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NICARAGUANS reacted with horror today after learning that journalist Miguel Mora is to be honoured at a press freedom awards event despite inciting physical attacks and publicly calling for Sandinista supporters to be killed.
One supporter, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, told the Star that she had been forced to leave her home last year due to Mr Mora’s encouragement of violence.
“I was living in fear,” she said. “Every night there were gunshots. All the people in my neighbourhood knew that me and my husband were Sandinistas. We didn’t know when they [the opposition] would come for us.
“He [Mora] made a public call for Sandinista supporters to be killed. The violence worsened because of that and people were being attacked by the opposition.
“I decided to leave when opposition members took photographs of my children when they were in the garden. I felt unsafe and they were at risk.”
She has been a supporter of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) since she was young and was active during the period of “governing from below” between the left-wing party’s unexpected election defeat in 1990 and its return to power in 2007.
These years, which she described it as “a dark time” for Nicaragua, saw the reversal of many of the gains in health, housing and education made after the 1979 Sandinista Revolution. Trade union membership was decimated as public services were privatised.
This is why so many people will be taking party in tomorrow’s celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the revolution, which she described as being in its “second phase” since the 2006 election victory of President Daniel Ortega and the FSLN.
Nicaraguans are not prepared to go back to the days of neoliberal rule and will not easily give up the Sandinista programme of free education, healthcare and access to cheap and affordable housing, she explained.
She expressed anger over the inclusion of Mr Moro, who runs the anti-government 100% Noticas (100% News) media organisation, in this year’s International Press Freedom Awards run by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
He will be honoured at a gala dinner in the city’s luxury Grand Hyatt Hotel in November, alongside right-wing Nicaraguan opposition journalist Lucia Pineda Ubau, who is news director at 100% Noticias.
The CPJ has come under fire for appearing to support regime change in Venezuela. Critics accuse it of being part of the “press freedom business” along with other multimillion-pound organisations such as Article 19, many of which receive US taxpayers’ money via such nefarious groups as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and USAid.
Mr Moro and Ms Ubau were jailed in Nicaragua for their actions in inciting violence but released under an amnesty earlier this year as the Sandinista government sought peace and reconciliation in the wake of last year’s coup attempt.
The pair have since tried to portray themselves as victims of government oppression and martyrs for free speech.
But, speaking to the Star earlier this week, Sandinista government official Carlos Fonseca Teran, whose father founded the FSLN, said the pair were “responsible for many deaths in Nicaragua” through their reporting.
Mr Moro has set his sights on ousting Mr Ortega, pitching himself as the president’s potential replacement, which sources suggested was the real reason for him being presented with the CPJ award.
Speaking to Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa last week, he said he would not leave politics in the hands of “corrupt officials” and admitted to aspiring to public office, saying that “it would be a great honour” to be a presidential candidate.
But our source told the Star that the one thing the opposition lacks is unity, with too many big egos all chasing the top job.
“Everyone wants to be Pope, but no-one wants to be the priest,” she said, laughing.
Street parties were held on Tuesday to mark “Happiness Day,” the date 40 years ago when US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza fled Nicaragua and the Sandinista Revolution began to triumph.
Friday is a national holiday and many international guests are expected to join the anniversary celebrations, which will include huge rally in the capital Managua.
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