Yali, 1927: Father and Son
Don Gregorio, Sandino’s father and a friend of Moncada, comes to persuade his son to surrender. They move out to a little open area, but still in earshot of Sandino’s small band of followers. Don Gregorio tells him that in this world saviors end up on the cross and the people are not grateful and forget. Sandino remains adamant that this is the proper course. His gestures and his words tell his men that he will not turn back or surrender. Viva Sandino, they shout.
Don Gregrorio leaves. He writes a letter to his other son Socrates saying, Come, join your brother’s cause.
Gregorio Selser, Sandino, 78
Ocotal, 1927: Ultimatum
U.S. Marines in Nicaragua
G.D. Hatfield, commanding officer of the U.S. Marines in Nicaragua, is growing impatient. He writes a final letter to Sandino:
It does not seem possible that you remain deaf to reasonable proposals, and despite your insolvent replies to my suggestions in the past, I hereby offer you one more opportunity to surrender with honor… Otherwise you will be proscribed and placed outside the law, hunted wherever you go and repudiated everywhere, awaiting an infamous death: not that of the soldier who falls in battle but that of a criminal who deserves to be shot in the back by his own followers…
In conclusion, I with to inform you that Nicaragua has had its last revolution…
Gregorio Selser, Sandino, 79
Camp El Chipote, 1927:
The Ant Confronts the Elephant
Captain G.D. Hatfield, Ocotal
I received your communications yesterday and fully understand it. I will not surrender and await you here. I want a free country or death. I am not afraid of you; I rely on the patriotic ardor of those who accompany me.
Gregorio Selser, Sandino, 79-80
Ocotal, 1927: Massacre
President Coolidge calls it an heroic action. Diaz, the U.S.-picked man in Nicaragua, calls for medals for the airmen. The Marines call in air support in Ocotal, planes than rain bombs down upon the town. Following orders to gun the bandits down mercilessly where they are encountered, they empty their bomb racks and then swoop low and empty their machine guns on the feeling people. One U.S. soldier is killed. Three hundred Nicaraguans—men, women, and children—are killed and one hundred are wounded.
Illinois Governor Edward Dunne writes:
In all of U.S. history there has been no action of such indecency as we now see in Nicaragua… The slaughter of 300 Nicaraguans by the Americans is a blot on the United States…
H.H. Knowles, former minister of Nicaragua, says in a speech:
I know of no inhuman actions and crimes greater than those committed by the United States against the defenseless peoples of Latin America through its legally authorized agents and representatives…
We have imposed our force upon weak, defenseless, and completely powerless countries, murdering thousands of their subjects, and we have attached them when they expected us to defend them. We have used the Monroe Doctrine to prevent European countries sympathetic to those republics from coming to their aid. Instead of sending them teachers, instructors, and elements of civilization, we send them hunters of usurious banking concessions, avaricious capitalists, corrupters, soldiers to shoot them down, and degenerates to infest them with every disease.
Gregorio Selser, Sandino, 80-81