Date of Publication


Degree Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Anne Macpherson, Professor & Chair, History


The Contra War thrust Nicaragua’s indigenous Miskitu people from their lives as a little-known indigenous people on the country’s Atlantic Coast to the center of the international stage. A prolonged affair commonly dubbed a low-intensity conflict, violence started in 1979 shortly after the country’s Sandinista revolutionaries deposed the Somoza regime and only ended in 1990. 1 Swept up in the middle of this dramatic Cold War conflict that brought the battle of capitalism versus socialism uncomfortably close for many Americans, the Miskitu people’s plight came to be almost constantly featured in the United States’ national media. For millions of American citizens the news was their window into Nicaragua, but the twenty-four hour televised news of today was in its infancy. Thus print media held massive clout when it came to creating the commonly understood narrative of the war. So what did people flipping through their morning paper throughout the early 1980s read about the Nicaragua situation?

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