Monimbó, Masaya has always been a Sandinista stronghold, so it was somewhat surprising when it was one of the neighborhoods that most strongly protested the government´s brutal response to the protests in April 2018. This interview recounts the experience of one of the recently released political prisoners from that neighborhood. While the specific details of his confinement differ, the general treatment described mirrors the stories of other recently released prisoners.
Professor Gabriel Putoy: “Commissioner Avellán hit me in the forehead with an AK 47”
Published in Artículo 66, online magazine, July 2, 2019
After torturing him and convicting him, the regime proposed that he be reconciled, promising to give him back his job and pay him his entire salary.
Gabriel Leónidas Putoy Cano, 41 years of age, is a Mathematics professor, from the indigenous neighborhood of Monimbó, Masaya, who was abducted for eight months and 25 days in the dungeons of the Jorge Navarro penitentiary system, known as “La Modelo” in Tipitapa, after he was captured on September 15, 2018, accused by the dictatorship of the crimes of aggravated theft, simple kidnapping, minor injuries, torture and interference with public services.
Putoy was sentenced to 47 years and eight months in jail, after the justice of the regime found him guilty, and put him on the list of “terrorists” and enemies of the government of Daniel Ortega. Nevertheless, on June 10th, he was freed under the new Amnesty Law.
Purgatory at the hands of the dictator
Professor Putoy was abducted by Orteguista anti-riot police and paramilitaries on Saturday, September 15 of last year, when he had taken refuge in a safe house in the San Fernando neighborhood in the city of flowers [Masaya]. “I knew that they were out looking for me, but days before I had gone to my home to leave a cake for my son, because he had a birthday, I suppose that they followed me, then within two days the police and paramilitaries came to the house where I was and captured me,” narrated Putoy.
Like an inferno and purgatory, is how Professor Putoy describes his capture and the months that he was abducted, where he denounced that he was subjected to torture and taunts on the part of the Orteguista agents, who were commanded by the Commissioner and “beloved native son of Masaya”, Ramón Avellán.
“They captured me at noon, then they took me to the police station in Masaya, there they began to kick me, they beat my entire body, Commissioner Ramón Avellán said to me, “Uh-huh son of a bitch, do you think that this has ended? This has not ended yet, son of a bitch, it has barely begun, and the worst of who you are, son of a bitch professor, don´t you realize what you are teaching your students?” Then he began to kick me and he asked an officer to lend him this weapon, and I was just praying to God, I was saying that if it was my time to die, that let it be soon, all of sudden I felt a hard blow to the forehead, Commissioner Avellán had hit me with an AK 47”, the very shaken, now ex-political prisoner said.
According to Gabriel Putoy the torture by the repressive agents of the regime continued, who kept him naked, from the time of his capture until they transferred him to the old Office of Judicial Support, known as “El Chipote” in Managua.
“When they took me out of the office where they tortured me, and officer said that I should take off my clothes, but I couldn´t do it, because in addition to being badly beaten, I was handcuffed, so a policemen ripped off my clothes and I was left naked, then they transferred me in a white car, the driver diverted the vehicle through Tipitapa and the officials were kicking me, the driver from time to time was punching me in the face.”
“They took me to a desolate place, they put a hood on me and they began to kick me; for awhile they quit beating me and I was no longer hearing anything, then I head someone say, “Don´t bring him here, because I have two already, another one was saying: “Tell the boss”, then a man came up to me and told me, “you saved yourself, you son of a bitch, because you are going to El Chipote.” I got to El Chipote at seven pm and the inferno continued there, they beat me and asked me about weapons and that I tell them who was financing me, but I did not know anything, so they were worse than the torture,” said Putoy.
They proposed that he reconcile himself with the dictatorship.
After being tortured, convicted and his human rights abused, Professor Putoy revealed that three days before being freed, the Director of the “La Modelo” penitentiary system, Julio Orozco, proposed to him that he reconcile himself with the regime of Daniel Ortega.
“On Friday June 7, the director of La Modelo, Julio Orozco, came to the cell where I was and said to me, “Reconcile yourself with the government, everything will be returned to you, if you are fighting for your salary, well everything will be given back to you, even the months that you were here they are going to pay you for, we only want you to reconcile yourself with the Comandante, because if you don´t, you are going to rot in jail. But I said to him that no, because I knew that with the help of God I was going to get out, because in addition, it was not easy all that I experienced, and the last thing that they did to me, after the death of Eddy Montes, that they nearly killed me, and now they wanted to buy me off, never”.
He has not received his severance pay
After nearly of month of having gotten out of the dungeons of the dictatorship, the Mathematics teacher has not received his severance pay as a teacher. He worked for the Ministry of Education (MINED) for 19 years.
“Last August (a month before his abduction) I went to the school where I was working in Masaya and they told me that my salary was withheld, that I had to go to the Ministry of Education. In the Ministry, the provincial delegate, Soraya Amador, told me that I had to make a phone call, but I told her that she was not fooling me, because the call that I was going to make was to the Police, so she ordered them to close the door to the office so I could not leave, but I was able to get out in a hurry. Today I continue to demand the 53,222 córdobas of my severance pay which by law I have the right to, because it is the fruit of my work, “ concluded Putoy.
Professor Gabriel Putoy is one of dozens of political prisoners in Nicaragua who continue demanding that the dictatorship respect their rights and stop the harassment and repression.