• Short Summary

    In Nicaragua, the tide of battle was turning strongly in favour of the Sandinist guerrillas on Friday (6 July).

  • Description

    In Nicaragua, the tide of battle was turning strongly in favour of the Sandinist guerrillas on Friday (6 July). According to Washington officials, visa applications to the United States by the beleaguered administration of President Anastasio Somoza were increasing. The United States has been trying to ensure that more moderates are included in an administration that replaces Somoza. The American fear is that a new government will be dominated by pro-Cuban Marxists.

    SYNOPSIS: Sebaco -- a hundred and twenty kilometres (75 miles) north of Managua -- and strategically important because it controls the approaches to the key cities of Esteli and Matagalpa. Despite heavy government aircraft bombardment on Monday (2 July), the Sandinistas held firm.

    The guerrillas continue to control the food supply - which in this case means breaking into and carrying away goods from shops that have been closed for weeks.

    Other towns bombarded in Monday night's National Guard offensive included Matagalpa. With smoke rising from burning buildings and extensive damage in the streets, both sides said they planned yet another offensive within twenty-four hours. Sporadic gunfire continued throughout the day while parts of the town burned. The National Guards' concentration on the northern and north-eastern towns changed by the end of the week and they turned their attention to the southern town of Rivas, where the Sandinistas plan to install a provisional government.

    The guerrillas in Matagalpa captured a National Guardsman who later led them to an arms cache. And while their leaders conferred, the Sandinists uncovered the find with great enthusiasm. The following day reinforcements from the north began advancing towards the capital of Managua to join the showdown expected between the National Guard and the guerrillas in the south.

    On Tuesday (3 July) a government spokesman said the plan was to clear the border with Costa Rica in order to stop the guerrillas from crossing and capturing Rivas. They would then concentrate once again on Leon and Matagalpa.

    In Tipitapa, a market that featured luxury goods looted from the homes and shops of people who have fled, has been nicknamed "Thieves Market". There have been reports that a large number of peasants have joined the Sandinist guerrillas and are providing them with food. In return, the peasants have been promised more land once the Sandinists gain power.

    At Masaya, the National Guard hold the strategically located fortress. But despite continual bombardment, the Sandinists are still in control of the town. President Somoza has asked for safeguards for the fifteen thousand strong National Guard as a condition for stepping down.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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