Working in Nicaragua has varying levels of satisfaction; there are days when you smile at the visible difference you’ve made in a landscape, days when you rejoice because you can see the changes in a young generation towards women and there are days when you could weep at the lack of resources and amenities available to people. Then there are days when a simple tale is what takes your breath away, for me this was the tale of a revolutionary soldier – straight from the horse’s mouth;
“That was the door we came through when we stormed the building” he said, gesturing to the side of the courtyard of the Museum of the Revolution in Léon.
It’s hard to find a location in Nicaragua which hasn’t been touched by the war, the run down building we stood in was once a regional council building before the revolutionaries stormed it. To the victors go the spoils and our old soldier and tour guide, simply known to us as Vladimir, who stormed the building more than 30 years ago has now founded the museum which features inside it today.
After years of fighting the revolution ended and Sandinistas have been in power ever since, working for the people to create a united county. However, as is often the case, promises are not always delivered. The revolution, which could be called the most influential event of recent Nicaraguan history, has a museum dedicated to it - ensuring the preservation of history - yet has received no funding from the government whatsoever.
Now allegedly plans are in the works to sell the Revolution Museum and several other historical buildings in Léon at a profit to make way for hotels and restaurants. From the eyes of Vladimir at least, the ideals for which he fought for at the tender age of 19, the ideals he was tortured for while suffering from malaria and the ideals thousands on either side died for are being forgotten. Although politics is an almost taboo subject in Nicaragua, Vladimir shared his candid thoughts on life after the war: the Sandinistas, he says, “have betrayed the revolution”.
Written by Natalie Deans