From Thu Feb 20 08:00:14 2003
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 11:11:59 -0600 (CST)
From: Nicaragua Network <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline
Article: 152266
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Nicaraguans March on Economic Issues and Against War

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 17 February 2003

It's hard to imagine a period within recent years when so many people have been out to protest on Nicaragua's streets, challenging the Bolaqos budget veto after IMF pressure, demanding ‘No War on Iraq,’ trying to preserve the remnants of the education system, calling for the implementation of the coffee accords and for the legalization of lands ‘granted’ to former combatants. With the exception of the land issue, which has seen a specific group of former-Contras camping outside government buildings for close to one week, determined to remain until their de-mobilization land titles are finally legalized, all the demonstrations attracted a wide variety of people from all walks of life. University deans are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with students, trade unionists with the unemployed, and coffee pickers with landowners. While not a single Liberal Party National Assembly representative put in an appearance at one demonstration last week, the crowds were delighted with a seemingly-rejuvenated Daniel Ortega, who, wearing a Union of Public Employees (UNE) bandana, even loosed a couple of rounds from the shoulder-mounted home-made mortars that make Nicaraguan demonstrations such noisy—and occasionally dangerous—affairs. Ortega was accompanied by half a dozen other well-known FSLN figures.

The single major focus of the various activities remained Nicaragua's internal problems, particularly those of the continuing coffee crisis and the collapsing economy. However, Saturday saw one of the capital's new traffic circles taken over by an anti war in Iraq demonstration, several hundred people strong. The event, which pulled in many foreigners currently in Nicaragua, had been deliberately timed to coincide with the massive protests against US/UK aggression held around the globe in what commentators were calling the first world day of action against war. While poets and artists made the stage ring with music and laughter, the speakers took the Northern nations to task for their myopic reliance on un-renewable fossil fuels. It was also noted that they alone had used weapons of mass destruction to defend their unbalanced way of life.

Speaking as recent recipients of US 'intervention for democracy' in Latin America over the last centuries, Nicaraguan after Nicaraguan called on George W. Bush to reflect on the injustices which his father and other US presidents had visited on innocent men, women and children, in their country and throughout the world in the name of peace and security. Even traditional figures from the country's folklore got in on the act. One eight-foot dancing doll, known as the 'Lady Giant' (La Gigantona), set the tone and stole the show by carrying an equally large placard which read simply, ‘Drop Bush, Not Bombs!’