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Nicaragua Marks Valentine’s Day with Mass Wedding for 200 Couples

Dressed in white, Maria Gutiérrez kisses René Fonseca to seal the commitment they both made on Wednesday in a mass wedding that united 200 couples in Nicaragua.

“It’s something that came from deep within us,” Gutiérrez, 47, says about her union with Fonseca, whom she met eight years ago, shortly before leaving for the wedding while adjusting their clothes in the modest house they share on the outskirts of Managua.

“For me it’s the most beautiful thing to get married on this date and especially since I’m already quite old, I feel very happy,” says 68-year-old Fonseca.

The mass ceremony on Valentine’s Day is mainly attended by low-income couples from different parts of the country, of varying ages, as well as people who after years of sharing a home decided to legalize their union taking advantage of the festivity.

The mass wedding is sponsored by the pro-government Nueva Radio Ya and has the support of President Daniel Ortega’s government, the judiciary and the Managua mayor’s office, which cover the legal expenses for the marriages.

“We have married more than 10,700 couples nationwide” in 21 years of promoting mass weddings, says William Martínez of Nueva Radio Ya.

Jimmy Carillo, 36, and Marina Villarreal, 37, are two blind people who, through family intervention, met eight months ago through phone calls that led them to share daily life and love, which prompted them to get married.

Carillo explains that love “is something that cannot be felt, that is, it cannot be seen, it can only be felt and I can feel that love because only she, who is like me, knows how to show it to me.” Family Court Judge Xiomara Rivera swore in the 200 couples as they married.

Fredy Gutiérrez, 72, says that he and his partner of 14 years, Socorro Chavarría, 60, decided to commit under the law to strengthen their marital ties. “You know a piece of paper doesn’t give happiness. We’ve already been happy, well now legally we’re going to be happier,” he adds.

The ceremony took place in a square of the tourist center “Puerto Salvador Allende”, on the shores of Lake Xolotlán in Managua, with the participation of government officials, family court judges, capital city authorities and an evangelical pastor who offered blessings to the couples.

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