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THOUSANDS of Nicaraguans are to be given homes during a government housing drive starting next week to honour the “courage of the Nicaraguan people,” Vice-President Rosario Murillo pledged today.
More than 6,000 property titles will be distributed by young members of the governing Sandinista National Liberation Front between August 14 and September 17, giving Nicaraguans legal ownership of their homes.
Ms Murillo added that 3,117 of the recipients would be women.
This follows the distribution of more than 3,500 property deeds to mothers in Managua on May 30 as part of the country’s Mother’s Day celebrations.
The latest housing drive is timed to mark the anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto, which took place in the Nicaraguan capital on September 14 1856.
It was the defeat of the so-called “filibusters” — the US mercenary army of William Walker — by Nicaraguan forces led by Colonel Jose Dolores Estrada after four hours of fighting.
Walker had led numerous expeditions into Latin America to establish English-speaking colonies under his control.
He took control of Nicaragua through a fraudulent election and immediately reintroduced slavery, also making English an official language.
The battle of San Jacinto is seen as a crucial turning point in Nicaragua and his eventual defeat. Walker was executed by firing squad in Honduras in 1860.
The victory is commemorated in Nicaragua as a public holiday on September 14, the day before Independence Day.
Ms Murillo said: “With the delivery of [property] titles, our beautiful Nicaragua will be commemorated.
“Celebrations of the country [will remember] the battle of San Jacinto, the heroic epic of the courage of the Nicaraguan people.”
Housing is seen as one of the major gains of the Sandinista Revolution.
Nicaraguans benefit from free healthcare and free education, while a number of social projects have been developed to give the poorest access to good, affordable homes.
The Bismarck Martinez Programme for a Safe and Dignified Home has established thousands of properties across the country for families who earn less than $400 (about £330) a month.
Under the project, families pay around £16 a month for six years for a home with a garden, electricity and other facilities.
“The youth will deliver [the property titles] throughout the country, house to house,” Ms Murillo explained.
The scheme will also enable homeowners to make improvements to their properties and pass them on to their children or other family members.
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