Rally of 600,000 Celebrates 32nd
Anniversary of Sandinistas' Victory

Managua, Nicaragua, July 19, 2011

On July 19, a mass celebration was held in central Managua, Nicaragua, to mark the 32nd anniversary of the victory of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) over U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza. The July 19, 1979 overthrow of the four-decade-long Somoza dictatorship is the most important event on the Sandinista calendar and coincides this year with the 50th anniversary of the FSLN's founding in 1961, as the organization that led the Nicaraguan people's independence struggle.

The people's forces celebrate victory over the Somoza dictatorship in central Managua, July 20, 1979.

TML sends its warmest greetings to the Nicaraguan people and their revolutionary Party on this significant anniversary. Since the historic victory 32 years ago, brought about through great sacrifice by the revolutionary forces, the people have continued their struggle for control over their destiny, free from outside interference, and to build a human-centred society.

The people's confidence in the revolutionary process and the leadership of President Daniel Ortega, elected in 2006, was amply expressed by the more than 600,000 people gathered at the main square in Managua, where the proceedings were overseen by President Ortega, First Lady and fellow revolutionary Rosario Murillo, and Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo.

The cardinal congratulated the government, the president and first lady for all their achievements in the interests of the people. He described himself as a "witness to the works" that drive the government, giving the example of the schools and hospitals that have been built in the country.

First Lady Murillo expressed her great pleasure at seeing the massive participation of the people in the square to celebrate the epic struggle of all Nicaraguans to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship, which she called one of the bloodiest of the past century in Latin America and the Caribbean.

President Ortega acknowledged the many guests and messages of greeting received from foreign dignitaries. He mentioned in particular the message of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, and wished him well in his recuperation from his recent illness. He also called on the U.S. government to release the five Cuban patriots unjustly imprisoned in its jails.

News agencies reported that some of the other notable participants included retired general and FSLN candidate for vice president in the fall election Omar Hallesleven, representatives of the different state bodies and institutions, as well as special guests such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu, Miguel Diaz Canel, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba and that country's Minister of Higher Education.

FSLN: Summation of the People's Struggle

First Lady Rosario Murillo and President Daniel Ortega.
President Ortega spoke of the significance of the FSLN, saying that the Party represents the summation of the Nicaraguan people’s struggle for their freedom and ensures a revolutionary present and future.

Ortega noted that one of the outstanding features of the insurrection in 1979 was that it united all the people in struggle against the Somoza dictatorship, at a time when it had been strengthened by the support of the U.S. and some Central American military regimes.

He said that with this awareness, guerrilla uprisings emerged in cities across the country "until finally, in a total national insurrection, it was possible to end the long tyranny imposed by the Yankees."

"It was a heroic battle and the Sandinista Front was the soul and focus of that struggle. Without the Sandinista Front, this great victory would not have occurred," he said.

Referring to famous revolutionary and national hero General Augusto Sandino, whose name the FSLN bears, he pointed out that it was Sandino who began to outline a clearly revolutionary program for Nicaragua, which stated that victory would only be achieved by the unity of the workers and peasants. He said that on this basis, the FSLN has been forging the unity of all sectors to fight poverty and hunger which are the main challenges of this new era. The president affirmed that the red and black flag of the FSLN will continue to be raised in defence of Nicaragua's blue and white flag, as did General Sandino.

Ortega made special mention of the revolutionary youth of Nicaragua militating in the ranks of the FSLN, saying that the conscious work to incorporate these youth into the struggles of the present will ensure the revolution carries on into the future.

As concerns the near future, President Ortega, who will again run for office in the presidential election on November 6, 2011, said the FSLN's political program for a next presidential term will be announced in August when the campaign officially begins. However, he pointed out that it is the same as that which is being implemented at the present, referring to the pro-social programs that are improving the people's standard of living and well- being. News agencies report that Ortega is considered the favourite to prevail.

Call for U.S. Payment of Reparations and Debt to U.S.

President Ortega also raised the issue of the debt owed to the U.S. and reparations to be paid by the U.S. for its dastardly role in the country's civil war. He proposed a referendum on whether to demand reparations of $17 billion from the U.S. for the damage it caused. The proposal was warmly received by all present.

Of U.S. imperialism's dirty wars in Latin America and the Caribbean, its role in backing the Somoza regime and the counter- revolutionary Contras which followed the dictatorship’s downfall, are amongst the most infamous.

In 1986, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled in favour of a lawsuit filed by Nicaragua that the U.S. had violated international law by funding the Contras and mining Nicaragua's harbours. The ICJ ordered compensation to be paid, although it did not fix an amount. For its part, the U.S. government blocked implementation of the ruling by vetoing a UN resolution requiring its compliance. It has since opposed all subsequent demands to make amends for its crimes.

The ruling took place during President Ortega's first administration (1985-1990). However, the subsequent administration of pro-U.S. President Violeta Chamorro, 1990 to 1997, relinquished the claim. Notably, the U.S., which backed Chamorro's campaign politically and financially, only stopped funding the Contras following Chamorro's election.

"I want to advance and submit to the decision of Nicaraguans a first proposal, considering that U.S. leaders, the U.S. government was condemned by the International Court of Justice in The Hague for their acts of war against Nicaragua, terrorism against Nicaragua, and that the same court ordered it to compensate Nicaragua," he said.

Regarding the debt owed to the U.S. in cases of U.S. citizens who had their land confiscated and expropriated during the 1980s, the president explained that Nicaragua has been honouring the debt owed. "To date we have paid more than $500 million," said President Ortega. "For this reason it is considered that the debt the U.S. has with the Nicaraguan people is paid."

Women Salute Achievements of Sandinista Government

The participation of women was a significant feature in July 19 celebrations and reflects the achievements of the Sandinista government's social programs in ensuring women's rights and their participation in the social and political life as an integral part of the nation's development.

"The women feel happy and celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the Revolution proudly next to the Nicaraguan President, Daniel, because he is the only one who has given us the place we deserve," one participant said. She added that women have been advancing their rights through various government programs like the Zero Usury credit program, the Zero Hunger food program, supportive housing, etc.

"We are joyful to be in the square today celebrating the triumph of the Revolution with President Daniel and his partner Rosario [who has held various leadership roles, including government minister -- TML Ed. Note] because the government has given many opportunities to women," said another.

Through the Sandinista government women have regained their dignity, said one woman, while another cited as one of the government's most important achievements the fifty per cent participation of women in state institutions and the FSLN.

(, Voz del Sandinismo, Prensa Latina)

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