A few days before the Somoza dictatorship was overthrown in 1979, Anastasio Somoza Debayle called a demonstration for himself in central Managua. A vast crowd descended on the rally grounds. A Nicaraguan
journalist tells me that, looking at the immensity and enthusiasm of the crowd, one would never have guessed that most Nicaraguans hated Somoza and that even some of the cheering multitude secretly detested the man and his government.
Why did people who felt that way come to demonstrate for him? Because for anyone who depended on state contracts or employment or needed some sort of favor, attending Somocista rallies was the soul of common sense. Not to mention that, should you ever tilt into opposition, the Somocista governm...
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