Daniel OrtegaJosé Daniel Ortega Saavedra (; born November 11, 1945) is a Nicaraguan politician serving as President of Nicaragua since 2007; previously he was leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, first as Coordinator of the Junta of National Reconstruction (1979–1985) and then as President (1985–1990). A leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front (, ''FSLN''), his policies in government have seen the implementation of leftist reforms across Nicaragua.
Born into a working-class family, from an early age Ortega opposed ruling President Anastasio Somoza Debayle, widely recognized as a dictator, and became involved in the underground movement against his regime. Joining the Sandinistas as a student in 1963, Ortega's urban resistance activities led to his arrest in 1967. After his release in 1974, he also travelled to Cuba to receive training in guerrilla warfare from Fidel Castro's Marxist–Leninist government. He played a crucial role in forming the Insurrectionist faction, which united the FSLN and sparked the mass uprisings of 1978-1979. After the Nicaraguan Revolution resulted in the overthrow and exile of Somoza's government, Ortega became leader of the ruling multipartisan Junta of National Reconstruction. In 1984, Ortega, the FSLN candidate, won Nicaragua's free presidential election with over 60 percent of the vote. A Marxist–Leninist, his first period in office was characterized by a controversial program of nationalization, land reform, wealth redistribution and literacy programs.
Ortega's relationship with the United States was never very cordial, due to U.S. support for Somoza prior to the revolution. Although the U.S. supplied post-revolution Nicaragua with tens of millions of dollars in economic aid, relations broke down when the Sandinistas supplied weapons to leftist Salvadoran rebels (something which Ortega later admitted occurred). His government was opposed by the Contras in a vicious civil war; the Contras were funded by the Reagan administration of the United States. A joint peace proposal by the Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Wright and Ronald Reagan helped precipitate a peace agreement at a meeting of five Central American chiefs of state in July 1987, which won Costa Rican President Óscar Arias the Nobel Peace Prize. This led to free elections in which Ortega was defeated by Violeta Chamorro in the 1990 presidential election, but he remained an important figure in Nicaraguan opposition politics, gradually moderating in his political position from Marxism–Leninism to democratic socialism. He also restored relations with the Catholic Church, with the adoption of anti-abortion policies by his government.
Ortega was an unsuccessful candidate for president in 1996 and 2001, before winning the 2006 presidential election. In office, he made alliances with fellow Latin American socialists, such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and under his leadership, Nicaragua joined the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.
As of April 19, 2018, Amnesty International and the IACHR of the Organization of American States stated that Ortega has engaged in a violent oppression campaign against protesters, while government officials and government-owned media have denied such actions. Provided by Wikipedia
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