In his youth, Ortega he moved with his family to Managua, where he attended the Central American University. However, he shortened his studies and, in 1963, went underground as a member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), a group that sought to overthrow the country’s dictator, Anastasio Somoza García, who had ruled Nicaragua since 1937.
Arrest and release
In 1967, Ortega and several other FSLN members were arrested after a botched bank robbery attempting to raise funds for the group. Tortured repeatedly during his time in prison, Ortega he was finally released in 1974 as part of a hostage exchange program.
After sneaking off to Cuba to receive guerrilla training for several months, Ortega returned to their home country. For the next five years, he helped lead a military campaign that eventually forced Somoza to flee Managua in 1979 and go into exile.
Following Somoza’s departure, a five-member group called the Junta de Reconstrucción Nacional ruled the country. As one of its main members, Ortega he was appointed coordinator of the Board in 1981. Three years later, Nicaraguan voters elected him president of the country.
Return to power
The following years were not kind to Ortega. His political influence greatly diminished and he was later accused by his stepdaughter of rape as a child, allegations that he emphatically denied.
But in 2007, with Nicaragua again facing extreme poverty, Ortega he ran for office and recaptured the presidency. After requesting a constitutional amendment to allow for consecutive reelection, he won the presidency again in 2011 and embarked on his third term. He was reelected in 2016.
Although he captured 72 percent of the vote and some of the success he had in boosting the economy and containing gang-related crime, concerns were raised about his administration becoming increasingly undemocratic. During his many years in office, he changed the country’s constitution to remove term limits in 2014, blocked the participation of a strong opposition candidate in the 2016 elections, the government controlled the media, and appointed members of his family. in key positions of power. His wife Rosario, a poet and also a former revolutionary, is not only the country’s first lady, but was also elected vice president in 2016.