Augusto Sandino and Carlos Fonseca.
The two heroes of the revolution. In 1984 the National Palace was still a ruin, but in Somoza's time it
was the seat of
government. It was the site of a daring action by the Sandinistas, in which a squad of masked Sandinistas broke
into the Palace during a legislative session—or a big party, maybe—and held a large number of government officials
hostage. They demanded that Somoza release a number of jailed FSLN fighters, give the FSLN a lot of money, and fly
them to Cuba.
And he did. Commandante Daniel Ortega, now running for the presidency of Nicaragua, was one of those released
in that episode. Somoza was pretty steamed.
Another Sandinista militant, the flamboyant
Eden Pastora, made a name for himself in that action: Commadante Cero (Commander Zero). The widely circulated
story is that his fame went to his
head, and when he was not given the kind of honored postion he felt he deserved in the post-triumph government,
he became a contra.
But, he took great pride in being an independent contra. Operating out of Costa Rica, he had
little regard for the U.S. lackeys operating out of Honduras, and refused to coordinate his activities with
them. But, he served a purpose, so the CIA funded him for a while, until his arrogance and relative
ineffectiveness led to a falling out. As much as he claimed to be a genuine, populist alternative to the
Sandinistas, though, his tactics were reported by human rights organizations to be no less brutal than
those of his northern counterparts.