Saturday, June 9, 2007

The New Nicaragua

After the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) took power in 1979, it seemed like the heralding of a new age in Nicaraguan history. Little did the populace know how the US Government was going to respond to their newly found liberation from the wealth hording of Somoza.

At the time this record was released (1983), Nicaragua had taken a case to the International Court of Justice against the US for its participation in military and paramilitary actions in and against the Republic of Nicaragua. In 1986, the Court had found that the US government had "encouraged the commission of acts contrary to general principles of humanitarian law," although the Court stopped short of actually impugning the US government in actively participating in any wrong doing. The US was ordered to pay a fine for its involvement; the US refused to pay the fine.

In 1987, it became public news that key members of the Reagan administration were actively involved in illegally providing arms to members of the Contras, who were actively trying to disrupt the Sandanista government in hopes of re-installing a military junta that would be more favorable in the eyes of US interests. This led to a TV bonanza of court cases that were trumpeted every day for months in the media but, as one can clearly see today, the US government hasn't fallen shy of its ability to help induce a public amnesia in the minds of the general American populace when it comes to its more nefarious activities.

Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy and other members of his family are very well-known Nicaraguan musicians. This particular album was recorded with his second band Grupo Mantocal. After the Sandinista Revolution proved to be successful, he was appointed as a member of the Department of Music within the Ministry of Culture. His lyrics took on a more socially-conscious tone in light of the events he and his fellow Nicaraguans found themselves faced with during that trying time and he began to travel extensively around the world.

Check out his website.

Listen to the record.

Check out the extensive liner notes.

Interesting note: His brother is Carlos Mejia Godoy- another famous Nicaraguan musician- whose son, Camilo Mejia, was the subject of much consternation in US news back in 2004. Camilo is a US immigrant who served in the US military and wanted to file as a conscientious objector after being deployed to Iraq for some time. The US Army denied his request.

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