60,000 Mark 1979 Maneuver by Sandinistas

United Press International

President Daniel Ortega led 60,000 followers on an all-night march that ended Saturday to commemorate a key event in the 1979 Sandinista revolution.

Ortega used the occasion to assail President Reagan and to react to Thursday’s vote in the House of Representatives that specified conditions under which the President could send U.S. troops to Nicaragua. They included the delivery of nuclear weapons or Soviet-made MIG aircraft to this country.

“What they (congressmen) have done is yield to President Reagan’s blackmail, yield to world tensions, yield to the critical situation that is happening,” Ortega said.

“They say if we introduce MIGs or atomic weapons (into Nicaragua), they can do anything against Nicaragua. The truth is that here we have atomic weapons and these atomic weapons are the heroism, the fighting spirit, the force and the dignity of the Nicaraguan people.”


Members of the crowd--mostly dressed in olive military fatigues--raised their fists and shouted in unison, “They will not pass.”

The march was a re-enactment of a June 27, 1979, retreat by guerrillas and civilians from Managua to Masaya, 17 miles to the south, a move that led to the overthrow of dictator Anastasio Somoza.

An estimated 6,000 guerrilla soldiers and civilians left that night under cover of darkness from western Managua for the “liberated” city of Masaya that night to escape the bombing raids of Somoza’s army. The move is crediting with allowing some of the best Sandinista combatants to regroup and oust Somoza.