Concession Statement by President Daniel Ortega Saavedra, February 26, 1990*
*Original English translation courtesy of Barricada International
We have completed an electoral process of historic importance for the Nicaraguan people, in which we have invested all our efforts and all our revolutionary conviction so that, in Nicaragua, everything will he better for all Nicaraguans.
The Sandinista National Liberation Front was at the forefront of the fight against the Somoza dictatorship. We experienced moments of pain when we lost a brother in combat, and we Sandinista militants learned to forge ourselves in these difficult moments of adversity. On July 19, 1979, with the Nicaraguan people, we won the right to freedom, to independence, to democracy and to peace.
That same Sandinista Front, with its revolutionary government, defended popular interests through these ten hard, difficult, cruel years for the Nicaraguan people. It defended the nation, defended national dignity and sovereignty and led the fight for self-determination for the Nicaraguan people.
In the struggle for peace, just as we defeated “Somocismo,” we also succeeded in defeating the counterrevolution. We denounced before the world those who sponsored a policy of death against the Nicaraguan people. In another act of historic importance for the peoples of the world, the International Court of Justice condemned the United States for its criminal acts against the Nicaraguan people and called for compensation to be made.
Our heroic, altruistic, hard-working, self-sacrificing people have fought many battles. We interpreted the Nicaraguan people’s desire for peace and defended our own revolutionary project of political pluralism, mixed economy and nonalignment. We preserved that project even in the most difficult moments of the struggle against North American intervention and amid the internal polarization provoked by this struggle.
Later, we promoted peace with the Central American Presidents. We arrived at agreements that commit all of us to strengthening peace and democracy, to the social and economic development of all our countries. In order to achieve once and for all that peace for which the Nicaraguan people have so yearned and for which so much blood has been shed, we decided to advance the elections, which were scheduled by law for November 1990, to this month of February 1990.
From the moment we began to defend this pluralistic project, we accepted the challenge of putting the will of the people to the test through periodic elections as duly ratified by the Constitution. We held these elections of February 25, 1990, in the conviction that this battle in the electoral field would, finally, end the war and bring a little peace, stability and calm to the Nicaraguan people.
Through these elections, the Sandinista Front, as an historical political force, together with the patriotic and politically conscious people of Nicaragua, has confronted US policy, the contras, the economic embargo and the economic deterioration caused by the war. We placed our trust in the people, confident that the result of this election process would give all Nicaraguans the peace and stability we need to reconstruct our country, achieve social and economic gains and aspire to a minimum of economic stability.
As the candidate of the Sandinista National Liberation Front in these elections, I worked with conviction and confidence in victory. But as an FSLN leader and Nicaragua’s President, I was convinced that, beyond defending the interests of a political force competing in the elections for the right to continue leading the people, I was also strengthening the revolutionary process as a whole. That is, I was defending political pluralism, the mixed economy and Nicaragua’s right to independence and self-determination.
Never in the history of any independent nation have elections been carried out under such scrutiny as that which have taken place in Nicaragua. Observers from the United Nations, the OAS, the Carter Center, from Europe, Latin America and other parts of the world, as well as hundreds of journalists, covered and observed this election process, which tested the political will of Sandinista revolutionaries who have never sought to hold on to power. We were born poor and are content to die poor. We put all our efforts into these elections in order to highlight this project that has challenged the intelligence, imagination and creativity of all peoples in permanent struggle for their liberation, their independence, self-determination, economic independence and social justice.
Several minutes ago, the Supreme Electoral Council released preliminary vote results. Out of 824,566 valid votes, 447,831 or 54.3% favor the National Opposition Union, and 342,043 or 41.5% favor the Sandinista National Liberation Front, with the remaining votes going to the other parties participating in this fair election. At this time, the Supreme Electoral Council has made a preliminary count of just over 60% of polling sites covering 50% of votes. About 800,000 votes remain to be counted.
These preliminary numbers and percentages of the vote show a tendency that cannot be ignored, a tendency that could change, defying all mathematical probability, just as I also think all the poll indications have been reversed. But, in the final analysis, a pattern is emerging.
The Supreme Electoral Council has announced that it will tally the remaining 50% of votes by midday, and then, with the necessary revisions, the Supreme Electoral Council will have the official results of these elections.
I want to express on my own behalf, on that of my family, on behalf of my compañeros and brothers in the National Directorate of the Sandinista Front, on behalf of my fellow FSLN militants, and on behalf of the heroic, self-sacrificing, altruistic, courageous, politically conscious people who have participated in this electoral process and who gave their support to the Sandinista National Liberation Front; I want to say to all Nicaraguans and to the peoples of the world, that the President of Nicaragua, the government of Nicaragua will respect and comply with the popular mandate resulting from the votes cast in these elections.
I believe that at this historic moment, this is the main contribution that we, Sandinistas and Nicaraguan revolutionaries, are making to the Nicaraguan people. That is, to guarantee a clean pure, electoral process that raises our awareness even higher and lights the way, just like the sun that is now rising, toward the consolidation of democracy, toward the consolidation of a mixed economy in a free, independent, democratic and peaceful Nicaragua, without intervention from any foreign power, and where all Nicaraguans are capable of showing the world that we can turn our dreams and hopes into reality.
As President of the Nicaraguan people and as a Sandinista leader, I take pride—and all Sandinista militants can take pride—in the greatest victory, which today, February 26, opens a new path for Nicaragua, like that which we opened on July 19, 1979. In this new path, the war and the contras will disappear, and national interests will prevail over interventionist policies.
We Sandinistas are giving Nicaragua democracy and peace, and working for the stability and better future to which we committed ourselves in our campaign slogan. Regardless of the final official results released by the Supreme Electoral Council, we should feel proud that this battle has been waged successfully in a civic manner, without acts of violence.
In any event, we are prepared to respect the result of yesterday’s election in which hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans cast their votes for the political force that they think should take over the government of Nicaragua on April 25, 1990.
Thank you brother and sister Nicaraguans. Thank you brother and sister militants of the Sandinista National Liberation Front. Thank you brother and sister combatants of the Sandinista Popular Army and the Ministry of the Interior, who have shed blood to defend the Nicaraguan people’s right to vote. Thanks to the blood of our Heroes and Martyrs; thanks to the pain, full of hope, of our Nicaraguan mothers; thanks to everyone, brother and sister Nicaraguans.
I invite you today, more than ever, to act with firmness, with conviction, with certainty that the steps we have taken have been the correct steps. We have stood by our proposals and our plans, for which, in the final analysis, we sacrificed so much and worked so hard during these years.
Once again, we Sandinistas are victorious. Once again, we are the winners, because we have succeeded in turning our words into deeds, despite all the campaigns mounted against this electoral process, despite all the mistrust fomented around the electoral process, and despite the counterrevolutionaries' systematic killing of people during the election campaign.
We emerge victorious because we Sandinistas have sacrificed, have spilled our blood and sweat, not to hold on to office and positions, but to give Nicaragua the independence it had been denied since 1821. We achieved independence only with Sandino, with the Sandinista Front, on July 19, 1979.
Nicaragua was denied democracy, economic and social development, the right to speak, to organize; peasants were denied the right to own land; the poor were denied the right to aspire to a better life. All that the people had been denied was attained with the Sandinista National Liberation Front triumph in 1979, which created the basis for the development of an independent, dignified, sovereign Nicaragua, with economic and social development, with full democracy.
On February 25, we Sandinistas demonstrated our commitment to our words. We are words and we are deeds, we are both verb and action. We are proud, regardless of the official results released by the CSE [Supreme Electoral Council].
We are proud to he bringing to Nicaragua—and to the peoples of Central America, Latin America and the Caribbean, to the peoples of developing countries, to this unjust world divided between the powerful and the weak—to be bringing a little dignity, democracy and social justice from this small territory in Central America that gave birth to men who made Nicaragua shine in the world, like Darío and Sandino.
Thank you brother and sister Nicaraguans.
Forward, forward with our struggle, with our call to arms, which is Sandino’s cry: “Patria Libre o Morir!”