San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Life of Martyred Journalist Depicted in New Book

This slim book uses vignettes to tell the tale of a martyred journalist who in life denounced the repressive Somoza family dictatorship, and by dying gave momentum to the revolution that eventually overthrew it.
The stories about Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, assassinated 30 years ago, are touching, and author Luis Rocha was soundly commended by some of the most celebrated minds in Nicaragua, who attended the Jan. 30 release party in Managua.
“Its only defect is its brevity,” said former Sandinista Vice President and internationally renowned author and intellectual Sergio Ramirez.
The book is a quick 78 pages.
Those in attendance included members of the influential Chamorro family, which owns both the dailies La Prensa and El Nuevo Diario, and other popular critics of President Daniel Ortega. As the author does in the book, many used the dead journalist’s name to validate their own criticism about the current administration and, in effect, compare current Sandinista leadership with the repressive Somoza dictatorship.
“The best chapter is still being completed by the people, who have decided to defend their freedom and never again listen to the siren calls of messianic leaders who offer to exchange it for false paradises and true dictatorships,” said Danilo Aguirre, a legendary journalist here and editor of El Nuevo Diario, reading the prologue he wrote for Rocha’s book.
Aguirre and Rocha both worked with Chamorro at La Prensa.
Rocha uses two vignettes and the symbolism of a caged bird to attack current First Lady and poet Rosario Murillo, who was once Chamorro’s secretary at the newspaper.
Then, she was a young woman discovering freedom like a bird out of a cage; today she owns of that cage, Rocha concludes.
“In time, corrupt and oppressive systems recycle and reproduce themselves,” he read, to a response of appreciative murmurs and emphatic nods.

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