After a march by 5,000 opposition supporters, President Daniel Ortega said the government plans to give the opposition greater political opportunity and those who don't want it can "look for their democracy in Miami."
In his Sunday speech, Ortega also said he would propose severe budget cuts that would require extensive government layoffs.Sunday's opposition demonstration, the largest since a July 10 rally in the town of Nandaime that police broke up with tear gas and beatings, was called to protest the leftist government's economic management and political repression.
The peaceful march through Managua was organized by the Nicaraguan Democratic Coordinating Committee, a coalition of 14 opposition parties and several unions.
"We hope to have more demonstrations like this, more unity. There's no reason we can't run a single candidate for president next year," said Coordinating Committee president Carlos Huembes.
He said the fragmented opposition parties "are united against the government."
Ortega did not refer directly to the demonstration or next year's scheduled presidential elections in a speech hours later to about 1,000 representatives of pro-Sandinista organizations. But he said sectors that oppose the government would be given a "pluralistic" opportunity.
He said that those who have been "dreaming of Yankee intervention and the defeat of the revolution" could "look for their democracy in Miami and stop enriching themselves in Nicaragua."
It was a sarcastic reference to the thousands of Nicaraguans who have fled the country in recent months, many to find themselves homeless in Miami or other parts of the United States.
Ortega acknowledged that Nicaragua's economic condition is "very critical" and said the state's budget will have to be cut.
He gave few specifics except to say the police budget would be protected but that massive layoffs would be required in most departments. On Dec. 31, Ortega had said he would cut the defense budget 40 percent.
No arrests were reported in the opposition march, whose participants complained about the economy, saying they were not earning enough to pay for rice, eggs, beer or milk.