Georgino Andrade

Text published in Correo #56
Translation from Spanish: Carolina Icabalceta

Georgino Andrade Rivera was the first of nine literacy volunteer teachers murdered by counterrevolutionaries commanded by CIA and Reagan’s administration during Nicaragua’s second liberation war, that is, the National Literacy Crusade (CNA), which took place from march 23rd to august 23rd, 1980.

One of the first steps carried out by the National Reconstruction Government Board ( Junta de Gobierno de Reconstrucción Nacional) right after the victory of the Sandinista Revolution of 1979 was the battle for literacy of Nicaraguan people in an all-out campaign which lasted five months. More than half of the population was unable to read and write, a fact considered by the revolutionary leaders as well as all honest people, as a major obstacle for the nation’s development.

During those 6 months of the popular revolutionary process, 51.2 % of illiteracy rate was decreased to 12.9%, according to UNESCO data, which granted Nicaragua, the Nadezhda Krupskaya medal in recognition to such effort.

28 years old Georgino Andrade, was from San Francisco municipality, in Chinandega Departament. He worked in the fields farming his own plots. He married Olga Medina and had five children. His crime: To commit himself to the task of alphabetizing his fellow brothers and sisters.

Georgino Andrade was a religious Gospel Delegate, was also in charge of Sandinista Defense Committee (CDS) and Sandinista Popular Militias (MPS) in his territory. He was also in charge of the literacy campaign in his district. The day before he was murdered he had stated: “On my dead body first, if they dare to attack a brigadista”. (A young literacy brigade member.)

“It’s not the same to be someone who has sympathies toward el Frente (FSLN), than being someone who also speaks out in favor of el Frente. That was the case with my brother: besides feeling inclined, he persuaded and attracted people. That is why he was considered dangerous and why he was killed”, Máximo Andrade Rivera, Georgino´s brother declared decades later.

The day he was murdered, Georgino could not thank God for the meal during supper with his family because four well-armed Contra men showed up by surprise to kill him after torturing him for several hours. They tied both of his hands and took him to a place distant from his home. Contra’s bayonets tore off his fingernails and cut 16 times on his neck, nape and ribs. On the day after, his mortal remains were found near his home.

His murderer, contra Pedro Rafael Pavon, later said they had killed him because Georgino was a communist, although he admitted he didn’t know what that meant.

Far from terrifying campesinos, (rural people) and young brigadistas, Georgino’s murder invigorated their commitment.

The National Literacy Crusade was a risky pedagogical battle with personalities such as Georgino Andrade, whose blood, shed for a free Nicaragua, strengthened people with knowledge, foundations and conscience. “People felt stricken and feared but we reacted. That was our achievement. That was what we gained”, Maximo Andrade Rivera claimed.

Georgino Andrade

(Song by Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy, songwriter)

Georgino, comrade
Your light will be shinier
The lamp that one Sunday
They tried to put out.
Traitors do not know
That your Sandinista voice
Will grow louder
In towns and mountains.
Schools and roads
Will say your name
When peasants
Write “liberty”!
Georgino, comrade
Just like in the past times
All people has vowed
To overcome, for your death.
Our Homeland, more united
Will forever remember
Your worn-out shirt
And your jeans
Like a heroic guerrilla man
With your back-pack full
Of light and hope
Willing to build
The road indicated
By Fonseca and Pomares
Irreversible road
That began on July.
Georgino, comrade
Just like in the past times
All people has vowed
To overcome, for your death.
When darkness is gone
My people will harvest
The love you planted
And the sweet blood that taught us to write.

Translated by Carolina Icabalceta, Revista Correo.