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International media absent – except for the Morning Star – as hundreds of thousands celebrate Nicaraguan revolution

STEVE SWEENEY reports from Managua

NICARAGUAN President Daniel Ortega reiterated his message of peace on Friday as hundreds of thousands descended on the capital Managua to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution.

People arrived at Plaza La Fe on packed coaches bedecked with Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) flags as traffic brought roads leading to the capital to a near standstill.

Boats carried others from Ometepe Island to mark the occasion.

It is just over a year since the government defeated a US-backed coup attempt that saw armed right-wing gangs terrorise the streets and inflict violence on Sandinistas and their supporters.

But Mr Ortega said Friday’s rally showed a united Nicaraguan people.

“This celebration has allowed all of us here to carry a message of peace, resistance and unity to the Nicaraguan people,” he said.

He condemned illegal sanctions on Nicaragua by a US intent on fomenting regime change and wars across the world.

“In these times there are those who cheerfully beat a war drum without thinking that they put at risk the existence of themselves. I am sure that the American people want peace and justice,” he said.

International media organisations continue to vow that Mr Ortega is a despised dictator but ignored invitations to attend the rally.

On the eve of the celebrations BBC World published a propaganda piece titled: “Nicaraguan mothers mourn on eve of Sandinista revolution’s anniversary.”

It failed to cover the rally despite having a reporter around a 40-minute drive away in Masaya.

Journalist and documentary filmmaker Marcio Vargas explained that the celebrations would not have fit the BBC’s narrative of a people living in fear of a ruthless dictatorship.

He accused it of complicity in the attempted coup and silencing victims of opposition violence as part of a “propaganda war” in a climate of “fake news.”

He said the world’s media were offered interviews with the families of those killed by opposition groups but declined to meet them.

Instead they “hand picked” people that fit their “regime change agenda.”

“Opposition supporters claimed that people were paid 200 cordobas [around £5] each to attend,” he laughed.

But crowds displayed their admiration for “Comandante Daniel” at Friday’s rally, chanting his name and loudly cheering his arrival at Plaza La Fe.

One supporter told the Star: “Daniel belongs to the people, and the people belong to Daniel. He is our leader, despite what the US and imperialists say.”

Another said: “The US can put a man on the moon, yet it still refuses to provide free healthcare, free education and housing to its people like Nicaragua does.”

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