A year after the revolution in Nicaragua, the country is effectively ruled by a one-party state.
GV INTERIOR CU Commando Bayardo Arce President of the Council of State ZOOM OUT TO SHOW other party representatives with him
CU Commander Arce speaking in Spanish
CU Luis Sanchez, Nicaraguan Socialist party member
CU Gustavo Tablada (Independent)
CU Rodolfo Robelo (Liberal)
SV Members of the press
CU Members signing papers (2 shots)
GV Cuban President Fidel Castro walking through crowd at Leon
SV Crowds standing in front of banner
GV PAN Crowd applauding
SV Castro and other officials salute from rostrum
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A year after the revolution in Nicaragua, the country is effectively ruled by a one-party state. The ruling Sandinistas and opposition groups made this virtually official when they announced the formation of a Patriotic Revolutionary Front at a news conference in Managua on Wednesday (23 July).
SYNOPSIS: The leaders of Nicaragua's political groups joined Commander Bayardo Arce, President to the Nicaraguan Council of State, to announced the formation of the front.
Commander Arce said they had agreed to demonstrate a united front against critics of the ruling military junta. Along with the Sandinistas were Socialists, Social Christian Democrats and Liberals. Together they make up a forty-seven member Council of State which has the legislative functions of the ruling military junta. The Sandinista Front has six members of the council but other groups dominated by the Sandinistas, such as the neighbourhood associations known as Sandinista Defence Committees hold an overwhelming majority of the seats. In April this year two members of the five-member military junta resigned. One of them, Alfonso Robelo, a fifty-year-old businessman took with him the Nicaraguan Revolutionary Movement which only had one seat on the Council of State.
Since the revolution the Sandinista command has had close ties with Castro's government, although when they took power they proclaimed themselves to be a popular rather than a Marxist government. They said elections would be held after a period of reconstruction, but so far no ballot has materialised.
Many observers see developments in Nicaragua as a prime example of a Marxist take-over. When the Sandinistas celebrated the first anniversary of the revolution last week the Cuban President Fidel Castro was among the guests. After several days of ceremonies and other formalities the President spent two days touring the country and its major cities. His itinerary was kept secret and he maintained a low profile for much of the tour. In Leon, however, he was greeted by big crowds. Despite the links with Cuba the Sandinistas maintain they are not copying the Castro model but developing their own form of socialism.