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  • Bismarck Martinez and his family during a political event in Managua, Nicaragua. 

    Bismarck Martinez and his family during a political event in Managua, Nicaragua.  | Photo: Twitter / @cfonsecasandino

Published 5 June 2019
Opinion

The Sandinista militant was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by right-wing opposition squads during the 2018 failed coup.

Nicaragua's Institute of Legal Medicine (IML) director Zacarias Duarte confirmed Thursday that the skeleton found by the police in Jinotepe city on May 28 corresponds to Bismarck Martinez, a Sandinista activist who disappeared on June 29, 2018, as the right-wing opposition was carrying out violent protests against President Daniel Ortega.

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"Based upon DNA and Y chromosome analyses, we conclude doubtless that bone remains correspond to Bismarck Martinez," Duarte said during a press conference held at the IML headquarters in Managua, the capital city.

The left-wing activist was last seen when he was traveling to Jinotepe. His whereabouts had been unknown for months; however, in September 2018, a video about him being tortured circulated on social media.

On May 28, the Nicaraguan police found Martinez bones and clothes in a place near a garbage dump located behind a baseball stadium in the western zone of Jinotepe.

In 1977, at age of fifteen, he joined the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to fight against the U.S.-backed regime of Anastasio Somoza, a military general who controlled the country from 1967 until 1979, when the revolution triumphed.

In the 1980s, Martinez joined the National Literacy Crusade and the Popular Militias. Later, he worked at the Mayor of Managua from 2002 till his death.

"Bismarck Lives!!! The Bismarck Martinez Housing Program is ready to deliver 5,937 properties. In Masaya 336 lots, Leon 125 lots, Somoto 50 dwelling, San Juan del Sur 20 lots, Rivas 20 lots and Terrabona 24 lots. We are united in victory. Bismark, victory of peace."

Upon hearing about the forensic report, Vice President Rosario Murillo indicated that the remains of Bismarck Martinez, who has already become a symbol of the Nicaraguan people, will be honored at the National Palace of Culture on Wednesday.

"For months all his family and our militants looked for Bismarck in the fields where they told us that the terrorists had thrown him after torturing him," Murillo said and commented that Martinez will continue to live in thousands of Nicaraguan families who are beneficiaries of a housing program named after him.

From June to July 2018, when hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans were celebrating the 39th anniversary of the defeat of the Somoza dictatorship, the right-wing political opposition staged violent demonstrations which were aimed at portraying the Sandinista government as being wholly responsible for the economic crisis.

As part of a destabilization plan, they demanded President Ortega's resignation, a proposal which was actively rejected by the Nicaraguan popular organized sectors.

According to official figures, however, the 2018 right-wing attempt at destabilization of the country left almost 200 deaths, hundreds of wounded and over US$1 billion in economic losses.

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