Gustavo Javier Somoza, whose father, grandfather and uncle ruled
Nicaragua for nearly five decades, announced the formation of the
Democratic Nationalist Front at a news conference packed with supporters
shouting "Long live the Somoza family!"
"I am the proud son of Luis Somoza Debayle, I carry that blood," the
younger Somoza told some 100 cheering backers. His grandfather, Gen.
Anastasio Somoza Garcia, was the dynasty patriarch.
The party has yet to be legalised so it can field candidates in the 2001
presidential elections and earlier municipal elections.
The Somoza family's resurgence is a stunning example of how political winds
can change. Thursday's display would have been virtually unheard of a few
years ago, when few in Nicaragua openly declared support for the Somozas.
But nostalgia for the family has grown during the years of brutal poverty
followed the end of its military rule.
"We were better off under Somoza," supporter Carmen Grijalba told
Nicaragua's ideological landscape remains strictly polarised between left
The Sandinista Front is the main opposition party to the Liberal government
led by President Arnoldo Aleman. The new Somoza organisation's
anti-Sandinista stance was clear on Thursday.
Somoza was joined by Enrique Quinonez, former leader of the CIA-backed
Contra force that rose against the Sandinista regime after it took power in
1979 from Anastasio Somoza Jr., who was assassinated in Paraguay the
The so-called Contra war lasted until 1990, when Sandinista President
Daniel Ortega lost the presidential election to Violeta Chamorro.
Somoza said the new party's ideals were "purely liberal, democratic."
Copyright 1999 Reuters.