|Tens of Thousands March in Opposition to FSLN in Managua Today|
Source: La Prensa
In spite of a threatened confrontation with supporters of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (Spanish acronym: FSLN), which many feared could have turned violent, tens of thousands of Nicaraguans from varying political parties and alliances put away their internal divisions and marched in Managua today, voicing their common opposition to President Daniel Ortega and the policies of his regime. The protesters made two complaints more prominently than all others; their allegations of recent electoral fraud in municipal elections around the country a little over a year ago and the recent decision of the Nicaraguan Supreme Court declaring that the prohibition against presidential reelection was invalid.
|Sandinista militants fire homemade mortars at protesters leaving the demonstration|
Source: La Prensa
The violent retaliation from Sandinista militants many feared would be wrought on the demonstrators during their march did not come to pass and the promised mass counter-demonstration of the FSLN also never materialized, though a few hundred did gather in Managua. It was only after the march ended that Sandinista supporters harassed departing groups using homemade mortars and rocks. But there were instances of FSLN violence apart from the demonstration and especially outside Managua. The worst in the vicinity of the capital city centered upon a Sandinista attack in nearby Empalme de Izapa, where four trucks of FSLN militants ambushed Luis Diaz, a leader of the opposition Liberal Party. Diaz and others accompanying him were beaten, the tires on their vehicles were slashed, and their engines disabled. Other instances of similar attacks occurred elsewhere in the country.
Though the marchers displayed noticeable unity across party lines in opposition to Ortega and the FSLN, it is difficult to tell whether their mobilization represents the development of unified multi-partisan political action. Their shared rejection of the results of the municipal elections last year and the recent Supreme Court decision to permit Ortega to run again in 2011 united them, but there was little expression of proposals for concrete action to be taken by the opposition in unison. But former President Arnoldo Aleman used the occasion to call upon Ortega to begin realistic dialogue with the opposition and a former presidential candidate and ex-Sandinista Edmundo Jarquin declared that the illusion of FSLN support had been dissipated.
I am going to include a translation of a blog entry from La Prensa journalist Luciano Cuadra, who I quoted yesterday, on the meaning of today's march. And a special note, he will refer to Leonor Martinez, an opposition activist who had her left arm broken last October 22 when she was attacked outside her Managua home by three Sandinista militants. She has identified the man who organized the attacks publicly, but the national police have thus far done nothing, which is making her case something of a cause célèbre among the Nicaraguan opposition.
|TRANSLATION: Why Are We Marching?|
By Luciano Cuadra
|At this time we are initiating one more event by means of which, the people ask for peace, but they also call for justice. There will be thousands and thousands of citizens who with their steps, sweaty bodies and challenging looks, will tell the tyrant that this farce is about to come to an end.|
Nicaraguans are marching in support of those whose voices tyranny has sought to silence as if they were a broken muffler. The people are in the streets in support of Leonor Martinez, the activist who was attacked in a cowardly fashion by those who feared the edge that her words carried when telling the truth.
For the journalists who have been abused by the Orteguista gangs, simply for reporting. For fulfilling their work, for being faithful to their society.
They are also going for the bus driver, for the taxi driver. For the market tenant who shows up in his work stall at such early hours, to ensure the payment of the tuition for his kids, but so they will learn to write, not to shoot homemade mortars. For the shoeshiners and shoemakers. They are marching today for the children who present themselves every day with military discipline at stoplights, and then get up on the sidewalk when the Comandante passes by quickly in his Mercedes Benz. For them and the young girls for sale who go along their way. We are also marching for them. Because we no longer want to see them there, "working."
We also express ourselves in solidarity today with Reinaldo Escobar, the husband of the Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez; who was attacked yesterday by a Cuban crowd, because he wanted to debate ideas with the Castrista agent who attacked Yoani some days before. How great is the fear of cowards when someone threatens them with the drawing of words and beating them with those words in an intellectual duel to the death. Incredible! They fear that their brain will die. I do not understand.
This struggle for the rule of truth is not limited to Nicaraguans. It is universal. It is a battle of people against a new version of the obtuse nomenklatura of the 60's, 70's and 80's, when those mummies tried to take hold of the people's wills and dreams. Now--the freshly made-up cadaver returns with new impetus once again but with the same intent to force people to submit.
We will go on marching. Making inroads...fighting!
The situation in Nicaragua may be worth watching a little more closely over the coming months.