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Nicaragua celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Popular Revolution

By staff |
July 28, 2019
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Nicaragua celebrates Sandinista revolution.
Nicaragua celebrates Sandinista revolution. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Managua, Nicaragua - On July 19, 500,000 Nicaraguans filled Managua’s Plaza de la Fe to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the triumph of the Sandinista Popular Revolution and Nicaragua’s liberation from the U.S.-imposed Somoza dictatorship.

President Daniel Ortega, Vice President Rosario Murillo, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez and international representatives electrified the crowd - many in attendance had traveled hours in packed caravans from all over the country - with calls for peace, continued economic and social progress, and the defense of Nicaraguan sovereignty in the face of U.S. aggression. Wearing their traditional rojinegro and waving the flag of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), the Nicaraguans in the Plaza de la Fe demonstrated to the United States and the country’s right wing their increased unity and strength born out of the FSLN government’s victory over the U.S.-designed coup attempt of 2018.

As members of the Sandinista Youth swayed behind her, Vice President Murillo opened the event by cheering, “No pudieron, ni podrán! (They couldn’t and they never will be able to),” the FSLN slogan referencing the failed coup. She then affirmed the sovereignty of Nicaragua and her country’s commitment to peace: "Nicaragua advances in peace, with effort and hope...Our people own their history and are the architects of their liberation.”

A theme of Vice President Murillo’s speech was thankfulness toward the historic Sandinistas who’d fought for the liberation of Nicaragua, like Carlos Fonseca, Tomás Borge, and Arlen Sieu as well as the government officials and international representatives in attendance. She also recognized Bismarck Martinez, a Sandinista activist who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the opposition during the failed coup.

Following Vice President Murillo’s introduction, a series of religious leaders from different denominations spoke before turning the stage over to international dignitaries from fraternal countries.

President Anatoly Bibilov of South Ossetia described Nicaragua as a “magnificent example for other peoples” as his hosts had “taught other peoples to be masters of their own destinies.” First Vice President of Cuba Salvador Valdés listed the progressive achievements of the current FSLN government and condemned the sanctions against Nicaragua being implemented by the U.S. Vice President Valdés concluded his remarks by quoting Fidel Castro’s words to the Sandinistas attending the 1979 celebration of the Assault on the Moncada Barracks, one week after their own revolution’s triumph. “The Sandinistas have given one more lesson about what the revolutionary spirit can do. Men of weak character never reach a goal. Weak souls will never get anywhere. The revolutionary spirit is capable of achieving the most incredible goals.”

Carrying “a hug from our president and leader, Nicolas Maduro” for President Ortega, Vice President Murillo, and the Nicaraguan people, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez roused the crowd during her ten minutes at the podium. Vice President Rodríguez first linked the “three-twinned revolutions” of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, describing how the youth of Cuba and Nicaragua’s victory over dictatorships had inspired the Bolivarian struggle in Venezuela. She then turned to the current moment as all three countries are threatened by the United States and its “criminal economic blockades.” As the Sandinista crowd roared, Rodriguez delivered “bad news” for Donald Trump “from the free Nicaragua that resists and wins, from the free Cuba that resists and is victorious, from the indestructible Venezuela” that “We will never be anyone's backyard again! Go away with your Monroe Doctrine, far away!”

Introduced by Vice President Rodríguez’s stirring defense of revolutionary struggle in Latin America, President Ortega rose to speak. His subject was simple: Nicaraguans want peace, “the fundamental condition” for prosperity. President Ortega said, “A people needs peace to work, to live...Nicaragua is our home and there must be peace.”

"It has been the same throughout history, the struggle of humanity, the struggle for justice, the struggle for peace in the midst of so many wars, in the midst of so much destruction, in the midst of so much exploitation,” said President Ortega. “[There have been] peoples fighting for peace and in these times, times when there are those who cheerfully beat war drums without thinking that by beating war drums they endanger the existence of themselves and their people, the peoples of the world, and I am sure that the U.S. people want peace, they want justice.”

Before addressing the United States, President Ortega thanked Brian Wilson, a veteran of the Vietnam War and “hero of peace.” In 1987, Wilson lost his legs while protesting U.S. involvement in Central America when a train carrying weapons bound for El Salvador and Nicaragua hit him as he laid on the railroad tracks. President Ortega then turned toward more contemporary injustices of U.S. imperialism: the violation of people’s right to migrate and economic sanctions. “These are times in which we must unite all of us, Nicaraguans, Central Americans, Mesoamericans, Latin Americans and Caribbeans, with the North American people, to fight for peace in all of our America,” he declared.

After this call for peace, President Ortega contextualized the 2018 attempted coup, disguised by the U.S. and Nicaraguan opposition as a “popular rising,” within the history of U.S. intervention in Nicaragua. The inaccurate, exaggerated media coverage of the attempted coup misled many activists in the U.S. President Ortega linked the Nicaraguan right to the same “traitors” that had worked with the “hand of the empire” to bring William Walker to Nicaragua in the 1850s, kill General Augusto Cesar Sandino in 1934, prop up the Somoza dictatorship, and threaten the Sandinista Revolution through the Contras.

Having outlined those who’ve historically betrayed Nicaragua, President Ortega invited all Nicaraguans to participate in the reconstruction of peace and the eradication of poverty in their country. Referencing the failed negotiations that the opposition used as a pretext to incite violence in 2018, he promoted a dialogue, “the only one that makes sense,” with “peasants, with workers, with small businesspeople, with artisans, with small, medium, and large producers, with all those who are willing to work for peace and for economic and social production in this country, in order to achieve economic and social development in this country.” President Ortega concluded his speech with a reference to the 2021 general election which the opposition has demanded be moved up and the need for the Nicaraguan people to defend their interests and rights through an FSLN victory.

Along with the hundreds of thousands of Sandinistas, international delegations from all over the world participated in the festivities at the Plaza de la Fe to show their solidarity with the FSLN government and the continuation of the Sandinista revolution. A group of the Friends of the ATC - a solidarity network that supports Nicaragua’s Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (Rural Workers’ Association), which has organized Nicaraguan farm workers and small farmers since the insurrection against the Somoza dictatorship - were among the foreign allies invited by the FSLN to experience the proceedings from the stage.

From July 11 to July 21, the ATC and the Friends of the ATC hosted the “Solidarity with Nicaragua!” delegation based around the July 19 celebration. The Nicaraguan Revolution has inspired many Latinos in the U.S. to continue to fight for equality at home and stand in solidarity with the revolutionary struggles in Latin America. The Friends of the ATC believe that those struggling to change conditions within the U.S. can deepen their own analysis by observing and studying the efforts to build socialism in Nicaragua.

In the days leading up to the July 19 anniversary, the delegation visited historic sites and the Salvador Allende Port in Managua, the women-led Gloria Quintanilla coffee cooperative in Santa Julia, the Agroecological Institute of Latin America (IALA), which provides technical, political and ideological training to young peasants from Central America and the Dominican Republic, and the ATC-organized Marlon Alvarado community in Carazo. Throughout these visits, delegates conducted interviews with ATC organizers, students, and members as part of an ongoing testimony project that will be released in the coming months. The goal of these reports is partly to clarify the current Nicaraguan context for international audiences as the U.S. government has relied upon a coordinated misinformation campaign about the failed coup attempt in order to justify the imposition of sanctions against Nicaragua.

For more information on the ATC, Friends of the ATC, and their efforts to build internationalist solidarity with Nicaragua, please visit https://friendsatc.org/.

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