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July 13, 2011

July 7th, 2011
On July 7th, there is a walk up a hill in remembrance of the day that the Sandinistas took over the city of León in 1979. On top of the hill is the old Somoza jail, where prisoners of war were held and tortured. The jail was a key location for the Somoza soldiers, once at the top of the hill one can see all of the city of León from the volcanoes to the cathedral in the center of town.
The Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) holds a march up to the Fortin. This is a sort of Sandinista rally, where one can see the veterans of war, university students, and other people walk up in unison to the top of the Fortin. Many people of León either join or watch the rally from a far, either cheering or standing up passively.
I was unsure if I wanted to go and support the current president’s political party and his reelection campaign that 7th of July. Yet, I know it would be a great insult to not join my family in their climb to the top of the Fortin. My host parents were involved in the Revolution, my host father was a soldier and my host mother worked in the medical field. So I decided to join my host brother and cousins, plus they waited for me to come back from the Taller Xuchialt. The experience was interesting; I was part of a crowd of people supporting the same political group. The people were giving speeches: some listened, others drank, and some conversed with friends, and so on. We did not stay long, maybe about an hour and a half.
There are times when my host father tells me stories about when he was a young soldier fighting the Somoza dictatorship, he is the president of a Veterans of War organization in León. At first he barely even spoke to me, but we have finally warmed up to each other to the point where I can joke with him as well. It is interesting to hear his stories, because according to his wife, he was in a good economic position before the fighting began. He remembers owning most of the block in which we live, well in which my host family lives. It has become a problem; I find myself saying my house, my brother, my room but anyways back to my story. He says that he did not approve of the way social class affected the people, and how the poorest worked basically as slaves with little to no pay. He laughs at me when I jump with the tremendous thunder and black out’s. He then begins to tell me about how loud it was when there were guns shoots. He is a hundred percent loyal to FSLN and Daniel Ortega’s reelection. The propaganda commercial for Daniel Ortega play on the television non-stop. It’s funny to hear the bachata version of Stand by Me of Prince Royce made into a Sandinista theme song, along with Here Comes the Sun of the Beatles.
Well we will see how the 17th of July goes…
Elena

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