U.S. flag flies at Sandinista rally
The flag carried by a Nicaraguan resident of Miami is another sign of the
Sandinistas' attempts to project a more moderate image, setting aside the
conflicts of the 1980s, when the United States sponsored Contra rebels against
the Sandinista government of the time.
The rally and march, which began Saturday and ended early Sunday,
commemorated a successful Sandinista retreat from the capital 22 years ago
during their battle against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza .
Supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba, the Sandinistas adopted a series
increasingly radical measures after taking power in 1979, leading the United
States to attempt to topple the left-wing government.
At party rallies in that era, the Sandinistas sang an anthem describing
"the enemies of humanity."
Since losing power in a 1990 election, party leader Daniel Ortega has tried
ease hostility with the United States, repeatedly insisting that a new Sandinista
government could have normal relations with Washington.
Ortega, president from 1985 to 1990, is again a candidate in the November
elections here and he leads in most polls.
Increasingly alarmed, U.S. officials have publicly warned that a Sandinista
victory could have damaging consequences.
During the rally, Ortega promised to lead Nicaragua "to the promised land"
wins the election.
In an interview published Sunday by the newspaper La Prensa, Ortega insisted
that the Sandinistas would not repeat the widespread expropriations they carried
out in the 1980s.
"That stage is now in the past," he said. "We are talking with businessmen
reactivating the economy of this country."
He admitted that the Sandinistas had erred in overly closing the economy
they governed in the past, using enormous public subsidies to try to provide the
goods that a shrinking private sector could not.
"The most correct thing is to carry out a policy that lifts productive
that the people can buy products," he said.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.