Jenny Murray’s film, ¡LAS SANDINISTAS! chronicles the crucial role of women combatants in Nicaragua’s successful revolution to overthrow the decades long dictatorship of the Somoza family.
Using stunning archival footage from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and contemporary interviews with women who had survived resistance to the brutal repression, poverty, disease, economic inequality and social injustice, the film focuses on the major Sandinista General, Dora María Téllez, as well as four of her revolutionary allies. Fully 30% of the FSLN – The Nicaraguan Sandinista Liberation Front – were women.
General Dora María Téllez entering Léon after leading the assault of Nicaragua’s second largest city. It was a major turning point.
After the success of the revolution, women filled crucial ministerial roles in health and culture, achieving historic success before the Reagan administration’s blockade and backing of the Contras diverted the all-too-scarce resources needed to continue their programs. Dora María was Minister of Health from 1985 – 1990, succeeding Lea Guido.
Now, 35 years later, amidst staggering levels of gender violence in Nicaragua, and while their own stories are being erased from the history books, these same women brave the streets once again to lead the popular movements for equality and democracy.
Poet, Daisy Zamorra, became Minister of Culture after serving as an FSLN combatant and the voice/program director of the clandestine Radio Sandino. In spite of her dramatic success, she was “fired” after refusing the unwanted advances of a member of The (all male, 9 member) Directorate. She is now a professor in San Francisco.
Monica Baltodano “La Jefa” was a Sandanista general, who led the crucial assault on Masaya. She worked in the movement for several decades, and after experiencing the corruption and authoritarianism, she left in 2005 to form the Movement to Reclaim Sandinismo, known as El Rescate.
Dora María Téllez founded the MRS (Sandinista Renovation Movement) for democratic reforms in 1994. The struggle continues – as do the women.