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In Nicaragua, Sandinistas march in support of Ortega

This government “is the best thing that could have happened to Nicaragua”, said to AFP Faldeni Castro, who with her daughter in her arms said she was “happy” to be a member of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN, left) party.

Dressed in T-shirts, caps and red and black flags alluding to the FSLN, the mostly young Sandinistas walked through the drizzling rain through the streets of several neighborhoods in southeastern Managua.

The march culminated at a place known as Colina 110, where in June 1979 35 young people were murdered by the Somoza dictatorship, which ruled for almost half a century until the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution on July 19, 1979.

“It is a source of pride that the revolution is among us. My father has told me many beautiful and tragic stories” about that era, said Erick Parrales, 16, who belongs to a Sandinista family.

The demonstration comes amid criticism from the international community for the detention of more than 180 opponents and closure of more than 400 NGOs since 2018, when massive anti-government protests erupted that left 355 dead, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights IACHR.

For the government, it was a failed coup promoted by the opposition with the support of the United States.

Ortega, a 76-year-old former guerrilla fighter, won in November a fourth consecutive term in office since 2007 – with his wife Rosario Murillo as vice-president – in an election where most of his opponents and rivals were imprisoned or in exile, and three parties were outlawed.

The opponents “could not, nor will they be able to (defeat us)”, exclaimed the Sandinistas during the march, which was enlivened with rhythmic songs supporting the president and rejecting foreign interference.

“Here we no longer want foreign interference (…) outside they can say what they want, but if you are on Nicaraguan soil respect my flag”, said a melody that boomed from a loudspeaker from a van that followed the demonstrators.

“Unfortunately everything they did to us was not against Daniel (Ortega, but) against the people,” said Sandinista Carmen Sanchez. “We are united with the comandante” Ortega, she added.

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