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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 147 | Octubre 1993
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MORE ON THE EPS EXECUTIVE CRISIS

In her remarks during the Army Day celebration President Chamorro also announced that she will promote a constitutional change in the name of the military institution from Sandinista Popular Army to the Army in Defense of National Sovereignty. General Ortega is already on record as approving this name, which was used by Augusto César Sandino's anti imperialist army in the 1920s.

President Chamorro additionally announced that military intelligence will come under her control, with a civilian at its head, as will the army's department of public information. All of these points had been discussed with the army leaders in advance of her speech. Then, together with her unexpected announcement that she wishes General Ortega to "retire" next year, she made an ambiguous reference to the officers' "impunity," which only contributed to the surprised and angry reaction of the chiefs of staff.

In a communiqué issued the next day, the FSLN National Directorate interpreted these announcements as being "clearly motivated by outside pressures to satisfy the Helms amendment." It also criticize the government's decision to call for an OAS meeting as "irresponsible" for "taking an internal problem outside." And, finally, it called on the population to "not pay the new, illegally decreed taxes, and to demand the removal of the Cabinet members who are bent on applying the prescriptions of the foreign organizations that are strangling the national economy and Nicaraguan society."
RADIO CORPORACIÓN HIT AGAIN

Shortly before the "Dignity and Sovereignty" commando took the UNO political council hostage, an unidentified group damaged part of the installations of the rightwing Radio Corporación, an open opponent of the Chamorro administration. The station was back on the air within two days. This is the fourth time since the change in government that it has been partially or totally destroyed, presumably by Sandinista sympathizers.

THE SANTA ROSA ARMS ARSENAL

In the preliminary report that Antonio Lacayo turned over to Assistant Secretary of State Alex Watson on August 12 regarding the arms cache discovered in Managua in May, the Nicaraguan army states that it has reached several conclusions in its investigations. Among them are that the arsenal began to be built in April 1991, that the weapons were stored away in it at two different times, that none were ever taken out again, and that the Basque separatist organization ETA is not linked to it.

The international commission created to conduct its own investigation into the arsenal set up operations in Managua on August 18. For security reasons, the names of its members are not being made public, but specialists from Spain, El Salvador, Venezuela, Mexico, INTERPOL and the FBI are participating in the commission.

HELMS HAS A "COMMIE" BACKER

On July 31, 22 of the 44 UNO representatives to the National Assembly among them Alfredo César of the Social Democratic Party, Luis Sánchez Sancho of the Socialist Party and Elí Altamirano of the Communist Party sent a letter to Congress supporting Senator Helms' amendment to freeze US economic aid to Nicaragua due to the Chamorro government's alleged involvement in international terrorism. The Senate had approved the initiative earlier the same month. "We are confident," the letter said, "that our common efforts will make possible a clarification of Nicaragua's turbulent situation, and that this country will cease being a threat to international security."
OBANDO'S NEW CATHEDRAL OFF TO A STRANGE START

Managua's new cathedral, whose ultra modernistic architecture has sparked unending scorn, was finally inaugurated on September 4. Its cost, also a source of polemic opinion given the country's dire economic straits, is estimated at $3 million.

At the beginning of August, on the occasion of acknowledging President Chamorro's donation of a pew for the new cathedral, the distinguished donor overheard a surprisingly harsh opinion about herself. Cardinal Obando y Bravo told journalists covering the event that "doña Violeta will be in power only as long as General Ortega wants her to be. When he says 'stop,' she will leave power."
When Minister of the Presidency Antonio Lacayo, also President Chamorro's son in law, learned about the remark, he called it "inappropriate" and "rude." Cardinal Obando in turn called Lacayo "immature" and compared him to an ostrich for hiding from and refusing to see the country's problems.

"BRET" FLOODS ATLANTIC COAST

Tropical storm Bret's passage over the Atlantic Coast in mid August devastated the region, particularly its northern zone. Estimates were as high as 60,000 homeless in more than 70 communities situated along the banks of rivers that had risen several meters. The flooding also destroyed some 90% of the harvest ready grain crops. "It has had more serious effects than the tidal wave of last year," declared Ray Hooker, Sandinista National Assembly representative from the coast.

The twin kidnappings interrupted the government's attention to the homeless largely Miskito Indians who live on the Río Coco for more than a week, and knocked the tragedy out of national news headlines. Meanwhile CEPAD, an ecumenical social assistance and development agency, continued airlifting in tons of food, clothing and other emergency aid.

DATE SET FOR FSLN CONGRESS

The most probable date for holding the FSLN's extraordinary congress, officially proposed by FSLN general secretary Daniel Ortega during the 14th anniversary celebration of the revolution on July 19, will be in May 1994, the month of Sandino's birth 99 years ago. One of the main purposes of the congress will be to hold new elections for the party's top leadership.

The country's tense situation, as well as the elections to be held for new autonomous regional councils in the Atlantic Coast in March 1994 which will serve as something of a test for the Sandinistas led to the decision to delay the congress, which some hoped would be in February 1994 and others even earlier.

NORTHERN FRONT 3 80 HITS AGAIN

Only a few hours after Chacal carried out his kidnapping in Quilalí, "Musún," one of his lieutenants, ambushed members of the Nicaraguan army in Zompopera, Jinotega, killing four and wounding seven others. He also carried off 700,000 córdobas, the monthly payroll for the EPS troops in the country's whole northern zone.

NICARAGUAN RESISTANCE DEMANDS RECOGNITION

The recently legalized Nicaraguan Resistance Party (PRN), which represents thousands of former contras, demanded participation in the National Dialogue. "We have more members in the PRN than many political parties in UNO; we have more right," commented one of its leaders.

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