Nicaraguan Biographies/Religion and Culture
Religion and CultureEdit
ARGUELLO Bohorquez, Alexis. World champion boxer: featherweight (1974), junior lightweight (1978), lightweight (1981). Born in 1953 in the Mon- senor Lezcano Barrio of Managua. The Sandinistas accused him of being a somocista and confiscated his property. In 1983, briefly joined the forces of Eden Pastora. The Sandinistas prohibited any mention of his name in the mass media in Nicaragua. Now in exile in Florida, retired from boxing.
BARNI, Monsignor Julian. Bishop of Leon. Born on November 2, 1914, in Monza, Italy. Naturalized as a Nicaraguan citizen in the early 1960s. Heads Caritas, the Catholic charities organization.
BELLI, Humberto. Catholic theorist and professor at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steuben- ville, Ohio. Founder, the Puebla Institute, a nonprofit organization concerned with fostering a Christian understanding of theological and sociopolitical issues affecting Latin America. Born on September 7, 1945, in Managua. Studied law at UCA, Managua, and the University of Madrid; and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. Joined the FER in 1965. Traveled to East Germany and Yugoslavia. Broke with the FSLN and Marxism in 1975, while maintaining his opposition to Somoza rule. Director of the Social Studies Division of the Central Bank of Nicaragua from 1974 until fired in the so-called Thursday Night Massacre of December 1976 after bank president Carlos Jose Zarruck Perez publicly challenged President Somoza to institute significant agrarian reforms and to stop siphoning off international aid for himself and his cronies. Converted to Catholicism in 1977. Arrested briefly by the National Guard in September 1978. Editorial page editor of La Pre- nsa from April 1980 until March 1982, when systematic censorship was imposed on La Prensa. Author of many books and articles, among them Breaking Faith (1984) and Cristianismo y Sandinismo (1985).
BOLANOS Geyer, Alejandro. Medical doctor and historian. Born in 1924 in Masaya. Studied at University of Saint Louis Medical School. Began studying Nicaraguan history after his clinic was destroyed by the 1972 earthquake. Lives in St. Charles, Missouri. Author, lecturer, historian. Active in the public debate on Nicaragua in the United States. Publisher of the Voice of Nicaragua newsletter, he heads a documentation center which follows all major publications of Nicaragua. Brother of Enrique and Nicolas.
CARBALLO, Bismarck. Priest. Director of Radio Catolica and spokesman for the Archdiocese of Managua. Born on June 2, 1950, in Cata- rina, Masaya. Educated in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Colombia. First came to public notice when he read the Episcopal Conference decision excommunicating members of a Somocista mob who physically attacked Father Pedro Miguel, SJ, in December 1977. Worked with the Red Cross in Acauhalinca, Las Brisas, and Colonia Morazan to provide water and medical supplies to FSLN combatants. Was the target of DGSE smear campaign in August 1982. Called to the house of a woman "parishioner," Maritza Castillo, asking for counseling, Carballo was forced to strip by MINT agents, who then chased him from the house. Sandinista TV broadcast footage of the event on the evening news, alleging the priest had been caught in a tryst. Barred from reentering Nicaragua on June 27, 1986, he became assistant pastor at St. Mark's Parish, Hyattsville, Maryland. When the Guatemala peace accords were signed in August 1987, Carballo challenged Ortega to allow all priests in exile to return. Carballo was one of the three allowed to return.
CASTILLO Osejo, Jose. Director of Nicaragua's most popular radio station, Radio Corporacion (with six independent news programs) banned from broadcasting due to state of emergency restrictions. Castillo is the voice for the fictitious "Pancho Madrigal" radio character, a Nicaraguan radio institution for nearly three decades. Pancho incessantly satirized the Somoza regime and did the same to the Sandinistas until forced off the air and Castillo's partner and cowriter Fabio Gadea was forced into exile in 1982. After Gadea fled to Costa Rica, a percentage of the radio station's stocks and an affiliated station's transmitter were seized by government authorities, and Chilean-born Anastasio Sanchez (step-father of Sandinista Comandante Jaime Wheelock) was appointed state intervenor at Radio Corporacion. Pancho Madrigal returned to the airwaves on September 28, 1987, as part of the effort to implement the Guatemala agreement guarantees of political pluralism and freedom of information in Nicaragua. Castillo served as president of the Conservative Party, 1981-82, and is an active member of the Rappacioli faction.
CENTENO Gonzales, Carlos. Evangelical pastor, carpenter in Managua. Now lives in refugee camp. Born in La Libertad, Chontales, 1937. Spent most of adult life in Managua. Studied administration at the Colegio Bautista Centroamericano, a North American missionary school. The FSLN pressured Centeno and other evangelicals to break relations with the school because the missionaries were North American. Spent almost 2 months in El Chipote prison in 1982. Centeno stated that: "I was punished because I don't accept their ideology. If you don't agree you end up in jail.... I'd love to return to my Nicaragua if it's a democracy with good relations between the five brother countries of Central America. But it is not a democracy.... There are others in the jails on account of their religion — Evangelicals, Catholics — all the religions are persecuted." Fled to Honduras with his wife and 6 sons in May 1987; they walked for over a month, primarily at night. They traveled via a modern "underground railroad," passed on each night to different people; none of whom they knew; none of whom would accept payment. "We are Christians," he says. "We are fighting for a just cause."
CHAMORRO, Violeta Barrios Torres de. Member of the first post- Somoza governing junta and publisher of La Prensa. Born in 1929 in Rivas. Married Pedro Joaquin Chamorro Car- denal in 1950. Appointed to the five- person revolutionary junta of the Government of National Reconstruction in June 1979. Left the revolutionary government on April 19, 1980, shortly after the FSLN had signed a party-to-party agreement with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and announced a reorganization of the proposed Council of State, changing their one-third mi-
nority into a two-third's majority. She wrote: "When after a few months I realized that the course promised did not correspond to what was being done, I left the junta.... The principles for which we all fought until we won the departure from power of Anastasio Somoza Debayle have been flagrantly betrayed by the party in power, that is, the Sandinista Front for National Liberation...." (letter of August 13, 1985, to Brazilian diplomat Joao Clemente Baena Soares, Secretary General of the Organization of American States). Mother of four: Pedro Joaquin Cham- orro Barrios, former coeditor of La Prensa and now Resistance Director; Carlos Fernando, editor of the FSLN party newspaper, Barricada; Claudia, Sandinista Ambassador to Costa Rica until February 1988; and Cristiana, also at La Prensa.
CHAMORRO Cardenal, Jaime. Journalist. Brother of Pedro Joaquin and Xavier Chamorro Cardenal. Co- director of La Prensa from May 1980 (when Xavier left to run pro-Sandinista El Nuevo Diario). Lived abroad after La Prensa was closed by the Sandinistas on June 26, 1986. Returned in late 1987 after La Prensa was reopened.
CISNEROS Leiva, Sofonias. President, Union of Christian School Parents Associations. Civil Engineer. Born in 1925. Arrested without charges on May 14, 1985, after having publicly denounced the Marxist and politicized nature of both public and private education under the Sandinistas. Taken to El Chipote prison, he was threatened with death, beaten, and tortured by DGSE Director Lenin Cerna. Stripped of his clothes, left naked on a street corner at 3 am Filed formal protests with President Daniel Ortega, but no action was ever taken against Cerna.
CRUZ, Ernesto. Teacher, economist, lawyer. Former rector of the Institute of Central American Economics. Resisted Sandinista harassment and confiscations for years. Finally went abroad in 1986. Brother of Arturo Cruz.
CUADRA, Pablo Antonio. Nicaragua's most renowned intellectual. Poet and newsman. Born in Managua in 1912. Educated at the Jesuit High School in Granada. A member of the Vanguardia movement of rebellious intellectuals who rejected the pompous and effete culture of the bourgeois elite and reenergized Spanish-language poetry. Other Vanguardist poets today include Sandinista supporters Jose Coronel Urtecho and Ernesto Cardenal. Recognized as one of Nicaragua's leading poets for over half a century. Twice jailed by the Somozas. Editor of La Prensa's literary supplement and Co- editor of La Prensa since 1952. For more than 30 years, produced one of the finest literary supplements in all of Latin America. The key figure in the intellectual development of most of Nicaragua's writers and poets. Nicaragua's contemporary literary figures, including prominent Sandinistas, had their first poems and short stories published by Cuadra's publishing house, El Pez y la Serpiente ("The Fish and the Serpent"). Visiting Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, 1986-87. Cuadra's prominence in the Nicaraguan debate over culture and censorship was described in a New York Times Magazine article: "Poetry and Power in Nicaragua" (March 29, 1987). He is quoted there as saying: "The Sandinista revolution had the whole world on its side. We had a chance to mark out a true Nicaraguanidad. Instead we've gone in the direction of Fidel Castro. Fidel could have been the leader of all Latin America, but, instead, sold himself to the Russians. We haven't had a real revolution here...." Without a national reconciliation, Cuadra argues, the continuing civil war "can only lead to a permanently factionalized and fa- naticized country, as in Lebanon and Northern Ireland.... The tragedy is that men become seized by ideologies. Ideologies are poison.... Incorporating [them] into politics produces fanatics."
CUADRA MEJIA, Alberto. (1940-) Alberto Cuadra Mejia was born in in Granada, Nicaragua in the year 1940. He is the son of Jose Jesus Cuadra Cruz and Elsa Mejia Bendana. Alberto Cuadra Mejia is a journalist, poet, writer, and a graduate from UNAN. He is the author of four poetry books, his first book "LO QUE MUY POCOS ESCRIBIRIAN" was published in 1978 (Asel, Managua, Nicaragua)with a prologue by Carlos Martinez Rivas. Alberto Cuadra Mejia's works have been featured in the Nuevo Herald, the spanish version of the Miami Herald and in the newspaper "Diario Las Americas" both in Miami, Florida where Cuadra Mejia resides in exile. Alberto Cuadra Mejia is a great grand nephew of Jose Vicente Cuadra, former President of Nicaragua and of Manolo Cuadra Vega, poet and journalist. Alberto Cuadra Mejia is a frequent lecturer at Miami Dade Community College and is also a member of the Association of Poets of Barcelona, Spain.
CUADRA ARGUELLO, Pablo Alberto. (1971-)Theologian, and Nicaraguan-American poet of Basque descent. Pablo Alberto Cuadra Arguello is a graduate of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida, one of the most important bilingual Roman Catholic Seminaries in the United States. Pablo Alberto Cuadra Arguello is currently a member of the faculty of Palm Beach State College and University of Phoenix, where he teaches courses in World Religion. Pablo’s catechetical work is widespread in the World Wide Web on sites such as Slideshare, Author Stream, and Scribd. Some of Pablo’s innovative catechetical lessons about a variety of Catholic topics have been published on sites such as CELAM (Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano) and the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Parma. Pablo Alberto Cuadra Arguello is preparing to publish his first collection of unpublished poems. Pablo Alberto Cuadra Arguello also known as Pablo Cuadra, is the great grand nephew of Jose Vicente Cuadra Lugo (President of Nicaragua 1812-1894), and a member of the IX branch of the Cuadra Family, one of the most illustrious Nicaraguan families, with notorious writers such as: Pablo Antonio Cuadra Cardenal, Alberto Cuadra Mejia, Manolo Cuadra Vega, Orlando Cuadra Downing, Carlos Cuadra Pasos among others.
deFRANCO, Silvio. Author and prominent Nicaraguan intellectual in exile. Student leader at UCA in the late 1960s. UCA graduate in engineering. MS from INCAE, Costa Rica. PhD in development economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Pioneered the study of the informal sector of the Nicaraguan economy. Vice rector of INCAE, Costa Rica. Attended Harvard Business School in 1986.
GORN, Abraham. Businessman. Former President of the Jewish community (Beth El Synagogue) in Nicaragua. Born about 1910, lived in Nicaragua 50 years. Arrested in 1979 by the Sandinistas. Forced to sweep the streets of Tipitapa, where he was being held. Released without being charged. His textile factory was confiscated. Sandinista troops appeared on his doorstep and told him to leave the country. Sought asylum at the Costa Rican Embassy for several weeks until he was allowed to leave the country. Says his Nicaraguan- born daughter-in-law Elena: "They didn't have any charge against us but that we were Jews. There was no anti- Semitism until... the PLO... put the seed... in the Sandinista government to hate the Jews. They thought that any Jew who was in Nicaragua represents the state of Israel. And since they have been saying that their enemy was the Sandinistas' enemy and that they were blood brothers... they have to prove their closeness to each other by pushing the Jews out of Nicaragua.... They invite people and say, 'Yes, everything is fine here.' That nothing happened. They didn't kill us the (same) way (Hitler killed the European Jews). I mean, it's not really nice to make that comparison. But yes, I can do it because what they did to the Miskito Indians is the same thing that Hitler did to the Jewish people at that time."
HERRERA Zuniga, Norberto. President of Nicaraguan Association of Institutions of Higher Education (ANIES) in 1979. Born in Managua in 1935. Law degree from UNAN (1965). Degree in University Administration from Southern Colorado State University. Founder (1967) and rector of the (Baptist) Polytechnical University of Nicaragua until 1979. Left Nicaragua in November 1979 after Sandinista friends advised him "that it would be better for both me and them if I left." Now resides in El Paso, Texas. ANIES has since been transformed into the National Council of Higher Education, run by FSLN Assembly member Joaquin Solis.
JIRON, Manuel. Director of Mi Preferida radio station. Attacked by three gunmen who attempted to kidnap
him on January 17, 1982, in Managua. Now in exile in Costa Rica. Author of Quien es quien en Nicaragua, and various works on life as an exile.
KELLERMANN, Oscar. Businessman. Born about 1933 in Czechoslovakia. Narrowly escaped deportation to Nazi concentration camp, fled at the age of 9 with parents to join uncles who had lived in Nicaragua since 1923. Moved to United States in 1948, attending Hollywood and Loyola High Schools, serving in US Army in Korea, and becoming a US citizen. Returned to Nicaragua in 1955, married Sarita, a Nicaraguan, and entered the family business. Vice-president of the Jewish community in Nicaragua, 1977-78. Describes what happened at the Managua synagogue during a Friday night service in 1978: "On a Shab- bat evening while we were singing Lechadodi (traditional prayer welcoming the sabbath), two bombs hit the door.... I remember running.... We were met by a jeep and another small car with eight members that had handkerchiefs on their faces, and they identified themselves as members of the FSLN. They said that they were the FSLN and (friends of) the PLO and that they were going to burn all the Jews. So we were forced back into the synagogue.... We wet the curtains, and we were able to put all the fire out." From then on, the Kellermanns were repeatedly threatened and har- rassed. Oscar's car was attacked several times; Sarita received anti-semitic phone threats. In 1979, Sandinista soldiers vandalized and looted their home. Forced to leave the country, their property was confiscated under a decree permitting confiscation of property owned by people absent from the country for more than six months. Says Sarita: "Even today, (if) they told me they would return everything to me, I could not live in a country where I know I cannot have the freedom of practicing my religion.... If this is not stopped now, (other communities) will also suffer the consequences of what has happened to us." Oscar and Sarita Kellermann now live in the United States.
1 Violeta Barrios de CHAMORRO (© La Nacion. Costa Rica)
2 Cardinal Miguel OBANDO y BRAVO. Bismarck CARBALLO is in the foreground.
3 Oswaldo MONDRAGON.
4 Sarita KELLERMANN. (© Ankers Capitol Photographers)
5 Pablo Antonio CUADRA.
LACAYO, Max L. was born in Managua, Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a country with a passion for literature in general and for poetry in particular. He emigrated to the United States in 1979 as a political refugee. Lacayo was educated in New Orleans, where he obtained a postgraduate in Economics. He has experience in the oil industry, teaching and writing. And he has a passion for the arts and politics. Since very young he cultivated Literature, among others disciplines. At 14, he founded the scholastic magazine El Heraldo Juvenil, and was named director of the magazine of the Literary Academy Alfonso Cortés  in the Instituto Pedagógico de Managua. Periodically he writes opinion articles in Nicaraguan newspapers and in the 80s he wrote some articles in the Times Picayune in New Orleans. He worked as Teaching Assistant in the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the University of New Orleans and as Instructor of Macroeconomics at the Houston Community College (1995) and recently created an economic indicator. He likes to paint, to invent mathematical games and in one occasion he composed the music to accompany one of his poems. In 2009 Max L. Lacayo published two books: a screenplay, The American Ambassador and a poetry book, My Bare Essence. Lacayo is the author of Tinta Invisible, a romantic story written in verses published in 2010 (Esquipulas, Managua Nicaragua) with a prologue by María Lourdes Pallais. His poetry book El Poeta Y la Paz was published in 2011 (Esquipulas, Managua, Nicaragua).
LOPEZ Ardon, Monsignor Ruben. Bishop of Esteli. Born on June 19, 1929, in Ocotal, Nueva Segovia.
LOPEZ Fitorio, Monsignor Leovigildo. Bishop of Granada. Born on June 7, 1927, in Boaco.
MARTINEZ Emilia, Dennis Jose. Born on May 14, 1955, in Granada. The first Nicaraguan to break into US major league baseball. Signed as a pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles in September 1976; member of the 1979 championship team. Picked up as a free agent in 1985 by the Montreal Expos.
MAYORGA Cortez, Roberto. First Minister of Planning under the Sandinistas. Born on January 2, 1937, in Managua. BA from Georgetown University, 1958; MA from Yale, 1959; MA in public administration from Harvard, 1961. Secretary General of the Central American Integration Secretariat, 1965-78. A founding member of Foro Latinoamericano, 1976. One of the moderates purged in the Sandinistas' December 1979 "house cleaning" of the revolutionary cabinet, he was replaced by the Soviet-educated FSLN Coman- dante Henry Ruiz. Now in exile, associated with the World Bank since 1984.
MENDOZA, Rafael. President of the External Commission of the FSLN in 1978-79. Well-known Nicaraguan painter. Signs his paintings "RAMEN." Of the same generation as Pablo Antonio Cuadra and Ernesto Cardenal. Lived in Mexico for some 40 years during the Somoza regime. A prominent cultural personality of the Sandinista regime (active in the 1980 National Literacy Crusade and other such efforts). In 1981, he published in La Prensa his first public denunciation of Sandinista crimes, accusing Ortega and Borge of the torture and murder of prisoners. After its publication he left the country. His works have recently been exhibited by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Lives in Mexico.
MONDRAGON Mondragon, Nicolas Oswaldo. Rector, Seminario Menor, Managua. Born in Granada on August 5, 1936. Nicknamed "Pico de Oro" ("Beak of Gold") for his eloquence as an orator. Educated in a Salesian school in Granada followed by studies in humanities and philosophy at the National Interdiocesan Seminary from 1953 to 1958. Mondragon studied theology at the Conciliar Seminary in Mexico City from 1959 to 1964. In 1965, he joined the Social Christian Party and remained a member until 1975. Received a degree in Arts and Letters from the Central American University in Managua and became a professor of philosophy at UCA from 1971 to 1976. Ordained a priest on August 15, 1975. Professor of philosophy at the Inter- diocesan Seminary from 1975 to 1978. In 1977, became parish priest for the El Calvario Church on the edge of the famous Mercado Oriental (Eastern Market), Managua's large, traditional, open- air market in one of the city's poorer barrios. In 1979, named rector of the Archdiocesan Seminary in Managua. Mondragon's work with poor vendors has put him in conflict with the Sandinistas. In 1981, the Sandinistas attempted to arrest him while he was preaching at El Calvario. The merchant women of the parish pulled out their butcher knives and drove them off. On another occasion, State Security tried to frame Mondragon as a leader of a contra "internal front," using testimony from an "informer" and planted weapons in a front page smear campaign. He was arrested and interrogated, but no charges against him were ever filed.
MUNIZ, Carlos. Economist. Educated in the United States. During the 1970s, Manager of the Central Bank, which he managed to keep as one of the few government institutions relatively free from Somoza's corrupting influence. Now in exile. Works at the International Monetary Fund.
OBANDO y Bravo, Cardinal Miguel. Archbishop of Managua. Early supporter of the anti-Somoza revolution; now one of the Sandinistas' most outspoken critics. Born on February 2, 1926, in Libertad, Chontales. Son of a gold miner. Studied philosophy, theology, physics, and mathematics in Granada and at the Salesian Seminary in San Salvador. Ordained a member of the Salesian Order in 1958. Named Auxiliary Bishop of Matagalpa and Ji- notega in 1968. Noted the New York Times on November 23, 1984, "During his two years [in Matagalpa] he became something of a legend. In contrast to the elderly bishop of Matagalpa, who rarely left the provincial captial, and to the majority of Nicaraguan prelates, Obando rode oxcarts and pack animals through alternately muddy and dusty backcountry to counsel the faithful in remote parishes." Appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Managua by Pope Paul VI in 1969, Somoza gave Obando a Mercedes-Benz in an effort to coopt him. Obando accepted the car, raffled it off for charity, and began to actively disassociate the Roman Catholic Church from the Somoza regime. He organized the first Christian peasant unions in Nicaragua and became an outspoken critic of Somoza's human rights record. Named by the Nicaraguan Council of Bishops to attend the 1971 Synod of Bishops in Rome, he led the church's May 1971 condemnation of Somoza's in- stitutionalization of violence. Tensions continued as the Council of Bishops denounced Somoza's tactics in the 1974 election as "the legal equivalent of war" and refused to attend the inauguration ceremonies. Obando mediated the Sandinistas' 1974 Christmas party hostage-taking, then stepped in as a voluntary hostage to guarantee the guerrillas' safety en route to Cuba. In 1977, Obando helped form the National Dialogue Committee (other members included Bishop Sal- azar of Leon, INDE President Alfonso Robelo, Bishop Vega of Juigalpa, and Dr. Guandique of UDEL). Somoza rejected their efforts, saying that they were "maneuvering to place me on the road of no return." In 1978, 4 weeks after Pedro Joaquin Chamorro was assassinated, Obando wrote to La Prensa legitimizing armed resistance to the dictatorship under the church's just war doctrine. His letter was an important signal to deeply religious Nicaraguans. When Eden Pastora seized the National Palace in August 1978, Obando again was summoned as the mediator between the FSLN and Somoza. By then, Somoza's newspaper Novedades had labeled Obando "Comandante Miguel."
After Somoza fled, Obando supported the active involvement of the church in national reconstruction, but resisted FSLN efforts to subordinate Christianity to Marxism-Leninism. On June 4, 1981, the church called on priests then serving in the government to comply with Canon Law, refrain from partisan politics, and return to their pastoral missions. A handful of priests who are FSLN members refused, notably Foreign Minister Miguel D'Escoto, Minister of Culture Ernesto Cardenal, and his brother Fernando, Minister of Education. The next month,
Obando's Sunday mass, which had been televised for years under both Somoza and the Sandinistas, was banned from TV. Responsible for the preparations for the papal visit to Nicaragua on March 4, 1983. Elected President of the National Bishop's Conference 6 times; President of the Secretariat of Bishops of Central America and Panama (1976-80); President of the Religious Department of the Latin-American Conference of Bishops (1980-85). Pope John Paul II announced his elevation to cardinal on April 24, 1985. First native- born Central American cardinal and the first in the history of Nicaragua. Appointed in August 1987 to the Government's National Commission on Reconciliation.
QUIÑONEZ Torrez, Carlos. President of the Confederation of Nicaraguan Professional Associations (CONAPRO) 1987-1988. Associated with CONAPRO since 1979.
Medical doctor specializing in neurosurgery, electroencephalograms, and neuroradiology. Studied in Nicaragua France and Peru.
Dr. Quiñonez was the head and founder of "The Neurosurgery Department of the Hospital of the National Institute of Social Security " in Nicaragua and he was in charge of its operations for over 30 years. For the period of 1992-1993, Dr. Quiñonez was the president of "The Nicaraguan Institute of Development" (INDE).
SALAZAR y Espinoza, Monsignor Manuel. As the Bishop of Leon, Sal- azar played a leading church role during the anti-Somoza revolution, often placing himself in great physical danger. Singled out, along with Bishop (now-Cardinal) Obando y Bravo, for special praise by the FSLN National Directorate in October 1980 for the role they had played opposing Somoza. Resigned for health reasons in 1981. Now lives in Costa Rica.
SANTI, Monsignor Carlos Jose. Bishop of Matagalpa. Born in Perusa, Italy. Naturalized Nicaraguan citizen (1967). Member of the Church Commission for Church/State Dialogue.
SCHLAEFFER B., Salvador. Catholic Bishop of Zelaya. Lives in Bluefields. US citizen. Born in Wisconsin. Lived in Nicaragua for more than 20 years. In December 1983, he accompanied about 1000 Miskitos on an overland exodus to Honduras; the refugees were attacked by Sandinista troops during their flight. On December 22, 1983, Daniel Ortega announced the Bishop's death at the hands of the contras, who had allegedly "kidnaped" the entire population of the Francia Sirpre "relocation camp." Afterward, Schlaeffer told the Miami Herald: "There wasn't enough time in this new revolution for religion.... Communism has one goal and that goal is to have everybody sacrifice themselves for what they call collectivism. We told the Sandinista government from the beginning that they would have to respect the religious values of the people,... that if they tried to crush them or eliminate them, they would have trouble." By 1985, he had been expelled from his diocese four times.
SCHMITZ, Monsignor Paul. Auxiliary Bishop of Zelaya. Lives in Bluefields. US citizen.
VARNGHS, Galen. Born on August 18, 1940. Pastor in the Assemblies of God and a teacher for more than 20 years. Built and led churches for the Creole communities in Puerto Somozo, Corn Island, and Puerto de Bluff. According to Varnghs, the persecution of the Creoles by the Sandinistas began shortly after the FSLN took power in 1979 when Atlantic Coast blacks were removed from jobs in both the public and private sectors and replaced by Soviets and Cubans. Regarding this as unlawful discrimination, Varnghs helped organize and lead a 1980 Creole protest of some 25000 people on the East Coast, which was crushed by Sandinista Army troops. Shortly thereafter, he was forced to flee to Costa Rica, where he now lives.
VEGA, Pablo Antonio. Catholic Bishop of Juigalpa in Chontales province. Vice President of the Nicaraguan Bishops' Conference. Born on August 17, 1917. He began his formal studies in 1936 in El Salvador, studying philosophy under the guidance of the Jesuits. Studied theology with the Sul- piciano Fathers at the University of Montreal, Canada, 1943—46. Became proficient in English during the years he spent as a child in Gary, Indiana, and during his studies in Canada. A strong critic of Somoza during the 1970s, his statements and articles often were published in La Prensa. A member of the church-led commission which sought to mediate between Somoza and the opposition in 1978. Elected President of the Episcopal Conference from 1983 to 1985. Long considered the most liberal of Nicaraguan bishops, Vega had consistently supported agrarian reform and campesino rights. Vega moved into opposition to the Sandinista regime after visits with his parishioners and to local prisoners brought numerous Sandinista human rights abuses to his attention. His opposition to repression made him the target of Sandinista media attacks. Outspoken in his criticism of the Sandinista regime, he says that national revolution is "irreversible" in the sense that the social and economic, as well as the spiritual, needs of the people must be considered by both church and state. Accused by the Sandinistas of "lobbying" in the United States for funds for the armed Resistance, Msgr. Vega was forcibly expelled across the border to Honduras by Nicaraguan security forces on July 4, 1986. Auxiliary Bishop of Managua Bosco Vivas has been named administrator of the Juigalpa Diocese during his absence. In August 1987, responding to a published challenge by also exiled Msgr. Bismarck Carballo, Daniel Ortega announced that Vega was free to return.
VELASQUEZ Pereira, Jose Luis. Born on March 22, 1952, in Leon. Law degree from UNAN. Postgraduate studies in government and political science from University of Essex. Director General for Economic Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Relations and adviser to the chancellor from September 1979 until May 1981. Joined IN- CAE, November 1982. Left Nicaragua in August 1984. Author of Nicaragua: Sociedad Civil y Dictadura. Coauthor, with Arturo Cruz, Jr., of Nicaragua, Regresion en la Revolucion.
VILCHEZ Vilchez, Monsignor Pedro Lasimaco. Bishop of Jinotega. Born on May 19, 1929, in Jinotega.
VIVAS Robelo, Monsignor Bosco. Auxiliary Bishop of Managua. Serves as Vicar General of the Nicaraguan Catholic Church, Secretary of the Nicaraguan Bishop's Conference, and a member of the church's Commission for Church/ State Dialogue. Born on November 14, 1941, in Managua. Vivas' father, Cesar, was editor of the daily La Noticia and a critic of the Somoza regime who became a director of the Permanent Hu-
man Rights Commission. Bosco Vivas attended primary and secondary schools in Managua before entering the national seminary. Ordained in 1970. Elevated to bishop in 1981 and named Auxiliary Bishop of Managua. Attacked and beaten in church by a Sandinista mob on July 21, 1982, in an attempted takeover of a church. The protest was over the reassignment within Managua of Msgr. Jose Arias Caldera, a pro- regime priest who had been awarded the Carlos Fonseca Award (the FSLN's highest honor) for his mid-1960s role in hiding FSLN guerrillas (including Fonseca). The Bishops' Conference's letter of protest to the government was censored from the media. After the July 4, 1986, expulsion of Msgr. Pablo Antonio Vega by the Sandinista government, Msgr. Vivas also became acting administrator for the Diocese of Juigalpa.
YBARRA-ROJAS, Antonio. (1949-2002 Q.E.P.D) Born in Leon, Nicaragua on February 18, 1949 to Dr. Anibal Ybarra y Rojas and Berta Ocampo de Ybarra y Rojas. Died in Des Moines,IA on December 24, 2002 due to heart falure. Undergraduate studies at UNAN. MA from Catholic University of Louvain in 1974. Special Diploma in Development Studies at Louvain 1975. Returned to Managua, Nicaragua to teach sociology at both UNAN and UCA. From 1975 to 1979, developed research in rural studies, was a corecipient of a Ford-Rockefeller Foundation Grant in population studies, and directed the Social Studies Center at the Central Bank of Nicaragua. Professor at the National University of Costa Rica (1979-1981). Research specialist for the OAS Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (1979-1981). PhD from Iowa State University, 1989. Professor of Sociology at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa (1986-1990). Published extensively on the Central American crisis. Was Vice-Minister of Labor (1990-1991) and Vice-Minister of the Presidency (1991-1992) under Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. Brother Dr. Amilcar Ybarra-Rojas was PLN President and Somoza's Gabinet Minister. Second cousin Patricio Arguello Ryan was an FSLN commando, killed in the September 6, 1970, FSLN- Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacking of an El Al airliner en-route from Tel Aviv to New York via London.