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Costa Rica Arrests Pastora Trying to Return to Nicaragua

September 03, 1986|Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Eden Pastora, who last May publicly gave up his fight to overthrow the leftist government of Nicaragua, was arrested today in Costa Rica for trying to return to Nicaragua, the public security minister said.

Hernan Garron said Pastora, 49, once known as "Commander Zero," was arrested this morning in Barra del Colorado, a spit of land jutting into the Caribbean near the Nicaraguan border.

Pastora gained fame when he headed a group of Sandinista rebels who stormed the National Palace in Managua in 1978 and held 1,000 people hostage for several days.

The attack launched the Sandinista revolution, which ended with the overthrow of the rightist, pro-American Somoza dynasty in July, 1979. Pastora became a deputy defense minister in the new leftist government but later broke with it.

He formed a contra group but last May, short of fighters and funds, he crossed into Costa Rica and said he had given up his struggle.

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