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Family in Bismarck Martinez Housing neighborhood watch the inauguration and swear to fight with all their strength to eliminate hunger, poverty and backwardness. [Photo by Jairo Cajina]

On January 10, Daniel Ortega was inaugurated President and Rosario Murillo was inaugurated as Vice President. The central event in the Plaza of the Revolution was accompanied by Sandinistas celebrating in almost every town with big-screen displays of the inauguration.

Once he had been sworn in, with the presidential sash across his chest, Daniel repeated his action from 2007, 2012 and 2017: He took off his sash and then symbolically handed it to the people: El Pueblo Presidente—the People are President. The crowd broke out in wild cheers. He asked tens of thousands of Sandinistas gathered in the 153 municipalities of the country to swear to fight with all their strength to eliminate hunger, poverty, and backwardness.

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Moment when President Ortega offers his sash to the People. [Photo by Jairo Cajina].

“Let’s go forward…building peace to fight poverty, building peace so that there can be roads and highways. building peace so that families can feel secure; their children can feel secure in their work; they can feel secure in having a dignified life. That is our commitment, dear Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, we are all in this and that is why we say the people are president,” he exclaimed emotionally.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel attended the inauguration to the obvious delight of the crowd, who cheered ecstatically when each arrived. President Ortega actually left the area and went out to greet them.

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President Ortega goes out to greet President Maduro. [Photo by Cesar Perez]

Along with official representatives of dozens of countries, including Honduras, Mexico, China, India and Iran—countries that represent 2.5 billion people, there were also more than 300 journalists and solidarity activists from 21 nations accompanying the inauguration.

“Here are delegates from many governments that have been mentioned, peoples, brothers, friendly peoples and where the European governments or the Yankee government do not send delegates… what greater pride than to have here as representatives of the North American people, of the European peoples, citizens, dignified men and women who fight in their homelands for true dignity, for the true independence of their own countries and for a true democracy to be installed in their own countries,” said Ortega.

North Americans hold press conference about Nicaragua after the inauguration. [Photo by Jairo Cajina]

“What better and more worthy representative can the American people have than Brian Willson. They [the U.S.] threw the military train at him and it was filmed, and they destroyed his legs and where were the human rights [organizations]… and who condemned that crime… if it is the same Yankee government that promoted those crimes,” he emphasized. Willson wrote: “President Ortega spoke for more than an hour about the new silk road agreements with China, the continued history of U.S. imperialism, and the continued advances of the Sandinista Nicaragua revolution. He needed no notes, no teleprompters—such a contrast with U.S. presidents. He spoke straight from his heart and experiences without any pauses.”

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S. Brian Willson and his partner Ulda Garcia with President Ortega. [Photo by Jairo Cajina].

President Ortega indicated that Nicaragua and the People’s Republic of China had a historic meeting where they signed four cooperation treaties, highlighting the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt. “The Chinese Revolution and the Sandinista Revolution have the same path, the same destiny, which is to end poverty,” Ortega stressed.

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President Ortega and Vice President Murillo at the signing of agreements for cooperation with China. [Photo by Jairo Cajina]

On January 12 China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said, “China firmly supports the government and people of Nicaragua in choosing independently a development path that suits their national realities. We urge the U.S. side to face squarely its own ‘democratic deficit,’ renounce the misguided old practice of arbitrary sanctions and pressure, stop engaging in hegemonic and bullying acts, adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, lift unilateral sanctions on Nicaragua and stop interfering in Nicaragua’s domestic affairs.”

This was in response to a question about more U.S. sanctions on six Nicaraguan officials including the Defense Minister as well as visa restrictions on 116 individuals on inauguration day.

These sanctions were on top of the internationally illegal U.S. unilateral coercive actions including the 2018 NICA Act, and the RENACER Act passed by Congress just a week before Nicaragua’s November 7 elections.

Black Agenda Report Executive Editor Margaret Kimberley says that RENACER is a classic example of hybrid warfare as it calls for “supporting independent news media and freedom of information.” Such language is a declaration of interference in the rights of a sovereign nation, in short, a blueprint for war propaganda and regime change.

President Ortega also demanded an end to the U.S. blockade and sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela: “And if there is any respect for democracy when the immense majority of the peoples of the world are saying that the blockade should cease, then the Yankee government should comply if it has a shred of respect for international law and cease the blockade against Cuba, and cease the blockade against the sister Republic of Venezuela. A criminal blockade where they persecute them, prosecute them, invent crimes against them, simply because they seek to guarantee food for Venezuelan families.”

Earning the highest percentage of confidence from the population on November 7 of any elected president in the Americas in recent times, the Sandinista government was endorsed to continue carving out new paths to reduce poverty and continue extraordinary advances, like 90% food sovereignty, 99% electricity coverage with 75% green energy, and one of the top positions in social infrastructure in the Americas; and that they will do this specifically because they are no longer willing to be a colony of the United States.

“We will continue to fight with dignity, always defending the homeland, always defending sovereignty,” said Ortega, “because only with sovereignty, with dignity, with conscience, is it possible to achieve the great victories.”

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  1. The US has been trying to dominate Nicaragua since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, almost 200 years. The people and president Ortega together, however, have maintained Nicaragua’s sovereignty by improving everything from roads to healthcare, schools, parks, autonomous governance, elections, and its very important food sovereignty. Thank you, Nan McCurdy, for this article and for editing NicaNotes – check it out and subscribe. https://afgj.org/category/nicanotes

  2. I am very impressed with the progress that Ortega and the Sandinista Government have made in reducing poverty and in providing such improvements in education, health care, transportation, availability of potable water and electricity, and more!! I was particularly impressed with the November 7, 2021 election that was verified by so many international observers as peaceful and democratic.

  3. As for the notion that Daniel is a dictator, I can certainly understand the frustrations some Nicaraguans have about needing a “Sandino tattoo,” and I’m sure that issues like this will always be a work in progress. But this is a fight for the Nicaraguan people. In reality, Nicaraguans today are enjoying more freedom and respect from their government than much of the rest of the world today.

    In the meantime if we outsiders want to know what serious dictators look like, today in the U.S. we only need to look to the governors of a few of our states, or our Nazi-like health system where many family members have to hire a lawyer to get their loved ones sick with Covid a medication or procedure that won’t kill them. Whole countries, like Australia ignore the Nuremberg Code and are demanding that people are vaccinated in order to go to a restaurant, a gym, or sometimes a food store. Heavy fines are being placed on pensioners who refuse. Some are taken away to quarantine camps for weeks at a time. Many countries are being moved into a system of actual slavery using vaccine passes. Today, as illustrated by the January 23 protests against mandates in the U.S. and Europe, people are fighting for their lives against the threat of cruel global dictatorship, such as the world has never seen.

  4. Gee, it certainly would be nice if we in the US could have a “dictator” like Daniel Ortega. The Nicaraguan people have certainly benefited tremendously from his “autocratic” rule.

    Thanks, Nan, for an excellent and inspiring article.

    • I agree, it would. I can say more good things about Ortega than Biden. But, that doesn’t mean things are “right” in Nicaragua. Having lived in both the U.S. and Nicaragua, I will take Nicaragua over the U.S. (and, right now, Guatemala over both of them) but it appears that the Hillary Clinton method of controlling the opposition in Nicaragua has been used quite a few times.

  5. The abortion ban passed with overwhelming support from the population when the FSLN was a minority in the legislature. But birth control and voluntary sterilization are widely available in the public health system, making abortion less necessary and as others have said, the abortion ban is not strictly enforced.
    It can be difficult for people living in the US to understand why President Ortega could get such overwhelming support because we have never had a government that cut poverty in half, brought electricity and renewable energy to the entire population, made quality healthcare and education through graduate school free of charge, vastly improved roads and infrastructure, took care of the population after natural disasters, etc. If you could visit everyday Nicaraguans, you would not only understand why they support their government, you would demand the same treatment from your own government.

  6. Ms McCurdy has it right. The US and UK/EU media are stenographers for the U.S. State Department. Nicaragua has a right to move forward as a sovereign nation, and not be a client state of the U.S.

    As we have said many times, “Let Nicaragua Live.” They are doing fine without us.

  7. This is an accurate description of the situation in Nicaragua today. The mainstream media are “Department of State stenographers,” as someone has called them. The U.S. is able to control the media discussion, but the Nicaraguan people are able to control their destiny. We have no reason to harm Nicaragua, and thoughtful people should read Ms. McCurdy’s comments with that thought in mind.

  8. Abortion may technically be illegal but women with severe conditions still get proper treatment and – unlike in El Salvador – there are no prosecutions for infringing the law. It should also be noted that – unlike in Northern countries – the ban on abortions does have widespread support.

  9. I am a citizen of Nicaragua and support the FSLN. But, I question Ortega’s virtual dictatorship. My experience in Nicaragua was that to get anything done you pretty much needed a Sandino tattoo on your butt.

    • What is a virtual dictatorship? Is the following definition correct/?

      The country is ruled by a virtual dictator. [=by someone who is not officially a dictator but who is like a dictator in every important way]

      • Makes sense to me. I “credit” the US government for creating this situation. The Sandinistas were three distinct groups who came together to defeat Somoza. I feel that there was a chance for those three groups to form three parties. The “Contra War” forced them to unite again (behind Ortega) to fight that war really eliminating real democracy.

          • That is quite common, actually. Fidel Castro always got something like 95% of the vote. Sometimes I think Ortega learned a lot from Hillary Clinton. Herty Levitis, if he was alive, would probably agree with me. And then there was the last US presidential election …

  10. Do women have reproductive rights? I know that the church has a strong influence and hope now that women have the right to choose.

    • Abortion in Nicaragua is completely illegal. Prior to a change in the law, which took effect on 18 November 2006, the law allowed pregnancies to be terminated for “therapeutic” reasons, but this clause is no longer in effect.

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