Miskito Indians Accuse Sandinistas of Crimes Against Humanity
By Filadelfo Aleman Associated Press Writer
Published: Aug 18, 2005
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) - Miskito Indian leaders on Thursday asked the independent Permanent Human Rights Commission to probe crimes against humanity they allege were committed against their people under Nicaragua's Sandinista government of the 1980s.
The leaders said at a news conference that they also would demand that government prosecutors take legal action against those who allegedly killed at least 150 of their people, burned houses, destroyed crops and slaughtered livestock.
One of those who filed the complaint, Mario Flores, said five of his relatives had been killed by the army around Christmas 1982.
The Miskito leaders denied political motivation and complained in a prepared statement that "no government to this point has decided to investigate these events and the local and international human rights groups have ignored us."
Tomas Borge replies:
Former Sandinista Foreign Minister Tomas Borge said the complaint had been inspired by the U.S. government as a way to denigrate the Sandinista party ahead of the 2006 presidential election. "Otherwise, why now after more than 20 years?" he said when contacted by telephone.
Borge said both sides had committed abuses and said he had punished Sandinista troops who committed them.
"Enano" Borge is a cynic, he was head of the State Security Aparatus for the regime, the one that was trained by the East German Stasi, and was crawling with Cuban advisors. Amazing how someone who was tortured -almost to death- became the head of such a feared (and brutally efficient) organization. That is the kind of contradictions you can live with, when you are that dedicated to Marxist-Leninism. Boy was he a piece of work! the guy had crosses on his office wall, no doubt impressing the many "Peace and Justice" types from U.S. churches.
I have heard first-hand accounts of summary executions taking place in the Costa that December and January. It was a culmination of Sandinista provocation, which had included the killing of several Miskitos at a religious service.
Over the next eight or so years, abuses were committed by both sides - and the Miskito's and Contras could be extremely brutal. While it is important for the State that governed to be held accountable for its brutality, I doubt it will happen due to the Sandinista/Liberal control of every major institution. But the very least that can happen is to have the truth revealed in detail.
Why After 20 Years Tomas?
Other repressive Latin America regimes are having their dirty secrets aired publically, even the relatively benign PRI, is being forced to confront its own past misdeeds. This next article points out how this trend is playing out in South America, particularly in Argentina and Chile:
Breaking free from a brutal past
Many countries once ruled by military governments finally throw off legal protections that had shielded regimes' officials
BY JACK CHANG
Knight Ridder News Service
SANTIAGO, Chile - From her house, María Valenzuela saw her country's presidential palace burning on the morning of Sept. 11, 1973, when military leaders toppled the government of President Salvador Allende, ushering in 17 years of dictatorship.
The Santiago resident also remembers the night in 1974 when soldiers raided her house, forcing her and her family to the floor while they searched for dissidents.
On a recent afternoon, while touring the grounds of Villa Grimaldi, a former detention camp for political dissidents on the outskirts of the Chilean capital, the 51-year-old woman said those days were part of her country's distant past, never to be repeated.
''Everything has changed now,'' she said. ''There is no torture now.'' Her brother, Osvaldo Valenzuela, strolling beside her, wasn't so sure.
''We hope it's over,'' he said.
Decades after the return of democracy, South American countries once ruled by military governments are finally throwing off their painful pasts. Like Villa Grimaldi, former torture centers are being opened to the public. Stories about recently identified victims of military violence regularly fill newspapers.
The rest here, and Beautiful Horizons has a good post about the right wing paramilitaries in Colombia, whose own legacy of brutality is up there with some of the worst atrocities seen in the Continent.