Information on Commander Henry Ruiz and whether he is currently state security chief or holds any government position, and on his brother Mario Ruiz, including where he currently resides and whether he holds a government position [NIC25179.E]

The following information was provided to the DIRB during a 22 October 1996 telephone interview with an investigative reporter at Nicaragua's main daily La Prensa. The source is a specialist on Nicaraguan military affairs, intelligence and counter-intelligence issues, which he has studied for 18 years.

The source stated that Henry Ruiz was a guerillero who participated in the 1979 revolution against Somoza. Ruiz was head of the facción tercerista of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) headed by Daniel Ortega. After Somoza's overthrow Henry Ruiz became one of the 9 members of the FSLN National Directorate (Dirección Nacional), the party's highest decision-making body. According to the source, the National Directorate was the body that had maximum authority over political, economic and military affairs.

The source added that Henri Ruiz was a member of the National Directorate from 1979 to 1984. According to the source, Henry Ruiz became became planning minister (ministro de planificación) in charge of economic policy in 1984, a position he held until 1990, while remaining a member of the National Directorate. The source stated that Henry Ruiz was never chief of state security and that his responsibilities did not involve security or military affairs. The source added that Henry Ruiz retired from public life in 1990 to dedicate himself to private matters.

The source stated that to his knowledge, Mario Ruiz was never more than an FSLN militant. The source reported that both Henry and Mario Ruiz are still living in Nicaragua, but he could not provide current addresses.

In her 1986 book Nicaragua: Revolution in the Family, New York Times journalist Shirley Christian describes Henry Ruiz as the planning minister who became

the economic czar, the man who held veto power over virtually all economic decisions. Contributing to his importance was the fact that he was the only one of the nine [members of the National Directorate] to have studied in the Soviet Union—though he had left Patrice Lumumba before graduating—and was seen, whether accurately or not, as the one with the most direct channel to the Kremlin (218-219).

Christian describes Ruiz as a member of the "Prolonged War Faction" of the National Directorate, along with Tomás Borge (Minister of the Interior) and Bayardo Arce (Ideology and Foreign Affairs) while the above-mentioned tercerista contained the Ortega brothers (Daniel and Humberto) and Victor Tirado (ibid., 219). Christian further states:

On the so-called hard-line side fell Arce, Borge, Ruiz and probably Carrión Cruz. They were less concerned about the effect of the flight of educated and trained people, less willing to concede ideological points in the interests of social peace. They were capable of saying there would be a Marxist revolutionary Nicaragua or no Nicaragua at all. Ruiz could describe himself to other members of the government as a "prisoner of ideology" (ibid., 220).

For further information on Henry Ruiz, please consult the attached Radio Sandino report.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Investigative reporter specializing in military affairs. La Prensa, Managua. 22 October 1996. Telephone interview.

Christian, Shirley. 1986. Nicaragua: Revolution in the Family. New York: Random House.


Radio Sandino [Managua, in Spanish]. 26 February 1991. "FSLN Commander Ruiz Denies Split Within Front" (FBIS-LAT-91-040 28 Feb. 1991, 17)

Additional Sources Consulted

Central America NewsPak [Austin, Tex.]. 1993-1996.

Central America Report [Guatemala City]. 1990-1996.

DIRB Country File. Nicaragua.