The Boys of Nicaragua
Sometimes it’s too much to bear.
But we bear it anyway, or stop living or live a life of escapism and mediocrity. Many people don’t know how bad it really is because their feelings are buried. Some bury feelings for self-defense; others never had feelings because they were raised hard by unfeeling people or people who felt only anger, hate and pain. Many of these become sociopaths and psychopaths or misanthropes and haven’t a glimmer of conscience. But even they are redeemable sometimes.
“The Boys” of Somoza’s
The following story was told to me by
She spoke five languages fluently and was a medical doctor who specialized in broken bones. She also was a social anthropologist who had spent much time living with and studying the pre-Colombian Indians of Venezuela, and she had traveled alone in 84 countries, and lived in
During the fifty years or so of the dictatorship of the Somoza family of Nicaragua, the National Guard which the United States had set up in the late 1920s as a “constabulary”-- like the one we had established in the Philippines to maintain our rule in absentia-- was a terrorist organization which kept “order” by torturing and killing any Nicaraguan of any rank who opposed Somoza Garcia and later his sons, Luis and Anastasio Somoza Debayle.
The all-male Guard (
They also kidnapped infants and toddlers of their murdered victims and raised them without women in the barracks and trained them to torture and kill. This group of youthful killers was known as “The Boys,” and was widely feared because, having been raised that way, they had no conscience at all. In many cases their depredations were worse than their mentors’.
The later Sandinistas are the inheritors of the rebellion of
Then as now the wishes and aspirations of the Nicaraguan people were as irrelevant to
Finally the State Dept. and White House admitted it could not stop the rebellion or catch
After the marines had sailed for home and the shooting had stopped and a peace of sorts had settled on the country and
Somoza himself established an alibi by attending a reading by the Chilean poet
The Guardia was one of the most-feared of all the dictatorships of
During one period in the Sixties, he said, a commander of the jail had the nightly habit of getting drunk and showing up late, picking a prisoner he didn’t like, and torturing him to death.
Things became so bad in
Somoza’s last act before fleeing with his hated father’s bones was to bomb the poor neighborhoods of numerous cities and towns, leaving about 50,000 wounded and many dead.
The Sandinistas’ first official act was abolition of the death penalty, which had been the chief weapon used against them. When Somoza had captured the top Sandinista leadership including
The Boys who failed to escape with other Somocistas to
As the Sandinistas established their government, and began fighting a defensive war against the
Some of the boys cried for the first time when they understood what they had done. Some of the mothers saw that they were, after all, still only boys, that they too were victims, and pitied the vicious children who had crippled their lives. They hugged and consoled them and reached out. Some were reconciled. Some of the mothers forgave. They cried together. Some of the boys apologized and sobbed. Others remained untouchable. But some mothers could never be reconciled to the unspeakable horror they lived with every minute of the day and night, and could not forgive.
When I returned from Abbie's tour in early 1986, I went back to driving a cab in
In late 1986 I returned to Nicaragua with Dr. Margareta Nordh of Sweden, and did more research, intending to integrate everything I had learned for a freelance article about Nicaragua and the Contra War. And then my personal circumstances changed.
During this time my former brother-in-law decided to sell the apartment on
I found no mention of The Boys.
[I first published this true story on Nov. 22, 2008; and think it's worth re-publishing, because the American people should hear it, if they are to comprehend the true dimensions of power and its consequences on real human beings, as exercised by the United States Government.]