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Who is Rosario Murillo, the wife of Daniel Ortega and Nicaragua’s “co-leader” (what is his true power)

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Image source, Reuters


Murillo and Ortega will run again in the presidential election under the new mandate for Nicaragua.

Thanks to the re-election of Daniel Ortega as President of Nicaragua for the fourth time, the same president will continue to rule a woman he describes as a “co-leader”.

About his wife Rosario Murillo, who is running for a second term as vice president, and seeing his influence in government increase in recent years, many doubt whether he is truly the most important decision maker.

Ortega itself has not diminished in recognizing its importance. “We have two presidents here because we respect the 50-50 policy and here we are Co-Chairman with Comrade Rosario “, He said at the end of October, despite the fact that there was no such situation in Nicaragua.

Always with him in his speeches and public appearances, Murillo became a powerful and controversial figure, especially as a result of his role during the 2018 Citizens Struggles.

At 70, Murillo is an easily recognizable little girl Her beautiful colored dresses, Their rings and bracelets are usually associated with messages related to “love” and peace.

For decades Ortega’s unconditional partner, “La Chao” – as he is popularly known – was more than his mentor: This is a fundamental part of Nicaraguan decision making.

This will continue for at least the next five years.

Ortega-Murillo tandem

But some important decisions taken without Murillo’s consent do not mean that Ortega gave up power to him, but rather that they somehow complete his actions almost exactly together.

“The strategic part of government leadership is carried out by Ordega, while the daily and practical application of these strategic decisions is carried out by Rosario. Ordega has always had a defined position in terms of strategy and practice,” he told BBC Mundo. Santinista historian Aldo Diaz Lago.

Image source, Getty Images


This is Murillo’s second term as vice president of Nicaragua.

According to Fabian Medina, Author of Ortega’s unrecognized biography “El Prisoner 198”, Murillo is like the executive hand of a couple, which complements each other perfectly.

“But she’s different, she doesn’t like to be contradictory, she makes decisions Revengeful, hateful and very energetic, Works all the time. ”

So, know that one of the questions in the air is Murillo Will end up being the natural heir of Ortega Led by the government, expect.

Image source, Reuters

However, the current vice president did not receive the same support as her husband.

According to Medina, “Murillo Sandinista produces many antibodies within the old guard,” “If he is nominated for the presidency, he will face a kind of civil war,” he said.

But according to analysts, the biggest break in his presidential ambitions came in April 2018, when several sources pointed out that he had led the crackdown on civilian protests that killed more than 300 people and imposed US sanctions.

Image source, Getty Images

In May of that year, Murillo went to a tense meeting with opposition groups with Ortega as part of a national dialogue aimed at overcoming the crisis.

“We went to the theater called National Dialogue. (Ordega) I do not know how he did it. I have to admit it (…). I’m not patient “, Said in an interview with the American portal a year later Creoson.

Between poetry and power

Ordega and Murillo met in the late 1970s, when he was deported to Costa Rica in July 1979 for participating in the Sandinista movement that overthrew the Somosa dynasty after two years of civil war.

Later, as the leader of a group called the “National Reconstruction Government”, Ortega embarked on a series of international tours in search of outside support for the young Nicaraguan revolution.

Murillo has always sided with him. Many years later, in 2005, they were married in church.

Image source, AFP


The couple has been together for decades.

But “La Chao” was more than just a first lady. In fact, he never liked that nickname.

She was supported by the daughter of Choilamerica Zambrana Santino, the son-in-law of Augusto Santino, Nicaraguan nationalist and instigator of the Sandinista revolutionary movement.

During Ordega’s first presidency, between 1985 and 1990, Murillo used his position to place culture at the forefront of Ordega’s government program.

Image source, AFP


Murillo with the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

However, his influence was not as distant as it is now.

“It was very neglected in the 80s. It’s a small figure and Ortega doesn’t take it too seriously, “said Fabian Medina.

During the 1990 re-election campaign, in fact, advisers suggested that the president should humiliate his wife because of her lavish image.

Finally, the Sandinista National Liberation Front was not re-elected, nor did Murillo win a seat in the National Assembly. A decade was approaching from the side of the opposition.

Allegations of rape

As for Medina, there are three instances in which Murillo captured Ortega ‘attitude or control’.

The first was the 1990 election defeat. Murillo told him in advance that he would lose the election and that those close to him, such as Sergio Ramirez or Carlos Fernando Zamoro, would “betray him.”

Second, after being diagnosed with two silent heart attacks in 1994, Murillo controlled his medication and his diet. “He is more impressed with the vegetarian issue, while Ordega is more of a chaotic and greasy diet,” says Medina.

But the main event to strengthen their relationship took place in 1998, when Murillo’s daughter Joelmerica Nervous, from another relationship prior to Ordega, She accused her stepmother of repeatedly raping her.

“I tell you frankly, I am so ashamed that a person should be destroyed with a sinless application; (it is) my own daughter. For that rage and that sickly lust for power He wanted to destroy her when his ambition was not satisfied, ”Murillo said after the scandal, dismissing his own daughter’s allegations outright.

Although the case was prosecuted, it was not successful because the judge in charge rejected it and the crime was recommended and Ortega enjoyed immunity as a former president.


During Ortega’s second term as president, which began in 2007, his wife was politically renewed and became the voice and face of the Ordega government.

As chairman of the Communications and Citizen Power Council, he wanted to give another face to the image of Nicaragua and redesigned official images, from the colors of flowers at public events to the National Shield, With clear colors after an approach to a philosophy The new era.

He established a series of “trees of life” on Main Avenue in Managua to convey good energy.

Image source, EPA


The trees of life in Managua are one of the most important landmarks of Murillo’s philosophy.

“Murillo’s brand is all over Nicaragua, and those colors are a bit psychedelic, with esoteric symbols everywhere,” says Medina.

“It’s part of the Santinista tradition, a direct legacy of General Santino, who gave more weight to spirituality, more weight, I think,” says Sandinista historian Aldo Diaz Lagayo, underestimating it.

Every afternoon, Murillo delivers daily speeches through the official media She is shown as a “friend”.

His interventions are very selective.

Image source, AFP

What both fans and critics agree on is that Murillo is the face and voice of her husband’s government, for which she devotes endless hours.

“The most important thing about Rosario is that as an organizer, as a tireless worker, there is no denying that Rosario works 24 hours a day,” analyzes Thias Lago.

Your first vice president position

The award for that commitment went to the 2016 campaign, and Murillo was nominated for vice president. Opposition parties complained to him. Who labeled intrigue as nepotism.

During his five-year tenure he faced harsh criticism. In 2018, the United States imposed sanctions against him, accusing him of corruption and gross human rights abuses for his role during civil strife. The Nicaraguan government has denied allegations of external “interference.”

Image source, Getty Images

Most recently, his position at the onset of the epidemic was highly questionable. Citizens march in Nicaragua despite international health recommendations to avoid crowds “Love in the Covit-19 Times”.

“Because the world is facing the Govt-19 epidemic, ‘Love in the Govt-19 era’, we are taking care of ourselves together in the neighborhood, regions and communities,” Murillo said while announcing the parade.

Given his growing influence in the executive branch, it is not surprising that Murillo is running again as a vice presidential candidate in these elections.

However, many in the country thought he could even run for president in this election. But it will have to wait for now.

Image source, Getty Images

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