Hugo Torres, Former Rebel Turned Political Prisoner, Dies at 73

Hugo Torres, Former Rebel Turned Political Prisoner, Dies at 73

Hugo Torres, a previous guerrilla leader who served spring Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega out of jail, only to be imprisoned by Mr. Ortega himself previous 12 months, died on Friday at a hospital in Managua. He was 73.

Mr. Torres’s loss of life was declared in a statement by his three little ones. The bring about was not specified.

In accordance to Luis Carrión Cruz, a politician, previous Sandinista guerrilla and longtime pal, Mr. Torres commenced feeling sick in early December right after months of living below bad circumstances in jail without having medical treatment method.

“They didn’t just take him to medical center until eventually the moment he collapsed absolutely unconscious,” reported Mr. Carrión, who is residing in exile in Costa Rica. “We never ever realized and we however never know which medical center he was in, what wellbeing difficulty he had.”

“The federal government,” he added, “is having no duty.”

In a statement, the Nicaraguan prosecutor’s office environment said that Mr. Torres experienced been taken to a healthcare facility as shortly as his overall health commenced to deteriorate, and that it experienced “asked judicial authorities to definitively suspend the begin of his oral general public demo for humanitarian good reasons.”

A former guerrilla commander who fought versus the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Debayle, Mr. Torres was jailed final 12 months as element of a nationwide repression campaign waged in opposition to opposition politicians, activists and journalists in the direct-up to countrywide elections.

With all credible challengers jailed or compelled into exile, Mr. Ortega received an election greatly regarded as a sham. Now in his fourth consecutive term, Mr. Ortega has ongoing his crackdown campaign the authorities have put various non-public universities under state handle in recent weeks.

“These are the desperate throes of a regime that feels it is dying,” Mr. Torres stated in a video posted last June, soon before his arrest. “I never believed that at this phase of my lifestyle I would be combating pacifically and civically versus a new dictatorship.”

Jorge Hugo Torres Jiménez was born on April 25, 1948, in the northwestern office of Madriz, to Cipriano Torres, who served in the National Guard, and Isabel Jiménez de Torres. When he was a youthful boy, his spouse and children moved to the city of León.

Mr. Torres examined regulation at the Nationwide Autonomous College of Nicaragua in León, an institution that was at the heart of the nascent Sandinista motion opposing the Somoza dictatorship.

Mr. Torres joined the Sandinista Countrywide Liberation Entrance in 1971 and later still left the college to go underground. He went on to take part in two of the most important military services functions versus the Somoza family members.

The initial was the takeover of the Somoza minister José María Castillo Quant’s dwelling in December 1974. Mr. Torres, along with several guerrilla commanders, held a group of Somoza officers hostage, making use of the kidnapping as leverage to safe the release of a variety of imprisoned Sandinistas, including Mr. Ortega, and then flee to Cuba.

The next operation was the seizure of Nicaragua’s Countrywide Palace in 1978. The guerrilla commanders held deputies and senators hostage for two days, securing the release of some 60 political prisoners.

Right after the triumph of the Sandinistas, Mr. Torres was presented the honorary title guerrilla commander. He served as deputy minister of the interior and main of point out protection and in 1982, was awarded the Carlos Fonseca Buy, the highest honor in the Sandinista movement.

He was later moved to the protection ministry and named brigadier standard in the Sandinista Military. During the conflict in the 1980s with the contras, the rebel group backed by the United States, Mr. Torres was place in demand of the army’s political education.

“This dude was one particular of the frontline fighters in a war towards imperialist aggression,” explained Stephen Kinzer, a former New York Moments correspondent who is now a senior fellow in international and general public affairs at Brown College. “The ludicrous portion is that he’s now currently being accused of currently being a software of that aggression. So turns the environment.”

Mr. Torres was also a member of the Sandinista Assembly, a variety of central committee for the celebration, right until Mr. Ortega was defeated in the 1990 presidential election by Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. He retired from the military in 1998 and afterwards turned important of Mr. Ortega’s more and more autocratic tendencies.

In 2007, he joined the Sandinista Renovation Movement (M.R.S.), an opposition political team, and in 2011 he was elected to the Central American Parliament as a deputy. In 2017, he grew to become vice president of the M.R.S., now identified as Unamos.

For the duration of the brutal authorities crackdown on protesters in 2018, when far more than 300 folks were being killed, Mr. Torres was a vocal critic of the Ortega govt. He continued denouncing the regime after that.

“He was a incredibly potent, clear voice,” explained Mr. Carrión, the previous guerrilla leader. “Calling for democracy, for liberty.”

Mr. Torres was arrested in June 2021 and later billed with “conspiracy to undermine national integrity.” He was one particular of a lot more than 40 critics, journalists, politicians and activists jailed by the Ortega regime in the guide-up to November’s elections.

His demise in custody has been extensively condemned, together with by the Organization of American States, which said in a assertion this week that it “considers the simple fact of keeping political prisoners, with terminal sicknesses and without the need of essential medical support, an abominable act, violating their essential rights.”

Mr. Torres’s survivors include his 3 adult little ones, Hugo Marcel, María Alejandra and Lucía Aracelly.

Even with the worsening crackdown, Mr. Torres did not seem to have specified up hope. In his final moments of flexibility past year, with the police encompassing his household and drones hovering overhead, he continued to cry out for freedom.

“We have to hold our spirits higher, since record is on our facet,” he mentioned in a online video concept. “The end of the dictatorship methods.”

Ferne Dekker

Learn More →