Professor Leslie Elin Anderson investigates Nicaraguan politics

Professor of Political Science Leslie Elin Anderson has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her book project, Democratic Enclaves in Times of Trouble: The Politics of Resistance in Nicaragua. The fellowship is part of the NEH's $16.3 million awarded in this grant cycle.

I have been studying Nicaragua since the mid 1980s, and I watched democracy rise and develop out of the 1979 revolution. The coup, organized by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), unseated President Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979 and ended the 46-year Somoza regime. The US financially supported the contras, an armed militia opposing the FSLN, but the Sandinistas continued to hold power until 1990, when they lost to pluralistic candidates. They regained power in 2006 and still retain power under President Daniel Ortega after presidential term limits were lifted and the threshold for election voting was lowered. Now democracy is in decline and the nation is struggling to keep its democracy alive, says Anderson.

Anderson's book will examine the effects of the patchwork of pluralistic and rightist enclaves in Nicaragua throughout the Sandinista regime as a measure of how local democratic efforts intersect with regime-oriented leadership. It feels absolutely breathtaking to have a major foundation like the NEH recognize my work and support it, she says.

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