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The other psychiatrist involved with the Commission, Dr. Anatoly Koryagin, was not so lucky. He was arrested in 1981 on a charge of "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" and is now in a labor camp. All the members of thw Working Commission have been imprisoned for their human rights work. Some of them were released after signing a promise to discontinue their dissenting efforts, and, they were all prevented from living in Moscow. In this way, the government has completely obliterated the only Soviet group that was actively struggling against the inhumane use of psychiatry in the USSR.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you, Dr. Voloshanovich, for your statement. And, now, our final witness on this panel is Mr. Prudencio Baltadano.
Mr. Baltadano, you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF PRUDENCIO BALTODANO, FROM NICARAGUA Mr. BALTODANO [through interpreter]. My name is Prudencio Baltodano. I was born in the Department of Carazo in Nicaragua.
More recently, I moved to the part of Coltalia in southern Nicaragua. It's a place called Punta Gorda, which is a community of El Tendido.
One morning, there was combat that took place between the Sandinista Army and a group that's called Arethey.
I had to leave my home with my children and go into the mountains to escape the combat. When we left our home, another 40 people, other families, also joined with us and went into the mountains.
We spent the night there and the next day. About 1 o'clock the next day, we came across the Sandinista patrol that aimed their guns at us. One of the women started to cry, saying "I know you're going to kill my son, it's better that you kill all of us right here."
And, they said "no, don't worry about it, we're not bad, it's only the Contra that are bad people." And, they told them to go back to their homes and carried us down toward the river.
They took us to a place that belongs to Miguel Fernandez, and they took off their clothes and put military uniforms on us. And, they put us on the ground and began to kick us all over our bodies.
They asked us if we had heard of the little hats army battalion and we said no, we had never heard of them. And, they say "well, just so you know, we are this famous battalion called little hats. We want you to know that."
When they asked the other man that they had captured what his name was, he said Crisanto Jaime. They asked me what my name was, and I said Prudencio Baltodano. And they said "ah, so you're Prudencio Baltodano.”
They said, "you are one of those evangelical pastors who is trying to get people to join the Contras." This is not true because my only politics is to preach the word of God.
"Don't you know what we do to evangelical pastors?" they asked me. "The evangelical pastors for us are our enemies. Just so you know, we don't believe in God. We are Communists."
"God for us is our other companion," he said, and pointed to the other soldiers. "Start praying for yourself if you think your God can save you." Then, he said to the other one, "bring him along with you" and he hit me in the back and pushed me further into the woods.
My hands were tied behind me, but one soldier ordered the other one to tie me to a tree. As he was tying me up, the other one hit me across the forehead with the butt of his gun. You can see I still have a scar on my forehead. And he took out his bayonet and hit me across the cheek with that.
He tried to put the bayonet back on his gun, and when he wasn't able to, he threw the gun down and then cut my neck, as you can see the scar here. Then he took my hair and cut off first one ear and then the other.
And the one asked the other, "Should I shoot him now?" And the other one said, "No, don't waste your bullets on this who is not worth anything. I've already cut his jugular vein. Let him die slowly, suffering."
From that point on, I don't remember anything because I fainted but it was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. When I came to, they were no longer there. I was able to stand up and gradually get the ropes off my hands. I started to walk into the woods there, but I fainted again.
I spent the night there in that spot. I started to walk again looking for water, and found a spot where there was water and spent another night there in the woods. And the next day I discovered I had worms in the wounds and I started walking again, and was able to reach the home of a man named Miguel Ima.
While I was there, two men came who identified themselves as fighting with Arde. And when they asked me what had happened to me, I explained. They said then, "We'll take you to Costa Rica to get medical treatment." But I wasn't able to walk. If I only walked a few steps, I would faint again.
So, they left me there for a few days, and about 10 days later, they came back and took me out to a place called La Gloria, and they also informed me that they had evacuated my family and that they were also in La Gloria.
My case is not an isolated one. It's one of many that has happened in the same area where I lived. There is another evangelical pastor named Miguel Flores who was a Central American evangelical mission pastor for Central America.
They cut off his nose and his ears and the skin off his face and left him dead, tied up. Not only him, but any person that they were able to capture in that zone was killed.
There were about 59 people dead that we have been able to count. From La Gloria, they took me to the river San Juan, together with my family, and there, by the river, some journalists from San Jose, Costa Rica, came.
They interviewed me and later some doctors from Costa Rica also came to me and took me to San Jose. They asked me if I would be willing to give them my testimony about what had happened to me. I said, yes, that I had made a promise to God to testify before both man and God about what had happened to me.
And, for that reason, I am here. Thank you.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PRUDENCIO BALTODANO
Nicaragua Council for Human Rights
I, Prudencio de Jesus Baltodano Silva, 40 years old, farmer, married, from the community "El Tendido," jurisdiction of Puerto Atlanta, Zelaya del Sur, before you I testify.
I was born at La Conquista, at the Carazo Province; four and half years ago I moved with my family to the community, El Tendido in the zone of Zelaya del Sur, because I had bought a piece of land and a house of considerable size, and I dedicated myself to harvest coffee, cacao, bananas, corn and beans.
In the beginning of December of 1983 there were some battles near by my new property between members of the Sandinista Army and armed groups and because of the danger my family was going through I decided to move to a friend's house which was located on the other side of the river Punta Gorda there I stayed for two months with my family.
At the beginning of February 1984 there was new fighting in the same area in the community, El Tendido, where twenty two families lived and also in the community known by El Salto del Leon where almost the same number of persons lived. The next day after the fighting the Sandinista army took over the whole area (El Tendido and El Salto del Leon). They identified themselves as "Los Sombreritos" (translated into English as small hats) nicknamed to identify the members of the battalion. That day at dawn the two families that were sheltered started to flee. We were two adult men and the rest were women and children.
On the road we met three other families and the group then came up to a total of forty. The next day while we were building a shelter to protect the children from the rain, we were caught by surprise by a group of Sandinistas who surrounded us. Four of them took us into captivity (the only two men in the group.)
Their uniforms were green and they wore hats with green visors. Immediately they pointed at us with their guns and tied our hands behind our backs with vines. They started to ask us where we had hidden our guns, where the rest of our comrades were. We answered that there wasn't any linkage between us and any armed group, that we were fleeing because we were afraid of being killed in the fighting. The other captive man's mother said to the Sandinistas that if they were going to kill somebody, they should kill the entire group, but the Sandinistas said that they don't kill anybody.
In that moment we heard some shot's and they sent the rest of the families toward their respective houses and the two men were taken along the river through two farms and when we arrived at Mr. Miguel Fernandez' property they took our clothes off and put a gray shirt on me and a green uniform on Crisanto Jaime. Later on they made us get down on our knees and one of them began to
kick us all over our bodies while questioning us. Again they asked us our names and when I said mine, one of them said "For many days I have been looking for you. You still don't know what we do to the evangelical pastors. We are communists and don't believe in God."
I didn't know how he had obtained such information because the only thing they had seen in my suitcase was a bible. Later on he said that I should pray to God to see if He was going to save me. They said again, "We don't believe in God." They showed me another Sandinista who took me away from the group through the bushes. He tied me to a tree with my hands behind me and another Sandinista came and hit me with the back of his rifle on my forehead, which caused a wound of 4 centimeters. I was bleeding a lot. Then he showed me his bayonet and while he grabbed my hair he cut my neck, making a wound of seven centimeters. And then he cut my 2 ears. The other Sandinista asked him, "Do I shoot him?" And the one with the bayonet said "It's not worth spending bullets on this son of a bitch. It's better if he dies suffering slowly, look how he bleeds, I cut his jugular." He said this while he stuck his bayonet into my neck.
After that I fainted and I didn't realize what happened. This all took place around three o'clock in the afternoon. When I recovered my senses I still was tied to the tree, almost rubbing the ground with my face. I tried to stand but because of the lack of mobility I could hardly move myself. Finally at night after many unsuccessful attempts, I released myself and began to walk, fainted again because of the lack of energy (I lost too much blood). My clothes were completely red stained and the spot where I had been gave the impression that an animal had been sacrificed there, numbe
Later at night I heard voices and knew that members of the battalion which captured us, still were in the area. I hid and later walked deep inside the bushes. I spent two days with no food, almost unconscious with the danger of wild animals. My left ear was infected with worms. I felt very bad but kept on walking until after two days I found the family of Crisanto Jaime. They washed my wounds and took care of me. I stayed there with them for ten days and when I realized that my family was out of danger, I joined them at La Gloria in Zelaya del Sur.
When I got to La Gloria I met there with members of the anti-Sandinista group ARDE who offered to protect me and my family. They took me to the river San Juan where a doctor saw me every day.
I hereby certify that the above story is absolutely true and my testimony as a Nicaraguan citizen, as a member and pastor of the church, Unified Pentecostal Mission. I am a victim who survived the tragedy of the community of El Tendido. I personally offer testimony of having seen the corpses of farmers of the neighborhood who had been detained during these events. remember the names of some of them: Miguel Flores, 80 years old, minister; Adan Brizuelas, 50 years old, farmer; Cristina Sequeira, 20 years old and her mother Matilda Flores, 38 years old.
I authorize the release of this sworn statement and that it be shown to the world.
I ask that this declaration be presented before international organizations concerned with human rights so that they know what is taking place now in Nicaragua.