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Somoza cartoon

US pamphlet parody of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle


This pamphlet cover, published in 1978 by a U.S. solidarity organization, is a fantastic focal point for exploring periodization in the history of U.S.-Nicaraguan relations. It depicts a cartoonish parody of the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle being propped up by the legs of the U.S. eagle. It is emblematic of the views of many observers that the Nicaraguan despot was simply a puppet of the United States. In the context of U.S.-Nicaraguan relations, this imperial relationship between the United States and Somoza regime provides a better contextual backdrop than the Cold War. Beginning with the Marine occupation from 1912-1933, the United States was a dominant force in Nicaraguan politics for much of the twentieth century. In most U.S. historical narratives on this subject, this unequal relationship and its imperial implications tend to be subsumed under the Cold War considerations of the latter half of the twentieth century. However, Latin American scholars tend to emphasize the role of U.S. imperialism in the region’s history and focus on other pivotal events. In the context of U.S.-Nicaraguan relations, a better framework might be one that emphasizes U.S. intervention - potentially from the start of the U.S. occupation to the overthrow of the Somoza regime in 1979. This would allow us to better examine the specific transnational themes that defined Nicaraguan and U.S. actions during this time period.

How to Cite This Source

"Somoza cartoon," in World History Commons, [accessed April 17, 2024]