Many key Nicaraguans who once supported the Sandinista revolution, some who explained it to the press and the world, and even some of those who led it, are no longer in the country.
A roster of the exiles includes:
Eden Pastora, the famous "Commander Zero" who led the attack on the Somoza dictatorship's National Palace in 1978 and subsequently commanded the tough, all-out fight for the southern front in the 1979 insurrection, left Nicaragua in June 1981, saying he would devote himself to other revolutionary movements. In April, he announced publicly his intention to overthrow the current Sandinista leadership. His family lives in Mexico City.
Alfonso Robelo, one of five members of the original revolutionary government junta that took power in July 1979, resigned in April 1980 to form an opposition party. He went into exile in April and subsequently declared himself allied with Pastora. He lives in Costa Rica.
Arturo Cruz served as director of the Central Bank in 1979 and 1980, then replaced Robelo on the junta. He resigned after several months to become ambassador to Washington, where he continued cultivating the support for Nicaragua he had helped to create among liberal Congressmen in the early days of the revolution. Cruz left that post and the government in November, however, and now lives in Bethesda. Although reluctant to make public declarations, Cruz is known to be working with Pastora.
Alfredo Cesar was a longtime Sandinista activist who helped draft the original plan of government and bring it into being, then undertook the task of renegotiating Nicaragua's heavy foreign debt. Cesar eventually took over the Central Bank, where he dealt with basic economic policy, attempting to devise a pragmatic combination of incentives with a progressive social orientation. He resigned May 12, charging other Sandinista leaders with undermining his policies.
"I can no longer continue at the front of the revolution's financial policy, making our people believe that we are going to come out ahead, when the possibilities of doing that are crumbling," Cesar said in his resignation letter. He lives in Costa Rica.
Edgar Macias was the leader of the Popular Social Christian Party, which joined in a united front with the Sandinistas on all major issues, and until January he was deputy labor minister. A Sandinista magazine accused him of accepting money from the CIA and he replied with a lawsuit against the publication, but before being called into the State Security offices he sought asylum in the Venezuelan Embassy and later was allowed to leave the country.
Jose Francisco Cardenal was a member of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise, appointed as vice president of the Sandinista-controlled Council of State in May 1980. He soon went into Miami exile, denouncing the regime. More recently he was instrumental in forming a coalition of several armed anti-Sandinista factions that calls itself the Nicaraguan Democratic Force and appears to have been responsible for the attack on a Nicaraguan border town last month that killed 14 militiamen.
The Democratic Force emerged in August 1981 through a split in the leadership of a Miami-based, political and military organization calling itself the Nicaraguan Democratic Union, over the inclusion of former Somoza forces in the anti-Sandinista struggle. Led by Edmundo and Fernando Chamorro, the Democratic Union is believed to have taken a back seat to Cardenal's Democratic Force in counterrevolutionary activity.