The demobilization and drift of the Ortega regime mark the anniversary of the Sandinista revolution | International

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Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega at the celebration of the anniversary of the Sandinista revolution in July 2021.STRINGER (Reuters)

Elvin Enríquez, a young Sandinista sympathizer, attended a march this Sunday, July 2, to commemorate the anniversary of the so-called Tactical Withdrawal to Masaya, one of the greatest feats of Sandinismo that led to the overthrow of the Somocista dictatorship. The boy was dressed in red and black and was interviewed by the official media. "You have to fight and be firm with Commander Daniel [Ortega] and the companion Rosario [Murillo]; we have innumerable benefits, urban projects, snacks in schools, we would not finish listing them, all the projects”, he said excitedly during the event that marks the beginning of the summit day of Sandinismo: the celebration of the triumph of the Sandinista revolution every July 19 .

Official propaganda has flooded Nicaragua with the 44th anniversary of the revolution and El Replega —a deception maneuver that the Sandinista guerrillas successfully used against the Somoza armed forces— usually highlights the big Sandinista party. Ortega and Murillo are the epicenter of the exaltations, since the presidential couple has erased all the ex-guerrillas who are critical of their regime, such as Dora María Téllez, Mónica Baltodano or Hugo Torres, who died in February 2022 at the hands of from El Chipote police custody. However, for three years the leaders have not participated in the El Repliga march, which used to start from Managua and culminate in the historic indigenous neighborhood of Monimbó.

Until 2018, the year of the massive social protests against the Ortega and Murillo regime, the withdrawal had become a carnival for employees of state institutions. Ortega led the march on foot, but since he took power in 2006 he began to do so in his armored Mercedes Benz G63 V8 AMG and then by bus. However, the leaders that the young Sandinista sympathizer Elvin Enríquez exalts have not attended the event since 2019. In fact, the celebrations of the Sandinista Revolution have diminished and the regime has readapted them to activities of a local nature in the different cities of the country. Public employees are required to attend these events and must sign an attendance list, under penalty of being called to attention or dismissed.

The most drastic change since 2018 is the massive act on July 19, held until that year in Plaza la Fe with pomp, international guests and gigantic stages. However, since 2019 the event has been reduced to a closed circuit in the original Plaza de la Revolución, where the Sandinista guerrillas entered triumphantly in 1979. It is a much smaller open space and only members of the Sandinista Youth enter, high-level public officials. They are all arranged on a stage that, in recent years, has been shaped like five-pointed stars and a central dais attended by fewer and fewer heads of state. Mass celebration is a thing of the past and supporters have to make do with watching Ortega's speech on television.

“Inability to summon their own bases”

Juan Diego Barberena, an opponent exiled in Costa Rica, maintains, in conversation with EL PAÍS, that the reduction of the entire Sandinista epic to a smaller scale for three years demonstrates "the inability of the regime to mobilize its own bases." “It also has another edge: the current sociopolitical crisis, the high cost of living, the general lack of jobs, and the internal contradictions that they [el Gobierno] They are having. There is an exhaustion of his political leadership”, affirms the member of the Blue and White National Unity.

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According to the latest survey by the CID-Gallup firm, 56% of Nicaraguans disapprove of the Ortega-Murillo management. The survey also reveals that only 16% of those consulted expressed their sympathy for the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party. The survey also shows that 23% of the population describes the way in which Ortega carries out his work as president as “very bad”. In addition, another 23% classify it as "bad" and 15% say it is "regular". This has resulted, according to the Gallup analysis, in a decline in support for the official party: 77% of those surveyed stated that they have no preference for any political party.

To this we must add dozens of cases of public employees who have resigned or deserted the Sandinista government to take advantage of the Joe Biden Administration's Humanitarian Parole program, which allows them to travel to the United States. “Not only is it that they do not call for massive acts, but, in response to this inability to call, they simulate numerical participation of supporters with these local acts. So the propaganda insists that they are getting stronger every day and only they can mobilize in Nicaragua de facto,” Barberena criticizes.

Apart from the criticisms, the co-chair Rosario Murillo effusively announced on June 30 the "beginning of the celebrations for victorious July." "We received it by celebrating the heroes, the heroines of the tactical withdrawal to Masaya throughout the country, walking the routes of Sandino throughout the country," the president highlighted. However, the El Repliga march in which Elvin Enríquez participated did not even leave Managua: it covered just five kilometers, but the official media highlighted the participation of "400 motorists and thousands of people."

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