It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

The Best of Times

On the night of 17 July 1979, two twin-engined six-seater Cessnas taxied out of the dark hangar at the Juan Santamaria airport in San José, moved on to the runway and lifted into the mist above Costa Rica’s central hills. The planes were bound for the city of León in the west of Nicaragua. León had already been liberated by the guerrillas of the Sandinista Front, and I was one of the five members of the Junta of National Reconstruction that would be established there. Travelling with me was Violeta Barrios, the widow of the journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro. Daniel Ortega was waiting for us in León.

The plane set its course northwards, and the lights of San José winked through the mist. I tried to make out my own house in the Los Yoses district. My wife, Gertrudis, and I had lived there for the last four years and in the recent months we had learned to co-exist with the crates of medicines and food that filled the living room, corridors and bedrooms, that Gertrudis would then dispatch to the Sandinista fighters along the southern front who were struggling to take the town of Rivas.


In the Andes
Time’s Arrow (Part Three): The Conclusion