Latin Quarter - Nothing Like Velvet


Oh sister I'm frightened, oh brother I'm scared
To learn of the death of the Salvador priests
Where was the democracy the congress had paid for?
I think it was uniformed,
And I think it was there

Oh sister I'm lost - just what could they do?
Nicaragua's election, so free on the day
But the campaign trail leads you
To the shadows and borders
There's war and embargo if you don't vote
America's way

Hold the line, hold the line, hold the line Sandinista!
Though many have fallen, still many are strong
They must not take you back
Into the heart of the darkness
They must not raise the hand of Somosa
Again in this land

Song Description

On 25 February 1990 elections took place in Nicaragua. They were conducted democratically and without any remarkable incidents. Against all predictions the opposition party UNO, which was strongly supported by the USA, emerged the victors and the Sandinistas lost power. In November 1989 in El Salvador, at the time receiving US aid of a million dollars a day, six priests were murdered because they had championed human rights against the dictatorship. Is this the democracy that American money paid for? The Sandinistas who, along with their allies, overthrew the dictator Somoza in 1979 are urged not to give up.

In February 1990 I went on a delegation of musicians and actors to observe the elections in Nicaragua. The defeat of the Sandinista government in that election was a great blow and I felt once again that American money and influence had corrupted the region. When I got back to London, the first thing I saw in my bedroom was a magazine article I’d been reading about the murder of four Jesuit priests in El Salvador, another Central American country in which the US was spending a lot of money in order to defeat a popular left wing movement. The song “February 1990” briefly expresses my feelings about those two very connected events. Steve Skaith