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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 3 | Agosto 1981



The Second Anniversary Of The Nicaraguan Revolution

Outline of the Speech Given by Junta Coordinator, Comandante Daniel Ortega. We present schematically the measures announced on July 19th, and the principal points of the message of Daniel Ortega, Coordinator of the Governing Junta, during the celebration of the second anniversary of the revolution. They allow us to make a balance of what has been accomplished up to now.

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We intend to present an outline of the measures announced on July 19 during the speech by the Coordinator of the Government Junta, Comandante Daniel Ortega, as well as the central points of his speech. We will add to that a short introduction and a brief conclusion.

This work is introductory. Certain aspects, such as the methods of implementing the announced measures, are not presented with clarity in the speech. Some of those measures began to be studied immediately in the Council of State in order to work out the definitive legal form and the corresponding methods of implementation.

These measures serve as a basis for understanding future actions and attitudes in the political life of this country. Many of these measures will be the object of heated discussions, of criticism, of approval or disapproval. In future mailings, we will try to analyze some of these actions and evaluations.

The atmosphere prior to the 19th of July in Nicaragua:

The year 1981 was designated from the beginning as the “Year of Defense and Production.” In this year, the reorganization of the productive structures and the increase in productivity acquire a decisive dimension.

Public denunciations of decapitalization practices on the part of some business sectors was an area of concern that, along with other factors, caused expectations of an official response.

The atmosphere prior to the 19th of July in Nicaragua was very special. All of the Nicaraguans, regardless of economic interests and political postures, waited expectantly to see what would happen on that date. For weeks before, the popular organizations had publicly asked for, and in some cases demanded, certain measures that would radicalize the revolutionary process. Most of these demands were of an economic nature. However, the re-establishment of the death penalty was also demanded by many as a response to what was characterized as increase in counter revolutionary activities.

This highly charged situation can, in part, explain the massive mobilization to the Plaza. Local communications media estimate the crowd at between 500,000 and 600,000. In the neighborhoods of Managua, the organization of the mobilization was begun in the early hours of the morning, in other cities it was begun the night before. In all cases, mobilizing procedures were used which had been studied and prepared ahead of time. The movement of the people, the transportation, the concentration in the Plaza, and the dispersal were all orderly and disciplined and seemed to contradict the heated and polemic climate that existed in political circles in the preceding days.

Outline Of The Speech Given By The Coordinator Of The Junta Of The Government, Comandante Daniel Ortega

1. CHARACTERIZATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION: “The Nicaraguan Revolution cannot isolate itself from the great tensions that shake the world; it cannot isolate itself from the situation of injustice that dominates in the world, where some industrialized, developed countries succeed in having better living conditions, succeed in having their people use double the natural resources as the people of the Third World, thanks to international injustice.”

“Since January, 1981 a total of 81.1 million dollars is the sum of money that the United States has cut off to a country to which it owes a great deal.”

“In spite of the attitude assumed by the United States, countries such as Algiers, Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, the European Economic Community, East Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Holland, Irak, Lybia, Mexico, Norway, the Soviet Union, Sweden, East Germany, Yugoslavia, among others, have not stopped giving unconditional aid to Nicaragua for a single moment.

“We inherited a country sacked by imperialism; we also inherited a country sacked by an economic system that benefited a minority and foreign interests, a country sacked by the Somoza family and their accomplices, a country affected by the earthquake, a country robbed and plundered in the war of liberation, a country decapitalized, a country in debt, a destroyed economy. All of this together signifies that on July 19, 1979, the people of Nicaragua inherited more than $ 2,000,000,000 in losses and more than $ 1,650,000,000 in debts. That is the famous product of Somoza efficiency and of capitalist efficiency.”


1. Faults of the Government:
a. Lack of the capacity to carry out determined projects that are so badly needed by the country when we have had at our disposal loans and credit for such projects.
b. Lack of efficiency in that we have not been able to rationally attend to the demand for foreign exchange in terms of production.
c. Administrative corruption that we have still not been able to eradicate.
d. Resistance in some sectors of the Government to work for the support of the people in order to strengthen the Revolutionary Government.
e. Lack of services to the working sector, above all in areas as important as Health.
f. Lack of political participation, of incorporation in the milicia, of participation in voluntary work on the part of some employees in the Government who think that nothing has changed here.

2. Faults of the Workers:
a. In production
b. In undermining the economy by a lack of work discipline, by demanding contracts that are not in accord with the difficult and tragic reality of the country.
c. In unions that take advantage of some sectors of workers by not supporting their interests.

3. Faults of the FSLN and the Government Junta
Of course, in all of this the members of the National Directorate and the Junta of the Government have some responsibility.


In the face of a difficult situation for Nicaragua, the Government of National Reconstruction enacted a series of measures directed principally toward development of productive structures and increases production. They include the confiscation of businesses that, according to the Government, have been guilty of decapitalization; the decree regarding idle, poorly used or abandoned land; the decision to finance an important part of cattle development; the law of cooperatives; the nationalization of sugar distribution and of the exportation of non-traditional products; and the Agrarian Reform. Undeniably, all of these decisions are creating doubts, criticisms and discontent in the business sector that will, through these measures, lose part of its economic power. Criticism from the business organization, COSEP, is an indication of the large debate that has begun.

Giving of titles to persons from squatter communities means that a large number of Nicaraguans will be assured of their parcel of land to construct their homes. The measure was happily received by the people of the barrios of Managua who never had received legal rights to their piece of property, and it can be seen as the only exclusively social measure in the package announced on July 19.

We spoke in the introduction about the demands that the popular organizations (Sandinista Defense Committees, the Association of Women, Sandinista Youth, unions, etc.) made toward radicalizing the process by introducing measures such as the death penalty. Also on July 19th large sectors of the crowd in the Plaza demanded the confiscation of the newspaper, La Prensa. The response of the Government was to not get into the dangerous waters of making irreversible decisions in these areas. With respect to the demands for death penalty for certain counter-revolutionary acts, Comandante Ortega responded that the consolidation of the Milicia would be the best means of counteracting those acts. Instead of repression, he proposed better organization. With respect to the newspaper, he publicly appealed to “La Prensa” to change its line and to identify with the people.

July 19th arrived in a special political climate which is difficult to describe. This special climate, with the crowd making its demands, created a certain “political heat.” The responses to the demands of the popular organizations were given in the manner of decisions previously analyzed and defined.

The hard self-criticism about certain aspects of the functioning of the Government and the responsibility of the Junta and the FSLN in those errors is a notable feature of Comandante Ortega’s speech. In Latin America, we are not used to seeing Governments and leaders open to publicly accepting responsibility for errors in their conduct. For that reason, not only as an important factor in Nicaraguan politics but also as a practice almost unheard of on our continent, we point out this feature of self-criticism.

More than a few people have commented on the difference between this July 19 and that of last year. At that moment, a young revolutionary government was demonstrating its victory and its accomplishments, including its military organization, with understandable pride. Today, with special internal and external situations, with border aggression from Honduras, with the capturing of Nicaraguan fishing boats in open waters by marines from neighboring countries, etc., this years peaceful demonstration is significant. Viewing the Nicaraguan diplomatic efforts to protect the peace in Central America, we believe that this unarmed mobilization is not something accidental, but rather responds to a more global peaceful policy.

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