Challenge to land reform

July 10, 1991

Challenge to land reform

Mass anger was provoked on June 17, when National Assembly member Fernando Zelaya introduced a bill to rescind land ownership laws passed in March 1990, before the present government took office.

The Sandinistas say 200,000 families who had never before owned land — about one quarter of the population — would be affected if the laws were repealed. Sandinista deputies walked out of the assembly in protest.

The Front for Popular Struggle, led by former foreign minister Miguel D'Escoto, occupied the Managua city hall and mayors' offices in five other cities. Militants also occupied right-wing radio stations. Bombs exploded in front of the Sandinista radio station, Radio Ya, and outside the houses of government deputies and the headquarters of Vice President Virgilio Godoy's party.

Former president Daniel Ortega condemned the acts of terrorism and called for dialogue. The occupations ended on June 21 following meetings between Ortega and presidency minister Antonio Lacayo.

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