Coyotepe Fortress has a tortured past. It isn’t noticeable when you first arrive but once you’re inside and walking through the depths of the dungeons where many political prisoners were held and tortured… Coyotepe’s ghosts will haunt you.
The fort, Fortaleza El Coyotepe, was initially built in 1893 by President Zelaya in order to stop attacks from the conservative forces and invading armies of North America from Masaya, Managua, Granada and Leon. After President Zelaya’s ruling Anastasio Somoza came into power. In 1948 Somoza ordered a dungeon to be built underneath the fort in order to hold many political prisoners; it is said that occasionally this small fortress held over 800 prisoners at one time. Many of the cells in this dungeon were crammed so full with people they could not sit or lay down… let alone go to the bathroom. There are three floors to this underground dungeon, the prisoners in the bottom floors got very little, if any, light.
Punishments were inflicted on the prisoners daily. Guards loved to urinate on them from above while they were chained to a wall. In my opinion, the most brutal torture was when the prisoners who were housed in the bottom dungeons for long periods of time, without light, for added agony they were blindfolded then brought outside, eyes pointed at the sun and then the blindfold was removed. This torture caused permanent blindness in some while others were killed by it.
After Somoza’s reign the Sandinistas came into power and took over Coyotepe fortress. They continued torturing the prisoners. After the Sandinistas were overthrown, the fortress was handed over the Boy Scouts who finally brought peace to the grounds of Coyotepe.
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