Nicaragua: Carlos Ramírez Velásquez and his Security Escort



Fundación Luisa Mercado, Masatepe (photo: Bernard Gordillo)

Last October, former vice-president of Nicaragua and distinguished author Sergio Ramírez invited me to present a lecture at the Fundación Luisa Mercado in Masatepe. In fact, it was a repetition of a lecture-concert I’d given earlier in the year at IHNCA. Entitled “The Recollections of Carlos Ramírez Velásquez,” about the surviving memoirs written by a little-known yet significant Nicaraguan composer, the topic was somewhat special in that it was about a relative of the former vice-president’s, specifically, the brother of his paternal grandfather, Lisandro.

At the end of the presentation, I decided to do away with the usual question and answer session, and instead I opened up the floor to anyone who might want to share their own recollections about the composer in question. This was quite deliberate on my part as I knew very well that Masatepe was the cradle of the Ramírez family of musicians and that there would be plenty of people present who were either relatives (of some kind) or had known him personally.

Among the handful of nostalgic memories was one charming recollection shared by the daughter of a nephew of Carlos Ramírez Velásquez (known as “Papa Carlos” within the family). After waiting patiently for the others to make their contributions, an elderly lady stood up to tell us a story.

Towards the end of his life, Papa Carlos became afraid of walking the streets of Masaya by himself for fear of assault. It was then decided that he would be escorted by someone he knew who would assure his personal safety. For reasons that are unclear, a little girl was picked for job, a surprising choice if any. This might be seen to be a foolhardy decision, in retrospect, yet she was given a weapon for use only if needed. Imagine for a moment the picture of a little girl accompanying an elderly gentleman around town carrying a hidden weapon inside of a bag.

What kind of weapon would you give such an innocent creature to “protect” a man decades her senior, you ask?

A hammer.

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