One in this series of documentary films. Part three of this special four-part documentary series hosted by Judy Woodruff, which chronicles the history of the United States' involvement in Central America. This installment examines the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, in which opposition forces struggled to overthrow the corrupt Somoza government. Accompanied by archival footage and still photographs, the following topics are addressed: the social and political climate of Nicaragua in the grips of the Somoza regime; how the powerful family took advantage of the National Guard established by the United States; how they exploited the economy while their people lived in poverty; their brutality toward growing opposition, which alienated their people and led to the withdrawal of the United States' support; the origin and rise to power of the Sandinista forces, dedicated to a violent overthrow of the corrupt Somoza government; their struggle to oust Somoza; the creation of the Sandinista Junta; the differences between how the Carter and Reagan administrations viewed the Junta; and U.S. support of the Contra movement, causing civil war with the Sandinistas. Those interviewed include Robert Pastor, National Security Council staff member; Asst. Sec. of State Viron Vaky; U.S. Ambassador Lawrence Pezzulo; Rep. John Murphy of Long Island, N.Y., a friend of Somoza's; Leopoldo Salazar, presidential aide to Somoza; Alfonso Callejas, vice president under Somoza; Nicaraguan businessman Aldolfo Calero; Tom‡s Borge, Sandinista commander and later, minister of the interior; Mo•sŽs Hassan, former Sandinista organizer and Junta member; Carlos Andres PŽrez, president of Venezuela; Violeta Chamorro, widow of opposition leader and Junta member; Luis Pallais, acting president of the Nicaraguan Congress during siege on Palacio Nacional; EdŽn Pastora, Sandinista commander during siege on Palacio Nacional, who later supported the Contras; former Junta member Alfonso Robelo; Daniel Ortega, leader of the Nicaraguan Junta; and business leader Enrique Dreyfus. Also included is archival footage of Somoza; Fernando AgŸero, candidate in opposition to Somoza; Francisco Urcuyo, transition president of Nicaragua (July 17-18, 1979); Fidel Castro (1980 speech); Maurice Bishop, prime minister of Grenada (1980 speech); and U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy (1961 speech), Jimmy Carter (1977 inaugural address), and Ronald Reagan.

Acquisition and cataloging of this program was made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Preservation of the Post–World War II American Television Documentary Collection is supported in part by a Federal Save America’s Treasures grant administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


  • DATE: April 11, 1985 Thursday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:57:57
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T91:0192
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Nicaragua - History - 1979-
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1983-


  • Neal B. Freeman … Executive Producer
  • David Fanning … Executive Producer
  • Austin Hoyt … Executive Producer
  • Elizabeth Deane … Senior Producer
  • Martin Smith … Producer, Writer
  • Celenia Melendez … Associate Producer
  • Ed Joyce … Animation
  • Judy Woodruff … Host
  • Christopher Dickey … Reporter, Chief Correspondent
  • Will Lyman … Narrator
  • Peter Haydu … Voice-over, For translation
  • Michael McNally … Voice-over, For translation
  • Ned Bastille … Voice-over, For translation
  • Wendi Sakakeeny … Voice-over, For translation
  • Ed Herlihy … Voice-over, In news clip
  • Fernando Aguero
  • Maurice Bishop
  • Tomas Borge
  • Aldolfo Calero
  • Alfonso Callejas
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Fidel Castro
  • Violeta Chamorro
  • Enrique Dreyfus
  • Moises Hassan
  • John F. Kennedy
  • John Murphy
  • Ortega Saavedra, Daniel
  • Luis Pallais
  • Robert Pastor
  • Eden Pastora
  • Carlos Andres Perez
  • Lawrence Pezzulo
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Alfonso Robelo
  • Leopoldo Salazar
  • Somoza Garcia, Anastasio
  • Somoza Debayle, Anastasio
  • Francisco Urcuyo
  • Viron Vaky