Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
The American Hijacker

Nicaraguan Childhood

Quotes From ages three to 13, Patrick Arguello lived in Nicaragua. But in 1956, his family fled the country following the assassination of dictator Anastasio Somoza and the brutal repression then unleashed by his two sons, Luis and Anastasio, Jr. The family settled in Los Angeles for the rest of Arguello's teenage years. His childhood in Nicaragua was a formative time.

Patrick Arguello as a young boy

His mother was Irish American. His father was Nicaraguan. What this meant was that Patrick, like a lot of children of mixed marriages, was always searching for his identity... Ultimately, he identified with the underdog, with the Nicaraguan part, and in a sense he became more pro-Nicaraguan than Nicaraguans themselves.

Marshall Yurow, biographer

Patrick and I were born in San Francisco, California. He was only about three [when we moved to Nicaragua]. Right away we started to learn how to speak Spanish... What happened from there on is that we came to adapt to the Nicaraguan culture. After all, my dad was from Nicaragua. Eventually we ended up on a farm about 17 kilometers from Managua, and that's where we spent most of our childhood.

Robert Arguello, brother

These are some of my mom's words... "Anybody who knew Pat would know that he cared nothing for material goods, especially money. He was deeply concerned about the injustice in the world... Even as a child in Nicaragua he would come home without his shoes because he had given them to other children... whose parents could not afford to buy them shoes."

Rose Arguello, sister

We learned a lot of things [growing up]... one of the things we did see is that my stepfather was a person who always treated those employees that he had on the farm as family. Patrick and myself grew up under those premises. We always treated them with respect.

Robert Arguello, brother

back to top page created on 2.14.06

Hijacked American Experience