The Beginning

Audacity and faith were needed in great abundance during the first months of organization and planning. With nothing more than promises of international donations, Father Fernando Cardenal, campaign director, asked Carlos Tunnermann, minister of education, for a loan of thousands of dollars from the ministry budget—a highly irregular, if not strictly illegal, request since all crusade funding was to come from nongovernment sources. The two men thus entered into a temporary "budgetary conspiracy," which caused them some initial qualms, resulted in moments of teasing, and provided the campaign with the necessary monetary impetus to begin. They laughed together, knowing that jail was not a serious possibility, but if they did not succeed in their joint venture, they knew too that they would forever bear the burden of not meeting the trust placed in them by the revolution—a punishment for them far more painful than imprisonment. Without their willingness to take such a risk, the crusade would have been paralyzed and would probably have had to be postponed until the following year.