Nicaraguan Biographies/Politics

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Nicaraguan Biographies
United States Department of State • Office of Public Affairs
The Society: Politics
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Politics[edit]

ALTAMIRANO Perez, Eli. Secretary General of the Communist Party of Nicaragua (PCdeN). Born on January 27, 1932, in Chinandega. Active during the late 1950s-early 1960s in the JPN and the Moscow-line communist PSN youth wing. Worked in the joint FSLN-PSN Republican Mobilization in the mid-1960s. Trained in Cuba in 1963. Attended Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. Imprisoned several times by the Somozas in the 1960s. Arrested again in May 1979 for promoting strikes. Controls the Syndicalist Action and Unity Central, the PCdeN's affiliated communist trade union. The Sandinista government arrested him in October 1981 for agitating labor strikes. Refused to recognize the FSLN's vanguard status. Signed the February 1987 Seven Party civic opposition document calling for national reconciliation.

ALVAREZ Montalvan, Emilio. Ophthamologist specializing in childhood eye diseases. Conservative Party activist, intellectual leader, and anti- Somoza politician for more than 35 years. Key player in negotiations leading to Somoza's ouster. Born in Granada on July 31, 1919. Medical degree from the University of Chile. Also studied opthamology in New York, London, and Buenos Aires. Active in the 1944 riots against General Somoza Garcia's reelection. Acquitted by Special Court Martial of involvement in the failed April 3, 1954, assassination plot against Somoza, although other members of the traditional Conservative Party's Executive Committee were convicted. In January 1958, became a member of the amnesty committee then being formed for all those held in prison since the September 1956 assassination of Somoza Garcia by a lone gunman (those held included student Tomas Borge). An ardent nationalist, he signed the 1959 "US Ambassador Whelan Go Home" petition. Nonetheless, he also (unsuccessfully) sought international supervision of Nicaragua's 1963 election. During the 1960s he was a member of the National Alliance for Progress Commission. A long-time friend and adviser to Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, he preached a nonviolent line in search of Somoza's ouster and a social democratic outcome. Son was killed by National Guard troops in the immediate aftermath of "El Negro" Chamorro's July 1978 rocket attack on Somoza's bunker. Alvarez then abandoned his medical practice and concentrated on removing Somoza from power. Led the November 1978 consolidation of the three Conservative Party factions and was a /// force in the Broad Opposition Front. Author of a number of medical opthamology books. Author of Sintesis Critica del Marxismo, 1982. Lives in Managua.

ARGUELLO Morales, Myriam. Secretary General, Conservative Party of Nicaragua (PCN). Born in Granada on February 22, 1927. Party activist since the late 1960s, but originally faced difficulty breaking into the male-dominated Conservatives. Obtained a law degree from the Central American University in 1975, graduating at the head of her class. Arguello is one of the more active campaigners of the civic opposition. Founder of the Conservative Institute, which offers an alternative to Sandinista education through an obligatory civics course that addresses all ideologies and political philosophies. Struck by Sandinista police August 15, 1987, during attack on a Nicaraguan Democratic Coordinator public demonstration.

AVENDANO Soza, Jr., Fanor. Director of the Youth Formation Center, a nonpartisan training center for democratic youth. University student and former leader of the Social Christian Party's youth wing. Born in Managua in December 1961. Joined the Internal Front in 1975, helping to organize Managua's barrios. Arrested twice by the Somoza regime. Freed from prison by Pastora's National Palace takeover in August 1978. Fought on the Southern Front. After the popular victory in 1979, he served in the Sandinista army until early 1980. Since becoming active again in the Social Christian Party, he has been arrested three times by the Sandinistas.

BALTODANO Mayorga, Duilio. Vice President of the Coordinadora. Lives in Leon. Secretary General of the PSC (Rivas Gasteazoro faction) and head of the PSC in Leon.

BALTODANO Pallais, Duilio. Long-time Social Christian activist. Born on July 31, 1917. BS in economics, University of Pennsylvania, 1939.

CASTRO, Carola. Born about 1967. National Coordinator for Women and Youth, Independent Liberal Party (PLI).

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1 Ana Maria GUTIERREZ (left) and Myriam ARGUELLO (right).

2 Eden PASTORA.

3 Virgilio GODOY.

4 Arturo J. CRUZ.

5 Agustin JARQUIN Anaya.

CHAMORRO Coronel, Edgard. Former member of the FDN Directorate. Born on December 12, 1952, in Granada. Former Jesuit priest. Broke with the FDN in November 1984. Testified on behalf of the Sandinista government in its 1985 UN International Court of Justice suit against the United States.

CHAMORRO Rappaccioli, Fernando. A life-long political and military conspirator known as "El Negro." Born in Diriamba, Carazo, on July 10, 1932. Prominent anti-Somoza figure since the 1940s. Participated in numerous military actions against the Somoza dictatorship. Repeatedly jailed or exiled by Somoza. In I960, led a takeover of GN barracks at Jinotepe and Diriamba with his brother Edmundo (later also to take up arms against the Sandinistas). Recruited with Eden Pastora in August 1977 by Humberto Ortega, who hoped to take advantage of their Costa Rican connections, foreign arms suppliers, and social democratic credentials. In 1978, 1 year before the victory over Somoza, Chamorro carried out a spectacular attack on Somoza's fortified bunker in Managua by firing rockets from a window of the nearby Intercontinental Hotel. Released from prison the next month as a result of Pastora's Palace seizure. In 1978-79, fought with the Sandinistas on the Southern Front. Head of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) until July 1981. The absence of any effort to implement the democratic goals of the revolution and increasing communist control over the regime drove him into exile in 1981 to help establish ARDE. When Pastora was expelled, Chamorro became ARDE's primary military leader. Returned to Nicaragua in January 1988 and was elected president of the Managua branch of the Convervative Party (Rappaccioli faction). Chamorro stated that: The political opening that allowed me to come back and whatever other concessions we are seeing are the result of military pressure. The contras should be maintained as a sword of Damocles hanging over the Sandinistas. But today I believe that civilian politics should be our main battleground.

CRUZ, Arturo Jose. Economist and politician. Member of the Sandinista junta from May 1980 to March 1981. Leader of political opposition to Sandinistas until his withdrawal from the Resistance in early 1987. Born in Jinotepe in December 1923. A long-time member of the progressive wing of the Conservative Party, Cruz graduated from the Nicaraguan Military Academy as a sublieutenant in the National Guard in 1944, but never served. Spent 4 months in jail for supporting Arguello against Somoza. Resumed his studies in the United States, earning graduate and undergraduate degrees from Georgetown University. Cofounder in 1948 with Pedro Joaquin Chamorro of the National Union of Popular Action (UNAP, the Christian Democratic movement of young Conservatives and the predecessor organization of the Social Christian Party— PSC). In 1954, Cruz was again jailed by Somoza for 11 months. Specialized in development banking at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDE). One of the architects of

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GUTIERREZ Hurtado, Manuel. Born on April 29, 1940, in Managua. Law degree from UCA, 1972. Executive Secretary of the Nicaraguan Conservative Party (PCN). Legal adviser to La Prensa newspaper. Member, Nicaraguan Bar Association.

GUZMAN, Bayardo. PLI Third Vice President. Long-time anti-Somoza activist. Close to FSLN founders Tomas Borge and Carlos Fonseca in the late 1950s but refused to join the FSLN. Arrested September 3, 1986 and imprisoned for 2 weeks. No charges were ever filed against him.

GUZMAN Areas, Luis Humberto. Vice President and International Secretary of the Popular Social Christian Party, which he represents in the National Assembly. Born on November 17, 1953, in Managua. Doctorate degree in law, UCA, 1977. Writing a doctoral dissertation in political science from the Free University of Berlin, West Germany.

JARQUIN Anaya, Agustin. Social Christian leader. Born on December 27, 1951, in Managua. Civil engineer. Past Coordinadora Vice President. PSC Secretary General (1979-); president (1984-85). PSC boycotted the 1984 elections during his tenure. Traveled extensively throughout Latin America and Western Europe. Completed business administration course at Harvard University-affiliated INCAE. A leading force within the Coordinadora.

LARIOS Montiel, Bernardino Is- idro. Minister of Defense after the July 1979 fall of Somoza. Born in 1936. 1957 graduate of the Nicaraguan Military Academy. Electrical engineer and National Guard Lieutenant Colonel assigned to the state electrical utility. Arrested in August 1978 for plotting a coup against Somoza. Named Defense Minister in the negotiations leading to Somoza's ouster. Replaced by Humberto Ortega during the December 1979 Sandinista "putsch" which removed several key non-Sandinistas from the coalition government. Arrested and imprisoned in September 1980 on charges of plotting to kidnap the nine members of the FSLN National Directorate. Found guilty and sentenced to 7 years in prison. Freed in April 1984 and acquitted in a new trial. Now in exile.

LOPEZ, Sonia. Born on June 25, 1965, in La Conception, Masaya. Currently National Coordinator for Conservative Youth, Nicaraguan Conservative Party (Arguello faction).

LOPEZ Hernandez, Miguel Angel. President of the Youth Wing of the Nicaraguan Conservative Party (Mario Rappaccioli faction). Born in 1968. Active in the PCN since 1985.

MARTINEZ Saenz, Harold. A founder of the Sandino Revolutionary Front (FRS), the social-democratic armed revolutionary movement formed in 1958. "Ramon" was born on November 26, 1932, in Rivas. A commander of the anti-Somoza forces during the El Chaparral incident of June 1959. One of his troops was Carlos Fonseca Amador, who later founded the FSLN with Tomas Borge. Wounded seven times in his years of guerrilla fighting against Somoza. Refused to join the FSLN because he "knew and understood the Marxist-Leninist tendencies of Tomas (Borge) and his companions." Of his years with the FRS, Martinez states: "I fought with real Sandinistas, not communists: Gen. Ramon Raudales, Col. Heriberto Reyes, and Col. Lazaro Salinas" (of Sandino's General Staff in the 1930s). Took up arms against the Sandinistas in 1982 (and became second in command on the Southern Front) because, as he says, "I am convinced that the Sandinistas are a more ferocious dictatorship than any we have had on the right, and furthermore they are expansionist.... I know them very well, for they have betrayed me."

MENESES Pena, Enrique. Vice President of the new Liberal Party of Nicaragua, PALI. Vice President of the independent Nicaraguan Bar Association.

MOLINA Palacios, Eduardo. Political Secretary of the Democratic Conservative Party "official" faction and delegate to the National Assembly. Born on May 8, 1952, in Jinotega. Law degree from UCA, 1977. Member of the Jinotega coffee growers' association. Refused to sign the Sandinista Constitution promulgated in January 1987.

OBANDO Ordenana, Lorena. Secretary General of PSD Women.

PASTORA Gomez, Eden. The legendary "Commander Zero," the Sandinistas' most popular hero and a senior official of their government until he distanced himself from them in 1981, then moved into armed opposition before returning to private life. Born on January 22, 1937, in Ciudad Dario, Matagalpa. Attended school in Granada. Son of a Granadan family active in the anti- Somoza Conservative Party. Blamed the National Guard for his father's death in a 1940s land dispute. Left medical studies at the University of Guadalajara (Mexico) in 1959 to help found the Sandino Revolutionary Front. Active in the 1966-67 Conservative Party presidential campaign. Involved in a Conservative Party shootout with the National Guard before joining the FSLN during the 1967 Pancasan guerrilla campaign. Fled Nicaragua after Pancasan. Returned in 1971 to work underground in Leon and the mountains of Matagalpa. Quit the FSLN in 1972 over the ideological rigidity and narrowness of the Prolonged People's War strategy. Moved to Costa Rica in 1973 to raise a family and open a fishing business. Rejoined the Tercerista/Insurrec- tionist faction of the FSLN in August 1977. Led the Southern Military Front's February 1978 attack on Rivas. As "Comandante Cero" in August 1978, Pastora planned and led the unit that captured the National Palace in Managua. His deputies were Hugo Torres ("Comandante Uno") and Dora Maria Tellez Arguello ("Comandante Dos"). That operation gained the release of 59 political prisoners (including Tomas Borge), 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. Operating from military base camps in Costa Rica, Pastora led the Southern Front during the 1979 final offensive. Engaged the National Guard's best infantry troops in fixed position warfare, allowing Sandinista fighters to concentrate their efforts elsewhere. A high-school classmate of Alfonso Robelo, Pastora was a major link for the FSLN to Robelo's MDN and to the governments of Panama and Venezuela, which provided assistance to the anti-Somoza forces. After the fall of Somoza, Pastora became Vice Minister of Interior and then Vice Minister of Defense, in charge of the development of the militia system. He resigned from the government and disappeared in July 1981 and traveled to Costa Rica, Panama, and Cuba. It was widely reported that he was part guest, part prisoner of Fidel Castro and left Cuba only after Martin Torrijos (the teenage son of the late Panamanian general who had fought in the Panamanian brigade against Somoza) arrived in Havana with a plane provided by the ruling party of Mexico. In April 1982, Pastora publicly announced his opposition to the Sandinista regime. That same year he resurrected the FRS, later merging it with the MDN to form ARDE. In April 1983, took up arms against the Sandinistas in southern Nicaragua. In a play on the communist political claim to "scientific socialism," Pastora coined the term "scientific somocism" to describe the FSLN. Now runs a fishing cooperative in Costa Rica.

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POTOY Argulo, Guillermo Jose. Secretary General of the Social Democratic Party. Born on June 26, 1940, in Ometepe, Rivas. Received degree in public accounting and finance from the Institute of Commercial Sciences, Center of Higher Studies in 1970. Member of the College of Nicaraguan Public Accountants. Comptroller General of Managua's Toyota dealership. Previously served as PSD Vice President. Became PSD Secretary General after its original leader, Luis Rivas Leiva, was forced out of Nicaragua by DGSE threats. Reelected to his position on June 21, 1987.

RAMIREZ Benevente, Erick. President of the Social Christian Party since September 1985. Born on January 2, 1947, in Managua. Studied business administration at the Nicaraguan National Autonomous University (where he was student government vice president). Received his MBA from INCAE. Manager of Radio Centauro, owned by Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, (1969-71). Executive Director of the National Confederation of Professionals (1977-78). Second Vice President of the Social Christian Party (1981); rose to First Vice President in 1983 and President from 1985 to 1987. Former Executive Secretary of the Coordinadora. Detained when the state of emergency restrictions were tightened in October 1985. Although he was released the next day, a number of lesser known PSC leaders and activists (particularly in the departments well beyond Managua) also were arrested and treated less favorably.

RAPPACCIOLI Marquis, Mario. President of the old-line conservative faction of Conservative Party of Nicaragua that split from the PCD in 1983. A political conservative, he is an outspoken critic of the FSLN. Part owner of an agricultural machinery and equipment company that is a major supplier to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Agrarian Reform.

RIVAS Gasteazoro, Eduardo. Coordinadora President (December 1984-86). Cofounder of the Social Christian Party (PSC) in 1957. Born about 1917. Received law degree from UCA, Managua (1943). Member of the Nicaraguan Senate (1967-71). Former civil judge and Secretary of the Nicaraguan Red Cross. In 1987, led a minority faction of the PSC.

RIVAS Leal, Luis. Known as "Wicho." Commander under Pastora, with whom he fought against Somoza and the Sandinistas. Trained in Cuba in 1959. UNO Military Secretary (1986-87). Now lives in New Orleans.

SANCHEZ Salgado, Domingo Antonio. Born in 1918 in Chaguitillo, Matagalpa. Known as "Chaguitillo." Long-time leader of Nicaragua's orthodox communists as president of the Nicaraguan Socialist Party (PSN). Reportedly held the record for political arrests (120) during the Somoza years. As PSN presidential candidate in the 1984 elections, he received barely 1% of the votes. His son, Luis Domingo Sanchez Sancho, was graduated from Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow and is now PSN Secretary General and Second Secretary of the National Assembly.

SELVA, Dr. Guillermo. An engineer by profession. Studied in the United States. Second Vice President of the Independent Liberal Party (PLI). Lives in Leon.

TABLADA Zelaya, Gustavo. Secretary General of the Moscow-line communist PSN. Studied in the Soviet Union (1962-71).

TELLEZ Toruno, Isidro Ignacio. Secretary General of the Marxist Leninist Popular Action Movement (MAP-ML), a Maoist/Albanian-influenced Marxist microparty. Tellez was the MAP-ML presidential candidate in 1984, receiving less than 1% of the vote. The MAP-ML is widely suspicious of the FSLN, especially since the Front (in typical Leninist fashion) moved against "ultraleftists" in order to consolidate its own position among the Marxists after July 1979. The MAP-ML was suppressed by the FSLN in 1980, their newspaper El Pueblo was closed, and virtually the entire MAP leadership was imprisoned.

TORRES Espinosa, Edelberto. Educator and revolutionary nationalist. Born on April 15, 1898, in Managua. Expelled in September 1917 from the Pedagogic Institute of Managua after speaking out against US intervention in Nicaragua. Received graduate degree in Guatemala in 1927. Expelled from Guatemala in 1936. Returned to Nicaragua, where he oversaw national literacy efforts from 1938 until 1941. Returned to Guatemala during the 1944 revolution and held national positions for public education and literacy until the overthrow of President Jacobo Ar- benz in 1954, when he was imprisoned. Moved to Mexico, where he had contact with a number of revolutionaries, including Carlos Fonseca and the Mexican communist Victor Tirado.

Author of Sandino y sus pares, he inspired Fonseca and other founders of the National Liberation Front (FLN), counseling them to incorporate the symbols of Sandino into their movement. It was Fonseca who called Torres "the patron saint of all Nicaraguan revolutionaries." Author of La Vida Dra- matica de Ruben Dario — the definitive work on the life of Nicaragua's most famous poet. Torres was appointed the Sandinista's first ambassador to Costa Rica in 1979. In April 1982, with Arturo Cruz, Sr., he drafted Eden Pastora's manifesto, announcing his break with the Sandinistas and condemning them for betraying the ideals of the revolution. Returned to exile in Mexico.

VALLADARES, Jorge. Born on May 1, 1961, in Managua. Political Secretary and Acting General Secretary of the Social Christian Youth.

ZAMBRANA Salmeron, Allan Adolfo. National Assembly delegate for the Communist Party of Nicaragua. Member of the PCdeN's trade union, Trade Union Action and Unity Central, which historically has been strong in the textile sector.

ZUNIGA Mercado, Andres. President of the new Liberal Party (PALI). A member of the Permanent Commission on Human Rights and COSEP. Born on October 28, 1936, in Managua. Microbiologist. Graduated as a medical technologist from the University of Mississippi and the Pasteur Institute, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. During the Somoza years, Zuniga was imprisoned three times. Released for the last time on July 19, 1979. He later served with the Sandinista Ministry of Health for 4 months. Served as the President of the Confederation of Associated Professionals of Nicaragua, an independent Nicaraguan professionals association until 1986, representing it in the Coordinadora, of which he became Vice President.