Daniel Ortega has dealt a severe blow to Sandinismo. The Nicaraguan president, a former guerrilla turned autocrat, ordered the arrest on Sunday of three prominent Sandinista figures and former comrades in arms in the fight against the Somoza dynasty dictatorship (1937-1979): Dora María Téllez, Víctor Hugo Tinoco and Hugo Torres .
Ortega thus settles an old debt because he always considered traitors those who left the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) – the party he controls – and later became opponents of his regime. “This is how life turns, those who once embraced principles today have betrayed them,” Torres said in a video recorded while his home was besieged by the police in Managua, minutes before his capture.
Téllez, Tinoco and Torres represent the old Sandinismo, which first fought clandestinely and then carried out fierce offensives against the dictatorship. Torres was part of a commando of 13 guerrillas that in 1974 broke into the house of an important minister of Anastasio Somoza, José María Castillo, located in an upper-class residential area in Managua. That night Castillo was organizing a party and the guests were taken hostage by the guerrillas, one of the main actions of the Sandinista Front against Somoza that allowed the release of dozens of detainees.
Torres also participated with Téllez in the assault on the National Palace, seat of the Somoza Parliament, another audacious operation by the rebels and one of the biggest blows to the dictatorship. In 1973, at just 20 years old, Víctor Hugo Tinoco was “recruited” by the Sandinista Front guerrillas. He was an idealistic young man, educated in the Christian values of justice by French Canadian priests, in an environment imbued by Liberation Theology, whose principle was the preferential option for the poor.
“The Sandinista revolution and the entire heroic deed, the struggle of the youth of the seventies, was basically anti-dictatorial, anti-dynastic and for the freedom of Nicaragua. Those were the fundamental aspirations of the bulk of the Sandinista Front fighters. I am sure, now I understand it at this point, that there were some very small sectors that had other agendas, other more ideological projects, but the reason that pushed our youth of the seventies was to end the dynasty and achieve the freedom of Nicaragua ”, Torres said in an interview with EL PAÍS in 2019.
The three ex-guerrillas distanced themselves from the Sandinista Front after the loss of the elections in 1990 and due to the control that Daniel Ortega began to exercise in the party, silencing critical voices and closing in on a democratic opening for the elections of the organization’s political cadres. , until it became a personal apparatus, with him and his wife, Rosario Murillo, current vice president, as central figures.
“Daniel Ortega has appropriated the party of the revolution, the Sandinista Front, has denatured it and has turned it into his party, into a family party. The same thing that Ortega did with the FSLN, privatizing it and turning it into an instrument at the service of its interests, he has done with the entire state. Today all the institutions of the State are politically subordinate to its will. And the subordination that Ortega has achieved in the institutions is greater than that achieved by Somoza, because in Somoza’s time there was some degree of independence in the Judiciary and there were judges who stood firm on Somoza and acted with the law in hand. “Torres wrote in an analysis published by the magazine Shipment, of the Jesuit Central American University.
Dora María Téllez, the mythical Commander Two of the Sandinista revolution, assured in an interview with EL PAÍS in 2016 that Ortega intends in Nicaragua to “institutionalize family succession” to guarantee the permanence in power of the Sandinista Front, which, in the opinion of the A former guerrilla, Ortega “parasitized” to turn it into “an entity dominated by a caudillo” and a “family organization.”
“Only dead Ortega is going to leave the leadership of the Sandinista Front, but Rosario Murillo is in the line of succession,” explained Téllez. “Murillo has been given all the power. The succession is a key that Ortega still has. They need to institutionalize family succession ”, he reiterated.
Due to these criticisms and their position to avoid a new dictatorship in Nicaragua, the three ex-guerrillas, who keep Sandinismo alive, were ironically detained by the man with whom they once shared ideals of freedom, now a despot.
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