Cinema Interviews

Commander Zero

Around the streets of Manugua, Edén Pastora carries a gun while driving a car brought from Mexico and speaks to the camera. It is the first sequence of the documentary Edén Pastora – Commander Zero (Eden Pastora – Komentaja Nolla). The film portrays one of the most intriguing characters of the revolution in Nicaragua and follows him in the municipal elections for mayor of Manuagua in 2006.

The documentary was made by Spanish filmmaker Álvaro Pardo, who has been living and working in Finland since 1979 when he decided to moved from Madrid to study cinema at the School of Motion Picture, Television and Production Design in Helsinki. “I didn't mean to stay this long in Finland. I was just a visiting student, trying to learn editing and cinema,” he remembers, “but then I started working, I got married and well, I'm still here.”


Why did you decide to make a documentary about Edén Pastora?

The idea came to my mind when I read an article that said that Edén Pastora was selling all his possessions because he didn't have any money to live. I was shocked because he had been such a great personality. We all also know that all the Sandinsta leaders are millionaires now, so I wanted to know why he was so poor.

How is possible that he didn't have the money?

He was considered a traitor, and a CIA agent, but he was only a guy who disagreed with the Sandinista regime. He received money from the CIA just to do something in which he believed, like he could have taken the money from any other source. He didn't have anything to do with the counter-revolution in Honduras.

{mosimage}Was it easy to get in touch with Edén?

Actually, it was. I got lucky. I didn't know much about Nicaragua and I didn't know anybody there. I contacted the author of an article I read that told good things about Edén. I contacted the journalist and he got me in touch with Edén. When I arrived there, Edén was in Mexico to get a car and nobody knew when he was coming back. After five or six days, he appeared. He's always very keen to be interviewed and I started the pre-production.

How was the filming?

It got a bit complicated because Edén never tells what he's planning to do the next day. It's a custom from his guerrilla days. Many people hate him there and would like to see him dead. I made two trips to Nicaragua. The first lasted around twenty days and then he decided to run for major, so I came back for another twenty days.

Is Managua a dangerous place?

Yes, it is. There's a lot of poverty and people have nothing to lose. Anything you have is more than they have.

What is your opinion about Edén now that you spent such a long time with him?

I always thought that many things he said in media were not true, but after spending time with him, everything he says is true. He is very optimistic and charismatic. One tends to like him so much that one is willing to do anything for him. On a bigger scale one might be able to fight and die for him.

Edén Pastora – Commander Zero will be show on YLE 2 on 8th May 2200

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