Date Awarded

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Betsy Konefal

Committee Member

Hiroshi Kitamura

Committee Member

Dennis A Smith


This research focuses on the anti-Sandinista forces popularly known as the "contras" who operated in Nicaragua from 1980 to 1990, in particular the Fuerza Democrática Nicaragüense (FDN), the Alianza Revolucionaria Democrática (ARDE), and the two main Atlantic Coast contra groups: MISURA (Miskito Sumu and Rama Indians of the Atlantic Coast) and MISURASATA (Miskito, Sumu, Rama, Sandinista Aslatakanta [Working Together]). This thesis looks at the different ways these contra groups viewed their conflict and explained it to national and international audiences, as well as to those within the anti-Sandinista movement. Because there was such heterogeneity within the contra movement, a comparative look at the different groups that composed it is essential. While there were similar strains of thought among the most prominent contra groups, goals were articulated differently from one group to another, and these varied narratives serve as a basis to explain how they became obstacles to unity among the contra groups, and how these differences were finally reconciled into the larger, more-unified anti-Sandinista effort.



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