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NICARAGUA has hit out at a new raft of sanctions imposed on the country just hours before President Daniel Ortega’s inauguration on Monday.
The measures targeting a number of Nicaraguan officials were announced as Mr Ortega was sworn in for a fourth consecutive term of office in a ceremony in the capital Managua attended by dignitaries and guests from across the world.
Sanctions were imposed by the European Union and the United States, which denounced the November 7 elections won convincingly by Mr Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front as “a sham.”
They have presented no concrete evidence to back their assertions, however, and hundreds of international observers described the elections as free, fair and transparent.
Crowds packed the Plaza de la Revolucion as Mr Ortega and Vice-President Rosario Murillo received their credentials from electoral authority head Brenda Rocha.
There was a large international presence at the ceremony, which was shunned by the US, its regional allies and other Western countries.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel said that Mr Ortega’s re-election showed “the anti-imperialist conviction of the Nicaraguan people” and was a victory for progressive forces in Latin America and the Caribbean.
He was joined by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who praised “heroic Nicaragua that held firm against the empires of the 19th and 20th century” and continues to defy imperialist powers today.
Mr Ortega announced at his inauguration that Nicaragua had been officially incorporated into China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, which is likely to further anger Washington.
The two countries signed a number of key strategic agreements following “a historic meeting,” including programmes on housing, agriculture and trade, he said.
“The Chinese and Sandinista revolutions are revolutions with the same aim, to end poverty,” Mr Ortega told the crowds.
He promised that the Sandinistas, who first took power in 1979 after overthrowing the US-backed Somoza dictatorship, would continue “growing dreams and building roads.”
The president said: “We promise to continue fighting to eradicate poverty, to build peace, so that Nicaraguan families feel safe, that their children feel safe … and that they have a decent life.”
Ms Murillo proclaimed “a new period” for the country, praising the “heroic Nicaraguan people” for handing electoral victory to the Sandinistas and defending national sovereignty.
“We knew how to transcend those dark moments,” she said, referring to a Washington-backed coup attempt in 2018.
“We were doing very well and that is why they wanted to overthrow us, because this revolutionary project is for peace and justice so that all the people have the right to work and prosper.”
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