Chamorro Barrios Family Papers Exhibit Opening & Reception

On November 8, the Latin American Library (LAL) celebrated the opening of the Chamorro Barrios Family Papers with a major exhibit and inaugural address by award-winning Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro Barrios. 

The Chamorro Papers are a substantial documentary collection (approximately 175 linear feet) relating to one of Latin America’s most influential families at the forefront of Nicaragua’s political and national life since the 18th century.  The collection consists of the personal papers of noted journalists Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Zelaya, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, and Antonio Lacayo Oyanguren.

In her presentation, LAL Director Hortensia Calvo invoked the words of Cristiana Chamorro, who remains under house arrest in Managua, along with their brother Pedro Joaquín, underscoring the importance of preserving archival heritage, particularly within the current political crisis in Nicaragua. 

In his keynote, Carlos Fernando Chamorro remarked on the significance of the papers for the history of his family as public servants—journalists, politicians, historians, activists--against the backdrop of modern Nicaraguan history.  On a more personal note, Chamorro shared with the audience an account of his experience reading the handwritten prison writings of his father, a journalist persecuted by the Somoza regimes, culminating in his assassination in 1978.  He also offered a sobering analysis of the present and future of the political situation in Nicaragua.

The exhibit, The Chamorro Barrios Family Papers (1767-1980s): The Struggle for Freedom of Speech in Nicaragua features rare items from the collection, a timeline of the last 100 years of Nicaraguan history, and a display featuring the different forms of censorship as experienced by the Chamorro family newspaper La Prensa since the 1930s.  The exhibit is open through June 2023 in the LAL gallery. 

A recording of the event can be found at:

Text of the inaugural address can also be seen at: Chamorro Barrios Family Papers Inaugural Address.pdf

Photo at right, Carlos Fernando Chamorro Barrios addresses the crowd. Photo by Cheryl Gerber.  

Carlos Fernando Chamorro Barrios addresses the crowd. Photo by Cheryl Gerber.