[Abridged translation of an article from La Prensa of Managua, Nicaragua, for July 18, 2010. July 19 is the anniversary of the 1979 triumph of the Sandinista revolution that ousted the regime of dictator Anastasio Somoza. Dora María Téllez, a medical student at the time, played an important role in the uprising. In 1978, when she was 22, she was third in command of Sandinista forces that occupied the national palace in Managua, a pivotal event in the revolution.
After government by a revolutionary junta from 1979 until 1985, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega was elected president. Hampered by a war waged by counter-revolutionaries, the contras, who were supported by the Reagan administration in Washington, Ortega nevertheless managed during his first five-year term to carry out some land reform measures and wealth redistribution. Ortega lost the next presidential election, however.
He was still a powerful figure in the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, though, and ambitious. He formed practical alliances with the government of President Arnoldo Alemán of the Partido Liberal Constitucionalista (PLC), an administration marked by serious corruption, which led eventually to a criminal trial and a 20-year prison sentence for Alemán, later reversed by the Supreme Court.
Ortega was elected president again in 2006. In the meantime, though, he and other FSLN leaders, tainted by association with the Alemán regime, came under serious criticism of corruption and caudillismo, undemocratic rule by strong men in powerful positions. The Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista (MRS – Movement for Sandinista Renewal) was formed by dedicated Sandinistas like Téllez to restore Sandinismo to the revolutionary principles with which it was formed.] (more…)