Since the Sandinistas returned to power in Nicaragua in 2007,
ideas about rights have been central to the governing party’s populist
project. The rights in question are understood to require the production
of ‘organized’ citizens, integrated into mechanisms of popular governance.
But for rural Sandinistas who participated in the revolutionary
agrarian reform of the 1980s, rights are about land; and for some, realizing
rights has required disentangling themselves from local organs
of organized life, resulting in their exclusion from the government’s
populist model of rights. The contending ideas about how to legitimately
ground rights that result—and the effort of these excluded Sandinistas to
make revolutionary ‘struggle’ the basis of entitlements—trouble a standard
anthropological model that views abstract rights as subsequently
particularized in practice.