NICARAGUA Update - Tomas Borge dies / Ben Linder remembered
Nicaragua News Bulletin - May 1, 2012
FSLN FOUNDER TOMAS BORGE DIES AT 81
At 8:30pm on April 30, Tomas Borge, one of the founders and long-time leaders of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN), died in a Managua hospital. Rosario Murillo, government communications coordinator, announced his death and highlighted his battles against the Somoza dictatorship, his role during the Sandinista Revolution of the 1980s, and his service to the current Sandinista government. As Borge had said about Carlos Fonseca when he heard in prison of Fonseca's death in the mountains of Zinica in 1976, Murillo said Borge was "one of the dead who never die because he will always be among us." Borge had evidently not regained consciousness after an operation for lung cancer on April 6. Born August 13, 1930, he was 81.
Borge was imprisoned by both Anastasio Somoza Garcia (in 1956) and Anastasio Somoza Debayle (1976) and was among those freed at the time of the Sandinista takeover of the National Palace in August of 1978. A leader of the Prolonged Popular Warfare tendency of the FSLN, Borge was one of the nine Sandinista Commanders of the Revolution. He was Minister of the Interior during the years of the revolutionary government in the 1980s. In recent years he served as ambassador to Peru. His autobiographical book The Patient Impatience, published in Spanish in 1989 and in English in 1992, won the Casa de las Americas Prize in 1989 and was an international best seller. His first wife was killed during the Final Offensive of 1979. He is survived by his second wife Marcela Perez and his children and grandchildren.
Three days of mourning have been declared in Nicaragua and the government announced that Borge will be buried next to Carlos Fonseca in the Plaza of the Revolution. (Informe Pastran, April 30; El Nuevo Diario, May 1; Radio La Primerisima, May 1)
BEN LINDER REMEMBERED ON 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS MURDER BY CONTRAS
Twenty-five years ago on April 28, 1987, Benjamin Linder, 27 year old engineer, clown, unicyclist and solidarity activist from Portland, OR, was murdered by US-funded contras between San Jose de Bocay and El Cua in the department of Jinotega. Nicaraguans Sergio Hernandez and Pablo Rosales were killed along with Linder as they surveyed a site to build a small hydroelectric project. Linder's murder, the only killing of a US citizen during the contra war, saddened the rural community which was anticipating electricity from the project. [The Association of Rural Development Workers-Benjamin Linder (ATDER-BL), under the leadership of Rebecca Leaf, completed the project in the 1990s.] The killing also generated outrage internationally and galvanized the US solidarity movement against the US proxy war to overthrow the Sandinista Revolution. Hundreds of people including solidarity activists, members of Linder's family, and government officials, walked from Managua to Matagalpa in 1987 to draw world attention to the atrocity.
In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the killing, US expats at the Casa Ben Linder organized a talk by Joan Kruckewitt, the author of The Death of Ben Linder on Apr. 26 followed by dinner and a commemoration in the evening and the unveiling of a new mural dedicated to Linder's works. On Apr. 27 a caravan of about 30 people, most from the US, left for El Cua where they visited the projects of ATDER-BL and spent the night. On Apr. 28 they drove the rest of the way to Bocay for a ceremony and a hike to the dam and pump house. On Apr. 29 the caravan returned to Matagalpa for a reflection and commemoration at Linder's gravesite. (El Nuevo Diario, Apr. 30; accounts by participants)
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