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17 years ago this week in Metro Times: Chuck Wilbur talks to author Gary Ruchwarger about Nicaragua’s democratic evolution under the Sandinista government. Ruchwarger’s research indicates that the democratic movement isn’t a product of U.S. military pressures, but rather of Sandinistas studying the parliamentary systems of Chile and France. He suggests that the American view of the country’s political process is distorted by the Reagan administration’s disinformation and the media’s docility. The Sandinistas were eventually defeated in free elections in 1990, 1996 and 2001. What was happening: Identity at Pullum’s Place.

14 years ago this week in Metro Times: Camille Colatosti reports on the closing of Women in Work, a state office assisting female workers claiming sexual harassment and other discriminations. John Truscott of Gov. John Engler’s administration claims it is an effective move that limits needless bureaucracy, but Patricia Curran, the director of Women in Work, says that it shows the administration’s contempt for women: “For the first time since 1897, there is no one in the Michigan Department of Labor who will specialize in the problems of 48 percent of the workforce.” What was happening: The Buzzcocks at St. Andrew’s Hall.

Nine years ago this week in Metro Times: Lillie Guyer covers the plight of Michigan’s homeless war veterans. Of the state’s homeless, one-third are veterans, half of them from the Vietnam War. Many of the vets also fought in the Persian Gulf War. Federal budget cuts have limited the number of shelters, while the welfare program for single adults is insufficient after Gov. Engler axed 82,617 people from General Assistance in 1991. Subsequently, in 2003, the Department of Veterans Affairs counted 5,171 homeless vets in Michigan. What was happening: Kula Shaker at 7th House.

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