As Nicaragua marked the 39th anniversary of the Sandinista uprising and is once again facing widespread unrest, longtime human rights defender Bianca Jagger spoke to FRANCE 24 about how those taking to the streets against President Daniel Ortega feel betrayed by the former revolutionary hero.
As the leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front – or "Sandinistas", as they were popularly known – Daniel Ortega was once hailed as a revolutionary hero. As a member of the Junta of National Reconstruction, he came to power on July 19, 1979, after the overthrow of the wealthy Somoza dynasty, which had reigned supreme over Nicaragua with US support since 1937.
On Thursday the country marked the 39th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution amid an ongoing political crisis, which has seen hundreds killed in a government crackdown on protesters seeking Ortega's ouster and that of his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. Supporters of the president say the country has made economic progress under his rule. Others argue that Ortega has himself become the type of dictator he once loathed and has consolidated political and judicial power in the hands of the Ortega family.
Bianca Jagger, born in Nicaragua and the founder of Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, told FRANCE 24 that she and other Nicaraguans feel betrayed by Ortega who she says, may now be a more brutal leader than the Somozas.