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Culture

The Two Sides of Gioconda Belli

The author Gioconda Belli is often mentioned alongside other renowned Latin-American women the likes of Isabel Allende or even Evita Perón.

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Gioconda Belli

The Nicaraguan started writing in her early twenties. At the same time she joined the Sandinistas, the liberation movement that fought against the dictatorship in her home country.

For a long time Belli led a double life: on the one hand she was a caring mother, on the other, an underground revolutionary who smuggled weapons across borders, hosted secret meetings, and risked her life hiding her "compañeros". She also lived in exile in Mexico and Costa Rica for a time.

As a writer and revolutionary, Belli has met the likes of Fidel Castro, Salman Rushdie and Gabriel García Marquez. Quite ironically, she is now married to an American and spends some of her time in the United States - the country that once backed the dictatorship she fought against.

In Germany, Belli is best known for her semi-autobiographical novel " The Inhabited Woman", as well as her poetry. In the past, many German readers and critics considered her to be the role model of a feminist revolutionary. But the Gioconda Belli that emerges from her recently published memoirs " The Defense of Happiness", is quite a multi-facetted one.