Hammer Jhoel García Salinas
“They were students with dreams”
Murdered in Tipitapa on April 20, 2018
Hammer Jhoel García Salinas was a 19-year-old university student. He had begun studying computer engineering at the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua but he dropped out to study electronics at the vocational school. He took courses to train as a residential electrician, as well as courses related to electrical networks. He completed these courses despite the economic difficulties his family faced. His mother, Mayra Salinas Flores, remembers how Hammer “would go to the vocational school without money or lunch and would spend the whole day at school coming home famished.” After he graduated, he took to repairing everything in the house. He repaired some old fans and he built others with spare parts and fans from computers.
He had just begun working in one of the businesses in the free-trade zone. In our home there was a lot of economic constraints, and Hammer wanted to help pay the family’s expenses. His family was his mom, his sister Kelly and his nephew Jeremy. “We were a close knit family. At a very young age I instilled God’s path in my children. We were always together, including our little grandson. Hammer was reserved and strong willed. Like all brothers and sisters they argued, but the two of them protected each other and they got along well as a happy family,” remembers his mother.
Mayra Salinas says that her son was dedicated to his job and his church, and on Sundays he would play soccer. “Hammer dreamt of building his own house and he wanted to work to make a comfortable house for me as well, so that I wouldn’t have to live with others or rent. He hoped to return to the university in 2019 and finish his studies. He wanted to work to help the family and he also wanted to marry.”
Hammer got involved indirectly with the protests. “That day he came home from work early, around noon, and he washed his clothes and hung them out to dry. At night we were all together and he wanted to show me a picture of Richard Pavón, the young boy who had been murdered on April 19th, near the Municipal Government building in Tipitapa. His sister, Kelly, knew the young boy because they had been in a dance group together. They were commenting on the boy’s death when they heard uproar near the traffic circle. It was the paramilitaries throwing bombs, shooting bullets and doing many other things. The neighbors and all of the kids went out to see what was happening. After dinner it seems that Hammer was restless and he went out to the porch. When I went to look for him he was no longer there. He’d left and didn’t return that night,” said Mayra.
The next day at around 10:00 in the morning, his mother was worried because she hadn’t had any news, so she asked Kelly to go look for her brother. “Go to his dad’s house and if he is not there, go look for him at his girlfriend’s house,” Mayra recalls asking her daughter. But Hammer was not in either place and no one had seen him the night before. The girlfriend and Mayra decided to ask friends, and inquire at the police station and then the neighborhood hospital. They were told that two young people who’d been injured had been brought in, along with and another young person who was dead. The doctor asked Mayra to describe her son, and when the doctor mentioned the small bracelet found on the deceased young man, Mayra knew it was Hammer.
My son was innocent. He wasn’t a criminal. He wasn’t a murderer. He was a human being who didn’t deserve to be killed. He was a Christian and he was not involved in anything. I want him to be remembered as a child who misbehaved, but a young man with a generous heart. “He wasn’t able to fulfill his dreams,” his mother says regretfully. “I keep waiting for justice and an end to the deaths. Those who killed him should pay with their lives for all of the innocent people they have killed. I want the world to know that these young people were not criminals. They were students with dreams and goals. They were young people with pure hearts who wanted to grow and make their lives better.”
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