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My Mother Told Me: Go to War

NEW YORK, NY, 1983 — I waited to tell my mother during her visit to New York City. So I took her out to dinner on the last dying breath of my credit card, wanting to keep the intensity and the drama of the discussion within the accepted parameters of a restaurant full of people. […]

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AMBUSHED

MULUKUKÚ, Nicaragua — We had been hanging out with the Sandinistas for only a few days so we were still fresh, not yet strung out from fatigue, lousy food, exhausting days, uncomfortable nights, tension and fear. We were ready. Or as ready as you can be, to nearly get killed. Mexican photojournalist Arturo Robles and […]

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“Tada”

In one of my mother’s photo albums there is a picture of a young family. Her father, Tada, is too big for his suit and his hands are too big for his body. Her mother, Nana, is heavy-set and sturdy. She married my grandfather when she was 15 years old. And the children look like, […]

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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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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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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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