Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Guerilla wars against the major powers have been a factor in Central American politics for a long time. This biographical drama is based on the life of Nicaragua's prototypical 20th century guerilla, Augusto C. Sandino (born as Augusto Nicolás Calderón Sandino). His name and life were the inspiration for the anti-U.S. forces in that country fifty years after his death: they called themselves the Sandanistas. It is helpful to remember, and this movie demonstrates, that the U.S. military has been actively involved with the domestic politics of Nicaragua many times in this century, most notably during the 1912 invasion which resulted in over twenty continuous years of U.S. military intervention. In the story, Sandino loves two women: his wife, who remains at home, and his warlike mistress, a guerilla who accompanies him into the jungle. He has a tendency (common at the time) of wanting to trust politicians. As a result, he was betrayed by Anastasio Somoza in 1933, and vanished from sight. Somoza soon became the sole ruler of Nicaragua (from 1936 to 1956). The free-thinking rebel, who renamed himself Augusto César Sandino in the late 1920s, identified strongly with the indios or indigenous people of the region, and proposed a political agenda under which the countries of the Central America would unite against European exploitation.