Through the fall of Anastasio Somoza, the rise of the Sandinistas, and the contra war, the United States and Nicaragua seemed destined to repeat the mistakes made by the U.S. and Cuba forty years before. The 1990 election in Nicaragua broke the pattern. Robert Pastor was a major US policymaker in the critical period leading up to and following the Sandinista Revolution of 1979. A decade later after writing the first edition of this book, he organized the International Mission led by Jimmy Carter that mediated the first free election in Nicaragua's history. From his unique vantage point, and utilizing a wealth of original material from classified government documents and from personal interviews with U.S. and Nicaraguan leaders, Pastor shows how Nicaragua and the United States were prisoners of a tragic history and how they finally escaped. This revised and updated edition covers the events of the democratic transition, and it extracts the lessons to be learned from the past.