14.01.2015 33 °C
Leon - where the revolution started
Our next stop for one night is Leon, another nice colonial town a little less renovated than Granada. Leon is also the birth place of the Nicaraguan revolution and we visited the historical museum where a lovely old boy who was part of the action narrated what happened along with vivid pictures.
he also took us on the roof of the once beautiful colonial building and the view over the city and mountains were spectacular.
Basically, prior to the revolution, the Somoza family had ruled the country for just over four decades but had done very little to help improve the lives of the people who were by and large unhappy with the state of the country. The final straw came in 1972 when a massive earthquake leveled Managua killing some 10,000 people and leaving approximately 250,000 homeless. International aid was sent to the country to help rebuild its capital city but instead of being used for this purpose it was embezzled by Somoza’s National Guard. While people mourned the death of those lost in the earthquake, they could not even afford to bury them properly and they faced the elements without food, clothing or shelter, the president’s personal finances rocketed to a whopping US$400 million within just two years of the tragedy. The injustice of the situation was clearly evident and even those who had previously supported the government now called for an overthrow due to lack of compensation. Suddenly Somoza was ruling over a country filled with subjects who simply could not stand for his rule. Minor skirmishes with guerilla forces started to become the order of the day. In December 1974, a guerrilla group infiltrated the house of the Minister of Agriculture and seized several government hostages. The minister himself was killed and fourteen Sandinista prisoners were released from jail. Of course the Somoza government fought back in all the underhanded ways that one would expect but Somoza had dug his own grave and it was only a matter of time before he was wounded and later killed. The people were liberated and the Sandinistas took power. During the initial twelve years that they were in power, the Sandinista National Liberation Front established democratic elections and a national constitution as well as instituting many other necessary governmental functions. Today the Sandinista National Liberation front is still an active political party known as the FSLN.
Las Penitas - a beautiful fishing hamlet where life slows down
We take a shutlle from our hostel in Leon to Las Penitas. What they did not tell us is that we would be dropped of at the intersection with the main road. We started walking in the midday sun with all our heavy luggage, not realising our hostel was 5kms away! We arrive soaked and shattered! Fortunately, the hostel (run by french staff) is really lovely, beach front, palm trees, hammocks and friendly staff who offer us a very welcome juice.
We spend the next 2 days here, relaxing, reading, swimming, sunbathing, watching the sunset. It is just beautiful and the food is very good. I indulge in shrimps in coconut sauce.
No more to say other than admire the photos!