photo of child


Edgar Munguia... abducted by Somoza's 'Guardia Civil,' tortured, beaten... survived -- only to have his body chained to a vehicle and dragged through the streets.

Weston Benedictine Monks
Journey to Nicaragua
Winter Retreat, 2001

Barrio Edgar Munguia 2001:
Remembering Edgar Munguia


An evening walk in the barrio
An evening walk in the barrio

As we walk through the unpaved streets from our lodging to the sisters' house, we spot the name 'Edgard Munguia' written on the façade of the Health Center – a health center that is never open.

"Who was Edgar Munguia?" one of the brothers asks.

"He was a hero of the Revolution," Sister Yerenia answers. "Although people may call this place 'Barrio Loco,' its real name is 'Reparto Edgar Munguia!'"

"Reparto," we learn, is the Spanish word for "allotment."

"The different neighborhoods or barrios are called 'Reparto' because during the Revolution, the Sandinistas distributed the land to people who were homeless or very poor and in need of a place to live," Sister Yerenia explains.

"In fact, in many areas, the poor were already beginning to squat on the land. The city of Managua is full of 'Repartos' that were named after people who died during the insurrection against Somoza."

A native of Managua, Sister Yerenia goes on to explain that Edgar Munguia and two other young men in their late teens or early twenties had been abducted by Somoza's 'Guardia Civil,' tortured, beaten, and so savagely abused, that of the three, only Edgar initially survived -- and then only long enough to be chained to a vehicle and dragged through the streets.

When the Sandinistas lost the elections in 1990, no more money was given by the new government to staff the Health Center.

And now, she says, children in the barrio are not only ignorant about who Edgar Munguia was, but are unaware of the decade of the '80s, the time of the Sandinista rule and the Contra War, which goes unmentioned in history classes.

As we walk back through the dusty streets in that relentless heat, we are reminded of the Way of the Cross, when another tortured young man, also mocked by soldiers, spilled his blood and tears on another dusty hot day, in Jerusalem.

Unexpectedly, from the dusty soil of Barrio Edgar Munguia, a stunning Bougainvillea bush in full blossom confronts our heavy hearts with its Easter promise, color bursting out of every petal.

Next: Beyond the barrio: The refugees of Hurricane Mitch

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