Introduction
It was all left in time,
It all burned in the distance . . .
joaquínpasos,warsongofthethings
TSandinista
he year 1999 marks twenty years since the triumph of the
Revolution. It is becoming part of the past, but it
still rises up like a restless tide under my window to astound and
move me. Nothing has ever been the same for me since then. As I
find myself growing older, full of memories that always return with
that tide, I tell myself that I would have missed it altogether if I had
been born a bit sooner or a bit later in that century of illusions.
Then, just as someone who awakens from a bad dream, I check to
make sure that I did not miss it. It is there, in all its majesty, in all
its glory and its misery, its anguish in my mind, and its joys. It is
just as I lived it, not how anyone told me it was.
Bernal Díaz del Castillo penned his soldier’s memoirs in his
retirement in Santiago de Guatemala because someone else wanted
to tell him the story of his own life. Francisco López de Gómara,
who had never taken part himself in the adventure of the conquest
of Mexico, had recently published his General History of the Indies
written in Valladolid. That was when Díaz del Castillo, out of pride,
began writing his True History of the Conquest of New Spain.
I did not carry a weapon in the revolution, and I never wore a
military uniform. Nor do I find myself at the verge of forgetfulness
due to old age, and no one is contradicting me with a different
book of the events that I experienced. In fact, the revolution has
run out of chroniclers at this end of a century of broken dreams,
after having had so many during the years when it inspired the
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