chapter  1
Nicaragua: Liberation Theology as a Force for Democratic Change
ByDebra Sabia
Pages 15

In the political struggle, an overwhelmingly large number of Christians found inspiration in a new form of faith: liberation theology. This chapter reviews the birth and rise of liberation theology and the role of faith in the violent interactions of both the Nicaraguan Revolution and the ensuing counter-revolutionary war. It addresses some of the consequences of the liberation movement in nurturing the democratic process in the contemporary Nicaraguan state. In Latin America, Christian democratic parties (PDCs) had grown out of the postwar period in response to the problems of underdevelopment and antidemocratic regimes. In Nicaragua, as elsewhere in Latin America, the environment arising from the Second Ecumenical Council and the Latin American Bishops Conference fostered a climate of change and liberation. The rise of a liberationist Christianity substantially changed the religious culture of significant sectors of the Catholic community in Nicaragua and led to a practical convergence with political elements seeking peaceful, democratic, and pluralist reform of the Somoza regime.