Nicaragua: cyber-savvy youth protest Ortega

Taking a tip from their counterparts in Colombia, young opponents of President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua used Facebook to launch a protest campaign—under the slogan “Democracy yes, dictatorship no.” A June 20 protest brought out some 4,000 in downtown Managua in support of former Sandinsita commandante Dora MarĂ­a TĂ©llez, who ended a 12-day public hunger strike four days earlier at the request of her doctors. (Miami Herald, June 22) TĂ©llez led a new march of several thousand through Managua June 27, accusing Ortega’s government of a “totalitarian vocation.” (Nuevo Diario, Managua, June 28)

TĂ©llez began her hunger strike after the Supreme Electoral Council upheld the government’s cancellation of the legal party registration of her Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) and the Conservative Party (PC), citing irregularities. The move, contested by the banned parties as arbitrary, bars them from participating in upcoming municipal elections. (Tico Times, Costa Rica, June 16)

In 2005, TĂ©llez was denied entry to the US to take up her post as a Harvard professor on the grounds that she had been involved in “terrorism.” (The Guardian, March 4, 2005)

Ortega sparked a diplomatic flap when he called Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe a “terrorist” for ordering the bombing of a guerilla camp inside Ecuador in March. “He says he’s fighting terrorism but he’s the terrorist,” Ortega said at a meeting in Managua attended by survivors of the raid. Colombia shot back a letter to Nicaragua “rejecting most energetically” Ortega’s comments. (Reuters, June 21)

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