Over the past decades, Nicaragua’s national development has been subject to recurrent fundamental re-orientations: between 1979 and 1990, after toppling one of the longest-lasting United States (US)-supported dictatorships in the region, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN or Sandinistas) under President Daniel Ortega attempted to transform the dependent capitalist agro-economy towards a democratic socialism-a prefi guration of contemporary Venezuela’s “21st Century Socialism” (Walker 2003, Raby 2006). However, over this period, the national effort to produce substantial change, which included considerable gains in social justice particularly in land redistribution, relative basic food security, free basic health care, and a reduction of illiteracy from over 50 percent to 12 percent (MED 1982), was met by what is widely regarded as Washington’s multi-dimensional war of attrition. Overt and covert terrorism, justifi ed by the media, provided favorable conditions for US polyarchy promotion which, as the political complement to global neo-liberal economics, has reduced democracy to a choice between competing fractions of a transnational capitalist class (Robinson 1992, 1996, Harris 1998). The FSLN’s defeat in the 1990 elections ushered in 16 years of neo-liberal rule, which formally terminated with Ortega’s return to the presidency on January 10, 2007. Whereas at the national level, the FSLN constitutes a 38 percent minority government, the party is the strongest political force at the local level: between 2004 and 2008, the FSLN governed in those 87 municipalities (out of 153) where more than three-quarters of Nicaraguans live;2 in the November 2008/January 2009 municipal elections, the party could still increase its leadership, when it won 109 mayoralties, including the capital Managua.