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Nicaragua divided over death of revolutionary leader

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“We were victims of arrogance,” he told me in 2005, as we sat in his office amid walls covered in photos of Borge posing with a virtual "who’s who" list of US-identified bogymen: Fidel Castro, Col. Muammar Qaddafi, and Yassir Arafat, to name a few. Borge also kept a photograph of Sandinista namesake Gen. Augusto Sandino posing with his father, a revolutionary from the 1930s.

Borge told me the next Sandinista government, which returned to power in 2007, would implement “more realistic” policies and not repeat the mistakes of land confiscations, nationalizations, or mandatory military service. And so far, despite a couple of notable stumbles, the Sandinista government of today has clearly set a different tack than it did in the 1980s.

René Núñez, president of the Sandinista-dominated National Assembly, said Borge was a man who “dedicated his life to the liberty of Nicaragua.”

“He defended Nicaragua; he was Nicaragua,” Núñez said.

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