Section depth is the section “The Somoza Era,

1: Identification and Evaluation of sourcesThis investigation will explore the question: To what extent did the
martial rule of Anastasio Somoza Debayle affect the political unity of
Nicaragua from 1967-1979. The years from 1967 to 1979 will be the focus of this
investigation, to allow for an analysis of Anastasio Somoza Debayle’s martial
rule from his rise to power to the decline of his power, as well as his rule’s
effect on the political unity of Nicaragua.The first source which will be evaluated in depth is the section “The
Somoza Era, 1936-74.” which is part of a book called “Nicaragua: A Country
Study” written by Tim Merrill for the Government Publishing Office of the
United States Congress Library. The origin of this article is important because
this is an unbiased report, as it is primarily composed of facts, prepared by
Tim Merrill, who is an accomplished writer born in 1949 for the United States
Congressional Library. His year of birth is important as it shows that he was
alive to witness the years 1967-1979 which are the years of focus for this
investigation. However, a problem that is encountered is his book only covers
years up to 1974, which won’t cover the full scope of the presented
investigation. Furthermore, the date of the publication of this source,
December 1993, strengthens its value, as it indicates that Merrill, benefitting
from hindsight, has been able to analyze a comprehensive range of sources,
including government documents, interviews and statistics, to write an
extensive researched report on it. However, the origin of the source is limited
in that Merrill is not a professional expert in politics, with which this topic
is closely related and, consequently, might have misinterpreted some of the
political data presented.The purpose of Merrill’s book, particularly the section of the
Somoza Era, is to provide a comprehensive history of the Nicaraguan nation. This
is valuable for the U.S. congressional library, as it serves as the record of
the Nicaragua as a nation in the past, permitting for foreign relations of past
between U.S. and Nicaragua to be maintained through the practices and
diplomacies of the past. However, the fact that the author has covered nearly
all the history of Nicaragua from the colonial periods in 1522 limits its value
to a historian studying economic developments within a short time period.The second source evaluated in depth is Alejandro Bendana’s “Somoza
Apparatus”, which was on the website of Nacla, a news site which has been
reporting on the Americas since 1967. The origin of this source is valuable
because the article is written by Alejandro Bendana, a man who has a vast
insight on the Nicaraguan Nation as he is a native Nicaraguan who has vast
political knowledge with which he has written this article in 1978. The news
site claiming to have started reporting on the Americas from 1967 fits in
perfectly with the scope of the investigation as the investigation is from
1967-1979. Additionally, the year of publishing of the article being 1978 is
both an asset and a limitation as it helps analyze what Nicaraguan people
experienced while the rule of Anastasio Somoza Debayle was still active,
however it is also a limitation as it does not cover the year 1979, which was
the year Anastasio Somoza Debayle completely fell out of power, therefore not
covering the full scope of the investigation. In terms of origin, the source is
also limited in that Alejandro Bendana does not understand the major impact of
Somoza Debayle in the state he has written the article, as some of Somoza
Debayle’s effects on political unity of Nicaragua are observed after he falls
out of power. The purpose of this source is to explain the intricacy of the rule
of the Somozas on Nicaragua while slightly satirizing it. The article therefore
provides a valuable insight into the ongoing politics of Somoza Debayle at the
time. The source is, however, limited in its purpose in that the article,
having been written to convince Nicaraguan people of Bendana’s point of view, being
that the Somoza rule is tyrannical, omits certain accomplishment of the Somoza
Dynasty for the Nicaraguan nation. The value of the article is that it really
illustrates the attitudes of the Nicaraguan people under Somoza Debayle’s rule
and how they perceived it, however a limitation in its value is that it’s
slightly subjective, although containing facts; it contains words intended to
evoke emotions of the urge to rebel against Somoza Debayle in the Nicaraguan
people.Section 2: Investigation                               Few historians
would disagree that Anastasio Somoza Debayle’s martial rule had an everlasting
impact on the political conditions of Nicaragua from his rise to power in 1967
to his loss of complete power in 1979. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, a highly
principled and influential man, enacted many measures and pacts in Nicaragua
which affected the daily lives of many Nicaraguan citizens, sparking many
revolts and protests that threw the Nicaraguan nation into a state of political
unrest. The rule of Anastasio Somoza Debayle therefore majorly impacted
Nicaragua by fragmenting any political unity that had existed under the Somozas
during the Somoza Era and was responsible for the innumerous populist revolts
and unrests in the country. While most historians believe that the populist
revolts were inevitable for the country fracturing any sense of political unity
the country had previously under the Somozas, many historians believe that Anastasio
Somoza Debayle’s actions catalyzed these revolts and fractured the political
unity of the country. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, after rising to power in 1967 became
the director of national guard, used force to quell revolts, placed relatives
and Guardsmen in positions of power, enacted the Kupia-Kumi Pact, created
programs for financial self-gain for the Earthquake of 1972, for all of which
he received numerous criticism from Catholic Church, revolts from democratic
groups, until finally one called the Sandinista National Liberation Front was
successful in overthrowing him in 1979 at the price of complete destruction of
political unity that had once existed in Nicaragua.                               After first
rising to power in 1967, Anastasio Somoza Debayle became the director of the
National Guard, an act that provided him with absolute political and military
control in Nicaragua. The National Guard served as his personal army, which
acted mainly to quell rebellions and maintain order throughout Nicaragua. ¹ However, when the National Guard was enacted and
used freely by Anastasio Somoza Debayle, extreme corruption was evident on the
streets of Nicaragua and the use of force by the National guard to placate accelerating
opposition from populist and business groups increased.
¹ In addition to directing the National Guard, President Somoza Debayle
regressed to the heavy-handed tactics that his father, Somoza García, employed
in the 1930s, which included the open use of office to expand his financial
holdings and placing Guardsmen and relatives in vital positions for which they
had no experience. ? With Somoza Debayle in charge, the officers of the National
Guard continually increased their underhanded abuse of authority and their
illegal financial dealings until 1972, which caused increased political turmoil
on the streets of Nicaragua as the amount of populist protests increased. ?                               Although his
four-year term ended in 1971, Anastasio Somoza Debayle amended the constitution
remain in power up to 1972. ¹ Then realizing that he could no longer remain in
power directly without being proclaimed a dictator, Somoza Debayle enacted the
Kupia-Kumi Pact, which established a three-member junta that was to maintain
power from 1972 to 1974.¹ The junta was created in May of 1972 amidst political
turmoil in Nicaragua due to the opposition led by the Pedro Joaquín Chamorro
Cardenal and his newspaper La Prensa. ¹ Due to Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal being
the only major opposition to the Junta rule, he was shot to death in downtown
Managua by an unknown shooter possibly hired by the Junta. ¹ Despite the
Junta’s best efforts to maintain power, the discontent of the Nicaraguan people
increased due to the deteriorating social conditions like increasing
Illiteracy, malnourishment, inadequate health services, and lack of proper
housing. ? This also sparked criticism and animosity from the Roman Catholic
Church, especially from Archbishop Miguel Obando y Bravo. ? The archbishop
published numerous pastoral letters satirizing Anastasio Somoza Debayle’s
government. ? Finally, with the massive earthquake of 1972, Somoza Debayle’s
relationship with the bourgeoisie reached a breaking point. With the city of
Managua completely destroyed, the government’s inability to manage with mass
dislocations, its inability to counter populist protests, and its unrestrained
misuse of relief funds were brought to public eye, which further worsened the
political condition of the country. ? The aftermath of the earthquake made
these contradictions more prominent as the bourgeois were now able to
completely perceive the flaws in Somoza’s government. To make matters worse, Somoza
personally exploited the natural disaster to expand his financial empire, as he
gained control of sectors previously independent of the Somoza family control
like the banking and the expanding construction industry. ? The political
opposition, which was a perpetual response to Somoza’s continuing abuse of
power, was led by Chamorro and former Minister of Education Ramiro Sacasa, who
together created the Democratic Liberation Union. ¹ This was a major opposition
group that was a broad coalition of business populist groups whose were mainly
represented by the traditional elite and labor unions. The party promoted a
dialogue with the government to foster political pluralism, but to counter this
Somoza increased political repression and furthered the censorship of the media
and the press. ¹ Despite all the party’s efforts, in September of 1974,
Anastasio Somoza Debayle was reelected president. ¹                               Soon after
Somoza’s reelection, opposition groups continued the protest of Somoza and his
government. ? This time however mass protests and violence were led by
Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). ? To
deal with this increasing political unrest in Nicaragua, the 17th Meeting of
Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of American
States (OAS) accepted a U.S. proposal for a political mediation in Nicaragua. ?
Upon receiving the mediation proposal, Somoza and the moderate opposition
accepted, and an International Commission of Friendly Cooperation and
Conciliation was held. ? It consisted of representatives from the Guatemala, the
United States, and Dominican Republic, who congregated in October 1978. ?
William G. Bowdler, the U.S. representative, tried to convince Somoza to join
the moderates in a change to free elections but his attempt was unsuccessful. ?
Eventually, in July of 1979 the revolutionary Sandinista movement subjugated
the Nicaraguan President Somoza Debayle finally putting an end to his martial
rule. ?                On the whole, the leadership of
Anastasio Somoza Debayle from 1967-1979 contributed to increasing political
unrest in Nicaragua as many populist groups arose to revolt. The enactment of
Kupia-Kumi Pact, the establishment of the National Guard as Somoza Debayle as
the leader, the practice of placing relatives and Guardsmen in positions of
power, and the use of policies of rebuilding after the Earthquake in Managua,
further intensified the dislike of the Nicaraguan people towards his policies
as the revolts continued until finally the democratic Sandinista movement was
successful in overthrowing him and ending his martial rule.Section 3: Reflection

This investigation
has allowed me to gain an insight into some of the techniques utilized by
historians, along with the challenges historians face when executing historical
investigations. In order to carry out the investigation, I read books by
renowned historians on the subject, read government documents and articles
concerning the topic of this study, all of which are methods utilized by
historians. I have developed a skill that I believe is vital in the study of
history, which is that of circumspectly analyzing sources, to differentiate
subjective ideology from facts in the same article in order to understand what
truly had happened and what was believed to have happened. For example, Alejandro
Bendana’s “Somoza Apparatus” was an excellent example of where subjective
ideology was embedded with facts, as the facts were intended to persuade the
Nicaraguan people to rise against the rule of Somoza Debayle. Living in that
time frame, Bendana had written the article to inform the Nicaraguan people
about the rule of Somoza Debayle, however unable to hide his bias against the
rule, the article shows his reprehension for the rule of Debayle while still
keeping the article informative rather than persuasive. The reason why he has
this subjective ideology towards the subject is because he lived in that era,
therefore having an opinion on the rule which he subtly voices through diction
throughout the article. This I feel could be a major challenge for historians to
face if they are analyzing multiple documents with implicit subjective
ideologies with facts conflicting each other. This is where a historian would
have to separate the subjective ideologies from facts in each article for a
proper unbiased comparison of the sources to determine which source would have
more merit. Also, when using these sources that have implicit subjective
ideology embedded within facts to write an unbiased report, it would be
necessary for a historian to separate the ideology from the facts and write
just the facts. 

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