In Nicaragua, former Contra leader warns of armed resistance

November 6, 2009

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – As bouts of political violence erupted again yesterday during protests to mark the first anniversary of the allegedly fraudulent Nov. 9, 2008 municipal elections, former Contra commander Germán Zeledón is warning that a rebirth of the armed resistance movement to the increasingly repressive government of President Daniel Ortega might not be too far off.

Zeledón, who claims he was robbed of victory in last year´s mayoral contest in the northern department of Jinotega, said former Contra soldiers from the 1980s and a new generation of anti-Sandinistas are already organizing behind closed doors.

“Jinotega was a theater of war, so Jinotega is a little bit more violent than other parts of the country,” Zeledón told The Nica Times yesterday in an exclusive interview in Managua. “There are lots of people who won´t stand for one more rock thrown at them.”

He added, “There is a group that is organizing in Jinotega called the FDN (Nicaraguan Democratic Force), which was the original part of the Contra. The FDN are the true Contras…. This is evolving as the government puts more pressure on the people. The first goal is to protect ourselves physically, because they are attacking us and there is no longer any rule of law here.”

In Managua, Sandinista mobs again attacked civil protests by youths demonstrating against last year´s elections and last month´s contentious move by Sandinista magistrates to lift a ban on consecutive presidential re-election, clearing the way for Ortega to run again in 2011 (NT link).

Monday morning, a mob of masked Sandinista Youth attacked a civil society group waving Nicaraguan flags outside the Plaza del Sol police station in downtown Managua.

After the Sandinistas pelted the group with rocks and eggs and chased them off with homemade mortars, the mob turned its fury on the police station itself, breaking windows and firing mortars at the police headquarters.

On Sunday, five police officers were injured in Nagorte, León, when a similarly unruly Sandinista mob attacked a police line that was protecting a separate civil society protest against last year´s alleged electoral fraud.

To date, the National Police have yet to make any arrests during more than a year of partisan street violence, not even when their own agents or headquarters have been attacked.

“Politics has failed,” said former Contra leader Zeledón. “If there is no rule of law, there comes a time where the only way to express yourself is through other forms.”

Zeledón insists he´s not personally involved in the Contra regrouping, but says he has firsthand knowledge that it´s happening.

“They came looking for me but I told them to calm down,” he said. “But there will come a moment when they won´t remain calm any longer.”

Read this Friday´s print edition of The Nica Times for more on this story.

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