A notable feature of Nicaraguan history, particularly during the stage that began with independence from Spanish rule in 1821, is the use of violence by forces within the exploiting classes, fighting over control of the government. Peaceful changes between different factions of the ruling classes, which have been rather frequent in other Latin American countries, have not taken place in Nicaragua. This traditional experience predisposed the Nicaraguan people against electoral farces and in favor of armed struggle. There is no doubt, then, that the Nicaraguan people have a rich tradition of rebellion.
It is a fact that the Nicaraguan people have taken up arms to fight specific forms of oppression many times through movements headed by individuals, movements that in no sense could lead to progressive revolutionary change. This represents another characteristic of the Nicaraguan people throughout their history. This characteristic relates to the lack of a deepgoing revolutionary consciousness.
The ideological obscurantism inherited from the colonial epoch has continued to weigh heavily in preventing the people from marching with full consciousness toward struggle for social change. It is indisputable that throughout their history the Nicaraguan people have endured numerous battles in which they have demonstrated their courage. But they have marched to these struggles more by instinct than through consciousness. Perhaps it is useful to repeat in the case of Nicaragua the Marx wrote in relation to Spain. Marx pointed out that the Spanish people traditionally been a rebel people, but not a revolutionary people. The national and international conditions that currently prevail make for at least a sector of the Nicaraguan people to initiate armed struggle, conscious that that they are trying not simply to achieve a change of men in power, but a change of the system—the overthrow of the exploiting classes and the victory of the exploited classes.