The Nicaraguan town of Esteli sustained some of the most extensive damage during the weeks of fighting between the troops of the National Guard and the Sandanist Liberation Front.
GV Side of wrecked house in Esteli.
MVs & GVs Damaged building. (4 SHOTS)
SV Damaged factory building.
MV School boy peering through window shutters of damaged building with graffiti.
CU Young girls carrying food box.
GV & CU Red Cross centre.
MV Women with shopping walking along street.
MCU Youth seated on wall.
SV Stall holders with fruit and flowers on display.
MV Family seated on wall.
GV Damaged and burnt building in central Esteli.
CU Damaged wall ZOOM TO window opening and view of church towers.
GV Damaged buildings on deserted streets. (2 SHOTS)
In an attempt to avoid what Reuters News Agency calls outright civil war, President Somoza has agreed to hold a plebiscite on his future organised by international mediators. But doubts remain whether the result will be accepted by all the opposition, and the President has said he will not go into exile as he has been demanded, irrespective of the plebiscite result.
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Background: The Nicaraguan town of Esteli sustained some of the most extensive damage during the weeks of fighting between the troops of the National Guard and the Sandanist Liberation Front. On the 23rd of September the city was reportedly lying in ruins after five days of bombardment with rockets and tanks, and the government of General Anastasio Somoza considered the town taken. More than two months later Esteli is quiet. But people are trying to make their lives in a ravaged city with little hope of finding the resources to rebuild it.
SYNOPSIS: The northern city of Esteli was the last of four towns to be retaken by the National Guard. But only after fierce battles with Sandanist forces. Government troops used rockets, and tank support for five days before the guerrillas were forced to withdraw.
During and after the fighting the local people left their homes and jobs and fled to the hills. They have only recently returned.
The Red Cross were left with the horrible job of identifying and then burning the dead.
Many families lost members in the battles. And the people of Esteli were reported to have an increased anti-government feeling because of the brutality of the military attack. Many are said to be waiting for the return of the Sandanists.
In some sections, life goes on as usual and stall-holders are back at work. But in central Esteli, once reduced to smoking rubble, the scars of battle remain. And there is little chance that funds will be forthcoming to repair the damage, as President Somoza prepares the National Guard to fight the Sandanists again.