Former Sandinista guerrilla Hugo Torres Jimenez, retired brigadier general and political prisoner by orders of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo since June 2021, died at the age of 73, after more than two months in which the dictatorship kept his physical whereabouts and health condition hidden.
In 1974, Torres risked his life in an operation to free a group of political prisoners of the Somoza dictatorship, among them Ortega, who ordered his imprisonment on June 13, 2021, during the political witch hunt against the Nicaraguan opposition in the months leading up to the November electoral farce.
Journalist Carlos F. Chamorro, director of Confidencial, published on his Twitter account that sources linked to Unión Democratica Renovadora (UNAMOS), of which Torres was a member, revealed that the retired general died Saturday, and recalled that since mid-December his whereabouts in the El Chipote prison, where he was seriously ill, were unknown.
On June 13, 2021, amid the Ortega and Murillo regime arresting several members of UNAMOS, the Police arrested Torres at approximately two o’clock in the afternoon, after raiding his home in Managua.
“I am 73 years old. I never thought that at this stage of my life I would be fighting in a civic and peaceful way against a new dictatorship,” Torres said in a video recorded before his arrest.
The Police statement alleged that Torres was detained to be investigated for “acts that undermine independence, sovereignty and self-determination,” based on the catch-all Law 1055 or “Sovereignty Law,” approved by the regime in December 2020.
Missing since December 2021
In early January, in an article published in Confidencial, the also FSLN dissident (after denouncing the pact of Daniel Ortega and Arnoldo Aleman in the late nineties) and guerrilla commander, Monica Baltodano, revealed that “it is public that on December 17, 2021, Hugo Torres was taken out of the cell he shared with other prisoners in El Chipote; that during the last weeks he had fallen ill rapidly and that his companions had to help him several times, because, due to the degree of inflammation of his legs, he was almost unable to move on his own. He was treated by prison doctors, but they were unable to alleviate his condition.”
Baltodano added that Torres “suffered a long fainting spell” on December 17 and “was taken out of his cell to an unknown destination.”
In recent years, Baltodano has dedicated herself to the work of documenting the memoirs of the Sandinista struggle and in her article, she recalled the guerrilla activities of Torres, born in 1948, in El Espino, Madriz.
“When he was five years old, his family moved to León, where he lived and studied, and he has always considered himself from León… In 1971 he joined the FSLN and in July 1974, without finishing his law studies, he went underground. He immediately went to the military political training school at the “El Panama,” farm of the Sandinista collaborator Yico Sanchez, in Jinotepe, Carazo,” wrote Baltodano.
She continued: “When he was chosen to be part of the ‘Juan José Quezada’ Commando, he spent months in seclusion and training until they carried out the Diciembre Victorioso (Victorious December) operation, in which they kidnapped high officials of the Somoza government who were attending a party at Chema Castillo’s house. The commando demanded the release of the political prisoners of that time. They achieved their objectives in less than 48 hours. Afterwards, they flew to Havana with the rescued political militants, among them Daniel Ortega, today his tormentor and current illegitimate president of Nicaragua.”
According to Baltodano, in 1975, as a clandestine guerrilla, Torres entered Nicaragua through trails from Honduras, accompanying Carlos Fonseca, founder of the FSLN. He was then put in charge of the FSLN in Chinandega for a short time, because in January 1976 he entered the mountains in a contingent led by Carlos Aguero Echeverría.