Police bust gay hotel

Granada’s Hotel Joluva and Club Alegria have been shut down after police arrested the owners and investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and pornography

GRANADA—Plans to build Nicaragua’s first gay resort community have been suspended indefinitely following the arrest of the project’s two proprietors, Francis DeFranco, 50, and Jan Van Den Broek, 50, of Belgium.

The two men, owners of Granada’s Hotel Joluva and the nearby gay development project known as Club Alegria, were arrested last week along with two tourists—a 55-year-old Canadian and a 65-year-old U.S. citizen. The hotel’s Nicaraguan bartender, 18, was also swept up in the police operation.

All five men are being held under preventive prison sentences while they await trial on charges of promoting tourism for the purpose of sexual exploitation, pornography and sexual abuse, according to Granada Police Chief Horacio Sobalvarro.

“We can’t say that the tourists came with this intention, but the owners of the business did,” Sobalvarro told The Nicaragua Dispatch.

The defendants’ Nicaraguan attorney insists state prosecutor have not presented any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Police, however, say they have witness testimony from five Nicaraguan boys, ages 14-17, who claim they were exploited. No one is claiming rape, but the alleged victims are claiming they were tricked, sexually exploited and had their “moral integrity affected,” the police chief said.

Joluva, Nicaragua

Joluva offered spa services for $20-$30 (photo taken from Joluva.com)

In addition to allegedly producing and posting pornographic photos and videos of the Nicaraguan youth on the Internet, the police report claims the hotel’s clients would pay $20-$30 for oral sex. The Hotel Joluva website made no direct mention of offering sex services, but did advertise “spa services” with massages ranging from $20-$30.

The hotel’s three websites—club-alegria.com, joluva.com and gaynicaragua.net—featured racy photographs of skinny, young Nicaraguan men (of questionable age) frolicking in the pool in their underwear, getting and giving massages, and sunbathing in a way that doesn’t leave tan lines. But the content of those sites—although clearly suggestive—could hardly be considered pornography by today’s advertising standards (compared to a typical Calvin Klein magazine ad, Joluva’s website material was PG-13).

Still, given the nature of the charges being brought against the hotel’s owners, the website material certainly wasn’t helping their legal defense. So on March 10, one day after the five men were sentenced to preventive prison terms to await trail, the three websites were removed from the Internet.

In the absence of the hotel’s webpages, a collection of Youtube video postings for gay travelers have left indelible cybernetic contrails of what was going on at Hotel Joluva and its Club Alegria rancho retreat.

“There’s some really cute guys at the Joluva Hotel that give massages,” said Michael Alan, of TravelCostaRicaNow.com, fighting back a giggle.

“They give great massages and they’ll give you a massage in your room or they have an extra room in the hotel where they can go and give you a massage in there as well,” adds his partner, identified only as “D’Angelo.”

The Youtube video—shot on location at Hotel Joluva—leads the viewer to believe that the young Nicaraguan masseuses are jacks-of-all-trades, available to moonlight as tour guides or even swim instructors.

“If you want you can actually hire these guys to take you around the city,” says Alan. “So if you wanna be shown around, if you want one of these guides, just ask.”

Pool days were especially fun, Alan gushes.

D’Angelo explains that on Sundays and Wednesdays the hotel owners took all the Joluva guests out to the pool at Club Alegria, “Along with a truck full of guys and there is a big pool party out there.” Video footage of one of the pool parties confirms that fun was had.

A long-time Granada resident who has attended one of Club Alegria’s pool parties told The Nicaragua Dispatch under condition of anonymity that the parties were a little wild, with young men running around and exposing themselves. But other than the flagrant violations to universal pool rules #5 (no running in the pool area) and #6 (no horseplay), the source said there were no minors at the pool party he attended, and no illegal activity—sexual or otherwise—that he could see.

Sex Tourism Diversifying

Sex tourism is nothing new in Granada; foreigners’ sexual exploitation of locals has been happening here since about 40 minutes after the first Spanish galleon bumped up against the shore of Lake Cocibolca, nearly 500 years ago. Hotel Joluva, however, is evidence of how diversified and modern Nicaragua’s sex-tourism market has become in recent years.

Friends of DeFranco and Van Den Broek say their small boutique hotel was always full, especially with older North American tourists who liked the easy-going company of younger Nicaraguans—much like their lecherous heterosexual counterparts.  As word got out about the gay times in Granada, Joluva’s bookings grew, the source said.

In addition to the first three homes that DeFranco and Van Den Broek have built on the Club Alegria property outside of town—a rolling and bucolic farm behind the Hospital Japon—the Belgium businessmen were also building a series of condominium units in an old restored colonial home on the corner of Calle Caimito, three blocks from the Central Park.

But what started as a legitimate business geared towards gay travelers seemed to be falling into the entropic grips of a carnally-obsessed clientele seeking to feed their lascivious appetites, the source said. And the Belgium owners, who have lived in Granada for a decade—long enough to understand the rules of the game and the limits of propriety—apparently did little to stop it, the friend said.

“It got out of hand over there,” the source said. “I told them: ‘Keep it under control, if you can’t do that then what are you doing?’”

The source says now that the situation is falling apart, he can’t help but wonder if the government of Nicaragua will end up staking claim to all their properties—four homes on three pieces of land that he estimates to be valued at over $1 million—if his two Belgium men are found guilty or deported.

At the moment, Hotel Joluva and Club Alegria have been closed by police order, Chief Sobalvarro confirmed.

Police Investigate

The Granada police chief says they started to investigate Hotel Joluva four months ago, based on testimony from several minors who claim to have been lured into “weird situations.”

Nicaragua police

Cracking down on sex tourism: Police Chief Sobalvarro (photo/ Tim Rogers)

Police say the hotel proprietors were allegedly recruiting young men, ages of 17-26, and paying them 500 cordobas ($21) to come to the pool parties to offer massages. That alone isn’t a crime, but the chief said the police investigation also revealed the presence of five “victims” who “felt trapped” in the situation and claimed their “moral integrity was affected.”

When police raided Hotel Joluva last week, they took cell phones, computers, pornographic videos, CDs and CD players, USB and photographic equipment, Sobalvarro said.

“This is an investigation that’s still in process,” the police chief said.

The chief said police are also investigating “three or four” other cases of establishments that are allegedly sexually exploiting minors in Granada. But those ones, which could lead to raids in the coming weeks, are run by Nicaraguans, Sobalvarro said.

“Undeniably the increase in tourism here has brought with it this type of risk,” he said.

Granada is open to all types of tourism, the chief said; but everyone must respect the law.

 

  • F. Sanchez

    Known police Chiefs are regular visitors of these 2 hotels!!!

  • Robert Vanderheyden

    Having traveled to Granada and having stayed at Hotel Joluva three times, I can say that I have never seen the owners of Hotel Joluva “promoting tourism for the purpose of sexual exploitation, pornography and sexual abuse.” I have seen them promoting respect for Nicaraguans and supporting the Granada community with providing work for a good number of Nicaraguans.

    • Jay R.

      I concur. I’ve stayed at Joluva and visited Club Alegria three times over the past 16 months, and what I observed totally contradicts the allegations being made by police discussed in this article. Jan and Francis would never allow minors in their establishments, being meticulously careful to check ID’s and make photo copies of them to keep on file as proof that everyone who entered was an adult. They also had posters up everywhere saying that sex with minors was a serious criminal offense and violators would be turned in to the police. They had a video system in place so that they could see who was entering and leaving the businesses that was digitally recorded. If any thing was going on at Joluva it was strictly between consenting adults. I don’t know anything about the Laundry owned by the other foreigner. Is it illegal in Nicaragua to own a hotel where consenting adults are allowed to be intimate behind closed doors or is it just the word “gay” that makes it illegal? My understanding is that sex between consenting adults of the same sex is not illegal in Nicaragua or did the police chief of Granada change the law and not tell us?
      I went to Club Alegria on three occasions. Club Alegria was really just a small pool, and a small rancho style bar/restaurant serving fast food (microwavable soups) and refreshments. There was a building a few yards aways with maybe 4 condo units. Jan and Francis would drive the guests from Joluva out there a couple of days a week to hang out by the pool. There were a mix of gringos and nicas. When I was there in last in January, one of the nica guys said he had just turned 18 a couple of weeks before and now could go to the pool. I asked Jan about it, and he said he checked his ID to make sure he was 18 because God forbid he should have any problem with the police. It was a private enclosed area by the pool and clothing was optional. I don’t think that’s illegal in Nicaragua considering it was a private club that charged an entrance fee and you had to be an adult to enter. Honestly, most of the guys who got nude were older gringos. If you’ve ever been to a nude beach, you quickly realize it’s really not very exciting because it seems like moslty it’s just mostly much older people who are liberated enough to get totally nude. Ah, but it was gay guys who were swimming, some in the nude, so I guess that makes it illegal in Nicaragua.
      As far as nude photos of adult men, that’s not pornography or illegal to my knowledge even in Nicaragua, or is Playboy, Playgirl, etc now a criminal offense? Or is it only a criminal offense if the guy taking the photos is gay, and the people looking at the photos are gay? If the photos of the adult men had been shown only to women, would that make it legal?
      There were massage therapists on staff at Joluva and the rate was $20 for an hour massage and $30 for 90 minute massage, and I can assure you it did not include oral sex or any other kind of sex. Jan made that quite clear, and I doubt very much if the massage therapists were even gay. Or is it illegal in Nicaragua for a gay man to receive a massage from another adult man who may or may not be gay?
      Also, I read the original charges in Spanish in the Nuevo Diario, and the charges were for Human Trafficking (referring to minors) and Sexual Exploitation of Minors, not adult pornography or promoting sex tourism, which really isn’t the same, is it? Or is any play on words far worse when you add gay to it, at least in Nicaragua?
      What you had here were two perfectly legitimate businesses that were employing Nicaraguans at good wages, and giving back a lot to the community in donations. Jan and Francis were great businessmen who were running a successful business based on tourism, not sex tourism. I think there were people envious of this, and there were some people who had problems with them because they were good businessmen and would not allow people to steal from them. But they used the word gay in their advertising so they became a target, because apparently that is now illegal in Nicaragua, even though it really isn’t. I think that’s called harassment, discrimination, and police abuse.
      So, now that the police chief of Granada has outlawed the word “gay” I think I will take my gay tourist dollars back to Costa Rica.

      • Rozza

        Well said, JR. To me it looks like they were targeted for being gay, not for doing anything illegal.

    • Nilda

      They were found guilty (the two owners) and given five years in prison upon the statement from five minors. I have known about these two hucksters and I think prison is where they belong. And before you call me a homophobe or prude, I am a transexual who once was a prostitute. These raids have nothing to do with being gay.

    • http://none Robert

      That’s not what I saw. There were young boys sitting around waiting to do “massage” for which Jan the owner got a cut. At first he allowed guys to whore there under age, like David Rodriquez, who is now dead. Thankfully Jan later saw that was too risky and wanted only over 18. Lets get real, the Joluva was a brothel. You know it and I know it. The courts knew it. A brothel where the workers are treated with respect would be one thing, getting $20 and having their massage room removed from them is another. This is sex tourism at its worst which is why I stopped going. I went thinking it was a gay hotel and found a den.

  • Anonymous

    Jan and Francis were repeatedly warn about the apparent impropriety of older gringos being accompanied by very young looking nicaraguans. When you see a 65 year old white american walking with an 18 year old poor Nicaraguan, people are going to assume that there is a sexual/monetary relationship. I don’t know if prostitution is in Nicaragua. If it is, then the locals and the tourists surely were guilty. Many of these skinny Nicaraguans might be 18, but they look much younger. To the outsider looking in, it would appear that child exploitation was taking place, especially given the vast number of older clients and younger locals entering the hotel. Many of the hotels in Nicaragua do not allow guests of any kind. One must appreciate that Granada is not Europe or the United States, and people are not going to take too kindly to what appears to be the exploitation of young poor locals by older wealthy foreigners. When you add in the element of homosexuality, it becomes all the more objectionable in their eyes. The hotel is located on an extremely busy street with watchful eyes. This raid was a foreseeable outcome.

    • JayR

      OK, so it looks bad to a bunch of biggots. So what, that’s their problem. No one should live their life for what others think of them. I gave that concept up 20 years ago when I came out of the closet. The point is just because a bunch homophobic biggots don’t like something, that doesn’t mean you have to trump up charges against the legitimate business men.
      And for the record, I have returned with two men 25 years younger than I am (both in their early 20′s) on two separate occasions to the Hotel Spa Granada with no problem getting them in. I met them in the main plaza, went out to dinner with them, and walked back to the hotel. One guy went to my room because I wanted him to. I never paid him a dime. The other guy wanted money and when I got to the door of the Hotel Spa Granada the guy on the desk had no problem letting him in, but I didn’t want him to come in, so I made him wait outside and went back outside and told him the guard wouldn’t allow him in and we would have to meet some other time. I gave instructions to the reception to tell him I’d checked out if he came looking for me, and they did just that the next day. They were very accomodating and I’m sure they knew exactly what was going on, but figured it wasn’t any of their business. And by the way, the guy that went up to my room at Hotel Spa Granada at about 7 or 8 pm, so lots of people still around in the lobby, looked like he could be under 18. No one stopped us. No one questioned us. No one asked for his ID. Same thing happened at a smaller mainstream hotel the next day too with the same guy. If I had taken this guy back to my room at Joluva, my companion would have been asked for his ID and it would have been photocopied. So, I can tell you for a fact that the standrards are a lot more lax at the mainstream hotels than at Joluva.
      And as far as a lot of these older guys in their 60′s, 70′s, or even 80′s, some of them have regular boyfriend who they support, send them to college, give them money for their family to set up a business, etc. Some of them have been together for years. But what’s the difference between that and what a lot of straight gringos do with young women they meet and get married to? I can assure you that some these guys would marry each other if they could. So, society denies us the same rights to legal recognition, and then points a bigotted finger at us when they see two us walking down the street!
      And finally, although I tend to like guys 21-35, some of the older guys I’ve met at Joluva are so distinguished, so intelligent, and so witty, that I’ve actually found them attractive. There is one incredibly witty and intelligent guy I’ve met at Joluva who must be pushing 80 who looks like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons, but I’m telling you, if he said, Jay, I love you, and I want to marry you, and spend the rest of my life with you, I would seriously consider it.
      Love and sex between consenting adults is not for society to define, it for the individuals who’s hearts and bodies know what they want and need. Oh, and by the way, it is the 21st century, just in case you haven’t looked at a calendar recently.

    • James

      You are correct and they only tried to have an 18 and older policy after they realized the crap was going to hit the fan, Too little too late. That bath-house type camp they called “Alegria” was really a scam, in my opinion. They claimed to have so many sales yet when the police locked the gate, did anyone lose their home? Money? Where is the money from these sales? I think one person ended up staying there. The whole thing was about money except the prostitutes didn’t see much of it. I am willing to bet many of the supporters writng here are pedophiles who have lost their cheap sex haunt. The 2 Europeans were convicted and are in prison. And not because they are gay as they would like you to believe.

  • Bio B

    Adding to the great comments of Jay R are the numerous jobs Francis and Jan created in Granada. They have created the floor tile factory at the Club. These marvelous antique looking tiles are the same that they use in the traditional homes in Granada. Men of all ages work there. The refurbishing of antique furniture is also a labor intensive job that developed new skills in young workers. They’ve employed architects, attorneys, electricians, masons and trained all their helpers with new skills. Caring and loving people. But those few that wanted handouts, like the Nicaraguan government does from other countries, were probably the responsible for the false accusations.

  • Phill

    I totally support Jan & Francis and agree with your comments. They have done so much for the guys they are employing and they are happy as you can see on their behavior. They are very professional businessmen and always were even back in Belgium. I’m happy that I met them, because there were the nicest and kindest people I’ve talked to in Nicaragua. They would have no reason of doing such things. I’m not a gay, but everyone has to see that in this world should not differences in sex orientation influence such accusation in which Jan & Francis are right now.

  • Al Fisk

    Granada is the new Pattaya (Boystown), Thailand of Central America!!

    • Bio B

      I see you know the world! You wish it was, don’t you?

      • Al Fisk

        No, I work for a organization that fights child prostitution around the world and I can see the same factors and pattern in Granada of becoming a center for child prostitution. It is already a little girls prostitution center and no one denies it. Nicaraguans are too prude to accept that they have serious prostitution problems (hetero and homosexual) and they think that they can solve any problem by hiding and denying it.

        • JayR

          If it is a little girls prosititution center, why don’t the police go raid those operations? I would imagine it’s because they are actually doing something illegal and paying protection money unlike Joluva that was not doing anything illegal and therefore had no reason to pay protection money. I noticed a lot of female prostitutes on the streets of Granada around the central plaza late at night. I didn’t see the police doing anything about that either. I have heard that there is a strange law in Nicaragua also that allows men to legally have sex with women who are 14-18 if the girl has already had a child, proving that they aren’t virgins. I had an American friend who met one of these girls who had a baby and just turned 16 who he had sex with several times. He told me it was totally legal in Nicaragua. I asked a lawyer I know there, and he told me he’s right! And I say I “had” a friend because I let it be known to his wife here in the States what he was up to in Nicaragua.
          If there is underage male prostitution in Granada, it certainly wasn’t going on at Joluva/Club Alegria, and Jan & Franics didn’t have anything to do with it. What’s really going on here is an attempt at a land grab, and a witch hunt of gays. Joluva became the symbol for gays in Granada and that created a problem. When I was walking through the plaza in January with a 24 y.o. friend (a professional by the way, not a prostitute) who had come from Managua to meet me, a couple of guys referred to us as “Joluva.” I took this to mean that Joluva had become so famous in Granada that it was being used as a term to describe gays, especially gringos.

          • Al Fisk

            That is the the two faced hypocresy of the Nicaraguan society. At least, they are the only ones that believe that this is so cool!

  • USA traveler

    I traveled on business to Nicaragua monthly for a few years until just recently. I went to Joluva to check it out and it was a pleasant place with very helpful owners. I stayed for a drink and left. I saw the rooms they had and did not choose to go back. I prefer a larger establishment closer to the park central. While there I was never offered any sexual services or anything illegal.
    I have stopped coming to Nicaragua as of the end of 2011 due to the government officials getting so greedy and trying to rip me off. I felt that continuing to do business in this country was dangerous and I felt it was time to just cut my losses. I rehabbed various properties there and ow have 2 homes there that I miss so much but value being free and not arrested under false allegations. Every gringo in their eyes is a rich gringo, when a real rich gringo shows up they are an instant “mark” not just by locals but the government officials. It’s ashamed those that. Ribed me lost so much future revenue over a few dollars in hand now.
    I hope the Hotel Owners can get fair treatment but from other cases and what I’ve gone through I doubt it.

  • Kurt

    A sad day for Granada. Prostitution was common at Joluva, like at any other hotel, but no under age. It was a great place to hang out and meet people. Someone wants their properties.

    • JayR

      Jan & Francis should move to Costa Rica when this is all over and start up a gay hotel and condos there. That’s assuming that only their properties are taken, and they are released. Now that Casa69 and Keikolde were sold to straight people, there’s really only Colours left, and although I love Colours, I would also like a gay hotel in the downtown San Jose area too. The old Joluva in Barrio Amon is available for lease.

      • Mr Tibbs

        We’ll, since they now lost the appeal and have been tossed out back to Europe as convicted pedophile pimps, it looks like they would be as welcome to open a business in Central America as you have been a success in your home country. Lol. It is pathetic when a lonely old man pretends a teenager is in love with him and, it seems, will tell any lie to keep that fountain of youth in business. This is a classic example of predictors letting avarice and greed rule them and justice was served. Except that many young lives were ruined and are now sick with Aids and have no money. I could name the clients. One of those arrested. So there is no need to paint the Joluva as Mother Teresa’ a convent in the hope it will be back in operation. Homosexual visitors who are not sex tourists are welcome in Nicaragua and there are plenty of gay places. These beastly trolls are thrown out

  • Jimmy B

    any news on the case?

    • JayR

      Yes, Jan, Francis, and the other three arrested, were supposed to be released on bail on Tuesday, but a higher judge in Managua ordered them to remain in jail. The trial is supposed to be in April.

  • Kurt

    Trial? It will be a joke! They have not done anything illegal.

  • Anonymous

    Jan was instrumental in providing his guests with “dates”. He would even tell you how much you should tip him. I have even heard him complain when he thought a guest did not leave a big enough tip after some guy did sexual favors. Let’s face it, joluva was a house of prostitution, and there WERE underaged guys there. Norlan and Ricardo were both 17 when they started hanging out at Joluva. There were many occasions when Jan and Francis were not around and guests “smuggled” in very young guys. You can defend them all you want but many of these guys felt exploited, regardless of whether u think they enjoyed having sex with 300lb guys or octogenarians. And JayR you are just a messy busybody. Did it ever occur to u that the kid who looked underage and went to your room might have actually been underaged?? These kids need to be protected from people like u. And you have a lot of nerve blabbing your mouth to someone’s wife. Based on your posts, you have no room to cast aspersions. Just because jan and Francis helped people out, doesn’t mean that they weren’t hurting some at the same time. You see this all the time with clergy, principals and teachers who spend a lot of time helping young people, but at the same time are hurting others. That’s how they justify in their minds that they are doing nothing wrong. It’s classic. I suspect that JayR and some of the others do exactly the same thing.

    • JayR

      Mr. Anonymous,

      It’s interesting that you attack me and others who have posted comments here. It says a lot more about you than it does about us.

      I’ve been called many things in my days, but never a “messy busybody” before. I really don’t think I’m hurting anyone either. I think you must be projecting your own problems on to others.
      You obviously have an axe to grind against Jan & Francis, and have intimate knowledge of what was going on there. My defending Jan & Francis offends you so much, it would seem you have some interest in seeing them behind bars. If you knew there were times that guests smuggled in “very young guys,” (does that mean minors?) as could be done at any hotel, you must have either been there at the time, or known people who smuggled them in must have told you. Did you turn these guests into the authorities or are you just using this in some personal vendetta against Jan & Francis now? Or are you just repeating hearsay to try to make your point? I’ve always found that false moralistic, judgmental, sanctimonious people are the ones you really have to watch out for.
      And yes, I do get involved in issues of social justice (discrimination, homophobia, police abuse, etc) that are important to me, busybody as you call it because you obviously don’t want anyone defending Jan & Francis. I really like Jan & Francis. I’m a pretty good judge of character, and my instincts tell me there is something very fishy about you, Mr. Anonymous.
      I do draw the line when it comes to the treatment of minors, whether that be regarding my friends or not. You see, if I’d known that people at Joluva were smuggling in and having sex with minors, I would have reported them.
      Cast aspersions? You are really funny. I’m not married. I’m an out gay man, sexually active, and free of hang-ups. I’m no saint, but I don’t have sex with minors! And yes, I did check the ID of the young man I took back to Hotel Spa Granada. He was in his 20′s. The fact that I quizzed Jan about the age of the 18 y.o. at the pool should tell you I’m concerned about that.
      As Kurt stated, there’s a lot of prostitution going on at all hotels, that doesn’t make them a house of prostitution. You can ask any taxi driver where there are prostitutes, probably the same of employees in some hotels, but that doesn’t make them pimps.
      If these adult young men felt exploited, why didn’t they just not show up to Joluva or Club Alegria? I certainly didn’t see any indication that they were being forced to do anything against their will, or held hostage. The guys I met were all living with their families, so it wasn’t like Jan was locking them up in a dungeon at night. I suspect that the same young men who you say were being exploited as prostitutes at Joluva, if it’s true they actually were prostituting, are now out on the street prostituting themselves. I doubt Joluva was the only game in town. Either way, they are consenting adults. It’s their choice. Adult prostitution IS LEGAL in Nicaragua. *
      * http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/wha/154513.htm

  • Anonymous

    JayR, I’m not interested in having an online debate with you. Hmmm, I guess if a person says “I need money so I can buy milk for my hungy baby” and another says, “okay, I’ll give you money but first you have to perform fellation on me”, you think that is a situation between consenting adults. Okay, fine, let’s say that they are consenting adults. That does not mean that one is not being exploited. You see this happening all across the world, poor people selling their bodies for money, people who WOULD NOT do that if they had the opportunity to provide for their families. The opportunities in Nicaragua simply don’t exist, and many young men and women prostitute themselves because they see no other way. Be that as it may, this is not really about prostitution. This is about the wisdom behind running a hotel where there are old men and young boys constantly going in and out all day and night. This is not necessarily about homophobia because heterosexual exploitation has also been the subject of police raids all over the world. I have seen articles about “Madams” in the United States who run prostitution rings and are being prosecuted (prostitution of any kind is illegal in the US). These are consenting adults. Regardless of whether prostitution is legal or not, one must consider how it looks to people on the outside when you have very young looking adults going into a hotel with very old men. It could happen in the US, Nicaragua, Pattaya, or anyplace in the world. It just looks really bad, and my point is that Joluva should have seen this coming and should have done more to make sure that their reputation is not tarnished. And I disagree with what you say about those young men who were prostituting at Joluva are now on the street prostituting themselves. Joluva provided a meeting ground for those guys to find their johns. Joluva made it easy. I’m sure that many of these guys would never have prostituted themselves if Joluva (or another establishment facilitating these meetings) did not exist. I don’t see these guys as being wholly innocent victims, because you are correct, they are able to make their own decisions. And I don’t know all the evidence that the police have against the owners of Joluva. Maybe there is evidence that people who were underage were involved in inappropriate conduct (photos sessions, movies, sexual activity) while at Joluva. You simply can’t say for certain that such things did not happen. It is the owner’s responsibility, not the guests or the people standing outside, to make sure that illegal conduct is not going on. If you have a night club and people are using drugs in your night club, even if you aren’t supplying them with the drugs, YOU will be arrested and your club will be shut down if they can show that you did nothing to prevent this activity. And I have certain no axe to grind against anyone. You can defend the owners of Joluva all you want, and that’s fine. Maybe they did not actively engage in child exploitation. But you can’t simply chalk up all this to homophobia or jealousy or vendettas. And you can’t say that the police’s conduct was completely unwarranted and baseless. None of these events are surprising.

    • Bio B

      You’ve never been in Las Vegas or Reno, then.

  • Kurt

    JayR and Anonymous your very public fighting does not help the guys sitting in jail. Fact is guest stayed at Joluva for the “prostitution factor”
    if it was under age, only Jan knows. I did never observe anybody underage during the week I stayed there. I also never hired the service of a protitute. Naturally all this does not mean it did not happen and face it, 4 guys age 17 are complaining. So, something had to have happened. We all know prostitution is legal in Nicaragua as long as the male or female hooker is of age.
    Take your personal vendetta somewhere private.

  • Anonymous

    Kurt, thank you for your admonition, BUT this is not a helpJoluva.com, or Jan and Francis Defense Fund. This is a comment section of the Nicaruagua Dispatch, and my objective has never been to help the guys sitting in jail. JayR and I are simply posting our thoughts on this issue. This is a public forum and we are allowed to hotly debate the topic at hand. Nicaragua dispatch did not create this comments section to “help the guys sitting in jail.” I’m not sure where you got that from. And if you don’t like the lively discussion, you are certainly free to turn your computer off, delete the cookies, and never visit this particular webpage again. I have no personal vendetta against anyone so there is nothing to be done in private. If you don’t like it, tough.

    • JayR

      I certainly don’t think Mr. Anonymous’ statements help Jan & Francis, and the other three by association, but I think his purpose is the opposite. I had hoped that my statements would, in some small way, help them. But if my posts are enciting Mr. Anonymous to make more statements against them in the heat of debate, then it seems to be backfiring. I assume that Mr. Anonymous is also the anonymous informant mentioned in the article, thus explaining his interest in defending his statements in the article. Am I correct, Mr. Anonymous?
      Mr. Anonymous, I would like you to consider that Jan & Francis are in a terrible situation and they don’t need people adding to it. I’m sure the DA and police are doing their best to keep them in a terrible situation.My comments were meant as a sort of positive character statement for Jan & Francis and give some clarification that Joluva was not engaging in some child sex trade for its guests. It seems you knew Jan & Francis well, maybe even called them friends once since you warned them of being careful not to “let things get out of hand.” Please consider that they are inocent until proven guilty, and I don’t think you are saying you think they are guilty of any real crime under Nicaragua law, but as you said about perceptions, they are important.
      I’ve said all I have to say about Jan & Francis. I don’t think are guilty of breaking any law and certainly not exploiting children, or exploiting adults by any legal definition. So, if you mean no ill will against Jan & Franics, can we just not talk about Jan & Franics and Joluva.

  • gert

    Having traveled to Granada and having stayed at Hotel Joluva three times, I can say that I have never seen the owners of Hotel Joluva “promoting tourism for the purpose of sexual exploitation, pornography and sexual abuse.” I have seen them promoting respect for Nicaraguans and supporting the Granada community with providing work for a good number of Nicaraguans.

    from belguim

  • robert

    hi, any news when they have the so called trial? book and full paid a room for a mouth for holiday at hotel joluva in December. Before all this happened.so wish to keep updated about all this.

  • gert

    any new news on the case?
    thanks

    belguim

  • Costa Rica Canuck

    I feel one thing we can do to help is alert your local gay media about what is happening in Nicaruagua. Countries do bow to political pressure when they are questioned on human rights.

    As a previous guest, I never saw any evidence what so ever promoting sex with people under age.

    As with the current laws in Costa Rica, they never did anything illegal. “moral integrity affected… Led into weird situations…”. Give me a friggin break.

    We all know laws like this are usually enforced when it comes to regulating gay sex and almost non-existent when it comes to hetero sex.

  • Daryl

    I stayed at Joluva several times with my ex from 2006 through 2010. Jan and Francis were always kind and helpful. They were respectful to gay and straight people alike. I never saw anything inappropriate during the times I visited (I was there 5 or 6 times). I was never offered sexual favors and it was never suggested by either of the owners. What I did get was laughter, a lot of interesting conversation, suggestions on where to eat and what to do. I’m believe this is nothing more than a gay witch hunt. I heard stories about “flower” girls, young girls who would give you more than flowers in the square at Granada at night. Why isn’t the issue being addressed and STOPPED? I suspect someone wants Joluva’s property, something Jan and Francis have worked hard to build up, and fear it will be “confiscated” and taken away from them permanently. And as for underaged boys, the times I was there, I witnessed them asking for food or money OUTSIDE the front door and Jan, Francis or one of the workers shooed them away. Maybe a couple of times Jan might have handed them out something to eat—what a horrible thing to do….give a hungry kid something to eat. Jan and Francis helped Nicaragua and encouraged tourism in Granada by creating a welcoming envirnoment that made people like myself want to return to Granada. Now they are being persecuted for being gay, pure and simple. I don’t believe for one instanct that they EVER promoted child prostitution. I hope that gay newspapers, magazines and television channels get a hold of this story and run it. Jan and Francis deserve justice and I’m just afraid they won’t get it in Nicaragua. I had planned to return this year or next but if Jan and Francis are not treated fairly, Nicaragua will never again get my tourist dollars. There are other countries in Central America that I’d love to visit…guess Costa Rica and Panama are calling. Wake up Nicaragua! Granada is a lovely colonial city that is attractive to all folks, including gay people. They’ll come and spend there American dollars just like the straight folk. Don’t persecute gay people because of your outdated, homphobic machismo attitude! I wish someone would set up a fund to donate money to their legal defense. I don’t have a lot of money but I’d certainly throw some dollars their way!

  • robert

    hi, any new news about the hotel joluva?

    • Karl

      Unfortunately everything will stay closed for a long time.

  • rj

    We were planning a side trip to Granada from Costa Rica in May, but have decided to boycott Nicaragua until this plays out.

  • antonio

    I am an American who has stayed at the Joluva several times and who agrees with those here who say they never saw anything to indicate that underage boys were in any way involved. But although they understand it intellectually, it is still hard for many Americans to actually accept that in Nicaragua the law is what the authorities want it to be. Daniel Ortega is still president because he got his supporters on the supreme court to hold a secret meeting at which they overturned the constitutional provision against presidential reelection. In this case, if the police chief, the prosecutor and the judge, motivated by homophobia, xenophobia, greed – whatever – decide they want to “get” Jan and Francis, they would have no trouble finding a few poor underage boys whom they could coerce or bribe into making allegations. I strongly suspect that is what happened. The truth will be irrelevant.
    The newspaper reports that an American and a Canadian were also picked up. I assume they were guests and I am sure that I am not the only one who has thought that except for the coincidence of timing, that could have been me.
    If someone in this thread has contacts in Nicaragua, I hope he will keep us informed. I consider Jan and Francis to have been friends and I care what happens to them.

  • Darrick

    This is terrible. I am an American that has stayed at Hotel Joluva several times. Lived in Costa Rica and would go to Nicaragua every three months to renew my visa to return to CR. These guys were framed! Nothing inappropriate happening there. Its a small 3 room boutique hotel–who’s housekeeper is a straight male. Jan and Francis where kind to the community. They hide nothing. Doors open during the day.

    Outside the hotel you walk anywhere down the road an you are ambushed by young guys begging for money and um services. Its sad to hear that they are considered luring young boys. They kept them out. So many beggars there.

    This city is corrupt. At the shopping area among the straight folks I had a young boy on a bike come up to me and say for $50 he would take me on a boat to a near by island where I could have my way with a horny girl. Said she loved American guys. I was shocked and said no. Then he offered me some really good but cheap pot.

    Jan and Francis was refreshing to be around and made you feel at home. Normal people you could talk to in such a crazy environment. Not pimps. Come on…. This is a travesty.

  • Frequent Visitor

    JayR is absolutely correct. These owners have followed the law and respected the law. When I was there last summer, Jan would not even allow an 18 year old through the gate of the hotel entrance because there was no proof that the guy was really 18.

    Being gay is not a crime, having porn is not a crime~ hell they sell it on bootlegged CDs everywhere on the streets. These arguments are red herrings.

    If there were any 17-year-olds who felt uncomfortable, what is the point? Let’s not pretend that the police care about their street kids. On any given night, homeless hungry children are sleeping on the city’s sidewalks within blocks of Hotel Joluva. Do the police care that THESE kids feel uncomfortable? There are plenty of girls and boys under the age of 18 having sex on the streets in this country, no one really cares. In fact, prostitution is legal at the age of 14 in Nicaragua. It is well known that the police have even beaten these homeless kids. I know of one incident in Managua in which 2 policemen took a homeless a boy age 12 behind a store and made the kid give them oral sex. So let’s not pretend that the police care anything at all about the kids in Nicaragua. Let’s also no pretend that a 17 year old cannot make the decision as to whether or not he wants to participate in sex. If he truly feels uncomfortable, then he can just say no, no one is forcing anything there.

    There are also plenty of straight hotels who house straight people who come to Nicaragua to have sex, legal or otherwise.

    These police charges against Jan and Frances come with a monetary incentive. If they are able to make an accusation, the police stand to gain nearly $1 million in property. It’s a shake down, every policeman whom I have met in Nicaragua while driving trumps up a false charge and then wants a bribe to give you your license back.

    If you follow the chavalosdegranada.blogspot.com blog weekly, you will also discover that Jan has helped plenty of street kids to get medicine, food, and funeral services when they have needed it. If Jan is deported, plenty of dollars will stop flowing into Nicaragua, and plenty of kids will suffer without someone to help them.

    This whole episode is very unfair, unreasonable, illegal, and an abuse of power by the police.

  • Phill2

    this is stupid of course all of you guys who stayed at Joluva hotel will say wonderful things about them and theirs hotel because this is the cheapeast country to come and pay for sex.
    Once my friend took me to that hotel,, I went to check and what I thought was a lot of old fart sitting around with lot of younger boys , what a hell do the younger boys in a gay place!!!, Pleae be real,,, I am american but I wont pay for sex, poor people have dignity too

  • Frequesnt Visitor

    What is your point, Phil? Prostitution is not illegal in Nicaragua, or in most countries. I suppose if their national government wanted to make prostitution illegal, they know how to do it.

    When you say “younger boys”, you are implying “underage”, yet you cannot prove this, nor can anyone prove it. So let’s use the correct term here. What you saw was young adult men over tha age of 18 who are obviously gay and who get something, either pleasure, money, employment, or soemthing, out of being at the hotel. Using a term like “young boys” implies that there are children there being abused and taken advantage of.

    These men are free to be other places if they do not like being there. If you don’t want to pay for sex, then don’t. But don’t judge others who do.

    If you drive through the “zona rosa” in Managu, you will see some 100+ prostitues lining the streets nightly looking for customers to pay them for sex. Auto-hotels are everywhere, not to stay the night, but rather for people to have sex, many of them prostitutes, at an hourly rate.

    So let’s not shut down a business which provided vacations and relaxation, not to mention employment and a lot of tourist dollars, and pretend that this is a BAD thing that the Nicaraguan people wish would go away. The owners of this hotel are being singled out and robbed by a corrupt police force who cares nothing about their street children. I have personally been told by many of these street kids in Granada that the police regularly assualt them, kick them, rob them, sexually abuse them, and care nothing for their welfare.

  • Frequesnt Visitor

    One more point. To beleive that 17 year olds in Nicaragua are virgins is ridiculous. Many of them are parents themselves by age 15 or 16. Certainly a 17 year old is capable of making a decision whether or not to have sex, and 96% of them have already had sex by that age.

    Another point. When we say “Four 17-year-olds complained”, unless that is their birthday, then they are not 17. The average 17 year old is 17 1/2, since there are just as many of them closer to their 18th birthday as there are closer to their 17th birthday. So they are really 17 years and x number of months old. Pretending that a 17 year old is harmed because he had sex is ridiculous. In this country, prosititution is legal at the age of 14, at least that was the law until very recently. So if you believe that because a 17 & 6 month year old is a “victim” because he had consensual sex, then you are part of the problem.

    • antonio

      Lots of opinions here. I’m more interested in knowing what has happened to Jan and Francis. Is there a Belgian embassy in Managua? If so, has anyone contacted them?

  • Frequent Visitor

    Google “Friends of Joluva”, Jan is posting regularly with updates of their abuse.

    • antonio

      Thank you Frequent Visitor. I found his page.

  • Joe G

    My partner and I fell in love with Nicaragua while visiting ans purchased an Ocean view lot in San Juan Del Sur, After hearing about these hotel owners as well as Jason Purucal and Eric Volz, we decided to sell the lot we bought and will build elsewhere. As someone else said, I’d rather spend my gay money somewhere alse.

  • http://friendsofjoluva.blogspot.com/ Andale

    Won’t these Nicas ever learn??? They want to be the “next Costa Rica”, get all the money that tourism generates, all boats rising…..

    How do they go about doing that? The do stupid actions like taken against the guys of Joluva. They try and screw you at the airport when bringing things in. They pull over every gringo they see driving and try to get a bribe.

    I have learned something, fight back. I will argue until blue in the face at the airport with the customs guys when they try to make me pay tax on something allowed, and will recite back the info on the declaration form that PROVES I am allowed. I will ONLY pay a bribe to a transit police IF I actually did something wrong. They can blah blah blah all they want and I just argue back and tell them they should be ashamed of themselves and that their behavior is hurting the future of their country.

    If ALL of us stood our ground this crap would eventually be eliminated!

    • Thomas Love

      Nicaragua is a beautiful country and you should be ashamed to put it down….all because your boys sex club has been closed. Boo hooo

  • Jeff

    What happened to Jan, Francis and Barry? Is the trial finally over?

    • JayR

      They were convicted on all charges. Sentencing is Friday.The other three defendents were let go.

      • Jeff

        This is horrible and injust. Any word what the sentence will be?
        No wonder Barry did not answer my e-mail.

      • Jeff

        What an injustice!

        La sentencia para los extranjeros se
        conocerá en cinco días.
        LA PRENSA/L.VARGAS
        Lucía Vargas

        La fiscal Mariela Masís, pidió seis años de prisión por explotación sexual y otros seis años por el delito de promoción de turismo con fines de explotación sexual más 300 días de multa para los dos extranjeros que fueron condenados la madrugada del jueves en Granada.

        Los belgas Francis JR Defranco y Jan Kares Eugene Varden Broek, ambos de 50 años, fueron condenados por el judicial Alcides Muñoz, juez de Distrito Penal de Juicios de Granada, por los delitos de pornografía, explotación sexual y acto sexual con adolescente mediante pago.

        Las víctimas son cinco muchachos menores de 18 años. La defensa de los extranjeros, Lucia Flores, pidió cuatro años de prisión por el delito sexual y un año por el delito de pornografía.

        Dijo que sus clientes son decentes, llevan ocho años en el país y son empresarios que se dedicaban a trabajar en su hotel Joluva y un Club, en la comunidad La Laguna, donde estaban vendiendo lotes dirigidos a una comunidad gay. “Eso no es delito aquí ni en otras partes, no está penado en el Código Penal”, citó Flores.

        En el juicio fueron encontrados inocentes el norteamericano Lyals Barry Leroy, el nicaragüense Raúl Antonio Urbina y el canadiense David William Thomas.

        Todos habían sido capturados durante un allanamiento realizado en el Hotel Joluva, en marzo pasado.

        Este hotel ubicado cerca del mercado municipal, simulaba según la Fiscalía una actividad turística, pero era utilizado para invitar a otros extranjeros y realizar fiestas con adolescentes, los que eran sometidos a actividades sexuales con hombres mayores.

        • Mr Tibbs

          I hope ‘Barry’ was able to get his AIDs medication while he was in prison.

  • Nero

    Well said Andale, that’s the advise I give all foreigners.

  • Jeff

    Mariela Masís Prosecutor, ordered six years in prison for sexual exploitation and six years for the crime of promoting tourism sexual exploitation plus 300 days’ fine for two foreigners who were sentenced Thursday morning in Granada.
     
    The Belgians JR Francis Eugene Defranco and Jan Kares Broek Varden, both 50, were sentenced by the court Alcides Munoz, District Judge Criminal Trial of Granada, on charges of pornography, sexual exploitation and sex with teen payment.
     
    The victims were five boys under 18. The defense of foreigners, Lucia Flores, ordered four years in prison for the sexual offense and one year for the crime of pornography.
     
    He said his clients are decent, have eight years in the country and are entrepreneurs who are engaged in work in his hotel Joluva and Club, in the community of La Laguna, where they were selling lots targeted at a gay community. “That’s no offense here or elsewhere, is not punishable under the Penal Code,” Flores cited.
     
    At trial were found not guilty Leroy Barry Lyals American, Nicaraguan Raul Antonio Urbina and Canadian David William Thomas.
     
    All had been captured during a raid at Hotel Joluva last March.
     
    This hotel is located near the municipal market, according to the prosecution simulated a tourist activity, but was used to invite other parties to conduct foreign and adolescents, who were subjected to sexual activities with older men.

  • bigote

    As usual, the nica press did’nt exactly tell the truth. Yes, Jan and Francis were convicted, but only of a minor’s being at the pool one day (he had lied about his age) and organized crime (which allows the government to seize all their property, which was the object of all of this anyway). EVERY prosecution witness recanted on the stand and stated that the police had threatened them and told them what to say. No evidence of any wrong doing was presented against Jan and Francis other than the lone guy who testified he had lied about his age (and, but the way, looks 25) and just wanted to go swimming and saw nothing improper happening at the pool when he was there. Official sentencing is set for 20 days after the trial. The prosecution has recommended 6 years and the defense countered with 4 years. The police harrassed dozens of people in this ordeal and everyone questioned was robbed of their computers, money, cameras, and phones by the police who simply kept everything. The hotel and finca were plundered by the police and stipped to the walls of everything that could be stolen. The animals at the finca were slaughtered for a police barbeque there. Ultimately, the government is reponsible for allowing the police to do these sorts of things, which are increasingly common, in Nicaragua. There is now political unrest over the increased aggressiveness and corruption of the police and government. Since the last election, the corruption level has increased astronomically and the FSLN now controls everything. Do not invest in Nicaragua and if you are gay do not visit there if you value your safety and freedom. I lived in Granada during all of this and saw it first hand. I had to flee because of all of this. The police came for many innocent people in this ordeal…including me. I was lucky to escape.

  • Jeff

    The sentence was finally handed down, 5 long years for Jan and Francis.
    Surely they will appeal the sentence but this is Nicaragua and can take years. There is no justice in these countries, so if you are gay stay away!

  • Bio B

    Thank you Jeff for keeping us informed. I was not able to find any news on J & F and although many of us feel impotent to do anything, this shows that people still cares.

  • Jeff

    At this point there is nothing we can do for Jan & Francis. The appeal will take months if not years and on appeal they even might even receive a stiffer sentence. This is Nicaragua!
    What we all should learn is not to visit that country ever again, invest our gay $$ somewhere else and vote with our feet.

  • Jeff

    If you are interested how our friends are doing go to:
    http://friendsofjoluva.blogspot.com/

  • http://na Oscar

    The plain fact is that they used poverty in the third world for their own profit and to lure old closet cases who didn’t even care about using condoms with the poor boys. They didn’t care about the age of consent till it became clear they couldn’t go on, after they started the over 18 policy. They (J and F) made plenty of loot off sex tourism and after they get out of prison they should be kicked out of Nicaragua. Club Alegria (un airconditioned, over priced, in the middle of nowhere) was simply a sex farm. I am Gay and do not support them. I have nothing against adult prostitution but what they did wasn’t fair or healthy.

  • http://none Robert

    I agree with Oscar. I had long stopped going to the Joluva out of disgust over the situation there. After I heard someone had gotten sick, I questioned Jan about condoms (he was collecting a fee from the guys who did “massage”). His answer shocked me “We don’t get involved in their personal sex lives” We are talking about-really- KIDS IN NICARAGUA for christsake. And they would spread anything to other guests. He later assured me the boys knew about safe sex when he saw how upset I was. I gave out condoms and later heard they had a bowl. I also gave food money to poor David ( a 17 year old street prostitute) so he wouldn’t have to turn tricks there. Two of the almost constant customers were a 80 something Catholic Preist, Edgar, who was very arrogant and pretended he wasn’t there for sex. When Jan found him his own apartment, he was evicted the first night for having so many guys in! Trash tells! Another was a dirty looking drunk French Canadian who made a limp wristed parody of me behind my back. Of course, they were welcome because they spent money. My idea of being gay isn’t only getting the next trick and to wallow in life long self hatred. I never returned to the Joluva and can’t say I was sorry when I read it was closed although I do think it was wrong to arrest the employee.

    • http://none Robert

      typo “Priest”
      PS- I want to add that in spite of feelings against the sometimes inhuman atmosphere, I personally harbor no hatred for Jan and Francis and found them friendly and warm. I do hope they will be able to get out of prison, but also hope they do not have any more businesses in Granada.

  • Augustin Vargas

    At the trial it was brought up that 22 humanitarian organizations requested conviction. The five boys mentioned were as young as 14. We can only guess at how many more. Pedophiles will try to mask this as homophobia but others see through that. I can understand others have a hard time seeing the two owners as criminals because they were so “nice”. Hey, not all bad guys are stink-o when you meet them especially if they seek to gain money from you. I was once interested in buying a condo at Club Alegria because it was advetised as a gay place.. They took me up there on a dirt road. The price was more than I would pay for a condo in Miami and the model didn’t even have one closet or air conditioning. But two shower stalls next to each other so your…um..visitors could get in and out quickly. The young guys would be brought up twice weekly by the two owners. Give me a break, these two are criminals. I have a good mind to write to the judge when they appeal. Like many other gay men, I have a liberal idea about sex and try not to judge other’s sex lives. It doesn’t matter to me if someone pays or gets paid. Have we gone so far that we can’t see what these two did was just wrong? That it crosses the line? Or are their supporters these creeps who only care about one thing? Nicaragua shouldn’t be used as a toilet. I read three reasonable posters above: from Anon, from Oscar and from a Robert. I hope the owners made enough money because my take is that many supporters are like that Father Constant Sinner and will run from them now. (except for here)

  • Jeff

    We all know it was a gay brothel and a bad one at best. It’s just “straight” brothel owners don’t do time. Guess once they get out of jail they will leave Nicaragua voluntarily. I wish our jails in the US would be like that!

    • Gaetano

      Oscar and Augustin, I rented one of the paddle fan equipped condos at Club Alegria so-called “playground.” At trial 3 of the 5 were set free after being declared innocent. All the coerced witnesses either flipped on the witness stand or were sent home during the trial except for 1, a young man named Armando who unfortunately has the physical appearance of being in his mid-20s. He said he fibbed about his age, 17 and admitted to an afternoon of swimming, drinking 1 Tona beer and willingly joining a hotel guest back to his room. I own a home in Antigua and if every tourist or hotelier were arrested for situations like this Central America would need to build a great deal more prisons. In this case the investigating police were mislead by an informant who traded information for his freedom. After raiding 3 locations, 4 private homes and 4 businesses, coming up all but emptyhanded, that’s when the manufacturing of evidence and corruption began….except possibly Armando. Time will tell if he was also threatened, starved, bribed or coerced as some other local innocents complained in open court they were. This could have been anyone including me but I had moved elsewhere by the day of the unfortunate raids. Hopefully the Nicaraguan government will see how harmful this has been to their tourism and future business reputation and realize their ex-policeman informant sent 51 raiding paramilitary police down a rabbit hole.

  • A one time customer

    I agree with you Jeff except hetero pimps can also do time. I just heard they were found guilty and looked here. I want to recall my one visit to the Joluva:

    I went only knowing it was a gay hotel. Jan checked me in and was bubbly. There were three skinny young Nicaraguan guys hanging out near reception and trying to get my attention. Jan cautioned me in English not to give much money as “a hamburger goes a long way”. I had no intention.

    I soon saw a man about 90 come out of a room with three partly clad other young Nicaraguans. Jan, who loved to gossip about guests, told me he was a Preist from New York.

    There were two other guests in this more-grim-than-gay hotel. One I seldom saw who seemed to be sleeping off something. The other was a man from California who had difficulty walking. He ranted against President Obama and liberals. He says he bought a place at the Club they were promoting and I looked at the website to see a photo of him that must have been taken 40 years prior. Not trying to be catty, it is just the truth. I wondered why he didn’t stay there since Jan was claiming the Club was ready for residents. But at the time, no one did.

    Anyway, I kept thinking: all this way for this? It’s over now. Can’t blame the Nicaraguans for saying “enough”.

    • Wilmer

      With that much detail “A One Time Customer” Robert, I remember the very day you arrived my friend! What I was sleeping off turned out to be a horrid case of dengue fever and you better hope the mosquito that bit me never makes it your way; I apologize for seeming impolite.
      I got to know the opinionated Hillary Clinton admirer from California who thought President Obama won using underhanded tactics against her. You’ll be happy to know he survived the aggressive staph infection in his leg bones and after 3 years, grafting, orthopedic miracles can finally walk normally. Perhaps it now makes sense why he chose to stay in town center and not try to maneuver around the underdeveloped Finca property to stay in his hacienda unit there until he could walk? I think we can both agree the Nicaragua handicap-friendly standards are a bit lacking compared to our home state of Florida, Lol.
      With the progress the guy has made without so much as a whimper at the rate he’s going maybe he’ll look like that vintage photo once again. At least he seems that young at heart so kudos to the west coaster!
      The observations, digs about “skinny” locals seems so unnecessary. With Jan’s suggestion why didn’t you just buy them a couple hamburgers, a pizza or a budget meal from Chico Tripa 1? If you think the economic situation and malnourishment was bad then, one can only imagine what impact the loss of construction and other jobs has had by now between the world economy, these events’ mixed messages and wobbly tourism throughout the Nicaragua countryside.
      In an ironic twist the ex-policeman you took quite a, ahem, “personal interest” in is the one who landed in hot water for failing to uphold his promise “To Protect & Serve” the public. We both know the fellow we’re speaking of and it was HE who turned informant to the Nicaraguan Police. His wildly exaggerated tales and yarn spinning in exchange for his freedom from prison sent over 4 dozen professional lawmen on a wild goose chase around Greater Granada. One has to wonder how that overimaginative fellow is viewed in legal circles and among his prior peers these days.
      Another ironic twist is Delta Airlines reports an all-time record percentage of tourism to Nicaragua and Guatemala is now evangelicals and missionaries. Maybe the Padre was doing covert missionary work and the joke’s on you? After all, he spent no time with the ex-cop who turned out to be full of hot air……right?
      In closing, we all seem to agree prison sentences for what was and wasn’t proven in court with notoriously coercive tactics is beyond the pale. If these guys were worried about or hiding things they wouldn’t have had the open door/open records policy extended (and accepted) by countless inspecting agencies including the local Police. Let’s hope for justice soon just as I would for anyone posting here or in such a predicament.

  • Nilda

    One of the imprisoned owners mentioned here told me a hair raising story that he thought was funny when I stayed at the hotel. It was about a 350 lb guy from the rural US who felt he could not be openly Gay at home but when he visited Nicaragua he went wild. He went to the street and went up to young boys saying “I pay $5″ and stating exactly what he wanted. The poverty in Nicaragua ensured he was not turned down. He brought them back to the hotel. One night, one of the many boys demanded more money and a shouting match ensued. An unsuspecting couple had checked in and ran out in a fright. All the while Jan told me this he was lughing thinking it was funny, but I just thought it was sad. Upon that and other things I knew this place would come to no good end.

  • Nilda

    Ex cops? Priest hypocrites? A gay hotel? It takes all kinds I guess.

  • Evelyn

    MAYBE THE PADRE WAS DOIN COVERT MISSIONARY WORK AND THE JOKES ON YOU?? No the joke is on the promoters as the courts didn’t buy it. Thanks Dispatch for your first rate article. Send the comment sections to the judge who will decide the appeal. I totally support Chief Sobalvarro.

  • Freddy

    My name is Freddy, a Nicaraguan from Granada. My boyfriend and I went to Club Alegria regularly. It was the only place where it was OK to hold hands in public or kiss each other without other people staring at us or making nasty comments. We had been going there for the last 2 or 3 years. Our only place where we felt comfortable in the whole of Granada is gone now. We know the developers and most of the hacienda owners at Club Alegria and they are all good, decent people. They always did everything humanly possible to avoid the situations like they are accused of. I can honestly say I have seen with my own eyes many of the good works they did, schools they supported, the flood-devastated roads they repaired, the families they were helping.
    Sadly, in the 30 years I have been living in Granada I have never seen any of these 22 organizations offer any sort of help to anybody and Lord only knows what their funding is used for.
    Believe me, I am ashamed as a Granadino for the young girls, some just 8 or 9 years old, offering themselves in Parque Central! Where are these 22 supposedly do-gooder organizations when things like this happen on a daily basis in our most visable part of the city? Many tourists are shocked and horrified when these young girl children offer their services as prostitutes. Turning their blind eye to these but as soon as the Gay community is involved in any way, there the groups appear! If this is not discriminatory and homophobic, what it is?
    By the way, the comments left by Oscar, Robert and Augustin are simply ridiculous. The Gay men such as my boyfriend and I always met at Hotel Joluva to get a ride to Club Alegria in the bed of a truck. There were always leaflets about safe sex displayed, as well as dozens of free condoms available for anyone including married hotel employees to take. In fact, part of these condoms were actually donated by a Nicaraguan government-subsidized organization for the prevention of AIDS, HIV and STDs: CEPRESI.
    To me is is very clear these posters either don’t know what they are talking about or intentionally telling lies. “Two-shower stalls?” There was 1 shower and it was completely open air, in view for rising off before and after swimming in the pool.
    In summary, no longer having a safe place to go for myself and my Gay friends is a very big loss for us. It reveals the extreme homophobic attitude we are suffering in Granada these days. Good luck to you my friends and know the Granada Gay community supports you both 100%. All our best, Freddy & Friends

  • Jan and Francis

    This is a post from Jan and Francis from jail. We have received and read the different comments on this article. To the both of us, it is more than clear that Nilda, Evelyn, Agustin, Robert “one time visitor” are all one, and the same person who actually stayed 5 times at Joluva.
    On his last visit, he had a problem with 2 of our guests. From that moment on, he started a cruisade against Joluva and the both of us. He insisted we threw out the other 2 guests for a silly personal reason.
    I know people are smart enough to see right through him. This is not the place to discuss that person, but feel free to read what this person is really like on the Friends of Joluva blog (WTC post which will be posted in a couple of days).
    We would like to ask you not to read on any of his posts as it simply isn’t worth the time.
    Thank you

  • JayR

    This Nilda/Evelyn etc. is completely distorting everything and obviously is the same person in that series of posts who is trying to provide false evidence against Jan & Francis. I heard the story about the guy offering young men on the street $5 a pop too, but Nida et al distorted the story. Jan kept this guy from taking any underage boys to the hotel and didn’t allow him to come back to the hotel again. This guy would have easily been able to take anyone he wanted unquetioned to many hotels in Granada, but not Joluva. Joluva checked ID’s. Joluva was doing the job for the police by not allowing underage guys in the club and hotel. I stayed at Hotel Spa Granada and had no problem bringing a guy back to my room at night, no questions asked, no ID checked. He looked like he could be 17-21, hard to tell, but I asked to see his ID, and he was an adult. Jan either had previously ID’d or ID’d every guest I brought to Joluva. Jan & Francis were convicted for what goes on at other non-gay hotels every night in Granada. They were convicted to 5 years in prison based on one 17 y.o. using a false ID, that looked in his mid-twenties, slipping into Club Alegria and Joluva with a guest. A trusted friend who lived in Granada at the time told me he never would have guessed this guy was under 23 years old. NO other hotel owner in the western world would have been convicted of this. This is like the Salem Witch Trials, one teenager making things up started this and got the authorities all whipped up. It’s clear this was just a gay witch hunt!

  • Paul Kilmer

    I support the Nicaraguan Government which is not anti gay. It appears that the supporters of this sex club will tell any lie and have made up multiple names. The conviction is just.

  • Evelyn

    Great article! BEST CHRISTMAS!

  • Pingback: Are gay tourists boycotting Granada over Joluva?

  • jennifer

    jenniferDecember 23, 2012

    I AM GLAD THAT THIS PEOPLE ARE IN JAIL,,, THIS IS NOT ABOUT BEING GAYS THIS ABOUT HAVING UNDER AGE KIDS GIVING SEXUAL SERVICES …DONT TRY TO MAKE IT SOUND THAT IS AGAINST SEXUAL PREFERENCES …. I HOPE THAT JUSTICE KEEP GETTING THE PEOPLE IN JAIL PEOPLE THAT ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF KIDS AND POBERTY

  • http://none Texas Toast

    I don’t care about cons personal problems. They had a fair trial

    • JayR

      What a joke. You know absolutely nothing about what happened if you think there was a fair trial. I can assure you trials are bought and paid for by one side or another in Nicaragua.

  • Lawrence

    I live here where I am posting this. I am not boycotting and think these convicted pimps and child molestors should take their time like a man and not try to use a politcal movement

  • Bob

    The idea that Jan and Francis had a fair trial is patently absurd. I just wish they had not done some of the things that they did. These young guys were indeed being exploited, it happens all over the world, in 1st 2nd and 3d world countries. The idea that they were all “willing” participants begs the question of what “willing” means. Even if they were all 18 years old and “legal” just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s okay. Frances was far more troubled by the reputation and the goings on of Joluva than Jan was. I think it’s a question of personal morality, which each person must define for himself. Some people see nothing wrong with paying someone $5 for sex. Others think that having sex with someone for money who is desperately poor, is very troubling. I wonder how these guys are faring now that they can no longer sell themselves. At the end of the day, however, I don’t think that Jan and Frances deserve to be in prison for 5 years. Deported, maybe. The sex trade is a dirty world and nothing good ever comes of it. People should be free to do as they please, but also, some people, even consenting adults, need to be protected.

    • JayR

      Most of the same guys who were hanging around the hotel and the pool are still constantly offering their services to former and new clients in Granada and elesewhere. Some have moved to Costa Rica. At least one killed himself when his family found out. A lot of people who were working at the hotel and the finca are unemployed now. The police have caused a lot more harm than good.
      It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg, which came first, the prostitute or the pimp? Or which came first, the John or the prostitute. There’s been many times in Latin America that I’ve been talking to a guy and he comes on like he’s interested in me and then wants to charge. And same thing happened when I was 26 and thin and very cute, so you can’t tell me it’s just because of the age difference now. In many countries, like Nicaragua, many gay & bisexual men maintain the illusion they are straight by charging for sex. And I think the “recruitment” process went something like this:
      “hey cousin, there are some foreign “cochones” at this hotel and pool that are paying $20 so you can boink them and let them suck your willy. What, cousin are you a cochon?!
      No, cousin, look here’s the money (or the liquor they’ve already spent the money on most likely), and I don’t enjoy it, and I’m the man always, so I’m not a cochon, and they buy you drinks at the pool and you get to go swimming.
      Wow, I don’t know cousin, sounds like cochonadas to me, but I guess if you are getting paid and you are the man then it’s OK. That’s a lot of money. That’s more money getting my willy sucked than I would make in a week working. How do I meet these rich foreign cochones?
      You can get a ride on the back of the truck going to the pool or you can hang out outside the hotel for a cochon to show up or we take turns waiting around using the computer at the hotel.
      OK, cousin, I’ll give it a try.”
      Most of the guys who hung out at Joluva and Club Alegria were related, close friends, or from the same nighborhood. Jan & Franics did not have to recruit them or pimp them out. Many of them were looking for easy access to easy money, a good time, and some to express their sexuality within the limited constrains of their society, and they found that at Joluva and Club Alegria. And it would be totally wrong to lable all guests at Joluva as Johns looking for barely legal locals. There were even straight guests at Joluva.
      Potentially, the only diferrence between any gay bar in Latin America and the hotel was that the guests met the guys at the same place they had sex with them. So does that mean the owners of gay bars should all be arrested too because a certain percentage of the guys at the bars are going to wind up charging for sex? Why do you think many gay men go to bars? Are gay bars promoting sex tourism? See where this goes. Do you see the bigger picture? If we can’t have our own bars, can’t have our own hotels, then what have the last 44 years of struggle been for? See why this is a civil rights issue?

      • Tony

        I think you hit it on the button….the tourists met the guys AT THE SAME PLACE they stayed and played. Aside form any political or social debate its that fact that probably sunk the joluva. Im sure it wasn’t a quick thing but obviously that seems to be a line in the sand in Nicaragua as im sure that the closing of the joluva has not changed much on the ground but im sure there is an element that is satisfied with its closing due its “business model”. They didnt get a fair trial it seems or a just one but they failed to do things in a culturally sensitive way where obviously NOBODY cares about IDs but about reputation and perception.

  • David

    Stop trying to use a civil rights cause to get out of prison for criminal activity. These two don´t give a damn about homophobia and I was present when Francis said ¨I hate queens¨ It was all about the money, money money and despite the mask and the howls from the johns that is all it is about. I guess your business sense isn´t so great after all as you have made a mess of your lives so stop the blame game

    • Bob

      Maybe when he said that, he was referring to those flamboyant busy bodies who were always meddling into other people’s business and causing drama. Nobody likes them, but there are a lot of those guys around.

      • JayR

        Jan told me the story of one of these drama “queens” that was causing trouble with the other guests. It bad for business to have these snakes, as I prefer to call them, around a small hotel. He was not allowed back and I believe he has posted several negative comments here. Everyone in the gay community knows that these kind of toxic people exist and avoid them like the plague unless they are one themselves.

      • Thomas Love

        Sounds like gossip maven Jan or maybe ‘Michael Allen’ who have now been kicked out of whole nations!

  • LutzKaminski

    Mirror mirror

    No one cares about the silly personal problems of these liars and jailbirds

    • JayR

      Apparently you do or you wouldn’t be posting here.

  • Jeff

    They are now locked up for 11 months. Any news on an appeal?

    • LaTeDa

      It ain’t happening now. Like everything else the cons have said, it is bull ( like this bust was anti gay, it wasn’t a young boys brothel, a big boycott and international tourist boycott of Nicaragua take place, etc.) They are in prison still and I am here to laugh. That real estate rip off on the LGBT community is a thing of the past. It is over, fellas.

  • Tony

    After stumbling on this thread and reading about the case and situation I came to the conclusion that the Joluva just went too far. Its true that prostitution is everywhere in Nicaragua if you look for it and it is based on the economic plight of the poor. That said NOBODY forces anybody into prostitution and guys who are poor don’t all go out and become prostitutes. The exploitation argument is rather false. It comes down to Do I want 5 dollars a day or do something else that will make me 30?? Few if any of those boys are in any emergency situation. Furthermore, the owners should have known that once your name got out and became associated with something perceived as bad in that society you were going to have problems. Reputation is everything in Latin America…you need to keep up pretenses. Had they run a gay establishment and not made it so open about it OR especially made it easy to connect with locals they may have still been around. There are other way of providing accommodations and tours to gay clients even if at the end you know your clients bring in guests etc..The joluva owners seemed to have stepped on somebody’s toes and made themselves unwelcomed…the next step was an easy prediction in lawless Nicaragua.. a shut down. The whole case has so many angles that seemed to have played out a perfect storm. I wish them well!

    • not illegal in Nicaragua

      I’m just glad I was there during the quiet before the perfect storm, and feel really bad for all the collateral damage that was done to people that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • Richard Lloyd

    What can you tell me about David Rodriguez, the one that the owner paid the police because he was found at the hotel having sex, and David was 14 years old!!! now dead !!!
    Or the 4 brothers Jan and Francis got from the street, Jonathan, Eynar who passed away and two other brothers, 13 and 14 years old who were taken to this hotel and have sex for money? ask for them at el Raizon and they can tell how bad they felt when they were taken there and being told to to recieve help such shoes, clothes but then they had to have sex,,, come on, they were playing with their dignity …..
    so many things that people does not know, and i will tell names

    Ray

    • not illegal in Nicaragua

      So, tell the names. According to a google search El Raizon is a hotel near Masaya, right? Jan and Francis were released from prison on Monday according to their blog. It’s over. Also, means that there is no need for anyone to lie or hold their punches any more pro or con. I think there are several of us who had varying degrees of knowledge of what was going on at Joluva. I knew there were a steady supply of young, adult male prostitutes hanging out inside and outside Joluva. They were presented to me as passing by or waiting for someone, but was told by Jan just to ask them back to my room. When I asked him how much I should pay them, he said that’s between you and the guy, but the going rate was $20. The employees would offer massages and then a client could pay more for extra services which supposedly was strictly between the Nica guy and the guest. The same for the guys at Club Alegria. The truck would pick up Nica guys on the way to the pool, but there and was obvious they wanted to hook up with a foreigner for money, but mostly they just seemed to get free drinks and food from the guests and have a good time playing at the pool. They all seemed to want to go back to the hotel with the guest.
      In total I had sex with 5 different adult male prostitutes at Joluva. Also picked up two adult male prostitutes while in Granada on one trip before staying at Joluva and one after Joluva was closed, and now that I connected with a lot of the group that would hang out at Joluva, have had sex with another 4 adult male prostitutes on my last trip to Granada. Bottom line, it’s not illegal. I’m sure that none of them were under age.
      What I found out after the fact, after Joluva was closed, and what all these guys that were hanging out at Joluva have now told me is that Jan & Francis were taking a 50% cut of all prostitution at Joluva. I was never able to confirm that they deliberately pimped out minors, just that a few slipped in because most Nicas don’t have ID’s because they can’t afford them. In retrospect, there were a couple of strange things I noticed about their website, one was the photo of the two chavalos brothers with one with his fly open and the other with his hand on the that boy’s thigh. Never noticed it until after Joluva was closed. There was also an odd internet icon with a name from an Egyptian myth of pedophilia or homosexuality, depending on your take on it. The only other thing I know is that there was a book or menu either electronic or actual of guys available to meet foreigners, but was never presented as an escort service, more as Nica guys looking for a foreigner to take care of them and Joluva was just doing everyone a favor. Again, in retrospect of now having been told that Joluva was receiving a 50% cut of all prostitution, I would assume they would receive their cut from that arrangement too.
      So, they served about a year and half in jail, house arrest, jail again, and prison. They lost some property and their business and what remains has been greatly devalued I would imagine. So, they were punished for promoting something that isn’t even illegal and as far as I can tell a few underage guys got in the mix by accident. Sounds like they were more than sufficiently punished.
      So, name names. Where, when, what, who, and how? Just because I didn’t see it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening, but if it did and you have knowledge, let’s hear it.

      • Harrold Guttermann

        Pimping is ILLEGAL in Nicaragua as is using sex to promote tourism. If you feel it should not be,fine, but they did break the laws. Only those in support of them have a motivation to lie. AND, that picture on the website they had of underaged boys included Gabriel, a boy Jan invited back to the hotel for personal attention, shall we say? Those who visited Joluva in the later years can honestly say they had an 18 plus policy…it was AFTER they already had run ins with the corrupt police.

        • not illegal in Nicaragua

          I think that there are people who are neither in support nor oppose Jan & Francis that simply remained silent because we really didn’t have all the facts of what was going on and didn’t want to make the situation worse. I’ve learned more details since they were in jail, but saw no need to kick a dog when he is down. I have no ill will toward them.

  • Mr Tibbs

    They lost the appeal and have been kicked out

  • Mr Tibbs

    There is nothing left for them but to foam at the mouth from Antwerp at so many as they do on their stupid blog: railing against various Nicaraguan officials, against even their own workers Marvin and Isaac. Against their former boy toys Bosco and Norlan. They take not a bit of blame for themselves and are still trying to collect money. Not a word for those who lost many thousands buying at Club Alegria. Not a word about Barry .Pathetic.

  • Thomas Love

    The comments above from Richard Lloyd are true. It is a fact they abused minors but were able to stay open for several more years by paying the police and having an over 18 policy.
    Of course the old johns found Jan wonderful even while he told all their private business and made his money. But in the end it was a fiasco and this self proclaimed former nude model Jan (may I have a vomit bag?) And his dour partner in crime ended up spending over a year in the most stinking jail, convicted child molestors and pimps forever and at 50 something are back with mommy in Europe. How smart. But as “JayR” says, they are the smartest he knows! Lol, can not dispute that!

    Thanks for presenting the real deal, ND, and know that the many gays and straights against these stupid monsters are screaming with glee over all this.

    • JayR

      Even very intelligent people make dumb mistakes sometimes. Maybe their biggest mistake was throwing out a public official when she asked for a bribe to make this all go away before it happened. I think the final laugh will be theirs. Only time will tell. Certainly Jan was very entertaining with his stories and it was fun to be at Joluva talking for hours with some of the older guests. I saw a photo of Jan when he was 20 something and he was very hot!
      You are right, Nicaragua is a beautiful country, flawed, but beautiful. I have been back several times since Joluva closed and now stay at La Islita, which is gay owned, more upscale, certainly is not the same atmosphere as Joluva. I enjoyed Joluva in Costa Rica too. These places both attracted some interesting international characters.
      If you know about the deep dark secrets that Joluva supposedly once housed, please give the details, names, dates, etc.
      You mentioned something about Michael Allen being banned from Nicaragua too. Is that right or were you referring to only Jan & Francis?