(posted Dec. 2, 1:08 p.m.) – Amid calls for peace and concerns of violence, civil society and opposition political organizations will attempt to mobilize some 80,000 people to march on Managua tomorrow in protest of election fraud and call for new elections.
The march will be the first test of Fabio Gadea’s claim to be the new opposition leader in Nicaragua. Gadea, 80, was the runner-up in the Nov. 6 elections, according to the official election results. But he claims the elections were a fraud and insists he, not Ortega, won.
Gadea lashed out at the international community for being “timid” about denouncing election fraud in Nicaragua. He said the international community shouldn’t wait for a “bloodbath” in Nicaragua to react.
“We are going to march on Dec. 3. If they (FSLN) want to confront us, they they’ll confront us. But it would be very irresponsible of them because we have the right to march on our streets,” Gadea told Mexico’s El Universal. “If they want deaths, there will be deaths. But we are going to march peacefully, without hurting anyone. We don’t want blood; this will be a civic and peaceful march. We won’t be bringing clubs, rocks, morteros or anything.”
Though the National Police have authorized the opposition march, Sandinista union leader Gustavo Porras has called on Nicaraguans to not be part of “destabilization” efforts against the government.
Meanwhile, Nicaragua’s gum-flapping former boxing champ and Ortega supporter Ricardo Mayorga has called for a countermarch tomorrow in support of the Sandinista president. It’s not clear whether he’s serious, or whether anyone listens to him.
Tomorrow’s march is already a talking point in Washington. During yesterday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Nicaragua, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), said tomorrow’s march on Managua shows that “Nicaraguans will not be deterred.”
“This Saturday, thousands of courageous Nicaraguans will, once again, march down the streets of Managua to peacefully protest Ortega’s power grab,” she said. “The Nicaraguan people dream of a day that they will be free from the control of tyrants and it is our moral obligation to uphold the rule of law and democratic order to help them fulfill their dream.”