Nicaraguan Biographies/The Nicaraguan Resistance
The Nicaraguan Resistance
ALTAMIRANO Montenegro, Alfredo. Resistance Commander. Known as "Venganza." Born on May 14, 1956. Joined the Resistance on October 17, 1981. Third grade education. Married. Commander of the Ricardo Lanzas Task Force of Regional Command Larry McDonald when he was killed in combat May 2, 1987, at Las Torres, Jinotega. His brother, Fremio Altamirano ("Jimmy Leo") is the commander of the Regional Command.
ARAUZ Palacios, Pedro Ar- mengol. Resistance Commander. Laborer. Known as "Olivero." Born on April 27, 1963, in Matagalpa. Completed second grade. Never married. Defected from the Sandinista Army on July 28, 1981, and joined the Resistance. Commander of the Jose Santos Morales Benavides Task Force of Regional Command Jorge Salazar III. Died February 4, 1987, at Siuna, northern Zelaya. In December 1987 the Resistance's largest military action to date was named "Operation Olivero" in his honor. The simultaneous attacks by several thousand Resistance fighters led to the destruction of Sandinista Army regional supply depots, intelligence, and communications centers. His Task Force led the operation, which occurred in the area where Olivero had been killed.
BLANCHER Mairena, Oscar Armando. Resistance fighter. Born on March 30, 1944. Local municipal judge and businessman. Joined the Resistance May 4, 1982. Known as "Pablo." Killed in Jinotega Province, 1984. A Task Force in the 15th of September Regional Command is named after him.
GARCIA Gonzales, Isidro Hermes. Resistance Commander. Farmer. Known as "Pata de Fierro." Born on May 10, 1959, in El Guapinol, Jinotega. Second grade education. After the revolution, served as a member of the Sandinista Militia. Joined the armed opposition on March 15, 1982, the same day the Sandinistas instituted the State of Emergency. By 1985, he was Executive Officer of the Andres Castro Regional Command and Commander of the Regional Command's Leonardo Palma Task Force. Killed in combat July 30, 1986, in El Zapote, Jinotega. After his death, the Task Force became part of the Tactical Operations Command.
GONZALEZ, Pedro Joaquin. Guerrilla fighter and organizer; leader of the MILPAS (which originally stood for "Anti-Somoza Popular Militias" then became "Anti-Sandinista Popular Militias" when they regrouped to defend their rights against the FSLN betrayal). A farmer from Matagalpa. Known as "Dimas." Born about 1945. Joined the FSLN in 1972, becoming a commander during 7 years of combat. Close confidant of the Sandinistas' top Northern Front military commander, German Pomares, who died of his wounds in the last weeks of the war. Protested to Humberto Ortega that the makeup of the new Sandinista Army General Staff favored men of upper class or aristocratic background and not the sons of the "authentic people." As hostility caused by the forced collectivization of small campesino farms, arbitrary regulations, and Sandinista abuses grew, a number of former Sandinista fighters and campesino groups came together around him. In early 1980, led some 80 lightly armed locals into the mountains of Quilali, Nueva Segovia. Soon known as "MILPAS" or "Chilotes" ("Green Corn" because of their youth), Gonzalez and his supporters took over the town of Quilali the week of the revolution's first anniversary in July 1980, to protest the betrayal of the revolution. Among those who followed him, were current Resistance Commanders Rigoberto, Denis, Omaro, Douglas, Coral, and Ti- grillo, as well as Commanders Cinco Pinos (Santiago Meza), Licenciado (Julio Meza), and Geronimo (Salvador Perez), who have since been killed in combat. Informed that "Fabian" (the Sandinista Mamerto Torrera, a close friend) wanted to supply him with arms, Dimas went to meet him. Fabian, however, betrayed him. Dimas was killed by the Sandinistas at San Bar- tolo, just outside Quilali in August 1981. His good friend "Douglas" named his Task Force (some 200 men at the time) after Pedro Joaquin Gonzalez in early 1983. The Task Force grew until in 1985 it became a Regional Command with some 800 men and women operating in Esteli, Nueva Segovia, Jinotega, and Madriz.
IRIAS, Alonso. Campesino leader who took up arms in 1981. Died in 1983 in battle. A Regional Command has been named in his honor.
MARADIAGA Cruz, Arquimides. Resistance Commander. Formerly a farmer. Known as "Aguila Negra." In
Jorge SALAZAR. Pedro Joaquin GONZALEZ. Pablo Emilio SALAZAR.
1987, commander of the Pedro Joaquin Chamorro Task Force in the Nicarao Regional Command. Killed in combat on August 18, 1987, at El Enseno, Achuapa, Nueva Segovia.
MEZA Peralta, Santiago. Resistance Commander. Known as "Cinco Pinos." Born in Yali, Jinotega, in 1951. One of four brothers from a farming family that took up arms against the Sandinistas. Fought against Somoza as a MILPAS fighter. As commander of the Jose Tomas Garcia Gonzalez Unit of the Alonso Ramos Castro Task Force, he was killed in combat against the Sandinistas in April 1982. His brother, Justo Pastor Meza ("Denis"), also a former MILPAS fighter, named the Regional Command which he now commands after Santiago. The third brother, Cristobal ("Omaro") is the Regional Command's Executive Officer. The fourth brother, Julio, also was killed by the Sandinistas. A Task Force in the Santiago Meza Regional Command was named in Julio's honor and headed by his brother "Omaro" until the latter's promotion to the Regional Command's Executive Officer.
OLIVAS Martinez, Fernando Ariel. Resistance Commander. Known as "Daniel." Born in San Juan Rio Coco, on May 30, 1963. Never married. Farmer with third grade education. Joined the Resistance on January 1, 1983. Commanded Task Force Jose Ramon Rugama of the Regional Command Santiago Meza. Killed in 1987.
PERALTA Bellorin, Felix. Resistance Commander. Known as "Jimmy 2." Born February 21, 1959, at El Provenir, Nueva Segovia. Unmarried truck driver. Fifth grade education. Joined the Resistance in February 1980. Commanded Task Force Victor Al- tamirano of Regional Command Larry McDonald. Killed on June 17, 1987, at Las Torres, Jinotega.
PEREZ, Salvador. Resistance Commander known as "Geronimo." Born on April 6, 1953, in Esteli. Farmer and truck driver. An original MILPAS fighter and leader. Fled in May 1980 and eventually became commander of the Ariel Resistance base. Killed on July 31, 1983, in a Sandinista ambush at Palanca, Quilali in the Segovia mountains. A Regional Command is named in his honor.
RIVERA Arauz, Concepcion Anibal. Resistance Commander and former Sandinista known as "Isaias." Born on December 8, 1960, in a small farming community in Jinotega. Joined the FER, the student wing of the FSLN in 1977 and became a youth organizer. Became a Sandinista guerrilla fighter after the March 1978 murder of National Guard General Perez Vega by an FSLN team led by Nora Astorga. After the revolution he became a DGSE agent active in the creation of the Committees in Defense of Sandinismo. After witnessing numerous abuses, including assassinations, he came to the conclusion that "all the promises that the Sandinistas had made to us were being ignored. They only complied with one promise — which was to take power. All the rest of the promises had been forgotten." Warned by his brother-in- law, an army lieutenant, that he had been denounced as "a ringleader of the counter-revolution" and targeted for murder, he joined the Anti-Sandinista Popular Militias (MILPAS) in March 1981 with five friends. When killed in action in 1986, he was Executive Officer of Regional Command Salvador Perez. Shortly before his death, Isaias wrote: "It is love of my country and not personal ambition which has led me here to the Resistance .... As long as I live and have the power to struggle, I will do so gustosamente, although it may lead to my death. But if I die, it is not important, I will have done my duty . . . may God grant my wish and free my fatherland of all communist occupation."
RIZO Cornejo, Santos Dionisio. ANPDH human rights delegate. Killed during combat near Esteli on July 9, 1987. He had been assigned as a human rights delegate to the Jose Dolores Estrada Regional Command.
RUGAMA Moreira, Miguel Angel. ANPDH human rights delegate. Killed by a Sandinista landmine, March 15, 1987. He had been assigned as a human rights delegate to the Comandante Enrique Task Force of the Santiago Meza Regional Command.
SALAZAR Arguello, Jorge. A progressive and charismatic leader assassinated in November 1980 by DGSE troops. Coffee planter and president of the independent cooperative Coffee Growers Association. Active in the unionizing of thousands of independent farmers. Head of the agricultural producers association and Vice President of COSEP. Born in 1939. Developed a substantial following among the many small and large coffee growers in Matagalpa and Jinotega. During the revolution, he helped FSLN troops under the command of life-long friend Al- varo Baltodano ambush National Guard units at Fuente Pura- Santamaria de Os- tuma, using his farm as a hideout and base of operations. Hid and cared for peasants and fighters on farms in both Jinotega and Matagalpa. Active in the anti-Somoza general strikes of January and September 1978 and June 1979. After the March 1980 Sandinista putsch — that converted the FSLN's one-third minority to a two- thirds majority in the post-Somoza Council of State and the August 1980 FSLN announcement postponing elections for 5 years — Sal- azar led the private sector boycott of the Council of State. Salazar was rapidly becoming a galvanizing force for the opposition to the Sandinistas, much as Pedro Joaquin Chamorro had been for the opposition to Somoza. In November 1980 Salazar was shot and killed by DGSE troops who claimed he was arranging to transport arms as part of a joint military and private sector coup plot against against the Sandinistas. In later court testimony in the trial of eight Salazar associates, Alvaro Baltodano testified that the so-called plot had been a trap set by the Sandinistas to eliminate Salazar. Baltodano testified that, acting under DGSE instructions, he had approached Salazar to entice him into participating in a nonexistent plot against the regime. Salazar's murder caused a major, perhaps irreparable rift between the Sandinistas and their civic opposition. After his death, his widow, Lucia Cardenal de Salazar served on the Directorate of the Nic- araguan Democratic Force (see p. 62).
Today 5 of the 20 Regional Commands of the Resistance are named in Salazar's honor (Jorge Salazar I-V). Coordinated by the Jorge Salazar Operational Command, these forces have several thousand men and women under arms operating in Zelaya, Boaco, Chon- tales, Matagalpa, Jinotega, and Rio San Juan Provinces.
SALAZAR Paiz, Pablo Emilio. National Guard Major known as "Comandante Bravo." Born about 1942. Graduated from military academy in 1963. Was a patrol leader on the Rio Coco against the FSLN. Sent to the United States and Italy for training. Became known as the Guard's ablest combat leader. Commanded the Rivas garrison in 1979, stalemating the Cuban-backed FSLN forces based in Costa Rica. In the chaos after Somoza's flight, led his men by sea across the Gulf of Fonseca to El Salvador. Attempted to keep former Guardsmen who had fled abroad from disbanding. Kidnapped, tortured, and executed in October 1979 by Lenin Cerna in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, reportedly with Cuban assistance. When his death was announced, Tomas Borge declared "the head of that sector of the counterrevolution has been cut off."
SALGADO, Silez. Resistance Commander known as "Denis." Born about 1955. Farmer. Joined the Resistance in 1982. Commander of Task Force Ramon Valdez of Regional Command Jorge Salazar III. Killed in action on February 4, 1987, at Siuna.
SANCHEZ Carrasco, Marcial. Resistance Commander known as "Zacharias." Born on March 3, 1954, at El Jicaro, Nueva Segovia. Farmer and small-time cattleman with no formal education. Joined the Resistance in April 1982. Served as Commander of the Jicaro Task Force of the Segovia Regional Command. When killed on July 1, 1987, at Cusuli, Central Zelaya, he was commanding the Reynaldo Sanchez Task Force of Regional Command Santiago Meza.
TERCERO Mayrena, Rogelio. Resistance Commander known as "Mono." Commander of Task Force Comandante Enrique of Regional Command Santiago Meza. Born in Yali, Jinotega, on September 27, 1958. Unmarried farmer with second grade formal education. Joined the Resistance on May 31, 1980. Killed in action on March 15, 1987, at the Rio Yamales, Honduras.
WILSON, Floyd. Atlantic Coast Creole. Born in Bluefields in 1948. A member of the Sandinista Army, Wilson deserted in 1982 with a number of other Creoles to oppose Sandinista and Cuban activities on the Atlantic Coast. In 1983, while on a trip to organize communities in southern Zelaya, he was captured and summarily executed by the Sandinistas. His body was found on the beach near Pearl Lagoon with 17 bullet wounds. The Creole Resistance unit has been named the "Floyd Wilson Task Force" in his memory.
ZELEDON, Maritza. Nurse. Known as "Daysi." Joined the Resistance in January 1983. A trained paramedic, she was known for great courage, discipline, and tenacity under fire. Killed on April 6, 1984, at El Guapinol, Jinotega, by a Sandinista heavy artillery barrage. A Task Force in the Salvador Perez Regional Command is named in her honor.