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Chamorrismo in Nicaraguan newspapers & other sources, 1927-1929

The case of Anastasio Hernández & José Eulalio Torres in the Ocotal area

The case of Carmen Vílchez & Marcelino Hernández in the La Trinidad area (forthcoming)

The case of Juan Alberto Briones in the Estelí area (forthcoming)

THIS IS THE HOMEPAGE  for documentary evidence relating to political gangs and political gang violence in Nicaraguan history unrelated to the EDSN, Marines & Guardia.  Such political gangs are crucial for understanding the Sandino rebellion, expressing key features of the social & cultural environment that, starting with Sandino's first uprising at the San Albino Mine in October 1926, also gave rise to the political practice of Sandinismo.  At present the evidence is focused mainly on political gangs created under the aegis Chamorrismo — the complex webs of allies, clients & supporters of el último caudillo ("the last caudillo") Emiliano Chamorro, who dominated Nicaraguan political life for most of two decades, and through most of the period of the "first" US occupation (1912-1927).  The Chamorristas' decades-long dominance saw its death throes in the US supervised elections of November 1928.  Chamorrismo died a very ugly death.  And as these documents make plain, its relationship with Sandino's struggle was complex and multilayered.  (Illustration:  emblem for these "Gangs" pages, adapted from two editorial cartoons in La Noticia, Managua, 1 January and 11 March 1928:  in the original, the man representing Chamorrismo is blocking the McCoy electoral law (establishing the procedures for the Nov. 1928 elections) from the House of Deputies with the warning:  "Pass here, but macheted.")

     Emblematic of Chamorrismo in practice is the case of the Mosonte-born cortacabeza Anastasio Hernández and fellow gang leader José Eulalio Torres (at right).  Especially explosive were the eighteen months from the Espino Negro Accord of early May 1927 until the US-supervised elections in early November 1928, which swept the Liberal General José María Moncada into the president's office.  During these critical 18 months, local Liberal and especially Conservative gangs filled the power vacuum created by the dissolution of the national state.  The Conservative Chamorristas, with a lock on political power for nearly two decades, feared losing the elections and did everything they could to disrupt the electoral process.  That they ultimately failed, I argue, matters less than the nature and intensity of their efforts.  Because the Sandinistas borrowed many of the violence-making practices that had long characterized the region, understanding these gangs is key to understanding the rebellion that followed.  (Photos of Anastasio Hernández (left) and fellow Chamorrista gang leader José Eulalio Torres, National Penitentiary, Managua, 1928, US National Archives).

     At present these Gangs pages offer two document collections, linked on the table above and below, with additional collections forthcoming: 

Chamorrismo in Nicaraguan newspapers & other sources, 1927-1929

The case of Anastasio Hernández & José Eulalio Torres in the Ocotal area

The case of Carmen Vílchez & Marcelino Hernández in the La Trinidad area (forthcoming)

The case of Juan Alberto Briones in the Estelí area (forthcoming)

 

Rare photograph of five captured Conservative gang members from the western Segovias.  Rear of photo reads:  "Five Nicaraguan bandits captured by Lieutenant SALZMAN in the San Lucas District of Nueva Segovia Province, Nicaragua, being led into Somoto from San Lucas, for confinement.  USNA2/5845-12 Historical Nicaragua 1928".  See Salzman report in IR 28.09.24: 10,  Top 100, p. 16.

 

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