While [Daniel Ortega] headed Nicaragua's Marxist-oriented Sandinista government from 1979 to 1990, [Enrique Bolanos] was jailed twice for brief periods. Bolanos, an engineer who studied at St. Louis University in Missouri, focused much of his campaign on reminding people of the economic and military difficulties of the Ortega era. Bolanos's cotton and coffee fields were confiscated, as were the holdings of many wealthy people, after the Sandinista National Liberation Front marched into Managua in 1979 to overthrow the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza.
Many of Ortega's supporters said he never got a fair chance because of meddling by the United States. "A lot of people thought the U.S. would blockade us again if Ortega won. They hate him," said Miriam Gonzalez, a manicurist in the capital. "Look what they are doing in Afghanistan. If the U.S. doesn't agree with you, they know how to hurt you."
In the market of the St. Judas neighborhood, a woman selling meat said she voted for Bolanos because she remembered eating lard during Ortega's tenure -- thanks to the U.S. economic blockade. A woman selling crushed Ritz crackers in Ziploc bags said she worried about a return to war, recalling the contras who launched attacks on the Sandinista government from bases in neighboring Honduras with help and funding from the CIA.
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