San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

'Comandante Jahob' stirs ghosts of Contra insurrection

Year in Review

The ghosts of a counterrevolutionary insurgency were awakened this year when former contra special forces commander José Gabriel Garmendia, known by the codename “Comandante Jahob,” returned to the mountains in July and declared war on President Daniel Ortega, promising to remove the president from office “with bullets” if Ortega refuses to step down when his term ends in January 2012.

“I am prepared to be a guerrilla fighter, I am prepared from a political-military point of view to confront the Army,” said Jahob, who was reportedly trained in sabotage and espionage by the Argentines and CIA in the 1980s.

Ortega said Jahob is a common criminal with ties to drug-traffickers and Honduran military officials. Ortega accused the opposition media of “saying marvelous things” about Jahob, and “converting a delinquent into a guerrilla leader.”

Friends of Jahob told The Nica Times this year that the former contra commando is being manipulated by “those who fantasize about war” and that he’s not leading a rearmed movement, rather is hiding from the government because “he feels cornered.”

Jahob’s alleged rebellion had not produced any military actions by the end of the year. His whereabouts, true intentions and number of followers remains unknown.

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