Hope For Puracal

Two years is a long time to wait. How many Nicaraguan judges flee to Spain immediately after sentencing someone.

This stinks; I don't think any of these guys are guilty.


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Back on the radar


The courtesy photo of Jason and his sister Janis "on the lecture circuit in the U.S." is worth more than all his words below it.

A couple of the lengthier comments are worthwhile. I got a chuckle from Carlos Briones advising Puracal, "I would simply wait and see a new president elected and refile your petition for visa." (To Nicaragua?)

How Time Flies

Time Flies...

Yes it does, and it heals too.

It should also be able to teach, but looking at your comment after the article, it apparently doesn't.

Teach what?

Other than his faulted comparison at the end everything he said earlier in his comment is a pretty common viewpoint.

It's Early in The Game

" ....Comparing Ortega to Somoza I and Somoza III requires stretching the imagination to the breaking point . . ."

Somoza had his apologists; in fact, still does. For many, the Sandnistas can do no wrong.

What I would humbly suggest to El Presidente is, he attempt to employ the same PR service that Jason uses rather than whoever he is currently using. There best guidance seems to be: Put foot in mouth, shoot foot twice.

That's a great pic and a compelling story. Absent a credible rebuttal it feeds the:

"Nicaragua ?? That's someplace in sub-saharan Africa, isn't it ??"

Gentle Pedophile was an attempt to provide another analogous metaphor for "Nicaraguan Justice". Really has nothing to do with pedophilia beyond the jarring jutposition of the words.

I don't hear that people have a ravine they go to....

...to search for their family members' bodies if those people don't show up. Nor are teenaged male bodies dumped back in their barrios with their testicles removed and burns on their bodies. Nor are people gunned down for painting street murals, even ones that show the devil with FSLN colors arm wrestling with Jesus.

Better is never required to be perfect.

Rebecca Brown

That would be Jason's sister

... if "El Presidente is... to employ the same PR service that Jason uses." But her price will be steep and it's not clear the big 'O' has the backing, now that the Venezuelans may want to use their own wealth to dig themselves out of the post-Chávez hole they're in.

I find the whole reappearance of Jason & his tale of woe revolting. But I'd definitely like to learn the "rest of the story".

"It just does not sit right . . .,

You're right. I apologize. A reference to pedophilia has no place here. It's cheap demagoguery. And my knowledge of the Nicaraguan justice system is based on heresay and anecdotes -and that odd traffic stop...

I knew that,

It just does not sit right, that's all.

I assumed

(shows how wrong that is) that he was criticizing Atheist Richard Dawkins's well known use/acceptance?? of that term and all the arguments but I don't see what that has to do with learning.

An oxymoron like "Nicaraguan justice" in the Puracal case.

So that means that nobody is learning then?

Perhaps it was that very odd "Gentle Pedophile” comment.

I'm waiting for the sentimental idiots to come to the aid of...

....Basil Givens. He's going on trial in June or so according to what I've heard.

Comparing Ortega to Somoza I and Somoza III requires stretching the imagination to the breaking point.

Rebecca Brown

Don't feed the wildlife.....


I Can't Help

it, they're so cute:

". .. . People who come here because they don't like the place and think they can fix it are marvelously silly. They're certainly not going to listen to anyone who tells them they can't transform things because they're sure they're special and anyone who suggests otherwise is just attacking their specialness... ..."

I think we all LIKE the place (assuming we're speaking here of Nicaragua and not the legendary Patrick County), --or we wouldn't be here. Most of us have a choice. And my mommy always told me I was "special". . . .maybe she only meant that I was marvellously silly ?? I can't ask her now . .

I'm reading the>> The New Nicaragua by Steven Hendrix. << It was reviewed previously on this site:


I'm a cheap SOB when it comes to buying books, and this one was expensive. I finally found a copy in the UK that I could "afford".

Great book! Change is possible in Nicaragua; as the author points out, it won't come easily. But a lot of very good people are working in that direction.

You see what I mean KWP?

Nothing cute about it.... just more drivel and pretend intellectualism. Now you have to listen to countless posts of encounters with the smart and superior crowd. If you are lucky you will be lectured about the Appalachian lifestyle.

And when it comes to buying books, I fully agree! I rater trade and exchange than buy.

Once again, PLEASE don't feed the wildlife.

How's the real estate business in San Juan del Sur these day?

I've heard it's a great place to buy drugs from two different people who were there. A friend will be visiting soon and I'll find out what she has to say about the place. I'm suggesting that she and her Spanish-speaking traveling companion go to the Black Cat Cafe.

People in Jinotega who expected gringos to buy houses in town for $50K are still waiting after three years, and renting the houses for $200. In the almost three years that I've been in this house, not one single gringo, has looked at it. We haven't had any new retired gringos in town from anything I've heard since I moved here, and Matagalpa gets one or two a year. If things are better in San Juan del Sur, mazel tov, but I suspect they're not much better.

What I've been saying is that this is no different from all sorts of people buying houses, setting up bed and breakfasts and finding out that if they're more than a mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway, they get almost no business. I basically like Nicaragua, but anyone who thinks it's got some magic that Guatamala, El Salvador, Honduras, or Mexico don't have as much of, or that Ghana and various other African countries don't have for Europeans, simply strikes me as delusional. Most arguments against what I've said don't strike me as realistic, and some of the ad hominum attacks come across as "You b*****, how dare you say a man was wrong."

What I tell people who ask me about living here is if they wouldn't live here as it is, it's not a great investment opportunity because other people like them or even better off wouldn't live here either. And the Alcaldia is busy working on middle income developments for Nicaraguans and possibly low income expats that it knows it can sell and make money from, not spending community money to improve Big Rock Candy Mountain investments.

One of the things that's been obvious about at least some of these developments is that none of the people buying into them would have lived in them if their home countries were on fire. They were sold the property as a dream investment that they'd sell on to the great hordes of the Baby Boom who would be looking for cheaper places to live in warm climates and who had no access to the Internet to compare prices between different areas.

Rebecca Brown


Submitted by sball on Tue, 2013/04/02 - 22:59.

I think the sigh looks better here...

Every famous, must visit, jewel in the crown etc.

Tourist centre in the world is a great place to buy drugs.

You need to be more concerned about the dime bag sellers in Jinotega that sell outside the schools. Once they get a good taste, look out sleepy hollow.

The tourist buying the drugs are at least of age, are hooked already and likely wont break into your house or rob you for the 'dime'....a young, poor, addicted Jinotegan will.

WHERE are the

ad hominum attacks directed at you ?? I've seen plenty flow from your pen over the last couple of years, but I've thought that most site members have been gracious and restrained, as many must have bit their tongues hard.

I thought that you were the NicaLiving "ad hominum specialist" since Mujer Magnetica mysteriously vanished from the site (conincidentally, shortly before your arrival). I was Señor Snarky until you showed up, now you've seized that distinction as well: . .. . ."How's the real estate business in San Juan del Sur these day (s)? . . . I've heard it's a great place to buy drugs .. . . ."

WHY the constant negativity directed at your fellow ex-pats?? Most of us are not criminals, pedophiles, and cannibals. It's almost like you really regret your choice of Nicaragua, and you take it out on anyone who is enjoying THEIR adventure.

SJdS might have its problems, but it's still a very nice place to visit. Crime seems to be way down. The streets are clean. The service at the beachfront restaurant was better than last time (and it really wasn't bad the first time, the poor waitress was just overworked); the receptionist at the hotel I stayed at patiently spoke Spanish with me, even though her English is better than my Spanish. I wished I could have stayed a couple more days.

What business is it of yours if someone wants to spend their money setting up a bed and breakfast, running a hotel or restaurant, farming, or making any other investment they choose? Some have succeeded fabuously and on their own terms (El Gato Negro comes immediately to mind); others not as much - but many enjoy a neat life style, and had a great time during the learning process. All drop serious money in a country that can use all the cash it can get.

Without investment there is no progress, even if it's something as straightforward as the Jinotega Alcaldia building inexpensive housing. I don't know of any Gringos asking for Nicaraguan money to build "Big Rock Candy Mountain". I haven't asked the Nicaragua government for anything, and don't intend to.

Not all investments pan out, that's just life. For some, the challenge and the adventure is sufficient payback

Nicaragua is NOT Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, or Costa Rica. It's Nicaragua. A good part of the country is still not easily accessible, and waits to be explored. The Right Side is still the DAC. All kinds of tourism --and other-- opportunities wait to be exploited. Tourism and tourist inrastructure are horse and cart. As one develops,,the other follows. We just need a couple of quiet years, and a continually improving economy in Europe and US.

As far as Jinotega tourists go: the last time I was in Jinotega, -February of this year-, the Hotel Cafe was full of Gringos.

Gringos on Missions

Hotel Cafe has a guy working to come up with things the various churches can do.

I guess it's tourism of a sort.

Rebecca Brown

Not Missionaries That

I met, but very successful potato farmers from Idaho, with their wives. Sort of a busman's holiday.

In any case, the missionary money spends as well as that of any other visitor.

Why would you even respond

I thought she talked Yiddish, now she actually uses it in a post.

Shoot me if I ever get this bad, please.


On a totally different

On a totally different note...

how were you able to post an emoticon? I only see those on TRN website.

I want one!


Seems like old times. LOL


Submitted by sball - Seems like old times. LOL

It never pays to be pretentious - That is why I drive my Lamborghini instead of my Rolls or Bentley.

Be nice if the US didn't have to do democracy building

...in the US where the Republicans who wanted to do away with the Civil Rights Act.

Fortunately, we defeated them.

If people really liked the place and the people, they'd spend less time here complaining about it.

How often does anyone post here about the great conversations they had with Nicaraguan lawyers, programmers, computer technicians, web designers, hotel owners, movie makers (project on one of the crowd sourced sites trying to make a movie in Matagalpa with some of the folks who were in "La Yuma") or coffee growers? Or artists, musicians, or writers. It tends to be "these people suck at being prompt waiters" or "illiterate landless Nicaraguans are the real Nicaraguans."

Rebecca Brown

Some of the sentimental idiots came to his defense...

...in the past, regardless of how I mangled his name this time.

When I was back in the US last week, I met up with my friend who's coming to check out Nicaragua in April. She's also NYC educated and a long term resident of a small farming community that got influxes of people who tried to tell the locals how to do things. When she lived in Honduras, she was scrupulous to let the people on Roatan do what they wanted to do with their own community and not try to give them advice because, like me, she knew how annoying that was from the inside.

She used to tell people who didn't like where they were that there was a highway going north and a highway going west and either of those would take them away from this place they didn't appear to be satisfied with.

People who come here because they don't like the place and think they can fix it are marvelously silly. They're certainly not going to listen to anyone who tells them they can't transform things because they're sure they're special and anyone who suggests otherwise is just attacking their specialness.

It's entertaining, though, sometime, and sometimes just sad.

Rebecca Brown

AG's Office say they will look at a Supreme Court Appeal


Precis: AP say Attorney General's Office will look at bringing a Supreme Court Appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeals of Granada who declared a mistrial and then allowed Puracal to be released and leave Nicaragua. "There was evidence of the accusations, and that is why we are going to the Supreme Court, because we believe that we have a reason," said Centeno.

A Bit More

Almost Home


I wonder if we will ever know what this truly was about. Shades of Kafka:


At least Jason made it out alive.

Puracal vs. Latif

Your last sentence inspired this post as Latif didn't. An Alternet article tells the story. In particular

According to the ACLU, Latif was cleared to be released in 2004, 2007, 2009, and again in 2010 by US District Court Judge Henry Kennedy. The Obama DOJ appealed the 2010 decision, in part because of a policy of not transferring detainees to Yemen, and so Latif remained in custody – not because of what he had done (which was nothing), but because of where he was born.

There are lots of things of interest in what happened but the point I want to make concerns the press. In one case, a person who spent two years in prison for possibly not committing a crime (or at least the crime he was found guilty of) uses the press to spread his story ultimately getting his freedom and giving Nicaragua a black eye.

In the case of Latif, we have someone who spent five times as much time in prison for not even being charged with a crime and who ultimately gave up and took his own life. While what happened against him was far more egregious but his situation didn't receive the same marketing in the press.

I wanted to say this here because it is a pretty clear example of how you can't use the news to compare life in Nicaragua or another third world country to what it's like back home.


Latif wasn't the only Guantanamo suicide. When the first Guantanamo suicides happened, one of the officials in charge called it asymmetrical warfare: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/world/guantanamo-files-suicide-as-act-... .

Rebecca Brown

A Courageous Jurist

and a statesman-like Daniel Ortega . . .Too much to absorb in one day.

What is happening to Nicaragua?



And I had an odd urge to use the word . . . compañero ... just couldn't find a context.


Probably not, they were just following the script of this bad movie.

Timing is everything. Farinas trial going well, lots of evidence and witnesses.

TV Vans laden with $9.2 Million in cash and the Rivas Police under the microscope.

It was perfect storm during which to release all 11 of what was once described by the Rivas Police as "The Biggest Gang of International Drug Dealers in SW Nicaragua".

Nothing New

Free Jason Puracal

site with PayPal donate button.


If he's not going to be released at least we can keep him alive.

Puracal Update


Possibly tomorrow . . . ..

And I can't believe that they don't have hot showers in La Modelo!

... just different

An interesting article in the New York Times is worth adding to your evaluation process. It shows that different methods are used in the US to modify trial results than in Nicaragua.

No, the witness insisted. I paid my own bill. Nobody paid me anything.

This was not true, and the prosecutors who sat in that courtroom and vouched for the honesty and truthfulness of this witness knew it.

Newly disclosed witness protection records show that the district attorney’s office in fact paid the witness, Seraphim Koumpouras, $16,640 for hotel bills. Prosecutors also gave him about $3,000 in cash; he received the last payment six days before he testified.

The issue here is that this information was not disclosed at the time of the trial.


One way to measure it, is if such things happen in both systems (they do); another way to measure it is what happens after the "method" has been identified and revealed (not exactly the same in both countries). There is a reason why this is major news in the NY Times. As noted above, it isn't an issue of payment, but it is one of disclosure and, likely, perjury. The analogy might not apply at all levels; it depends if perjury is clearly defined as a crime in the Nicaraguan legal system (in many countries it is not a punishable act). Strange/sad part is they likely would have convicted Bedi with the help of testimony from Koumpouras even if they admitted the witness protection housing and expenses.

Perjury, Nicaragua

What is interesting is that none of the sections has a prison term of more than 8 years max and most are 3 years or so.

Under the Retraction section, your sentence is reduced by two thirds if you lose your nerve and confess to lying before the Judge makes his decision.

LEY No. 641


Revised 2007

Art. 474. Perjurio Quien falte a la verdad con relación a hechos propios cuando se le impone bajo promesa de ley en causa judicial la obligación de decirla, será penado con prisión de uno a tres años o multa de trescientos a seiscientos días.

Art. 475. Falso testimonio Quien al rendir testimonio o declaración en causa judicial o administrativa, oculte o deforme hechos verdaderos o simule o afirme hechos falsos, total o parcialmente, será penado con prisión de tres a cinco años.

Si el falso testimonio se da contra el acusado o querellado en causa penal, la pena de prisión será de cinco a siete años. Si a consecuencia del falso testimonio hubiera recaído sentencia condenatoria, se impondrá la pena de seis a ocho años de prisión.

Las penas precedentes se aumentarán en un tercio en sus límites mínimos y máximos, cuando la falsedad sea cometida mediante soborno.

En ningún caso podrá imponerse pena de prisión que exceda la señalada al delito acusado si éste estuviere sancionado con pena de otra naturaleza, la pena de prisión será sustituida por la pena de noventa a trescientos días multa, salvo que el delito acusado tenga asignada una pena igual o inferior a ésta en cuyo caso se impondrá al culpable, la mitad del extremo mínimo de la pena que se aplique al delito principal.

Art. 476. Falsedad en el peritaje, interpretación o traducción Las penas del artículo precedente se impondrán también a los peritos, intérpretes o traductores que oculten o deformen hechos verdaderos o simulen o afirmen hechos falsos, total o parcialmente. Además se les impondrá la pena de inhabilitación especial de cuatro a seis años para ejercer la profesión, oficio, empleo o cargo publico de que se trate.

La pena precedente se aumentará en un tercio en sus límites mínimo y máximo, cuando la falsedad sea cometida mediante soborno.

Art. 477. Ofrecimiento e intercambio de testigo, peritos, intérpretes o traductor Quien a sabiendas, haya ofrecido o intercambiado testigo, perito intérprete o traductor, que haya incurrido en falsedad en su declaración, informe o traducción en causa judicial o administrativa, será sancionado con pena de dos a cuatro años de prisión e inhabilitación especial por el mismo período para ejercer empleo, oficio o cargo público de que se trate.

La misma pena se impondrá al que concientemente presente en juicio documentos o piezas de convicción falsos.

Art. 478. Soborno de testigos, peritos, interpretes o traductores Quien ofreciere o prometiere una dádiva o cualquier otra ventaja a una de las personas a que se refiere el articulo anterior, para que cometa falso testimonio, si la oferta o promesa no fueren aceptadas o, siéndolo, la falsedad no fuere cometida, será sancionado con prisión de uno a tres años.

Si la falsedad fuere cometida se aplicaran al sobornante las penas correspondientes, a quien proporciono u oculto información falsa.

Art. 479. Retractación Se reducirán las penas en dos tercios en los supuestos del delito del falso testimonio cuando el testigo, perito, intérprete o traductor, habiendo prestado, testimonio, informe o traducción falsa, se retracte ante el Juez y manifieste la verdad, para que surta efecto antes de que se dicte sentencia en el proceso donde, rindió declaración, informe o traducción.

Si la retractación, tuviere lugar después de editada la sentencia, la pena se reducirá a la mitad.


Alibis must be exempt because on any serious case there are always alibis witnesses for the defense saying he was somewhere else-sometimes different people saying same thing at same time! I never see these people get charged with any crime to my knowedge. In Granada when Lemon Groves was beaten & murdered in her bed there were no shortage of alibi witnesses who testified that he was with them all night. The Nica scum got 13 years so justice was served. The Judge had to make the decision and by doing so refuted the tesimony of all the liars.

Any news on Puracal? He must be sweating bullets...

And let's toss in less time for confession

It seems that the Nicaraguan penal system encourages the truth whereas the US penal system penalizes the truth. To me, it is an interesting distinction. That always bothered me as I would prefer to admit to a crime that I had committed.


Large sentencing reductions in turn for pleading guilty, in the end, are little different from plea bargaining for many defendants. One way to view it is that it encourages truth telling. Perhaps, but only if you are guilty (and best not to forget it is truth telling from a confessed liar, etc.). An innocent person has virtually the same incentive to confess, so in the end the process is only as good as the evidentiary setup. In the U.S., it is rare for guilt admissions not to result in sentence reductions for those who are not repeat offenders, though perjury is rarely prosecuted in the States.

Javier El Ladron example

That was my only first-hand experience here and we say little lawyer or court time. Based on my US experience, I would have expected a not guilty plea and hours of time calling wittnesses.

On one US trial I was working for the defense as a "technical expert". While our client claimed he was innocent, I could find no possible explanation that would offer him a loophole. That is, anything to detract from the prosecution's case. He was found guilty. He continued to claim he was innocent. We are talking days of courtroom time and maybe 100 hours of billable time by me and a lawyer on the defense side, I expect much more on the prosecution (government) side.

If there was a well-defined change in the sentence for a guilty plea he might have opted for it saving a lot of time and money.

What I don't like about the US system

Is the Plea Bargain that is forced on the Defendant.

The plea bargain system started as a sensible way to deal with a backlogged court system and save the victims from reliving the crime, and a whole host of other reasons.

Now its become the norm and the lazy way. However, more importantly, its a way that a slick lawyer can build points and favors for the case he really needs to plead out.

Little Johnny doesn't realize that he has just been traded for a bigger fish. He could have got off but he was made to plead to a possession with intent to supply cos the fix is in on Big Johnny.

Just an opinion

I don't know who is guilty of what but I also don't believe justice is arbitrary in Nicaragua. It may not fit what you think is a correctly executed judicial system but that doesn't make it arbitrary. I also don't think what appears to be questions of due process is specifically targeted at people of a particular color, nationality or religion. To put it in a usano context, this is not the 1950s in Mississippi.

Anyone who has lived in Nicaragua knows that word of mouth is king. While being the neighbor of a Diputado may not get you the legislation you want, it generally will increase your chance to present your case to the right people.

So, what makes people such as Jason get what appears to be special treatment? From what I see, stepping on someone's toes. Who'se I don't know. Whether he is guilty of any crimes I don't know. But stepping on toes is what makes you special.

In his case, it would seem the combination of a real estate business and an import business put him in a position where a lot of toes were available to step on. If I lived in San Juan del Sur (and wanted to get involved), I expect I could solve this mystery. But, I don't so, yes, this is just an opinion.

There is no real mystery to be solved

The whole thing has been played out very publicly.

Most people with the ability to solve anything (and I would like to include myself in that) are doing nothing to hamper the chances of Jason and the other 10 defendants getting off, out and home to his family in the USA.


System has to be avoided at all costs. Once you are picked up by Police and they are threatening to Charge you have to step up and offer cash money to avoid being charged. If you have general sense of the law (and you should if you are living there) then you will know the severity of the pending charges. Like Russia has similar system of justice with 99% conviction rate. Facts mean little and first story out there wins. This is why you have to get the police to release you any way you can. Once arrested it goes to a corrupt judiciary whose outcome is nearly certain. Judges do not want to cross or question the police so they just complete the process for them. Simple as that. Appeal process offers some hope but that judge risks losing his job or a mob terrorizing his/her family.