Dissident elements of a Nicaraguan Indian rebel organization called Misurasata say they have ousted Brooklyn Rivera as their commander in chief, but Rivera denies that he has lost control.
The leadership dispute has further complicated relations among the several forces that are fighting Nicaragua’s Sandinista government.
Misurasata has been part of the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE), which is headed by Eden Pastora. A small force of Misurasata guerrillas operates in pockets along Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast.
Without Pastora’s approval, Rivera began talks in October with representatives of the Sandinista government aimed at a reconciliation between Misurasata and the government.
In late January, a group of Misurasata leaders who opposed the talks announced that Rivera, 32, had been replaced as commander by Joaquin Suazo, 46.
“Brooklyn betrayed the people,” Suazo said in an interview.
Rivera insists that the dissidents have failed to win over his Indian followers, members of the Miskito, Sumo and Rama tribes.
“The organization considers those people (the dissidents) to be deserters,” he said.
However, Rafael Zelaya, political coordinator under Suazo, said that all but a few of the guerrillas have switched their allegiance from Rivera to Suazo.
“This is the end of Brooklyn Rivera,” Zelaya said.