I remember standing to the side of a crowd of angry Nicaraguans in OPEN 3 (now Ciudad Sandino) a few days after the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution in July 1979. A small group of Somocista orejas cowered inside a small jail. The crowd wanted to kill them for their complicity in the recent execution of neighborhood kids. Four armed muchachos stood in front of the door. One stepped forward and shouted, “We must create a new Nicaragua, and this must be a different kind of revolution—a humanist revolution. These orejas will be tried, no paredón!”

I was struck by those words uttered over 40 years ago, and I still try to grasp their meaning. Did they announce a utopian path not taken? Or were they just rhetoric blown away by the idiot winds of history? Regardless, a young boy of 16 or 17 uttered those words. At the...

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