The Sandinista National Liberation Front (Spanish: Frente Sandinista de la Liberacion Nacional) is a socialist revolutionary party and organization in Nicaragua. In the 1970s, it fought a guerrilla war against the brutal, right-wing, US-backed Somoza dictatorship. The Sandinistas successfully overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979 and embarked on massive social and economic reforms, greatly improving the quality of life for the vast majority of Nicaraguans. In only a few years, they smashed down the illiteracy rate, gave universal public health care and education to the people of Nicaragua, and redistributed land from being concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite of landlords and US corporations; they gave this land to the peasants of Nicaragua. In 1984, the Sandinistas, understanding, unlike conservatives and capitalists, democracy, held the most free and fair, multiparty elections in the country's history. Sandinista leader and revolutionary Daniel Ortega was elected with over 60 percent of the vote.
Reagan and his corporate cronies and fat-cats didn't like the improved life for Nicaraguans, because it cut into their profits. You see, to Reagan, universal health care, record-low illiteracy and, worst of all, democratic elections, just weren't... American enough. So, to make up for this un-americanism, Reagan had the CIA sell drugs to give money to terrorists known as the Contras, who, claiming to be heroic rebels seeking to overthrow the Sandinistas, valiantly, on orders from the CIA, attacked hospitals, civilians, children, schools, farms. The Contas, mostly Somoza's old cronies and rich landowners, raped women, maimed children and tortured people they suspected of being happy with the Sandinistas.
The Sandinistas defended their country from the menace. Unfortunately the Sandinistas also did bad things like kidnapping hostages and demanding ransom. They got help from Cuba which is the arch enemy of the United States. So, to increase funding for the contra terrorists, Reagan order Ollie North to sell guns to Iran and use the money to support the contras, which was technically high treason.
The contras, even so, were so pathetic that they could not defeat the mighty Sandinistas, who, waving their red and black banners could easily destroy most of them. However, in 1990 the contras stopped fighting, because the US, through electoral fraud and corruption, were able to plant their neoliberal puppet in charge if Nicaragua. For the next 16 years, corruption ruined Nicaragua and all the efforts of the Sandinistas.
However, in 2006, the people finally made their voices heard, and, despite massive cheating from the right wing, the Sandinistas triumphed in the elections. Ortega once again has embarked on socialist reforms and has been improving the peoples' lives.
The Sandinistas took their name from Nicaraguan revolutionary Cesar Augusto Sandino, who lead a rebellion against US occupation of Nicaragua in the thirties.