According to today's Tal Cual, Ernesto Cardenal has just released the third and final volume of his autobiography, La revolución perdida, in Managua. The article quotes comments that Cardenal made during an interview with a Chilean newspaper. In recent years, Cardenal has been explicit in his criticism of his former comrades in the Sandinista movement, blaming their obsession with power for the failure of the Nicaraguan revolution.
For me, there are very few poets who are as exciting to read as Cardenal. I am heartened by the fact that he refuses to romanticize the idea of revolution.
Below is a translated excerpt from the Tal Cual article:
Cardenal explains that he renounced from the Sandinista Party in 1994 because "I couldn't accept that in a country with so much poverty, supposedly revolutionary leaders would clean out the State funds when they were forced to give up power."
The poet affirms that the leaders of the Sandinista National Front were incapable of assimilating the 1990 electoral defeat against Violeta Chamorro. "The [Sandinista] Party was corrupted. Defeat did not have to mean the end of the revolution, which had been democratic and which created free, just, and honest elections, and which because of this could lose those elections. As it did.
But it could go on being the revolution from the side of the opposition. Once they lost the election, its leaders were demoralized and they devoted themselves to stealing before handing over the government. They destroyed the revolution for the sake of personal enrichment," said Cardenal to the newspaper La Vanguardia.
That was the end of the Sandinista dream for Cardenal: "Once it was corrupted, that beautiful project stopped being revolutionary. That is why I have left the Sandinistas.
Today the party is dominated by a Stalinist leadership." With the exception of the writer Sergio Ramírez, the former Minister of Culture does not exempt any of the Sandinista ex-leaders from blame.
"I excuse neither Daniel nor Humberto Ortega. Both of them took advantage of their positions in order to enrich themselves. Nor do I excuse Tomás Borge, the guerrilla leader who participated in that great robbery. Many others succumbed to temptation. As Galeano said: those who were not afraid to give their lives were afraid to hand over their Mercedes Benz, their houses, and the products of that robbery carried out by the Sandinista leadership."