In emulating Castro and their other communist heroes such as Stalin and Mao, the Sandinistas took control of everything in the country: mass organizations, the army, police, labor unions, and the media. They censored all freedom of speech, suspended the right of association and ruthlessly crushed the freedom of trade unions. Faithful to their Marxist ideology, the new tyrants seized the means of production. State controls and nationalization spread, aid to the private sector and incentives for foreign investment disappeared. To put it plainly, another 20th-century experiment with socialism annihilated a nation’s economy along with a peoples’ prospects for a better life.
Thousands of Nicaraguans who attempted to protect their property — or who simply committed the crime of owning private property — were imprisoned, tortured, or executed by the new despots.
Unlike the previous regime of Anastasio Somoza, the Sandinistas did not leave the native populations on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua in peace. In Khmer Rouge style, they inflicted a ruthless, forcible relocation of thousands of Indians from their land. Like Stalin and Mao, the new regime used state-created famine as a weapon against these “enemies of the people.”  The Sandinista army committed myriad atrocities against the Indian population, killing and imprisoning approximately 15,000 innocent people. The Sandinista crimes included not only mass murders of innocent natives themselves, but a calculated liquidation of their entire leadership — as the Soviets had perpetrated against the Poles in the Katyn Forest Massacre, when the Soviet secret police executed approximately 15,000 Polish officers in the spring of 1940.
The Sandinistas quickly distinguished themselves as one of the worst human rights abusers in Latin America, carrying out approximately 8,000 political executions within three years of the revolution. The number of “anti-revolutionary” Nicaraguans who disappeared while in Sandinista hands numbered in the thousands. By 1983, the number of political prisoners inside the new Marxist regime’s jails was estimated at 20,000.  This was the highest number of political prisoners in any nation in the hemisphere — except, of course, in Castro’s Cuba. By 1986, a vicious and violent Sandinista “resettlement program” forced some 200,000 Nicaraguans into 145 “settlements” throughout the country. This monstrous social engineering program entailed the designation of “free-fire” zones in which Sandinista government troops shot and killed any peasant of their choosing. 
The Sandinista Gulag also institutionalized torture. Political prisoners in Sandinista jails, such as Las Tejas,were consistently beaten, deprived of sleep and given electric shocks. They were routinely denied food and water and kept in dark cubicles known as chiquitas (little ones), that had a surface area of less than one square meter. These cubicles were too small to sit up in, were completely dark, and had no sanitation and almost no ventilation. Prisoners were also forced to stand for long periods without bending their arms or legs; they were locked into steel hot boxes exposed to the full force of the tropical sun; their daughters or wives were sexually assaulted in front of them; and some prisoners were mutilated and skinned alive before being executed. One sadistic Sandinista practice was known as corte de cruz; this was a drawing-and-quartering technique in which the prisoner’s limbs were severed from the body, leaving him to bleed to death. 
The result of all of these horrifying cruelties and barbarisms was yet another mass exodus from a country enslaved by communism with tens of thousands of Nicaraguans escaping and settling in Honduras, Costa Rica and the United States. 
As most Marxist regimes, the Sandinista despotism accompanied its internal repression with external aggression. With Soviet and Cuban aid