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MAX BLUMENTHAL: We're here in Managua's Plaza Central, where you can see behind me hundreds of thousands of people gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Front's victory over the dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979, and the victory of the Sandinista party and the elected government over a US-backed coup last year.
One year ago, a regime change attempt orchestrated by US-funded media and political groups turned parts of Nicaragua into flashpoints of conflict, as armed men at roadblocks attempted to shut the country down.
Sandinista veterans I spoke to saw the defeat of last year's coup in the same light as previous armed struggles, going back to 1979.
Marcela Pe'rez Silva is the Nicaraguan ambassador to Peru, and the widow of Toma's Borge, a founder of the Sandinista front.
MARCELA PÉREZ SILVA: The significance of this celebration is 40 years of the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution. But also, it is anniversary of the re-defeat of the coup-mongers who tried to end the revolution. And they were not able to, nor will they be!
Toma's [Borge] is with us. Toma's is in this plaza, crammed full of people, in those hearts, that are ready to defend their revolution.
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Carlos Fonseca, Jr. is the son of the one of the Sandinista Front's founders. His father helped launch the armed struggle against Somoza, and was killed by the dictator's men in 1976.
CARLOS FONSECA TERÁN: This [July 19] is the most important date in all of the history of Nicaragua, because it is the date when Nicaragua began to be free. Today we commemorate 40 years of the triumph of the revolution, which is also a historical landmark on a global level.
It was one of the three fundamental historical facts that changed the history of Latin America: first was the Cuban Revolution; 20 years after, the Sandinista Revolution; and 20 years after, [Venezuela's] Bolivarian Revolution.
Each one of those marks an era: The Cuban Revolution kicked off the era of revolutionary armed struggle, the product of which was the Sandinista Revolution.
The Sandinista Revolution marked the era of the fall of the pro-imperialist military dictatorships in our continent, which allowed the Bolivarian Revolution to later usher in the era of the arrival of governments of various left-wing forces in Latin America, in various countries [the Pink Tide].
So we are talking about an extremely important historical event.
The story of the struggle of Sandinismo is 92 years long, since the General Sandino fought against the US troops that invaded our country, and he expelled the US troops. Later General Sandino was assassinated. And then, decades later, the Sandinista National Liberation Front [FSLN] was formed. Roughly 30 years after.
And that is when the Sandinista Front initiated the revolutionary struggle, against the dictatorship of [Anastasio] Somoza, in the year 1961. It was an 18-year guerrilla struggle, which culminated with the triumph of the revolution.
Then began the first stage of the revolution, in the '80s,when imperialism imposed a war of aggression on us, in which we also were victorious.
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