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Nicaragua

Yearbook 1999

Nicaragua. After a month of negotiations, the ruling party PLC (Partido Liberal Constitucionalista) and the Sandinist Party (FSLN, Frente Sandinista de Liberacíon) in July published an agreement on a joint 23-point program for political and legal reform. According to Countryaah official website, President Arnoldo Alemán declared his readiness to convene a Constituent Assembly after the municipal elections in 2002 to reform the Constitution completely. The proposals include a simplified presidential election procedure and reform of the Supreme Court and the Election Commission. Critics believe that both parties aim to strengthen the two-party system in Nicaragua by introducing minimum state aid requirements for political parties.

In June, President Alemán explained further cuts in defense. Nicaragua, which during the Sandinist regime had Central America's largest army with 90,000 men under arms, now has the smallest with 14,000 men.

In April, the former chief of the Sandinists' secret police (DGSE), Colonel Lenín Cerna, admitted that the secret police was behind the murder of the overthrown Nicaraguan dictator Anastásio Somoza in Asunción, Paraguay in September 1980.

1999 Nicaragua

1979 Revolution

With instruction from the FSLN, the cities of Monimbó, Masaya, Matagalpa, León, Estelí, Chinandega and working quarters in the capital Managua in 1978 revolted. On March 8, 1979, the three conflicting tendencies of the FSLN reunited and the FSLN came to play the leading role in the opposition assembled in Frente Patriótico (the Patriotic Front). In May of that year, the "Final Offensive", consisting of a general strike, a popular uprising, armed guerrilla combat and intense diplomatic activity abroad, was launched. On July 17, Somoza fled the country, and on July 19, the National Reconstruction Junta marched into Managua. The junta had been formed a few weeks earlier in Costa Rica. The revolution had triumphed, but the Somoza dictatorship had cost 50,000 killed.

The revolution nationalized Somoza's lands, real estate and industries - 40% of the country's economy - dismantled the National Guard and replaced it with Ejército Popular Sandinista (EPS). An literacy campaign was carried out and the rebuilding of the economy that had been ruined by the liberation struggle was started.

The new government consisted of both the FSLN and the bourgeois politicians, and it quickly came into political crisis. This was initially resolved when the government's two non-Sandinist members, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and Alfonso Robelo, resigned in May 1980. Replaced by the two "moderate" anti-Somo societies Rafael Córdoba and Arturo Cruz, the FSLN thus reaffirmed its willingness to implement the revolutionary changes in the context of pluralistic democratic participation, international alliance freedom, mixed economy and respect for individual freedoms and rights.

 

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