Speaking on an official government TV program, former Sandinista guerrilla commander Eden Pastora said the FSLN party should reactivate the Sandinista Congress to select a new candidate to relieve Daniel Ortega. In doing so he apparently seeks to push to the side the powerful First Lady and VP Rosario Murillo.
“I would recommend,” Pastora said, that the Party Congress “tell us who the next candidate will be, our next leader, when God sends our commander any fatality, a stroke, a serious illness, an old age within 10, 12 years, a certain death.” On Monday, November 11, Ortega turned 74 years old.
Eden Pastora, who once in the past broke relations with the FSLN, said that currently the party obeys Ortega out of love for him, rather than for party discipline.
The ex-guerrilla and also ex-Contra leader recommended “scientifically organizing the Sandinista party, with its neighborhood, municipal, departmental assemblies. This he said would lead to a great national Sandinista assembly and then organize the national congress. We need the party that existed in the 1980s”, he added.
The former Comandante Cero, in charge of the attack and seizure of the National Palace during the Somoza dictatorship, in August 1978, apparently ruled out that the natural successor of Ortega is the first lady and vice president, Rosario Murillo, who for the last decade holds a lead role within the FSLN and the Government.
Shortly after the beginning of the civic rebellion in April 2018, Pastora was an important voice for organizing and arming Sandinista veterans to defend the Ortega government. These paramilitary forces, in conjunction with the National Police, played a key role in the massacre that occurred in dismantling neighborhood barricades, roadblocks and the subsequent phases of ongoing repression in the country.
Support for love, not discipline
Pastora indicated that a new leader would emerge from that National Congress of the Sandinista Front, to whom all supporters “by party discipline” should obey.
The FSLN held its last national congress in June 2017, convened to discuss the municipal elections of November of that year. During the meeting they decided to leave the choice of alliances and all candidates to Ortega.
The last time the FSLN actually held a debate in its Congress was in 2005, when the now deceased Herty Lewites tried to challenge the presidential candidacy of the party of Daniel Ortega, concluding with his departure to launch the dissident movement.
Pastora stressed, “I worry that we now obey Daniel because we love him, rather than from party discipline. We listen to Daniel because we love him and are willing to give our life for what Daniel teaches us, for what Daniel dictates to us. Therefore, we must be willing to give our lives and do what the party says, whatever the party orders.”