I was fortunate to have known him, of working with him, of joking and arguing, of seeing him take the path of patriotism without giving or asking for a truce in pursuit of a dream: “Nicaragua will be a Republic again.” He showed himself to be a living manual of combative journalism.
Forty-two years have passed since the physical disappearance of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, and I see him standing, full of life, expecting a lot from this fearless struggle of so many Nicaraguans eager to be free.
On that January 10, 1978 (when he was gunned down), I wrote that when we learned the tragic news, what came to our minds, because of the natural association of ideas, was the parable used by a priest to justify, under the prism of Christianity, the death of good man, upright and courageous in his fruitful efforts. The die were loaded, he said on that occasion, and explained its meaning by stating that when a man has reached the plentitude of his achievements, he is ready for the calling of the Lord.
In the case of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, we can find consolation for his irreparable loss, thinking that for a long time, displaying an audacity in favor of the country in different ways, he was ready for that call. I say that because throughout his 53 years, he achieved conquests and sealed triumphs both professionally as well as humanly and patriotic, which placed him above the vast majority of mortals of his time in this country so in need of role models.
Its paradoxical, but the man who most fought for human rights to be respected in Nicaragua, died in an inhuman way brutally trampled. Perhaps God in his inscrutable designs, had decided to call him that way so that his death will remain as a shining beacon for the new generations.
An example of righteousness and courage, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro died with his boots on embracing a mission. The mission that drove him every day to question, without the slightest fear, the vices of public administration in this messy country. That forced him to devote himself in body and soul to the struggle to overthrow an evil dictatorship, and to fight like a lion defending the interests of the people, just as young people, the Church and peasants are doing today.
A people howling
When we lost him, once again the irreparable was evident. No more of his daily sincere greetings to start the day at La Prensa. No more his firm voice when establishing the work schedule to follow, his light walk, the nervous movements of his arms, and above all, the vigorous editorials fighting for a better country. Even today, his death seems to be a lie.
At that time, the country felt flooded by a confusion that caused astonishment. I refused to believe that my boss-companion had been assassinated. That the day before he asked me about Alexis Arguello’s chances against Alfredo Escalera, while he signed the authorization for my trip to Puerto Rico well in advance.
In the afternoon hours and at night, I saw a people howling, writhe in pain, take refuge in a silence ready to explode, and sometime later, rise up shouting from the rooftops the ills that afflicted this hapless country, which led by the hand of Somoza, was sliding down the path of destruction.
If Pedro Joaquin had seen his own funeral, with that striking attachment by the people who respected him so much, he would have felt satisfied. His way of life was reflected in his impressive writings. He was unbreakable, because his natural rebelliousness so demanded it, although in front of that quota of pride his disconcerting goodness appeared. When he closed his eyes for the last time Pedro Joaquin crossed the thresholds of immortality, leaving a challenge.
It is now up to those who want to and can follow in his footsteps, to try to make his dream of liberating Nicaragua a reality, restoring democracy and rejecting tyrannies. If we do not continue in that struggle, we would be betraying his memory and the sacrifice of one of the best sons of this land would have been in vain.