With Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, Dunbar-Ortiz presents the third volume in her critically acclaimed memoir. In this long-awaited book, she vividly recounts on-the-ground memories of the contra war in Nicaragua, chronicling the US-sponsored terror inflicted on the people of Nicaragua following their 1981 election of the socialist Sandinistas, ousting ReWith Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, Dunbar-Ortiz presents the third volume in her critically acclaimed memoir. In this long-awaited book, she vividly recounts on-the-ground memories of the contra war in Nicaragua, chronicling the US-sponsored terror inflicted on the people of Nicaragua following their 1981 election of the socialist Sandinistas, ousting Reagan darling and vicious dictator Somoza.The war’s opening salvo was the bombing of a Nicaraguan plane in Mexico City by US-backed contras, the plane Dunbar-Ortiz would have been on were it not for a delay. This disarming closeness to the fraught history of the US/Nicaraguan relationship shapes Dunbar-Ortiz’s narrative, bringing uncomfortably present the decade-long dirty war that the Reagan administration pursued in Nicaragua against civilian and soldier alike.As with her first two memoirs, in Blood on the Border, Dunbar-Ortiz seamlessly connects the dots not only between the personal and the political, but between recent history and our present moment. Unlike the many commentators who view the September 11, 2001, attacks as the start of the so-called “war on terror,” Dunbar-Ortiz offers firsthand testimony on battles waged much earlier. While her rich political analysis of this history bears the mark of a trained historian, she also writes from her perspective as an intrepid activist who spent months at a time throughout the 1980s in the war-torn country, especially in the remote Mosquitia region, where the indigenous Miskitu people were viciously assailed and nearly wiped out by CIA-trained contra mercenaries. She makes painfully clear the connections between what many US Americans only remember vaguely as the Iran-Contra “affair” and current US aggression in the Americas, the Middle East, and around the world. Clearly, this will be a book valuable not only for students of Latin American history, but also for anyone who is interested in better understanding the violent turmoil of our world today....
|Title||:||Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War|
|Number of Pages||:||304 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War Reviews
Here's an excerpt of an interview I did with Roxanne when "Blood on the Border came out:(Find the full thing at www.reddirtsite.org)JT: I remember you saying at a speaking engagement that you fell in love with the Sandinista revolution? What made it so special in your eyes? What set it apart from other revolutionary projects?RDO: What I liked about it, was that they were people just like us. I knew so many of them here in San Francisco. At the time it had the second largest Nicaraguan population outside of Managua. After Augusto Cesar Sandino was assassinated in 1934 and the Somoza dictatorship was put in, they really wanted to export Sandinistas, get them out of the country. That was a really large part of the population, since it was quite a popular movement. The United States set up a very different system for Nicaraguan workers to immigrate here. Remember, there were only two million people there, even if 100,000 or 500,000 people came, the U.S. figured it wouldn’t be a stress on immigration. They had so much experience working for U.S. corporations, in mining and fruit; there were no restrictions put on them, unlike workers from most other countries. They could come as they wished. The main place they settled was San Francisco, the Noe Valley neighborhood was almost all Nicaraguan and our Mission is still largely so. I knew a lot of them. I knew the poets Roberto Vargas and Alejandro Murgia, who is Chicano, but married to a Nicaraguan. They went down to fight in the revolution., they also founded the Mission Cultural Center here.The Sandinistas in Nicaragua were disorganized! Just like any leftists here, it seemed! It was like the youth revolution here had won. They were kind of bumbling in some ways, but they were sincere, they were so sincere. I fell in love with that even before I went there, but more so when I went there. But I fell in love with what they were doing there, they produced a huge literacy campaign, they were so idealistic in what they were doing. They went out into the countryside and taught people how to write poetry, this got everyone wanting to be a poet. It is the only country in the world where being a poet is the highest thing you can be. So the aspiration was to know the language so you could write poetry. All over there were poetry workshops, it was the most amazing thing.Then there was this damn contra war, eating away at that. Seeing that deteriorate, it was just heartbreaking.JT: Yes, it seemed as if the Contras really target the best parts of the Sandinista revolution.RDO: Especially in those really poor rural areas. Any kind of development workers trying to bring electricity in, any little thing like that they attacked. Most of these people were people form the communities themselves. My favorite story was in 1980, the Sandinista government needed a helicopter, a civilian helicopter, they needed to drop supplies in flooded areas. Somoza's National Guard had destroyed all of the military equipment. A Nicaraguan living in San Antonio said, “I can buy one for you from Bell Helicopter.” The Sandinistas checked on how much it would cost to ship it, and the cost would have been more than the helicopter. So they sent two people who could fly airplanes, never a helicopter, up to Texas to get it! This is the crazy scheme you and I might think of! They got up in the air and they were intercepted by US military jets. As far as I know the pilots are still in prison. They lost the money, the helicopter was confiscated.They had no experience in constructing a government, and Somoza left nothing to work from. Most of the Sandinistas were poets, journalists, and teachers. There was a lot of guerilla activity, but it was symbolic as many guerrilla movements are in Latin America. It really was a mass revolutionary movement, the Sandinistas would have never have won militarily without the people!
this is the last book in roxanne dunbar-ortiz's trilogy of political memoirs, covering her life in the 70s & 80s--especially the period of time when she got really involved in indigenous solidarity work with the indians in nicaragua during the war there. it was definitely super-interesting to read about this war, this region of the world, & the people that lived there, during a war for which i was a really young kid. i was dimly aware of the war at the time, because my parents subscribed to newspapers & i read them, & sometimes i watched the news (yeah, even when i was like seven years old), but obviously i didn't really understand what was going on. this book is a pretty good introduction to what was going on with the war, although there are probably more exhaustive & detailed accounts, because this is first & foremost a memoir of dunbar-ortiz's life at the time, & she had more going on than just the work she was doing in nicaragua. sadly, i can't really remember details of what that other stuff was. i think there was a marriage in there somewhere. & there was something about not getting along with some other really prominent folks that were involved with various american indian groups. at one point, she even suggests that one of them (i wish i could remember who! someone really well-known) isn't even actually indian, which i thought was kind of a low blow. there were a few things like that in her book, that kind of made me question her reliability as a narrator & took me out of the memoir space & put me more in the way of thinking that maybe partly she was writing the book because she had an axe to grind with regard to a few different people who have crossed her. & all of her books are like this. but they're still really engaging, & really, at the end of the day, dishy beats boring, so it's all good.
I was disappointed by this book. I found it to be a rambling, unfocused, tour of the author's travels and work. Throughout much of the book there seems little of interest to the average reader but rather a litany of references to various UN committees, conferences and people without much context of their importance or relevance. I would have given it one star if not for a chapter describing a harrowing boat trip up a river in Honduras to distribute pictures and letters to the Miskitians in order to provide news from their relatives on the Nicaraguan side which provided one of the few tidbits of interesting and well written text within an otherwise incoherent book.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is perhaps a tad overenthusiastic at times. Her praise for two Sandinista cops who conduct conflict resolution between a fighting couple, which although this took place I highly suspect that such "goodwill" is not representative although the praise suggests the actions are representative, is one such example. Blood on the Border is a well-written account of one Western/Native American woman's experiences in Nicaragua and especially important for recording indigenous women's perspectives on the conflict and otherwise.
A fascinating memoir of a woman who was an activist for the rights of indigenous persons, and who became involved in activism in Nicaragua leading up to, and during, the contra war. I found this book to be particularly interesting, having read of the contra war but never having heard any real details of it. The author really exposes both sides of the conflict, which are of course quite nuanced. Although I had a hard time following all of the names and conventions the author mentions, the book is otherwise quite riveting.
Dunbar-Ortiz's insider account of the grueling US war on Nicaragua includes new (to me, anyway) insights into and documentation of disinformation campaigns that parallel what Washington did in Haiti in "softening up" liberals and leftists to accept the 2004 coup.
p. 46, reference to Gramsci's dictum: pessimism of the mind, optimism of the will..
she's amazing - a first hand example of how america has a history of imperialism - and not just to defend ourselves!
I was excited to read this book but there were a few questionable phrases I noticed when I skimmed through the book. I'm going to give it a chance but I approach with caution.