Is This a Joke?

In honor of April first, the day of strange and bizarre jokes and pranks, I am always reminded that I live in Nicaragua when….

….The electricity goes off at exactly 6 pm and returns an hour or two later
…. Fence posts in the garden sprout during the rainy season
….Cattle, chickens, and horses gorge themselves on mounds of mangoes
….Our address is “The gringos in La Paloma”
….Someone steals the urn of your friend’s ashes hanging in a tree
….A traveling preacher stops by your house and offers you salvation
….A man whips out an x-ray of a woman’s uterus on the chicken bus and begs for money to heal his ailment
….Flintstone vitamins are hawked as a cure-all for everything
….You ask, “What’s the meat in the stew?” and the cook responds, “Armadillo.”
….You are told not to pay your property taxes because no one pays property taxes and there are no penalties for not paying.
….You have to buy your own electric transformer from the electric company
….Over 40,000 people live on Ometepe Island and only a small fraction of them can swim

And the real reason I wrote this post…..

WANTED: Joseph Maltese, cult leader Ecoovie
Help deport him from Nicaragua
Do Not stay at Indio Viejo on Ometepe Island

….A dangerous cult called Ecoovie, led by an arms dealer, pedophile, kidnapper, and self-professed savior named Joseph Maltese, manages the Indio Viejo ( formerly known as the Hospedaje Central in Moyogalpa). I really thought this was a joke until I found a documentary made about Joseph Maltese and his cult, Ecoovie, on the internet.
Documentary on Joseph Maltese and Ecoovie

I ask myself, ” Is this a joke? Why isn’t something done to deport these dangerous people?” Everyday, young backpackers from around the world, stay at the Indio Viejo on Ometepe Island unaware of Joseph Maltese and his power to seduce new cult members for his own twisted purposes. Please don’t be fooled by their 3 projects for Mother Earth. The Cocibolca project, now abandoned, closed their doors and the cult members fled.  I suspect that it is because a young victim, apparently kidnapped and chained up by Joseph Maltese and his cult, was rescued by a Nicaraguan National Police helicopter.

Maybe the cult fled to the Tichana project, an isolated place on Ometepe Island. All I know is that Joseph Maltese is gone, possibly hiding out somewhere,  but the Indio Viejo’s doors are still open…seducing young victims, covering up the truth of their evil cult with ecofriendly words..ecological agriculture, environmental impact, environmentally friendly, and living in harmony with the nature and local resources.

The illusion of lost pilgrims Ecoovie: A summary of the documentary

Page 39
Friday, February 20, 2009

The A “Duty of Inquiry” tells the macabre saga of the guru Joseph Maltese

S ‘There was a list of the CV sordid, certainly that of Joseph Maltese would be a special place. Arms dealer, close to some terrorist circles, double agent, swindler, forger, pedophile, thief of children, the course of the guru of the sect Ecoovie has everything to attract the “faitdiversier” the most seasoned. Daniel and Remi Gerard Rogge does not make a mistake. For 20 years, Gerard Rogge with his camera followed the saga of the sect Ecoovie and his illustrious mentor. This aspect of “Duty of Inquiry” is his third film on the subject. Tonight, we learn yet little about the psychological profile of the Canadian who was posing as an Indian trading. Neither of his past spook. The highlight of the documentary is to show how the guru could make the diversion of an ideal. Indeed, the followers of Ecoovie appear here, above all, as activists, young people who wanted to engage the world in danger. “The genius of Malta is to have used the thirst of commitment of these young to have a mark on a group and make his sexual fantasies, “says Gerard Rogge. Behind this character that Belgium discovers on his release from prison in 1988, wearing an Indian headdress, hides another reality. That of dozens of young people drawn into a project that looks like green: how green the planet during a long walk around the world. By mixing archival footage shot by supporters of the sect and testimony from former followers, the film tells the macabre group wandering around Europe. Throughout the story, we understand how it will eventually accept everything: live like Indians in primitive sanitary conditions appalling that will lead some to death, lend themselves to insane sexual rituals; condone the practices of their leader pedophiles . The novelty of the film is probably the sequence tour a year ago by two journalists from Radio Canada. Hidden camera, we see Joseph Maltese in great shape, stashed in Nicaragua. “It is also a failure. For 20 years, every time you hit the nail on the Maltese mischief, I thought things were moving at the judicial level, “says Gerard Rogge. In 2003, when he was a refugee in Quebec, Maltese was convicted by a Canadian court to make two children he kept with him. For the rest of his “work”, the guru still seems to escape justice. YANN Saint-Sernin (st.) Duty to investigate, The A, 20 h 45.

And what can YOU do to help? Unfortunately, this is not an April Fool’s joke. It is real and dangerous. Please spread the word. If you are traveling to Ometepe Island, please do NOT stay at the Indio Viejo. This evil guru continues to escape justice…let’s work together to rid my oasis of peace of this dangerous cult.

11 thoughts on “Is This a Joke?

  1. Hi,
    I stayed at the Indio Viejo in Ometepe. At first, I was realy interested in the projects!They where looking for “volunteers” and I am looking for a volunteerjob… I talked to a young guy who is part of this group and he told me a lot about it. He even told me and my friends “we are realy looking for people like you….perfect I thought. After doing a little research on the internet I found out this horrible story!
    The hostel in Ometepe is now runned by “the son and daughter” of joseph Maltese. Who are according to me not close to being familie…They have a big piece of land on Ometepe and are planning to go there and live like Indians(again)…Joseph Maltese is now staying in Granada. They have the “café nuit” there and are planning to open a new hostel in Granada to.
    They are planning to start a volunteerwebsite to build a network of volunteers. They want to achieve the longterm volunteers to have free food and stay while working. I don’t thrust this at all. People can easily be fooled by there nice storys…like my friends and I almost did…

    • Cindi,
      I visited Tichana about 7 years ago. At that time, there were two old cult members living in a little shack. They looked like they had just been released from a concentration camp. I don’t have a clue what’s happening in Tichana now…but watch out!

      • I’ve biked through Tichana at least 4 or 5 times, chatted with locals — never any mention of such a thing from them or from a Merida friend I biked through with last year —

        • Cindi,

          I don’t know what’s happening in Tichana or at the Indio Viejo in Moyogalpa, now. All I know for sure is that the guy I’ve known as Abbey, the 77 yr. old manager of the Indio Viejo, is the same man pictured as Joseph Maltese in the documentary. From what I’ve read in Belgium court reports and the Canadian documentary, he’s a master con-artist. He has the ability to flee quickly when apprehended. Who knows where he is hiding. He’s not at the Indio Viejo anymore and neither are most of his cult members.

  2. One of the things my mom says is that the Us government owns everything in the states. If you dont pay your property taxes, they will take it away. You dont own anything. You are only renting it. I find its so true. Thats why i like central america. Its mioe freer like its suppose to be.

  3. Wow. Unfortunately my French is even worse than my Spanish. Is there any more documentation for this?
    I’m not questioning you so much as just wanting to make more sense of the situation. I’m guessing the summary of the Documentary was a rough translation but it was a little difficult to follow entirely? Are there other accounts? I did a quick Google search but didn’t turn up much about either Joseph Maltese or Ecoovie. Have there been any accounts in LaPrensa or Nuevo Diario?
    Inquiring minds want to know more?

    • John,

      That is the strange thing. No mention in La Prensa or Nuevo Diario, even after the police helicopter rescued the boy who was chained up and kidnapped by Joseph Maltese.
      He was in Belgium in the 1980’s. Here are some more links.
      Apparently, he was the leader of a cult called Ecoovie. I’ve been reading about his association with a man named Gustave Keteleer and weapon trading in the Iran-Contra War with sums in the billions of dollars.

      Report of the Belgian Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the illegal practices of sects – Review of the judicial record Ecoovie – The written

      Report of the Belgian Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the illegal practices of sects – Review of the judicial record Ecoovie – A review of charges by the Council Chamber.

      Report of the Belgian Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the illegal practices of sects – Review of the judicial record Ecoovie – Judgments on the merits by the Criminal Court.

      This guy had lots of alias’: The first is the World Council of Peoples (CMP). Supposedly, there would exist since 1936 and its president was unanimously elected for 16 years at a congress in Paris and Tokyo in 1984. We already know that this Professor Maolin Tiam … ie Joseph Maltese.
      The second is the Ecumenical Centre Franciscan. Joseph Maltais takes on the name of Brother Tiam Maolin and as Minister General. Jean-François Penouilh is named Brother Francis de Souza. It is regional minister. Michael is the brother Tujas Mendiondo Tujas and Michel Pont, Reverend Bridge Spoerry. All three refer to the name of their mother.
      Report of the Belgian Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the illegal practices of sects – Review of the judicial record Ecoovie – The case of B.
      Here he calls himself Henry Bridge.

      I hope these links work. I am just frustrated that this cult is still here on the island and apparently no one is doing anything about them.

  4. Well Deb, Jackie and I had a real laugh at the mention of your address being “The gringos in La Paloma”, since we’ve had our fun experiences with giving directions, and we’re the “gringo couple” in Panama… BUT the cult part of the post is craziness! Hopefully someone that can do something about it will take notice and action!

    In any case, have a great April Fools day 🙂


    The gringo couple in El Cangrejo, 4 edificios de Plaza Einstein!

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