Sadly, I learned some new Spanish words today: the words for "mourning," "to fire a machine gun," "coffins." I regret to inform you what I have learned via a message from Leonardo Silva of Limay, followed by reading in El Nuevo Diario [national Nica newspaper], followed by a phone conversation with Olidia Corea and her son Edwin in Limay.
Leonardo's messages were as follows (his original Spanish is found at the very bottom of all this):
"Hello Barbara, there is mourning in Limay, two women dead. They fired machine guns at the buses when they were coming from the caravan of the celebration of July 19 [the 35th anniversary of the Sandinista Triumph over the dictator Somoza]. This was on the stretch of highway between Ciudad Dario and Sebaco." And: "There are four dead in total and 26 wounded."
Two buses were attacked. The first attack was on the Pan American highway, near Puertas Viejas, before the town of Sebaco where buses diverge toward either Esteli or Matagalpa. This bus, on which four people were killed, would have headed toward Esteli and later Limay. The second bus had gone to, and then through, the city of Matagalpa and was on a rural road near San Ramon. One person was killed on this second bus. The most gravely wounded people on both buses were transported to the hospital in Matagalpa, and other wounded were taken to the health center in Ciudad Dario.
Here is a link to an article in El Nuevo Diario (including a picture of one of the buses):
El Nuevo Diario also has a video for a police press conference, in which they announce that they are holding four suspects related to this case, and the investigation is ongoing.
The names of the two murdered women from Limay are not exactly the same in the article and the press conference, so I have listed the press-conference version of each in brackets. These are Vilma González Martínez [Vilma Gomez Benavides, age 48] and Lidia Esther Barrera Vásquez [Esther Lidia Gomez Barrera, age 28]. The two women were transported back to Limay today in coffins.
The other persons killed on the first bus are Germán Adrian Martínez Méndez, age 24, from Cusmapa (not far from Limay) and Yader Francisco Saenz Potoy, age 22, from San Ramon in the Matagalpa department. The person killed on the second bus is Yeltsin Talavera Galeano, age 20, also from San Ramon.
Olidia says the town of Limay is very torn up that these two women were killed; each left children behind. People are also afraid, rightly or wrongly, that this might be the beginning of another Contra war; in their anxiety, they are remembering the last one.
I haven't yet reached the other Limay committee members. I will try again tomorrow, and I'll let you know if I learn anything else of importance.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:27 AM
Here's an update from Limay and Nicaragua generally. I spoke with Tranquilino Garmendia (coordinator of the Limay committee of Casa Baltimore/Limay) this evening.
The funeral and burial of the two Limay women was held this morning. The younger of the two, Esther Gómez Barrera, left a 3-year-old daughter behind; the family is very poor, but the government is reportedly stepping in to do something to help them. Tranquilino promised to let us know if there is a special need of the families which we might help with.
In the meantime, he thanked us for our solidarity and concern for the vulnerable in Nicaragua. He asked us to do whatever we can to promote peace. As he pointed out, and we already know in our hearts, violence begets violence. We need to stop the cycle in whatever ways are possible. There may be some US policies we can address in that regard!
He said people in Limay are feeling fearful, because they don't know what provoked this attack; but they are awaiting the results of the police investigation.
A reading of today's El Nuevo Diario newspaper online yielded additional news, detailed below. Here is a photo of the funeral procession in Limay:
http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/nacionales/325353-sepultan-a-victimas-de-ataque-armado. Those of you who have visited Limay may recognize the street headed toward the cemetery on the west side of town.
The newspaper reports that there was a huge mobilization of people attending the funeral from other towns in the area, including Esteli, Condega and Pueblo Nuevo. The FSLN political secretary for the Esteli department also attended, as did the mayor of Esteli, Francisco Valenzuela. Everyone was demanding that the police investigate and capture the assassins.
The older of the two women, Vilma Gómez Benavides, left behind a grown daughter who works for Enacal, the water and sewer agency, in Limay.
Many officials and church leaders across the country issued statements condemning the attack. These included President Daniel Ortega, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, and Monsignor Silvio Jose Baez of Managua. The Catholic church is asking local parishes across the country to hold special masses this Thursday for the victims. The US Embassy also issued a condemnation.
The army has intensified its patrolling of the northern part of Nicaragua, in coordination with Nicaraguan police; they have issued a statement of their determination to keep Nicaraguans safe.
Four suspects had been detained by the police in connection with the attacks. One of these, a youth, was released today. This young man is the nephew of two of the other men; the fourth is a neighbor. Their families went to Cenidh (human rights agency) today, emphatically stating that the suspects did not do this crime; the four men had reportedly attended the celebration in Managua and are ardent Sandinista supporters. A Cenidh spokesman conjectured that the other three men will also be released.
“Justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornel West
LEONARDO'S ORIGINAL MESSAGES:
hola barbara, hay luto en limay dos mujeres muertas, rafaguearon los buses cuando venían de la caravana de la celebración del 19, eso fue en el tramo de la carretera de Dario - sebaco
hay cuatro muertos por todo y 26 heridos