Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua, celebrates 43 years since the Sandinista National Liberation Front managed to overthrow the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Debayle, on July 19, 1979. Now, with more than 15 consecutive years in power, Ortega faces serious accusations due to the lack of guarantees for human rights and a strong socio-political crisis that is hitting the country.
After a weekend of previous celebrations, walks and caravans are seen in Managua, in which people with t-shirts and images alluding to Sandinismo and the Ortega Administration are seen. They commemorate the great annual festival of July 19 and the 43rd anniversary of the end of the Somocista dictatorship.
On the other hand, Nicaraguan opposition groups and those in exile have called on the population to live on July 19 as a “day of mourning” in rejection of the Sandinismo that exercises power in the country.
Rosario Murillo, wife of Ortega and vice president of Nicaragua, announced that 277 special foreign guests will be present for the celebration. Cuba and Venezuela, allies of the Central American country, have sent their congratulatory messages, as has the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un.
Through a statement from a prison in Managua, opposition leaders said that 43 years ago the Nicaraguan people were united in the fight against the “tyrant Somoza”, however, they pointed out that “today unfortunately we are facing the power of a new corrupt and sell-out family , which represses and murders, forces us into exile and keeps us in poverty”.
The same people, through civic struggle and non-violence, will take charge of passing the Ortega and Murillo to the dump of history so that once and for all they face justice. #SOSNicaragua pic.twitter.com/hfQjZK88yV
— Blue and White National Unity (@UnidadNic) July 18, 2022
The last time Ortega received foreign guests at a public event was on January 10, during his investiture as re-elected president. There he gave way to his fifth term, the fourth in a row. At the end of this last period in 2027, he would complete 26 years of being in power.
The celebration caused controversy due to the presence of the Iranian Mohsen Rezai, accused by the Argentine Justice of participating in an attack in 1994, which resulted in 85 deaths. Also present at the ceremony were representatives of the Chinese government of Xi Jinping and the presidents of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel.
A before and after 2018
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has held the Ortega Administration responsible for the death of 355 civilians at the hands of the public force during the protests that the country experienced in 2018.
Thousands of Nicaraguans, including Sandinista militants, took to the streets to demand Ortega’s resignation. The Government has recognized 200 fatalities, but local organizations assure that the figure could rise to 684.
Ortega insisted on denying the demonstrations and assured that it was a “failed coup”, however, the acts of 2018 and the socio-political crisis that the country is experiencing have affected the celebrations of July 19 in recent years.
The crisis facing Nicaragua
This same Tuesday, the Government of the United States reported that it placed Nicaragua on its “black list” of human trafficking, considering that they do not comply with the standards set by US law against this crime. Cuba, Venezuela and 19 other countries are also included in the list.
In a report published by the Government of Joe Biden, they assure that the Ortega Executive has “minimized” the acts of human trafficking in their country.
To this is added a new announcement made by the National Assembly on Monday, July 18: the cancellation of the legal entities of another 10 NGOs in Nicaragua, adding 869 so far this year and 1,068 associations of this type dissolved after the popular uprisings in 2018.
The Ministry of the Interior defends itself by saying that the new 10 NGOs that were closed failed to comply with their obligations, such as the Foreign Agents Regulation Law.
Without evidence, the Sandinista deputy Filiberto Rodríguez said in a plenary session that the affected NGOs used resources from donations that -he assures- they received in 2018 to overthrow Ortega. Opposition leaders have described the move as an attack on freedom in the country.
Complaints of mistreatment of political prisoners
In a hearing organized by the IACHR in San José, Costa Rica in June, the current situation of 44 political prisoners in Nicaragua, who have denounced inhuman treatment in the detention centers where they are held, was learned through a public hearing.
The report denounced that the inmates do not have access to health services, live with insects and rats inside the cells and receive physical and psychological abuse.
The absence of the State of Nicaragua at the hearing called attention.
Elected mayors removed and replaced
On July 4, the Nicaraguan Police raided five city halls of the opposition party Citizens for Freedom (CxL). The leaders elected by popular vote were arbitrarily removed and replaced by supporters of the Ortega regime.
“All legitimately elected municipal governments under the banner of Citizens for Liberty have been taken over by the regime,” CxL president Kitty Monterrey said in a tweet.
In 2021, the CxL party was outlawed and during that year’s election season, opposition candidates were arrested, some tried and convicted of treason.
What was the Sandinista Revolution?
July 19, 1979 marked the history of Nicaragua to this day: the troops of the Sandinista Revolution took power in Managua, the capital, after President Anastasio Somoza Debayle had fled the country in a coup d’état. He and his family were in power for more than 40 years.
The Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) was founded in 1961 and took its name from Augusto César Sandino, leader of the Nicaraguan resistance against the US occupation between 1927 and 1923. Very slowly, the FSLN began to gain followers, as contempt for the Somoza family was growing.
The FSLN proposed an agrarian revolution, a foreign policy independent of that of the United States, improvements in labor and security conditions, among other measures that allowed it to make its way into Nicaraguan society at the time, achieving consolidation in 1974.
With the support of Cuba and small military attacks, the Front was consolidated during the following years and gained ground from the Somoza dictatorship.
One of the events that most infuriated Nicaraguans was the murder of journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, then director of the newspaper ‘La Prensa’, a newspaper that is still in force and is the maximum opposition media outlet against Ortega, who has tried to censor him on different occasions. .
Ortega’s arrival in power
After the FSLN took power, following a coup d’état with the help of the security forces in 1979, Daniel Ortega obtained the position of coordinator of the National Reconstruction Governing Board and was in charge of the mandate while the course was resolved. from the country.
Somoza fled to Miami. From Florida, he traveled to the Bahamas and then to Paraguay, where he was assassinated in 1980.
After this event, Nicaragua entered into a strong civil war against the “contras”, supported by the United States. With a bit of political calm, Ortega won elections held in 1984 and governed until 1990, when Violeta Barrios defeated him at the polls, this year is considered the end of the Sandinista Revolution.
With a pacifist, supportive message and abundant references to God, in 2006 Ortega returned to the political map and ran again as a candidate for the Presidency of Nicaragua, improving his popular acceptance and achieving victory at the polls.
Since then, the 76-year-old Ortega has completed 15 years and 5 consecutive months in power, marked by allegations of corruption and lack of transparency, in addition to mismanagement in power. Now, 43 years after his overthrow, opposition groups compare Ortega to Somoza.
With EFE, Reuters and local media
Source: France 24