NICARAGUA: Sandinistas back to red and black

Issue 

BY STEPHEN MARKS

MANAGUA — The Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) returned to its anti-imperialist symbols and messages at the celebration of the 1979 revolution here on July 19. Pink and yellow, which had been the FSLN's colours in recent times, were hardly to be seen as a sea of red and black flags engulfed the crowd of more than 50,000 people.

The FSLN had moderated its image during last year's election campaign. It formed an alliance with "centre" political forces, the Convergencia, and adopted quasi-religious slogans. FSLN presidential candidate Daniel Ortega even claimed that the FSLN had abandoned its socialist policies.

However, the US government was unimpressed with such assurances and, in an obvious attempt to help the victory of right-wing candidate Enrique Bolanos, issued warnings about the Sandinistas' history of "confiscating properties" and "links with terrorism".

In his rally speech, Ortega, who is also FSLN general secretary, called on Washington to accept the World Court ruling that it should compensate Nicaragua US$17 billion for illegally organising the counter-revolutionary rebels who fought the Sandinista government in the 1980s.

Ortega also condemned capitalist globalisation and the polices which the International Monetary Fund is seeking to impose on Nicaragua. He expressed anti-imperialist solidarity with Libya and Cuba.

Ortega also declared support for President Bolanos' struggle against corruption. The ruling party, the Constutionalist Liberal Party, has split into opposing factions over the issue. National Assembly president Arnoldo Aleman heads the anti-Bolanos faction and still controls parliament. Bolanos's very targeted anti-corruption campaign was starting to ensnare him.

A further sign that the controversial pact between Ortega and Aleman, which has dominated Nicaragua's politics in recent years, has run its course was the presence on the official platform of leaders of the Democratic Left, a left-wing, "anti-pact" current within the FSLN.

From Green Left Weekly, July 31, 2002.
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