Foreign Policy Blogs

Pictures from a Revolution (1991)

Who won the war in Nicaragua?
Apparently, no one.
Pictures from a Revolution examines photographer Susan Meiselas’s journey to find the people she photographed in Nicaragua during the 1970s and 1980s.
She uses the photos to reach out to people, many of whom are blunt about their shattered hopes. Both supporters of the Sandinista government and the pro-Somoza contras express dismay, in part because they feel like they were pawns in an international game between the United States and the Soviet Union.
And they were.


At the time of the filming, more than a decade after the Sandinistas took power, most Nicaraguans were dismayed that the revolution didn’t change things for the better.
They seem to realize that the skill set for conducting an insurgency is very different from the one required to govern.
Nicaragua was one of the last countries used by the United States and the Soviet Union to wage cold war by proxy.
Would it become the next Cuba? Would it immediately fall into the Soviet sphere of influence?

That was what the U.S. government was concerned with because the Sandinistas are Marxists.
But it appears Nicaragua could have been coopted by the United States to keep it out of Soviet hands.
What Meiselas has done with this documentary is to provide a snapshot of a critical time and place not only for Nicaragua but also the world.
Pictures from a Revolution is available to rent.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]