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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 97 13:12:11 CDT
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Weekly Americas News Update #391, 7/27/97
Article: 15341

/** reg.nicaragua: 64.0 **/
** Topic: Weekly News Update #391, 7/27/97 **
** Written 7:45 PM Jul 27, 1997 by wnu in cdp:reg.nicaragua **
From: Weekly News Update <wnu@igc.apc.org>

Nicaragua: FSLN Calls for Referendum

Weekly News Update on the Americas, #391, 27 July 1997

Some 40,000 supporters of Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) gathered in Managua's Plaza de la Republica on July 19 to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the Somoza family dictatorship in 1979. Former Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega Saavedra, currently the FSLN's general secretary, announced a "National Patriotic Accord," a five-point program which the party had presented the day before to the government of rightwing president Arnoldo Aleman Lacayo. Ortega proposed a national referendum on the Sandinista program. The Aleman government insisted that the proposal should be discussed at a "national dialogue" meeting set for July 21; the FSLN, Nicaragua's largest political party, is boycotting the dialogue, which it calls an "academic exercise." Former interior minister Tomas Borge Martinez said that while his party had no plans to overthrow the government, "[t]here are constitutional mechanisms for changing a ruler." He also warned that there was evidence of plans for assassinating FSLN leaders. "[T]he violent death of a Sandinista leader would be the beginning of the end for his or her assassins," he said, "and this won't be our fault." [La Jornada (Mexico) 7/20/97 from ANSA, DPA, EFE, Reuter, APF]

The FSLN program calls for "reestablishing legality" by conforming with the Constitution and the precedents of the two previous governments (for example, by allocating 6% of the government's budget to the universities, a demand of protesting students); creating "a democratic country" by reforming the electoral laws and withdrawing plans for regulating non- governmental organizations (NGOs); settling the long-standing dispute over properties awarded by Ortega's 1979-1990 government; reviving the economy with plans for employment, credit to businesses and agricultural producers, and a suspension of government downsizing; and assuring "a stable and safe country" by ending police repression and naming an Attorney General for Human Rights. [Barricada (Managua) 7/20/97]

Meanwhile, the Sandinista media were in their own struggle with the government. On July 22 the Finance Ministry announced that the FSLN's official daily, Barricada, and the FSLN-owned Radio Sandino would be closed because they were behind in tax payments. The two media negotiated an payment plan with the ministry on July 23 and remain in operation. [Barricada 7/24/97] President Aleman has also brought a libel suit against the FSLN's Canal 4 television station and reporter William Roiz Sotomayor. On July 23 Roiz Sotomayor charged on a news program that in the past six months the president's office had exceeded its budget for the entire year (about $6.1 million), spending the money on items like alcoholic beverages. The reporter displayed a supposedly official document detailing the expenses. Government officials said the document was "a clumsy patchwork, in the best FSLN style." But Canal 4 director Dionisio Marenco said Aleman was acting "in the best style of [Peruvian president Alberto] Fujimori or [former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto] Pinochet, or the Somozas themselves." "We'll see each other in court," he added. But the pro-FSLN daily El Nuevo Diario, which also published the document, dismissed it on July 26 as "falsified." [La Nacion (Costa Rica) 7/27/97 from AP; La Prensa (Honduras) 7/26/97 from ACAN-EFE]

Weekly News Update on the Americas * Nicaragua Solidarity Network of NY 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012 * 212-674-9499 fax: 212-674-9139 http://home.earthlink.net/~dbwilson/wnuhome.html * wnu@igc.apc.org