MANAGUA – Slightly more than a month ago, before declaring a hunger strike that inspired a nation to join in protest against the government, former guerrilla hero Dora María Téllez was all but retired from politics, leaving behind an illustrious career as rebel leader, health minister, lawmaker and opposition political leader for the quieter calling of academia. But the situation in her country once again required her leadership, and Téllez – as she has in the past – responded.
Her 12-day hunger strike against a Sandinista government she claims is returning the country to dictatorship started quietly last month in downtown Managua, and has since swelled to a nationwide movement of thousands of people from all political persuasions. Last Friday, thousands marched on Managua to decry the anti-democratic antics of the Ortega government.
“Dora María has removed the people’s fear of the government,” Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) lawmaker Victor Hugo Tinoco told The Nica Times.
Opinion polls released this week show that some 6 of 10 Nicaraguans support Téllez, now among the most popular public figures in the country. Although she remains humble about her role in the movement, her initiative and moral leadership has formed the basis of the first real opposition to Ortega’s government, and has reminded the country of the difference that one person can make.n