66 Facts About Daniel Ortega


Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra is a Nicaraguan politician serving as President of Nicaragua since 2007.


Daniel Ortega came to prominence with the overthrow and exile of the US-backed dictatorship of the Somozas.


Daniel Ortega's government suffered widespread violence from US-backed rebels, known as the Contras.


Daniel Ortega was an unsuccessful candidate for president in 1996 and 2001 but won the 2006 Nicaraguan general election.


Daniel Ortega's government jailed many potential rival candidates in the 2021 Nicaraguan general election, including Cristiana Chamorro Barrios.


Daniel Ortega's government imprisoned other opponents, such as former allies Dora Maria Tellez and Hugo Torres Jimenez.


Many critics of the Daniel Ortega government, including opposition leaders, journalists and members of civil society, fled the country in mid-2021.

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Daniel Ortega was born in La Libertad, department of Chontales, Nicaragua, into a working-class family.


Daniel Ortega's mother was imprisoned by Somoza's National Guard for being in possession of "love letters," which the police said were coded political missives.


Daniel Ortega's brother Humberto Ortega is a former general, military leader, and published writer, and the third brother Camilo Ortega died fighting the Somoza regime in 1978.


Ortega's father Daniel Ortega Cedra detested US military intervention in Nicaragua and Washington's support for the Somoza government.


From an early age Daniel Ortega opposed Nicaragua's president Anastasio Somoza Debayle, and became involved in the underground movement against his government.


Daniel Ortega was first arrested for political activities at the age of 15, and quickly joined the then-underground Sandinista National Liberation Front in 1963.


In 1964, Daniel Ortega travelled to Guatemala, where the police arrested him and turned him over to the Nicaraguan National Guard.


Daniel Ortega was imprisoned in 1967 for taking part in armed robbery of a branch of the Bank of America.


Daniel Ortega told collaborators that they should be killed if they did not take part in the robbery.


Daniel Ortega was released in late 1974, along with other Sandinista prisoners, in exchange for Somocista hostages.


The Daniel Ortega brothers forged alliances with a wide array of anti-Somoza forces, including Catholic and Protestant activists, and other non-Marxist civil society groups.


Daniel Ortega married Rosario Murillo in 1979 in a secret ceremony.


Daniel Ortega remarried Murillo in 2005 in order to have the marriage recognized by the Catholic Church, as part of his effort to reconcile with the church.


Daniel Ortega adopted stepdaughter Zoilamerica Narvaez in 1986, through a court case.


When Somoza was overthrown by the FSLN in July 1979, Daniel Ortega became a member of the five-person Junta of National Reconstruction, which included Sandinista militant Moises Hassan, novelist Sergio Ramirez, businessman Alfonso Robelo, and Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, the widow of a murdered journalist.


At the time, Daniel Ortega spoke truthfully when he denied Sandinista involvement in neighboring countries.


When Daniel Ortega questioned the Americans about CIA support for anti-Sandinista groups, Carter and Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher said the reports were false.


The FSLN came to dominate the junta, Robelo and Chamorro resigned, and in 1981 Daniel Ortega became the coordinator of the Junta.

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Daniel Ortega took a very hard line against opposition to his policies: On 21 February 1981, the Sandinista army killed 7 Miskito Indians and wounded 17.


Daniel Ortega's administration forced displacement of many of the indigenous population: 10,000 individuals had been moved by 1982.


Thousands of Indians fled to take refuge across the border in Honduras, and Daniel Ortega's government imprisoned 14,000 in Nicaragua.


Daniel Ortega ran an effective campaign, presenting herself as the peace candidate and promising to end the US-funded Contra War if she won.


Daniel Ortega campaigned on the slogan, "Everything Will Be Better," and promised that, with the Contra war over, he could focus on the nation's recovery.


Contrary to what most observers expected, Chamorro shocked Daniel Ortega and won the election.


Daniel Ortega stressed his belief that the Sandinistas had the goal of bringing "dignity" to Latin America, and not necessarily to hold on to government posts.


Daniel Ortega was elected with 287 to Ruiz's 147 votes, and the DL secured the most dominant role in the FSLN.


On 9 September 1994, Daniel Ortega gained more power after taking over Sergio Ramirez's seat in the Asamblea Sandinista.


Ramirez had served as chief of the FSLN's parliamentary caucus since 1990, but Daniel Ortega came to oppose his actions in the National Assembly, setting the stage for Ramirez's removal.


Daniel Ortega ran for election again, in October 1996 and November 2001, but lost on both occasions to Arnoldo Aleman and Enrique Bolanos, respectively.


Daniel Ortega's policies became more moderate during his time in opposition, and he gradually changed much of his former Marxist-Leninst stance in favor of an agenda of democratic socialism.


Daniel Ortega was instrumental in creating the controversial strategic pact between the FSLN and the Constitutional Liberal Party.


Daniel Ortega sidelined party officials and other members while empowering his own informal circle, known as the ring of iron.


Daniel Ortega emphasized peace and reconciliation in his campaign, and selected a former Contra leader, Jaime Morales Corazo, as his running mate.


In 2010, several liberal congressmen raised accusations about the FSLN presumably attempting to buy votes to pass constitutional reforms that would allow Daniel Ortega to run for office for the 6th time since 1984.


Daniel Ortega said God was punishing the United States with the financial crisis for trying to impose its economic principles on poor countries.


Daniel Ortega was re-elected president with a vote on 6 November and confirmation on 16 November 2011.


Four of the remaining five are controlled by Mexican mogul Angel Gonzalez, and are generally considered to be aligned with Daniel Ortega's ruling FSLN party.


Nevertheless, according to the BBC, Daniel Ortega was the most popular candidate by far, possibly due to Nicaragua's stable economic growth and lack of violence compared to its neighbours El Salvador and Honduras in recent years.

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President Daniel Ortega's government has been the target of criticism for its lack of a response to the pandemic.


On 14 March 2020, Daniel Ortega's government called a massive demonstration called "Love in the Time of COVID-19" as a show of support to him and his government.


Sandinista Youth paramilitaries, armed and paid by Daniel Ortega's party, drive around in pickup trucks attacking protesters.


On 6 March 2008, following the 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis, Daniel Ortega announced that Nicaragua was breaking diplomatic ties with Colombia "in solidarity with the Ecuadorian people".


At the summit Colombia's Alvaro Uribe, Ecuador's Rafael Correa, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega publicly shook hands in a show of good-will.


On 25 May 2008, Daniel Ortega, upon learning of the death of FARC guerrilla leader Manuel Marulanda in Colombia, expressed condolences to the family of Marulanda and solidarity with the FARC and called Marulanda an extraordinary fighter who battled against profound inequalities in Colombia.


On 2 September 2008, during ceremonies for the 29th anniversary of the founding of the Nicaraguan army, Daniel Ortega announced that "Nicaragua recognizes the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and fully supports the Russian government's position".


Daniel Ortega's decision made Nicaragua the second country to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia.


When seeking office, Daniel Ortega threatened to cut diplomatic recognition with the Republic of China in order to restore relations with the Mainland-based People's Republic of China as the legal government of China.


In 2007 Daniel Ortega stated that Nicaragua did not accept the One China Policy of the PRC government and that Nicaragua reserved the right to maintain official diplomatic relations with the ROC.


Daniel Ortega reassured President Chen Shui Bian in 2007 that Nicaragua would not break diplomatic relations with the ROC.


Daniel Ortega explained that during the Reagan administration the United States imposed sanctions on Nicaragua.


Daniel Ortega met with the ROC President Ma Ying-jeou in 2009 and both agreed to improve the diplomatic ties between both countries.


In 2016 Nicaragua and China signed an air services agreement and Daniel Ortega stated that Nicaragua's free trade deal with the ROC had benefited both nations.


In September 2010, after a US report listed Nicaragua as a "major" drug-trafficking centre, with Costa Rica and Honduras, Daniel Ortega urged the US Congress and Obama administration to allocate more resources to assist the fight against drug trafficking.


Daniel Ortega has said that Assad's victory in the 2014 election is an important step to "attain peace in Syria and a clear cut evidence that the Syrian people trust their president as a national leader and support his policies which aim at maintaining Syria's sovereignty and unity".


Daniel Ortega attended the swearing-in ceremony of Nicolas Maduro for his second term on 10 January 2019.


In 2016, Daniel Ortega did not sign the Paris Agreement because he felt the deal did not do enough to protect the climate, although he later changed his mind.


Daniel Ortega's presidency has been subject to much criticism and accusations of his becoming a strongman.


The Daniel Ortega administration ordered the closure of the Nicaraguan Language Academy for failing to register as a "foreign agent" ratified by the Sandinista parliament with the favorable vote of 75 deputies of the ruling FSLN.

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Daniel Ortega's brother died in the Tipitapa Model prison in November 2021.