This engaging book-length interview of a leading Latin American novelist and former Sandinista offers rich insights into the historical myths, moral sensibilities, and political styles of the Latin American left of the 1970s and 1980s. Ramírez, who served as Daniel Ortega's vice president, recalls his own student radicalization, defends his revolutionary activities, and explains his eventual disillusionment and break with the authoritarian Ortega. An introspective intellectual who worked among "political animals," Ramírez struggles to reconcile personal morality with political loyalties, without nostalgia or bitterness, and likens the revolution to "a lost love" -- one that with all its flaws brought democracy to Nicaragua. He also elucidates the youthful dependency of the Sandinista leadership on Fidel Castro and its failure to grasp the olive branch offered by Jimmy Carter. Extra treats include warm portraits of leading Latin literati, including Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, and Carlos Fuentes. This is a real find for serious students of the Latin American left, as well as for Americans trying to grasp "why they hate us."
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.
More Reviews on Western Hemisphere From This Issue