A group of internationally renowned Sandinista dissidents – including two former Sandinista ministers, a former member of the revolutionary junta, and former guerrilla leaders – have publicly endorsed the presidential candidacy of right-wing opponent Fabio Gadea, an ex-contra.
The dissidents’ support was offered in exchange for Gadea’s backing of a multi-point plan to: create a transparent and honest government that respects the law and diversity; reduce poverty; invest in education; restore democracy; eliminate the power-sharing “pacto” between Daniel Ortega and Arnoldo Alemán, reduce the number of national lawmakers, reform the electoral system, and prohibit reelection.
The announcement was made Thursday afternoon in a joint declaration read by comandanate Henry “Modesto” Ruiz, a guerrilla hero and former minister of planning and foreign cooperation in the revolutionary government of the 1980s. Ruiz warned that Nicaraguans must act “individually and collectively” against “the threat of another dynastic dictatorship.”
“Our country, our people, are living in a politically determining moment,” Ruiz said. “The current government acts abusively, stealing citizen rights and violating the Nicaragua’s institutionalism for its own benefit.”
Ruiz and his 24 co-signers call on the youths to vote massively Nov. 6 to free Nicaragua from “the giant and dense shadow around Nicaragua’s social and political peace.”
“The evidence and precedents that indicate (Ortega’s) willingness to commit fraud in the Nov. 6 elections cannot scare us or immobilize us in the struggle for our citizen rights,” the declaration reads. “Daniel Ortega is an illegal candidate. If electoral fraud is consolidated, Ortega and his allies will plant the winds and harvest the storm.”
In addition to Ruiz, the joint declaration was signed by notable figures such as revolutionary poet/priest Ernesto Cardenal, former revolutionary junta leader Moises Hassan, former Attorney General Alberto Novoa and Onofre Guevara, Ortega’s former, as well as several former Sandinista military captains.
For Ruiz, a Soviet-educated Marxist who was among the most ideologically driven of the nine Sandinista comandantes, the backing of Gadea represents a shift from his earlier position promoting the protest vote.
Gadea, for his part, welcomed the support and said it was part of his effort to build “a government of everyone, because we’re all Nicaraguans.”