This essay describes the book written by Salman Rushdie entitled The Jaguar Smile, that was published in 1987 after Salman Rushdie was invited by the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. It chronicled a period of the country's political history at the height of the Sandinista political movement…
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The historical narrative also highlighted several political behaviors. The most important of this is that its political culture is constantly being remade and is largely induced or influenced by external forces. This was demonstrated in the way the United has directed the Nicaraguan politics through the Somozas and how it caused the economic collapse of the country by imposing a trade embargo afterwards as a way to pressure and impact policy. This kind of intervention has already happened previously. Neighboring countries such as Mexico and even Britain have intervened in differing periods in the past. This has led to a kind of political culture in the country today that is characterized by an inherent desire to repel foreign enemies. The political success of the Sandinistas is the most glaring example of this phenomenon. Two-thirds of the electorate voted the Sandinistas to power in 1984, demonstrating the public displeasure for the US-armed Somoza, putting an end to years of American intervention (Kenworthy 66). This behavior is also depicted in the strong desire to prevail or, at least, survive in the chaotic Central American politics. By Rushdie’s accounts and criticisms of the different Nicaraguan regimes, it became clear that the leader who held power tend to become autocratic and totalitarian. Even the Sandinistas themselves who wanted to be free from the previous repressive government eventually started muzzling the press. Censorship became such an important issue that Rushdie, himself, could not turn a blind eye although he still refused to call it despotic or comparable to the previous dictatorial government. This variable appears to highlight the distinctive...
In order to understand the themes of the essays in the Jaguar Smile, it is important to reflect on the background of the Nicaraguan history during the Sandinistas' rise to power. The Jaguar Smile was published in 1987 after Salman Rushdie was invited by the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. It chronicled a period of the country's political history at the height of the Sandinista political movement. The narrative is the result of Rushdie's three-week long sojourn in Nicaragua. It provided enough materials for the author to document the Sandinistas' path to power. Essentially, the book used this subject as the landscape for his themes. In the process, he was able to provide a valuable account on a period in Central American history that has been characterized by a nation-building that typifies most of the Latin American experiences in addition to the American neo-colonialism. Fundamentally, it is a story of the underdog, rising to defeat stronger foes: the Anastazio Somoza Debayle dictatorship and, later, the US, through the Honduran Contra forces. In addition, the discourse of resistance in The Jaguar Smile has revealed several important insights about the political behavior of the players in the narrative. The implication of this point is that The Jaguar Smile is influential as a political text. It formed part of the long list of work concerning colonialism and nationalism. It revealed to the world how neocolonialism could stunt nation-building and breed a political culture that can eventually work against the hegemon.
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