On January 10th, Daniel Ortega, who has been president of Nicaragua four times, will begin his fifth presidential term, which is also his fourth consecutive term. Ortega emerged victorious in the presidential elections held in Nicaragua on November 7th, after at least 39 opposition leaders, including seven presidential candidates, were arrested.
The image of Ortega has become associated with that of Nicaragua since the time of the Sandinista Revolution, after a constitutional reform that removed the restrictions on consecutive re-election in Nicaragua, and finally from 2017 to the present, between 2012 and 2017, and then between 2007 and 2012, and first between 1985 and 1990, after assuming the position.
Led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), alongside the United Nicaragua Triumph Alliance, sharing the ballot with his wife Rosario Murillo – the current vice president – he was reelected three times.
The path to the elections, in which Ortega emerged as the winner, was marked by detentions of the main opposition leaders, who are accused of alleged crimes such as money laundering and the execution of acts against sovereignty that put into question the legitimacy process and international organizations of critical reaction.
The release of the opponents has been requested and the arrests have also been condemned by international organizations, including the OAS and the UN. The charges against them have been rejected by all the detainees, including presidential pre-candidates, businessmen, and activists.
Ortega has stated, on his part, that “the enemies of the revolution, the enemies of the people, are shouting that poor things, how is it possible that they are detained, imprisoned, prosecuted,” according to Human Rights Watch, the government of Nicaragua has not yet presented evidence regarding the accusations.
“How many countries and organizations have we seen where the individuals who oppress and exploit the communities, plundering and stealing, are held accountable by the legal system?” Questioned Rosario Murillo, the vice president and also the first lady of Nicaragua, to the government’s critics.
Ortega was born on November 11, 1945, in La Libertad, Chontales, Nicaragua. He joined Sandinismo after spending seven years in prison and abandoned his studies, but later pursued a career in Law at the Universidad Centroamericana.
In 1979, the FSLN began an armed struggle campaign to overthrow the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, which it achieved in the 1970s.
En esos años Ortega conoció a Rosario Murillo en el exilio en Costa Rica en 1977. Se casaron y tuvieron siete hijos.
Nicaragua was engaged in a civil conflict subsequent to the victory of the Sandinista Revolution, in contrast to the rebels backed by the United States, commonly referred to as the “contras.”
Consider the professor from the University of New York, Alastair Smith, author of “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics”, at that time, a significant portion of the country was devastated.
The compulsory military duty was established and provisions were rationed amidst an economic blockade imposed by Washington.
First Presidencies of Ortega
In 1984, Ortega emerged victorious in the presidential elections, from which the opposition, represented by the Nicaraguan Democratic Coordinator, abstained due to their perception of inadequate assurances, as indicated by the think tank Cidob. Ortega had previously served as the coordinator of the National Reconstruction Government Board in 1979, subsequently holding power until 1990 when he was defeated by Violeta Barrios in the electoral contest.
Smith asserts that his dominion over the judicial system enabled him to invalidate that provision by arguing that his fundamental freedoms would be infringed upon. Following nearly twenty years of conservative administrations, he successfully reclaimed authority in 2006, while still maintaining sway in the realm of politics. However, the Constitution barred him from seeking reelection in 2011.
He was elected with a majority of 63% of the votes on November 6th. He secured 62 out of the 90 contested seats, an adequate quantity to revise the Carta Magna.
In a predominantly Catholic country, he preached in his first government in the 21st century a Nicaragua that is “Christian, socialist, and compassionate” with a new image of a peaceful man.
The ethical traditionalist image was fashioned in this manner. The eco warrior shirt was swapped with others in pale shades, and efforts were made to secure funds and investments from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and from Washington.
Hugo Chávez, presidente de Venezuela, Fidel Castro, cubano, y Moammar Gadhafi, líder libio derrocado, declaró su lealtad y amistad al mismo tiempo.
In 1998, Zoilamérica Narváez, the daughter of Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s vice president, exposed the purported sexual misconduct she endured from her stepfather, President Daniel Ortega. Narváez informed CNN in 2018 that the purported mistreatment commenced when she was nine years old.
Ortega has always denied the accusations, and the charges were dismissed by the Nicaraguan justice system. While Murillo has publicly rejected the accusations and has also defended her husband.
The protests of 2018
Nicaragua, one of the countries with the lowest human development in Latin America, saw social protests erupt in April 2018 against the reform of the social security system, which raised both the employer and employee contributions and introduced a new contribution for retirees.
The country was in a state of tension and hundreds of people died, leaving Ortega’s government to be the first in the whole country to experience violent protests for 11 years.
In Venezuela, at that moment, Ortega considered the protests that had been orchestrated by the American imperialism, calling them terrorist opposition groups responsible for the deaths of the locals and with the support of right-wing bands.
In Nicaragua, a particular situation arises because some opposition leaders were allies of Ortega during the fight against the Somoza dictatorship and held important positions in the Sandinista government between 1979 and 1990. This is unlike this country, where protests against the Chavismo regime were mostly led by former opponents of President Hugo Chávez.
The prohibition of abortion– among other things, it was particularly associated with Ortega with the Catholic Church, and various conservative entities, parties, who were very critical of Ortega, formed alliances with his political agenda.
Implemented by the European Union in October 2019 to tackle the decline of Nicaragua’s political and social condition, and recently declared that it had prolonged them until October 15, 2022.
These measures target individuals and organizations accountable for violating human rights, committing abuses, or suppressing civil society and the democratic opposition in Nicaragua. They also apply to individuals and organizations whose actions have weakened democracy or the legal system.
Currently, 14 Nicaraguan politicians and officials, including the vice president and Ortega’s wife, Rosario Murillo, are being applied.
Guido Julia Ana Ochoa, appointed as the General Fiscal of the Department of Treasury of the United States, imposed sanctions on Nicaragua’s Caruna, the National Rural Box, and Paul Kelley Oquist, the Secretary for National Policies in the Presidency.
The government of Nicaragua has not made its position known regarding this set of actions, but President Daniel Ortega has consistently stated that sanctions are acts of aggression against the sovereignty of the country and represent interference in Nicaragua’s domestic matters.