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Nicaragua marks Sandinista revolt.

7/19/2009 7:46:20 PM

Thousands of people have gathered in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital, to mark 30 years since the Sandinista revolution that overthrew Anastasio Somoza Debayle, Nicaragua's then authoritarian leader.

Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua's president and one of the leaders of the revolution, attended anniversary celebrations at John Paull II Plaza de la Fe, the capital andrsquo;s main square, on Sunday.

At the rally thousands of Ortega supporters waved his party's red and black flags and held banners praising the Sandinista's government focus on social programs, such as efforts to provide universal free education, medical coverage and decent housing.

For many, the Sandinistas remain an example of leftist idealism, but for others, some of the exuberance has faded amid continuing economic hardship.

"There is not a lot left of the revolution we led back in 1979," Sandinista veteran Jonathan Antonio, who now cleans streets in the capital, was reported by the AFP news agency as saying.

He said "individualism, selfishness and cronyism" were now part of the government, since its second return to office in 2007.

Some of Ortega's allies in the region were expected to attend the celebrations, including Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, who has been Ortega's key ally since January 2007.

Chavez's government last year alone gave impoverished Nicaragua $457m in aid. 2003 - 2009

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Date:Jul 19, 2009
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