The Associated Press
May 7, 2001

Guerrilla Hero Says He's Broke


              MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- A legendary ex-Sandinista hero who directed an
              assault that led to the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship says he's so poor he
              can't even pay his water bill.

              ``Not even Somoza made me surrender and now the water company is doing it,''
              Eden Pastora was quoted Monday by the daily newspaper El Nuevo Diario as

              The newspaper said several supporters of Pastora had sent e-mails suggesting that a
              bank account be set up to help Pastora, who directed the famous assault on the
              National Palace in 1977 that later led to the Sandinistas' overthrow of dictator
              Anastasio Somoza in 1979.

              During the assault, Pastora took hostage several congressmen whom he exchanged
              for Sandinista prisoners.

              But Pastora became disillusioned and resigned from the Sandinista National
              Liberation Front in the mid-'80s and switched to the counterrevolutionary

              He now says he is so destitute that he had his telephone service cut off, has been
              threatened by the electric company, and owes the water company about $400.

              ``I'm not even collecting from Social Security,'' he said.

              Pastora has put classified ads in the newspaper selling some of his famous
              possessions, including a Rolex watch that Sandinista rebels stole from one of the
              hostages, a close relative of Somoza, and gave him as a gift for his service on the
              first anniversary of the revolution.

              The ads have not gotten any response and Pastora suspects that people think it is
              just a joke.

              ``They don't believe that I'm poor,'' Pastora told the newspaper. ``They don't
              believe that having had the chance to steal, I didn't steal.''

              Pastora said he has friends outside of the country who could help, but that he hasn't
              been able to call them because he has no phone service.

              ``If (former Socialist Spanish Prime Minister) Felipe Gonzalez knew, he'd lend me a
              hand,'' he said.