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Statements of captured rebels Anastasio Rugama & Eudovio Cornejo

      In February 1928, after the Marine offensive at El Chipote, the Sandinista rebels abandoned their 'mountain fortress' and swept south through the rich coffee districts of Jinotega before heading east to raid the US-owned mining companies of the Atlantic Coast region.  The following account summarizes the intelligence gleaned from two Sandinistas, captured by the Marines, who were recruited by Sandino's forces as they traversed Jinotega's coffee districts (the area circled on the map to the right, just east and north of the city of Jinotega).swiss replica watches
 
     Their accounts,
like all such prisoner statements, must be read mindful of their likely desire to minimize their allegiance to the rebel cause.  This report, filtered through interrogators, nonetheless helps us to better understand the character of the still-forming rebellion; the intersection of Sandinista and Liberal-Conservative political struggles; and the emerging relationship between Sandinistas and Jinotega coffee workers.  In later years, such workers would comprise the backbone of the Sandinista movement in Jinotega ? the "hottest" zone of rebel activity in the peak years of the rebellion (1930-32).

 

 

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH REGIMENT
SECOND BRIGADE MARINE CORPS
MATAGALPA, NICARAGUA.
23 February 1928.

From:    The Commanding Officer, Fifth Regiment.
To:      The Brigade Commander.
 
Subject: Apprehension of Sandinistas.
 
1.       Two prisoners named EUDOVIO CORNEJO and ANASTACIO RUGAMA were apprehended by First Lieutenant Orr's patrol on the coffee finca Fundadora on the early morning of 22 February. This patrol was sent out from Major Rockey's battalion. These prisoners were turned over on the same date to the Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, at Matagalpa, and are at present in close confinement in the native Cuartel.
 
2.       These prisoners gave the following information. They joined Sandino upon his visit to the Fundadora finca, being promised a rifle, a mount, much loot and a life of ease. They deserted him at Santa Elena, a days march from Las Cuchillas, on the morning of the 17th of February because they were given neither rifle nor mount and were forced to keep up on foot with Sandino's mounted column. A Francisco Castrilla, of Jinotega spoke to the coffee pickers encouraging them to join Sandino's ranks. The Jefes [Chiefs] under Sandino were Carlos Salgado, Montoya, Giron and Joaquin Lobo. The latter makes Las Robles his headquarters where he is playing both political sides but working in Sandino's interests. (Request Major Rockey be advised of this by plane.) They also state that Sandino is going to the east coast via the same route taken by him during the revolution, the Rio Coco to Puerto Cabezas where he will obtain arms and men, and from where he can communicate with his friends abroad. Sandino has with him, they estimate, two hundred armed men and two hundred unarmed, mostly mounted. His ammunition supply appears to be scarce. He succeeded in recruiting many natives in the Matagalpa Coffee Region but had no rifles for them. They know of ten men who joined from the Fundadora. Planes passed over them several times when they were ordered to hide in the heavy brush and were told not to fire on the planes. Both prisoners claim to have seen two machine guns with Sandino's troops; one large and one small; also, one pack mule carrying ammunition for machine guns. Both prisoners state that there is a group of fifty outlaws operating out of PASO REAL, northeast of Jinotega, at night.

3.       In the event of trial the following witnesses may be called:   First Lieutenant William W. Orr, Pompilio Reyes, Mr. Frankel, - Fundadora.

4.       It is recommended that I be authorized to send these prisoners to Managua for confinement in the Penitentiary.


--- /s/ ---

                                    B. S. Berry

M28.02.23, RG127/220/2


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