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Former Sandinista Commanders Will Form Movement “ Against Ortega’s Re-election”

By Dialogo
May 11, 2010

Two former commanders of the Sandinista revolution (1979-1990) in Nicaragua have announced their intention to create a movement to fight using civic means against President Daniel Ortega’s plans for re-election in the 2011 general election, one of them informed the press. “We have formed a group as individuals (to organize the movement and) we’re figuring out how to go about” giving it life, former guerrilla commander Henry Ruiz affirmed in an interview published Sunday by the daily La Prensa. The incipient group does not aim to become a political party, but rather to inform and create the opinion among Nicaraguans that the president’s ambitions for re-election are, in their view, unconstitutional. The Nicaraguan Fundamental Law has prohibited immediate re-election since 1997, but a ruling issued in October by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice annulled this provision, giving a green light to a possible second presidential candidacy by Ortega, in office since 2007. “I don’t understand the excessive ambition of Daniel Ortega, who continues to say that he is a revolutionary and wants to trample on the laws,” Ruiz said about his old comrade in arms. The administration, nevertheless, maintains that the judicial ruling in favor of continuous re-election reclaimed the civil right to seek public office, a right also hallowed in the constitution. Ruiz and Víctor Tirado were two of the nine commanders of the National Directorate of the Sandinista Front (FSLN, a leftist group) who headed the revolution led by Ortega in the 1980s. Ruiz, who in 1996 supported the rise of Sandinista dissidents, expressed his view that Ortega’s second administration has “nothing” revolutionary about it and that there is “abusive behavior” by the president and the Sandinista movement. “The Sandinista movement would be better if it submitted to the law,” Ruiz commented.