Remembering the Longest U.S. Occupation in Latin American History | Under the Shadow, Ep. 9

Augusto Sandino is celebrated as a Nicaraguan revolutionary and liberator. The U.S invasion he resisted set the stage for dictatorship and, later, revolution.

April 23, 2024

General Sandino (center) and an entourage en route to Mexico, 1929. (Department of the Navy, U.S. Marine Corps. Historical Division)


Read the transcript.

In 1912, the United States invaded Nicaragua and began what would become the longest U.S. occupation in Latin American history. The occupation would birth both a dictatorship and one of Latin America’s most important revolutionary heroes: Augusto Sandino.

Sandino would wage a six-year-long guerrilla insurgency to rid Nicaragua of the U.S. Marines. And he would win. The United States finally pulled out in 1933, the year before Sandino was assassinated by the forces of the man who would take power and rule for decades.

In this episode, host Michael Fox takes us on the trail of Augusto Sandino. We visit his hometown and then speak with University of Pittsburgh historian Michel Gobat about Sandino’s life, the U.S. occupation, and how it set the scene for everything that would come decades later, including the 1979 Sandinista Revolution.

U.S. Marines hold Sandino's flag, Nicaragua, 1932. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Under the Shadow is an investigative narrative podcast series that walks back in time, telling the story of the past by visiting momentous places in the present. 

In each episode, host Michael Fox takes us to a location where something historic happened — a landmark of revolutionary struggle or foreign intervention. Today, it might look like a random street corner, a church, a mall, a monument, or a museum. But every place he takes us was once the site of history-making events that shook countries, impacted lives, and left deep marks on the world.

Hosted by Latin America-based journalist Michael Fox.

This podcast is produced in partnership between The Real News Network and NACLA.

Michel Gobat

Edited by Heather Gies.

Sound design by Gustavo Türck.

Theme music by Monte Perdido and Michael Fox 

Other music from Blue Dot Sessions.

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For background, see Michel Gobat’s book Confronting the American Dream: Nicaragua under U.S. Imperial Rule (2005, Duke University Press)

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A statue of Sandino at his childhood home in Niquinohomo, Nicaragua. (Michael Fox)

Sandino's childhood home in Niquinohomo, Nicaragua. (Michael Fox)

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