Liberation Day in Nicaragua is celebrated annually on 19 July, the day when the Sandinista rebels marched victoriously into the capital city of Managua after overthrowing the Somoza dictatorship two days earlier.
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The background of this event takes you to 1936, when the Somoza family seized control of the government. They continued to rule as dictators for decades, and the United States offered them a degree of support and encouragement during this period.
In the 1960’s, opposition to the Somozos began to foment, and a liberation army named “Sandinista” after a revolutionary with the last name “Sandino” soon was formed. Sandino had led earlier rebellions against U.S. encroachments in Nicaragua in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
The Sandinista Revolution is controversial in the United States since it had Communist leanings and ties to the Soviet Union and because of the secret funding of Nicaraguan “Contras” by President Reagan. In Nicaragua, however, the anniversary of the revolution’s success functions as the national independence day. It is celebrated with fireworks displays, patriotic parades, flag-raising ceremonies, and other events with great zeal.