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Keep the Fingernails!

WASLALA, Nicaragua — Miami Herald photographer Murry Sill and I are hanging around Waslala waiting for this Sandinista Army offensive to happen. There isn’t a hell of a lot to do in Waslala, which is less a town than just a bunch of houses lined up on both sides of a muddy mountain road. It’s […]

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“No, yanqui, no!”

Aside from young, idealistic journalists, the United Press International (UPI) Mexico City bureau was peopled with Mexican assistants. Angel was mid-50s, rail-thin, curly hair, clunky glasses, fewer than a dozen teeth in his head but an easy smile anyway. Victor, early 40s, short, heavyset and slicked-back hair, with his pencil-thin mustache, a bit too smart […]

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The Mills

From our vantage point in our 1956 Plymouth, the mills were black monsters, dinosaurs lounging along both sides of the river, coughing smoke and flames. My memories of them, and of this period of life with my family, are mostly black and white, with shades of gray in between. Almost never in color. The river […]

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LA MONTANA, Nicaragua, 1980s — The mountains of northern Nicaragua enjoy a mystique all their own. Nicaraguans refer to them not in the plural, “the mountains,” but in the singular, “La Montaña,” or “The Mountain,” as if the rugged backbone of the country were a single entity, one special realm apart from, but still within, Nicaragua. […]

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Comin’ Home

MONACA, Pennsylvania, 1979 — During my trip to Pennsylvania after the revolution in Nicaragua, my brother takes me down to his wine cellar. A single yellow bulb hangs from the beams that support the main floor of his home. Strung from those beams are home-made Italian sausage and great legs of prosciutto, all products of […]

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The Simón Bolívar Battalion

Excerpted from the memoir sub-titled, “A True Story of War, Love and Rock & Roll” Lt. Francisco Noel Talavera (L) is a 19-year-old from the northern mountain city of Jinotega. He has a bad complexion and the habit of spitting through the gap in his two front teeth. He also happens to be the commander of […]

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