The mothers of the heroes and martyrs of Estelí talk about their fallen family members, August, 1984. Experimental video made with Sandin Image Processor. / Las madres de héroes y mártires de Estelí hablan de la familia caida, agosto 1984. Estelí heróico, Nicaragua libre.
00:15Copy video clip URL Title and opening credits, “The mothers of heroes and martyrs, August 1984. Heroic Esteli, free Nicaragua.”
00:30Copy video clip URL Dinamaura Laras Martinez talks about the death of her daughter, Marta Leon Torres, who she describes as a “hero and a martyr” in the revolution. Torres died at the age of twenty-four, leaving behind a daughter. Torres’ husband also died, so the daughter is left without either of her parents. A plainclothes police officer took a photograph of Torres and took a photograph of her. When she noticed that the police identified her, she fled into the mountains and did not return until a year later. Around that time, the Sandinistas fought a battle in Jicaro and then came into Esteli. On Good Friday, April 13, the army came to Martinez’s home with the photos of her daughter. She denied that she knew the person in the photo, and so the soldiers hit Martinez and dislocated her spine. They also threatened her nine-year-old son.
02:10Copy video clip URL Martinez says the Sandinistas retreated on April 14, and she said her final farewell to her daughter as Torres left to continue fighting. The army ambushed them and Torres was seriously wounded. Afterwards, Martinez and others were rounded up in the university. She was informed of her daughter’s condition. Torres was shot with a fifty caliber bullet and “her breasts and her thighs were slashed and they removed her clothes.” Martinez and the others spent the night in the university, and the fighters died without a wake.
03:24Copy video clip URL They had no water to give their children because the army would not allow it. When the army did bring a truckload of water, it was dirty water brought from the sports club swimming pool. The bodies of the deceased were burned with gasoline, and the families could not obtain the bodies until after the liberation in August. The bodies were in terrible condition, and many people had to cobble together the bodies of their dead relatives. The situation is very painful for the mothers and their families.
5:25Copy video clip URL Martinez is thankful that someone is there for them now, where before they felt like animals and “screamed to the whole world when they were burning us down.”
06:00Copy video clip URL Alejandra Picado Martinez is the mother of another fighter who died in San Juan de Rio Coco. Her son and his friend were killed by members of the army who tied them to a jeep, dragged them around the block, and burned them. Her son’s body was returned to her after the liberation. His body was torn apart by the army to take his engagement ring and his boots. Martinez cuts her testimony short because the memories are still very painful.
8:00Copy video clip URL Martinez thanks the videomakers for coming to Nicaragua to live among the poor in order to learn about their difficulties. She explains that their situation is still quite difficult because of the lack of resources and the destruction of their property.
8:40Copy video clip URL Martinez says that in the five years since the revolution, “we have had about fifty years of advances compared to Somoza’s time.”
9:51Copy video clip URL A woman describes the torture faced by those who are captured by the contras. Members of the Nicaraguan army who are captures by the contras go through incredible physical torture, including a form of torture called the “necktie operation,” whereby the man’s tongue is pulled through a slit in the man’s chin so that it hangs down like a necktie. She thinks that it would be better to just burn all of the members of the army at once instead of subjecting them to so much torture. She disagrees with Reagan’s disapproval of the revolution in Nicaragua, and does not think that the United States should meddle in the affairs of their country.
11:40Copy video clip URL End of tape.