'The scruffy young man who arrived in Nicaragua in 1988 stood out.
He was tall and sometimes goofy, known for his ability to mimic a goose's honk. He spoke in long, meandering paragraphs, musing on Franklin D. Roosevelt, Karl Marx and Bob Marley. He took painstaking notes on encounters with farmers, doctors and revolutionary fighters.
Bill de Blasio, then 26, went to Nicaragua to help distribute food and medicine in the middle of a war between left and right. But he returned with something else entirely: a vision of the possibilities of an unfettered leftist government.
As he seeks to become the next mayor of New York City, Mr. de Blasio, the city's public advocate, has spoken only occasionally about his time as a fresh-faced idealist…
Mr. de Blasio… grew to be an admirer of Nicaragua's ruling Sandinista party, thrusting himself into one of the most polarizing issues in American politics at the time. The Reagan administration denounced the Sandinistas as tyrannical and Communist, while their liberal backers argued that after years of dictatorship, they were building a free society with broad access to education, land and health care.'