Former Nicargauan guerrilla fears return of dictatorial past

MANAGUA — A veteran guerrilla leader who helped spark a revolution in Nicaragua 30 years ago is again putting her life on the line to protest a government she claims is returning Nicaragua to its dark, dictatorial past.

Dora Maria Tellez, 52, started a hunger strike this week, plopping down in downtown Managua to "sound the alarm bell" against what she says are President Daniel Ortega's authoritarian intentions.

The former rebel leader and ex-Minister of Health under the first Sandinista government in the 1980s, which Ortega also led, says her protest is a continuation of the revolutionary struggle she started three decades ago against the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship.

In 1978, Tellez, then 22, captured the nation's attention as the courageous "Comandante 2" who, along with legendary guerrilla icon Eden "Comandante Cero" Pastora, led a small band of Sandinista rebels in a daring takeover of the legislative National Palace.

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