From Thu Jan 31 08:00:09 2002
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 17:07:32 -0600 (CST)
From: NicaNet <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline
Article: 133895
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

The FSLN regroups

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 28 January 2002

Despite the brave speeches and impassioned interviews claiming yet one more time that the Sandinista Front emerged stronger than ever from the recent election, it is clear that the defeat in the elections of November 4 will have an impact. The status of July 19th as a national holiday celebrating the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution over the Somoza dictatorship is even being threatened. Arnoldo Aleman, in his new role as president of the National Assembly, is urging the suppression of the 19th July holiday. If he gets his way, the work-free day will be transferred to April 14th, the day Pope John Paul II has said he will canonize Nicaragua's Sr. Marma Romero. July 19th has traditionally brought out huge numbers of FSLN supporters. The ferocity with which the date is defended, will therefore be a key test of their present spirit.

In late March/early April, some seven hundred Sandinista militants will gather for the party's National Congress, the Front's supreme body, which has the power to elect new leadership and to delineate new policies and overall direction. Sandinistas are asking, will it do either? Those who believe the Front's crucial miscalculation was to allow Ortega to remain their perpetual candidate have seen little sign that he is preparing to step aside. Monica Baltodano, whose criticism of the Sandinista leadership led to her expulsion from the party's electoral slate and thus from this term's National Assembly, said, They've called the congress quickly to make a show of strong leadership. She continued, They know the bases are angry and discouraged. However, because it's so close now, preparations can only be sketchy; this means, in turn, that the analysis of what went wrong in November can only be superficial. FSLN national directorate member, Victor Hugo Tinoco, once regarded as Ortega's likeliest successor (in a field of long shots), before he, too, was sidelined during the last elections, agreed. What is critical, he added, is when the party congress elects the new national directorate, it finds a place for the all diverse strands of Sandinismo, and not just the one narrow line that has come to dominate the party.