Nicaraguan junta strongman Daniel Ortega announced a massive confiscation...

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Nicaraguan junta strongman Daniel Ortega announced a massive confiscation of land and businesses Sunday and the tightening of Sandinista rule over this Central American nation while attacking 'agressive, dangerous' U.S. policies toward Managua.

Ortega spoke to an estimated half a million people -- 20 percent of the nation's population -- jammed into Managua's Plaza 19 de Julio to celebrate the second anniversary of the ouster of the Anastasio Somoza family dynasty.


He said the nine-member Sandinista National Directorate and the three-man ruling junta will from now on 'set the rules of the game' in domestic and foreign affairs.

Some Nicaraguans said Ortega's statement indicated the Sandinista government would assume a more authoritarian role and scrap its 'national reconciliation dialogue' with political and business opposition leaders.

No head of state attended this year's anniversary celebration, which in 1980 attracted such luminaries as Cuban President Fidel Castro and PLO Leader Yassar Arafat.


U.S. Ambassador Lawrence Pezzullo lead an American delegation that included no representatives sent from Washington, although President Reagan had been invited to attend personally.

Ortega, a former guerrilla commander who now leads the Junta of National Reconstruction, said Nicaragua is 'seriously worried' about the United States, 'a country that has invaded, has bloodied our territory.'

He accused the Reagan Administration of adopting 'an aggressive, dangerous policy against our revolution.'

Reagan cut off multi-million-dollar loan and grain sale packages to Nicaragua in February, charging the Sandinistas were shipping Soviet-bloc arms to leftist guerrillas fighting the U.S-backed junta in nearby El Salvador.

'In total, the United States has cut off $81.1 million in aid to a country to which it owes much,' said Ortega.

'To this has to be added the complacency of the North American government which tolerates the tranquil training in its territory of ex-Somoza guards,' said Ortega, referring to members of Somoza's former army training in Florida.

'Before all and above all, we continue being anti-imperialist,' declared Ortega, whose younger brother Camilo was killed in combat with the Somoza government national guard in 1978. His statement was cheered by the hundreds of thousands sweltering in the tropical sun.

To chants of 'Popular power, popular power,' Ortega announced the confiscation of 14 major Nicaraguan businesses, including a milk processesing plant, a soap factory and two large business complexes.


Another measure confiscates all abandoned or underutilized plots of land of 862 acres or more in nine Nicaragua provinces and plots of more than 1,624 acres in four other provinces.

The sweeping decree also said the land or property of any farmer or businessman who leaves the country from more than six months 'will be considered property of the people.' He said the measure was retroactive, meaning that the property of supporters of the Somoza government who fled Nicaragua following the 1979 revolution would be seized.

Ortega said the land confiscation measures will be presented for final approval to the State Council, where passage is certain, along with another law to seize the property of anyone convicted by a jury of 'counter-revolutionary' activities.

Sugar distribution and sale and the exportation of processed coffee, rum, cotton seed oil and wheat also have been nationalized to combat the flight of Nicaraguan capital out of the country, Ortega said.

Planning ministry officials said the government already had nationalized 107 businesses and 2,073 acres of land -- about 15 percent of Nicaragua's choicest farmland once owned by Somoza, his relatives and cronies.

'Our internal situation is more complex and more difficult' because of economic and political actions by 'opponents of the revolution,' said Ortega. Interior Minister Tomas Borge also addressed the rally.


Festivities marking the July 19, 1979 fall of dictator Anastasio Somoza, the last leader of a 45-year family dynasty, began with street demonstration at dawn by tens of thousands of people trucked in by the govenrment.

The day also commemorated the 20th anniversary of the July 24, 1961 founding of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, a guerrilla organization forged by a handful of militants who opposed the Somoza regime.

The front takes its name from Augusto Cesar Sandino, who led a guerrilla war against U.S. Marines occupying Nicaragua during the 1920s and 1930s and who was assassinated in 1934 by Somoza's father.

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