Documents on the Nicaraguan Resistance/Document 4

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Documents on the Nicaraguan Resistance
United States Department of State • Bureau of Public Affairs
Office of Public Communication • Editorial Division
Document 4: Selected Biographies of Resistance Leaders
244150Documents on the Nicaraguan Resistance — Document 4: Selected Biographies of Resistance LeadersUnited States Department of State • Bureau of Public Affairs
Office of Public Communication • Editorial Division

Document 4

Selected Biographies of
Resistance Leaders

Enrique Bermudez Varela is the military commander of the UNO/FDN armed forces. He is a military engineer who graduated from the Nicaraguan Military Academy and also attended the Agulhas Negras Military Academy in Brazil, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the U.S. Army School of the Americas. From 1976 to 1979, Bermudez served as the Defense Attache in Washington, D.C. , and was not involved in or associated with human rights abuses committed during the civil war. Roberto Sanchez, the Sandinista Army spokesman in Managua, noted in December 1982 that Bermudez has never been identified with "war crimes" committed under Somoza. This statement has never been repudiated by the Sandinistas or Sanchez.

Adolfo Calero Portocarrero, a lifelong opponent of Somoza, has been president of the National Directorate of the FDN since December 1983. He began his political career in the 1950s as an activist in the Conservative Party. In 1959 he helped organize managerial strikes in support of an insurrection headed by Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, editor of the opposition daily La Prensa. In 1978, Calero served as his party's representative in the Broad Opposition Front (FAO) and was jailed for initiating a general strike against Somoza. A 1978 New York Times article described Calero as "the most forceful" of Somoza's opponents. After attempting to cooperate with the Sandinistas, Calero went into exile at the end of 1982. He helped found UNO in 1985. Calero graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1953, did graduate work in industrial management at Syracuse University, and holds a law degree from the University of Central America in Nicaragua.

Alfredo Cesar Aguirre earned a B.S. degree in industrial relations from the University of Texas and an M.B.A. from Stanford University. After serving as general administrator of the Nicaraguan Sugar Estates, he joined the Sandinistas in 1978 and was tortured and imprisoned by the government during Somoza's last year. After the Sandinista victory in 1979, Cesar became Executive Director of the International Reconstruction Fund. In 1980–81 he was executive director of the Banking Superior Council. In 1981–82 he was president of the Central Bank. After breaking with the Sandinistas, Cesar went into exile in Costa Rica and became an adviser to the Costa Rican Government, specializing in external debt. In mid-1985 he became the most prominent of six founding members of the Southern Opposition Block (BOS).

Fernando Chamorro Rappaccioli, "El Negro," leader of UNO/FARN and commander of ARDE's military forces, has been a prominent anti-Somoza figure since the 1940s. He participated in numerous military actions against the dictator and was repeatedly jailed or exiled by Somoza. During the revolution, he executed a spectacular rocket attack on Somoza's Managua bunker from the nearby Intercontinental Hotel. In 1979, he fought on the southern front with the Sandinistas. The increasingly communist nature of the regime, and the absence of an effort to implement the democratic goals of the revolution, drove Chamorro into exile in 1982 at which time he joined in the founding of ARDE. When Pastora was expelled as a result of policy disputes within the organization, Chamorro became the military leader.

Arturo Jose Cruz Porras was a member of Nicaragua's Governing Junta from May 1980 to March 1981. He was jailed twice by Somoza, once for 3 months and later for 11 months. In 1977, Cruz was invited by the Sandinistas to be one of "The Group of 12," prominent Nicaraguans who would serve as a bridge between the Sandinistas and other groups in the civil opposition to Somoza. A long-time member of the Conservative Party, Cruz is an economist who holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from Georgetown University. He has specialized in development banking and has worked for the Inter-American Development Bank. Following the revolution, Mr. Cruz served as president of the Central Bank in 1979–80, as a member of the governing junta from May 1980 to March 1981, and as Nicaragua's Ambassador to the United States from June 1981 until his resignation in December in protest over Sandinista policies. Cruz was the presidential candidate of the unified opposition Coordinadora Democratica in the November 1984 elections but refused to register his candidacy in protest over the Sandinista government's refusal to permit a fair electoral contest. He helped found UNO in 1985.

Wycliffe Diego is a Miskito Indian leader from the Atlantic Coast town of Puerto Cabezas. He was a Moravian pastor and an active member of the Miskito organization ALPROMISU. He was jailed by Somoza in 1971 for allegedly being a communist. When MISURASATA was formed in 1979, Diego served as a member of its executive board. Reacting to the Sandinista mistreatment of Nicaragua's indigenous population, Diego went into exile and helped found the armed resistance group MISURA. He was wounded in a Sandinista engineered 1982 assassination attempt and is today a key figure in UNO/KISAN.

Eden Pastora Gomez, the legendary Commander Zero and leader of the ARDE/FRS, was the Sandinistas' most popular hero and a senior official of their government until he distanced himself from them in 1981. In August 1978 Pastora led the unit that captured the National Palace in Managua. That operation gained the release of 59 political prisoners, but its lasting significance was that it captured the imagination of the Nicaraguan people and enabled the Sandinistas to become the symbol of resistance to Somoza. After the fall of Somoza, Pastora became Vice Minister of Interior and then Vice Minister of Defense. In April 1982 he announced his opposition to the Sandinista regime. That same year he was cofounder of ARDE. In April 1983 he took up arms against the Sandinistas in southern Nicaragua.

Brooklyn Rivera Bryan is a Miskito Indian from the Nicaraguan Altantic Coast. He supported the revolution against Somoza and was a founding member of MISURASATA when it was created under Sandinista auspices in 1979. In February 1981, Rivera and other Indian leaders were arrested by the Sandinistas and accused of "counter-revolutionary activities." He was released from jail after a short time and continued to protest Sandinista efforts to nationalize Indian lands and to relocate the Indian population. He resisted efforts to force the "cultural assimilation" of the various Indian groups by the Sandinistas. He was driven into exile and carries on the fight for freedom as head of MISURASATA, now independent of the Sandinistas.

Alfonso Robelo Callejas, political coordinator of ARDE and head of the MDN, was trained as a chemical engineer. He served as director of the University of Central America from 1970 to 1972 and was president of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce until 1975. He then headed the development institute INDE. Following the assassination of La Prensa editor Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, Robelo founded the Nicaraguan Democratic Movement, a moderate, democratic-oriented political party of businessmen, industrialists, and professionals opposed to the Somoza regime. After the revolution Robelo was one of the five members of the original 1979 junta. He resigned in 1980 because of the Marxist tendencies in the FSLN-dominated government and the growing Cuban influence in the country. Harassed by the FSLN after his resignation, he was finally forced into exile in 1982, at which time he and Eden Pastora founded the Democratic Alliance. Robelo helped found UNO in 1985.

Indalecio Rodriguez Alaniz, FDN Directorate member in charge of civil affairs. The son of an anti-Somoza figure, he became politically active at an early age. He participated in the anti-Somoza youth movement and became involved in the Independent Liberal Party, ultimately becoming its political secretary. He was jailed twice in the 1950s for anti-Somoza activities. After spending several years abroad, he returned to Nicaragua to accept a position at the University of Central America where he remained during the revolution. In 1981 he abandoned his university post to go into exile and take up the struggle against the Sandinistas. Educated as a veterinarian, Rodriguez has been a professor and university president as well as a cattleman and coffeegrower.

Lucia Cardenal Viuda de Salazar is the widow of Jorge Salazar Arguello, a prominent Nicaraguan businessman who was murdered by the Sandinista security forces in November 1980. She was educated in Catholic schools in Nicaragua and the United States. During the revolution, the Salazars collaborated with the Sandinistas and harbored Sandinista militants who were being sought by Somoza's forces. Her late husband, a top official of the private sector organization Superior Council of Private Enterprise, played a key role in the civic opposition to Sandinista policies in 1980. A progressive and charismatic leader whose popularity was rising, he was shot and killed by Sandinista State Security police who claimed he was participating in a conspiracy. After his murder Mrs. Salazar fled Nicaragua and joined the FDN.

Aristides Sanchez is the FDN Directorate member responsible for logistics. He holds a Doctor of Law degree and graduated in Italy with a specialization in labor law. Cattleman and agriculturalist.