed by men later discovered to be part of El Salvador's National Guard. The U.S. briefly, and temporarily, withdrew aid to the Salvadoran military. Meanwhile, Salvadoran guerrillas expanded their campaign against the government.



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