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Eugene Lang College- The New School

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Nicaragua: Revolution, Transformation, and Civil Society


Youth act as both reflections of and protagonists within history and society. This is even more apparent in Nicaragua, where the 1979 triumph of the Sandinista revolution was sustained by the high levels of youth participation. In the following two and a half decades, youth have continued to play a defining role both following the example of and rejecting the proceeding models of participation. This essay is an exploration of the history of youth political participation in Nicaragua in the years between 1975 and 2006: from the insurrection to the most recent elections. I work under the assumption that the youth were and are responding rationally to the circumstances in which they live. With this supposition, I investigate the causes and sources of social consciousness. Highlighting the progression of the spaces and organizations youth have created and used to support their protagonism in Nicaraguan, the first part of the essay separates the period into four historical moments: 1975-1979, the insurrection; 1980-1989, the revolution and the resistance; 1990-2005, the neoliberal or post-revolutionary period; 2006, the elections and a look towards the future. I utilize interviews with youth actors from multiple perspectives in the four time periods and find there are four main sources of social and political consciousness that dictate the visions of the youth and forms of involvement throughout the period. The second section of the report explores the dynamic relationship of each of the four sources- religion, family, political culture, and education – with the landscape of youth political participation in recent Nicaraguan history.


Politics and Social Change


Article Location