Nicaragua Once Again Inaugurates the “People as President”

Family in Bismarck Martinez Housing neighborhood watch the inauguration and swear to fight with all their strength to eliminate hunger, poverty and backwardness. [Photo by Jairo Cajina]

On January 10, Daniel Ortega was inaugurated President and Rosario Murillo was inaugurated as Vice President. The central event in the Plaza of the Revolution was accompanied by Sandinistas celebrating in almost every town with big-screen displays of the inauguration.

Once he had been sworn in, with the presidential sash across his chest, Daniel repeated his action from 2007, 2012 and 2017: He took off his sash and then symbolically handed it to the people: El Pueblo Presidente—the People are President. The crowd broke out in wild cheers. He asked tens of thousands of Sandinistas gathered in the 153 municipalities of the country to swear to fight with all their strength to eliminate hunger, poverty, and backwardness.

Moment when President Ortega offers his sash to the People. [Photo by Jairo Cajina].

“Let’s go forward…building peace to fight poverty, building peace so that there can be roads and highways. building peace so that families can feel secure; their children can feel secure in their work; they can feel secure in having a dignified life. That is our commitment, dear Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, we are all in this and that is why we say the people are president,” he exclaimed emotionally.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel attended the inauguration to the obvious delight of the crowd, who cheered ecstatically when each arrived. President Ortega actually left the area and went out to greet them.

President Ortega goes out to greet President Maduro. [Photo by Cesar Perez]

Along with official representatives of dozens of countries, including Honduras, Mexico, China, India and Iran—countries that represent 2.5 billion people, there were also more than 300 journalists and solidarity activists from 21 nations accompanying the inauguration.

“Here are delegates from many governments that have been mentioned, peoples, brothers, friendly peoples and where the European governments or the Yankee government do not send delegates… what greater pride than to have here as representatives of the North American people, of the European peoples, citizens, dignified men and women who fight in their homelands for true dignity, for the true independence of their own countries and for a true democracy to be installed in their own countries,” said Ortega.

North Americans hold press conference about Nicaragua after the inauguration. [Photo by Jairo Cajina]

“What better and more worthy representative can the American people have than Brian Willson. They [the U.S.] threw the military train at him and it was filmed, and they destroyed his legs and where were the human rights [organizations]… and who condemned that crime… if it is the same Yankee government that promoted those crimes,” he emphasized. Willson wrote: “President Ortega spoke for more than an hour about the new silk road agreements with China, the continued history of U.S. imperialism, and the continued advances of the Sandinista Nicaragua revolution. He needed no notes, no teleprompters—such a contrast with U.S. presidents. He spoke straight from his heart and experiences without any pauses.”

S. Brian Willson and his partner Ulda Garcia with President Ortega. [Photo by Jairo Cajina].

President Ortega indicated that Nicaragua and the People’s Republic of China had a historic meeting where they signed four cooperation treaties, highlighting the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt. “The Chinese Revolution and the Sandinista Revolution have the same path, the same destiny, which is to end poverty,” Ortega stressed.

President Ortega and Vice President Murillo at the signing of agreements for cooperation with China. [Photo by Jairo Cajina]

On January 12 China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said, “China firmly supports the government and people of Nicaragua in choosing independently a development path that suits their national realities. We urge the U.S. side to face squarely its own ‘democratic deficit,’ renounce the misguided old practice of arbitrary sanctions and pressure, stop engaging in hegemonic and bullying acts, adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, lift unilateral sanctions on Nicaragua and stop interfering in Nicaragua’s domestic affairs.”

This was in response to a question about more U.S. sanctions on six Nicaraguan officials including the Defense Minister as well as visa restrictions on 116 individuals on inauguration day.

These sanctions were on top of the internationally illegal U.S. unilateral coercive actions including the 2018 NICA Act, and the RENACER Act passed by Congress just a week before Nicaragua’s November 7 elections.

Black Agenda Report Executive Editor Margaret Kimberley says that RENACER is a classic example of hybrid warfare as it calls for “supporting independent news media and freedom of information.” Such language is a declaration of interference in the rights of a sovereign nation, in short, a blueprint for war propaganda and regime change.

President Ortega also demanded an end to the U.S. blockade and sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela: “And if there is any respect for democracy when the immense majority of the peoples of the world are saying that the blockade should cease, then the Yankee government should comply if it has a shred of respect for international law and cease the blockade against Cuba, and cease the blockade against the sister Republic of Venezuela. A criminal blockade where they persecute them, prosecute them, invent crimes against them, simply because they seek to guarantee food for Venezuelan families.”

Earning the highest percentage of confidence from the population on November 7 of any elected president in the Americas in recent times, the Sandinista government was endorsed to continue carving out new paths to reduce poverty and continue extraordinary advances, like 90% food sovereignty, 99% electricity coverage with 75% green energy, and one of the top positions in social infrastructure in the Americas; and that they will do this specifically because they are no longer willing to be a colony of the United States.

“We will continue to fight with dignity, always defending the homeland, always defending sovereignty,” said Ortega, “because only with sovereignty, with dignity, with conscience, is it possible to achieve the great victories.”

• First published in CovertAction Magazine

Nan McCurdy is a United Methodist Missionary and 36 year resident of Nicaragua. She is currently working with the rural poor in Puebla Mexico but can be reached at Read other articles by Nan.