NicaNotes: On the 45th Anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution: Lessons from My Time in Nicaragua

By Adrienne Ayers

(Adrienne is an African organizer native to Waawiyatanong land (Detroit, MI). She was recently a part of the “Women in Nicaragua: Power and Protagonism” delegation in January 2024 through Casa Ben Linder. Adrienne is a Reiki Master Teacher and operates a free reiki clinic which serves as a People’s Program for Detroit residents. Her work uplifts the belief that revolution is in the hands of the people. You can find out more about her work at

Members of the National Assembly told the “Power and Protagonism” delegation that, “The whole world is subject to propaganda. In [times of] these dirty and negative campaigns, people continue to fight to be free and we will continue to develop. Negativity from imperialist countries is something we can expect.” Adrienne is fifth from left.

Many African revolutionaries I have studied or personally known, both those who have transitioned to the ancestor realm and those still alive, have called the work of organizing “the struggle” an ongoing fight to obtain victory for the right to life, protection of the Earth, human rights, and dignity of all oppressed people globally. While living in the imperial core, it is the responsibility of those who accept the role to organize to strengthen our belief and continuously refine our thoughts and actions in alignment with the necessity to free the land and free the people. This involves a commitment to dismantling colonial capitalist and imperialist systems and moving towards socialist revolution.

More specifically, we are responsible for building political homes with concrete structures to invite the masses to organize with us while strategizing on how to build trust, and open their hearts, minds, and capacity to join us, which is no simple feat. The path to achieving and maintaining victory is also no easy journey, especially when we, the masses in the US, are hindered by unlearning, and reacting to the capitalist & imperialist ideological state which has informed our values thus guides our actions. Hence, we have the struggle.

However, for every moment of struggle and despair in global struggles for the liberation of African and all oppressed people, there exist hope and lessons in the historical and present-day examples of the Nicaraguan people. Although engaging in political education through books with comrades is imperative to achieving and maintaining revolution, simultaneously if you are able, one of the best opportunities to learn about revolutionary processes beyond reading is to visit the very countries where revolution took place and is actively ongoing. If you, like me, believe in the necessity of intentional organizing for revolution, we must also be clear in understanding that our work extends beyond a goal of liberating the colonized masses of the US. Our organizing must also engage in learning from and build solidarity with socialist countries that are already liberated such as Nicaragua.

This is to be done through active participation in dismantling the beast at home in order to one day see the lifting of sanctions and embargoes that work to destabilize the land, material accessibility, and political will of the Nicaraguan people. We have much to learn and apply, and who better to learn from than Nicaragua, a country that understands it is through their own hands, both through organizing the people and military means, that liberation from imperialist oppressors and revolution is possible.

In January 2024, six months before the 45th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, I had an opportunity to visit Nicaragua as part of the Power and Protagonism: Women in Nicaragua delegation. Delegates were hosted by the Casa Ben Linder Art and Solidarity Center in Managua.  It felt politically significant to embark on this journey as Nicaragua is an example of a socialist country that actually won against imperialist forces, has people centered systems and institutions worth defending that they worked tirelessly to build, and that actively maintains the political will of their people.

Despite US enforced sanctions and embargoes, the Nicaraguan government has relied on its own efforts as well as allyship not limited to but including countries such as China and Cuba, to continue to meet the most pressing material needs of its people. Their efforts have allowed for the development of people-centered education, medical care, housing, and food systems. There is also an inspiring presence of co-operative models which continue to meet the needs of their people while simultaneously strengthening their political will.

As we organize towards a new system in the US, it’s important to ask ‘What strategies and tactics can we apply from historical examples of those who have achieved revolution, what must change, and where are we headed?’ It is important to imagine what models we want to create or replicate within this new system to not only meet the needs of our community but ensure healing as we recover from neo-colonial genocidal rule, and advance as a people.

When I imagine maintaining revolution, I envision autonomous zones for African and Indigenous descendants—not to be imposed by western ideology—such as the North and South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions in Nicaragua. During my on-the-ground studies, I was blessed with an opportunity to meet with members of their parliament, known as the Nicaraguan National Assembly. Shaira Downs Morgan of the National Assembly gave us a general idea of the importance of such regions and why they came to be. The need for autonomous zones was and is to ensure a space for healing for African and Indigenous peoples, provide safety from anti African and Indigenous racism, ensure that the influence of colonialist values can be drastically limited, and guarantee their own forms of government administration and agreements with their people. Where will the region in the US exist for Africans and Indigenous people to heal amongst ourselves while prioritizing the imperative customs, traditions, and ways of life specific to our people? This is a question worth considering and the autonomous models within the Nicaraguan socialist state is an idea worth exploring.

During our time with the National Assembly, I asked members questions pertaining to their feelings regarding the detrimental impact of US capitalist and imperialist backed propaganda on the Nicaraguan people. Such propaganda serves many purposes, including turning the people of a socialist state against their own government resulting in protests, riots, and even participation in coups to undo the progress of their state. Nicaragua faces sanctions and embargoes that destabilize material conditions while the country is, at the same time, countering propaganda from the US and opposition groups such as the MRS (Sandinista Renovation Movement), which has been known to call for US intervention in the country’s sovereignty. The enemy works to create the illusion that a better way of life, centering individual wants and maintained by capitalist ideology, is advantageous to the people. All of this takes place while hindering the ability of affected governments to develop their nations in the ways that are best for the people they serve. In response, members of the Assembly were quoted as stating “The whole world is subject to propaganda. In these dirty and negative campaigns, people continue to fight to be free and we will continue to develop. Negativity from imperialist countries is something we can expect.” The Nicaraguan people are not only clear on who their enemy is and why, they are prepared to organize to continue the work they have always done despite these attempts. The work continues.

Nicaraguan advances in the health and education sectors also provide goals for us to consider as we work towards alternative systems such as socialism. Our visit with Minister of Health Dr. Martha Reyes on January 10th was where we learned that the Nicaraguan constitution guarantees free health care to everyone while prioritizing the most vulnerable populations with a focus on prevention and protection. If health care for all is to be guaranteed, one would imagine that enough of the budget must be allocated to ensure this can be possible. Currently, 66% of the national budget in Nicaragua goes to health care and education. The Nicaraguan health system works hand in hand with the education system. Backpacks, school supplies, and shoes are provided to children yearly, and there is a vaccination program in the schools. How does one manage to prioritize the health of all people but especially children and the most vulnerable despite US interference? In the words of Dr. Reyes “We have to do miracles with what we have. With the little bit that we have, we have to do a lot. If we don’t have the support of an organized community, we can’t do anything at all.” She mentioned that they made advancements thanks to the political will of the Government which follows a strategic family and community model.

Since 2007, the Ministry of Health has been working to develop a family health model and their work has evolved to ensure the prioritization of maternal issues. The Ministry’s efforts have resulted in the creation of 181 Casa Maternas or maternity wait homes (which are always close to the local hospital) around the country with an emphasis on presence in rural areas to help improve maternal mortality rates. The maternal health care system is so trusted in Nicaragua that 98% of expecting individuals make the conscious choice to have hospital births, with only 2-3% opting for home births. These statistics may also be so high due to the fact that, in Nicaragua, midwives are automatically a part of the healthcare system. Midwives are allowed to direct the entire birth and hospitals are equipped to support traditional births.

As a wellness practitioner whose work is not isolated from strategic on the ground political organizing, I was absolutely amazed but not surprised at how organized communities and people-centered governments could also result in a strong presence of traditional medicine options within the health system. Currently there are 191 natural medicine clinics in 151 out of the 153 municipalities, all of which are at no cost to the people who receive services. Natural medicine options are also present within rehabilitation clinics, and acupuncture is an option in some hospitals.

The realization that the work we are faced with is not a destination nor an experience that will appear through the good will of individuals but instead happens amongst a unified group of organized individuals, was an idea that was personally reinforced within me. On January 12th, we visited a co-operative organization, the Foundation Amongst Women. Established in 1995, the group operates on one acre of land and works to improve the lives of peasant women in the countryside. The women mentioned that their work includes a Network of Water Defenders, Network of Rural Communicators, Network of Community Defense, and Network of Agriculture.

As I’ve reflected on the necessary components of organizing work in the US, aspects that I often focus on are developing the political will of the people, intentional organizing apparatuses within political homes, strategies to invite the masses into building and maintaining liberated territory, and survival programs as tactics to sustain the people and open their capacity to accept invitations into organizing. However, one thing I often overlooked is the importance of access to land in order to survive as we do this work and to support our work. When I asked members of the Foundation Amongst Women what they would suggest we include in our organizing for revolution, they were very clear that three things were important – enough land, political education, and values.

I believe there is only room for the truth and I am reflecting on how National Assembly members ended our time with them by offering the following words of advice rooted in their reality “We (Nicaraugans) don’t consider the right to vote as the only way to achieve democracy. It isn’t obligatory.” Since the truth is it is the duty of socialist organizations to help us transform ourselves, our neighbors, and the masses, we must remember the Nicaraguan way of life as a shining light. Liberation will always be in the hands of the people, and in the words of Jalil A. Muntaquim, “We are our own liberators.”

I am an African organizer born and raised in occupied Waawiyatanong territory (Detroit, Michigan), and I believe that engaging in the process of organized revolution requires lifelong discipline to the role of a student and the courage to apply our studies with praxis to shift our material conditions with the masses. I give gratitude for the lessons from the political will and revolutionary fervor of the Nicaraguan people, the spirit and lessons of Kwame Ture, as well as lessons from Peoples Program in Oakland, the All African People’s Revolutionary Party, and the Black Alliance for Peace who continuously expand my understanding of what it means to free the land and free the people. I am an African organizer, and I am learning from and standing with Nicaragua and against the global imperialist forces that attempt to destabilize their land and people.

* * * * *

By Nan McCurdy 

Child Malnutrition Reduced 40% 
The various actions carried out by the government have reduced acute malnutrition in children aged 0 to 6 years by 40 percent, from 5.8% in 2016 to 3.5% in 2024. According to the latest report, there was also a 48 percent decrease in chronic malnutrition which dropped from 13.7% in 2016 to 7.1% in 2024. This work has been accompanied by the community health network, health and education workers, local political authorities, Sandinista Youth and Nicaraguan families themselves. From March 1 to May 16, 2024, the National Nutritional Census was carried out in schools and in house-to-house visits to measure the weight, height, age and sex of children. (La Primerisima, 19 June 2024)

Government Submits New Education Strategy to National Consultation
On June 20, the government presented its new National Education Strategy for the period 2024-2026, the main objective of which is to strengthen inclusive, intercultural and gender-equal education. Minister of National Technology Loyda Barreda explained that the plan contains 16 strategic axes and 80 lines of work that will be consulted nationally with teachers, school principals, parents, and students, including members of the Federation of Secondary School Students (FES), a process that will end on July 23 at a National Education Congress. Minister of Education Mendy Aráuz said that the government promotes free and quality education as a fundamental right for human development and the fight against poverty. Professor Arturo Collado, UNESCO’s representative in Nicaragua, highlighted the important progress made in education in Nicaragua under the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity. Nicaragua continues strengthening the Distance Education Program in the countryside, with 714 centers of attention. The newly announced program will strengthen the model of participation of individuals, families and communities contributing to and enriching the new National Education Strategy in all its modalities, through the generation of proposals for educational actions. (La Primerisima, 20 June 2024)

More than 3,000 Medical Services Provided at Mega Orthopedics Fair
More than 3,000 people received medical attention on June 22 at the Orthopedics Mega Fair that took place in the Casa Materna “Luz y Vida” in the city of Ocotal. The activity was attended by 80 doctors from all over the country who provided care in natural medicine and complementary therapies, X-ray studies, electromyography, minor surgeries and hip and knee surgeries. It is worth mentioning that the surgical procedures were performed at the Alfonso Moncada Guillen Hospital in that city. The patients treated were from Wiwilí, Jalapa, Santa María and other municipalities of the department of Nueva Segovia, and were brought in buses provided by the Ministry of Health. During the fair, Dr. Sonia Castro, presidential advisor on health issues, emphasized the importance of bringing health services closer to the population that need them most; she also mentioned that the activity was held to celebrate the 88th anniversary of the birth of FSLN founder Carlos Fonseca Amador and the 45th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution. See photos: (La Primerisima, 23 June 2024)

Military Hospital Has Best CT & MRI Scanning Units in the Region
The Military Hospital has the best equipment in the country to perform CT scans or MRIs. The equipment has two state-of-the-art resonators: one of three teslas (tesla is the unit of measurement of magnetic flux density) and another of 1.5 teslas, each one installed in a special room specifically equipped to house them. The CT scan is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create images of the body. Ionizing radiation (x-rays) is not used. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) alone is called a slice. They can be stored on a computer or printed on film. One exam can produce thousands of images. CT scans can be performed on the abdomen, cervix, chest, head, heart, lumbar region or pelvis. (La Primerisima, 25 June 2024)

Youth Congress Held
More than 300 athletes, university students and artists participated in the Fuerza Victoriosa de Nuestro Pueblo Youth Congress, which took place on June 22 at the UNAN (National Autonomous University of Nicaragua) in Managua. The event was organized by the Ministry of Youth (MINJUVE) in collaboration with the Nicaraguan Institute of Sports (IND) and the Institute of Culture of Peoples and Youth, with the purpose of recognizing and strengthening the achievements of youth in the fields of art, culture and sports. The Congress encouraged the exchange of experiences and the training of facilitators who will inspire other young people to follow their passions and become examples at the national and international level.  The activity took place within the framework of the 45th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution. See photos:
(La Primerisima, 23 June 2024)

The Sandinista Government Condemns Terrorism against Russia
Nicaraguan authorities sent a message to President Vladimir Putin expressing their “profound rejection and condemnation of the criminal terrorist attacks” perpetrated last weekend in different parts of the Russian Federation. [Twenty people were killed in terrorist attacks in the Russian region of Dagestan on June 23.] The letter, signed by President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, states that these acts that represent more violence and pain for so many families must be emphatically repudiated. They also sent their condolences and solidarity to Putin, the people and all those brothers and sisters who continue to be affected by fascist insanity. (La Primerisima, 24 June 2024)