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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nicaragua Inaugurates Ortega

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Former revolutionary Daniel Ortega returned to power in Nicaragua on Wednesday, hours after his ally Hugo Chavez was sworn in for another six years in Venezuela.

Appearing in Managua before thousands of supporters, Ortega, Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales called for the quick recovery of Cuba's ailing Fidel Castro and pledged to form a coalition of left-leaning leaders who would fight to nationalize natural resources.

Castro's health prevented him from attending, but Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, one of the Cuban revolution's oldest surviving leaders, said the communist leader sent his "utmost support."

Chavez promised "socialism or death!" during a fiery speech early Wednesday in Caracas, where he took the oath of office for another six-year term. He then flew to Nicaragua to attend Ortega's inauguration, a ceremony that returned the former U.S. foe to the presidency nearly 17 years after he lost power.

In a rousing speech before thousands late Wednesday, the three called for a united, leftist front.

"With unity there is strength," Ortega said. "With unity comes victory."

Before taking office, Ortega promised to respect private property and business and maintain relations with Washington, which backed a rebel insurgency aimed at toppling him in the 1980s. None of those promises made their way into his inaugural speech.