THERE WAS a time Nicaragua's veteran leader Daniel Ortega - a 72 year -old former leftist rebel whose Sandinistas chased a corrupt dynasty from power-

*Could count unreservedly on the support of his country's poor. But no longer*

Years of perceived autocracy by him and his wife Rosario Murillo, who is also his Vice President, have bubbled over into a wave of anti-government resentment and manifested itself in protests that erupted last week.

The spark that caused it all was an aborted bid to reform Nicargua's Social Security System, which is heading towards insolvency.

After violent clashes in which at least 38 people were killed, the protests have now dissipated. But the frustrations of those who once backed Ortega and now feel betrayed are still bitter-sharp.

''I'm a Sandinista but I don't like injustice,'' said Gilberto Castillo, a 61-year-old who fought with the rebels to oust the despised Samoza regime that ruled from 1936 to 1979.

Castillo now works odd jobs in Managua, despite his diabetes and hypertension, because his $175 monthly pension doesn't nearly provide enough to live on.

The Social Security Reforms were going to reduce his pension by five percent   ''they were going to take away money that could buy a sack of rice, sugar, it's money we can't afford to lose.''

The Operational Research publishing continues to Part 2. [Agencies]


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