The new government of Nicaragua has been working towards the restoration of freedom of the press and civil liberties, while continuing to grapple with serious economic problems.
GV Large crowd gathered at site where Pedro Joaquin Chamorro was killed
CU Chamorro's widow, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, speaking to crowd in Spanish
GV Large crowd applaud
GV Large crowd carrying placards and marching along street (2 shots)
SV Widow Chamorro walking at head of crowd with Junta member Sergio Ramirez in white shirt (2 shots)
GV Large crowd gathered at open air mass outside the destroyed newspaper building of La Prensa
SV Foreign Affairs Minister, Father Miguel D'Escoto conducting the Mass
GV ZOOM TO Public address system relaying the Mass
SV Crowd celebrating Mass
CU Widow Chamorro seated in crowd during singing
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Background: The new government of Nicaragua has been working towards the restoration of freedom of the press and civil liberties, while continuing to grapple with serious economic problems. It was the death of an influential newspaper editor in January, 1978, that helped spark the revolution which toppled President Anastazio Somoza's administration.
SYNOPSIS: The second anniversary of the editor's assassination was marked with a large demonstration in Managua. The widow of Senor Pedro Joaquin Chamorro addressed the gathering. Chamorro was one of Somoza's main political opponents.
Senor Chamorro's Liberation Union included dissidents from the traditional Conservative and the ruling Liberal parties, as well as Communists and Social Democrats. They demanded a series of talks with President Somoza, but withdrew their demand when Senor Chamorro was killed.
The crowd marched to the site of Senor Chamorro's newspaper, La Prensa--a vehicle for opposition views which Senor Chamorro built up from a circulation of three thousand to sixty thousand. Dissidents believed supporters of President Somoza planned the assassination. Three men in a car reportedly forced the editor's car to pull over, then shot him with machine gun and a rifle. Senor Chamorro died in an ambulance on the way to hospital. To the marchers, he symbolises the spirit of opposition to President Somoza.
Outside La Prensa's former premises, the crowd attended a Mass in memory of the former Opposition Leader. Foreign Minister, Father Miguel D'Escoto, led the service.
On the day of Sr. Chamorro's funeral in 1978, there were also thousands of people in Managua's streets, but then they rioted, setting fire to buildings and cars and blaming President Somoza for the killing.
La Prensa is now back in publication, under the editorship of a brother, Senor Zavier Chamorro. It is being printed in Nicaragua's second city, Leon, until premises bombed by President Somoza's forces during the closing stages of the civil war are repaired. The former editor's death helped unite the opponents of the Somoza regime.