HomeNewsAnalysisNicaragua Arrests Man at Center of Facundo Cabral Murder
ANALYSIS

Nicaragua Arrests Man at Center of Facundo Cabral Murder

NICARAGUA / 30 MAR 2012 BY STEVEN DUDLEY EN

In a surprise move, Nicaragua's authorities detained nightclub owner Henry Fariñas -- the mysterious figure at the heart of the multi-country investigation of the assassination of Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral last July -- when he arrived this week from Guatemala.

As El Nuevo Diario reports, Nicaraguan authorities linked Fariñas (shown in photograph) to investigations into "some illegal activities," but did not elaborate. Strangely, the director of the organized crime unit told the newspaper separately that he did not know of the arrest. Fariñas is not charged with a crime in any country.

Fariñas is the principal owner of the night club chain Elite, which operates in various parts of the region including Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. He was also part of a business team that brought Cabral to Nicaragua and possibly brought him to Guatemala to perform in what would be his last concert.

A group of Guatemalan assassins intercepted Fariñas, Cabral, Cabral's manager and soundman as they made their way to the airport in dawn hours of July 9.  Cabral was shot dead and Fariñas wounded. Fariñas' bodyguards shot back, wounding one hitman.

The investigation has since spanned at least four countries and involved investigators from six governments including the United States, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Five Guatemalan hitmen were arrested. Colombian authorities captured the supposed mastermind of the plot, Costa Rican Alejandro Jimenez, alias "Palidejo," earlier this month, as he made his way along the northern coast of that country to meet with one of that country's most feared drug trafficking organizations, the Rastrojos. Jimenez was deported to Guatemala for trial but has claimed innocence and is under heavy guard.

[See InSight Crime's Rastrojos profile]

For his part, Fariñas recovered in a hospital under heavy guard. As the key witness in the case, he told Guatemalan investigators that Jimenez was angry that he refused to sell him the Costa Rican branch of Elite for an estimated $400,000.

No one has corroborated this story, and only one of the five Guatemalan assassins detained is collaborating but has limited knowledge of the motives behind the attack.

These motives are still in dispute and may never emerge. Nicaraguan authorities told InSight Crime late last year that they have no investigations open against Fariñas.

Fariñas also appears to have high level protection in his home country. When Guatemalans suggested that he was target for the attack that led to Cabral's death, Nicaragua's Supreme Court President Alba Luz Ramos came out in Fariñas' defense.

Senior police officer also reportedly frequent Fariñas' Elite night club. Fariñas' survival, however, may depend on his contacts with the ruling Sandinista party, but those contacts are not as apparent.

Jimenez's contacts with the Rastrojos also suggests that the dispute goes well beyond Fariñas' refusal to sell his club. Nicaraguan investigators told InSight Crime that they suspect "an illicit business" was at the heart of the case but refused to elaborate.

Costa Rican authorities had been investigating Jimenez for money laundering for months before the assassination attempt on Fariñas in Guatemala and told InSight Crime that they suspected Jimenez trafficked drugs as well but could not say if he was connected to Fariñas.

Finally, in a Plaza Publica report translated and published by InSight Crime this week, there is the possibility that the vendetta stretches north into the Sinaloa Cartel circles. According to the report, Jimenez transported Rastrojos' cocaine to the Sinaloa Cartel.

Finding the truth amidst this sea of groups and potential motives will be difficult unless the Nicaraguan authorities press Fariñas or Jimenez begins to talk to Guatemalan authorities. Neither appears likely at this point.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COSTA RICA / 17 JUN 2014

A recently captured drug trafficker from Nicaragua has accused Sandinista political heavyweight Eden Pastora of placing a hit on his…

ARGENTINA / 5 MAR 2020

In a year marked by political and criminal turmoil, Latin American capitals did not escape the effects of the violence,…

AMAURI CARMONA MORELOS / 28 AUG 2017

Authorities in Nicaragua are discreetly prosecuting a major underworld figure from the country's Caribbean coast, highlighting the area's important but…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.