Nicaraguan police nab 8 more in massacre

One of the suspects allegedly has ties to Mexican drug cartel Zetas


Nicaragua’s National Police have captured eight men — one allegedly with ties to the Mexican drug cartel known as “Los Zetas” — who will face charges of authoring and executing the July 19 attack on a Sandinista caravan, which killed five people and injured 24 others.

Police Chief Aminta Granera called a press conference Thursday afternoon in Managua to present the eight men to the press. The men, handcuffed and dressed identically in gray t-shirts and blue pants, were paraded out by masked police officers. A ninth suspect remains at large, according to police.

Granera was quick to dismiss suspicions that the suspects belonged to a rearmed contra group, despite the apparently political nature of the attack. The police chief hailed the work of state security, and refuted reports that police have been “disappearing” as in the days of the Somoza dictatorship.

Gonzalo Carrion, of Nicaragua’s Permanent Commission on Human Rights (Cenidh), told Nicaragua Dispatch earlier this week that masked security agents have been kicking in doors in Matagalpa and dragging suspects from their beds in the small hours of the morning, without warrants, explanation or any semblance of due process. Carrion said Cenidh considered the nabbed suspects to be “disappeared” — a politically charged term coined during the dark days of past dictatorships in Latin America.

That’s not the case, says Granera.

“Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, the combined efforts by the National Police and the Nicaraguan Army have made it possible for us to fulfill our pledge— we have clarified this in record time, thanks to the work of both institutions in an extremely complicated case, due to the magnitude of a massacre never before seen in our Nicaragua,” Granera said on Thursday.

The detained suspected are identified as: Leonel Antonio Poveda Palacios (48), aka “Nahúm”, José Ricardo Cortez Dávila (61), aka “La Cobra”, Eddy Antonio Gutiérrez Delgadillo (37), aka “El Tigre”, Jairo Alberto Obando Delgadillo, aka “Tatún”, José Olivar Meza Raúdez (47), Wilfredo Balmaceda Castrillo (54), Rosendo Antonio Huerta González (43) and Zacarías Cano Angulo (41), aka “El Zanate”. The suspect who remains at large is identified as Pablo Manuel Martínez Ruiz (55), aka “Yalí,” who police identified as the principal shooter.

The police have not mentioned any possible motive for the massacre, raising doubts about who the suspects really are and what their intended goal was.

Earlier this month, police captured three Sandinista men and accused of participating in the massacre by throwing rocks at the buses and forcing the driver to slow down, providing the other men with an opportunity to open fire.

  • ateam043

    The police in Nicaragua, unfortunately, is basically the body guard of the “president”.
    I was in C. Dario, near Matagalpa when the massacre occurred. On the day after, I was outside chatting with friends around 9 pm when police driving by (with FSLN flags) stated to go back to our homes before we get arrested due to suspicious activity. Since when is chatting with friends outside your own home suspicious?
    Being that C. Dario is a dominant area where there are liberals, there was nightly raids at homes of political persons that ran against the FSLN in the previous elections.
    This whole scenario screams of political propaganda to blame anyone going against the government. Heck, they even charge the driver of the bus that was shot at as a accomplice; all this while he was being shot at himself.
    Unfortunately Nicaragua is turning into Venezuela. A leader running as a president, but we all too well know he is going the way of a dictator.

  • Derryl Hermanutz

    It is unfortunate that the choice seems to be between socialist dictatorship where the government rules the economy, or capitalist dictatorship where global corporations dictate the terms under which they will “invest” in the nation and “business-friendly” governments acquiesce. The social welfare states of Western Europe and Canada have so far managed to distribute the benefits of industrial capitalism to their populations. But 10s of millions of formerly middle class Americans, and the populations of Latin American targets of global corporate investment, have not fared so well. Mobile global capital pulls in when the government gives away the farm, then pulls out when the government requires the corporation to contribute to the nation’s social welfare state. Modern global capital usually takes more than it gives to nations, contrary to the neoliberal promises of prosperity for all. The prosperity is very narrowly distributed, and the costs are very widely borne, by the people of the nation. E.g. Walmart’s low US wages in high cost of living cities are subsidized by American taxpayers who provide food stamps and social housing to impoverished Walmart employees. American jobs are shipped to China, and cheap Chinese consumer goods are sold at Walmart. American consumers get low prices at the expense of higher taxes and lost jobs. Democratic government is supposed to serve the interests of the majority and the nation as a whole, not serve some special interests within the nation at the expense of others. That’s a tough act to pull off in today’s environment of tariff-free trade and mobile global capital seeking the lowest cost nations to set up shop in.

  • Ken Morris

    Without a motive, we don’t yet have a plausible narrative. Meanwhile, there are enough questions about who is running the show and to what end to wonder whether these recently arrested guys are guilty or sacrificial lambs. Even so, I found it hard to believe the previous story that three Sandinistas were the culprits, and while re-armed Contras makes sense, I haven’t seen much hard evidence of this. My guess is that we’re on the path of learning the truth, but aren’t quite there yet. Keep us apprised, Tim.