Today's story is about a man who stood up to the dictatorships in his nation.
Don Emilio, as Dr. Alvarez was universally known, recently passed away at the age of 94. He was an ophthalmologist (a doctor who treats eye problems) who cared for his many patients.
But he was also a voice for the voiceless in Nicaragua as a writer, a newspaper editor and a leader of various political organizations that demanded democracy and political disclosure.
In 1954 when Dom Emilio was 34 years of age, he joined a group of revolutionaries plotting to kill Dictator Anastasio Somoza Garcia. They failed and Don Emilio spent 18 months in prison.
When he was released, as a matter of conscience Don Emilio no longer supported armed revolt and became a non-violent activist, in the tradition of Gandhi.
The Somoza family ruled Nicaragua until 1979 and Don Emilio as a writer and editor of La Prensa ("The Press" in English), the major opposition newspaper, became one of their biggest critics.
After the Somozas were overthrown by the Sandinistas under Daniel Ortega, Don Emilio also actively opposed this dictatorship.
Don Emilio believed that the primary reason Nicaragua is ruled as it is, is because so many of its people are poor and uneducated. "You need a large middle class to achieve democracy," he said.
"Somoza governed with 80% repression and 20% corruption. Now the percentages are reversed."
Prior to his passing, Don Emilio opposed a proposed joint venture with China, a Panama Canal type venture which Chinese [and perhaps Nicaraguan] money would fund.
Don Emilio saw it as "a part of our culture called the magic sense of life, which tells us that suddenly we're going to become rich, suddenly we're going to have an important friend, we're going to win the lottery."
But whatever the case, in Don Emilio, Nicaraguans had a passionate supporter, one committed to democratic ideals, and one who was unafraid to speak his mind.
It is in such people that real democracies eventually arise.