The Sandinistas committed their share of atrocities, mainly the Miskito Indians, in which I belive around seventy were killed. Like I've stated, I'm not one for debating "Moral Equivalency", but their figures are not comparable to the thousands killed by the Contras/Somazas. I do not see either side as "good" at the end of the day.The Sandinistas were responsible for TONS of atrocities. It is not "reasonably hard" to judge them for political murders, torture, shutting down opposition media outlets, et al. In the aggregate, they were bad people. Very bad.
The Sandinistas were not the 'perfect' democrats, nor were the Somozas/Contras. In defense of the Sandinistas policies however, figures released by OXFAM, and The World Bank did show an increase in health standards, literacy, consumption of food and diversity of wealth. This is one of the reasons why the US were so intent on removing the Sandinistas from power: diversity of wealth, and nationalisation of services, does not sit well with US corporate interests.
As I said earlier, Democracy is just a word if the people are starving. The West does not have a very good record of promoting "true" democracy abroad. I have all ready said I would have preferred to live in the US/UK rather than the Soviet Union, but this does not make me blind to their transgressions.I disagree here, too. Both sides certainly did awful things to client states during the Cold War, but you are implicitly equating the morality of liberal democracy and capitalism with authoritarian communism. They are not morally equivalent. Communism, fascism, National Socialism, Juche, whatever are both inefficient AND wrong. If we learned nothing else from the 20th-Century, we know that much. It's awful that so many lives were lost on both side trying to prove it, but we can't pretend as if everything was just one maniac bloodletting with no ideas and principles involved.
Yes there are ideas and principles involved; the ideas and principles involved though are more often than not, not the ones you may be thinking of. On the surface, we fight for freedom and democracy; we fight for humanity and justice; we fight for truth and equality. In reality, we fight for economic and geopolitical reasons under the guise of freedom and democracy.