Date: Tue, 9 Jul 1996 19:06:47 -0500
> S * IN ACTIV-L
Nicaraguans Celebrate Sandinista Retreat
Weekly News Update on the Americas, issue #336, 7 July 1996
On June 29, between 25,000 and 30,000 FSLN supporters took part in the annual march to Masaya commemorating the FSLN's tactical retreat on June 26, 1979, during the final stages of the insurrection against the Somoza dictatorship. The original retreat was intended to stop Somoza's aerial bombing of eastern Managua neighborhoods which had been under control of the FSLN for two weeks. This year's march departed earlier than usual, as FSLN general secretary and presidential candidate Daniel Ortega-- recently returned from a tour of Arab nations--surprised the crowd gathered at the Roberto Huembes market plaza by speaking for only two minutes. Some supporters suggested that "the security cordon protecting [Ortega] had broken and so he rushed to begin the march." [El Diario-La Prensa (NY) 7/1/96 from AP]
According to the FSLN daily Barricada, Ortega "could perceive when he arrived at the plaza... that such energy contained in so many young faces was at the point of eruption, and he didn't think much: `You have listened to a lot of speeches, and what you want is to march, so let's not talk anymore, let's go on the Retreat,' he told them..."
After arriving in Masaya around midnight, Ortega spoke to the marchers again, urging them to vote for the FSLN in October and promising that obligatory military service would never be restored because war would never return to Nicaragua.
[Barricada 7/1/96, electronic version]