Nicaragua has celebrated the first anniversary of the overthrow of former dictator Anastasio Somoza.
GV Building and Masaya town sign
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Background: Nicaragua has celebrated the first anniversary of the overthrow of former dictator Anastasio Somoza. The somoza family ruled the Central American nation for 43 years and since their overthrow the country has been run by a leftist junta.
SYNOPSIS: Nicaragua suffered both from the excesses of the Somoza regime and the bloody civil war which drove the family from power. The revolution was led by a group known as the Sandinistas -- named after a 1930's guerrilla leader. Their's was the first successful popular uprising in Latin America for more than twenty years.
After Somoza had fled to the United States on July 17th -- taking his immense personal fortune with him -- the red and black flag of the Sandinistas appeared everywhere.
The two months of intense conflict left the national economy in ruins. Damage from the bombing of factories, stores and city centres was estimated at a billion dollars.
When the Sandinistas took power they promised to keep civilians within the power structure. Elections were also promised after reconstruction.
No elections have, as yet, been arranged and the country is still in desperate need of foreign aid. An important American aid package totalling 75 million dollars, still waits for approval from Congress -- conservatives are blocking its passage because they claim the regime is turning communist.